I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

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Failtastic
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I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby Failtastic » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:04 pm

Numbers: 3.89 GPA/173 LSAT

I've had 9 jobs in the last five years since graduating college. Most involved this phrase, "Thank you for calling. How can I help you?" My resume is a mess. It is full of six month/nine month jobs in customer service and reception. (I've also worked two jobs at the same time several times.)

When I graduated I was in a real financial bind because of medical issues so I took the first job I could get. Since then I've been bouncing from mediocre job to mediocre job. I work until I can't stand it any more and then I quit and focus on getting that great job. And when I don't I go back to some shit job I can't stand.

I definitely want to go to law school to escape this fail cycle I am currently in. I CANNOT WORK AS A RECEPTIONIST ANY MORE. I can't get coffee. I'm not complaining. I'm blessed. I've been poor and I know how good I have it compared to how it could be. I know I'm pretty lucky to be able to get jobs at all. That doesn't mean that answering phones is not a slow suicide.

Goal: International policy analysis focusing on international development economics. I would love to develop and implement effective market-based development programs, work for USAID, write legislation for a Congress person, etc.

No one is going to give me those jobs right now. I have no connections (my own fault I know, but the truth). I don't know how to get back on the right track to do what I want to do. No decent Master's program is going to accept me (and I'm definitely not getting a scholarship). Same with a Phd program. Harvard's Kennedy school is not going to give me a second glance, but Harvard law school is an outside shot.

With my numbers I can get into a decent program with a scholarship at a law school and get an MA/JD in economics or international relations or something.

Is it financial suicide to go to law school if you don't want to be a lawyer? Thanks in advance for the advice.

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merichard87
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby merichard87 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:13 pm

Not if you get a scholarship.

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john titor
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby john titor » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:15 pm

I dont think that a JD truly qualifies you to do anything BUT be a lawyer, so I would advise against that. why not go to grad school for something else?

sumus romani
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby sumus romani » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:18 pm

Failtastic wrote:Numbers: 3.89 GPA/173 LSAT

I've had 9 jobs in the last five years since graduating college. Most involved this phrase, "Thank you for calling. How can I help you?" My resume is a mess. It is full of six month/nine month jobs in customer service and reception. (I've also worked two jobs at the same time several times.)

When I graduated I was in a real financial bind because of medical issues so I took the first job I could get. Since then I've been bouncing from mediocre job to mediocre job. I work until I can't stand it any more and then I quit and focus on getting that great job. And when I don't I go back to some shit job I can't stand.

I definitely want to go to law school to escape this fail cycle I am currently in. I CANNOT WORK AS A RECEPTIONIST ANY MORE. I can't get coffee. I'm not complaining. I'm blessed. I've been poor and I know how good I have it compared to how it could be. I know I'm pretty lucky to be able to get jobs at all. That doesn't mean that answering phones is not a slow suicide.

Goal: International policy analysis focusing on international development economics. I would love to develop and implement effective market-based development programs, work for USAID, write legislation for a Congress person, etc.

No one is going to give me those jobs right now. I have no connections (my own fault I know, but the truth). I don't know how to get back on the right track to do what I want to do. No decent Master's program is going to accept me (and I'm definitely not getting a scholarship). Same with a Phd program. Harvard's Kennedy school is not going to give me a second glance, but Harvard law school is an outside shot.

With my numbers I can get into a decent program with a scholarship at a law school and get an MA/JD in economics or international relations or something.

Is it financial suicide to go to law school if you don't want to be a lawyer? Thanks in advance for the advice.



The field you want to work is is extremely hard to get. You definitely have the numbers for, say, Harvard Law. The problem is that without a scholarship, going to law school is just too costly given your goals. If you decide to go to law school, apply at the top, and look to columbia law for a big scholarship. As for whether getting a law degree is in your interest, I can't give you an informed opinion, and I'm sure most others are the same.

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merichard87
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby merichard87 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:22 pm

OP what is your UG degree in? Can you get a job at a think tank? Is there any path you could take where a JD would lead you to your career of interest? Can you colunteer somewhere and then get a job that would make a good candidate for a masters in government or a MPP?

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Na_Swatch
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby Na_Swatch » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:23 pm

You have great numbers and with your goals the best thing to do is to shoot for a full scholarship from a lower T14. Just make sure you express strong interest in any of the schools ranging from UPenn, UVA, Duke, Michigan, Northwestern, etc. and you should receive at least one or two full rides. With that you'll be able to get a great education, decent job opportunities and almost no debt.

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Veyron
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby Veyron » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:32 pm

As I take it, OP's problem is that he dosn't have the resume for a solid graduate program in IR.

