Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

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Kohinoor
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Apr 15, 2010 4:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:Hi guys, I'm desperate for some help. I'm at MVP and my 1st semester grades were awful (bottom of the class). I've been trying to work harder this semester, but I don't feel any more prepared for finals. I don't love being here, and I'm only interested in staying in hopes of getting a good paying job (good meaning > $70,000).

I'm paying sticker, and a job offer just opened up back home that is pretty good. If I leave now before finals I can get a refund on this semester.

My question is, assuming I stay at the bottom of the class, what are my employment prospects from MVP? Is it worth staying or not? If I don't leave now this job opportunity disappears, so I'll be stuck all the way to the end. My parents want me to stay because they think even with my grades I could get that $70,000 salary, but I don't know. Help!!!

Can you make it to median realistically?

Posner
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby Posner » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:28 am

...
Last edited by Posner on Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RVP11
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby RVP11 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:29 am

Posner wrote:Sorry if I missed this, but do you mean 70k starting? Or averaging 70k over your lifetime? The latter is not difficult to obtain.

I'd stick it out for the rest of 1L, go to your old professors and talk to them about your exam (what you could have done better) and study smart (get outlines from 2Ls or outlinedepot.com). Get plenty of sleep, avoid drinking/sleep meds around finals time, and try not to stress. You're at a great school, and the economy has two years to recover before you leave. Ask for past employment stats at your school for the lower part of the class maybe around 2002-3 and this most recent class.


Hey, what's wrong with sleep meds?

imchuckbass58
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:50 am

So first off, do not ask your CSO what you should do (or, ask them, then disregard what they say). From my experience, CSOs are some of the most useless, unknowledgeable people on campus. I got much better advice from 3Ls or practicing lawyers. CSOs have hugely distorted incentives to give you the "party line," and will never straight up tell you your chances for fear of being wrong (with good reason, because when they do venture a guess, they're usually wrong).

As for your situation, I'd wonder two things. First, how awful is "awful?" Are we talking bottom 10%, or like bottom 33%. The former is much different from the latter in my view. In neither case are you getting biglaw, but in the former case there's a much bigger chance you'll get nothing at all. Bottom 33% is often perceived to indicate you didn't compete well with a lot of high-caliber students. Bottom 10% is perceived to indicate you had serious problems re: motivation or intellectual capacity (I'm not endorsing this view - I'm just saying how it will be perceived).

If you are just bottm third, I think you have to honestly assess your qualities and motivation. People can get decent (not great) paying jobs from the bottom third of the class, but it takes 1) lots of hustle, and 2) lots of other redeeming qualities to compensate for your grades. Do you have strong connections to a market that doesn't get a lot of T14 grads? Then you might be able to get midlaw (yes, I realize it's rare, but it does exist). Are you able to establish genuine interest in a particular area of law (e.g., crim) to angle for, say, a DA position (which can actually pay decently in some suburbs)? Can you network the pants off people? If you can't answer yes to these questions, you might be in trouble.

The point is if you want to come out with something you will have to work your ass off not just in class, but outside of it, and after you graduate. That's why I say it's really a question of motivation. If you do not really want to be a lawyer, you will most likely not have the motivation to do this and come off as genuine, and you most likely won't have the will to persevere in the face of the inevitable setbacks.

Anonymous User
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:57 am

OP here, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU all for your comments. TLS is incredible!

I meant $70,000 as a starting salary. I can't imagine going through all this and having all this debt and not making at least that much. To me it would make law school not worth it to be paid less than that.

Definitely in a better market I would stay. Like many of us at a top14, I passed on lots of money at lower ranked schools to be here, because I was always told that even the bottom of a top14 does well. Maybe those were lies back in the day, too, but it was believable. Now I hear about 3Ls with good grades not getting jobs, and I'm freaked out.

You guys have confirmed everything I've thought about CSO. In my limited experience with them they've seemed very cheerful, but unable to give any real advice. And I read something our CSO director said in the paper and it sounded like totally B.S.. It was right before ASW and I think that's why she got herself in the paper. It was really disgusting.

