Bottom 20% ― What Now??

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Pate
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Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Pate » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:12 pm

There have been a couple of recent interesting threads from 1Ls dropping out of LS ―no surprise low grades (around bottom 20%) were a primary reason for their decision.

For those in that boat, why are you not jumping overboard, why still hopeful? To those 2/3Ls who had poor grades but stuck it out ― are you glad you stayed? And why did you stay against all odds?

I was advised from day one that LS was a sprint, not a marathon. The sprint is over and not everyone came in first.

Younger Abstention
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Younger Abstention » Tue Jun 19, 2012 1:59 pm

Pate wrote:There have been a couple of recent interesting threads from 1Ls dropping out of LS ―no surprise low grades (around bottom 20%) were a primary reason for their decision.

For those in that boat, why are you not jumping overboard, why still hopeful? To those 2/3Ls who had poor grades but stuck it out ― are you glad you stayed? And why did you stay against all odds?

I was advised from day one that LS was a sprint, not a marathon. The sprint is over and not everyone came in first.


I guess it depends what rank school you go to. If you go to a Top 10, many people do get offers who are in the bottom 20 percent.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:02 pm

Some people have money, others went to law law school to be a public defender and are comfortable living on LRAP/IBR. Many reasons. I have noticed a bunch of 1L's here at CU talk about dropping out, no doubt all of them are in the bottom half of the class. Probably the right move for some of them.

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pinkcamellia
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby pinkcamellia » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:08 pm

don't forget that a ton of them are in denial and won't listen to anyone about job prospects or debt.

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akili
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby akili » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:11 pm

I was lucky enough to have a pretty big grade jump second semester, but I'm pretty sure I was at least in the bottom 1/3 first semester. I'm not racking up any debt and I want to be lawyer (and probably in gov't./PI) so I was going to stick with it either way. If I was going in to crazy debt and wanted (needed) Biglaw, I would've abandoned ship.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby BruceWayne » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:26 pm

If you're at a top school in your home market and you are willing to work there, being bottom 20% (or even worse) does not necessarily bar you from getting a job--even a big firm one--in your home market. But you have to take interviewing seriously; and you have to hustle and apply, apply, apply. You should also network.

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Pate
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Pate » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:13 pm

I was told that up-to a third of T14 students are not locating meaningful ($$) work. When I nonchalantly disagreed, they (1Ls, like me) became impassioned about their opinion. So maybe there is something to it. . . “it” being things might be worse than we imagine. I know many median students sweating whether they are high/low median. The 20% zone has to be traumatized.

I heard that there is a couple attending LS and both are somewhere in the slightly minus median zone. Can you imagine starting off a marriage $500K in debt with little or no income? (Heck, it's not even as good as living in a cool house you cannot afford).

Back to the topic. Your grades are disappointing, what to do, stay or go. If you went through this and stayed, what happened (things pick up or . . .). If you dropped out (TLS is probably not on your favorites), but in case. do you have anything to share?

(BTW: These days "What could possibly go wrong?" is no longer funny!)

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Pate
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Pate » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:05 pm

akili wrote:I was lucky enough to have a pretty big grade jump second semester, but I'm pretty sure I was at least in the bottom 1/3 first semester. I'm not racking up any debt and I want to be lawyer (and probably in gov't./PI) so I was going to stick with it either way. If I was going in to crazy debt and wanted (needed) Biglaw, I would've abandoned ship.


Lots of $$$$$cholly money? Because Vanderbilt Law, is one of the most expensive law schools in the country.

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Metaread » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:15 pm

This thread and threads like this are scaring the shit out of me.

I'm not in as bad a situation as the OP is, but I'm right below median (anywhere from 52th to 55th percentile) at a T30 school. The employment graphs that have been breezing around the forum (NALP) do not look promising. I knew I was entering a bad economy but it's scary just how many unemployed people there are. My classmates are much more naive about getting employment, a lot of them think "the market will pick up in three years," that said, they all have better grades than me.

I'm not sure what I should do. I don't like studying law, but I don't dislike it either. I have the attention to detail the law requires, but I don't do very well sitting 4-5 hour exams and racing to get the most points. But because I interview well, I did get a prestigious internship this summer (not at a firm though).

So far it looks like most people who are below median in the T30 or below should just choose to drop out, even if they have moderate scholly money. This assumes that "most people" don't have strong connections that will virtually guarantee them a job after graduation, even if it's a terrible job. Thoughts?

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A'nold
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby A'nold » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:03 am

I am all for optimism but please know that the "well at least I can be a public defender or work for the government" days are over. These jobs are so competitive you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it for yourself.

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Pate » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:14 am

Metaread wrote:This thread and threads like this are scaring the shit out of me.

