Taking time off before law school?

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mdnitebalo
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Taking time off before law school?

Postby mdnitebalo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:21 pm

Is it a good idea to take a year off before going to law school? I'm uncertain about it. What are the costs and benefits?

gambelda
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby gambelda » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:08 pm

ALWAYS a good idea.

Benefits:
1) better resume
2) you can actually GET a job after you graduate law school (imagine these kids who have done 4 years of UG then 3 in law school with zero legitimate work experience for at or over a year) They have priced themselves out of most markets and companies want proof that you can survive and be a good worker.
3) you gain insight into the working world to see if you might enjoy something more than law and to really determine if law is for you
4) you look like a much better candidate to law schools. If you're on the fence at your top choices and they compare you to another person with the same GPA/score, you better believe they will take the person with legitimate work experience.
5) you save up money that you can allocate towards your 150K of debt. If anything, you can use the money to help with living expenses while in school.

Costs:
1) you're one year older entering law school (who gives a shit)

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AlanShore
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:15 pm

gambelda wrote:ALWAYS a good idea.

Benefits:
1) better resume
2) you can actually GET a job after you graduate law school (imagine these kids who have done 4 years of UG then 3 in law school with zero legitimate work experience for at or over a year) They have priced themselves out of most markets and companies want proof that you can survive and be a good worker.
3) you gain insight into the working world to see if you might enjoy something more than law and to really determine if law is for you
4) you look like a much better candidate to law schools. If you're on the fence at your top choices and they compare you to another person with the same GPA/score, you better believe they will take the person with legitimate work experience.
5) you save up money that you can allocate towards your 150K of debt. If anything, you can use the money to help with living expenses while in school.

Costs:
1) you're one year older entering law school (who gives a shit)

I agree. Definitely better resume, Northwestern did very well (compared to the other t14s) during 07-09 when the economy sucked. Northwestern is known for wanting older people w.work experience and law firms seem to appreciate that as well. I don't know about #4 in the sense that I don't think work experience makes you look MUCH better. I think its a good soft factor.. but its only a soft factor and gpa/lsat still trumps all.

All in all, I applied when I was a senior in college, got into a few places, but not my first choices and I didnt go. Even if I had gotten into my first choices I still wouldnt have gone. I was super lucky to land a good job and im realllly glad I decided to work first.. I'm still leaning towards LS but if I do, I'd have 2+yrs of WE which I hope will help me postLS and in general, it makes me much more sure about my decisions. I have friends and a bf in law school and many of the students who came fresh out of undergrad seem so immature and whiny. Not all of course.. but the whiny annoying ones tend to be the 22 year olds with no real experience outside of academia.

mdnitebalo
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby mdnitebalo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:45 pm

gambelda wrote:ALWAYS a good idea.
2) you can actually GET a job after you graduate law school (imagine these kids who have done 4 years of UG then 3 in law school with zero legitimate work experience for at or over a year) They have priced themselves out of most markets and companies want proof that you can survive and be a good worker.



so you're saying that it is harder to get a job out of law school if you have no prior work experience? What about summer internships during law school? Doesn't that help at all?

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gwuorbust
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby gwuorbust » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:03 pm

mdnitebalo wrote:
gambelda wrote:ALWAYS a good idea.
2) you can actually GET a job after you graduate law school (imagine these kids who have done 4 years of UG then 3 in law school with zero legitimate work experience for at or over a year) They have priced themselves out of most markets and companies want proof that you can survive and be a good worker.



so you're saying that it is harder to get a job out of law school if you have no prior work experience? What about summer internships during law school? Doesn't that help at all?


summer internship is mostly how you get your job coming form LS. however, getting those internships is based upon a) your law school, b) grades, c)activities (law review for example) and, d) past experience.

If you can't talk about anything during the interview your grades might be able to carry you if they are really baller..but if you don't have the grades or history that lets you have a baller interview..

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straxen
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby straxen » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:26 pm

gambelda wrote:ALWAYS a good idea.

Benefits:
1) better resume
2) you can actually GET a job after you graduate law school (imagine these kids who have done 4 years of UG then 3 in law school with zero legitimate work experience for at or over a year) They have priced themselves out of most markets and companies want proof that you can survive and be a good worker.
3) you gain insight into the working world to see if you might enjoy something more than law and to really determine if law is for you
4) you look like a much better candidate to law schools. If you're on the fence at your top choices and they compare you to another person with the same GPA/score, you better believe they will take the person with legitimate work experience.
5) you save up money that you can allocate towards your 150K of debt. If anything, you can use the money to help with living expenses while in school.

Costs:
1) you're one year older entering law school (who gives a shit)


+1. I can't imagine anyone not taking time off, except in very limited circumstances. I'd even say two or three years if you can get really good experience.

I appreciate law school so much more having actually worked for a living beforehand, and think it has really helped not burn out. People I see coming out of undergrad don't seem to be coping as well in law school. Not to mention I have something substantive to talk about for interviews. Now I know what mistakes not to repeat in recruiting, in my first legal job, and so forth. Do you really want your first job out of law school, which defines the rest of your career, to be your first real job?

