If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Discuss various money matters here. Loans (federal and private), scholarships, lottery winnings, or other school finance related information and queries.
BubbaD
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If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby BubbaD » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:10 am

..Is it feasible to expect a hefty scholarship(or perhaps even a full ride) with a 3.05 UGPA/170 LSAT? I've interned with NATO and started my own business right out of college, as well, but that seems to not have as much bearing on the chances of good scholarship money from what I've researched as does the GPA and LSAT.

I realize my numbers would get me little to no money at top 30 schools.. so as a side question, would it be easier to get significant money from schools in the 30-50th ranked range(since they'd probably be the most interested in bumping up their rankings and breaking the top 30?) or would T3 and T4 schools be just as likely to entice students with my above numbers? I assume when you get to the really shitty schools, they eventually concede to the rat race of law school rankings and are less likely to dole out money.. instead just using their law school to generate as much of it as possible for themselves.

If you're wondering why the prestige of my school isn't of much concern to me is because I'm opening up my own practice, focusing on business and entrepreneurship law, straight out of law school. Sure, good schools will have me better prepared for the Bar and perhaps even the ability to practice law itself.. but really, man, I just don't want to be 100k in debt after finishing school like my brother. Poor kid recently lost his $55k/year job and restructured his debt for 15 more years.. and he graduated in the top 25% of his William & Mary class. I don't intend on joining that rat race anytime soon.

Thank you in advance for any possible advice you can give!

de5igual
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby de5igual » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:18 am

i think you'd be able to get good $$$ at the splitter friendly schools (e.g., WUSTL)

rad lulz
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:20 am

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Last edited by rad lulz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

BubbaD
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby BubbaD » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:45 am

Thank you for that tip, f0bolous!

rad lulz.. that's a really good point. But I'd much rather have almost $0 in debt and graduate towards the top of my law school class in a T3 school than graduate middle of the pack in a top 25(if I even get in) and with $100k+ in debt to boot. Hell, I'll do part-time document review work and study the actual law in my free time rather than work my ass off for a chance to make partner several years down the road at an established firm. All this under the assumption that it'd be a job that I most likely wouldn't be hired at in this economy anyways.

Perhaps a naive way to look at things, but I'd much rather take my future into my own hands than be heavily indebted with just a moderately better chance to get a decent paying job at a big firm. Not sure if that last sentence made much sense haha, it's 3:44 in the morning and my eyes are starting to glaze over.

Thank you everyone for your insights thus far!

rad lulz
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:55 am

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Last edited by rad lulz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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bk1
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby bk1 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:00 am

Here's the way I see it:

Most fresh grads who open up their own shops fail. Usually for 2 reasons: they don't know how to run a business and they don't know how to practice law. Let's assume because you've started a business that you know how to do the former well. The latter then becomes the issue. This makes opening up a small law firm different from other businesses. You haven't had the time to actually learn how to do anything (as noted above). But further I think that it's also likely to fail because you haven't just come up with an idea and tried to market that idea. Instead you're trying to create a business to serve an already oversaturated field. There are many other fresh grads out there trying to do the same thing as you. You can't distinguish yourself in that field because you don't have any special skills or knowledge. While you might be able to compete against already established firms/practices with low prices (this might even meet an unmet need), but you still can't offer anything to your clients at low cost since you have no legal skills. It just seems like a bad idea to go to law school intending to open your own small shop on day 1. A few years down the line when you have experience and clients? That's a different story.

I understand your desire to call your own shots and be your own boss, but doing it early on in a legal career is just not feasible.

BubbaD
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby BubbaD » Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:13 am

My business deals with copywriting, branding & online marketing.. so a majority of my confidence in going solo stems from the fact that a lot of eyes will be on my business from the get-go. Rad.. you're completely right. They won't give a shit where I graduated in my class.. and they also won't give a shit what school I went to. Hence the reason I created this thread in the first place, to see if I can reasonably expect a sizable scholarship from 30+ ranked schools with the numbers I mentioned in my first post, all the while avoiding much of the 'I need to attend a top school' mentality that practically everyone hoping to go to law school worries about.

I appreciate your honesty, rad. Learning the actual law before going solo will be my biggest hurdle.. and one I intend to tackle with 100% of my effort.

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Veyron
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby Veyron » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:18 am

While it is true that law school itself will teach you nothing about practicing law you can learn what you need to know by doing externships with small firms/government organizations and clinics.

