Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

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Nola
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Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Nola » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:38 pm

I am just like you. I am currently seeking to gain entrance into law school. I have taken the LSAT and I am working on the rest of my application. One thing I have been reading constantly on these forums is "If you don't get into a top 14 school, don't go to law school." or some similar nonsense about it not being worth it/your life is over.

I wanted to take a second to say that I personally think this is ridiculous. A coworker of mine (who is a lawyer) told me that she has tons of friends who graduated law school with her at various schools one of which is a tier one the rest which are tier 3 that are leading successful careers in the field of law. Are they Supreme Court nominees? No. Are they running for elected office? No. Did they retire at 32 because they made so much money practicing law? Again. Negative.

For those of you who aspire to these pursuits, maybe you have reason to be so uptight about getting into law school. However, I would like to suggest to you that these things are possible without a top 14 education.

We are all very lucky to even be thinking about applying to law school. Freaking out about which law school you are going to attend is a great problem to have. I live in New Orleans. I can tell you that there are some people out there who can't even fathom attending college much less law school.

Let us put this process in perspective. We are all lucky to be here and we should think of it that way.

Congratulations to all of you. You parents should be proud.

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Teoeo
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Teoeo » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:39 pm

Nola wrote:I am just like you. I am currently seeking to gain entrance into law school. I have taken the LSAT and I am working on the rest of my application. One thing I have been reading constantly on these forums is "If you don't get into a top 14 school, don't go to law school." or some similar nonsense about it not being worth it/your life is over.

I wanted to take a second to say that I personally think this is ridiculous. A coworker of mine (who is a lawyer) told me that she has tons of friends who graduated law school with her at various schools one of which is a tier one the rest which are tier 3 that are leading successful careers in the field of law. Are they Supreme Court nominees? No. Are they running for elected office? No. Did they retire at 32 because they made so much money practicing law? Again. Negative.

For those of you who aspire to these pursuits, maybe you have reason to be so uptight about getting into law school. However, I would like to suggest to you that these things are possible without a top 14 education.

We are all very lucky to even be thinking about applying to law school. Freaking out about which law school you are going to attend is a great problem to have. I live in New Orleans. I can tell you that there are some people out there who can't even fathom attending college much less law school.

Let us put this process in perspective. We are all lucky to be here and we should think of it that way.

Congratulations to all of you. You parents should be proud.


Did your friends take out 180k loans and graduate in a depression? Times are different, the situation is different, the gravy train is gone.

Edit: Not trying to be a dick, just putting the TLS cynicism in perspective.

Nola
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Nola » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:42 pm

Teo,

I don't think you are a dick. I just think your outlook is skewed.

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Teoeo
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Teoeo » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:43 pm

Nola wrote:Teo,

I don't think you are a dick. I just think your outlook is skewed.


I hope so =(

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vandalvideo
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby vandalvideo » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:44 pm

This would be a great post if this wasn't the Top Law School Forums.

Nola
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Nola » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:46 pm

vandalvideo wrote:This would be a great post if this wasn't the Top Law School Forums.


I am not going to say that my post is great. I will say however, that this is exactly the crowd that needs to hear this. I have a feeling that once we get admitted to law school and prepare to graduate all of this anxiety will just be a distant memory that we can all joke about at graduation.

NotANoob
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby NotANoob » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:21 pm

Nola wrote:I am not going to say that my post is great. I will say however, that this is exactly the crowd that needs to hear this. I have a feeling that once we get admitted to law school and prepare to graduate all of this anxiety will just be a distant memory that we can all joke about at graduation.


I am afraid that for most people this is not going to be the case. Certainly, be proud of what you have accomplished. Also look to what others who have traveled your path have done. But, you need to be mindful of the differences between their path and yours.

I entered the legal job market as the practice of law was in a transition, so I have some appreciate for what this generation of attorneys is facing. People who had graduated 10-20 years before I had faced entirely different economics than the ones I faced when I graduated. Fortunately, some of them were honest with me -- they recognized that their path was no longer one available to me.

As the number of attorneys has grown, the use of a law school's rank has increased. It has become a proxy for quality, and though it isn't a very good one, it is less costly and possibly just as accurate as trying to figure out who is good and who isn't from an in depth examination of a resume and a lengthy interview process. Certainly more good people get filtered out by using what law school you graduated from as an initial cut, but from most employer's prospectives, there are still plenty of people within this smaller than necessary pool to fill their staffing needs.

