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      04-08-2013, 06:58 PM   #1
carogers86
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law school a waste?

Are there any recent law school grads on OT? I am finishing up my bachelors and intend to pursue law school. After I told my friends and family my post-bachelors intentions, a handful of them asked me to reconsider and provided links to articles of lawyers reporting regret and expressing what a waste law school was. The articles I read reported how their is a class action law suit against many universities, including one that I hope to attend, for inflating the legal job market.

It is my strong belief that a degree is a tool. Many people procure these tools, but it is up to the individual to use the tools given to achieve success. I read an article about a BAR admitted individual who is working at Starbucks and bussing tables because they can't get hired. Another article reported that software technology has reduced the need for big firms to expand their workforce. These are just a few horror stories.

I guess you can find a concentration of specific and biased information if you search the internet. I relate it to the e90 forum and how it seems all BMWs are falling apart and imploding left and right. We know that is not the case, but one might feel that way after reading the posts here. Normally, I would read these articles with a grain of salt, but I have talked to 3 lawyers, 2 of which advised against law school. One recommended an MBA the other recommended a CPA.

My personal experience: I've done contract work for a criminal defense attorney who bills for $225 an hour. My Dad's divorce attorney was $600 an hour. My personal injury attorney collected a third of my winnings. I am still pursuing law school on the advice of the criminal defense attorney. She said there are stacks and stacks of cases and not enough public defenders. This forces the government to hire contract attorneys, who bill at $225 an hour in most cases. I also took a proctored and timed Kaplan practice LSAT and scored a 161, maybe I am inclined to the rigours of law school?

Can any lawyers chime in on whether or not they regret their decision? Is it really such a waste of time and money?
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      04-08-2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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      04-08-2013, 07:19 PM   #3
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i think if you really want to do it, which you seem to do, you will be fine.

I know a lot of friends who regret law school but thats because they only went in for the money or because their parents told them to.

My brother's wife is a lawyer that represents immigrants and while she mostly does it for non profit and doesn't make those ridiculous wages (like 200k+), she is extremely happy at the work she does and she's good at it as well.
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      04-08-2013, 07:26 PM   #4
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I'm planning on pursuing a JD-MBA myself (currently a sophomore undergraduate). I actually like law and my dad has always told me to get a law degree even if I never use it... almost like taking the CPA exam if you are decent at accounting; it's just a good thing to have.

Although, I'm thankful that I have the luxury of being able to have school paid for and not worry about loans or expenses while in school... many others do not have that luxury, and should probably not go to law school 'just for the degree.'
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      04-08-2013, 07:35 PM   #5
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Combination of what you want and what you want your career to be. In terms of a career, what's available if you don't go to law school and what's available post law school?

I was in a similar situation, I have the opportunity to become a Chartered Accountant but chose not to because I had no intention of pursuing a career that would require a CA designation. Instead I'm currently focusing on becoming either a CGA or CMA.
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      04-08-2013, 08:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carogers86 View Post
Can any lawyers chime in on whether or not they regret their decision? Is it really such a waste of time and money?
If you work hard, get good grades, and obtain as much relevant experience as possible (i.e., clerking at a firm or for in-house counsel, serving as a research assistant to a professor, clerking for a judge, etc.) over your three years then by no means would your legal degree be a waste. If you are ambitious and take care of what you need to get done, there will be a job waiting for you in the legal field when you graduate.

There will be times when you will regret your decision (e.g., around finals time haha). Furthermore, the first year can be particularly stressful (depending on your individual competitive instincts and the competitive nature of your fellow classmates). The toughest part your 1L year will be learning an entirely new style of writing and adopting an entirely new way to think about and analyze problems.

Basically, if you are passionate about the law and being an attorney is something you truly want to achieve then go for it. Just don't let the pursuit be a halfhearted one.
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      04-08-2013, 09:03 PM   #7
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tough call, depends how/who's paying for it i guess. i'll just give a related example:

i know a guy who was making ~$100-150k and quit to get an mba. after he graduated he ended up going back to his old job with the same income. when you factor in the lost income for 2.5 yrs, tuition, cost of living in a really expensive college town, the real cost of that mba was like half a million dollars.

it's always good to be educated (or more educated), but with the opportunity cost, you better be sure it's worth your time and something you really want to do.

and it's true, plenty of lawyers out there don't make that much.

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      04-08-2013, 09:39 PM   #8
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It's obvious that passing the BAR is not the key to becoming a millionaire, I would like to hear from those that have gone down this route to confirm whether or not they found a worthy career. A worthy career is one that allows an individual to live a comfortable life and have enough to pay back the cost of education. I know there are other factors to consider when making this judgement.

One of the lawyers I talked to says he makes over 100K a year, but still lives in an apartment with roommates because he pays a lot towards his student loan debt each month. I can't tell whether that situation is what causes his regret or something else. Like anyone else, I wouldn't want to spend $150K in education costs to make, say, 85K a year. I'd rather finish off my education at a state school and make 60-70k a year without the debt of law school.
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      04-08-2013, 10:35 PM   #9
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the question is not cost of school, length of time for the degree, salary at the end of schooling.

No matter what you do, you cant predict your income after school.

The real question is, Do you have something better lined up?


