An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

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robotclubmember
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:40 am

to clarify, T25 is probably a worthwhile investment at full ride also. anything else... it's not saying you won't get a job. it's saying that the investment of 3 years of your life and the debt you will incur will not justify the opportunity to maybe get a job in which you may be making as much as if you just got a 6 month tech degree and became a plumber (and the plumber would have had an extra three years of plumber salary and significantly less debt). for real, law school is a losing investment.

people justify it to themselves with thus false dilemma: "i have a liberal arts degree, what can i do with it? therefore i HAVE to go to law school, OR the lib art degree was for nothing." but the lib arts degree is a sunk cost, and you shouldn't look at it is vocational, you got a great education that most of the worsd couldn't dream of having access to, it wasn't nothing. you're a better person now, put it in perspective bro. there shouldn't be a stigma on being a welder or a plumber, those guys make real products. and their prospects at financial security are way better than a TTT/TTTT lawyer. just yesterday i was reading an article in our local business paper about someone from our local T2 law school that now works as a shift supervisor at mcdonald's. the risk of failure is enough to say, if you are outside of T25 (or inside but without significant $$), you're playing roulette with your life. even if say, generously, 70% of those outside T25 land on their feet and do fine, a lot of them still only do just as well (or worse) than if they hadn't surrendered three years salary and taken three years of debt on, and instead took up on honest job (even if it didn't carry the fancy title and lay prestige so many people errantly lust for). the other 30% will do doc review for $20-hr in a sweat shop, or mcdonald's shift supervisor or another job they didn't need law school for. the numbers don't add up. the decision is shit.

IF YOU ARE NOW DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL, HAVE THIS WEALTH OF FACTS AND DATA AVAILABLE TO YOU, AND STILL DECIDE TO GO WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT $$$ OR AN ACCEPTANCE ELITE LAW SCHOOL, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

i'm sorry to beat a dead horse, but i feel like this board has a responsibility to inform. oh, and we're going into a double dip recession that will prob hit hardest in 2-3 years when you'll be going for 2L OCI.... have fun with that!

sharklasers
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby sharklasers » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:47 am

You know what they call the guy who graduates last in law school?

A lawyer.

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KeepitKind
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby KeepitKind » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:54 am

wow, RobotClub - shut dowwn! what do u have to say sharklasers now?

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cinephile
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby cinephile » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:56 am

robotclubmember wrote:to clarify, T25 is probably a worthwhile investment at full ride also. anything else... it's not saying you won't get a job. it's saying that the investment of 3 years of your life and the debt you will incur will not justify the opportunity to maybe get a job in which you may be making as much as if you just got a 6 month tech degree and became a plumber (and the plumber would have had an extra three years of plumber salary and significantly less debt). for real, law school is a losing investment.
IF YOU ARE NOW DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL, HAVE THIS WEALTH OF FACTS AND DATA AVAILABLE TO YOU, AND STILL DECIDE TO GO WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT $$$ OR AN ACCEPTANCE ELITE LAW SCHOOL, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.


I just had to respond to this part. People say the same thing to those considering college, but not all of us are capable of being plumbers or welders. I'm a young woman and would feel pretty uncomfortable making house calls. I also don't know that I would have the strength required for such a position.

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robotclubmember
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:57 am

be an RN or dental assistant off a 2-yr degree :) way better ROI than seven years of education to be a lawyer unless you're T14 material

droges
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby droges » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:01 pm

When I see a report saying that DC has a shortage of lawyers I start to quesiton the legitimacy of the report

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cinephile
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby cinephile » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:02 pm

I'll agree that going into nursing would've been a more secure career choice, but we're not all equipped to deal with patients. It requires a certain type of person.

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upfish
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby upfish » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:04 pm

cinephile wrote:I'll agree that going into nursing would've been a more secure career choice, but we're not all equipped to deal with patients. It requires a certain type of person.


Same way that I feel.

