Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

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Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:03 pm

So I was talking to this guy yesterday (he's an immigrant who didn't go to college), and he's talking about college and further education for his kids. So he was asking me questions about how many years it takes to become a lawyer, the cost of education, etc., and I had a really hard time avoiding sounding like I was not a fucking retard for going to law school. Basically, I'm a 2011 t10 grad (worst year possible), and I graduated at the top 1/4 of my class. I took out about $120k in loans, but with interest my balance is around $170k now. So 7 years of school minimum, and around a quarter million in debt is probably pretty typical to attend a t10 law school (with where tuition is now). After law school, I competed with around 350 people for a job that paid a whopping $62,000 /year (clerkship). After my clerkship, I was unemployed for 6 months and competed with 100 people for a job that pays a whopping $50k /year. It's public interest, so it qualifies for loan forgiveness, but I wouldn't need loan forgiveness if I hadn't gone to law school in the first place. Seriously, though, I had to beat out 100 other people for a $50k /year job. What kind of a person willingly blows 7 years of their life + $250k for a 1/100 shot at a job that pays $50k /year? Just as a point of comparison, the legal secretaries here start around $40k /year, and their jobs are a shitload less competitive to get, and they avoided law school altogether.

Even in the best case scenario (for most people), you get biglaw, where you have to be totally fucking miserable for 5 years, work your ass off, and all to get back to a net worth of $0, and by then, you're going to be out of biglaw anyways. It just doesn't really make much sense thinking of this logically. I mean even if you get a great scholarship nowadays, you're probably still looking at taking on at least $150k in debt, which will probably be closer to $170k by the time you enter repayment. It just doesn't make sense if the best case scenario is working at a big firm and being miserable for a few years until you're back and $0, and then you're out. I could see an argument if you get a full tuition scholarship and can limit your cost of living to under $60k (with interest) for all 3 years, but besides that, I'm not really seeing a good reason why anyone would go to law school given how bad the salaries are outside of biglaw (even smaller firms pay like $55-65k /year around here). Are we all really just a bunch of idiots?

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Big Shrimpin
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby Big Shrimpin » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:05 pm

CHURCH!

(brofist)

Giddy-Up
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby Giddy-Up » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:07 pm

I had a full scholarship and went at night. No debt.

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sinfiery
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby sinfiery » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:09 pm

I think law school is a fucking scam and an awful idea as its something that traps 20 somethings who don't know what they want to do with their lives into awful positions for at least 7-10 years


but financially, it isn't too bad (with scholarships and biglaw/PI)

With PLSF, you get to help people and get paid more than the average american while enjoying a 3 year vacation financed by the tax payers

With biglaw, you can pay off ~150-175k debt in 3-4 years then work 1-2 more years/save and live off an annuity for 30 years or likely find some job stability for life (not sure about this but probably)

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby UpandDown97 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:09 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So I was talking to this guy yesterday (he's an immigrant who didn't go to college), and he's talking about college and further education for his kids. So he was asking me questions about how many years it takes to become a lawyer, the cost of education, etc., and I had a really hard time avoiding sounding like I was not a fucking retard for going to law school. Basically, I'm a 2011 t10 grad (worst year possible), and I graduated at the top 1/4 of my class. I took out about $120k in loans, but with interest my balance is around $170k now. So 7 years of school minimum, and around a quarter million in debt is probably pretty typical to attend a t10 law school (with where tuition is now). After law school, I competed with around 350 people for a job that paid a whopping $62,000 /year (clerkship). After my clerkship, I was unemployed for 6 months and competed with 100 people for a job that pays a whopping $50k /year. It's public interest, so it qualifies for loan forgiveness, but I wouldn't need loan forgiveness if I hadn't gone to law school in the first place. Seriously, though, I had to beat out 100 other people for a $50k /year job. What kind of a person willingly blows 7 years of their life + $250k for a 1/100 shot at a job that pays $50k /year? Just as a point of comparison, the legal secretaries here start around $40k /year, and their jobs are a shitload less competitive to get, and they avoided law school altogether.

