Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

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Anonymous User
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Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:19 pm

Questions: (Reposted here as Anonymous from Previous Thread)

Given that I like law school and feel that I would enjoy being a lawyer, can the legal field provide a work environment with minimally stimulating work and competent people; and will it enable me and my wife to comfortably raise a family given my 1L performance and her salary?
[Please read completely before commenting]


Law School Situation:

Attending a T20 where top-third is a 3.48 and bottom third is about 2.7. The median isn't published, but looking at historical data and data from my class year, I gather it is about 3.20. My first-semester GPA was a 3.01 and my second-semester GPA was a 2.88; my overall 1L GPA is a 2.95. While I thought about dropping out, I do not feel that having roughly a 3.0 clearly means that I need to (I'm not quite decided, but am strongly leaning against it).


Financial situation:

I have some money saved from several years of good work experience in competitive industry (intentionally not elaborating for anonymity). I will keep my moderate scholarship, and have a wife in BigLaw who makes good money. She had slightly lower grades from a slightly higher ranked school when she landed the job during the crash. While her job gives some connection prospects, it gives no guarantees. Also, going back to my old work is not an option.


Interests:

$$$! I want to use what vigorI have left to accumulate wealth so I can have a family soon after LS (I would graduate LS at 30). While I will still apply for market-paying law firms, I am not counting on landing one. I realize there tends to be a bi-modal pay distribution between market pay and $50K-ish, but I also realize that there are a good number of opportunities that pay somewhere in between (so please spare everyone mantra on "the way it is" for pay in the legal field). I am approaching the issue from a long-term perspective, knowing that my earning potential as a lawyer is higher than it was in my old career field - potential being the focus here. My wife and I can afford the loans and aren't worried about the payments since she has little law school debt and a market salary.

Note:

Please spare this thread from regurgitating the standard TLS doctrine. It is enough of an echo chamber in here already without rehashing topics like whether the economy is picking up. For purposes of this discussion, knowing that the economy is not great will suffice. Interpret that how you will, but please do not derail the thread with side issues. Generally, please try to remain on topic.

Thank you.




Answer to previous question - "How did your wife get her job and can her connections help?":

The school my wife went to was a T11-14 (again, vague for anonymity). It is consistently the second or third best at biglaw placement. So, I think that had a lot to do with it, and that her placement wasn't a connections thing. On the up side, she and all of her law school friends are in market paying firms in our city. While many are at firms too prestigious for me to ask for help with a straight face, the others are at firms at the low end of the prestige spectrum. However, they still pay market. Those friend have the most potential to help, if any. We'll see. They know I am not incompetent. I have had several very good jobs after going to a top grad school - its just these damn LS exams!

Anonymous User
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:30 pm

Given that I like law school and feel that I would enjoy being a lawyer, can the legal field provide a work environment with minimally stimulating work and competent people; and will it enable me and my wife to comfortably raise a family given my 1L performance and her salary?"


I think that a genuine, committed interest to being a lawyer is, by far and away, the most important aspect of deciding whether to become one. The fact that you apparently want to be a lawyer (I'm not sure you REALLY want to) is huge. I personally am of the opinion that if you REALLY want to be a lawyer, you should do it regardless.

As for the other questions, how could anyone tell? What kind of lifestyle do you and your wife want? How big of a family? Where do you want to live? Etc. I also have no idea how much $ your wife makes or how much $ you've saved up. These are decisions that you and your wife should be making almost exclusively on your own, not from the advice of anonymous posters on the internet.

With all that said, if you can financially afford a few years (3-5) of a moderate salary, I can't imagine you won't be able to climb the ranks and make a satisfying salary and reach your goals. (This assumes you will be a competent lawyer, and nothing whatsoever can predict if that's going to happen.) I would say you shouldn't drop out.

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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:50 pm

OP Here

I agree with your pont about making the decision with her, but hearing from others can be helpful as well. In terms of financial preference, I wasn't basing it on our personal circumstances as much as just looking to gauge a realist potential.

Any more feedback is appreciated.

timbs4339
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:19 pm

Unofrtunately, any high paying entry level law job is pretty much out of the question at this point, as are the government honors jobs that could potentially lead to biglaw a few years down the road. Your wife's friends will likely be of little help unless they are in high level positions at these firms (hiring partner, managing partner, etc). Maybe they can get you an interview for a staff attorney position or something, but even these jobs usually require 1-3 years of experience. Midlaw is probably also a long shot at this point.

If you are committed to being a lawyer, your other option is to do state government, public defender, or at a small firm where you can learn how to actually be a lawyer and how to find clients. If you are willing to start out with a low salary (40-50K) working at these places, learning how to build a practice from scratch, and are willing to relocate to underserved areas or deal with underserved clients, you may be able to build a lucrative solo practice. If your wife stays in biglaw, she can support you financially while you do this. And the work, while not financially lucrative in the beginning, will be interesting and rewarding. You will probably get a lot of responsibility early on in your career.

