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  1. #21
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    Jul. 23, 2009
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    I'll be Debbie Downer and say don't do it... You are going to pick up at least another 100k in debt and unless you are the best, brightest & most connected of your class, you aren't finding an associate position (i.e. you won't be making any $$$).

    My fiance is an attorney, 3 years out of school now. He has a good job, not great, and he has a BIG loan debt. He is the guy that was always top of his class, varsity sports, multiple extracurriculars etc. and he is really struggling mentally with the fact that he isn't making the big bucks that he expected. That said, his position is WAYYYY better than most of his law school buddies who are clerking for a tiny paycheck or otherwise unemployed. We joke that the paralegals & secretaries at his firm make more than some of his law pals.

    Actually, why don't you see if you can't find a paralegal job first, just to make sure you have a lasting interest in the industry AND a paycheck.



  2. #22
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    Apr. 30, 2006
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    I graduated from law school in May 2012. The experience left a pretty bad taste in my mouth and I decided to work outside of law. Which I did, for a year. Finding a job outside of law was very difficult because of having law school on my resume. As such I ended up very unhappy in the job I did find and resolved to take the bar. I sat for it last week and it was a pretty harrowing experience and I won't find out if I passed until the end of October.

    I discourage people who talk about wanting to attend law school. I was very fortunate to graduate with no debt, but anyone who would have to go into debt I STRONGLY advise reconsidering. Of all of my law school friends one has the mythical 6 figure job, which she likes. As for the rest of them, the fortunate ones are clerking, a few have starting attorney jobs, a few are in governmental positions, or there's one who did not find a job for 10 months and is now a PD doing misdemeanor only work in a pretty rough jurisdiction.

    I'm pretty sure I just said last week, looking back on it I would absolutely NOT go to law school again. It is not the ticket to a well paying job anymore. The legal market is not in good shape and the big firms have wised up to what were some pretty amazing hiring practices (and accompanying perks).

    IF YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SET ON GOING TO LAW SCHOOL let me say this:
    - Get a 160 or higher on your LSAT, if you don't, don't go.
    - Take all the financial aid you can get, even if it means going to a lesser law school. If you work to be at the top of your class you can still get a good job from a lesser law school. Not having as much debt is, at this point, a bigger concern for many.
    - As everyone else has said, and I'll say it again, this is not the golden ticket.

    I did meet some really great people in law school and I think you'll be in a better position to succeed than I was, as I went straight through from college.

    Oh, and you're absolutely not too old. There was a wonderful woman in my class who had 2 children and commuted an hour and a half each way from school each day. Every time I was having a hard day I thought about her and how happy and pleasant she always was.



  3. #23
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    Sep. 16, 2008
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    I would say no. I graduated in 2008 and passed 3 state Bars (did not know where I would end up). I had a job for about a year and then had to move to a different state. It took 9 months to get a temp job doing Doc Review (the lowest of the low law jobs). However, because I was pretty relentless, I was able to get a job at the company I was doing doc review for. I am not on the legal team, but I am on track to have an ok life. Not pulling in the big bucks but great benefits and I can afford to have a horse who I ride 4-6/week, flex time, all that great stuff.

    As an aside I work on the claims side for complex insurance claims (asbestos, toxic torts, lead paint, etc.). My legal background got me this job, so that is a plus. I also consider myself lucky after meeting so many lawyers stuck in the doc review circuit. Truly depressing and most of them have given up hope for better. Sorry to be a downer, just the truth.
    Impossible is nothing.



  4. #24
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    Apr. 15, 2008
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    not in this market, and i don't see it getting better anytime soon.

    http://abovethelaw.com/
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Gravity works, and the laws of physics are a bitch.

    Member: Rabid Garden Snail Clique


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  5. #25
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    Oct. 6, 2002
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    Someone suggested that science backgrounds mat be valued at law school. That's very true. Except the OP said she went to art school, it's one of the regrets she cites. I don't know too many "art schools" turning out scientists/engineers.

    I have many thoughts and will come back and post. Off to go lawyer now...
    Last edited by vxf111; Aug. 7, 2013 at 11:11 AM.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  6. #26
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    Feb. 22, 2009
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    Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToTheNines View Post
    Do you by any chance have a science undergraduate degree? If so, patent law is a fabulous law practice.
    I practice patent law and love it. I work about 50-60 hours a week (unless a big project comes up) and am able to afford my horse and ride 4-5 times a week.

