Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

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Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:09 pm

I'd really appreciate any advice you all have. Here's my situation:

I'm a 2L, just below median at CCN and haven't secured an SA through OCI. I only interviewed with secondary markets and I am not interested in working in NYC. I've financed everything with student loans, so I'm looking at $250k+ when I graduate. While I do want to be a lawyer, I'm sure that there are other careers that I'd enjoy as well.

I've been mass mailing like crazy, and do still have some things pending, but if I don't have a job lined up by December, does it make sense to stay in law school? I feel like all of the stress from school and the job hunt is really taking a toll on my physical well-being and I'm becoming less and less optimistic that I'll find an SA that could lead to full-time employment.

What do you guys think? Stick it out or cut my losses?

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chuckbass
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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby chuckbass » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:12 pm

Leaving out NYC is your problem :roll:

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bk1
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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby bk1 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:16 pm

You're already 100k+ in debt and would have to start paying that back after dropping out (though you would get help from IBR/PAYE). What are you going to do if you do drop out?

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:26 pm

I'm in the same boat at CCN. Keep working. Keep mailing.
I interviewed solely in NY, and I didn't get anything. You can imagine how bad that feels, but it's not time to give up.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:28 pm

OP here--

Obviously leaving out NY is part of the problem, but for family/personal reasons I need to focus on these specific secondary markets.

As for other careers, realistically I'd probably go back to a job where I'd make $35,000 a year. Part of my concern with finishing the JD is how much less employable I'll be. It seems like getting a law job 3L is very difficult, and if I'm unable to secure something and end up looking outside of law then I'm three years removed from the workforce, and overqualified for most positions.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:43 pm

If you're at Chicago, you probably know that our LRAP is one of the best. I'd start off talking to OCS. They will help someone that is struggling by making phone calls for you and telling you of firms that underyielded. If you still can't get a firm job, get a PI job and take advantage of the repayment program(not suggesting PI is easier to get, but the timeline can be later for some). If that doesn't work, you can talk to career services to find a school-funded firm position.

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bk1
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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby bk1 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:45 pm

I mean, neither outcome is all that great financially, but I don't think they're radically different in terms of cost. It seems that you're going to need IBR/PAYE to pay off your debt whether you drop out now (100k+ debt, 35k salary) or finish the JD (250k+ debt, 30-60k salary).

Do you want to be a lawyer? What did you do 1L summer? Would you be comfortable gunning for a DA/PD position? Working for a small firm? Dealing with stress of the 3L job hunt? Etc, etc.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:50 pm

You'll probably get something eventually, but you don't sound like you're considering legal work outside of big firms that hire summer classes. I do think that needs to change.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:00 pm

Keep your chin up. I don't think you're relegated to making 30-60k post-graduation at all, but I think meeting with Career Services, mass mailing every day, contacting mid-size/boutique firms, networking and following up with connections are all steps you need to take.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:35 pm

Mass mail everywhere. The odds of anyone reading your application are under 5% so just focus on volume, not personal tailoring.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:10 pm

Just above median at GCN and in a similar situation. Dropping out would be meaningless at this point.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 5:30 pm

yeah, similar spot here. Biglaw isn't completely sailed but it's an uphill battle for sure. My thinking is that since I have nothing to go back to, and a really good LRAP program, worst case scenario, law school comes out as a wash. Since I wasn't putting money away these three years on my prior track, it's not like I'm forgoing opportunity cost here either. In the end, for those of us with shitty job prospects outside of law school, the T6 degree and whatever 40-60K job + LRAP is probably a better move long term

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby sparty99 » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:03 pm

Why the hell would you do that? I go to a T30 and am below-median and I still get interviews. Not really at firms, maybe out of the blue moon, but definitely government gigs (federal, state), and small law firms. In-house gigs too.

frankc
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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby frankc » Sun Sep 29, 2013 6:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote: I only interviewed with secondary markets and I am not interested in working in NYC.

Let this be a lesson to anyone else hunting for a legal job. This is (probably/hopefully) the biggest mistake this dude will ever make.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 29, 2013 7:15 pm

Hi OP,

I understand your frustration. Trust me, I do.

I completely struck out at OCI. I go to a T20, and am in the top 35%~.

I will also be in about $100,000 in debt after law school.

But for at least my market, mid-size firms, and government gigs don't open up until October/November. This definitely coincides with the fact that mid-size firms don't have their budget meetings until later in the hiring cycle.

