Law School Discussion

Cady

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Cady
« on: July 23, 2007, 10:49:14 PM »
Cady
 

Beer's link contains a wrenching (but, for those of us who have read lots of similar blogs, unsurprising) post from a U of MN grad considering moving to Ireland to avoid repayment of law school debt due to an inability to find a job. Kind of like Michael Moore's Sicko focused on the horror stories of people WITH health insurance, this woman's post serves as a corrective to those who think a Top 25 school is a free ticket to six-fig salaries; it is not only the T2-T4 grads who suffer. (I especially enjoyed her point about even small, 40K-paying firms that feel "entitled" to require top qualifications/LS pedigrees/grades from law students).

Such posts bothered me the most when I was taking the first tentative steps toward applying to/thinking about LS. A bit of hard thinking about my current finances and (non-trad) situation has made the negative aspects of post-LS prospects sit a little easier with me. Since undergrad, I've worked (in some cases, been exploited) for almost ten years in other fields (have a non-tech, non-business graduate degree) and have become used to low salaries in a city with a very high cost of living. My job has required me to work closely with certain elements of the law and with lawyers, and I've found it to my liking. I'd be pleased to find legal employment paying around 55-60K (or 10-15K less in a less expensive area), but I am prepared for the fact that I may not be able to find a job immediately after LS (and have planned accordingly), and that when I do, it may be for considerably less than 55K.

Non-Trads might come off as condescending sometimes, and perhaps unjustifiably so (I'd like to be entering LS a few years younger, for e.g.), but one advantage we may have is years of perspective on the type of jobs that would satisfy us after graduation, and, more importantly, the type of job we may have a real shot at. A few things I've ruled out are relying on Career Services/OCI to find a job; taking on more debt than I will be able to comfortably pay off; and assuming that even good grades at the Top 18-30 schools I am considering will net me a high-paying job.

 Or maybe I'm just easy to please.   ;)


It really comes down to grades when you are not at the top schools.  I've been told by hiring partners at several firms that being in the top 20% of the class at the tier 3/4 in the area would be just as good as top 50% at the T-14 just down the road, at least as far as getting a big law job in this area is concerned. 

It is scary starting law school, knowing how much it is going to cost, and realizing that practically everyone there goes in thinking they will be near the top of the class. 

Do a little more homework. Because they might not be so far off.

Or it could be that there is some truth to the persistent warnings of the various blogs and trolls that frequent the interwebs - namely, that you should really, really, really take caution before signing that 100K plus tender at the private T2 or T3 school at your location of choice.

Beer speaks the truth. 

People from my graduating class at Temple who weren't in the top 15% struggled to find jobs.  A great number of them are still temping.  Although this is bad, at least a lot of us only have in-state tuition to pay off.

The story is much worse for those who were unfortunate enough to be private school grads (Villanova, Widener & Dickinson).  Mired in debt that often exceeds $120,000, and unable to find jobs, many are tied to document review jobs, since they cannot afford to take a lesser paying job.

Butters Stotch

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Beer's link contains a wrenching (but, for those of us who have read lots of similar blogs, unsurprising) post from a U of MN grad considering moving to Ireland to avoid repayment of law school debt due to an inability to find a job. Kind of like Michael Moore's Sicko focused on the horror stories of people WITH health insurance, this woman's post serves as a corrective to those who think a Top 25 school is a free ticket to six-fig salaries; it is not only the T2-T4 grads who suffer. (I especially enjoyed her point about even small, 40K-paying firms that feel "entitled" to require top qualifications/LS pedigrees/grades from law students).


Very thoughtful post.

The unfortunate (depending upon your perspective) reality is that the ratio of "good" jobs to law school grads is SO lopsided that small firms can afford to be selective like this. 

Beer's link contains a wrenching (but, for those of us who have read lots of similar blogs, unsurprising) post from a U of MN grad considering moving to Ireland to avoid repayment of law school debt due to an inability to find a job. Kind of like Michael Moore's Sicko focused on the horror stories of people WITH health insurance, this woman's post serves as a corrective to those who think a Top 25 school is a free ticket to six-fig salaries; it is not only the T2-T4 grads who suffer. (I especially enjoyed her point about even small, 40K-paying firms that feel "entitled" to require top qualifications/LS pedigrees/grades from law students).

