Continue for 2L or drop out?

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flcath
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby flcath » Mon May 30, 2011 10:17 pm

thexfactor wrote:
snowpeach06 wrote:To me wasting a year of your life and $50k is worse than sucking it up and finishing your degree. By the time you graduate the legal market should be better. Unless your aiming for BigLaw, you should be able to get some sort of legal job. So, if you like law and want to do it as a career, stick with it. Obviously not everyone can be at the top of their class, and yet, the majority of lawyers are not unemployed. So, the logic of top whatever % or drop out only makes sense if you could only possibly be happy working at a top firm.


I have to disagree with this. Even PI jobs are hard to come by. At a time where private hiring is low, most states and federal agencies have hiring freezes. It is going to be very difficult to get any type of legal job if you are below median.
It was a lot different 30 years ago. One of my friend's dad told me that 30 years ago fi you graduate from a t2 in the bottom of your class, you can still get a low paying job working as a lawyer.Today, these firms are overwhelmed with resumes and there is much more competition to get these small law jobs.

Every bit of nay-saying in this whole thread has been true, without even much exaggeration (a rarity for TLS).

But federal debt is very, very forgiving. And while it sucks and is soul-crushing to have to pay that shit off (paying off my $15K in UG debt was miserable for me), your alternative is lifetime of soul-crushing work.

Your debt payments come out the same whether you're $50K in the hole or $150K in the hole when you're washing dishes, constantly on the lookout for that big break that will get you moved up to server.

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Tue May 31, 2011 8:03 pm

Instead of dropping out entirely, can you take leave from your school for a few semesters? Either way you'd be working (or trying to find a job), but the latter scenario preserves your option to come back and finish.

BoSox0407 wrote:Thanks....i sadly think the decision will likely be to drop out

BoSox0407
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby BoSox0407 » Tue May 31, 2011 8:06 pm

Oh of course...schools love that b/c then I'm not part of the attrition rate for US News.

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:16 am

BoSox0407 wrote:Oh of course...schools love that b/c then I'm not part of the attrition rate for US News.


I'm not sure what you're getting at. I raised the suggestion because I thought it might be the best thing for YOU, not your school. (However, what you say rings true. It could help convince your school to allow you to take leave.) Dropping out is very serious, and one of the worst things that could happen is that you regret your decision several years from now but you have no way to get that JD. (It's highly unlikely that another law school would take you.)

On the one hand, if you absolutely hate law school and lawyers and anything to do with practicing law or the legal profession, then cutting your losses and dropping out now sounds reasonable.

On the other hand, you sound ambivalent. That's why I suggested taking a time out/sabbatical/etc in a way that allows you to come back, if you change your mind. If you later conclude that you've made the right decision to leave, fine, then just stay away permanently. Just don't burn bridges if you don't have to.

By the way, about others' suggestions to stick it out and just get that JD, regardless of your final GPA... Plenty of JDs don't practice law but enjoy other types of careers that having an advanced degree allows, and nobody asks them for their grades once they've been out working for a while. I see this a lot where I live: some kind of an advanced degree has become the new college degree, and a JD is an especially powerful credential in even non-legal professions, more so than a master's or MBA. (Not that you need one to succeed, of course.)

BoSox0407
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby BoSox0407 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:13 am

I was being a tad sarcastic about the US News comment..b/c all schools have ways of beating the system. My grades again are so so, nothing special, nothing on the border of academic probation. And I know a lot of the problems for current JDs are related to the bad economy.
The problem I have with these boards are that here everyone is so elitist, either folks are lying or the T14 world they're in is just so different. On the other hand, the JDUnderground crowd is so far down the toilet and negative that I believe their opinion is more useless.

