HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

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Anonymous User
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HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:07 pm

Rising HLS 2L, and I've concluded with pretty good certainty that I have no real interest in being a lawyer. The Law (capital L) just does not excite me. I find myself bored to tears by the things classmates get excited about (See, e.g., Windsor in SCOTUS). I could not get into a single one of my 1L classes (I came in thinking I'd be excited about international law and that turned out wayyy off the mark). LRW was worst of all. Or was, until I started my 1L summer gig, which is like being dunked in LRW again every day.

I worked hard 1L and got good grades - around top 25% (7H/3P, which I think puts me around there). This wasn't because I enjoyed any of my classes but rather because I (like many 1Ls) went ahead and placed too much of my self-worth in my academic performance.

I'm actually having an awesome time socially in law school, and I've met some amazing people and think almost all of my classmates are great. But especially given my current summer experience, I kind of am starting to want an exit strategy from The Law. I'm looking at at least $180k debt upon graduation, so that is obviously the main concern.

Options?
- Presently not strongly considering dropping out to avoid more debt (though if you think I should, please feel free to convince me). This is mainly because it seems like a waste of good 1L academic performance and the HLS JD's potential non-legal benefit.

- Could graduate and try to bolt from the law with LIPP, but I'm not too comfortable with the idea of having my employment LIPP-restricted for such a long time.

- Could graduate and go to biglaw, live like a pauper and try to grind away all of the debt in a few years, then finally do my own thing. Kind of leaning this way as of now, though I'm 99.9% certain I'll hate biglaw and so this plan seems like a waste of the last few years of my 20s.


Anyway, this isn't something I feel comfortable discussing with HLS friends (they'll think I'm weird) or non-law friends (they'll think I'm humblebragging), so I'd love for the TLS sounding board to weigh in. Any thoughts, especially from anyone who's been in a similar situation, would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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BVest
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby BVest » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Rising HLS 2L, and I've concluded with pretty good certainty that I have no real interest in being a lawyer. The Law (capital L) just does not excite me. I find myself bored to tears by the things classmates get excited about (See, e.g., Windsor in SCOTUS). I could not get into a single one of my 1L classes (I came in thinking I'd be excited about international law and that turned out wayyy off the mark). LRW was worst of all. Or was, until I started my 1L summer gig, which is like being dunked in LRW again every day.

I worked hard 1L and got good grades - around top 25% (7H/3P, which I think puts me around there). This wasn't because I enjoyed any of my classes but rather because I (like many 1Ls) went ahead and placed too much of my self-worth in my academic performance.

I'm actually having an awesome time socially in law school, and I've met some amazing people and think almost all of my classmates are great. But especially given my current summer experience, I kind of am starting to want an exit strategy from The Law. I'm looking at at least $180k debt upon graduation, so that is obviously the main concern.

Options?
- Presently not strongly considering dropping out to avoid more debt (though if you think I should, please feel free to convince me). This is mainly because it seems like a waste of good 1L academic performance and the HLS JD's potential non-legal benefit.

- Could graduate and try to bolt from the law with LIPP, but I'm not too comfortable with the idea of having my employment LIPP-restricted for such a long time.

- Could graduate and go to biglaw, live like a pauper and try to grind away all of the debt in a few years, then finally do my own thing. Kind of leaning this way as of now, though I'm 99.9% certain I'll hate biglaw and so this plan seems like a waste of the last few years of my 20s.


Anyway, this isn't something I feel comfortable discussing with HLS friends (they'll think I'm weird) or non-law friends (they'll think I'm humblebragging), so I'd love for the TLS sounding board to weigh in. Any thoughts, especially from anyone who's been in a similar situation, would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Have you got a lot tying you down? What are your interests? Some ideas based on what information there is in this post:

Not terrifically helpful with the debt issue, but perhaps on point:

International NGO management

Entrepreneurial international non-profit/NGO work

Foreign Service

Peace Corps followed by one of the above

Gov't Law in DC


More directly addressing debt issue, but quite possibly something you'd hate:

MBA/Wall St route

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kingjoffrey
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby kingjoffrey » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:21 pm

Your grades are good, and you're at HLS so that helps a lot. I certainly wouldn't recommend dropping out. There are always other options (that can be very lucrative as well) in lobbying, consulting (i.e. McKinsey who recruits at HLS), finance, etc.

