Why You Should Go To Law School

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Matthies
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Matthies » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:50 pm

bahama wrote:
MTal wrote:An even more important question is, who does midlaw hire? Certainly NOT freshly minted J.D.'s. Midlaw hires experienced biglaw attorneys, often those who have a portable book of business and are looking for slightly less pay and substantially fewer hours. You can't say "well if I don't get biglaw, I'll just "settle" for midlaw" because that just aint happening.


The graph is starting salaries so yes, in fact they hire new grads.

These jobs are harder to find b/c many of them are at smaller firms in secondary markets who do not go to a ton of OCIs. And a lot of the firms are looking for people with local connections who won't run off as soon as they can find a job in NYC/DC.


And this is right

hayman
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby hayman » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:51 pm

keg411 wrote:The profession itself is NOT bimodal, just starting salaries. If that chart showed the class of 1997 or 1987 then maybe you could make a better case for it. Basically you have to actually WORK when you get out of school to make money. Radical concept.
.


i don't know tho. law firm partners making seven figures sgonna make the disparity look even more severe

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Always Credited
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Always Credited » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:53 pm

This should answer all your questions.

--ImageRemoved--

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Helmholtz
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Helmholtz » Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:57 pm

hayman wrote:
keg411 wrote:The profession itself is NOT bimodal, just starting salaries. If that chart showed the class of 1997 or 1987 then maybe you could make a better case for it. Basically you have to actually WORK when you get out of school to make money. Radical concept.
.


i don't know tho. law firm partners making seven figures sgonna make the disparity look even more severe


Yeah, I agree, I know a lot of lawyers who have been practicing their entire lives in smaller towns (with ridiculously low COL's I might add) and probably just make around six digits. Compare them with the $1,000,000/yr. partners in the large markets and it makes $50k starting v. $160k starting look like nothing.

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observationalist
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby observationalist » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:04 pm

Look folks, there are a lot of great, incredible reasons to go to law school, even TTTs, so long as you don't go into signfiicant debt. That's the main takeaway. You will face a certain degree of financial risk at every school that, despite your best efforts, you may end up making a bad investment. And it can be particularly bad for young college graduates (and for the rest of us who have to put up with them). Unfortunately, people don't have access to enough information about employment statistics from different schools to accurately measure that risk, even if they tried. Convincing schools to provide the information is difficult.

Think of it like pollution: Law schools are all factories producing something of value to society (skilled attorneys, advocates, politicians, and tell-all authors who get crappy movies made about their crappy books http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_hope_ ... r_in_hell/). However, schools also generate a lot of pollution in the form of unhappy, debt-ridden graduates who don't get the jobs they were led to believe were available to them, who can't discharge their loans in bankruptcy, and who are severely limited in their ability to either become successful attorneys or contribute in other meaningful ways to society. They are far more likely to develop depression and engage in substance abuse than the general population, which places additional burdens on those around them. These people and the damage they cause constitute a law school's externalities to society.

At the present time, our regulatory model doesn't really require schools to account for these externalities. Given that schools have an interest in staying open and continuing to produce valuable goods, they have a strong incentive to hide the pollution they cause and avoid taking responsibility that may devalue what they can charge for tuition. I argue that you can't really blame the schools here, since they are in heavy competition to pull in the top academic talent each year and keep themselves in business. Administrators are often fully aware of the damage they cause and intend to do what they can to fix it, but awareness doesn't give them the discretion to disclose information that may impact their ability to recruit top students (and their ability to retain their job). I also don't think we can blame USNews for the mess, since at least originally they served an information-forcing role, and they do hold schools at least partially accountable for the value they add to their investors (us). However, I do think we can blame the rules that currently permit schools to underreport and misrepresent their employment information.

The need for better information is becoming more obvious to members of the legal community. See this guy: http://fla-lap.org/wp-content/uploads/2 ... .htm#_ftn6
and also this guy: http://www.abajournal.com/news/law_dean ... nt_succeed
It's certainly possible that people can convince the ABA to require more information, though I don't think we'll see schools agreeing to put up warning signs on their websites cautioning you about the risks involved with taking out debt to finance your education.

