Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

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Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Yes
15
8%
No
34
19%
Maybe
48
26%
Only if it was a T14 or a full ride.
85
47%
 
Total votes: 182

shoeshine
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Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby shoeshine » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:45 pm

This has come up several times in other threads. I am not sure how other people feel about it so I wanted to get some hard data.

I am going to speak to the Pre-Law society at my undergrad in a couple weeks. I want to tell them the truth but I feel like the bearer of bad news.

I am at a T14 and things have worked out great for me (so far) but I am not sure I would recommend that others pursue a law degree. Even if you are passionate about the law you really have no idea what you are getting yourself into. That aspect combined with the potential debt and abysmal job market have made me believe it would be wrong to recommend law school generally. I think on a case by case basis it is a smart idea but I don't think I would endorse going without qualifying my endorsement with many cautions. I am especially concerned because many of the students from my undergrad end up in T2 and TTT law schools.

in2win
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby in2win » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:59 pm

what do you mean when you say "you have no idea what you are getting yourself into" ?? Just curious about what is so horrible about law school and being a lawyer in comparison to other types of professions. Throughout undergrad I listened to engineers everyday talk about how hard their classes are, how bad they are doing, how they hate it, etc, I work with a doctor so I listen to him talk about how much he hates his patients, how hard he has to work. I'm starting to think there are not many people who have a burning love for their professional job or school in general.

Also, is the legal market really so much worse than other professions right now? I know people are struggling in every field.

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FryBreadPower
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby FryBreadPower » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:01 pm

IBMtal

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gaud
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby gaud » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:03 pm

FryBreadPower wrote:IBMtal


lol

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cinephile
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby cinephile » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:04 pm

in2win wrote: Also, is the legal market really so much worse than other professions right now? I know people are struggling in every field.


Yes, but it's better to be struggling and only have undergrad debt (or hopefully no debt) than to have undergrad + law school debt.

I've never studied engineering, but I think people more or less understand what they're getting themselves into with that. You don't know what law school's like until you're here. Then it's too late.

rad lulz
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:11 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:12 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

shock259
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby shock259 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:20 pm

I would try to break down the "you are a unique little flower" mentality. And that they are seriously likely to be unemployed.

rad lulz
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:23 pm

Read them this verbatim (from the venerable Grizz, RIP)

Grizz wrote:The reality is, only 58% of law grads get full time jobs that require bar passage. Not all these jobs even pay. http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=176606&p=5146995#p5146995. Assuming that 10% of all incoming entrants don't want to practice (99% of people at my school do, incidentally), law school was already a bad decision for at least 1/3 of all grads. They will never work as lawyers. Those that don't get jobs come disproportionally from lower-ranked schools. http://balkin.blogspot.com/2011/09/sobering-numbers-law-graduates-who-do.html. Meanwhile, average law school indebtedness nears $100k. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/11/law-school-debt-bubble.html.

There's a lot of emphasis placed on big law firms here because that's the surest way to pay down that big debt. If you miss out on the big law boat, you'll likely start at about $50k. http://www.nalp.org/salarycurve_classof2010#curve2 (keep in mind that a lot of those jobs in the trough, $95k+, are big firms in smaller markets). This is, of course, if you are one of the lucky few that gets a legal job at all.

Meanwhile, law schools are lying to you, telling stories of 90%+ grads employed 9 months after graduation, with the implication that they are all getting jobs as lawyers. They use salary statistics from a small, successful portion of the class with the implication that this small segment represent the whole. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/01/harperdeception.html; http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ (look at the data clearinghouse). Why are they doing this? To get a nice cut of easy federal student loan dollars, as the government is lending to students without regard for their ability to repay. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/business/law-school-economics-job-market-weakens-tuition-rises.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=davidsegal.

So no, it's not elitism that makes me warn off people from less regarded schools, but rather simple economic realities of this noble profession. I read this article the other day, and I was struck about the actual nobility in how Lord, Day & Lord ran their practice. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/02/nyregion/oldest-law-firm-is-courtly-loyal-and-defunct.html. Those were the good 'ol days. Now, prospective entrants to the profession are lied to and saddled with massive loans from the get-go. Telling someone not to take out $200k of debt for a school like Stetson is pretty sound economic advice. $50k debt? Okay, maybe that's not so bad. If someone wants to go to a school that has bad employment outcomes, go ahead, be my guest, I hope it works out for them. Nowhere did I say that law could not be rewarding. But from many schools, many grads will end up getting a nonlegal job they could have gotten with just their undergrad degree, except they'll be $100k in non-dischargeable student loan debt lighter.

