Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

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sinfiery
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby sinfiery » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:23 pm

Good read = this thread.

Most of it based on speculation, and if there was ever a disagreement with 2 parties about how some data point should be interpreted, it was generally assumed to be placed in the "worst possible scenario" basket.

Anyways, people are generally afraid of debt. More so than they should be.

Consider the following:
$200,000 LS debt. 7.2% 7 year repayment plan.
Living in NY.
Yearly repayment: $37,000
Salary: 80,000
After tax salary: 56,000
COL left: 19,000


That's invariably the worst case scenario you can be left with after attending law school without going under financially.

Simple questions to ask, regardless of what school you attend, regardless of prestiege, etc. to see if it is financially worth it:
Do you think you can find a job for 7 years that averages $80,000 in salary in NY (Adjust for market for taxes/Col)
If yes, you can more than likely be debt-free in 10 years.

If you answered yes,
Next question, what are your current job prospects? Will 7 years of W/E as a lawyer + J.D. increase your earning potential more than your current situation + 10 years of W/E and $270,000? (Given the 10 year total salary average is $56,000, adjust cash on hand accordingly)

You need to realize this is what you're going to presumably be doing for the rest of your life. That 20 years out study isn't the end of the analysis, that's the middle. The biggest disparities between what path you choose show themselves the longer and longer removed you are from the initial event.

I think the most under-analyzed statistic in this entire thread is that Harvard UGs make on average $115,000 as their mid-point salary. That's the best of the best situation for people to compare to. This is a relative question at the end of the day.


That's the financial end based on $200,000 debt. There are many social benefits to jobs, including practicing law, attending a prestigious school, living in NY, 3 years more of being a student, connections, etc.


Personally, if I have even a 50% chance of hitting 31 years old with a J.D. and being debt-free, I will instantly commit. Regardless of if it's a TTT, T-14, etc. Add on to it other factors that invariably mean something to us, and it makes it almost laughable to me that people suggest not attending a T6 at sticker.

Unless I am grocely mistaken about how hard a $80,000 salary in NY based on a 7 year average after LS is to obtain.
Last edited by sinfiery on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Br3v
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Br3v » Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:25 pm

Just read this book today.

Thanks Campos.

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minnbills
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby minnbills » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:14 pm

Just got access to my school's symplicity, no post-grad jobs listed. :(

Also, can we stop assuming law students are taking out 200k in debt? How many people (outside of the t14) really do that? And if they are, they should know better.

timbs4339
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:09 pm

sinfiery wrote:Good read = this thread.

Most of it based on speculation, and if there was ever a disagreement with 2 parties about how some data point should be interpreted, it was generally assumed to be placed in the "worst possible scenario" basket.

Anyways, people are generally afraid of debt. More so than they should be.

Consider the following:
$200,000 LS debt. 7.2% 7 year repayment plan.
Living in NY.
Yearly repayment: $37,000
Salary: 80,000
After tax salary: 56,000
COL left: 19,000


That's invariably the worst case scenario you can be left with after attending law school without going under financially.

Simple questions to ask, regardless of what school you attend, regardless of prestiege, etc. to see if it is financially worth it:
Do you think you can find a job for 7 years that averages $80,000 in salary in NY (Adjust for market for taxes/Col)
If yes, you can more than likely be debt-free in 10 years.

If you answered yes,
Next question, what are your current job prospects? Will 7 years of W/E as a lawyer + J.D. increase your earning potential more than your current situation + 10 years of W/E and $270,000? (Given the 10 year total salary average is $56,000, adjust cash on hand accordingly)

You need to realize this is what you're going to presumably be doing for the rest of your life. That 20 years out study isn't the end of the analysis, that's the middle. The biggest disparities between what path you choose show themselves the longer and longer removed you are from the initial event.

I think the most under-analyzed statistic in this entire thread is that Harvard UGs make on average $115,000 as their mid-point salary. That's the best of the best situation for people to compare to. This is a relative question at the end of the day.


That's the financial end based on $200,000 debt. There are many social benefits to jobs, including practicing law, attending a prestigious school, living in NY, 3 years more of being a student, connections, etc.


