Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

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ChemDawg
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Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby ChemDawg » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:34 am

Hi everyone, I'm a sophomore in college and I want to go to law school after my senior year. Some top law schools (like Harvard) only have 20% of their class straight out of undergrad. I know why law schools prefer experienced professionals, what I don't know is -who are the 20% ? Are they killer students with a 4.0 and 176 lsat?

http://hls.harvard.edu/dept/jdadmission ... and-facts/
Last edited by ChemDawg on Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

cavalier1138
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby cavalier1138 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:18 am

1. It's too early to be focusing on this.
2. Admissions is mostly a numbers game.
3. Even if you have the numbers, take a year or two off to get some life experience.
4. Stop focusing on Harvard to the exclusion of every other law school.

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TasmanianToucan
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby TasmanianToucan » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:03 am

cavalier1138 wrote:3. Even if you have the numbers, take a year or two off to get some life experience.

This.

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northwood
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby northwood » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:08 am

TasmanianToucan wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:3. Even if you have the numbers, take a year or two off to get some life experience.

This.

At least 2 years

ChemDawg
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby ChemDawg » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:42 am

Some of my problems with working a couple years after law school are:

a) I have to pay student loans (40-50k when I graduate).
b) I want to become a lawyer as fast as possible (my most desirable profession).
c) I have to live at home for a couple years :/ (just bein real).
d) I am completing a prelaw scholarship that requires students to immediately attend LS.

I know somebody will try to pick this list apart, but as you guys can see, it would be really inconvenient for me to wait a few years.

I'm pursuing a dual-degree, polysci and finance, so I could do some corporate work after college. The only reason why I'm studying finance is that I believe it'll be useful when working biglaw. The only way I'd spend a couple of years after undergrad anywhere besides LS, is IF I earned a Marshall, Rhodes, or FullBright Scholarship.

Damage Over Time
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby Damage Over Time » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:59 am

ChemDawg wrote:Some of my problems with working a couple years after law school are:

a) I have to pay student loans (40-50k when I graduate).
b) I want to become a lawyer as fast as possible (my most desirable profession).
c) I have to live at home for a couple years :/ (just bein real).
d) I am completing a prelaw scholarship that requires students to immediately attend LS.

I know somebody will try to pick this list apart, but as you guys can see, it would be really inconvenient for me to wait a few years.

I'm pursuing a dual-degree, polysci and finance, so I could do some corporate work after college. The only reason why I'm studying finance is that I believe it'll be useful when working biglaw. The only way I'd spend a couple of years after undergrad anywhere besides LS, is IF I earned a Marshall, Rhodes, or FullBright Scholarship.


Could you explain b and d a bit? Not trying to pick apart/trash your list, but I'm genuinely curious what makes being a lawyer your highest preference for a profession. I ask in part because, before law school, I had similar ambitions. I'd be interested to read a little more of your understanding about the profession to see if I or others could provide insight or maybe challenge some preconceptions/notions. I have no motive in this other than to inform/help. With respect to d, will you have to pay back funds if you don't attend law school right away?

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OakBrook2021
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby OakBrook2021 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:18 pm

The replies interest me as a prospective K-JD. Why does everyone suggest taking off time even if you have the numbers and are sure you want to go to LS? I was on track to get the 2+ years of WE before LS, but then I got my June LSAT back; I decided (along with my father) it'd be best to just go straight through now that I had the numbers, was sure about going to LS and at least trying biglaw

Damage Over Time
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby Damage Over Time » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:29 pm

OakBrook2021 wrote:The replies interest me as a prospective K-JD. Why does everyone suggest taking off time even if you have the numbers and are sure you want to go to LS? I was on track to get the 2+ years of WE before LS, but then I got my June LSAT back; I decided (along with my father) it'd be best to just go straight through now that I had the numbers, was sure about going to LS and at least trying biglaw


Some people think they're sure about LS but aren't. There are other reasons, obviously, but this is a major one. Applicants often think "I wanna be a lawyer" but ultimately they (i) do not know what lawyers actually do, (ii) do not know what it's like to work any job, making their transition to the work-force post-LS a lot more gruesome, (iii) do not have clear goals/motivations wrt law school/the practice of law, (iv) can stand to gain a lot from taking time off (saving up money, gaining "life" perspective, etc), among others.