I guess we could go back and get our accounting degrees or something? Become scientists? :(

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robotclubmember
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:06 pm

droges wrote:When I see a report saying that DC has a shortage of lawyers I start to quesiton the legitimacy of the report


the study is flawed in that regard (bar members in DC grossly understates lawyers in DC because you don't need to be a member of DC to bar to work or seek legal employment in DC), and also flawed because it counts people admitted to the bar in a state in a given year, but people may choose to seek admission to the bar in multiple states, which would result in JD's being double counted. i don't understand why they chose to count newly admitted bar members because getting data on the number of new JD's isn't difficult. however, the substance of the study is still valid when taken as a whole, even if a part of it is obviously flawed in methodology. BLS statistics also support the surplus of lawyers.

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Hannibal
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby Hannibal » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:08 pm

cinephile wrote:
robotclubmember wrote:to clarify, T25 is probably a worthwhile investment at full ride also. anything else... it's not saying you won't get a job. it's saying that the investment of 3 years of your life and the debt you will incur will not justify the opportunity to maybe get a job in which you may be making as much as if you just got a 6 month tech degree and became a plumber (and the plumber would have had an extra three years of plumber salary and significantly less debt). for real, law school is a losing investment.
IF YOU ARE NOW DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO GO TO LAW SCHOOL, HAVE THIS WEALTH OF FACTS AND DATA AVAILABLE TO YOU, AND STILL DECIDE TO GO WITHOUT SIGNIFICANT $$$ OR AN ACCEPTANCE ELITE LAW SCHOOL, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.


I just had to respond to this part. People say the same thing to those considering college, but not all of us are capable of being plumbers or welders. I'm a young woman and would feel pretty uncomfortable making house calls. I also don't know that I would have the strength required for such a position.


I know people who are plumbers and welders and the like (and I personally am I blue collar worker ATM), and all of us are trying to get out because we know our bodies will be supremely fucked up when we get older if we keep this up.

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Samara
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby Samara » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:11 pm

I'm just a lowly 0L, so what do I know, but it seems to me you're being a bit alarmist, robotclubmember. I think we can agree that too many people are going through law school, but I would attribute that more to the expansion of TTT/TTTT schools than your overstatement of the current and future economic situation.

First of all, you use New York as your example of oversaturation of the legal market when NY is probably the most competitive legal market in the country. How many of those "bottleneck" people who didn't get a job their first year or two in NY are moving to a different state (back home or elsewhere)? I would venture to guess quite a few. This then further inflates the national numbers of people sitting for the bar as they have to take it again in their new state.

Saying that law is not worth it for anything less than T25 with a full ride is ridiculous. Not everyone wants to work biglaw in a top market. Take IU-Indy for example. It's a T2 school, but is well respected in Indianapolis. Sure, it wouldn't hold much weight outside of Indiana, but at in-state tuition, it's not a bad deal for someone who wants to stay in Indiana. Granted, for as many people as I know from there who have a good job, I know as many who still don't have employment in the legal field one or two years out. However, in the long term, as the economy recovers, it may still turn out to be a good investment for them. All in all, it's a gamble that many are willing to take.

As for the plumber comments, I don't know about you, but I went to college and am going to law school so that I don't have to spend all day fixing toilets. (no offense to plumbers) At the end of the day, even if I'm making the same amount I would make as a plumber, I still get to be a lawyer and not a plumber. That's worth quite a lot to me. And nursing is no cakewalk. Decent nursing jobs are still very competitive. ITE all jobs are that much more competitive, so you're promoting a false dichotomy.

So yes, be informed and be smart, but don't just write off law school for all who can't get a full ride at a T25.

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:12 pm

cinephile, BU with half scholly is a good choice, assuming you like it at least. a large factor is the quality of your education and what enrichment you get from it. i think people on TLS overlook that. but to some people, the value received from a high quality legal education, in terms of your growth as a person, is a factor that helps justify the investment too. though, i'm pretty sure that's not a driving force for most people to go to law school.

