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Author Topic: Is it really worth it?  (Read 1185 times)

thegourmetpig

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Is it really worth it?
« on: July 09, 2009, 02:01:43 AM »
I'm about to start at a Top 10 law school (not Top 5). I haven't signed the promissory notes for my loans yet. I have a bad feeling it's a terrible mistake to go  right now.

Yes, there's the lack of jobs. However, I also have a feeling that the cost of law school, which is based around the absurdly high first-year associate salaries from pre-recession era, will go down significantly (along with those salaries). Should I just wait it out? Are others considering this? What is the truth about Big law hiring, and what is just fearmongering?

Help?
Michigan '12

big - fat - box

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 06:26:52 AM »
If you are nervous about going, ask for a deferral and see how you feel in a year.

The job outlook for biglaw is not good. Talk to attorneys and recent grads studying for the bar if you don't believe what the news and blogs are reporting. It really is very bad right now. FYI, I'm at a t14.

Tuition is not going down. The schools will continue to raise tuition b/c they can.

RobWreck

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 09:10:14 PM »
Don't expect tuition to decrease anytime in the near future... schools would sooner lower their admission standards than lower their tuition. If you're looking at law school from a 'return on investment' perspective, there are MUCH better options. If you're looking at law school because you want to be a lawyer, then that's the only real reason you need.
Good luck,
Rob
St. John's University School of Law '11
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thegourmetpig

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2009, 01:44:00 PM »
See, I'm not completely uninterested in being a lawyer. However, I"m going into it with the mindset that it's a good degree to have in general. I might be going into finance, maybe doing policy. I'm not sure.

What's a better investment, in terms of returns?
Michigan '12

big - fat - box

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2009, 02:54:24 PM »
A law degree is not good for policy or finance. It is not an all purpose degree.

If policy is what you want, look at MPP programs.

If finance, maybe look for a top MBA program with a lot of quantitative/math focused courses. Many finance types also have advanced degrees in math or economics.

If you are not sure you want to be a LAWYER do not go to law school.

RobWreck

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2009, 07:47:00 PM »
See, I'm not completely uninterested in being a lawyer. However, I"m going into it with the mindset that it's a good degree to have in general. I might be going into finance, maybe doing policy. I'm not sure.

What's a better investment, in terms of returns?

Want a better return on investment? Forget the JD or the MBA, go for something healthcare related like nursing, physical therapy, even some sort or radiologist/MRI technician. I'm not referring to medical school, but the health care field overall is the big one that's always short people... and with the aging populace, it's where the demand is growing the most.
THAT'S where the easy money is... lots of demand, shortage of skilled workers. Plus you're actually doing something positive and helping people rather than leeching a living out of the suffering of others.
St. John's University School of Law '11
Part-time PM Division
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Ninja1

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2009, 03:32:48 AM »
FSU lowered tuition something like $6k for out of state students next year.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

mdd

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009, 09:35:41 AM »
A law degree is the road to nothing more than an education in how to justify billing clients for your services and/or justify taking a contingency.  If you want to learn "about the law," buy a book "on the law."  Law firms are nothing but a dressed up Wal-Mart, McDonald's, or H&R Block -- a law degree is nothing but a ticket to work at a law firm.   

I attended a T25 law school and now work at a large regional firm.  Signing the promissory notes, to me, were nothing but a formality because I knew, with 100% certainty, that I wanted to be an attorney.  I am now an attorney and love it.  There are things about my job that other people would hate if they did not have the right attitude or skills, and I think those things are apparent to even someone who is a pre-1L. 

If you have any doubts, I honestly would not attend.  While it is virtually certain that you will get a biglaw job coming out of a top 10 law school and will be able to pay back the $200,000 in debt, the truth is that you will be sitting in New York City or D.C. in a 150 square foot office (if in Manhattan, shared with another new associate) managing a discovery project where contract attorneys are going through thousands of pages of electronic records for some mega-company.  They will go through thousands of pages and tag what might be even remotely relevant.  Then it will be your job to go through the hundreds of pages they tag every week and write a memo on the value of the evidence or the possible detriment of that evidence.

Otherwise, you might get to work on some motion that will have little if any impact on a case. 

The friends I have who went to biglaw right now, a year out of law school, sit on Facebook all day (I can see them on the "Chat" function) and are at work from 9am to 9pm.  They are so disillusioned at this point that their status updates expressly complain about how bored they are, how they don't get any billable work and are just doing busy work, etc., etc., etc.  It seems like they are literally TRYING to get fired but don't have the balls to quit.

You can, of course, always shoot for a regional job at larger firm, but not biglaw, near where you grew up and take less of a salary. I can tell you based on my personal experience that it is great.  I work about 50 hours a week (though, when I am here, I am working my ass off usually), go to hearings, draft and file motions, complaints, answers, etc. on my own for five and six figure cases, attend hearings, even argue motions, and so on, and I have not been admitted for even a year.

With that said, though, again, those things I just listed entail a lot of work that most people would not be cut out to do.  It is tedious, requires great focus to be done correctly, and, usually, nobody really recognizes it when you do a good job.  It's up to you.  but given what you posted, I would apply to London School of Economics (a third of the cost, if that, and looks great on a "Policy" resume) or to a top 10 PhD program in the area of policy that interests you (again, this will cost a third or less of what the JD costs if you do asst. research etc., and will get you the kind of job you probably want at an institute, university, etc.). 

Ninja1

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009, 10:04:44 PM »
FSU lowered tuition something like $6k for out of state students next year.

FSU has a law school?

Indeed.
I'mma stay bumpin' till I bump my head on my tomb.

squireJons

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Re: Is it really worth it?
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2009, 10:16:00 AM »
Top 10 law schools are worth it.

Anything outside top 20 is not. Take it from a lawyer who do not go to a top school
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