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      11-02-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
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Law school?

I'm entertaining the thought of going to law school. Please offer some thoughts as to why I should or should not go (cost, stress, opportunities, etc). I've just finished my MBA and I'm looking for the next chapter in life. Again, it's just a thought. Thank you in advance!
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      11-02-2013, 08:33 PM   #2
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Start working and paying in to those taxes yo.

Seriously tho. It's a bear. And will eat up 3-5 years of your life.

I didn't do it but my fiancé did. But I was there the whole time. It's torture.
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      11-02-2013, 10:14 PM   #3
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Disclaimer - I dropped out of high school so take it with a grain of salt. My knowledge is also a few years old so others may be more helpful.

In my time, I've seen people go to crappy unknown law schools, and once they passed the Bar, either struggle or get a job at $60k as a low end attorney.

I've also known someone who went to Yale law school and had a paid internship worth $120k annual, while she was still a junior at Yale. It was a summer internship. The full position with the firm paid much more.

My message is this:

- Make sure it's a damn good law school.
- Just having a law degree doesn't guarantee anything, especially from a school no one has ever heard of.
- Specialize in one area of law that interests you. As someone who has had to shop attorneys, I will choose the one who specializes in a particular area (family law, criminal, etc.) over the jack of all trades.

Question, you just finished your MBA, and are looking for more schooling ... Why?
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      11-02-2013, 10:34 PM   #4
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agree with the above post. big bucks aren't guaranteed, it's a lot of work. unless you want to be a lawyer, i'd consider other options.
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      11-02-2013, 10:39 PM   #5
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I have pondered a few times if I could be a good lawyer. I enjoy having discussions and proving people wrong based on logic and facts. I'm sure being a lawyer isn't all fun and games and I'm not sure if I want another few years in school. However, I'm not 100% sure where I'm heading and a law degree is a little appealing right now. Hence I'm looking to get advice and opinions on it.
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      11-02-2013, 11:28 PM   #6
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I only asked why more schooling because there's a tendency of some people to use school to postpone real life. Not saying that's you, because I don't know you, but it's something to consider, when after extensive schooling someone is considering additional schooling rather than entering the workforce.

I also like debate and such, and wouldn't mind being a lawyer. As I'm sure you understand, being a lawyer doesn't mean you are litigating in court all the time. In fact, that may be a small portion of the overall time spent being a lawyer.

I'll be interested to hear from any OT lawyers in the house to chime in on that note, what percentage of the time is actually spent litigating?

Which, btw, I am sure differs from a lawyer who runs their own practice vs. a law firm partner / employee. As with any business, the "running the business" part does take up a lot of time regardless of the service or industry in which one operates their business.
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      11-03-2013, 12:01 AM   #7
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I don't know how some people can do so much schooling, and then want to go BACK again for something different.

Blows my mind. Best of luck to you, whichever route you take.
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      11-03-2013, 12:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ddk632 View Post
I only asked why more schooling because there's a tendency of some people to use school to postpone real life. Not saying that's you, because I don't know you, but it's something to consider, when after extensive schooling someone is considering additional schooling rather than entering the workforce.
Understandable. However, that doesn't apply to me because I was going to school at night while working full time. I'm looking for something that will accelerate my career. I'm not sure a law degree is really the answer but I wouldn't mind pursuing it if it will help make me stand out.
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      11-03-2013, 12:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BMW E90 View Post
Understandable. However, that doesn't apply to me because I was going to school at night while working full time. I'm looking for something that will accelerate my career. I'm not sure a law degree is really the answer but I wouldn't mind pursuing it if it will help make me stand out.
probably not worth the time/effort in your case. you don't have to be a lawyer to learn/know the law. perhaps go deeper in your line of work, or look into starting a business
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      11-03-2013, 03:30 AM   #10
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Toplawschoolforums.com should accommodate you
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      11-03-2013, 03:15 PM   #11
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Toplawschoolforums.com should accommodate you
Thanks man!
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      11-05-2013, 01:29 PM   #12
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My best friend went to American University Law School and then did NYU LL.M. Executive Master's in Tax (a top 3 program). Came out making $70k at Prudential in NJ, and 4 months later moved to PwC in VA for $76,500.
I'd be furious/upset with myself if I spent all that time/tuition for that payout.
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      11-05-2013, 01:44 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by PSUSMU View Post
My best friend went to American University Law School and then did NYU LL.M. Executive Master's in Tax (a top 3 program). Came out making $70k at Prudential in NJ, and 4 months later moved to PwC in VA for $76,500.
I'd be furious/upset with myself if I spent all that time/tuition for that payout.
still better than a city lawyer making $30k. law != money, and if you're good you'll make money doing anything.

