Law Schools - Where and Why?

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

  1. CTGuy

    CTGuy Made Guy

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    It isn't shoddy advice at all. It depends what you want. If you are dead set on being a lawyer, even if that means you might make less money than if you never went to law school then by all means go to law school.

    The reality is that the legal market is very tough right now for a variety of reasons that I gather the average college student does not comprehend (I don't think many lawyers understand it). Additionally, the economy is not good in general. On top of that there are plenty of out of work or underemployed lawyers. In this market big firms can be choosy about pedigree and smaller firms have their pick of people with 10 years of experience they can hire as laterals for a bargain.

    Edit-
    One final thought- people discussing LSAT scores really make me laugh. In some ways it's classic lawyer-logic because lawyers tend to be risk averse people who try to predict success. I would really caution you against putting too much stock in the "LSAT predicts law school success, ergo facto, I will be a success at law school". As much as you probably have a good idea of what you are getting into, you will not really know how you will fare until you get there. I encountered plenty of very brilliant college students who were still shell shocked after we passed the bar that they didn't make law review. Know that you ARE taking a gamble.

    Final Edit-

    I swore I wouldn't open this thread, but I ignored my own instincts. I just wasted over an hour.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011


  2. skitlets

    skitlets Senior member

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    I doubt anyone here really thinks the LSAT is a predictor of anything other than its role in the admissions process. At least I hope so...

    I hope I'm making the right decision in applying. I have a few months before acceptances are sent and if it's poor on that front... I'll be looking for a new job.
     


  3. CTGuy

    CTGuy Made Guy

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    I wish you the best of luck. As someone told me when I applied for law school, there is always room for another GOOD lawyer (I am still figuring out what that means!). I hope I am not too doom and gloom-- just offering some thoughts from the other side

    Edit-
    I was referring to this

    and similar lines of reasoning.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011


  4. skitlets

    skitlets Senior member

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    A healthy dose of cynicism is necessary. It's really easy to go through all of undergrad and not hear how poorly the legal market is doing, or how much harder it is to succeed from a lower ranked school. Hell, I was in a pre-law organization and I didn't hear about it until I graduated. I think I listened to at least 10 lawyers come in to speak to us and it was all the same schpiel. "Work hard and you'll do very well." No one painted a realistic portrait of the legal landscape and I heard from other students, lawyers, professors, ad comm members and application coaches. I guess ad comm members and coaches wouldn't really want to discourage potential customers...
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2011


  5. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    Honestly, unless someone really wants to be a lawyer no matter what, that proposal sounds really depressing. If I could do it over again, I wouldn't have done it at all. I would have headed to med school like my brothers, or any other technical-based profession that actually has employment prospects. Sure I'd prefer to be a lawyer, and hell I know in 10 years I'll probably be in a position I'm happy with, but the struggle and most importantly uncertainly involved developing your career just isn't worth it. I relish the old days you kids are in now where all you have to worry about is exams and applying for clerkships, real life isn't that simple or straightforward.


    Are you aware of income-based repayment (IBR) through the feds? A new revision that I was told will likely pass is 10% of your income, any remaining amount forgiven after 20 years of payment. Not a bad deal, unless I'm missing something.
     


  6. skitlets

    skitlets Senior member

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    IBR is forgiven after 25 years. 10 years if working for the govt. or a non-profit organization.

    I still wonder if law school is the best choice. I have a few more months before deciding...
     


  7. Joffrey

    Joffrey Senior member

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    This is quite accurate according to what my friends currently in Law School and recently graduated are experiencing/feeling:

    [VIDEO][/VIDEO]
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011


  8. Meis

    Meis Senior member

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    + 1,000
    especially the part in bold. That said, whenever I think about it I'm not sure what else I would've done... there's really not that many great options for those of us with backgrounds in political science, history, english, etc.

