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Author Topic: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...  (Read 32299 times)

john4040

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For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« on: January 17, 2010, 12:36:27 PM »
An excellent post on the subject can be found here:

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3301274

Edit (11/1/2010):  Looks like they're charging to view the forums now.  Cache is still up - not sure for how much longer.  http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:9nXi4XV8mPMJ:forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php%3Fthreadid%3D3301274+something+awful+lawyer&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

nealric

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2010, 11:05:37 AM »
Wow- that's a book worthy post. Definitely worth a read.

I'm making this a sticky.
Georgetown Law Graduate

Chief justice Earl Warren wasn't a stripper!
Now who's being naive?

Thane Messinger

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 02:47:39 PM »
Aloha, John, nealric, and All -

Yes, this is excellent.  When markets correct, those who happen to be in the entry-level rungs feel the pain first and hardest.  That was true when I graduated, and while I doubt I would have listened, it would have been good to have at least considered what's in the link.

Since nealric mentioned book-worthiness, last year I was handed a manuscript by a new author, and while I was initially appalled (its title is "Slacker's Guide to Law School"), I came to see it in much the same way.  I mention this because it has probably the best section on "Should I go?" of any pre-law book out there, including mine.  (I did address this in a somewhat different way, as my assumption is that most readers are GOING to go.  The real question is where.  So, part of what I advise is to think about the options, such as an MBA, PhD, or the like.  In short, as corny as it sounds, take some time to figure out what you REALLY want, and strive towards that.  If it's action and capital, the MBA or *possibly* MBA/JD is a good bet.  If it's cerebral, a PhD or PhD/JD combo might be better.)  Another major factor is the cost associated with any of these programs.  Defraying these costs is possible, but should also be viewed with a wary eye.

In sum, be very, very careful of going to law school with stars in your eyes.  The actual world of law practice is far, far different from our collective imagination.  That's not to write that it's not attractive.  It is.  But those stars need to be aligned--which for most means, among other things, being exceptionally careful before even embarking on the LSAT--before the stratospheric salaries and fame (and happiness) follow.

In any event, a great link.  And to all, this sticky is very much worth the viewing.

Thane.

bigs5068

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2010, 07:38:30 PM »
The article was decent to start, but then gets ridiculous the whole food stamps and getting rid of all tier 3 and tier 4 schools is where it goes to far. Then the fact that it just seems to talk about how awful law school is goes to far and it does not shock me that nobody wants to hire these people. If someone says I hate law school and everything about it I don't think an employer is really going to want to hire them. Therefore, it should not be a shock that jackasses that write how unfair everything is and how much they hate law school and the law don't get hired as lawyers.

Honestly, I don't doubt some law school graduates are not doing to well and I know two Hastings grads that didn't pass the bar who are not doing well financially. It doesn't matter that they went to a tier 1 school so to say all t-3 and tier 4's should be unaccredited is a little far.  The ABA does not just hand out accreditation as the case of Western State and La Verne proves. Realistically, a tier 2 school can become a tier 4 school in one year based on the idiotic formula U.S. news uses.

Education is a risk no matter what you do do. I am positive if you look at people going for bachelor's degrees  you will find even worse results. Realistically, right out of high school you could go work as a bank teller and in four years be up to some bank management position instead of going to college paying tuition and living expenses and coming out in debt and gaining little practical experience in four years. At 22 the guy who went to work right out of high school will be doing way better financially than the person who went to college, but education is a LONG TERM investment not short term. For the guy with the B.A. it will probably take years to get ahead and there is no guarantee he will ever catch up. That is why education is an investment not a guarantee. However, you hope that the college kid majored in something he truly enjoyed and is doing a career that interests him if that is the case then the money won't matter.

Same logic applies to law school if you are doing it, because you don't know what else to do it is probably not a good idea to go 100k in debt for something you are not passionate about or care little about. Your career is something you will be doing for a LONG time and if you want to be a lawyer it will be worth it, but going simply to make money is not a good reason.


CJScalia

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2010, 09:34:31 PM »
An excellent post on the subject can be found here:

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3203215

I'm confused; they want me to pay $10 just to be able to read a post on their forum? ???
3L
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Bar exams next.

bigs5068

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2010, 10:06:42 PM »
That block was not there before, but it is for the best. The article was beyond idiotic, basically the article consisted of someone  saying that law school was difficult and that they were shocked that they had to lift a finger to find a job. It was just retarded that is only word to really explain the article, consider yourself blessed for not having to read it.

TheCause

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2010, 04:27:32 PM »
That block was not there before, but it is for the best. The article was beyond idiotic, basically the article consisted of someone  saying that law school was difficult and that they were shocked that they had to lift a finger to find a job. It was just retarded that is only word to really explain the article, consider yourself blessed for not having to read it.

