Law School Discussion

Southwestern vs. Kent vs. Depaul

Re: Southwestern vs. Kent vs. Depaul
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2015, 09:01:22 PM »
Good response and I think we agree on a lot of issues. However,  we have gotten completely off topic from OP's question.  Although I find the debate is interesting and enjoyable it proves my overall point that making life altering decisions such as where to attend law school based on internet boards is not a good idea.

You and I are discussing our thoughts about law school in general, which is clearly something we both have thought about. However, it does little to address OP's question.

With that I would like to continue our off topic debate with two responses to your last post.

1) Law School as an Investment:

First and foremost if your attending to law school to get rich, don't. If money is your number one priority there are better options out there.

On to the next point, education in general is a long term investment and in the short term law school is not a good investment. However, if you graduate law school at 27 and pass the bar you can have 40-50 years to work as an attorney and that can easily translate into $100,000-$200,000 additional income. However, in the short term that $100,000-$200,000 when your first job is paying between $40,000-$60,000 does not look good. However, after a few years of practice your salary increases and increases. Most lawyers typically pay off their loans in their mid 30's maybe even early 40's. However, after that is done and multiple years of experience have accrued you can bill $300-$400 an hour. However, getting to that point takes years.

There is no statistic out there that will show law school being a good investment 5 years after graduation. Even if you make $160-$180 k right out of law school. You will likely be unable to pay your loans off in five years. However, after 5 years the loans are gone and if you continue practicing you can make a pretty solid living.

This is not unlike the debate of whether to attend undergrad or not. When I graduated high school several of my friends got jobs as loan officers at banks making $40,000 a year with no educational debt and it seemed like they were rich off their asses. While my other friends and I were accruing debt and working part-time broke as hell. Even a few years after graduation from undergrad those friends were still making more, but 10 years as a loan officer is not exactly exciting and without a B.A. they could not advance.

Eventually, all my friends and me the one guy went to law school made far more than $40,000 while the other guys were still in their spot. Granted over the past 10 years they collectively have made more money as the 7 years I spent in school I was not making $40,000 and in fact accruing debt. So let's say the gained $500,000 on me, but I have far more doors open for the next 40 years of my life than they do.

So that is the debate with education whether it be law school or any other form. In the short term education does not pay off in the long-term it does.

2) Finding Jobs Out of Law School More on the Person than the School:

One of my firmest beliefs is that no matter what school you attend whether you succeed or fail has far more to do with you than the school you attend. I am sure at your school as at mine there were some classmates that you would not trust to feed your cat let alone represent you in court. Then there were others that you knew would succeed.

You can have all the stats in the world, but I am sure at your law school there were some people that would show up late, have excuses for everything, not turn things in on time, not study and blame everyone except themselves for their problems. Those kinds of people exist at every school and cannot find jobs, which has far more to do with them than the school they attended.

Contrary to that every single ABA school has produced numerous successful lawyers, but again that has a lot more to do with the individual than the school.

Law school and education is an investment and like any investment it can fail miserably, succeed greatly, or do just fine.

Law school is not a guarantee of anything and all any ABA school will provide you is the opportunity to take the bar exam and become a licensed lawyer. If you obtain a license to practice law what you do with it well have far more to do with you than the name of the school on your diploma.


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Re: Southwestern vs. Kent vs. Depaul
« Reply #21 on: April 03, 2015, 08:09:50 AM »
I'm rather enjoying this thread.

Anyway, what I think you discount is that if people view it as an investment, then they need to appropriately balance the risks. For you to keep saying,  " If you obtain a license to practice law what you do with it well have far more to do with you than the name of the school on your diploma," is incredibly dangerous to people. There's a middle ground between your (IMO, truly bad) advice and the also (IMO, truly bad) advice offered on elitist forums where it's all "If you don't score a 175 on the LSAT and go to HYS, you're TTTrash."

You're sort of like the uncle who says, "Look, love is what it is. Sure, some people say you should build a relationship with a girl, and consider whether or not this has a future. On the other hand, some people meet a hooker in Vegas, and it works out just fine. So, you know, follow your heart!" But the thing is- you are more likely to have a stable, long term marriage with a girl you've known for a while than with a hooker you marry after a day in Vegas. Just the way it is. It's not impossible, mind you, but it's the odds.

Same here. Yes, there are people that succeed at every level of law school. There are even grads that have done well out of Cooley. But here's the thing- the number of grads who have done well out of Cooley is far, far, far exceeded by the number of people that went there, went into massive debt, and either a) never graduated; b) graduated but didn't pass the bar; or  c) passed the bar, but were unable to get a job in the law. Telling people to just follow their heart to certain schools is a lot like telling them to follow their heart and marry that Vegas hooker. It is *possible* that it will work out, but it is more than likely that they will be one of the statistics.

Because, in the long run, full freight law school beyond the t14 *is not a good investment* for  many people. Beyond getting to issues of the lifestyle of attorneys, the risk/reward ration is way, way, way out of whack. The knowledge level of people going in (as to what to expect) is not sufficient to know what they're getting into. Again, there are great schools that provide wonderful opportunities outside of the t14, provided the student has managed their risk/reward ratio correctly, but most people haven't. They are paying t14 prices and don't understand what the legal market really looks like. It's that simple.

Re: Southwestern vs. Kent vs. Depaul
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2015, 01:18:54 PM »
Again, I think we are in agreement, but I give people more credit than you, whether that is right or wrong it doesn't really matter.

I will agree paying full sticker at Whittier or a number of schools may not be the best idea. However, there are a number of schools in the U.S. that offer cheap in-state tuition many in Florida and the South. Then I know CUNY is also about $12,000 per year. Additionally, many of these schools will offer substantial scholarship money, but as we have both pointed out those are fickle based on conditions and any incoming student should look at the conditions closely and get out as cheaply as possible.

I am not advocating go into Whittier paying full sticker and just thinking it will work out. In fact I strongly encourage anyone attending a non-elite school to work a year or two in the legal industry to see if it is something they enjoy. A J.D. from Harvard will open a ton of doors and a J.D. from Whittier will open a few and if you really enjoy the legal profession and not just what you see on T.V. it might be a great investment for you.