What should I do?

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romothesavior
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What should I do?

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 1:29 pm

I was admitted to a number of good schools with some pretty solid offers (Vandy $$, WUSTL $$$, UIUC full ride, and admitted at Cornell). I settled on WUSTL because I really want to work in the Midwest (specifically St. Louis), I love St. Louis, and they gave me a solid scholarship. Still I didn't feel thrilled about these offers, and I am having some serious doubts about attending this fall. I have a 168 and a GPA that should be over 3.8 by the time I graduate this spring.

I am considering taking a few years off, but I realize it is REALLY late to start looking for a job. I'm fed up with myself for my poor judgment and I'm nervous about law school. The job market sucks and I'm very, very worried about going to law school at this point in time and taking on ~100k for a degree that may be worthless when I graduate.

So three questions for you TLSers...

1. Are these just some natural pre-law school jitters, or am I justified in my fears? Should I be in killself mode, or do I need to relax?
2. If I decide to take a year or two off, WTF should I do? I have no idea where to start looking for a job.
3. If I do decide to take a few years off, I may re-take the LSAT down the road. But if I don't improve, what would my odds with a 3.8/168 + WE be? Any shot at NW ED?

johndhi
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Re: What should I do?

Postby johndhi » Tue May 04, 2010 1:34 pm

I have the feeling that you'll be able to work in the midwest if you go to WUSTL, at a good lawyerly job.

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romothesavior
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Re: What should I do?

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 1:57 pm

Yeah, I'd like to think that, but I'm feeling less and less secure about my chances.

Anybody care to weigh in on this? I'm in 100% freakout mode and I could use some advice from the TLS community. Anybody have experience with a last minute change of plan?

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Mr. Matlock
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Mr. Matlock » Tue May 04, 2010 2:08 pm

I can tell you, as an....... older applicant, law school will still be around if you decide to come back to it. I don't think it's for anybody who isn't 100% committed to it and satisfied with their choice. If you're looking at law school as a way to ride out the recession, I'd say there are plenty of other academic options rather than just "settling" with law school.

All that being said, it's a tough market out there. Many college grads are going to have to bite the bullet and look at starting "in the mail-room" for bottom of the barrel wages. It's a start at least. I was in pharmaceutical sales and marketing for years. It's an option, but not for everyone. Plus, right out of college, unless you have some kind of chemical or biological degree, that might not be an option, but many others got their start in various types of office/business sales and transitioned in.

Either way, you've got your deposit down and you now have time to start looking. Perhaps you'll realize you really want law and end up attending anyways, but you have a good 3 months before that option becomes a reality.

Good luck.

ogurty
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Re: What should I do?

Postby ogurty » Tue May 04, 2010 2:08 pm

I think you may have been brainwashed by the apocalypse mongering on TLS. Did you visit WUSTL, speak to students, check in with the career services office? I'm sure they aren't preaching doom and gloom.

A WUSTL law degree will not ever be worthless. Top 25, very strong regional placement, and decent biglaw placement. The biggest problem many have with it is they might have the stay in St Louis after they graduate. You love St. Louis and want to stay in the midwest - these are compelling reasons to take WUSTL over lower T14, and that scholarship should make it a valid contender in any school decision.

Don't worry so much.

nycparalegal
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Re: What should I do?

Postby nycparalegal » Tue May 04, 2010 2:11 pm

Okay, what is major in school?

edit: Just saw that your a poli sci major.


Let me give you my perspective. I'm an older applicant, in my late 20s, and I have to say that if you're not in love with your choices I say wait.

Life is to be lived and if your having serious doubts about your current schools, law school is not be going away anytime soon.

You have a few options:

1) Send out your resume to a whole bunch of top law firms and work as a paralegal.
2) Send out your resume and apply for the Peace Corps
3) Join the military and go see the world.
4) Get a job working at an advertising firm doing traffic
5) Get an entry level job working at a bank
6) Get an entry level job selling insurance

I'm not really sure what you're into though.
Last edited by nycparalegal on Tue May 04, 2010 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sakura3210
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Re: What should I do?

Postby Sakura3210 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:11 pm

Hah, this is exactly what I'm going through right now (except this would not be the first year I've taken off...). Have you thought about working for a non-profit (e.g Americorps)? They pay isn't great, but you'd do something valuable with your time + some of them take late applications.

I don't know that any of us should be making decisions in freakout mode. Calm down, make a list of pros and cons, talk it over w/people you trust etc., and then see how you feel. At least, that's what I'm trying to do. :mrgreen:

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romothesavior
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Re: What should I do?