    In the current legal hiring environment, finding a niche area is one way to stand out from other graduates and to have a more secure path toward a job. Another area that comes to mind is maritime law (if you live on a coast).

    As far as expenses, do the best you can on the LSAT. Even if you do not get into a top tier school, you may get a scholarship to a mid-level school. During law school, do not give into the temptation to live like a king. I have a lot of friends who did this and they are now making mortgage-like student loan payments. I went to law school full time but also worked at a law firm about 20 hours a week (50 in the summer). I used this money to pay rent, expenses, and to help pay tuition.

    Would I go to law school again? Absolutely. I think a law degree with good grades from a Tier 1, 2 or even 3 law school is worth the investment. You are at least 4 years away, so it is hard to predict the market at that time. As others have suggested, take a practice LSAT, evaluate how much you think you can bring your score up, and decide from there.

    Feel free to pm me with questions and good luck!



  7. #27
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    Oct. 6, 2002
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    Okay, my 2 cents worth what you paid for it...

    Unless you are independently wealthy-

    *you should not go to law school because you're not sure what else to do
    *you should not go to law school to do something for 3 years while you figure out what it is you want to do
    *you should not go to law school because the law seems "interesting" and you like watching court shows on TV

    In addition

    *you should not go to law school because you figure "eh I can be a lawyer, why not" and you want to be rolling in the dough.

    There are 2 reasons for normal folks without a trust fund to go to law school-

    *the degree would be useful for your intended career (and that applies whether your career is practicing law or not, the JD is a credential with value for non-law careers in government, public policy, teaching, etc.)
    *you actually want to be a lawyer

    That's it. Those are the 2 reasons. If you don't neatly fit into one of those two reasons-- you need to do more soul searching to figure out what it is you should be doing.

    [clicked send too early, finishing in the next post]
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  8. #28
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    No, the numbers are definitely portraying an accurate picture.
    Not only that, but their have been lawsuits filed against law schools for playing fast-n-loose with placement data numbers. (In fact, that's true for all professional degree programs and a problem in academia right now.)

    But the point is that the reality about who gets jobs for how much and when might be worse, not better, than the published statistics state.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  9. #29
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    Oct. 6, 2002
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    Assuming you meet one of these two criteria, in this economy there are two smart choices...

    1. Blow away the LSAT, get into a top 50 law school, do whatever it takes to graduate in the top 10% of your class.

    2. Find a regional law school in the region where you want to stay/practice that will give you as close to a free ride as possible or at least enough in grants that your loans could be paid with the lowest possible paying "law" job (i.e. state court clerk, public defender, public interest lawyer, document review part time etc.)

    Either is a fine option. I do not degradae the second, it is a VERY viable and perfectly acceptable choice. Especially because #1 is rolling the dice and not everyone is going to be capable of being the top top student at a top top law school.

    In this economy, I cannot recommend anything other than those 2 choices. I cannot recommend going to a middle tier law school and paying retail. I absolutely would recommend going to a lower tier school IN THE CITY WHERE YOU WANT TO STAY for a full ride or close to full ride.

    To give you some perspective, I've been practicing 9 years. I took option #1. Back then it was a time of feast, law students were wooed to big firms, paid big bucks, and indeed that's what I did. It isn't that way anymore. Mediocre performance and a mediocre law school is not a ticket to a big bucks job or even a job AT ALL. I adjunct teach at 3 law schools, one which is lower tier and new to the market. For many years, students were given free rides. Sure, it didn't have the NAME RECOGNITION outside Philly-- but for students who wanted to stay, having no loans was incredibly freeing and allowed them to take neat but low paying jobs to start (fellowships, non-profit work, clerking, etc.) that opened the door a few years later to lots of excellent and higher paying options. If you're going to be #1 at Yale, the world's your oyster. You also have some nice options debt-free (or very low debt) in the city where you graduated from a regional-recognition law school. Anything else-- and your options are dire.

    Which is why... law school is not something to do for the wrong reasons. It's worth it for the degree if you need it or for the credentials to practice law *if* you're smart about those credentials. But is it no guarantee of big easy money upon graduation.

    BTW- life lesson, there's an inverse relationship between time and money in most jobs. The more you earn, the less you have time. The more free your time is, the less you earn. When I was BIGLaw, I made enough money to board my horses at a fancy show barn but was riding at midnight to fit it in. When I went to government, I made a whole lot less (ouch) and but I walk out the door at 5om most days. Consider whether you will be happy with the money/time allocation at particular law jobs before you set down a 3+ year path to get one. More money may not make you more happy in your horse life.

