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Author Topic: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...  (Read 32185 times)

TheCause

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2010, 10:23:37 AM »
You should choose a law school in this order.

1: Top 14 (this is flexible) Yes, go to Yale if you get in.
2: Debt Free Options.
3: Highest Ranked School with in-state tuition
4: Highest Ranked School in your geographic region  (Unless the price is Way more than 5, 6, 7, 8. )
5: Highest Ranked School in the city you want to work.
6: Cheapest School in the City you want to work in.
7: Cheapest School in the Geographic region you want to work.
8: Cheapest School in the City you want to work in.
9: A T3-T4 if you have tons of money or have a job lined up at a family firm.
10: Go get a job somewhere and save up 50,000 before you go to law school.


bigs5068

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2010, 12:33:23 PM »
All of that is completely right except number 9. If you really want to be a lawyer, then go to law school if you put the work in you will get something, but there is a chance it might not work out.  Everybody should realize education is a somewhat of a risk and  100k for law school is a lot of money no matter where you go. Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown none of those schools have 100% bar passage rates or employment rates so it didn't work out for somebody there.  Obviously that vast majority it does, but not for everybody.  

So you should realize if you to a tier 3, tier 4 or just law school in general expecting to get rich then don't go  There are a lot better ways to make money than law school. Your profession is something you will be doing for a long time so make sure it is something you want to do.  Realize that no degree guarantees you a million dollar paycheck when you graduate.  School is not the real world and you need to prove yourself in the working world, because what you did in school is irrelevant to your boss once you start working.


CJScalia

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2010, 03:25:41 PM »
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.

You're assuming both graduates have the same chances at getting the job in the first place. The client doesn't know who is a good lawyer and who isn't before he signs the retainer, thus law firms prefer having prestige names on their webpage.

I'm guessing we'll see this change of the next year or three, since the faults of the Cravath model are glaringly obvious right now, but nobody really knows for sure.
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john4040

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2010, 05:02:39 PM »
bigs5068:  I see that you are about to finish your 1L year and have a 1L summer gig lined up.  Although you may be correct that GGU students are able to find legal positions after graduation, please refrain from speculating on the hiring of first year associates from third and fourth tier schools when you clearly have no experience in that area.

The fact that you were able to land a 1L summer gig from GGU has little to no bearing upon the issue of whether you will actually be hired as a first year associate at a law firm.  Just ask all of those students who summered with a firm only to be deferred and then no-offered or simply no-offered from the get go. I believe the most recent NALP data on non-V50 firms speaks for itself in those regards.


Moreover, your anecdote concerning the Harvard grad vs. Cooley grad is extremely telling as to your knowledge of the actual practice of law:  

(1) Cases are rarely, if ever, decided by a single misstep which may cause a client to win or lose.  Instead, cases are typically drawn out and the real battles are fought in the trenches via discovery and motions.  Therefore, your hypothetical attorney would have to seriously botch things in order to lose (assuming that he had the facts necessary to win in the first place).

(2) How would the client know which attorney could get them a better result?  Clients pay for the "safe bet" (e.g., consistency and decent results).  The "safe bet" in your scenario is undoubtedly the Harvard grad.

(3) Assuming that your scenario deals with a seasoned attorney (as no junior associate is staffed on a million dollar breach of contract claim by himself), it is more likely than not that (a) the Harvard grad has a support group of like-minded peers that he can bounce ideas off of in order to successfully litigate the case, and (b) the Harvard grad has had the benefit of more rigorous/complex legal training.

bigs5068

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 07:17:04 PM »
John400 I agree I am in my first year of law school and I have a long way to go.  As of now I have done nothing of substance in the legal field other than doing well in my first semester of law school and that's it. I could fail all my exams this time around for all I know. I could get fired from my job on the first day or I could a great job and the fail bar. I have no guarantees of anything and nobody does. Except of course Federal Judges.

You are also absolutely right regarding Big Law and rankings. You have almost no shot of going into Big Law from a tier 4. I know that, but I have no desire to work in Big Law.  I worked at O'Melveny & Myers, which is a pretty big firm and I hated every minute of it and I have no desire to be around that lifestyle at all. Not everybody wants to be in Big Law though, people have different expectations and desires.  I am happy with what my tier 4 has provided me and that is what matters.  

As to the legal hypothetical it was not relation to real life.


(1) Cases are rarely, if ever, decided by a single misstep which may cause a client to win or lose.  Instead, cases are typically drawn out and the real battles are fought in the trenches via discovery and motions.  Therefore, your hypothetical attorney would have to seriously botch things in order to lose (assuming that he had the facts necessary to win in the first place).  


