Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

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What to do?

Stick it out.
33
67%
Jump ship.
16
33%
 
Total votes: 49

Anonymous User
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Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:16 pm

I apologize for the Eeyore-ish, woe-is-me tone of my post--I realize that TLS is replete with such threads this time of year.

I'm a T30 rising 2L. Was slightly below median after right fall semester, but plunged well into the bottom quartile thanks in part to personal circumstances. :cry: Grades are topsy-turvy and all over the place, ranging from awesome to awesomely bad. I've been positively devastated over the past week. I'm having difficulty concentrating on anything for a sustained period of time and often feel sick to my stomach.

I went to law school for "idealistic" reasons. I was never gunning for BigLaw to begin with. Interested in practice areas like prosecution, indigent legal aid, family law, immigration, juvenile justice, etc. Truly love my summer gig and the pro bono work I did during 1L, but concerned about the future given my unenviable position. Debt will be ~$80K total thanks to a merit scholly, outside schollies/fellowships, and folks helping out with living expenses--not bad, but nothing to sneeze at.

Can I overcome this? I personally don't want to leave, but in life what we desire is not always what's best for us. If anyone can provide some guidance and TLC, I would greatly appreciate it.

*crawls into a hole*
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Bronte
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Bronte » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:22 pm

Others will post guidance. The should-I-drop-out thread is a core competency of TLS. I will just say, relatively unhelpfully, that it's going to be OK. It seems devastating now, but you'll get some perspective as time passes. Anyone who can describe their post as "Eeyore-ish" has to have good things coming their way eventually.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:25 pm

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thesealocust
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:37 pm

Drop out of law school.

synergy
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby synergy » Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:57 pm

To me, this is a no-brainer. Definitely do NOT drop out of law school. Maybe I'm just being naive but, assuming what you wrote is truly reflective of how you felt coming into law school, why would you drop out at this point? You came to law school for "idealistic" reasons. To put it bluntly, you didn't come in expecting to be rich. Why would you drop out now? There are tons of different "idealistic" routes that still remain available to you. Does that mean there's any guarantee that you'll find a public interest legal job? Of course not. But there's no guarantee of that even if you had good grades. I guess what I'm trying to say is, the debt that you will be accruing, while substantial, was presumably a burden you felt you were willing to bear to pursue something you wanted to do. Why would you now, ESPECIALLY since you're enjoying your 1l summer, decide that it's too much debt to go into? Besides, public interest employers are generally more lenient about grades than biglaw is, assuming you can demonstrate a genuine passion for the cause.

Of course, all of this is moot if you were really gunning for biglaw but realize that you missed that boat and are now trying to talk yourself into thinking that you never really cared about the money and always wanted to help people.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:03 am

LOL at the wildly conflicting advice from posters ITT.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:10 am

Bronte wrote:Others will post guidance. The should-I-drop-out thread is a core competency of TLS.


Haha, I feel like I've undergone a rite of passage in making this thread. :)

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:18 am

synergy wrote:
Of course, all of this is moot if you were really gunning for biglaw but realize that you missed that boat and are now trying to talk yourself into thinking that you never really cared about the money and always wanted to help people.


Haha, no I was a bleeding heart from the start. Have 2 years PI WE, tons of volunteering stuff on my resume, am multilingual, etc.

seagan823
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby seagan823 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:21 am

80k is a lot of debt, but it won't ruin your whole life. If you a serious about any of the PI stuff you talked about, your grades don't really matter as much either.

The TLS community is good at convincing people to maximize their chances at top acceptances and scholarships through the LSAT, ensuring innocent people avoid law schools with poor employment outcomes and educating people about the steps necessary to maximize salary and prestige through BigLaw, FedGov and Art III clerkships. If you were looking at these as your preferred career options, TLS would have rightly told you not even to go to a T-30 in the first place.

