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Law Schools - Where and Why?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by El Argentino, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    This is horrifically bad advice.

    Brooklyn Law School will put you around 150K-200K in the hole for three years of study. There is absolutely no argument for spending that type of money on a mediocre degree that will give you access to such a limited market.

    The issue here is what you're paying for and what you get; In the case of a T14 you pay 130K-200K and you get a legitimate shot at a market paying job. At a place like BLS, you pay 1150k-200K and get a maybe 10% shot at NYC BIGLAW (or less in recent years) and no shot on almost anything else.

    The bottom line when it comes to law schools is this; T14 might be worth it at full price but everywhere else is only worth it with significant scholarship money.
     
  2. Kid Nickels

    Kid Nickels Senior member

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    +1
     
  3. Benzito

    Benzito Senior member

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    I'll give this a very close (-1), although I think you do make a good point about spending $$$ and going to a school that will allows no opportunity to earn $$$,$$$,$$$ when you get out.

    But to the other guy's point, you can go to a non-T14 school and be successful in a law career. Really, do I need to prove this point further . . . there are obviously only 14 schools in the T14, but plenty of good lawyers who make money who didn't attend those schools. Some of them actually make good money, because in places like Seattle,San Diego, Atlanta, Portland, and other second-tier destinations, they still have large firms who quickly run out of the T14 applicants. As far as I know, those who graduate from University of Washington, Seattle U, UGA, Emory and other regional schools fill in those slots next to the Ivy League graduates and get the same paycheck ($90,000 to $130,000 to start).

    The key is not to spend T14 money on a second or third tier law school (yes, it can be done, especially if you qualify for in-state tuition) and work your ass off if you want BigLaw money in one of those second-tier locations. Thinking you'll get into NYC with a degree from Brooklyn or Pace or someplace like that . . . you're nuts to take that risk.
     
  4. Kid Nickels

    Kid Nickels Senior member

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    I think both of the above posts complement the whole point together.... don't spend t14 $$ on a 2nd tier school but don't forget the regional nature of recruiting and job positioning. Clearly there ARE plenty of attorneys making good money who didn't graduate from t14. 1/2 + 1/2 = +1
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  5. godofcoffee

    godofcoffee Senior member

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    Non-T14 schools seem like a good way to segue into much more enjoyable regional non-biglaw jobs - I have no idea how the thought of working for corporate firms became so universally appealing.
     
  6. randomkoreandude

    randomkoreandude Senior member

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    now Texas is T14 so theres 15 schools :p

    i agree with most that has been said

    to the dude immediately above, its the only obvious choice for those of us with 200k+ in debt
     
  7. nerdykarim

    nerdykarim Senior member

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    I don't really have anything to add that hasn't been said already, but I'm glad to see UGA law mentioned a few times.

    I think we've got a great program that's only getting better, but when you consider the fact that most of us are only paying $4-5k/semester and that the cost of living in Athens is dirt cheap, the value is incredible.
     
  8. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    Prestige + Buckets of Money.
     
  9. randomkoreandude

    randomkoreandude Senior member

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    im in my final year at gtown law and pretty much everyone i know has found a job by now. those of us who were fortunate enough to get a biglaw job are counting our blessings because i have some friends who ended up with jobs they had to settle for or did not intend getting when they first entered gtown ... gov or regional hometown firms

    the issue i hear most from kids at the lower t14 end and non t14 schools is why am i taking loans out and working 60-80+ hour work weeks, doing the same work but getting less compensation? so yes kids at non t14 schools can get good jobs at regional midsized firms but they question was it worth the schooling, loans, and work load after graduation for basically the same work for less prestige and money. plus moving up the ladder or lateraling into the biglaw market is hard if you start at those regional firms. and even if the hours are better at midsized firms compared to biglaw, the questions of was it worth it are still the same
     
  10. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    It's also worth nothing that the best possible outcome for most law students is to graduate with big debt, join a large firm, and proceed to grind away a good 4-5 year of 60-90 hour weeks doing low level associate work, consisting mostly of glorified document review. The exit options afterward are often quite good (in house counsel in industry, government, etc.) but it's a pretty tough life and, regardless of what anyone tells you, you're for the most part not doing interesting work.

    It's worth keeping in mind as well.
     