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 2:13 pm

nycparalegal wrote:Okay, what is major in school?


Political science and philosophy. Not the best majors to start looking for jobs, I know...

I have a really solid internship lined up for this summer at a major insurance company in my hometown, and I have lots of ties to the company (many family members have worked there). I'm hopeful that I can perhaps snag something there, but it is no sure thing.

nycparalegal
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Re: What should I do?

Postby nycparalegal » Tue May 04, 2010 2:19 pm

romothesavior wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:Okay, what is major in school?


Political science and philosophy. Not the best majors to start looking for jobs, I know...

I have a really solid internship lined up for this summer at a major insurance company in my hometown, and I have lots of ties to the company (many family members have worked there). I'm hopeful that I can perhaps snag something there, but it is no sure thing.


That is one option, if you see my above post I gave a few more, but have you thought about Peace Corps or working at a law firm?

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GordonBombay
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Re: What should I do?

Postby GordonBombay » Tue May 04, 2010 2:21 pm

Hijacked!

I too am feeling this. I've been working for a few years and I want out of my industry. I applied at the deadlines and got into W&L, which was great, with a decent schol. However, I'm still looking at 100kish in debt. By my math the only way to pay that down wihtout being homeless is BigLaw which I think I would hate, if I could even get it. As I was freaking out about that Brooklyn law gave me the full ride +5k offer when I tried to withdraw. It has the scaaary 40% stipulations and I dont think I want to stay in NY forever, but only paying COL is sooo appealing.

I'm not sure if I even want to take on that debt given the market and I have been spending months trying to figure out what to do. I would like to go back to VA. I feel you completely and think our feelings are very similar, except im older and potentially going to school in a market I want.

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romothesavior
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Re: What should I do?

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 2:23 pm

nycparalegal wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:Okay, what is major in school?


Political science and philosophy. Not the best majors to start looking for jobs, I know...

I have a really solid internship lined up for this summer at a major insurance company in my hometown, and I have lots of ties to the company (many family members have worked there). I'm hopeful that I can perhaps snag something there, but it is no sure thing.


That is one option, if you see my above post I gave a few more, but have you thought about Peace Corps or working at a law firm?


I have actually considered working for a law firm. What kind of training is required to be like a paralegal or work in a firm?

And as for Peace Corps, I hadn't considered it, but I will look into it for sure.

What about my law school prospects down the road? LSP gives a "strong consider" for NW with an ED, but a 168 sure seems low for them.

nycparalegal
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Re: What should I do?

Postby nycparalegal » Tue May 04, 2010 2:26 pm

romothesavior wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:Okay, what is major in school?


Political science and philosophy. Not the best majors to start looking for jobs, I know...

I have a really solid internship lined up for this summer at a major insurance company in my hometown, and I have lots of ties to the company (many family members have worked there). I'm hopeful that I can perhaps snag something there, but it is no sure thing.


That is one option, if you see my above post I gave a few more, but have you thought about Peace Corps or working at a law firm?


I have actually considered working for a law firm. What kind of training is required to be like a paralegal or work in a firm?

And as for Peace Corps, I hadn't considered it, but I will look into it for sure.

What about my law school prospects down the road? LSP gives a "strong consider" for NW with an ED, but a 168 sure seems low for them.


Absolutely no training required. The big law firms look for bright young kids who can read and write. That's it, well plus a two year commitment.

Btw, with a 3.8 gpa, have you thought about applying to Mckinsey & Company or Boston Consulting Group?

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romothesavior
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Re: What should I do?

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 2:30 pm

nycparalegal wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:
That is one option, if you see my above post I gave a few more, but have you thought about Peace Corps or working at a law firm?


I have actually considered working for a law firm. What kind of training is required to be like a paralegal or work in a firm?

And as for Peace Corps, I hadn't considered it, but I will look into it for sure.

What about my law school prospects down the road? LSP gives a "strong consider" for NW with an ED, but a 168 sure seems low for them.


Absolutely no training required. The big law firms look for bright young kids who can read and write. That's it, well plus a two year commitment.

Btw, with a 3.8 gpa, have you thought about applying to Mckinsey & Company or Boston Consulting Group?


No... I haven't heard of them. I just checked out their websites and their "About Us" sections were sort of vague. What do they do, and why do you recommend them?

nycparalegal
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Re: What should I do?

