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  1. #121
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    There is a phrase for the unique circumstances that recent law grads are suffering from: "In This Economy" or "ITE", referring to the horrible job market since about the 2008 class. Google "law school scam" and you'll see hordes of complaints from disgruntled law grads that feel they were lied to about their job prospects. I posted a little about that here- http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...39#post7122739

    Having said that, I graduated from law school ITE and *am* satisfied with my decision. I have a great job in the federal gov't where I get to work on issues that make a difference to the economy/society and that I truly believe in. I have awesome co-workers/managers, a flexible workplace/hours (workweek over 40 hours is the exception rather than the rule), and fun stories to share at cocktail parties

    Was it a "good investment" though? My father would tell you, "Absolutely not" considering that I financed full-freight, private school cost of attendance almost entirely on student loans. My first legal job came with a pay *cut* from what I was making in the private sector BEFORE law school, and the federal pay scale tops out under what I could expect to make as an executive in my old career path. "Are you able to afford a horse?" Nope. I essentially have a mortgage (or two) worth of student loans. My monthly loan payments exceed the average American rent on 1BR apartments. I'm lucky if I can afford weekly riding lessons, nevermind actually owning a horse or showing. I prioritized having a stable, satisfying career over wealth and luxuries (like having horses). Not everyone has the same priorities.

    My recommendation to everyone considering law school is to get some experience in the legal field before applying. Work as a paralegal for a while, shadow attorneys, get informational interviews, etc. If you don't have a particular specialty in mind, get exposure to a couple different specialities and settings. Being geographically flexible also helps. Are you willing to relocate for school/work? The legal market is especially glutted in CA.

    Quote Originally Posted by two sticks View Post
    What about going to a lower Tier school with a full or very significant scholarship, and aiming and working to be at the top of the class?

    I don't want to work in BigLaw and would be fine working at a smaller firm or in a corporate situation.
    The problem is that 95+% of students going to *any* tier law school plan to be at the top of their class but only 10% of students actually succeed. Generally, the lower your school ranks, the higher in the class you'll have to rank to be as marketable.

    Most students would prefer not to work in BigLaw. However, the small firms do not hire as often or as predictably as the big firms do, and it's harder to find about their compensation, firm culture, and training quality. The majority of corporate ("in-house") attorneys come from the BigLaw ranks as well.
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  2. #122
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    Feb. 12, 2014
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    Default Seriously people?

    Law school is not for everyone.

    Being a lawyer isn't for everyone.

    However, if you have a passion in the area, don't let people drag you down.

    I graduated in 2008, have qualifications in 2 countries, practiced in 2 countries and am gainfully employed.

    Its hard work to get the job - lots of applications and interviews (both to get the job and to see if you will like the work/ like the 'culture' of the firm).

    You have to volunteer and generally be an upstanding citizen.

    That being said, if you're good, you get paid very well.

    I'm 30 and do very well - if you want my salary range for peace of mind, private message me. I graduated young. I'm a lawyer. My industry has been essentially recession proof.

    The debt is an issue, but your career should allow you to pay it off. I wouldn't recommend doing any professional degree if you did not intend to practice. But I don't know anyone in my law school grad class who isn't well employed in some field (even if they aren't lawyers, it is another professional field where they are utilizing the skills)..

    I'm usually a lurker, but I couldn't stand to not try and support a future career in law - its awesome and I love it. But long hours. So be ready.



  3. #123
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    Thanks Ash - with daughter just starting in September needed a positive view!
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  4. #124
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    Thank you to whomever brought this back up. I don't know when I'll be ready to apply to law school. I am waiting until our son is old enough to be involved in other things after school.

    I still don't want to do divorces, LOL! No, seriously, I need to sort through the ethical aspects of being a lawyer, especially since I'm becoming Catholic. Maybe the St. Thomas More groups that can help me figure that out.

    Meanwhile, I was cleared to do guardian ad litem work, (you don't need to be a lawyer in Florida to do this) but I have to wait until they offer the class again.
    Is chasing cattle considered playing with your food?.

