Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby bizzybone1313 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:42 am

OP, I was in your same boat about 6 months ago. I have a technical undergrad degree and was doing consulting making $60K a year, so maybe I can provide some perspective. I quit my job in order to solely focus on the LSAT. The problem with the analysis of a lot of people is that you cannot put a price on misery. All this opportunity costs this and opportunity costs that was meaningless to me. I knew I could not wake up every day for the next 40 years wondering how far I could have gone with a T-14 law degree. I wanted to know what would happen if I put all my effort into the LSAT. I will attend law school in only one of the three circumstances though: (1) YHSC at sticker, (2) the rest of the T-14 at $ and (3) UT-Austin with $$. If you set standards, you should do ok. My reason for getting a law degree is a lot different than most on this board though: I am going to law school solely as an avenue to get into politics. A lot of people think this is a dumb idea to go to law school, but advanced education for a political career is important or you may end up like Rick Perry or Sarah Palin and barely be able to string together a few coherent sentences.

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

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:58 am

bizzybone1313 wrote:A lot of people think this is a dumb idea to go to law school, but advanced education for a political career is important or you may end up like Rick Perry or Sarah Palin and barely be able to string together a few coherent sentences.


These people can't string together coherent sentences because they are dumb and that kind of folksy ignorance has always sold well with a percentage of the population. It's not because they lack a JD. Joe Biden has a JD and is a walking punchline.

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

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:59 am

bizzybone1313 wrote:advanced education for a political career is important or you may end up like Rick Perry or Sarah Palin and barely be able to string together a few coherent sentences.

Let's point out how far Rick Perry and Sarah Palin have made it in their political career.
Being smart/educated doesn't help you get elected, unfortunately.

Any idiot who can get on a soap box and shout loudly has a chance of winning, no matter how stupid/ignorant they are (just look at Akin/Murdock)

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

Postby HarlandBassett » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:14 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkjbJOSwq3A

Rick Santorum

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Pennsylvania State University (BA)
University of Pittsburgh (MBA)
Dickinson School of Law (JD)

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

Postby LegalPerspective » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:33 am

My advice is not to go to law school.

I went to a top 5 school. While almost everyone who wanted a biglaw job was able to find one, please note that not all biglaw jobs are created equal. Outside of the top 30 or so firms and a few fun boutiques, there are a lot of firms with a precarious financial situation (and even a couple in the top 30), but it's basically impossible to tell which ones they are before you get there. Going to a firm that is financially unstable or does not have a lot of business is absolutely terrifying. I don't know this from personal experience, but I do know quite a few people who went to such firms (including, but not only, Dewey). The horror is twofold: (1) when you don't have anythign to do, you constantly are terrified about losing your job, which, especially if you have anything close to six-figure debt, will give you ulcers; and (2) if there is no work/little work at your firm, even if they hold on to you, you don't get any experience so you can't go anywhere else. People are always trying to leave biglaw, so you'll be competing with other people from your year for that in house/gov't/small firm job that actually know how to do things. The chance that you could get a biglaw job and still have your career destoyed is a significant one, and one that I don't think you have adequately taken into account.

Biglaw hours are an absolute horror (at least corporate, where I am). Actual hours billed are only probably 60% of the time you're actually in office or working. It's worse than doctor hours, because at least doctors know when they're on call and can occasionally make a real plan and keep it. But the scariest thing is that I'm here now, and I know tons of people, and I have no idea what a realistic career expectation is for me 5 years down the line. I'm at a very good biglaw shop but in-house jobs are still difficult to come by and there is basically no chance of making partner (as in, like, no chance). Moving into the law is not going to solve your career path problems.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby bizzybone1313 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:59 pm

I have always wondered what would happen if someone with OP's stats just kept applying to the T-14 until one of the schools caved and gave him significant $. They need his 170 a lot more than he needs them. What if a significant percentage of people started playing hardball with the T-14? Maybe they would start making an actual effort to curb their ridiculous tuition prices. In the meantime, OP can continue traveling the country and party in different cities in his consulting job.

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

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:26 pm

bizzybone1313 wrote:I have always wondered what would happen if someone with OP's stats just kept applying to the T-14 until one of the schools caved and gave him significant $. They need his 170 a lot more than he needs them. What if a significant percentage of people started playing hardball with the T-14? Maybe they would start making an actual effort to curb their ridiculous tuition prices. In the meantime, OP can continue traveling the country and party in different cities in his consulting job.

No. He is the exception. The schools will not cave in. The majority of candidates are not in that position and a large number will go to law school, either particularly choosing a better school at sticker, or a lower one with scholly. More importantly, enough students are still willing to attend at sticker and many schools can fill their entire class with students without giving any scholarships out whatsoever. Schools allocate a certain amount of money or discounts that they are willing to give to buy higher numbers. Assuming that doesn't change:

Each school has a certain number of students at a particular score (or score range) that they are willing to admit at a particular discount (scholarship). If factors don't change, then that number won't change either.
The two factors are: 1. competitiveness of the school vis-a-vis peer schools (e.g. a significant change in rankings; significant change in class sizes) and 2. size and make-up of the applicant pool.