Even in the best case scenario (for most people), you get biglaw, where you have to be totally fucking miserable for 5 years, work your ass off, and all to get back to a net worth of $0, and by then, you're going to be out of biglaw anyways. It just doesn't really make much sense thinking of this logically. I mean even if you get a great scholarship nowadays, you're probably still looking at taking on at least $150k in debt, which will probably be closer to $170k by the time you enter repayment. It just doesn't make sense if the best case scenario is working at a big firm and being miserable for a few years until you're back and $0, and then you're out. I could see an argument if you get a full tuition scholarship and can limit your cost of living to under $60k (with interest) for all 3 years, but besides that, I'm not really seeing a good reason why anyone would go to law school given how bad the salaries are outside of biglaw (even smaller firms pay like $55-65k /year around here). Are we all really just a bunch of idiots?



The problem with this analysis is that it is very short sighted. By this middle of his or her career, the legal secretary is still going to be making 40k. In 10-15 years, if you make the right moves and went to the right school, you can be making half a million dollars or more. With a top 10 degree and a clerkship under your belt, it doesn't seem unlikely that you could be making a ton of money by the time you're 40.

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transferror
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby transferror » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:10 pm

mottles and bodels

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby JohannDeMann » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:22 pm

I went to law school because my friend told me we should go to law school and purge our sub 2.5 undergrad gpas/ wait out the economy with more school. We both took the Dec LSAT and filled out applications for the same cycle. Summer before law school he ended up bailing on the idea and killed himself shortly after I started law school. To this day, I'm not sure who made the better choice.

My brother rode out 2 years of unemployment/under employment and sandbagged a 170+ LSAT and 3.97 GPA. Happiest fucker I know today.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:24 pm

Mayans fucked me. Thought 12/21/12 was a lock.

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FSK
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby FSK » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:25 pm

You got an A3 clerkship, CHOOSE PUBLIC INTEREST (at which point you clearly had credentials for biglaw somewhere), and now you're bitching about money? Smooth moves.....

The old adage is "Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer (and do what a lawyer does for your foreseeable future." There you go.

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zot1
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby zot1 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:26 pm

Prestige/rewarding career for some? Sure secretaries don't get into debt, but making copies and bringing coffee gets mind numbing. To be fair, I'm not saying getting into a lot of debt is smart for everyone...

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:27 pm

flawschoolkid wrote:You got an A3 clerkship, CHOOSE PUBLIC INTEREST (at which point you clearly had credentials for biglaw somewhere), and now you're bitching about money? Smooth moves.....

The old adage is "Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer (and do what a lawyer does for your foreseeable future." There you go.

I have a certain sympathy with this, but I'm not sure you can say the OP voluntarily chose PI over biglaw when they say they were unemployed for 6 months after their clerkship.

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FSK
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby FSK » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:41 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
flawschoolkid wrote:You got an A3 clerkship, CHOOSE PUBLIC INTEREST (at which point you clearly had credentials for biglaw somewhere), and now you're bitching about money? Smooth moves.....

The old adage is "Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer (and do what a lawyer does for your foreseeable future." There you go.

I have a certain sympathy with this, but I'm not sure you can say the OP voluntarily chose PI over biglaw when they say they were unemployed for 6 months after their clerkship.


I inferred some facts (hunting only PI for 6 months) into what I think is a pretty obvious troll, fair criticism.

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:18 pm

flawschoolkid wrote:You got an A3 clerkship, CHOOSE PUBLIC INTEREST (at which point you clearly had credentials for biglaw somewhere), and now you're bitching about money? Smooth moves.....

The old adage is "Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer (and do what a lawyer does for your foreseeable future." There you go.


OP here. I didn't choose PI over biglaw. Trust me, I tried as hard as I could for biglaw. I did OCI my 2L year, I applied to every large firm in every major city (LA/DC/NYC/CHI/SF, etc.) multiple times. I got some interviews, but struck out everywhere. The job market was not like it is today back in 2009-2012. One of my fellow clerks went to SLS and applied to pretty much every major law firm in LA, and managed to get 1 interview and 1 offer out of it. Another clerk was one of the top few students at GULC, didn't want biglaw the least bit, but was forced to take the 1 biglaw offer he got from, which was from one of the two biglaw firms that interviewed him. Firms just weren't hiring then like they are now. Close to 2/3s of my class didn't get biglaw. A LOT of really well qualified classmates from my t10 were unemployed for over a year after graduation. It was a different world back then.

