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Author Topic: Thinking about going to law school....  (Read 3545 times)

louiebstef

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2010, 09:59:28 PM »
Bigs,

Despite myself, I have to support IPFreely's position.

The woman in question came here for earnest advice.  You know yourself that a career in the law (if any of us actually make it--you and IPF are far closer than I am) requires a thick skin.   IPF is being harsh, sure.  So partners are never arrogantly dismissive of summer associates?
You and I believe in courtesy and professionalism.  Unfortunately not everyone demonstrates these traits.

IPF's point (if I am understanding him), is that if she is serious, she needs to ring the alarm bell and "get hot."   At this stage she needs MUCH more information to make these important decisions about.  She needs to dig, read and discuss with her family.  All of this is absolutely possible, because she is just starting undergrad.  She needs to understand that the decision to attend LS is not an easy one, especially for a non-trad.   I am supportive of her, but agree with IPF that she needs to dig more to ensure that LS is really what she wants.

Just my 1 cent.   
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

louiebstef

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2010, 10:11:06 PM »
Bigs,

I think Tanrael accurately expressed my concerns for AngelVoice.  I waited until after my children were grown (and a military retirement) to pursue an interest in the law that I've held my entire adult life.  Many years ago I determined that I couldn't risk my family's security to chase a J.D.  NOW is my time.

Everyone has to make these decisions for themselves.  AngelVoice just has to know that she indeed WILL face more challenges than you do as a child-free 20 something in LS.  Not that those good grades you have earned weren't the result of busting your ass.....


Don't feed the trolls.  :-p

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.

1.  How much have you done to ensure that you know what you are getting into?

2.  How are you planning on paying for college and grad school.  If you are taking out loans now then you are taking on a boatload of risk.

3.  Have you decided what level of risk you are willing to assume?  If your LSAT isn't good enough for a top regional school in the location you want to practice in, are you willing to walk away?
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

bigs5068

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2010, 10:58:36 PM »
Well first off nothing indicates that IPfreely has even attended one law school class or even sat for the LSAT. Yet they feel the need to give all kinds of advice about  something they know absolutely nothing about.

Again, law school is somewhat of a risk, but many people do find employment as a attorneys in some fashion. They do not all sit out in front of courthouses begging to defend child molesters. Also becoming a public defender is not an awful gig if they do have to defend child molesters. There is decent pay, loan forgiveness, and government benefits. Trust me there are a lot worse gigs in the world than becoming a Public Defender.

Shocking that Ipfreely came up with the great analysis that Harvard law school is better than a tier 4, but in all honestly sometimes a Harvard degree can work against you. I do not know what area the OP lives in, but I am sure there are employers that would rather have a local grad than a Harvard one. For example if she lives in Spokane I would imagine many firms would rather have a Gonzaga Grad than a Harvard one. They would want someone who could commit to the area, the firm would know professors at the school, etc etc. Now obviously at any big time firm the Harvard Grad is going to win, but I imagine with the OP's commitment to stay in her area that he/she is not looking for a big firm gig. Rather she is looking for local employment and the tier 4 in the area she wants to live in can likely help her get a legal career started in that location. He/she will probably never make 100k a year, but it does not sound like that is his or her goal.

Maybe it won't work out, but as I have said a million times education is a risk. If you want to be a lawyer go to law school, but do realize it could really badly. I would honestly have rather tried to do something I really wanted to do and failed miserably than have sat at some b.s. job for 40 years and wonder what would happen if I tried to do this or that. You have one life to live and if you listen to people who want to discourage you then you will sit around and do nothing. I imagine IPfreely is one of those people that sits around criticizing everybody's decisions all the time and has never done anything ever themselves.


Thane Messinger

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2010, 11:03:27 PM »
IPF's point (if I am understanding him), is that if she is serious, she needs to ring the alarm bell and "get hot."   At this stage she needs MUCH more information to make these important decisions about.  She needs to dig, read and discuss with her family.  All of this is absolutely possible, because she is just starting undergrad.  She needs to understand that the decision to attend LS is not an easy one, especially for a non-trad.   I am supportive of her, but agree with IPF that she needs to dig more to ensure that LS is really what she wants.


To broaden this a bit, this is excellent advice for everyone considering law school. 

In a sense, it's easier for non-traditional students to ask these questions, because their route is unusual--although an increasingly high percentage of students are non-traditional.  (Does this make the non-traditional student the traditional one?)  It's harder for someone in his or her early 20s to ask the same questions, as there's less basis for an answer and a greater likelihood of an "of course I'm going to law school." 

"Of course" is the right answer . . . but not for the reasons that apply to many.  And, as is integral in the law, the reason is more important than the answer.

So, everyone should ask these questions before embarking on an arduous, expenseive three-year journey.


