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Author Topic: Why Go?  (Read 1244 times)

ShonMI

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Why Go?
« on: July 08, 2014, 01:40:33 PM »
I am not a law student but know quite a few people who are planning to attend. My question is, why would anyone want to go, especially with the dismal job prospects for lawyers that have been a problem over the past twenty years? Someone in my family is planning this as a career path and I am worried sick for him. Unless he gets into a top 20 law school, he's not going to have much chance at a job. And even if he gets a free ride through law school, and graduates without 100K in loan debt, he will still lose three years of income by being a full time student.  And he seems to get most of his ideas about this career from television, movies and John Grisham novels. Seems to be doing it solely for whatever prestige he thinks it may have. And he's smart, but not Ivy League material.
The legal industry is so saturated that even paralegals and legal secretaries have difficulty finding jobs, and we live in a big city. A lot of legal work is even being outsourced now to other countries. Many people with law degrees wind up in other careers, but even getting into a different career can involve having to return back to school and get certified/licensed to do something else.
This is a tough road that many people are choosing to go down, why do it?  I can't imagine anything more frightening than to spend 3 years in school, rack up debt all for the "privilege" of entering a very tough job market for their chosen field. Healthcare workers can often graduate, even from trade schools, and go straight to work! There IS no pounding the pavement day after day or spending countless hours online applying for jobs. They just get hired! They can buy cars, have a decent place to live, with little student loan debt; or if they do have debt, they can pay it off quickly A) they can get hired quickly and B)  because many nursing schools costs around 20K, not 100K like law school does.

Citylaw

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2014, 07:50:26 PM »
Many nursing schools are well over $100,000 dollars and plenty of lawyers find work from non-top 20 schools.

A license to practice law is a lifelong investment and most lawyers do quite well if they stick with it for five plus years.

Why does anyone bother to go to college? You lose four years of income and it often costs $100,000, but again education is a life-long investment same as law school.

The earning potential for attorneys is very high, but you need to be good much like anything else. Are jobs difficult to find in nursing, business, law, cops, bus-drivers, etc? Yes.

If there is some guaranteed way to make $100,000 + dollars without any sacrifice please let me know.

If your family member is passionate about the law it could be a great fit and the more important reason to go to law school is the ability you have to make positive changes.  Simply put there are an abundance of reasons to attend law school and abundance of reasons not to, which is pretty much the case for any decision.

There is rarely a right answer applying this to your post what filed instead of law what should this family member pursue?


Gunner.

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2014, 10:12:28 PM »
Don't feed the troll

Miami88

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 10:30:42 AM »

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2014, 12:27:25 PM »
Troll? Maybe. I'll answer anyway, maybe someone will find the information useful.

Yes, the legal job market is tight but plenty of law grads find decent employment. Your first job straight out of law school may not be so great, but as Citylaw said it gets much better after you have a couple of years' experience under your belt.

Employment statistics have to be viewed in context. They are usually a snapshot taken nine months after law school graduation, when most grads have only just passed the bar a couple of months earlier and are looking for work. It's not a very good metric for gauging long term prospects.

I graduated in 2012 from a non-elite law school in a very crowded market (CA). Two years after graduation, the vast majority of my classmates are gainfully employed as attorneys. Some are with big firms making big money, some are prosecutors and public defenders, and some are solo practitioners.

If someone is a disciplined, motivated, and knows how to make connections they can absolutely have a successful career even if they don't graduate from Harvard. However, if someone is unrealistic, entitled, and doesn't know how to hustle they're going to have a hard time finding a job. I would imagine that this is true for all fields, not just law.

ShonMI

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2014, 01:58:43 PM »
There is rarely a right answer applying this to your post what filed instead of law what should this family member pursue?

I would recommend a general business degree, accounting, engineering, or a medical/healthcare field.  Lots of these fields have the potential for high income, depending on what area you go in, how long you practice, and other factors; but their main advantage is a greater chance of employability over a long period of time.

ShonMI

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 02:05:20 PM »
Employment statistics have to be viewed in context. They are usually a snapshot taken nine months after law school graduation, when most grads have only just passed the bar a couple of months earlier and are looking for work. It's not a very good metric for gauging long term prospects.

Yes, statistics lie too often. I am going by people I know who have law degrees, friends and friends-of-friends. Most of them go through long periods of unemployment, or don't work in a legal field at all. As for high earning potential? Well, most of them fall squarely into the middle class.

And there has to be a reason the ABA is now seeming to advise against law school. And when someone makes the decision to go based on television, movies and books they've read....that's not really a good reason to go at all. However, for those who aren't stuck in some fantasy world, then maybe they know what they are doing. I also don't think law school is a good idea for people who say they "like to argue", even argue with a brick wall as the old saying goes.  I know people like this, and they need therapy, not law school.

Maintain FL 350

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2014, 03:46:36 PM »
I don't think the stats are lying, I just think you have to understand how they're derived in order to make sense of them.

For example, my class graduated in May and began immediately preparing for the July bar exam. No one was looking for a job between May and August. Bar exam results are not released until November, and most grads aren't very employable until they have a license to practice law. So when the employment surveys were sent out in January, people had only had 7 or 8 weeks to really look for a job. As a result, the employment stats didn't look too good. I can't remember exactly, but I think something like 60-70% were employed as attorneys.

Two years later, I'd say it's close to 100%.

Not all attorneys are making big money, but they aren't exactly the working poor either. Based on purely anecdotal evidence I'd say that most attorneys I know/work with who have 10+ years experience are earning an upper middle class income. A few are rich, and I don't really know any who are struggling. Again, I'm talking about lawyers with experience, not new grads.   

Gunner.

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2014, 05:02:13 PM »
There is rarely a right answer applying this to your post what filed instead of law what should this family member pursue?

I would recommend a general business degree, accounting, engineering, or a medical/healthcare field.  Lots of these fields have the potential for high income, depending on what area you go in, how long you practice, and other factors; but their main advantage is a greater chance of employability over a long period of time.
fine, if all the cool kids are poking the troll, let's do this thing.

There is an undergrad requirement to get into law school. You don't just show up.
THAT is where people get the degrees you mentioned.

Citylaw

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Re: Why Go?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 07:53:04 PM »
In response to ShonMi yes going to law school, because you like to argue or think it is like the movies is not a good reason to attend law school.

Doing anything because you see it on T.V. is likely to lead to disappointment. I work with police officers all the time and a substantial part of their time is writing reports and getting ridiculous phone calls not full on swat team raids like the movies make it out to be.

The law is no different than any other profession it has it's pros and cons, but I think law school unlike other professions makes people think all they have to do is get a degree and then people will fight over them, but that is far from the case if you graduate and pass the bar you are minimally competent to practice law. Being minimally competent in any profession does not result in $100,000 salaries and a cush office, you have to earn it.