I think that as more prospective students use their acceptance letters to procure current employment data from the schools who accept them and make that data available to the public, we'll see more informed decision making and better risk measurements. This is an easy solution for those of you deciding on schools: just tell them you'd love to attend but you need reliable information on how OCI went this year and what sorts of jobs people are looking at so you can figure out what's a reasonable amount of debt to accrue. Best way to know the information is reliable is to see full employment lists, which the schools can release if enough people bug them about it.

We'll always have to deal with the fact that most people view themselves as above average, but at least people won't be able to hide behind the claim that they didn't know what they were getting into in the first place. They can plan for the worst possible outcome, which could mean saving for a few years prior to enrolling or pursuing a different career path altogether. Those who choose to do something else will (hopefully) face a lower risk of turning into people who bug the hell out of everyone else with how frustrated they are about their situation. In the meantime, I have no qualms about people who got burnt reminding people that they face a certain degree of also getting burnt. Scare tactics aside, MTal is making a valid point and it's silly to think they have an ulterior motive besides telling you to watch out. Buyer beware.

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j2d3
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby j2d3 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:19 pm

Observationalist: awesome

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jcl2
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby jcl2 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:30 pm

Helmholtz wrote:
hayman wrote:
keg411 wrote:The profession itself is NOT bimodal, just starting salaries. If that chart showed the class of 1997 or 1987 then maybe you could make a better case for it. Basically you have to actually WORK when you get out of school to make money. Radical concept.
.


i don't know tho. law firm partners making seven figures sgonna make the disparity look even more severe


Yeah, I agree, I know a lot of lawyers who have been practicing their entire lives in smaller towns (with ridiculously low COL's I might add) and probably just make around six digits. Compare them with the $1,000,000/yr. partners in the large markets and it makes $50k starting v. $160k starting look like nothing.


It should be noted though, that making around 6 figures in a lot of smaller towns is kind of like making $1,000,000 in New York, at least as far as your place in your community is concerned.

Z3RO
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Z3RO » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:31 pm

j2d3 wrote:Which part was demeaning? I'm sorry, didn't mean for it to be demeaning.

I guess I'm just looking for a reason to be offended or something.

I reread the post, and it's not demeaning. I think I was talking about the idea of you going into law school frivolously out of Bruce Wayne-esque boredom.

When I reread it, that wasn't the impression that I got. Instead it was that you're intellectually curious.

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observationalist
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby observationalist » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:31 pm

By the way anyone providing constructive criticism on my posts will be rewarded with a shoutout in this paper if we succeed in getting it published. Really excited about the prospects of citing to TLS threads... a lot of poster's comments should carry more persuasive authority than at least some of what professors get paid to publish a few times a year.

[subtle anti-Harry Potter and the Law trolling --LinkRemoved-- ].

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jcl2
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby jcl2 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:35 pm

jcl2 wrote:
Helmholtz wrote:
hayman wrote:
keg411 wrote:The profession itself is NOT bimodal, just starting salaries. If that chart showed the class of 1997 or 1987 then maybe you could make a better case for it. Basically you have to actually WORK when you get out of school to make money. Radical concept.
.


i don't know tho. law firm partners making seven figures sgonna make the disparity look even more severe


Yeah, I agree, I know a lot of lawyers who have been practicing their entire lives in smaller towns (with ridiculously low COL's I might add) and probably just make around six digits. Compare them with the $1,000,000/yr. partners in the large markets and it makes $50k starting v. $160k starting look like nothing.


It should be noted though, that making around 6 figures in a lot of smaller towns is kind of like making $1,000,000 in New York, at least as far as your place in your community is concerned.


It is also only a very small fraction of those who start out 160k that will end up making >$1,000,000/year, I bet that for attorneys 10+ years out of school the salary distribution is much more of a bell curve, probably centered around a median in the low to mid 100s.

