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Is becoming a lawyer a mistake?

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

  1. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    I hate to break this to you, but that might be what a GP grosses, but that ain't what he takes home. I am not saying docs do not make a good living and I'm not saying some docs don't make a great living, but MD =! automatic riches anymore. Trust your buddy Piobaire on what docs make [​IMG]

    You want a good specialty, one that is already in high demand and will just grow and grow over the next 30 years? Vascular surgeon. Of course, that is a tough gig to master, and I mean a real vascular surgeon, not a cardiologist pretending to be one. Trust your buddy Piobaire on this too, as an area that will be in huge demand.


    So a wet-behind-the-ears law grad looking to become the next John Edwards might want to start reading up on vascular surgery and every possible complication that can follow from it? [​IMG]
     
  2. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    So a wet-behind-the-ears law grad looking to become the next John Edwards might want to start reading up on vascular surgery and every possible complication that can follow from it? [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  3. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    A whole variety of reasons, but mostly because I somewhat out of the blue was confronted with an opportunity to do something a little different for a while. If I hate it or find I've become too spoiled and materialistic to hang with it, I can always go back to a firm. (Which is not to say that I've made a final decision yet.)
    In some ways, though, it's actually an easier option to contemplate than earlier in my career. My student debt was paid off some years back. I've always tried to live on the assumption that I might want to make this kind of choice down the road, so our mortgage is manageable and I've managed to get some decent seed money into my retirement accounts and my daughter's college savings plan. So at this point in my life it's really just a question of reducing my discretionary income (admittedly, discretionary income that I very much enjoy having) as opposed to not being able to make ends meet.

    So now you know about my cholesteral levels, my career mid-life crisis, and my financial personal finances. Anything I missed?


    edit: going too far. :p
     
  4. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    he's also ignoring the fact that the lawyer finishing at the bottom of his class from a shitty law school probably would not have been admitted to medical school in the first place.

    Also, I think he was pretty much comparing a GP to said bottom dwelling grad from a shitty school. That right there is a major problem in medicine. IMO, one GP is worth 20 CTs in terms of overall health of the population.
     
  5. fox in sox

    fox in sox Senior member

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    That's more than people with great grades at top law schools are getting when they start at BigLaw firms.

    BigLaw has raised their salaries a few times in the last couple of years...market is now at 160 before bonuses, so first-year associates are making close to, if not over, 200k after bonuses.
     
  6. HomerJ

    HomerJ Senior member

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    I hate to break this to you, but that might be what a GP grosses, but that ain't what he takes home. I am not saying docs do not make a good living and I'm not saying some docs don't make a great living, but MD =! automatic riches anymore. Trust your buddy Piobaire on what docs make [​IMG]

    You want a good specialty, one that is already in high demand and will just grow and grow over the next 30 years? Vascular surgeon. Of course, that is a tough gig to master, and I mean a real vascular surgeon, not a cardiologist pretending to be one. Trust your buddy Piobaire on this too, as an area that will be in huge demand.


    ^^ I agree.

    According to the bureau of labor statistics, 1/3rd of physicians work 60+ hours/week. 37% of lawyers work 50+ hours/week. They both earn good money but not good enough considering all the life that's sucked from you.

    You want to earn a decent living and actually have time to enjoy it? Do a 2 year associates in Dental Hygiene and get paid $36/hour. Work as much or as little as you want (most work less than 35 hours/week).
     
  7. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    BigLaw has raised their salaries a few times in the last couple of years...market is now at 160 before bonuses, so first-year associates are making close to, if not over, 200k after bonuses.

    Yeah, thanks. It occurred to me that with decent bonuses you'd be in range.
     
  8. manhattan-sales

    manhattan-sales Member

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    As soon as I saw this thread tittle my whole life flashed before my very eyes. I am going to graduate in a year ( would have been sooner but I was pre med and transfered to this school and lost a whole lot of credits). My plan is to go to law school (hopefully someone here in New York will be nice enough to accept me). In school I get decent grades A's B's C's but as much as I enjoy some clasees I just dont enjoy the majority of them and I am just not a fan of education to be honest. I dont know if it makes me a hippocriate but I think education is great but I just rather spend time enjoying fine food shoping and thinking of what shirt tie and shoes to put together and offcourse the thing that takes up most of my time WORKING. I am honestly just in school for the sake of getting a great job. Im sure I will get into law school but I already know I will not graduate top 10% ( I spend too much time working like I mentioned before and I honestly can not take time off because then I wont be able to afford my life style) So honestly everyone out there who is a Lawyer will I have a chance of getting a good job after graduating. I will love to hear advice, critisism or what ever it may be that you have to tell me. Thanks to everyone in advance.
     
