Career outlook

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
poorblacknstubborn
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Career outlook

Postby poorblacknstubborn » Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:45 am

Now, we all know that law school is not an end goal. Rather, it is a path through which one can obtain a rewarding career. I decided I wanted to go to law school years ago, but as I have prepared myself to make that investment of time and money, I noticed a disturbing trend: mainly that that investment ain't quite what it used to be. Can anyone comment on the current state of the legal industry (with particular emphasis on how URMs are fairing in terms of obtaining full-time, bar passage required legal employment). Are there any signs that the legal field is recovering?

Thanks!

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AAJD2B
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Re: Career outlook

Postby AAJD2B » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:07 pm

"it depends."

It depends on which sector of the profession you reference, it depends on which school you decide to attend, it depends on the percentage of baby boomers who continue to delay retirement, it depends on the evolving nature of clients who are seeking more for less and relying on outsourced legal companies to get the job done...and so on and so forth,

There are so many variables to consider but your first step would certainly be to position yourself to have a decent number of opportunities to choose from. This, for the most part, begins with where you choose to obtain your legal education, which is even more crucial for URMs as many employers continue to judge us or form subconscious opinions on our potential. Attending a good or top law school can help mitigate such speculation.

The key is to get your foot in. Thereafter, it's all work product, the economy or both. IMHO, the need for lawyers, especially URM lawyers isn't going anywhere. We are substantially under-represented in the profession.

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twenty
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Re: Career outlook

Postby twenty » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:23 pm

Define "rewarding." The overwhelming majority of attorneys are in small firms doing private practice, and many of them are very happy doing it. The most common regret I see from 2Ls and 3Ls on TLS is that they wish they had gone to a regional school on a full scholarship. And this is coming from people that got biglaw.

On the other hand, there are folks coming from i-banking that have been working 80 hours a week where biglaw would actually be a step up in terms of quality of life.

californiauser
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Re: Career outlook

Postby californiauser » Tue Sep 24, 2013 2:08 pm

My completely speculative 0L perspective would be that things are fine (and possibly improving?) for the URMs at the very top of the food chain i.e. URMs from T-14s with decent grades and respectable work experience prior to law school. I can't forsee a situation where things are really all that rosy for URMs at TT and TTT schools.

poorblacknstubborn
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Re: Career outlook

Postby poorblacknstubborn » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:19 pm

Thanks for the comments so far!

Does anyone know where I can find statistics or URMs in the legal profession? Employment outlook of said URMs? Can anyone speak to their own experience (or the experiences of URMs that they know) gaining employment after LS?

Thanks!

J. R. Capablanca
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Re: Career outlook

Postby J. R. Capablanca » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:35 pm

If you're curious about a career in law, simply take a gander into the "Vale of Tears" thread, where the majority of posters, debt PWNED and no job prospects to speak of, are severely depressed if not outright suicidal.

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mandyjay11
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Re: Career outlook

Postby mandyjay11 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:46 pm

californiauser wrote:My completely speculative 0L perspective would be that things are fine (and possibly improving?) for the URMs at the very top of the food chain i.e. URMs from T-14s with decent grades and respectable work experience prior to law school. I can't forsee a situation where things are really all that rosy for URMs at TT and TTT schools.


respectable work experience prior to law school? damn, I'm out.

poorblacknstubborn
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Re: Career outlook

Postby poorblacknstubborn » Tue Sep 24, 2013 3:53 pm

J. R. Capablanca wrote:If you're curious about a career in law, simply take a gander into the "Vale of Tears" thread, where the majority of posters, debt PWNED and no job prospects to speak of, are severely depressed if not outright suicidal.


Thanks. Checked out the thread, there's clearly evidence of those people struggling to find employment. I did not find the thread to be too helpful beyond that, as most of the posts were from the same 3 people making jokes (coping mechanism?).