If you are willing to go to a shitty enough school you can get a full ride. You need to get a full ride if you want to do the solo thing right out of school. I'd look for a school (a) that you don't have to pay for (b) that didn't give stipulations with its scholarships and (c) that would allow you to garner unlimited credit or large amounts of credit from private sector externships (rare, but they exist). Then I would make sure to earn as much credit as possible from fieldwork as opposed to classwork.

tennisking88
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby tennisking88 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:11 am

Unless you are URM, I don't believe most schools will give you anything close to a full ride. Schools only give out hefty scholarships (and by that I mean close to full-ride) if both your numbers are above median. You need to find out which schools have GPA medians below 3.05, and then apply there, but I gotta be honest, those schools will be godawful. Don't waste a great LSAT on that.

BubbaD
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby BubbaD » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:06 pm

I see. Thanks everyone for your advice!

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rinkrat19
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:09 pm

BubbaD wrote:My business deals with copywriting, branding & online marketing.
This sounds like you may want to do some intellectual property/trademark law. Are you qualified to sit the patent bar exam?

rad lulz
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:11 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rinkrat19
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby rinkrat19 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:16 pm

rad lulz wrote:
rinkrat19 wrote:
BubbaD wrote:My business deals with copywriting, branding & online marketing.
This sounds like you may want to do some intellectual property/trademark law. Are you qualified to sit the patent bar exam?

You don't need to be patent bar eligible to do copyrights and trademarks.
Yeah, you're right. I think my brain was wandering from patents to trademarking. Probably low blood sugar before lunch. :wink: NVM

lobolawyer
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby lobolawyer » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:22 pm

rad lulz wrote:
BubbaD wrote:If you're wondering why the prestige of my school isn't of much concern to me is because I'm opening up my own practice, focusing on business and entrepreneurship law, straight out of law school. Sure, good schools will have me better prepared for the Bar and perhaps even the ability to practice law itself..

Unfortunately, even good schools don't teach you how to practice law. Like literally jack shit. A JD is little more than a credential that enables you to sit for the bar. Accordingly, opening up your own solo shop after school is a refuge for the desperate, not a real plan, since you have absolutely zero idea what you're doing.


I'm going to have to disagree. 3% of schools have a mandatory clinic (UNM is among them) and my school offers an additional 27 hours of practical classes, ie Crim Law In Practice (students work at the PD/DA) for the entire semester. This is a product of the recognition that a significant portion of our grads hang up shingles post-grad and our school does a good job of preparing them to succeed.

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dingbat
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby dingbat » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:23 am

Don't let anyone dissuade you, you have a good plan - you know you're in for a struggle bugvare willing to take that risk and if all else fails, it's easier to start over with no debt.

Most people on this board have no idea what it means to have hefty student loan debt. $50k debt on a $100k salary is manageable, but not pleasant.
If you're staring at a $50k job, then it fuckin sucks.
(even with a full-tuition scholarship, cost of living, books, etc. can easily cost $50k over 3years)

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splitsplat
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby splitsplat » Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:31 pm

You can get significant money if you are willing to look at schools in the 75th-100th rankings (DePaul, Hofstra etc.)

BubbaD
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby BubbaD » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:06 pm

Thanks for the tip, splitsplat!

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mattviphky
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby mattviphky » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:28 pm

Your own practice doing what? If you want to do anything, you need contacts. Even doing solo criminal defense. You need to get your name out there, and you need to know people around the court. Being an Asst. state's attorney, or whatever a prosecutor is called around other states, for a few years is a good way to do this. After that, maybe go into a small firm-->solo. You can't just show up to court w/o knowing anybody.

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JoeMo
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby JoeMo » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:34 pm

Then if that's the case why not study the law on your own, prep for the bar exam and sit for the bar in one of the states that allows you to sit while you've been studying on your own and not at a school?

It sounds like you're dead set on this path anyway of opening up your own shop with the least debt possible so look into that.

lobolawyer
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby lobolawyer » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:55 pm

mattviphky wrote:Your own practice doing what? If you want to do anything, you need contacts. Even doing solo criminal defense. You need to get your name out there, and you need to know people around the court. Being an Asst. state's attorney, or whatever a prosecutor is called around other states, for a few years is a good way to do this. After that, maybe go into a small firm-->solo. You can't just show up to court w/o knowing anybody.


Our State Bar has a strong attorney referral system. One of my friends graduated last year, didn't want to work for a firm, only wanted to do appellate work, and now has a successful practice. She has 9 reported cases (from the Ct. of Appeals) that I could find. I spoke with her recently and she said that's she's so busy she's turning work down. One of the most successful civil rights attorneys in New Mexico was a top student at our school and never wanted to work at a firm. He's had a solo practice for close to 15 years and is an adjunct at our school. His rates start at $1000/hr. We have 3 graduates from last year who opened up their own shop and do nothing but transactional work. They've been so successful they're opening up a second office. Are these results typical? Who knows. The point is that we're going to professional school, not trade school. Working at a firm with 200 attorneys and billing 2000hrs a year is no walk in the park.

