Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

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lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:40 pm

stillwater wrote: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.


Could you clarify what you mean? If you dont mind, what is your situation at this point in time? And how common is your situation in your cohort?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:51 pm

lolokay1 wrote: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.

Translation: "I want to go to law school because I'm jealous of people who make more money."

What you need is an attitude adjustment, not a change of career. Given the abysmal economic situation we've just gone through, being able to earn $60K/yr is a great opportunity and one which you're basically willing to throw away because, as far as I can tell, it's not satisfying enough for you.

If you feel under-compensated, spend some time reading these boards. Read the stories about people who graduated from T14s with at least decent grades who can't find a job that pays what you make now. Read about people who actually do want to be lawyers, who know they want it more than you seem to, who get utterly crushed by the tight job market. If you actually spend a few weeks/months paying attention to what's happening in the world around you, you'll start appreciating your current job a lot more.

lolokay1 wrote: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.

The problem is that you're basically gambling at this point. If you really like the idea of high-stakes gambling, learn poker. But in what setting would you objectively counsel someone else to give up a stable $60K/yr income and pay $100K and three years of their life for a coin flip?

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?[/quote]
What you should be asking isn't what the best possible outcome is, it's what the most likely outcome is. Yes, this could happen. The best scenario from buying a lottery ticket is winning the lottery, so why not spend all of your current money on that instead? You'll have instant millions! That's the best scenario, right?

Getting an in-house position that pays this well basically requires 1) doing well enough at your law school and during interviews to get BigLaw, 2) to survive BigLaw long enough to lateral to in-house, 3) to make connections while in BigLaw to a corporation you'd like to work at and that has openings, and 4) win out over all the other people who want the same sweet job you do. How sure are you that you can do all of those things?

This is more like betting on several coin flips in a row, knowing you'll win only if they all come up heads. The odds of success are much poorer than you think, which would make throwing away your current good fortune all the more foolish.

timbs4339
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:26 am

vanwinkle wrote:
lolokay1 wrote: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?

What you should be asking isn't what the best possible outcome is, it's what the most likely outcome is. Yes, this could happen. The best scenario from buying a lottery ticket is winning the lottery, so why not spend all of your current money on that instead? You'll have instant millions! That's the best scenario, right?

Getting an in-house position that pays this well basically requires 1) doing well enough at your law school and during interviews to get BigLaw, 2) to survive BigLaw long enough to lateral to in-house, 3) to make connections while in BigLaw to a corporation you'd like to work at and that has openings, and 4) win out over all the other people who want the same sweet job you do. How sure are you that you can do all of those things?

This is more like betting on several coin flips in a row, knowing you'll win only if they all come up heads. The odds of success are much poorer than you think, which would make throwing away your current good fortune all the more foolish.


I appreciate OPs candor about his job goals, but positions that pay higher than 250K usually go to people who are smart, hardworking, driven, from top schools, good firms, etc etc, but also who are passionate about lawyering and the law. OP does not seem like this kind of person.

timbs4339
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:40 am

lolokay1 wrote:
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.


1) The odds of getting a good job out of UG biz school are irrelevant to this discussion.

2) It's not whether your current job will let you advance with the MBA, it's whether it will help you get into another job or firm that will. You are already contemplating three moves ahead on the lawyer track. You need to do the same for your current job.

3) You keep changing the hypo. When you do get your LSAT score and acceptances, then you can consider 100K. I'd counsel against using family assistance on law school if they can't afford it (the test is "can they burn this money in a big pile and only feel amused") especially when you are just trying to leave a good job for the chance at a better paying one.

250k seems a good cap for the in-house jobs. If what you've told me about your goals/aspirations is correct, I just don't think you are going to have the drive necessary to work your way into positions that pay more.

Paul Campos
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby Paul Campos » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:06 pm

Frankly people like the OP (and his name is legion) wear me out and make me wonder what I think I'm doing with this little crusade of mine. Here's somebody who apparently has some sort of training in quantitative analysis which has gotten him a job in consulting, and he's looking at data which suggest strongly that if he goes to the kind of law school he's likely to get into at the kind of price he's likely to pay the probabilities for a long-term outcome are something like:

(a) Clearly positive: About 5%. This would require something like becoming a GC at a fairly large corporation. 5% is probably quite optimistic actually.

