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Author Topic: Advice for prospective law student  (Read 1060 times)

bruin945

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Advice for prospective law student
« on: July 15, 2008, 04:34:53 PM »
So I realize I'm not actually a law student (as this thread is aimed for) but I figure my situation requires attention from actual law students and not pre-law students. Here is my situation:

I just graduated undergrad, and because of a situation with my parents was forced to finance my education entirely on my own. I am leaving with about 50k in debt. I applied to a number of law schools and also to a number of jobs. I recieved a generous job offer at an investment company in San Francisco in which I will make about 60k a year after bonus. I found out a few days ago that UC Davis has let me off the waiting list. Of all the schools I have applied to Davis is ideal because I am from the area and its a top tier school. If I attend Davis I will also have to finance the entire cost on my own, which will leave me with about 170k of total debt. My question is this, should I work for a few years and risk not being able to get back into a top law school? Or do I not worry about the debt and jump right in? My LSAT score is not that great, but I am very concerned about being a slave to a big law firm to pay off all my school debt. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

StevePirates

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2008, 04:41:51 PM »
Go to Davis.

smittypits

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2008, 04:45:41 PM »
Really depends...if you like law enough to go in to debt, then absolutely go for it...don't forget, a law degree is essentially an investment. That said, if you don't really like law, maybe it would be better to give the real world a shot, make some money, then reevaluate everything in a few years. That way, you'll actually have some cash saved up if you do decide to go back to school, alleviating some of the loans you'll have to take out.

Ninja1

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2008, 05:17:52 PM »
Take Davis. $60k isn't very much in SF.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

PSUDSL08

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2008, 05:18:02 PM »
I think it would be very wise to defer your acceptance to UC Davis (if the option is available), work for a year and re-evaluate your situation next summer. Aside from the obvious benefits (income and resume booster) there are other benefits to taking a year off. First, you might realize that a career in investments is perfect for you, thus eliminating the time and expense of law school. On the other hand, if you absolutely hate what you're doing, at least you'll be able to say to yourself that you gave an alternative career a shot. Secondly, from my experience, the students who take time off from law school tend to perform better academically since they treated school as a full-time job as opposed to merely an extension of undergrad. And for what it's worth, I had a partner for a mid-sized firm tell me specifically that he prefers to hire candidates who have some work experience for summer associate positions over others who have little to no meaningful work experience.

Taking a year off in between law school and undergrad was easily one of the best decisions I've ever made. You do quite a bit of "growing up" when you're thrust into a position of responsibility after spending your college days partying. I took a job working for a large international company thinking that a career in the business world would be something I was interested in. I soon realized that the corporate world wasn't for me, and this made my interest in practicing law even stronger. And from a financial standpoint, I was able to save up enough money that year to fully furnish my apartment and cover my insurance payments for my first year of law school...and have some fun in the process.

If the deferment option is available to you, you've got nothing to lose by taking a year off and re-evaluating your position next summer.

SASS

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2008, 05:22:16 PM »
I think that you should go to law school if you absolutely know it is what you want to do. After my first year I realized many of my classmates, well, didn't seem to know why they went to school. Many have dropped out as a result. If you are sure it is what you want, don't worry about the debt. Most of us are in the same boat and UC Davis is a good school. I too had undergrad debt, as do many people I know.

Good luck to you!

mqt

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2008, 06:36:55 PM »
Call Davis and see if they can give you scholarship money...that that would tip the balance b/c you're strapped financially.  I know you don't have much leverage, as they let you in off the waiting list, but if you weren't qualified to be there, I don't think you'd be on the waiting list to begin with.  Anyway, it's a win-win, because they are not going to revoke your offer by simply asking for money, and you might actually get money.  In the end, the worst that could happen is that they say, "No," and you're no worse off than when you started. 

You won't know unless you ask. 


resipsaloquitur

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2008, 09:46:12 PM »
Quote
I am very concerned about being a slave to a big law firm to pay off all my school debt

You have a very legitimate concern and will probably be a slave to a big law firm to pay down the loan debts you are looking at.  Also think about what you will do, how you will pay, if you are UNABLE get a big law job.

I would suggest you work, pay down some of that undergrad debt, and try out the real world. See if you like the job and where you live.  You can always apply to law school another year when it makes more financial sense.

philosophia

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2008, 08:23:25 AM »
I think it would be very wise to defer your acceptance to UC Davis (if the option is available), work for a year and re-evaluate your situation next summer. Aside from the obvious benefits (income and resume booster) there are other benefits to taking a year off. First, you might realize that a career in investments is perfect for you, thus eliminating the time and expense of law school. On the other hand, if you absolutely hate what you're doing, at least you'll be able to say to yourself that you gave an alternative career a shot. Secondly, from my experience, the students who take time off from law school tend to perform better academically since they treated school as a full-time job as opposed to merely an extension of undergrad. And for what it's worth, I had a partner for a mid-sized firm tell me specifically that he prefers to hire candidates who have some work experience for summer associate positions over others who have little to no meaningful work experience.

Taking a year off in between law school and undergrad was easily one of the best decisions I've ever made. You do quite a bit of "growing up" when you're thrust into a position of responsibility after spending your college days partying. I took a job working for a large international company thinking that a career in the business world would be something I was interested in. I soon realized that the corporate world wasn't for me, and this made my interest in practicing law even stronger. And from a financial standpoint, I was able to save up enough money that year to fully furnish my apartment and cover my insurance payments for my first year of law school...and have some fun in the process.

If the deferment option is available to you, you've got nothing to lose by taking a year off and re-evaluating your position next summer.

This is sound advice, IMO.  I start law school this fall, so I don't know if I will actually par any better than others, but I DO KNOW that after working in the corporate world (commercial real estate) for a while, I was better prepared to take the plunge back into school.  I don't have your financial problems, so I can't sympathize entirely, but taking a year deferment (if it is an option) is a good way to see how well you like the position you have been offered while also figuring out if you can make it financially on $60K/yr in SF.

Even in Atlanta, it would be hard to live too good of a life with that kind of annual while also paying back significant loans from undergrad.  Oh, and definitely ask about the loans!!!

And in the end you may be a slave to BIGLAW, but that could be only a year or two and you would be able to pay down that debt load uber-fast.  Think $160K+/yr = $100K of disposable income to pay down debt versus $60K/yr of maybe $10K to throw towards debt!!! You do the math.

AspenLizzy

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Re: Advice for prospective law student
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2008, 09:31:05 AM »
They've probably already talked  you into taking on the Davis debt, but I would ask to defer, work for a year, and go back into it as an in-state resident.  If your numbers were good enough for Davis this cycle they likely will be next year.  You also have one hell of a good reason to defer.  Oh yeah, and 60k is fine in San Fran.  You will have a roomate or live in Oakland, but even while paying off loans you could definately get by.