So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

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notaznguy
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So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby notaznguy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:27 am

I took some time off from TLS to "reevaluate my life" and now have considered other options to law school. But at the same time, I still have some interest in law school heh.

Anyways, here's quick background info:

GPA: 3.64, LSAT: 159

-Don't really care that much for being a lawyer, but any job that pays me to read and write is fine. Also, it makes more money (you'll see why).

The other option I've been considering is Social Work (Masters in Social Welfare). I live LA and I've talked to a few friends and now have a more realistic idea of what to get if I were to get a MSW. I've also been reading some blogs from abovethelaw and was quite shocked to find that starting salaries at small firms actually range from 65-70k and that you'd be making 80k-90k within a few years. In terms of law school, the main school I would consider, given my stats, is Loyola Law School. Based on lawschoolnumbers, I think I would have a fair shot of getting in. Problem is though, I'd have to borrow 180k in loans.

So there it is. Should I seriously consider it? Is the legal market getting any better? Here's the article btw:

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/10/a-small- ... ts-part-1/

Option A) Get MSW at Cal States, UCLA, or UC Berkeley
-CoA: debt will be between 30k-60k
-Starting salary: 53k, good benefits, no weekends (most likely as I'm looking to work for the government, aka Department of Child/Family Services). Work will be relatively "stressful," though not as stressful as law. Cap at around 72k after many years of work, unless I go into administration (but this is like making partner...it's hard). Work entails visiting children, families, but most of the work is just writing court memos (hurray for reading and writing). Not very prestigious...people will lulz at me.

Option B) Get JD at Loyola Law School
-CoA: debt will be 180k+
-Starting Salary: Who knows? Based on that abovethelaw article, I would say 65k, but will opportunity to make much more if I continue working. I'd say cap at 90-100k? Work will definitely be stressful and I will probably be working at least 60 hours a week. No comment on benefits or job security and work is research, reading, and writing. Somewhat prestigious. I'm not a MD, but people will at least give me some respect. And man...the potential to even make 80k is just great. As a MSW, I'd be stuck at 50k-60k for a long time...

Option C) None, retake, ED to UVA (if anyone says this, I'm just going to consider it an automatic +1 for Option A haha)

HellOnHeels
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby HellOnHeels » Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:48 am

You should make a poll.

notaznguy wrote:
-Don't really care that much for being a lawyer...

Then don't go to law school :P

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dingbat
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby dingbat » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:23 am

Don't go to law school.
You'll find this to be the general consensus considering that you don't want to be a lawyer and your only option is a not-particularly-good school at sticker

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Gail
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Gail » Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:06 pm

At small, non-boutique law firms, I think the salary actually probably ranges from 35k-60k (large swing there), but almost certainly not 70k. Where did you get that number?


Anyways. Reading and writing are large parts of being a lawyer, but I don't think that they're the only parts. It's also a different kind of reading and writing. Your debt would be less with the MSW.

53k is a good salary. In LA for social work I bet it's possible.


And honestly man, screw people. These are the same idiots who think that all lawyers wipe themselves with $100 bills. They're morons. Let them laugh.

notaznguy
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby notaznguy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:51 pm

Gail wrote:At small, non-boutique law firms, I think the salary actually probably ranges from 35k-60k (large swing there), but almost certainly not 70k. Where did you get that number?


Anyways. Reading and writing are large parts of being a lawyer, but I don't think that they're the only parts. It's also a different kind of reading and writing. Your debt would be less with the MSW.

53k is a good salary. In LA for social work I bet it's possible.


And honestly man, screw people. These are the same idiots who think that all lawyers wipe themselves with $100 bills. They're morons. Let them laugh.


I got the 65-70k number not only from reading that survey from abovethelaw, but from also asking a few attorneys I know. I know an immigration attorney who works in a small firm (4 lawyers) and she brings home around 60k ish. Another friend of mine who went to USC law school is working at a small firm (3 lawyers) and is making around 60k as well.

My debt should be less for MSW...you're right. It'll depend on which school I go to. If I go to a Cal State, it'll be around 30k (tuition for 2 years will be ~20k and housing will be around ~15k for 2 years). If I go to UCLA or UC Berkeley, it'll more likely be high 50k since tuition is 20k per year. But the beauty about MSWs is that if you want to work for the county's child and family services, you can apply for a stipend, which gives you $18,500 a year. My friend worked for the county right now and he got that stipend, so his debt wasn't as bad.

notaznguy
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby notaznguy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:52 pm

stephinmd wrote:You should make a poll.

notaznguy wrote:
-Don't really care that much for being a lawyer...