(b) Mixed: Maybe 60%. This would consist of ending up in about the same financial situation in the long run as he would have been in if he hadn't gone to law school, with the upside being non-pecuniary (more "prestige"), and the downside being all the non-monetized downsides associated with the actual practice of law, as opposed to what would probably be a less stressful and less time-intensive career if he stayed on his present path.

(c) Various shades of career disaster: Let's say 35%. Again, probably too optimistic. This would consist of ending up significantly worse off in both economic and psychological terms.

Now this estimate suggests that the odds of a really bad outcome for someone in the OP's position are about seven times higher than the odds of a really good one. But the OP doesn't believe these odds, which I emphasize are formulated while bending over backward to make law school look relatively good, actually apply to him. He's going to keep moving the goal posts until he ends up attending Michigan on a $15,000 per year "scholarship" and graduating with $165K in debt.

Oh well.

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Lincoln
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby Lincoln » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:36 pm

Paul Campos wrote:Frankly people like the OP (and his name is legion) wear me out and make me wonder what I think I'm doing with this little crusade of mine.


OP may be a lost cause, but look at the falling numbers of LSAT takers and applicants. Some people are definitely getting the message.

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby fruitoftheloom » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:23 pm

Why did you post a thread asking this question when you immediately discount everyone's advice? Why not start a thread with the title: "No passion for the law, but I'm going to burn $150K, get a JD and laugh at you fuckers as I do so"? That seems more like what you want to do.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:30 pm

timbs4339 wrote:I appreciate OPs candor about his job goals, but positions that pay higher than 250K usually go to people who are smart, hardworking, driven, from top schools, good firms, etc etc, but also who are passionate about lawyering and the law. OP does not seem like this kind of person.

This is true. It's more like playing poker; poker is a game of odds, but it isn't gambling in the same sense roulette is.

Poker is a game with some randomness, but where the player's skill and drive have a lot to do with the overall outcomes. Passionate players will learn more about the game and care about playing it well, and they'll do better than the guy who just shows up and puts a bunch of chips down and goes, "If I win I win, and if I lose I lose." When there are limited chips to go around, not everyone who shows up ready to play will win, but they'll clean out the tourists who show up just looking to spend some money and hopefully make a buck.

That's what OP sounds like, the tourist. Mind you, not everyone who shows up passionate about the game will have the skill, patience, and luck to start winning big. But the tourist who shows up for high-stakes poker and treats it like gambling, he gets fleeced every time.

OP seems to think this is like roulette. He makes the buy-in, he puts his chips down, and then he just waits to see the results. But you're not just playing odds, you're also playing against other people. If you don't care that much about being a lawyer, even if you're lucky enough to get an occasional winning hand, I guarantee you that you'll lose big to better players by the end of the game.

lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:01 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
lolokay1 wrote:
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.


1) The odds of getting a good job out of UG biz school are irrelevant to this discussion.

2) It's not whether your current job will let you advance with the MBA, it's whether it will help you get into another job or firm that will. You are already contemplating three moves ahead on the lawyer track. You need to do the same for your current job.

3) You keep changing the hypo. When you do get your LSAT score and acceptances, then you can consider 100K. I'd counsel against using family assistance on law school if they can't afford it (the test is "can they burn this money in a big pile and only feel amused") especially when you are just trying to leave a good job for the chance at a better paying one.

250k seems a good cap for the in-house jobs. If what you've told me about your goals/aspirations is correct, I just don't think you are going to have the drive necessary to work your way into positions that pay more.


1) I was just trying to make a comparison between the odds that people more than willingly take to make it rich coming out of undergrad, and the (seemingly better) odds that people are suddenly reluctant to touch when it came to law school.

2) If I stay within this branch of consulting, MBAs will not matter. I could consider a move to a different field of consulting or another field altogether, but that seems out of the scope of this discussion because that is an option more or less equally available should I go to law school. 3 steps ahead in this field basically means sticking it out and getting more experience or lateraling over to one of the other few firms in this industry; there isn't too much flexibility as to how you develop here. I should have mentioned that my "250K cap" and other projections regarding this path have already accounted for such lateral movement and career progression here in this field.

3) I agree that I shouldn't be counting my chickens before they've hatched; however, my situation has always been one where I would not go to law school unless I meet a certain threshold of security and at this point in time, I have no plans of leaving my job should I not get into at least MVP with ~100K debt. That's why I'm looking ahead so fast- because thats the only situation in which this discussion would hold water.

