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Thinking about law school? Read this.

post #1 of 134
Thread Starter 
This article tells it the way it is, not the way you wish it should be. This should be required reading for every person who's even thinking about entering the legal profession.

http://www.law.com/jsp/law/careercen...=1208256428026

A little snippet:

Quote:
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During the last three decades, the size and geographic dispersion of the global economy has dramatically increased the demand for sophisticated corporate legal services. In contrast, the demand for personal-services legal work -- wills and estates, personal injury, family law, simple business contracts, etc. -- has grown at roughly the rate of population growth.

These dynamics have resulted in a "bimodal" income distribution, in which there is a heavy concentration of salaries in two distinct ranges, based on salary figures provided by NALP. At the high end are the large corporate firm starting salaries that so interest the media. In 2006, salaries in the largest firms in major markets jumped from $125,000 to $135,000 to $145,000. Thus out of 22,684 starting salaries reported for 2006, 4,809, or 21.2 percent, were in the $125,000 to $145,000 range. (In 2007, this mode moved further to the right due to associate "salary wars.") Yet prospective lawyers need to remember that most new lawyers do not earn $160,000 a year at a large firm. Many earn $40,000 to $55,000 per year in small to midsize firms and solo practice. In 2006, 8,577 reported salaries, or 37.8 percent, were in this range out of the 22,684. The payments on $100,000-plus worth of law school debt look quite different to someone earning $50,000 than they do to someone earning $160,000 a year.
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post #2 of 134
yeah it doesn't seem great but i really have no other choice than to go to law school. i still have a couple years before 1L though.
post #3 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
yeah it doesn't seem great but i really have no other choice than to go to law school. i still have a couple years before 1L though.

Not a good attitude nor position to be in. How did you screw yourself out of other options?
post #4 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
yeah it doesn't seem great but i really have no other choice than to go to law school. i still have a couple years before 1L though.
This makes zero sense.
post #5 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
yeah it doesn't seem great but i really have no other choice than to go to law school. i still have a couple years before 1L though.

It's never too late to switch your major from poli sci (or history, or sociology, or whatever) to something more useful
post #6 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
yeah it doesn't seem great but i really have no other choice than to go to law school. i still have a couple years before 1L though.
Grow a beard and join the circus.
post #7 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
i really have no other choice than to go to law school.
Incorrect.
post #8 of 134
Note the article is 2 years old.

But still a good read, and advice that no one will heed.
post #9 of 134
this is the most attention i've gotten on styleforum ever lol anyways, what i mean is i only want to be a lawyer. my backup is english teacher. i'm an english major right now. either way don't trip, my grades are good enough for t14, and i'm probably going to go to LSU. so i'll likely get a full ride anyway.
post #10 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
this is the most attention i've gotten on styleforum ever lol anyways, what i mean is i only want to be a lawyer. my backup is english teacher. i'm an english major right now. either way don't trip, my grades are good enough for t14, and i'm probably going to go to LSU. so i'll likely get a full ride anyway.
Let me give you some unsolicited, off-the-cuff, and possibly unwelcome advice, because I was an English major who once had the same plan in life. A lawyer and an english teacher are two entirely different professions, so when I hear someone say "Yeah, I'm aiming for law, but my safety is education," I facepalm. It sounds like you're picking a career based on what options you think are available to you, given your English major. That's not the right way to look at your career. Not the right way whatsoever. Pick a career you want, and then tailor your major and your studies toward that career. Don't pick a career based on what you perceive to be the default choices left open to you. You will spend the majority of your life working. Don't let that work be something you felt you had to choose or fall into. Make it something you were the architect of. You're going to hear people tell you "Oh, you're an English major? Guess you can either be a lawyer, a writer, or an educator." Fuck those people, dude. You can and should be what you want to be. If what you really want to be is either a lawyer or a teacher, so be it. But those professions are so radically different, in every possible dimension, that I have a hard time believing they're your two biggest passions in life. At the very least, educate yourself as fully as possible about both career choices. Because it takes a very different type of person to succeed in either one.
post #11 of 134
Don't listen to the h8rs. You're mother was right, you're special. You'll be knocking down 179k first year out.
post #12 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard View Post
Let me give you some unsolicited, off-the-cuff, and possibly unwelcome advice, because I was an English major who once had the same plan in life.

A lawyer and an english teacher are two entirely different professions, so when I hear someone say "Yeah, I'm aiming for law, but my safety is education," I facepalm. It sounds like you're picking a career based on what options you think are available to you, given your English major. That's not the right way to look at your career. Not the right way whatsoever.

Pick a career you want, and then tailor your major and your studies toward that career. Don't pick a career based on what you perceive to be the default choices left open to you. You will spend the majority of your life working. Don't let that work be something you felt you had to choose or fall into. Make it something you were the architect of.

You're going to hear people tell you "Oh, you're an English major? Guess you can either be a lawyer, a writer, or an educator." Fuck those people, dude. You can and should be what you want to be. If what you really want to be is either a lawyer or a teacher, so be it. But those professions are so radically different, in every possible dimension, that I have a hard time believing they're your two biggest passions in life. At the very least, educate yourself as fully as possible about both career choices. Because it takes a very different type of person to succeed in either one.
If you ask the guy who posted below you, enjoying your work is stupid. You're supposed to suffer. That's why you get paid to do it. DUH!
post #13 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
this is the most attention i've gotten on styleforum ever lol

anyways, what i mean is i only want to be a lawyer. my backup is english teacher. i'm an english major right now.

either way don't trip, my grades are good enough for t14, and i'm probably going to go to LSU. so i'll likely get a full ride anyway.

How do you know that you "only want to be a lawyer"? Have you actually worked in a law office/firm? Observed the things lawyers do on a day-to-day basis? Have you seen the full spectrum of the legal practice, from public defender, to in-house counsel, to biglaw, to solo practitioner? If you have not, then you don't really KNOW you want to be a lawyer, you only think you do.
post #14 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwilkinson View Post
If you ask the guy who posted below you, enjoying your work is stupid. You're supposed to suffer. That's why you get paid to do it. DUH!

Well, in a perfect scenario, what you like to do and what pays well are the same thing. Hopefully this dude actually likes being a lawyer, because if so, more power to him. But if he doesn't, he's going to lead a miserable fucking existence and probably suck at his job.
post #15 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
this is the most attention i've gotten on styleforum ever lol

anyways, what i mean is i only want to be a lawyer. my backup is english teacher. i'm an english major right now.

either way don't trip, my grades are good enough for t14, and i'm probably going to go to LSU. so i'll likely get a full ride anyway.

The Louisiana market is also slow but not as bad as some areas. The salaries cited in the article for small and mid-sized firms is kind of low, even by Louisiana standards. I work in a small-mid sized firm and my starting salary 7 years ago was better than that. If you work hard and get into a nice sized firm in New Orleans, Baton Rouge or Lafayette, your starting salary should be plenty enough to live on.

The best advice that I can give you is to focus on relationships when you're clerking. Yes, your grades and writing ability matter but firms are looking for people that will fit into their culture. Summer clerkships are not the time to express your individuality or to show any irresponsible behavior. You can do that all you want when you're a partner. Just present yourself as a hardworking, responsible adult and you'll be fine. It's expensive to train and retain an associate. The last thing that firms want to do is to take a chance on someone, regardless of how smart that person might be.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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