Considering dropping out of law school

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gobias
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Considering dropping out of law school

Postby gobias » Wed Nov 24, 2010 7:05 am

I’m 23 and currently a 1L at a T1 law school. Not T14, but respectable. I’m strongly considering withdrawing before the second semester. Why?

1. Work-life balance. This has nothing to do with the stress of law school. It has everything to do with what comes after law school. After talking to practicing attorneys and doing more research, I’m realizing that it’s next to impossible to make good money in private practice and have a healthy work-life balance. I don’t want to work 60-80 hours a week until I’m 40. The psychological and physical costs of this lifestyle are real and don't typically fit well alongside goals of having a happy life outside the office. This is not only true for biglaw, but for many midsize and small firms as well.

I know in-house counsel is an option, but competition for these jobs is keen. I don't want to base my career choice on such a big assumption.

I know public service is an option, but I don't want to be locked into a public service career for 10 years just to satisfy Public Service Loan Forgiveness to pay off my student loans. Especially if I'm not sure I'll enjoy the work. Also, plenty of other career options are out there that pay just as well, except you're not required to be chained to them for a decade.

2. Job satisfaction. I’ve found that a scary number of lawyers would not go to law school if they had to do it all over again. And these are attorneys who graduated decades ago and were able to pay off their small student loans quickly. Which brings me to...

3. Debt. This year, I’m paying out-of-state tuition. After I graduate, I will be in $150k of debt because of high tuition and the interest accrued while in school. This includes fairly generous financial aid. This is a big deal. If I were only going to be in $50k of debt, I would be much more likely to stick around.

4. Job prospects. The job market is oversaturated with attorneys. The supply of lawyers far outstrips the demand. There is no reason to expect this situation to improve anytime soon, as more students than ever have been applying to law school over the last few years to avoid the bad economy.

I did not weigh these considerations as much as I should have before deciding to come to law school. I think that was a big mistake.

What would I do instead? I’m considering getting an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems from my state school. I want to choose a career based on my interests, passions and skills. I think this might be it. It would be very cheap compared to law school. Plus, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this sector will be second only to health care in terms of growth over the next decade.

Thoughts?

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Sinra
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby Sinra » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:46 am

gobias wrote:I did not weigh these considerations as much as I should have before deciding to come to law school. I think that was a big mistake.


I'm sorry OP. It stinks that you're having these concerns while already in school. Did you honestly not even consider these things before you did it?

Is your stress related to your grades so far?

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reasonable_man
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:50 am

gobias wrote:I’m 23 and currently a 1L at a T1 law school. Not T14, but respectable. I’m strongly considering withdrawing before the second semester. Why?

1. Work-life balance. This has nothing to do with the stress of law school. It has everything to do with what comes after law school. After talking to practicing attorneys and doing more research, I’m realizing that it’s next to impossible to make good money in private practice and have a healthy work-life balance. I don’t want to work 60-80 hours a week until I’m 40. The psychological and physical costs of this lifestyle are real and don't typically fit well alongside goals of having a happy life outside the office. This is not only true for biglaw, but for many midsize and small firms as well.

I know in-house counsel is an option, but competition for these jobs is keen. I don't want to base my career choice on such a big assumption.

I know public service is an option, but I don't want to be locked into a public service career for 10 years just to satisfy Public Service Loan Forgiveness to pay off my student loans. Especially if I'm not sure I'll enjoy the work. Also, plenty of other career options are out there that pay just as well, except you're not required to be chained to them for a decade.

2. Job satisfaction. I’ve found that a scary number of lawyers would not go to law school if they had to do it all over again. And these are attorneys who graduated decades ago and were able to pay off their small student loans quickly. Which brings me to...

3. Debt. This year, I’m paying out-of-state tuition. After I graduate, I will be in $150k of debt because of high tuition and the interest accrued while in school. This includes fairly generous financial aid. This is a big deal. If I were only going to be in $50k of debt, I would be much more likely to stick around.

4. Job prospects. The job market is oversaturated with attorneys. The supply of lawyers far outstrips the demand. There is no reason to expect this situation to improve anytime soon, as more students than ever have been applying to law school over the last few years to avoid the bad economy.