And I agree about the family assistance part. I could not in good conscience ask my parents to assist me in a way that would cause them financial grief. They will try to help me with whatever they can spare, but will not go out of their way to do so at this point in their careers.

lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:21 pm

Paul Campos wrote:Frankly people like the OP (and his name is legion) wear me out and make me wonder what I think I'm doing with this little crusade of mine. Here's somebody who apparently has some sort of training in quantitative analysis which has gotten him a job in consulting, and he's looking at data which suggest strongly that if he goes to the kind of law school he's likely to get into at the kind of price he's likely to pay the probabilities for a long-term outcome are something like:

(a) Clearly positive: About 5%. This would require something like becoming a GC at a fairly large corporation. 5% is probably quite optimistic actually.

(b) Mixed: Maybe 60%. This would consist of ending up in about the same financial situation in the long run as he would have been in if he hadn't gone to law school, with the upside being non-pecuniary (more "prestige"), and the downside being all the non-monetized downsides associated with the actual practice of law, as opposed to what would probably be a less stressful and less time-intensive career if he stayed on his present path.

(c) Various shades of career disaster: Let's say 35%. Again, probably too optimistic. This would consist of ending up significantly worse off in both economic and psychological terms.

Now this estimate suggests that the odds of a really bad outcome for someone in the OP's position are about seven times higher than the odds of a really good one. But the OP doesn't believe these odds, which I emphasize are formulated while bending over backward to make law school look relatively good, actually apply to him. He's going to keep moving the goal posts until he ends up attending Michigan on a $15,000 per year "scholarship" and graduating with $165K in debt.

Oh well.


Paul, I appreciate your perspective immensely.

The reason why I (and I believe many people in my situation) are seriously considering this situation is because it would absolutely suck to be 45 and regret the fact that I didn't roll the dice at an early age when I had leeway to fail, go into debt, etc when I had the most valuable resource of all: time. This perspective gives me a degree of risk-seeking sentiment which makes this "7-times worse outcome" estimate seem a lot less intimidating, especially if there is also this "60% same result" to fall back on. That 200k investment and 3 years time investment seems a lot less scary when you're 22 years old and don't have a family to feed, when you know that you're competent, have a portable degree, and can land a decent paying job should you flame out hard.

Just my current perspective about what would otherwise seem like an irrational gamble.

The one thing I can't live with is regret that I didn't try to do better out of fear or inertia. Without knowing all that much about you, wouldn't you roll the dice in your early 20s if you had the chance to be significantly better going forward, if the fallback is that you spend some effort getting back to where you were anyways?

lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:26 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:Why did you post a thread asking this question when you immediately discount everyone's advice? Why not start a thread with the title: "No passion for the law, but I'm going to burn $150K, get a JD and laugh at you fuckers as I do so"? That seems more like what you want to do.


Nope. I'm not discounting what people are saying; I'm just looking for more clarification beyond the old gut response whenever anyone brings up a question similar to mine.

What would be the point of a discussion if all OP did was nod and agree?

lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:27 pm

Lincoln wrote:
Paul Campos wrote:Frankly people like the OP (and his name is legion) wear me out and make me wonder what I think I'm doing with this little crusade of mine.


OP may be a lost cause, but look at the falling numbers of LSAT takers and applicants. Some people are definitely getting the message.


I like your avatar.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby HarlandBassett » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:43 pm

Paul Campos wrote: But the OP doesn't believe these odds, which I emphasize are formulated while bending over backward to make law school look relatively good, actually apply to him. He's going to keep moving the goal posts until he ends up attending Michigan on a $15,000 per year "scholarship" and graduating with $165K in debt.

In essence, shopping for a "yes" answer.

To be fair, and I may be wrong here, the 170-174 LSAT crowd that didnt apply to LS didnt apply possibly because the BigLaw hiring hasn't settled down at the time. Now that BigLaw entry-level hiring is flat, or even slightly lower, OP may be able to "move his goalpost" by retaking the LSAT for a higher scholly.
Last edited by HarlandBassett on Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:44 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:I appreciate OPs candor about his job goals, but positions that pay higher than 250K usually go to people who are smart, hardworking, driven, from top schools, good firms, etc etc, but also who are passionate about lawyering and the law. OP does not seem like this kind of person.

This is true. It's more like playing poker; poker is a game of odds, but it isn't gambling in the same sense roulette is.