Fk
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      04-09-2013, 12:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I would like to hear from those that have gone down this route to confirm whether or not they found a worthy career.
I tried bud.
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      04-09-2013, 08:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carogers86 View Post
It's obvious that passing the BAR is not the key to becoming a millionaire,


One of the lawyers I talked to says he makes over 100K a year, but still lives in an apartment with roommates because he pays a lot towards his student loan debt each month. I can't tell whether that situation is what causes his regret or something else. Like anyone else, I wouldn't want to spend $150K in education costs to make, say, 85K a year. I'd rather finish off my education at a state school and make 60-70k a year without the debt of law school.
To me, this post seems like you are trying to make this decision soley based on income. I haven't seen anything about you wanting to be a lawyer because you enjoy the law just $100k this, $150k that.
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      04-09-2013, 08:13 AM   #12
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      04-09-2013, 10:37 AM   #13
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OP if you can get to Top 20 schools and maintain to be top of your class I would strongly recommend law school. Working 60h a week after passing your bar will net you $90k+ in a private sector.

On the other hand if your select some mediocre/local school be ready to struggle to pay off your 150-200k debt/student loans. You will have a hard time getting a job and probably earn around 40k.
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      04-09-2013, 11:23 AM   #14
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If you care about law study, and are interested in practicing law, then it’s absolutely worth it. If you’re in it for the money or the prestige of having a JD, it’s a total waste of your time, and your parent’s money. You’re the only person who can make that decision. Don’t be scared off by a NYT article, the law profession certainly took its lumps after ’08 (what private sector industry didn’t though?), but it’s still a fairly stable profession for those who are good at it, and obviously there is potential for significant income if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. All the responses here are based on anecdotal stories and accounts, you’re the only person who can make the right decision.
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      04-09-2013, 12:12 PM   #15
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OP if you can get to Top 20 schools and maintain to be top of your class I would strongly recommend law school. Working 60h a week after passing your bar will net you $90k+ in a private sector.

On the other hand if your select some mediocre/local school be ready to struggle to pay off your 150-200k debt/student loans. You will have a hard time getting a job and probably earn around 40k.
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      04-09-2013, 01:30 PM   #16
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One of the lawyers I talked to says he makes over 100K a year, but still lives in an apartment with roommates
go onto the oil/gas undustry.

get money...

fuck bitches...

play with a bunch of toys....
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      04-09-2013, 05:16 PM   #17
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I've been an attorney in California for about 13 years now. I did civil litigation for 4 years then moved to an inhouse position for a high-tech company.

Based on my experience, my observation is this: there are exactly 4 kinds of people who should be thinking about law school:

1) Those who intend to become patent attorneys, because those guys have about the cushiest, well-paying jobs I've seen in this field;

2) Those who will go to a top 10 school;

3) Those who, if not going to a top ten school, will be in the too ten of their graduating class (not top 10th percentile, top ten)

4) Those who don't need to go to law school to earn a living, i.e. are independently wealthy or otherwise have sufficient resources that they don't take on debt.

For all others, I'm not saying earning a living is impossible, but it will be tiring, soul-breaking, mind-numbing, spirit-sucking work. I believe there are far better and easier ways to earn a living.
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      04-09-2013, 08:08 PM   #18
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I think most people will attest to this: if you are passionate about it you will have a much better chance of succeeding and make big bucks. If you're going into it thinking that it's an easy ticket to millionaire status you're most likely going to regret it.
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      04-09-2013, 08:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rygel XXV View Post
I've been an attorney in California for about 13 years now. I did civil litigation for 4 years then moved to an inhouse position for a high-tech company.

Based on my experience, my observation is this: there are exactly 4 kinds of people who should be thinking about law school:

1) Those who intend to become patent attorneys, because those guys have about the cushiest, well-paying jobs I've seen in this field;

2) Those who will go to a top 10 school;

3) Those who, if not going to a top ten school, will be in the too ten of their graduating class (not top 10th percentile, top ten)

4) Those who don't need to go to law school to earn a living, i.e. are independently wealthy or otherwise have sufficient resources that they don't take on debt.

For all others, I'm not saying earning a living is impossible, but it will be tiring, soul-breaking, mind-numbing, spirit-sucking work. I believe there are far better and easier ways to earn a living.
^ I too have been practicing for about 13 years, also in CA. 1st 5 years at BigLaw and now my 8th year at an in-house position. I second the post above, with the caveat that a top 20 school is probably fine, given that the top 20 schools are diversified enough geographically.

Also, don't go to law school for the $. I guarantee you that a bi-weekly paycheck won't sustain 80 hour weeks doing research/due diligence/document review for the first 3 years.
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      04-09-2013, 11:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rygel XXV View Post
I've been an attorney in California for about 13 years now. I did civil litigation for 4 years then moved to an inhouse position for a high-tech company.

Based on my experience, my observation is this: there are exactly 4 kinds of people who should be thinking about law school:

1) Those who intend to become patent attorneys, because those guys have about the cushiest, well-paying jobs I've seen in this field;

2) Those who will go to a top 10 school;

3) Those who, if not going to a top ten school, will be in the too ten of their graduating class (not top 10th percentile, top ten)

4) Those who don't need to go to law school to earn a living, i.e. are independently wealthy or otherwise have sufficient resources that they don't take on debt.

For all others, I'm not saying earning a living is impossible, but it will be tiring, soul-breaking, mind-numbing, spirit-sucking work. I believe there are far better and easier ways to earn a living.
nice post. i'll just comment on #4: for the trust fund crowd it's definitely a great excuse. and you have to admit, it does sound good to say you're a lawyer. i know a guy like that, don't think he ever actually practiced a day of law. last i heard he's a sales rep (though in reality the guy's rich enough that he can just live off interest).
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      04-10-2013, 12:15 PM   #21
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I appreciate all the feedback. I'm 90% sure I will proceed with law school.
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      04-10-2013, 12:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
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go onto the oil/gas undustry.

get money...

fuck bitches...

play with a bunch of toys....
Two years ago an ex gf moved to TX for a job in oil industry. Every other post on FB would lead you to believe she is making $$$ hand over fist - no college degree, no school debt! Thought it was poppycock.
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