About my grades, I have less than a 3.0. I did bad on all my exams, but in different ways. All my exams were looking for different kinds of answers, and I even though I've been working harder, I feel the exact same as I did last semester. That one exam where I split between highest and lowest was actually my best grade. My other exams with notes on them had me doing well in some parts but poorly in other.

I think over the next 2 years I can get my grades up to median. I can't possibly do this bad all three years. Maybe I can. :( But I also suspect that there's easier grading/grade inflation in the 2L and 3L years. But does that matter? What will job prospects be for someone graduating without a job? Isn't that the path to a $40,000 job? I honestly don't know. I've spent so much time and energy thinking/planning on getting a job at OCI I have no idea how it works without OCI. I didn't think I'd be in that kind of situation going to MVP. Maybe I've been very naive this whole time, but I just don't know.

imchuckbass58, unfortunately I don't have connections to a market without a T14 feeder. :( I'm also leery about DAs office. I don't want to do criminal law, and I heard the pay is pretty low, isn't it? When you say "paying decently" do you mean $70,000 and above? I'm afraid of graduating and making $40,000, which I can make now.

Honestly, I want a job that pays well more than I want to be a lawyer. In a weird way I feel like this might be the universe telling me I shouldn't be on this path. But then again, the universe didn't screw up my torts final, I did. I knew the material cold, knew every case cold, and felt like I had a rapport with my Professor. The day we got our grades back I felt like I was punched in the stomach. My parents keep telling me not to throw away this opportunity (being at a top14 law school), and I know there are so many smart and motivated students out there that would kill to be at a top14. I'm the only one of my friends from college that got into a top14. Maybe I just came in at the wrong time. But if the top 25% at another T14 is striking out at OCI, what hope is there for me?

I appreciate everyone's comments. It sounds like people are saying a $70,000 salary is unlikely. Am I the only one on TLS that ended up in the bottom? Is there a 2L or 3L in a similar situation that can speak to what it's been like for them?

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wiseowl
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby wiseowl » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:03 am

i'm just stunned that UVA lets you get a refund after basically completing the semester. are you sure that's accurate?

Kong456
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby Kong456 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:09 am

Random thoughts: If you are paying sticker at MVP, you should be aiming higher than 70,000. I doubt you'll be very comfortable with that debt/salary ratio. Based on everything you've said, I would advise dropping out and taking the job. You seem like a thoughtful and hardworking person - you should be able to move up the ranks in a few years and get the kind of financial stability you are looking for.

If you were really passionate about the law that would be one thing, but it doesn't appear that you are.

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scribelaw
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby scribelaw » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:14 am

I'm really sorry to hear about your predicament. This is the kind of shit that freaks me out.

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underachiever
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby underachiever » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:25 am

scribelaw wrote:I'm really sorry to hear about your predicament. This is the kind of shit that freaks me out.


Ya, well at MVP 30% of the kids are in this exact situation...welcome to a forced curve of hell...and I'm one final away from being there, just like 30% of my class is.....Law school grading sucks

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Chichaca
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby Chichaca » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:32 am

Anonymous User wrote:Honestly, I want a job that pays well more than I want to be a lawyer. In a weird way I feel like this might be the universe telling me I shouldn't be on this path.

I think you should trust your gut on this, cut your losses, and accept that job offer. As the economy picks back up, you'll be able to work your way up the ladder without 3 years' worth of debt - all to get a degree in something you obviously don't have a passion for - holding you back.

(0L, by the way, but I'm saying this as someone who's been in the workforce for the past 3 years. So not a totally uninformed opinion.)

imchuckbass58
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby imchuckbass58 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:43 am

Anonymous User wrote: I'm also leery about DAs office. I don't want to do criminal law, and I heard the pay is pretty low, isn't it? When you say "paying decently" do you mean $70,000 and above? I'm afraid of graduating and making $40,000, which I can make now.


To give you some idea of DA salaries, LA County starts at $60,000, second years make $70,000, and it bumps approximately 8% a year after that. New York starts at $57,000. San Francisco DA starts at $92,000.

These are big city DA's offices which are ridiculously hard to get (think: harder than biglaw), but more rural areas tend to be easier to get, though they pay less. I know of a city of ~200,000 where 3rd year DAs make ~$70,000.