With that said, it's not that I would be any happier if I were in biglaw. I think even that would have been equally miserable, if not worse (as I mentioned in my OP). The thing I find the most frustrating is that the total lack of middle ground. With debt, your options are either biglaw or PI, and both of those suck (one in terms of work and the other in terms of money). I'd pretty jolly if I could make $75k /year and not have to pay a dime towards my loans (like is the case now), but there's not very many PI jobs that fall into that realm, and private practice doesn't get LRAP or PSLF. The reason why I think law school is a terrible decision for most is because you're options are limited to either being miserable in biglaw or making terrible money in PI. The alternative is making something like $65k /year in private practice at a smaller/midsize firm, but then having to repay loans, which is rough. Yeah there's IBR, but it's 25 years, and that tax-bomb is a pretty big consequence when you're in your 50s.

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ExBiglawAssociate
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are we all really just a bunch of idiots?


Not all of us, but the vast majority of us. Yes.

hopeboaltberkeley
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby hopeboaltberkeley » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:26 pm

Berkeley?

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star fox
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby star fox » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:26 pm

Something to do

UpandDown97
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby UpandDown97 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
flawschoolkid wrote:You got an A3 clerkship, CHOOSE PUBLIC INTEREST (at which point you clearly had credentials for biglaw somewhere), and now you're bitching about money? Smooth moves.....

The old adage is "Go to law school if you want to be a lawyer (and do what a lawyer does for your foreseeable future." There you go.


OP here. I didn't choose PI over biglaw. Trust me, I tried as hard as I could for biglaw. I did OCI my 2L year, I applied to every large firm in every major city (LA/DC/NYC/CHI/SF, etc.) multiple times. I got some interviews, but struck out everywhere. The job market was not like it is today back in 2009-2012. One of my fellow clerks went to SLS and applied to pretty much every major law firm in LA, and managed to get 1 interview and 1 offer out of it. Another clerk was one of the top few students at GULC, didn't want biglaw the least bit, but was forced to take the 1 biglaw offer he got from, which was from one of the two biglaw firms that interviewed him. Firms just weren't hiring then like they are now. Close to 2/3s of my class didn't get biglaw. A LOT of really well qualified classmates from my t10 were unemployed for over a year after graduation. It was a different world back then.

With that said, it's not that I would be any happier if I were in biglaw. I think even that would have been equally miserable, if not worse (as I mentioned in my OP). The thing I find the most frustrating is that the total lack of middle ground. With debt, your options are either biglaw or PI, and both of those suck (one in terms of work and the other in terms of money). I'd pretty jolly if I could make $75k /year and not have to pay a dime towards my loans (like is the case now), but there's not very many PI jobs that fall into that realm, and private practice doesn't get LRAP or PSLF. The reason why I think law school is a terrible decision for most is because you're options are limited to either being miserable in biglaw or making terrible money in PI. The alternative is making something like $65k /year in private practice at a smaller/midsize firm, but then having to repay loans, which is rough. Yeah there's IBR, but it's 25 years, and that tax-bomb is a pretty big consequence when you're in your 50s.


You're forgetting secondary markets where you'll make low to mid six figures.

A few caveats to that though are this: The hours won't be great (still probably 50-60) and the culture might be a stressful. Likewise, it is tougher to get those kind of jobs straight out of law school.

Nonetheless, it's not like NYC/Chicago/LA/SF big law. It's more of a middle ground where you're still working hard, but not as hard as other Big Law, and you're well compensated, but not earning huge amounts.

