Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: How do you know you should go to law school?  (Read 4594 times)

MikePing

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 247
    • View Profile
    • Law School Information
    • Email
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2011, 12:27:34 PM »
I don't know who you have been talking to, but a law degree will not give you any real opportunities but practicing law.  Any job that would consider a law degree helpful would be one you could qualify for with a hell of a lot less work.  The ONLY reason to go to law school is because you want to be a lawyer. 

Ive been through the process.  I know several people that were like you and hate thier life now.  You need to read some self-help books, not law books.  It sounds like your issue is based on not knowing yourself well enough to know what you want from life.  You will be miserable if you are just chasing a paycheck. 

Intellectual property law is not an option for you.  You would need a bachelors in a hard science. 

It sounds like you have done a good job of convincing yourself that law school is your only option.  A law degree is not a negative for a non-practing lawyer, it is just a terribly inefficient use of the education.  The cost benefit analysis is heavily skewed. 

Its good that you are thinking about this and getting opinions.  That puts you ahead of many people.  I hope you find the answer you are looking for.  Here is a thought that has always resonated with me:

A wise man does in the beginning, what a fool does in the end. 

Ryans5

  • Guest
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2011, 12:34:43 PM »
Okay let me give you my intellectual profile and you'll see why I see law school as my best shot: I am a terrific research writer and creative writer, I have decent auditory skills, I think logically and am very pragmatic, I am talented at dissecting arguments, I have very good reading comprehension, I have a history degree and thus am excellent at memorizing historical situations and navigating documents, (now the bad stuff) I have the math skills of an 8th grader, I ave very little knowledge or interest in finances or business, I have a tendency to be disorganized if I have too many projects at once, I suck at multi-tasking, I have no professional work experience, I am very apathetic about the success of most private sector companies and thus would either A) like to work for my country B) work for myself C) work for some political cause.

All of these things point to A) Law School B) Starting my own business (Who the hell knows what) C) working for the feds or a political group. Both B and C can be accomplished by A while B accomplishes neither C or A and so on.

Ryans5

  • Guest
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2011, 12:41:33 PM »
I don't know who you have been talking to, but a law degree will not give you any real opportunities but practicing law.  Any job that would consider a law degree helpful would be one you could qualify for with a hell of a lot less work.  The ONLY reason to go to law school is because you want to be a lawyer. 



I disagree with this, you have not been on USAjobs before have you? If I have a law degree I can literally do any job I want on there or at least be in the running. I spoke to a guy who didn't want to be a lawyer, disliked law school but graduated and has since been able to obtain a great career in Washington. I'd love to work for the CIA, who do they often hire? Law degree holders who don't want to be lawyers. I could apply for a job with them today, but I wouldn't stand a chance in being hired. Even the private sector hires legal advisors, I'm not saying I have my life in order by any means but to say a law degree only lets you be a lawyer is false. Plus I do like some aspects of law but those goings on are not found in my state. Granted I'm not a law student but I am around law students and professors all the time and I have spoken to them on this topic.

FalconJimmy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2011, 02:10:43 PM »
A) like to work for my country

Have you considered a hitch in the military, either before or after law school? 

Just a sort of WAG, but if you joined the military as a linguist (they'll train you up in any language in the world), got a TS clearance, then got out with your history degree, you'd be a great candidate for foreign service, etc.

Ryans5

  • Guest
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 03:58:40 PM »
A) like to work for my country

Have you considered a hitch in the military, either before or after law school? 


I have. Military strategy is a bit of a hobby of mine and I have a great mindset for an officer. I put my name on the dotted line at my local recruiting office though and they own my ass for the next 4-8 years. It would help me get federal jobs, would be  very good pay etc but I'm not much of the conformist type. I'd really hate Sgt. Mcgraw yelling in my face to do a barrel roll or whatever and unlike other jobs, you quit, you go to prison. 

What I really wanted to do is work in entertainment in some capacity like a publicist or writer for a magazine/TV show, I hear there are low paying, stressful, competitive jobs though. As a lawyer one thing I would still be interested in in the media is protecting people's first amendment rights and allowing media more protection against the FCC and ESRB. Those are the issues I'm truly interested in on one hand. On the other I like international relations, security issues, international law such as the classification of POWs and enemy non-combatants. Those are my two interests in life, free speech media and geo-politics, one world is extremely liberal, the other extremely conservative. Seems strange.

FalconJimmy

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 684
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2011, 04:25:40 PM »
I have. Military strategy is a bit of a hobby of mine and I have a great mindset for an officer. I put my name on the dotted line at my local recruiting office though and they own my ass for the next 4-8 years. It would help me get federal jobs, would be  very good pay etc but I'm not much of the conformist type. I'd really hate Sgt. Mcgraw yelling in my face to do a barrel roll or whatever and unlike other jobs, you quit, you go to prison. 

