Is law school a mistake?

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Yes or No to Law School?

Go to Law School
56
61%
Defer and Reevaluate
36
39%
 
Total votes: 92

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annet
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby annet » Fri May 04, 2012 8:04 pm

Could you articulate a little more what you mean by business/wanting to be a professional? Are you interested in sales? Managing employees? Marketing?

Have you looked into the Stanford JD/MBA at all? You could consider applying for that after you finish 1L if it seems like you're on the right track.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat May 05, 2012 9:35 am

roaringeagle wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
roaringeagle wrote:I do not think that it would be hard to find a legal job that you enjoy that does not require 60-70 hour weeks.

What? WHAT?! You don't think this is hard? This is like the holy grail of law jobs.


I agree that it is unusual but unusual things happen for the elite.

The notion that special things happen for HYS grads is highly overblown. There isn't a whole separate legal industry for grads of the top three schools. They just are more likely to get priority for the top jobs. These are, for the most part, clerkships (temporary), academia (cushy if you can get it but a real grind to get there and less than assured for anybody), Biglaw (the antithesis of "a legal job that you enjoy that does not require 60-70 hour weeks"), and public interest jobs (more respect for work/life balance than Biglaw (at 1/3 the salary) but still full of dedicated people who are tethered to their Blackberries 24/7 and will expect you to be as well).

premier2t
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby premier2t » Sat May 05, 2012 10:10 am

Yes, it is a huge mistake.

Paul Campos
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Paul Campos » Sat May 05, 2012 1:08 pm

Do not go to law school unless you have a very good reason to believe you want to be a lawyer.*



*Note this is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

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Indifferent
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Indifferent » Sat May 05, 2012 1:12 pm

yes

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Na_Swatch » Sat May 05, 2012 1:34 pm

DefyingGravity wrote:
moneybagsphd wrote:Are you fucking serious? You got into Stanford. Going to law school is objectively the right decision here.


I want to do consulting work and do not have interest in traditional law jobs, but I think you are right.


Go to Stanford then... HYS all have on-campus consulting interviews and McKinsey hires a decent amount of JDs as consultants during both 2L and 3L years.

timbs4339
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby timbs4339 » Sat May 05, 2012 1:36 pm

Having graduated from a pretty mediocre UG with a similarly worthless degree, I absolutely think that a Stanford JD is a great investment from a strictly financial perspective. I was not dead set on being a lawyer and became serious about the career path only when I realized that the messed up rules of the law school game qualified me for some really good schools.

However, OP, you need to reevaluate whether you will be able to work 60-70 hour weeks consistently. If you want to jump into "business" you will probably have to get a biglaw job first. I know MBB hire out of elite law schools but they only ever take a few people. If you don't get one of those job, working in M+A, capital markets or other transactional practices will allow you to be involved in business aspects of law and maybe jump over to a bank, PE firm, or hedge fund a few years into your career. I even went on a consulting interview at one of MBB where a fellow interviewee was a fourth year biglaw associate. However, those opportunities will come after a significant time investment.

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AreJay711
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby AreJay711 » Sat May 05, 2012 1:39 pm

Na_Swatch wrote:
DefyingGravity wrote:
moneybagsphd wrote:Are you fucking serious? You got into Stanford. Going to law school is objectively the right decision here.


I want to do consulting work and do not have interest in traditional law jobs, but I think you are right.


Go to Stanford then... HYS all have on-campus consulting interviews and McKinsey hires a decent amount of JDs as consultants during both 2L and 3L years.


This is bad advice. Sure going to Stanford might give you a decent shot at consulting but you have to compare to the alternatives -- like starting as an analyst for the same firms or doing another grad program. Likely if there is any extra benefit to going to Stanford it isn't worth the difference between the 200K it costs against the money you would have made elsewhere, especially if you wouldn't like a law job.

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Na_Swatch » Sat May 05, 2012 1:42 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
Na_Swatch wrote:
DefyingGravity wrote:
moneybagsphd wrote:Are you fucking serious? You got into Stanford. Going to law school is objectively the right decision here.


I want to do consulting work and do not have interest in traditional law jobs, but I think you are right.


Go to Stanford then... HYS all have on-campus consulting interviews and McKinsey hires a decent amount of JDs as consultants during both 2L and 3L years.


This is bad advice. Sure going to Stanford might give you a decent shot at consulting but you have to compare to the alternatives -- like starting as an analyst for the same firms or doing another grad program. Likely if there is any extra benefit to going to Stanford it isn't worth the difference between the 200K it costs against the money you would have made elsewhere, especially if you wouldn't like a law job.