OP, with your numbers you should be able to get a substantial scholarship at Penn (assuming that you clearly articulate your goals in your personal statement). Apply to them early in the cycle (but not early decision), get accepted, get a good scholarship offer and then do the following.

J.D. Penn Law
M.G.A. Fells Institute of Government (you are virtually guaranteed an admit here as a Penn Law student)
Certificate in Business and Public Policy Wharton

This three year program of study should give you all of the credentialing necessary to pursue your chosen goals well leave you with minimal debt. It would be very difficult to then become a lawyer because you would have to spend the first summer working on either the certificate or at fells -unless you wanted to only do one or the other of Fells/Wharton which would probably not be a good idea given your goals - instead of doing legal work Obviously, you would still have to network your ass off. Also obviously you would have to articulate your goals in your PS since Penn, regardless of numbers, is a bitch about only taking people with clearly articulated reasons for wanting to go there and that they like (because of the small class).

In this way, your LSAT score and GPA will get you $ for pursuing your interest in government and provide you with a solid credential for think tank or congressional office work, the J.D. will augment your appeal to policy organizations or as a legislative assistant, at the Wharton certificate, well not as good as a full masters in econ, should still give you the economic chops to make you appealing to finance oriented policy organizations in light of your other qualifications.

deadhipsters
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby deadhipsters » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:58 pm

Failtastic wrote:Numbers: 3.89 GPA/173 LSAT

I've had 9 jobs in the last five years since graduating college. Most involved this phrase, "Thank you for calling. How can I help you?" My resume is a mess. It is full of six month/nine month jobs in customer service and reception. (I've also worked two jobs at the same time several times.)

When I graduated I was in a real financial bind because of medical issues so I took the first job I could get. Since then I've been bouncing from mediocre job to mediocre job. I work until I can't stand it any more and then I quit and focus on getting that great job. And when I don't I go back to some shit job I can't stand.

I definitely want to go to law school to escape this fail cycle I am currently in. I CANNOT WORK AS A RECEPTIONIST ANY MORE. I can't get coffee. I'm not complaining. I'm blessed. I've been poor and I know how good I have it compared to how it could be. I know I'm pretty lucky to be able to get jobs at all. That doesn't mean that answering phones is not a slow suicide.

Goal: International policy analysis focusing on international development economics. I would love to develop and implement effective market-based development programs, work for USAID, write legislation for a Congress person, etc.

No one is going to give me those jobs right now. I have no connections (my own fault I know, but the truth). I don't know how to get back on the right track to do what I want to do. No decent Master's program is going to accept me (and I'm definitely not getting a scholarship). Same with a Phd program. Harvard's Kennedy school is not going to give me a second glance, but Harvard law school is an outside shot.

With my numbers I can get into a decent program with a scholarship at a law school and get an MA/JD in economics or international relations or something.

Is it financial suicide to go to law school if you don't want to be a lawyer? Thanks in advance for the advice.




Op, if your goal is in IR then you need to gain work experience in that field. Which means that you may want to consider the Peace Corp. For people looking for entrance to Fletcher, Georgetown, etc. this is actually a good starting point. The two main reasons are: (A) It will assist you in learning a language (which is a requirement for most schools of foreign service/ IR). (B) It will give you the necessary work experience needed for entrance into these programs. A side note, your numbers would make you competitive at most schools of IR, including Princeton and Harvard. Although, I'd imagine you would probably have to have more substantial work experience for entrance into those program. But, the Peace Corp does allow you to apply for Federal Jobs under non-competitive hiring practices- which in essence means you get to cut the line if you meet the qualifications for employment. Good luck!

Brassica7
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby Brassica7 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:15 pm

What about IBR? It sounds like most of the OP's goals would qualify him for loan forgiveness. I do not have any particular insight regarding how to break into international economic development, but it sounds like the better regarded the law school, the better the options. If OP got into CCN, would the debt load really matter if he got a government or non-profit job on the other side?

OP, if you are concerned about debt, I suggest looking into the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Most of the jobs you described would qualify for loan forgiveness (not sure about think tank) after ten years. During those ten years, you pay about 10% of your salary towards your loans. I am not suggesting that everyone borrow money like crazy, but if OP went to CCN, took on 200k debt, then started at 55k (or whatever) working for USAID/some non-profit/Congress, he could still afford to live much better than he likely can now, and would be pursuing a career he wants.

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rayiner
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby rayiner » Sun Jul 04, 2010 6:57 pm

Go to YHS, then get whatever job you want and let either biglaw or IBR pay back the loans.

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northwood
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby northwood » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:16 pm

IM a bit confused.You have a 3.89 GPA and you say that you dont want to be a lawyer( your last sentence in your opening post). Why are you considering Law School? With a 3.89 you definately have the grades to get into a good, if not excellent masters program, or ph.d program. If you dont want to be a lawyer, IMO dont go to law school.

