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Law Schools - Where and Why? - Page 16

post #226 of 418
I would say the big three markets are China (and as a subset, Hong Kong), Korea and Japan. To a lesser extent, Singapore. And consequently, if you can speak fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese, armed with a half decent JD and NY qualification you should be able to set up interviews at least.
post #227 of 418
I am going to repeat and elaborate on my thoughts.

I would really strongly caution anyone considering going to law school to not only look into the profession very thoroughly and also do some soul searching about why you are getting into the field. If you find yourself coming to some kind of conclusion about higher income or having a "safe" career, I would strongly recommend you rethink your choices.

Spending the last year or so of my life in the "document review" world, I can tell you it is no longer the land of misfit toys. There are a lot of good lawyers who in a better economy 10 years ago, would be safely earning a good salary someplace (for the record I am not talking about myself). The reality of the situation right now is that finding an entry level legal job is very difficult. If you miss the boat for some reason and fail to go the traditional paths of a respectable clerkship or a summer associate position, then you are going to be rolling the dice.

I'm friends with a lot of lawyers and they work across the spectrum. My law school roommate was class valedictorian, law review, etc. and works in "BigLaw". Some might say he has the dream job, but I sometimes wonder if law school applicants, 1Ls, etc. truly comprehend what working at one of these firms entails. As others have alluded to, there is certainly a good chance my roommate could be making more working in finance, at least at the moment, than in law. Also the suggestion that once you make it to BigLaw you have crossed the finishline, is not accurate. Especially in this market, you need to make it to BigLaw and then prove yourself, or you are out in 2 years. There is a steady stream of talent and not a lot of jobs.

I also have a number of friends who are at the smaller firms. 4-5 lawyers doing some insurance defense and a variety of other specialties. Honestly, I think that 10-15 years ago I would probably have found myself at a firm like one of these. The problem is that small business and real estate are hurting right now. A lot of these small firms were pulling in respectable amounts of money a couple years ago, but right now times are tough. One friend was told by the partner at his firm that he was making 500k a year a few years ago and this year he had about 75. It's a common story. It doesn't mean every firm is going bankrupt, but I think in general lawyers at these firms are working a lot of hours for way less money. It can still be a decent life, but again you have to ask yourself if three years of school and potentially 100k in debt are really worth it for just decent.

Finally, I think that in general the field is in a state of flux right now, which is the biggest reason I would caution people considering getting into it. I think even a large number of older and established attorneys are shielded from these changes somewhat for the moment, so they may give potential students a false picture of the profession (albeit, unintentionally). I think a lot of changes have occured in the last couple years and more changes are coming. A lot of lawyers have somewhat of a false sense of hope that things will be going back to the way they were once the economy improves (if it improves) and I am not so sure that it will. The combination of a bad economy and a dramatic improvement in technology are cause many law firms to become "leaner and meaner" with less associates doing the heavy lifting/grunt work they once occupied their early careers with. I see the beginnings of an expansion of reliance upon technology and a changing of roles within the law firm structure and the industry as a whole.
post #228 of 418
ughh... jeezus CTGuy.... appreciate your candor, but now I definitely need a drink!
post #229 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by aleksandr View Post

I would say the big three markets are China (and as a subset, Hong Kong), Korea and Japan. To a lesser extent, Singapore. And consequently, if you can speak fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese, armed with a half decent JD and NY qualification you should be able to set up interviews at least.

Japan and Korea are all but closed to foreign lawyers and the Chinese market is now filled with Chinese law graduates who can speak english.

Anyone who thinks these markets are somehow the "wave of the future" for North Americans is out to lunch. Anecdotally you will find the occasional North American partner working in the HK office of a major firm but the bulk of legal jobs in Asia are occupied by Asians.

EDIT: Korea/Japanese/Chinese students studying in America or, to a lesser extent, those of Asian heritage willing to relocate probably have a half decent shot at a gig in Asia but I still wouldn't call it a slam dunk.
post #230 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by aleksandr View Post

I would say the big three markets are China (and as a subset, Hong Kong), Korea and Japan. To a lesser extent, Singapore. And consequently, if you can speak fluent Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese, armed with a half decent JD and NY qualification you should be able to set up interviews at least.

Japan and Korea are all but closed to foreign lawyers and the Chinese market is now filled with Chinese law graduates who can speak english.

Anyone who thinks these markets are somehow the "wave of the future" for North Americans is out to lunch. Anecdotally you will find the occasional North American partner working in the HK office of a major firm but the bulk of legal jobs in Asia are occupied by Asians.

EDIT: Korea/Japanese/Chinese students studying in America or, to a lesser extent, those of Asian heritage willing to relocate probably have a half decent shot at a gig in Asia but I still wouldn't call it a slam dunk.

There was an interesting article I read in Asian Lawyer yesterday about the decline of Japan as an international legal market. It basically makes the point that Japan is a middle market country now and international firms are struggling to find a place. It also discusses how local hires are a big part of international firms' strategy because locals get paid less and don't need an expat benefits package.