Sincerely,
Grizz

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chem
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby chem » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:29 pm

rad lulz wrote:Read them this verbatim (from the venerable Grizz, RIP)

Grizz wrote:The reality is, only 58% of law grads get full time jobs that require bar passage. Not all these jobs even pay. http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=176606&p=5146995#p5146995. Assuming that 10% of all incoming entrants don't want to practice (99% of people at my school do, incidentally), law school was already a bad decision for at least 1/3 of all grads. They will never work as lawyers. Those that don't get jobs come disproportionally from lower-ranked schools. http://balkin.blogspot.com/2011/09/sobering-numbers-law-graduates-who-do.html. Meanwhile, average law school indebtedness nears $100k. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/11/law-school-debt-bubble.html.

There's a lot of emphasis placed on big law firms here because that's the surest way to pay down that big debt. If you miss out on the big law boat, you'll likely start at about $50k. http://www.nalp.org/salarycurve_classof2010#curve2 (keep in mind that a lot of those jobs in the trough, $95k+, are big firms in smaller markets). This is, of course, if you are one of the lucky few that gets a legal job at all.

Meanwhile, law schools are lying to you, telling stories of 90%+ grads employed 9 months after graduation, with the implication that they are all getting jobs as lawyers. They use salary statistics from a small, successful portion of the class with the implication that this small segment represent the whole. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/01/harperdeception.html; http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ (look at the data clearinghouse). Why are they doing this? To get a nice cut of easy federal student loan dollars, as the government is lending to students without regard for their ability to repay. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/business/law-school-economics-job-market-weakens-tuition-rises.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=davidsegal.

So no, it's not elitism that makes me warn off people from less regarded schools, but rather simple economic realities of this noble profession. I read this article the other day, and I was struck about the actual nobility in how Lord, Day & Lord ran their practice. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/02/nyregion/oldest-law-firm-is-courtly-loyal-and-defunct.html. Those were the good 'ol days. Now, prospective entrants to the profession are lied to and saddled with massive loans from the get-go. Telling someone not to take out $200k of debt for a school like Stetson is pretty sound economic advice. $50k debt? Okay, maybe that's not so bad. If someone wants to go to a school that has bad employment outcomes, go ahead, be my guest, I hope it works out for them. Nowhere did I say that law could not be rewarding. But from many schools, many grads will end up getting a nonlegal job they could have gotten with just their undergrad degree, except they'll be $100k in non-dischargeable student loan debt lighter.

Sincerely,
Grizz


Is Grizz Dead?

rad lulz
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby rad lulz » Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:32 pm

.
Last edited by rad lulz on Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

wildhaggis
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby wildhaggis » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:35 pm

Only under the rarest of circumstances.

STLMizzou
Posts: 386
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby STLMizzou » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:37 pm

rad lulz wrote:Read them this verbatim (from the venerable Grizz, RIP)

Grizz wrote:The reality is, only 58% of law grads get full time jobs that require bar passage. Not all these jobs even pay. http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=176606&p=5146995#p5146995. Assuming that 10% of all incoming entrants don't want to practice (99% of people at my school do, incidentally), law school was already a bad decision for at least 1/3 of all grads. They will never work as lawyers. Those that don't get jobs come disproportionally from lower-ranked schools. http://balkin.blogspot.com/2011/09/sobering-numbers-law-graduates-who-do.html. Meanwhile, average law school indebtedness nears $100k. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/11/law-school-debt-bubble.html.

There's a lot of emphasis placed on big law firms here because that's the surest way to pay down that big debt. If you miss out on the big law boat, you'll likely start at about $50k. http://www.nalp.org/salarycurve_classof2010#curve2 (keep in mind that a lot of those jobs in the trough, $95k+, are big firms in smaller markets). This is, of course, if you are one of the lucky few that gets a legal job at all.

Meanwhile, law schools are lying to you, telling stories of 90%+ grads employed 9 months after graduation, with the implication that they are all getting jobs as lawyers. They use salary statistics from a small, successful portion of the class with the implication that this small segment represent the whole. http://amlawdaily.typepad.com/amlawdaily/2011/01/harperdeception.html; http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/ (look at the data clearinghouse). Why are they doing this? To get a nice cut of easy federal student loan dollars, as the government is lending to students without regard for their ability to repay. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/17/business/law-school-economics-job-market-weakens-tuition-rises.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=davidsegal.

So no, it's not elitism that makes me warn off people from less regarded schools, but rather simple economic realities of this noble profession. I read this article the other day, and I was struck about the actual nobility in how Lord, Day & Lord ran their practice. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/10/02/nyregion/oldest-law-firm-is-courtly-loyal-and-defunct.html. Those were the good 'ol days. Now, prospective entrants to the profession are lied to and saddled with massive loans from the get-go. Telling someone not to take out $200k of debt for a school like Stetson is pretty sound economic advice. $50k debt? Okay, maybe that's not so bad. If someone wants to go to a school that has bad employment outcomes, go ahead, be my guest, I hope it works out for them. Nowhere did I say that law could not be rewarding. But from many schools, many grads will end up getting a nonlegal job they could have gotten with just their undergrad degree, except they'll be $100k in non-dischargeable student loan debt lighter.