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby sharklasers » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:23 pm

If you want it enough, anything is possible.

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby robotclubmember » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:27 pm

Samara wrote:I'm just a lowly 0L, so what do I know, but it seems to me you're being a bit alarmist, robotclubmember. I think we can agree that too many people are going through law school, but I would attribute that more to the expansion of TTT/TTTT schools than your overstatement of the current and future economic situation.


Overstated the economic outlook? The fed has exhausted ALL of its methods to spur recovery. Bernanke is fighting a mob of zombies and he's totally out of ammo. You seem to think that we've seen the worst recession we'll ever see. No regulation has been introduced that substantially solves problems in the financial markets. The dollar's value is nosediving, unemployment is rising, the housing market never recovered, consumer confidence is at its lowest point since it was indexed, consumer and government debt are at all-time highs, social programs and wars have created unsustainable fiscal burdens that will extend for decades to come and gross domestic production is lackluster at best. Did you know we spend $20 billion a year on air conditioning in Afghanistan for our troops? And pay for it with debt? Political stalemates make resolving these issue highly unlikely. We climbed a few inches out of the hole in 2010, but we have a long way to go, and the stimulus spending didn't work. Problems in the economy are also the systemic results of emerging markets across the globe that we can't necessarily will away with domestic policies, but if we could, the policies are failing. Not trying to be internet political douche here, but my point is, if you actually possess the ability to look forward, you will find that the economy is not a pretty picture in 2 or 3 years, and neither is the legal market (not a disaster, but don't rely on a huge recovery happening from 2009). Of course, opportunities will always exist for people with the right talents and a little luck. But just because you can't see what's happening in the economy doesn't mean it's actually not happening.

Samara wrote:First of all, you use New York as your example of oversaturation of the legal market when NY is probably the most competitive legal market in the country. How many of those "bottleneck" people who didn't get a job their first year or two in NY are moving to a different state (back home or elsewhere)? I would venture to guess quite a few. This then further inflates the national numbers of people sitting for the bar as they have to take it again in their new state.


Don't those states have surpluses of lawyers too? And dude, three years of debt with no source of income followed by a year of job hunting in NY, again with little income, puts you in a hole for the rest of your life. This is something that should scare you, not be considered as evidence that things aren't as bad as they seem. The methodological flaws are noted, but the supply and demand numbers are still grossly out of equilibrium.

Samara wrote:Saying that law is not worth it for anything less than T25 with a full ride is ridiculous. Not everyone wants to work biglaw in a top market. Take IU-Indy for example. It's a T2 school, but is well respected in Indianapolis. Sure, it wouldn't hold much weight outside of Indiana, but at in-state tuition, it's not a bad deal for someone who wants to stay in Indiana. Granted, for as many people as I know from there who have a good job, I know as many who still don't have employment in the legal field one or two years out. However, in the long term, as the economy recovers, it may still turn out to be a good investment for them. All in all, it's a gamble that many are willing to take.


Lol... Sounds like a winning investment. Trade three years of salary in for three years of debt for a 50% chance at a job in your field? Smart financial planning.

Samara wrote:As for the plumber comments, I don't know about you, but I went to college and am going to law school so that I don't have to spend all day fixing toilets. (no offense to plumbers) At the end of the day, even if I'm making the same amount I would make as a plumber, I still get to be a lawyer and not a plumber. That's worth quite a lot to me. And nursing is no cakewalk. Decent nursing jobs are still very competitive. ITE all jobs are that much more competitive, so you're promoting a false dichotomy.


What's so bad about fixing toilets? Is it really so much worse than doc review? Read areyouinsane's posts, lol. Look, if being able to tell people you're a lawyer instead of a plumber makes you feel more accomplished in life, fine, but then the reasons are personal. My argument is that law school is a bad financial decision, and that argument appears to be sound. The plumber would go through one year of vocational school at dirt cheap prices and then make the same money most sub-T25 lawyers average out to make, after giving up seven years of income and taking on seven years of debt. If being a plumber disgusts you so much that you'd rather mortgage your future on a 50% chance of legal employment coming out of IU-Indy than fix a toilet, that's your beef. This to me signifies a deeper crisis in the entitled attitude of American college students but that's a whole 'nother bag of chips.

