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 Post subject: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:25 am 
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Hi,

I'm wondering if I should pursue a law school and Big Law/inhouse down the road from a purely financial/time-investment perspective. Here's a quick run-down of my profile:

* Recently graduated (< 1 year) from a top non-Ivy school with a quantitative, non-engineering major and decent grades.

* Currently working at a non-management consulting firm making roughly 60k a year including bonuses (a little on the low end for this field), while still working pretty long hours (50-60 hours). Job and industry has excellent stability, but upward mobility within the company seems very slow (people need 3-4 years to move up to the next level). The actual pay scale for associates is a mystery at this point, but I estimate it would take around 4 years to move up to the 80k range, and probably 6-8 years to move up to the 100k range. This field probably caps out at around 250k if you make senior consultant after 10+ years or service.

* LSAC GPA of 3.5, LSAT of 170: probably could grab one of MVP or below, and if I do well on my next retake, could reach up to CCN.

So, if you were in my situation, which of the following two paths would you choose? Please take a medium to long term time-horizon approach to this (i.e. what is the best choice five, 10, 15 years down the road?)

Path A: Stay at current job and try to move up.
Pros:
* Don't need to spend 200K and lose 3 years of income/WE on Law School.
* Job stability, no need to gamble with the legal employment field.
* Can definitely live off this pay.
Cons:
* Job is boring.
* Pay is not commensurate with the long hours, and pay bumps/promotions are few and far in between.

Path B: Law School then Big Law/In house
Pros:
* Pay is significantly better almost any way you cut it as long as you get employed.
* In house exit opps pay well with reasonable hours after the grind of Big Law.
Cons:
* Job will probably still suck.
* Probably more time spent at the office.
* Debt
* Possible unemployment


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:30 am 
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given your current likely position in three years (where you would be after graduating from law school) and the fact that your odds at a job that pays 160K are around 60/40 as of right now, it makes more sense to not go to law school.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:34 am 
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lolokay1 wrote:
* Currently working at a non-management consulting firm making roughly 60k a year including bonuses (a little on the low end for this field), while still working pretty long hours (50-60 hours).


You will be working these hours if you go in-house, too. And that's after 60-80 hours a week of BigLaw.

Quote:
but I estimate it would take around 4 years to move up to the 80k range, and probably 6-8 years to move up to the 100k range. This field probably caps out at around 250k if you make senior consultant after 10+ years or service.


Let's look at it this way, then. You spend three years and 200k (probably, your GPA is definitely on the low end for upper T14). You spend seven more years in a combination of BigLaw and in house. So three years of school, three years just paying back loans, and then you start to make decent money. EDIT> As Jam mentioned, if you can even get this.

If my math is on par here, if you stay at your current job for the next ten years, you end up having made about 720k, and presumably at some point in the future will go from making 100k+ to 250k+. That's really not a bad gig.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:12 am 
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How many people make 180k in your field after 15-25 years of work experience?


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:24 am 
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lolokay1 wrote:
* Currently working at a non-management consulting firm making roughly 60k a year including bonuses (a little on the low end for this field), while still working pretty long hours (50-60 hours). Job and industry has excellent stability, but upward mobility within the company seems very slow (people need 3-4 years to move up to the next level). The actual pay scale for associates is a mystery at this point, but I estimate it would take around 4 years to move up to the 80k range, and probably 6-8 years to move up to the 100k range. This field probably caps out at around 250k if you make senior consultant after 10+ years or service.


I'd advise you to stay at your current position for the time being. You generally don't want to stay at the same consulting firm for too long unless you're already advancing quickly. Most of my peers jumped to other consulting firms after 3-4 years. You can negotiate a nice raise along with the lateral move; talent is always in demand and attrition is high.

There is always the option of in-house for consulting as well. A good friend of mine spent 7 years in consulting and now works in-house at Microsoft.

lolokay1 wrote:
So, if you were in my situation, which of the following two paths would you choose? Please take a medium to long term time-horizon approach to this (i.e. what is the best choice five, 10, 15 years down the road?)


I was were you are financially prior to going to law-school. My models showed that IF I got big-law paying at 160K and incurred 100K of law-school debt, I would break even after 4 years in big-law. After that, it's all up-hill in terms of earning.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:39 am 
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lolokay1 wrote:
Hi,

I'm wondering if I should pursue a law school and Big Law/inhouse down the road from a purely financial/time-investment perspective. Here's a quick run-down of my profile:

* Recently graduated (< 1 year) from a top non-Ivy school with a quantitative, non-engineering major and decent grades.