Also, what law school you graduated from will generally follow you around much longer than you ever expected. I have over a decade worth of experience. Where I went to law school has been relevant to every job I have held except one. The one exception came because I had already developed a working relationship with organization I was joining.

I am not saying any of this to join what you all call the "T14 or bust" chorus. I am saying that you do need to be strategic about what law school you chose, and be willing to walk away from a cycle if things don't play out in a way that will meet your goals.

Some things I would think about:
1. Are you business and sales minded? For most law students, the answer to this is no (if they really were, they would be getting an MBA or going straight into the job market). Individuals who are blessed with a strong business acumen tend to do well no matter where they go to school -- but the reason for their success has little to do with their school or their intelligence, and much more to do with their ability to strike out on their own or thrive in an environment where you eat what you kill. Don't over estimate your ability to fall in this category. Really talk to some people who have done well for themselves as solo practitioners or in smaller firms. Find out what they needed to do to get to where they are.

2. Are you looking for a "regular" legal job? Many people say that they don't want any of the SCOTUS Clerkship/Big Law/Prestigious careers. If this is you, you should have an idea of what you do want. Do you want local government? Small law (see above)? An in-house position? Know what qualifications these jobs require. Some local or state government jobs are gained by being persistent, others will tend to go to people with ties to the area (a factor for deciding which law school to go to). In house jobs that aren't lateral positions for former BigLaw people tend to have lower salaries and generally don't see the really interesting work. It's good to go in knowing that the less intense (or "less prestigious") positions are often the ones that handle the more routine work. Also, I can say from experience, that there has been a significant increase in the demands on attorneys in just about every type of job setting. The "life-style" job, really doesn't exist anymore and generally drops in hours are accompanied by very disproportionate drops in salary.

3. Do you want to do public interest? If so, be careful about your debt and be realistic about what you want out of life 5 or 10 years down the road. Schools seem to be moving things around as far as their loan forgiveness programs go and, in my experience, income linked pay off becomes really tricky when you factor a spouse or children into the equation.

Basically, I really encourage people to look at law school with a long view. Have an idea what you want to be doing when you graduate. Then have an idea where you want to be 5, 10, and 15 years out. Make sure you have multiple avenues to get to those outcomes. Do not assume it will "just work itself out."

There are many, many ways to be a successful attorney. By no means to all of them require a T14 degree. But all of them require a plan. You will have the most options and the best chance of success if you start putting that plan into motion before you even apply.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:06 pm

NotANoob wrote:
Nola wrote:I am not going to say that my post is great. I will say however, that this is exactly the crowd that needs to hear this. I have a feeling that once we get admitted to law school and prepare to graduate all of this anxiety will just be a distant memory that we can all joke about at graduation.


I am afraid that for most people this is not going to be the case. Certainly, be proud of what you have accomplished. Also look to what others who have traveled your path have done. But, you need to be mindful of the differences between their path and yours.

I entered the legal job market as the practice of law was in a transition, so I have some appreciate for what this generation of attorneys is facing. People who had graduated 10-20 years before I had faced entirely different economics than the ones I faced when I graduated. Fortunately, some of them were honest with me -- they recognized that their path was no longer one available to me.

As the number of attorneys has grown, the use of a law school's rank has increased. It has become a proxy for quality, and though it isn't a very good one, it is less costly and possibly just as accurate as trying to figure out who is good and who isn't from an in depth examination of a resume and a lengthy interview process. Certainly more good people get filtered out by using what law school you graduated from as an initial cut, but from most employer's prospectives, there are still plenty of people within this smaller than necessary pool to fill their staffing needs.

Also, what law school you graduated from will generally follow you around much longer than you ever expected. I have over a decade worth of experience. Where I went to law school has been relevant to every job I have held except one. The one exception came because I had already developed a working relationship with organization I was joining.

I am not saying any of this to join what you all call the "T14 or bust" chorus. I am saying that you do need to be strategic about what law school you chose, and be willing to walk away from a cycle if things don't play out in a way that will meet your goals.

