Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

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bosa
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Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bosa » Sun Jul 17, 2011 1:56 pm

I need some harsh criticism on my choice. This is between either attending here or going to the workforce now.

Here are the facts that are not disputable:

1. I am a Maine resident meaning I pay in state rates approx. 22k
2. I would like to stay in New England and am not really looking for a big job in the big city.
3. I will graduate with almost no debt (at most 6k) that includes living costs, etc.
4. I believe I will actually enjoy law school and practicing law (I could be wrong of course)
5. My fallback is an economics degree from a top 20 liberals arts college with a moderate/low GPA approx 3.0

So given all of that why should I go or why shouldn't I go? I have only given a deposit, so your good argument could save me 3 years of my time and some significant opportunity costs.

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bk1
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bk1 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 2:59 pm

Only 43% of 2009 UMaine grads found full time lawyer jobs within 9 months (source: --LinkRemoved--).

If you like having less than 50% chance at being a lawyer then be my guest.

bosa
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bosa » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:10 pm

Hmm yes that seems low, although given such low debt wouldn't it be better to have a 50% chance at a legal career versus no chance?

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bk1
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bk1 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:13 pm

bosa wrote:Hmm yes that seems low, although given such low debt wouldn't it be better to have a 50% chance at a legal career versus no chance?


I'm not saying it's a horrid bet (especially if you want to work in Maine and I suspect the reason UMaine does poorly is because Maine's legal economy doesn't have enough jobs), but it isn't a particularly great one. I mean while you're basically spending only 6k, you do have a >50% chance that you will have spent 3 years for nothing.

Chippy
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby Chippy » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:16 pm

Where is the money coming from to pay 60-70k in tuition and 30-40k in living expenses?

If it is mom and dad- I would go on a three year vacation.

If it was my personal savings- I would think of more prudent investments.

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Knock
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby Knock » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:17 pm

bosa wrote:I need some harsh criticism on my choice. This is between either attending here or going to the workforce now.

Here are the facts that are not disputable:

1. I am a Maine resident meaning I pay in state rates approx. 22k
2. I would like to stay in New England and am not really looking for a big job in the big city.
3. I will graduate with almost no debt (at most 6k) that includes living costs, etc.
4. I believe I will actually enjoy law school and practicing law (I could be wrong of course)
5. My fallback is an economics degree from a top 20 liberals arts college with a moderate/low GPA approx 3.0

So given all of that why should I go or why shouldn't I go? I have only given a deposit, so your good argument could save me 3 years of my time and some significant opportunity costs.


Do you have a job lined up you'd be giving up? I think your scenario depends on why you want to go into law. If you are interested in practicing law and are okay in working in a small firm for not much money, then i'd say go for it. If you are interested in becoming a lawyer to make money, then I would say pass on U. Maine and head into the workforce and attempt to work your way up an organization.

Is retake an option?

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Nogameisfair
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby Nogameisfair » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:18 pm

Work in the legal field first. Make some connections within the legal community. Then see if you have a reasonable chance of getting a decent job in state. You want to avoid the risk of getting stuck in shitlaw -- dui defense or insurance defense type practices. I'm betting the 43% who are employed don't all have lawyer jobs or lawyer jobs they can stomach.

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sunynp
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby sunynp » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:22 pm

If you can get a law degree with less than 6,000 of debt I think I would go for it. BUT only if there is no other job you are giving up to go to law school and if you will start networking and looking for your first law job now. As in start today. There are law firms in Portland that are decent - I have some friends who left New York to work there. They love it. There are probably other firms in Maine as well. I think the best 0L prep anyone can do is to start researching their job markets, meeting people, talking to people at firms,etc.

And after 1L if you aren't doing well, just find something else to do. If you can't get a law job I have heard that a JD may hold you back.

Edit: I re-read the title to your thread. Do you really not want to go? I thought you wanted to practice law, if you don't, then there is no point to going to law school - even for free.

