The "Truth" About Law School

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BobCostas
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The "Truth" About Law School

Postby BobCostas » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:41 am

I am currently waiting to hear back from some law schools I applied to, hoping to get into a T30 school in the region I desire working. When I first went into this process my main motivation was 'get out of Canada'. I loathe cold weather and I want to live somewhere WARM. As such, I initially was considering applying to T2 schools such as New Mexico (basically schools I would have no problem getting into that are in warm climates). However, during this time, I've read all the doom-and-gloom articles floating around TLS and I'm a bit confused.

First off, if law school is such a bad profession, what exactly is a good one? I have a B.Sc and an M.Sc in biology and I can tell you that those degrees don't get you much. I am working in the lab I did my M.Sc in to finish up some experiments, and the most common job for bio-M.Sc grads are as reps for supply companies. They come in with their rolling backpacks and hand out flyers telling me about sales on pipette tips and plasmid-prep kits. I suppose I could get a PhD, but all that's gonna get me is a 60 000k a year job in biotech (maybe) essentially working on mindless science. Or I could devote another 4 years of my life to being dirt poor, do a post-doc and luck out with a junior professor job at some low grade university. At this point, I'll have to work my ass off to publish all the time, push grad students through, get grants and ultimately tenure. I know a lot of bio profs, most of them are poor.

A few years back I wrote the OAT (optometry exam). I scored in the 99th percentile and was pretty much guaranteed acceptance into all optometry schools in NA. I ultimately didn't apply. Why? Because optometry is a dying industry. Companies like Costco, Walmart etc are making private practice impossible, and even if you do have a private practice, people will come see you, but take their glasses prescription to the cheapest location possible meaning revenue from glasses sales is not something you can count on. Furthermore, people in the US with vision coverage in their health insurance are generally recommended to get their eye-care from an ophthalmologist. Optometry school costs are comparable to the cost of law school (more in many cases) and it is essentially a 2-year degree dragged out over 4 years to increase costs. If you do want to make a decent living, you can expect to work nights and weekends and you'll be forced to wear a lab-coat next to the McDonald's in Wal-mart. Oh yeah, I've also met a large number of optometrists who struggle with debt and are poor....

I also wrote the DAT. You think law school is expensive? Dental school you're looking at 50k per year in tuition alone. Starting a dental practice is ridiculously expensive, and if you buy a practice off a retiring dentist you're inheriting a bunch of garbage equipment and overpriced good-will. If you rent a chair in a practice, you're paying huge overhead and basically making someone else a lot of money. Add to the fact you have 300k in debt (not many dental students get $$$$) and this is really not that attractive an option either....

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I wrote the MCAT. I score a 35T which is a pretty solid score, good enough to get me into most Med Schools, save for the absolute top ones. The medical profession is pretty much in the same shape as the dental one is in terms of private practice. I though maybe I'd go and become a surgeon, well...you think BIGLAW requires a lot of hours? Try a surgical residency. Oh yeah, add to that the 300k in debt after 4 years, plus the likely 7 year residency required to get a truly decent paying medical gig and suddenly this profession isn't looking so hot, neither will you be once you graduate because you'll be 45 years old.

So that's why I decided to look into law school. I wrote the LSAT on a whim, did decent enough and decided to throw in some apps late in this cycle. I'm definitely deterred by all these articles I'm reading, but is it really that much worse than the professions I've mentioned above? Will I be shopping in Wal-mart post graduation, envying the dude in the lab coat saying "1 or 2" because wal-mart is the only place I can afford to shop? I seriously feel like I'm running out of options here, and standardized tests to write. How's crack sales these days? Seriously, any input is appreciated....

tl;dr
Science is unstable
Optometry is unstable
Dentistry is unstable
Medicine is unstable
Is Law school that bad??

Kobe_Teeth
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby Kobe_Teeth » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:49 am

Engineering?

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NorCalBruin
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby NorCalBruin » Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:56 am

This was very refreshing, in a sort of sad way.