Then don't go to law school :P


Hahaha, well, to me a job is a job. It is a means to allow me to do what I want afterward. Obviously if I were to do social work, I'd have a greater sense of fulfillment, but being an attorney, well I feel like I just have more income potential. Way more income potential.

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Ludo!
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Ludo! » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:01 pm

The flaw in your analysis is assuming you will get a legal job at all out of Loyola. There is a very real possibility you graduate unemployed, with 180K in debt, and willing to kill for a 50K job.

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Gail
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Gail » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:06 pm

notaznguy wrote:I got the 65-70k number not only from reading that survey from abovethelaw, but from also asking a few attorneys I know. I know an immigration attorney who works in a small firm (4 lawyers) and she brings home around 60k ish. Another friend of mine who went to USC law school is working at a small firm (3 lawyers) and is making around 60k as well.
.


Do you mind sharing your links to these surveys? Every place I've looked at is generous with a 60k guess, and it probably ranges more along the lines of 55k or 50k with a number of first year attorneys only making 40k.

But even considering that, only a little more than half of law students work as attorneys. From the lower tier 1 and the upper tier 2, you're looking at something along the lines of a 60-70% chance of being long term employed in everything from federal clerkships to retail management. That's a 40% chance you don't get anything and only a 15-20% chance that you get anything that could possibly pay off 185k in debt.


I guess what I'm getting at here is that, not only shouldn't you go because you don't really have your heart set on being a lawyer, but you shouldn't go because it's a financially ludicrous proposition. With 185k in debt you're very likely looking at IBR for 25 years. You have completely sold off your future. In 25 years you may never be able to get a mortgage, a car that you don't have to pay for upfront, you may never have enough to start a family. All for something that you're not even sure that you want. You probably want to be a lawyer as much as you want to be a movie star.

Would you pay 185k for a chance at going to Hollywood for 3 years to try and make it big with Tom Cruise? If the answer is no, then do not go to law school. Because there's no qualitative difference between the two.

notaznguy
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby notaznguy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:16 pm

Gail wrote:
notaznguy wrote:I got the 65-70k number not only from reading that survey from abovethelaw, but from also asking a few attorneys I know. I know an immigration attorney who works in a small firm (4 lawyers) and she brings home around 60k ish. Another friend of mine who went to USC law school is working at a small firm (3 lawyers) and is making around 60k as well.
.


Do you mind sharing your links to these surveys? Every place I've looked at is generous with a 60k guess, and it probably ranges more along the lines of 55k or 50k with a number of first year attorneys only making 40k.

But even considering that, only a little more than half of law students work as attorneys. From the lower tier 1 and the upper tier 2, you're looking at something along the lines of a 60-70% chance of being long term employed in everything from federal clerkships to retail management. That's a 40% chance you don't get anything and only a 15-20% chance that you get anything that could possibly pay off 185k in debt.


I guess what I'm getting at here is that, not only shouldn't you go because you don't really have your heart set on being a lawyer, but you shouldn't go because it's a financially ludicrous proposition. With 185k in debt you're very likely looking at IBR for 25 years. You have completely sold off your future. In 25 years you may never be able to get a mortgage, a car that you don't have to pay for upfront, you may never have enough to start a family. All for something that you're not even sure that you want. You probably want to be a lawyer as much as you want to be a movie star.

Would you pay 185k for a chance at going to Hollywood for 3 years to try and make it big with Tom Cruise? If the answer is no, then do not go to law school. Because there's no qualitative difference between the two.


The link is in my original post, but I'll repost it here again just for the sake of it:

http://abovethelaw.com/2010/10/a-small- ... ts-part-1/

I don't really know what to say for the legal employment thing. Most lawyers I've met are "doing fine." They're certainly not rich, but they're okay. I have a met a few who are in the toilet though...just a few, but I suppose you'll always have some of those.

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Ludo!
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Ludo! » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:23 pm

notaznguy wrote:
I don't really know what to say for the legal employment thing. Most lawyers I've met are "doing fine." They're certainly not rich, but they're okay. I have a met a few who are in the toilet though...just a few, but I suppose you'll always have some of those.