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fanmingrui
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby fanmingrui » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:28 pm

I've heard there were massive outbreaks of leprosy and herpes at UMaine recently... And you have less than a 50/50 shot of finding a legal job.

bosa
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bosa » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:36 pm

sunynp wrote:If you can get a law degree with less than 6,000 of debt I think I would go for it. BUT only if there is no other job you are giving up to go to law school and if you will start networking and looking for your first law job now. As in start today. There are law firms in Portland that are decent - I have some friends who left New York to work there. They love it. There are probably other firms in Maine as well. I think the best 0L prep anyone can do is to start researching their job markets, meeting people, talking to people at firms,etc.

And after 1L if you aren't doing well, just find something else to do. If you can't get a law job I have heard that a JD may hold you back.


I've heard that too. I guess you may seem to be a failure. Making connections sound like fair advice.

To answer the question above, without revealing to much personal financial information it is not coming from personal savings. Living expenses would be, also they'd be low since I have cheap places to stay in the area.

I have no job lined up to fall back on. Not sure the prospects for a 3.0 econ major either, seems most of my friends needed major connections or 4.0 double major in math to get decent jobs in the field. I want to be a lawyer, but obviously I'm not going to sacrifice a lifetime of earning just to practice law. Also I have some great legal connections in NH, and decent ones in Maine.

sunynp: the tittle of the thread was just the controversial aspect of the topic. I am leaning towards going and it would take a lot to talk me out of it. The thread would be better focused on the compelling reasons not to go (or alternatives that aren't Teach for America, Americorps). I am actually pretty excited to go and feel I may not be making an objective decision.

bosa
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bosa » Sun Jul 17, 2011 3:52 pm

fanmingrui wrote:I've heard there were massive outbreaks of leprosy and herpes at UMaine recently... And you have less than a 50/50 shot of finding a legal job.



Leprosy may be a problem but I'm sure there are more people with herpes at the Farmington campus than in Portland.

edit: Also retaking wouldn't do much. I want to be in New England and I got into everywhere I applied, mostly with scholarships. I did not apply to Harvard, Yale, BU or BC, Uconn because my either my GPA was too low to get in or I would not have received a scholarship and thus would have been drowning in Debt. Unless you think studying for a year and getting my LSAT score way up into the 170s would overcome a 3.0.

firemed
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby firemed » Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:18 pm

I am in a slightly better, but not much better, position to yours. I chose to go to school, become a lawyer.

Of course, if I am below median after the first year, I am dropping out.

firemed
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby firemed » Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:19 pm

bosa wrote:
fanmingrui wrote:I've heard there were massive outbreaks of leprosy and herpes at UMaine recently... And you have less than a 50/50 shot of finding a legal job.



Leprosy may be a problem but I'm sure there are more people with herpes at the Farmington campus than in Portland.

edit: Also retaking wouldn't do much. I want to be in New England and I got into everywhere I applied, mostly with scholarships. I did not apply to Harvard, Yale, BU or BC, Uconn because my either my GPA was too low to get in or I would not have received a scholarship and thus would have been drowning in Debt. Unless you think studying for a year and getting my LSAT score way up into the 170s would overcome a 3.0.



It would except for harvard or yale, probably.

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ndirish2010
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby ndirish2010 » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:19 pm

BC and BU like high GPAs- 3.0/170 is not likely to get in either. Should get you a sizable scholly from UConn though.

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Heartford
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby Heartford » Sun Jul 17, 2011 6:22 pm

ndirish2010 wrote:BC and BU like high GPAs- 3.0/170 is not likely to get in either. Should get you a sizable scholly from UConn though.


Have you read a Connecticut newspaper lately? My school might not be handing out too many scholarships in the near future since, you know, the whole state is about to collapse and said school is funded by said state...

http://www.courant.com/news/politics/hc ... 8221.story

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JoeFish
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby JoeFish » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:56 am

bosa wrote:edit: Also retaking wouldn't do much. I want to be in New England and I got into everywhere I applied, mostly with scholarships. I did not apply to Harvard, Yale, BU or BC, Uconn because my either my GPA was too low to get in or I would not have received a scholarship and thus would have been drowning in Debt. Unless you think studying for a year and getting my LSAT score way up into the 170s would overcome a 3.0.


