contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

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iswis
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contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby iswis » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:19 pm

I am at a school ranked between 26-50. My 1L grades are about 5 spots below median, I think its about 55%. I took out 35k last year in loans and will have to take out another 80k to finish. I do not particularly want to drop out, yes I want to be an attorney, but I can't handle all of the anxiety about whether I will be able to get a job that will allow me to pay off my debt. I have nightmares about being a slave to my law school debt for the rest of my life. I don't have any back-up plan and will be unemployed after my summer job is up, which luckily pays a little something and will allow me to save up a few thousand bucks (work-study). I feel like dropping out is the smartest decision I can make at this point, it’s just really hard to come to terms with it because I really don't want to do it. I am just looking for advice and wanted to hear opinions from people other than my family. My family thinks I am crazy for wanting to drop out and it hurts me to disappoint them so much, but they just don't understand the reality of it all. Thanks for your help.

abc12345675
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby abc12345675 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:25 pm

iswis wrote:I am at a school ranked between 26-50. My 1L grades are about 5 spots below median, I think its about 55%. I took out 35k last year in loans and will have to take out another 80k to finish. I do not particularly want to drop out, yes I want to be an attorney, but I can't handle all of the anxiety about whether I will be able to get a job that will allow me to pay off my debt. I have nightmares about being a slave to my law school debt for the rest of my life. I don't have any back-up plan and will be unemployed after my summer job is up, which luckily pays a little something and will allow me to save up a few thousand bucks (work-study). I feel like dropping out is the smartest decision I can make at this point, it’s just really hard to come to terms with it because I really don't want to do it. I am just looking for advice and wanted to hear opinions from people other than my family. My family thinks I am crazy for wanting to drop out and it hurts me to disappoint them so much, but they just don't understand the reality of it all. Thanks for your help.


What are your career options if you do drop out?

abc12345675
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby abc12345675 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:32 pm

iswis wrote:I am at a school ranked between 26-50. My 1L grades are about 5 spots below median, I think its about 55%. I took out 35k last year in loans and will have to take out another 80k to finish. I do not particularly want to drop out, yes I want to be an attorney, but I can't handle all of the anxiety about whether I will be able to get a job that will allow me to pay off my debt. I have nightmares about being a slave to my law school debt for the rest of my life. I don't have any back-up plan and will be unemployed after my summer job is up, which luckily pays a little something and will allow me to save up a few thousand bucks (work-study). I feel like dropping out is the smartest decision I can make at this point, it’s just really hard to come to terms with it because I really don't want to do it. I am just looking for advice and wanted to hear opinions from people other than my family. My family thinks I am crazy for wanting to drop out and it hurts me to disappoint them so much, but they just don't understand the reality of it all. Thanks for your help.


Also, is it more 26 or more 50? Could be a BIG difference. Also would help us give advice if you could give us the home market of your school.

attractive_NUisance
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby attractive_NUisance » Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:37 pm

Yeah it really depends on a sober assessment of what your chances are for a job in another field versus the opportunities you will have available to you in law upon graduation. Much better to be $20K in debt with any other field than law open to you than $100K in debt with only very poor options in law.

You should ignore your family since they most likely do not have as good a sense of the reality of law school and the legal job market as current law students or recent grads do. Try to make a logical choice based on hard-headed analysis, not an emotional choice based on guilt from your mom or dad.

If you are a good interviewer and your school has a lot of firms coming to campus you might want to stick around for your 2L Fall on campus interviewing. Take a look at your school's tuition refund policy and see if you would be able to get a refund of most of the costs of your 2L Fall if you interview with firms in the late summer/early fall and then drop out if you don't have a job offer by October. Most 2Ls who will get summer associate jobs will know (or have a very good sense of it) by early October or even earlier. If you are getting lots of call back interviews and everyone wants to talk to you then you can stay in school and not drop out. However, if you are getting an icy reception, then dropping out probably makes more sense. Talk to alums or 3Ls from your school with similar grades to see how they are doing and what advice they have. Things are actually better for hiring at many law firms now versus prior years many firms are hiring twice as many summer associates for summer of 2012 as they did in 2009-2010 so you might have a better shot than you think you do.

You can also start interviewing and applying to alternate jobs now to test that market. If there is another career that you would be happy doing then you should probably check out those jobs. Its not too early to "mass mail" and apply to smaller and mid-sized law firms for 2L summer work too. If you get some responses now that is great, if not you probably wouldn't have gotten responses from them during 2L year anyway.

CanadianWolf
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:18 pm

Does your current law school offer part-time enrollment ?

Do you interview well ?

Any work experience ?

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TTTehehe
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby TTTehehe » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:26 pm

Really hard to help you out without a better indicator of your program's reach. For instance, if you go to a T26-50 (as you say) that is the #1 school in your state, then it may be worth it to stick it out. However, if it's a school with two T14s in your backyard plus assorted TTTTs (California), then that changes the decision matrix.

iswis
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby iswis » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:41 pm

Thanks for the responses. I don’t really have any career options if I drop out, that’s why it seems like such an irrational decision to my parents. Its not like I have a job waiting for me if I drop out, I will likely end up waiting tables or something while I try to figure out a different career path. I go to school in Arizona, so now you know I am at one of two schools that are ranked 26-50, I hope that helps enough.

blsingindisguise
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby blsingindisguise » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:47 pm

Is there anything you can do to lower your COA? Move to a cheaper place? Move home? Pick up some part-time work? Are there scholarships you can apply for?