That said, for a bilingual US attorney there are still some opportunities in Japan. IP litigation, international arbitration, and antitrust work are pockets of strength from what I can see, but you MUST be able to read and write at a college level and have near-native fluency in both languages to get in the door of a Tokyo office. Conversational proficiency won't cut it.
post #231 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington View Post

Japan and Korea are all but closed to foreign lawyers and the Chinese market is now filled with Chinese law graduates who can speak english.
Anyone who thinks these markets are somehow the "wave of the future" for North Americans is out to lunch. Anecdotally you will find the occasional North American partner working in the HK office of a major firm but the bulk of legal jobs in Asia are occupied by Asians.
EDIT: Korea/Japanese/Chinese students studying in America or, to a lesser extent, those of Asian heritage willing to relocate probably have a half decent shot at a gig in Asia but I still wouldn't call it a slam dunk.
Quote:
Originally Posted by retronotmetro View Post

There was an interesting article I read in Asian Lawyer yesterday about the decline of Japan as an international legal market. It basically makes the point that Japan is a middle market country now and international firms are struggling to find a place. It also discusses how local hires are a big part of international firms' strategy because locals get paid less and don't need an expat benefits package.
That said, for a bilingual US attorney there are still some opportunities in Japan. IP litigation, international arbitration, and antitrust work are pockets of strength from what I can see, but you MUST be able to read and write at a college level and have near-native fluency in both languages to get in the door of a Tokyo office. Conversational proficiency won't cut it.

I think with all the mergers occuring in North america and overseas the job market gets tougher by the day.
post #232 of 418
Thread Starter 
Applications in and paid for.

Waiting game. To where am I selling my soul? And who will comp me the most?
post #233 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Argentino View Post

Applications in and paid for.
Waiting game. To where am I selling my soul? And who will comp me the most?

What schools did you apply for?
post #234 of 418
Thread Starter 
A bunch throughout the southwest/west

Pepperdine, ASU, UofU, BYU, UofColorado, UNLV, etc.

As well as a few that I received free apps to - WashU, Penn State

Ultimate goal was UTAustin, but not a high enough LSAT for now. Taking it again in two weeks to see if I can bump it substantially enough, and then decide if it's worth trying for (despite not being a Texan)
post #235 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Argentino View Post

A bunch throughout the southwest/west
Pepperdine, ASU, UofU, BYU, UofColorado, UNLV, etc.
As well as a few that I received free apps to - WashU, Penn State
Ultimate goal was UTAustin, but not a high enough LSAT for now. Taking it again in two weeks to see if I can bump it substantially enough, and then decide if it's worth trying for (despite not being a Texan)

the last LSAT is next Saturday ya? How much do you need to improve? Thankfully I crushed the LSAT and applied to Pepperdine as well and almost exclusively schools in/around LA (a couple in NYC) as I'm in entertainment and IP. Already got some acceptances and scholarship offers....now I'm weighing the options... Good luck!
post #236 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Argentino View Post

A bunch throughout the southwest/west
Pepperdine, ASU, UofU, BYU, UofColorado, UNLV, etc.
As well as a few that I received free apps to - WashU, Penn State
Ultimate goal was UTAustin, but not a high enough LSAT for now. Taking it again in two weeks to see if I can bump it substantially enough, and then decide if it's worth trying for (despite not being a Texan)

You're the prototypical guy who shouldn't be going to law school.

Don't do it unless one of those schools gives you a free ride.
post #237 of 418
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington View Post

You're the prototypical guy who shouldn't be going to law school.
Don't do it unless one of those schools gives you a free ride.

Thanks - fuck you too.
post #238 of 418
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Argentino View Post

Thanks - fuck you too.

Fuck me? You should want to fuck me as thanks for the great advice I just gave you. Did you not read this thread? Thinks ain't rosy out there, my starry-eyed friend.
post #239 of 418
LB's just trying to be helpful. My top choice, UC Hastings, only had something like 60-70% of its last graduating class actually practice as full-time lawyers.

That said, I think I can attend and come out at around $100k debt or so. UCI will come out around $150k. Still waiting on a few more scholarship offers before I start the negotiation process.

Anyone have experience with that? Should I work my way from lower schools to higher ones? I'd appreciate a PM if someone has gone through the process before.
post #240 of 418
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington View Post

Fuck me? You should want to fuck me as thanks for the great advice I just gave you. Did you not read this thread? Thinks ain't rosy out there, my starry-eyed friend.

I started this thread and have read every single post.

My goal isn't big law, so I'm not trying to wade into over-saturated NYC, DC, or CA markets. I'm fine starting off in the Southwest, and hence I've applied throughout the region. I don't intend on dinking around, and I'm a very good student, so I'll be at or very near to top of class. I already know many influential people throughout the markets I'm looking at. I'm very confident my family and I will be fine.

I do apologize for the expletive, but c'mon man - not everyone coming in is doomed to failure.
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