Should I even consider law school? Terrible college student...

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Trying_2_Make_It

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Should I even consider law school? Terrible college student...

Postby Trying_2_Make_It » Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:32 pm

So I am a new member here, but unfortunately I am asking a fairly common question. Need some advice from the TLS community. I am turning 30 this year and am facing the decision to pursue law school now or never. I know schools are still taking applications, but given my numbers I deem it best to sit out and apply early next cycle (Nov.).

I was a very very poor student in college and barely managed to graduate (escape) with a degree in biochemistry. There are no good excuses just plain immaturity and lack of motivation. A lot has changed for me though. I managed to get a job in my industry 5+ years ago and have climbed the ladder over those years. I really learned more about my industry and now work in R&D for cancer diagnostics. I do a lot of work with cutting edge technology that branches into personalized medication. My work experience however shows me that the law is not quite ready in how we will regulate the industry in the future. I see a path I want to go and opportunity knocks here.

My problems though arise from my poor performance as a student. When I say barely graduated I mean I received my diploma knowing next to nothing about my degree. I did a lot of my learning at work carrying a "fake it till you make it" motto. Seems to have worked for me and I take pride in knowing I was not stupid, but just lazy. Again though, a lot has changed and I do believe I am more mature now. Having said all this my undergrad gpa is a 2.23. I have not inputted it into lsac, but I can almost assure myself it will probably be near the 2.0. Regardless, I did take the lsat this past year and got a 160. I do plan to retake sometime this summer but I just want to know peoples thoughts. I have no school debt and make a good salary now, but anyone know my chances at schools like George Washington or Maryland? I'm located near the MD/VA/DC border hence the target of those schools but I am open to anywhere.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Should I even consider law school? Terrible college student...

Postby totesTheGoat » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:36 pm

My work experience however shows me that the law is not quite ready in how we will regulate the industry in the future. I see a path I want to go and opportunity knocks here.


Which part of regulatory law do you want to be a part of? Lobbying? Politics? FedGov Admin agency?

I'm not sure that a law degree from a place that will accept a 2.2/160 is going to help in any of those roles. Perhaps there's a path forward that I don't know about, but this seems like an extremely high risk proposition.

2.2 is off the charts low for GW, and 160 is about 33rd percentile, which would mean a hard rejection. 2.2 is also off the charts low for UMD, but 160 is around 75th percentile. That's also probably a hard rejection, but there's a sliver of sunlight. You're gonna have to increase your LSAT 12-15 points for decent schools to take a risk on you as a super-splitter.

Do you have money set aside for this venture, or are you planning on going 6 figures in debt to finance this career change? I ask because I'd hate to see you get sucked into the worst case scenario, which is paying sticker price for UMD (over $200k) and graduating into the average outcome for a UMD law grad, which is a $60k/year job. Only 1/5 of UMD grads make more that $75k.

If I were you, I'd enjoy my cool sounding biochem job.

Trying_2_Make_It

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Re: Should I even consider law school? Terrible college student...

Postby Trying_2_Make_It » Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:54 pm

totesTheGoat wrote:
My work experience however shows me that the law is not quite ready in how we will regulate the industry in the future. I see a path I want to go and opportunity knocks here.


Which part of regulatory law do you want to be a part of? Lobbying? Politics? FedGov Admin agency?

I'm not sure that a law degree from a place that will accept a 2.2/160 is going to help in any of those roles. Perhaps there's a path forward that I don't know about, but this seems like an extremely high risk proposition.

2.2 is off the charts low for GW, and 160 is about 33rd percentile, which would mean a hard rejection. 2.2 is also off the charts low for UMD, but 160 is around 75th percentile. That's also probably a hard rejection, but there's a sliver of sunlight. You're gonna have to increase your LSAT 12-15 points for decent schools to take a risk on you as a super-splitter.

Do you have money set aside for this venture, or are you planning on going 6 figures in debt to finance this career change? I ask because I'd hate to see you get sucked into the worst case scenario, which is paying sticker price for UMD (over $200k) and graduating into the average outcome for a UMD law grad, which is a $60k/year job. Only 1/5 of UMD grads make more that $75k.

If I were you, I'd enjoy my cool sounding biochem job.


Thanks for the reply. Yeah I realize I would have to score in the 170+ range to be considered at GW, but Maryland has really been more of a realistic target. From my understanding they have a good part time program and that may be what I apply for. In fact I understand a lot of the law schools in my area have great part time programs and they are generally a little more lenient on the acceptance criteria.

As for the type of law I was targeting more on the fedgov admin. Something to do with maybe policy even. Biotech/medicine, law, and insurance companies seem to go hand-in-hand these days. A lot of the future of these fields and how they correlate with each other is uncertain. Maryland does have instate tuition, but that amounts to roughly $30k/year. COA for me will vary depending on where I want to live, but lets just round it also to around $20k/year. Thanks for the advice.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Should I even consider law school? Terrible college student...

Postby totesTheGoat » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:16 pm

Trying_2_Make_It wrote: From my understanding they have a good part time program and that may be what I apply for. In fact I understand a lot of the law schools in my area have great part time programs and they are generally a little more lenient on the acceptance criteria.


Usually the part time programs do have relaxed standards, but I think it's still worth the effort to get your LSAT on the happy side of 170 before applying to schools. UMD's placement in the DC market is only around 15% of their students, so I think your best shot would be kicking ass on the LSAT and doing everything you can to get into GW. It's worth taking a look at some of the law school outcomes data to get a better gauge of the risk you're taking at the various schools. Law school transparency is a good resource for salary and job placement data, as well as the true cost of living for some of these schools.

A note about part-time law school with a real job. Unlike an MBA, law school isn't conducive to somebody working 40+ hours per week. Working full-time and going to law school part-time should be a last resort option. The schools will never tell you this because they want your money, but as somebody who fell into that trap, my opinion is that you're better off saving up money for a couple years and going into the part-time program (or the full-time program, if accepted) working 20 hours or less per week.

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JCougar

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Re: Should I even consider law school? Terrible college student...

Postby JCougar » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:47 pm

No.

For a while, word was out about the law school scam. Things have quieted down lately for whatever reason, but nationally, law schools graduate people with crippling debt and few good job options.

Legal education in this country is a giant pyramid scheme with a lot more people at the bottom than at the top. Five heavily indebted graduates for every one that gets a good job.

And I use the term "good" loosely. Many applicants on here consider Biglaw a "good" outcome, but Biglaw is corporate defense work, and you'll be spending 60-80 hours a week with a team of 3-6 other attorneys trying to bury the little guy with pointless paperwork for two years while refusing to settle on a 100% liability case. Even if you think the concept of beating up on the little guy is fun, it's the Biglaw associates that have to come up with the laughable dreck they call motions, briefs, and appeals--it's not smart work, it's boring, repetitive, and mostly frivolous. Creating unnecessary discovery, churning through bales and bales of documents, filing an appeal you know you're going to lose just to create more billable hours for the firm, but knowing you're also putting off the plaintiff recovering a verdict or settlement for another 6 months to a year, etc.

It gets boring really fast, and most associates have trouble living with themselves knowing they get paid to do what they do after a few years.

BigBear85

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Re: Should I even consider law school? Terrible college student...

Postby BigBear85 » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:56 am

JCougar wrote:No.

For a while, word was out about the law school scam. Things have quieted down lately for whatever reason, but nationally, law schools graduate people with crippling debt and few good job options.

Legal education in this country is a giant pyramid scheme with a lot more people at the bottom than at the top. Five heavily indebted graduates for every one that gets a good job.

And I use the term "good" loosely. Many applicants on here consider Biglaw a "good" outcome, but Biglaw is corporate defense work, and you'll be spending 60-80 hours a week with a team of 3-6 other attorneys trying to bury the little guy with pointless paperwork for two years while refusing to settle on a 100% liability case. Even if you think the concept of beating up on the little guy is fun, it's the Biglaw associates that have to come up with the laughable dreck they call motions, briefs, and appeals--it's not smart work, it's boring, repetitive, and mostly frivolous. Creating unnecessary discovery, churning through bales and bales of documents, filing an appeal you know you're going to lose just to create more billable hours for the firm, but knowing you're also putting off the plaintiff recovering a verdict or settlement for another 6 months to a year, etc.

It gets boring really fast, and most associates have trouble living with themselves knowing they get paid to do what they do after a few years.



JCougar, what then do you consider a good reason to go into law, since you explained how a "good" job outcome is not necessarily what it seems? I am genuinely curious, since your comment about the nature of BigLaw work seems candid and true. Do you think there are people that can actually achieve "good" outcomes? What kind of people are these and what types of jobs are they seeking? Is your perspective that of a jaded ex-BigLawyer? Thank you genuinely.



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