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jcl2
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby jcl2 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:38 pm

ntzsch wrote:i missed it and i dont really want to read all 14 pages.

but, are we saying that the area in between the two spikes on the bimodal graph dont exist??


Apparently some are.

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j2d3
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby j2d3 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:27 pm

Z3RO wrote:
j2d3 wrote:Which part was demeaning? I'm sorry, didn't mean for it to be demeaning.

I guess I'm just looking for a reason to be offended or something.

I reread the post, and it's not demeaning. I think I was talking about the idea of you going into law school frivolously out of Bruce Wayne-esque boredom.

When I reread it, that wasn't the impression that I got. Instead it was that you're intellectually curious.


Haha I wish I could legitimately claim Bruce Wayne-esque boredom - but I'm not *that* rich. I'm not really rich at all - I just have gotten used to a relatively high income. I'm not very smart with my money, though, so I don't have a lot saved. I do have the capability of making more than most with part time project based work, so that's how I'll keep my debt load down during school. I'll also be trying for scholarships, but I'm willing to go into some debt for law school. Like I said, some people buy fancy cars, some people buy condos (and many who did that recently have lost more than a sticker priced JD costs), but I'm going to spend a bunch of government money on law school, because to me that would be more enjoyable and a better investment than cars or condos. I don't expect it will necessarily raise my income. I may end up making a bit less than I do now post-law-school, but probably not. It depends on what path I end up taking, and there are many to choose from, and for me, biglaw is probably not one of them.

OBSERVATIONALIST: some constructive criticism - or at least an idea 4 u. I love the metaphor about pollution and sad depressed debt-burdened individuals as an externality of law schools that they wish to cover up. makes perfect sense. I also see a metaphor or - parallel situation with the aggressive lenders who were getting people into houses they couldn't afford. These lending practices were cited as a major cause of the housing bubble (though IMHO not remotely the only cause.) The schools' practice of hiding relevant information about the level of difficulty one of their customers can expect to have paying back the loans is quite similar to the predatory lending practices of banks during the height of the expansion of the housing bubble. I believe law schools, the government, and the government-sponsored lenders who provide the loans are in collusion with one another to dupe people who will likely not be able to afford to pay back the loans by providing misleading or incomplete information about the product they are selling. It's quite the same thing, isn't it? Aren't schools + student loan vendors basically acting the same way as these "predatory lenders?"

When I was an undergrad at yale, coming from a middle class non URM background, I had to take out pretty significant loans. I was angry about this, because I realized it was going to tie me into a practical, high paying profession. I would have to become a corporate slave. I couldn't major in theater like my rich kid friends could. (Well, I could have, but to me it was an unacceptable risk.) Part of the reason I dropped out was because the financial burden on my family was so intense. Yale met "full demonstrated need," but their concept of my family's need was absurd, and their required loan burdens were high. They fully expected my parents to liquidate their own retirement accounts and for my siblings to give up any dream of going to college that would cost anything. My father's honesty on the FAFSA forms was not helpful. He disclosed all his assets to the penny.

I left and returned years later as an independent student. I was in the last class at Yale that was expected to carry any loan burden at all. The class below me had their financial package filled with zero loan obligations, as Yale followed in Princeton's footsteps. I ended up with $71,000 in debt total. Now, six years later, I've paid off a higher-interest private loan completely, as well as $13,000 in credit card debt so I'm down to $38K of extremely low interest consolidated federal loans.

One thing I noticed when reviewing the Yale Corporation's financials is that Yale spends a fraction of one percent of the *interest* generated by the massive endowment on operational expenses. If you remove the expense of operating the financial aid office, and you remove the revenue of tuition and fees, Yale would need to raise their operational expense funding from *interest* on the endowment to something like 5% (I can't remember exactly) up from 1%, and every undergrad could attend the school on a full ride regardless of their parents financial situation. They make most of their money on donations from wealthy alumni and on the interest of the endowment, and that is enough.