Some things I would think about:
1. Are you business and sales minded? For most law students, the answer to this is no (if they really were, they would be getting an MBA or going straight into the job market). Individuals who are blessed with a strong business acumen tend to do well no matter where they go to school -- but the reason for their success has little to do with their school or their intelligence, and much more to do with their ability to strike out on their own or thrive in an environment where you eat what you kill. Don't over estimate your ability to fall in this category. Really talk to some people who have done well for themselves as solo practitioners or in smaller firms. Find out what they needed to do to get to where they are.

2. Are you looking for a "regular" legal job? Many people say that they don't want any of the SCOTUS Clerkship/Big Law/Prestigious careers. If this is you, you should have an idea of what you do want. Do you want local government? Small law (see above)? An in-house position? Know what qualifications these jobs require. Some local or state government jobs are gained by being persistent, others will tend to go to people with ties to the area (a factor for deciding which law school to go to). In house jobs that aren't lateral positions for former BigLaw people tend to have lower salaries and generally don't see the really interesting work. It's good to go in knowing that the less intense (or "less prestigious") positions are often the ones that handle the more routine work. Also, I can say from experience, that there has been a significant increase in the demands on attorneys in just about every type of job setting. The "life-style" job, really doesn't exist anymore and generally drops in hours are accompanied by very disproportionate drops in salary.

3. Do you want to do public interest? If so, be careful about your debt and be realistic about what you want out of life 5 or 10 years down the road. Schools seem to be moving things around as far as their loan forgiveness programs go and, in my experience, income linked pay off becomes really tricky when you factor a spouse or children into the equation.

Basically, I really encourage people to look at law school with a long view. Have an idea what you want to be doing when you graduate. Then have an idea where you want to be 5, 10, and 15 years out. Make sure you have multiple avenues to get to those outcomes. Do not assume it will "just work itself out."

There are many, many ways to be a successful attorney. By no means to all of them require a T14 degree. But all of them require a plan. You will have the most options and the best chance of success if you start putting that plan into motion before you even apply.


Possibly one of the best "8th" posts I've ever seen. NotANoob indeed.

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seespotrun
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby seespotrun » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:15 pm

IBTL

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capitalacq
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby capitalacq » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:16 pm

seespotrun wrote:IBTL

expedited
--ImageRemoved--

Integrity
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Integrity » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:20 pm

I agree with the sentiment of the post. Less that 1% of the world receives a college education, and I can only imagine how miniscule the percentage is for law students.

Unfortunately, some posters believe grandiloquent protestations of elitism, cynicism, and sarcasm reflect well on their intellect. Lots of people on TLS have the brains, but not the hearts (or looks either, I'd imagine).

bananasinpajamas
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby bananasinpajamas » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:23 pm

For those with a negative view of the legal profession, in almost all cases going to law school is a voluntary choice. Of course there will be negatives and positives with any career choice, but if you find yours always being negative about law school maybe try something else that will help you find happiness.

As many have stated, the money may not be there even if you graduate law school and succeed. And the debt is of course another big issue, but if getting a law degree will help get you where you want to go in life and (hopefully) be happy, then more power to you.

:)

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acrossthelake
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:25 pm

bananasinpajamas wrote:For those with a negative view of the legal profession, in almost all cases going to law school is a voluntary choice. Of course there will be negatives and positives with any career choice, but if you find yours always being negative about law school maybe try something else that will help you find happiness.

As many have stated, the money may not be there even if you graduate law school and succeed. And the debt is of course another big issue, but if getting a law degree will help get you where you want to go in life and (hopefully) be happy, then more power to you.

:)


But what if not being stuck with a ridiculous amount of debt is where you want to be in life?

Not saying that the sentiment to keep things in perspective is a bad one. However the idea on this forum to not torpedo your finances for at least the next decade by paying $$ to attend law schools that aren't placing people is completely logical and hardly a "heartless" sentiment.
Last edited by acrossthelake on Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bananasinpajamas
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby bananasinpajamas » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:27 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
bananasinpajamas wrote:For those with a negative view of the legal profession, in almost all cases going to law school is a voluntary choice. Of course there will be negatives and positives with any career choice, but if you find yours always being negative about law school maybe try something else that will help you find happiness.

As many have stated, the money may not be there even if you graduate law school and succeed. And the debt is of course another big issue, but if getting a law degree will help get you where you want to go in life and (hopefully) be happy, then more power to you.