Of course the lawyers you've met are doing fine. They got jobs as lawyers. How are the law school graduates who aren't lawyers doing?

notaznguy
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby notaznguy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:38 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:
notaznguy wrote:
I don't really know what to say for the legal employment thing. Most lawyers I've met are "doing fine." They're certainly not rich, but they're okay. I have a met a few who are in the toilet though...just a few, but I suppose you'll always have some of those.


Of course the lawyers you've met are doing fine. They got jobs as lawyers. How are the law school graduates who aren't lawyers doing?


Yes...but isn't that something you can ask for anything?

"Sure going to Harvard is good for your BA/BS, but what about those people that went on academic probation? Oh shit...I shouldn't go to Harvard now because there's a chance I'll get on academic probation. ITT Tech, here I come."

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Ludo!
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Ludo! » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:41 pm

notaznguy wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:
notaznguy wrote:
I don't really know what to say for the legal employment thing. Most lawyers I've met are "doing fine." They're certainly not rich, but they're okay. I have a met a few who are in the toilet though...just a few, but I suppose you'll always have some of those.


Of course the lawyers you've met are doing fine. They got jobs as lawyers. How are the law school graduates who aren't lawyers doing?


Yes...but isn't that something you can ask for anything?

"Sure going to Harvard is good for your BA/BS, but what about those people that went on academic probation? Oh shit...I shouldn't go to Harvard now because there's a chance I'll get on academic probation. ITT Tech, here I come."


lolwut.

1. Loyola isn't Harvard 2. Harvard UG doesn't cost 180K

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Gail
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Gail » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:42 pm

Academic probation at Harvard is within your control. Not getting a legal job because you went to a school ranked 30 and higher is not entirely in your control at all. Many people who made the choice to attend somewhere like Loyola did everything right while in law school. Many of them remain unemployed or underemployed and regretting having ever gone to law school.


I'd still rather have a chemistry BS from Harvard than a law degree from anywhere not in the t14, btw.

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Gail
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Gail » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:43 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:Harvard UG doesn't cost 180K


Well actually...

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Ludo!
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Ludo! » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:46 pm

Gail wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:Harvard UG doesn't cost 180K


Well actually...


Oh shit, does it? I don't actually know.

First point still stands, Loyola's not Harvard

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Gail
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Gail » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:52 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:
Gail wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:Harvard UG doesn't cost 180K


Well actually...


Oh shit, does it? I don't actually know.

First point still stands, Loyola's not Harvard


Say you get a 20k scholarship from Harvard. You're likely looking at paying 40k a year. For 4 years, it's 160k.


Not nearly everyone at Harvard is getting 20k a year. A girl who went to my high school also went to Yale for UG. Middle income. Still ended up with 80k in debt, much of which is in private loans. That's a good result.

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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby coldshoulder » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:52 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:The flaw in your analysis is assuming you will get a legal job at all out of Loyola. There is a very real possibility you graduate unemployed, with 180K in debt, and willing to kill for a 50K job.


--LinkRemoved--

Judging from LST, getting a real (full-time) legal job out of Loyola is not guaranteed, but relatively likely (top 60%, top 5-10% for good employment). The number of actually unemployed graduates of schools in the top 50 is pretty overblown on TLS.

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Ludo!
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Ludo! » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:02 pm

I don't mean to shit on loyola. I'm from la and have friends that went/go there. But I don't think you should pay sticker to go there and just assume you're graduating with an 80k job. And I especially wouldn't recommend going if you don't even want to be a lawyer

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coldshoulder
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby coldshoulder » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:05 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:I don't mean to shit on loyola. I'm from la and have friends that went/go there. But I don't think you should pay sticker to go there and just assume you're graduating with an 80k job. And I especially wouldn't recommend going if you don't even want to be a lawyer


Agreed.

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Br3v
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Br3v » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:08 pm

stephinmd wrote:You should make a poll.

notaznguy wrote:
-Don't really care that much for being a lawyer...

Then don't go to law school :P


JD debt would be too high for what your considering

Paul Campos
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby Paul Campos » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:31 pm

I'm sincerely curious as to how the OP thinks he/she is going to service $180K of high interest non-dischargeable debt on a $60K salary (btw looking at their stats there's no way even half the class at Loyola LA was making as much as $60K a year after graduation, while maybe 10% of the class was making the $90K or more which most people who study these things would tell you is the absolute bare minimum salary that would justify incurring a $180K debt).