Poker is a game with some randomness, but where the player's skill and drive have a lot to do with the overall outcomes. Passionate players will learn more about the game and care about playing it well, and they'll do better than the guy who just shows up and puts a bunch of chips down and goes, "If I win I win, and if I lose I lose." When there are limited chips to go around, not everyone who shows up ready to play will win, but they'll clean out the tourists who show up just looking to spend some money and hopefully make a buck.

That's what OP sounds like, the tourist. Mind you, not everyone who shows up passionate about the game will have the skill, patience, and luck to start winning big. But the tourist who shows up for high-stakes poker and treats it like gambling, he gets fleeced every time.

OP seems to think this is like roulette. He makes the buy-in, he puts his chips down, and then he just waits to see the results. But you're not just playing odds, you're also playing against other people. If you don't care that much about being a lawyer, even if you're lucky enough to get an occasional winning hand, I guarantee you that you'll lose big to better players by the end of the game.


What puzzles me is: in the Big Law track, how many people are actually truly interested in "being a lawyer?" I could see somebody going into environmental law because they are truly interested in saving the world, but how many people really give two damns about a bunch of corporate filings? Without having been there, I'd be wary of speculating, but I can't see how paper pushing jobs as such can be fulfilling in themselves. It has to be other factors- autonomy of work, monetary gains, leadership opportunities, the excitement of closing a deal- that actually keeps people working those long hours. Those aspects are hardly exclusive to "being a lawyer" and I am definitely interested in a job that allows me the opportunity to achieve those factors and will work hard at said job.

So no, I have zero interest at the moment when it comes to dusting off old books, doing internet research on obscure rulings, writing memos, or anything else that is the typical nitty gritty of "being a lawyer." But I also have no interest when it comes to excel modeling and pumping out powerpoint decks (and who the hell does?). That doesn't mean I don't do a good job at my current job, and that doesn't mean I won't be able to do a good job in law. In the end, the day-to-day is always menial no matter what job you take- its the other factors that actually retain employees and make them want to do good work.

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cinephile
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby cinephile » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:49 pm

lolokay1 wrote:The reason why I (and I believe many people in my situation) are seriously considering this situation is because it would absolutely suck to be 45 and regret the fact that I didn't roll the dice


It would be better to regret the fact that you're deep in debt and can't get your old job back than to regret not taking a chance? That makes a lot of sense.

lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:58 pm

cinephile wrote:
lolokay1 wrote:The reason why I (and I believe many people in my situation) are seriously considering this situation is because it would absolutely suck to be 45 and regret the fact that I didn't roll the dice


It would be better to regret the fact that you're deep in debt and can't get your old job back than to regret not taking a chance? That makes a lot of sense.


Please read rest of post :)

For a chance to do much better, with a long time horizon, ability to get another (perhaps slightly worse than current?) job, and no other responsibilities, perhaps it isn't so ludicrous that some people might want to take that chance.

BeenDidThat
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby BeenDidThat » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:05 pm

go for it

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fruitoftheloom
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby fruitoftheloom » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:10 pm

lolokay1 wrote:What puzzles me is: in the Big Law track, how many people are actually truly interested in "being a lawyer?" I could see somebody going into environmental law because they are truly interested in saving the world, but how many people really give two damns about a bunch of corporate filings? Without having been there, I'd be wary of speculating, but I can't see how paper pushing jobs as such can be fulfilling in themselves. It has to be other factors- autonomy of work, monetary gains, leadership opportunities, the excitement of closing a deal- that actually keeps people working those long hours. Those aspects are hardly exclusive to "being a lawyer" and I am definitely interested in a job that allows me the opportunity to achieve those factors and will work hard at said job.

So no, I have zero interest at the moment when it comes to dusting off old books, doing internet research on obscure rulings, writing memos, or anything else that is the typical nitty gritty of "being a lawyer." But I also have no interest when it comes to excel modeling and pumping out powerpoint decks (and who the hell does?). That doesn't mean I don't do a good job at my current job, and that doesn't mean I won't be able to do a good job in law. In the end, the day-to-day is always menial no matter what job you take- its the other factors that actually retain employees and make them want to do good work.


