I don't necessarily mean an RN/PA (although that's an excellent career path if it appeals to you). I was thinking more along the lines of CNA/tech or something that requires less training. But I don't claim to be an expert on nursing! Though I will say, having investigated cases involving nursing-- you might be led to think that just about anyone can get hired as a CNA based on some of the CNAs I've run across! But again, that may not be a representative slice of the overall discipline.
Discobold, I too was a federal law clerk. What a great experience. I learned how judges think and why they do what they do by riding the circuit with my chief judge for the SDGA. That experience taught me more than I learned in law school. Since that time I've spent a lot of time socializing with judges and learned so much about how they think. Oh yes, and I did a lot of horseback riding while working for the judge because while all the guys were drinking with, uh, women provided locally in towns, I was provided with horses.
I wouldn't have wanted to just work in an office. I spent most of my days in court on trial, and the rest of the time on stakeouts or in the projects with my victims. It was not only rewarding, it was exciting and fun. (well the thrill of victory was more fun than the infrequent agony of defeat.)
(If I'd been a rock and roll singer, I'd have been dead by 30.:lol:)
sorry but this is a dismal field as well. For a woman, maybe it would be better but I would never reccomend it as a career choice based on current unemployment and that of the last 5 years. Ask me how I know.
Originally Posted by oliverreed
Dental therapy is a growing field, its like a PA for the dental field. Not a dentist per say but can do common procedures. Like a bridge between a hygenist and DDS.
Also medical lab tech would be good if you want to work in a hospital lab. Work could get to be routine and a bit boring but hospitals are hiring.
If you do law I highly suggest what others are saying-- a dual degree with a science PhD will really help and patent law is really hot. Especially in biotech, computers, and chemical engineering.
There are really not a lot of good options, all career paths have taken a hit.
Oh gosh! It's really too bad you probably can't swing becoming Canadian ;) I took the LSAT in 2012 and scored in the 96th percentile, that with my GPA, community service, etc. got me into a competitive and very well respected school here in Canada. I recieved a healthy scholarship for my first year. My total debt from tuition for the degree (not using loans for living expenses) will be about $18-25 000 dollars, depending on future scholarships and grants. Fairly manageable!
Even WITH loans for living expenses I don't imagine many people could even hit the $100 000 mark!
I am getting a law degree because it is an excellent credential for the specialized and growing field that I want to work in, not because I want to become a traditional lawyer or work in "big law". Tuition at a prestigious school that would most easily track you into big law here in Canada is roughly $20 000 a year.
If I was American? I would definitely NOT choose law!
I'm Canadian and went to a good school but not U of T. I graduated in the middle of my class. I knew I didn't want to go into biglaw so I didn't care (and spent all that extra study time riding instead).
I got a job at a small town firm and have stayed there until recently, when they allowed me to move to a more horsey area and open a branch office. My hours are pretty flexible and my salary has been the same for the last 3 years. It is not a big salary.
However, I get time to ride (usually ride 2 horses per day) and use my vacation at horse shows. I also take my laptop to horse shows, and sometimes won't ride for 2 weeks when I have a trial.
Would I do it again? I am on the fence. Part of me realizes that I have a pretty good situation. Another part of me agrees with one of the other posters here who said that the actual practice of law isn't that interesting, most days.
And sitting at a desk 8+ hours a day sucks for keeping my figure. I have to find extra time for actual exercise and be careful with what I eat (not always easy with the stresses of law practice).
I went to Cornell and got a J.D., also with a summer thing at the Sorbonne, plus an MLLP from University of Humboldt in Berlin; I did not get "B's in everything else." Cornell does not rank, btw. Yale does not even have GPAs, so it is actually impossible to be "#1 at Yale."
Originally Posted by vxf111
My friend from Cornell who can NOT get out of the TX legislature for love or money got great grades, has BigLaw on his resume and has been published. His resumes go out into the void.
I also think it is incorrect to state that someone who is top 10% from Fordham is going to compete with someone who is middle of the pack from Columbia. The big firms do not want places like Fordham on their associate bios.
When I worked in BigLaw, every person that firm hired came from top 15 schools with excellent GPAs. When the firm subsequently laid off every. single. first year corporate associate except three who spoke Spanish fluenty, their law school GPA had nothing to do with their layoff; it was the fact that they didn't speak Spanish and couldn't do the Hugo Chavez work.
It is easy to say that the gripers just went to crappy schools and didn't work hard. It feels better than to think that all of these people did everything right and life still sucks for them.
I would do it again. I love the practice of law and find it really intellectually stimulating. If you do too, it's a good choice. The people that had the hardest time in law school were those that were there either because their parents were lawyers and expected them to be as well, or because they thought being a lawyer was the way to make a lot of money.
BUT if I had it to do over again, I would have worked a LOT harder in law school and made sure I was in the top 15% of my class. In this market, you need to be at the top to ensure you get A job out of school, let alone a good job.
Good luck to you!