:)


But what if not being stuck with a ridiculous amount of debt is where you want to be in life?


Ask this guy for help..
Image

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acrossthelake
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:28 pm

bananasinpajamas wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
bananasinpajamas wrote:For those with a negative view of the legal profession, in almost all cases going to law school is a voluntary choice. Of course there will be negatives and positives with any career choice, but if you find yours always being negative about law school maybe try something else that will help you find happiness.

As many have stated, the money may not be there even if you graduate law school and succeed. And the debt is of course another big issue, but if getting a law degree will help get you where you want to go in life and (hopefully) be happy, then more power to you.

:)


But what if not being stuck with a ridiculous amount of debt is where you want to be in life?


Ask this guy for help..
[IMG]


Nah. I stopped believing in that guy when I was like 4. Upset all the kids at preschool when I told him he wasn't real. Yes, I was *that* kid. :lol:

bananasinpajamas
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby bananasinpajamas » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:31 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
bananasinpajamas wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
bananasinpajamas wrote:For those with a negative view of the legal profession, in almost all cases going to law school is a voluntary choice. Of course there will be negatives and positives with any career choice, but if you find yours always being negative about law school maybe try something else that will help you find happiness.

As many have stated, the money may not be there even if you graduate law school and succeed. And the debt is of course another big issue, but if getting a law degree will help get you where you want to go in life and (hopefully) be happy, then more power to you.

:)


But what if not being stuck with a ridiculous amount of debt is where you want to be in life?


Ask this guy for help..
[IMG]


Nah. I stopped believing in that guy when I was like 4. Upset all the kids at preschool when I told him he wasn't real. Yes, I was *that* kid. :lol:


uh oh you were the debbie downer of preschool
Image

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Merr
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Merr » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:33 pm

acrossthelake wrote:
bananasinpajamas wrote:For those with a negative view of the legal profession, in almost all cases going to law school is a voluntary choice. Of course there will be negatives and positives with any career choice, but if you find yours always being negative about law school maybe try something else that will help you find happiness.

As many have stated, the money may not be there even if you graduate law school and succeed. And the debt is of course another big issue, but if getting a law degree will help get you where you want to go in life and (hopefully) be happy, then more power to you.

:)


But what if not being stuck with a ridiculous amount of debt is where you want to be in life?


It is certainly possible to get through law school without a lot of debt. The debt problem (for people with ok to good numbers) lies in the debt/prestige balance.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:39 pm

Merr wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:
bananasinpajamas wrote:For those with a negative view of the legal profession, in almost all cases going to law school is a voluntary choice. Of course there will be negatives and positives with any career choice, but if you find yours always being negative about law school maybe try something else that will help you find happiness.

As many have stated, the money may not be there even if you graduate law school and succeed. And the debt is of course another big issue, but if getting a law degree will help get you where you want to go in life and (hopefully) be happy, then more power to you.

:)


But what if not being stuck with a ridiculous amount of debt is where you want to be in life?


It is certainly possible to get through law school without a lot of debt. The debt problem (for people with ok to good numbers) lies in the debt/prestige balance.


Your statement does not run counter to general TLS sentiment either.

icydash
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby icydash » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:44 pm

A lot of the T14 or bust mentality comes from the fact that as you get higher numerically in USNEWS rank, you also go down in the number of graduates finding jobs/getting placed upon graduation. When you get to the high T2, and T3/T4 levels, those numbers get drastically low. At some of these schools, like 65% of graduates have jobs 9 months after graduation. If you factor in that jobs don't necessarily mean legal jobs, and that these numbers are fudged to begin with, you're probably looking at like a 50% (or worse) chance of finding legal work at graduation coming from some of these schools. Unfortunately, as the USNEWS rank goes up numerically, the tuition does not go down proportionally. If T2/T3/T4 schools had tuition rates proportional to the risk of having a 50% chance of not finding work, then I'd say go for it. But they have the same tuition as T14 schools with much, much more risk. Nobody wants to get hit with 150k in debt and have a job at McDonalds, a job paying 30k a year, or worse yet, no job at all. So, to minimize risk, and since you're paying 150k either way, the typical TLS wisdom is to go to the best school you can possibly get into.