A lot of people in Big Law have a strong interest in "being a lawyer". They may not give a shit about the corporate filings themselves, but they get off on researching the law, reading about it, writing about it, and being 'right' (ie, winning for the client). You seem to want to be a lawyer because you think that's your easiest/fastest track to a $160K job and you think that you will be the 1% who laterals into a GC position. Everyone here is telling you that these are stupid, objectively stupid, reasons to attend law school. They have done so in well informed, well articulated ways, but all you can say is "Yeahhhhh, but I'm a SPECIAL snowflake. Nobody around me will be able to tell that I'm not interested, plus I'm the smartest person I know, so I'll DEFINITELY be in the 1% that takes the path I'm interested in." What you don't (can't?) seem to get is that you will be competing against the top 1% of intellectuals in the country. You'll be competing against people who don't have to fake an interest, and because of that they'll probably out-perform you. If your #1 goal is to find a job that has a work/life balance and makes a significant amount of money, go be some type of doctor or an MBA student. What we're trying to explain to you is that your reasons (objectively) aren't good reasons to go to law school.

If you had posted something like "blah blah blah, in a 60k job, blah blah, but I REALLY think the law is SUPER interesting, I've shadowed lawyers, I know it will be tough, but this is my PASSION" do you think you'd get the same response? I don't.

Anyway - next time you are seeking an answer, just put it in the OP. Something like "I want to be a lawyer cause of mottles & bottles YO - YES ANSWERS ONLY PLZ K THX <3 <3 <3".

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dingbat
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby dingbat » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:26 pm

lolokay1 wrote:What puzzles me is: in the Big Law track, how many people are actually truly interested in "being a lawyer?" I could see somebody going into environmental law because they are truly interested in saving the world, but how many people really give two damns about a bunch of corporate filings? Without having been there, I'd be wary of speculating, but I can't see how paper pushing jobs as such can be fulfilling in themselves. It has to be other factors- autonomy of work, monetary gains, leadership opportunities, the excitement of closing a deal- that actually keeps people working those long hours. Those aspects are hardly exclusive to "being a lawyer" and I am definitely interested in a job that allows me the opportunity to achieve those factors and will work hard at said job.

So no, I have zero interest at the moment when it comes to dusting off old books, doing internet research on obscure rulings, writing memos, or anything else that is the typical nitty gritty of "being a lawyer." But I also have no interest when it comes to excel modeling and pumping out powerpoint decks (and who the hell does?). That doesn't mean I don't do a good job at my current job, and that doesn't mean I won't be able to do a good job in law. In the end, the day-to-day is always menial no matter what job you take- its the other factors that actually retain employees and make them want to do good work.

I got into finance because I thought it was quite interesting - it's a particular type of puzzle that I was trying to solve. I've left finance (and a better paying job than what you're leaving) to go into law, but I know exactly what I want out of it and I really do have an interest in learning about my particular niche, researching every last aspect of it, trying to figure out solutions, etc. Even corporate filings aren't boring, believe it or not (they are a pain in the ass, though). Reading tax code and figuring out the loophole, digging up an obscure ruling that I can use to my advantage, believe it or not, can have a certain type of thrill to it.

I have friends who went a particular route because of the money and they're miserable as hell. If you don't enjoy at least part of what you do, all the money in the world won't make up for it. If it's a demanding job that can consume your life, you will burn out.
I'm a bit older than most people here, and I have friends who have been quite successful in a number of fields, including banking, accounting, the law, medicine, you name it, and one thing they all have in common is that they like what they do and have a strong interest in it.

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sinfiery
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby sinfiery » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:34 pm

dingbat wrote:and one thing they all have in common is that they like what they do and have a strong interest in it.

This is something I believe can be developed and doesn't have to come before you enter x field.
/22 year old

lolokay1
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby lolokay1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:38 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote: Anyway - next time you are seeking an answer, just put it in the OP. Something like "I want to be a lawyer cause of mottles & bottles YO - YES ANSWERS ONLY PLZ K THX <3 <3 <3".


Haha, you're pretty funny, fruitoftheloom :)

fruitoftheloom wrote:A lot of people in Big Law have a strong interest in "being a lawyer". They may not give a shit about the corporate filings themselves, but they get off on researching the law, reading about it, writing about it, and being 'right' (ie, winning for the client). You seem to want to be a lawyer because you think that's your easiest/fastest track to a $160K job and you think that you will be the 1% who laterals into a GC position. Everyone here is telling you that these are stupid, objectively stupid, reasons to attend law school. They have done so in well informed, well articulated ways, but all you can say is "Yeahhhhh, but I'm a SPECIAL snowflake. Nobody around me will be able to tell that I'm not interested, plus I'm the smartest person I know, so I'll DEFINITELY be in the 1% that takes the path I'm interested in." What you don't (can't?) seem to get is that you will be competing against the top 1% of intellectuals in the country.


