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Future plans...Law School??! Sound advice welcome.

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by MonMornQB, Oct 20, 2012.

  1. MonMornQB

    MonMornQB Member

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    I'm new to SF, pardon if I break any of the forum rules. The purpose of my post is because I'm a 28-year-old college student who graduates next year with a degree in Legal studies. Yeah, I know! Ever since I went back to school a few years ago to complete my degree I had my mind set on attending law school upon graduation, but after considering the legal job market the past year or so, I'm highly skeptical. I attend a regional school in Kansas and scored a 157 on the LSAT. My gpa is 3.5. I've received some offers from various schools in the midwest and on the east coast, but none in the t-14. It's possible I could receive a partial scholarship from the regional universities law school, but I'd still be adding more loan debt to the already 45 grand or so I've accumulated already during undergrad. Should law school still be an option? Would it be wise?

    If not law school, what other options are available to a 28 year old with a degree in Legal studies? To add, I have been working steadily since 22. But the last 6 years I've worked full- time in nursing as a certified medication aide. I have no desire to continue in this field which is why I chose legal studies/ pre-law courses at the university. I am a go-getter type person and the last five years or so I've made, would I believe, is very good use of my time; school, wrote a fiction novel I want to publish, involved myself in a leadership role with various community activism causes here in Kansas. I even managed to get some recognition in the local paper for my endeavors with school and the community.

    I'm certainly at a crossroads, and my next few steps are critical. Any thoughts on what moves I should take next? How can I leverage my degree? What type of employment would best utilize the skills I do have and allow me to earn a decent living? Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  2. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    Two realistic options for law school:

    1) T-14 (but even then, the bottom of the T-14 at full price isn't a safe bet anymore)
    2) Full scholarship (or close to full) somewhere else.

    For either of those, you'll need way more than a 157 LSAT.

    Take this advice seriously. Seriously.
     
  3. sns23

    sns23 Senior member

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    Yup. Even t14 does not guarantee anything. I know plenty of people who did well at t14 schools and are still struggling to find employment. Also, even if you finish in the top 5 % at a regional school expect to make 50k or less if you are even lucky enough to be employed at all (about a 50/50 chance of employment).

    In summation, don't go to law school. I don't see legal employment being much better in a few years. You are probably better off trying paralegal work. He'll, after three years of work you will probably make as much as entry level attorneys
     
  4. nick.g

    nick.g Active Member

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    For law school the only good options are the higher t14s and a 3.5 and 157 are very, very mediocre stats for those schools.

    Please don't go to law school, you'll be in so much debt its not even funny and your job prospects are bleak because the US law school system is out of control. Too many worthless schools that only care about tuition money pumping out foolish graduates.
     
  5. sns23

    sns23 Senior member

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    Some of the top schools in the nation are also guilty of being diploma mills. Harvard, Columbia, and GWU are among the worst offenders. Pumping out 500+ attorneys each year.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  6. Ebichuman

    Ebichuman Senior member

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    North and East from the centre
  7. MonMornQB

    MonMornQB Member

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    Thanks all for the advice. So it seems legal education is a no-go no matter the circumstances. I considered grinding out a few prep LSAT courses (which cost!!) trying to raise my score, but the consensus appears that that would be a waste of time.

    Paralegal work is certainly an option, but a lot of those jobs are being absorbed by out of work attorneys. Any other suggestions on possible work options for someone with my degree or suggestions on what graduate school I should maybe look into that would build on what I have and has a chance of being lucrative in the future?
     
  8. sns23

    sns23 Senior member

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    Not as many as you think. It is really tough for law school graduates right now because 1) there are few entry level attorney jobs and 2)they are overqualified to get a paralegal or other legal related job. Most employers won't touch a JD with a 10 foot pole because they are afraid of the person jumping ship if a better job comes along (which i don't think employers quite understand is going to be rare today).

    A legal education is still good if you can go to a top 3 school and you know you will finish in the top 5 or 10% of the class or if you already know somebody in the legal field, like having your father have his own firm, and you are absolutely, 100%, guaranteed a job when you graduate.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  9. imschatz

    imschatz Senior member

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    Have you thought about grad school? as a cheaper alternative to law school. What did you want to do with your law degree? Maybe you could spin that career goal into a different education path.

    A bachelors and a few core classes is all that's needed for most grad degrees (ie: you don't need a poli-sci degree to get a master's degree in poli-sci, just a few core poli-sci classes). It'll be cheaper then starting over at the bachelors level. If you shop around, it is possible to get grad studies partially/fully funded.

    I'd only suggest this if you have a goal, and you don't have another option of getting there. Going to grad school without a goal is a recipe for added debt and no better job prospects.
     
  10. MonMornQB

    MonMornQB Member

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    ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  11. MonMornQB

    MonMornQB Member

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    I'm considering grad school, yes. I'm not sure which direction to go now that law school is looking like an impossibility. I had planned on focusing on criminal law in law school; practicing as a cda after school.