I'm not trying to be a downer, I'm just trying to show why the mindset on TLS is so "T14 or bust".

At some point you have to decide how risk averse you are, and make the decision based on that. Most people with a legal mindset are extremely risk averse, hence again the "T14 or bust" mentality.
Last edited by icydash on Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Matthies
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Matthies » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:50 pm

NotANoob wrote:
Nola wrote:I am not going to say that my post is great. I will say however, that this is exactly the crowd that needs to hear this. I have a feeling that once we get admitted to law school and prepare to graduate all of this anxiety will just be a distant memory that we can all joke about at graduation.




Some things I would think about:
1. Are you business and sales minded? For most law students, the answer to this is no (if they really were, they would be getting an MBA or going straight into the job market). Individuals who are blessed with a strong business acumen tend to do well no matter where they go to school -- but the reason for their success has little to do with their school or their intelligence, and much more to do with their ability to strike out on their own or thrive in an environment where you eat what you kill. Don't over estimate your ability to fall in this category. Really talk to some people who have done well for themselves as solo practitioners or in smaller firms. Find out what they needed to do to get to where they are.

Basically, I really encourage people to look at law school with a long view. Have an idea what you want to be doing when you graduate. Then have an idea where you want to be 5, 10, and 15 years out. Make sure you have multiple avenues to get to those outcomes. Do not assume it will "just work itself out."

There are many, many ways to be a successful attorney. By no means to all of them require a T14 degree. But all of them require a plan. You will have the most options and the best chance of success if you start putting that plan into motion before you even apply.



This freaking this. Don't go to law school thinking its going to be a job where your entire career some else will tell you what to, bring in the business for you, take all the risks and still pay you double each year. law is more likes sales than it is like accounting.

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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Matthies » Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:55 pm

icydash wrote:A lot of the T14 or bust mentality comes from the fact that as you get higher numerically in USNEWS rank, you also go down in the number of graduates finding jobs/getting placed upon graduation. When you get to the high T2, and T3/T4 levels, those numbers get drastically low. At some of these schools, like 65% of graduates have jobs 9 months after graduation. If you factor in that jobs don't necessarily mean legal jobs, and that these numbers are fudged to begin with, you're probably looking at like a 50% (or worse) chance of finding legal work at graduation coming from some of these schools.


I'm not disputing that is defiantly harder to find a job at graduation lower down the totam pole, but just to be clear you understand the way legal hiring works as to why you can't do an apples to apples comparison of "jobs at graduation" between at t14 school and a t2 and why that nine month figure is important right?

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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby NU_Jet55 » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:25 pm

I don't care what any of you say, I'm a special snowflake.

icydash
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby icydash » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:50 pm

Matthies wrote:I'm not disputing that is defiantly harder to find a job at graduation lower down the totam pole, but just to be clear you understand the way legal hiring works as to why you can't do an apples to apples comparison of "jobs at graduation" between at t14 school and a t2 and

Well obviously it's not a perfect metric, and the kinds of jobs/quality of jobs, quality of reporting by the schools, etc are vastly varying.

Matthies wrote:why that nine month figure is important right?

I thought it was just because people can't or don't always get jobs immediately at graduation, and sometimes it takes longer to place people. Also, it takes into account people who get a job, fail the bar, and lose their job (or vice-versa) as a result....and it hopefully even shows a little bit as to the stability of the jobs graduates are getting. Is that not the case?
Last edited by icydash on Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WestOfTheRest
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby WestOfTheRest » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:52 pm

You people need to stop bitching. If you're this worried about career prospects don't go to law school at all. Go get an accounting degree, accounting firms are still hiring.

Nola
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Re: Let's Put Law School In Perspective - We Should All Be Proud

Postby Nola » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:58 pm

CastleRock wrote:You people need to stop bitching. If you're this worried about career prospects don't go to law school at all. Go get an accounting degree, accounting firms are still hiring.



I agree. So then I guess everyone on here saying how terrible it is going to be either is already or will be attending Yale since that is the only way you think you will be able to survive?

Why are any of you even considering this career? I have a feeling that if you were to pull up forums from 5-10 years ago you would hear the same bitching and moaning. I have been in the workforce for the past few years making a decent living and I am looking forward to continuing my journey by obtaining a law degree.

I am quite excited because I love learning how the world works.




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