No, I'm not arrogant enough to make any of the claims you've listed above. I am not a special snowflake, but I am confident,having measured myself against friends who have done exceptionally well in law school and beyond, that I can compete against those top 1% intellectuals both in terms of intelligence and hard work. There's no way I could say I will definitely be in the 1% to get exactly what I want, but I wouldn't say I'm at a disadvantage.

fruitoftheloom wrote:
You'll be competing against people who don't have to fake an interest, and because of that they'll probably out-perform you. If your #1 goal is to find a job that has a work/life balance and makes a significant amount of money, go be some type of doctor or an MBA student. What we're trying to explain to you is that your reasons (objectively) aren't good reasons to go to law school.

If you had posted something like "blah blah blah, in a 60k job, blah blah, but I REALLY think the law is SUPER interesting, I've shadowed lawyers, I know it will be tough, but this is my PASSION" do you think you'd get the same response? I don't.


Unfortunately, I can't remember ever having a passion in the traditional sense and all my interests were impossible career-wise, so competing against others who were interested is not exactly anything new. In my opinion, and apologies if this offends others, passion is overrated and 90% of the time its done to justify life decisions made after the fact. People can very much be motivated to work just as hard without loving what they do intrinsically.

And becoming a doctor isn't exactly something you do because other options aren't working out, haha.

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cinephile
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby cinephile » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:49 pm

lolokay1 wrote:
cinephile wrote:
lolokay1 wrote:The reason why I (and I believe many people in my situation) are seriously considering this situation is because it would absolutely suck to be 45 and regret the fact that I didn't roll the dice


It would be better to regret the fact that you're deep in debt and can't get your old job back than to regret not taking a chance? That makes a lot of sense.


Please read rest of post :)

For a chance to do much better, with a long time horizon, ability to get another (perhaps slightly worse than current?) job, and no other responsibilities, perhaps it isn't so ludicrous that some people might want to take that chance.


I did, maybe you should do the same. You don't seem to be listening to yourself because if you did, you'd know how ridiculous you sound. You want to throw your life away, so just go for it.

timbs4339
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:25 pm

fruitoftheloom wrote:
lolokay1 wrote:What puzzles me is: in the Big Law track, how many people are actually truly interested in "being a lawyer?" I could see somebody going into environmental law because they are truly interested in saving the world, but how many people really give two damns about a bunch of corporate filings? Without having been there, I'd be wary of speculating, but I can't see how paper pushing jobs as such can be fulfilling in themselves. It has to be other factors- autonomy of work, monetary gains, leadership opportunities, the excitement of closing a deal- that actually keeps people working those long hours. Those aspects are hardly exclusive to "being a lawyer" and I am definitely interested in a job that allows me the opportunity to achieve those factors and will work hard at said job.

So no, I have zero interest at the moment when it comes to dusting off old books, doing internet research on obscure rulings, writing memos, or anything else that is the typical nitty gritty of "being a lawyer." But I also have no interest when it comes to excel modeling and pumping out powerpoint decks (and who the hell does?). That doesn't mean I don't do a good job at my current job, and that doesn't mean I won't be able to do a good job in law. In the end, the day-to-day is always menial no matter what job you take- its the other factors that actually retain employees and make them want to do good work.


A lot of people in Big Law have a strong interest in "being a lawyer". They may not give a shit about the corporate filings themselves, but they get off on researching the law, reading about it, writing about it, and being 'right' (ie, winning for the client). You seem to want to be a lawyer because you think that's your easiest/fastest track to a $160K job and you think that you will be the 1% who laterals into a GC position. Everyone here is telling you that these are stupid, objectively stupid, reasons to attend law school. They have done so in well informed, well articulated ways, but all you can say is "Yeahhhhh, but I'm a SPECIAL snowflake. Nobody around me will be able to tell that I'm not interested, plus I'm the smartest person I know, so I'll DEFINITELY be in the 1% that takes the path I'm interested in." What you don't (can't?) seem to get is that you will be competing against the top 1% of intellectuals in the country. You'll be competing against people who don't have to fake an interest, and because of that they'll probably out-perform you. If your #1 goal is to find a job that has a work/life balance and makes a significant amount of money, go be some type of doctor or an MBA student. What we're trying to explain to you is that your reasons (objectively) aren't good reasons to go to law school.