It has its downsides to be sure.  However, the amount of "in your face" I experienced (and experience) in the military isn't that different than what happens in the civilian world.  It just takes a slightly different form.  It's more out in the open, which is more of a blessing than a curse, IMHO.

Ryans5

  • Guest
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2011, 06:21:38 PM »
Yeah I don't know, I just like freedom. I don't like being ordered around all the time, I don't want to have to shave my head, I don't want people telling me where I have to live etc. I really don't want to be forced to move to Huntsville, Alabama just because they need me on some military base you know? I know officers get more freedom but I'm still very wary of it. I'm also mechanically a spaz, I really think I would be terrible and cleaning/loading weapons and I have no interest in going to Afghanistan anytime soon. I know it would help my career, but are we really in a day and age where even if you graduate at the top of your class your only options are still army or grad school?

Very possible, it just seems like a crappy world to me and maybe I just haven't faced the facts yet. It sounds like a great gig if you can get over some of the issues but I just never envisioned myself as a soldier. Granted you have to remember I've only been graduated for like 2.5 months. But I know where things are going and I know I need to get my *&^% in order if I want to have motivation to put on pants each day. I'm considering just moving, or traveling, or opening a bar or  something. I have the cash to do it, but I just don't know if that's wise. Never have been much of a risk taker and I will need that dough if I end up going to law school in 2012.



MikePing

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 247
    • View Profile
    • Law School Information
    • Email
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2011, 12:43:34 PM »
Quote
I disagree with this, you have not been on USAjobs before have you? If I have a law degree I can literally do any job I want on there or at least be in the running. I spoke to a guy who didn't want to be a lawyer, disliked law school but graduated and has since been able to obtain a great career in Washington.

Ryan, I am not trying to tell you that you couldn't use a law degree in other fields.  I'm just telling you that it is a very expensive, time-consuming, way to get one of those jobs.  If you dream job is with the CIA, there are easier, cheaper, avenues to get there. 

I'm sorry if I came across a little strong.  I really do respect you for wrestling with this decision instead of jumping in on a whim.  That puts you way ahead of most people. 

How about this:  Find 25 10 people with law degrees who don't practice law and talk to them.  Ask them whether they would do it again, whether they like what they do now, whether they could have done it without a law degree, etc...   I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find out.   

jack24

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1050
    • View Profile
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2011, 01:03:58 PM »
I think Mike is spot on.
I happen to speak a useful foreign language and the CIA and FBI were much more interested in that than anything else I brought to the table.  Go live and work in China, Korea, or the Middle East for three years instead of going to law school.  Then you'd at least have pictures.

Seriously though, don't let anyone make up your mind for you either way.  If you rack up $150,000 in debt, your monthly payment will still only be around 1100 bucks a month (for 25 years).   So you really only need to make 13 or 14 grand more per year for the investment to break even.  I'm betting that just the extra ability to write, analyze, and argue will give me a $14k per year boost on average.

I just think law school is a pretty poor investment financially, so when I hear that you don't necessarily want to be a lawyer, I think the opportunity costs for you are much too high to go to law school.  Just don't stop getting information.  Keep looking at all the options and you might be surprised.  I have a friend who got his bachelors degree and went to Taiwan for four years and taught English for $50,000 a year.  Now he speaks mandarin, has a ton of international experience, and has a bunch of money saved up.  That seems like a much better position to be in than fighting with thousands of law grads for a $45,000 job while you study for the bar and worry about what's going to happen when you have to start paying your loan payments.   

Hamilton

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 337
    • View Profile
Re: How do you know you should go to law school?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2011, 01:21:45 PM »
I think this post is right on the money.  I would add that having a JD and NOT practicing law will get you a sceptical look from any non-JD, as in 'You went to law school and are licensed to practice, but you're not... what's wrong with you?'  How would you look at a licensed MD selling pharmaceuticals?  Sure, being an MD may have some benefit, but ANYONE with a BA can have the job.  The MD is not necessary to make him better (except maybe a very narrow specialized category).  Point being, when you have special training and license, then are not using them as designed, it looks... off.  Why invest the time and go through the misery and expense if you are not going to use it?

Me, I have JD (cum laude) and passed bar first time.  Kept my day job and love it, have not gotten into practice.  Can do my job without a JD.  I would definitely NOT go to law school given the chance to do it over.

Ryan, I am not trying to tell you that you couldn't use a law degree in other fields.  I'm just telling you that it is a very expensive, time-consuming, way to get one of those jobs.  If you dream job is with the CIA, there are easier, cheaper, avenues to get there. 

I'm sorry if I came across a little strong.  I really do respect you for wrestling with this decision instead of jumping in on a whim.  That puts you way ahead of most people. 

How about this:  Find 25 10 people with law degrees who don't practice law and talk to them.  Ask them whether they would do it again, whether they like what they do now, whether they could have done it without a law degree, etc...   I think you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find out.