Personally, if I have even a 50% chance of hitting 31 years old with a J.D. and being debt-free, I will instantly commit. Regardless of if it's a TTT, T-14, etc. Add on to it other factors that invariably mean something to us, and it makes it almost laughable to me that people suggest not attending a T6 at sticker.

Unless I am grocely mistaken about how hard a $80,000 salary in NY based on a 7 year average after LS is to obtain.


You have to look at the pool of people who have the ability to attend a T6. For many of them, good paying careers are very attainable, and they might be making around or more than 115K by the time they are 31. I attended a T6 and many of my classmates had other well-paying options.

19K for living in NY area is extremely low- that's broke law student levels. A lot of people also begin law school later, around 27/28. So if they have to be around 35 before they are debt free, and they want to start a family, buy a house, etc, during that time (especially if their spouse is also going through an expensive grad school program and will have a lot of debt), they will most likely need more than 19K for CoL.

Whether to attend law school is a very personal decision and there are just some people for whom the 200K investment does not make sense even at a T6. For me, with a useless degree from a mediocre UG and a big scholarship it made sense. For some people with no scholarship and jobs in finance, engineering, or consulting, or for people who want to start a family in the next few years, it might not have made much sense, although their lives will probably not be ruined either way.

You've listed subjective factors in favor of going to a T6 law school. I can understand those even if I don't agree with them. But is it really hard to understand that someone might not want to be servicing 40K+ of debt per year and working all the time while in their mid to late 20s? They may prefer a 56K job that leaves a lot more time and money for recreation.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Bronte » Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:19 pm

minnbills wrote:Just got access to my school's symplicity, no post-grad jobs listed. :(

Also, can we stop assuming law students are taking out 200k in debt? How many people (outside of the t14) really do that? And if they are, they should know better.


Why would students outside the T14 not be taking out $200k in debt? As a general rule, tuition doesn't decrease much as you move down in the rankings. Considering that the 150 plus schools outside the T14 enroll big classes every year, there must be lots of people with $200k in debt outside the T14.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby rayiner » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:21 pm

You have to look at the pool of people who have the ability to attend a T6. For many of them, good paying careers are very attainable, and they might be making around or more than 115K by the time they are 31.


I don't think your average T6 attendee is looking at >= $115k by 31.

timbs4339
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:25 pm

rayiner wrote:
You have to look at the pool of people who have the ability to attend a T6. For many of them, good paying careers are very attainable, and they might be making around or more than 115K by the time they are 31.


I don't think your average T6 attendee is looking at >= $115k by 31.


Well, I think they are. Nyah nyah nyah.

The question is really whether there is a distinct group of people who are, for which it might not make sense to drop 200K+. That's been my experience. Enough people have high GPAs from very good UG schools to start out in profitable careers and make over 100K in their first decade on the job.

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sinfiery
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby sinfiery » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:19 am

timbs4339 wrote:Well, I think they are. Nyah nyah nyah.

The question is really whether there is a distinct group of people who are, for which it might not make sense to drop 200K+. That's been my experience. Enough people have high GPAs from very good UG schools to start out in profitable careers and make over 100K in their first decade on the job.

But this argument is ignoring the entire picture.

Do you think someone realistically making 115k in 10 years from now will only end up making an average of 80k with a JD from a T6 school?

I think the real question is the 3 years of W/E, 3 years of pay, and 260k in cash (safe interest rate included) versus the potential for salary increase from anywhere between 20 and 50 years with having a JD. (Assuming retirement at 45-75ish)

This is a life-long investment.
I will surely agree that the question of attending such a school becomes more and more difficult the greater your relative opportunities are. The cost increases, the return decreases. It's the worst of both worlds. And at some point I do beleive it economically silly to change to such a scenario.

BUT many in this thread seem to be making a case that it would be a bad life to undertake a T6. Your life may be worst if you could be making 200k in 10 years out from your UG, but both scenarios would end up very very very good. You'd be a 1%er. One of the best lives in the world. Set for life, etc. etc. We can't possibly be objective and state attending a T6 is in some way a ticket to a terrible life. That's the main problem I have.