Whoa yeah firemed is right. If you think you can get into the 170s (not everyone can, and if you're at the 75 at Maine you'd need to increase at least 13 points), it would make a huge difference and give you a shot at Cornell actually (likely WL if you're 172-175). As was said, BU and BC aren't too LSAT splitter friendly, so you'd probably need around that 172 to try for there as well (BU seems to have a pretty darn hard floor at 3.25 or so).

But the here and now: for 6 grand? Yeah I'd say do it. Hell, I thought I was lucky going to LS for 5 digits...

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Ersatz Haderach
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby Ersatz Haderach » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:16 am

If the 43% figure is accurate, that's not good at all. I thought UMaine was sort of peeking into T2 status, and since it owns its (small) state market, and you won't be going into debt...it's not that bad, really, but 43%? Eeeek. If that's an law school transparency figure, it's a good guidepost, but realize the 'real' figure is probably somewhat higher; the question is, is it closer to 80% of grads working in a JD-required/preferred position or closer to 50%? You need to investigate more.

You should reach out to alumni and see what they are actually doing. They will be blunt about their assessment of the school - I've called up CWRU alums and had some say very good/very bad things to me, some random person they don't know at all. It is by far the best way to learn about your school without actually attending. Current students are also helpful but they might still hesitate to criticize their current institution. Use Martindale online to check where alumni actually work in Maine/nearby.

Did you go to Bowdoin for undergrad? How are your connections in Maine? Are you sure you want to live there? A reasonable-cost JD is not a bad investment, per se, if you have realistic expectations for what it will actually get you. Of course, just because you have the money doesn't mean you have to spend it. Don't feel obligated to go, but if you really want to, do your homework and see what you find. It's an okay option if the employment numbers aren't terrible. If they are, I think you are probably better served using your money to support you in an internship doing something that will lead to paying work sooner.

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bk1
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bk1 » Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:06 am

Ersatz Haderach wrote:If that's an law school transparency figure, it's a good guidepost, but realize the 'real' figure is probably somewhat higher;


Why would it be higher? That makes no sense. People are more likely to lie about their employment being full time when it isn't not to mention that some of those jobs are undoubtedly temporary which LST does not account for. I don't see how they it could be higher, only lower. And JD preferred seems weak when it makes little sense to pass the bar and go to a job that does not require bar passage.

bosa
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bosa » Mon Jul 18, 2011 9:51 am

Ersatz Haderach wrote:If the 43% figure is accurate, that's not good at all. I thought UMaine was sort of peeking into T2 status, and since it owns its (small) state market, and you won't be going into debt...it's not that bad, really, but 43%? Eeeek. If that's an law school transparency figure, it's a good guidepost, but realize the 'real' figure is probably somewhat higher; the question is, is it closer to 80% of grads working in a JD-required/preferred position or closer to 50%? You need to investigate more.

You should reach out to alumni and see what they are actually doing. They will be blunt about their assessment of the school - I've called up CWRU alums and had some say very good/very bad things to me, some random person they don't know at all. It is by far the best way to learn about your school without actually attending. Current students are also helpful but they might still hesitate to criticize their current institution. Use Martindale online to check where alumni actually work in Maine/nearby.

Did you go to Bowdoin for undergrad? How are your connections in Maine? Are you sure you want to live there? A reasonable-cost JD is not a bad investment, per se, if you have realistic expectations for what it will actually get you. Of course, just because you have the money doesn't mean you have to spend it. Don't feel obligated to go, but if you really want to, do your homework and see what you find. It's an okay option if the employment numbers aren't terrible. If they are, I think you are probably better served using your money to support you in an internship doing something that will lead to paying work sooner.


I know many alumni having gone to Maine for undergrad and being politically involved for the past 4 years.

Also bk1, the numbers of 2009 are mid recession and there are only 80 or so graduating umaine law student a year so small changes in the job market can effect jobless rate among graduates by a large percentage. A shift in the job market by ten jobs in Massachusetts wouldn't make a dent in Suffolk's employment but would change umaine employment by 12.5%. So essentially with such small numbers we should assume that there is a lot of error and other factors that change that stat.