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  5. #125
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    Foxtrot - if it is something she loves she'll be great at it.

    As I said before, i'm only 30, i have little student debt left, own my own penthouse condo, luxury car - not that this is why I do the job, but life is pretty good. It is a lot of work. But if we're being honest, what job that is lucrative is not hard work. And, to clarify, if you're reasonably bright, you can be a lawyer. Its not that the work is 'crazy hard'. It is just a lot of it. She'll be great. If she needs someone to talk to, message me anytime.



  6. #126
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    Another person chiming in on the side of "yes" to the question of whether I'd do it all over again.

    I love what I do. I am intellectually challenged, I help people, and I have a career where I can do something I'm good at for a comfortable salary.

    I've had exposure to different facets of the legal profession. I was a clerk, an associate at BigLaw, an association at a boutique firm, and now I'm a gov't attorney and adjunct professor. My SO was a public interest lawyer, staff attorney, clerk, and is now a lobbyist. There are plusses and minuses to each of those career paths-- but certainly there are people who find intense satisfaction on all of them. I feel very lucky to have what I think is one of the top 3 legal jobs out there (bested only by being a full time law professor or judge). I would not have this job but for some of the things I did before, so even the "not so fun" experiences had their value.

    I will also be a voice of dissent re: law school being a nest of vipers and a miserable time. Law school was the best time of my life. I had a ton of fun, learned a lot, and met people who changed me for the better. At least where I went to school, competition was healthy and not-back stabbing. I came out of law school prepared for my job which my law school did a fantastic job helping me land.

    What I will say is that law school is NOT a place to go "mark time." It is too expensive to do if you don't have a solid reason. That reason being: (1) you need the degree (not necessarily to practice but because it will have value in some way); or (2) you want to be a lawyer. It is not a place to find yourself or kill time until you pull the trigger on getting your MBA or something to do to see if you like it.

    Think heavily about the debt you take on. In this economy, there is a LOT to be said for going to a lower tier school where you want to settle if by doing so you can significantly reduce your debt. There is always room for the top top students at the top top schools but realistically **even if you're bright** 99% of of you will NOT be that person. Everyone wants to be #1 on their class. Guess what, only one person will be and it's not because everyone else isn't smart. Being realistic and taking a half ride or full ride to a regional school with good local ties is a smart choice that people are quick to overlook in favor of an acceptance at a higher ranked school.

    If this is your career or your calling, go for it. But do it in a smart way.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  7. #127
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    I agree with most of what vfx wrote, especially this:

    Another person chiming in on the side of "yes" to the question of whether I'd do it all over again.

    I love what I do. I am intellectually challenged, I help people, and I have a career where I can do something I'm good at for a comfortable salary.
    I will also be a voice of dissent re: law school being a nest of vipers and a miserable time. Law school was the best time of my life. I had a ton of fun, learned a lot, and met people who changed me for the better.
    But I'm not sure I agree about going to a lower tier school. One thing about a top tier school is that, if you get in, you are expected to graduate. My experience with a lower tier school comes from interviewing for a part-time teaching job that I didn't take (I think vfx actually teaches at a law school, so she has more experience). What I found is that this school is much less selective in accepting applicants but expects to weed out a large percentage of its first-year class. So, those who graduate are very good, but there is a lot of culling along the way. In that sense, this school is actually more "competitive" once you get in.

    In addition, my Top Ten school focused on teaching legal theory - a framework for looking at legal questions - rather than just legal principles. My love for the law comes from that! I got the impression that the second tier school was more interested in teaching rules of law and practical skills, and I would have hated that. Having said that, I know graduates from this school who are brilliant and have very good jobs. It's a matter of what YOU want.
    Last edited by Jeito; Feb. 14, 2014 at 04:39 PM.



  8. #128
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    TemJ, what school is THAT (PM me if you want).