  9. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    As soon as I saw this thread tittle my whole life flashed before my very eyes. I am going to graduate in a year ( would have been sooner but I was pre med and transfered to this school and lost a whole lot of credits). My plan is to go to law school (hopefully someone here in New York will be nice enough to accept me). In school I get decent grades A's B's C's but as much as I enjoy some clasees I just dont enjoy the majority of them and I am just not a fan of education to be honest. I dont know if it makes me a hippocriate but I think education is great but I just rather spend time enjoying fine food shoping and thinking of what shirt tie and shoes to put together and offcourse the thing that takes up most of my time WORKING. I am honestly just in school for the sake of getting a great job. Im sure I will get into law school but I already know I will not graduate top 10% ( I spend too much time working like I mentioned before and I honestly can not take time off because then I wont be able to afford my life style) So honestly everyone out there who is a Lawyer will I have a chance of getting a good job after graduating. I will love to hear advice, critisism or what ever it may be that you have to tell me. Thanks to everyone in advance.

    I'd suggest taking the LSAT (or at least some practice tests to get a ballpark idea of how you'll score) and then make an assessment of what schools you realistically can expect to get into. Based on that, you can probably make relatively informed decision about what your employment prospects might be upon graduation.
     
  10. topbroker

    topbroker Senior member

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    As soon as I saw this thread tittle my whole life flashed before my very eyes. I am going to graduate in a year ( would have been sooner but I was pre med and transfered to this school and lost a whole lot of credits). My plan is to go to law school (hopefully someone here in New York will be nice enough to accept me). In school I get decent grades A's B's C's but as much as I enjoy some clasees I just dont enjoy the majority of them and I am just not a fan of education to be honest. I dont know if it makes me a hippocriate but I think education is great but I just rather spend time enjoying fine food shoping and thinking of what shirt tie and shoes to put together and offcourse the thing that takes up most of my time WORKING. I am honestly just in school for the sake of getting a great job. Im sure I will get into law school but I already know I will not graduate top 10% ( I spend too much time working like I mentioned before and I honestly can not take time off because then I wont be able to afford my life style) So honestly everyone out there who is a Lawyer will I have a chance of getting a good job after graduating. I will love to hear advice, critisism or what ever it may be that you have to tell me. Thanks to everyone in advance.

    Well, I was going to stay out of this one, but...

    lawyerdad, I promise to try to be peaceable in commenting here, since you and I know what happened in a similar thread. [​IMG]

    My comment to manhattan-sales is: I do not think you will like the law, if you do not like school. For law is very much like school in certain ways. There are endless assignments; there is steady homework; there is much reading and much writing. It is no accident that law attracts many fine students who are maybe a little uncertain about how they want to earn money, but are certain that they want to earn good money. The law holds the potential, at least, of rewarding their good academic habits in perpetuity.

    But you, manhattan-sales, can find other paths to money or fulfillment that call on your gifts. If studiousness is not one of those, I would avoid law school and I would avoid the law.
     
  11. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    Well, I was going to stay out of this one, but...

    lawyerdad, I promise to try to be peaceable in commenting here, since you and I know what happened in a similar thread. [​IMG]

    My comment to manhattan-sales is: I do not think you will like the law, if you do not like school. For law is very much like school in certain ways. There are endless assignments; there is steady homework; there is much reading and much writing. It is no accident that law attracts many fine students who are maybe a little uncertain about how they want to earn money, but are certain that they want to earn good money. The law holds the potential, at least, of rewarding their good academic habits in perpetuity.

    But you, manhattan-sales, can find other paths to money or fulfillment that call on your gifts. If studiousness is not one of those, I would avoid law school and I would avoid the law.



    Actually, we're pretty much in agreement. There are some career paths within law that are not especially bookish. But generally, reading extensively and writing effectively are pretty central to the skill set. In a lot of ways actual practice is more interesting than law school, but if school doesn't hold your interest it's going to be hard to even advance in a law degree to the point where you're really doing the fun stuff.
     