What DOES interest you, and what is your background in (i.e. undergrad/prior WE)? I think you need to determine this first. This is because if you decide skip out on biglaw to do something else, and find you don't like whatever you selected, then you're in more trouble (because it will be difficult to go back to biglaw).

Once you determine your interests, take classes in those fields, and look for opportunities. People on TLS have a very biglaw or bust mentality. At a T14 school with good grades (and even outside), there are a lot of non-law options.


Basically, in order of what I would do in your situation:
1. Look for non-legal options that interest you (but still pays off the loans)
2. Go biglaw for a few years --> find something you enjoy
3. LIPP route - but this is limiting
4. drop out (don't recommend)

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thewaves
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby thewaves » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:24 pm

Do you have any idea what you would be interested in? MBB does accept HYS students if you're interested. Just practice your case study questions and you should be fine.

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radar714
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby radar714 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:26 pm

have you given some thought to what you might want to do? Any industries/careers that pique your interest? Since you're out of HLS you can go management consulting or something of that ilk. My GF had a supervisor while she was at TFA who got into HLS, finished 1L and hated it so much (despite doing well like you) that he took the GMAT and applied to JD/MBA and then after his acceptance completely dropped law school and just did the MBA.

But before any1 can give you advice you should think about what you'd like to do, and then look at the plausible reality given the income you'd be making in that field. If you don't have answers to these questions, look up some introspective exercises that can help unveil the skills you have/enjoy utilizing etc. Given that you have great grades you can definitely hustle your way into many other jobs, but the real question is whether that job will have the income to help service your debt.

GL

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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:43 pm

Thanks for the quick and thoughtful responses. For starters, other than the debt, I don't have anything at all "tying me down", and I'd love to be as mobile as possible in pursuing interests.

I do feel a lot of potential interest in some of the types of options BVest mentioned. I've spent a lot of time living abroad (US-born citizen though) and I've kind of always thought it would be awesome to somehow make a living out of it (Peace Corps, for example, while obviously not a "living", is something I've kinda wanted to do for a long time). I dunno, I just have kind of quirky interests and I imagine I'd probably be happiest jumping around quite a bit (both geographically and work-wise). BTW I also definitely don't think I'll ever need a big salary to be happy.

That said, I want to put the McKinsey idea aside for the moment because I have very little idea what it entails (and doubt I'm qualified for it, frankly). Does LIPP start to seem like a viable flight plan, or does a few-year biglaw grind sound like a smarter option?

Anonymous User
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:48 pm

Have you done or tried anything transactional? Even tax related? Lots of people in corp. or tax hate legal writing, plus most 1L courses are litigation-focused.

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BVest
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby BVest » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:48 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That said, I want to put the McKinsey idea aside for the moment because I have very little idea what it entails (and doubt I'm qualified for it, frankly).


Neither do the corporations [edit: or governments] that hire consultants. That's the business model.

As far as being qualified, being smart is what makes you qualified. They provide about 6-8 weeks of training when you start.

Stinson
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Stinson » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:57 pm

LIPP is fairly broad. It would really only stop you from taking a private sector job that did not require law in any way. If public sector it doesn't need to be law related.

Do you have a different academic interest? You seem pretty good at school. LIPP pays your loans during PhD programs, if you have any interest in that direction.

NYstate
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby NYstate » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:06 pm

I can't tell you what to do. I will tell you that going to biglaw just to grind out your debts may be soul destroying for you. Don't go that route simply because it seems the easiest. Not many people can stick with a job they hate and that consumes almost all their time and energy for even a few years. If you think it is bad after a 1L SA you will absolutely hate your life.

You have ability and you have Harvard. Plus, now you can use PAYE for your debt if not LIPP.

Use your brains and creativity to find another career path for yourself.

Anonymous User
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Have you done or tried anything transactional? Even tax related? Lots of people in corp. or tax hate legal writing, plus most 1L courses are litigation-focused.


Not really, though I strongly suspect I'd dislike this too. Just a strong gut feeling I guess.

Stinson wrote:LIPP is fairly broad. It would really only stop you from taking a private sector job that did not require law in any way. If public sector it doesn't need to be law related.