Even though those jobs may not pay $100,000+ right out of law school, for at least some mid-size firms, they pay in the $70,000 to $90,000 range. That's respectable.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:02 am

I was in the same situation last year. Got a C in one of the classes, landed my ass near bottom at CCN. During the OCI season, I only secured one callback. Then mass mailed more than 400 applications to both NY and secondary markets, got 1 screener and 1 callback. I was rejected for both. While flying back home from the second callback interview, I was so frustrated and almost cried. But then, I began to think. What went wrong besides I am a horrible interviewer? I have always listened to the career services, just as most other people from my school. But the issue is that I have neither law review nor secondary journal. I came straight through, no work experience whatsoever. No steller grades. If I just keep doing the same thing as any other people, I will never be able to distinguish myself. 1L grades are chiseled in stone, all I can do is to study harder in 2L year. What about work experience. I need to have something on my resume that gives the employers a reason to select me. So I decided to work part-time during the school year. I talked to career services, they again gave me conventional wisdom. I decided to ignore them. Instead, I applied to PI, government, and judicial externship, all unpaid for part-time position, rather than a summer position. Eventually decided to do an externship with a federal judge in the Spring. It turned out to be one of the best opportunities I have ever had. Lots of interactions with the judges and the clerks. I was put on interesting cases, and actually drafting orders. I really enjoyed what I was doing. Somewhere around April, a small firm decided to offer me a summer associate position. I went again to the Career Services for advice. They suggested me to take the firm position over the judicial externship for the summer. The law firm was quite tempting, but they pay just a little bit over minimum wage. After carefully comparing my job duties in both places, I turned down the law firm's offer. While working as an extern, I found my niche practice area. This fall, I walked into the job market again with confidence. In fact, I even got more callbacks than last year as a 2L, although my interview skills are still not that great. Eventually, I got 2 offers (from both market pay firms).

My advice for OP. NEVER give up. Keep working hard and think about what you can do to distinguish yourself. There are a million of firms out there. You will find one for you. It's still too early to give up a firm position for a public interest position if you want a decent income. Talk to people, have a good sense of what's going on in the job market. Career service's advice, just like any other advice, take it with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that they also have their own interests (e.g. stats) and sometimes their interests might not in line with yours. I wish you best of luck.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Steveloblaw » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was in the same situation last year. Got a C in one of the classes, landed my ass near bottom at CCN. During the OCI season, I only secured one callback. Then mass mailed more than 400 applications to both NY and secondary markets, got 1 screener and 1 callback. I was rejected for both. While flying back home from the second callback interview, I was so frustrated and almost cried. But then, I began to think. What went wrong besides I am a horrible interviewer? I have always listened to the career services, just as most other people from my school. But the issue is that I have neither law review nor secondary journal. I came straight through, no work experience whatsoever. No steller grades. If I just keep doing the same thing as any other people, I will never be able to distinguish myself. 1L grades are chiseled in stone, all I can do is to study harder in 2L year. What about work experience. I need to have something on my resume that gives the employers a reason to select me. So I decided to work part-time during the school year. I talked to career services, they again gave me conventional wisdom. I decided to ignore them. Instead, I applied to PI, government, and judicial externship, all unpaid for part-time position, rather than a summer position. Eventually decided to do an externship with a federal judge in the Spring. It turned out to be one of the best opportunities I have ever had. Lots of interactions with the judges and the clerks. I was put on interesting cases, and actually drafting orders. I really enjoyed what I was doing. Somewhere around April, a small firm decided to offer me a summer associate position. I went again to the Career Services for advice. They suggested me to take the firm position over the judicial externship for the summer. The law firm was quite tempting, but they pay just a little bit over minimum wage. After carefully comparing my job duties in both places, I turned down the law firm's offer. While working as an extern, I found my niche practice area. This fall, I walked into the job market again with confidence. In fact, I even got more callbacks than last year as a 2L, although my interview skills are still not that great. Eventually, I got 2 offers (from both market pay firms).

My advice for OP. NEVER give up. Keep working hard and think about what you can do to distinguish yourself. There are a million of firms out there. You will find one for you. It's still too early to give up a firm position for a public interest position if you want a decent income. Talk to people, have a good sense of what's going on in the job market. Career service's advice, just like any other advice, take it with a grain of salt. Keep in mind that they also have their own interests (e.g. stats) and sometimes their interests might not in line with yours. I wish you best of luck.