Yea 100% right I never said they were decided by a single mistep. The case hinges on discovery, motions, etc.  Your ability to properly do those things are what make you a good attorney and help you win the case.  

(2) How would the client know which attorney could get them a better result?  Clients pay for the "safe bet" (e.g., consistency and decent results).  The "safe bet" in your scenario is undoubtedly the Harvard grad.  

Obviously, the Harvard Grad will get the first look. Just like when I was ranked people watched me over others. However, your results in doing discovery, motions, etc will tell the tale. If you make all kinds of crazy discovery demands and get sanctioned and lose the case for your client, he is not coming back to you and he is going to tell others to avoid you. Even if you went to Harvard.  

You are 100% right The Harvard guy gets the first look no question about it and 9 out 10 times if you were accepted into Harvard you are pretty damn smart and yes Harvard is a great school. So Harvard trains you better than Cooley does and the Harvard Grad is probably smarter than someone that went to Cooley 99% of the time.  However, no matter what your pedigree is you to prove yourself. The name of the school on the degree doesn't mean that much if you screw up, from my limited paralegal experience that is the way it seemed to me.

Your obviously the Federal Clerk so you can answer the question how much an attorney's law school comes up when they are in trial. When I had to watch them it never came up, but my experience was limited.

As a federal Clerk do you know where half the attorneys went that are arguing in front of you and even if you do how much does it really matter?  You are obviously in a better position than me to answer that so I am just curious to know.



(3) Assuming that your scenario deals with a seasoned attorney (as no junior associate is staffed on a million dollar breach of contract claim by himself), it is more likely than not that (a) the Harvard grad has a support group of like-minded peers that he can bounce ideas off of in order to successfully litigate the case, and (b) the Harvard grad has had the benefit of more rigorous/complex legal training.


Yea absolutely, I never once denied that Harvard is a good school and they will have benefits that someone from GGU does not. No question about it.

Maybe people misunderstand my statements if you want a big law career or to sit on the Supreme Court and nothing else will satisfy you DO NOT go to a tier 4, because there is somewhat of a glass ceiling. However, people paint tier 4's like every one is doing lines of Coke with professors in class and the welfare line is full of tier 4 grads and that is far from the truth. You can get jobs, if you expect that when you graduate from Cooley that someone is going to name you partner and hand you a sweet corner office when you walk off the stage Good Luck that is all I can say to that.

However, if you want to be a lawyer and well be happy in some small or mid-size firm, or maybe even go solo, or work as in-house counsel, or for a City Law Department.  Then go to law school you will probably get a decent job and if you like the law you will be happy. If you went to a Tier 4 expecting to be millionaire by the time you were 30 you won't be and that probably goes for the majority of law schools out there.

Then in regards to the basketball comment I actually see so many similarities to what I went through in Basketball to what happens in Law School.  There are irrelevant rankings, people making money off naive people, cocky attitudes about irrelevant things, and people disappointed when they realize they are not special and they have to do the same things as everybody else.

Also it is not easy to find the potential of an athlete that is why there are so many Horrendous #1 Draft Picks and people like Tom Brady go in the 6th round of the draft, nobody thought he would be good, but he might the best QB of all time. Then horrilbe players like Jamarcus Russell, Michael Olowakandi, Kwame Brown etc get picked #1 are atrocious and people get fired the decisions.  

Thane Messinger

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2010, 01:59:23 AM »
* * *

You are 100% right The Harvard guy gets the first look no question about it and 9 out 10 times if you were accepted into Harvard you are pretty damn smart and yes Harvard is a great school. So Harvard trains you better than Cooley does and the Harvard Grad is probably smarter than someone that went to Cooley 99% of the time.  However, no matter what your pedigree is you to prove yourself. The name of the school on the degree doesn't mean that much if you screw up, from my limited paralegal experience that is the way it seemed to me.

* * *


A caveat to the bolded point above.  One reason the law school experience is challenging is that law schools are universal in following Harvard's lead (circa the ever-hip 1870s).  Fast-forward to the past several decades, and law professorships are so exceedingly difficult to get that the universal CV of a law prof is:  (1) Top 5 law school (and, to a large degree, Top 2 law school); (2) top clerkship; (3) possibly a year or two in a national firm.  That's it.

What this means is that the education one gets is surprisingly consistent, regardless of law school.  Clearly, one gets quite a few more offerings at a top (or large) law school.  But otherwise, nearly every law prof comes from a distinguished background.  This leaves the students--not faculty--as the major distinguishing factor.