Let's assume factor 1 stays constant. Then we look at the applicant pool. When the applicant pool shrinks (as it has for the past few years), a school has 2 choices:
A. adjust their target numbers (e.g. if 171 = $20,000, now 170 = $20,000)
or
B. adjust their breakdown of how to allocate scholarship funds.

B. is predominantly a question of yield management.
If X % accept, then we can give 1/X scholarships. So, if the amount of students that accept decreases, then they can increase the amount of scholarships they offer, knowing that the same amount will ultimately attend.

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

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:47 pm

lolokay1 wrote:What puzzles me is: in the Big Law track, how many people are actually truly interested in "being a lawyer?"

Most of them. After 3-4 years, nearly all, since the rest have bailed for other opportunities by then.

lolokay1 wrote: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.

This is where you're going horribly wrong. You're confusing "being an [X] lawyer" with "being a lawyer".

To illustrate, let's take the "environmental law" example. If someone is really passionate about both law and the environment, they might end up in BigLaw. It's not because they enjoy corporate work or even the work they're doing there, but it's because 1) they can develop their legal skills while 2) paying down their loans. While they're doing it, they're actually enjoying being a lawyer, while keeping their eye on their future goals. After 2-3 years or so, once they have enough experience that it's worth it, they'll probably start bombing everyone they can with resumes--the EPA, NRDC, Sierra Club, etc. As an experienced attorney they have skills that make them hireable there, which makes them happy. Then, finally, they're doing both things they enjoy; they're helping the environment, and they're being a lawyer.

Not everyone who goes to BigLaw is passionate about it specifically, and I'd even wager most aren't, but they are passionate about the law and developing their legal skills.

lolokay1 wrote: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.

Or, as I just described, it could be sharpening their legal skills while building up experience so they can go keep "being a lawyer" where they really want to be. Legal skills require work to develop, and people who actually want to be a lawyer will enjoy opportunities to build those skills a lot more than people who don't. Your mistake is thinking people who are really successful, in the top 1% sense you keep talking about, because they care about things like "monetary gains" or "leadership opportunities". The people who are most successful at being a lawyer are the ones who want to be lawyers, who enjoy it enough that they don't look at the menial work as a burden in the way that you do.

lolokay1 wrote: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.

Take one hundred people who all say, "I'm passionate about football. I'm out there every day, running drills, taking snaps, putting in all the time I can to develop my skills, doing whatever it takes to be the best QB I can be."

Then add one guy who says, "I have no interest in running drills or taking snaps, but I'll still do it if I have to." Do you really think that guy is going to put in as much time or effort as any of those guys he's up against? Do you think that guy understands the people he's up against enjoy the practice they're doing, if not for the work itself, but for how it's helping them be something they want to be?

If you truly "can't see how paper pushing jobs as such can be fulfilling in themselves", as you said, then you don't belong in law school, period.

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

Postby ChikaBoom » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:49 pm

OP, don't go to law school unless you want to be a lawyer. Otherwise, you're wasting 200K on a chance that you might like law. Come on, man. You know this is a bad idea. It's bad for all the reasons that the previous posters have mentioned and then some. If you really want to take a chance, quit your job and go work in support staff for a law firm. See if you like the environment and the work. Even that would be a better idea than quitting to go to law school for the sole purpose of acquiring mottles and bottles.

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

Postby dingbat » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:55 pm

vanwinkle wrote:To illustrate, let's take the "environmental law" example. If someone is really passionate about both law and the environment, they might end up in BigLaw. It's not because they enjoy corporate work or even the work they're doing there, but it's because 1) they can develop their legal skills while 2) paying down their loans. While they're doing it, they're actually enjoying being a lawyer, while keeping their eye on their future goals. After 2-3 years or so, once they have enough experience that it's worth it, they'll probably start bombing everyone they can with resumes--the EPA, NRDC, Sierra Club, etc. As an experienced attorney they have skills that make them hireable there, which makes them happy. Then, finally, they're doing both things they enjoy; they're helping the environment, and they're being a lawyer.

Or even better, those who get to practice environmental law in a biglaw environment.
I know someone who worked on drafting legislation for EPA type stuff while in biglaw

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

Postby BlaqBella » Mon Nov 26, 2012 4:17 pm

ChikaBoom wrote:If you really want to take a chance, quit your job and go work in support staff for a law firm. See if you like the environment and the work. Even that would be a better idea than quitting to go to law school for the sole purpose of acquiring mottles and bottles.


This. Working in BIGLAW actually solidified my decision to pursue it. Yes, the hours may suck, but that's part of the game. You honker down and learn, attend additional CLE classes even if you don't need it, show motivation (ie always in the office/a BB email away) and keep your ears to the ground (your colleagues are not your friends).

The exit options from BIGLAW are why most enter it -- that, and cost of attendance. Exit options include, but are not limited to: politics, management consulting, in-house counsel, government, etc.