Unless 80k reliably is a pipe dream for T6. I don't know, I'm a 0L.

timbs4339 wrote:19K for living in NY area is extremely low- that's broke law student levels. A lot of people also begin law school later, around 27/28. So if they have to be around 35 before they are debt free, and they want to start a family, buy a house, etc, during that time (especially if their spouse is also going through an expensive grad school program and will have a lot of debt), they will most likely need more than 19K for CoL.

I agree, life wouldn't be rosy forever. But this is a life-long commitment. 19k is livable thus why I used the 80k figure. 80k would be the bare minimum you could squeak by in NY with that amount of debt. Now, how likely do you think the average income 7 years out of LS would be 80k? If that's the worst you will do, squeaking by on 19k for 7 years before having a JD and no debt sounds like a great situation for a worst case scenario.

Whether to attend law school is a very personal decision and there are just some people for whom the 200K investment does not make sense even at a T6. For me, with a useless degree from a mediocre UG and a big scholarship it made sense. For some people with no scholarship and jobs in finance, engineering, or consulting, or for people who want to start a family in the next few years, it might not have made much sense, although their lives will probably not be ruined either way.

I agree. There is no absolute answer positively or negatively. Unless you want a TTT at sticker, then I may concede negatively. Same might be said for Yale with a COL scholarship, but both are really beside the point. I agree with your point here.

You've listed subjective factors in favor of going to a T6 law school. I can understand those even if I don't agree with them. But is it really hard to understand that someone might not want to be servicing 40K+ of debt per year and working all the time while in their mid to late 20s? They may prefer a 56K job that leaves a lot more time and money for recreation.

Indeed. Clearly those people need not use my calculations. I feel they are a minority in the law school student for T6 community but that's a hunch with no proof.
Last edited by sinfiery on Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:23 am

minnbills wrote:Also, can we stop assuming law students are taking out 200k in debt? How many people (outside of the t14) really do that? And if they are, they should know better.


More than you'd think. There's plenty of second-tier NYC, DC and SF/LA schools out there that don't give scholarships to everyone. COL alone in those cities will be $60K over three years, and without a scholarship, their debt will be well north of $200K. The average debt a law school student will take out is now significantly greater than 6-figures, and that doesn't account for undergrad debt, either.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:34 am

sinfiery wrote:Salary: 80,000

. . .

COL left: 19,000


For 80% of law graduates out there, $80,000/year is a pipe dream. Close to 50% would kill for a full-time job, let alone an $80K/year salary.

Also, you cannot live in NYC and work as an attorney on $19,000. Rent alone even in a small apartment will probably be more than that, not to mention buying and maintaining a professional wardrobe, lunch and dinner which you won't have time to cook for yourself, going out and networking, personal grooming, utilities, either a car or a train pass, etc. You're also ignoring healthcare costs, which will be deducted from your paycheck. In fact, you'd be lucky to get by on double that.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby sinfiery » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:44 am

JCougar wrote:For 80% of law graduates out there, $80,000/year is a pipe dream. Close to 50% would kill for a full-time job, let alone an $80K/year salary.

Also, you cannot live in NYC and work as an attorney on $19,000. Rent alone even in a small apartment will probably be more than that, not to mention buying and maintaining a professional wardrobe, lunch and dinner which you won't have time to cook for yourself, going out and networking, personal grooming, utilities, either a car or a train pass, etc. You're also ignoring healthcare costs, which will be deducted from your paycheck. In fact, you'd be lucky to get by on double that.

The top 20% of law graduates out there equate to the T35 of schools. Guess more than T35 would be viable to me at sticker since COL and cost lower a bit moving out of NY and the T14. Not considerably, but enough.

Colombia and NU COL equate to about 20k a year. That's where the number comes from. I trust it. Might go up a tad but most expenses are not necessary. You can live on 20k a year.

I don't know about healthcare costs but hopefully Romney wins, appeals Obamacare, and lets me not buy health care. I'm 22. I'm healthy. Why on earth would I buy health insurance?