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:31 pm

sharklasers wrote:If you want it enough, anything is possible.


Wow.

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby scammedhard » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:35 pm

sharklasers wrote:If you want it enough, anything is possible.

25K openings for 50K job seekers. I guess the other 25K did not "want it enough."

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby chem » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:39 pm

In response to robotclub on being a plumber, theres a good speech that mike rowe gave to the commerce committee.

An excerpt

[Mike Rowe]
Right now, American manufacturing is struggling to fill 200,000 vacant positions, I’m told. And there are 450,000 openings today in trades, transportation and utilities. The skills gap seems real, and it’s getting wider. In Alabama, a third of all skilled tradesmen are now over 55. They’re retiring fast, and there is really nobody to replace them.

[Mike Rowe]
Alabama’s not alone. A few months ago in Atlanta I ran into Tom Vilsack, our Secretary of Agriculture. Tom told me about a governor, he knows, who is unable to move forward on the construction of a power plant. The reason I thought was fascinating wasn’t for the lack of funds or the lack of support. It was a lack of qualified welders.

[Mike Rowe]
In general, people are surprised that high unemployment can exist at the same time as a skilled labor shortage. But they shouldn’t be. We’ve pretty much guaranteed it.

[Mike Rowe]
In high schools, the vocational arts have all but vanished. We’ve elevated the importance of “higher education” to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled as “alternative.” Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and really valuable on-the-job-training opportunities as “vocational consolation prizes,” best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about creating millions of “shovel ready” jobs for a society that doesn’t really encourage people to pick up a shovel.

[Mike Rowe] Source: LYBIO.net
In a hundred different ways, I think we have slowly marginalized an entire category of critical professions, reshaping our expectations of a “good job” into something that no longer looks like work. A few years from now, an hour with a good plumber if you can find one is going to cost more than an hour with a good psychiatrist. At which point we’ll all be in need of both.

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cinephile
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby cinephile » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:40 pm

robotclubmember wrote:cinephile, BU with half scholly is a good choice, assuming you like it at least. a large factor is the quality of your education and what enrichment you get from it. i think people on TLS overlook that. but to some people, the value received from a high quality legal education, in terms of your growth as a person, is a factor that helps justify the investment too. though, i'm pretty sure that's not a driving force for most people to go to law school.


Thanks, I suppose we're on the same page. From your earlier posts, I felt that your view was a bit extreme. But maybe I've overestimated the amount of research people put into a decision involving over $100k in loans and/or the driving force for going to law school.

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KibblesAndVick
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby KibblesAndVick » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:59 pm

What we really need is accurate data on a school-by-school basis. The problems with obtaining that information is a different can of worms but still. National and state-by-state data can't help you make an informed decision when you're looking at schools like Columbia or Michigan or Georgetown. The job prospects just aren't the same so looking at employment data for everyone who passes the bar doesn't tell you what you need to know.

I'm not trying to argue that the T14 is still a safe bet with regard to employment. Just that trying to extrapolate the job prospects from the top law schools based on employment data from all law schools isn't very helpful.

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Mickey Quicknumbers
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby Mickey Quicknumbers » Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:04 pm

sharklasers wrote:You know what they call the guy who graduates last in law school?

A lawyer permanently unemployable in the legal profession unless he can overcome the 90%+ failure rate of opening a solo shop (which he won't, because he finished last in his class and probably has a poor grasp on all things related to the law).

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby czelede » Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:29 pm

Wait, so does this mean I should /self for picking T14 over T6 at sticker?