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:29 pm

UpandDown97 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So I was talking to this guy yesterday (he's an immigrant who didn't go to college), and he's talking about college and further education for his kids. So he was asking me questions about how many years it takes to become a lawyer, the cost of education, etc., and I had a really hard time avoiding sounding like I was not a fucking retard for going to law school. Basically, I'm a 2011 t10 grad (worst year possible), and I graduated at the top 1/4 of my class. I took out about $120k in loans, but with interest my balance is around $170k now. So 7 years of school minimum, and around a quarter million in debt is probably pretty typical to attend a t10 law school (with where tuition is now). After law school, I competed with around 350 people for a job that paid a whopping $62,000 /year (clerkship). After my clerkship, I was unemployed for 6 months and competed with 100 people for a job that pays a whopping $50k /year. It's public interest, so it qualifies for loan forgiveness, but I wouldn't need loan forgiveness if I hadn't gone to law school in the first place. Seriously, though, I had to beat out 100 other people for a $50k /year job. What kind of a person willingly blows 7 years of their life + $250k for a 1/100 shot at a job that pays $50k /year? Just as a point of comparison, the legal secretaries here start around $40k /year, and their jobs are a shitload less competitive to get, and they avoided law school altogether.

Even in the best case scenario (for most people), you get biglaw, where you have to be totally fucking miserable for 5 years, work your ass off, and all to get back to a net worth of $0, and by then, you're going to be out of biglaw anyways. It just doesn't really make much sense thinking of this logically. I mean even if you get a great scholarship nowadays, you're probably still looking at taking on at least $150k in debt, which will probably be closer to $170k by the time you enter repayment. It just doesn't make sense if the best case scenario is working at a big firm and being miserable for a few years until you're back and $0, and then you're out. I could see an argument if you get a full tuition scholarship and can limit your cost of living to under $60k (with interest) for all 3 years, but besides that, I'm not really seeing a good reason why anyone would go to law school given how bad the salaries are outside of biglaw (even smaller firms pay like $55-65k /year around here). Are we all really just a bunch of idiots?



The problem with this analysis is that it is very short sighted. By this middle of his or her career, the legal secretary is still going to be making 40k. In 10-15 years, if you make the right moves and went to the right school, you can be making half a million dollars or more. With a top 10 degree and a clerkship under your belt, it doesn't seem unlikely that you could be making a ton of money by the time you're 40.


You're an idiot if you think a 500k salary is in any way typical of lawyers.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:32 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are we all really just a bunch of idiots?


Not all of us, but the vast majority of us. Yes.

It's more of a series of bad decisions than the way the OP described it to the immigrant though. No one sits there at 17 and thinks "I can't wait to waste the next 7 years of my life and 250k to get a law degree!" It's more like "I'm gonna go to college cuz that's what I'm supposed to do," followed by "I'm gonna fuck around and get a shitty GPA cuz that's what everyone else is doing and it's more fun," then "I hate my job and hate working generally and need to find an easy out that's less stigmatizing than welfare for life," to "A high LSAT is all? Really?" and then finally you're here.

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:37 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Are we all really just a bunch of idiots?


Not all of us, but the vast majority of us. Yes.

It's more of a series of bad decisions than the way the OP described it to the immigrant though. No one sits there at 17 and thinks "I can't wait to waste the next 7 years of my life and 250k to get a law degree!" It's more like "I'm gonna go to college cuz that's what I'm supposed to do," followed by "I'm gonna fuck around and get a shitty GPA cuz that's what everyone else is doing and it's more fun," then "I hate my job and hate working generally and need to find an easy out that's less stigmatizing than welfare for life," to "A high LSAT is all? Really?" and then finally you're here.

I totally agree. Lawyers are just dumber/lazier on average than most other college grads who go on to have careers as professionals. And the ones who aren't dumb/lazy are inordinately uncreative. I had a fairly average career before law school in tech and considered myself to be of average intelligence. I dominated law school, however, because the caliber of individual in law school is just much lower (even though I went to T14).

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby Cobretti » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:43 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:I went to law school because my friend told me we should go to law school and purge our sub 2.5 undergrad gpas/ wait out the economy with more school. We both took the Dec LSAT and filled out applications for the same cycle. Summer before law school he ended up bailing on the idea and killed himself shortly after I started law school. To this day, I'm not sure who made the better choice.

