Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

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notaznguy
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Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby notaznguy » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:44 am

I was sad at my February LSAT score. For the sake of this conversation, let's assume I cannot retake.

Anyways, the only law schools that were within my reach were schools like Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Pepperdine Law, and UC Hastings. Each one of these schools I would have had to borrow 180k. Technically, I can still apply to these schools (I'm almost sure I'd be accepted based on LSN) and go to one of them. But truth be told, I don't think I would have been top 10% or whatever and I doubt I would have gotten a big law job.

My current other option is to pursue a Masters in Social Work and just settle with a government job and make around 50k starting and gradually move up to 60k and 70k as I work (though it won't get much higher than that). Of course I'll also get great benefits if I pursue this route as well and will likely work a 8-5pm job.

I'm always sad when I think about pursuing a MSW, not because I dislike the job, but simply because it's a pretty pathetic income. I always imagined myself if I went to law school I'd be making 80-90k in my life and eventually break 100k.

I'm almost certain I'm going to abandon my pursuit of law, but before I do, am I really missing much? Am I really missing the chance of my life to make that 100k salary?

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DaftAndDirect
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby DaftAndDirect » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:55 am

Interesting article that may make you feel better:

http://www.joshuakennon.com/the-price-o ... -per-year/

09042014
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby 09042014 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:29 am

notaznguy wrote:I was sad at my February LSAT score. For the sake of this conversation, let's assume I cannot retake.

Anyways, the only law schools that were within my reach were schools like Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Pepperdine Law, and UC Hastings. Each one of these schools I would have had to borrow 180k. Technically, I can still apply to these schools (I'm almost sure I'd be accepted based on LSN) and go to one of them. But truth be told, I don't think I would have been top 10% or whatever and I doubt I would have gotten a big law job.

My current other option is to pursue a Masters in Social Work and just settle with a government job and make around 50k starting and gradually move up to 60k and 70k as I work (though it won't get much higher than that). Of course I'll also get great benefits if I pursue this route as well and will likely work a 8-5pm job.

I'm always sad when I think about pursuing a MSW, not because I dislike the job, but simply because it's a pretty pathetic income. I always imagined myself if I went to law school I'd be making 80-90k in my life and eventually break 100k.

I'm almost certain I'm going to abandon my pursuit of law, but before I do, am I really missing much? Am I really missing the chance of my life to make that 100k salary?


Just do CS bro.

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sunynp
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby sunynp » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:24 am

I know people who have MSW and get their own practices going. They can make a really good income - at least in New York where (some) people have money and everyone goes to therapy.

also, yes you did the right thing. Your three years from now self who would have been graduating with 6 figures of nondischargeable debt and no way to pay it back, thanks you. You don't want to live with loan payments for the rest of your life.

And, a lot of lawyers hate their life. You might have been one of them, no matter how appealing it seems to you now.

xcountryjunkie
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby xcountryjunkie » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:21 am

$100K is totally achievable from Hastings. A lot more than that is actually.

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Gail
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby Gail » Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:45 am

notaznguy wrote:I was sad at my February LSAT score. For the sake of this conversation, let's assume I cannot retake.

Anyways, the only law schools that were within my reach were schools like Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Pepperdine Law, and UC Hastings. Each one of these schools I would have had to borrow 180k. Technically, I can still apply to these schools (I'm almost sure I'd be accepted based on LSN) and go to one of them. But truth be told, I don't think I would have been top 10% or whatever and I doubt I would have gotten a big law job.

My current other option is to pursue a Masters in Social Work and just settle with a government job and make around 50k starting and gradually move up to 60k and 70k as I work (though it won't get much higher than that). Of course I'll also get great benefits if I pursue this route as well and will likely work a 8-5pm job.

I'm always sad when I think about pursuing a MSW, not because I dislike the job, but simply because it's a pretty pathetic income. I always imagined myself if I went to law school I'd be making 80-90k in my life and eventually break 100k.

I'm almost certain I'm going to abandon my pursuit of law, but before I do, am I really missing much? Am I really missing the chance of my life to make that 100k salary?



