Law School Discussion

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Poll

3L was it worth going to law school?

Yes. I would want to be an Attorney no matter what.
 2 (22.2%)
Yes, but I feel the job economy still adversely affects lawyers more than other careers.
 6 (66.7%)
No, I should have dropped in 1L when my friends did. I envy them.
 0 (0%)
I am only still going due to being almost done but won't bother with the bar or being a lawyer.
 0 (0%)
College as a whole is a scam. I was better off with just a GED and the classifieds.
 1 (11.1%)

Total Members Voted: 8

Author Topic: 3L worth. Was it worth it?  (Read 950 times)

sollicitus

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3L worth. Was it worth it?
« on: February 15, 2012, 07:21:26 PM »
3L was it worth going to law school?
Why or why not?
Any Horror stories or stories of hope for the 1L and prelaws?

legend

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2012, 01:56:13 AM »
I am a 3L at a school that dabbled between tier 3/4 and now is in the 120's in this new ranking system. WOO!! However, I have thoroughly enjoyed law school and I was with a bunch of friends today and we were all talking about different cases we were working on in our internships etc. The three of us were happy with it and thinking how cool it was that we were actually working on real cases. One guy was doing a divorce, the other an appellate brief in a PI case, and I was helping my office with an amicus brief on a Con Law case going to my State's Supreme Court.

It has been a lot of work and I have a lot of debt, but I have met a lot of cool people and done a lot of fun things. I was involved in school as well and got to go participate in Mock Trial Competitions and got trips to Chicago, Houston, and Puerto Rico paid for by the school, which is an added perk.

The down side is I do not have a guaranteed job waiting for me and many people at my school don't. I think this is the case even at the "higher ranked" schools in my area. I currently work with interns who attend T14 and Top 50 schools who also don't have jobs lined up. I am not sure if this is how it always been or if it just the economy now. I do looking forward to taking the bar and starting a legal career. I have no regrets and would do it all over again if I could. 

I might be singing a different tune in a year or two, but only time will tell.

JBrien

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2012, 03:28:34 PM »
Legend,

Having gone through the entire circus and been practicing for 6 years now, I can confidently state that you have to start exploring as soon as possible all the different types of law you want to pursue.  Conduct informational interviews with anyone in those fields.  You would be surprised at how easy it is to get a job if the employer believes you have a PASSION for the work.

The problem that most people have is that they do not know how (or are willing) to put some time and effort into a self-assessment and discover who you are. 

What is your personality like? 
Do you want to go to court or not?
Are you the type of person who enjoys leaving the office and appearing at different places, or would you rather not travel with your job?
How important is status to you?
How important is money to you?
How important is your free time?

Overall you have to know yourself and then learn about each type of law…  talk to real practitioners (not law school professors).  Pick three types that interest you and then contact the development individual at the professional associations of those types of lawyers.  (Google search should take about 10 minutes to come up with names of people, and by the way those people have job descriptions which require them to assist young law students/attorneys.)

Check out the below site and good luck to you!

http://www.become-a-lawyer.com/Types-of-lawyers.html



GGI

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 07:05:29 AM »
It may take a long time and significant commitment before law starts to pay off but at the end it will be worth it. After law school, you will have to work hard for a number of years before you can established yourself as a successful attorney (whatever area of law you decide to practice) but I can happily say that I do not know anyone who, having put in the effort, has not enjoyed great rewards. Always do your best and you will enjoy great success in your career!

Giuseppe Giusti
Attorney and author of Soft Skills for Lawyers
http://softskillsforlawyers.blogspot.com/

jack24

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 12:03:27 PM »
I'm going to try and answer two questions: 1, Is law school a good investment; 2, is the 3L year worth it.

First,is law school worth it?  That's an impossible question.   Nobody can accurately predict what the difference in income and lifestyle would be between an entire career as a lawyer and an entire career in whatever else you would have ended up in.  That said, I can do a better job than most because I already had a career before law school.   conclusion= law school will start to pay dividends in 22 years.  Read on to see why.

I have a decent paying job as an associate now, and I do about 40% of my work in a field I enjoy.  I received four job offers as a result of hundreds of resumes, over 150 actual job applications, and 20-30 interviews.  I had to choose between three of those job offers and I ended up valuing location most of all. (Close to family and all that jazz).

Now remember, Law School creates an opportunity cost. I was in Law School for Two years and 9 months and I spent 3 months studying and looking for a job   I was offered a promotion to stay in banking and forego law school for a position which paid $50,000 a year.  As a result, Law school cost me approximately $156,000 in lost wages (assuming 4% raises per year and assuming I didn't get another promotion.)

So here's the calculation:

Student Debt: 90,000 plus interest = approximately $152,000 over the life of a 15 year student loan.  (212,000 if 25 years)
Lost Wages: 156,000
Bar Prep and Moving Costs: $5700

Total Cost = $313,700
Offset = 21,000 (for clerk wages and $11,000 during law school)

Net cost of going to law school = $292,700

I have a goal to retire in 40 years, so that's $7,317.5 per year.  So that means I need to average $7,317.50 more per year as a lawyer than I would as a banker.    While my current attorney salary is about the same as it would be if I had stayed in banking, my future salary as a lawyer is almost guaranteed to be substantially higher.  I won't go into all my calculations, but I estimate that my investment into law school will start paying off in approximately 22 years.