I'm not in as bad a situation as the OP is, but I'm right below median (anywhere from 52th to 55th percentile) at a T30 school. The employment graphs that have been breezing around the forum (NALP) do not look promising. I knew I was entering a bad economy but it's scary just how many unemployed people there are. My classmates are much more naive about getting employment, a lot of them think "the market will pick up in three years," that said, they all have better grades than me.

I'm not sure what I should do. I don't like studying law, but I don't dislike it either. I have the attention to detail the law requires, but I don't do very well sitting 4-5 hour exams and racing to get the most points. But because I interview well, I did get a prestigious internship this summer (not at a firm though).

So far it looks like most people who are below median in the T30 or below should just choose to drop out, even if they have moderate scholly money. This assumes that "most people" don't have strong connections that will virtually guarantee them a job after graduation, even if it's a terrible job. Thoughts?


While I hope I am wrong, it is possible that the results of this OCI will end in stunning disappointment for the masses and a sober evaluation will transpire. IMHO: The masses = T-14 the bottom 35%; Tier-1 below the top third and nearly everyone else below 15%.

Many of us already notice an increasing number of unemployed 2/3Ls wandering the halls. In the past there was a perception that these debt ridden unemployed hall-walkers were victims of bad grades and poor interviewing skills. Today the perception (by some) is that their grades were median-ish and that they have good interviewing skills, and what their dilemma really is. . . ITE.

I would like someone to respond and say that I am totally off-base. Especially someone at the bottom 20% continuing onward. . . I would love to hear your reasoning.

BTW: I am not sure what the real definition of T-14 is since they are broken up into so many cells, HYS, T-6, #7s.

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akili
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby akili » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:57 am

A'nold wrote:I am all for optimism but please know that the "well at least I can be a public defender or work for the government" days are over. These jobs are so competitive you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it for yourself.


I don't know if that was directed at me, but gov't/PI is not a backup for me.

And yes, I have a combination of scholarships/savings/parental generosity allowing me to avoid debt.

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Metaread » Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:21 am

What's ITE? And yeah, the market looks grim. I'm not sure how worried I should be just yet. I guess part of me really wishes this all works out, because I think being a lawyer would suit me, even if it's not my dream job.

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Pate
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Pate » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:45 pm

Metaread wrote:What's ITE?

In This Economy.

IMO: Half the class will not secure work, mainly because of grades. If you grade is (fill in what you believe is unacceptable to land on your feet) then why rack up more debt? Understandably, many students are trapped, if they drop out, they have nowhere to land, making it impossible to start paying their existing debt. It is a heck of a trick-box to be in.

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby attractive_NUisance » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:57 pm

Just get deferment/forbearance on the loans. You can do it after dropping out the same way you can if you graduate with no job.

http://www.direct.ed.gov/postpone.html

It won't be that bad you don't have to pay anything until you get a job. It is way better dropping out with one-third of the debt than graduating with pretty poor prospects and much more debt. You'll also have additional costs of bar prep ($1K-$4K), bar registration ($1K), living expenses ($6K?) while studying for the bar all of which would be covered by a firm if you get one of those jobs. If you are in the bottom 25% dropping out will be a lot better for you if you are taking on debt. There are so many other career paths out there and everyone knows how rough it is for law students who don't get jobs so people will understand. Better to cut your losses.

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Metaread » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:45 pm

So you guys are all saying that if I'm below median at T30 I should drop out, right? I interview well, and write well enough, but I don't think any firms will bite, except the crappy ones.

I hope my grades pick up for the 2L year, but I'm not crossing my fingers.

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby sunynp » Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:53 pm

Metaread wrote:So you guys are all saying that if I'm below median at T30 I should drop out, right? I interview well, and write well enough, but I don't think any firms will bite, except the crappy ones.

I hope my grades pick up for the 2L year, but I'm not crossing my fingers.


Yes, my opinion is drop out if you are paying sticker and are at the bottom of the class.

But I don't know anything about you, so don't just listen to me. You have to do your own research. Look at the job data from your school. Look at the threads on this forum. Figure out how likely you are to get a job to repay your debt in the markets where you have ties.

Read all of the articles out there that talk about the current state of legal hiring.