Meup, I'm talking about all the newly minted lawyers cited earlier in this thread. Because that's really what the op was asking about. 4-5 years out (or 9-10 like me, scary!!!) is a whole nother ball of wax and not comparable. And yes, I'm painfully aware of Yale's pass/fail at the moment. That was meant to be illustrative if not precise as an example. And I never, ever, ever said anyone went to a crappy school or didn't work hard. Ever. In fact, I argued in FAVOR of attending a lower tier school under certain circumstances. What I am saying is that the market for new grads is tight. The options are there but now only for the elite. The alternative is to get the credential without debt so you can be flexible and work a few years at lower paying jobs before thinking of trying for higher paying ones. I never said anything about the quality of students or schools (I teach at 2 lower tier schools and I know how excellent the students are). I think we both agree the market is tight-- I just think even with the tightness there's room for new grads if they're strategic.
You've gotten good advice here that accurately reflects the state of the market. Yes, it really is that bad for new law graduates. Back when I was applying to law school, they used to say that the law students were the ones for whom business school math was too hard...and there's still a disturbing trend of new applicants not honestly assessing the cost-benefit balance of going to law school.
Look, I love being a lawyer: federal appellate clerkship, BigLaw, and now in-house. In my career I've gotten to travel to interesting places, spend a surprising amount of time in a court room, and work with interesting people on hard issues that matter. It's fascinating, challenging, rewarding, and cool work, and I count myself lucky every day that I get to do it. But, but, but. It is a HARD slog through baby BigLaw days, and you can't undercount the importance of luck in the process: you might end up working for a saint who understand having weekends off and gives you cool assignments or you might end up doing document review on a mass tort in a conference room in South Dakota for months on end. Getting into a big firm -- the only way you're going to see that 6 figure income out of law school -- is tough (much more so than when I went through) and you'd be competing against super smart eager talented kids who are looking for the chance to burn hard and fast. Staying at a big firm once you're in is even harder, as firms go leaner and seek to poach laterals rather than promote from within. And once you're out, you'll be competing against folks a number of years older for the same middling jobs, including former partners and government lawyers with real substantive experience.
In short, unless you have a burning desire to be a lawyer and unless you can go to law school debt free, I wouldn't recommend going.
meupatdoes & vxf111-
There are a lot of factors at work, not just school and placement in class (and don't forget law review.) Those things may get you a job, but the reality is that keeping jobs in big firms has more to do with the ability to bring in or keep clients who can pay the $500+ per hour fees. To the OP, how many people do you know who can pay that? Are you in their country club? Were they your college or prep school roommates? If not, then forget about earning the big bucks because you will probably be let go before you make partner.
But getting jobs also depends heavily on who you know. Or more importantly who your father knows. It also depends on geography, since some places (like Boston) have a glut due to the high number of law schools in the area. Law students just don't want to go back to east overshoe after graduation.
Here are my personal thoughts on this. I LOVED law school and loved clerking. The intellectual exercise, the research, the writing--I loved all of that. I'm from the first wave of women in law, from a time when there was blatant discrimination against females, few job opportunities except in government or NGOs. Private firms did not want women. I'm also from a time when for many law was a way to change society for the better. My field of law is almost dead these days and seems to be contracting even further.
The practice of law in firms is entirely different from the law school experience. One reason I have given it all up is that lawyers tend to flock together, both socially and professionally and I found that I disliked the extreme competitiveness of many/most of the lawyers that I had to deal with in small town law practice. I found many of them to be extremely unethical by my standards and willing to play underhanded tricks to win. Because in the practice of law winning is everything. Think of lawyers in private practice as the equivalent of medieval champions who physically fought for their "clients". Justice is simply not a consideration for a practicing lawyer because of the way our legal system is set up. Only Judges are concerned with justice.
One thing that became obvious to me over the years was that clients find it almost impossible to tell the unvarnished truth to their lawyers.
Now perhaps I'm jaded and cynical because of my personal experiences in small town, small state general practice, but unless you are willing to compromise your own personal ethics for the rush of the win, you will be very unhappy in the actual practice of law. The parts that were fun to me couldn't make up for the rest. It's really all about winning and losing, and I'm not a good loser. I take it too personally because I'd get emotionally invested in my causes.
Again, I'm not talking about life 5+ years out or giving advice on career longevity. Happy to discuss that too but thats not what I was responding to. OP asked about law school, many replies said recent grads regretted the choice due to no job/ bad market, I echoed that the market is bad and gave 2 suggestions for ways to still make it work if you want to be a law student on this market. I'm not suggesting this is a path to a 20 year career or that those credentials still open doors once you're mid level ... All I am saying is those are the best paths to take if you're thinking about going to law school NOW because those give you the best immediate choices post-graduation.
YMMV but 5 yrs at biglaw, clerking, small boutique firm, and now 3 years w the government and I've never had to compromise my ethics or even consider it.
If you are at all interested in medicine, take a look at Physician's assistant. Most have a great deal of autonomy and the health care field is expanding rapidly.
Btw, I don't know what type of jobs your TX friend is looking for meup but I'm happy to look at his resume and give feedback if that'd be helpful. Especially if he's looking to go gov't. From what you've said, I am surprised he doesn't get some interest.