* Currently working at a non-management consulting firm making roughly 60k a year including bonuses (a little on the low end for this field), while still working pretty long hours (50-60 hours). Job and industry has excellent stability, but upward mobility within the company seems very slow (people need 3-4 years to move up to the next level). The actual pay scale for associates is a mystery at this point, but I estimate it would take around 4 years to move up to the 80k range, and probably 6-8 years to move up to the 100k range. This field probably caps out at around 250k if you make senior consultant after 10+ years or service.

* LSAC GPA of 3.5, LSAT of 170: probably could grab one of MVP or below, and if I do well on my next retake, could reach up to CCN.

So, if you were in my situation, which of the following two paths would you choose? Please take a medium to long term time-horizon approach to this (i.e. what is the best choice five, 10, 15 years down the road?)

Path A: Stay at current job and try to move up.
Pros:
* Don't need to spend 200K and lose 3 years of income/WE on Law School.
* Job stability, no need to gamble with the legal employment field.
* Can definitely live off this pay.
Cons:
* Job is boring.
* Pay is not commensurate with the long hours, and pay bumps/promotions are few and far in between.

Path B: Law School then Big Law/In house
Pros:
* Pay is significantly better almost any way you cut it as long as you get employed.
* In house exit opps pay well with reasonable hours after the grind of Big Law.
Cons:
* Job will probably still suck.
* Probably more time spent at the office.
* Debt
* Possible unemployment


If you are currently working for a management firm for 60k+ per year and have the prospect to continue, I think that is a better option than your prospect of lower T-14 (which is the most I think you are guaranteed with your stats) or even lower T10. But if you have long wanted to be a lawyer, that could be a different story.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:48 am 
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sinfiery wrote:
How many people make 180k in your field after 15-25 years of work experience?


Although I'm not sure about the current company I work for, Salary Surveys online says that the natural progression of this career path is that, at 20 yrs of WE, pay should rise to roughly 150-175k on average.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:43 am 
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Posts: 639
so there's this thing called an MBA...


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:03 am 
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Total Litigator wrote:
so there's this thing called an MBA...


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:12 am 
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Posts: 455
For someone such as yourself to go to law school is the career equivalent of mailing yourself a letter bomb.

(1) YOU ALREADY HAVE A GOOD JOB.

Nobody who already has a good job should go to law school just to try to improve their economic position. Somebody who is making 60K one year out of undergrad and will likely be making 100K before age 30 has about a 95% of ending up worse off in purely economic terms if he or she attends almost any law school.

(2) YOU DON'T ACTUALLY WANT TO BE A LAWYER

It's obvious you have no particular desire to actually be a lawyer. What you want is a high-paying job for a few years as a big law associate, followed by an (increasingly fictional) soft landing into a cushy post-big law job.

(3) YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HOURS IN BIG LAW REALLY MEAN

Right now you say you're working 50-60 hours per week, but I bet those hours are mostly predictable, right? You work ten hours most weekdays, with occasional longer days and maybe a bit of weekend work here and there? Big law associates would kill for that deal. They're not only working much longer hours on average -- their hours are often totally unpredictable. There will be weeks with almost nothing to do (which is itself anxiety-provoking because if you have too many of those you're going to be out of a job soon). Then there will be weeks where you're working 16 hours a day all seven days. Those weeks tend to happen at the most inconvenient time possible for your personal life. You can't plan around them. You're bored now, but if you're a lawyer and you "make it" into big law associatedom you'll be bored and stressed, which is an awful combination. And that's the upside!

(4) THERE'S A SIGNIFICANT RISK THAT YOU WILL BE STUCK WITH $200K OF NON-DISCHARGEABLE DEBT

Nobody should take such a risk unless they have a compelling reason for trying to become a lawyer. You have the opposite of compelling reason.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:46 am 
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Posts: 536
I'm assuming this is a flame. It would be a horrendously bad idea to attend law school. Laughably bad.

For what's it worth, I'm quite a bit older than you, was making a lot less money with no path to making more, and it still required some analysis to make sure this was a good decision. A major difference between your situation and mine is that I want to practice as a lawyer (unless maybe HYS attending without wanting to be a lawyer is just complete idiocy).