When you add to this that the O doesn't really have any particular desire to be a lawyer besides thinking for some unknown reason that these numbers add up to making a law degree at sticker from Loyola a good investment, well . . .

notaznguy
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby notaznguy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:39 pm

Paul Campos wrote:I'm sincerely curious as to how the OP thinks he/she is going to service $180K of high interest non-dischargeable debt on a $60K salary (btw looking at their stats there's no way even half the class at Loyola LA was making as much as $60K a year after graduation, while maybe 10% of the class was making the $90K or more which most people who study these things would tell you is the absolute bare minimum salary that would justify incurring a $180K debt).

When you add to this that the O doesn't really have any particular desire to be a lawyer besides thinking for some unknown reason that these numbers add up to making a law degree at sticker from Loyola a good investment, well . . .


60k would just be starting...I'm sure eventually after a few years it'd be much higher. Come on, nobody is going to be hired at 60k and stuck at 60k for 40 years.

In terms of being a lawyer, it's not that I don't want to do it or hate it or anything like that. I just view work as work. Unless someone hired me as a professional Starcraft player, I don't think I have a real desire to work any job. I'd rather just lounge around and drink coconuts all day if it were up to me. Being a lawyer seems to fit some of the work environment I want - I am a History major and I enjoyed reading and writing and researching stuff. Being a lawyer seems to be like that, except you're getting paid to do it. I've interned at a law firm before and I've written some IRAC memos. It's boring, but I'd prefer it much over doing some chemistry problems.

Anyways like I said, the prospect of starting at 60k and gradually moving my way up to 90k is just so much more glorious than staring down at a 50k-60k salary as a social worker for the rest of my life.

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dingbat
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby dingbat » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:41 pm

notaznguy wrote:60k would just be starting...I'm sure eventually after a few years it'd be much higher. Come on, nobody is going to be hired at 60k and stuck at 60k for 40 years.

Ever heard of inflation?

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LSAT Blog
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby LSAT Blog » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:41 pm

Paul Campos wrote:I'm sincerely curious as to how the OP thinks he/she is going to service $180K of high interest non-dischargeable debt on a $60K salary (btw looking at their stats there's no way even half the class at Loyola LA was making as much as $60K a year after graduation, while maybe 10% of the class was making the $90K or more which most people who study these things would tell you is the absolute bare minimum salary that would justify incurring a $180K debt).

When you add to this that the O doesn't really have any particular desire to be a lawyer besides thinking for some unknown reason that these numbers add up to making a law degree at sticker from Loyola a good investment, well . . .


This.
Last edited by LSAT Blog on Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LSAT Blog
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Re: So...I'm still considering my options, what do you think?

Postby LSAT Blog » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:46 pm

notaznguy wrote:
Paul Campos wrote:I'm sincerely curious as to how the OP thinks he/she is going to service $180K of high interest non-dischargeable debt on a $60K salary (btw looking at their stats there's no way even half the class at Loyola LA was making as much as $60K a year after graduation, while maybe 10% of the class was making the $90K or more which most people who study these things would tell you is the absolute bare minimum salary that would justify incurring a $180K debt).

When you add to this that the O doesn't really have any particular desire to be a lawyer besides thinking for some unknown reason that these numbers add up to making a law degree at sticker from Loyola a good investment, well . . .


60k would just be starting...I'm sure eventually after a few years it'd be much higher. Come on, nobody is going to be hired at 60k and stuck at 60k for 40 years.

In terms of being a lawyer, it's not that I don't want to do it or hate it or anything like that. I just view work as work. Unless someone hired me as a professional Starcraft player, I don't think I have a real desire to work any job. I'd rather just lounge around and drink coconuts all day if it were up to me. Being a lawyer seems to fit some of the work environment I want - I am a History major and I enjoyed reading and writing and researching stuff. Being a lawyer seems to be like that, except you're getting paid to do it. I've interned at a law firm before and I've written some IRAC memos. It's boring, but I'd prefer it much over doing some chemistry problems.

Anyways like I said, the prospect of starting at 60k and gradually moving my way up to 90k is just so much more glorious than staring down at a 50k-60k salary as a social worker for the rest of my life.



http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib

Graph of data for the Class of 2010 (not Loyola in particular):

(sure, these are starting salaries, but how much room for growth can you assume there will really be if you start off in the 35-65k track?)


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