Son of Cicero wrote: quickquestionthanks wrote: fortissimo wrote:
GermX wrote:Job market is what it is. We're fucked with our lame liberal arts degrees, so let's go to law school.
Except you'd be fucked with another unemployable degree and in a shitload in debt...
Many legal services are like insurance. You buy it to cover your ass. Wealthy people buy lots of insurance, since they've got disposable income and plenty to lose. But when times get tight, people often stop paying for things that don't give them immediate utility. This is why poor people don't buy insurance.
Eventually every market will reprice (it's almost finished actually), business will resume to traditional activity levels, and large companies, which in the lean times sought to operate sans legal advice/services, will find themselves in sticky situations. They will learn their lesson and resume buying legal services for protection.
Warren Buffet once said (paraphrase) "when people are acting greedy, get scared. When people are acting scared, get greedy." Now's the time to double down, not puss out. The US, it's massive economy, and its litigious nature will be here for at least another century or two.
The legal market wasn't always as bloated as it has become in recent years. I sat in on a lecture given by a former president of the ABA, and he said that he watched as firms willingly let the old system get out of control: they would over-delegate work and chop up assignments to rack up the billed hours without caring how thinly-sliced projects would become. It was systemic, and now that that system has collapsed, there is a lot skepticism about whether it will come back in a form that can absorb nearly as many students as reputable schools anticipated when they jacked up their tuition rates. It seems like a pretty sensible theory from a credible source, and I haven't heard anyone but blind optimists make any predictions that didn't take that that or a similar thesis as their starting point. People and corporations do need legal services, but they don't need to get them from wasteful firms which over-hire in a way that is clearly detrimental to clients.
That Buffett quote seems totally inapplicable in these circumstances. People aren't backing out of the decision to go to law school yet. Law school is still becoming more and more competitive, and it's not because schools are closing down and creating fewer openings. Enrollment is at overflow levels, even now. The people who are scared are law students who can't find jobs and lawyers who have been, or who fear being, laid off. If applicants had been backing out before the job market was clearly fucked, but when there were loud enough rumblings in the distance to make reasonable investors (0Ls) hold off on applying - say, around the time of ED deadlines in 2008 - then you might have actually been taking a gamble to which that quote might apply. Is Warren Buffett buying up newspapers like a madman now that staffs have been getting laid off, offices have been closing, and owners are making grim predictions about their publications' fates? Sometimes, what looks like a bad deal is, in fact, a bad deal.
I think this post is also correct and both of the above quoted posts can be reconciled. There's multiple factors to it, but the bottom line is: going to a bottom ranked law school and getting in a lot of debt is a bad financial decision right now; it won't be as bad a decision in the future; it's never quite as bad a decision as people have been making it out to be, especially if you are going to law school because you honestly and truly want to be a lawyer and are openly willing to struggle with debt, unemployment and low salaries to get there.
I currently attend a T2 where I have a scholarship, but it's not full and I would graduate with 6 figures of debt. I knew when I decided to go that it was not a wise decision based on finances alone, but I really love the law (corny i know) and honestly and truly wanted to be a lawyer. I was willing to scrape by and endure the debt to pursue what I dreamed to do, while at the same time I was also self-aware of the common delusions of grandeur people entering LS have and tried to avoid them.
I will be transferring to a T14 school next year, which obviously makes my debt situation bigger (lose scholly $$ and tuition goes way up), but also improves my job prospects (although the extent of this is arguable as I'd be top of the class here presumably) and portability (this was my primary reason for xfering... I realized I wanted to work somewhere where my current school's degree doesn't reach so well) exponentially. I'm still nervous about the debt, but not as nervous as I was before, especially since the T14 schools have much better LRAP programs across the board (esp GULC where I've been admitted) than my current school does. BigLaw as a career doesn't interest me in the slightest bit, but working in it to start a career is a very intriguing option I'd like to have.
(Let me add: I really, really love my T2 and the people here. The school is great and is an awesome place to be... it's just I can't pass up an opportunity for GULC, especially since my long term goals end in DC.)