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Author Topic: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school  (Read 8693 times)

Anti09

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2012, 11:06:57 AM »
This conversation about how brutal the legal market is reminds me a lot of what I heard before pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. As hard as it is, the legal field is not more competitive than entertainment.  From my experience, if you cultivate your talents, work hard and know the right people, you will most likely be marketable.  Turn that frown upside down and keep hustling  ;)

Too bad the entertainment industry has nothing to do with the legal industry.  You might be able to make a comparison if you ignore the fact that a law degree puts you potentially a quarter million dollars in debt whereas the entertainment industry doesn't. 

Cher1300

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2012, 12:28:23 PM »
The biggest issue really is the debt versus job prospects.  So you need to ask yourself what you would be willing to do if you can't find a job in six months with 150K in debt or more if you have undergrad debt still.  I know a lot of lawyers and am going to a tier 4 at night, but I'll have a job waiting for me when I get out.  However, if that job doesn't pan out, I need to have a plan B.  I'm older and will able to finance about half of my education and won't be stuck with 100K in debt.  The woman I'll be working for/with, graduated in 2007 - right before the recession hit.  She worked for a title company for about 8 months when she was let go because the real estate market took the first dive.  She was forced to hang her own shingle because her only experience was in real estate.  So she put her name on the public defender list and started doing crappy work like traffic violaions and other misdemeanors.  She only made 28k her first year.  However, through those low paying assignments, she also met other attorneys and started networking.  They would refer clients to each other in other areas like bankruptcies, guardianships, divorces, etc.  It took a while but she is now established and going on her fourth year in private practice and loves it.  She was lucky because she only had 50K in debt because she was able to get scholarships, etc.

There are other things you can do if you don't get a job right away, but you need to be prepared.  Obviously, the less debt you have, the more freedom you have to explore other choices.  But the debt is very real when compared to job prospects and I don't think people really take into account just how much 150K can weigh you down and scare the #$%* out of you if you find you can't get a job in six months.  That's what people are trying to advise against.  Especially 22 year olds with undergrad debt on top of law school debt.  Now you are talking 200K in school loans, and it seems those students are thinking the debt is not that big a deal.  I can assure you that it is a big deal when you can't get a job and this is an important thing to consider.  Good luck.

legend

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2012, 05:18:51 PM »
In response to the entertainment industry comment I think the analogy does apply. The reality is no easy career path exists. Ask a doctor, nurse, pilot,  lawyer, CEO, professional athlete, firefighter, police officer, etc how competitive it was for them to get where they are. I imagine all of them will say it was very difficult and all of them started at the bottom and instead of complaining about how unfair everything was worked to succeed. This is proven by Cher's story 28k a year is nothing, but you have to build experience. When I started out I was in a similar position doing mind numbing doc review, but I kept getting more experience, meeting people, and not giving up. It was not fun starting out and honestly the first two years out were terrible,  but I paid my dues and really enjoy my career now. In almost every career you have to pay your dues that is simply the way the world works.

As a sidenote remember that Harvard, Yale, Stanford have more than just law schools. They have business schools, nursing schools, public administration schools, so and so on. In each industry you have to compete with graduates from Harvard, Yale, Stanford it is not only a law school phenomenon.

To elaborate on Chers point the debt is expensive,  but again look outside the legal profession and you will see degrees in other professions are just as expensive. I just googled NYU tuition and the school of social work popped up. NYU is 41k per year for a social work degree.  That is very expensive and  if you go to nursing school, medical school, social work school, a police academy, etc they are all expensive. In the end no matter what educational/career path you choose it will be expensive, time consuming, and there will be no guarantee of  a job at the end of it. You are also going to have to pay your dues in any profession.

In conclusion the legal profession is a tough business, but so is everything else. If you want to be a lawyer then go for it you might fail and you might succeed, and I will refer back to the Teddy Roosevelt quote I mentioned earlier. You can sit back and be scared of things not working out or actually go for it, but you should only do that if you truly want to be a lawyer.