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Samara
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby Samara » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:02 pm

robotclubmember wrote:
Samara wrote:I'm just a lowly 0L, so what do I know, but it seems to me you're being a bit alarmist, robotclubmember. I think we can agree that too many people are going through law school, but I would attribute that more to the expansion of TTT/TTTT schools than your overstatement of the current and future economic situation.


Overstated the economic outlook? The fed has exhausted ALL of its methods to spur recovery. Bernanke is fighting a mob of zombies and he's totally out of ammo. You seem to think that we've seen the worst recession we'll ever see. No regulation has been introduced that substantially solves problems in the financial markets. The dollar's value is nosediving, unemployment is rising, the housing market never recovered, consumer confidence is at its lowest point since it was indexed, consumer and government debt are at all-time highs, social programs and wars have created unsustainable fiscal burdens that will extend for decades to come and gross domestic production is lackluster at best. Did you know we spend $20 billion a year on air conditioning in Afghanistan for our troops? And pay for it with debt? Political stalemates make resolving these issue highly unlikely. We climbed a few inches out of the hole in 2010, but we have a long way to go, and the stimulus spending didn't work. Problems in the economy are also the systemic results of emerging markets across the globe that we can't necessarily will away with domestic policies, but if we could, the policies are failing. Not trying to be internet political douche here, but my point is, if you actually possess the ability to look forward, you will find that the economy is not a pretty picture in 2 or 3 years, and neither is the legal market (not a disaster, but don't rely on a huge recovery happening from 2009). Of course, opportunities will always exist for people with the right talents and a little luck. But just because you can't see what's happening in the economy doesn't mean it's actually not happening.


Not to get too distracted from the original point of the thread, but the economic outlook is not as dire as you paint it. Unemployment is actually holding steady, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm, the Case-Shiller index shows the housing market to be stabilized, http://seekingalpha.com/article/277020- ... ice-trends, real estate should be able to start growing by sometime next year when the glut of foreclosures are finally unloaded, consumer debt as a share of household income is at its lowest point since 1994, http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/housedebt/, and corporate profits are at a all-time high, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/2 ... 40538.html. We aren't going to be back to "normal" tomorrow, but the next 2-3 years should see decent to strong job growth, closing this unemployment gap.

robotclubmember wrote:
Samara wrote:Saying that law is not worth it for anything less than T25 with a full ride is ridiculous. Not everyone wants to work biglaw in a top market. Take IU-Indy for example. It's a T2 school, but is well respected in Indianapolis. Sure, it wouldn't hold much weight outside of Indiana, but at in-state tuition, it's not a bad deal for someone who wants to stay in Indiana. Granted, for as many people as I know from there who have a good job, I know as many who still don't have employment in the legal field one or two years out. However, in the long term, as the economy recovers, it may still turn out to be a good investment for them. All in all, it's a gamble that many are willing to take.


Lol... Sounds like a winning investment. Trade three years of salary in for three years of debt for a 50% chance at a job in your field? Smart financial planning.


Haha, no doubt certain people I know should probably have reconsidered law school, but I have two points to make. One, those who don't have legal field employment now may still get it in the future as the economy recovers. Yes, it's going to put them in a difficult situation until they do, but I don't think (hopefully) that's it's a lost cause. Secondly, when you compare the people I know who have succeeded and the people who haven't, the ones who did get legal field employment came into law school with strong job prospects. The ones who didn't get legal field employment went to law school because, as you mentioned, they felt like they didn't have anything else to do. Should the ones with the strong career connections not have gone to IU-Indy? My point is that plenty of people can succeed there and we shouldn't discourage those people.

robotclubmember wrote:
Samara wrote:As for the plumber comments, I don't know about you, but I went to college and am going to law school so that I don't have to spend all day fixing toilets. (no offense to plumbers) At the end of the day, even if I'm making the same amount I would make as a plumber, I still get to be a lawyer and not a plumber. That's worth quite a lot to me. And nursing is no cakewalk. Decent nursing jobs are still very competitive. ITE all jobs are that much more competitive, so you're promoting a false dichotomy.


