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Is becoming a lawyer a mistake?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by CTGuy, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Bear in mind, there are a lot of people who want to work overseas, particularly in attractive counties such as France.
     
  2. IUtoSLU

    IUtoSLU Senior member

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    Bear in mind, there are a lot of people who want to work overseas, particularly in attractive counties such as France.

    Finding legal jobs depends on two things:
    1) Class Rank/School prestige
    2) Connections

    If you have neither of these, you are in trouble. Speaking french doesn't really help. The MBA will be a negative unless you have actual work experience (aka, a prior career). An MBA straight out of undergrad is worthless and will be recognized as such.


    In that case, you may need both 1 and 2.
     
  3. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Being a lawyer is a mistake ... therefore becoming a lawyer is also a mistake.
     
  4. Verno Inferno

    Verno Inferno Well-Known Member

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    I will just throw this out there. I love my job as an attorney. I put in 3 years at a firm doing litigation. I've been in-house for about 3.5 years---I consult on large electronic discovery issues for an enormous company. It's part IT, part legal, part business, a lot of project management. I love it. In my field I have to hire a bunch of contract attorneys. We get a bunch of dejected folks every couple months. The ones who are awesome, smart and hard-working? We can never keep around because they all end up with permanent jobs elsewhere. The ones who bitch and moan about the plight of the job situation out there? They are always available for a temp gig. And they tend to be idiots.

    Look: there's a law school out there for any moron. Morons will get through. They will pass the bar. And they will add their numbers to the list of folks looking for work. And the number of unemployed JDs will look daunting. But believe me: if you can formulate a 5 paragraph essay on what your summer vacation was like and keep it boring instead of offensive---you have a leg up on a majority of them.

    The only thing I would do different is that I wouldn't spend so much on law school. Looking back, I would only spend this small fortune if it was going to buy me a nationaly prestigious law school diploma. Top 20 school. Otherwise, what's the point? I could have spent half as much elsewhere and landed my first entry level job. I got my job there because I took on a position with them as a paralegal in my last year of law school. They liked me and they were expanding. Hooray.

    I don't accuse anyone here of this, but I've run into way too many people who believe that a law degree entitles them to become a lawyer. They forgot that you should also be smart, presentable, personable, intellectually curious, passionate and hard working. They blame everyone but themselves.
     
  5. Meis

    Meis Senior member

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    Look: there's a law school out there for any moron. Morons will get through. They will pass the bar. And they will add their numbers to the list of folks looking for work. And the number of unemployed JDs will look daunting. But believe me: if you can formulate a 5 paragraph essay on what your summer vacation was like and keep it boring instead of offensive---you have a leg up on a majority of them.

    The only thing I would do different is that I wouldn't spend so much on law school. Looking back, I would only spend this small fortune if it was going to buy me a nationaly prestigious law school diploma. Top 20 school. Otherwise, what's the point? I could have spent half as much elsewhere and landed my first entry level job. I got my job there because I took on a position with them as a paralegal in my last year of law school. They liked me and they were expanding. Hooray.


    As someone who recently graduated (may '10) I highly agree with this. I think it's definitely true that its only worth spending the huge $$$ if you're at a top school. From my experience no one cares about school ranking OR class ranking unless either/both is very good. For example no one seems to care that someone went to the 55th ranked school vs. the 90th ranked one (its top 15-25 and then everyone else). I think this is even more true with class rank - its either you're great or you're everyone else. I've rarely seen job postings specifying a class rank lower than top 33% or so - Everyone else is pretty much the same in their eyes (which I'd say is pretty true - the people I went to school with that were at the 30th percentile were just as competent as people at the 30th percentile.)
    I'd also argue that connections far outweigh everything else (at least for the vast majority of people). Grades only matter if they're amazing.

    I'm curious to hear the experiences of other people that have graduated in the past few years. The majority of people I know that graduated with me are still unemployed (myself included), and of those that are employed I can't think of a single person that has a particularly "good" job. i.e. most of those that are employed are working 10+ hours a day for shit money.
     
  6. KevM

    KevM Active Member

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    I graduated in May from a school that is bottom of the top 100. I agree about avoiding spending money unless it is a top 25 (preferably top 14 school). Although, I'd say that it changes somewhat depending on the market. It could be worth it to spend the extra money on a school ranked 75 over a lower ranked one because it may place exceptionally well in a particular market. Obviously the degree won't travel well, but depending on the person it could be worth it. I found that the job market really picked up in January. Not sure why but I suppose that the firms have new budgets. I had three interviews last week and an offer, which equaled the total from June-December (minus the offer).