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mpj_3050
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby mpj_3050 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:03 am

I have two TTT acceptances and some T2's with a little bit of money. The TTT's would leave with less than 40k debt in cheap cost of living areas where they at least stand some chance of placing into jobs that pay decent starting salaries all things considered (40-50k). Are these ideal options? No, but with a useless BA and considering I want to go into law I am okay taking on the risk.

As for my current job and generally crappy situation, I work in a warehouse because I couldn't find anything decent after searching for a good bit. I posted this before, but it is terrible, and during one particularly grueling shift I ended up getting hurt in part because I was exhausted - the kind of "oh shit that is a lot of blood and I can see bone" kind of injury so I will take the risk that law school entails. America at times seems like a toilet but I am willing to at least try to improve my lot. Seriously, if this is something you really want to do and can manage realism vs. debt than the best of luck.

Edit: probably made some mistakes because I've been drinking a bit :D. Good night everyone!

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danquayle
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby danquayle » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:07 am

BobCostas wrote:First off, if law school is such a bad profession, what exactly is a good one?


Pharmacy.

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beachbum
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby beachbum » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:12 am

Well, it's difficult to argue with $160k immediately after graduation. But for every Biglaw attorney, there are 10 under/unemployed attorneys with six figures of non-dischargeable debt. Law can be both an incredible, rewarding endeavor and a soul-crushing mistake, and this distinction is highly dependent upon which school you attend and how well you do once you're there.

But yes, there are very few careers that carry high pay-outs without heavy costs (in terms of QoL, risk, type of work, etc.)

BobCostas
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby BobCostas » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:16 am

danquayle wrote:
BobCostas wrote:First off, if law school is such a bad profession, what exactly is a good one?


Pharmacy.


See: Optometry

On-line pharmacies, terrible work hours, wearing a lab coat when it serves absolutely no purpose

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Adjudicator
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby Adjudicator » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:33 am

Welcome to TLS, Bob Costas. I really enjoyed your post, as well as your coverage of the Olympics on NBC. It is true, it is a tough world out there and it is looking grim in many areas, not just law.

These troubled times call for extreme ingenuity and perseverance... it isn't going to be easy for anybody.

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dr123
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby dr123 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:34 am

I don't have anything constructive to add, but the "wearing a lab coat when it serves absolutely no purpose" made me lol something furious for some reason

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Grizz
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby Grizz » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:48 am

Private defense contractor. A buddy of mine just got offered $100k a yr. tax free. All you have to do is tote a gun around for a while in the 'Stan.

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JenDarby
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby JenDarby » Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:57 am

dr123 wrote:I don't have anything constructive to add, but the "wearing a lab coat when it serves absolutely no purpose" made me lol something furious for some reason

+ 1

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invisiblesun
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby invisiblesun » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:27 am

OP: i think a lot of TLS angst fails to take into account that the shitty aspects of the real world don't only apply to the legal profession

ksimon2007
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby ksimon2007 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:17 am

GSA

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greenchair
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby greenchair » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:50 am

NorCalBruin wrote:This was very refreshing, in a sort of sad way.


+1

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gochrisgo
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby gochrisgo » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:07 am

rad law wrote:Private defense contractor. A buddy of mine just got offered $100k a yr. tax free. All you have to do is tote a gun around for a while in the 'Stan.


Which 'stan?

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1evilo.aihpos
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby 1evilo.aihpos » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:12 am

gochrisgo wrote:
rad law wrote:Private defense contractor. A buddy of mine just got offered $100k a yr. tax free. All you have to do is tote a gun around for a while in the 'Stan.


Which 'stan?

kyrgyzstan

Camron
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby Camron » Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:35 am

I just have to say that education, like anything else, is not a guarantee to a good paying career. You must be willing to take on some risk to reap the rewards. The only industry I can see that has an inelastic demand curve, and will likely remain that way in the future, is the health care/medicine industry. You already mentioned that you are not willing to invest your time into that though. Everything else will eventually be outsourced (including legal advise) to India/China/3rd world country to be done at cheaper rates. If you can't market or distinguish yourself from the thousands of other people being pumped out of law school, or whatever your respected field is, you will fail to succeed in this globalized society.

