How bad does this look?

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Anonymous User
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How bad does this look?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:24 pm

I am currently a 1L. How bad does it look if I take a leave of absence for a year and then return to law school? What do I need to do job-wise in the meantime?

I have two reasons for doing so. The real reason is that I'm astounded by how much debt I've taken out ($40k) and it looks like I may have to borrow more money this summer to cover living expenses since my landlord essentially won't let me sublet (he requires prior approval and hates every applicant I've sent him) and my public interest stipend isn't enough to cover 2 sets of rent. I would really like to work and save a bit before returning to law school because it would be insane for me to take out $120k of loans for my school (T25) given the job prospects.

And I not crazy about law school, but I think I would enjoy being a lawyer, provided it's not a huge financial burden that would prevent me from ever owning a home, having kids, and retiring.

The other reason isn't quite the real reason, but it is true potential excuse. My aging grandmother has come to live with my mother after having a stroke and at least I could tell the school that I want to be close to home next year to help out. I would certainly do that, but unfortunately this isn't the motivating factor for me taking time off.

Would this look awful and preclude me from successful legal employment in the future? My mother thinks I'm crazy and think it would be best to go straight through since I have to start paying back my loans once I leave. But wouldn't paying back $40k of loans be a lot easier than paying back a much higher sum? I doubt my employability will necessarily go up after graduating law school.

I've haven't made up my mind about it and am not look for people to just confirm what I believe. I'm really interested in what others would do in my situation. TYIA

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Ludo!
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:27 pm

It would be detrimental to your future if you had biglaw in mind. What are your grades?

MrAnon
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby MrAnon » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:30 pm

it doesn't sound like you want to be in law school.

Anyway you don't need an excuse to take a leave of absence. If you need time off then you need time off.

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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:31 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:It would be detrimental to your future if you had biglaw in mind. What are your grades?


Around top 40%.

Does the biglaw thing still hold true in smaller markets where biglaw is more like midlaw?

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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:32 pm

MrAnon wrote:it doesn't sound like you want to be in law school.

Anyway you don't need an excuse to take a leave of absence. If you need time off then you need time off.


Thanks. Yeah, I don't want to be in law school. I guess I'll take the leave of absence unless I manage to do very well on our spring exams. In that case, it might be worth it to finish and the debt may be less worrying.

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Ludo!
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:35 pm

If a firm hires like a biglaw firm (ie from OCI at the end of the 1l summer) then it doesn't matter what market it is, a leave of absence would sink your chances.

r6_philly
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby r6_philly » Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:32 pm

Ludovico Technique wrote:If a firm hires like a biglaw firm (ie from OCI at the end of the 1l summer) then it doesn't matter what market it is, a leave of absence would sink your chances.


If he takes a leave before finals, he would be able to come back and re-complete the spring semester and get back into the swing of things. I'd think OCI would be ok.

I personally know of several people who took leave this past year. I hope they are not negatively affected. I think it will warrant explanation and cost is not a good one.

OP I don't really feel that your cost consideration is really that strong. You need to come up with 3 months of rent. Or just find a position at your current location. Saving $ before returning doesn't really make sense to me because 1) tuition rises, 2) you are paying more interest on your current loans, 3) if you are afraid of job prospects, waiting isn't going to help much. If you strike out, you can always work while you are searching (I assume you are fairly employable because you are banking on working this coming year).

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Ludo!
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby Ludo! » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:24 pm

r6_philly wrote:
Ludovico Technique wrote:If a firm hires like a biglaw firm (ie from OCI at the end of the 1l summer) then it doesn't matter what market it is, a leave of absence would sink your chances.


If he takes a leave before finals, he would be able to come back and re-complete the spring semester and get back into the swing of things. I'd think OCI would be ok.

I personally know of several people who took leave this past year. I hope they are not negatively affected. I think it will warrant explanation and cost is not a good one.

OP I don't really feel that your cost consideration is really that strong. You need to come up with 3 months of rent. Or just find a position at your current location. Saving $ before returning doesn't really make sense to me because 1) tuition rises, 2) you are paying more interest on your current loans, 3) if you are afraid of job prospects, waiting isn't going to help much. If you strike out, you can always work while you are searching (I assume you are fairly employable because you are banking on working this coming year).


When would they do OCI? At the same time as everyone else but with only one semester's worth of grades? Or next year? Either way it seems like it would be hard to explain to employers.

I will admit I don't have first hand knowledge of anyone who's done this. It just seems with how rigid biglaw hiring generally is, taking a leave of absence would cause you to fall out of sync.

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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 13, 2012 6:46 am

If I were able to find a decent job, I probably wouldn't go back to law school.

Coming back and retaking exams next spring sounds great, unless I have to pay for spring semester again.

I really wish I could find a job in this city, but unfortunately I searched since December and struck out here. I would need more than just the three months rent this summer, I need another three months for a deposit wherever I will live next year (this apartment's not available next year).

I guess I had better speak to Career Services about it.

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sunynp
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby sunynp » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:48 am

I disagree. I don't think that taking a year off for a personal emergency is going to hurt you with biglaw - but you don't have the grades for it anyway. You don't have to say you took time off to work because you were worried about paying your rent.

I think your money concerns are well justified. You will be taking on a huge amount of debt with low job prospects. Taking time off to see what you can find instead is a smart plan.

Your mother doesn't want you to sacrifice your career or something like that. But she probably isn't an expert on law school and debt and job prospects.

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sunynp
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby sunynp » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:If I were able to find a decent job, I probably wouldn't go back to law school.

Coming back and retaking exams next spring sounds great, unless I have to pay for spring semester again.

I really wish I could find a job in this city, but unfortunately I searched since December and struck out here. I would need more than just the three months rent this summer, I need another three months for a deposit wherever I will live next year (this apartment's not available next year).

I guess I had better speak to Career Services about it.


I think you should finish the semester. Why wouldn't just stay and get it done now? Are you having some other issues?

$$$$$$
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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby $$$$$$ » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:57 am

I would DEFINITELY talk to your school about this. Depending on where you go to school, top 40% can most certainly get you biglaw, don't ruin that by doing terrible this semester. I was in a very similar position to you. I wasn't liking law school and was completely unmotivated 2nd semster 1L year. I ended up doing terrible and it destroyed my shot at Big Law. I have had to work twice as hard this year, not only to get my grades back to a respectable place, but to do things to make myself marketable. If you don't have to take spring exams, then you would probably come back for the spring semester and get to re do it. If I had the opportunity to go back, I would do exactly what you are trying to do....leave of absence, try and get job, come back later or not at all. Talk to the school, if I am correct that you could do spring again, then do OGI, definitely take a Leave.

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Re: How bad does this look?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:31 am

sunynp wrote:I think you should finish the semester. Why wouldn't just stay and get it done now? Are you having some other issues?


Edit: never mind, missed your first post.

Okay, the plan is do my best on finals. If I do amazingly well, stick it out. If not, take a leave of absence and see what my other options are.

Thanks all!




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