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Author Topic: Best Option  (Read 1100 times)

19mtm80

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Best Option
« on: July 31, 2012, 10:18:07 PM »
I'm going to try to make my question specific so I can get some helpful responses here.  Mean, cruel, or a-hole remarks are just going to be deleted, I just don't have the time.

Situation: Just graduated with my BA this past May.  My experience (professional) is in retail/clerical admin.  I have come to realize two things.  1. I live in a state with such a saturation of undergrad degrees that it has turned my BA into a High School Diploma and I know I am GOING TO NEED AN ADVANCED DEGREE.  2. I have NO problem, and I do have the ability, to move from this state to a better state. 

Here are my options:

Several opportunities/schools with ABA approved Paralegal Programs.
Cooley, Florida Coastal, Charlotte Law, Barry University Law, and Phoenix Law scholarship offers.
MBA Option (University of Phoenix)
MPA Option (University of Phoenix)

This is my REAL situation and what I honestly have to work with.  Given this information ... what degree would pay off fastest with the quickest rise in salary?  What degree will pay off more in the long run?  Where is the smartest place to spend my money given my educational options?  Where would be the worst place to spend my money given these options?  Any other thoughts and comments about this situation?  Please be PC ... I am open to ideas, thoughts etc. but I am posting here because I cannot get a good answer from advisers, etc. and I am hoping for a little help.  If you are just going to take shots, make fun of, or try to make me out to be a fool please save your time.  Everyone else, please fire away.

Thanks,

Thomas


HolmesBoy

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Re: Best Option
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 11:00:56 PM »
Here's the employment data for ABA approved schools. Perhaps this list can help you determine whether the law schools you listed are worth the investment. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Aik9aY0xMn8JdHZpRzRGNmpIVnFMMTJ0bXNRS0NBd3c&gid=8

jack24

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Re: Best Option
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2012, 11:40:48 AM »
Legal Careers are so unpredictable, so it's hard to give great advice.

Lawyer starting salaries have been dropping since 2007, and the median starting salary for the class of 2010 was $63,000 for those who were working full time and reported a number.  So that means the median starting salary is much lower.  http://www.nalp.org/classof2010_salpressrel

For those who reported in 2008, the bimodal distribution is pretty clear, which means a significant percentage of graduates make under 50,000.  And you have to figure that a large percentage of those who do not report their salary are not making good money.  http://abovethelaw.com/2010/05/nalp-2010-nalp-executive-director-james-leipold-talks-to-the-lost-generation/bi-modal-salary-distribution-curve/

Lawyers do have pretty good income potential over the long term, though.
http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/what_americas_lawyers_earn/

So when considering law, it really comes down to some heavy introspection.  1) Will you do well academically, 2) will you aggressively and effectively network, and 3) will you like working as a lawyer?   

The sad thing is that #1 is unpredictable, #2 is generally overestimated by people, and #3 is almost impossible to know because you can't predict what job you'll end up in.  I absolutely love white collar criminal defense and construction litigation, but I hate family law, collections, and probate.  I had to take a job where I primarily do family law and collections, and I'd rather be outside digging ditches.

Financially though, I still believe the law is a good investment.  If you take out 120,000 in loans, you'll probably be paying loan payments of $10,800 a year for 25 years.  I think the median lawyer from the schools you mention will probably make 10k a year more than the median bachelor's degree holder or the median MPA or MBA from the schools you mention.

Paralegal work isn't bad, but there is a low income ceiling.  You can easily probably find a good job for 50k a year with good hours, but you'll never make much more than that (adjusted for inflation).



IrrX

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Re: Best Option
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2012, 02:22:31 AM »
Everybody play nice. Don't make me come in here again.
Note: Insults made by me apply to everything associated with the people and ideas being insulted, except for other people.

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IRRX, it seems you enjoy provocation and antagonism.

SoCalLawGuy

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Re: Best Option
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 02:11:25 AM »
I don't see why people would make fun of your question, it's a serious matter. In my experience I have found that it is best to go to a highly rated school for the least money you can get into. That being said, you just have to decide what you like best: paralegal work, criminal defense.. and see what your best options are. In the end it's you who has to decide, my advice is: try and visualize where you see yourself in the future.

Thane Messinger

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Re: Best Option
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 03:15:53 AM »
Here are my options:

Several opportunities/schools with ABA approved Paralegal Programs.
Cooley, Florida Coastal, Charlotte Law, Barry University Law, and Phoenix Law scholarship offers.
MBA Option (University of Phoenix)
MPA Option (University of Phoenix)

Thomas -

I suggest reversing the question:  You've got three very different career possibilities, which to a large degree are mutually exclusive.

Do you like . . . adore . . . fine detail work?  Not just "Sure, I like," but "I'm pretty much OCD about fixing typographical errors in tweets."  Much less and careers in law (whether paralegal or attorney) are a dicey bet, regardless of level of law school.  (To all, you might think I'm overplaying this, but as Professor X recounts in Law School Undercover, the top firms pretty much demand this, and so do most other firms now.  It's not just pointless but harmful to spend three years and one hundred thousand plus dollars on something you're not actually going to enjoy doing.)

As to MBAs, that raises the importance of reversing the question:  Do you like pressing the flesh, meetings, energy, competition (in all its forms) as well as coordination (in even more forms)?  If so that would point to the very-different world of business. 

One might think that because most private lawyers (and a great many government ones) are dealing in commerce too much can be made of this, but in fact there is a real difference.  The role of the business manager is *very* different than that of the legal hired-gun.

As to the MPA, the same question is appropriate.  For someone in public administration the road is arduous, comparable to that of the senior partner, general counsel, or CEO.  Do you like what government types do?  If you're not sure, find one you know, or go to a local meeting and meet someone.  You're going to laugh, but I would recommend another book, the Slacker's Guide to Law School.  I'm not casting aspersions, but it has perhaps the best section of should-I-go that I've read.

Good luck,

Thane.

PS:  As others have stated, the rank of school does have a bearing on your decision.  Again, "X" has a good take on this in his book.