You are way overestimating your earning power in social work. 50k? Maybe in 10 years. What did you think you'd be earning as a lawyer? Likelihood is that you'd start at 55k and move up to around 80-100k (big range).

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TommyK
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby TommyK » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:03 am

Gail wrote:You are way overestimating your earning power in social work. 50k? Maybe in 10 years. What did you think you'd be earning as a lawyer? Likelihood is that you'd start at 55k and move up to around 80-100k (big range).


You are way overestimating your salary knowledge of social workers in Southern California.

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cinephile
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby cinephile » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:09 am

Gail wrote:

You are way overestimating your earning power in social work. 50k? Maybe in 10 years. What did you think you'd be earning as a lawyer? Likelihood is that you'd start at 55k and move up to around 80-100k (big range).


Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Pretty much all the girls I know who earned a MSW started off with $30k/yr. But you don't do social work for the money. Although people say you shouldn't go to law school for the money either.

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TommyK
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby TommyK » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:10 am

OP - You're saying you can either go for your MSW or rack up $200k in law school debt. There are other options. Off the top of my head:

-break into a different career
-work as a social worker for a few years while your LSAT score lapses and you can retake
-pursue a different, funded graduate program
-join the military
-do teach for america
-apply for the peace corp

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TommyK
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby TommyK » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:12 am

cinephile wrote:
Gail wrote:

You are way overestimating your earning power in social work. 50k? Maybe in 10 years. What did you think you'd be earning as a lawyer? Likelihood is that you'd start at 55k and move up to around 80-100k (big range).


Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Pretty much all the girls I know who earned a MSW started off with $30k/yr. But you don't do social work for the money. Although people say you shouldn't go to law school for the money either.


I dated a girl in college who after doing her MSW, she was pulling down $40k+ and she lived in the midwest. Not hard to imagine that would translate into a bit higher in Southern Cali. Plus... 10 years to maybe break $50k? c'mon...

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jessuf
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby jessuf » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:49 am

It's not like those jobs are easy to come by anyway. My friend got her MSW from Columbia and could only find work 2 days a week as a counselor for a community college making $12/hr. And she racked up a lot of debt from school. Sounds really fun.

What about sales? A family member sells wine and liquor (can't remember which company) and makes a killing (for sales...). My friend from college works for Bacardi in sales and marketing and also makes a killing and spends his work hours doing stuff like parties in Miami and taste testing new product.

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DCDuck
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby DCDuck » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:58 am

What is with everyone poo-pooing $50K Salaries? It is above the national average and perfectly livable in most cities, especially if you don't have $180k in debt. I can understand people who went to law school hoping for 100K salary, particularly if they have debt, but without law school, $50k starting is pretty good. Most people never make 100K annually, and even a lot of law school graduates will never make that, or won't for a long time.

Whether that is the salary for a social worker is another thing.

Also, never underestimate the power of good benefits.

Edit: And $50k is good for a starting lawyer salary, too, these days. I was just saying I can understand law grads expecting to be able to get a much higher salary after law school than they can before. Unfortunately, that doesn't happen for everyone.
Last edited by DCDuck on Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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TommyK
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby TommyK » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:30 am

DCDuck wrote:What is with everyone poo-pooing $50K Salaries? It is above the national average and perfectly livable in most cities, especially if you don't have $180k in debt. I can understand people who went to law school hoping for 100K salary, particularly if they have debt, but without law school, $50k starting is pretty good. Most people never make 100K annually, and even a lot of law school graduates will never make that, or won't for a long time.

Whether that is the salary for a social worker is another thing.

Also, never underestimate the power of good benefits.


Nahh, most people aren't poo-pooing $50k. In fact most people on this board are so filled with self-hatred that they will adamently support somebody going into a gig that pays $50k as opposed to going to law school. But understand that $50k is totally different in southern california. Rent is stoopid expensive.

But agree 100% with your last point. Benefits are pretty damn important. But I wouldn't put too much weight in any benefits that are vested by the state of California. I imagine the state will go broke in the next 10 years and then who knows about a state retirement program or health contributions...

