Unsure About Law School

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guillaume_aus
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Unsure About Law School

Postby guillaume_aus » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:03 pm

I apologize if this sort of thread is in the wrong place, or isn't something that TLS likes to answer. Feel free to move it, delete it, and/or ignore it.

That being said, I am just now starting to think about law school, and I would love to hear some advice. I just finished my sophomore year at the University of Texas at Austin. I currently have a 3.96 GPA and three majors: Computer Engineering, Economics, and Plan II Honors. Because of those three majors, I will be in undergrad for five years, so I have a bit of time to think about things (some may challenge my decision to take five years in undergrad, but I'm happy with it, and I have all except the last semester payed for in scholarships at the moment). For some time, I wanted to get a Ph.D. in Economics and become an Economics professor. I love teaching, I loved Economics, and I think I had change-the-world delusions. While that still is an active option for me, I'm scared about the job market for Economics professors, and I'm less in love with the subject than I used to be. I know that the market for lawyers is hardly thriving at the moment, the "market" for academic economists consists of students from top five schools having a decent shot at tenure track positions, students at top ten schools having an existent shot at tenure track positions, and other students having a rather difficult time. Getting into those top five schools is ridiculously difficult, and even more difficult for me, because I don't have a Math major (I chose Computer Engineering over Math because Computer Engineering seemed like a much more practical major than Math for getting a job straight out of undergrad, and I was not willing to choose Math solely on hopes of getting into a top Econ grad school).

I am currently working an internship at a fairly well-respected company as a software developer. I like it, but I struggle to see myself doing this for the rest of my life. And part of what I enjoy is working at a company that (in my opinion) has a fantastic working environment for its employees, and, if I had to be a software developer at a place without that, I probably would be somewhat less happy. That being said, I like having software development, or the many related fields covered by Computer Engineering, as a potential backup. I'm hardly miserable doing this work; I'm just not as enthusiastic about technology development as most of the people around me.

So where does that leave law school? It's been an option that I've thought about for awhile, but I've become more interested in it lately. Perhaps my reasons are silly. I'm not sure if they're too close to "I like arguing". But I really enjoy reading, writing, and critiquing ideas, even relatively boring ones. I also find myself honestly interested in the law. I don't harbor change-the-world delusions in the same way that I did about Economics. I'd be lying if I said that I was not attracted to the money that lawyers supposedly make, at least according to popular legend. For some (possibly silly) reason, I find myself drawn more to the idea of a high-stress long-hours environment in which I am writing and reading ideas about things than the idea of a slightly-lower-stress slightly-fewer-hours environment of writing code. Perhaps that's a silly and inaccurate forecast; perhaps it's caused by a grass-is-always-greener mentality. But there's something about the possibility of going to law school and being a lawyer that excites me right now.

I've yet to take the LSAT. I am going to administer myself a practice exam under realistic timing tomorrow morning. We'll see what happens. I've played around with practice logic games before and done well, and I've looked at the formats of the other questions, but that's pretty much the extent of my preparation at this point. I've had good luck on standardized tests (SAT/PSAT/ACT) in the past. I honestly don't know what to expect.

Like most parents, my parents don't have the resources to pay for my law school, so I would likely take on significant debt, which is a little frightening. I know the state of the legal job market. The pre-law adviser at my university thinks that I will have a good shot at T14, but I suppose we'll see after I start working on the LSAT.

I've read a lot of people say that GPA and LSAT are much more important than other factors for getting into law school, such as majors. I am happy with my GPA at the moment, but my Electrical/Computer Engineering program is relatively well ranked (#10-ish in the country), and it has difficult classes that could hurt my GPA at some point. I haven't gotten anything lower than an A- in an Engineering class yet, but that could change. However, I am not willing to pull out of Engineering to potentially get a higher GPA. I like the classes a lot, and I like knowing that I have a good shot at a good job right out of college if I need to take it.

I think this post sounds more cynical than accurately reflects my mood. I don't feel too cynical about any of the options that I listed, and, like I said, I honestly feel somewhat excited about the possibility of law school. I do, however, feel a little overwhelmed and confused at the moment about what to do with my life. Better in college than at any other time, though, I suppose! :D Anyway, I'd love to hear any advice about whether or not I should go to law school. Obviously, I know that I can't expect this forum make my decision for me, but everyone here seems much more knowledgeable about all things law-related than I am, so I'd appreciate opinions.