Postby nycparalegal » Tue May 04, 2010 2:34 pm

romothesavior wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:
That is one option, if you see my above post I gave a few more, but have you thought about Peace Corps or working at a law firm?


I have actually considered working for a law firm. What kind of training is required to be like a paralegal or work in a firm?

And as for Peace Corps, I hadn't considered it, but I will look into it for sure.

What about my law school prospects down the road? LSP gives a "strong consider" for NW with an ED, but a 168 sure seems low for them.


Absolutely no training required. The big law firms look for bright young kids who can read and write. That's it, well plus a two year commitment.

Btw, with a 3.8 gpa, have you thought about applying to Mckinsey & Company or Boston Consulting Group?


No... I haven't heard of them. I just checked out their websites and their "About Us" sections were sort of vague. What do they do, and why do you recommend them?


Holy sh** dude are you kidding me? Those two companies are some of the most prestigious consulting companies in the country. Your job would be an entry level job, but it would pay about 70k to create powerpoints and research information.

ughOSU
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Re: What should I do?

Postby ughOSU » Tue May 04, 2010 2:35 pm

I know you don't like hearing this from old guys (I recall you getting upset at old TLSers who believe that perspectives change once you hit the real world and UGs are immature), but I would recommend taking a few years off and working. It really has changed my perspectives on so much, and on top of that: I have money now, I have a better work ethic, I got some experience in the legal field (e: even gained some skills in a niche area that will really help post-LS employment if need be), I got to spend a shitload of time reading, and I bumped my LSAT score up 6-9 points. It's cliche, but law school really will always be there. Just some food for thought.

If you have something lined up for the summer you're also lightyears ahead of where I was when I graduated. I bartended for the first few months after UG. Use your connections and you should be able to find something.
Last edited by ughOSU on Tue May 04, 2010 2:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fenderjsm88
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Re: What should I do?

Postby fenderjsm88 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:35 pm

nycparalegal wrote:Okay, what is major in school?

edit: Just saw that your a poli sci major.


Let me give you my perspective. I'm an older applicant, in my late 20s, and I have to say that if you're not in love with your choices I say wait.

Life is to be lived and if your having serious doubts about your current schools, law school is not be going away anytime soon.

You have a few options:

1) Send out your resume to a whole bunch of top law firms and work as a paralegal.
2) Send out your resume and apply for the Peace Corps
3) Join the military and go see the world.
4) Get a job working at an advertising firm doing traffic
5) Get an entry level job working at a bank
6) Get an entry level job selling insurance

I'm not really sure what you're into though.


The problem is that all of these are easier said than done, especially in this economy (I think it's relatively easy to join the military/peace corps, but that's a pretty big decision to make.) I've been working my ass off trying to find a job for the past few months, and paralegal jobs are one of the areas I've been focusing on. Pretty much all the big firms are on complete hiring freezes right now, at least here in Chicago, and the firms that are hiring want paralegals with several years experience (employers are being super picky in this economy.) If you can find a paralegal job, though, I would recommend taking it. It gives you at least 2 years to gain some work experience, save some money, and decide if being a lawyer is what you really want to do.

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webbylu87
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Re: What should I do?

Postby webbylu87 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:36 pm

My first inclination is to tell you to suck it up, take your large scholarship at a very solid school in the market you want to work in and just go. Honestly. If I were in your shoes, I'd just go especially considering you'd have minimal debt.

But, if you really don't think you're ready or that you're set on a legal career, then don't start.

I applied last year and took the year off to do AmeriCorps and get my head straight. It's been very helpful for me. I've had some great experience and am now sitting in a much better place in terms of where I'm attending this fall and being closer to the market I want to be in (which is also St. Louis oddly enough). With that said, I didn't have nearly the financial opportunities you have in front of you so my decision was slightly easier. AmeriCorps is a worthwhile opportunity which you should look at. If you have specific questions about AmeriCorps, go ahead and PM me.

As far as becoming a paralegal, I applied to at least 8-10 paralegal positions last summer before I decided on AmeriCorps and not a single one got back to me. There are a lot of unemployed poli sci majors with their eyes set on law school who have the same exact logic as you do. I would not take time off under the assumption that you can find a paralegal position because you may not be able to.

Edit: Also, last year was a record year for number of applicants to AmeriCorps positions. They're getting much more difficult to secure especially VISTA positions. I don't doubt this year will be similar in terms of application volume.

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fenderjsm88
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Re: What should I do?

Postby fenderjsm88 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:40 pm

nycparalegal wrote:Holy sh** dude are you kidding me? Those two companies are some of the most prestigious consulting companies in the country. Your job would be an entry level job, but it would pay about 70k to create powerpoints and research information.