  12. manhattan-sales

    manhattan-sales Member

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    Thank you for your comments everyone. Its not that I do not like school or I do not earn good grades. The only classes that I actually did enjoy were the law classes I have taken so far (and buisness classes as well) and I got pretty much straight A's there. I guess I just have a lot of doubts and I am hoping that is normal at my age. I dont mind sitting and reading a few hundred pages but that is only for some classes. My main fear is that I will not get a high paying job after law school. I hear that tons of people graduate law school and wind up taking jobs that are paying 40K a year. What is it that I need to get a high paying job? I am almost sure that I will either go into corporate law or tax law as these are the two that interest me. I also like buisness a lot but I am positive that I do not want to graduate with a business degree because no offense to many out there who have, it does not mean much these days. I have a double minor which I have already completed and I choose buisness as one of these minors just to make sure if there is something that I need I would get it and honestly it is nothing that I couldn't have learned on my own. The other minor is sociology because I wanted to learn about all types of people and how they interact in society because as a future lawyer I thought that learning how to read and related to different people would be a plus. Now the major that I am finishing now is accounting and honestly I hate it how boring! But it is what I think will help me in the work place. Am I on the right track or do I sound like a complete fool? Let me know.....
     
  13. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    Thank you for your comments everyone. Its not that I do not like school or I do not earn good grades. The only classes that I actually did enjoy were the law classes I have taken so far (and buisness classes as well) and I got pretty much straight A's there. I guess I just have a lot of doubts and I am hoping that is normal at my age. I dont mind sitting and reading a few hundred pages but that is only for some classes. My main fear is that I will not get a high paying job after law school. I hear that tons of people graduate law school and wind up taking jobs that are paying 40K a year. What is it that I need to get a high paying job? I am almost sure that I will either go into corporate law or tax law as these are the two that interest me. I also like buisness a lot but I am positive that I do not want to graduate with a business degree because no offense to many out there who have, it does not mean much these days. I have a double minor which I have already completed and I choose buisness as one of these minors just to make sure if there is something that I need I would get it and honestly it is nothing that I couldn't have learned on my own. The other minor is sociology because I wanted to learn about all types of people and how they interact in society because as a future lawyer I thought that learning how to read and related to different people would be a plus. Now the major that I am finishing now is accounting and honestly I hate it how boring! But it is what I think will help me in the work place. Am I on the right track or do I sound like a complete fool? Let me know.....

    As I mentioned, the school you attend is likely to be a big factor in what type of post-graduation job you're likely to be able to get. Your existing academic record is a given. Your LSAT score is unknown. With a sense of your likely LSAT score and your undergraduate record, a bit of research likely will help you figure out what's realistic in terms of schools you can expect to get into. Without that I think it's complete guesswork.
     
  14. countdemoney

    countdemoney Senior member

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    As I mentioned, the school you attend is likely to be a big factor in what type of post-graduation job you're likely to be able to get. Your existing academic record is a given. Your LSAT score is unknown. With a sense of your likely LSAT score and your undergraduate record, a bit of research likely will help you figure out what's realistic in terms of schools you can expect to get into. Without that I think it's complete guesswork.

    And just to add to this, many schools will actually publish their admissions weighting formula. This is a formula that is basically undergrad GPA(UGPA) x LSAT. There are a few other variables such as class rank that may be used, but that's the gist.

    Here's the first example that came up in google:
    http://www.law.utk.edu/departments/a...d.htm#criteria

    By looking across Universities and their student profiles, you will get an idea of where you might be accepted.
     
  15. Coho

    Coho Senior member

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    You're right, I discounted residency and fellowship (after residency for specialized training). However, I consider those years continued education so I don't personally count them as representative of salaries that "established" physicians make. At least where I live ( I'm from the area but I don't live in San Francisco), the average family doc makes about $187,000 a year. Nationally, it may be lower since I live in an affluent neighborhood.


    I hate to break this to you, but that might be what a GP grosses, but that ain't what he takes home. I am not saying docs do not make a good living and I'm not saying some docs don't make a great living, but MD =! automatic riches anymore. Trust your buddy Piobaire on what docs make [​IMG]

    You want a good specialty, one that is already in high demand and will just grow and grow over the next 30 years? Vascular surgeon. Of course, that is a tough gig to master, and I mean a real vascular surgeon, not a cardiologist pretending to be one. Trust your buddy Piobaire on this too, as an area that will be in huge demand.
     
  16. nerdykarim

    nerdykarim Senior member

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    There have been a few articles similar to the linked WSJ recently. When I applied to law schools last cycle (intending to complete a JD/MBA), I tried only to get into the best private school that I could, no matter the cost. Ultimately, I couldn't get off the wait-lists and decided to take a year off.

    This year, I decided to sacrifice a bit of school prestige (going from top 20ish to top 35ish) and go to an in-state, public school for around 5k/semester. Even if I can't get an amazing job after I finish, at least I won't be a quarter of a million dollars in debt like I might have been elsewhere.