    To the other guy who posted - its not 25, it was 25 until recently when they shortened it to 20. However no one seems to know who the new 20-year period applies to, and if there's some cut-off date etc. IBR is weird in that I now feel like I have no incentive to pay my loans right now as the bigger they get (from compounding interest) the more I'm guaranteed to be able to stay on IBR farther down the road. I graduated in May '10 and my loans are at about $130K, which while not as bad as the people who owe 175 and 200k+, its still enough that I'd be paying 800-900/month on the regular old 30-yr plans... so might as well let the amount get bigger so I don't get kicked off IBR if some day down the road I actually make decent money.

    As far as the job market- it's as bad as everyone says, especially for recent graduates as (and this is probably true of every non-medical field) no one and I mean no one wants to take the time and/or money to develop new people. Almost every job posting I see wants multiple years of experience, and not just general experience, they want very specific experience meaning the exact practice area and often sub area of that practice area. I've noticed that a number of more experienced lawyers that haven't had to search for a job in a while are unaware of quite how bad it is right now and are shocked when someone informs them that the going rate for an entry level(ish) associate job is 30-40k... even in larger cities like mine.

    The only places that do hire recent grads, aside from the occasional shitty paying states attorney job, are shit-firms like "debtstoppers", etc. that hire recent grads to do bankruptcy, insurance defense, or personal injury and pay them 20-40k/yr for long hours. I've known a number of people that've worked these sort of jobs and almost no one lasts at them more than 1-1.5 years.


    Out of the class I graduated with (which has been out a year and a half) I can think of almost no one that has a job that, in better times, I would say "yeah, that's a good job, I'd be happy with that" to. Everyone I know from that's working in the legal field - was hired by states att., works at one of the aforementioned shit-law jobs, or is doing doc review. Document review, assuming you can get relatively continuous work, pays better than than the other two as going rate is usally 23-30/hr and unlike "real lawyer" jobs you often get time and a half for your overtime. FYI I went to a top 100 school in my city (Chicago).

    To be honest, the scariest part of it all is I really don't see any light at the end of the tunnel... I don't see the job market getting any less crowded any time soon, nor a big uptick in hiring. And even when it does pick up, even somewhat, I don't see there being many "good" jobs. I'm not talking big-law, which gets too much attention IMO as its a small portion of the profession, but mid-to-small size firms.

    * also to whoever posted it a ways back- what state are you in where people can do doc review without a law license? Here, every doc review requires you to be a licensed attorney.

    edit- the tl;dr - don't go to law school, there are no decent jobs for graduates right now and there probably won't be any for a long long time
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011


  9. Saltricks

    Saltricks Senior member

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    My friend just graduated UCLA law, top 3rd of the class. 300k in debt, no job for months except a minor paid internship (15 an hour) that specifically said "we will not hire you after your internship". Top it all off, she's a shopaholic.

    It's gotten to the point that people are saying "She can always marry someone rich".

    Didn't need to go to law school/debt to do that :\
     


  10. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    300K? What the hell? How do you even rack up that much debt? I've heard some 200K stories but 300K seems ridiculously high.
     


  11. onix

    onix Senior member

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    My wild guess is that it also includes consumer debt:

     


  12. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    That chick is fucked. Even with a 160K a year job she'd be in for a tough haul. Without that she'll barely be able to keep up with interest payments.
     


  13. El Argentino

    El Argentino Senior member

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    Luckily, law school for me will max out at 30k debt-wise. So not super worried about repayment.
     


  14. Kid Nickels

    Kid Nickels Senior member

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    My thoughts exactly....seems like there must be something else in that wad of cash besides law school.
     


  15. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

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    I think it's even worse than that. I've been talking with some friends and I absolutely believe our profession is only a few steps away from being outsourced to India. There's no reason to pay full price for a local attorney to prepare a will or contract for you when someone in China or India who got a law degree from a school off the back of a matchbook and passed the bar over the internet will do it for them for 1/3 the price. Attorneys who actually practice in Court will have a little longer, as long as personal appearances for oral argument or trial are required. But I don't see that lasting much past 15-20 years and eventually tele-conferencing or the future equivalent will eliminate those jobs as well. Judges routinely hold hearings for incarcerated prisoners via video conference here now, I don't see it as a stretch as the technology improves to have attorneys appear that way as well.

    The legal job market is so much more fucked than anyone wants to admit. It's just a matter of time.
     


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