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Author Topic: How do you know you should go to law school?  (Read 4903 times)

Ryans5

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How do you know you should go to law school?
« on: March 19, 2011, 01:05:23 PM »
I recently graduated with a degree in history from a un-prestigious but up and coming university with a 3.85. I haven't had much luck finding a job or even an interview yet and it seems to me law school is my best bet.  My mom is a Law Professor so I know a decent amount of what it entails. Frankly, I really am not enthusiastic about it and I'm having a hard time mustering up the morale to even study for the LSAT. I feel that a J.D. will pay off more than an M.A. and there are careers I am interested in that require a J.D. However I read a lot of posts about how you should only go if you are passionate about law and to be honest I'm not, I just think with today's economy a bachelors degree doesn't get you squat and a bachelors in liberal arts gets you even less squat. I know what law school entails and I really do have the skill set for it I think but the main reason I want to go is because I have literally nothing else going for my career right now. Should I go to law school? Granted I have over a year to decide anyway, but I'd like to have a goal if I am going to study for this LSAT.

Ryans5

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 01:58:21 PM »
Well I don't mean to turn this into a "What should I do now" post but my issue is that I have no real strong dream or passion to pursue. Peace Corps involves a lot of charity/volunteer work I simply am not interested in, I'm not a big fan of young kids so I don't think Teaching is for me. It seems to me Law School is the only place where I can obtain a career that respects humanities minded people and where I can obtain a career that pays something over 40k a year. The only truly interesting jobs I find are with the feds and I recently talked to a guy I know who works in washington and he said very bluntly that I will never get anywhere in D.C. without a J.D. or an M.A. So breaking that down a M.A. in the humanities is of questionable value in the private sector and valued less than a J.D. in both sectors so I feel the logical choice is a J.D. even though I have a questionable interest in it. The debt is not to much of an issue for me because I went to undergraduate for free and have about 20 k left over from my college fund on top of help from somewhat well off parents. Still my interest in questionable and I really hate to jump into something I don't really want to do, but I feel like doing things you don't want to do is just a part of becoming a man.

mkmoss033

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2011, 11:33:52 PM »
Its sounds like you're leaning more towards going to law school rather than not going. It definitly makes more sense to obtain a JD over a MA in an humanities related degree. I will be graduating with a degree in a humanities related field also and I agree that there is little value in it, yes it looks nice on paper and makes you a well educated individual however I dont feel its truly worth it in today's society unless you want to teach high school or something, A JD may be more versatile. The only reason I would caution you against law school is due to the amount of debt you will consume, but it looks like you've already considered this. Just be prepared to face the fact that if you enter law school and it ends up being something that you change your mind about after say the first year, there goes 40-60k out the window. you can do alot with that type of money in a year, but better you only waste that amount of money rather than being buried in a pile of debt for a degree you don't even want.

Ryans5

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 12:06:47 AM »
I just took the practice LSAT today and got a 149 with no practice or anything. I'm going to shell out the 1500 bucks to take the practice course which says they will let me retake the course if I don't get a minimum 10 point boost. That would stick me at the 157-162 range I'd guess if what they're saying is true. It encourages me a bit just because I'd at least have a shot to go somewhere besides a clown college.

Still not good enough to get me out of the state though without paying an arm and a leg so I'm a bit cautious about the whole thing. IF I do in fact get in that ball park range I could go somewhere like Louisville or UK (maybe) where I'll pay a pretty reasonable 14-15k a year. I can definitely handle that financially but I really was not looking forward to living in KY my whole life and looks like that's what will happen if I go there. I could possibly go out of state but even if I eek that out I'd get to pay a hefty 33-45k a year. Damn man I could buy a friggin house with that kind of scratch and the law schools arn't even that much better than UK, some are rated worse. I just don't see myself doing something like that.

Anyhow, that's all conjecture because for all I know that practice test was a fluke and I'll bomb the LSAT. I feel like it's at least a test for me though, got a kingly 800 on the GRE due to a 260 math score. But seems to me this law school business can get out of hand. For example Santa Clara University has a cool Intellectual Property program/International law program, is in California, and values a high gpa over a LSAT score. If I was more reckless I'd say thumbs up. 44,500 k tuition, average 12 k room and board, 7,500 k living expenses. No way, I think I'd rather be debt free and stuck in KY than paying off student loans until I'm 50 in California, plus something like only 68% pass the bar there! Crazy.

mkmoss033

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2011, 12:51:57 AM »
which practice test did you take? the best way to study is out the real LSAC tests, other test prep material from Kaplan or  Princton are typically easier and not authentic test questions

Ryans5

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2011, 01:14:44 AM »
LSAC. My law professor parent gave it to me so I figure it's legit. Barely a clue how to do the logic games section properly so I think have a lot of room for improvement there.

