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Author Topic: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school  (Read 5193 times)

mlacroix

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2009, 04:29:46 PM »
got trapped in by the discussion and wanted to put my thoughts in.  I graduated 4 years ago from undergrad and have been in "the real world" (only for 4 years).  In my opinion, if you want to get anywhere in life and make a good living you have to be willing to work and work hard. I think a lot of people do have a misconception about a college degree.....I graduated and now the world owes me something.  That is not the way it works.  I come from a blue collar family and hard work was instilled in me at a young age.  I had to pay for any movies I wanted to got to and so on.  I was landscaping during the summers since I was 11 and learned the value of the dollar (used to be better but that is a topic for another discussion) and how hard that type of work really is.

I think people have lost sight of what a work ethic really is.  If you work hard success will typically follow.  I see many people these days and they complain and expect to be handed everything in life.  Guess what, the world and other people don't owe you anything.

I am going to law school because I really enjoy the law and find it challenging.  This is one reason why I think the rankings on law schools don't necessarily reflect the apptitude a person has.  There are many other factors that cannot be tested such as work ethic, personality and drive ect.....  if you have an "I deserve" attitude rather than "I am willing to work for" attitude you will be very disappointed in any field you are in.

r6_philly

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2009, 02:03:55 AM »
I think most people who has not worked extensively (I say perhaps 10 years will make it extensive) tend to have a romantic perception of "work" and "career". I say this because I have 15+ years experience working, all the way from a laborer to a software developer/DBA, but now I am back in a state university getting a bachelor's degree. I was outstanding in my IT career, and outperformed all of my college educated collegues. I couldn't even finish high school because of family hardships, but now I am back in school because I have decided to go to law school. So I spend all day interacting with undergraduate "kids" who have an over idealistic outlook of the world and their futures. I don't meant to say that everyone who goes to college is privilaged, but from my stand point, anyone, compared to my experiences are pretty privilaged and have thus developed understandings and outlooks not quite grounded in reality - well thats the growing up that everyone has to do on their own. I frequently refer to my work experience in class discussions, yet no one wants to agree with me, they all feel that their experiences will be drasticly different than mine. Students seem to not understand that what's stressful about a work career is not the work, but the pressure to continue to work, and the people you work for/with. I think most young graduates, from what see, will have a tough time adjusting to the new reality out of school. You will need to give them sometime to form a better understanding of what it means to be a lawyer and whether or not you really ultimately enjoy it or not. I mean you say they are all unhappy but yet they continue to work... I can't say I have ever enjoyed a job I have ever had in other people's employment, yet I benefited from them and they were fair trades.

As for me, I came from a career where with 10+ years of industry experience and a new BS degree I can reasonably expect to make 100+ when I can get back to full time work next year. (I am back for Computer Science major, Political Science minor, top 3 ir not the top student in department) But I chose to apply and go to law school for more than just the income. I admit I have some lofty goals and visions with my pending law education and they are not *all* about money. I think if people go into law purely as a career choice, they stand a big chance of end up being dissapointed. I am being ridiculed right now for considering it because in all likelyhood I will take a paycut if I dont get the best of law jobs (I plan for T14 LSAT willing) But the truth is, I don't find the IT career all that rewarding because working on machines is not quite like working on people and people problems.

I find it really funny that the OP asked

"But do you like working 10-12 hour days at a desk in front of a computer by yourself? Do you like doing tedious research on minute details of the law? Do you like doing tons of paperwork for partners?

You know what, that sounds exactly like my IT/programmer career, only my hours has always been longer. But CNN Money had software developer/programmer/project manager as 3 of the top 12 jobs... It goes show grass is always greener on the other side.

Undergrades would be better served to take some law classes (con law especially) then get to know some attorneys and find out what law is really like. I really enjoy solving unconventional problems with unorthordox thinking and hardwork, computer programming and machine logic is just too boring and not challenging enough :)

jack24

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2009, 06:47:45 PM »
I think most people who has not worked extensively . . .


You make some great points.  I can't say I disagree with anything you said.

I still think it's important for people to truly reconsider the time commitment and financial commitment of law school.
Maybe IT isn't a glamorous career, maybe it's not even that stable.  But any given individual would have to go in to much more debt to effectively pursue a career as a lawyer than to pursue a career in IT.

Lets compare going to law school after the bachelors to making 55k working in IT at a bank somewhere. 

In ten years, at 55k + 3% raises per year, you'd make a total of 630,515 in IT

Law School: With a reasonable out of state tuition of 23k a year, you'd probably have to go into around 90k of debt for law school plus the opportunity cost of three years with relatively no work.  Lets say your lucky, and you can make fifteen grand during the second summer and third year--we'll let that offset the interest on your loans.

So the following numbers include the 3 law school years.
IT Ten year total:  630,515
Reasonable Public Interest with normal raises Ten year total:  216,498
Good DA's office with Tiered raises (taken from local example:  410,000
Medium Law Firm (taken from local example):  502,372
Big Law Firm (Start at 150,000):  1,093,821.


After ten years, it's all a crap shoot anyway.  It's possible that you'll make partner and make a ton of money, and it's highly likely that either way, you'll make more money over your whole lifetime. 
Also, you might extend your loan out to a 30 year loan and then the 10 year numbers would be much different.