Did you read his OP? He doesn't have any other comparable alternatives and is unlikely to get an analyst position given his current situation.

Also given his age, lack of income, and financial situation Stanford will likely offer very substantial financial aid. He's at the perfect age where your parents income has no bearing on financial aid offered.
Last edited by Na_Swatch on Sat May 05, 2012 1:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Geneva
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Geneva » Sat May 05, 2012 1:43 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
Na_Swatch wrote:
DefyingGravity wrote:
moneybagsphd wrote:Are you fucking serious? You got into Stanford. Going to law school is objectively the right decision here.


I want to do consulting work and do not have interest in traditional law jobs, but I think you are right.


Go to Stanford then... HYS all have on-campus consulting interviews and McKinsey hires a decent amount of JDs as consultants during both 2L and 3L years.


This is bad advice. Sure going to Stanford might give you a decent shot at consulting but you have to compare to the alternatives -- like starting as an analyst for the same firms or doing another grad program. Likely if there is any extra benefit to going to Stanford it isn't worth the difference between the 200K it costs against the money you would have made elsewhere, especially if you wouldn't like a law job.

Except OP will probably be getting hefty need-based aid, which makes total cost closer to 100K. Also, without work experience, it probably would be tough to find a job as an analyst. Starting another grad program might make sense, but then you'd have to wait a year anyway?

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Na_Swatch » Sat May 05, 2012 1:43 pm

Lol we posted the exact same thing at the exact same time

Geneva
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Geneva » Sat May 05, 2012 1:44 pm

Na_Swatch wrote:Lol we posted the exact same thing at the exact same time


haha nice. you know what they say about great minds...

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AreJay711
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby AreJay711 » Sat May 05, 2012 1:48 pm

Na_Swatch wrote:
Did you read his OP?


lol, nah :oops:

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Na_Swatch
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Na_Swatch » Sat May 05, 2012 2:07 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
Na_Swatch wrote:
Did you read his OP?


lol, nah :oops:


haha its ok, your answer is fine 90% of the time in the "i just graduated and dont want to be a lawyer but T14 sounds cool" cases

keg411
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby keg411 » Sat May 05, 2012 3:16 pm

timbs4339 wrote:Having graduated from a pretty mediocre UG with a similarly worthless degree, I absolutely think that a Stanford JD is a great investment from a strictly financial perspective. I was not dead set on being a lawyer and became serious about the career path only when I realized that the messed up rules of the law school game qualified me for some really good schools.

However, OP, you need to reevaluate whether you will be able to work 60-70 hour weeks consistently. If you want to jump into "business" you will probably have to get a biglaw job first. I know MBB hire out of elite law schools but they only ever take a few people. If you don't get one of those job, working in M+A, capital markets or other transactional practices will allow you to be involved in business aspects of law and maybe jump over to a bank, PE firm, or hedge fund a few years into your career. I even went on a consulting interview at one of MBB where a fellow interviewee was a fourth year biglaw associate. However, those opportunities will come after a significant time investment.


+1.

OP, if your medical issues are resolved, go to Stanford. I'm sorry, but S is definitely worth it whether you want to be a lawyer or do consulting or not. If OP said any school but HYS, I'd probably have a different response, but S is a school that can get OP what he wants... and even if he finds that he can't do that stuff physically, S opens up doors for legal jobs that will be completely manageable time-wise and extremely prestigious.

GO TO STANFORD.

acrossthelake
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby acrossthelake » Sat May 05, 2012 3:23 pm

If it wasn't a good school at a huge discount, I'd say not to go. Since it's S and you're going to get a lot of need-based aid and really don't have any similar alternatives, enjoy Stanford.

JamesChapman23
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby JamesChapman23 » Sat May 05, 2012 3:46 pm

DefyingGravity wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:None of your "pros" are actually reasons to go to law school, at all.


In my situation, what are the viable alternatives?


How about anything? Go back get a certification and do IT. Or something like nursing if you get the science pre-reqs done cheap.

Any market is better than law right now.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby RedBirds2011 » Sat May 05, 2012 4:09 pm

JamesChapman23 wrote:
DefyingGravity wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:None of your "pros" are actually reasons to go to law school, at all.


In my situation, what are the viable alternatives?


How about anything? Go back get a certification and do IT. Or something like nursing if you get the science pre-reqs done cheap.

Any market is better than law right now.


I'm sorry but going to IT school over Stanford law would be beyond retarded. OP, go to Stanford.