Well I'm applying haha. Never considered working for a consulting firm, figured they would only take business majors (I'm a psych major with a 3.7 gpa...think they would take me?) I'm assuming you can't just waltz into those position, though, or else every unemployed liberal arts/social science major would be making 70k/yr.

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romothesavior
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Re: What should I do?

Postby romothesavior » Tue May 04, 2010 2:43 pm

Thanks for the all the responses guys. I think I am going to start putting some applications out to places and see what my contacts at this insurance company back home can do for me.

I really do want to clarify one thing though: I am not hesitating about law school because I am unsure about the practice of law, but rather, I am scared to death of this economy for lawyers. The JDUers and the XOXO crowd have really started to get to me, and the doom and gloom is becoming more apparent. Even good grades at WUSTL won't make me safe, and that scares me. The economy blows right now. I know people will say, "Oh, but the economy sucks everywhere!" This is true, but I'd rather enter this shitty economy making $40-50k with only my $10,000 in debt from undergrad than go take on another $100,000 in debt and get the shaft 2 years down the road at OCI.

I'm still really unsure what to do, and I guess it can't hurt to start floating my resume and contacting companies/organizations. More options can't hurt. I know my parents will flip if I decide to take time off, but in the end its my call to make and I've gotta do what's best for me.

Thanks for the responses guys, and keep it coming with the advice if you've got more.

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GordonBombay
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Re: What should I do?

Postby GordonBombay » Tue May 04, 2010 2:46 pm

romothesavior wrote:Thanks for the all the responses guys. I think I am going to start putting some applications out to places and see what my contacts at this insurance company back home can do for me.

I really do want to clarify one thing though: I am not hesitating about law school because I am unsure about the practice of law, but rather, I am scared to death of this economy for lawyers. The JDUers and the XOXO crowd have really started to get to me, and the doom and gloom is becoming more apparent. Even good grades at WUSTL won't make me safe, and that scares me. The economy blows right now. I know people will say, "Oh, but the economy sucks everywhere!" This is true, but I'd rather enter this shitty economy making $40-50k with only my $10,000 in debt from undergrad than go take on another $100,000 in debt and get the shaft 2 years down the road at OCI.

I'm still really unsure what to do, and I guess it can't hurt to start floating my resume and contacting companies/organizations. More options can't hurt. I know my parents will flip if I decide to take time off, but in the end its my call to make and I've gotta do what's best for me.

Thanks for the responses guys, and keep it coming with the advice if you've got more.


I hear you man. Unemployed with minimal/ no debt = guy looking for a job

100k in debt after 3 years of law school and no job = totally screwed

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You Gotta Have Faith
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Re: What should I do?

Postby You Gotta Have Faith » Tue May 04, 2010 2:56 pm

romothesavior wrote:I have actually considered working for a law firm. What kind of training is required to be like a paralegal or work in a firm?

And as for Peace Corps, I hadn't considered it, but I will look into it for sure.

What about my law school prospects down the road? LSP gives a "strong consider" for NW with an ED, but a 168 sure seems low for them.


Taking a year or two off prior to law school was helpful for me. But I don't know if it would be for everybody or not. It just depends.

I sometimes have wished I had worked in a law firm before coming to law school. I have multiple peers who have. And it actually affected their career goals (a few hated big law and won't go back, a few liked it). But most importantly, they had a better idea of what they were getting themselves into. By the end of your 1L year, you all know what you are doing, but those who worked in firms had a slight advantage in writing class earlier on.

As far as the Peace Corps goes, the application itself is a nearly year-long process. If you're interested in that, you want to be somewhat committed (as they really look for applicants who are). Just a little fyi.

I do have to agree with Mr. Matlock though... if you bother going to law school at all, you should want to go. Don't just do it to be doing it. There are already enough lawyers out there who don't like their jobs and just ended up in it. Taking that bit of time off was helpful for me. Going in, I was pretty sure I actually wanted to go to law school.

I do think, fwiw, that practically anything you choose right now won't be in the most gung ho of economic environments. It's not, after all, only the legal field that was affected. But things do get better, they really do. The economy won't be shitty your whole life.

WUSTL is a great school, so is UIUC, Vandy and Cornell. I don't really think, personally, that taking extra time (and years) off striving to get into NU is going to make a monumental difference. If you take time off at all, it should be to make sure that you are happy with what you are doing and where you are going. Just my $0.02.