If your short-term goal is to start a family, you probably do not even need to start a solo practice. Your wife's biglaw salary, and your 40-50K salary, should be enough to live a comfortably upper middle class life even in the city.

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Haribo
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Haribo » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:14 am

Honestly, if you and your biglaw wife want to start a family shortly after graduation, your best bet is probably getting a family-friendly job - government, PI, or small/medium size firm that is open to part-time/flexible work schedules. Your time will be valuable to the relationship than your money.

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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby fatduck » Sat Jun 11, 2011 1:24 am

Image

Anonymous User
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:33 am

What about JAG? That is a solid career path, right? I don't know much about it, but the military is pretty stable. Anyone?

BlueDiamond
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby BlueDiamond » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:38 am

Anonymous User wrote:What about JAG? That is a solid career path, right? I don't know much about it, but the military is pretty stable. Anyone?


Assuming that this is the OP and not someone messing with him... JAG is tougher to get than most biglaw jobs.. a 2.9 whatever wont cut it

flcath
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby flcath » Sat Jun 11, 2011 3:39 am

It really depends almost entirely on where you are. Mid-sized firms have different hiring practices in different areas; in major metropolitan areas (this is just a personal observation), they tend to hire almost exclusively from Biglaw/Fed gov. In a lot of middle American markets that's not the case at all.

I agree that your only odds at a market-paying job are at your wife's firm. Having a wife at a firm is a huge foot in the door for getting a job, but I dunno if it'll overcome grades that are well below par.

Anonymous User
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:07 pm

OP Here

Yeah, luckily her firm isn't as grade-snobby as most of them. Still, it is a large firm with market pay - grades matter. ... Applying for other jobs now. Getting a good offer in a non-law field will weigh heavily in favor of leaving LS, especially if I get something this summer. My grades are very high from undergrad and grad school (I think everyone gets a 4.0 in grad school, though ... Whatever, I still have it). WE included, I can get something cool with better pay than my 2.95 will likely get.

Just a side note: This feels like shooting craps in Vegas for a $h*t-ton of money!
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JamMasterJ
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby JamMasterJ » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:18 pm

Stay at home dad is credited.
Also, this:

Haribo wrote:Honestly, if you and your biglaw wife want to start a family shortly after graduation, your best bet is probably getting a family-friendly job - government, PI, or small/medium size firm that is open to part-time/flexible work schedules. Your time will be valuable to the relationship than your money.

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thesealocust
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:52 pm

JamMasterJ wrote:Stay at home dad is credited.
Also, this:

Haribo wrote:Honestly, if you and your biglaw wife want to start a family shortly after graduation, your best bet is probably getting a family-friendly job - government, PI, or small/medium size firm that is open to part-time/flexible work schedules. Your time will be valuable to the relationship than your money.


Just be careful of the logical fallacy that big firm = big hours so small/medium firm = small/medium hours. That is true for some employers, but plenty of small and midsized law firms work associates to the bone. The advice thus isn't wrong, but maybe not so easy to capitalize on.

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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:13 pm

OP again

Why didn't I look into other things before going to law school? I would have never thought about HR. It pays better than a lot of legal jobs, I don't have to go to any more school, and the hours are better. Only time will tell. That's what this summer's for, I guess.

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fatduck
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby fatduck » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:OP again

Why didn't I look into other things before going to law school? I would have never thought about HR. It pays better than a lot of legal jobs, I don't have to go to any more school, and the hours are better. Only time will tell. That's what this summer's for, I guess.

this post is a couple pages too early, bro. patience.

Anonymous User
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:51 pm

Too early, but no activity.

MrAnon
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Re: Options: T20 & Sub-Median 1L Grades

Postby MrAnon » Wed Jun 15, 2011 11:20 pm

Since it sounds like you want to complete law school then you should find a paying job to work at while you are in school. Your grades aren't going to move anywhere in comparison to your classmates, so throwing everything you have into school and hoping to improve is a lost cause. Why? because everyone's grades go up. The top 1/2 GPA will adjust up next year for your class, and again it will adjust up in year 3. You are chasing a moving target at this point.

You should try to get your foot in the door somewhere now. Paralegal is fine. Or return to your old industry. You are older and you should have income while in school. Having some income will ease some of your own concerns, will ease any concerns your wife may have. Getting your foot in the door someplace cannot hurt employment prospects. Shoot low so that they don't ask for your grades now, and don't care about your grades when they take you on full time after graduation. Learn the trade so when you graduate you can hit the ground running. Don't postpone working for law school and some state court clerkship that never did anything but postpone real life.




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