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PDaddy
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby PDaddy » Sat May 05, 2012 4:34 pm

DefyingGravity wrote:
PMan99 wrote:Depends on:

A) Your School
B) How much you're paying for it


A) Stanford
B) I have not yet received my need-based aid package yet. I think I should get a fair amount given my age and the fact that I made less than $5000K total in 2011.


Take your ass to law school!!!! :roll:

You should be very excited. It's a bit disheartening that someone who is accomplished enough to get into Stanford actually has such thought processes and questions. Hmmm... :?

If you're worried about demystifying law school, take Law Preview or something. Stanford doesn't even have grades for crying outloud, and the networks you will establish just by being on campus - as long as you aren't a douche - will potentially cure every problem you mentioned in your OP.

Do you realize what types of people you will rub shoulders with? The sons and daughters of congressmen and senators, etc. That, in addition to the prestige of a Stanford law degree, is plenty of reason to go.

Congratulations on getting into Stanford. :wink:
Last edited by PDaddy on Sat May 05, 2012 9:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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roaringeagle
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby roaringeagle » Sat May 05, 2012 4:47 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
roaringeagle wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
roaringeagle wrote:I do not think that it would be hard to find a legal job that you enjoy that does not require 60-70 hour weeks.

What? WHAT?! You don't think this is hard? This is like the holy grail of law jobs.


I agree that it is unusual but unusual things happen for the elite.

The notion that special things happen for HYS grads is highly overblown. There isn't a whole separate legal industry for grads of the top three schools. They just are more likely to get priority for the top jobs. These are, for the most part, clerkships (temporary), academia (cushy if you can get it but a real grind to get there and less than assured for anybody), Biglaw (the antithesis of "a legal job that you enjoy that does not require 60-70 hour weeks"), and public interest jobs (more respect for work/life balance than Biglaw (at 1/3 the salary) but still full of dedicated people who are tethered to their Blackberries 24/7 and will expect you to be as well).


I agree that my evidence is anecdotal. Also I would not say that Harvard is comparable to Yale, or Stanford in California.

I also know someone who went to Duke finished #2 and works 20 hours a week making market. If you are brilliant enough you will have special opportunities that us lesser folk do not have. Also Academia pays very well and is quite possible from Stanford especially in California. For a guy with recurrent medical issues there cannot be a better choice than Stanford or Yale Law.

gravityrides0
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby gravityrides0 » Sat May 05, 2012 4:53 pm

Congrats, but I honestly think you should defer if you can and do some soul searching. You won't know whether you won't get into an MBA program or get a good career opportunity until you actually try. If your health situation/ lack of work has a reasonable story behind it, it's hard for me to imagine it being held against you in most cases. I think trying to secure a job or program you actually *want* for 1 year is much less daunting than 3 years of law school + an intense legal job you don't want. Also, if you find that you still don't want or can't fing a law-related job after Stanford and would rather pursue an MBA, you will then be 31 without any full time work experience... Obviously getting into Stanford is an amazing accomplishment and opportunity, but in your case, it seems kind of ridiculous if you don't have any desire to be a lawyer.

Geneva
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Geneva » Sat May 05, 2012 5:06 pm

Paul Campos wrote:Do not go to law school unless you have a very good reason to believe you want to be a lawyer.*



*Note this is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

What would you suggest OP does instead? I feel like the lack of work experience makes a JD the best way for OP to break into the sort of business career s/he seems to want.

Brassica7
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Brassica7 » Sat May 05, 2012 5:22 pm

JamesChapman23 wrote:
DefyingGravity wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:None of your "pros" are actually reasons to go to law school, at all.


In my situation, what are the viable alternatives?


How about anything? Go back get a certification and do IT. Or something like nursing if you get the science pre-reqs done cheap.

Any market is better than law right now.



I disagree with Chapman. Go to Stanford. It is true that the legal market is bad in general, but it is still great for Stanford JDs. The lack of jobs is not evenly distributed; almost everyone at Harvard/Stanford/Yale gets a good job, while almost no one at TTTT schools gets a good job (or any legal job). Sure, there is no guarantee, but the odds are heavily in your favor at Stanford.

If you had an opportunity to work at a good job that could get you into a top MBA program in 3-5 years, I would say go do that. However, given your lack of viable alternatives, Stanford is the easy choice.

Paul Campos
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby Paul Campos » Sat May 05, 2012 5:24 pm

Geneva wrote:
Paul Campos wrote:Do not go to law school unless you have a very good reason to believe you want to be a lawyer.*



*Note this is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

What would you suggest OP does instead? I feel like the lack of work experience makes a JD the best way for OP to break into the sort of business career s/he seems to want.


The idea that significant numbers of people go from SLS into something other than law is wrong.

2010 SLS NALP report:

174 graduates

3 went into "business" (this category would include all the kinds of jobs -- "consulting and policy" -- the OP is interested in).

The vast majority of the class (85%) either went big law or clerked, which is usually a prelude to big law. Almost all the rest became government or PI lawyers (also things the OP seems to have little interest in, although they don't seem to cause as much revulsion for him/her as the idea of big law). Big law is exactly what the OP doesn't want to do, and it's by far the most likely thing the OP will end up doing. What qualifications will the OP have three years from now to get into high-level consulting or policy work that he/she doesn't have now? Will he/she have any relevant work experience? No, because summering for a big law firm is not relevant work experience for those kinds of of jobs. He/she will have a JD but a JD, even from SLS, is almost never by itself a sufficient credential for highly competitive non-law jobs.

This is just the TLS myth that there's something magical about a YSH degree. The only "magical" thing about it is that it's the best degree you can get for getting jobs that require law degrees. That a tiny handful of people go on to do other things straight out of law school is a reflection of those graduates' backgrounds before they went to law school, not that SLS sprinkled magic pixie dust on them.

So I don't know what the OP should do, but I do know that going to law school while planning not to practice law never makes sense, unless you're going to law school for non-career related reasons.

chasgoose
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Re: Is law school a mistake?

Postby chasgoose » Sat May 05, 2012 6:20 pm

To be honest, I think this is the best you can do if you want a professional-type career. Getting consulting jobs out of law school is doable, especially from SLS. Unlike banking, consulting cares more about your analytical ability than anything else, WE is a plus for them, but given that they hire tons of liberal arts grads from elite schools all the time solely for performing well on their case study method (seriously in college I knew multiple theater majors who got jobs at MBB), this is like a second chance to get that. Consulting wants JD's because they value diverse backgrounds and approaches to problem-solving, they wouldn't be recruiting at law schools if this were not the case. Also, if you spend the time between now and law school prepping for the GMAT, you can take that and potentially apply for a JD/MBA at SLS (I'm assuming you can do decently on that given that you did well enough on the LSAT to get into Stanford. I may be wrong if you are absolutely terrible at math, but most people can learn enough math for the GMAT and if you ARE that bad at math, you probably should just settle for law). Also, you should start prepping for case study interviews sooner rather than later so by the time the hiring process starts you have that skill down cold.

That said, given that you have very little WE, I don't think that consulting offers a radically different lifestyle than law. Both require grueling hours and a lot of repetitive work (at least in the early stages). It sounds to me like you just want a professional job, which law can offer just as well as consulting. Similarly most people aren't consultants at MBB or big law lawyers for their entire lives. Either path can get you a corporate job if that is what you realize you want to do (its definitely easier from consulting, but not terribly hard from law). Most people aren't going to LOVE their jobs anyways.

I will say to those who think no one should go to law school without actually wanting to be a lawyer, they are mostly right, but in this case, where the person only has a liberal arts BA and merely wants to launch into a professional career after years of medical problems, law school makes sense. Getting a professional degree from a top school is probably the only way he is going to be able to do that at this point and it gives him a chance to start over and scrub the past. Since he would never get into as good of a business school as a law school and he's going to Stanford with financial aid, this decision is probably the best way to meet his goals. I also don't think an interest in practicing law is a prerequisite to doing well in law school. It certainly helps, but law school is still far more academic than it is practical, so if you attack it with the same gusto you attacked your BA with (once again, SLS is hard to get w/o that) you should be fine. The material is interesting enough and the main thing forcing most students to work hard is that its a means to an end. Just because for most people that is a legal career, doesn't mean that getting a job at MBB or getting into the joint JD/MBA program at Stanford can't light a similar fire under your ass. Anything can be interesting provided you have something to motivate you.

TL;dr: Getting MBB from SLS is totally doable, provided you prepare for the case study interviews and commit to the process. Consulting is the one business area where WE is not a huge requirement. Look into maybe doing a joint degree once you are at SLS (this will be easier if you kill first quarter, even with their modified P/F system). Be open to a career in the law, you might not think its great now, but for most people the pros and cons are similar to those for consulting and it doesn't close off a corporate career in the future. In your specific situation (medical issues, no WE, 28 years old, liberal arts degree, wants professional career, in at SLS probably with financial aid) law school is not a mistake, even if you don't really want to practice law. 99.9% of the time going to law school w/o wanting to practice law would be a mistake, but you are that special snowflake where going to law school makes sense and is probably the most efficient way to pursue your career goals at this point.




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