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hephaestus
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Re: Career outlook

Postby hephaestus » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:03 pm

Prospects are still decent for people at elite schools, but many people still struggle to find meaningful, if any, work. If you want to go to law school, you need to have the credentials to get into the T14. Once you do, go to a T14 with $$ or go to a regional school for free.

poorblacknstubborn
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Re: Career outlook

Postby poorblacknstubborn » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:28 pm

ImNoScar wrote: but many people still struggle to find meaningful, if any, work.


Are you talking about even those people who do attend an elite school? Thanks.

J. R. Capablanca
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Re: Career outlook

Postby J. R. Capablanca » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:31 pm

poorblacknstubborn wrote:
ImNoScar wrote: but many people still struggle to find meaningful, if any, work.


Are you talking about even those people who do attend an elite school? Thanks.


Yes. Below the T6, bottom half does not get biglaw and has to fight for shitlaw scraps like personal injury/low end criminal/landlord tennant evictions, etc.

californiauser
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Re: Career outlook

Postby californiauser » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:32 pm

poorblacknstubborn wrote:
ImNoScar wrote: but many people still struggle to find meaningful, if any, work.


Are you talking about even those people who do attend an elite school? Thanks.


There was a thread created on here by a black chick from Duke who decried the whole notion of going to a top school as a URM means you'll get a job (she was unemployed). Not sure if it was a troll, she was banned pretty quickly.

No one (of any race) outside of HYS should feel comfortable IMO.

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AAJD2B
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Re: Career outlook

Postby AAJD2B » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:43 pm

californiauser wrote:
poorblacknstubborn wrote:
ImNoScar wrote: but many people still struggle to find meaningful, if any, work.


Are you talking about even those people who do attend an elite school? Thanks.


There was a thread created on here by a black chick from Duke who decried the whole notion of going to a top school as a URM means you'll get a job (she was unemployed). Not sure if it was a troll, she was banned pretty quickly.

No one (of any race) outside of HYS should feel comfortable IMO.


I think she decried Duke and she did get a job eventually:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=186540

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hephaestus
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Re: Career outlook

Postby hephaestus » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:43 pm

poorblacknstubborn wrote:
ImNoScar wrote: but many people still struggle to find meaningful, if any, work.


Are you talking about even those people who do attend an elite school? Thanks.

Yes, but far less than at a non-elite school. Moral of the story is to get elite credentials regardless (read: 170+ LSAT). Your focus should be on the best compromise of an elite school and a low debt burden.

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smokenmirrors
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Re: Career outlook

Postby smokenmirrors » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:57 pm

OP,

I suggest you get a copy of Campos "Don't go to LS -unless" to understand the law school process and outlook of the profession at the moment. Great resource and it only sets you back maybe $7 including shipping (amazon)

ETA- I currently work in biglaw (2 yrs) and most of the attorneys I interact with tell me daily, avoid law school.

Well, its kind of hard to just drop everything and prepare for a entirely different career after four years of UG, right?

My perspective is that I invested time, money and resources into making a sound decision before applying. Therefore, I knowingly will make the best decision for me in terms of cost, employment % and connections.

To not understand the risks and financial aspects associated with law school before applying/attending is to do yourself a serious injustice.

best of luck!
Last edited by smokenmirrors on Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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hephaestus
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Re: Career outlook

Postby hephaestus » Tue Sep 24, 2013 4:59 pm

Also think about asking for informational interviewers with attorneys in your city. Explain your question to them. Some may be willing to offer advice.

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twenty
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Re: Career outlook

Postby twenty » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:16 pm

Not surprisingly, URM status does not really help you that much outside of admissions. Sure, you might get a diversity-hire 1L SA, but that's about as far as things go.

Your chances of getting a biglaw job, if that's what you want, go up drastically once you break into the T14. While perhaps not entirely in relation to the USNWR rankings, your chances go up incrementally the further up the rankings you go. From there, you have to decide how much risk you're willing to put into law school. Should you attend Cornell with an 150k scholarship, or Columbia at sticker? While Columbia may have better biglaw placement, Cornell will save you almost a quarter of a million dollars in loans, exponentially decreasing the effects of "striking out" at biglaw.