Not sure what the OP's ultimate goals are but at least a couple of people mentioned joint degrees. I currently have a friend (about 40 years old) who is going into her second year of an MSW/JD program and absolutely loving it. She's one of those freaking dogooders (and I mean that in the best way) and wants to get both degrees so that she can help disadvantaged people with both social welfare and legal issues. She is a stellar student who passed the LSAT with a ridiculously high score and has almost a full ride, so there won't be much debt when she gets out. She doesn't expect to make big bucks, but she will be doing what she loves and is meaningful to her. Almost forgot to add the most important thing of all. This woman was interning prior to law school and already has a job lined up as soon as she graduates. I'm sure this isn't the norm for most JDs, but she found a niche where her skills are desperately needed.
vineyridge, we hired a young man as a senior writer in my department last fall, and he has his JD. He had no trouble finding a good job as an attorney when he graduated 10 years ago but was completely disenfranchised for the reasons you mentioned: win at all costs attitudes, compromising one's ethics, and so on. He's making a lot less money here but says he's very happy. There are a lot of things to weigh and consider when making a decision as big as that of going to law school.
Good luck, OP.
ETA, vxf111, I think vineyridge may have meant that she didn't like being involved in an industry where she was witnessing people who compromised their ethics and took a win at all costs stance. Our new writer left the practice he was at because of what he was seeing around him, not because he was participating in it.
Everyone is surprised he doesn't get some interest.
Originally Posted by vxf111
I can ask him to email me his resume and if he does I will happily pass it along.
I went to law school for exactly the same reasons you're considering doing it.:D I wanted a job that would allow me the financial means to have horses and free me from the slavery of a time clock so I could ride when I wanted.
Guess what? It worked!!!!:cool:
The kind of surprising part is I also love practicing law.:yes: Didn't really see that coming.
I work for myself. I practice family law - divorces, child custody, visitation, adoption, also other miscellany like name changes, etc.
I like it because I'm working for a person - not an organization or a business or a municipality - on things that matter the most to the majority of people: their homes and families. My goal is to help people through one of the most challenging times in their lives with as little stress as possible - and hopefully help them maintain their family relationships, albeit within a new framework.
I also love working with the other members of our circuit's family court bar. They are (with a few exceptions) kind, intelligent, well-read, articulate, witty people. Who wouldn't like that?:)
I was a 40 year old 1L, so no, you are not too old. I was not the oldest member of my class either - there were three people older than I was, IIRC.
I have three horses, two of whom are retired, who live at home with me on my farm. I take a lesson once a week and take either Friday mornings or afternoons (depending on the season) off to ride. If there's a clinic or ride or something I want to attend, I can - but I do have to "write for protection" (get the judges to sign a letter saying I don't have to appear in court on those days). I seldom work on the weekends, so I also ride most Saturdays and Sundays.
But - here's the thing. You can't just graduate from law school, pass the bar, and hang our your shingle. Well, you can - but you'll be a malpractice suit waiting to happen, if you manage to get a client. You need to work for somebody else, preferably in the field of law you want to practice (although I did not - I worked in civil litigation), for about five years.
Law school will not teach you how to practice law. It will teach you how to think analytically so you can frame a problem; how to find the information you need in order to solve the problem; how to think on your feet and perform well under pressure; and how to read faster than almost anybody else you know.:)
To learn how to take a case from signing the client to the judge's final order, though - for that, you need to work for somebody that's done it a time or two thousand.
Also, to get clients you need referrals. To get referrals, you need to build a network of other lawyers and other legal professionals. For that, you need to be known in your legal community - so again, you need to work for another lawyer for some years. Join the local Bar Association. Volunteer to coach or judge mock trial. Etc.
How hard it is to get that first or second legal job nowadays I don't know. I know in our market the big firms laid off bunches of associates early in the recession, and the small firms stopped hiring about the same time. But if you take the LSAT now it'll be at least three and a half or four years before you're looking - so who knows what the job market will be then?
And you will accumulate even more student loan debt. Which is, as you know, an albatross around your neck.
Would I do it again if I had it to do over right now in 2013? Hmmm. Hard to say, really. I might be more tempted to look into other fields that allowed me to set my own hours and make a decent living without such a large financial and educational commitment. Right now, we desperately need court reporters in my circuit. I think that pays pretty well and allows you your independence.
Final thought - Law school is very stressful. You are probably too young to remember The Paper Chase, but get Scott Turow's OneL and read it. The first year is particularly so, but so is the second. Make sure you are the type of person who can handle stress without destroying your health or mental well-being.
I would do again what I did back then - only in a way back machine. It was academically stimulating and I had a really interesting and unusual career before semi-retiring to the full time living on the farm style horse world-
but no could not recommend going into law now.
I'm happier now but living in relative poverty. I sort of like that though.. it's a new skill.
OK with me if can survive and support my animals .
Nothing would ever entice me to go back to that world.
If had to do over would go to vet school or community college and learn a trade like plumbing, carpentry, electrician etc. These are such valuable and under rated skills.