Necho2
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby Necho2 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:35 pm

OakBrook2021 wrote:The replies interest me as a prospective K-JD. Why does everyone suggest taking off time even if you have the numbers and are sure you want to go to LS? I was on track to get the 2+ years of WE before LS, but then I got my June LSAT back; I decided (along with my father) it'd be best to just go straight through now that I had the numbers, was sure about going to LS and at least trying biglaw

I'll bite: if you work before law school, you'll get a sense of what you like (and don't like) about working environments, subject matter, and co-workers. You might find something else you never would have expected to be passionate about, or you might find a particular area of interest that makes it a million times easier to target a particular outcome from law school.

You can save up some money, learn the value of saving up money (and spending a bunch of it that you don't actually have on LS), and at least thus far, I've found that the interview and OCI process is much more relaxing when you have some type of work experience to draw on, talk about, and use to highlight your strengths. Plus, even during the application process, at the margins I definitely felt like having a resume and personal statement that really effectively told my story based on what I had done in the real world definitely helped me fractionally outperform my numbers.

Finally- working a nice job in your early 20s can be damn fun, and very relaxing. If you have that options, it lets you spend a bit less of your 20s grinding through BigLaw, and more doing what makes you happy.

ChemDawg
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby ChemDawg » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:49 pm

Damage Over Time wrote:
ChemDawg wrote:Some of my problems with working a couple years after law school are:

a) I have to pay student loans (40-50k when I graduate).
b) I want to become a lawyer as fast as possible (my most desirable profession).
c) I have to live at home for a couple years :/ (just bein real).
d) I am completing a prelaw scholarship that requires students to immediately attend LS.

I know somebody will try to pick this list apart, but as you guys can see, it would be really inconvenient for me to wait a few years.

I'm pursuing a dual-degree, polysci and finance, so I could do some corporate work after college. The only reason why I'm studying finance is that I believe it'll be useful when working biglaw. The only way I'd spend a couple of years after undergrad anywhere besides LS, is IF I earned a Marshall, Rhodes, or FullBright Scholarship.


Could you explain b and d a bit? Not trying to pick apart/trash your list, but I'm genuinely curious what makes being a lawyer your highest preference for a profession. I ask in part because, before law school, I had similar ambitions. I'd be interested to read a little more of your understanding about the profession to see if I or others could provide insight or maybe challenge some preconceptions/notions. I have no motive in this other than to inform/help. With respect to d, will you have to pay back funds if you don't attend law school right away?


For sure, I could use some honest feedback.

As for why I want to be a lawyer... I could write an essay about this, but the main reasons are I'm interested in the power dynamics in the U.S. (how people use the law to serve their agenda and how people are governed), versatility/exit options (depends on a few factors), use of critical thinking skills, and going through logical processes when practicing law.

Yes, I'll lose the money. The scholarship covers LSAT prep, test, and a small amount of tuition.

What do you think?

Damage Over Time
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby Damage Over Time » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:53 pm

I gotta be on a call in a few minutes and will respond in greater detail then, but if you have nothing else to do I'd be curious to have you expand on the "why lawyer" topic. Feel free to post a whole essay, I'll get to it later this afternoon. It could prove helpful to get into more detail on this.

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radio1nowhere
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby radio1nowhere » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:03 pm

OP, I think the people advocating taking time off are all saying valid things. That said, it's rare that one course of action is the best for everyone, so you still have to evaluate it for yourself. I went KJD at HLS because (1) I had always wanted to be a lawyer and I hadn't discovered any other career paths that really interested me, (2) I was going to graduate with a liberal arts degree from a middling state school and I wasn't even sure if I could get a "worthwhile" job out of UG anyway, and (3) my post-law school salary would so eclipse the salary from any post-UG job I felt qualified for that it just seemed like the smart financial option. I think the second reason might have been the most important — if I had graduated from a more prestigious school and/or researched more about what jobs were available (I honestly didn't even know that things like "management consulting" existed), I might have considered time off more strongly. Overall, I've never regretted not taking time off, though I'm just a 3L so maybe I'll feel differently when I get to practice.