Such posts bothered me the most when I was taking the first tentative steps toward applying to/thinking about LS. A bit of hard thinking about my current finances and (non-trad) situation has made the negative aspects of post-LS prospects sit a little easier with me. Since undergrad, I've worked (in some cases, been exploited) for almost ten years in other fields (have a non-tech, non-business graduate degree) and have become used to low salaries in a city with a very high cost of living. My job has required me to work closely with certain elements of the law and with lawyers, and I've found it to my liking. I'd be pleased to find legal employment paying around 55-60K (or 10-15K less in a less expensive area), but I am prepared for the fact that I may not be able to find a job immediately after LS (and have planned accordingly), and that when I do, it may be for considerably less than 55K.

Non-Trads might come off as condescending sometimes, and perhaps unjustifiably so (I'd like to be entering LS a few years younger, for e.g.), but one advantage we may have is years of perspective on the type of jobs that would satisfy us after graduation, and, more importantly, the type of job we may have a real shot at. A few things I've ruled out are relying on Career Services/OCI to find a job; taking on more debt than I will be able to comfortably pay off; and assuming that even good grades at the Top 18-30 schools I am considering will net me a high-paying job.


Or maybe I'm just easy to please.   ;)



I couldn't agree with you more.

I in no way think that the boasting and trolling seen on the interwebs represents the true ability and character of most younger ls students. I would hate to become that non-trad who thinks good music stopped being made in 1994.  :D

However, there is a great gift in being an underpaid underling with no autonomy or a window for several years - the life of a lawyer at its ugliest still has some shine in my eyes.

And I am not exactly working poor but I do recognize some things about myself that only the work world could have revealed - I like logic, I like autonomy, I like ridiculous titles that impress no one but look pretty on my desk, I like being challenged, I like having something new to learn. Basically I think the law has the potential to offer me a great deal of what my personality demands. Not knowing those things about oneself and chasing a salary is a sure recipe for diaster for ANYONE. 

I'm an insurance agent and I have peers who make more than a lawyer on a bad day and they are on every RX antidepressant known to man.

Know thyself. That's the key. If you can live with the worse case scenario then you're in pretty good shape.

I also know enough not to trust my future to career counselors. I have a friend who is a career counselor. The idea of her counseling piss out of an upside down boot scares me. And someone HIRED her to guide students with more educational credentials than she has! Boggles my mind.

You have to have an idea of where you're going, be able to articulate in 30 seconds or less and aware that a bigger price tag on your degree does not exactly equal a happier life.  In fact, more often than not it pretty much precludes a happier life. 150k in loans?! My HOUSE cost less than that. Pshaw.

I'm going to law school to STOP being a slave. Why be one to debt?

You have to have an idea of where you're going, be able to articulate in 30 seconds or less and aware that a bigger price tag on your degree does not exactly equal a happier life.  In fact, more often than not it pretty much precludes a happier life. 150k in loans?! My HOUSE cost less than that. Pshaw.

Must be a crappy house in a crappy place.  Or you must be REALLY old.

sounds like someone who thinks NY/LA/Chicago are the center of the universe.

I live in one of the top banking cities in the world. We have low unemployment, decent cost of living and my home - all 1450 brand new, semi-customized feet of it - cost less than $150k

You have to have an idea of where you're going, be able to articulate in 30 seconds or less and aware that a bigger price tag on your degree does not exactly equal a happier life.  In fact, more often than not it pretty much precludes a happier life. 150k in loans?! My HOUSE cost less than that. Pshaw.

Must be a crappy house in a crappy place.  Or you must be REALLY old.


Or maybe she lives in a normal city?  My 3-bedroom, 2k sq. feet, with golf course and lake view, in a great area is going for around 150.  This is in suburb of Dallas.

*nods*

And I may have forgotten to mention my upward trending appreciation thanks to the availiability of a little thing called "land". People in some cities may not have ever seen any not covered in skyscrapers and the homeless. Much like the way they may have not ever seen grass not fenced in...like a nature zoo. LOL



UFBoldAsLove

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Personally, I'm glad for all the trolls/scary blogs... they really made me reevaluate where I stand on the rank v. $$$ debate.

Personally, I'm glad for all the trolls/scary blogs... they really made me reevaluate where I stand on the rank v. $$$ debate.

What's the new verdict?