Also to be clear UConn would really be my only other realistic retake option. And I'm not sure UConn is worth taking a year to study LSATs to get my score up 10 or so points.

UMaine grads seem to suggest that the quality of education is better than the ranking suggests, but that probably doesn't matter if only pizza delivery is the job that awaits.

I turned down UNH (Franklin Pierce) with 45k+ debt after small scholarship. My goal is to work in NH, but I'm not sure I could justify that much more money for a technically lower ranked 3/4 tier school especially since I have many connections in NH. People here seem to think there is no mobility to NH with a Umaine degree. I wonder if that is because most people in Maine are a self-selected group of Mainers who want to stay there. I wonder if the 43% is reflective of a bad degree, or a bad market. A 4th tier Suffolk can't give that much of a better education or job to people who go 120k into debt, can it?

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JoeFish
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby JoeFish » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:36 pm

bosa wrote:People here seem to think there is no mobility to NH with a Umaine degree. I wonder if that is because most people in Maine are a self-selected group of Mainers who want to stay there. I wonder if the 43% is reflective of a bad degree, or a bad market.


I would think that almost everyone who goes to Maine is going there because they want to work in Maine. A degree from Maine isn't really portable anywhere by itself, but if you have connections that you know can get you a job that lack of portability largely goes out the window.

bosa wrote:A 4th tier Suffolk can't give that much of a better education or job to people who go 120k into debt, can it?


Probably not; but honestly I don't think the quality of education is that different at Maine, Suffolk, or anywhere in between. TLSers (self included) will generally (and often pushily) say that it's all a huge risk/reward analysis based entirely on a) cost and b) jobs.

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observationalist
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby observationalist » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:00 pm

bosa wrote:
Ersatz Haderach wrote:If the 43% figure is accurate, that's not good at all. I thought UMaine was sort of peeking into T2 status, and since it owns its (small) state market, and you won't be going into debt...it's not that bad, really, but 43%? Eeeek. If that's an law school transparency figure, it's a good guidepost, but realize the 'real' figure is probably somewhat higher; the question is, is it closer to 80% of grads working in a JD-required/preferred position or closer to 50%? You need to investigate more.

You should reach out to alumni and see what they are actually doing. They will be blunt about their assessment of the school - I've called up CWRU alums and had some say very good/very bad things to me, some random person they don't know at all. It is by far the best way to learn about your school without actually attending. Current students are also helpful but they might still hesitate to criticize their current institution. Use Martindale online to check where alumni actually work in Maine/nearby.

Did you go to Bowdoin for undergrad? How are your connections in Maine? Are you sure you want to live there? A reasonable-cost JD is not a bad investment, per se, if you have realistic expectations for what it will actually get you. Of course, just because you have the money doesn't mean you have to spend it. Don't feel obligated to go, but if you really want to, do your homework and see what you find. It's an okay option if the employment numbers aren't terrible. If they are, I think you are probably better served using your money to support you in an internship doing something that will lead to paying work sooner.


I know many alumni having gone to Maine for undergrad and being politically involved for the past 4 years.

Also bk1, the numbers of 2009 are mid recession and there are only 80 or so graduating umaine law student a year so small changes in the job market can effect jobless rate among graduates by a large percentage. A shift in the job market by ten jobs in Massachusetts wouldn't make a dent in Suffolk's employment but would change umaine employment by 12.5%. So essentially with such small numbers we should assume that there is a lot of error and other factors that change that stat.

Also to be clear UConn would really be my only other realistic retake option. And I'm not sure UConn is worth taking a year to study LSATs to get my score up 10 or so points.

UMaine grads seem to suggest that the quality of education is better than the ranking suggests, but that probably doesn't matter if only pizza delivery is the job that awaits.

I turned down UNH (Franklin Pierce) with 45k+ debt after small scholarship. My goal is to work in NH, but I'm not sure I could justify that much more money for a technically lower ranked 3/4 tier school especially since I have many connections in NH. People here seem to think there is no mobility to NH with a Umaine degree. I wonder if that is because most people in Maine are a self-selected group of Mainers who want to stay there. I wonder if the 43% is reflective of a bad degree, or a bad market. A 4th tier Suffolk can't give that much of a better education or job to people who go 120k into debt, can it?


