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Demandstudiossucks.com • View topic - Law School

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Law School

Just like the title says!

Law School

Postby sickofstupidity » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:46 pm

This is for Batman and others in the legal field. How much of an effect does the tier of your law school have on your potential earnings/career options? A friend of mine just took the LSAT and got a 144. From her depressed tone, I take it that is not a good score. She says she can only get into three schools with a 144. I have been trying to talk her out of applying since the field is so saturated and jobs are so scarce, so I asked her if taking out thousands of dollars in loans is really the best plan right now. She said one of the schools is only $8K per year. Now I know that the most expensive thing isn't always the best, but...how good can an $8,000/year school really be? Is she going to have any decent career options?
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Re: Law School

Postby The Batman » Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:25 pm

Short Answer: Realistically? No.

Long Answer: This is my advice. It's twofold and based on a question that only she can truly answer. Does she REALLY want to be a lawyer? REALLY? These are not reasons to go to law school: Can't think of anything else to do, every one always said she'd be a good lawyer, she likes to argue, it sounds interesting and she thinks she'll make a lot of money. She needs to seriously ponder the question.

If the answer is no, then she should count herself fortunate and go do something that she loves. A masters in a field that she is passionate about will do her a lot more good than a law degree.

If the answer is yes, then she needs to take at least a year off and retake the LSAT. (Good things to do during that year: get a masters, volunteer work, get a real job.) Law schools have no problem with time off between undergrad and law school. If someone has done something productive with that time, law schools love it.

Here's the thing, the law field has always been extremely hierarchical. With the number of good legal jobs shrinking, it's getting even more so. If you can't get into a first tier school, then your career prospects are limited. Second tier schools can still offer fairly decent career prospects in some areas of the country. Anything below that? There's no good reason to go. None. A few lucky folks make it out of those schools and have decent careers. They are rare exceptions at the best of times. In this legal economy? Forget about it. (Note: I'm not saying there aren't some smart people and capable attorneys that can come out of lower tier schools. Just being realistic about how the legal profession works.)

A 144 LSAT is low. Even with a great GPA, she's looking at a 4th tier school. With a less that stellar GPA, she's looking at the bottom of the barrel or non-ABA accredited school. The LSAT is a bitch of a test. It intimidates a lot of people on the first go around because it's hard and important. I'll assume she's smart, so there's no reason she can't study for the test more, take a crap load of practice tests, and raise her score. Depending on her GPA, if she can just raise it into the mid-150s, she's looking at much better prospects.

If she's dead set on going now though, nothing's going to stop her. Best thing you can do is to just support her decision. But, give her facts first.
"Wait, when is March Madness?" ~CE Cluebat
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Re: Law School

Postby partygirl » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:39 pm

I'm not a lawyer, so my answer won't be as good as Batman's, but here are a few observations I've made from knowing a bunch of them.

My husband went to law school back in the mid/late 80s, when businesses were loaded with cash and the economy was great. He went to a fairly well-thought of school, even though it wasn't the hardest school to get into. They worked his ass off, so that's one thing for your friend to think about. Law school is a ton of work.

Even though it wasn't the greatest school, he did get a great education and was offered a $weet position with a firm about a year before he even graduated. (Like I said, it was during the good old days.) Even though he had always wanted to be a lawyer, was the go-to guy for contracts and loved working in that part of law, he hated working for a big firm where he had to bill his time, schmooze, bring in clients, worry about making partner, blah blah blah. So that's another thing for your friend to consider. The bullshit.

After maybe 2 or 3 years he couldn't stand the corporate BS any more, so he switched over to the DA's office and has been a criminal prosecuter ever since. Back then those jobs were pretty easy to get because they were guvmint and they paid less. Now people are lining up for them. They used to hire lots of new graduates but now most are people with contacts or who are related to someone, or people that quit and want their old job back. That's another thing for her to think about. There aren't enough jobs any more.

Another thing, even though hy husband really likes being a prosecuter, it's incredibly stressful. When he's in trial he's stressed to the max and works basically 24/7. The guy across the street is a big corporate lawyer and he is hardly ever home. His wife feels like a widow half the time.

Like Batman said, she's got to really want to be a lawyer to put up with all the time, work, expense and BS that goes along with it.

ETA: Sorry, this doesn't really answer the questions you were asking. I guess I just went off.
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Re: Law School

Postby TheHerpDerpPerp » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:47 pm

If she has a rolodex just chock full of wealthy people who need a lot of legal work/document review done all the time - mortgage brokers, extremely active real estate investors, and the like, and/or a rich uncle who's got hiring authority at a well-connected firm who is willing to give her a break when she graduates, she might be able to make a go of it.

Otherwise, she'll have to chase ambulances, but won't have the business development skills right out of law school to do it. It will be a VERY tough, uphill climb. And it's a matter of selling, no matter where you come from, in any private practice.

If she DOES have a rolodex full of rich people, though, she can go be a financial advisor or insurance agent without having to go to law school and do just fine, if she gets the training and support she needs from her management. That's not a matter of what company she affiliates with, though, and more a matter of the quality of the local manager in her home town's office.
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Re: Law School

Postby sickofstupidity » Mon Jan 09, 2012 9:54 pm

Thanks for the good answers. I didn't give the entire back story because I didn't want to be one of those TL; DR posters. Quick summary:

She went to law school right out of college. Through a combination of heavy drinking, pot smoking, and a struggle with anorexia, she failed out her first year.