Bigs:
Your posts on this website kind of blow my mind.  You are like the T3-T4 defender.  I've read your responses in other forums, and I think you can be pretty reasonable.

The decision to go to law school has to be based on something.  I find statistics to be particularly helpful.   I know of one school, ranked in the 60's, where only 53% of the class of 2009 had a job lined up at graduation.  The career services office estimates that the class of 2010 would be lucky to get half of that percentage.  The percentages at graduation are particularly helpful because they don't include as many "back-up to my back-up" jobs.  

Many applicants who are considering a T3 or T4 school will probably base their decision on data for the class of 2008.  It is highly unlikely that the class of 2013 will see job placement rates anywhere in the neighborhood of the class of 2008.  
So I think posters on this board want to express a few major points:

1: The placement rates in US News and other sources will probably be 50-75% smaller when you graduate.
2: The alumni salaries posted on school websites and other sources will probably be substantially smaller for the class of 2013.
3: Somewhere around 30-60% of students in law school believe they can be in the top 10%.  Only 10% actually reach that level.
4: Law school is not designed to educate you in the law, and it is not designed to prepare you to pass the bar.  It is basically a right of passage.  You should try to get as much out of it as possible, but level of prestige trumps level of education in the eyes of most employers.
5: The legal market is flooded, and you might have opportunities now that make more financial sense than going to law school.
6: Most people don't love studying law, even if they thought they would.

So there are 6 factors that might stand in the way of a cooley grad in 2013 that maybe weren't deal-killers in 2008 or 2009.  It makes good sense for current students to discourage potential students from going to law school in order to balance out the horribly inaccurate information that is available.
5:  


lsatbeard

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2010, 10:18:05 AM »
According to their forum, I'm supposed to read the question before the stimulus. Is this solid advice, or is this the mistake that the OP made before getting dropped into a TTT?

bigs5068

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2010, 01:50:31 PM »
To the Cause I am just trying to defend them, because I read this board before going to law school and it terrified me and a lot of other internet posts scared me as well and I almost made a terrible decision going to a higher ranked school. I know a lot of people read stuff on the web and that is how they get their info and I am just speaking from real experience. I read things like GGU kicks out 25% of their class, nobody finds a job, professors are on drugs, all kinds of crazy B.S. that is absolutely 100% not true. When I was working in law firms a lot of the lawyers told me don't worry about the rankings they are pointless, but I wouldn't listen to them, they went to law school years ago they didn't know the current state of affairs. That is what I told myself, but they were absolutely right. The ranking doesn't matter that much it has some merit, but it is not the end all be all.  

Then in February I got a ton of summer job offers and I was actually shocked by it originally considering I go to a tier 4 after all, but a lot of people didn't seem to care, because they interviewed me and offered me jobs. Did some people turn me down, because I went to GGU maybe I don't really know. So in February, I became curiuos how U.S. news did their rankings I always assumed it was some complex formula, but the formula is an almost completely  B.S.formula made up by an independent agency that neither the ABA or LSAC approves.

Subjective Rankings from an independent agency are pretty much B.S. in anything.  Can you believe it when I was sophomore in high school I was rated by maxpreps as a top 100 basketball player before the season started. Keep in mind this a PRESEASON ranking I had not done anything in a varsity game yet. Just like a guy going to Harvard or Cooley has not actually accomplished anything in the law, when they are in law school. The U.S. News ranking are PRE-LEGAL CAREER opinions on student's potential nothing more.  Anyways, my MaxPrep rank got me some attention I was a 6' 9 240 lb 15 year old which is rare and some big time schools came to scout me, but I stopped growing and stayed 6'9 and there are plenty of other good 6'9 guys out there some that were better than me.  When it came to signing day and I was a senior I got got offers from some low level division one and two schools. Nobody really cared what I was ranked as a sophomore by some independent rating agency, I had not performed over the next two years well enough to get me a scholarship to Duke or Kansas. Same thing applies to law school, you can go to Harvard and people will take notice of you just like they did when I was ranked, but if you don't live up to the hype nobody is going to care. If you perform people will take notice, if anyone paid attention to the NCAA tournament Butler made it to the finals, getting through some big time schools.  Kansas #1 in country was out in the second round to Northern Iowa the ranking didn't matter. So is here is Legal World Hypo for you.

Client retains a Harvard Grad to represent him in a million dollar breach of contract case.
Client loses his case and gets 0 dollars.

Client Retains a Cooley Grad on a similar breach of contract claim.
Cooley grad gets him the full million dollars.

Who is the client more impressed with? Answer should be obvious. He cares what his lawyer did for him not what school he went to.  If you are working for a firm they will like you if you make money for them. If you don't make money for them they will get rid of you simple as that.

Here was your list of things that you are saying should discourage people.