The chances of LS being a good idea for you are at best 1/10 (you crush at a T14 and they roll out the red carpet) but even then you have 150-200k of debt, you've lost three years of work experience, and legal economy is shaky.

Keep your job. Work hard. Consider an MBA. Keep your eyes open. If you want to be a millionaire you can probably figure out a way to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:49 pm 
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What's already been said is good advice. At a lower T14 there is still a significant risk of unemployment or underemployment (which to you would be anything not biglaw or A3 clerkship) and even if you get biglaw, the debt is so high you're going to be looking at 5-8 years before you break even.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Paul Campos wrote:
For someone such as yourself to go to law school is the career equivalent of mailing yourself a letter bomb.

(1) YOU ALREADY HAVE A GOOD JOB.

Nobody who already has a good job should go to law school just to try to improve their economic position. Somebody who is making 60K one year out of undergrad and will likely be making 100K before age 30 has about a 95% of ending up worse off in purely economic terms if he or she attends almost any law school.

(2) YOU DON'T ACTUALLY WANT TO BE A LAWYER

It's obvious you have no particular desire to actually be a lawyer. What you want is a high-paying job for a few years as a big law associate, followed by an (increasingly fictional) soft landing into a cushy post-big law job.

(3) YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HOURS IN BIG LAW REALLY MEAN

Right now you say you're working 50-60 hours per week, but I bet those hours are mostly predictable, right? You work ten hours most weekdays, with occasional longer days and maybe a bit of weekend work here and there? Big law associates would kill for that deal. They're not only working much longer hours on average -- their hours are often totally unpredictable. There will be weeks with almost nothing to do (which is itself anxiety-provoking because if you have too many of those you're going to be out of a job soon). Then there will be weeks where you're working 16 hours a day all seven days. Those weeks tend to happen at the most inconvenient time possible for your personal life. You can't plan around them. You're bored now, but if you're a lawyer and you "make it" into big law associatedom you'll be bored and stressed, which is an awful combination. And that's the upside!

(4) THERE'S A SIGNIFICANT RISK THAT YOU WILL BE STUCK WITH $200K OF NON-DISCHARGEABLE DEBT

Nobody should take such a risk unless they have a compelling reason for trying to become a lawyer. You have the opposite of compelling reason.



Thanks for the reply. I think that, as a new grad, I don't have a good understanding of what other jobs entail, only that I really dislike my current situation. However, is there a situation where I do go to law school and still do better than staying here?

For example, say I retake the LSAT and apply to law school, but do not go unless I get at least MVP and above with X dollars in scholarship money. In addition, I am able to save Y amount and have family support Z amount of my 200K tuition to the point where it comes down to a reasonable amount of debt (let say, 100K).

If I end up at a school that has a Big Law employment rate of ~50% (i.e. NYU, Penn) and am able to lock down a big-law job (have several friends who have done so and I don't feel any less competent/hardworking than they are), , wouldn't it be a good financial move?

This way, I minimize my debt risk to a very manageable amount given Big-law salaries. If my current job caps out at roughly 250K, is it still a horrible investment for years down the road?


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:53 pm 
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Fairly big question -- can you get this same job again if you strike out at Biglaw?


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:06 pm 
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lolokay1 wrote:

If I end up at a school that has a Big Law employment rate of ~50% (i.e. NYU, Penn) and am able to lock down a big-law job (have several friends who have done so and I don't feel any less competent/hardworking than they are), , wouldn't it be a good financial move?


Several flaws and assumptions here. First, there is still a 50% chance you will not land biglaw and be stuck with $200K in non-dischargeable debt. I doubt your 3.5 is going to land you much, if any, $$ in the top of the T14.

Furthermore, everyone you go to school with will be smart, competent, and hardworking. You will be basically the same as everyone else.

Finally, you are a 22 y/o kid who has been out of undergrad less than a year who hates his job. Join the club, entry level jobs suck, you need to put your time in.