As other posters have said, KJD status isn't all that meaningful for admissions — if you have the numbers and don't screw something up, you'll probably get in. I also don't feel like it hurt me when I was interviewing for firm jobs and clerkships. It's more meaningful, then, for the reasons the last two posters listed. You'll just have to weigh those reasons against the ones you listed; there probably isn't going to be an obvious answer!
Last edited by radio1nowhere on Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

curry1
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby curry1 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:18 pm

Necho2 wrote:
OakBrook2021 wrote:The replies interest me as a prospective K-JD. Why does everyone suggest taking off time even if you have the numbers and are sure you want to go to LS? I was on track to get the 2+ years of WE before LS, but then I got my June LSAT back; I decided (along with my father) it'd be best to just go straight through now that I had the numbers, was sure about going to LS and at least trying biglaw

I'll bite: if you work before law school, you'll get a sense of what you like (and don't like) about working environments, subject matter, and co-workers. You might find something else you never would have expected to be passionate about, or you might find a particular area of interest that makes it a million times easier to target a particular outcome from law school.

You can save up some money, learn the value of saving up money (and spending a bunch of it that you don't actually have on LS), and at least thus far, I've found that the interview and OCI process is much more relaxing when you have some type of work experience to draw on, talk about, and use to highlight your strengths. Plus, even during the application process, at the margins I definitely felt like having a resume and personal statement that really effectively told my story based on what I had done in the real world definitely helped me fractionally outperform my numbers.

Finally- working a nice job in your early 20s can be damn fun, and very relaxing. If you have that options, it lets you spend a bit less of your 20s grinding through BigLaw, and more doing what makes you happy.


This is bad flame. The job prospects for typical law school applicants are not good and any theoretical "savings" would be negated by the ~5% increase in law school cost each year. People also age out of their parents' insurance if they take time off, which further increases the cost of law school.

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radio1nowhere
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby radio1nowhere » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:42 pm

curry1 wrote:
Necho2 wrote:
OakBrook2021 wrote:The replies interest me as a prospective K-JD. Why does everyone suggest taking off time even if you have the numbers and are sure you want to go to LS? I was on track to get the 2+ years of WE before LS, but then I got my June LSAT back; I decided (along with my father) it'd be best to just go straight through now that I had the numbers, was sure about going to LS and at least trying biglaw

I'll bite: if you work before law school, you'll get a sense of what you like (and don't like) about working environments, subject matter, and co-workers. You might find something else you never would have expected to be passionate about, or you might find a particular area of interest that makes it a million times easier to target a particular outcome from law school.

You can save up some money, learn the value of saving up money (and spending a bunch of it that you don't actually have on LS), and at least thus far, I've found that the interview and OCI process is much more relaxing when you have some type of work experience to draw on, talk about, and use to highlight your strengths. Plus, even during the application process, at the margins I definitely felt like having a resume and personal statement that really effectively told my story based on what I had done in the real world definitely helped me fractionally outperform my numbers.

Finally- working a nice job in your early 20s can be damn fun, and very relaxing. If you have that options, it lets you spend a bit less of your 20s grinding through BigLaw, and more doing what makes you happy.


This is bad flame. The job prospects for typical law school applicants are not good and any theoretical "savings" would be negated by the ~5% increase in law school cost each year. People also age out of their parents' insurance if they take time off, which further increases the cost of law school.


Huh? The question isn't what's best for some "typical" law school applicant, it's what's best for OP. Whether he has good job prospects depends on his school, his grades, his interviewing, etc. Further, a ~5%/yr increase in tuition at even the most expensive schools would run to roughly $3K at most — if OP gets a good job and budgets well, he can easily save much more than $3K a year.