Double that? Hah, you are insane. I will concede 22k at max.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:06 am

sinfiery wrote:
JCougar wrote:For 80% of law graduates out there, $80,000/year is a pipe dream. Close to 50% would kill for a full-time job, let alone an $80K/year salary.

Also, you cannot live in NYC and work as an attorney on $19,000. Rent alone even in a small apartment will probably be more than that, not to mention buying and maintaining a professional wardrobe, lunch and dinner which you won't have time to cook for yourself, going out and networking, personal grooming, utilities, either a car or a train pass, etc. You're also ignoring healthcare costs, which will be deducted from your paycheck. In fact, you'd be lucky to get by on double that.

The top 20% of law graduates out there equate to the T35 of schools. Guess more than T35 would be viable to me at sticker since COL and cost lower a bit moving out of NY and the T14. Not considerably, but enough.

Colombia and NU COL equate to about 20k a year. That's where the number comes from. I trust it. Might go up a tad but most expenses are not necessary. You can live on 20k a year.

I don't know about healthcare costs but hopefully Romney wins, appeals Obamacare, and lets me not buy health care. I'm 22. I'm healthy. Why on earth would I buy health insurance?

Double that? Hah, you are insane. I will concede 22k at max.


Of course, this all depends on how much you want to live like a student (remember the NYU/CLS figures are for nine months, not 12) but 22K is nowhere near what most of my biglaw friends are spending on rent alone. I am not working biglaw (in fact I am working for around 80K myself) and my rent+security+broker fee+utils will be around 25K during my first year. My classmates who have spouses and even kids require a much larger investment on the homefront.

This also advances the dubious proposition that you will be able to maintain an austere lifestyle for five years in your mid-20s when all of your friends and co-workers are flush with cash and you're working a high stress job. Based on my friends who ran their bank accounts down to zero with expensive post-bar trips when they have loans coming due in November, that's a lot easier to do on paper than IRL.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:37 am

sinfiery wrote:The top 20% of law graduates out there equate to the T35 of schools. Guess more than T35 would be viable to me at sticker since COL and cost lower a bit moving out of NY and the T14. Not considerably, but enough.

Colombia and NU COL equate to about 20k a year. That's where the number comes from. I trust it. Might go up a tad but most expenses are not necessary. You can live on 20k a year.

I don't know about healthcare costs but hopefully Romney wins, appeals Obamacare, and lets me not buy health care. I'm 22. I'm healthy. Why on earth would I buy health insurance?

Double that? Hah, you are insane. I will concede 22k at max.


Look, son. It's a lot more expensive to live as a lawyer than it is to live as a law student. Your employer will expect you to be well-groomed and well-dressed. The lunches and dinners you will be having will be far more expensive than those in the law school cafeteria. You will be expected to attend social occasions with your co-workers. You might even want to have a few of them over, and you can't do that while living in a dorm room. It may require you to have a car. The practice of law, if you want to succeed, is very much about networking, both within your firm and outside of it. To think that you can do that and live off of $19K in NYC is preposterous. Your yearly dry cleaning bill will be probably $1000 alone, not to mention a couple grand for decent work clothes. And like others have said, it's likely that your rent will be greater than $20K alone.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Paul Campos » Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:06 am

You can find debt figures for 2011 graduates here http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings

Note that a whole lot of really bad law schools list "average" student debt between $125,000 and $153,000 dollars. However:

(1) These numbers don't include accrued interest. You can tack 13% to 16% onto these numbers (the more you take out, the higher the percentage, since a greater percentage will be GRADPLUS loans).

(2) Starting this year there are no more subsidized Stafford loans for law students, which means adding another $4000 to these figures.

(3) These are 2011 numbers. Debt is going up by about 6%-7% per year. Phoenix School of Law has already released their 2012 graduating class figures, and they went from $145,000 to $154,000.

(3) They don't include other educational debt, which conservatively probably averages $25,000 for graduates of lower-ranked law schools.