Finally, YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A LAWYER! This is the biggest issue I see with you going to law school. I went to law school after much thought and deliberation and research into what lawyers actually do and I decided it would be a good career path for me. You only seem interested in the potential money, this is a terrible reason to go to law school. Why not stick it out at your job for at least a year or two? See if it gets better or if there are other opportunities that may arise that will not cost the same as a small mortgage. If you are not sure you want to be a lawyer, or at least have a pretty good idea of what it entails you should not go.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:19 pm 
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Icculus wrote:
YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A LAWYER! This is the biggest issue I see with you going to law school. I went to law school after much thought and deliberation and research into what lawyers actually do and I decided it would be a good career path for me. You only seem interested in the potential money, this is a terrible reason to go to law school. Why not stick it out at your job for at least a year or two? See if it gets better or if there are other opportunities that may arise that will not cost the same as a small mortgage. If you are not sure you want to be a lawyer, or at least have a pretty good idea of what it entails you should not go.

This is credited. OP refers to 50-60 hours as "pretty long hours". Sorry, but anyone who thinks 50-60 hours is in for a big shock if s/he gets biglaw and I attribute a large portion of the biglaw burnout to this.
So, even if OP gets biglaw, after 3-5 years OP will want to lateral out to a position that only requires 50-60 hours per week, effectively ending up more or less at the same salary OP would have gotten is s/he stayed in the current career track. If OP is diligent, maybe the student loans will have been paid back, but probably not. OP doesn't appear to have a keen interest in the law, but also finds current career track boring.
So, best case scenario OP ends up in the same place, but gave up 6-8 years of his/her social life.

Worst case scenario, OP graduates with a quarter million dollars of non-dischargeable debt and has to apply for food stamps.

I gave up a much better paying job to go to law school, but I can articulate clear reasons and specific goals. If you have a decent career and you cannot say why you want to go to law school or what you plan to do afterwards, then don't do it. There are just as many unemployed lawyers as there are wealthy ones.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 3:24 pm 
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lolokay1 wrote:
Paul Campos wrote:
For someone such as yourself to go to law school is the career equivalent of mailing yourself a letter bomb.

(1) YOU ALREADY HAVE A GOOD JOB.

Nobody who already has a good job should go to law school just to try to improve their economic position. Somebody who is making 60K one year out of undergrad and will likely be making 100K before age 30 has about a 95% of ending up worse off in purely economic terms if he or she attends almost any law school.

(2) YOU DON'T ACTUALLY WANT TO BE A LAWYER

It's obvious you have no particular desire to actually be a lawyer. What you want is a high-paying job for a few years as a big law associate, followed by an (increasingly fictional) soft landing into a cushy post-big law job.

(3) YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HOURS IN BIG LAW REALLY MEAN

Right now you say you're working 50-60 hours per week, but I bet those hours are mostly predictable, right? You work ten hours most weekdays, with occasional longer days and maybe a bit of weekend work here and there? Big law associates would kill for that deal. They're not only working much longer hours on average -- their hours are often totally unpredictable. There will be weeks with almost nothing to do (which is itself anxiety-provoking because if you have too many of those you're going to be out of a job soon). Then there will be weeks where you're working 16 hours a day all seven days. Those weeks tend to happen at the most inconvenient time possible for your personal life. You can't plan around them. You're bored now, but if you're a lawyer and you "make it" into big law associatedom you'll be bored and stressed, which is an awful combination. And that's the upside!

(4) THERE'S A SIGNIFICANT RISK THAT YOU WILL BE STUCK WITH $200K OF NON-DISCHARGEABLE DEBT

Nobody should take such a risk unless they have a compelling reason for trying to become a lawyer. You have the opposite of compelling reason.



Thanks for the reply. I think that, as a new grad, I don't have a good understanding of what other jobs entail, only that I really dislike my current situation. However, is there a situation where I do go to law school and still do better than staying here?

For example, say I retake the LSAT and apply to law school, but do not go unless I get at least MVP and above with X dollars in scholarship money. In addition, I am able to save Y amount and have family support Z amount of my 200K tuition to the point where it comes down to a reasonable amount of debt (let say, 100K).

If I end up at a school that has a Big Law employment rate of ~50% (i.e. NYU, Penn) and am able to lock down a big-law job (have several friends who have done so and I don't feel any less competent/hardworking than they are), , wouldn't it be a good financial move?

This way, I minimize my debt risk to a very manageable amount given Big-law salaries. If my current job caps out at roughly 250K, is it still a horrible investment for years down the road?


The 50% of the class that did not get those biglaw jobs did not feel any "less competitive/hardworking" than your friends either.

If your job caps out at 250K (with or without MBA?) then stay in that job. Your biglaw salary is going to go to pay down loans, and the post-biglaw job prospects will probably cap out at the same amount, only you will have spent 8 years in law school or paying down debt.