My brother rode out 2 years of unemployment/under employment and sandbagged a 170+ LSAT and 3.97 GPA. Happiest fucker I know today.

you're seriously saying that your (apparently very close) friend who committed suicide is better off than you because you went to law school? what the fuck

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby bearsfan23 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 7:56 pm

JohannDeMann wrote:I went to law school because my friend told me we should go to law school and purge our sub 2.5 undergrad gpas/ wait out the economy with more school. We both took the Dec LSAT and filled out applications for the same cycle. Summer before law school he ended up bailing on the idea and killed himself shortly after I started law school. To this day, I'm not sure who made the better choice.

My brother rode out 2 years of unemployment/under employment and sandbagged a 170+ LSAT and 3.97 GPA. Happiest fucker I know today.


This is seriously messed up. You need to get off TLS and get actual mental help dude

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:09 pm

I dunno. I'm a liberal arts grad with no real skills, and without law school I would still be making $50k in a job I didn't particularly enjoy. It will be a net positive financially for me, and if I can get away from the bullshit associated with private practice/NYC-biglaw, I'm optimistic I will like being a lawyer as a career at least as much as anything else I was likely to do. If I do switch careers, I will be at least as well-positioned to do so as I would have been without law school.

I'm lucky as hell to have this outcome, to be clear, but for people like me, law school still is an almost magically easy path to make twice as much money as I ever thought I would (albeit temporarily and in a job that largely sucks).

(Edit: remind me I wrote this the next time I hate my life bc of Biglaw Bullshit Thing X.)

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby 071816 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:16 pm

why the fuck does anyone do anything? we're all just going to die.

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Re: Why the fuck does anyone go to law school?

Postby UpandDown97 » Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:50 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
UpandDown97 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So I was talking to this guy yesterday (he's an immigrant who didn't go to college), and he's talking about college and further education for his kids. So he was asking me questions about how many years it takes to become a lawyer, the cost of education, etc., and I had a really hard time avoiding sounding like I was not a fucking retard for going to law school. Basically, I'm a 2011 t10 grad (worst year possible), and I graduated at the top 1/4 of my class. I took out about $120k in loans, but with interest my balance is around $170k now. So 7 years of school minimum, and around a quarter million in debt is probably pretty typical to attend a t10 law school (with where tuition is now). After law school, I competed with around 350 people for a job that paid a whopping $62,000 /year (clerkship). After my clerkship, I was unemployed for 6 months and competed with 100 people for a job that pays a whopping $50k /year. It's public interest, so it qualifies for loan forgiveness, but I wouldn't need loan forgiveness if I hadn't gone to law school in the first place. Seriously, though, I had to beat out 100 other people for a $50k /year job. What kind of a person willingly blows 7 years of their life + $250k for a 1/100 shot at a job that pays $50k /year? Just as a point of comparison, the legal secretaries here start around $40k /year, and their jobs are a shitload less competitive to get, and they avoided law school altogether.

Even in the best case scenario (for most people), you get biglaw, where you have to be totally fucking miserable for 5 years, work your ass off, and all to get back to a net worth of $0, and by then, you're going to be out of biglaw anyways. It just doesn't really make much sense thinking of this logically. I mean even if you get a great scholarship nowadays, you're probably still looking at taking on at least $150k in debt, which will probably be closer to $170k by the time you enter repayment. It just doesn't make sense if the best case scenario is working at a big firm and being miserable for a few years until you're back and $0, and then you're out. I could see an argument if you get a full tuition scholarship and can limit your cost of living to under $60k (with interest) for all 3 years, but besides that, I'm not really seeing a good reason why anyone would go to law school given how bad the salaries are outside of biglaw (even smaller firms pay like $55-65k /year around here). Are we all really just a bunch of idiots?



The problem with this analysis is that it is very short sighted. By this middle of his or her career, the legal secretary is still going to be making 40k. In 10-15 years, if you make the right moves and went to the right school, you can be making half a million dollars or more. With a top 10 degree and a clerkship under your belt, it doesn't seem unlikely that you could be making a ton of money by the time you're 40.


You're an idiot if you think a 500k salary is in any way typical of lawyers.


You're right, I would be. But that's not what I wrote. I wrote that may be the case if you make the right moves and if you go to the right school (i.e. top 10). For someone out of one of those schools, it is not unlikely that they could make that much.

Now, for the average bro out of a low ranked school with awful employment stats- that's a different story.




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