Sincerely,
Grizz



Edited to let him cook
Last edited by STLMizzou on Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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NeighborGuy
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby NeighborGuy » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:40 pm

Depends on so many things. 1) The undergrad's current job prospects, 2) the availability of schollys, 3) which school they were going to, 4) their reasons for wanting to be a lawyer, just to name the top considerations, IMO.

I did lots of research on my school beforehand and made an informed choice, my job prospects before law school were practically nil, I honestly love writing and legal-type work, and because of the GI Bill I am basically getting paid to go. Also, I am on course to end up in the top 10%, so my faith in myself was probably well-placed.

So law school was, at least, an acceptable dice roll for me. My situation, however, was atypical, so as a rule I would advise undergrads not to go.

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Stanford4Me
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby Stanford4Me » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:47 pm

STLMizzou wrote:
Edited to let him cook

I was thinking about throwing some spoiled veggies in the mix, but decided not to.

STLMizzou
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby STLMizzou » Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:51 pm

Stanford4Me wrote:
STLMizzou wrote:
Edited to let him cook

I was thinking about throwing some spoiled veggies in the mix, but decided not to.

After giving it further thought, I decided the post was too alpha of a move to ruin.

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MachineLemon
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby MachineLemon » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:00 pm

shoeshine wrote:This has come up several times in other threads. I am not sure how other people feel about it so I wanted to get some hard data.

I am going to speak to the Pre-Law society at my undergrad in a couple weeks. I want to tell them the truth but I feel like the bearer of bad news.

I am at a T14 and things have worked out great for me (so far) but I am not sure I would recommend that others pursue a law degree. Even if you are passionate about the law you really have no idea what you are getting yourself into. That aspect combined with the potential debt and abysmal job market have made me believe it would be wrong to recommend law school generally. I think on a case by case basis it is a smart idea but I don't think I would endorse going without qualifying my endorsement with many cautions. I am especially concerned because many of the students from my undergrad end up in T2 and TTT law schools.


My general advice would be T14 or bust. Circumstances do vary, but other posters know more (i.e. have real experience) so I'll let them speak to the exceptions.

However, I can speak to what shaped my attitude--this site and its perspective. I were you, I'd try to engender an attitude in the students that won't accept less than the best. Outside this forum, a 165 is a good score and your regional school is a good school. What drove me to improve my LSAT score was (almost as much as the scary jobs #) realizing what counted as success and what schools are nationally respected. If the students in your talk think highly of themselves (rare for pre-law types, I know), then appealing to their pride could be powerfully motivating.

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alicrimson
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby alicrimson » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:08 pm

rad lulz wrote:
in2win wrote:Also, is the legal market really so much worse than other professions right now? I know people are struggling in every field.

Only 58% of law school grads get full time employment, bar passage required, after graduation.

Meanwhile, average student loan debt approaches $100k.

What do you think?



Does this statistic include the non-accredited schools? I find this a little bit hard to believe if it does not.

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bk1
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby bk1 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:13 pm

alicrimson wrote:Does this statistic include the non-accredited schools? I find this a little bit hard to believe if it does not.


How is it hard to believe? 30k new legal jobs per year in 2007. 45k JD's awarded per year. Now factor in that some of those jobs are going to be part time and then factor in that this is 2012 and not 2007... voila 58% ain't hard to believe.

Sources:

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/ ... eckdam.pdf

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=138221

rayiner wrote:The 30,000 figure comes from this article: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 7904889498, specifically this figure:

Image

Note this article is from April 2008, meaning the data is for C/O 2007. Ie: the height of the boom, before biglaw cut its hiring in half, before small firms cut hiring to zero, before cash-strapped state and local governments instituted hiring freezes, etc.

69% of graduates get a job in an NLJ250 firm, a small firm, a clerkship, government, or public interest. The government/public interest categories aren't necessary legal jobs, but are probably on the whole legal jobs (not necessarily paying). The other categories, business and academia are a joke. Business = Starbucks barista.

So yeah, roughly about 30,000 jobs for 45,000 graduates, during the boom.

Now... one of my friends is interested in the Cook County (Chicago) PD's office and was informed that they had an entire pile of Harvard/Yale resumes to look through and recruiting season hasn't even started. PD, DA jobs are insanely competitive right now. They've always been competitive in major cities, because they're considered prestigious PI, but even in bumfuck areas they make you eligible for 10-year PI loan forgiveness. As for small firms, they're hurting in the recession and just not hiring.

So if you think you'll just fall into a small firm or PD job if you don't get biglaw...