Add all this up and the average total educational debt for people who are currently applying to law school is likely to be more than $200,000 when they graduate.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:19 am

This may also shed light on the situation: http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/tuition.php/1/desc/Tuition08

By my count, there are 96 schools on that list with tuition (not counting COL, just tuition) of $30K/yr or higher. That's at least $120K just for tuition, plus at least $30K over 3 years for COL, plus additional COL for your two summers if you don't find paid work, at a minimum. Oh, and that doesn't count interest, either, which at either 6.8% or 7.9% will add on tens of thousands of dollars unless it's somehow paid off immediately. Unless you're already wealthy, you'll probably need a bar loan to cover a bar review course and living expenses the summer after you graduate, which can add another $10-15K.

Did I mention those are just minimums, and at a lot of schools you'll face higher COL than that?

So for the people who are going "it's not $200K", you're wrong. Even at a school where it's "only $150K" it still adds up to more than that for most people. Good luck going to a school with $150K tuition+COL and getting away paying less than $200K after additional loans and steep interest payments.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby sinfiery » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:32 am

JCougar wrote:Look, son. It's a lot more expensive to live as a lawyer than it is to live as a law student. Your employer will expect you to be well-groomed and well-dressed. The lunches and dinners you will be having will be far more expensive than those in the law school cafeteria. You will be expected to attend social occasions with your co-workers. You might even want to have a few of them over, and you can't do that while living in a dorm room. It may require you to have a car. The practice of law, if you want to succeed, is very much about networking, both within your firm and outside of it. To think that you can do that and live off of $19K in NYC is preposterous. Your yearly dry cleaning bill will be probably $1000 alone, not to mention a couple grand for decent work clothes. And like others have said, it's likely that your rent will be greater than $20K alone.

Awesome, but this is an argument for the very bare minimum you can live at. Add on maybe 1-5k for convincing people you are a "grown-up" and that's as far as you can go. You want too much when you can't afford it.

vanwinkle wrote:This may also shed light on the situation: http://www.ilrg.com/rankings/law/tuition.php/1/desc/Tuition08

By my count, there are 96 schools on that list with tuition (not counting COL, just tuition) of $30K/yr or higher. That's at least $120K just for tuition, plus at least $30K over 3 years for COL, plus additional COL for your two summers if you don't find paid work, at a minimum. Oh, and that doesn't count interest, either, which at either 6.8% or 7.9% will add on tens of thousands of dollars unless it's somehow paid off immediately. Unless you're already wealthy, you'll probably need a bar loan to cover a bar review course and living expenses the summer after you graduate, which can add another $10-15K.

Did I mention those are just minimums, and at a lot of schools you'll face higher COL than that?

So for the people who are going "it's not $200K", you're wrong. Even at a school where it's "only $150K" it still adds up to more than that for most people. Good luck going to a school with $150K tuition+COL and getting away paying less than $200K after additional loans and steep interest payments.

A law student isn't able to break even in some way in the summer? Go work at McDonalds if you can't find a real job/internship for 3 months and the 9 month CoL stays at 9 months. The initial debt amount is what I figured @ 200k. I added after that an additional 7.2% paid off in 7 years. I did not add interest accrued while in school though. 120k + 60k COL(NY/CA level) = 185k max. It can definitely be lower. I think 200k is a lenient figure. These being the borrowed amount on the loan, not the repayment amount. The 200k used was the borrowed amount, not the repaid amount.

Did not think of bar review. Seems like a valid and horrific cost.

timbs4339 wrote:Of course, this all depends on how much you want to live like a student (remember the NYU/CLS figures are for nine months, not 12) but 22K is nowhere near what most of my biglaw friends are spending on rent alone. I am not working biglaw (in fact I am working for around 80K myself) and my rent+security+broker fee+utils will be around 25K during my first year. My classmates who have spouses and even kids require a much larger investment on the homefront.

This also advances the dubious proposition that you will be able to maintain an austere lifestyle for five years in your mid-20s when all of your friends and co-workers are flush with cash and you're working a high stress job. Based on my friends who ran their bank accounts down to zero with expensive post-bar trips when they have loans coming due in November, that's a lot easier to do on paper than IRL.


