Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

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JMU
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Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby JMU » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:51 pm

Opinions? Am I an idiot?

Basically, being a lawyer does not interest me. I want a JD (from a top 20 or so school) because it opens doors that my undergrad will not. Don't get me wrong, I like law. I've taken several undergrad law classes (business and copyright) and they were very interesting and I did very well (and yes, I realize they don't compare to law school). I also enjoy studying for the LSAT and I am a strong writer.

I am interested in pursuing lobbying, consulting, public or international relations, and possibly politics. I know racking up large loans just for a generic JD is dumb, which is why I would only consider attending a top school.

Anyone else have similar ambitions? Being a career lawyer just doesn't appeal to me. I'm graduating in Spring 2013 with a BBA from a good public university, I will work a minimum of 1 year before applying to enroll in the Fall 2014 semester at a law school. My GPA should allow me to get into a school like Georgetown based on myLSN numbers, provided I do well on the LSAT (which I know I can).

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Tom Joad
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby Tom Joad » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:53 pm

Sounds dumb unless you have a full ride, but even then, there are probably more productive ways to spend 3 years of your mid twenties.

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Icculus
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby Icculus » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:58 pm

Tom Joad wrote:Sounds dumb unless you have a full ride, but even then, there are probably more productive ways to spend 3 years of your mid twenties.

There are easier and cheaper ways to get into these fields w/out wasting 3 years and tons of money on law school. Only go to law school if you want to be a lawyer.

WanderingPondering
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby WanderingPondering » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:00 pm

JMU wrote:I want a JD (from a top 20 or so school) because it opens doors that my undergrad will not. just for a JD is dumb.


Specifically, what doors will a JD open for you that doesn't involve being a lawyer?

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prezidentv8
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:01 pm

Just don't.

whereskyle
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby whereskyle » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:04 pm

Do what you want to do, not what you think puts you on the path to doing what you want to do. Just walk the path. Plus dont voters hate lawyers these days? Read some opinions from a court of appeals or the supreme court. Maybe you really do want to be a lawyer, and you just have to learn that the hard times are worth it.
Last edited by whereskyle on Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dr123
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby dr123 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:08 pm

Sounds like you actually want a MPP/A or MBA. In reality tho, most of those fields you really just need to hustle and work your way up.

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epiphinous7
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby epiphinous7 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Plenty of graduate programs and even work/volunteer programs that would serve you so much better than diddling away 3 years $250K on a degree you wont enjoy getting or are interested in which willl probably result in you being a 1L dropout
Advice: Start googling and do some real research youll find something that suits you better

JMU
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby JMU » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:15 pm

WanderingPondering wrote:
JMU wrote:I want a JD (from a top 20 or so school) because it opens doors that my undergrad will not. just for a JD is dumb.


Specifically, what doors will a JD open for you that doesn't involve being a lawyer?

Just FYI, I don't plan on going to law school just to be able to tack it on to my resume. And yes, I know it is possible to get into the fields I mentioned without the degree. However, I believe that a law school education is very valuable in achieving high levels of success. Just look at any top school's alumni list, MANY go on into business, politics, etc. Granted, many (likely most) also start off as lawyers for several years. I don't have a problem being a lawyer, I just don't want to be a career lawyer. I will likely accept a sales job after I graduate undergrad, and that's fine, I just don't want to be a CAREER salesman. Make sense? And I may not even decide to attend law school, I'm just taking the LSAT to have the option, and was wondering if anyone had similar ambitions/plans.

And for people saying don't waste time doing something that doesn't interest me, I AM very interested in law, just not in being a lawyer my whole life.

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dingbat
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby dingbat » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:16 pm

JMU wrote:I am interested in pursuing lobbying, consulting, public or international relations, and possibly politics.

A JD will help you with none of these

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epiphinous7
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby epiphinous7 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:20 pm

JMU wrote:
WanderingPondering wrote:
JMU wrote:I want a JD (from a top 20 or so school) because it opens doors that my undergrad will not. just for a JD is dumb.


Specifically, what doors will a JD open for you that doesn't involve being a lawyer?

Just FYI, I don't plan on going to law school just to be able to tack it on to my resume. And yes, I know it is possible to get into the fields I mentioned without the degree. However, I believe that a law school education is very valuable in achieving high levels of success. Just look at any top school's alumni list, MANY go on into business, politics, etc. Granted, many (likely most) also start off as lawyers for several years. I don't have a problem being a lawyer, I just don't want to be a career lawyer. I will likely accept a sales job after I graduate undergrad, and that's fine, I just don't want to be a CAREER salesman. Make sense? And I may not even decide to attend law school, I'm just taking the LSAT to have the option, and was wondering if anyone had similar ambitions/plans.