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kwais
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby kwais » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:16 pm

I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I have seen the same numbers you guys have and agree that there are many reasons for someone to drop in certain situations. However, sometimes life is about managing regret. If someone has always wanted to be a lawyer and they want to invest in that goal, that doesn't make them an idiot. If they feel that they would regret quitting more than they will regret a hefty loan bill each month, they should stay. Most people who quit law school will not waltz into some better gig. Who is TLS to tell someone to quit halfway through their graduate degree and go find some boring job with a ceiling of 50k? Maybe their law career will have that same ceiling but they will feel better about it. Who knows?
I have met a lot of people (not necessarily at my school) for whom getting a law degree is about proving something to themselves and I think that's perfectly reasonable, even at a low-ranked school. People spend money on much dumber things, like 20k in improvements on their honda civic, or 15k in video games over a decade. Who cares?

end of rant, back to more statistical approaches to life

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby sunynp » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:51 pm

kwais wrote:I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I have seen the same numbers you guys have and agree that there are many reasons for someone to drop in certain situations. However, sometimes life is about managing regret. If someone has always wanted to be a lawyer and they want to invest in that goal, that doesn't make them an idiot. If they feel that they would regret quitting more than they will regret a hefty loan bill each month, they should stay. Most people who quit law school will not waltz into some better gig. Who is TLS to tell someone to quit halfway through their graduate degree and go find some boring job with a ceiling of 50k? Maybe their law career will have that same ceiling but they will feel better about it. Who knows?
I have met a lot of people (not necessarily at my school) for whom getting a law degree is about proving something to themselves and I think that's perfectly reasonable, even at a low-ranked school. People spend money on much dumber things, like 20k in improvements on their honda civic, or 15k in video games over a decade. Who cares?

end of rant, back to more statistical approaches to life


I don't think anyone here is an idiot. I would never say that. I think that people who are certain they want to practice law and would regret it all their lives if they dropped out, don't post here asking for advice.

But if people are realistically worried about their future, then they should consider their options, including dropping out.

Grades aren't everything, but they play a huge role in even getting in the door at firms. If you don't have the grades, you know that you are going to be fighting an uphill battle to get a job. Only the individual knows how much they are willing to hustle, how much disappointment they can take, or how much they can work connections to get a job.

Debt over six figures seems to be crushing for most of the people who have to cope with it. I think there is a big difference between spending $20,000 on a car and going $150,000 in debt for an education that may not lead you to a job to service that debt.

But, again, that is an individual question. Some people are investing less financially, or have families supporting them, so who knows what the situation is for each person. They can only know that for themselves.

My personal opinion is that more people should drop out. When I see the numbers of unemployed and underemployed people, even from T14 schools as shown in Rayiner's graphs, I definitely feel that some (a significant number even) of those people should have dropped out.

That is just my opinion, though, these people may be fine with their situation. They may be fine with IBR for 20 years. (not sarcastic here, some people plan from day one to use IBR if they need to do so)

At the end of the day, each person has to make their own choice of what is right for them.

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kwais
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby kwais » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:00 pm

sunynp wrote:
kwais wrote:I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I have seen the same numbers you guys have and agree that there are many reasons for someone to drop in certain situations. However, sometimes life is about managing regret. If someone has always wanted to be a lawyer and they want to invest in that goal, that doesn't make them an idiot. If they feel that they would regret quitting more than they will regret a hefty loan bill each month, they should stay. Most people who quit law school will not waltz into some better gig. Who is TLS to tell someone to quit halfway through their graduate degree and go find some boring job with a ceiling of 50k? Maybe their law career will have that same ceiling but they will feel better about it. Who knows?
I have met a lot of people (not necessarily at my school) for whom getting a law degree is about proving something to themselves and I think that's perfectly reasonable, even at a low-ranked school. People spend money on much dumber things, like 20k in improvements on their honda civic, or 15k in video games over a decade. Who cares?

end of rant, back to more statistical approaches to life


I don't think anyone here is an idiot. I would never say that. I think that people who are certain they want to practice law and would regret it all their lives if they dropped out, don't post here asking for advice.

But if people are realistically worried about their future, then they should consider their options, including dropping out.

Grades aren't everything, but they play a huge role in even getting in the door at firms. If you don't have the grades, you know that you are going to be fighting an uphill battle to get a job. Only the individual knows how much they are willing to hustle, how much disappointment they can take, or how much they can work connections to get a job.

Debt over six figures seems to be crushing for most of the people who have to cope with it. I think there is a big difference between spending $20,000 on a car and going $150,000 in debt for an education that may not lead you to a job to service that debt.

But, again, that is an individual question. Some people are investing less financially, or have families supporting them, so who knows what the situation is for each person. They can only know that for themselves.

My personal opinion is that more people should drop out. When I see the numbers of unemployed and underemployed people, even from T14 schools as shown in Rayiner's graphs, I definitely feel that some of those people should have dropped out.

That is just my opinion, though, these people may be fine with their situation. They may be fine with IBR for 20 years. (not sarcastic here, some people plan from day one to use IBR if they need to do so)

At the end of the day, each person has to make their own choice of what is right for them.


totally agree. And certainly many people here seem to already be on the fence and are seeking help with their decision. Occasionally though I see people who seem to be arriving at the question purely based on TLS wisdom. I sometimes worry for those people that they have forgotten how to think for themselves.