Not everything you disagree with is a flame.

curry1
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby curry1 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:29 pm

radio1nowhere wrote:
curry1 wrote:
Necho2 wrote:
OakBrook2021 wrote:The replies interest me as a prospective K-JD. Why does everyone suggest taking off time even if you have the numbers and are sure you want to go to LS? I was on track to get the 2+ years of WE before LS, but then I got my June LSAT back; I decided (along with my father) it'd be best to just go straight through now that I had the numbers, was sure about going to LS and at least trying biglaw

I'll bite: if you work before law school, you'll get a sense of what you like (and don't like) about working environments, subject matter, and co-workers. You might find something else you never would have expected to be passionate about, or you might find a particular area of interest that makes it a million times easier to target a particular outcome from law school.

You can save up some money, learn the value of saving up money (and spending a bunch of it that you don't actually have on LS), and at least thus far, I've found that the interview and OCI process is much more relaxing when you have some type of work experience to draw on, talk about, and use to highlight your strengths. Plus, even during the application process, at the margins I definitely felt like having a resume and personal statement that really effectively told my story based on what I had done in the real world definitely helped me fractionally outperform my numbers.

Finally- working a nice job in your early 20s can be damn fun, and very relaxing. If you have that options, it lets you spend a bit less of your 20s grinding through BigLaw, and more doing what makes you happy.


This is bad flame. The job prospects for typical law school applicants are not good and any theoretical "savings" would be negated by the ~5% increase in law school cost each year. People also age out of their parents' insurance if they take time off, which further increases the cost of law school.


Huh? The question isn't what's best for some "typical" law school applicant, it's what's best for OP. Whether he has good job prospects depends on his school, his grades, his interviewing, etc. Further, a ~5%/yr increase in tuition at even the most expensive schools would run to roughly $3K at most — if OP gets a good job and budgets well, he can easily save much more than $3K a year.

Not everything you disagree with is a flame.


3k is not the correct figure because of the cumulative effects of tuition increases. Let's take the example of HLS: If one were to go straight through beginning in 2013, the cost (in tuition) would be 166434, and if one were to delay one year to get WE, the cost would be 174,722. This is an ~8k difference for taking one year off, ignoring increases in COL and other university fees. If one were to fall off one's parents' health insurance in one's last year at HLS as a result of taking a year off, the difference would be more than 10k (for just taking one year off). Barring someone working in tech, banking or consulting, it's difficult to imagine how someone could easily save more than 8k in one's first year immediately after college. And if those options are available to OP, I would hope that she/he would be smart enough to determine if her job prospects justify taking time off. Taking time off can certainly make financial sense for some people, but it typically doesn't (even at a place like HLS). It might also make sense for career reasons if one wants to do certain public interest work and wants to generate real connections in that industry prior to going to law school. For transparency's sake, I am beginning as a 1L at HLS having gone straight through.
the 2013-2014 tuition was 52,350
the 2014-2015 tuition was 55,842
the 2015-2016 was 58,242
the 2016-2017 tuition was 60,638

Necho2
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby Necho2 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:37 pm

curry1 wrote:
Necho2 wrote:
OakBrook2021 wrote:The replies interest me as a prospective K-JD. Why does everyone suggest taking off time even if you have the numbers and are sure you want to go to LS? I was on track to get the 2+ years of WE before LS, but then I got my June LSAT back; I decided (along with my father) it'd be best to just go straight through now that I had the numbers, was sure about going to LS and at least trying biglaw

I'll bite: if you work before law school, you'll get a sense of what you like (and don't like) about working environments, subject matter, and co-workers. You might find something else you never would have expected to be passionate about, or you might find a particular area of interest that makes it a million times easier to target a particular outcome from law school.

You can save up some money, learn the value of saving up money (and spending a bunch of it that you don't actually have on LS), and at least thus far, I've found that the interview and OCI process is much more relaxing when you have some type of work experience to draw on, talk about, and use to highlight your strengths. Plus, even during the application process, at the margins I definitely felt like having a resume and personal statement that really effectively told my story based on what I had done in the real world definitely helped me fractionally outperform my numbers.