30 year loan on 90,000 at average of 7.5%.  Monthly payment = 629.3.  So you have to make an average of $7548 more per year as a lawyer  NET.  On average numbers that equals around 10,000 gross.  So if you think you can make an average of 10k more per year as a lawyer over a 30 year period, then it will pay off financially (on the 30 year plan)

Just remember, the total of all of your payments on 90k of debt will be $226,440.  yeah, 136,000 in interest.


I went to law school, I think it was the right decision for me (all things considered)   I just think people should think about the numbers long and hard, and then make the decision.
 

nealric

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2009, 07:04:39 PM »
Quote

Undergrades would be better served to take some law classes (con law especially) then get to know some attorneys and find out what law is really like.

I was in agreement until you got to this point. Undergrad conlaw gives you a completely distorted picture of what law practice is like (at lest if it's anything like the one I took).
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vap

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2009, 07:50:14 PM »
Quote

Undergrades would be better served to take some law classes (con law especially) then get to know some attorneys and find out what law is really like.

I was in agreement until you got to this point. Undergrad conlaw gives you a completely distorted picture of what law practice is like (at lest if it's anything like the one I took).

Haha.  Yeah, undergrad law courses don't really portray what the practice of law is like; maybe shadowing attorneys, though.  I think the value of undergrad law courses really depends on the school/professor.  I had a really great undergrad conlaw course.  It was certainly more BLL-focused than law school conlaw, and the exam was not full of issue-spotting hypos, but we had to turn in case briefs, be prepared for cold-calling, write an appellate brief (pretty crappy, but it was IRAC format), and do moot court arguments with local attorneys as judges.

big - fat - box

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2009, 10:15:11 PM »
Con Law in law school is just as bad, probably.

Undergrad conlaw gives you a completely distorted picture of what law practice is like (at lest if it's anything like the one I took).

nealric

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2009, 02:20:03 PM »
Quote
Con Law in law school is just as bad, probably.
 


True dat. It would be awesome if law practice involved sitting around and pontificating about the counter-majoritarian difficulty.
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mccarthy

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #27 on: October 31, 2009, 04:35:21 PM »
I think most people who has not worked extensively (I say perhaps 10 years will make it extensive) tend to have a romantic perception of "work" and "career".

I think most people who have not worked extensively tend to dread the thought of ever having to do so.

PSUDSL08

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2009, 11:57:34 PM »
Recent graduate (transferred from T4 to T2) and current ADA in a midsized city that is extremely over-saturated with lawyers. Just wanted to add some input based upon my personal experiences, and the experience of other recent graduates. 

Becoming an ADA was a dream come true for me, but is not the case for many people. I make less than $40K a year and have $140K in debt. The Federal Loan Forgiveness Act will enable me to have my debt discharged in 10 years, but there's not a lot of fat in my current budget, and there wont be for the foreseeable future.

I've heard many people considering law school indicate that if they can't break in with a big firm, that they'd just "head to the government." In this economy, a DA/PD job is no longer a fallback position. All the big firms in my area have either retracted offers altogether, or have postponed hiring dates. Those with postponed hiring dates have been told to actively seek out other positions. The stack of applications at my office, and the Public Defender's office, is ceiling high. Low paying government jobs are becoming increasingly competitive, and the turnover is decreasing. So I urge anyone considering law school to not assume that these jobs will be readily available...even if you're in the top 10%/law review category.

Document review positions are also drying up. One large firm in particular has just cut their document review staff from 130 attorneys to 20...the casualties were informed of the downsize upon arriving to work on Monday. Furthermore, many people who were serving 1 year state level clerkships are now staying put for their second and third year. In my area, the positions most accessible to grads without outstanding credentials are shrinking in number.

I cant tell you how many people I've come into contact with at both my T2/T4 schools who clearly had not done their research before taking the plunge. Many went into law school with the misconception that a law degree is a ticket to financial security. They fall into one of several varieties: (1) unemployed, deferring loans while interest accrues (2) opened up their own practices with no real experience, (3) working in entry-level, non-legal positions or (4) are working long hours at small firms, disappointed with their salaries.

Before making the time and financial commitment that law school requires, I'd urge anyone considering law school to gain at least one year of relevant work experience in a non-legal field of interest. If you find a career you love, then you avoid 3 yrs of law school. If you're miserable and still want to go to law school, there's nothing stopping you. Also, the students that have taken time off in between undergrad and law school tend to be more disciplined, treating law school like a job and not an extension of college.

Also, do your research and be realistic about your expectations based upon not only the school you're attending, but your own strengths and weaknesses. Talk to graduates who attended the school you're considering and find out what they're doing out there. Start networking now because who you know is everything. Don't lose touch with those contacts...you never know who may be able to help you out in the longrun.

Angry Gorilla

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Re: Where should you go? Anywhere but law school
« Reply #29 on: December 11, 2009, 12:31:42 AM »
I'm so sick of reading these woe-is-me stories about failing and/or unhappy law school graduates.  You go to law school to get credentials for a profession.  It's not meant to be a happiness machine.  I'll bet most of these unhappy fools originally got into it thinking they'd be rolling in money and Bentleys.  If you're coming here for the money, stop now.  There are quicker and easier ways to make money.  Come to law school if you want to work in law.  Everyone else needs to STFU.