I did not weigh these considerations as much as I should have before deciding to come to law school. I think that was a big mistake.

What would I do instead? I’m considering getting an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems from my state school. I want to choose a career based on my interests, passions and skills. I think this might be it. It would be very cheap compared to law school. Plus, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this sector will be second only to health care in terms of growth over the next decade.

Thoughts?


This stuff is all news to you now? This is sorta like someone signing up for the space program and 6 motnhs deep saying; "wait up a second... You mean I'm going to have to go into space? you gotta be fucking kidding me."

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:08 am

Why post if you're just going to criticize and not offer any actual advice? Oh TLS. :roll:

Gobias - I would suggest sticking it out through your 1L year and seeing what you think of your summer internship. You may find you actually enjoy practicing.

Yes, there are high opportunity costs for this field - but if you end up in a secondary market you'll be working relatively reasonable hours (less than 60-80 at least) and you won't necessarily be in the sort of toxic atmosphere that makes so many attorneys miserable. I would evaluate your options after you've completed a summer internship and gotten some exposure to the actual practice of law.

Good luck.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:12 am

pasteurizedmilk wrote:Why post if you're just going to criticize and not offer any actual advice? Oh TLS. :roll:

Gobias - I would suggest sticking it out through your 1L year and seeing what you think of your summer internship. You may find you actually enjoy practicing.

Yes, there are high opportunity costs for this field - but if you end up in a secondary market you'll be working relatively reasonable hours (less than 60-80 at least) and you won't necessarily be in the sort of toxic atmosphere that makes so many attorneys miserable. I would evaluate your options after you've completed a summer internship and gotten some exposure to the actual practice of law.

Good luck.


I have established a standing practice that includes:

First: Evaluating a post.

Second: Deciding whether post is a) reasonable, or b) absurd.

Third: If Post = Reasonable, then, respond with reasonable advice. If Post = absurd, respond with condemnation and sarcasm.


You may not like my procedure, but it works well for me. When it stops working, I'll make review and change accordingly.

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:15 am

reasonable_man wrote:You may not like my procedure, but it works well for me. When it stops working, I'll make review and change accordingly.

Whatever makes you feel better bro. Let's not derail though, and stick with giving advice to the OP.

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buckilaw
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby buckilaw » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:20 am

Most law students would consider themselves lucky to get a job ITE. But, if you do well 1L and are able to get a job it sounds like you will not be happy. If you go the three full years and rack up debt it seems as though you will also be unhappy. Considering dropping out may not be a bad idea in your circumstances; though you should try to line up a job or other course of graduate study that you would enjoy doing.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:23 am

pasteurizedmilk wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:You may not like my procedure, but it works well for me. When it stops working, I'll make review and change accordingly.

Whatever makes you feel better bro. Let's not derail though, and stick with giving advice to the OP.



Ok brah.

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paratactical
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby paratactical » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:39 am

You seriously didn't like, oh, I don't fucking know, talk to some fucking real lawyers before you went to law school? If you're just figuring this out now, you probably aren't bright or thorough enough to be a good lawyer, so it's probably good you're getting out now.

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goosey
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby goosey » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:09 am

paratactical wrote:You seriously didn't like, oh, I don't fucking know, talk to some fucking real lawyers before you went to law school? If you're just figuring this out now, you probably aren't bright or thorough enough to be a good lawyer, so it's probably good you're getting out now.

:roll: :roll: :roll:

people that feel the need to tell strangers how NOT smart they are (presumably to make themselves feel superior)= a little sad

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vanwinkle
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:11 am

reasonable_man wrote:This stuff is all news to you now? This is sorta like someone signing up for the space program and 6 motnhs deep saying; "wait up a second... You mean I'm going to have to go into space? you gotta be fucking kidding me."

paratactical wrote:You seriously didn't like, oh, I don't fucking know, talk to some fucking real lawyers before you went to law school? If you're just figuring this out now, you probably aren't bright or thorough enough to be a good lawyer, so it's probably good you're getting out now.