Point 87:  There are top students at every law school.  The difference is that the top students (objectively measured) are a relative minority in T3-4 schools, and all-but 100% in the top schools.  This is yet another reason firms are so picky (even if falsely so) when it comes to recruiting.

bigs5068

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2010, 05:39:59 PM »
That was one of my main points earlier all law school teaches you same thing. I would imagine a Harvard professor is slightly better than one at GGU, but the books are the same.  The UCC, FRCP, elements of negligence, everything is exactly same at Harvard or Mission College of Law the law is the SAME. Then how you apply what you learn in the real world is what determines your career. 

Just like I said earlier if you go to a prestigious pre-school or some school in the heart of the ghetto 1 + 1 =2 and 5x5=25 and Hitler was Germany's leader in WWII. The same facts apply no matter where you learn them.

CJScalia

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #17 on: April 16, 2010, 11:49:30 PM »
Obviously, the Harvard Grad will get the first look. Just like when I was ranked people watched me over others. However, your results in doing discovery, motions, etc will tell the tale. If you make all kinds of crazy discovery demands and get sanctioned and lose the case for your client, he is not coming back to you and he is going to tell others to avoid you. Even if you went to Harvard.

Why use freakishly unrealistic examples to prove your point? The amount of lawyers you just described can be counted on a pretty disfigured hand.

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You are 100% right The Harvard guy gets the first look no question about it and 9 out 10 times if you were accepted into Harvard you are pretty damn smart and yes Harvard is a great school. So Harvard trains you better than Cooley does and the Harvard Grad is probably smarter than someone that went to Cooley 99% of the time.  However, no matter what your pedigree is you to prove yourself. The name of the school on the degree doesn't mean that much if you screw up, from my limited paralegal experience that is the way it seemed to me.

Sure it does. The Cooley grad gets 1 strike, and then he's out. The Harvard grad gets 5 strikes before he's out.

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Your obviously the Federal Clerk so you can answer the question how much an attorney's law school comes up when they are in trial. When I had to watch them it never came up, but my experience was limited.

As a federal Clerk do you know where half the attorneys went that are arguing in front of you and even if you do how much does it really matter?  You are obviously in a better position than me to answer that so I am just curious to know.

Why would it matter for the clerk (or the judge) where you went to law school? The people who care about this is your client. If you can't get clients willing to put you in a court room, it doesn't matter jack *&^% how good you would have done if you had gotten the case.

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Maybe people misunderstand my statements if you want a big law career or to sit on the Supreme Court and nothing else will satisfy you DO NOT go to a tier 4, because there is somewhat of a glass ceiling. However, people paint tier 4's like every one is doing lines of Coke with professors in class and the welfare line is full of tier 4 grads and that is far from the truth. You can get jobs, if you expect that when you graduate from Cooley that someone is going to name you partner and hand you a sweet corner office when you walk off the stage Good Luck that is all I can say to that.

Well, the unemployment line right now is full of tier 4 grads. Mind you, it's also pretty stacked with tier 3, tier 2 and tier 1 grads. But point still stands. This is, of course, a worse time than any to graduate from a "poor" school.

Also, I did coke with a professor one. I doubt it will hurt my employment chances. (Pretty sure it would hurt his future employment chances if it got out though :p )

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However, if you want to be a lawyer and well be happy in some small or mid-size firm, or maybe even go solo, or work as in-house counsel, or for a City Law Department.  Then go to law school you will probably get a decent job and if you like the law you will be happy. If you went to a Tier 4 expecting to be millionaire by the time you were 30 you won't be and that probably goes for the majority of law schools out there.

If you want to be a millionaire, you either go get a MBA and network yourself into a bank (yeah, they still make money), or start up your own company. Law school is for chickens who didn't dare gamble as an entrepreneur.

Quote
Also it is not easy to find the potential of an athlete that is why there are so many Horrendous #1 Draft Picks and people like Tom Brady go in the 6th round of the draft, nobody thought he would be good, but he might the best QB of all time. Then horrilbe players like Jamarcus Russell, Michael Olowakandi, Kwame Brown etc get picked #1 are atrocious and people get fired the decisions.

I really don't see how athletic ability is comparable to academic ability.
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observationalist

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2010, 10:00:35 AM »
Question to all of you currently in law school:  how many of you think your schools might be willing to disclose full employment lists showing where everyone goes, assuming their peer programs did the same? I ask because that's basically what we're trying to do.  We're specifically wondering if individual Deans or other law school administrators have made comments that indicate they want to make sure prospectives are better informed coming into law school.  I know the Deans at Southwestern and NYLS have both made statements indicating they might want to talk with us, so we're off to a good start.  And the media coverage right now is hopefully getting our message out to people as well.

bigs, it sounds like GGU told you ahead of time not to expect them to get you a job, and instead suggested that if you network well you can find something straight out of law school.  That's a great disclaimer, but it's still not as legitimate as actually showing you statistics for the entire graduating class.  And if you have classmates who have tried the networking thing and still found themselves shut out of jobs (maybe because they didn't do as well at the law school game as they figured they would), then they may be of the opinion that the law school misrepresented the job prospects (even if it's better attributed to the market shrinking/disappearing for some law schools).