Just to clarify the bolded since nobody else did and I think it's important for those of you making this decision: the Class of 2009 data for most schools represents the very best in placement ability; it's the Class of 2010 and 2011 that look worse across the board, so much so that we generally say you should cut previous hiring percentages by about half when schools aren't forthcoming with the new data on 2010 grads. There was a very steep drop-off in the number of entry-level legal jobs available to graduates in those years. At this point there is no justification a school can offer as to why they aren't disclosing comprehensive employment data on the Class of 2010. NALP returned all of its data to schools back in June. People need to contact the schools and request that data where it isn't already being disclosed.

You can poke a few big holes at the stats on UMaine's website if you know the right assumptions to make. For starters, 48.5% of 80.5% of Class of 2010 grads were in the private sector, serving in either part-time or full-time positions. The school does not state whether the 80.5% is actually out of all Class of 2010 grads, or if it is only taken out of those who were actively looking. A risk-averse applicant should not grant them the benefit of the doubt on this. Assuming 80 graduates in the Class of 2010, this means a maximum of 31 graduates landed up with part-time or full-time gigs in private practice. It is very possible that between a third and one half of these were part-time, which would leave you with between 16 and 21 students in full-time private practice jobs. Further, a few of these might not have been attorney positions; some schools might be counting graduates employed with temp agencies as employed full-time with a law firm. They can arguably classify graduates this way even if the jobs are temporary project-based, so long as the graduates were pulling normal hours during the week containing February 15th.

A risk-averse applicant might therefore conclude, in the absence of greater disclosure on the part of the school, that perhaps a dozen graduates out of 80 ended up with full-time attorney positions in the private sector. I don't mean to have anyone rely on that as anything more than a plausible result for the Class of 2010, but it does hopefully underscore the need to contact the schools and use your acceptances at peer programs as leverage to get more comprehensive data on Class of 2010 grads. If the school had only provided the numbers of graduates that make up each percentage you wouldn't have to do so much work. The best answer I can give as to why schools provide data in the way UMaine does is that it hides undesirable outcomes and gives plenty of room for an optimistic (and often idealistic) applicant to interpret the data in a way that justifies three years of lost earnings and a potentially severe debt burden.

Someone posted awhile back that UNH was very forthcoming with listing the jobs and salaries of its 2010 grads upon request. It might be helpful to use that as a template for the data you request from UMaine and/or Suffolk. G'luck to anyone making the requests.

bosa
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bosa » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:50 pm

That doesn't sound very good at all. I seriously hope they are placing better than that. I turned down UNH to avoid 50k in debt. I hope I didn't turn down better employment opportunity. I suppose given my connections and low debt I don't necessarily have to calculate my risk of unemployment as 17% (14/80), also it would be logically incorrect to assume that my individual chance of being employed is 17%. Perhaps I should go for 1L fall and see where I go from there.

Your breakdown of the numbers seems pretty in depth. Do you have some good sources that break down these data? T14 Paradise and the other scamblogs link to some info but nothing on Maine yet.

I just noticed job openings at US Airways, health benefits and free flights anywhere sounds pretty enticing at this point.

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JoeFish
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby JoeFish » Sat Jul 23, 2011 1:24 am

bosa wrote:That doesn't sound very good at all. I seriously hope they are placing better than that. I turned down UNH to avoid 50k in debt. I hope I didn't turn down better employment opportunity.


I'm gonna go out on a limb and say you didn't.

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sunynp
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby sunynp » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:26 am

I thought you were going to start networking and getting to know all the lawyers in Maine?To get a job out of Maine, you will have to assume that you will get it on your own. If you start now, you will also get a good sense of the job market. I wasn't joking when I said you need to start now.

You should also ask the school to clarify their reporting. Observationalist makes an excellent point that schools should have their final numbers by now.

bosa
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Re: Talk me out of law school (UMaine)

Postby bosa » Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:34 pm

I will take your advice on getting those connections. Maine is a small state so I'm already familiar with many local lawyers. Do you have any suggestions on further networking starting now, you seem to be familiar with doing this type of networking.




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