  11. randomkoreandude

    randomkoreandude Senior member

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    Yup, sounds about right. I will be 200k in debt in May :(. I have a start date for the firm for Sept but the previous 2-3 classes have been deferred. My year is supposed to be the first that will be "on time." Fingers crossed it stays that way
     
  12. ConcernedParent

    ConcernedParent Senior member

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    West Coast is back for all you suckas
    

    Honestly, in what lucrative career is this not the case? I'm sure entry level doctors, bankers, consultants, SV programmers start with grunt work over long hours too.
     
  13. randomkoreandude

    randomkoreandude Senior member

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    as much as being a lawyer (biglaw) sucks, entry level doctors have it bad as well and its arguably worse although their hours and pay get a lot better over time

    you shouldnt go into any professional field without knowing what your getting in to. but for whatever reason, law students seem to have no real idea of what their lifestyle and are really unrealistic. doctors, dentists, invest bankrs, etc all know what they are going into
     
  14. retronotmetro

    retronotmetro Senior member

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    Keep in mind that going the Biglaw route is the best case scenario in financial terms and the exit options are NOT always lucrative ones. The worst case scenarios post-law school are things like failing the bar more than once and then trying to pay off your student loans while waiting tables or teaching high school.

    My friends who finished med school all got jobs as doctors, but I know plenty of people who never got a legal career off the ground following law school.
     
  15. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    Here's the major difference:

    Bankers start by doing bitch work and terrible hours but at the end of the rainbow (managing director level) for those who make it are literally riches beyond their wildest dreams. MDs at big banks can take home literally tens of millions of dollars, not to mention exit options that are as lucrative. Making partner at a place like Skadden or WLRK is probably as hard as doing it at Goldman Sachs but the pay is far, far below what you would make as an investment banker. The payoff just isn't the same, period.

    Most doctors work crazy hours at the beginning of their careers, then they work less crazy hours, then they barely work at all. Not a very good comparison.

    Consultants work tough hours but an analyst at a place like Bain of BCG really is doing interesting work from day one, not just poring over document review. I don't think the two jobs can even be compared, aside from the long hours.
     
  16. DLester

    DLester Senior member

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    I cannot believe that anyone is contemplating law school right now.

    with few exceptions,
    THERE IS NO WORK FOR ENTRY LEVEL LAWYERS
    THERE IS NO WORK FOR ENTRY LEVEL LAWYERS
    THERE IS NO WORK FOR ENTRY LEVEL LAWYERS
    THERE IS NO WORK FOR ENTRY LEVEL LAWYERS
    THERE IS NO WORK FOR ENTRY LEVEL LAWYERS

    Do something else unless your soul compels you to be a lawyer.
     
  17. skitlets

    skitlets Senior member

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    Acceptances are rolling in. I'm pretty set on law school now.

    What does conventional wisdom say about attending a school around the T20 vs a regional T30?

    Say I want to practice in the Bay Area, attend UC Hastings or Irvine or go to best school, something like WUSTL?
     
  18. Benzito

    Benzito Senior member

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    Unless you are going to a GREAT school (T14 is the common standard, duh) with national reputation and prestige, I can't see why you'd skip Hastings, Davis, or Irvine (You can get in there? Good on you!) if your long term plans are to stay in California. Heck, do you really think WU will get you a better chance than, say, Santa Clara (this is about as low as you could reasonably go, and that is probably not even on your radar screens)?

    I'm not licensed in CA, but I know enough who are and several others who tried, and failed, to pass the CA bar. I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong, but I recall that out of state passage rates for CA are quite low. Maybe another factor weighing against going elsewhere if you are just going to come back and try to get a job.

    Where did you apply again?
     
  19. skitlets

    skitlets Senior member

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    I got need and merit based fee waivers, so I applied to a ton of schools. I'm not concerned with passing the CA bar based on where I attend school. I don't think any of the universities I'm thinking of attending really teach towards it.

    Yes, ultimately I want to practice in the Bay Area. I grew up here, my family and my girlfriend reside here. I didn't apply to Santa Clara although I'm thinking I should for financial aid leverage. The question I posed in my previous post really is just a hypothetical. I haven't heard from the majority of schools and financial aid information will not be released for any couple of months for the schools that did accept me. I'm just having fun thinking of the possibilities, making a choice will be easier once I have all the cards in hand.
     
  20. Ambulance Chaser

    Ambulance Chaser Senior member

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    Only if you define payoff solely by financial remuneration. Most law students are not under the illusion that they will be making investment banker money even in the best-case scenario; they want to save the world and/or get up in court and argue like the lawyers on The Practice and The Good Wife. Neither is likely to happen, but that's an entirely different discussion.
     

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