And for people saying don't waste time doing something that doesn't interest me, I AM very interested in law, just not in being a lawyer my whole life.

Then my advice is to go get some work experience that will help you understand how you want to use your degree. Any interviewer will tell you that, especially these days, a law degree is a technical degree - use it as such.

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KevinP
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby KevinP » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:26 pm

With very, very few exeptions, those alumni achieved success in other fields despite their JD, not because of it. JD is a black mark for the vast majority of non-lawyer jobs.

JMU
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby JMU » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:28 pm

epiphinous7 wrote:Then my advice is to go get some work experience that will help you understand how you want to use your degree. Any interviewer will tell you that, especially these days, a law degree is a technical degree - use it as such.

Oh ya that's what I plan on doing. Guaranteed working for at least a year after undergrad, possibly more. Hey, maybe I'll love my job and be where I want to be anyways. I just want to take the LSAT to have the option of attending a great law school. I figure I have enough winter break/down town between now and February to put in 200+ hours and see how I do. Maybe I'll get a 140 and drop it, who knows? (Don't really plan on that though...) Worst case is I'm out $150 and got really good at solving puzzles.

And KevinP, why exactly do you say it is a black mark? Unless you're just going off the "everybody hates lawyers" spiel?

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dingbat
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby dingbat » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:29 pm

KevinP wrote:With very, very few exeptions, those alumni achieved success in other fields despite their JD, not because of it. JD is a black mark for the vast majority of non-lawyer jobs.

Either that, or they were able to transition because they were very successful lawyers (consider making partner at biglaw a prerequisite)

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nickb285
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby nickb285 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:32 pm

JMU wrote:And KevinP, why exactly do you say it is a black mark? Unless you're just going off the "everybody hates lawyers" spiel?


If nothing else, it's a black mark in the same way that my bachelor's made it a pain in the ass to get a job in a warehouse after I graduated--people will look at your degree and assume that you are only using their position as a way to make ends meet until you can get a better job, so they'll hire someone who doesn't appear to be "overqualified" (whether that's actually true or not) in the interest of retaining them for longer.

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KevinP
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby KevinP » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:34 pm

My UG was in a useful field (STEM major). I attended a top 6 law school (which by the way had a ton of unemployed grads) and dropped out. The JD is a blight for non-lawyer jobs.

JMU
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby JMU » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:35 pm

nickb285 wrote:
JMU wrote:And KevinP, why exactly do you say it is a black mark? Unless you're just going off the "everybody hates lawyers" spiel?


If nothing else, it's a black mark in the same way that my bachelor's made it a pain in the ass to get a job in a warehouse after I graduated--people will look at your degree and assume that you are only using their position as a way to make ends meet until you can get a better job, so they'll hire someone who doesn't appear to be "overqualified" (whether that's actually true or not) in the interest of retaining them for longer.

Very good point. I can see employers thinking that I am either a) unwanted by law firms or b) "overqualified" and not a long term employee.

AllTheLawz
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby AllTheLawz » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:37 pm

JMU wrote:
epiphinous7 wrote:Then my advice is to go get some work experience that will help you understand how you want to use your degree. Any interviewer will tell you that, especially these days, a law degree is a technical degree - use it as such.

Oh ya that's what I plan on doing. Guaranteed working for at least a year after undergrad, possibly more. Hey, maybe I'll love my job and be where I want to be anyways. I just want to take the LSAT to have the option of attending a great law school. I figure I have enough winter break/down town between now and February to put in 200+ hours and see how I do. Maybe I'll get a 140 and drop it, who knows? (Don't really plan on that though...) Worst case is I'm out $150 and got really good at solving puzzles.

And KevinP, why exactly do you say it is a black mark? Unless you're just going off the "everybody hates lawyers" spiel?


As someone who spent a little time doing some lobbying work in DC (in a legal context) I can assure you that just getting a JD will open no doors. Almost all those alumni who are famed in fields outside of the law got that way by either establishing connections BEFORE they got a JD, establishing connections through many well connected law firms (e.g. one of the name partners of Wiley Rein used to be commissioner of FCC, he has clout if someone from the firm looks for a job in gov't), or being former military people. If you don't go to a firm, dont have connections before law school, and aren't former military then your chances of parlaying a simple JD into the jobs you described are near nil.

