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Author Topic: Thinking about going to law school....  (Read 3544 times)

Thane Messinger

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2010, 04:49:08 PM »
Honestly if you want to go into law and are only a year into school, I would recommend switching degrees or taking a heavy courseload in philosophy or science.  Paralegal studies, prelaw and criminal justice do not seem to help folks prepare much for the LSAT.  I would also recommend doing a lot of reading and studying to figure out your personal counter to the very valid points raised by the negativity.

Agreed as to the sciences.  Philosophy, which should be a shoo-in, is often taught in a way that is downright depressing.  So, depending upon the program and teachers, be careful.  Mathematics is a must.  (Really.)  Most of the soft sciences will be only marginally helpful, if at all.  Talmudic studies if it's offered and you want to catch up on the Old Testament.  = :   ) 

louiebstef

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2010, 07:45:29 PM »
Thane,

So you're vanting zhe boy to hock himself a chaynik and study Talmud?

Oy vay!
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

Hamilton

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2010, 08:27:30 AM »
I agree with this sentiment.  I went to LS with three young kids at home - fortunately I had a supportive wife and an existing career to pay the bills and tuition.  If you do not have a 100% supportive spouse prepared to carry the load with the kids while you are gone then you can plan on having a VERY stressed out household and damaged relationships.  In hindsight I was grossly unfair to the family - you will be absent, totally absent, from 3 or 4 years of your kids lives.  What is more important to you - having a law degree or your children having a parent around to guide their development?

Add to that my opposition to going to a T4 (went to one myself), putting yourself $100K in debt for a T4 degree (insanity), the job prospects coming out of a T4 (very low), and the salary range for T4 grads (well below 6 figures), I would really think long and hard about other more fruitful alternatives given your situation.

If you want to help people, psych is probably going to be better.  Going 150k in debt at a tier 4 school, when you can't leave the local area sounds positively disasterous. 

I have 2 kids and a wife and am in a similar situation.  I have about 3 years to go to finish my degree, but I will be moving to go to school and then find work.  My wife is going to school as well, but her degree plan and career choice are a little more flexible for moving.

jack24

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2010, 10:49:53 AM »
I will have to go here.  And it's a T4.  I have two children and I don't want to move them.

Go check out lawschoolnumbers.com for the law school in your area and see what kind of numbers it takes candidates to get a good scholarship there.
If you do well in undergrad and get a good score on the LSAT, you might be able to go to a T4 for next to nothing.
Of course, there is no guarantee that you will be able to keep the scholarship for all three years, so you'd have to look into that when time gets closer. 

Also, take a look at this chart  http://libarts.wsu.edu/philo/overview/grad-admissions.asp
It tells you the performance on graduate admissions tests by major.   I think it has more to do with the type of people that choose the majors than the majors themselves, but it's still interesting.

My biggest warning against going to law school is that it's unpredictable.   The debt sucks and the job market sucks worse, but a hard working graduate can make it through.   But I never seem to talk to anyone that ended up practicing the type of law they set out to practice.  So how can you possibly decide if it's what you want to do?   When you go to law school you are totally rolling the dice.  It's hard to predict how well you'll do, it's hard to predict whether you'll like law school at all,  it's nearly impossible to predict what type of job you'll get (at that point), and it's hard to predict whether you'll like the job you do get.

That may be true of many professions, but hopefully those professions have better job prospects and a more surely defined career path.

For example, many people would never want to be a pharmacist because it looks boring and you are basically a glorified cashier.   But, you get paid $50+ per hour to be a bored and glorified cashier, and you have a good idea of what it's going to be like going in.



jack24

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2010, 11:03:20 AM »
More information about LSAT performance by undergrad major

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2009/09/physics-math.html

bigs5068

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2010, 12:05:37 PM »
Honestly, law school is like any other type of education except there is more debt. Education is always a risk and I do not believe any profession even pharmacists are guaranteed a job. If you are in undergrad right now do everything you can to boost your GPA including taking some B.S. classes i.e. frisbee golf, weightlifting, whatever it may be to get you some free A's. The higher your GPA the more likely scholarship money will come your way and schools do not really care if you got a 3.8 in basket weaving or physics. The higher your GPA the more scholarship money you will get if you have a respectable LSAT score. Getting out of law school with as little debt as possible is a huge plus.

As people said there is a chance you might not get a job. That possibility exists in every profession and at every institution. I don't know if law school is a roll of the dice. It is a risk, but your odds are better in law school than they are in Vegas. You will need to work hard, because your class rank will mean a lot when you start looking for employment. However, unlike Vegas you can control your class rank somewhat by working your a** off.

Bottom line is Law School is hard and there are no guarantees. However, as far as I know nothing in life worth doing is easy and there are no guarantees. If law is really something you want to do sit it on a few classes at the school you are considering. Work in a law office if that is a possibility and do as much research as you can. A lot of people who write all these negative comments about law school have entitlement issues and you will see that if you attend law school. They will bit** and moan about any situation they are put in and you can't listen to people like that.