Since then, she has gotten a very good job with a large national company. She makes almost twice the local median annual salary. She has a mortgage, a husband and two kids.

I asked her not six months ago if she really wanted to be a lawyer, or if her mother was pressuring her (her mother is the type who wants to tell everyone her kid is a doctor or lawyer). She said she didn't want to do it and that she really struggled with the legal writing the year she was in law school. I thought that was the end of it.

Then, out of the blue, she said she was taking the LSAT again. I finally said, "Look, I am not trying to burst your bubble, but two of my cousins had extremely good grades in law school and did well at their internships, and BOTH of them had to move out of state and take non-lawyer jobs so they could start paying back their loans." She said "I don't want to get a job for someone else, I want to work for myself." So my question then was, don't people typically work for other firms for a while before starting their own?

Then when she got the 144, I asked again if she really wanted to do it. She didn't say she wanted to be a lawyer; she said "it's a monetary thing." She said she has two kids she can't afford and needs to get a job where she makes a lot of money.

I know I can't do anything to stop her, but I think she is making a terrible mistake. I don't know how she can pick up and leave her two little kids to go to school 14 hours away from here. I don't know how she thinks she's going to survive when she plans to quit her job and move out of state. She already can barely afford her mortgage.
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Re: Law School

Postby FuckingHostile » Mon Jan 09, 2012 10:31 pm

I'm a lawyer, too, and I'll chime in, although I pretty much agree with everything Bats said.

Law school sucks. It is a soul-sucking monstrosity. After three years of getting your soul sucked, you have to study for the bar exam, which is another $4,000 (with exam fees and study materials) plus another 2 months of soul-sucking while you study and rue the day you were born.

The LSAT is a piece of shit that means nothing. Unfortunately, it gets you in the door. A 144 isn't great. But an $8K a year school isn't necessarily bad - My law school was only $12K per year, and a large number of lawyers in my area went there.

It's a long road, it's a lot of work and it's not for everyone. A lot of people don't go back after first year. But maybe it's her calling. Who knows? Only she does.

If she's made up her mind to do this, support her. She'll need it. My first year of law school I got divorced, moved into my parents' basement and pretty much shit out my old life and barfed up a new one. It's not pretty. She'll need the love.
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Re: Law School

Postby El Hombre Pablo » Tue Jan 10, 2012 12:07 am

I can only comment on the LSAT itself. This is actually a nightmare if you had issues with an intro logic course. I had thought of this line of work, but I found that I had a soul and would serve people better as an instructor. Many of the questions that I have heard from the LSAT are along the lines of analytical reasoning and logical reasoning. THis is not the easiest stuff for people who aren't prepped for this shit. Even with a decent analytical mind you will NEED to practice a lot (many) for these silly questions. One of the ways I describe it to students who want to take the damn thing is this. Take the GRE, see how you faired on the quantitative portion of the test. If you are not above 600 you are goignto be wasting money since it is 4 times as difficult and the stress is unbearable for most.

Just my take on that thing. IT can really destroy some smart people who are not intune withthe types of questions and answers you will need to bark up.
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Re: Law School

Postby CE_ClueBat » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:05 pm

I can comment kinda, because I have switched focuses during school a few times, and (I think) I finally figured out what is best for me.

If she can't pull the grades for the grad tests, like Bats said, it looks really good if you volunteer or obtain a Master's. You'll actually get a leg up with a Master's. It's only 2 more years, and if you decide to bail on the decision for law school, at least you're walking away with a Master's.
"Or, it could be that I don't know everything." ~TheBatman
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Re: Law School

Postby The Batman » Tue Jan 10, 2012 4:32 pm

"Wait, when is March Madness?" ~CE Cluebat
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Re: Law School

Postby Groundskeeper Willie » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:56 pm

Yeah, a 142 LSAT score + can only get into a low tier LS + struggled with LS the first time + shitty job market + already has a decent paying job + just wants to do it for money that's not there = definitely should not be going to LS.

If she just had a couple of those things going against her, it wouldn't make much sense. With all of them together, it doesn't make any sense.

I'd try hard to dissuade her if she were my friend. Someone did that for me when I was set on LS, and I'm grateful. I don't resent her for crushing my dream. Some dreams are stupid, and what the fuck's the point of having friends if they don't set you straight?

LS and law weren't for me. The more I thought and learned about them, the more I realized that. So many people just dive into LS and come to regret it. She might not think she is one of them, but that could be because she doesn't even know what she doesn't know about LS and the profession. That's how it was with me.

There are loads of articles and posts out there trying to scare people away from LS. I'd urge her to read them. If somehow it's really her calling, they shouldn't faze her. Hell, if she can make a good case for going despite all the evidence, maybe it is her calling. (Okay, not really, but the thread wouldn't be complete without a lame lawyer joke.)

But she needs to read up on the reality of what she's facing. Yeah, she's looking at a relatively cheap school, but it's still over $24k. Would she buy a $24k car without reading the negative reviews? Would she buy it if there were a good chance it wouldn't work and take her anywhere? That's just crazy.

Add to that all the opportunity and personal costs—relocation, being away from her kids, quitting her job, a shit ton of work, three years of life she could be doing something else—and it's even crazier.

Tl;dr: like Batman said, she should run away, and I'd try to get her to read up on why.
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