That work sucks is not a good reason to leave one job for another job that sucks even worse when your economic position will not improve considerably.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 5:53 pm 
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timbs4339 wrote:

The 50% of the class that did not get those biglaw jobs did not feel any "less competitive/hardworking" than your friends either.

If your job caps out at 250K (with or without MBA?) then stay in that job. Your biglaw salary is going to go to pay down loans, and the post-biglaw job prospects will probably cap out at the same amount, only you will have spent 8 years in law school or paying down debt.

That work sucks is not a good reason to leave one job for another job that sucks even worse when your economic position will not improve considerably.



1) True, but honestly 50% seems like a very reasonable percentage to bet on. Most biz majors going in to recruiting have much worse odds than that when it came to getting consulting or banking gigs.

2) I don't work at a typical consulting firm and the work we do typically does not encourage us to get MBAs; I believe maybe only one of our group's senior leadership actually has an MBA. The pay is not significantly different in this industry for Consultants who do have MBAs.

3) Will it really take 5 years of Big Law to pay off 100K debt? I have some money saved up and can get some family assistance along with hopefully some smaller grants. If I'm in a situation where I actually have to incur 150-200K debt to go to law school, that will most likely be a dealbreaker.

I think ultimately another factor that has to come into play is that my current job is not very prestigious (i.e. people have no idea what I do when I tell them) and has little variation in earning potential down the line. Although with in-house at the end of the day I will be making roughly the same, it is my understanding that you have the opportunity for much greater compensation if you can move into the legal department of larger corporations.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:04 pm 
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dingbat wrote:
This is credited. OP refers to 50-60 hours as "pretty long hours". Sorry, but anyone who thinks 50-60 hours is in for a big shock if s/he gets biglaw and I attribute a large portion of the biglaw burnout to this.
So, even if OP gets biglaw, after 3-5 years OP will want to lateral out to a position that only requires 50-60 hours per week, effectively ending up more or less at the same salary OP would have gotten is s/he stayed in the current career track. If OP is diligent, maybe the student loans will have been paid back, but probably not. OP doesn't appear to have a keen interest in the law, but also finds current career track boring.
So, best case scenario OP ends up in the same place, but gave up 6-8 years of his/her social life.

Worst case scenario, OP graduates with a quarter million dollars of non-dischargeable debt and has to apply for food stamps.

I gave up a much better paying job to go to law school, but I can articulate clear reasons and specific goals. If you have a decent career and you cannot say why you want to go to law school or what you plan to do afterwards, then don't do it. There are just as many unemployed lawyers as there are wealthy ones.


1) No, but 50-60 hours is crap when your friends who are not more competent, intelligent, or experienced are working the same-ish hours but are making at least 20-30k more in total compensation in a similar field. I have nothing against working 50-60 hours a week. Hell, I'm positive I could stomach 60-80 for a short stretch if it was part of a "greater plan." The biggest problem I have right now is that I feel under-compensated the time and effort I have to spend working.

2) Apologies if I sound like I'm complaining. I know I am very fortunate to have a job with very sound pay compared to the average college graduate these days. But I'm not okay with the potential of leaving money on the table if I could do better.

3) Isn't the best scenario that 10, 15 years down the road working at the large corporation, one could be making much more than 250k? From what I read the average starting in-house salary is around 130k, but those working in large corporations have much higher earning potential eventually rivaling those of Big Law partners. Of course, there isn't anything wrong with making 250K at the age of 40, but if there is a decent chance of making much more than that, and an pretty solid safety net of making around 200k anyways, why not chase that opportunity? Additionally, from my understanding the life-style perks in-house should be much better than working at a consulting firm.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:18 pm 
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Icculus wrote:
lolokay1 wrote:

If I end up at a school that has a Big Law employment rate of ~50% (i.e. NYU, Penn) and am able to lock down a big-law job (have several friends who have done so and I don't feel any less competent/hardworking than they are), , wouldn't it be a good financial move?


Several flaws and assumptions here. First, there is still a 50% chance you will not land biglaw and be stuck with $200K in non-dischargeable debt. I doubt your 3.5 is going to land you much, if any, $$ in the top of the T14.

Furthermore, everyone you go to school with will be smart, competent, and hardworking. You will be basically the same as everyone else.

Finally, you are a 22 y/o kid who has been out of undergrad less than a year who hates his job. Join the club, entry level jobs suck, you need to put your time in.

