Thinking about law school? Read this.

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by DNW, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. intent

    intent Senior member

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    Here I come with the haterade:
    I turned down a job in a small law firm here in New Orleans this summer because the commute would've been a logistical nightmare. I also almost ended up volunteering at the New Orleans Public Defender's office, but I ended up realizing that the workload would've been too much given that I'm balancing two jobs right now.
    Do you realize what the workload is like? This summer I have an hour-long drive each way to work, and the courts are in the middle of nowhere. I routinely stay at the office past business hours, read emails while driving, and bring home work that keeps me up late. And I'm not even a lawyer yet, or even working in biglaw.
    Here's what you need to know right now about in-house and biglaw. You're not getting in-house without years of experience at another firm. You're not getting biglaw without T14, and even that's not a guarantee. Sure, people will point you to exceptions to the norm who've managed to do well, but even in those cases they are the top grad out of their TTT class of 200. You think you'll do well in 1L because you did well in undergrad? It sounds easy to be even top 15% in a class, but every one of those classmates were A students too in undergrad and high school, and you're ranked relative to everyone else.
    Then don't worry about law school yet. Graduate, work a few years (maybe in a law firm), and then reevaluate at that point. Also, don't underestimate those who go into law school. It's not about the money as much as not having any other career prospects after a liberal arts degree. I've met many law students who went in for reasons ranging from "want to help the poor" to "just wanted something to do".
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Life events like marriage or children can't be predicted when you are 19. Even if that stuff doesn't happen to you, $30k isn't going to backup you ass when you get in an unfortunate accident and need to pay emergency bills. It's also not going to give you any savings. When you're 29 and others are paying off their mortgages, you'll be scraping by to make car payments and pissed off that "no money" will be the generic response when friends ask you to hang out.
    right i understand but my thing is i really don't want to have any debt coming out, and i want to stay in new orleans because i love it here. my grades will be good enough for a duke, georgetown, or cornell. but probably not good enough to get a ton of $$$$ from them.
    If you can get into those schools then beg, borrow, or steal to pay for them. Don't be a dumbass and think short-term. You said you're fine with $30k anyway, so what's a little debt? Education and real estate are the only two things in life that one should get on credit.
    You'll find that many biglaw or in-house at NOLA are from T14. Those guys might want to live in NOLA too, for the same reasons you do. Overall, the only time you should choose Tulane or LSU on scholarship is when you can't get into a significantly better school.
     


  2. Connemara

    Connemara [URL='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jST2Sv63WQ']

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    rj, I sincerely don't mean this to be offensive, but you come across as immature and maybe a bit naive. I'd focus on my schoolwork for now. When you're a senior, revisit the law thing.
     


  3. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    My backup plan was a CPA license though I don't use it.
     


  4. Valor

    Valor Senior member

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    Top 5 or don't go.

    Or you can go to Princeton Law like Conne is planning.
     


  5. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    yeah it doesn't seem great but i really have no other choice than to go to law school. i still have a couple years before 1L though.

    Aren't you 19? You have no fucking clue what you want to do.
     


  6. Runningman411

    Runningman411 Well-Known Member

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    $30K per year? It's hard to imagine living "easily" on that amount. Let's say you take home $2,000 per month. Half of that, at least, will go to housing and utilities. Another $500 towards food and that's if you brown-bag it most days. Throw in a car note and insurance and you're tapped out. It'll be a miserable existence in New Orleans on that kind of money.

    As for going to a top tier school, that's really not necessary in New Orleans. Employers will actually appreciate a degree in civil law. It's just not that kind of market. Of the few big firms in town (i.e., Jones Walker, Adams Reese, etc.), many of their graduates are from in-state schools. A degree from Tulane, Loyola or LSU will be fine.
     


  7. otc

    otc Senior member

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    $30K per year? It's hard to imagine living "easily" on that amount. Let's say you take home $2,000 per month. Half of that, at least, will go to housing and utilities. Another $500 towards food and that's if you brown-bag it most days. Throw in a car note and insurance and you're tapped out. It'll be a miserable existence in New Orleans on that kind of money.

    As for going to a top tier school, that's really not necessary in New Orleans. Employers will actually appreciate a degree in civil law. It's just not that kind of market. Of the few big firms in town (i.e., Jones Walker, Adams Reese, etc.), many of their graduates are from in-state schools. A degree from Tulane, Loyola or LSU will be fine.


    If I can spend less than a grand on housing and utilities in Chicago...I am sure this guy can do it in New Orleans...
     


  8. Usul

    Usul Senior member

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    First of all thanks for the advice. Sometimes that unsolicited advice is the best advice. I appreciate your time.

    I had no idea that lawyer with an education backup was such a popular plan. It's my plan because I'm very confident that I want to practice law and I have an educational background and I'd like to teach kids one day. Even if I do have success as a lawyer I intend on teaching later on in life.

    I picked lawyer as my career of choice, and I originally had Philosophy as my major. I then changed it to English because I found English more interesting and I know I'll achieve good marks there. I also chose English because I'd love to become an English teacher one day.

    I have more to say but I'll probably cover those bases in my next couple replies. See below.




    I turned down a job in a small law firm here in New Orleans this summer because the commute would've been a logistical nightmare. I also almost ended up volunteering at the New Orleans Public Defender's office, but I ended up realizing that the workload would've been too much given that I'm balancing two jobs right now.

    However, I have an idea of the area of practice I'd prefer to specialize in, and I have reached out to professionals in that area. I enjoy criminal law, so I found a public defender. He's an older guy who started out in a big firm decades ago, moved on to smaller more specialized areas, and has been a PD for over a decade now. He has a genuine passion for the law and has always reached out to me to provide me with sound advice.