    For better or worse, those kinds of articles really changed my mind about the ROI of law school.
     
  17. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    You're right, I discounted residency and fellowship (after residency for specialized training). However, I consider those years continued education so I don't personally count them as representative of salaries that "established" physicians make. At least where I live ( I'm from the area but I don't live in San Francisco), the average family doc makes about $187,000 a year. Nationally, it may be lower since I live in an affluent neighborhood.

    187k is what? Median middle class in SF?

    Seriously, being an MD is great. It gives you tons of options. I think docs deserve to make all they make due to the time in school, additional training, the hours, the responsibility, and the litigation risks. But I stand by my statement that an MD =! automatic wealth.

    The richest doc I know is also a pretty close personal friend. He owns a geriatric practice that specializes not only in geriatrics, but he's the medical director for the area's largest hospice, and his practice specializes in medical directorships of SNFs and ALFs. But he employs a stable of docs that only make about 200k a year, pay their own business expenses, own malpractice, and if they take two weeks off, they get no pay. If they are not billing, they are not earning.

    Medicine is often getting just like law firms. Like the above scenario in long term care, take anesthesia. These practices are set up where the top partners make all the real cash, 500k or more a year. But these are guys that have been working for years. They have a stable of young gas passers that will work for 200k. Why? The young people have huge debt and need to earn. They'll work for that as if they don't, it's hard for them to freelance, as most hospitals have an anesthesia practice that takes care of them and the young docs also have to compete with CRNAs (certified registered nurse anesthetists).

    So yup, you'll make decent money but you'll work your butt off for it and like I keep saying, it's just not like it used to be where MD did = certain wealth. Now it just increases your chances IMO.
     
  18. lawyerdad

    lawyerdad Senior member

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    There have been a few articles similar to the linked WSJ recently. When I applied to law schools last cycle (intending to complete a JD/MBA), I tried only to get into the best private school that I could, no matter the cost. Ultimately, I couldn't get off the wait-lists and decided to take a year off.

    This year, I decided to sacrifice a bit of school prestige (going from top 20ish to top 35ish) and go to an in-state, public school for around 5k/semester. Even if I can't get an amazing job after I finish, at least I won't be a quarter of a million dollars in debt like I might have been elsewhere.

    Sounds like a sensible approach.
    young gas passers

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Coho

    Coho Senior member

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    very true. No one said that MD=automatic wealth. We all know better--too many obligations and training. My point, though quite subtle, is that the very bottom people in the medical field, GP, RNs,NPs, psychiatrists (esp. child psychiatrists), etc. do make a relatively higher income than than what low-end lawyers make in comparison.
    187k is what? Median middle class in SF? Seriously, being an MD is great. It gives you tons of options. I think docs deserve to make all they make due to the time in school, additional training, the hours, the responsibility, and the litigation risks. But I stand by my statement that an MD =! automatic wealth. The richest doc I know is also a pretty close personal friend. He owns a geriatric practice that specializes not only in geriatrics, but he's the medical director for the area's largest hospice, and his practice specializes in medical directorships of SNFs and ALFs. But he employs a stable of docs that only make about 200k a year, pay their own business expenses, own malpractice, and if they take two weeks off, they get no pay. If they are not billing, they are not earning. Medicine is often getting just like law firms. Like the above scenario in long term care, take anesthesia. These practices are set up where the top partners make all the real cash, 500k or more a year. But these are guys that have been working for years. They have a stable of young gas passers that will work for 200k. Why? The young people have huge debt and need to earn. They'll work for that as if they don't, it's hard for them to freelance, as most hospitals have an anesthesia practice that takes care of them and the young docs also have to compete with CRNAs (certified registered nurse anesthetists). So yup, you'll make decent money but you'll work your butt off for it and like I keep saying, it's just not like it used to be where MD did = certain wealth. Now it just increases your chances IMO.
     
  20. yerfdog

    yerfdog Senior member

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    I'm about to graduate with a law degree. Not sure yet whether it was a mistake.

    My public school debt is not quite crushing, and it's Top 25 so it's not terrible on the resume. But I'm an average student and a social dork with no prior work experience or science/engineering undergrad = no job lined up yet.

    I got into a few higher ranked (Top 10) schools and might have slipped off the waitlist on a few more, but I wanted to stay in my region. Now that looks like a mistake, since my resume coupled with the bad timing in the economic cycle means the next few years could be pretty tough.

    I still think in the long run the degree will be an asset, financially. Now I just have to figure out whether I can stand the actual practice of law[​IMG] .
     

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