Why do you feel that you cannot get into a decent ph.d or M.S program? Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in. I would suggest talking to a professor that you trust and have a good rapport with from UG and ask for their opinions about a good next step for you. If that doesn't or won't work- then call or e mail some programs that interest you and ask for their opinions. TLS wont be able to give you the answers you are seeking, it can only offer possible avenues for you to explore further.

Graduate level schools are not only a financial investment and responsibility. You are also investing your time, efforts, and physical and mental well being. Make sure ALL of these investments are worthwhile for whatever program you decide to do.

Good Luck

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IAFG
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby IAFG » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:18 pm

northwood wrote:Why do you feel that you cannot get into a decent ph.d or M.S program? Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in.

lol?

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northwood
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby northwood » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:24 pm

IAFG wrote:
northwood wrote:Why do you feel that you cannot get into a decent ph.d or M.S program? Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in.

lol?



OP has a 3.89 gpa, and scored a 173 on the LSAT. I'm sure OP can do very well on the GRE ( test needed for graduate schools ).

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IAFG
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby IAFG » Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:26 pm

northwood wrote:
IAFG wrote:
northwood wrote:Why do you feel that you cannot get into a decent ph.d or M.S program? Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in.

lol?



OP has a 3.89 gpa, and scored a 173 on the LSAT. I'm sure OP can do very well on the GRE ( test needed for graduate schools ).

other grad programs aren't anywhere near as numbers-focused at LS. OP's background will matter and it doesn't sound like he's laid the groundwork to get into a top grad program.

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gwuorbust
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby gwuorbust » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:15 am

northwood wrote:IM a bit confused.You have a 3.89 GPA and you say that you dont want to be a lawyer( your last sentence in your opening post). Why are you considering Law School? With a 3.89 you definately have the grades to get into a good, if not excellent masters program, or ph.d program. If you dont want to be a lawyer, IMO dont go to law school.

Why do you feel that you cannot get into a decent ph.d or M.S program? Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in. I would suggest talking to a professor that you trust and have a good rapport with from UG and ask for their opinions about a good next step for you. If that doesn't or won't work- then call or e mail some programs that interest you and ask for their opinions. TLS wont be able to give you the answers you are seeking, it can only offer possible avenues for you to explore further.

Graduate level schools are not only a financial investment and responsibility. You are also investing your time, efforts, and physical and mental well being. Make sure ALL of these investments are worthwhile for whatever program you decide to do.

Good Luck


cause everybody and their brother consider a JD The ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything.

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Grizz
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby Grizz » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:19 am

Failtastic wrote:Goal: International policy analysis focusing on international development economics. I would love to develop and implement effective market-based development programs, work for USAID, write legislation for a Congress person, etc.


Don't go.

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legalease9
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby legalease9 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:16 am

IAFG wrote:
northwood wrote:
IAFG wrote:
northwood wrote:Why do you feel that you cannot get into a decent ph.d or M.S program? Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in.

lol?



OP has a 3.89 gpa, and scored a 173 on the LSAT. I'm sure OP can do very well on the GRE ( test needed for graduate schools ).

other grad programs aren't anywhere near as numbers-focused at LS. OP's background will matter and it doesn't sound like he's laid the groundwork to get into a top grad program.


Yeah but its also not as important to get into a "top" grad program as it is to get into a "top" law school. The jobs on the other side aren't as rank focused as law firms are.

To OP, DON'T GO! You could probably get into an elite LS, but if you don't want to be a lawyer, whats the point? You will just be miserable, and in great debt!

Finally, being a lawyer is not going to cure your "failtastic" situation. It will just make it worse. Think about what you would truly enjoy for a career and focus on that instead.

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legalease9
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby legalease9 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:19 am


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acrossthelake
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:08 pm

IAFG wrote:
northwood wrote:
IAFG wrote:
northwood wrote:Why do you feel that you cannot get into a decent ph.d or M.S program? Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in.

lol?



OP has a 3.89 gpa, and scored a 173 on the LSAT. I'm sure OP can do very well on the GRE ( test needed for graduate schools ).

other grad programs aren't anywhere near as numbers-focused at LS. OP's background will matter and it doesn't sound like he's laid the groundwork to get into a top grad program.


+1 My understanding is that research is important and that being published is necessary for the top grad programs in some fields.

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mallard
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby mallard » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:10 pm

OP doesn't seem a good fit for Ph.D. programs. JD might not be as good an option as an MPP/A/IA/etc., but if you think the Master's in Public Whatever degrees are, in general, less worthless than law degrees, I'm going to have to disagree.