there's this one guy who paints your name, he charges $10/pop, takes about 5 minutes and always has a long line. that's $120/hr all cash and his only overhead is paint/paper. the kicker: he probably tells the irs he's a min wage waiter.

Last edited by amanda hor$t; 11-05-2013 at 01:50 PM.
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      11-05-2013, 02:12 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by BMW E90 View Post
Understandable. However, that doesn't apply to me because I was going to school at night while working full time. I'm looking for something that will accelerate my career. I'm not sure a law degree is really the answer but I wouldn't mind pursuing it if it will help make me stand out.
More school isn't always the answer to this. Seems like you really need to find what you are passionate about before spending a lot of money and years of your life on something to just accelerate your career.

Most careers have a lucrative niche you just have to find it and be good at it. I suggest either investing in what you know and become really good at it...or take some time to figure out what you really want to do and pursue that.

Proving people wrong based on logic and facts != Law school path.
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      11-05-2013, 02:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by BMW E90 View Post
I have pondered a few times if I could be a good lawyer. I enjoy having discussions and proving people wrong based on logic and facts. I'm sure being a lawyer isn't all fun and games and I'm not sure if I want another few years in school. However, I'm not 100% sure where I'm heading and a law degree is a little appealing right now. Hence I'm looking to get advice and opinions on it.

i'm not trying to come off as a dick here but this is the internets and sometimes people read things different so full disclaimer my comment isn't made to sound sarcastic
there's a lot more to being a lawyer than just arguing with people and proving people wrong, there are SOO many sections and industries that lawyers are involved in and many lawyers don't ever set foot in the court room, a lot of lawyers deal with compliance and legality for companies and contracts (that's the area i'm involved in) so make sure you keep that in mind, if you want to become a "lawyer" that you see in movies and tv shows or a DA/prosecutor the job market is actually pretty tough right now.

ALSO make sure you go to a top notch law school, law school reputations/ranking are a lot more important than mba schools (i'm actually applying to mba schools right now so congrats on getting ur mba), your first year grades are VERY important in law school and make sure to get as much experience in your desired field as soon as possible.

are you planning on just getting your jd or planning to take the bar after? bar isn't easy if you're in California so keep that in mind but good luck!
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      11-05-2013, 03:23 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by PSUSMU View Post
My best friend went to American University Law School and then did NYU LL.M. Executive Master's in Tax (a top 3 program). Came out making $70k at Prudential in NJ, and 4 months later moved to PwC in VA for $76,500.
I'd be furious/upset with myself if I spent all that time/tuition for that payout.
because he went to a retard law school and then an executive LLM program. what he really should have done is a top 8 law school (not top 14), and done a top3 tax LLM. however, most ppl even say a top3 tax LLM is not worth it unless u already have a biglaw offer.

for an overwhelming percentage of ppl considering law school, i would emphatically state DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL

if you want a REAL look inside the law school scam, read this:
http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/ (discontinued)

or this:

http://outsidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/

my 3 favorite stomache-churning blog posts on law school scam:
http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogsp...l-numbers.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/bu...pagewanted=all


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If you are not admitted to a top 10 law school, you are not smart. You are average. You have average intelligence and average ability, and any average person can attend a law school. The Law School Industrial Complex counts on average people like you attending their schools and signing six-figure loan documents. If you think that you are hot shit for receiving an acceptance letter from a law school, remember that in these desperate times the schools will admit anyone who meets the median LSAT requirement. Anyone! Think about that and think about the well-documented fact that the schools will continue to pump out two graduates for everyone one job with most jobs going to graduates from the top schools, i.e. the schools that you were too average to earn admission to. So unless you scored a 170 on the LSAT, stop reading and save yourself from lifelong financial ruin. If you did score a 170, read on to see the hell that awaits you in Biglaw, medium law, and your likely exit from the legal profession after a few years.”
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      11-05-2013, 03:31 PM   #17
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here's the other article
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http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...aw-school.html

Megan: So I guess to start, tell me the personal side: how did you decide to become an undercover law school blogger?