Quality post.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Pokemon » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:04 pm

bk1 wrote:I mean, neither outcome is all that great financially, but I don't think they're radically different in terms of cost. It seems that you're going to need IBR/PAYE to pay off your debt whether you drop out now (100k+ debt, 35k salary) or finish the JD (250k+ debt, 30-60k salary).

Do you want to be a lawyer? What did you do 1L summer? Would you be comfortable gunning for a DA/PD position? Working for a small firm? Dealing with stress of the 3L job hunt? Etc, etc.



I do not think OP should drop out, but I also do not think your financial advice is that great. There is a huge difference in terms of cost, unless I am misreading something about how IBR works.

100k means only 7k of interest payments per year. It is really easy to start eating on the principal (further lowering interest) if interest payments are at 6k. I was payed 45k after college and managed to pay around 8-9k in debt per year. Once you start eating at the principal, you will gain momentum; by the time it goes down to 60k, it probably does not even feel like real debt.

250k means interest payments alone around 16-17k. You will probably not be able to meet those payments. Your debt balloon will keep on increasing, and to me, that is a super-scary prospect.

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bk1
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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby bk1 » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:17 pm

Pokemon wrote:I do not think OP should drop out, but I also do not think your financial advice is that great. There is a huge difference in terms of cost, unless I am misreading something about how IBR works.

100k means only 7k of interest payments per year. It is really easy to start eating on the principal (further lowering interest) if interest payments are at 6k. I was payed 45k after college and managed to pay around 8-9k in debt per year. Once you start eating at the principal, you will gain momentum; by the time it goes down to 60k, it probably does not even feel like real debt.

250k means interest payments alone around 16-17k. You will probably not be able to meet those payments. Your debt balloon will keep on increasing, and to me, that is a super-scary prospect.

OP is likely somewhere around 120k in debt (3 semesters at 40k per semester) and said that they would go back to a 35k/year job. Sure, if OP were to make 45k and have 100k debt I think it would be a different story. But OP is looking at somewhere around 9k/year in interest payments alone to start out on that 120k debt which doesn't seem doable (absent some serious pennypinching) on a 35k/year salary. I don't really envision OP gaining much ground on the debt for at least 5 years if not more.

I think the real problem is that there are so many unknowns. I will grant you that it is quite possible that financially things are quite different. Maybe OP gets a break and goes from a 35k/year job to a 70k/year job in 5 years. In that instance, dropping out would probably be a good bet financially. But there's also the possibility that OP's income stagnates with minimal raises and the debt actually gains ground on OP.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Pokemon » Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:32 pm

bk1 wrote:
Pokemon wrote:I do not think OP should drop out, but I also do not think your financial advice is that great. There is a huge difference in terms of cost, unless I am misreading something about how IBR works.

100k means only 7k of interest payments per year. It is really easy to start eating on the principal (further lowering interest) if interest payments are at 6k. I was payed 45k after college and managed to pay around 8-9k in debt per year. Once you start eating at the principal, you will gain momentum; by the time it goes down to 60k, it probably does not even feel like real debt.

250k means interest payments alone around 16-17k. You will probably not be able to meet those payments. Your debt balloon will keep on increasing, and to me, that is a super-scary prospect.

OP is likely somewhere around 120k in debt (3 semesters at 40k per semester) and said that they would go back to a 35k/year job. Sure, if OP were to make 45k and have 100k debt I think it would be a different story. But OP is looking at somewhere around 9k/year in interest payments alone to start out on that 120k debt which doesn't seem doable (absent some serious pennypinching) on a 35k/year salary. I don't really envision OP gaining much ground on the debt for at least 5 years if not more.

I think the real problem is that there are so many unknowns. I will grant you that it is quite possible that financially things are quite different. Maybe OP gets a break and goes from a 35k/year job to a 70k/year job in 5 years. In that instance, dropping out would probably be a good bet financially. But there's also the possibility that OP's income stagnates with minimal raises and the debt actually gains ground on OP.


That is a fair point. Whether something like this is a good investment is impossible to know before-hand. I do think however that students (me including) need to be particularly careful when they cross that line where they can no longer even manage interest payments. That depends on the student, but I am guessing by 150k it becomes particularly troublesome.
That is afterall the real trouble; if you never get out of IBR, you get a huge tax penalty (maybe a $400k income type penalty), and if you get out of IBR (income increases) you are more in debt than when you graduated law school even though every year you have been paying 10-15% of your income to government.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:10 pm

Not OP, i'd like to plug my own situation here if I may.