A T14 might provide you with a better chance of securing a 6 figure salary upon graduation but the debt load is high (50k/year) and it still is not a sure thing you will land your prospective career opportunity. Add to the fact that you are primarily motivated to enter law for financial reasons, and I think you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Here is some anecdotal evidence for you. My brother graduated from the UofM (I am Canadian too :wink: ) with a BSc. in Computer Science, something he actually had a passion for. He soon realized that the market was completely saturated (he grew up in a time when everyone said that being a computer scientist was a guaranteed way to be rich, he graduated in 2003). Computer scientists were a dime a dozen and outsourcing has already began to foreign markets. He was forced to work at a call center for 2 years before he could land a job in his field, and one that only paid 35k/year. Upon working there, he forged some contacts and began to do some contracts for some of those firms on the side. He had creative ideas and a genuine interest in the field that employers and clients noticed. In two-three years, he left that firm and entered a new one (software for health care industry) where he made additional contacts and eventually founded his own firm. He now lives comfortably in Vancouver with a well over 6 figure salary ($200-250k/year) doing what he loves to do; being a computer scientist.

If he entered the same thing being an accountant or a lawyer or an engineer, I don't think it would have panned out the same way. His only motivation would have been money and he would have left the market as soon as he saw his primary motivation (money) gone. Since he actually enjoyed the field he worked in even though he was making peanuts, the money thing would have been an additional reinforcer. Given how globalized our society is, it isn't enough to be a lawyer/dentist/optometrist/engineer, you need to also excel or offer something unique that the market place will truly benefit from. You tend to do these things better when you actually have a passion for them.


As a side, who is going to break my argument down into formal logic and let me know if I made any reasoning errors :lol: .

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vamedic03
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby vamedic03 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:16 am

The OP is too risk adverse. If you don't take some risks, you will never be successful.

omg
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby omg » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:53 am

Are you actually even interested in the law at all, or is it just the 4th, 5th, who knows career option for which you could take a standardized test?

Dentistry is not unstable, nor does anything in your original post assert that it is. In fact, it's the opposite of unstable; with the baby boomers retiring, supply of new dentists is now less than demand, and it will keep getting better for a while. It can just be expensive to get into, like you noted. Once you're in, though, most dentists will do fairly well. And its business is neither dominated by insurance companies nor facing a total remodeling after Obamacare like medicine is. (My husband is in dental school.)
Last edited by omg on Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ghost
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby Ghost » Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:53 am

.
Last edited by Ghost on Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KeepitKind
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby KeepitKind » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:20 pm

OP, pretty impressive you wrote all those test.. have u considered working professionally for a test writing board, like LSAC or the ADA?

bigben
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby bigben » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:47 pm

KeepitKind wrote:OP, pretty impressive you wrote all those test.. have u considered working professionally for a test writing board, like LSAC or the ADA?


LOL

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DoubleChecks
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby DoubleChecks » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:51 pm

have to disagree with OP on dentistry...if not only because he totally did not make a strong connection there

sorry OP, logic fail :( might need that for law school

high initial capital investment costs != unstable profession

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kwais
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby kwais » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:53 pm

invisiblesun wrote:OP: i think a lot of TLS angst fails to take into account that the shitty aspects of the real world don't only apply to the legal profession


I agree, most people around here seem to think that not going to law school will somehow yield a prosperous life in and of itself.

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whuts4lunch
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Re: The "Truth" About Law School

Postby whuts4lunch » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:55 pm

You used to be able to make very decent money in real estate and mortgages without having to spend years in school and hundreds of thousands of $$. You still don't have the education requirements, but the money is about 1/8th of what it was merely 4 years ago.




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