Paul: I started studying the market for new law graduates in a serious way in the fall of 2010, partially because one of my favorite students, who had graduated the previous year, committed suicide. I don't of course know to what precise extent the disaster that is the contemporary legal scene was a proximate cause of his death, but I'm quite sure it didn't help.

Megan: So what did you find when you started poking around?

Paul: I found that half of our graduates, like more than half of graduates nationally, weren't getting real legal jobs at all, and the majority of those who did get jobs weren't making enough money to service their loans in a timely manner. I was also shocked by the radical increase in the cost legal education, and what has turned out to be a two decade long contraction in the market for the services of lawyers. This is a disastrous combination for our graduates, and indeed for lawyers at all levels of the profession

Megan: So let's start with the contraction of the market for lawyers: do we know what's causing it? And why did it take people so long to notice?

Paul: It's being caused by technology and outsourcing. Machines can now do many things that lawyers did formerly, such as e-discovery. In addition, corporations have found that much work which used to be performed by lawyers can be performed quite adequately by much cheaper sources of labor -- paralegals, compliance officers, and even people in India.

As for why it took so long to notice, law is a very hierarchical profession, and there's a great deal of stigma that attaches to failure. So as long as the contraction wasn't evident to people in the highest reaches of the profession, such as law professors at prestigious schools and partners at top firms, it remained largely invisible at the level of public discourse.

Megan: There's a bit divide between the graduates of Harvard, and the graduates of, say, Thomas Cooley

Paul: Yes indeed, but the waterline has now risen so high that large portions of the classes at top ten law schools are struggling, so now there's a "crisis."

Megan: A friend of mine--who is up for partner this year!--argues that law firms were actually quite "leveraged" in the sense that you had one revenue partner and a whole lot of associates. When the economy started to unwind . . . they "undid" the leverage, leaving classes full of graduates in big trouble

Paul: Yes, this is known in the business as the Cravath model, after the firm that invented it, and there's quite a bit of evidence that its getting increasingly dysfunctional. The biggest problem from the perspective of the graduates of elite law schools who go to such firms is that the landing spots for people when they're "asked to leave" (which most associates are) aren't nearly so soft any more. There just aren't nearly enough jobs even for graduates of top schools. And the debt numbers have gotten insane.

Megan: Talk about that a bit. I was talking to one lawyer who said that when she went to a top ten school in the 1970s, tuition was a couple thousand a year--that's more in today's dollars, but not nearly as much as it now actually costs.

Paul: Harvard's tuition was $12,000 per year IN 2012 DOLLARS in the early 1970s. Now it's over $50,000 and a couple of schools are closer to $60,000. It's now routine for people to graduate with $200K and even $300K of educational debt, at plus 7% interest, accruing daily.

Megan: Do you have a sense of how that happens? The legend at business school--from which I graduated in 2001 with high five figure debt--was that the universities were using their professional schools as cash cows to subsidize the rest of the university

But perhaps the faculty is being paid lots and lots? . . . she said, wryly.

Paul: Faculty salaries have doubled in real terms over the past 30 years. Administrative salaries have grown by much more, and the sheer number of administrative positions has exploded. Facilities are much nicer (this is known as the amenities race), and at law schools faculty-to-student ratios are much lower because of the pursuit of rankings. It's just a crazy business model, all of which is enabled by no underwriting standards for student loans.

Megan: Presumably because they're not bankruptable.

Paul: Yes, and because the cost is borne by graduates (who are prone to cognitive errors, ie optimism and confirmation bias) and by taxpayers, who are a diffuse group. The benefits, on the other hand, are reaped by a very discrete group -- law schools in particular and universities in general. It's Poli Sci and Econ 101 respectively really.

