"Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

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nineteen80sbaby
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"Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby nineteen80sbaby » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:47 pm

If I'm asking this question, I probably shouldn't go, right? ;)

But hear me out. My story:

I graduated from The University of Michigan, Dearborn in 2007.
with a B.A. in Journalism, 3.3 GPA.

I was an editor at a local alternative weekly (think The Village Voice) for about a year
until I was laid off - with the Detroit economy in shambles and all.

I was a great asset to this publication (they still wanted to me write for them, just couldn't pay me my salary [a big 20 k a yr - which I was happy with, because I was doing what I loved, and understood that I was starting out]. Most of my other colleagues subsequently left or were laid off/fired (very shady "Publisher" who might be facing legal action soon). And this is a position I had to fight for to make sure I had a journalism gig coming out of college. In my journalism program and classes, I was probably what you could call a "star" - being published in a paper already and working as a an editor during my last semester of college.

After being laid off, I started a temp assignment at a staffing company, and then was laid off again in 2009 when the economy got really bad. Now, I'm working in a high-end optical shop and have health insurance benefits and am making pretty much the same amount of money when I was an editor. I like it. I'm doing well there but want a real career and not a "job."

I still am doing some freelance writing (which is hardly enough to ever pay rent). I've contributed to a colleague's blog. I did a big cover story/interview with Eminem and Dr. Dre when Em came out with his "comeback" album last year (for the paper I was formally employed at - literally the publisher called me and said he wanted me to do it and had everything set up for me).

My latest writing gig is a column that will be nationally syndicated through a wire service (so I can now call myself a nationally syndicated columnist!). As a journalist, I mostly write about music and pop culture - but as far as writing goes I'm very talented and have taken to doing some pr/marketing writing for my current employer and am confident that my writing talents stretch far behind album reviews - from academia to news. I know I can do it. The problem is, the opportunities have been non-existent.

Are you still with me?

Okay, well how does law school come up? It was suggested to me (by a significant other) because I can utilize my talents as a writer and market myself. I've considered going back to school for nursing or to get a Masters in writing/communications/journalism so I may teach. But after my experiences in journalism and investing time and money in education, I'm very hesitant about going back to school for anything because I don't want to get burned again by a career that will leave me in the poor house or unemployed. I have days when I'm very depressed about not being on the right career path because I do feel that I've done the right things and worked hard.

But what attracts me about law school is the sense of purpose, the public service aspect, fighting for what's right
and the notion that a lucrative career is attainable and that I can be compensated for my writing talents - and I know that some of this is cliche but why wouldn't you want to enter a field if not to get the most out of it?

So I started studying for the LSAT. My early scores with little prep are in the mid 140s, I need to improve vastly. I'm confident that I can get my LSAT score to the 160 range or even higher if I work hard enough - which I'm willing to do. I'm on a six-month study plan and have bought the Logic Games Bible (I do well on the reading, its the logic stuff that kills me) and am taking the practice tests.

I believe that I can improve enough on the LSAT to get into a t14 or other top 100. But then last night I started reading some of the horror stories about the over-saturated law market and how law grads can't find jobs and how earnings don't justify a big pile of debt. I'm starting to think that I should only go to law school if I can land a scholarship somewhere. Otherwise, I think I might be devastated when I graduate with a pile of debt and no job prospects. Unless of course, I graduated at the top of my class, but that is not a guarantee. I will work as hard as I can but I can't predict the future.

I'm young enough (24) that I have time to pursue a Masters (or a new career). I just don't want to make any mistakes. I want the odds to be in my favor for job prospects and decent salary. It seems like law school might not be that way. I might be better off looking back into nursing, a masters degree or seeing where optical takes me.

What do you all think?

Thanks for reading.

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Kiersten1985
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby Kiersten1985 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:48 pm

wow.

longest. post. ever.

and your answer's no.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby pleasetryagain » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:50 pm

cliff notes?

blsingindisguise
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:52 pm

Don't do it man.

1) You won't get in somewhere very good with a 160/3.3, which means
2) Your job prospects will be dim and
3) You won't like it anyway - it will seem terribly dry compared with what you're used to.

Sounds like you'd be better off continuing the PR / freelance track for a bit. You're young and you're already doing well - give it a few years. If it doesn't work out, consider retaking LSAT. Or maybe just do something else.