MrAnon
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby MrAnon » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:44 am

If salary is your big focus you should look for a job in finance.

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sunynp
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby sunynp » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:54 am

xcountryjunkie wrote:$100K is totally achievable from Hastings. A lot more than that is actually.

What are the stats on that? Is 100k a common salary from these schools? I've only heard had crowded the California market is- but I don't know anything about it.

I still think OP is doing the right thing by not taking on that much debt for these particular schools. I don't hate myself- I'm just very debt averse.

sillyboots
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby sillyboots » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:19 pm

if your only primary interest is cash money (and not for example, being happy or not being an alcoholic) it's true that you're better off staying away from lawschool unless you can destroy your next lsat.

FWIW I indirectly know someone who got ~153 on first LSAT try, then holed up for a year or something and took every single previous LSAT in existence and studied his ass off and got a 178 and landed himself in columbia. Don't assume you can't retake.

timbs4339
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:42 pm

notaznguy wrote:I was sad at my February LSAT score. For the sake of this conversation, let's assume I cannot retake.

Anyways, the only law schools that were within my reach were schools like Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Pepperdine Law, and UC Hastings. Each one of these schools I would have had to borrow 180k. Technically, I can still apply to these schools (I'm almost sure I'd be accepted based on LSN) and go to one of them. But truth be told, I don't think I would have been top 10% or whatever and I doubt I would have gotten a big law job.

My current other option is to pursue a Masters in Social Work and just settle with a government job and make around 50k starting and gradually move up to 60k and 70k as I work (though it won't get much higher than that). Of course I'll also get great benefits if I pursue this route as well and will likely work a 8-5pm job.

I'm always sad when I think about pursuing a MSW, not because I dislike the job, but simply because it's a pretty pathetic income. I always imagined myself if I went to law school I'd be making 80-90k in my life and eventually break 100k.

I'm almost certain I'm going to abandon my pursuit of law, but before I do, am I really missing much? Am I really missing the chance of my life to make that 100k salary?


If you can't get biglaw or state gov (which you most likely won't) your fate will most likely be 1) unemployed or temp/part-time work for an hourly wage, 2) working in small law (tiny practices of 2-20 lawyers) for about 40-50K. The question is then whether you can slog it out and work your way up to having your own successful practice or becoming partner at a small firm.

Some people who start out at a 40-50K law job will eventually make bank running their own practices. Or at least they used to. There is no indication that the market for small firm lawyers will get any better- there are a ton of people willing to work those jobs and the Boomers who have all the clients and ad money are not retiring any time soon. Increasing amounts of individual client, small time legal work (wills, divorces, DUIs, personal bankruptcy, small business incorporation, home closings, small claims suits, etc.) are being automated, taken out of the hands of lawyers, or people just can't pay.

Don't forget that while you are scrounging in the low paid small firm legal sector, your debt will be growing very fast. By the time you get out of law school you will probably have 190K of debt (interest accrues during school) and that's 15K per year in interest payments alone. So discount at least 15K from that 40-50K. If you want to pay on a 10 year repayment schedule that's another 20K per year. If you can make 50K in social work you will be in a much better position than starting out at an effective salary of about 15K (50K small firm work minus 15K interest and 20K principal). This assumes you will be employed at all. If you don't want to pay down the debt you will have to wait 20 years for IBR to erase your debts (taking a huge tax hit). That's assuming IBR is still around in 20 years, which is a big assumption.

So your prospects of making that 100K salary are not very good, and it's definitely not worth the risk. Begin another career with no debt and bust your ass.

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20130312
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby 20130312 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:44 pm

sunynp wrote:
xcountryjunkie wrote:$100K is totally achievable from Hastings. A lot more than that is actually.

What are the stats on that? Is 100k a common salary from these schools?


Absolutely. It's all bottles and models out in Cali.

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splitbrain
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby splitbrain » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:15 pm

InGoodFaith wrote:
sunynp wrote:
xcountryjunkie wrote:$100K is totally achievable from Hastings. A lot more than that is actually.

What are the stats on that? Is 100k a common salary from these schools?