    I honestly don't know of any accredited law school "weeding out" students on purpose. Maybe they were just being realistic about graduation rates-- which is a little different?!

    I think bigger schools that accept more marginal student do have a higher rate of students not making it through-- but not because the school is weeding them out on purpose or making the students compete. When you accept a small number of well qualified students, there are fewer in the mix who misjudged/were never cut out than if you admit a large number if students, some with dubious preparation/qualification (struggled with undergrad, had major trouble studying for the LSAT, not sure they can commit the time/effort to law school, etc.).

    But unless I was someone with that dubious background-- that wouldn't worry my much. And someone with a dubious background should REALLY THINK ABOUT WHETHER THIS IS RIGHT FOR THEM. If you struggle with reading, let's be realistic, law school is going to be DIFFICULT. Not impossible, but it's important for a student to be honest with him/herself about the skill set, time, and effort necessary.

    With the drop in admissions, I can't imagine any school that can AFFORD to go into the game hoping to cut students!? Right now schools are scrambling to GET students.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  9. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by vxf111 View Post
    TemJ, what school is THAT (PM me if you want).

    I honestly don't know of any accredited law school "weeding out" students on purpose. Maybe they were just being realistic about graduation rates-- which is a little different?!
    The school is Widener. This was many years ago, and it's my interpretation of what I heard. Your interpretation is just as plausible. But, still, Widener's first-year attrition rate is around 26% - that's huge!

    But unless I was someone with that dubious background-- that wouldn't worry my much. And someone with a dubious background should REALLY THINK ABOUT WHETHER THIS IS RIGHT FOR THEM.
    I don't think it's just a matter of how smart you are. I got into Top Ten schools but might have ended up dropping out of a school like Widener (or graduating near the bottom of the class) because I'm not (or wasn't) disciplined and self-sufficient enough. But maybe that makes my background "dubious"? All I'm saying is a lower tier school isn't necessarily for everyone.



  10. #130
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    Oh Widener is... kind of a special case. When I said "regional law school where you want to settle" I will add the unspoken caveat "with a good regional reputation." Widener isn't weeding out to be choosy... they just have a lot of students that don't make it. Widener has a LOWER curve than the other schools around here it is HARDER to fail out there than elsewhere-- and yet tons of students do.They accept well over half the students that apply, have a big class, and I think accept a lot of students that wouldn't last anywhere. I don't think they're being competitive/weeding out-- I think they'd LOVE, from a financial POV, to hang onto those students-- but those are students who wouldn't have made it anywhere and maybe shouldn't have been admitted in the first place. They are over-enrolling for financial benefit, and then letting the cards fall as they may. When I say "regional law school with a good reputation" I mean Temple, Drexel, and Rutgers.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  11. #131
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    Dec. 23, 2006
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    I would do it again. But then again, I graduated with honors from Harvard during the salary wars and when tuition there was half what it is today, clerked on a federal court of appeal, landed a job at one of the top firms in the country (where I'd worked as a paralegal before school), and worked my way into a fantastic career in civil rights when my loans were paid. That's the ideal circumstance, and it's not what you get today.

    Would I do it today? No. And as a part-time professor at a second-tier law school and a very pre-law undergrad program, I can't fathom for the life of me why anyone would. The odds are against you. The recent grads on this board who have decent jobs are a self-selecting group of people who can somehow afford to ride-- not representative of the population of unemployed and under-employed law grads out there. I do my best to give my students a leg up. Sometimes it helps. I tell my undergrads every. single. day to pick a different plan.

    It isn't getting better. The supply of lawyers is outpacing the demand. The profession is not going to bounce back like manufacturing or grow like the new economy. The profession has restructured. Clients now demand leaner staffing. They don't want legions of JDs doing document reviews. Government budgets have shrunk.

    I have a brilliant 2013 grad from a top-ten law school working for me for obscenely little money (not my fault-- it's what my org would pay and she accepted). Before that she was working on a school-funded "bridge" fellowship, meaning the school gives you a stipend so you look employed.