Do you have a different academic interest? You seem pretty good at school. LIPP pays your loans during PhD programs, if you have any interest in that direction.


This is pretty cool (you're an HLS dude IIRC). I think I haven't been thorough enough in acquainting myself with LIPP possibilities. For one thing I certainly had no idea about the PhD thing - that'd be of at least some interest to me. I studied philosophy and int'l relations in college and really liked both, and kind of (naively and incorrectly) believed that I could make them intersect in law school. If further study in either of those fields would be LIPP-eligible, I'd probably investigate that.

For some reason I've felt hesitant about consulting HLS-official sources on questions like these out of fear that blowing my "I-hate-the-law" cover will somehow end badly. But I should probably drop that fear and get after it. I'd really like to avoid spending 3+ years in biglaw if I can.

Anonymous User
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:18 pm

You can look into Presidential Management Fellowships. Some are at awesome agencies like the State Department in a non-legal (policy) role. Government salaries can go up into six figures pretty fast through the program.

WanderingPondering
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby WanderingPondering » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:12 pm

Could you do consulting at a place like Deloitte? With a HLS law degree, I bet you could enter at something higher than entry-level.

Anonymous User
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:17 pm

Policy jobs at an international organization (maybe one that does conflict resolution work? Load up on those fun negotiation classes), the UN, or other international government bodies were the first things that popped into my head given your background and interests.

treeey86
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby treeey86 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:37 pm

1L is all litigation crap.

Try some transactional classes/internships. That practice is more intertwined with business side of things.

Or try doing the JD/MBA program and see where that takes you...

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koalatriste
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby koalatriste » Wed Jul 17, 2013 5:48 pm

CONSULTING! McKinsey will interview on campus and I was able to procure an interview with BCG just by mass-mailing. Bain is still a bit behind in terms of JD recruiting but that may be changing.

Consulting is a field that is perfect for those of us who are in law school and hate the law. PM me for more info.

thesteelers
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby thesteelers » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:37 pm

koalatriste wrote:CONSULTING! McKinsey will interview on campus and I was able to procure an interview with BCG just by mass-mailing. Bain is still a bit behind in terms of JD recruiting but that may be changing.

Consulting is a field that is perfect for those of us who are in law school and hate the law. PM me for more info.


+1 TCR. I go to BC/BU and two law-haters I know went into consulting. I have seen the frown lines disappear from their faces.

Anonymous User
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:34 pm

Others have mentioned this, but I would recommend spending next summer at a big NY firm doing transactional work. I do primarily finance work at a big firm, and my practice involves almost no "law" -- it's almost exclusively drafting documents and negotiating with the other side, which are things you can't really experience in law school. I never have to do research, and the most legal-related thing is occasionally look at an SEC regulation (but even that is much more minimal than those working in M&A/Capital Markets practices).

At the very least, you'll make a lot of money and will be able to confirm you don't want to practice law at a firm. Best case, you end up loving it. If you're concerned that you'll lose out on trying something else next summer, once you get offers (I say plural with your school/grades combo), negotiate for an early start date or a slightly shortened summer program and do something else for the last 4-6 weeks of the summer.

kpuc
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby kpuc » Wed Jul 17, 2013 10:45 pm

Would being a consultant be that much better than being a lawyer? It seems to me that the hours are just as bad, if not worse. The work also isn't exactly uplifting, is it?

Pokemon
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Re: HLS 2L, help me not be a lawyer

Postby Pokemon » Wed Jul 17, 2013 11:42 pm

kpuc wrote:Would being a consultant be that much better than being a lawyer? It seems to me that the hours are just as bad, if not worse. The work also isn't exactly uplifting, is it?


The hours are just as bad anywhere you get paid over 100k having just graduated.

Generally, though consultants seem to work a lot more during the week, and less on weekends. Also, I do not think the work of a consultant is at all similar to lawyers, like zero relation. Particularly in comparison to work of litigators. It tends to be a lot more quantitative and more problem-solving oriented. When talking to someone at BCG it seemed that they used excel and power point as much as litigators use westlaw/lexis and word...

OP: I would do a transactional SA if I was in your position, and if you still hated it I would try consulting. There is a surprising amount of lawyers at Mck & bcg.




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