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alicrimson
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby alicrimson » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:20 pm

bk1 wrote:
alicrimson wrote:Does this statistic include the non-accredited schools? I find this a little bit hard to believe if it does not.


How is it hard to believe? 30k new legal jobs per year in 2007. 45k JD's awarded per year. Now factor in that some of those jobs are going to be part time and then factor in that this is 2012 and not 2007... voila 58% ain't hard to believe.

Sources:

http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/ ... eckdam.pdf

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=138221

rayiner wrote:The 30,000 figure comes from this article: http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 7904889498, specifically this figure:

Image

Note this article is from April 2008, meaning the data is for C/O 2007. Ie: the height of the boom, before biglaw cut its hiring in half, before small firms cut hiring to zero, before cash-strapped state and local governments instituted hiring freezes, etc.

69% of graduates get a job in an NLJ250 firm, a small firm, a clerkship, government, or public interest. The government/public interest categories aren't necessary legal jobs, but are probably on the whole legal jobs (not necessarily paying). The other categories, business and academia are a joke. Business = Starbucks barista.

So yeah, roughly about 30,000 jobs for 45,000 graduates, during the boom.

Now... one of my friends is interested in the Cook County (Chicago) PD's office and was informed that they had an entire pile of Harvard/Yale resumes to look through and recruiting season hasn't even started. PD, DA jobs are insanely competitive right now. They've always been competitive in major cities, because they're considered prestigious PI, but even in bumfuck areas they make you eligible for 10-year PI loan forgiveness. As for small firms, they're hurting in the recession and just not hiring.

So if you think you'll just fall into a small firm or PD job if you don't get biglaw...


I'm talking about accredited vs. non-accredited schools. I thought I made that clear but I suppose I did not. This may be a valid statistic that does not meet my anecdotal experience/general perception of what's going on but I think its fair to ask questions when something doesn't seem accurate. It was just a question. Relax.
Last edited by alicrimson on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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romothesavior
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby romothesavior » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:23 pm

alicrimson wrote:I'm talking about accredited vs. non-accredited schools. I thought I made that clear but I suppose I did not. This may be a valid statistic that does not meet my anecdotal experience/general perception of what's going on but I think its fair to ask questions when something doesn't seem accurate.

It's a fair question, but you are a 1L, no? Wait til this time next year when 2/3 of your classmates (and maybe even yourself) are scrambling for a 2L gig or have only found something that will last them through the summer, at which point they must resume the mad dash to get something before graduation.

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bk1
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby bk1 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:23 pm

alicrimson wrote:I'm talking about accredited vs. non-accredited schools. I thought I made that clear but I suppose I did not. This may be a valid statistic that does not meet my anecdotal experience/general perception of what's going on but I think its fair to ask questions when something doesn't seem accurate.

It was obvious. If you look at what I posted, it specifically says "Employment outcomes for graduates of ABA-approved schools" which means the 200 or so schools accredited by the ABA.

Your anecdotal experience probably doesn't factor in the 100 schools that are TTT/TTTT. There are tons of people graduating from awful law schools. If you go to a decent school you will likely find full time, legal employment (granted it may not have a salary commensurate to your debt), but the same is not true as you work your way down the rankings.

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Flash
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby Flash » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:25 pm

Tell them to sack up and get a STEM degree.

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alicrimson
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby alicrimson » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:29 pm

romothesavior wrote:
alicrimson wrote:I'm talking about accredited vs. non-accredited schools. I thought I made that clear but I suppose I did not. This may be a valid statistic that does not meet my anecdotal experience/general perception of what's going on but I think its fair to ask questions when something doesn't seem accurate.

It's a fair question, but you are a 1L, no? Wait til this time next year when 2/3 of your classmates (and maybe even yourself) are scrambling for a 2L gig or have only found something that will last them through the summer, at which point they must resume the mad dash to get something before graduation.


1L, yes. Fortunately, I have found a SA gig this summer. Does that mean everything will fall into place for next summer? Not necessarily. I just question some of the general assumptions that get thrown around here and appreciate when kind folks such as bk1 can shed some light on what is going on with some pretty representative data. As bk1 pointed out, the folks I know who have gone through law school do not comprise the bottom of the rankings so this whole 58% thing is news to me and even more of a reason why I should ask for clarification. I never said anyone was wrong. I just said I questioned. I think its fair to ask if one has doubts.

03121202698008
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Re: Would you recommend going to law school to undergrads?

Postby 03121202698008 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:32 pm

Just convey the facts. Contrary to popular belief, not all lawyers make $$$ and not all lawyers find jobs. The odds of both are better at some schools than others. Like any other major decision, they should do their due diligence and weigh the potential benefits against the risks and their specific circumstances.
Last edited by 03121202698008 on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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