    "I will work to be in the top 5%" is not a winning strategy for law school (or for the Hunger Games). Then again, law schools have always been full of people who are there because there's no math on the admissions exam. I suppose it's not surprising that so many people who can't or won't acknowledge the statistics are coming in today.

    Besides-- even for lawyers of my generation, job satisfaction is remarkably low. I've got a fantastic career, but most people I know are doing very grueling, all-consuming jobs that leave them little time to be with their families, much less enjoy the good things in life. I took over a decade to put myself in a position where I had the flexibility to ride a few times per week. I'm the only person I know who is still practicing law who can actually say that.


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  12. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr8fulrider View Post
    Besides-- even for lawyers of my generation, job satisfaction is remarkably low. I've got a fantastic career, but most people I know are doing very grueling, all-consuming jobs that leave them little time to be with their families, much less enjoy the good things in life. I took over a decade to put myself in a position where I had the flexibility to ride a few times per week. I'm the only person I know who is still practicing law who can actually say that.


    The Happiest And Unhappiest Jobs In America Guess who?
    I went to a top 5 law school, a very big NYC firm, and then in-house at a media company. I haven't practiced in a LONG time. On the one hand I would not do it again, because I hated practicing law. On the other, that university and degree still give me credibility with some people.

    I too graduated at a time when there was tons of money in the profession and tons of jobs; I most certainly would not go to law school were I to be faced with that decision today.



  13. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtrot's View Post
    Thanks Ash - with daughter just starting in September needed a positive view!
    Hey Foxtrot's. Here's my story. I was accepted into little Ontario Law School, but decided to get married instead. But, I did not get married and somehow fell into an amazing career with a now defunct telecom giant. Given my background in technology, I next managed to find myself working for the Feds in quasi-judicial administrative tribunal as an anlayst. I love it...I cannot tell you how much I love my work...it is a cross between technology and legal, and so many other things. I work with lawyers, legal frameworks, Acts, laws...the whole shootin' match. We have a number of analysts here too who are actually lawyers but have chosen to broaden their horizons in other disciplines.

    Anyways, message to your daughter...there are so many other opportunities in law than just straight work as a lawyer. Advise her to keep up with her French if she intends to go federal.

    All the best...



  14. #134
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    I don't feel like writing a novel, but long story short is that I am a lawyer, I'm glad I'm a lawyer, I'm happy where I work (a "mid-sized" firm in the Midwest, although I am told that we are one of the 250 largest law firms in the United States). I worked in true "BigLaw" for about a year out of law school and hated it. Where I work now is a good gig, and I very comfortably own a home, pay my debts, and support my horse and all of his expenses. I'm also married, but my spouse does not have a significant income (i.e., I could afford all of the above without his income).

    Regarding lower tier schools, it somewhat depends. Some cities have a lower tier school that they really support. For example, Marquette University is very supported by firms in the Milwaukee, WI area, and this was true even when it was ranked significantly lower than it is now. I work with a lot of Marquette grads, and have generally found them to be very good attorneys.

    Truth be told, the two worst attorneys I have ever worked with were Harvard grads.


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  15. #135
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    Yes, I would. I like my job. Does it get boring, yes. Is is a ton or hours, yes. Will I ever pay off at my student loans, maybe (I have unwisely chosen to spend money on horses instead of paying off my loans...I advise against this).

    I have always liked to talk, and argue, and prove I am right and outwit the otherside. I am also Type A and hyper-critical of details. this can make me a pain in the rear, but makes me a good litigator. I also practice employment law (someone says they were harssessed, discriminated aginst), which is super juicy and fun. You get to paw through a lot of dirty secrets.....

    I have worked as a prosecutor for the DAs office (low pay, super fun and a lot of trial experience), a regional firm (200 lawyers); BigLaw (2000 lawyers and crazy billable requirments, but with a HUGE paycheck), and now work at a large national employment firm (700 lawyers). I have been really lucky that I had good experiences at all places, even BigLaw--but leaving that was a life choice because I didnt want to work so many bloody hours.