What's so bad about fixing toilets? Is it really so much worse than doc review? Read areyouinsane's posts, lol. Look, if being able to tell people you're a lawyer instead of a plumber makes you feel more accomplished in life, fine, but then the reasons are personal. My argument is that law school is a bad financial decision, and that argument appears to be sound. The plumber would go through one year of vocational school at dirt cheap prices and then make the same money most sub-T25 lawyers average out to make, after giving up seven years of income and taking on seven years of debt. If being a plumber disgusts you so much that you'd rather mortgage your future on a 50% chance of legal employment coming out of IU-Indy than fix a toilet, that's your beef. This to me signifies a deeper crisis in the entitled attitude of American college students but that's a whole 'nother bag of chips.


I guess I was unclear on my attitude towards plumbers. It's not that I think I'm too good to be a plumber. It's that I know that I would suck at it and I wouldn't enjoy it. I'm good at and enjoy doing liberal-artsy, lawyery type things, so I would be much happier in that type of job and would be willing to take bigger risks for it. If I was any good at being a plumber and liked, I'd probably be out starting my own plumbing business right now and making a lot more money. (By the way, I think we'd be on the same side regarding the 'nother bag of chips. There are too many people going to college and graduate school in general.)

I guess I see your opinion on "who should go to law school" as "who should go to law school no matter the circumstances." Below T25 full-ride, there are plenty of good opportunities for people, provided the right circumstances. The further down the rankings you go and the less scholly you're getting the better the circumstances have to be and the harder you better think about law school, but there's still value in T50 and TT. Not to mention schools with specialty programs. If I'm into historic preservation, for example, it may be worthwhile for me to choose Georgia over Emory as Georgia has a joint JD/MFA program.

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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby blehGPAgoodLSAT » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:08 pm

It seems to me that robot is on an all-out mission to get as many people as he/she can to drop out of the whole application process. I'd have to respectfully disagree and encourage people to apply. There's nothing negative other than a few lost days of prep and potentially ~$1,000 if you don't get fee waivers.

I would agree that the market is tough but just because one won't be poppin' bottles with models doesn't mean that one has to completely give up their commitment to learn the law altogether. I know tons of people who graduated from T50 schools in the past year or two and have begun great careers as lawyers in California.

Follow your dreams, friends. :)

Obviously you should be responsible with your financial decisions but I think the answer isn't to panic because of a NY Times article and drop all the hard work you've put in to prepare for law school just because you can't get T14 with a scholarship. A much more reasonable approach to this, imo, would be to apply to law school... see where you get into and look up the 25%/50%/75% income statistics for that school and weigh it against the tuition.

Take SMU - USNWR 50, for example. Knowing nothing about your specific circumstances, using median data from --LinkRemoved-- can be the best way to see if law school is worth it before you give up altogether because of some bad data. The average salary for 9 months after graduation is $107,160 conservatively. All I did was use the median $120,000 * .893 (the percentage reported) to find the adjusted median assuming everyone who didn't report is making $0. So you use that number and weigh it against the opportunity lost for three years wages and add that to tuition and take it out ~8 years (again a conservative estimate because you should be getting raises but this will adjust for time value of money/inflation to lost wages now).

Adjusted average income in 8 years for attending SMU: $964,440
Tuition for SMU + Room & Broad (US News): $174,558
Net return on investment for law school after 8 years of becoming a lawyer: $789,882

If you had a chance to go to SMU, it would only make sense not to go if your annual income now is $71,807 or greater (789,882 (net ROI) / 11 (years spent in law school + 8 years working a.k.a. opportunity cost of law school & becoming a lawyer)).

All this calculation is done at SMU's sticker price at the peak of the recession.

Do this for all the schools you get into and see if it's worth it or not.