These are both really harsh, but at the same time, I don't know what else OP wants to hear. There's not really any advice to give him, beyond going "Yep, everything in OP is true, so why haven't you dropped out already?"

Also, moved because this isn't really a Legal Employment question.

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paratactical
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby paratactical » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:12 am

goosey wrote:
paratactical wrote:You seriously didn't like, oh, I don't fucking know, talk to some fucking real lawyers before you went to law school? If you're just figuring this out now, you probably aren't bright or thorough enough to be a good lawyer, so it's probably good you're getting out now.

:roll: :roll: :roll:

people that feel the need to tell strangers how NOT smart they are (presumably to make themselves feel superior)= a little sad


So does that edit make you happy?

People that take on substantial debt without research = Stupid

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:16 am

goosey wrote:
paratactical wrote:You seriously didn't like, oh, I don't fucking know, talk to some fucking real lawyers before you went to law school? If you're just figuring this out now, you probably aren't bright or thorough enough to be a good lawyer, so it's probably good you're getting out now.

:roll: :roll: :roll:

people that feel the need to tell strangers how NOT smart they are (presumably to make themselves feel superior)= a little sad

This. If you're comfortable with your life and who you are you don't feel the need to put others down.

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rdcws000
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby rdcws000 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:19 am

What would I do instead? I’m considering getting an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems from my state school. I want to choose a career based on my interests, passions and skills. I think this might be it. It would be very cheap compared to law school. Plus, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this sector will be second only to health care in terms of growth over the next decade.



You're not guaranteed any advantage with a tech based MBA either, and you really don't know if you want to do that either.

Honestly, you seem just generally confused. That's not an insult, I'm saying it sounds like you really don't know and you might be suffering from the grass is greener syndrome.

I would first recommend that you stick out law school and finish 1L and see if something changes. If you really don't think you have that in you, the LAST thing you should be doing is enrolling in another graduate program.

Find a job, any job, even a crappy one, observe the world and decide what you really want to do.

keg411
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby keg411 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:24 am

OP, if you are unhappy in school and don't want to be an attorney, you should drop out. But I don't think you should get an MBA (because an MBA straight out of school isn't really worth anything -- MBA's are for people looking to expand on their current careers). I think you should go try to get a job and work for a few years.

Like para, I'm amazed at how many people go to law school without knowing what attorneys do and how little perspective people have. People shouldn't go to law school just to extend undergrad (and I get the sense there's a not-small portion of people at my law school that are doing that). People shouldn't get MBA's or grad degrees just to extend undergrad. Go out, get a job, and come back to it in 5 years when you have a better idea of what you're really interested in.

Law school should become more like b-school and require WE.

kopper
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby kopper » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:36 am

quitting never seems to be the best alternative. so, maybe your not thrilled about the biglaw type career where the money is most attractive and the demands are the highest. that doesn't mean you have to go into public service either. there is much in between and there are many benefits to a law degree outside of being a practicing attorney. with that said i think you need to consider your debt commitments. obviously, $150k of debt is going to limit what you may consider to do with your law degree. if there is a way to change that debt commitment your opportunities after law school will expand. if there is more to it and you are concerned about grades, just because you don't want to do biglaw doesn't mean you should quit but you may want to reconsider the debt commitment. Also, very few careers offer a 40-hour work week. you will likely work a 50-60 hour work week in most professional careers. I personally would rather work 60-80 hours a week and make 2x, 3x the income than work 50-60 hours a week at the lower rate. give it more thought an in the mean time do your best on finals.

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kalvano
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby kalvano » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:38 am

Drop out. Being a lawyer is 90% research, a talent you obviously lack.

theskyisred
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby theskyisred » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:40 am

3. Debt. This year, I’m paying out-of-state tuition. After I graduate, I will be in $150k of debt because of high tuition and the interest accrued while in school. This includes fairly generous financial aid. This is a big deal. If I were only going to be in $50k of debt, I would be much more likely to stick around.


Insane debt unless HYS... that is unless you are okay w/ paying over $1500/month in student loan payments.

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paratactical
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby paratactical » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:42 am

kalvano wrote:Drop out. Being a lawyer is 90% research, a talent you obviously lack.