    So, I guess it all depends on why you want to do it. My advice is to talk with lawyers and really find out what we do (pm me if you'd like). Law school and Hollywood are nothing like real life. There's a big difference between civil and criminal, and between litigation and non-litigation.

    I think its a good job because there's almost always room to achieve more--which I like, you don't ever really hit a ceiling (be in money or experience). The flip side of this is its almost always a pressure cooker.

    I also was able to take 3 months maternity leave 2x paid (once at the huge form and once at the regional) without any negative repurcussions. Now that I am a partner, I can make my schdule pretty flexible so long as I generate enough $$$ for the firm and keep my clients happy.

    I went to a 3rd tier law school and was only top 22%. But I had other things going for me like moot court and trial experience (I was a DA intern my 3rd year). I wrote this in another law school post floating around, but they key to success in getting a job is networking and interviewing well (and having solid grades). I have interviewed a lot of top 10% candidates who look fantastic on paper, but couldnt communicate well at all. Don't underestimate that skill!

    The job marker for first year lawyers is really not good right now and hasnt been for many years, which is why the having a plan for networking starting on day 1 is good. And remember your first job will not be your last and its easier to get a job when you have one--so don't worry if your first job isnt a dream job. And dont freak out if you don't make the coveted "on campus interviews" I never did either, but have been successful as a lawyer.

    Make sure its what you want to do, and that you understand the job. Get out with as little debt as possible (night school), youre not too old at law--law is often a second career, and frankly, I prefer to hire associates whohave some real world common sense as opposed to a newbie who has never really had a job.

    I don't regret it
    Last edited by BITSA; Feb. 14, 2014 at 03:15 PM. Reason: spelling


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  16. #136
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    Also--like the poster above said, smaller markets hire a lot of local students. I went to lewis and Clark in Portland, and frankly most jobs in the Portland market are filled by L&W, U of Oregon, and Willamette (Oregon) grads. So I think if you dont feel like you need to live in a big city with super compentive law schools you'll have more flexibility. And my law school was really low key, professors were pretty nice 9except 1), not much competition unless you were in the top 5-10 people (not me), and people helped eachother a lot--many study groups, etc.



  17. #137
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    Thanks, Dee-Vee!
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  18. #138
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    Do law schools look at online degrees differently then one from a brick and mortar school? I ask this due to being in the military I am looking at University of Maryland online to pursue my degree and really want to go to law school after I get out. I understand that law schools take in to consideration your GPA and LSAT scores but I wonder if they actually care what college you got your undergrad degree.

    I plan on using the GI bill to help offset the cost of law school. Also do they take into consideration things you do outside of school(GPA) i.e. knowing a second language or working with foreign governments/NGOs?
    ___________________

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  19. #139
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    In my anecdotal experience the market for new grads is noticeably improving. Not to pre crash levels but this year is much better than last.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
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  20. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by arab_roots View Post
    Do law schools look at online degrees differently then one from a brick and mortar school? I ask this due to being in the military I am looking at University of Maryland online to pursue my degree and really want to go to law school after I get out. I understand that law schools take in to consideration your GPA and LSAT scores but I wonder if they actually care what college you got your undergrad degree.

    I plan on using the GI bill to help offset the cost of law school. Also do they take into consideration things you do outside of school(GPA) i.e. knowing a second language or working with foreign governments/NGOs?
    I don't know about online schools specifically, but in my experience, admissions is largely a numbers game, because law school rankings are largely a numbers game. I went to a highly ranked law school, and there were a number of students there that had high GPAs at less prestigious/nationally known undergrads- having a student that got a 4.0 at no name university helps the school's GPA statistics, while admitting a 3.0 from Harvard could hurt their ranking. So I would think it would be the same for online schools.

    They do take into account "soft" factors as well like work experience, and my school did have a fair number of vets. But GPA and LSAT are the most important.


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