1: The placement rates in US News and other sources will probably be 50-75% smaller when you graduate. (It very well might be and that is probably the case for most professions, America is in a recession this does not apply only to law school. Jobs have been hard to find throughout time, nobody hands them out.  

2: The alumni salaries posted on school websites and other sources will probably be substantially smaller for the class of 2013.
Again highly likely, a lot of salaries were highly inflated as were property values in homes. Just basically in everything we were doing, that is why teh recession started.

3: Somewhere around 30-60% of students in law school believe they can be in the top 10%.  Only 10% actually reach that level.
I was not a math major, but only 10% of the class can be in the top 10% kind of how it works. I would say more like 100% of people on the first day, think they will be in the top 10%, but that is why it is a competition. Just like when I played basketball, I thought I would be the best player on any team I went to, but competition figures that out for you and that again happens no matter what you do.

4: Law school is not designed to educate you in the law, and it is not designed to prepare you to pass the bar.  It is basically a right of passage.  You should try to get as much out of it as possible, but level of prestige trumps level of education in the eyes of most employers.
Prestige absolutely helps, no question about it, but it is not everything.  A prestigious school opens doors, but you will still need to walk down the hallway of life. In practice you don't just say hey man I went to Harvard so just settle for a million dollars. Or file your client's claim after the statute of limitations passes and go to the clerk and say hey I went to Harvard so I am special right, that Statute of limitations only applies to people that went to T-14's. I would love to the look at the clerk's face if you said that.

5: The legal market is flooded, and you might have opportunities now that make more financial sense than going to law school.
Everything is flooded, not just the legal market. America is a competitive country, can you believe there are millions of people getting their bachelor's degrees as I am typing this. Each one of them wants a job doing something, if you get an M.B.A., M.D., B.S., B.A. whatever it may be in whatever skill it is there are going to be people competing for jobs.

6: Most people don't love studying law, even if they thought they would.
Again very true, there is no real way to know if you will like the law until you get into it. Just like there is no real way to know if you will like being a doctor until you get into it. Or being a teacher until you get into it. The list goes and on.

So bottom line is life is hard and education is a risk and you make the decision. The school can't guarantee your happiness and that doesn't just apply to law school. There are people that went to medical school that aren't happy with their decision, there are people that got M.B.A.'s that are not happy. There are people with teaching credentials and on and on.  I really think people have this expectation that getting a J.D. makes you immune to life or somebody owes you something for going to law school and that is just not the case.

bigs5068

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2010, 01:41:48 AM »
Your right if you have shown no talent for the law in 3 years of law school you won't get a chance.  If you have talent people will find out no matter what you do it comes out. In whatever profession it may be if you are good people find out.

The real reason I am not in the NBA is because I was not good enough. I did not score enough points or win enough games when I was in college.  It was not my coach's fault, it was not my teammate's fault, I was just literally not being good enough to be at the next level. I was out there I had a chance to show my talent, but I don't have it what else can be said. I'm not big enough, not fast enough, not strong enough.  

Same thing in law you have three years to show something you get to make numerous writing samples, interact with professors who at any ABA school have at least some connections, get experience in clinics and show something and get an internship somewhere.

If over three years you have sh*t writing samples, not one professor knows your name, you did not get one internship somewhere, and you had bad grades. You probably don't have what it takes to be a good lawyer, just the cold hard reality of it. It is not the schools fault you didn't do anything and probalby don't have what it takes to a lawyer. I have mentioned my friend that went to Hastings she had a 168 LSAT 3.8 from UCLA in undergrad she did terrible in law school, didn't get one job over three years, hated school, told me she freaked out anytime she got called on (which literally baffles me that people scared about that) and she didn't pass the bar, she has no job, she just did terrible in law school. All that goes to show she probably doesn't have the talent to be a good lawyer and reality is I would not want her to be my lawyer, despite Hastings being a really damn good school that does produce a lot of good attorneys, she herself does not have what it takes.  
 
 On the same token if someone goes to Cooley and has kick-ass writing samples, straight A's, all your professors love you, maybe had some work experience pre-law school, and you did a lot of clinical work or internships in school and did a good job at them someone somewhere will give you a chance when you graduate. Because, you displayed some talent you probably won't get a Big Law offer even if you do all that at Cooley, but you will get a chance somewhere, then you will have a chance to show it.  If you have talent it will show, if you don't it won't.  

Same thing if you go to Harvard, Georgetown, Yale if you can't do it you can't do it. That's it just like me being ranked a top 100 player didn't f'ing matter, I didn't have it. Or I remember when I was coming out Neil Fingelton this 7'5 dude was a top ranked player he got a scholarship to North Carolina everybody thought he wsa going to be great he did terrible, nobody cared about his high school ranking status he didn't have the talent and got cut from the team. He didn't have it end of story.