Here's a thread with some Texas DA salaries (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=111900&start=50). Summary: $55,000 to $60,000 to start.

Keep in mind you'll have the LRAP though, so you'll be netting more than in the private sector. Also, much better hours.

But, DAs are not "easy" to get. Smaller counties are a little more forgiving on grades, but they often favor local grads and/or people with extensive crim backgrounds in law school or before.

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ReelectClayDavis
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby ReelectClayDavis » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:50 am

wiseowl wrote:i'm just stunned that UVA lets you get a refund after basically completing the semester. are you sure that's accurate?


Source and details? Relevant to my interests.

OP, really glad you made this thread. Obviously you are not alone, ~40% of your classmates are in your position: clearly below median. Some very bright people at these schools have to be put in a bad position due to the curve.

As a 0L I can't be much help, but 200K of debt and the opportunity cost of staying out of the workforce for 2 more years only seems worth it to me if: you have connections through family or friends to a firm or a passion for public service that would allow you to be a (insert government job most do not desire here) and retire 3 years of debt through LRAP and Federal IBR 10 year public service loan forgiveness.

For us 0Ls headed to an MVP, how did you study? Did you make your own outlines, did you read supplements? Did you take practice tests? Not trying to be a dick, I have to ask because it would be as useful to me know what didn't work for people as what did work (Arrow's guide, etc.).

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RVP11
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby RVP11 » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:51 am

ReelectClayDavis wrote:
wiseowl wrote:i'm just stunned that UVA lets you get a refund after basically completing the semester. are you sure that's accurate?


Source and details? Relevant to my interests.

OP, really glad you made this thread. Obviously you are not alone, ~40% of your classmates are in your position: clearly below median. Some very bright people at these schools have to be put in a bad position due to the curve.

As a 0L I can't be much help, but 200K of debt and the opportunity cost of staying out of the workforce for 2 more years only seems worth it to me if: you have connections through family or friends to a firm or a passion for public service that would allow you to be a (insert government job most do not desire here) and retire 3 years of debt through LRAP and Federal IBR 10 year public service loan forgiveness.

For us 0Ls headed to an MVP, how did you study? Did you make your own outlines, did you read supplements? Did you take practice tests? Not trying to be a dick, I have to ask because it would be as useful to me know what didn't work for people as what did work (Arrow's guide, etc.).


At UVA, only ~30% or so is "clearly" below median. A big honking chunk of the class is between 3.2 and 3.4.

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YCrevolution
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby YCrevolution » Thu Apr 15, 2010 11:54 am

..

MVPer1982
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby MVPer1982 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:38 am

I've scheduled an appointment today with a professor I trust and I'm going to talk to him about the situation and see what he says. I need to let the job know what I'm doing by Wednesday, so I might try and drop in on the Dean of Students as well to figure this out.

About my study habits: made outlines in all my classes, used other people's outlines to supplement, did practice tests, etc. Because of how erratic, but still poor, my performance was it's really difficult for me to figure out what went wrong. On the one exam where I got high/low scores, I spotted the wrong issues on the question I did poor on, and every issue that was credited on the question I did well on. Looking back at the bad question, I still think my issues are valid, and if I had to do it again I would probably have tried to written them up again. The issues I didn't get are legit, though, and maybe I just didn't write fast enough to get all the issues. That said, I wrote A LOT. Grades really do feel random, but I feel like I was randomly picked to suck. Really, I might not just be a very good law student. :(

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RVP11
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby RVP11 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 10:43 am

I'm not sure why you're zeroing in on one exam. What about your other classes? There are people out there who screwed up entire exams and still got above median.

MVPer1982
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby MVPer1982 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:55 pm

RVP11 wrote:I'm not sure why you're zeroing in on one exam. What about your other classes? There are people out there who screwed up entire exams and still got above median.

As I said, I did bad pretty much across the board. I've only focused on that one exam because I didn't want to rehash all my exams, and it illustrates what has been so frustrating. Namely that I can't really just point to something and say, "I need to get better at that." I can issue spot, I can write reasonably well, I knew the material, and I could give the professor an answer he wanted. But I also majorly sucked on the other half of the exam. It's tough.