Then there's the often-touted "biglaw-lock" schools at HYS, but you're looking at a fairly hefty sticker price. Three years later, you'll almost definitely be in an office across from a guy who went to NYU, except that he went to law school for a fraction of the cost you did.

Personally, I think the risk/reward ratio makes a T14 law school generally worth it IF you understand the most-likely best case scenario along with the worst case scenarios. In your best case scenario, you're working from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM in a fairly high-pressure environment that you can't leave due to your student loans. In the worst case scenario, you're on a 20-year PAYE plan that has you paying loans until well into your 40s. If you're cool with that, go to law school. If you're not, find another line of work.

californiauser
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Re: Career outlook

Postby californiauser » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:40 pm

ImNoScar wrote:Also think about asking for informational interviewers with attorneys in your city. Explain your question to them. Some may be willing to offer advice.


This has been a disaster for me, personally. Unless you mean attorneys whom've graduated post 2009. All the attorneys I've spoken with in my city spoke highly of the local TT in my city and never once mentioned the dysmal job market. Most have no clue how high tuition is now either.

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bizzybone1313
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Re: Career outlook

Postby bizzybone1313 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:55 pm

I have this theory that tuition by elite schools, in part, has been increased in order to discourage minorities to attend college in the first place. It is real peculiar that only after the civil rights movement occurred did tuition begin to increase exponetially. I know there are other causes for the rapid increase in tuition, but I feel this is definitely one of the main reasons.

Minorities, who obviously come from disporportionately more humble backgrounds, are taking a huge risk in attending law school due to said ridiculuous tuition increases.

It is almost inevitable that all minorities will face significant racism at some point in their careers. For whatever strange reason, I have already been the target of this racism to a great extent. The legal industry due to its perceived high status probably has a disporportionate share of racism in comparison to other professions.

For the vast majority of minorities, it is probably not wise to attend law school in the first place. I personally know about 4-5 URM's that essentially have ruined their lives by attending TTT schools. One attended Texas Tech, another Thurgood Marshall and another went to St. Mary's in San Antonio (started her own solo practice in family law....who knows how that is going for her).

At the end of the day, one of the only ways to reduce this risk is to knock the LSAT out of the park in order to get a huge discount in tuition.

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MoMettaMonk
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Re: Career outlook

Postby MoMettaMonk » Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:20 pm

bizzybone1313 wrote:I have this theory that tuition by elite schools, in part, has been increased in order to discourage minorities to attend college in the first place. It is real peculiar that only after the civil rights movement occurred did tuition begin to increase exponetially. I know there are other causes for the rapid increase in tuition, but I feel this is definitely one of the main reasons.

Minorities, who obviously come from disporportionately more humble backgrounds, are taking a huge risk in attending law school due to said ridiculuous tuition increases.

It is almost inevitable that all minorities will face significant racism at some point in their careers. For whatever strange reason, I have already been the target of this racism to a great extent. The legal industry due to its perceived high status probably has a disporportionate share of racism in comparison to other professions.

For the vast majority of minorities, it is probably not wise to attend law school in the first place. I personally know about 4-5 URM's that essentially have ruined their lives by attending TTT schools. One attended Texas Tech, another Thurgood Marshall and another went to St. Mary's in San Antonio (started her own solo practice in family law....who knows how that is going for her).

At the end of the day, one of the only ways to reduce this risk is to knock the LSAT out of the park in order to get a huge discount in tuition.


I highly doubt this. I don't doubt that it might have the effect of excluding minorities who don't realize or don't take advantage of the financial aid opportunities that are available to them. But especially at the well funded, elite institutions (the HYSP's of the world) there is a wealth of... well wealth available to qualified minorities, especially those from families on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder.

Now what the explosion of tuition prices (for law schools specifically) DEFINITELY does, is make the decision to attend a lower ranked institution absolutely dire for minorities if they don't have a source of familial wealth and are attending at a price near sticker or with a scholarship with bad stipulations.