Finally, YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A LAWYER! This is the biggest issue I see with you going to law school. I went to law school after much thought and deliberation and research into what lawyers actually do and I decided it would be a good career path for me. You only seem interested in the potential money, this is a terrible reason to go to law school. Why not stick it out at your job for at least a year or two? See if it gets better or if there are other opportunities that may arise that will not cost the same as a small mortgage. If you are not sure you want to be a lawyer, or at least have a pretty good idea of what it entails you should not go.


1) My plan is that, if I don't get into at least MVP or above, I will not go to law school. I have no intentions of jumping to a T2 frying pan and hoping for the best. My goal right now is to retake and get a few points higher on the LSAT, get ~30K in schollies from one of MVP, preferably Penn, and then use personal savings and family help to try and finance Law School in such a way that I end up taking out ~100-120K loans over 3 years. I think that amount is very manageable with a Big Law salary.

2) Yes I agree that it would absolutely suck to be stuck with 100K debt because you were in the 50% who couldn't get Big Law But still, every single undergraduate Business Major pretty much is making that same bet with even worse odds when they chance IBanking or Management Consulting. I think 50% for a shot of significant compensation, with a fall back of above average compensation, while holding onto 100K is not a horrible, horrible financial move. Of course, please feel free to disagree here (and I would appreciate your insight).

3) Yes, I would be like everyone else, so I wouldn't be at any more or less of a disadvantage. However, isn't a solid approximation of how I would do be how I compare to others who have been there? I think I stack up okay against people I know who have been at the top of their class at T-14s in terms of ability and dedication.

4) Yes, everyone hates their job. But I would be remiss if I didn't try and see if there are any other opportunities out there. I don't want to sound ungrateful for the opportunity I have, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want more.

5) I'm not planning on quitting and applying right away. I will definitely stay at my job for at least another year (if for nothing except to keep my signing bonus haha), and then see where I am again. However, I think financial motivation is central to so many decisions that you can't discount somebody's decision to become a lawyer simply because he doesn't care for the practice of law. TBH I am one of the unlucky few (or many?) who doesn't have any real direction in terms of what I want to do career-wise. I would love to play professional sports or become a famous writer, but I haven't got the talent for either. To that end, I think the best choice is to really chase the best compensation to lifestyle trade-off ratio.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:23 pm 
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lolokay1 wrote:
1) True, but honestly 50% seems like a very reasonable percentage to bet on. Most biz majors going in to recruiting have much worse odds than that when it came to getting consulting or banking gigs.
This is true. But you already have a job, so it's all relative.

Quote:
3) Will it really take 5 years of Big Law to pay off 100K debt? I have some money saved up and can get some family assistance along with hopefully some smaller grants. If I'm in a situation where I actually have to incur 150-200K debt to go to law school, that will most likely be a dealbreaker.

If you get Biglaw NYC @ 160k, you can pay back 100k in 2 years with 50k after tax income to use for cost of living. It can be done in 18 months pretty easily, I'd imagine. You won't have a great lifestyle, but you will be working all the time anyways so who cares.


The biggest factor you need to look out for is that you may just not get Biglaw, even with a T14 acceptance.

That's a lot of risk for a small gain in prestige/possible compensation bonus. Albeit what you are doing for the next 45 years. So I do see your want to change now and not regret what you do for the rest of your life.


Most people on here don't really seem to have a good grasp on the job market for a JD 10+ years out of school.
So they don't consider what could lie out that far. Neither do I. It could be far worse or better, but that's where your degree will really be worth its weight.

It makes this whole process that much more difficult. You will acquire risk going to LS because of it.


Last edited by sinfiery on Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:26 pm 
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lolokay1 wrote:
Icculus wrote:
lolokay1 wrote:

If I end up at a school that has a Big Law employment rate of ~50% (i.e. NYU, Penn) and am able to lock down a big-law job (have several friends who have done so and I don't feel any less competent/hardworking than they are), , wouldn't it be a good financial move?


Several flaws and assumptions here. First, there is still a 50% chance you will not land biglaw and be stuck with $200K in non-dischargeable debt. I doubt your 3.5 is going to land you much, if any, $$ in the top of the T14.

Furthermore, everyone you go to school with will be smart, competent, and hardworking. You will be basically the same as everyone else.