The TLS community does not touch very much on what it takes to gain entrance to low paying, "non-prestigious" careers other than the few PD/Prosecution threads. I am dead set on finding a career as a PD or in legal services or civil rights, and I have sought out advice from people currently pursuing those careers. Everything I have been told is find a way to do as much legal work as you possibly can while in school. "Non-prestigious" PI has far fewer resources to train people, and they need people who they know are devoted. So do internships during the semester with as many different organizations as you can. Find your 2L summer opportunity with an office you might like to work in. Take a clinical class and do all the pro bono work in school you can. Look for EJW fellowship opportunities with organizations you connect with. Find a way to make it through a few months after law school as an intern or through a post graduate fellowship from your school if you have to.

The point is, your career track wasn't going to be a straightforward OCI type deal anyway. Get your grades up over time and network. If you want to be a lawyer, be a lawyer.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:35 am

seagan823 wrote:80k is a lot of debt, but it won't ruin your whole life. If you a serious about any of the PI stuff you talked about, your grades don't really matter as much either.

The TLS community is good at convincing people to maximize their chances at top acceptances and scholarships through the LSAT, ensuring innocent people avoid law schools with poor employment outcomes and educating people about the steps necessary to maximize salary and prestige through BigLaw, FedGov and Art III clerkships. If you were looking at these as your preferred career options, TLS would have rightly told you not even to go to a T-30 in the first place.

The TLS community does not touch very much on what it takes to gain entrance to low paying, "non-prestigious" careers other than the few PD/Prosecution threads. I am dead set on finding a career as a PD or in legal services or civil rights, and I have sought out advice from people currently pursuing those careers. Everything I have been told is find a way to do as much legal work as you possibly can while in school. "Non-prestigious" PI has far fewer resources to train people, and they need people who they know are devoted. So do internships during the semester with as many different organizations as you can. Find your 2L summer opportunity with an office you might like to work in. Take a clinical class and do all the pro bono work in school you can. Look for EJW fellowship opportunities with organizations you connect with. Find a way to make it through a few months after law school as an intern or through a post graduate fellowship from your school if you have to.

The point is, your career track wasn't going to be a straightforward OCI type deal anyway. Get your grades up over time and network. If you want to be a lawyer, be a lawyer.


Thanks! Great to know that there are other PI gunners on TLS...we are few and far between!

I'm doing a clinic in the fall...that should help a great deal, given my career goals, right?

ETA: seagan, just perused your post history--yay, we're both City Year alums. :D

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:47 am

thesealocust wrote:Drop out of law school.


OP here...what's your justification? Just curious since the other posters suggested otherwise.

rad lulz
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby rad lulz » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:02 am

I'd probably drop out

If your debt was $40k-$50k I'd probably have a different answer

fluffythepenguin
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby fluffythepenguin » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:26 am

If you drop out, what is the alternative?

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 1:36 am

fluffythepenguin wrote:If you drop out, what is the alternative?


Nothing lucrative. Social sciences background in UG. Took two years off between UG and law school. Did an AmeriCorps program my first year out, and worked as a DV advocate my second year out (salary starting off in the mid-30k range).

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Wed Jun 12, 2013 2:20 am

Drop out. You'll be happier in the long run.

071816
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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby 071816 » Wed Jun 12, 2013 3:27 am

Just go down with the ship.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:05 am

3 folks saying to stay, 4 saying to jump ship...this thread is as conflicted as I am--though I'm leaning towards staying! I'm just the sort of person who hates having to quit what I started, esp. since I worked my ass off to get where I am (made PBK in UG, spent a year prepping for the LSAT--raising my score from the mid-140s to high-160s, networking like cray in the legal community, etc.) If I were "BigLaw or Bust" and/or hated the study and practice of law, I would have cut my losses without hesitation.

If I eventually do decide to stick around, what are suggestions for improving? There's an A in the pile of shit that is my transcript (got top grade in Ks), so I suppose I have potential, lol. Is GTM credited? I did virtually no 0L prep, which I'm regretting immensely. Also, I'm told that the clinic I'm doing this fall has a generous curve, and if I do it the whole year it's a whopping 10 credits.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:19 am

Don't worry about not doing 0L prep - it doesn't make a difference. I hardly think reading a few E&Es in July-August would make a difference to exams you take in April-May.