And OP, if you do decide to pursue BIGLAW, promise me you'll consider the following:

1. Attending University of Toronto - Faculty of Law or Mcgill University. A crap load of Canadians are landing NY BIGLAW firms without the debt. Apply if you can. I haven't a clue what it will cost to attend as an American but I figure it can't nearly be as much to attend a U.S. law school.

2. Go into corporate law (securities, capital markets, mergers&acquisition, bank finance, project finance, financial insolvency/bankruptcy, etc.). This will allow you to take your skills overseas in the event you're exploring exit options outside the United States (ie Hong Kong, Singapore, China, UK/EU, Cayman/Turks and Caicos (though, more popular amongst the Brits given less income tax restrictions).

Whatever you decide, may the gods be with you! :mrgreen:

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

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:35 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 at an early age when I had leeway to fail, go into debt, etc when I had the most valuable resource of all: time.
If you think that you're going to look back in 20 years and think, "Man, I wish I had gone over a hundred-fifty grand into debt to spend three years hunched over a bunch of books I have no interest in, for a coin-flip chance at getting a job I know nothing about and have no reason to think I'd enjoy," then you and I have vastly different bucket lists.

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

Postby cahwc12 » Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:59 pm

http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot. ... ories.html

I just want to say that Paul Campos is my personal hero and I recommend his ebook to all my LSAT students.

OP, you've been given some great advice from some of the most knowledgeable posters on this board, and you really and truly should take it to heart.

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

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:13 am

cahwc12 wrote:http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2012/11/prestige-factories.html

I just want to say that Paul Campos is my personal hero and I recommend his ebook to all my LSAT students.

A TLSer posts a link about a blog about the thread the TLSer posted in... this is getting awfully recursive. :P

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

Postby sinfiery » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:20 am

vanwinkle wrote:
cahwc12 wrote:http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2012/11/prestige-factories.html

I just want to say that Paul Campos is my personal hero and I recommend his ebook to all my LSAT students.

A TLSer posts a link about a blog about the thread the TLSer posted in... this is getting awfully recursive. :P

Oh dear. I laughed.

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

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:24 am

sinfiery wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
cahwc12 wrote:http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2012/11/prestige-factories.html

I just want to say that Paul Campos is my personal hero and I recommend his ebook to all my LSAT students.

A TLSer posts a link about a blog about the thread the TLSer posted in... this is getting awfully recursive. :P

Oh dear. I laughed.


This happens a lot actually. I swear Campos spends hours lurking TLS to get threads to write stories about in his blog. Its weird.

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

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:26 am

SuperCerealBrah wrote:This happens a lot actually. I swear Campos spends hours lurking TLS to get threads to write stories about in his blog. Its weird.

Well, TLS is chock full of good source material... Hmm, maybe I should start a blog about it too!

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby bizzybone1313 » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:27 am

SuperCerealBrah wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
cahwc12 wrote:http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com/2012/11/prestige-factories.html

I just want to say that Paul Campos is my personal hero and I recommend his ebook to all my LSAT students.

A TLSer posts a link about a blog about the thread the TLSer posted in... this is getting awfully recursive. :P

Oh dear. I laughed.


This happens a lot actually. I swear Campos spends hours lurking TLS to get threads to write stories about in his blog. Its weird.


Lol. Some people do make a living off their blogging. Must be nice.

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

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:42 am

vanwinkle wrote:
SuperCerealBrah wrote:This happens a lot actually. I swear Campos spends hours lurking TLS to get threads to write stories about in his blog. Its weird.

Well, TLS is chock full of good source material... Hmm, maybe I should start a blog about it too!


Oh sure, there are a lot of good things discussed on this site. However, there is also a lot of garbage. Contrasted to a site such as taxtalent.com, that just seems a lot more professional and on topic. Actually, "garbage" is the wrong word. "Junk food" is more appropriate. There is a lot of great "junk food" on here. It can be a guilty pleasure of mine as well at times. And yes, I envy people who can actually make a living by blogging.

Edit: And by NO means am I advocating there should not be a lounge. :P Just making the observation that its weird Campos is here so much. It feels kind of like the "cool" parent who always shows up to their kids parties trying to be "in" lol

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

Postby esqesq » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:06 am

lolokay1 wrote: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.


There's your problem. It's not a 50/50 shot. The odds are far, far worse. And don't forget, taking out 100k in law school loans doesn't mean at the end of three years you owe 100k, that interest will continue to build.

And doing well in law school takes a certain combination of natural talent (not intelligence) and hard work. I knew people in law school who were very smart, and had dominated in undergrad, and killed themselves working, but their brains were just incompatible with law exams. If you're not on the right wavelength (and there's no way you can tell that now), you won't do well.

Even if you do well, it's still a roll of the dice to get any job, let alone a good one.

And if you're doing it just for money, you're almost certainly doomed to fail.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Is pursuing law a good course of action for me?

Postby bizzybone1313 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:52 am

The problem is that a lot of people go to law school for the wrong reason. President Obama said it best: Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential. He turned out ok.

There are easier ways to make money than going to law school. Have you considered a one year Master's in Finance from MIT? It looks like a pretty good program that would give you the financial boost you are seeking.




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