Finally, you are a 22 y/o kid who has been out of undergrad less than a year who hates his job. Join the club, entry level jobs suck, you need to put your time in.

Finally, YOU DON'T WANT TO BE A LAWYER! This is the biggest issue I see with you going to law school. I went to law school after much thought and deliberation and research into what lawyers actually do and I decided it would be a good career path for me. You only seem interested in the potential money, this is a terrible reason to go to law school. Why not stick it out at your job for at least a year or two? See if it gets better or if there are other opportunities that may arise that will not cost the same as a small mortgage. If you are not sure you want to be a lawyer, or at least have a pretty good idea of what it entails you should not go.


1) My plan is that, if I don't get into at least MVP or above, I will not go to law school. I have no intentions of jumping to a T2 frying pan and hoping for the best. My goal right now is to retake and get a few points higher on the LSAT, get ~30K in schollies from one of MVP, preferably Penn, and then use personal savings and family help to try and finance Law School in such a way that I end up taking out ~100-120K loans over 3 years. I think that amount is very manageable with a Big Law salary.

2) Yes I agree that it would absolutely suck to be stuck with 100K debt because you were in the 50% who couldn't get Big Law But still, every single undergraduate Business Major pretty much is making that same bet with even worse odds when they chance IBanking or Management Consulting. I think 50% for a shot of significant compensation, with a fall back of above average compensation, while holding onto 100K is not a horrible, horrible financial move. Of course, please feel free to disagree here (and I would appreciate your insight).

3) Yes, I would be like everyone else, so I wouldn't be at any more or less of a disadvantage. However, isn't a solid approximation of how I would do be how I compare to others who have been there? I think I stack up okay against people I know who have been at the top of their class at T-14s in terms of ability and dedication.

4) Yes, everyone hates their job. But I would be remiss if I didn't try and see if there are any other opportunities out there. I don't want to sound ungrateful for the opportunity I have, but I would be lying if I said I didn't want more.

5) I'm not planning on quitting and applying right away. I will definitely stay at my job for at least another year (if for nothing except to keep my signing bonus haha), and then see where I am again. However, I think financial motivation is central to so many decisions that you can't discount somebody's decision to become a lawyer simply because he doesn't care for the practice of law. TBH I am one of the unlucky few (or many?) who don't have any real direction in terms of what I want to do career-wise. I would love to play professional sports or become a famous writer, but I haven't got the talent for either. To that end, I think the best choice is to really chase the best compensation to lifestyle trade-off ratio.


Without addressing the myriad of flaws in your logic, especially#s 1 and 3, no where here, nor in any other post, have you mentioned why you want to be a lawyer other than money. Why have you come to this board for advice if you seem to have already made up your mind? So good luck with all that.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:27 pm 
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twentypercentmore wrote:
Fairly big question -- can you get this same job again if you strike out at Biglaw?


I think so, although it might be more difficult to jump back in with 3 years off since companies typically don't like candidates who don't show commitment to their field (i.e. "Why did you go to Law School if you want to be a X consultant?") and who are over-educated for fear of jumping ship at the next law opportunity.

I think that, given the low supply of talent in my current field (quantitative skills are very important in this arm of consulting), I'd have a decent shot of getting back in, especially with my current work experience bolstering my resume. However, I would not be so brash as to say its a certainty.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:37 pm 
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No, it's a fucking bloodbath out here. I am working my ass off and there's still a 80% chance I'll be working at Arby's.


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 Post subject: Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:39 pm 
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Icculus wrote:
Without addressing the myriad of flaws in your logic, especially#s 1 and 3, no where here, nor in any other post, have you mentioned why you want to be a lawyer other than money. Why have you come to this board for advice if you seem to have already made up your mind? So good luck with all that.


My key motivation here is undoubtedly monetary. Do the majority of Ibankers enjoy working 12+ hours on perfecting powerpoint decks or fixing spreadsheets? As I mentioned, since I have yet to find any real "calling," the best I can do is to chase the career with the best compensation/lifestyle potential. I think in-house provides a good trade-off in that regard.

Secondary factors such as prestige, exposure to decision makers, relative independence in the workplace, definitely come into play, but are just extras.

No, my mind is not made up. Not completely anyways. I want people to find a severe flaw in my reasoning so I don't end up making a mistake. However, if the flaw is "it's a 50/50 shot you'll do well or you'll end up with a manageable sized debt," then I'm not sure that is enough to dissuade me.


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