Indeed, but if I had to choose between living like a student or going under financially, it would become a much easier task. Albeit, I can see how people would fail. Kids is not viable in this particular situation until 7 years are up, indeed.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby androstan » Tue Oct 23, 2012 10:50 am

wrt "working at McDonald's" over the summer, good luck finding a solid legal job after graduation with that on your resume (or with an empty hole over a summer on there). Most who are looking at getting "midlaw" will be lucky to get something paying over a summer and many will do unpaid internships to make them more competitive for that coveted midlaw job.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby sinfiery » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:25 am

androstan wrote:wrt "working at McDonald's" over the summer, good luck finding a solid legal job after graduation with that on your resume (or with an empty hole over a summer on there). Most who are looking at getting "midlaw" will be lucky to get something paying over a summer and many will do unpaid internships to make them more competitive for that coveted midlaw job.

Have someone working my current job (Retailish) who also had a govt internship in his 1l or 2l.

You can do both.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby minnbills » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:34 am

sinfiery wrote:
androstan wrote:wrt "working at McDonald's" over the summer, good luck finding a solid legal job after graduation with that on your resume (or with an empty hole over a summer on there). Most who are looking at getting "midlaw" will be lucky to get something paying over a summer and many will do unpaid internships to make them more competitive for that coveted midlaw job.

Have someone working my current job (Retailish) who also had a govt internship in his 1l or 2l.

You can do both.


It would be better to do an additional legal job

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby vanwinkle » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:43 am

sinfiery wrote:A law student isn't able to break even in some way in the summer? Go work at McDonalds if you can't find a real job/internship for 3 months and the 9 month CoL stays at 9 months.

LOL no.

What do you mean by "real" job/internship? The vast majority of internships for law students are unpaid. You'll be working a full-time, unpaid internship for 8-10 weeks and earning $0, but you need a full-time internship on your resume or else you're basically unemployable. (Since it's the job-related training most law students typically get, and it's a threshold measure of how much you want to practice law, legal employers will throw your application in the trash if they see you didn't do anything law-related during your summers.)

Do you really think, after working 8 hours a day at an unpaid job, you'll want to work a second job in food service for $6/hr? And if you're the type of person who can work two jobs, you'd increase your odds of finding actual paying work when you graduate by working two unpaid internships instead.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby bhan87 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:46 am

sinfiery wrote:
androstan wrote:wrt "working at McDonald's" over the summer, good luck finding a solid legal job after graduation with that on your resume (or with an empty hole over a summer on there). Most who are looking at getting "midlaw" will be lucky to get something paying over a summer and many will do unpaid internships to make them more competitive for that coveted midlaw job.

Have someone working my current job (Retailish) who also had a govt internship in his 1l or 2l.

You can do both.


ITT - Clueless 0Ls assert their speculations about the legal job market.

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androstan
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby androstan » Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:48 am

vanwinkle wrote:
sinfiery wrote:A law student isn't able to break even in some way in the summer? Go work at McDonalds if you can't find a real job/internship for 3 months and the 9 month CoL stays at 9 months.

LOL no.

What do you mean by "real" job/internship? The vast majority of internships for law students are unpaid. You'll be working a full-time, unpaid internship for 8-10 weeks and earning $0, but you need a full-time internship on your resume or else you're basically unemployable. (Since it's the job-related training most law students typically get, and it's a threshold measure of how much you want to practice law, legal employers will throw your application in the trash if they see you didn't do anything law-related during your summers.)

Do you really think, after working 8 hours a day at an unpaid job, you'll want to work a second job in food service for $6/hr? And if you're the type of person who can work two jobs, you'd increase your odds of finding actual paying work when you graduate by working two unpaid internships instead.


Yes.

Also, while we're talking about a person who doesn't mind doing 8 unpaid hours on top of a second job, an ideal situation would be to do some kind of per diem work for a solo or something. Something you can squeeze in here and there that basically pays per assignment. That would be ideal. Again, good luck finding that.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but once you've blocked off 9-5 on an unpaid internship, the opportunities to do legal work outside those hours are nearly nonexistent?

