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Thinking about law school? Read this. - Page 9

post #121 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by yerfdog View Post
Maybe Lawyerdad will correct me but I think another way that's often overlooked is to work in the federal government (with major exceptions, ie DOJ, fed agencies are much less snobby about school rank) for several years, then do the standard thing that happens w/lobbyists and regulators where you switch to private sector representing companies against your old agency.

In this market, every federal agency job is highly coveted. I think federal judicial clerkship applications were up 66%. Another program which places some recent law grads with the federal government (the Presidential Management Fellowship) had over a 70% increase. I read this worked out to about a 10% placement rate.

The 'standards' (DOJ, FTC, IRS, SEC, etc) were all highly sought after as well. They tend to do on-campus interviews in the fall of the 3L year; which coincided this year with only about 3% of law firms doing 3L OCI (compared to nearly 40-50% in the boom years).
post #122 of 134
Can I toss out a similar question? I've ran through the past 9 pages of this thread and they haven't really discouraged me. I'm a college sophomore: 3.9 at a small private school; english major; internship with county DA lined up for next year; family in law, etc etc etc.

Someone before was discussing 'deciding what you want to do' and then tailoring your education to fit that goal. But I don't really know what I want to do. Law is appealing because, shit, it's challenging, and I've always found it interesting. And I think I'm intelligent enough to actually go somewhere -- but everyone, I assume, thinks the same thing.

How do I make myself a better candidate for the best schools/eventual jobs? For awhile, I wanted to take my degree up to a PhD, and then try to find a job in academia, but that seems even less likely than making a comfortable living as a lawyer. And I'm not sure I'm the type of person that'd be content teaching. Should I go ahead and, after college, look into masters programs? Would taking the LSAT and applying with an MA instead of a BA help? Or should I just suck it up and see what happens?

(Sorry for the long post)
post #123 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by odoreater View Post
The bottom line is this, being a lawyer is not a very easy way to make a living. It's a lot of long hours, hard work, stress, etc., so any kid who is 19 years old and going on and on about wanting to become a lawyer must be missing something somewhere.

Actually, my law school essay was about deciding to become a lawyer instead of a plumber. I often think to myself that I might not have made the right choice.

Most positions where it is feasible to earn big $$$ will require long hours, hard work, stress, etc. Why do we think these jobs pay so well?

Also, to the thought of a plumber, etc. There is a big price your body pays.
post #124 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by yerfdog View Post
Maybe Lawyerdad will correct me but I think another way that's often overlooked is to work in the federal government (with major exceptions, ie DOJ, fed agencies are much less snobby about school rank) for several years, then do the standard thing that happens w/lobbyists and regulators where you switch to private sector representing companies against your old agency.

On the litigation side, this is true for many agencies (especially those that have criminal or civil regulatory enforcement authority, I think it's a bit less true in other areas, but I'm not really sure). No idea for transactional lawyers (maybe government contracting work, but I'm not really sure). The flip side is that the more sought-after prosecutorial jobs can be tough to get straight out of law school. I think many agencies have Honors programs or the like, where you can intern during school and then potentially get a post-grad job, or other openings for entry-level folks. But in my limited experience/knowledge, competition for jobs with DOJ or the U.S. Attorney's Office, financial regulatory agencies, Federal Public Defender's Office, and the like tend to be competititive, with most jobs going to attorneys who have at least a couple of years of practice behind them.
post #125 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strombollii View Post
Can I toss out a similar question? I've ran through the past 9 pages of this thread and they haven't really discouraged me. I'm a college sophomore: 3.9 at a small private school; english major; internship with county DA lined up for next year; family in law, etc etc etc.

Should I go ahead and, after college, look into masters programs? Would taking the LSAT and applying with an MA instead of a BA help? Or should I just suck it up and see what happens?

(Sorry for the long post)

Do you love English or is it just the major you picked because of, well, whatever?

A (solid) background in English composition will help you in law school, and perhaps in securing a judicial clerkship. Most law students can't write, and by the time you're a 1L, it's too late to learn (Scalia agrees).

The MA won't help so much on your law school apps, as the schools are primarily ranked by US News based on strength of entering class (GPA + LSAT) and the size of their per-pupil expenditure. If you can maintain the 3.9 GPA, that's a great start. Law schools do take the quality/prestige of undergraduate education into account to some degree. You say you're at a small private school; there is a world of difference between the top small private schools and many of them that you see scattered around the country.
post #126 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyquik View Post
Do you love English or is it just the major you picked because of, well, whatever?

A (solid) background in English composition will help you in law school, and perhaps in securing a judicial clerkship. Most law students can't write, and by the time you're a 1L, it's too late to learn (Scalia agrees).