Caveat: people often ask this in terms of getting into law school. In this sense, it doesn't really matter except on the margins or for places like NU, but for your own personal benefit, time off is very important.

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blerg
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby blerg » Tue Nov 16, 2010 3:21 pm

I agree so much with what everyone has said. I took 2 years off and worked a cool job. Career services looked relieved when then saw my resume.

Moreover, LS is a lot more like a job than school. Yeah, you're learning and going to class but the workload looks like a job (or at least the kind of job I had), not undergrad.

The downside is, most of my friends are getting married/having babies/living in nice places/still buying new clothes and I am a little jealous.

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AlanShore
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby AlanShore » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:41 pm

blerg wrote:I agree so much with what everyone has said. I took 2 years off and worked a cool job. Career services looked relieved when then saw my resume.

Moreover, LS is a lot more like a job than school. Yeah, you're learning and going to class but the workload looks like a job (or at least the kind of job I had), not undergrad.

The downside is, most of my friends are getting married/having babies/living in nice places/still buying new clothes and I am a little jealous.

where do you go to LS blerg? (if you dont mind). also, love Liz Lemon!!!!!!!

im still working but planning on applying next cycle. ill def miss having a solid paycheck, having money to go out to eat, etc but it is what it is! eh im fine not having babies for the time being..

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JG Hall
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby JG Hall » Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:43 pm

blah blah blah
do it.
you will never have significant time off again until you get knocked up/retire.

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pasunepipe
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby pasunepipe » Wed Nov 17, 2010 6:17 am

One thing I never see mentioned as a negative and I don't get why: rising medians! They seem to be going up at the vast majority of the top schools. With the heavy emphasis on numbers, wouldn't taking two years off and your score going from barely above median to above median (or whatever) trump whatever boost work experience gives you? For applications I mean.

This is the main reason I'm unsure about taking a year off.

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capitalacq
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby capitalacq » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:22 am

pasunepipe wrote:One thing I never see mentioned as a negative and I don't get why: rising medians! They seem to be going up at the vast majority of the top schools. With the heavy emphasis on numbers, wouldn't taking two years off and your score going from barely above median to above median (or whatever) trump whatever boost work experience gives you? For applications I mean.

This is the main reason I'm unsure about taking a year off.

No (especially not a year). and don't be so sure medians will continue rising this cycle/after it.

If you're considering taking time off, do it. You won't regret it.

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ahduth
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby ahduth » Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:40 am

pasunepipe wrote:One thing I never see mentioned as a negative and I don't get why: rising medians! They seem to be going up at the vast majority of the top schools. With the heavy emphasis on numbers, wouldn't taking two years off and your score going from barely above median to above median (or whatever) trump whatever boost work experience gives you? For applications I mean.

This is the main reason I'm unsure about taking a year off.


You have a point - medians are much like housing prices, inasmuch as they always go up. Eventually the medians are going to be prohibitively high - you'll be looking at 178 / 3.9 medians at most of the T14, and it will be almost impossible to get in.

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pasunepipe
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby pasunepipe » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:28 pm

.
Last edited by pasunepipe on Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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blink
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby blink » Wed Nov 17, 2010 4:47 pm

gambelda wrote:ALWAYS a good idea.

Benefits:
1) better resume
2) you can actually GET a job after you graduate law school (imagine these kids who have done 4 years of UG then 3 in law school with zero legitimate work experience for at or over a year) They have priced themselves out of most markets and companies want proof that you can survive and be a good worker.3) you gain insight into the working world to see if you might enjoy something more than law and to really determine if law is for you
4) you look like a much better candidate to law schools. If you're on the fence at your top choices and they compare you to another person with the same GPA/score, you better believe they will take the person with legitimate work experience.
5) you save up money that you can allocate towards your 150K of debt. If anything, you can use the money to help with living expenses while in school.

Costs:
1) you're one year older entering law school (who gives a shit)



Yeah, because law school performance and the summer firm gigs don't prove anything about your ability to survive and be a good worker. :roll:

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ahduth
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Re: Taking time off before law school?

Postby ahduth » Wed Nov 17, 2010 5:21 pm

blink wrote:Yeah, because law school performance and the summer firm gigs don't prove anything about your ability to survive and be a good worker. :roll:


Eh, I'll agree their comment was a little extreme, but work experience seems like a pretty significant differentiator.

Your comment about "be a good worker" really speaks to the point pretty concisely. The attorneys I've talked to have said that law school grads with no work experience often require a lot more hand-holding and aren't quite as adept at understanding corporate process (how the law firm operates internally). They expect to be told what to do very directly, and only after awhile learn to shark their way through the process (some people obviously learn this more quickly than others).

Also, if you can bring some sort of financial work experience (or other salable knowledge/expertise) into your job, your ability to compete for work internally within the firm is greatly enhanced.

Basically, going from directly from political science undergraduate to law school, does not necessarily mean you will then be immediately ready to work on General Electric's transactional work.




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