Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?  (Read 6633 times)

Gordy

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
    • Email
Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« on: January 20, 2011, 10:55:39 PM »
I currently work as a college librarian, but I'm considering law school. In terms of salary, this career change would be a big step up. However, I have good but not stellar grades and test scores, which makes a third or fourth tier law school a distinct possibility. In light of the debt and extreme competition for jobs, would these be worth attending? Or barring one of my "reach" schools, should I stick with my current profession?

louiebstef

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 160
  • 45 y/o Non-Trad-2012 cycle
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2011, 11:53:09 PM »
OP,

Truthfully, only YOU can answer that question.  The legal job market is truly abysmal now.  If you have always had a burning desire to be an attorney (and have some idea
what is really involved), think about it.  If you are looking for a career alternative....look elsewhere.  The saturation in the field and the enormous tuition/loan payments don't make the law a good "let's try this" option.
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

barond

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 70
    • View Profile
Re: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2011, 12:07:20 AM »
These schools might be worth it if you want to be a lawyer bad enough.  Apply to all the schools your interested in, you might get surprised with what happens.  Certainly, its 3 to 4 years of a daily grind studying the law. I go to a Tier 4 and I love it, but its very expensive and the employment prospects are not good. 

Your probably underestimating your current salary.  I would bet that salary is comparable to the average new attorney- you might even make more.  Also, colleges are typically a stable employer with good benefits. Thats another thing to consider.  Perhaps one option is attending a local school part time and keeping your job.

Framboise

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2011, 09:34:10 AM »
If law school is just an option for a career change, don't do it.  At Tier 4's, the curve is low and the competition is high, because everyone's gunning for an extremely limited amount of job opportunities.  You'll get chewed up and spit out.

But first, answer a few questions:  Where do you want to work?  What schools are you looking at applying to?  And what are your numbers?

Some T3's are actually the best school in their state/region, so they're definitely not always a bad idea.

louiebstef

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 160
  • 45 y/o Non-Trad-2012 cycle
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2011, 02:33:33 PM »
Framboise makes some very good points, as does barond.  Both present questions that will surely help you refine your choices.  As barond alludes to, I am one of those who will be taking a salary cut to become a "puppy lawyer."  In my case, it's always something I've wanted to do, I am a retired military officer (with pension and benefits), and my children are grown.  I feel like I am in a position to take the risks involved.  Don't take this decision too lightly, though.  It has to fit you AND your situation.

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

john4040

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 471
    • View Profile
Re: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2011, 09:57:20 PM »
Personally, I wouldn't go to a T3 or T4 unless it was < $6000 /yr.  I would only go to a T2 if it was the best or second best in its market and < $12,000 /yr.  I would go to any T14 at full price.

bigs5068

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1474
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2011, 08:53:35 PM »
Yea only you can answer that question. I currently attend a tier 4 and have been extremely happy with it and so are many others. On the flip many people are not and these type of questions have no right answer. The debt is a huge consideration because attending any school will set you back significantly not to mention the 3 year time commitment. There are a lot of scholarships available and if you happen to be in a state with a state law schools you are at a huge advantage. If you live in Florida for example attending FIU is a great deal. I believe it is 10k a year for tuition, which is pretty reasonable. I believe many of the southern states have in-state schools and New York has CUNY, which is reasonable as well.

Bottom line is there is no right answer. Take the LSAT see what you get and apply to a few schools. Lawschoolnumbers.com will give you an idea of what type of score you will need to get into certain schools and what type of scholarship money you can expect. Lawschooltransparency.com is a good site to look at for what ACTUAL salaries are at individual schools. I would strongly recommend visiting any school you are considering and sitting in a class as well. If possible work in a law firm and see if it is something you woudl want to do. Tier 3/4 schools can turn out great for certain people, but if you go to these schools to try something different or unsure about what you are doing it can go TERRIBLY. Law school is a MASSIVE FINANCIAL & TIME COMMITMENT and if you do not really want to be a lawyer I would not recommend tier 3/4 schools. If it is something you really want to do then it can definitely work out. Sadly law school tuition is outrageous and it is hard to claim any law school is a good investment. However, if being a lawyer is something you really want to do the cost will be worth it.

Thane Messinger

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • View Profile
Re: Is going to a fourth or third tier law school worth it?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2011, 02:20:25 AM »
I currently work as a college librarian, but I'm considering law school. In terms of salary, this career change would be a big step up. However, I have good but not stellar grades and test scores, which makes a third or fourth tier law school a distinct possibility. In light of the debt and extreme competition for jobs, would these be worth attending? Or barring one of my "reach" schools, should I stick with my current profession?


Would you be interested in being a law librarian, or a practitioner?  If the former, talk with a few law librarians to get a feel for the likely prospects with your combination of background and third- or fourth-tier law school.  (A friend who had an MLS as well as the state's flagship JDF--not UT--was unable to get a position with a law library.)  If your interest is as a practitioner, talk with local practitioners.  You can usually go to local ABA meetings in a variety of topics, or contact a local group in a field of interest.  Most will be happy to chat.

Thane.