Thane Messinger

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2010, 11:10:54 PM »
* * *
Shocking that Ipfreely came up with the great analysis that Harvard law school is better than a tier 4, but in all honestly sometimes a Harvard degree can work against you. I do not know what area the OP lives in, but I am sure there are employers that would rather have a local grad than a Harvard one. For example if she lives in Spokane I would imagine many firms would rather have a Gonzaga Grad than a Harvard one.
* * *


At the risk of generating more heat than light . . .

1.  Not true.

2.  It is both deceptive and unhelpful to pull Harvard--or, to be more generous, Yale, Harvard, and Stanford--into a comparison with any school below the top tier (top quarter of the top tier, really).  Those three (And the top 5, top 10, top 14...) are in a different category.  Thus they're in a different world.  It's more useful to compare, say, a local school with a well-regarded school outside that region.  Even there, the answer is usually the same as #1.

Bigs, love ya' man, but it just ain't so.

bigs5068

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2010, 11:13:55 PM »
Yea law school is a huge financial and time commitment. I don't think anyone can know if it is the right answer until they are done with it. Up to this point it has worked out for me, but it could south real fast. I am nearly half way done and up to this point I am very happy with my decision, but it can change. Education is a long term investment and when choosing a career in anything there are going to be ups and downs. If as soon as sh** hits the fan you start blaming everybody else, but yourself and take no accountability then the law is certainly not for you. Sh** is going to hit the fan for you at some point in school or during your legal career and you better be able to handle it.

If anyone is expecting 100k a year check for getting a J.D. and passing the bar you have another thing coming. It will be competitive there are a lot of people competing for the quality jobs that exist. Believe it or not there is competition for any type of job worth having. The majority of people that write all this negative crap about law school have never held a job in their lives and went down the easy undergrad route (never holding a job during this period), then went to law school never got an internship or any type of work experience and were baffled that when they finished in the top 50% of the 112th best school with nothing setting them apart from anybody else that employers were not lined up to hire them. When the real world hit them instead of dealing with it they make blogs to complain about how unfair everything is and well that is what those type of people will be doing for the rest of their lives.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2010, 11:23:06 PM »
If anyone is expecting 100k a year check for getting a J.D. and passing the bar you have another thing coming. It will be competitive there are a lot of people competing for the quality jobs that exist. Believe it or not there is competition for any type of job worth having. The majority of people that write all this negative crap about law school have never held a job in their lives and went down the easy undergrad route (never holding a job during this period), then went to law school never got an internship or any type of work experience and were baffled that when they finished in the top 50% of the 112th best school with nothing setting them apart from anybody else that employers were not lined up to hire them. When the real world hit them instead of dealing with it they make blogs to complain about how unfair everything is and well that is what those type of people will be doing for the rest of their lives.


You make many good points in your posts.  The danger is in conflating what we control with what we cannot.

I graduated from a top-ish school (Texas), did rather well, got a great job (in a horrendously difficult market), and so I do feel that I have a bit to share.

Where your advice is quite right is that, once one is engaged, it is personal quality that will make the difference.  Whether in litigation, where breeding tends to be somewhat less crucial, or in transactional work, being an excellent attorney will make a difference.  Possibly the difference.  Having practiced with many attorneys, however, I can tell you that the bell curve is alive and well in practice as well as in law school, often out of indifference rather than incompetence per se.  This can be a great advantage--for those who are willing to actually BE excellent.

This is rather different from the odds of getting that shot in the first place.  These are related, however, as a personal insistence on excellent nearly always leads to the "lucky" opportunities we seek.

This is neither to challenge nor to affirm, but to reinforce your and other points that, in addition to debt, stress, hard work, etc., there is the very real factor of one's own quality.

IPFreely

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2010, 01:17:30 AM »
Well first off nothing indicates that IPfreely has even attended one law school class or even sat for the LSAT. Yet they feel the need to give all kinds of advice about  something they know absolutely nothing about.
Nice way to ASSume a lot of stuff.  I haven't checked your background out, but I don't go around blithely assuming that you recruit fools to attend a for-profit T4 law school at full price in order to make your living.

FYI, I'm a 3L at a mid-T1.  My LSAT was 167.  You could have found out at least the first part by looking at my past posts.  You might have guessed from the "IP" part of my user name that I'm interested in IP (something else you could have spotted from my posts here).  Just looking at my join date would have given you more info than what you ran with there, bubba.

I imagine IPfreely is one of those people that sits around criticizing everybody's decisions all the time and has never done anything ever themselves.
And I imagine that you're a complete idiot.  I also imagine that my imagination is more on-target than yours.

OP is free to make her own decisions.  Since she ASKED for opinions here, I figured I'd give her mine.  You don't like it?  Well, who cares what you think?