The MA won't help so much on your law school apps, as the schools are primarily ranked by US News based on strength of entering class (GPA + LSAT) and the size of their per-pupil expenditure. If you can maintain the 3.9 GPA, that's a great start. Law schools do take the quality/prestige of undergraduate education into account to some degree. You say you're at a small private school; there is a world of difference between the top small private schools and many of them that you see scattered around the country.
I would say that it is the field of study that I derive the greatest interest from, and would be completely satisfied studying for the rest of my life. It wasn't an "oh I'm bad at math" sort of decision.

Would the degree help post-law school? I'm sort of torn (and obviously, have a year or so to decide), as to whether I'd rather push further into an English background and see if I can flush out some semblance of a career, keeping law school/a legal career on the backburner, with the added bonus that a graduate degree will help in some fashion (as opposed to me wasting time, following one path when I'd rather be traveling down the other); or if I should just push to law school.

As for the school, I'm at Elon, which is in North Carolina. It's not top-tier, but has been ranked in US News/World, and such. I've asked myself if I would consider transferring to a bigger/more recognized school (UNC-Chapel Hill keeps asking me to transfer), but I think I'm too entrenched in my current situation to be happy transferring.
post #127 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyquik View Post
In this market, every federal agency job is highly coveted. I think federal judicial clerkship applications were up 66%. Another program which places some recent law grads with the federal government (the Presidential Management Fellowship) had over a 70% increase. I read this worked out to about a 10% placement rate.

The 'standards' (DOJ, FTC, IRS, SEC, etc) were all highly sought after as well. They tend to do on-campus interviews in the fall of the 3L year; which coincided this year with only about 3% of law firms doing 3L OCI (compared to nearly 40-50% in the boom years).

Yeah, I mean the honors programs are tough to get into. I failed to get into any of the like 20 that I applied to, one of which even flew me out for an interview. But if you have some type of specialized experience it seems like it wouldn't be as hard to get into one of the lesser-known agencies like Health & Human Services or something.
post #128 of 134
just for the new guy asking questions: for reference, prestige of undergrad doesn't matter much in the Admissions process. 3.6 at any school > 3.4 at top undergrad.
post #129 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by rjakapeanut View Post
just for the new guy asking questions: for reference, prestige of undergrad doesn't matter much in the Admissions process. 3.6 at any school > 3.4 at top undergrad.
So true. I also believe that given the same LSAT scores, 4.0 GPA Basket weaving at JC for first 2 years then transfer to state school >>> 3.0 GPA Engineering at top school.
post #130 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by intent View Post
So true. I also believe that given the same LSAT scores, 4.0 GPA Basket weaving at JC for first 2 years then transfer to state school >>> 3.0 GPA Engineering at top school.

i'm not sure if you're being sarcastic but that is absolutely true.

a 4.0 at ANY school > 3.0 at harvard. or even 3.5 at harvard.

a huge tip i have for anyone thinking of going to law school is going to top law school forums (http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/index.php) it's a really great site. not only do they have an incredible amount of information regarding how to prepare for the LSAT and how to choose a school, but they also have plenty of actual practicing lawyers from all walks of life giving advice and all that great stuff.

they have law school admissions pretty much down to a science. the undergrad prestige thing was debunked a long time ago.
post #131 of 134
Well, to be fair, if you're at a shitty undergrad because you couldn't get into any good colleges, it's pretty likely your LSATs will be shit, too.
post #132 of 134
This whole thread makes me think, profesional pilots. You're average commuter pilot has spent $70k+ to go into a job where the average working day is 16 hours and they start on around $13,000 with little or no hope of ever reaching the legacy airlines, where they can at least earn a reasonable salary.
post #133 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by skyman View Post
This whole thread makes me think, profesional pilots. You're average commuter pilot has spent $70k+ to go into a job where the average working day is 16 hours and they start on around $13,000 with little or no hope of ever reaching the legacy airlines, where they can at least earn a reasonable salary.

Heh, i have a friend that spend almost 100k becoming a helicopter pilot. She has enough hours to get some work, but not enough to get jobs flying execs around.
post #134 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by GQgeek View Post
Heh, i have a friend that spend almost 100k becoming a helicopter pilot. She has enough hours to get some work, but not enough to get jobs flying execs around.

Exactly it's catch 22, you have a license, you have 250 hours. Every job asks for 1500 minimum, and there are a bunch of ex military pilots who have 3000+. You are broke from the 100k+ fees, and can't afford to get the extra hours to get a job. So you bust your arse to get a few more hours and then fly a turboprop around for 13k a year, working a 16 hour day, and then onto a second job.
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