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Grizz
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby Grizz » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:22 am

BoSox0407 wrote:I was being a tad sarcastic about the US News comment..b/c all schools have ways of beating the system. My grades again are so so, nothing special, nothing on the border of academic probation. And I know a lot of the problems for current JDs are related to the bad economy.
The problem I have with these boards are that here everyone is so elitist, either folks are lying or the T14 world they're in is just so different. On the other hand, the JDUnderground crowd is so far down the toilet and negative that I believe their opinion is more useless.


Wanting a good job that will enable me to repay me debt in a timely fashion IS elitist, urrite.

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:22 am

BoSox0407 wrote:I was being a tad sarcastic about the US News comment..b/c all schools have ways of beating the system. My grades again are so so, nothing special, nothing on the border of academic probation. And I know a lot of the problems for current JDs are related to the bad economy.
The problem I have with these boards are that here everyone is so elitist, either folks are lying or the T14 world they're in is just so different. On the other hand, the JDUnderground crowd is so far down the toilet and negative that I believe their opinion is more useless.


One thing I sometimes do is look at the bios of people that President Obama nominates for political positions in his administration. (They're in the White House press releases.) I think it's safe to assume that they are all highly successful folks who are well regarded in their respective fields. Yes, there are plenty of Yale Law and Harvard Law graduates. There are also people who graduated from mid- and bottom-tier law schools. Elizabeth Warren went to Rutgers Law.

Would you have been better off if you had gotten into a T14? Well, yeah. But that isn't the choice you're facing. In five years, you will either have the JD degree, or you will be five years older without a JD and no chance of ever getting one (if you drop out permanently). I think you're better off with a JD in the long run.

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Kilpatrick
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby Kilpatrick » Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:44 am

schooner wrote:
BoSox0407 wrote:I was being a tad sarcastic about the US News comment..b/c all schools have ways of beating the system. My grades again are so so, nothing special, nothing on the border of academic probation. And I know a lot of the problems for current JDs are related to the bad economy.
The problem I have with these boards are that here everyone is so elitist, either folks are lying or the T14 world they're in is just so different. On the other hand, the JDUnderground crowd is so far down the toilet and negative that I believe their opinion is more useless.


One thing I sometimes do is look at the bios of people that President Obama nominates for political positions in his administration. (They're in the White House press releases.) I think it's safe to assume that they are all highly successful folks who are well regarded in their respective fields. Yes, there are plenty of Yale Law and Harvard Law graduates. There are also people who graduated from mid- and bottom-tier law schools. Elizabeth Warren went to Rutgers Law.



In 1976. If this is how you make yourself feel better you're delusional.

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ObLaDiObLaDa
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby ObLaDiObLaDa » Wed Jun 01, 2011 11:12 am

BoSox0407 wrote: The problem I have with these boards are that here everyone is so elitist, either folks are lying or the T14 world they're in is just so different. On the other hand, the JDUnderground crowd is so far down the toilet and negative that I believe their opinion is more useless.


I was going to say the same kind of thing. I don't come here as often because the mindset is completely "big law or you're worthless". I'm at the same tiered school with lots of friends in the same GPA range and I don't know a single person without a summer position. At least one of my friends was not even asked for a transcript and never had to divulge her GPA to the place she was hired at. How many places did you actually apply? Did you get any interviews? If you did, perhaps it's not so much you're GPA but your interviewing skills.

I would take some time and decide if law if really want you want to do, and what kind of market you want to work in. Remember that especially in smaller markets, employment in law has less focused on your GPA and more focus on the connections you have and the people you know (than in large markets).

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:18 pm

I'm not advocating for you to make huge life decisions based on anecdotal evidence (scattershot bios), the rare/famous examples (Warren), or false hope (the job market for JDs may or may not get better). Yes, if you had any sense in you, you should be scared by the prospect of graduating with huge debt from a non-prestigious law school. But I also wouldn't run your life according to an all-or-nothing philosophy, ie, T14 or no law school at all, or as reactions to short-term/temporary feelings of distress.