Again, law school is somewhat of a risk, but many people do find employment as a attorneys in some fashion. They do not all sit out in front of courthouses begging to defend child molesters. Also becoming a public defender is not an awful gig if they do have to defend child molesters. There is decent pay, loan forgiveness, and government benefits. Trust me there are a lot worse gigs in the world than becoming a Public Defender.
Hey, did *I* object to her becoming a defender of child molesters?  No, *she's* the one who spouted off about how she has morals.  Well, if she goes to a T4, she'll probably have to drop those.

(Brightens.)  Perhaps an anecdote would help to illustrate the situation!

The ex-girlfriend who convinced me that I could survive law school went to a T3.  She graduated into a really pretty damn great economy in 2006.  The only job she was offered was in the middle of nowhere in a tiny firm, earning a pittance.  The majority of her class ended up destitute, begging anyone to give them jobs.  She talked about her work, probably more than was permitted under the rules of professional conduct now that I know about such things, but anyway, her clients ran from small-time arsonists to a serial public masturbator who liked to jerk off in front of children to teach them proper technique.  When she wasn't defending dirtbags and perverts, she checked real estate titles at the county courthouse.  I suspect that that work has largely dried up, since housing sales are a quarter of what they were four years ago.

That's what the OP most likely has to look forward to, if she finds a law-related job at all.  A lot of T4 grads don't.  Especially in this economy.  Oh, and FYI, the economy isn't going to get any better any time soon -- enjoy your hope and change, they're what's for dinner.

bigs5068

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2010, 01:39:47 AM »
Your really cool!  :)

IPFreely

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Re: Thinking about going to law school....
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2010, 02:19:05 AM »
IPF's point (if I am understanding him), is that if she is serious, she needs to ring the alarm bell and "get hot."   At this stage she needs MUCH more information to make these important decisions about.
That would be part of it, but really, I'm suggesting she not go at all.  Unless she gets a full-ride scholarship somewhere, anyway, or miraculously gets into a T1, or even a T2.

The law market is saturated.  Doc review is being offshored to India as fast as the big firms can find literate workers there.  New associate hirings are down by more than half.  The number of law schools is INCREASING, and class sizes at existing schools are INCREASING too.  Does this strike anyone as being a little . . . off?

Getting "an education" isn't a ticket to anything but massive debt.  If you're extremely intelligent, very hardworking, and can do well in a good program . . . then go.  If you're average, want to devote your life to your family, and are just going to trudge through the motions, don't bother.  Go do something worthy of your talents.  Don't waste your money and your time on the sheet of paper that will somehow magically transform your dreary existence into a dreary indebted existence with collection agencies howling at you through the telephone three times every evening.

It's no different from the barfing undergrads who are drinking themselves into oblivion every single night in the undergrad bar district here.  Want to get drunk and hurl seven nights a week?  Why bother to take out student loans to pay a university ten, twenty, thirty, forty grand a year in tuition when you're too hung over to pay any attention in class anyway?  Just go get some crappy job, maybe working retail or waiting tables or something, and go get drunk every night without the debt, and without the pressure of explaining to parents why you flunked all of your classes, and so on.

(Brightens.)  Perhaps another anecdote is in order!

A couple of weeks ago, I was out getting plastered at a local bar along with some of my peers.  We got to talking with the waitress, and discovered that she too is a student at our local academic institution.  She is getting a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology.  Bog alone knows what her student loan debt is like, probably well into six figures.

After she wandered away to bring back more booze for us, I asked my peers, "what the hell do you do with a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology?"

In retrospect, the answer was obvious.(*)

Now, all right, law is a little different, but not a whole lot.  The OP could graduate from her T4 and then go off and start her own law firm -- in the Obamaconomy, the odds of her finding an associate's gig are pretty damn low (and the current mess is going to last for years -- look at Japan for what Bernanke's policies, which he copied from post-Bubble Japan circa 1992, result in).  If she has a lot of friends and relatives with legal problems, she might be able to hang in there.

She could just as easily open a daycare and skip the whole law-school-massive-debt-hangover thing, and she would probably make about as much, without the debt service costs dragging down her net take-home pay.  Learn to be a plumber, or an interior decorator, or a stripper.

But in terms of being offered a job out of law school, what are the odds?  Especially when someone has absolutely no skill whatsoever other than "being a lawyer"?  And one who couldn't even get into a good school?  Like, a school with a large alumni network, in positions to hire their school's recent graduates?

When I was going through the decision process, and after having read this forum -- back when it was still fairly active -- I came to the conclusion that if I didn't get into a T1, it wasn't worth the expense.  Wasting $150,000 on a piece of paper just so I could help assho1e neighbors sue each other, for a net to me of $40K a year?  Not really worth it.

On the other hand, spending $60K (after scholarship) for a degree that would likely get me into a decent patent law firm, earning $100K to $150K a year?  Probably worth it.

You do the math, you make the decision.  If the numbers don't make sense, then don't do it.

I submit to you that the OP's current plan of action is one that, if she runs the numbers, will be one that will make absolutely no sense.



(*) Another round please, waitress.