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:10 pm

androstan wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
sinfiery wrote:A law student isn't able to break even in some way in the summer? Go work at McDonalds if you can't find a real job/internship for 3 months and the 9 month CoL stays at 9 months.

LOL no.

What do you mean by "real" job/internship? The vast majority of internships for law students are unpaid. You'll be working a full-time, unpaid internship for 8-10 weeks and earning $0, but you need a full-time internship on your resume or else you're basically unemployable. (Since it's the job-related training most law students typically get, and it's a threshold measure of how much you want to practice law, legal employers will throw your application in the trash if they see you didn't do anything law-related during your summers.)

Do you really think, after working 8 hours a day at an unpaid job, you'll want to work a second job in food service for $6/hr? And if you're the type of person who can work two jobs, you'd increase your odds of finding actual paying work when you graduate by working two unpaid internships instead.


Yes.

Also, while we're talking about a person who doesn't mind doing 8 unpaid hours on top of a second job, an ideal situation would be to do some kind of per diem work for a solo or something. Something you can squeeze in here and there that basically pays per assignment. That would be ideal. Again, good luck finding that.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but once you've blocked off 9-5 on an unpaid internship, the opportunities to do legal work outside those hours are nearly nonexistent?


You could work PT, nights and weekends. It's tough but doable.

I second getting per diem or contract work from a solo or small firm, but keep in mind some of these firms will use you for the free student WL/Lexis password.

Theopliske8711
Posts: 2213
Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2012 10:21 am

Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Theopliske8711 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:30 pm

A lot of 2Ls and 3L don't have much work over the semester until around November, there are employment options available there.

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JCougar
Posts: 3175
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:10 pm

sinfiery wrote:A law student isn't able to break even in some way in the summer? Go work at McDonalds if you can't find a real job/internship for 3 months and the 9 month CoL stays at 9 months.


I think it's painfully clear that you've never lived on your own or supported yourself, nor have you ever worked a full time job. You have a lot to learn about life, and about law school. You have unrealistic notions about costs of living. You might be able to live on $20K/year as a professional in a mid-sized city if you are young and single and have a tiny apartment. But there's just no way to do that in NYC.

Regarding McDonald's, if you have an unpaid 1L internship, you really don't have time to work a second job. You can't afford to come into work burnt out if you want a good recommendation. Also, lets take some things into consideration.

1) A 40-hour a week internship means you work 8 hours a day, but you also have to add in an hour for lunch, so you will be at that job 9 hours a day. You will have to dress up, which means ironing a shirt and putting on a tie and maybe a suit. This means, along with shaving, shower, etc., it will probably take you close to an hour to wake up, have breakfast, and get ready for this job. Now we're up to 10 hours. Furthermore, you will have to commute back and forth. Most legal internships are in large cities. You won't have a car, because it is too expensive to pay for parking in these kinds of cities. So you will have to take public transportation. You won't have money to live close to your work where rent is high, so your commute will likely be 1 hour each way, so now you are up to 12 hours. If you want 8 hours of sleep, this leaves you 4 hours left in the day to eat dinner, change into your McDonald's clothes, and then take public transportation to and from your McDonald's job, which leaves you with, at best 3 hours left in the day to work at minimum wage.

2) You might be asked to work late on a project that is due the next day, in which case, you'd have to call in sick to McDonald's and earn no money.

3) Your weekends will be spent doing mostly errands, such as doing laundry, dry cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. You will also spend a lot of time sending out resumes or typing up cover letters, especially if this is your 1L summer and you plan on participating in OCI.

In summary, you just don't have the time to work a second job if your first job is a professional one and you are a law student. There are a decent number of people who work two jobs, but they either have families at home taking care of their ironing, laundry, meals, etc. or they don't have to spend so much time on a commute in a large city.

I worked an unpaid government internship in DC my 1L summer, and this was pretty much the story of my time there. I did not have very much free time. I was very lucky to have family in the area with a spare bedroom, so I could live for free, and some of the grocery shopping, etc. was done for me. I didn't have to take out any extra debt. I spent my free time writing dozens of cover letters. If I decided to work at McDonald's instead, my legal career would be over.




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