It is a scary thought however when I read about the increase in lawyers and decrease in jobs over the past few years.
There was a time in life when I wanted to be a professional musician. If you think lawyers have it tough...
In a lot of ways, being a highly paid attorney is a lot like most other very lucrative careers. For instance in music, you have a few people making tens of millions, and thousands upon thousands of people (maybe even millions) who are slogging it out and barely making enough money for rent.
Major league baseball? A handful making $25 million a year. Thousands upon thousands of people living in fleabag hotels, scrapping their way through the minors for $18,000 a year.
Law is nothing near that bad. According to BLS, the average salary for a salaried attorney (meaning non-partner or solo practitioner) is over $100,000 a year.
People are smart and markets are efficient. Lots of people are going into this field specifically because it's lucrative.
However, because there are a lot of law schools cranking out a lot of lawyers, a lot of them are never going to rise higher than the equivalent of single-A ball.
You're going to have to be good to make money, but it's not nearly the long odds to be good that you face with other professions.
I will not and do not want to get into a T14 law school.
I'm not. I have my personal reasons, mostly to do with my son.
Why don't you want to? I would strongly recommend it. If you aren't thinking about it, you might want to think again.
Will this mean that I AM going to have to be in the top 10% or 5% of my L1 class in order to become a 'sexy' applicant to an employer?
Depending on the school you go to, you might have to graduate top 10% just to make what you would make as an ME.
Please note that I just read the something awful post on becoming a lawyer and it scared the living crap out of me.
It should. If you do this the wrong way, going to law school could be one of the biggest mistakes of your life.
I sort of figured things out as I went along in life. However, it took me 20 years to get to where I had things mostly figured out.
Not to shill too much, but I would recommend Thane's book if you haven't read it. Spring for the cost. You're looking at making a six-figure investment. Do it with your eyes open and with the right plan in mind.http://www.amazon.com/Law-School-Getting-Good-Gold/dp/1888960809/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1306582228&sr=8-1
It's hard to say this without coming across as a jerk, but I am taking what, for most people, would be the "wrong" path to law school, but that's a luxury I can afford. I sorta made some investments that have set me up pretty well. Money is still a worry, but not the worry it was back when I had to have a job.
I might be totally wrong, but I'm guessing you're not in that boat.
Off the bat, I'd say the things you're already doing incorrectly are:
1. You're not trying to get into the very best school you can. Unless you've got a family situation that prevents you from moving, you should be doing just that. Funny quote in Thane's book about Yale, but I think it applies to any T14 school: "Go, just go. Sell a kidney if you have to, but go". (Paraphrased, but you get the idea.) If you don't go to the best law school you can possibly get into, you will likely regret it the rest of your life. (Of course, there's the FalconJimmy plan where you work 13 years in fortune 500 companies, start a couple of small businesses, eventually stumble on one that pretty much works, throw in a few years of military service here and there, and VIOLA! You're an attorney just starting out at age 50. I sincerely do not recommend my method. Follow Thane's.)
2. If you don't think you can get into a good school, you might be wrong. Also, you don't need to do T14 to land a Hugh Jass job. I knew people who attended a school that's ranked somewhere in the 60-ish neighborhood who worked biglaw. In fact, I knew two of them. It can be done. Thane's book does a great job of talking about how to get into a good school.
If you don't have a relative who knows the industry (and the law, as far as I'm concerned, is an industry), then I'd say find a source of information who will give you good stuff. A lot of the reason it took me so long to get to law school is that I got a lot of very, very bad advice from some very well-intentioned, highly educated people who were basically just guessing based on what they thought they knew of the situation.
Don't get your guidance from people like that. Get it from people who have been there and done that. If you don't know somebody like that, I recommend Thane's book as a good resource.