Good luck to OP as you start your legal education and career. If you pursue your legal career there will be many ups and many downs, and there will be many ups and downs if you choose some other path. If you know being a lawyer is what you want to do then going to law school is the right choice. Otherwise 30 years down the line you will wonder what would have happened had you actually gone for it and while looking back you will likely wish you have taking a risk and failed opposed to being a timid soul that knows neither victory or defeat.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2012, 07:18:14 PM »
No matter where you go to law school (with the exception of a few very elite schools) you will likely end up unempoyed and in debt at graduation if you don't start working on a plan from day one. Many law students commit two huge mistakes in my opinion: they choose rankings over scholarships and have entirely unrealistic notions reagrding their post-law school options.

If you develop an attainable goal before starting law school, hustle like crazy to obatin internships in that same field, and can minimize debt, you'll probably be alright. The key is to be realistic. If you're going to a T4 don't waste time dreaming about the 1/100 chance that you might get a biglaw job or a federal clerkship. If you do, you'll be disappointed and frustrated. If, however, you set your sights on small family law firms (for example), you can probably buld up some great experience and make some solid contacts.

The people in my class who had jobs at graduation or shortly thereafter started developing these kinds of contacts in the first year. Everybody else (including some top academic performers) waited until the end or relied too heavily on OCI, mass resume drops, etc. I've worked a couple of private and government law offices now, and have seen how a well-connected, experienced T4 grad can beat out a random T1 grad when it comes to getting hired. That's why blanket statements regarding the futility of attending a lower tier school are so often flawed, they never take into account the applicants eventual goals.

It's important to remember that apart from a handful of uber-elite schools, most T1s are essentially strong regional schools that won't give you an edge outside of your region. Depending on what you want to do, a full or substantial scholarship at a local T4 might make more sense that 150k debt from a non-elite T1. 

Anti09

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2012, 10:53:57 AM »
In response to the entertainment industry comment I think the analogy does apply. The reality is no easy career path exists. Ask a doctor, nurse, pilot,  lawyer, CEO, professional athlete, firefighter, police officer, etc how competitive it was for them to get where they are. I imagine all of them will say it was very difficult and all of them started at the bottom and instead of complaining about how unfair everything was worked to succeed. This is proven by Cher's story 28k a year is nothing, but you have to build experience. When I started out I was in a similar position doing mind numbing doc review, but I kept getting more experience, meeting people, and not giving up. It was not fun starting out and honestly the first two years out were terrible,  but I paid my dues and really enjoy my career now. In almost every career you have to pay your dues that is simply the way the world works.

To elaborate on Chers point the debt is expensive,  but again look outside the legal profession and you will see degrees in other professions are just as expensive. I just googled NYU tuition and the school of social work popped up. NYU is 41k per year for a social work degree.  That is very expensive and  if you go to nursing school, medical school, social work school, a police academy, etc they are all expensive. In the end no matter what educational/career path you choose it will be expensive, time consuming, and there will be no guarantee of  a job at the end of it. You are also going to have to pay your dues in any profession.

Way to completely misrepresent the situation.  Not a single one of the professions you listed- with the exception of possibly Doctor or Nurse- requires as a prerequisite a graduate degree that, at sticker, can cost upwards of a quarter million dollars.  Professional Athlete?  Seriously?  Police Academy?  You think that costs $40k / year for tuition for three years?  Honestly, use common sense. 

FalconJimmy

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2012, 11:08:12 AM »
But I honestly do want to be an attorney more than anything, and have always wanted to.

Seems pretty simple, then.

Right now, the unemployment rate for new college grads is like 50%, depending on who you talk to.  I don't see anybody recommending that kids no longer go to college.

I just read an article that said that PharmDs are graduating to find zero jobs.

Honestly, this is the worst economy of my lifetime and I've been alive a while, now.  If you used the current economic climate as a meter, you would only major in Electrical Engineering, Information Technology, Accounting, Nursing or Medicine.  All other education would be completely wasted tuition dollars.