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KevinP
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby KevinP » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:38 pm

dingbat wrote:
KevinP wrote:With very, very few exeptions, those alumni achieved success in other fields despite their JD, not because of it. JD is a black mark for the vast majority of non-lawyer jobs.

Either that, or they were able to transition because they were very successful lawyers (consider making partner at biglaw a prerequisite)

Those are the very few exceptions.

nickb285 wrote:
JMU wrote:And KevinP, why exactly do you say it is a black mark? Unless you're just going off the "everybody hates lawyers" spiel?


If nothing else, it's a black mark in the same way that my bachelor's made it a pain in the ass to get a job in a warehouse after I graduated--people will look at your degree and assume that you are only using their position as a way to make ends meet until you can get a better job, so they'll hire someone who doesn't appear to be "overqualified" (whether that's actually true or not) in the interest of retaining them for longer.

Its worse. They dont just think your overqualified, they think you are likely to sue them.

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AreJay711
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:38 pm

Actually, I agreed more with the sentiment in this thread 1L than I do as a 3L. Your first year courses won't help you prepare for any other career. Thinking like a lawyer is BS -- its just critical thinking grounded in past authority -- but you do learn the basics of legal analysis. Upper level courses are much more diverse. Its hard to imagine that it is a good investment, but law school can prepare you as well for other things as it does for law if you select the right classes.

I think a lot of people on this board went to good undergrad schools where top students had a lot of opportunities. That wasn't the case for me and I've been surprised how many doors have been opened because I attend a top 10 law school degree.

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KevinP
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby KevinP » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:43 pm

AreJay711 wrote:I think a lot of people on this board went to good undergrad schools where top students had a lot of opportunities. That wasn't the case for me and I've been surprised how many doors have been opened because I attend a top 10 law school degree.

I'm geniunely curious, what kind of doors?

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prezidentv8
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby prezidentv8 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:43 pm

AreJay711 wrote:Actually, I agreed more with the sentiment in this thread 1L than I do as a 3L. Your first year courses won't help you prepare for any other career. Thinking like a lawyer is BS -- its just critical thinking grounded in past authority -- but you do learn the basics of legal analysis. Upper level courses are much more diverse. Its hard to imagine that it is a good investment, but law school can prepare you as well for other things as it does for law if you select the right classes.

I think a lot of people on this board went to good undergrad schools where top students had a lot of opportunities. That wasn't the case for me and I've been surprised how many doors have been opened because I attend a top 10 law school degree.


Mark me down as having gone to an unknown UG as well. But my experience after law school has been a bit different - I haven't seen much of a helpful effect from my t14 law degree, particularly outside of legal work. /myanecdote

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suralin
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby suralin » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:51 pm

whereskyle wrote:Do what you want to do, not what you think puts you on the path to doing what you want to do. Just walk the path. Plus dont voters hate lawyers these days? Read some opinions from a court of appeals or the supreme court. Maybe you really do want to be a lawyer, and you just have to learn that the hard times are worth it.


LOL. W/r/t the OP, I'd have to agree with the consensus: the costs (particularly opportunity costs) are high and the benefits are either low or nonexistent.

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AreJay711
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby AreJay711 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:53 pm

KevinP wrote:
AreJay711 wrote:I think a lot of people on this board went to good undergrad schools where top students had a lot of opportunities. That wasn't the case for me and I've been surprised how many doors have been opened because I attend a top 10 law school degree.

I'm geniunely curious, what kind of doors?

Well, tbf, most are at firms because that's what I've been pursuing but I've also had someone that is considering running for governor of the state in 2014 tell me to contact him if I was interested in helping him campaign and a real estate developer basically offer me a position if I got tired of working at a firm (I have construction experience). These aren't huge by any means -- hell, what politician wouldn't want free labor -- but I doubt that the developer would have been interested if my only credential was some shitty undergrad only known for drinking and attractive women. That's all I got; maybe its not causal.

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cahwc12
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Re: Don't want to be a lawyer, applying to law school...

Postby cahwc12 » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:23 pm

JMU, you should check out this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Dont-Law-School-U ... B009D13IA6

Spend the $5, download it and read it. It will tell you everything you need to know to make your decision.

You are very clearly ignorant of a lot of basic information out there about law school (no offense!) and this book is a good summary. You can read it in an afternoon and it will be the most judicious investment of $5 you can make.




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