Top School or Continue Career?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

What would you do?

Run the nonprofit
4
50%
Head to school on scholarship
4
50%
Something else? (Please elaborate in a post)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 8

LastMinuteDecision
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:11 am

Top School or Continue Career?

Postby LastMinuteDecision » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:26 am

Let me first say that I am beyond grateful to be in my current situation. I have two immensely attractive options and am having trouble deciding between them.

I have been fortunate to receive a named, full tuition scholarship to a T13/14/whatever we're calling it these days. This is a dream come true as far as educational opportunities go and I believe I'd enjoy law school immensely. I also have the opportunity to take over a regional nonprofit organization (multiple states, 200+ local branches, etc.) that has a lot of potential to grow despite not truly being qualified to do so (BA in philosophy, mid-20s, etc.). I will add that if I were to take the director job I'd probably see myself moving on to something else 5-10 years from now.

Details on the job: 45-50 hrs/week, salary ~75k+benefits

My dream job has always been to be general counsel for a nonprofit organization so law school seems to be the way to go. That said, part of me wonders why I'd choose 3 years of school over 3 years of experience running an organization (and the paychecks/connections). I know I can always go to law school in the future or get an MBA/whatever as things come along but due to family considerations the top school is essentially now or never (live in flyover country, unfortunately).

What would you do? Top school on a full tuition scholarship or run a nonprofit for 5-10 years?

User avatar
magnum_law
Posts: 175
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:32 pm

Re: Top School or Continue Career?

Postby magnum_law » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:30 am

This is a close call, and ultimately should be made in terms of what you believe will bring you the most happiness...

But remember that law school will always be there. I know you received a full ride and that result can't predictably be duplicated, but working for another 2-3 under that title will only make you a more attractive candidate. Both short term for admission purposes and long-term for employment purposes.

I would probably "split the baby". Work 2-3 years under the new position and reassess your desire to go to law school then.

User avatar
Lavitz
Posts: 3368
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 1:39 am

Re: Top School or Continue Career?

Postby Lavitz » Sun Mar 19, 2017 1:41 pm

LastMinuteDecision wrote:due to family considerations the top school is essentially now or never (live in flyover country, unfortunately).

I have no idea what this means, but if you would be able to attend a different, similarly ranked school in the future and expect some scholarship money from them, I'd probably stick with the non-profit for now and go to law school later if you still want to.

LastMinuteDecision
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:11 am

Re: Top School or Continue Career?

Postby LastMinuteDecision » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:19 pm

Lavitz wrote:
LastMinuteDecision wrote:due to family considerations the top school is essentially now or never (live in flyover country, unfortunately).

I have no idea what this means, but if you would be able to attend a different, similarly ranked school in the future and expect some scholarship money from them, I'd probably stick with the non-profit for now and go to law school later if you still want to.


Thanks - I'll clarify. Unfortunately the closest similarly ranked school is 8 hours from my current location. Family is right around here and will need care from my wife and me in the near future so being that far away is out of the question. The law schools in my area are a state flagship and private school ranked 100+. At that point I would be relying on connections built in the next few years for a job rather than having an elite school on my resume.

User avatar
Lavitz
Posts: 3368
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 1:39 am

Re: Top School or Continue Career?

Postby Lavitz » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:47 pm

LastMinuteDecision wrote:
Lavitz wrote:
LastMinuteDecision wrote:due to family considerations the top school is essentially now or never (live in flyover country, unfortunately).

I have no idea what this means, but if you would be able to attend a different, similarly ranked school in the future and expect some scholarship money from them, I'd probably stick with the non-profit for now and go to law school later if you still want to.


Thanks - I'll clarify. Unfortunately the closest similarly ranked school is 8 hours from my current location. Family is right around here and will need care from my wife and me in the near future so being that far away is out of the question. The law schools in my area are a state flagship and private school ranked 100+. At that point I would be relying on connections built in the next few years for a job rather than having an elite school on my resume.

Got it. That's a real predicament. But if you're going to need to return to "flyover country" right after law school anyway, I'm not sure how useful the T-14 degree would be there or how helpful it would be for becoming general counsel of a non-profit, at least in your area. Also, I assume there's a possibility of things getting complicated if your family ends up needing care sooner than you expect.

And if being general counsel to a nonprofit is the only legal job you'd prefer over your current career path, then I'm not sure it's worth it jumping into law school right now. I think it would make sense only if you knew that a T-14 degree was the only way / would make it significantly easier to get that job, but I don't know the answer to that question. If you haven't already, I'd look into the past experiences of the people who have the type of job you're aiming for.

LastMinuteDecision
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:11 am

Re: Top School or Continue Career?

Postby LastMinuteDecision » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:44 am

Lavitz wrote:
LastMinuteDecision wrote:
Lavitz wrote:
LastMinuteDecision wrote:due to family considerations the top school is essentially now or never (live in flyover country, unfortunately).

I have no idea what this means, but if you would be able to attend a different, similarly ranked school in the future and expect some scholarship money from them, I'd probably stick with the non-profit for now and go to law school later if you still want to.


Thanks - I'll clarify. Unfortunately the closest similarly ranked school is 8 hours from my current location. Family is right around here and will need care from my wife and me in the near future so being that far away is out of the question. The law schools in my area are a state flagship and private school ranked 100+. At that point I would be relying on connections built in the next few years for a job rather than having an elite school on my resume.

Got it. That's a real predicament. But if you're going to need to return to "flyover country" right after law school anyway, I'm not sure how useful the T-14 degree would be there or how helpful it would be for becoming general counsel of a non-profit, at least in your area. Also, I assume there's a possibility of things getting complicated if your family ends up needing care sooner than you expect.

And if being general counsel to a nonprofit is the only legal job you'd prefer over your current career path, then I'm not sure it's worth it jumping into law school right now. I think it would make sense only if you knew that a T-14 degree was the only way / would make it significantly easier to get that job, but I don't know the answer to that question. If you haven't already, I'd look into the past experiences of the people who have the type of job you're aiming for.


I hear you on things potentially getting complicated more quickly than we anticipate and the reality that a T-14 degree isn't as necessary outside of big metro areas - both loom large over the decision. With family, there's only so much we can do and the timeline is longer than the three years for law school but, again, who knows how things go. As for the degree, I'm more concerned about quality of peers/education than the degree itself. That said, our area has a few regional firms (~100 attorneys) with lawyers from elite firms and they are highly sought after. After reading this board for a few years it seemed the move was worth it to essentially guarantee myself a spot in a good firm (should nonprofit plans fail) instead of relying on being top of my class at one of the local schools.

General counsel for a nonprofit isn't the only job for which I'd leave my current career path but it's the end goal. I fully expect it to take a few years in other jobs to work my way there and am looking forward to the process. Most people in the roles I'd like around here came from local schools but also did very well at them. Led to the same reasoning above for attending a top school and using that to get my start on the ladder.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest