Law School vs. Paralegal School

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confuscious
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Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby confuscious » Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:59 pm

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Law School vs. Paralegal School

Hi all,

I was waitlisted at my top two choice law schools. Because of this, I decided that I would first enroll in a paralegal program and then see what happens from there. The paralegal classes will be starting in a few weeks.

Today, I received a letter saying that I was accepted into the USD law school off the waitlist. A few months ago, I would have been thrilled. But now, I am not so sure. I need to make a decision within the week.

I have to make a choice soon. I am really anxious about the market for lawyers in Southern California. I am afraid of paying $40,000 a year at this tier 2 school and then not being able to find a job or not being able to pass the bar after graduation. What do you think?

The paralegal program costs around $5,000 tops. They assure me that I will be able to find a job after graduation paying around $40,000. This seems like the safer option, but then I think that attorneys have more prestige and advancement opportunities than paralegals, and Icant decide what to do.

I dont know if the law school will defer my admission for a year, because I was on the waitlist. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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BigAristotle
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby BigAristotle » Thu Aug 14, 2008 8:06 pm

Paralegals have no real career advancement options. Their salary will increase with experience, maybe get a better paying one at a bigger law firm.

There are paralegals who can make 60-70k with limited experience, and that's not even at a top firm. (Well, that's in Austin, and only from my experience of browsing through want ads/resumes of paralegals interested in the firm I worked for).

A paralegal is not a lawyer; you'll be doing different tasks.

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Grad_Student
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby Grad_Student » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:20 am

Put it this way: Paralegals and first year associates do a lot of the same shit. Paralegals make 40k, first year associates can make up to 160k. The ceiling is much hire for law students.

confuscious
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby confuscious » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:00 pm

Thanks for your reply. I didnt think entry level paralegals could make 60K. Is this for a major firm with lots of overtime? Do paralegals work the same hours as attorneys? Can you give me an example of typical tasks a paralegal would do in aday, and tasks an attorney would do in a day?

If I go to law school, I would probably end up working for the govt as an attorney, because I have a family and cannot work 12 hour days. But it seems as though govt salaries are around the same as paralegal salaries (around 40-50K) in CA, is this correct?

If you were in my shoes what would you choose? Paralegal or law school?

Bankhead
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby Bankhead » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:56 am

Law school, but not necessarily sticker price at USD... I would imagine your LSAT is around 158. I could think of better options.

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JustDude
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby JustDude » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:49 pm

Its like Med school vs nursing school

confuscious
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby confuscious » Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:59 pm

Unfortunately, I am stuck with sticker price at USD (40k a year). What are the other options you suggest?

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Grad_Student
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby Grad_Student » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:10 pm

Retake and reapply. You are never stuck, you always have options.

SouthFloridaGrad
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Joined: Wed May 28, 2008 4:48 am

Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby SouthFloridaGrad » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:25 pm

I aksed this in another thread, and am currently having a devil of a time finding it for some reason...

Does LSAC.org factor in your paralegal school grades at all when calculating your GPA?

Katdaddy
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby Katdaddy » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:31 pm

JustDude wrote:Its like Med school vs nursing school


TITCR

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mallard
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby mallard » Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:40 pm

SouthFloridaGrad wrote:I aksed this in another thread, and am currently having a devil of a time finding it for some reason...

Does LSAC.org factor in your paralegal school grades at all when calculating your GPA?


no, it's your UGPA

SouthFloridaGrad
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby SouthFloridaGrad » Tue Aug 19, 2008 5:26 pm

ok thanks :D

Iwantlaw
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Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby Iwantlaw » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:26 pm

confuscious wrote:Thanks for your reply. I didnt think entry level paralegals could make 60K. Is this for a major firm with lots of overtime? Do paralegals work the same hours as attorneys? Can you give me an example of typical tasks a paralegal would do in aday, and tasks an attorney would do in a day?

If I go to law school, I would probably end up working for the govt as an attorney, because I have a family and cannot work 12 hour days. But it seems as though govt salaries are around the same as paralegal salaries (around 40-50K) in CA, is this correct?

If you were in my shoes what would you choose? Paralegal or law school?


I was an entry level paralegal in NY for one year and made $65k. That is, $42k base salary for the 37hr work week. I worked up to 55 hours per week boosting my salary up to 60k+, with end of year and holiday bonuses, I made over $65k. If you want to live in big cities such as DC, NYC, San Fran, Chicago, then paralegals can make over 100k with the right experience. You can go on the job posting sites and search for yourself. You will see that top law firms are willing to pay between $100k-$120k with 5-7 years of related experience. Law firms like to do this because it saves them much more money. They would probably have to pay a lawyer about $280k with 5-7 years of related experience in NYC's top firms (granted they will work about 80-90 hours each week) for basically doing the same kind of work. Paralegals also save their clients a lot of money too because it's much cheaper billing.

jdkale
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Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:33 am

Re: Law School vs. Paralegal School

Postby jdkale » Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:28 am

Put it this way: Paralegals and first year associates do a lot of the same shit. Paralegals make 40k, first year associates can make up to 160k. The ceiling is much hire for law students.


Your advice for someone considering paralegal school is to tell them the market rate at corporate law firms in Manhattan. Grad_Student gets "hire" on crack.




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