Megan: How much does the rankings system matter in driving up costs?

Paul: It plays a significant role, in that it provides a pragmatic justification for spending ever-more money without regard to the net present value of law degrees. Indeed, the rankings treat spending per student as a direct proxy for institutional quality. So if two schools are identical in other respects but one spends more per capita to get the same results, it will be ranked more highly. You can well imagine what effects this incentive system has.

Megan: That's crazy.

Paul: Yes but extremely profitable for law professors. To quote Upton Sinclair, "it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Megan: I take it you've gotten some flak from your fellow law professors for pointing all this out?

Paul: Oh yes of course. Basically legal academia right now is France in 1780, and my lord doesn't care to hear about the supposed troubles of the peasantry.

That's a (slight) rhetorical exaggeration, but the level of denial remains extremely high, although economic reality is slowly beginning to erode the walls of incomprehension

Megan: How so?

Paul: Well, political pressure is finally forcing schools to disgorge something resembling halfway accurate employment and salary data, and this is having a striking effect on applications, which have fallen 25% over the last two years.

Despite the economy, so it's very counter-cyclical

Megan: Yes, that was always the backup plan for desperate English majors. So what were they doing before, to juke the stats, as they say on The Wire?

Paul: Schools would count every kind of employment, from getting a job with a top firm to working ten hours a week at Starbucks, in their reported employment rate. But they didn't disclose this -- they simply reported extremely high "employment" percentages, with the implication being that all or almost all these people were getting real legal jobs. Worse yet, they would report "average" salaries for graduates without disclosing that reported salaries were often from a very small and unrepresentative percentage of graduates (those who got good legal jobs and consequently reported their salaries).

Now that we have real data, I estimate that the median salary of ABA law school graduates a year after graduation is around $45,000, and this may be if anything optimistic. And median educational debt is around $150,000 and climbing rapidly.

So what used to be (as you say) a risk averse choice for people who decided to give up on writing the great American novel has turned into an extremely risky and indeed often flat out reckless gamble, wihch still retains the appearance of a sensible and prudent thing to do in the eyes of clueless baby boomer parents etc.

Megan: What happens to people who graduate from second or third tier schools? Do they all get hosed?

Paul: No, only 90% of them do! Seriously, almost none get jobs which would allow them to service their debt.

Megan: Only the people at the top of their class, or who can go to work in Dad's firm?

Paul: Those are the two groups who do OK, especially the latter. The cost structure of non-elite law schools is 100% dependent on the fact that the government will lend anyone the full cost of attendance who is admitted to any law school, and the school sets the price! That, like so many other aspects of this system, is simply nuts.

Megan: Where do the others end up? How many of them even have legal jobs? Do we know?

Paul: We're just beginning to gather longer term longitudinal data. It appears that a solid majority of graduates of low-ranked law schools are either completely out of the profession within a few years of graduating, or are hanging on doing low-paid temporary work -- document review in particular -- or trying to scrape out a living as solo practitioners, which is getting increasingly difficult because of a combination of DIY lawyering (LegalZoom and the like) and wealth stratification.

Megan: There's always been some of that, of course--John Grisham has dramatized it quite vividly. But now you're saying that we're basically putting the ambulance chasers out of business?

Paul: Well there's always going to be room for some personal injury lawyers, but the reality is that we're graduating 45,000 people per year for 20,000 jobs, and two thirds of those jobs don't pay enough to justify the cost of law school, so that's some pretty dire math. Of course people go to law school because they can't do math, hence here we are.

Megan: Ha! What do you tell your students, when you look at all those eager faces starting their 1L year?

Paul: I'm candid with anyone who asks me for advice, either in person or by email. And of course now I've written a book designed to reach people before they show up in the first place. It's a complex and uncomfortable position, but I'm of the old fashioned opinion that there's a difference between being an academic and a salesman.

Megan: So what is your advice for people looking at law school? Is it a simple "don't go"?