There was an article on ATL recently that talked about how students and lay people think that going solo is some sort of step down, while practicing attorneys actually view it as an achievement. My personal mentor (who has made millions practicing law) has told me on a number of occasions that I'll never make the $$ I dreamed about when I came to law school until I break away from the billable hour. There are few firms that pay you enough to ever comfortably be a millionaire and even fewer partners who stick around long enough to make it to that level. Is that my personal goal, no. But the people obsessed with that sort of success should know there's more than one way to get there.
Last edited by lobolawyer on Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lobolawyer
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby lobolawyer » Thu Mar 22, 2012 7:57 pm

JoeMo wrote:Then if that's the case why not study the law on your own, prep for the bar exam and sit for the bar in one of the states that allows you to sit while you've been studying on your own and not at a school?

It sounds like you're dead set on this path anyway of opening up your own shop with the least debt possible so look into that.


That route deprives you of the connections that you make with your classmates and members of the bar while in school and the alumni network thereafter. It also deprives you of the ability to market yourself using the name of the school where you earned your JD. You also have less portability b/c few states allow you to sit for the bar sans a JD, and the markets that do are generally saturated with lawyers..

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JoeMo
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby JoeMo » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:32 pm

lobolawyer wrote:
JoeMo wrote:Then if that's the case why not study the law on your own, prep for the bar exam and sit for the bar in one of the states that allows you to sit while you've been studying on your own and not at a school?

It sounds like you're dead set on this path anyway of opening up your own shop with the least debt possible so look into that.


That route deprives you of the connections that you make with your classmates and members of the bar while in school and the alumni network thereafter. It also deprives you of the ability to market yourself using the name of the school where you earned your JD. You also have less portability b/c few states allow you to sit for the bar sans a JD, and the markets that do are generally saturated with lawyers..


I guess it depends what type of practice you want to open on your own. The lay person doesn't care unless you went to Harvard or Yale. From one of your previous posts it seemed like you had a network. And are you planning on opening a multi-state practice? Otherwise, why would portability matter?

That being said, it sounds like you know what you want to do so I don't get the point in creating this thread. Self-validation? Trolling?

lobolawyer
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby lobolawyer » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:12 am

JoeMo wrote:
lobolawyer wrote:
JoeMo wrote:Then if that's the case why not study the law on your own, prep for the bar exam and sit for the bar in one of the states that allows you to sit while you've been studying on your own and not at a school?

It sounds like you're dead set on this path anyway of opening up your own shop with the least debt possible so look into that.


That route deprives you of the connections that you make with your classmates and members of the bar while in school and the alumni network thereafter. It also deprives you of the ability to market yourself using the name of the school where you earned your JD. You also have less portability b/c few states allow you to sit for the bar sans a JD, and the markets that do are generally saturated with lawyers..


I guess it depends what type of practice you want to open on your own. The lay person doesn't care unless you went to Harvard or Yale. From one of your previous posts it seemed like you had a network. And are you planning on opening a multi-state practice? Otherwise, why would portability matter?

That being said, it sounds like you know what you want to do so I don't get the point in creating this thread. Self-validation? Trolling?


I didn't create this thread. And ad hominem won't win this argument. Portability obviously matters, unless you're certain to live in one state or a state that doesn't require a JD to be part of the bar forever. You're right that lay people don't care about your law school, but other lawyers that provide referrals do, as do sophisticated clients. Im going the firm route, I just think that it's absurd for people to think it's scorched Earth if you don't.

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seancris
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Re: If I'm Not Concerned About the Reputation of My Law School..

Postby seancris » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:59 am

dingbat wrote:Most people on this board have no idea what it means to have hefty student loan debt. $50k debt on a $100k salary is manageable, but not pleasant.


Are you kidding me? If you're paying back 100k, you might pay that back at a rate of 1.3k/mo x 12 =
15.6k/yr. 100 - 15.6 = 84.4k/yr. You are essentially saying that an 85k/yr starting salary is "not pleasant."

If you're staring at a $50k job, then it fuckin sucks.
(even with a full-tuition scholarship, cost of living, books, etc. can easily cost $50k over 3years)


This is closer, but still manageable. You could probably do IBR, or elect for an extended-term option and reduce the payments to 600-700/mo. 650/mo x 12 = 7800/yr. 50k - 7.8k = 42.2k/yr, which is still a hell of a lot better than most of us would do (in most markets) starting out with our BA degrees. 42.2k/yr doesn't "fuckin suck" for a lot of people.

ETA: and the above is accounting for 100k debt, which I now realize is double what you were talking about.




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