Hamilton

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2010, 02:10:01 PM »
I have to disagree 100%.  I have a Masters and a JD.  Grad school takes time but it is much more relaxed and there is greater flexibility in the programs.  Law school is like boot camp, it is a cruel and unforgiving mistress, it demands all of your time and all of your energy - and it gets them.  There is no flexibility and the time-requirements are incredible.  Graduating grad school is the most important thing, so a B average does not kill you - in law school grades and class rank is everything -- if you are not in the top 10% at a T4, then you are wasting your time.  Getting there and staying there takes incredible committment.  The stress level and demands are so much different between grad school and law school that there is no comparison.  Now, throw young kids in the mix and you are playing with fire. 

Having done it, I think anyone with young children who decides to go to law school is making a HUGE mistake - they rob their children of a parent for 3 to 4 years, quadruple the stress level in the household, place a huge financial burden on the family (if no scholarships or tuition reimbursement), and deprive themselves of the life-experience of their children.  It takes a toll on the family and relationships suffer.  The worst part is when your kids get used to you not being around, and accept it. 

Honestly, law school is like any other type of education except there is more debt.

bigs5068

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2010, 02:44:44 PM »
I don't have a kid so I cannot comment on that. I am sure it does place a strain on the family and law school is hard and demanding. Working as a lawyer is even more demanding. If you are not ready to fully commit to something then DON"T DO IT. Yes class rank is important the law is a competitive profession. When you are a lawyer winning your case or better yet doing a good enough job to prevent litigation will determine if you get a paycheck or not. LAW SCHOOL IS HARD AND BEING A LAWYER IS DEMANDING. Sometimes it might not even be FAIR, but again life is not fair get used to it.

Law school is expensive, it is hard, it is no guarantee either. Again, I don't know any type of education that does not meet that criteria. Law school works for some people and not for others. It is a risk and it may or may not work out. Again, that is the way it is in EVERYTHING. If you have a family and mortgage there are even more risks involved. It is also demanding, but I don't find it anymore demanding than other jobs I have had in the past. Granted the paychecks for the work was a huge place and if you are raising a family I would think that would be something to consider.

Bottom line as I have always said is education in any field is a RISK. It works out for some and not for others.

Hamilton out of curiosity what was your graduate degree in? Did it give you a lot of great benefits? I would imagine a graduate degree is helpful, but as any type of education goes it is the bare minimum requirement to get into a field. School should be free, but unfortunately it is not. So you have to deal with it and if you REALLY want to be a lawyer well then you know the risks. If it doesn't work out you can point the finger at this and that, but remember the most important factor in any career path and from whatever school they went to is shockingly the INDIVIDUAL. It is real easy to complain about how unfair something is or how this and that is not right, but the people who get PAID make sh** happen. Regardless of what school they went to or what type of education they received.

IPFreely

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2010, 08:49:15 PM »
I will have to go here.  And it's a T4.

Don't feed the trolls.  :-p
You see that?  Where was I trolling?  I was simply telling her the truth.

Who says I will be defending those people?  There are alot of other things that I could do you know.  And I have very high morals.  Thank you very much.
You could be a plumber, I suppose, or a daycare mommy.  T4?  In this economy??  With a college "degree" in "paralegal studies"??? Really????

I'll return to my earlier comment:  you're going to end up with $150K in debt, defending child molesters and drunk drivers.  You'll need to do that in order to pay off your law school debt.

Unless, of course, your idea of "high morals" includes defaulting on your student loan debt.  Good luck with that.

Stick with being a paralegal.  It doesn't pay much, but you won't destroy your entire family's future with a crushing debt load.

IPFreely

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2010, 09:25:08 PM »
As people said there is a chance you might not get a job. That possibility exists in every profession and at every institution. I don't know if law school is a roll of the dice. It is a risk, but your odds are better in law school than they are in Vegas.
Nonsense.  Vegas is pure statistics.  If you understand the math, you can make a living there.  If you're just a tourist, you'll get eaten alive.  A bit like law school in that regard.

A lot of people who write all these negative comments about law school have entitlement issues and you will see that if you attend law school. They will bit** and moan about any situation they are put in and you can't listen to people like that.
I'm basing my comments on her "hi, I have no idea what I'm doing, I think lawyering is cool, but my paralegal program doesn't even have ABA accreditation, I have two small kids I have to take care of, and I'm planning on going to a T4 law school because that's the only program that's conveniently located" posts.  I predict that her future will include repeatedly hearing "Waitress, another Miller Lite!" The question is whether, while filling drink orders, she will be saddled with $150K in law school debt, or not.

If she'd written, "Hi, I just got accepted at HSY on a partial scholarship, my husband is really supportive, but is this a good idea?" my replies would be somewhat more positive.