Hamilton

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2011, 08:40:46 AM »
This tells me what I need to form an opinion.  Why on earth consider a degree and career in something you do not love?  Life is too short to dislike what you do.  The saying IS true: 'if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life.'  Imagine dragging yourself out of bed every day forn the next 40+ years to do something you dont like... that is INSANITY! 

Fine, you are having trouble finding a job now - why not get an advanced degree in the area of study that you ARE interested in?

Also, with all due respect to others - "a JD is a versatile degree" is a throw-away line.  Aside from practicing as an attorney or doing direct law-related work, there are very few careers out there where a JD is a game-changer.  Why spend $150K on a degree with a narrow application?

And finally, not to get too personal here, but why not talk to your parents about alternatives?  If they both work in law then they must be fairly intelligent.  They will have exposure to a wide array of job/career ideas.  If they are pushing law, shame on them if you truly are not passionate about it.

Frankly, I really am not enthusiastic about it and I'm having a hard time mustering up the morale to even study for the LSAT. I feel that a J.D. will pay off more than an M.A. and there are careers I am interested in that require a J.D. However I read a lot of posts about how you should only go if you are passionate about law and to be honest I'm not, I just think with today's economy a bachelors degree doesn't get you squat and a bachelors in liberal arts gets you even less squat.

Ryans5

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2011, 11:36:57 AM »
Okay let me clarify some things. I don't want to go to law school but I do like many of the careers law school opens up for me. I can do literally hundreds of different professions with a law degree. If I get a masters degree in history, that's one profession I can do and guess what a JD even will get me that job too.  My folks aren't pushing law at all, but I look at my life every day since graduation and I think to myself "What the hell am I going to do now?" I have no reasonable dreams so to me the logical decision is law school.

My low passion about it may be a benefit in some way. No way am I dropping 150 k on law school and anyone who does is a moron unless they are attending a top 20 school or something. The world is different now. You need an advanced degree to make it. I didn't go to a great undergraduate program because it was free but I did get a great GPA. Turns out that sets me up great for law school because they don't give a damn about your alma mater just your GPA and LSAT, plus I have the skills needed for law.

It's just how the wind is blowing man, I'll have to work for months to get even a mediocre score on the GRE, on the LSAT I can work for a couple months and likely get a very good score. Fact is I'm a logical thinking great writing history major who is terrible at math. Private sector doesn't want me, Grad schools just want to scam me, and Law Schools are waving me in for a landing. But keep in mind I've graduated and I've missed all the law school deadlines. I have a year to bounce around and be miserable/happy before I decide to bite the bullet and go to law school.

FalconJimmy

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2011, 11:44:42 AM »
It seems to me Law School is the only place where I can obtain a career that respects humanities minded people and where I can obtain a career that pays something over 40k a year.

As much as I hate to say it, I think you're right about that.  You'll be closer to the rule, not the exception at law school.  In almost any business, you'll be the exception.  I also think that your salary goals are really rather modest.  Granted, some folks are doing worse, but if you're just looking to make over $40K, then law will give you a great shot at that, and maybe much more.

You mentioned getting an MA.  Not sure if you've ever considered Math or English, but hiring is actually petty good for people with masters in those two disciplines because so many community colleges need instructors in those disciplines.

Of course, if you want to work for the fed, why not get on usajobs.gov and see what you qualify for already?

jack24

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Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2011, 12:03:27 PM »
Have you thought about banking?  If you are smart and you work hard, you could probably have a pretty good career in banking after the three years it would take to get through law school.  Most places just require a degree to get into the management program.  You might have to start pretty low down the chain, but most people in community banking move up really quick.  A local branch manager job is a pretty sweet gig (I used to have it)  You never really work more than 50 hours, the job is half pleasant and half boring, and you make 50-70k after a few years. 

As far as law school goes, most people just can't predict if they will like it or not.  I think law school is incredibly dull, but I've really enjoyed my job over the last year.  I go to a pretty good school and most of the students seem to check out after the first year.  They still study for tests and learn the material, but they don't find the classes all that interesting.  If you can go to law school without any major additional debt, then you could always just quit after the first year if you hate it. (Although that might not look good on your resume).

I don't think law school is really that good of a financial investment.  I think there are many careers out there that pay equally well with a lot less cost.  I'd be happy to answer any questions about my experience and my philosophy.  I'm sure you'll get 1000 different opinions.