    As far as the question- is law school worth it. When people ask, I recommend that they don't go to law school unless they have a job in mind where they need a JD. None of the the "it is a flexible degree", or "I'll figure out what lawyers actually do later" BS.
     
  7. Kai

    Kai Senior member

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    If my kid wanted to become a lawyer, I'd tell him not to bother unless he could get into a top 5 law school.
     
  8. rjakapeanut

    rjakapeanut Senior member

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    If my kid wanted to become a lawyer, I'd tell him not to bother unless he could get into a top 5 law school.

    that's silly if he gets a free ride at a good regional school
     
  9. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    that's silly if he gets a free ride at a good regional school

    The law of opportunity costs disagrees, unless he ends up with a rare, awesome, post-grad job.
     
  10. rjakapeanut

    rjakapeanut Senior member

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    The law of opportunity costs disagrees, unless he ends up with a rare, awesome, post-grad job.
    what if he wants to be a lawyer and gets a free ride at a good regional school the whole "opportunity costs" thing is bs, btw
     
  11. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    Wait, whaaaaaa? I must have did it wrong [​IMG]
     
  12. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    If my kid wanted to become a lawyer, I'd tell him not to bother unless he could get into a top 5 law school.
    I agree, unless he knows that he wants to practice in a certain state. In that case, a law degree from the state's law school may be more valuable than a law degree from Harvard.
     
  13. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    what if he wants to be a lawyer and gets a free ride at a good regional school
    That's a different scenario than the one I'm talking about, obviously. You lumped everybody into one category -- I provided a counterexample.

    Why?
     
  14. rjakapeanut

    rjakapeanut Senior member

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    That's a different scenario than the one I'm talking about, obviously. You lumped everybody into one category -- I provided a counterexample.


    Why?


    it's really not a different scenario.

    opportunity costs is a bullshit argument imo. you don't actually lose anything but time. people say "well in those three years you could've made $X rather than make zero going to law school" don't get that many law students don't have the type of bachelor's degree required to earn a decent salary.

    do you really think someone with a bachelor's in english literature is going to regret missing out on 3 years of starbucks wages when he could go to law school and possibly become very wealthy as a lawyer?

    I agree, unless he knows that he wants to practice in a certain state. In that case, a law degree from the state's law school may be more valuable than a law degree from Harvard.

    exactlyyy. that's what most people don't understand. in many states a local degree (in my case LSU or tulane) is all that any local employer can reasonably expect -- people with degrees from higher up schools like harvard or even lower t1 schools like texas-austin aren't coming to louisiana, for example, for work. most of the people who work as lawyers down here got their degrees down here. common sense.
     
  15. Plestor

    Plestor Senior member

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    it's really not a different scenario. opportunity costs is a bullshit argument imo. you don't actually lose anything but time. people say "well in those three years you could've made $X rather than make zero going to law school" don't get that many law students don't have the type of bachelor's degree required to earn a decent salary. do you really think someone with a bachelor's in english literature is going to regret missing out on 3 years of starbucks wages when he could go to law school and possibly become very wealthy as a lawyer?
    How much of the major choice is due to the ability to go become a lawyer tho. You have a total of 7 years of opportunity cost for the entire tertiary education. Obviously once the undergrad chips have fallen this is different, but who really completes an undergrad in english lit with no intention of going onto law and the choses to later?
     
  16. rjakapeanut

    rjakapeanut Senior member

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    How much of the major choice is due to the ability to go become a lawyer tho. You have a total of 7 years of opportunity cost for the entire tertiary education. Obviously once the undergrad chips have fallen this is different, but who really completes an undergrad in english lit with no intention of going onto law and the choses to later?

    you're asking who really completes an undergrad in english lit with no intention of going to law school?

    LOTS.
     
  17. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    I agree, unless he knows that he wants to practice in a certain state. In that case, a law degree from the state's law school may be more valuable than a law degree from Harvard.

    A college friend went to Boston College for law school. Since he is practicing in Mass, he feels he got a heck of a deal. The BC alumni network is strong and BC is a good law school also.
     

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