I've been out in the work force for a while now, and I know plenty of successful people -- both recent grads and gray hairs -- with prestigious law degrees and no-name law degrees, as well as master's degrees/MBAs from crappy programs and great programs. And many who don't have anything beyond undergrad, although it feels like those are increasingly rare. I know Capitol Hill staffers who have just a B.A., are in their early 30s, and get paid 150K+/yr as chief of staff, and I also know Yale law grads who are toiling as "lowly" junior policy advisors somewhere. And lots of people of all stripes just struggling to find a good job.

By the way, it's been my experience that most people who haven't gone through the JD admission process don't really know the difference between the tiers. HYS grads definitely have an advantage due to the instant brand recognition, but once you're below T14 (or really the top five or so), the difference becomes JD vs. non-JD. There are also lots of lay people who have no idea that top-ranked schools like Univ of Michigan or Vanderbilt even have law schools.

marcellus
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby marcellus » Wed Jun 01, 2011 1:36 pm

Reasons to stay in school:

1) you already came 1/3 of the way through the hardest part
2) being a quitter is not good - it can shatter your confidence and cause lifelong regrets
3) you already owe $50k - already a big debt. Quit now and it was for nothing.
4) if you really like learning law and want to work in law, stay
5) If you are confident and enterprising, you can go solo and make good money. You can hire TTT grads off craigslist to do all the work while you put up "If you've been injured..." billboards of your face around town. (I know someone who did that in Florida).

Reasons to quit

1) If you truly detest learning law and the prospect of a legal career
2) If you have a better job opportunity elsewhere
3) If you honestly think you have no job prospects and are not the type of person who can go solo
4) If you determine that you will be crushed by $150k debt. If you live at home, live modestly, refrain from buying $5 coffee, going out, eating out, etc, you can pay off the debt faster. If you know you cannot live that way, then think about quitting.

UNLV09
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby UNLV09 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:24 am

I've been browsing through these forums for a while because law school has always been in the back of my mind, and I had to finally post because I'm just shocked that people on this thread seem to think with a liberal arts undergrad there is no hope for making over $25k. Yes, it is very possible to get stuck in that trap but if you're even just a little bit driven, creative and flexible, you can do just fine with nothing but a worthless BA. In California, where I live, police officers start out making between $55k-70k. In Fremont, CA I believe it was $75-85k to start and in Santa Clara its over $90k right out of the academy. If you don't believe that, go check the websites. I have a friend who got in right out of high school, he's going to retire when he's 43 and will get like 75% of what he was making for the rest of his life (he's going to move to Hawaii and be a surf rat). If he waits till he is 47 he'll get 99% and he's making over 100k right now as a captain. And all the cops do in Santa Clara is write tickets. That city has no ghettos. Also, one of my friends went into the military as an officer because of his BA. He's making about $60k right now pushing pencils and with his military intelligence experience once he gets out he'll work for some private security firm as a director and make over $100k like all his special forces buddies are doing. I had a relative who went to a law school that wasn't even ABA and didn't even pass the CA bar and went to Atlanta to work for a company called Mckesson doing contracts and after several years was making $80k and this was in '05-'06. I have another friend who got a business undergrad from some unimpressive state university and went to work at Genworth starting out making $25k-$35k and after only maybe a year or two got a sales position with a $75k base pay and was making an additional $300k a year in commissions (he brought in about 10 million in investments to Genworth every year during most of the 2000s and was getting 3% commission). Hell, I even know someone who went to work for Abercrombie & Fitch (yes, they do require a degree to be a manager, lol) making $24k to start and after only a few years was a district manager driving a company car with a company cell phone making $60k. Once she makes regional or goes to Columbus, OH to work in corporate she'll be making much more than that.

Have some of these people's jobs been highly effected by the economy? Of course, but who hasn't? The economy screwed everything up but this is all temporary. All I'm saying is the notion that someone has to get into Biglaw to make decent money or that all liberal arts undergrads will be dead broke working an "office job for $25k" is just completely ridiculous. Now flame on.