    Age is not a problem. Your undergraduate major is not a problem (assuming you get into one of the types of law schools I mention). Law school is stimulating, challening, and an awful lot of fun (we like to gripe but the reality is we mostly gripe as a law school meme and not because life is actually awful). I love my career and I wouldn't have chosen another. There is every reason for you to consider law school IF you're honest with yourself about why you're doing it and your expectations. But you've got to be realistic and honest. Good luck.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #30
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    Sep. 4, 2012
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    I considered going to law school as a second career a few years ago. Took the LSAT and got a pretty good score. But in the end, after doing some in-depth research into employment prospects (mostly dismal) and my lifestyle desires (best employment prospects were in places I didn't want to live and working conditions that didn't appeal to me), I decided against it.

    Edited to add that no, you aren't too old. Among the many packets of information I received from multiple law schools after I took the LSAT, I recall one that mentioned that the oldest student they had ever had was 60-something years old and was now in his 70's and still practicing law.



  11. #31
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    Dec. 2, 2001
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    USA
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    I am just starting law school and I think that if you REALLY want to be an attorney, you should go for it. I am fortunate to be older (53) and have my home paid for, so I will be able to follow my heart and go into public interest law. I was also fortunate to get a scholarship, which will really reduce what I have to pay back. If, on the other hand, you are just looking for a job that will pay big bucks, law school is a bad investment right now. Good luck with your decision.
    Second place is first loser.



  12. #32
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    Oct. 11, 2006
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    I'm not a lawyer had taken the LSAT and applied to Law schools at 27 years old...I am married to a lawyer and have been running his firm for 14 years. We went from just the two of us, the added another attorney and 3 more support staff. Now, for various reasons, we are back to just the two of us. Are we happy? Yes. Are we wealthy? No. We work for ourselves and can make our own hours if we so choose and there are no court appearances scheduled. HOWEVER, our salary varies greatly. There were years where we made 6 figures combined. There were years where we made under 90K combined (and we live in the Northeast... expensive.) I am a super budgeter. Even so, I can't afford board on 2 (I have a horse and our daughter rides.) So, daughter catch rides ponies and we do what we can as far as showing.. we do not show a lot. If DH wanted to get a job in a firm, we decided it would be a big sacrifice in our family time and that is more important to us than another 20K or so a year.



  13. #33
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    Jul. 2, 2005
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    Makes me really glad I went to social work school. Always employed and making as much as those low paid lawyers. And no one wants to run me over.
    ********
    There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.


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  14. #34
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    Mar. 17, 2009
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    71

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    I've been a lawyer for 10 years. During years 1-5, all of my friends regretted going to law school and hated their jobs. From year 6 on, the majority grew to enjoy what we do.

    I highly recommend working in a law firm (or interning for a public agency, depending on where your interest lies) before committing to law school. If I had to do it over, I can see being just as happy as a paralegal or a court reporter, where you can still make good money but won't have nearly as much debt, and aren't a slave to the billable hour.

    As for horses, I work for the government where I work 40 hours a week and have a ton of vacation, but don't get paid as much as I would elsewhere. I lesson 3x/week - often before work or during my lunch hour. I have plenty of time to show my horse, but can only afford a few shows a year.



  15. #35
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    Jul. 13, 2011
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    Meup and MVP have hit the proverbial nail right on the head. I graduated with my JD in 1993 and I loved law school. Private practice, not so much. I've been in-house at an insurance company for the last 15 years and I love my job. But the numbers are absolutely awful and chances are you'll end up with HUGE (and non-dischargeable in bankruptcy) debt and no job. Or a crappy job that pays squat, if you are lucky. Don't do it!!!!
    Last edited by oliverreed; Aug. 7, 2013 at 02:54 PM. Reason: spelled Meup wrong
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!



  16. #36
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    Jul. 14, 2003
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    MA
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    I graduated law school in 1982 and pretty much agree with everything said here. Probably because lawyers are a dime a dozen in Boston, the prospects here have never been great unless you have personal or political connections that will get you a good job.

    There are exceptions, such as people with Phds in genetics or chemistry who join boutique patent law firms because they are so specialized.