Guess you're uncomfortable with your life, too.

kopper
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby kopper » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:44 am

gobias wrote:What would I do instead? I’m considering getting an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems from my state school. I want to choose a career based on my interests, passions and skills. I think this might be it. It would be very cheap compared to law school. Plus, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this sector will be second only to health care in terms of growth over the next decade.

Thoughts?


A generic MBA (one not from a top b-school) is relatively worthless outside of the personal development you may gain by getting the degree. Take it from someone who got and MBA from a Top 100 MBA program in their mid-20's and is now back going to law school and no longer in their 20's. You can accomplish everything you want to accomplish without ever getting a generic MBA degree. It will not open many more doors than you alread have available with a Bachelors degree unless your Bachelors degree is just not respected in the business world. Save your money!

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kalvano
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby kalvano » Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:47 am

paratactical wrote:
kalvano wrote:Drop out. Being a lawyer is 90% research, a talent you obviously lack.

Guess you're uncomfortable with your life, too.



Quite chipper, actually.

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beach_terror
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby beach_terror » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:03 pm

Harsh responses should be par for the course here. This is the internet, we're not here to pussyfoot around.

pasteurizedmilk
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby pasteurizedmilk » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:24 pm

beach_terror wrote:This is the internet, we're not here to pussyfoot around.
:lol:

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2807
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby 2807 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:52 pm

Any chance you can finish the first year and then ask for a leave/break? Go out in the real world and see if the grass is greener? You may come back and embrace the opportunity you have now. They may be understanding and work with you...?

You know you were aware of all of this before. You are just tired and stressed. Its ok to be tired and stressed. Relax.

You can't fix normal.

What was your plan before you entered? <---Stay focused. Everything is hard before it is easy.

The debt should not deter you NOW. You knew the price on day one. How did you justify it before?

Maybe you should get some time with the PI work interning and see that maybe it is not-so-bad after all. It is reasonable to have to pay your dues (debt) as you build a career. That 10 year span will certainly not be wasted. And you are not making 50k a year-- you have to factor in the paydown also, and the aftertax money that you would use to pay that down. 150 paid off over 10 years is 15k of aftertax money. that is at least 20k pretax. So your 50k a year PI job is more like 70k. does that help? :)

A LRAP 10 year plan is fantastic. Do not dismiss it so easily. By your mid-30's your life will thank you.

However, if by some chance you are the one person who went to law school and is sitting there saying, "wait, you mean when this is all over I have to work... as an attorney?" ... then you might as well quit. And you can use this experience for your next interview when you talk about valuable lessons you learned the hard way.

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TTH
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Re: Considering dropping out of law school

Postby TTH » Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:40 pm

gobias wrote:What would I do instead? I’m considering getting an MBA with a concentration in Information Systems from my state school. I want to choose a career based on my interests, passions and skills. I think this might be it. It would be very cheap compared to law school. Plus, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in this sector will be second only to health care in terms of growth over the next decade.

Thoughts?


First, who the hell is interested in or passionate about information systems? Really? When you were young, you watched "Office Space" and someday dreamt of implementing multi-platform database solutions to process and catalogue the work real people in the front office do?

Anyhow, good work with doing your research in advance, just in case you didn't catch anything, here's a few more things you may want to investigate.

1. I've heard rumors that after three years of law school, prospective lawyers have to take a comprehensive licensing exam in order to receive a license and practice. Further, law school apparently does not prepare prospective lawyers for this exam, necessitating the taking of a private review course which costs several thousand dollars the summer after graduation.

2. The vast majority of lawyers must dress in business or business casual attire for work. Gone all the days of showing up to work in jeans and a hoodie. This may hold true to back office IT trolls in some environments as well. Beware.

3. Law students tend to be a sarcastic and misanthropic bunch, especially in the weeks preceding finals. Threads stating blatantly obvious realities about the profession reminding law students who did their research and assumed the risk of trying to enter the profession that so many of their classmates are retards and fuckups, and that by association, they too will be considered retards and fuckups by those who see the profession for the cesspool it is will result in mockery and condescension.

HTH




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