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Author Topic: Is law school a good investment these days?  (Read 1627 times)

stbjm02

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Is law school a good investment these days?
« on: October 21, 2008, 03:09:10 PM »
I am in my last year of undergraduate study and plan on going to law school next year. I have read many articles saying that law school is not such a good investment anymore and that people are having trouble finding high paying and enjoyable jobs. This is very disheartening to hear and has taken some of my enthusiasm away.
 
Now I have two questions:

Do you think that as the economy recovers that more jobs will become available or do yo feel like this is just due to over saturation of the field and that it will not get better for a long time?

Also if you have any recent graduate job search stories: successes and failures please share.

TheDudeMan

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2008, 03:16:41 PM »
If you can get into a top school OR go on scholarship, then it is worth it.  Otherwise, NO.

stbjm02

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 03:18:14 PM »
top 25? tier 1? what do you mean by top school?

TheDudeMan

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2008, 03:19:46 PM »
Well I guess that gets a bit trickier.  I mean if I had had to pay full tuition, I would have said top 10 or bust.  However, I turned down a top 10 school for GW because I had some assistance with tuition and I don't regret it.  However, that is because I have a Biglaw gig lined up.  There are plenty who don't fare so well.

I think a lot of it has to do with what you plan to do in your future.

Matthies

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 03:49:18 PM »
Well I guess that gets a bit trickier.  I mean if I had had to pay full tuition, I would have said top 10 or bust.  However, I turned down a top 10 school for GW because I had some assistance with tuition and I don't regret it.  However, that is because I have a Biglaw gig lined up.  There are plenty who don't fare so well.

I think a lot of it has to do with what you plan to do in your future.

This is the key. Do you want to be a lawyer or do you only want to be a lawyer if it pays good?

 If the latter is your goal then there are a few schools out there that will give you the best shots, many others won’t. If your goal is to be lawyer then any law school that will let you sit for the bar will achieve that. There are ways to minimize your debt, going to school with a scholarship is one, going part time and working is another. Which is right for you depends on what your end goal for being a lawyer is and what you are willing or not to give up to get that. If its primarily income then it only makes sense to go to schools that have a better chance of getting that. However, Biglaw and biglaw salaries are not where most law students or lawyers end up working or making. So make sure if you’re in it for the money you only go where that is a better probability.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

,.,.,.;.,.,.

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 04:19:23 PM »
Matthies explained the investment idea very well.  It's either a good investment because you know that, God willing, you will earn market when you graduate regardless of your class rank, or because your debt is minimal and you can live happily on an entry-level salary (e.g., 50k).

If it's the former, I would say that a top ten school is your goal.  I wouldn't go lower than Duke and Cornell, but it's possible that schools beneath them fare just as well.  (My school should be apparent from the moniker.)

SCOOTERNINJA

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2008, 09:36:46 PM »
Has law school ever really been a good investment?  There have always been so many more ways to utilize the time and money associated with law school to make more money.  If you dont want to be a lawyer, then dont do it.

Susan Cartier Liebel

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 01:28:03 PM »
It all turns on how you ultimately utilize your degree, can offset the debt you will incur while recognizing what is happening in the economy today.  There are several articles out there discussing what is happening in the legal world as far as jobs.  Will the top 5 % from the top schools have the best chance of getting employment if the goal is Big Law?  Sure.  But will you be in the remaining 95%?  Only you know.  But here is a post with links to many articles on the current state of affairs.

http://tinyurl.com/5br9j6

Know your motivations, your financial situation, personal and professional long and short term goals and how it fits in today's unprecedented times.
Susan Cartier Liebel, Esq.
Build A Solo Practice, LLC
Newly Minted or Well Seasoned, Teaching You How to Create and Grow Your Legal Practice
http://buildasolopractice.com

Follow the Construction of Solo Practice University
http://solopracticeuniversity.com

GG

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2008, 11:18:33 AM »
I think this is quite an interesting topic and the contributions are quite good too. Maybe one thing I could add is this. Take a close look at the alternatives too. When you ask yourself whether law school is a "good" investment you should make a relative assessment not an absolute one. An investment is never "good" or "bad" in absolute terms but better or worse relative to the available alternatives (or not making any investment at all).
Giuseppe
Attorney and author of Soft Skills for Lawyers (www.chelseapublishing.com) :)

stbjm02

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Re: Is law school a good investment these days?
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2008, 11:22:36 PM »
Thanks for great responses. God Willing if I get into a law school I think I am going to go through with it. I really want to own my own business one day and I have great interest in law. Of course I want to make a lot of money and I am going to do everything in my power to put myself in the best possible position. If I only make 100k a year I will hopefully at last enjoy myself or get some kind of personal satisfaction out of it.