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JTX
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby JTX » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:53 pm

x
Last edited by JTX on Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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afghan007
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby afghan007 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:54 pm

pleasetryagain wrote:cliff notes?


3.3, 145

... I say no. Keep trudging as a journalist, maybe try the nursing.

xyzzzzzzzz
Posts: 463
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby xyzzzzzzzz » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:57 pm

can some 1Ls chime in about how legal writing is nothing like journalism?

Philaw
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby Philaw » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:58 pm

I disagree with the "answer is no" response, though I do understand as this was my initial reaction with the title. I think that if you do well on the LSAT's, and IF you are not looking for a huge salary (30-60k year) and still think you will enjoy the public service aspect of the law, you should be able to pave your own way into a free (or nearly free) tuition from a school that will place you in public interest law. However, make sure you do your research, find out what kind of a direction you would want to head in, and what this would mean from you. I personally am not going to law school to get rich. I don't want to drive myself into huge debt when I could find other employment that would pay better than a legal career, but I know what I want to do, I know why I want to do it, and I know I will be happy doing it for less than I would make doing other things. (I know, super vague, right?)

Just keep an open mind and understand what work in the legal profession will entail, and if it suits who you are and what you want in life. You will have far less freedom than you did as a journalist, though it can be more rewarding, in my opinion given the amount of change you can affect on people.

Good luck, and I hope you find a direction.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:59 pm

It doesn't sound like you're actually very interested in law school or the practice of law. Do you have some lawyer friends you can tap for insight into the actual job?

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CG614
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby CG614 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:07 pm

Didn't read post, but if you are asking the question then the answer is probably no. You should be 100% sure before you make such a commitment of time and money, and asking an internet forum does not show your desire to attend law school. Take this all as you wish, it is just my opinion.

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AliceB
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby AliceB » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:09 pm

Kiersten1985 wrote:wow.

longest. post. ever.

and your answer's no.


this.

tasteofred
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby tasteofred » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:15 pm

If you want a career that will showcase your writing talents, don't be a lawyer. Especially with the school prospects you'll have, a job will be hard enough to come by, let alone a job where you'll do much more than doc review and form letters.

I say start a blog or something, get your talent out there for free, find a decent job anywhere until you figure out what you want to do, and get out of Detroit. I know it's hard to believe but I know quite a few journalism majors who are actually landing jobs right now (south FL) so don't give up what you love!

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98234872348
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby 98234872348 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:16 pm

xyzzzzzzzz wrote:legal writing is nothing like journalism

hth.

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Rock Chalk
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby Rock Chalk » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:18 pm

.
Last edited by Rock Chalk on Wed May 16, 2012 2:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Richie Tenenbaum
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby Richie Tenenbaum » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:22 pm

nineteen80sbaby wrote:But what attracts me about law school is the sense of purpose, the public service aspect, fighting for what's right and the notion that a lucrative career is attainable and that I can be compensated for my writing talents - and I know that some of this is cliche but why wouldn't you want to enter a field if not to get the most out of it?


If you're interested in going into public interest, it probably won't be lucrative. If you are going to try and do big law, I doubt there is this air of purpose and justice floating around the office.

You need to talk to a lot of lawyers. Right now it seems like you don't have a strong grip on what practicing law actually entails.

Any lawyer friends of the family (even friend of a friend)? E-mail them and see if they will meet with you.

[edit] Btw- A somewhat helpful thread for some PI insight: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=112328&hilit=public+service
Last edited by Richie Tenenbaum on Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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EBGB
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby EBGB » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:31 pm

So, the answer isn't necessarily no, but it isn't necessarily yes either. You may be more suited for a Masters in Public Policy. I have far too many friends who are lawyers, and they have all said that if you aren't sure about going to law school, don't do it. If I didn't know 100% that I need a J.D. in order to do what I want to do career-wise, I wouldn't be putting myself through hell.

As for working your way up on your LSAT, I made a 144 on the practice test in college. I made a 155 in September and a 159 in December, and I didn't really study very hard or consistently because of outside factors. That being said, you can improve your score if you focus, but for a score starting that low, I recommend taking a study course to teach you how to strategize.

climbintolaw
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Re: "Simple" Question: Should I go to Law School?

Postby climbintolaw » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:33 pm

I have an answer for you: don't ask for advice for something so important from a bunch of strangers on the internet. I'm not kidding. Talk to some people who know you. Or talk to someone doing legal work. You are asking for trouble coming around here with this...or you are just trolling.




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