Second, the 3L year is the biggest scam I've ever seen.  I am a civil litigator, and I've sued plenty of schemers who have done much less than law schools and the ABA have done by requiring 3L year.    1L is important even though it is over priced.  I think my 1L year taught me a lot of skills and trained my brain to think in a more diverse and analytical way.   2L was fairly helpful because I took several practical classes and learned some subjects that were on the bar (even though I had to learn them again during Bar Bri).  3L offered a few good classes, but none were really required.  Many people get credits for working or for doing independent research.  Some of the classes were a complete joke.  I was every bit as prepared academically after my 2L year as I was after my 3L year.  I recognize that you COULD get value out of the 3L year, but you aren't required to.  There should be approved apprenticeships that can be done in place of 3L that don't cost tuition.  If an employer wants to require 90 credits, they can, but if they only want to require 60, they should be able to.

P.S.  I was not an exceptional law student and I did choose a modest job market.  That said, I was a law review editor, I did moot court, and I did go to a T2 school.  I also worked extremely hard to find a job, so I'd say I'm in an above average position for my graduating class.


legend

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 02:02:17 PM »
Great Post!

I think your calculations are a great way to look at education in general. In the long run it pays off, but as your experience shows a degree does not result in instant money. The calculations you used could be used by a high school graduate debating whether or not to attend college. Assuming a high school graduate could obtaina 15/hr job 40hrs a week. 30k a year 4 years lost wages = 120k. + Lets say 20k tuition/living costs undergrad. That is 80k over four years so just to get a bachelor's degree you would spend 200k in lost wages, tuition, living cost. Often a recent college graduate can't earn more than 40-50k. Over time the education pays off, but it is a long term invetment. Doors are closed to people without degrees, and in law school you simply can't be a lawyer without a law degree.

Education aside from the monetary value really does make you more informed, interesting, etc which is a value in itself. I have known many people that never went to college yet alone law school and the conversations are far from in-depth. You really get a life experience out of it, which won't make the numbers in your bank account go up, but life is a lot more about experiences than some higher numbers in your bank account.

Third year I think it is useful for some, but not for others. However, an educational experience is what you make of it. If you want to do mock trial competititions, write a law review article, seek out advice from professors it can be a valuable experience. If you are just choosing to take a bunch of Credit/No credit classes and put in minimal effor then it is a waste of time & money. However, that is really law school or any educational experience. You can be very active and involved or you can sit in the back while getting nothing out of it other than a piece of paper.

The real problem with law school and education in general is the outrageous tuition increases. This I just saw from Hastings, which is unbelieveable. http://www.uchastings.edu/fiscal/docs/Estimated_JD_Tuition_Fee_Schedule_2012.pdf . It simply says we had a meeting and we decided to increase tuition 9,000 dollars, have a good day. A student in this situation is screwed what can you do in 2011 they were 32k, 2012 39k, so they did it the year before, and now 46k. An incoming 1L student in 2011 thought 32k x= 96k outrageous, but at leats you know what your getting into. However, the spread was 32k 2011, 39k 2012, 46k 2013. 

This means the student expected to pay 96k for three years, but Hastings decided they wanted 117k, so they got 21k extra and Hastings has 470 some students per class. So they made out with

21 x 470= $9,870,000 on these arbitrary increases alone. That just is not right, because there is nothing you can do.

Above the law wrote a more detailed article on it.
http://abovethelaw.com/2009/11/law-school-tuition-hikes-spread-like-wildfires-in-california/

However, it sounds like you got a job and aren't saying law school is the worst thing that ever happened like some blogs do. It is a system in need of some reform, but it can and does work out for many people. Many people regret it and many people yourself included simply aren't sure if it was worth it.

Anyways good post I just wanted to add to it.

jack24

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 12:02:18 PM »
The tuition hikes really are insane.  I applied to my law school based on a tuition figure, and they raised it my 1L year by approximately 20%.  The services didn't change, but they argued that it was necessary to maintain the institution.

A combination of easy access to federal loans, old school business models, US news rankings, and the ABA are forcing prices up.   The real kicker is that much of the money my law school brings in flows into the University.

sollicitus

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 03:00:36 PM »
The tuition hikes really are insane.  I applied to my law school based on a tuition figure, and they raised it my 1L year by approximately 20%.  The services didn't change, but they argued that it was necessary to maintain the institution.

A combination of easy access to federal loans, old school business models, US news rankings, and the ABA are forcing prices up.   The real kicker is that much of the money my law school brings in flows into the University.

For what even impact it will have, I know the govt passed new regs on how much schools can and can not raise tuition rates by recently. I believe it was last year.

But yes, paying over a grand a credit hour when the local junior colleges charge $80 and in reality they do more work at the junior college. Those Profs have to grade assignments every week vs one final exam (for most JD classes) and the Socratic method (which just means "Teach yourself and let me tell you if you suck")

legend

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 05:30:24 PM »
I had heard about that, but didn't know it was official do you know what the title of the law is? Or is it pending approval? If it is in effect and Hastings just pulled a 15% annual increase for no apparent reason then it is obviously ineffective, but just wanted to know what the law was if you happened to know it.

sollicitus

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Re: 3L worth. Was it worth it?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2012, 01:54:07 PM »
I had heard about that, but didn't know it was official do you know what the title of the law is? Or is it pending approval? If it is in effect and Hastings just pulled a 15% annual increase for no apparent reason then it is obviously ineffective, but just wanted to know what the law was if you happened to know it.

I'd have to look into it, I just remember the Profs mentioning it awhile back.