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Author Topic: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?  (Read 2798 times)

chong12

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I know I am not a T1 material, I am a big time sucker for LSAT: I have been studying for it for a year, and I just can't put  up to 160.  So I am planning to go to a T3 or T4 schools, probably CUNY LS since it's cheap.  From my research, I notice that only ppl who go to top 30s LS can come out making $160k (median starting salaries for lawyers).  Is that true?

nealric

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 11:19:51 PM »
Really, only people who go to T14 (and do well there) are likely to come out making 160k. The valedictorian at CUNY would be lucky to get a 160k job.

At a T3/T4, most graduates are lucky to get any job as a lawyer. That said, a small handful get really lucky and do very well starting their own firms. 
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pslaw2011

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 11:38:17 PM »
No one should plan going to law school with the expectation of making 160k out of law school- or even 100k for the most part. There are many factors that go into what school, and whether or not to go to law school. Its rarely a simple answer.

like_lasagna

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2011, 03:03:50 AM »
Important to mention that a lot of markets don't pay that $160K salary to start for anyone. If you're making that money, you're basically getting a biglaw job in a major market (NYC, Chicago, DC, etc.) (I stand corrected re: Houston. Vegas and Phoenix, then).

nealric

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2011, 10:40:59 AM »
Houston biglaw is at 160.
A few national biglaw firms pay 160 in Denver.
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Duncanjp

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2011, 03:46:51 AM »
The thrust of this thread is all wrong. One should never concern himself with how much money one can make doing something. That's a recipe for hating life. One should focus on doing something that he loves to do. Whether it's the practice of law or shredding on a Gibson Les Paul, doing what you love will always be its own fortune.

Morten Lund

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2011, 01:17:58 PM »
The thrust of this thread is all wrong. One should never concern himself with how much money one can make doing something. That's a recipe for hating life. One should focus on doing something that he loves to do. Whether it's the practice of law or shredding on a Gibson Les Paul, doing what you love will always be its own fortune.

I have to disagree.

I agree that making life choices purely on a "most money" approach is usually not the wisest route - but that is a whole lot different than suggesting that monetary concerns are not important, and legitimately so. 

Money may not buy you happiness, but LACK of money can sure buy a lot of misery.  Study after study shows "money trouble" as a source of unhappiness for Americans and a source of strife in relationships.  My view is that most of us have a certain lifestyle level that we deem minimally acceptable, and any career choice that cannot support that lifestyle level would be an unwise choice.

To the OP:  As noted, it is mostly graduates from the top schools that get the BigLaw jobs out of school.  But I would suggest that a 160k starting salary is not a "fortune" in today's America - far from it - and in fact BigLaw as a career path very rarely leads to true fortunes.   In the end, BigLaw lawyers are working stiffs for their entire career.  A comfortable living, to be sure, but little chance of financial independence.

As noted in other threads, the path to real wealth is usually the same as the path to financial ruin.  In the legal business, that usually means small-firm contingent-fee plaintiff's work.  Chances are pretty good that the guy advertising on the back of the phone book (that's an historical reference for you young'uns out there) makes a whole lot more money than the lawyers in the big fancy firms.

And, of course, chances are very good that that guy did NOT attend a highly-ranked law school.

lawyerintraining

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2011, 07:40:17 PM »
When did $160,000 become a "fortune" ???

Heck, if it's just money you want get a CPA or go to B-school and become a CEO of something somewhere.

If you make under $300,000 a year, you are making less than a backup singer. Just deal with it and make the best out of it.

bigs5068

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2011, 08:03:03 PM »
Starting out very few if any lawyers make 160k even from t14 schools. Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer, but not to make money. The reality is no degree guarantees you a fortune. Not an MBA, J.D, M.D, whatever it may be odds are you will never become a millionaire. There are plenty of t3/4 grads that have jobs as lawyers and there are plenty that don't. Same is true of people with Bachelor's, MBA's, M.D.s etc and a graduate from any school in any profession will likely say finding a job sucks. However, if you graduate from an ABA school pass the bar and work for as a lawyer for 20+ years then you will likely make a decent chunk of change and more importantly if you wanted to be a lawyer you would have enjoyed your career. There is no guaranteed way to get rich quick, but using common sense you can figure most T14 law school grad are going to make more than Tier 3/4 school grad. This is not always the case, but it  is the majority of the time. I attend a tier 4 school and have really enjoyed it and made decent money so far. I also have a huge scholarship so I won't have much debt at graduation, which is awesome. A few of my friends that graduated from my school  obtained jobs ranging from 50-100k. There are others who are still looking for a job and others who have not passed the bar yet. Some are really happy with their jobs thus far and others are not. It is really hard to say what will happen, but one thing is for sure if your main concern is money and money alone DO NOT go to law school. It is overpriced and the odds are you will never be a millionaire. However, if you are a person that wants to go into law because you want to be a Public Defender, D.A, or have some issue you want to resolve going to law school can be a great investment of time and money. This is because you cannot be a lawyer without going to law school. (I know there are some very complex ways to get around this, but they are so onerous it is not practical.)

So go to law school if you want to be a lawyer. If you want to make a fortune then I don't want to tell you. If someone knows of a guaranteed and easy way to make 160k let me know I'm sure everyone on this board including myself would like to know.

Morten Lund

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Re: Is it true that only the top 30 law school grad can make a fortune?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2011, 01:58:00 PM »
If someone knows of a guaranteed and easy way to make 160k let me know I'm sure everyone on this board including myself would like to know.

Step 1:  Purchase about $400,000 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets.

Step 2:  Scratch.

Step 3:  WIN $160,000, more or less.

Simple.