They could easily do this with the law school as well... meet "full demonstrated need" - charging students only what they can afford without requiring any loans be taken out! Yale does not in the least depend on income from tuition to operate. I don't understand why they don't do this, except that at the end of the day they are a for-profit corporation, and the market continues to bear the prices they charge, and students are continually willing to take out massive loans, and lenders are willing to lend this money out (especially as it is now non-dischargable - for the most part). There is something about the "professional schools" like architecture, law, business, and medicine that makes them not typically give out grants based on need (to the level that they do for undergrads)... there is some kind of notion that because they are "professional" schools, the students they churn out will all go be professionals and make lots of money. In fact, I decided not to pursue architecture grad school at Yale because even though I had one of the highest scholarships of any student there, I would still have increased my debt to unacceptable levels considering what being an architect pays. I missed making good money doing IT, so I came back to LA and forgot about school for a few years.

Now that I'm reconsidering school, I'm in a totally different place. Of course, I'd rather not take on extra debt, but I'm now confident in my ability to preserve my money making potential throughout the law school experience, and I will gain expanded capabilities in my field rather than be narrowed into a separate field with a very low income.

EDIT: The length of this post proves my assertion that I'm bored at work.

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Matthies
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Matthies » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:39 pm

observationalist wrote:

This is an easy solution for those of you deciding on schools: just tell them you'd love to attend but you need reliable information on how OCI went this year and what sorts of jobs people are looking at so you can figure out what's a reasonable amount of debt to accrue. Best way to know the information is reliable is to see full employment lists, which the schools can release if enough people bug them about it.


I think this is a bigger part of the problem then it is part of the solution. The simple fact is that the vast majority of students at the vast majority of law schools will not find jobs through OCI. The last time I saw a stat for it the ABA was saying something like 80% of lawyers work in firms of 50 people or less. One of the article you cite says 70% of 10 or less. For the most part these firms don’t hire from OCI. BJUT most prospectives think this IS how they will find a job.

Hence OCI figures, alone and without explanation of the nature of legal hiring, mislead students because they think that’s how their likely to find a job, and many of them don’t make any plan B on finding a job until they realize to late, often at the end of the 3L, that OCI is not going to get them the job they wanted. Hence for most schools “job at graduation” is probably not a reliable statistic since most folks who got a job before they graduated probably did so through some sort of OCI placement, again not going to be the majority of grads at most schools.

But this number will be what the majority or prospective look at because they are either ignorant as to how most legal hiring takes place or they look at how hiring takes place at top schools and assume, wrongly, that is how it is done at the majority of schools. Additionally many offers students may have at graduation maybe contingent on one passing the bar, so these folks would not be considered “employed at graduation.” The most helpful to students I believe would be reporting A –how many got jobs through OCI and B how many were employed 1 year from gradation (factoring in time to take July or Feb. bar and networking if need be). That and educating themslevs on how people actually find jobs so they can prepair before they are in a postion that they have to take the first crappy job they can find to pay thier bills.

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Matthies
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Matthies » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:35 pm

Here is an interesting thought experiment: What if all schools stopped reporting salaries completely, no info at all? Would that change the amount of people applying to law school? Would it make people go to law school for the “right” reasons? Would people be less likely to borrow excessive sums?

The internet and its ready availability of facts and figures has made people lazy when it comes to making decisions based on their own research. They don’t research specifics anymore, they take the general and apply it to the specific. Everyone on JD underground is miserable, most of them went to lower ranked schools, therefore everyone who goes to a lower ranked school must be miserable. You can’t get a job in NYC if you don’t go to a t14 school therefore you can’t get a job in any city if you don’t go to a t14 school. T14 grads are having a hard time finding jobs therefore they must be taking jobs from everyone in secondary markets. If X can’t find a job then obviously Y won’t.

Why investigate your individual market, talk to lawyers, or grads from your school when anonymous internet posters who have never set foot in your city can tell you what the results will be of your education? The internet makes everyone an expert on everything they have never personally done. And if someone has actually done it, well then they are the exception to the rule that the people who have never done it know how it’s done better than those that have.