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webbylu87
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Re: What should I do?

Postby webbylu87 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:58 pm

romothesavior wrote:Thanks for the all the responses guys. I think I am going to start putting some applications out to places and see what my contacts at this insurance company back home can do for me.

I really do want to clarify one thing though: I am not hesitating about law school because I am unsure about the practice of law, but rather, I am scared to death of this economy for lawyers. The JDUers and the XOXO crowd have really started to get to me, and the doom and gloom is becoming more apparent. Even good grades at WUSTL won't make me safe, and that scares me. The economy blows right now. I know people will say, "Oh, but the economy sucks everywhere!" This is true, but I'd rather enter this shitty economy making $40-50k with only my $10,000 in debt from undergrad than go take on another $100,000 in debt and get the shaft 2 years down the road at OCI.

I'm still really unsure what to do, and I guess it can't hurt to start floating my resume and contacting companies/organizations. More options can't hurt. I know my parents will flip if I decide to take time off, but in the end its my call to make and I've gotta do what's best for me.

Thanks for the responses guys, and keep it coming with the advice if you've got more.


This is the exact freakout I had last week when I was offered to continue AmeriCorps for another year. I turned it down and decided to attend in the fall for a couple reasons. These probably don't apply to you but maybe my logic will help you out.

1) I want to be a lawyer and have been looking forward to law school/my legal career for years.
2) I want to begin my career and this year has shown me I don't want to put it off any longer.
3) I am not going to school for BigLaw. I personally want to do PI work and having lived on $10k/year, living on $35k-$40k/year while working for Legal Aid and utilizing IBR/PSLF doesn't sound nearly as awful to me as it does to a lot of people.

With that said, if your career goal is BigLaw, to pay off your loans in 10 years, and you're uncomfortable with the idea of earning less than $55k/year then yes, take the year off. If there's one thing this economy has been good for, it's served as a reality check for a lot of law students.

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webbylu87
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Re: What should I do?

Postby webbylu87 » Tue May 04, 2010 2:59 pm

You Gotta Have Faith wrote:I do think, fwiw, that practically anything you choose right now won't be in the most gung ho of economic environments. It's not, after all, only the legal field that was affected. But things do get better, they really do. The economy won't be shitty your whole life.

WUSTL is a great school, so is UIUC, Vandy and Cornell. I don't really think, personally, that taking extra time (and years) off striving to get into NU is going to make a monumental difference. If you take time off at all, it should be to make sure that you are happy with what you are doing and where you are going. Just my $0.02.


+1 to all of this

nycparalegal
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Re: What should I do?

Postby nycparalegal » Tue May 04, 2010 3:10 pm

webbylu87 wrote:My first inclination is to tell you to suck it up, take your large scholarship at a very solid school in the market you want to work in and just go. Honestly. If I were in your shoes, I'd just go especially considering you'd have minimal debt.

But, if you really don't think you're ready or that you're set on a legal career, then don't start.

I applied last year and took the year off to do AmeriCorps and get my head straight. It's been very helpful for me. I've had some great experience and am now sitting in a much better place in terms of where I'm attending this fall and being closer to the market I want to be in (which is also St. Louis oddly enough). With that said, I didn't have nearly the financial opportunities you have in front of you so my decision was slightly easier. AmeriCorps is a worthwhile opportunity which you should look at. If you have specific questions about AmeriCorps, go ahead and PM me.

As far as becoming a paralegal, I applied to at least 8-10 paralegal positions last summer before I decided on AmeriCorps and not a single one got back to me. There are a lot of unemployed poli sci majors with their eyes set on law school who have the same exact logic as you do. I would not take time off under the assumption that you can find a paralegal position because you may not be able to.


I know it's not easy, but firms are always hiring paralegals esp biglaw firms because every year there is attrition.

I got a paralegal job in 2007 and I graduated in 2005. It takes awhile but you need to learn to do things besides just send out your resume.

I mean this is a great learning lesson. You have to learn to network. Call firms and find out who is in charge of hiring paralegals, get their email or the general recruiting email, then email the firm your cover letter and resume.

Call and call again. Work your way through the entire vault book of law firms, creating a cover letter for each and every one based on specific information pertaining to that firm.

If that doesn't work, call your local law firms and do it again.

Then if you still don't get an interview. Email your contacts all from the beginning in a few weeks telling how you're still interested.

eldizknee
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Re: What should I do?

Postby eldizknee » Tue May 04, 2010 3:14 pm

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Last edited by eldizknee on Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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