    However, I did also want to get into the non-profit sector. Having a non- profit which offers community-based services, i.e., youth literacy, job placement, overall health, career transition training etc., has been a long-term goal of mine for some time. I'm not sure how I'd spin these plans into another career path in lieu of the JD.

    I'm open for ideas though?

    What grad school courses would be good to pursue to accomplish this? And what exactly do I have to do to get grad school partially/ fully funded? I already have 45k undergrad debt, adding more debt thru grad school is the only concern I have about more education.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  12. thewzrd

    thewzrd Member

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    T-14 or bust - seriously.

    Its just a infested over saturation..
     
  13. sns23

    sns23 Senior member

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    T14 with full scholarship or bust.
     
  14. MonMornQB

    MonMornQB Member

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    Thanks for all the repsonses. They were very helpful.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  15. CushyCouture

    CushyCouture Well-Known Member

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    Wait, what the hell, how do you have 45k in debt from I'm assuming a public school? I went to a top 10 undergrad and didn't even have that much debt upon graduating! Has the cost of college gone up THAT much?
     
  16. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Yes. $45k total is around $11k a year, which is a good deal cheaper than most public schools these days. After various fees (including housing, which OP may have avoided), most are running around $16-25k these days, in state. Out of state, market rate, which is essentially the same as a private school (mine was $45k, which is typical) of a comparable tier. Actually, for out of state students, private schools are often just as good a deal, because they're often able to offer better scholarship deals to out of state students.

    It is almost literally impossible to work your way through college these days. Any time I hear somebody railing about kids not having any work ethic or whatever because they're not working themselves through college, it's an instant indicator that the speaker has no idea what they're talking about.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  17. CushyCouture

    CushyCouture Well-Known Member

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    I don't know if this matters but I graduated 6 years ago and I worked my way through college. It requires a lot of hard work, but it's possible. I worked multiple internships that paid me 20 some dollars an hour. Coupled with the free money I got from school I was able to graduate with less debt than the OP.
     
  18. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    $20 an hour for an internship sans college degree is not anywhere near normal, especially in this economy. It's great that you were able to do it, but recognize that your experience is very rare.

    Things have changed very dramatically over time. I met a man in his 80's a few years ago who was able to pay his way through four years at a private school (one which now runs about $30k a year, with an estimate of $45 with housing, expenses,and fees) by working at the local mill for one year. That's your historic contrast. Four years of college could be comfortably paid for with what moderately skilled labor in a non-union environment made in a year. No debt, and money left over.

    More people are going to college than ever, college costs have skyrocketed at four times the rate of inflation (you know how people say medical costs have shot up? College costs have gone up at twice the rate), and college is more necessary than ever. Something doesn't add up, and everybody has their pet theory, but there are going to be some serious societal consequences if these trends keep going. Hell, we're already seeing young workers stuck under a mountain of debt while stuck with low paying jobs, at the same time as the elimination of a lot of entry level professional positions, which hasn't exactly had good consequences for our economy.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2012
  19. CushyCouture

    CushyCouture Well-Known Member

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    Well it depends what your industry is, in mine $2X/hr is normal for an internship. And from what I've heard it is also the norm for finance internships.

    As for the young workers stuck in a mountain of debt, that is their own fault more often than not. My parents didn't pay for my expensive college education and I paid off my college debt within a year. If you're poor growing up, perhaps it's not a good idea to major in communications at a state school. Now I'm not saying that everyone should do finance or engineering, but it is often a good alternative if you don't have financial backing. And if you're not smart enough to handle one of those useful majors, maybe college isn't the best investment, maybe you should go to trade school, or play music, or basically use your talents to earn money. And for those who are poor because they are trying to live their dream, that's cool too, but if they are smart enough to know how good or bad they are, and if they are truly passionate and work incredibly hard at it, there's a good chance they'll make it in America. All this is capitalism for you, a majority of the time things work out such that you can at least afford to support yourself. Over half the people who say otherwise are like those idiots from Occupy Wall Street.
     
  20. CushyCouture

    CushyCouture Well-Known Member

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    Not only that, a lot of people are in debt because they are stupid with their money. Look at the current financial crisis we're in; it's due in large part to the credit comes first mentality many people have. I know people who:

    1. Spend $100/month on a cell phone bill when they are studying for their GED and have a kid at home.
    2. Have credit card debt but buys a new car.

    Earlier I posted a question asking about wardrobe budget. We are all protected by anonymity and yet I only got 1 response. This tells me the majority of the people here either:

    1. Are mega rich and think I'm a joke for not being able to afford $1XX dress shirts, so they don't bother replying.
    2. Are significantly poorer than me but buy the expensive clothes I read about in those magazines, and are too ashamed to even reply through an anonymous forum.

    I live in one of the most expensive cities in the United States, so even though I make 100k I still can't reasonably afford to dress in Thomas Pink and wear Oliver People's sunglasses no matter how much I want to. I guess if you want to be an idiot and not save anything for retirement/family/investments then yeah, you can but if you want those things you simply can't.
     

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