Anyway, for anyone that's interested in getting the rest of this story, I went and talked to one of my professors today and I've decided to stay. I was very upfront with him about what my grades were and what my concerns were. The first thing he said was that I was one of his best students, and that in his opinion my exam score wasn't representative of my legal thinking skills. (At this point I sort of wonder what the point of exams are if he could confidently say that, but I kept it to myself.)

I told him my worries about the job market, and he we talked for a long time about what my goals are and what I'm interested in. I told him the truth that I wanted a good job more than I wanted to be a lawyer, and that didn't even phase him. It was a very good talk, and, long story short, he gave me a long list of contacts to get in touch with about jobs and told me he would personally help me when OCI came around.

You know those corny after school specials where that one teacher has a heart-to-heart with a student and changes that students life for the better? Yeah, I didn't expect to have one of those in law school, but I think I just did.

So I'm going to turn down the job and stay it out. Thank you everyone for you suggestions and comments. I think if it wasn't for this professor I'd be leaving law school. I take back everything negative I ever said about law professors.

Just one more note, the professor told me CSO was worthless. I think the take home lesson is speak up a lot in class, and be really nice to your professors.

hubtubrub
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby hubtubrub » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:17 pm

so as a 0L what can you do if your in the bottom of the bottom in your MVP school? how much money can you make doing midlaw/govt work?

270910
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby 270910 » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:22 pm

hubtubrub wrote:so as a 0L what can you do if your in the bottom of the bottom in your MVP school? how much money can you make doing midlaw/govt work?


Dear 0L: Neither 'midlaw' nor government positions are easily accessible to the bottom of the class at MVP. Note I said easily - with enough hustle (connections, networking, luck, refusing to give up) they're not impossible.

There are veeeery few midlaw positions that pay in the 60-90K range. For the most part, once you fail to achieve biglaw, you're looking at much smaller firms and esoteric options with salaries in the 30-50K range.

hubtubrub
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby hubtubrub » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:27 pm

disco_barred wrote:
hubtubrub wrote:so as a 0L what can you do if your in the bottom of the bottom in your MVP school? how much money can you make doing midlaw/govt work?


Dear 0L: Neither 'midlaw' nor government positions are easily accessible to the bottom of the class at MVP. Note I said easily - with enough hustle (connections, networking, luck, refusing to give up) they're not impossible.

There are veeeery few midlaw positions that pay in the 60-90K range. For the most part, once you fail to achieve biglaw, you're looking at much smaller firms and esoteric options with salaries in the 30-50K range.


darn.
Thanks for answering my question!

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:37 pm

disco_barred wrote: once you fail to achieve biglaw, you're looking at much smaller firms and esoteric options with salaries in the 30-50K range.


LOL. Slight overkill.

Image

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:14 pm

YCrevolution wrote:Note to OP: This would be better suited to the forum for current law students.

[Moved.]

Jesus, I just about went ape shit on 5 0Ls who did not deserve it.

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mikeytwoshoes
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby mikeytwoshoes » Fri Apr 16, 2010 8:16 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
disco_barred wrote: once you fail to achieve biglaw, you're looking at much smaller firms and esoteric options with salaries in the 30-50K range.


LOL. Slight overkill.

Image

OMG Newark looks so good in that picture.

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Knock
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby Knock » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:41 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
disco_barred wrote: once you fail to achieve biglaw, you're looking at much smaller firms and esoteric options with salaries in the 30-50K range.


LOL. Slight overkill.

Image


The Road?

OMG Newark looks so good in that picture.


Hahaha :lol:

jbjb1
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Re: Bottom of MVP... stay or drop out?

Postby jbjb1 » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:03 am

In every law school class there's a bottom group of students. From MVP, even if you are at the bottom your prospects probably aren't THAT bad unless you were bottom by a considerable amount (next person above you had a 2.9 and you have a 2.2).

You need to find someone at your school to ask about this (locate the director of career services, not just a staff assistant) and see what the bottom group at your school ends up doing. Dropping out is a bad idea unless you have something great to fall back on. You could try going the MBA route too...ITE, dropping out is much better than being kicked out. :D




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