I would argue that now is a bad time for the vast majority of people to attend law school period, but it is a problem that is exacerbated for minorities (and women) in no small part because law is a profession where most of the people currently in power are old white men.

poorblacknstubborn
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Re: Career outlook

Postby poorblacknstubborn » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:44 pm

AAJD2B wrote:
californiauser wrote:
poorblacknstubborn wrote:
ImNoScar wrote: but many people still struggle to find meaningful, if any, work.


Are you talking about even those people who do attend an elite school? Thanks.


There was a thread created on here by a black chick from Duke who decried the whole notion of going to a top school as a URM means you'll get a job (she was unemployed). Not sure if it was a troll, she was banned pretty quickly.

No one (of any race) outside of HYS should feel comfortable IMO.


I think she decried Duke and she did get a job eventually:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=186540


Holy moly, everyone was super critical of her. Interestingly, a lot of the hateful comments came from people not even IN law school yet. I'm getting the feeling that some people on this forum think that a URM (or anyone else, for that matter) is guaranteed a sweet gig just by getting in to an elite law school. Accordingly they will become defensive and savagely attack anyone trying to question that dream.

Anywho, can anyone who has graduated comment on their success and ability to pay off debt? What strategies did you employ to keep debt at a minimum? etc.

Thanks!

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AAJD2B
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Re: Career outlook

Postby AAJD2B » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:46 pm

MoMettaMonk wrote:I highly doubt this. I don't doubt that it might have the effect of excluding minorities who don't realize or don't take advantage of the financial aid opportunities that are available to them. But especially at the well funded, elite institutions (the HYSP's of the world) there is a wealth of... well wealth available to qualified minorities, especially those from families on the lower end of the socio-economic ladder.


The latter comment of yours is misleading. For the most part, the elite trinity does not have a history of offering full or near to full schollies to their law students, let alone minorities. It's just not happening. The most I have seen was Stanford offering one student 119k and he was not a minority student.

Let's be real: most of the minorities that are qualified for and attend the likes of HYS are not poor or from working-class families. They more align with the likes of Jack and Jill/upper-middle class and their educational experience and exposures reflect this.

But then you have schools like NYU, Cornell, Michigan, UVA, Penn, Chicago and Berkeley recruiting minorities to attend their schools because of their generous schollies. This would prove far more attractive for a minority applicant who came from humble beginnings v.s. a minority applicant who comes from money.

HYS law schools may have wealth but they sure as hell are not dishing it out like the others just below their class.

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twenty
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Re: Career outlook

Postby twenty » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:49 pm

poorblacknstubborn wrote:I'm getting the feeling that some people on this forum think that a URM (or anyone else, for that matter) is guaranteed a sweet gig just by getting in to an elite law school. Accordingly they will become defensive and savagely attack anyone trying to question that dream.


I'm curious to as where you got this impression -- TLS, at least to me, seems to generally say that from a T14 law school, you have between a 50% and a 80% chance of getting a biglaw job. With 250k in loans on the line, that's not great odds.

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AAJD2B
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Re: Career outlook

Postby AAJD2B » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:58 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
poorblacknstubborn wrote:I'm getting the feeling that some people on this forum think that a URM (or anyone else, for that matter) is guaranteed a sweet gig just by getting in to an elite law school. Accordingly they will become defensive and savagely attack anyone trying to question that dream.


I'm curious to as where you got this impression -- TLS, at least to me, seems to generally say that from a T14 law school, you have between a 50% and a 80% chance of getting a biglaw job. With 250k in loans on the line, that's not great odds.


Eh, I think that's increased for URMs who can not only find a way into a T14 but also maintain decent grades. We are also presented with a number of diversity career fairs and networking events not generally available to non-URMs at elite schools. Remember, minorities are few and far between in the profession, let alone T14s. Many employers are vying for qualified URM law students.

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twenty
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Re: Career outlook

Postby twenty » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:01 pm

I secretly do, too, but as soon as people start saying that, it's going to go from, "URMs in T14 law schools are more likely to get biglaw than their non-URM counterparts" to "HOMG URMS ARE BASICALLY GUARANTEED MULTIPLE OFFERS FROM WILLIAMS CONNOLLY."




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