Facts: T10, above median, 3 years WE, 1L SA, struck out at OCI (2 callbacks, 400+ mass mails).

Answers to the usual questions:

how much debt will you have when you graduate? none (significant scholarship + family money filling in the rest)

do you enjoy law school/want to be a lawyer? yes and definitely. but do I want to do doc review for my entire life? no. I don't see this question being so black and white.

I feel like my problem is I focused on transactional from day 1. I still think that is what I want to do and so all my upper electives are transactional focused. but now that the firm route is done, any other route doesn't find my transactional focus that appealing (government, PI), so i'm getting dinged from all those too.

I can't really see any light at the end of the tunnel here. So i'm thinking I may be better off getting a 1+ year start on another career. Thoughts?

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, i'd like to plug my own situation here if I may.

Facts: T10, above median, 3 years WE, 1L SA, struck out at OCI (2 callbacks, 400+ mass mails).

Answers to the usual questions:

how much debt will you have when you graduate? none (significant scholarship + family money filling in the rest)

do you enjoy law school/want to be a lawyer? yes and definitely. but do I want to do doc review for my entire life? no. I don't see this question being so black and white.

I feel like my problem is I focused on transactional from day 1. I still think that is what I want to do and so all my upper electives are transactional focused. but now that the firm route is done, any other route doesn't find my transactional focus that appealing (government, PI), so i'm getting dinged from all those too.

I can't really see any light at the end of the tunnel here. So i'm thinking I may be better off getting a 1+ year start on another career. Thoughts?


You (and half your class) are below median at your school. And you go to a highly selective school. If you like the law and want to be a lawyer, hang in there. You obviously have talent if you are at CCN.

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EtherOne
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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby EtherOne » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:31 pm

He is not below median, he is above the median, which makes it worse to drop out. Don't. You have good stats from a great school, plus the work experience that law firms value. Keep working, and network.

People give up way too soon. Keep working hard, it will pay out.

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby redsox550 » Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:39 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, i'd like to plug my own situation here if I may.

Facts: T10, above median, 3 years WE, 1L SA, struck out at OCI (2 callbacks, 400+ mass mails).

Answers to the usual questions:

how much debt will you have when you graduate? none (significant scholarship + family money filling in the rest)

do you enjoy law school/want to be a lawyer? yes and definitely. but do I want to do doc review for my entire life? no. I don't see this question being so black and white.

I feel like my problem is I focused on transactional from day 1. I still think that is what I want to do and so all my upper electives are transactional focused. but now that the firm route is done, any other route doesn't find my transactional focus that appealing (government, PI), so i'm getting dinged from all those too.

I can't really see any light at the end of the tunnel here. So i'm thinking I may be better off getting a 1+ year start on another career. Thoughts?


that sucks man, hang in there, i think if you stay something will turn up. out of curiosity , how did you score your 1L SA gig? I mean you only got 2 CB's for OCI but got a 1L SA, seems odd. Either way i think you need to work on your interview skills in case you do actually get a bite

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Re: Below median at CCN -- Drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Not OP, i'd like to plug my own situation here if I may.

Facts: T10, above median, 3 years WE, 1L SA, struck out at OCI (2 callbacks, 400+ mass mails).

Answers to the usual questions:

how much debt will you have when you graduate? none (significant scholarship + family money filling in the rest)

do you enjoy law school/want to be a lawyer? yes and definitely. but do I want to do doc review for my entire life? no. I don't see this question being so black and white.

I feel like my problem is I focused on transactional from day 1. I still think that is what I want to do and so all my upper electives are transactional focused. but now that the firm route is done, any other route doesn't find my transactional focus that appealing (government, PI), so i'm getting dinged from all those too.

I can't really see any light at the end of the tunnel here. So i'm thinking I may be better off getting a 1+ year start on another career. Thoughts?


Jobless 3l at a t-14, above median, not CCN, and I also feel that my transactional focus during 2L is really hurting me. Friends of mine with lower grades seem to be getting a few bites from DA offices and the like whereas I have not had a legal interview in like forever. I guess this should be a warning to future OCI strike-outs; take the litigation route since it seems to keep more options open.




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