Paul: No, it's "don't go unless you have a reasonable basis for believing that the cost of your law degree will make sense given your career prospects." I estimate that for around 80% of current law students their degrees won't be worth the costs they incur in getting them. So law schools should be producing vastly fewer graduates at a much lower cost.

Megan: How can schools go back to a lower-cost model? Don't you all have tenure?

Paul: The most straightforward short term solution is to return to the faculty student ratios and faculty compensation structures of three decades ago. This can be done through not replacing people who leave and buying out others. The alternative for universities is to simply close schools altogether, which I believe will happen in some cases (if a school closes tenure doesn't apply).

Megan: Presumably, the lowest ranked schools are the most vulnerable? Or is there some sort of market failure there?

Paul: There's a rough correlation between rankings and vulnerability, but it's complicated. The most vulnerable schools are high cost institutions in high cost areas with very saturated legal markets, like DC. If those schools have bad employment numbers, which even some fairly well ranked schools like American University have, they're in a perilous situation in the medium term.

Megan: Because potential enrollees can now look at their employment numbers and see what their chances of landing a well-paying job are

Paul: Right. Schools are really beginning to scramble, and the effects of greater transparency are just starting to kick in. If the federal government put any real limits on loans, a bunch of schools would go out of business quite quickly.

Megan: So on the policy side, what are your recommendations?

Paul: First, I think the ABA Section of Legal Education, which is largely controlled by deans of low ranked law schools, should be forced to publish the salary data it gets for every school's graduates. It has refused to do so. Second, we need real reform in educational lending. Student loans should be dischargeable in bankruptcy after a few years, and the government should refuse to lend to institutions with sufficiently dire employment outcomes. Third, legal academia has to get its collective head out of the sand and stop being so piggish (I am mixing my metaphors).

Megan: And very well, too.

But then the killer question: what do we do with all the English majors?

Paul: That is indeed the killer question, and I don't have a good answer. The answer I give in the book is: don't make a bad situation worse by doubling down on useless degrees. As I argue, going to the average law school at full price because you can't get a job with your English degree is like having a baby to try to salvage a crumbling relationship.
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      11-05-2013, 03:32 PM   #18
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and for the record, i'm a CPA who looked into doing tax law but decided it was no longer a viable option
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      11-05-2013, 03:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PSUSMU View Post
My best friend went to American University Law School and then did NYU LL.M. Executive Master's in Tax (a top 3 program). Came out making $70k at Prudential in NJ, and 4 months later moved to PwC in VA for $76,500.
I'd be furious/upset with myself if I spent all that time/tuition for that payout.
for privacy purposes, i'm going to make it ambiguous, but this is my friend's situation.

he went to Cornell/NYU/Columbia/Duke for undergrad, then immediately went to NYU/Michigan/Columbia/Chicago law school, got a deferred biglaw offer, worked there for 2 years at 160k a year, then jumped to another biglaw firm at 180k for one year. he then got "coached out" and is now unemployed. luckily his family has money.
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      11-05-2013, 03:39 PM   #20
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^
“If you are not admitted to a top 10 law school, you are not smart. You are average. You have average intelligence and average ability, and any average person can attend a law school. The Law School Industrial Complex counts on average people like you attending their schools and signing six-figure loan documents."

Sounds like for-profit education has gone full retard..
Traditionally, only the really smart guys and gals got to become doctors and lawyers, but once there was money to be made, anyone could get a law degree.
But that doesn't mean anyone will hire you.. in the REAL market they are probably worthless
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      11-05-2013, 08:21 PM   #21
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I was interested in law school for reasons pretty similar to yours. After what I seeing what my boyfriend is going through, especially first year... absolutely not. The market is also insanely oversaturated with wannabe lawyers, many of whom are forced to take non-legal jobs for lack of other opportunities. While not all law students are this way, I've also noticed that many of them have a HUGE sense of entitlement, i.e. "I went to law school and this work that you want me to do is totally below me and I deserve to be making x amount," and it's insanely obnoxious. I can't really imagine being around too many of those people for three years.
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      11-05-2013, 10:25 PM   #22
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Wow never knew being a lawyer was that tough.
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