    I ended up with a job in the public sector and my situation is much like post #34 above- time off but little money and a terrible commute. I got my job through right place right time luck because public employment in MA is also very Political.

    I always say that if I had it to do all over again, I would have been an electrician.
    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


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  17. #37
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    Jul. 13, 2011
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    Oh yes, electrician, definitely!
    What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #38
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    May. 1, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by justathought View Post

    on the other hand if you are willing to cast a wider net, the skills from law school are invaluable in a variety of fields.
    Quote Originally Posted by vxf111 View Post
    *the degree would be useful for your intended career (and that applies whether your career is practicing law or not, the JD is a credential with value for non-law careers in government, public policy, teaching, etc.)
    I think these two statements are SUPER important to keep in mind. Mostly because that's what I did

    I went to law school NEVER intending to practice law. Specifically, while my ideal career path did not *necessitate* a JD, having those little letters after my name enhanced my competitiveness 1000%. With that in mind I enjoyed law school, would do it again, and consider it an invaluable experience, both because it DID get me where I wanted to be professionally and because the education made me a more rational but creative problem solver. The value, to me at least, in a law school education is that you learn HOW to think. I can't tell you a damn thing about the rule against perpetuity, but I sure can come up with a way to get that square peg in a seemingly round hole.

    Now, if I had actually wanted to practice law I would be writing a very different post. The market is terrible, my classmates (class of '08 from a top 50 school) are unemployed, underemployed or do the work of 2 for the salary of 1/2 an associate.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that this is a terrible time to become a lawyer, but not necessarily a terrible time to go to law school. So to answer your question, I, personally, would absolutely go to law school again (but not be a lawyer ).
    Last edited by Rabbit351w; Aug. 7, 2013 at 06:14 PM.



  19. #39
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    Oct. 6, 2002
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    Can I also venture a guess (without getting personal) that most of the gripers or people who have griping-friend-of-a-friends DO NOT meet the two criteria I suggested-- top 10% at a top 50 law school (the top tier is a lot longer than 50 schools long and top 10% means really top 10% and not top 25% or "got an A in torts and Bs in everything else after that") or close-to-free-ride or discounted at least by 50% off retail cost at a regional school where they want to stay. I think the gripers almost exclusively either went to a good school but finished middle to end. If they're willing to be honest about it. I doubt there's anyone ranked 12th in his class at NYU who can't find a job or someone from Harvard/Yale PERIOD who wishes she had rethought the whole law gig because the options ar aren't out there. Similarly, the Drexel students I know who got free rides are mostly pretty happy 2-3 years out and their prospects are getting better over time. Because they didn't have any debt at all, they didn't feel pressure to get jobs paying above a certain cutoff and so their options were totally different. Many people live on $60,000 (which is federal clerk entry wage). I'd venture to a lot of non-lawyers they see that as a HIGH salary. low for law maybe, but not objectively unliveable in most places. It's having $1000/month of law school debt that makes that impossible. Not the salary in the abstract. The salary plus debt combination is the problem.

    My gut feeling is that the gripers went to a lower tier and paid retail. In this economy, those two things are the kiss of death. BUT you can go to law school and graduate in this economy without having done either of those two things. You can make the choice to go law and be smart about it or you can make the choice and think through it no further. You do not have to go to the top law school that accepts you and there are valid reasons for selecting a lower tier school (cost being a primary reason).

    OP, I hear you saying you love art but it's not lucrative and you would like to make more money. If that's really what you're saying, find a way to make the art thing more lucrative or to supplement your income in a manner that doesn't require 3 years of schooling and debt. Wanting to make more money is a very poor reason to change one's career in a debt-acquiring, 3-4 years before payoff kind of way in this economy. If you want to make more money in a field that's growing, you want a high demand field with a short education cycle/low debt ratio like certain types of nursing.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  20. #40
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    Oct. 16, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by vxf111 View Post
    If you want to make more money in a field that's growing, you want a high demand field with a short education cycle/low debt ratio like certain types of nursing.
    Be very careful with a nursing degree. I went to one of the "best schools" in the country graduated Summa Cum Laude (I think my GPA was 3.97) and landed a job right away.

    Many of my classmates are jobless with huge debt.

    There is not currently a nursing shortage in the US despite what the news depicts. Also many of the available jobs are not for new grads.
    Lastly, to not want to weep every day at the disaster that is our healthcare system you have to love performing patient care truly and deeply to make living with all the crap worth it. I do, but many do not.


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