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Pate
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Pate » Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:50 pm

For those at the bottom 20% or bottom third at a T-14, is it your T-14 status that is keeping you going? Are you hanging all your hopes on OCI? If OCI doesn’t come through, what is your Plan B?

I suppose the same question, although figuring in less-status, could be asked for those whose school is a Tier 1.

For everyone else, at or near the bottom (or even at median) at a T II/III school, what is driving you to stay? Is it being hit with immediate debt repayment or something else?

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby timbs4339 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:11 pm

It really depends on what other options you have.

IMO, anyone who is bottom 20% at a T14 should be conducting a non-law permanent job search concurrent with their summer 1L internship. Many people at a T14 are the types of people (elite UG, high grades there, maybe a few years of well-paying or prestigious WE) who will have other options.

For some people, though, law school may be the only way to reasonably break into a middle-class, white-collar job out of college.

Some people just want to be a lawyer very badly. Okay. But most people who go to law school want to be a lawyer, but also value having a comfortable career.

Debt is also a factor. Luckily the T14 do not have grade stipulations (yet!). A T14 education for half-price + two more years of avoiding the real world might be worth it to some.

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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby LazinessPerSe » Fri Jun 29, 2012 2:36 pm

kwais wrote:If someone has always wanted to be a lawyer and they want to invest in that goal, that doesn't make them an idiot. If they feel that they would regret quitting more than they will regret a hefty loan bill each month, they should stay.


Anyone who is this driven to the field of law should have an extra incentive to have done well in law school, knowing the employment figures ITE and importance of grades to get into the door. Why make their own path harder by doing poorly?

A secondary argument is that anyone so singularly focused on law should be striving to be the best at law. I realize that law school /=/ practice, but it's a necessary hurdle on the way. Not everyone can be top of their class, but people this focused on a law profession should put in the work/time/effort to be at least above median. Be an informed consumer (which is sort of implied by the focus on wanting to be a lawyer), get LEEWS/GTM/E&Es, talk to professors about how they want to see exams written, take practice tests. Barring someone who is shitpureshit at legal analysis or chokes under the exam pressure, I would imagine this + invested time to study puts you at least above median. Maybe this doesn't equate so nicely at HYS, but I wouldn't imagine those kids are as worried about grades as the rest of us because of dat preftige.

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kwais
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby kwais » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:24 pm

LazinessPerSe wrote:
kwais wrote:If someone has always wanted to be a lawyer and they want to invest in that goal, that doesn't make them an idiot. If they feel that they would regret quitting more than they will regret a hefty loan bill each month, they should stay.


Anyone who is this driven to the field of law should have an extra incentive to have done well in law school, knowing the employment figures ITE and importance of grades to get into the door. Why make their own path harder by doing poorly?

A secondary argument is that anyone so singularly focused on law should be striving to be the best at law. I realize that law school /=/ practice, but it's a necessary hurdle on the way. Not everyone can be top of their class, but people this focused on a law profession should put in the work/time/effort to be at least above median. Be an informed consumer (which is sort of implied by the focus on wanting to be a lawyer), get LEEWS/GTM/E&Es, talk to professors about how they want to see exams written, take practice tests. Barring someone who is shitpureshit at legal analysis or chokes under the exam pressure, I would imagine this + invested time to study puts you at least above median. Maybe this doesn't equate so nicely at HYS, but I wouldn't imagine those kids are as worried about grades as the rest of us because of dat preftige.


for someone who is so impressive at legal analysis, your two "arguments" are the same.
They both ignore the realities of a forced curve.
Listen, I agree that approach you cited is the way to go, but my point is simply that outside of TLS land, there are a lot of reasonable people who think that dropping out of your graduate program after one year of mediocre grades, if you want to be there, is ridiculous. And my "secondary" point is that if you chalk all of that up to people being idiots who don't know about the market, then you have officially lost touch with the outside world.

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Pate
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Re: Bottom 20% ― What Now??

Postby Pate » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:26 pm

LazinessPerSe wrote:Not everyone can be top of their class, but people this focused on a law profession should put in the work/time/effort to be at least above median.

There are professors currently at prestigious law schools who failed to score median as 1L, even though they were first in the library and last to leave. Then they figured out a way to improve their score and wrote a book about it (it is possible you bought one of them). Point ― back in their day a median at an Ivy/elite did not hinder your employment chances. Flash forward to ITE and median places you on the bubble, even at a T14. Why law schools do not have a double digit drop-out rate is beyond me. Hope against all odds must be perpetual I guess.




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