    I definitely need to learn more about in house counsel and biglaw jobs. That's something I'd like to know more about. I'm sure I will get to that eventually -- I still have a couple years before law school.

    At 19, it's hard to say that I "know" anything about anything right now. I do know that I have a genuine interest in the law and I'm not one of these people who thinks that going to law school gives you a license to print money. That probably sets me apart from 90% of the field right off the bat.




    Yeah well pretty much any salary will be enough for me to live on. I could live on $30k a year EASILY down here in NOLA, and I don't have any plans to get married or have children in the next 10 years.

    I appreciate your invitation btw. I'm sure I'll be PM'ing you soon!




    LOL wut?
     


  9. edinatlanta

    edinatlanta Senior member

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    If I can spend less than a grand on housing and utilities in Chicago...I am sure this guy can do it in New Orleans...

    I spend just over $500 in Atlanta and I can't imagine NOLA costs more.
     


  10. Runningman411

    Runningman411 Well-Known Member

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    I spend just over $500 in Atlanta and I can't imagine NOLA costs more.

    It's been about 7 years since I've lived in New Orleans but I'm almost certain that $500 won't get you out of the ghettos in New Orleans these days. When I was last there, we rented a two bedroom cottage home for about $1,200/month. One bedrooms were a little less. Even tiny studio apartments in the suburbs were going for $500-$700.

    New Orleans has a very high percentage of renters vs. homeowners. I guess it's a mix of poor folks, college students, and mobile young professionals. Keeps the rental rates up.
     


  11. Svenn

    Svenn Senior member

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    Yet prospective lawyers need to remember that most new lawyers do not earn $160,000 a year at a large firm. Many earn $40,000 to $55,000 per year in small to midsize firms and solo practice.

    The part about solo practice isn't true in my experience- I know lawyers who have been out of school just a year or two and are making $100k+ as independent, general practitioners (i.e., they 'put up a shingle')... you'd have to be doing pretty bad in solo practice (not enough clients, etc) to only make 40-50k. The problem is it's scary as hell to start out alone in solo practice, actually impossible, if you don't have someone you can go to for help or advice. Most law students from what I've seen ironically don't have any family connections in the law and hence aren't capable of this, they need to slave away at grossly unfair salaries at small to midsize firms or some crappy prosecutor's office (though, they do have job security and probably benefits).

    No matter how many myths are debunked about the profession OP, kids are gonna keep going to law schools- they're big, almost corporate-like businesses now and they know they can raise tuition as much as they want and people will still pay.
     


  12. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    I think instead of ever posting in one of these threads again, I will just right an essay and repost it ad nauseam
     


  13. Usul

    Usul Senior member

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    The part about solo practice isn't true in my experience- I know lawyers who have been out of school just a year or two and are making $100k+ as independent, general practitioners (i.e., they 'put up a shingle')... you'd have to be doing pretty bad in solo practice (not enough clients, etc) to only make 40-50k. The problem is it's scary as hell to start out alone in solo practice, actually impossible, if you don't have someone you can go to for help or advice. Most law students from what I've seen ironically don't have any family connections in the law and hence aren't capable of this, they need to slave away at grossly unfair salaries at small to midsize firms or some crappy prosecutor's office (though, they do have job security and probably benefits).

    No matter how many myths are debunked about the profession OP, kids are gonna keep going to law schools- they're big, almost corporate-like businesses now and they know they can raise tuition as much as they want and people will still pay.


    Two problems:
    1. The people you know may be confusing gross with net.
    2. Knowing people making more than the median does not mean that the median is not a valid number.
     


  14. rjakapeanut

    rjakapeanut Senior member

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    I disagree with alot of the points in your replies, but I know that they're generic points that are whipped out whenever someone talks about law school. I've done my research, I know about all of that stuff. I won't address that stuff.
    rj, I sincerely don't mean this to be offensive, but you come across as immature and maybe a bit naive. I'd focus on my schoolwork for now. When you're a senior, revisit the law thing.
    I feel like if I never stated my age you wouldn't be so quick to jump to conclusions about my maturity. This is the internet though, and that's how it works I guess. I'd love to hear why you think I'm naive.
    Aren't you 19? You have no fucking clue what you want to do.
    that's foolish. I'm very mature for my age, and I know what I want. I mean, I "get it," I just disagree with most of your opinions. PS: the very fact that half of you jumped on the $30k thing shows me that this conversation probably isn't a constructive one. Of course I only said that to show how I don't care about making $160k starting salary, and that I am willing to take a "bad" salary for a lawyer (like a $40k PI job). Naturally after being the first person in my family's history to attend college, I expect to make a comfortable salary. And I will. I just said that to set myself apart from the rest of the prospective law student field -- the retards who suck at math/science, picked history as their major, saw an episode of boston legal and now want to go to law school. I make about $20k a year right now, working part time while I'm in school. let's not delve too deep into who I am as a person. this is just a message board, there's no way to really know about each others true abilities. for all you guys know, I'm a fucking prodigy. or a complete retard. it's a crapshoot. PPS: you guys really don't know much about NOLA, do you? my mother made $40k a year and kept the lights on supporting 4 dependents. we never lived in the ghetto.
     


  15. Flambeur

    Flambeur Senior member

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    No matter how many myths are debunked about the profession OP, kids are gonna keep going to law schools- they're big, almost corporate-like businesses now and they know they can raise tuition as much as they want and people will still pay.
    It's just an amazing amazing combination of branding, image, reputation, etc... Everyone believes that they can go to a random law school and become a highly paid, respected attorney. They see biglaw and successful local guys on the billboards and think that those comprise 90% of the lawyers, when in reality it's anything but.
     


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