Sean1269 wrote:The biglaw or bust attitude is a "bust" in itself. It is reserved for 0L's who have yet to realize that they're brilliance gained from acing political science or sociology is by no means a guarantee "good" finish at a "good" school. So, if you are a 0L and reading this, chances are you won't finish at the top of your class, no matter how smart you THINK you are. Law school is not about intelligence, it's about how good you are at taking law school exams. Furthermore, if you are a 0L and reading this, understand that biglaw is not everything, most of your professors either worked or at could have worked in biglaw, they are not there for a reason.
Second case and point (in addition to #1 which was MINIMIZE DEBT) - do NOT go to law school with the attitude of biglaw or bust, I will make 160K per year and pay my loans down. You will probably be disappointed with either not getting the job, or you will probably be disappointed when have the biglaw job and realize you cannot quit 2,3,4 years later (or alternatively, you got lathamed).
Change your attitude if you are biglaw or bust, you will only hurt yourself.
1. You don't need to graduate top of your class from most t14 schools to get biglaw. Unless top of the class is around top 40%. While this is no guarantee it puts you in position to interview and get biglaw.
2. Most professors went to law school in an age where it didn't cost 60k a year and in a time when finding law related jobs to pay off debts were easy. That isn't now. ITE if you aren't going to school on 100k+ scholarship you will most likely be burdened with 60-90k debt easily. Try paying off 6 figure debt on 50k a year.
The above assumes that:
a) if you don't get 160K, the alternative is 50K
b) that an interview gets you biglaw
c) that you will in the top 40%
d) that you get to keep your biglaw job
Those are great assumptions. For a good number of people, lucky people, smart people, people with family connections etc. the above ends up being true, (except for A). The different between 60K in debt v. 160K in debt is large. Do not be fooled otherwise. 60K sounds like a lot of debt, and it truthfully is, but it is a lot less than 160K. Try paying of 160-200K with a 160K a year job (which of course assumes you got the job, and that you got to keep it). There are jobs that pay between 50K and 160K.
If you wanted my advice, and this is strictly personal advice, I would argue to minimize debt as much as you reasonably can. It is sad to see people pay sticker, at be 60K+ in debt after their first year. That is a lot of money. I don't think anyone would argue with me on that. If you have a personal preference for working biglaw, i.e. you were an accountant at a biglaw firm and you know the lifestyle, understand the lifestyle, and have a real concept of what debt is, then do it.
On another note, also strictly personal advice, don't go to law school with a lot of assumptions. Don't assume you will go to a T2/T3/T4 and assume you will transfer, don't assume you will be in the top 40% at a T14, don't assume you will get more schollys your second year, don't assume the alumni of a school will "hook" you up, and don't assume you will make the schools STATED median wage. Like the age old saying goes, prepare for the worst, hope for the best. Your time in law school will be more enjoyable, or at least less crappy, if you aren't worried about crushing debt.