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BrianGriffintheDog
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby BrianGriffintheDog » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:10 am

Drop out and get a MBA degree. You'll still live with a decent living and respectable career.

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:34 am

UNLV09 wrote:All I'm saying is the notion that someone has to get into Biglaw to make decent money or that all liberal arts undergrads will be dead broke working an "office job for $25k" is just completely ridiculous. Now flame on.


I agree with the above. I wish people here would expand their mind about the career possibilities out there - it's a really big world - and what it takes for people to be happy. And also that people would take a 10, 20, 30+ year view about their life. Thinking that you need a HYS law degree and/or a biglaw job to be happy is laughingly myopic. (I do agree that if that's your short-term goal, having that achievement is a big deal and you should be very proud & happy about it. But why despair if that's not the case?)

But I realize that's difficult to do if you've never been in the workforce or not for very long (i.e., less than 5 years).

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FlanAl
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby FlanAl » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:05 am

"I have another friend who got a business undergrad from some unimpressive state university and went to work at Genworth starting out making $25k-$35k and after only maybe a year or two got a sales position with a $75k base pay and was making an additional $300k a year in commissions (he brought in about 10 million in investments to Genworth every year during most of the 2000s and was getting 3% commission)."

the end bit here is what I have an issue with. When you say "most of the 2000's" my guess is that this guy started working in the early 2000's when there were actually jobs available for recent grads and then got kept after the drop because of good performance. If he got hired in say 2010 then I would say your argument makes more sense.

It seems like whenever anyone says just go get a job their anecdotal evidence is from before the crash.

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savagedm
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby savagedm » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:47 am

plum wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:What office job?

i just mean in general. whatever jobs are out there for ppl with college degrees. file clerk or whatever. it pays the same as non-biglaw, about 25-40k depending on city. in any event the # of these jobs is probably equal or greater than the legal jobs OP will have if he graduates. so he might as well take the gift of a lower debt.


Yes. Being a file clerk totally opens up economic horizons beyond the likes of which we will never see. Honestly dude, start finding solo practitioners wherever you are this summer and just message them saying you need something and you'll do it for free. I have several friends, including myself, who all have had internships literally fall into their laps without much effort by taking this route; the school did nothing for us employment wise.

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haus
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby haus » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:00 am

FlanAl wrote:It seems like whenever anyone says just go get a job their anecdotal evidence is from before the crash.


You have a point. I am older than most here. I got out of the military in the mid 90's, I moved into the bottom ranks of IT doing phone support, moved into system administration and then into information security. Phone support started out at ~27k, a few years later when I landed a Unix admin job (junior) I was making ~50k, shortly after making the switch to infosec work I was making low 80s. At this point I finally got around to completing my bachelors degree and moved over 100k.

Since then I have continued to work full time and work on a masters degree part time (one class left to go).

The work has been interesting, and all told it is not a bad career. Unfortunately now this path is harder to follow then it was when started down it. Help desk jobs are not as common as they once were, and many of those that do exist now try to keep the workers on a script vice allowing them to use their own brian for resolving problems. This is disappointing not only for those who are looking for a foot hold in the industry, but it is also bad news for employers that do have a smaller pool of people to recruit from for more complicated technical positions.

I know that quality work exist for people without professional degrees, and for that matter without degrees of any form. Finding these niches is not always easy though, and candidates for these jobs often need to be willing to reinvent themselves to become the right fit for the opportunities that exist at a given moment. I suspect that for many (most?) the traditional plan of starting in one career and spending 30-40 years of your life along that path is a things of history. For example the poster above mentioned police officers in CA, with budget cuts coming in a large way for CA, much less of these jobs will be available, some may well be cut. Also I think that we will see the benefits that many believed that would get in retirement are not going to work out quite as expected, forcing people back into the jobs market, which in turn will make things even more topsy-turvy for the younger people following behind them.