No school is exactly the same, no market is exactly the same, no individual student is the exactly the same, no graduating class even from the same school is exactly the same, and no legal market is exactly the same from year to year. But rather than research individuals parameters specific to ourselves and the situations we will be getting ourselves into in our always online society we want facts and figures that we can take from the general and apply to specific, without having to do much research on our own.

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j2d3
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby j2d3 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:02 pm

Matthies wrote:...But rather than research individuals parameters specific to ourselves and the situations we will be getting ourselves into in our always online society we want facts and figures that we can take from the general and apply to specific, without having to do much research on our own.


TOO TROO.

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Always Credited
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Always Credited » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:13 pm

Can't let this thread die...too much potential/future blackmail material here.

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bumblebeetoona
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby bumblebeetoona » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:14 pm

j2d3 wrote:The length of this post proves my assertion that I'm bored at work.


If you're really that bored, you could always go back and answer my reply to you waaay back on the second page of this thread.

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Matthies
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Matthies » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:13 pm

Also I think this discussion is really leading us a stray from the real culprit for the the meltdown of the legal profesion. What do all of these things have in common: WWI, the Great Depresion, WWII, JFK, suposed moon landings, 9/11, the housing bubble? Lets put blame where it belongs people. THE FREE MASONS.

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bumblebeetoona
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby bumblebeetoona » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:16 pm

Matthies wrote:Also I think this discussion is really leading us a stray from the real culprit for the the meltdown of the legal profesion. What do all of these things have in common: WWI, the Great Depresion, WWII, JFK, suposed moon landings, 9/11, the housing bubble? Lets put blame where it belongs people. THE FREE MASONS.


And here I thought you were going to say the Jews.

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MTal
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby MTal » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:18 pm

Always Credited wrote:Can't let this thread die...too much potential/future blackmail material here.


True, several people admitted to actually liking me. This could seriously jeopardize their future careers if word got out.

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Always Credited
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Always Credited » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:18 pm

bumblebeetoona wrote:
Matthies wrote:Also I think this discussion is really leading us a stray from the real culprit for the the meltdown of the legal profesion. What do all of these things have in common: WWI, the Great Depresion, WWII, JFK, suposed moon landings, 9/11, the housing bubble? Lets put blame where it belongs people. THE FREE MASONS.


And here I thought you were going to say the Jews.


...

Them too!

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Always Credited
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Always Credited » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:23 pm

MTal wrote:
Always Credited wrote:Can't let this thread die...too much potential/future blackmail material here.


True, several people admitted to actually liking me. This could seriously jeopardize their future careers if word got out.


This is true...we need to keep an eye on this.

I for one think you certainly play a useful role in the TLS community - you aren't such a raging, depressed, oftentimes stunningly immature, rabid JDU-esque poster that the content of your posts is ignored. On the other hand, you're brutally honest enough that the warnings are usually discussed...for better or for worse, the information is promulgated.

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Bronte
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Bronte » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:28 pm

Always Credited wrote:you aren't such a raging, depressed, oftentimes stunningly immature, rabid JDU-esque poster that the content of your posts is ignored


He's not?

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Always Credited
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby Always Credited » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:41 pm

Bronte wrote:
Always Credited wrote:you aren't such a raging, depressed, oftentimes stunningly immature, rabid JDU-esque poster that the content of your posts is ignored


He's not?


He can be described as JDU-Lite. You should see some of the shit posted on that forum. Law/lawyer/legal discussions aside, its really sad how pathetic some of these people are and how terrible they think life can be.

Look, just because you dislike your job or didn't finish law school doesn't mean your parents are going to die, your wife is banging your best friend and you will die alone and depressed.

Reading that forum is often like reading FmyLife.com, except they think its all real.

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MTal
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Re: Why You Should Go To Law School

Postby MTal » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:48 pm

Depression sucks, I've been there. (hard to believe right?) I guess you can't really understand it until you've actually experienced it. It's like a dark tunnel with no way out and the more you struggle the deeper in you get. But if/when you come out, you become wiser and able to see things more objectively. I realize now that no matter how shitty of a mistake you've made in the past, that won't stop you from finding at least 1 way to enjoy life.




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