Deciding Where to Go > Where should I go next fall?

Depaul or Loyola chicago

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Anti09:
I'm not saying don't go to law school.  I'm saying don't go to these law schools without a significant scholarship.  Sit down and do the finances and you will see that paying back $200k+ in loans is literally impossible on a $40-60k salary, which is what you are all but guaranteed to make upon graduation (if you get a job at all). 

http://www.nalp.org/salarycurve_classof2011

LivingLegend's post is intended to put doubt in your mind as to the reliability of these statistics.  Do not fall for it.  These statistics are the most accurate representation of the legal market that we have.  Ask yourself which holds more weight in your mind: Actual statistical surveys of graduated students, or the rambling of some anonymous guy on the internet?  (Note: that includes me.) 

Look at the statistics.  Do the finances.  Make a smart decision, and realize that every dollar of loans you take it is non-dischargeable. 

jack24:

--- Quote from: law90 on March 01, 2013, 10:59:06 AM ---Sorry meant to say that i am not considering skipping law school. Please do not reply here and tell me how bad the job market is and that i shouldnt put myself in that kind of debt. I've done the research i am fully aware of the risk and understand how the job market is, i asked which school i should choose between the two so telling me to not go to law school is pointless.

--- End quote ---

Law90:

I thought I knew all the risks and I thought I did all the research.   I still have my spreadsheet of law schools that contains 26 different weighted categories.  I didn't know what I was getting in to.   I mean, I did the financial analysis.  About 95,000 in debt would equal annual payments of about $7,700.   So in my mind, the only financial decision was whether, over the next 25 years, my salary as a law grad would be an average of $7,700 more that it would have otherwise been.   I looked at the chart that Anti posted above http://www.nalp.org/salarycurve_classof2011 and I figured I could certainly start out at $65,000 or more, so it made sense for me to leave my banking career and go to law school.  It turns out my two year legal career pays just about what I was making before law school, but I still think the investment will pay off for me in the long run.

Those of us who discourage individuals like yourself from going to law school, don't mean to say that you can't make a decision.  We just want to make sure that you have all of the information.   If you do, then go ahead and ignore us.  But I think Anti and I, though we don't agree on everything, will continue to make sure that prospective students are exposed to the data. 

I know that ABA law schools are churning out 40,000+ new lawyers every year, while the industry is only creating 9000 jobs and only about 15,000 people are retiring per year.  More will start to retire in the coming decade.

I also know that there are about seven broad types of law,  Transactional Business/corporate, Transactional Other,  Criminal, Domestic, IP,  corporate litigation, commercial litigation. (Not exhaustive, but most things fit in one of those)
And then there are about 9 types of legal employers.  Municipalities, Courts, Counties and States, Feds, Solos, Small Firms, Medium Firms, Large Firms, and Big Law.

Some quick conditional math tells me that the above create about 47 fairly unique combinations.    For me, I think I would enjoy either the power of being a solo, or the structure of working for a large firm.  The in between, those small and poorly run organizations, are hell.    I have worked for judges, counties, small firms, solos, and one medium firm.  Each experience was wildly different.    In my view, going to law school is fine, but it's a bit of a roulette wheel.    Most people have no idea where they will end up.   Those who desire to work in IP, Tax, Family, or Criminal have a higher chance of landing in the area they want, but they will have no idea what type of organization they will end up in.

law90:
I understand and respect eveything both of you are saying and I dont mean to sound like i am ignoring you. However, I am set on going to law school. I am fortunate because i have someone who i believe can get me a job at a law firm that i am presently working at as an assistant, granted that i do very well in law school. Because of that I think i find myself in a little different situation then most.

law90:
The reason i was asking what school i should go to is because nothing in life is guaranteed, so i understand that the law firm job may not work out and in that case i wanted to know which school would give me a better opportunity to succeed.

Anti09:

--- Quote from: law90 on March 01, 2013, 12:48:11 PM ---I understand and respect eveything both of you are saying and I dont mean to sound like i am ignoring you. However, I am set on going to law school. I am fortunate because i have someone who i believe can get me a job at a law firm that i am presently working at as an assistant, granted that i do very well in law school. Because of that I think i find myself in a little different situation then most.

--- End quote ---

Unless he can give you an offer in writing, you should never assume a job will be waiting for you.  Things always change.  They might find they don't have space for you, or the firm might encounter financial hardships and close up shop, or (most likely) you may find you don't do as well in law school as you planned.  Everybody who goes to law school plans to work hard and get great grades.  But hard work is only one part of the story.  Law school classes are graded on a forced curve, and it's all but impossible to predict your grades because you don't know how your classmates will do.  You should always look at your potential employment opportunities if you graduated at median, because that is statistically where you are most likely to end up. 


--- Quote ---The reason i was asking what school i should go to is because nothing in life is guaranteed, so i understand that the law firm job may not work out and in that case i wanted to know which school would give me a better opportunity to succeed.
--- End quote ---

Sadly, neither.  If you don't get a job working as a lawyer, your degrees from either of these schools is functionally worthless.  Very, very few non-lawyer jobs require (or even prefer) a JD candidate, and there are a vast category of jobs which will exclude you from consideration on the basis of being overqualified.  Nobody wants to hire someone with a JD for a non-lawyer job because they will assume that:

1) You will leave them for a lawyer job at the first opportunity, or
2) Your qualification obliges the employer to pay you more for the same amount of work (as with teaching jobs), or
3) That there is a reason you couldn't find a job as a lawyer, and you are a bad worker / have a bad personality / are incompetent, etc.

In short, the notion that a JD is a versatile degree is a long-discredited myth.  If you don't want to work as a lawyer, or cannot obtain a job as a lawyer, your options are extremely limited. 

Again, I am not advising you not to attend law school.  I am simply advising you to sit down and crunch the numbers yourself.  If you do, it will become quickly apparent that attending either school, at the prices you would be paying, is financial suicide even if you are lucky enough to find a job.  If you are intent on attending either of these schools, you should re-take the LSAT to increase your scholarship and ideally attend for free.  The maximum you should be paying (total cost of attendance, including living expenses, for all three years) should be roughly $60,000, since that is the maximum you will be paid upon graduation.

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