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neimanmarxist
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby neimanmarxist » Mon Jul 05, 2010 12:49 pm

legalease9 wrote:Yeah but its also not as important to get into a "top" grad program as it is to get into a "top" law school.


Nothing could be further from the truth except maybe this:


northwood wrote:Grades, and the GRE are all you need to get in.



The market for these kinds of NGO/IR jobs is as sensitive, if not more sensitive, to rankings and prestige than the legal industry, especially ITE. Getting into a good graduate program has everything to do with being able to articulate research interests and experience in a way that makes the committee evaluating your application believe that you are capable of doing sophisticated independent research. Good grades, which OP has, will help, but OP also needs a killer personal essay, a good writing sample, and sterling recommendations,from either someone who works in the field or, preferably, an academic.

OP, if you want to do an IR degree such as SAIS or CIR, can you enroll in an IR class that is suited to your interests and meets once or twice a week at a local university? This might be more relevant to admission, and less painful & time consuming, than something like peace corps (plus, I think peace corps has an age cutoff, and if you have been out of college for five years, you are coming pretty close if I remember correctly.) If you have some research under your belt, and show this kind of initiative, it will take your application a long way. This might also help you get a more current letter of recommendation. How are your relations with the faculty at your alma mater? If this kind of IR education is really what you want, I'd go this route rather than the law school route; since these programs are one year, two at most, your debt burden will be substantially smaller.

On the other hand, I can say from first hand experience that US embassies around the world are filled with people with law degrees, and that an MA from SAIS or similar isn't necessarily going to land you in the kind of foreign service position that you appear to want. Going to law school is kind of like hedging: if you focus in the right fields and make the right connections through your summer work , you might end up getting the kind of job you are after. And if you don't, you will surely be able to get a better job than those who finished one of these IR programs and were similarly disillusioned-- even if you don't get what is your first choice. There's farther to fall with an MA in IR than there is with a JD from a top program; that much, I know, is true. There are a lot of scare stories about debt from law school, but trust me, the scare stories from the soft social sciences are worse.

Failtastic
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby Failtastic » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:53 pm

Thanks so much for all this advice. All of this is really helpful (more helpful actual than the meetings I have had with lawyers and university professionals).

merichard87 wrote:OP what is your UG degree in? Can you get a job at a think tank? Is there any path you could take where a JD would lead you to your career of interest? Can you colunteer somewhere and then get a job that would make a good candidate for a masters in government or a MPP?


My UG is a double major in international politics and economics/history. My UG is a tiny podunk private college that is not going to open any doors for me. I've been trying to get entry level research/think tank jobs for five years with no luck. And ITE its even more competitive. It is getting harder and harder to spin my resume in a positive manner after every temp job. I haven't made the connections I should have. My fault, but I was young and poor and didn't really know what the real world was like (and how these kinds of jobs work).

My hope with a JD/MA is that I could start over. That I would be coming out with fresh connections via my internships and my classmates. If I volunteered and hustled I would probably be able to get an entry level job somewhere, but my goal is a job where someday I can be making meaningful decisions. I'm not saying I don't want to work my way up, but I'm afraid that if I try moving from secretary, assistant researcher, etc that no one is ever going to give me a top job.

Going to law school is kind of like hedging: if you focus in the right fields and make the right connections through your summer work , you might end up getting the kind of job you are after. And if you don't, you will surely be able to get a better job than those who finished one of these IR programs and were similarly disillusioned-- even if you don't get what is your first choice. There's farther to fall with an MA in IR than there is with a JD from a top program; that much, I know, is true. There are a lot of scare stories about debt from law school, but trust me, the scare stories from the soft social sciences are worse.


This. 100% This. I have been struggling for five years with a degree in a field I love, but can't find a job with because everyone in the field is from an Ivy and/or has an MA/PHd. I'm terrified of getting an MA from a middling institution and then being more indebt and more depressed because now I have a masters, and I'm still answering the phones. At least with a JD from a T14 program I can probably get a job that doesn't involve me making coffee for someone else.

I'm never going to reach my goals doing what I'm doing and I think three or four years getting a JD/MA at a T14 is going to be faster than a.) peace corps then MA b.) Doing research to get an MA somewhere mediocre and then getting my PhD somewhere prestigious

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IAFG
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby IAFG » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:12 pm

i think this thread is a flame mocking the absurdity of law school admissions; that someone who would be a complete failure in every other field but with strong numbers can go to HYS.

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rayiner
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Re: I'm Failtastic. Should I go to law school?

Postby rayiner » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:20 pm

IAFG wrote:i think this thread is a flame mocking the absurdity of law school admissions; that someone who would be a complete failure in every other field but with strong numbers can go to HYS.


+1.




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