I would do the usual things - talk to your professors to find out what went wrong with the bad grades and really think about how you studied and so on. Also, you mentioned personal circumstances playing a part - have those been resolved? Because if not, there's not much point continuing until they have been resolved.

My understanding is that if you want to go into areas like indigent legal aid/immigration/family law etc., experience and dedication is more important than grades. Do the clinic, get as much pro bono experience as you can, join the local bar association and go to events sponsored by the various areas you're interested in (the immigration law section of my local bar association regularly holds CLEs and the like, and many things are free to law students), get out there and meet people working in the area(s) where you want to practice, spend next summer interning in an office that hires law students after graduation.

(Note: This isn't specifically saying whether you should drop out or not; I can't decide that for you. Just some ideas for if you do continue.)

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby NYstate » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:25 am

What are your realistic chances of getting a job? My guess is that you are unlikely to get a job. I think if you do get a job practicing law, it will not pay enough to service your debt and you will end up on PAYE.

But I'm just guessing as I know nothing about small firm hiring. This guess is based on all the statistics I have read. I know the legal market is more than overcrowded at the small firm level

You definitely are not getting any job where grades matter.Focusing on grades at this point is a lost cause. So what are you left with? Would you be happy with one of those jobs?

Staying just because you don't want to be a quitter is childish and ignores reality. Staying because you can't think of what to do next is silly, eventually you will have to come up with another plan.

You need to do research on how the bottom people from your school got jobs. I bet the grads from the past few years are struggling.

My advice is to drop out now.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:30 am

What about the OP's post made you think s/he was interested in getting a small firm job? It all sounds like government/PI to me.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby rad lulz » Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:53 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:What about the OP's post made you think s/he was interested in getting a small firm job? It all sounds like government/PI to me.

If grades stay about the same you can't really be choosy

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:01 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Don't worry about not doing 0L prep - it doesn't make a difference. I hardly think reading a few E&Es in July-August would make a difference to exams you take in April-May.

I would do the usual things - talk to your professors to find out what went wrong with the bad grades and really think about how you studied and so on. Also, you mentioned personal circumstances playing a part - have those been resolved? Because if not, there's not much point continuing until they have been resolved.

My understanding is that if you want to go into areas like indigent legal aid/immigration/family law etc., experience and dedication is more important than grades. Do the clinic, get as much pro bono experience as you can, join the local bar association and go to events sponsored by the various areas you're interested in (the immigration law section of my local bar association regularly holds CLEs and the like, and many things are free to law students), get out there and meet people working in the area(s) where you want to practice, spend next summer interning in an office that hires law students after graduation.

(Note: This isn't specifically saying whether you should drop out or not; I can't decide that for you. Just some ideas for if you do continue.)


Thanks for the suggestions on how to overcome this, should I decide to stay. I was hustlin' even before disaster struck--did pro-bono work during 1L with immigration legal aid non-profits, joined several local bar associations, including those pertaining to my (overrepresented) minority group, attended networking events, joined several attoney-law student mentor-mentee programs, accrued literally 1000+ contacts on Linkedin, etc. I'll look into whether CLEs are free or reduced for students, as otherwise they are a bit expensive. I know that my local bar ass'n offers them in practice areas that interest me, such as family law, education law, immigration, etc.

Yeah, the extenuating personal issues from last semester have since been resolved.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:08 am

FWIW, my T30 is one of the stronger ones, usu. in the teens in the NLJ250 rankings--yes I realize NLJ250 is all about big firms, but I have heard, anecdotally, that it serves as a proxy for employment prospects in other sectors.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby Robespierre » Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:16 am

You seem to like LS. You booked a course so you've obviously got talent. Your debt will not be overwhelming. Your alternatives are not great. You have 2 years to pick up your grades. Stick with it.

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Re: Yet another "should I drop out?" thread...:sigh:

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:06 am

rad lulz wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:What about the OP's post made you think s/he was interested in getting a small firm job? It all sounds like government/PI to me.

If grades stay about the same you can't really be choosy

No, of course not, I just hadn't seen small firms brought up and the post sounded like it was responding to an intent to go to a small firm. Not saying it's not useful advice.




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