Absolutely. It's all bottles and models out in Cali.


Gonna go ahead and apply my sarcasm translator just in case people didn't get this:

"Achievable? Yes. Common? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA"

Edit: Just to actually contribute something...

From --LinkRemoved--

The median salary reported from grads in full-time bar-required positions 9 months after graduation was $115,000. Looking at the numbers, this is about 70-71 people that reported making $115,000 or more, out of a class of 421 (or, 16.75% of the entire graduating class). Don't take this 16.75% to heart, because I am not accounting for federal clerkships, and there might be people that, for whatever reason, didn't report their six figure salary. Additionally, you were asking for $100k+ and I can really only effectively deliver info about $115k+. But eh either way, you get the point.

The stats are worse at Loyola and Pepperdine.
Last edited by splitbrain on Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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20130312
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby 20130312 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:19 pm

splitbrain wrote:Gonna go ahead and apply my sarcasm translator just in case people didn't get this


Much appreciated. I wish someone would follow me around IRL and do this.

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spleenworship
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby spleenworship » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:28 pm

Want money? Don't want to go to law school? Can you get an MBA from one of the big schools for that? If you gpa is good, and you get a good score on the GMAT that may be possible....

Jhuen_the_bird
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby Jhuen_the_bird » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:09 pm

DCDuck wrote: but without law school, $50k starting is pretty good.



Many MANY recent law school graduates would love to be making $50K right now. $40k-$60K for non-biglaw firms is pretty standard. I've heard of people making less as attorneys for smaller firms. I'm at a big law firm as a staff attorney and NOT making 6 figures (although I feel like I'm making plenty of money since I'm making far more than most other law grads I know, don't have a lot of debt, and am married - so two-income household).

No one should go to law school to make 6 figures. It just isn't happening. Yes, a few do make that, but it isn't something to hold your breath for ... or take the risk of 6 figure debt for.

bdubs
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby bdubs » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:22 pm

If you want to make decent money you should try your best to get a job in corporate sales. If you're decent at it and put in some hustle, you can realistically make over $100k. It doesn't require any advanced degrees or even a lot of intelligence, you just have to be likeable and hard working.

notaznguy
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby notaznguy » Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:05 pm

Gail wrote:
notaznguy wrote:I was sad at my February LSAT score. For the sake of this conversation, let's assume I cannot retake.

Anyways, the only law schools that were within my reach were schools like Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, Pepperdine Law, and UC Hastings. Each one of these schools I would have had to borrow 180k. Technically, I can still apply to these schools (I'm almost sure I'd be accepted based on LSN) and go to one of them. But truth be told, I don't think I would have been top 10% or whatever and I doubt I would have gotten a big law job.

My current other option is to pursue a Masters in Social Work and just settle with a government job and make around 50k starting and gradually move up to 60k and 70k as I work (though it won't get much higher than that). Of course I'll also get great benefits if I pursue this route as well and will likely work a 8-5pm job.

I'm always sad when I think about pursuing a MSW, not because I dislike the job, but simply because it's a pretty pathetic income. I always imagined myself if I went to law school I'd be making 80-90k in my life and eventually break 100k.

I'm almost certain I'm going to abandon my pursuit of law, but before I do, am I really missing much? Am I really missing the chance of my life to make that 100k salary?



You are way overestimating your earning power in social work. 50k? Maybe in 10 years. What did you think you'd be earning as a lawyer? Likelihood is that you'd start at 55k and move up to around 80-100k (big range).


I live in Los Angeles. If you work with the County's Department of Child and Family Services, you'll make at least 52k within 3 years of working there with your MSW.

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Gail
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Re: Being a lawyer and money.....am I missing much?

Postby Gail » Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:16 pm

notaznguy wrote:
I live in Los Angeles. If you work with the County's Department of Child and Family Services, you'll make at least 52k within 3 years of working there with your MSW.


Well. For you, I hope that's right! I'd recommend trying that out first, honestly. Your options could be better. I tell people not to go to law school unless it's nearly full tuition scholarship after the top 30, half tuition after the top 14, or top 14.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do! :)




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