Finally- working a nice job in your early 20s can be damn fun, and very relaxing. If you have that options, it lets you spend a bit less of your 20s grinding through BigLaw, and more doing what makes you happy.


This is bad flame. The job prospects for typical law school applicants are not good and any theoretical "savings" would be negated by the ~5% increase in law school cost each year. People also age out of their parents' insurance if they take time off, which further increases the cost of law school.

Beyond the way that you've already qualified your proclamation of "bad flame" (and if flame means what I think it is, isn't bad implied?), I think the other part of that you're not considering is that working a job, even if it doesn't pay incredibly well (mine started at 50-60k in a high COL city, and I just had a HLS-level GPA in a liberal arts degree) gives you a sense of what money really is, and how much money law school costs. That made it much, much easier for me to "take the money and run", which is a decision I'm extremely happy with right now.

Also- if you want to dig into the details of cost/benefit
1. Health insurance ends at 26, right? And don't most schools offer a relatively inexpensive plan? So you could do 2 years WE, 2 years on parents, and then pay that post SA $$$ for a single year?
2. Isn't the other side of the escalating tuition that your neglecting the opportunity to open a Roth IRA/401k and get the wonders of compound interest to work for you? I'm not necessarily sure they'll beat out law school cost in the long-term, but the returns on my retirement account have definitely outpaced 5% over the relatively short-term since I started working and then LS.
3. Work experience that makes it easier to get the job you want, or gets you an extra 10-15k in scholarship money would certainly outpace the tuition increases, right?

Definitely recognize that some people are in situations where they really don't have any marketable skills, and without a decent GPA they really feel like they can't do anything productive other than LS. But if you're thinking about HLS, then there are definitely cities you can move to, start applying, and snag some kind of entry-level position that would help you in a bunch of ways.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:49 pm

curry1 is overly pessimistic. Necho is absolutely right.

I'm about as unKJD as you can get so biased, but I think you are in a much better position to make good choices about what kind of job you want and how to get it - as well as knowing what you need to get out of law school - if you've already been out in the work world and learned what it's like working full time. I realize that may sound condescending and I don't mean it that way; it's just that I did K-other grad program and then worked and just found it so much easier to negotiate law school and get the jobs I wanted this time round than I did in my first program.

Obviously people do go KJD and succeed and all that good stuff, and I hated being told to take time off and work the first time around (and didn't, obviously), so I get it if you don't. I do still think it's good advice though.

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mjb447
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby mjb447 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:29 pm

Small point, but (in addition to the "know thyself" stuff) from what I've seen people with work experience sometimes come in with a little more polish and often understand more about how to be useful in a work setting, which could help with your professional relationships and getting good references early on. (I was a K - JD, and I definitely could have used a little polish.) Obviously lots of exceptions, and it may not be worth working a year just for that, but it's another thing to think about.

MercW07
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Re: Law School Immediately After Undergrad Question

Postby MercW07 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:43 am

As someone who was dead-set on being a KJD and later changed his mind, Ill try and help. When I graduated college I thought I was ready for LS. Not long after graduation I decided to wait a year and retake the LSAT. I didn't make this decision because I suddenly realized I wasn't in fact ready for LS, but rather because scholarships are out there for the taking as long as your LSAT score is high enough. Fast forward a year, I sit here now and reflect on my past self and its amazing how much Ive grown and matured just by being in the "real world." Getting a real job, paying bills, having real responsibilities, all of these things really change you and change how you think. I am far more prepared today for LS than I ever have been, and I 100% attribute that to my year off. So yeah long story short, take time off after UG. Sure there are plenty of KJDs out there that will tell me Im wrong, but I would say for the vast majority of 0Ls a year or more off only helps. It was definitely the hardest decision I have ever had to make but if I could go back I would do the exact same thing every single time.

Ill finish by saying when I was in UG I was put in contact with a 3L at Yale. After talking to him for about an hour, he politely suggested I take time off after college to mature and retake the LSAT. At the time, I thought he was crazy and that I would never even consider taking time off. Here I am a year later telling you to do the exact same thing.




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