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:42 pm

BrianGriffintheDog wrote:Drop out and get a MBA degree. You'll still live with a decent living and respectable career.


For the OP, getting an MBA is not a good idea. First, the OP's debt levels after 2 more years of law school or 2 years of a full time MBA program would be similar. (You'd also have to account for the opportunity cost of one more year of competing in the workforce without either a JD or MBA, since the OP wouldn't be able to start the MBA until fall 2012.)

More importantly, the OP's job prospects would probably be worse off with an MBA from a non-elite school. He isn't likely to go to Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton (no offense to the OP), which means he's even less likely to end up with a high paying Wall Street, consulting, or corporate job. In such a job pool, a JD from a lower-ranked school would be a much more powerful advanced degree than an MBA from a lower-ranked school. A licensed attorney can do many of the jobs that an MBA could do, but an MBA would be barred from the jobs that only a JD could do.

Also, the OP originally decided to go to law school, rejecting the alternatives (e.g., biz school). There's a good chance he would find biz school (especially the financial stuff) boring and hate it even more. And if you hate your classes, you're not likely to do well.

If the OP is just determined to get an advanced degree of any kind, and he thinks he won't regret making this irreversible major life decision 20 years from now, maybe he should look into part-time executive MBA or master's programs. But dropping out is serious and he may want to "take leave" to think about it instead of burning that bridge as an emotional reaction to his current distress.

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:50 pm

savagedm wrote:
plum wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:What office job?

i just mean in general. whatever jobs are out there for ppl with college degrees. file clerk or whatever. it pays the same as non-biglaw, about 25-40k depending on city. in any event the # of these jobs is probably equal or greater than the legal jobs OP will have if he graduates. so he might as well take the gift of a lower debt.


Yes. Being a file clerk totally opens up economic horizons beyond the likes of which we will never see. Honestly dude, start finding solo practitioners wherever you are this summer and just message them saying you need something and you'll do it for free. I have several friends, including myself, who all have had internships literally fall into their laps without much effort by taking this route; the school did nothing for us employment wise.


Right. I would be shocked if the OP can't find a single political campaign, local legal aid group, government agency, professor (doesn't necessarily have to be law faculty), or solo practitioner that won't take unpaid workers/volunteers. The OP could even try offering to volunteer, and then once he's shown his value, negotiate a better title instead of "volunteer" or "intern." Or if the OP is the civic-minded type, create a new nonprofit/volunteer organization and appoint himself president. (He can research other smaller organizations that have cropped elsewhere and try to replicate it locally.)

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somewhatwayward
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby somewhatwayward » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:05 pm

schooner wrote:
BrianGriffintheDog wrote:Drop out and get a MBA degree. You'll still live with a decent living and respectable career.


For the OP, getting an MBA is not a good idea. First, the OP's debt levels after 2 more years of law school or 2 years of a full time MBA program would be similar. (You'd also have to account for the opportunity cost of one more year of competing in the workforce without either a JD or MBA, since the OP wouldn't be able to start the MBA until fall 2012.)

More importantly, the OP's job prospects would probably be worse off with an MBA from a non-elite school. He isn't likely to go to Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton (no offense to the OP), which means he's even less likely to end up with a high paying Wall Street, consulting, or corporate job. In such a job pool, a JD from a lower-ranked school would be a much more powerful advanced degree than an MBA from a lower-ranked school. A licensed attorney can do many of the jobs that an MBA could do, but an MBA would be barred from the jobs that only a JD could do.

Also, the OP originally decided to go to law school, rejecting the alternatives (e.g., biz school). There's a good chance he would find biz school (especially the financial stuff) boring and hate it even more. And if you hate your classes, you're not likely to do well.

If the OP is just determined to get an advanced degree of any kind, and he thinks he won't regret making this irreversible major life decision 20 years from now, maybe he should look into part-time executive MBA or master's programs. But dropping out is serious and he may want to "take leave" to think about it instead of burning that bridge as an emotional reaction to his current distress.



it was almost certainly a joke.