If I missed something big, please correct me. With my spliter scores (170/3.5) and a pretty solid position in finance, I'm also deciding whether or not to go to law school. I would love the opportunity to learn the law and the numbers do seem to justify it in some instances.

Edit: took out the double "the"... it was bothering me haha
Last edited by blehGPAgoodLSAT on Tue Jun 28, 2011 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Samara
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Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby Samara » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:32 pm

blehGPAgoodLSAT wrote:It seems to me that robot is on an all-out mission to get as many people as he/she can to drop out of the whole application process. I'd have to respectfully disagree and encourage people to apply. There's nothing negative other than a few lost days of prep and potentially ~$1,000 if you don't get fee waivers.

I would agree that the market is tough but just because one won't be poppin' bottles with models doesn't mean that one has to completely give up their commitment to learn the law altogether. I know tons of people who graduated from T50 schools in the past year or two and have begun great careers as lawyers in California.

Follow your dreams, friends. :)

Obviously you should be responsible with your financial decisions but I think the answer isn't to panic because of a NY Times article and drop all the hard work you've put in to prepare for law school just because you can't get T14 with a scholarship. A much more reasonable approach to this, imo, would be to apply to law school... see where you get into and look up the 25%/50%/75% income statistics for that school and weigh it against the tuition.

Take SMU - USNWR 50, for example. Knowing nothing about your specific circumstances, using median data from --LinkRemoved-- can be the best way to see if law school is worth it before you give up altogether because of some bad data. The average salary for 9 months after graduation is $107,160 conservatively. All I did was use the median $120,000 * .893 (the percentage reported) to find the adjusted median assuming everyone who didn't report is making $0. So you use that number and weigh it against the opportunity lost for three years wages and add that to tuition and take it out ~8 years (again a conservative estimate because you should be getting raises but this will adjust for time value of money/inflation to lost wages now).

Adjusted average income in 8 years for attending SMU: $964,440
Tuition for SMU + Room & Broad (US News): $174,558
Net return on investment for law school after 8 years of becoming a lawyer: $789,882

If you had a chance to go to SMU, it would only make sense not to go if your annual income now is $71,807 or greater (789,882 (net ROI) / 11 (years spent in law school + 8 years working a.k.a. opportunity cost of law school & becoming a lawyer)).

All this calculation is done at SMU's sticker price at the peak of the recession.

Do this for all the schools you get into and see if it's worth it or not.

If I missed something big, please correct me. With my spliter scores (170/3.5) and a pretty solid position in finance, I'm also deciding whether or not to go to law school. I would love the opportunity to learn the law and the the numbers do seem to justify it in some instances.

Good points, however, I must point out that you forgot interest on your loans, not an insignificant amount, and the point that average SMU students are not making average salaries. If I understand the stats correctly, salaries are a bit top-heavy, even at a T50 like SMU, so if you're someone who isn't confident of placing well above the median in your class, you may want to take a long, hard look at law school. Regardless, you're right, the return on investment is usually pretty large.

That said, with your numbers and WE, you're definitely getting into the T14, possibly with money around the edge of that list. You're in a really good boat for law school. If your LSAT was more like 163 though, I'm not sure I'd give up a good position in finance for law school.

sharklasers
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:52 pm

Re: An Analysis of the Lawyer Surplus

Postby sharklasers » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:43 pm

blehGPAgoodLSAT, your math and your logic are both fucked.

LST says that only 81.8% of graduates are represented by a known salary range (derived from self-reported salaries + Article III clerkships + self-reported unemployment). So, following your method, you should at least multiply the median 120,000 * .818 = 98,160. That's also misleading, because it looks like about 3 in 10 graduates (self-reported 10% unemployment plus the 20% silent crowds) get $0, are buried in debt, and want to kill themselves, and the other 7 out of 10 are all over the place. And it's important to remember that the risk isn't spread totally equally over everyone--the wild child who breaks out in Big Dallaslaw isn't sending checks back to his bumpkin cousin eating pork and beans at the Southern Methodist shelter.




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