If you had posted something like "blah blah blah, in a 60k job, blah blah, but I REALLY think the law is SUPER interesting, I've shadowed lawyers, I know it will be tough, but this is my PASSION" do you think you'd get the same response? I don't.

Anyway - next time you are seeking an answer, just put it in the OP. Something like "I want to be a lawyer cause of mottles & bottles YO - YES ANSWERS ONLY PLZ K THX <3 <3 <3".


This is credited. No, I don't know many people who are super-excited about the actual tasks of due diligence or document review. But they are super-excited about the end game- being a DOJ/SEC enforcement attorney, running large cases or deals, arguing in front of an appellate court, opening their own practice, etc. etc. These are the kind of people who don't much mind developing the skills that are going to eventually lead to the GC or partnership roles. They have an interest in them because it's what's going to lead to professional success- not just a higher salary. And these are people with top grades at elite schools- not just median T100 students with big dreams.

LSTfan
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby LSTfan » Sun Nov 25, 2012 9:34 pm

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Last edited by LSTfan on Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

anonmyuos
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby anonmyuos » Mon Nov 26, 2012 12:34 am

I left a job with a similar pay scale, for similar reasons, and with a similar process for weighing the pros/cons. After graduating and landing in a BigLaw job, I'm still not sure it was the right move. And I had significantly more pros to going to law school than you have on your list. So let me try to educate you on why I think you'd be making a mistake.

1. Law school will prevent you from going back to your old job: I know you think you'll have an opening (or at least feel there's a potential) but I doubt that's true. You'll be three years behind everyone your graduating year, you'll be suspected of being uncommitted, and there will be younger, hungrier people wanting your job. You might be able to worm your way back in, but it's not going to be as easy as you think/hope.

2. Law school grades are more random than you think: You may know people who are just as smart as you or work just as hard as you, but in reality - it doesn't matter. There is some correlation, don't get me wrong, but if you happen to have one or two 1L professors who don't like the way you think, or you can't pick up on what they are looking for, you could be screwed. It's not a matter of working hard or being smart - it's always, to some degree, a matter of luck.

3. Your best outcome still sucks: The thing you hate now is that you're in a job that you hate. In eight years, even if you get a BigLaw job and go in-house, you'll still be in a job you hate. And yes, it may pay a little better, but you'll still be annoyed every day you get up. And - let me repeat - that's your best case scenario.

4. Your life perspective will change more than you think: Let's say you gradate law school in three years. You're still young, so you go to whatever city you want to cause you killed 1L year and your grades let you have your pick of firms. Then you'll be in your mid-20s. And, by then, your perspective will have changed somewhat. You might meet someone and want to start a family. Or maybe something happens and you want to go be near home. Or maybe you realize that working 60-80 hours a week sucks. But at that point, you still have another three-fours years of basically indentured servitude before you can do anything about that. So a decision you made now will dramatically limit your choices for the next half-decade plus. And that's no good.

5. Taking risks doesn't mean you should take dumb risks: You seem to be concerned that you aren't taking enough risks while you're young. That's fair. But that doesn't mean you should actively seek out risks. You should be smart about what risks you take. Taking on a lot of debt to be granted the ability to practice a job you don't like is a dumb risk. You know this. Stop trying to convince yourself otherwise.

And that's just me piling it on from what everyone else has said - and they mostly have it right. You don't want to be a lawyer. It's true - most people don't want to do their jobs - but most people also don't have to take on a significant amount of debt to do it. You're already in a job you dislike - don't dig a bigger hole.

Instead, if you want to take a risk, start a business. Create a business plan and then find someone to loan you $100K. Quit your job and go to Montana and work on a farm. That's still less of a risk than going to law school.

Life is short. It's way too short to worry about prestige. And it's way too short to spend three years of your life in law school when you don't want to practice law. And it's way too short to spend the next five+ years of your life in a job you hate. Find what you like, then find a way to make money off it. And, in the meantime, when you don't know what you like (which is fine - 95% of the world doesn't), don't go and jump into a pit of snakes just because it's different and it's a risk. Instead, bide your time, figure out what you want, then be smart. TLS may not be the smartest place in the world, but it's got enough smart people that when everyone says you're an idiot for thinking about law school ... you should listen.




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