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smaug_
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby smaug_ » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:14 pm

If you are good at the CS stuff and don't absolutely hate it, you should probably do that. If you can get an LSAT score to match your GPA you could get into a great school. I just think for someone like you it's probably Yale or don't go or even more likely just "don't go." The prize at the end of the law school game isn't the best. If you get into Yale, you could probably have a shot at legal academia or some other plush job. I don't know anything about /S/H, but I know you're probably not going to get an outcome that is better than your present one from CCN or below.

Well, I suppose if you get a massive scholly you could pursue that as well. You'd just have to deal with being a lawyer when you're done.Image

20141023
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby 20141023 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:49 pm

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Last edited by 20141023 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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North
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby North » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:29 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:Major in something that you both want to do and can realistically do after graduation. Next, get a job doing that thing after you graduate and try it out for a few years. If you still don't like it, then you can study for the LSAT and try the law school route.

Don't rush into law school; it will be patiently waiting for you if you so choose to go that route in the future.

This is what you should do.

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Micdiddy
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby Micdiddy » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:51 pm

Wow tl;dr, bit I trust kappycaft1 and North said all the right things. So do that.

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jselson
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby jselson » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:00 pm

kappycaft1 is right, but if you do end up wanting to do law, it sounds like you would have a good shot at Yale (if you kept your GPA up and scored 174+ on the LSAT), and if you got into there, you could try to go the academic route with the law and econ kind of stuff.

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North
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby North » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:24 pm

Hibiki is absolutely right, though. If you do decide you want to be a lawyer, don't go to law school until you have at least a 170 -- preferably a 172+ -- on the LSAT. Your GPA would be wasted on a score any lower.

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stillwater
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby stillwater » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:38 pm

totally kill it and transfer

TCR

PRgradBYU
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby PRgradBYU » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:27 am

guillaume_aus wrote:I am going to administer myself a practice exam under realistic timing tomorrow morning.


I don't know why this sentence made me laugh out loud, but it did.

Anyway...

kappycaft1 wrote:Major in something that you both want to do and can realistically do after graduation. Next, get a job doing that thing after you graduate and try it out for a few years. If you still don't like it, then you can study for the LSAT and try the law school route.

Don't rush into law school; it will be patiently waiting for you if you so choose to go that route in the future.


TITCR.

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North
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby North » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:01 am

stillwater wrote:totally kill it and transfer

TCR

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stillwater
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby stillwater » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:08 am

North wrote:
stillwater wrote:totally kill it and transfer

TCR


it was a joke. LSAT to maximize: cheaper and easier.

i thought my proposition was so ridiculous it wouldn't be taken as true by anyone.

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North
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby North » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:13 am

stillwater wrote:
North wrote:
stillwater wrote:totally kill it and transfer

TCR


it was a joke. LSAT to maximize: cheaper and easier.

i thought my proposition was so ridiculous it wouldn't be taken as true by anyone.

I knew you were trollin.

Wasn't sure if EARNEST, NOVEL-WRITING OP would.

So I went for the [s]

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Bronte
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby Bronte » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:21 pm

That's a lengthy post there, dude. Anyway, try to get a programming job after you graduate and do that for three years. Then decide whether you want to do law school.

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guillaume_aus
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby guillaume_aus » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:07 pm

Thanks for all the responses, and sorry for my novel. I've never seriously considered going to law school after working for awhile. Maybe it should. But the idea of not having my terminal degree until I'm thirty is a little scary.

I got a 166 on my first practice LSAT (and I was timing it). I suppose I have a lot of work to do, regardless of when I do it.

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Reinhardt
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby Reinhardt » Sun Jun 09, 2013 10:17 pm

Not bad. You should be able to get it up to the 177-180 range if you put in the time and effort.

PRgradBYU
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby PRgradBYU » Tue Jun 11, 2013 4:46 pm

Reinhardt wrote:Not bad. You should be able to get it up to the 177-180 range if you put in the time and effort.