And I haven't been on here in awhile but this board was particularly useful back when I was deciding on where to go to school, and I like how the discussion centers around different programs.  Now that we're trying to build up a consensus among all ABA-approved law schools and improve the reporting standard, I wanted to check with those of you who are current students at other schools.  Let me know what you think about our project and what you think will be the eventual outcome (and whatever important things that outcome may hinge upon).

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legalized

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Re: For Those of You Asking "Should I Go to Law School"...
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2010, 06:24:11 PM »
I see someone said something about gettinjavascript:void(0);g an MBA and becoming an entrepreneur if one wants to make millions.  MBA and start a business in what?  Question what if one wants to become an entrepreneur by opening a solo practice?  It does not take years under someone else's tutelage to handle, for example, immigration law and family law cases.  Especially if you've handled them already through personal experience or will handle them through pro bono law student clinics or externships.

Law is THE fastest way to working for yourself, if you plan it before you even get there and play your cards right.  Even if you work for someone else two years, four years, and then go on your own, if you made sure to get the fundamental business administration skills such as accounting, marketing, basic finance, and keep up with the trends in your field and develop some mentors and resources before you set up shop...it's a concrete plan.  Opening one's own business is very risky when you don't know exactly what you plan to do.  Technically one should be able to open one's own business with a business degree...but in what if you have no specific qualification and don't want to do something involving products to make or create?  My talent is inside my skull, I can't bottle it, sew it, or jar it and sell it.  An MBA is VERY EASILY a bull generic degree because it does not tell you exactly what you can do, and being able to become ANYthing is not such a blessing, that's like looking for one piece of information on Google using a general search phrase: the possibilities are too endless and the right answer for you personally could be so far down the list of options that you don't get to it in time to make use of it.

Some say the problem is getting clients to pay...that is easily an issue in any entrepreneurial endeavour unless you run a retail store where the payment has to be made right then and there.  Look at all the real estate investors who got screwed when the market tanked and houses couldn't close.  I see plenty of so-called poor immigrants, construction worker day laborer types, who FIND the hundreds or thousands they need for their immigration case to pay the lawyer.  And then people who don't have those kinds of obstacles who try to stiff their lawyer because they are sneaky bastards.  It's not always those who look like they don't have money that are going to be a problem client.  Sometimes they are the ones that don't have time to b.s. around because they are trying to get ahead in life versus people who feel they have already arrived and can treat people however.

I think there are plenty people out there who need a lawyer and can't afford one.  Plenty out there who should not be obligated to pay whatever is enough to cover one's student loan bill but instead a reasonable rate based on their income or a flat fee or such.  This of course means since going to a high priced law school forces you to need biglaw type of pay, if you really want to keep the option open to go solo out of law school, you have to be committed to go somewhere that pays for your schooling and strategizing ahead of time to graduate as close to zero additional debt as possible. That would actually skew in favor of going to the cheapest school you can find in an area in which you want to live and work (since you need to develop contacts in the legal world if you hope to have resources and contacts and your name already out there for that solo).

It takes research and planning but I think it can be done.  And if you position yourself right you give yourself the option of both the midlaw/smalllaw jobs AND to go solo straight out if you wish to or find the need to.  If you don't plan a strategy to make certain options open up for you and really plan it before you get to law school, as part of deciding what law schools to even apply to...you are going to have to follow the default path and try to outclimb everyone to the Biglaw exit.  Since biglaw is where all the blood and carnage is coming from, why aim for it if you are not in the very top schools?

Too many cooks trying to stir the biglaw pot.

Entrepreneurs can exist in law too.  If you going to be broke and unemployed and on food stamps you can use that time to get your practice off the ground and actually have a way out of the brokeness, unemployment, and welfare dependence.

And yes I'm an 0L.  I fully intend to ask BEFORE I start law school what I need to do to make sure the option of solo the day I pass the par is a viable and realistic option for me.  Of existing solos out there now.  Nobody is going to be able to fire me forever.  If anything I would even try and keep some of my financial aid aside towards investing in things such as malpractice insurance and access to westlaw/lexis-nexis and such...or to sublease access to an existing practice's law library of these materials.

I think people cannot think of these things when they are in the middle of the crisis and their student loans are upon them.  So clearly the time to think about all your options on the other end and how best one should get TO them is now, before one starts the journey.  How will you get where you are going if you don't know what it takes to arrive at any of the possible destinations?