Someday, we'll come out of this recession.  God only knows when. Maybe not for another 10 years.

However, you should ask yourself:  do you plan on being alive 10 years from now?  Because if you do, then you might want to plan for a world in the post-economic apocalyptic America.

I don't advise against going to Law School.  I don't advise for it, either.  It's a serious decision and one you should really think about.  I mean, if you were contemplating joining the military, you wouldn't do it lightly.  They'd own you for 4-6 years (or more) and you might die.  IN light of that, Law School isn't so bad.

I'd say the way to go is to go to law school if you must.  Do your best.  Then vote Democrat until the day you die because Republicans are the a-holes who made student loan debt non-dischargable in bankruptcy.

legend

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2012, 04:40:45 PM »
No jobs for nurses
http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/stories/2009/04/06/story3.html?page=all

Harvard Doctors
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2009-04-07/entertainment/17919325_1_reality-tv-reality-television-reality-fans

Graduates in general
http://suite101.com/article/graduating-with-no-job-a119625

accountant job struggles
http://www.cpanet.com/cpa_forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=37159&PN=13

engineer job struggles
http://engineerboards.com/index.php?showtopic=15766

It took me 3 minutes to find these 5 articles/postings/documentaries on google. I am also certain I could find numerous articles about how great these professions are.

The reality is no matter what profession, school, location, etc you work in success is up the individual far more than anything else.

 There are websites and newspaper articles in every profession detailing how hard it is to find a job, but it has always been hard. I point to my earlier post and urge anyone to ask a law professor, accountant, police officer, pilot, firefighter how easy it was for them to get there. I am certain you will hear stories about how difficult and uncertain they were when pursuing their career goal. It is hard to start a worthwhile career and law school is not a golden ticket.

To any 0L's out there realize what you read from any poster myself included on this site or others is anonymous information that is often greatly skewed, misrepresented, wrong, or simply does not apply to you. Each individual has their own unique situation and analyze what is best for your own specific situation.

In regards to the OP if you want to be a lawyer and you have thought about the costs, struggles, and actually know what lawyers do on a day to day basis I would say go for it. If you have no legal experience I would recommend at the very least volunteering in a law firm before making such a time consuming and financially significant decision.

Good luck to anyone who pursues a legal career, but before you do pursue law school be certain it is the career you want.



jack24

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2012, 06:12:40 PM »
An additional problem lawyers face is a problem with specialization.   You really don't have any specialized education paths aside from a Tax or IP path.   Most of those in my graduating class would probably say they ended up in an unexpected job.   A prosecutor, midlaw associate, and biglaw associate will have completely different experiences.  In fact a transactional attorney and a litigator at the same 100+ attorney firm will have completely different experiences.

So in this economy, you can't really plan what type of law you'll end up in, unless you plan on opening your own firm.

Duncanjp

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2012, 02:49:07 AM »
I'd say the way to go is to go to law school if you must.  Do your best.  Then vote Democrat until the day you die because Republicans are the a-holes who made student loan debt non-dischargable in bankruptcy.

Yeah, those a-holes. The very idea of thinking that the government shouldn't let intelligent adults blithely off the hook after they have signed contracts to pay a price they agreed to pay in exchange for something they wanted. Fuckers.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Anyone getting scared about their decision to go to law school
« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2012, 01:47:53 PM »
I'd say the way to go is to go to law school if you must.  Do your best.  Then vote Democrat until the day you die because Republicans are the a-holes who made student loan debt non-dischargable in bankruptcy.

Yeah, those a-holes. The very idea of thinking that the government shouldn't let intelligent adults blithely off the hook after they have signed contracts to pay a price they agreed to pay in exchange for something they wanted. Fuckers.

If you disagree with the concept of bankruptcy, so be it.  Suffice to say that it has been a part of American life for quite some time now.  Perhaps living in Victorian-era England would be more your style.  After all, debtors prison seems like a wonderful idea.  Why in the world would you ever allow people to have a fresh start, especially after Republican policies got the economy to this point?