+1. A 166 is a fantastic first score, OP. With your 3.96, you'll enjoy HYS if you can keep improving. Good luck!

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t-14orbust
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby t-14orbust » Tue Jun 11, 2013 7:24 pm

Holy shit, 166 diagnostic? Study for 2 months and get 175+ lol

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cinephile
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby cinephile » Tue Jun 11, 2013 8:32 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:Major in something that you both want to do and can realistically do after graduation. Next, get a job doing that thing after you graduate and try it out for a few years. If you still don't like it, then you can study for the LSAT and try the law school route.

Don't rush into law school; it will be patiently waiting for you if you so choose to go that route in the future.

SPerez
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby SPerez » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:43 pm

OP, you're experiencing what is known as...COLLEGE. Doubt is normal! Very few people know what they want to do when they are 18 and never change their mind. You have literally years to figure things out. Avail yourself of the prelaw advising office there at UT (http://www.utexas.edu/cola/orgs/lacs/Students/PL-GS/PreLaw.php). Visit the giant law fair in the fall and talk to everyone. Find a law-related internship or summer job.

guillaume_aus wrote:But I really enjoy reading, writing, and critiquing ideas, even relatively boring ones. I also find myself honestly interested in the law.


This is a bad reason to go to law school, but hear me out. I think this is a mistake that many law students make. What you describe means that you would absolutely love law school. You could very probably NOT like PRACTICING LAW. The life of an academic, the life of the mind, is AFAIK hard to find in legal practice. This is why I recommend finding a law-related internship or something. Very few new law students know what it's like to practice law day-to-day. You may have been fascinated by the 4th Amendment, but doing the same plea agreements for DUIs and minor pot possession all day as a deputy prosecutor isn't the same thing. The practice of law is challenging, absolutely. Just not in quite the same way as being a professor.

guillaume_aus wrote:I'd be lying if I said that I was not attracted to the money that lawyers supposedly make, at least according to popular legend.


Don't get to fixated on the money. It usually comes at a price, paid in "billable hours". There's a reason their turnover is so high. Sure, make sure you will be able to live comfortably, don't get in crazy debt, etc.. But you don't want to get caught on the hamster wheel of chasing the golden handcuffs of BigLaw just because that's what everyone says is "winning". If you discover you like that, great. Just saying it isn't the only thing out there.

guillaume_aus wrote:For some (possibly silly) reason, I find myself drawn more to the idea of a high-stress long-hours environment...


...Said NO ONE EVER. :) OK, I'm not trying to be harsh, but I can say that because I'm old(er than you). All-nighters are one thing when you're 19 and playing COD:BLOPS or working on a paper for a class you like, but this switch flips after about 25 where suddenly staying up 30 minutes past midnight on New Years Eve feels like a major accomplishment. Forget about when you're over 30, maybe have a family and wife waiting for you at home and...oh wait, you said you were a computer engineering major. Nevermind...Ooooh, sick burn! LOL, just kidding. (Hey, admissions deans can be funny, can't we? Maybe my one semester as an engineering major has made me bitter. My apologies.)

guillaume_aus wrote:Like most parents, my parents don't have the resources to pay for my law school, so I would likely take on significant debt


You will have as much debt as you want to have. If you keep that GPA and even do average for a CS/MATH/ENGR major (low-160s if I recall correctly; those majors do much better than average on the LSAT) you will have the option to go to a very good school for free. If you decide to chase prestige and take on debt, that's on you.

guillaume_aus wrote: I do, however, feel a little overwhelmed and confused at the moment about what to do with my life.


Again, that's just life dude. That's part of growing up and the college experience. There's no reason to feel overwhelmed. It's not like you have to make this decision this month or even this year. Just keep doing what you're doing academically, broaden your horizons, gather experiences outside the classroom, and hang out and generally enjoy being in college. You'll miss it when it's over, trust me.

Feel free to stop by my (or any other school's, really) table at the law fair if you want to talk more about this.

Dean Perez
Texas Tech University School of Law

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guillaume_aus
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Re: Unsure About Law School

Postby guillaume_aus » Tue Jun 11, 2013 9:46 pm

I really appreciate all of the opinions :)




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