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shepdawg
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby shepdawg » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:25 pm

This is the same guy who didn't try hard to find a summer job. I'd say drop out, because you obviously don't really love law.

UNLV09
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby UNLV09 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:40 pm

schooner wrote:More importantly, the OP's job prospects would probably be worse off with an MBA from a non-elite school. He isn't likely to go to Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton (no offense to the OP), which means he's even less likely to end up with a high paying Wall Street, consulting, or corporate job.


Where are you getting this information from? Check out this list of accomplished MBAs. A lot of them didn't go to top 30 schools (let alone the top 10 schools you are referring to), and some of them didn't even go to top 50 schools.

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/mb ... index.html

I really hope the OP isn't listening to this advice, which is basically just "if you don't have a great GPA in law school or can't get into a top 20 MBA program then you are doomed to be jobless or working a office job for $25k for the rest of your life, so you might as well give up now before you spend the money on more education." That's just absurd. Disturbingly absurd.

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haus
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby haus » Sat Jun 04, 2011 11:55 pm

UNLV09 wrote:
schooner wrote:More importantly, the OP's job prospects would probably be worse off with an MBA from a non-elite school. He isn't likely to go to Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton (no offense to the OP), which means he's even less likely to end up with a high paying Wall Street, consulting, or corporate job.


Where are you getting this information from? Check out this list of accomplished MBAs. A lot of them didn't go to top 30 schools (let alone the top 10 schools you are referring to), and some of them didn't even go to top 50 schools.

http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/mb ... index.html

I really hope the OP isn't listening to this advice, which is basically just "if you don't have a great GPA in law school or can't get into a top 20 MBA program then you are doomed to be jobless or working a office job for $25k for the rest of your life, so you might as well give up now before you spend the money on more education." That's just absurd. Disturbingly absurd.


I randomly clicked on four of the stories on this page, I found two class of 2006, a class of 2003, and a class of 2002. Do you think for a moment that several glowing reports could be located from people who graduated from law schools in these years, even those not from the top 50?
Last edited by haus on Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:45 am

shepdawg wrote:This is the same guy who didn't try hard to find a summer job. I'd say drop out, because you obviously don't really love law.


honestly, OP made little to no effort. I think you are right. regardless of what OP does, it will probably not be with enough effort to be successful. ultimately, it is better to be lackluster and unsuccessful with less debt than it is to be lackluster and successfulness with more debt.

schooner
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Re: Continue for 2L or drop out?

Postby schooner » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:13 pm

As my previous posts suggest, I definitely do not favor the "top 5 law school or nothing" mentality. There are many successful, happy people out in the real world who went to a no-name law school (or biz school).

But I think that in general, when you're planning your life and career, you should try to guard against the fallout of being an unlucky outlier, strive to be an outlier on the good end, and expect to end up somewhere in the statistical middle, like almost everyone else. If you went to HYS, you'll probably get a job somewhere and end up being successful, like most of your peers. If you went to a lower-ranked school, you can still end up being successful, although gaining this success won't be as easy. How representative are those BusinessWeek profiles of the average alumnus of a no-name business school? I have no idea, but I'd be highly suspicious. If you want to start your own business, you should just do it - it doesn't take an MBA to strike it rich as an entrepreneur in the US.

Coming back to the OP's situation, he's unlikely to get a Biglaw or Wall Street/consulting/corporate jobs X, Y, and Z, based on his paper credentials. That's why I'm saying that he (and the other people in these forums) should expand their minds about job possibilities A, B, C...W -- not just X, Y, and Z. It's really OK to not go HYS for law school or to work in a prestigious firm.

By the way, I also think nobody should be blithe about taking out a crushing level of debt that you can't discharge in bankruptcy, esp. from a lower-ranked school. Debt, even the "good" kind for education, is really bad.




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