Also, can you make some kind of contingency plan if you can't find work out of school? Can you move home while you look for a job? I've seen a lot of people from C/O 2011 who graduated unemployed finally find work 9mos or a year out of school, although in some cases it's low payed. If you really, really want to be an attorney and can stick it out, there's a good chance you'll get there eventually. But see what you can do to lower your debt.

iswis
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby iswis » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:50 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Does your current law school offer part-time enrollment ?

Do you interview well ?

Any work experience ?


No part-time enrollment.

I am not sure if I interview well, I did get this summer job over several people with higher grades, but that may be due to the fact that it is a public interest job and my resume shows a strong commitment to PI work. I have work experience in the non-profit sector; I worked a great deal with at-risk youth. I am not exactly sure what type of law I want to practice. I have an interest in criminal law, but at the same time I really enjoyed courses like Torts and Contracts which were two of my best grades and I would like to get some experience in these areas as well.

abc12345675
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby abc12345675 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:12 pm

So you go to ASU or U of A? Just stick it out. You're more or less at median. I bet you'll find something that's better than waiting tables if you just hustle and stick it out. Even a 15% improvement in rank next year could help you.

I'd stay.

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TTTehehe
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby TTTehehe » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:14 pm

abc12345675 wrote:So you go to ASU or U of A? Just stick it out. You're more or less at median. I bet you'll find something that's better than waiting tables if you just hustle and stick it out. Even a 15% improvement in rank next year could help you.

I'd stay.


+1

CanadianWolf
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby CanadianWolf » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:16 pm

Since you have work experience & demonstrated interest in public interest, you should consider staying & taking advantage of the PI repayment plan options.

employment_numbers
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby employment_numbers » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:22 pm

iswis wrote:I can't handle all of the anxiety about whether I will be able to get a job that will allow me to pay off my debt.


If you can't handle the anxiety, then I'd leave. Nothing is worth sacrificing your sanity. That said, if what you said is hyperbole, consider staying.

In the recent employment stats ABA released, 54% of UA grads got full-time, bar-required positions (not counting funded positions or people who ended up in <10 person firms). The number was 44% at ASU. So you are right on the knife edge. If you stay, start networking your ass off, and I bet you'll get a job.

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2014
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby 2014 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:50 pm

LST says 68% and 73% are FT employed from ASU and UA respectively and as someone who is ~median, from the state (the amount of debt you are taking out suggests so at least), and can interview well enough to get what seems like a somewhat competitive summer job makes me think that you are in pretty good shape to get something out of LS.

You will be making ~45k though and taking advantage of IBR for the forseeable future so consider whether that is something you want to do. I would stick it out in your position and do whatever I could to minimize debt and gun for something that qualifies for PI loan forgiveness.

iswis
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby iswis » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:42 pm

Thanks for all of the feedback. I have to be honest, I am surprised (and pleased) with all of the encouragement to stay. Being below median with likely around 120k in debt at graduation, I thought most people would advise me to drop out.

shock259
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby shock259 » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:54 pm

This is a toss up. If you posted it because you want to drop out and wanted affirmation that you should drop out, then just drop out. If you really want to be an attorney, stay. If you don't know what you want, then flip a coin about it. Say heads is stay and tails is drop out. When the coin is in the air, think about which one you want it to land on. That's your decision.

r6_philly
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby r6_philly » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:18 pm

shock259 wrote:This is a toss up. If you posted it because you want to drop out and wanted affirmation that you should drop out, then just drop out. If you really want to be an attorney, stay. If you don't know what you want, then flip a coin about it. Say heads is stay and tails is drop out. When the coin is in the air, think about which one you want it to land on. That's your decision.


I got a better one. Just call head and tails. After it lands, do you want to flip it again? If so then choose the other side.

But seriously, you will be doing soul searching about whether you should have finished if you drop out. Why? Because you don't have any good options. You are afraid of making the wrong decision no matter which way you choose. The best way to look at it is to admit that you are in a bad spot, and there is no good decisions. Don't feel like dropping out is the right thing to do, or staying is the right thing to do. Think, with a clear mind, that whether you liked law school and being a lawyer (from what you have seen this summer). If you think that it would be great to be a lawyer, like you see, then stay and try to make it work. If you are not feeling it, then drop out, then start looking at other ways to make a living, and do what's necessary.

As of right now, there is only one career option open to you - being a lawyer. If you still like it, then work with what you have been dealt. If you don't, then you need a new option. I don't think dropping out/staying put is the decision. Whether you want this career is.

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Jordan77
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby Jordan77 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:17 pm

Personally, based on what you are saying I would tell you to stick it out for the following reasons:

(1) You said you want to be an attorney and are interested in the practice of law.

(2) You said you don't have any other career options lined up. This would be a lot harder if you had a semi-decent fall back profession/career (e.g., accounting, investments, engineering, etc.).

(3) You are around median after 1L... there is room for tremendous improvement. If you work hard and are determined, you have the opportunity to move up significantly. Even at median, that isn't bad.

(4) ASU and U of A have a strong presence in Arizona, so as long as you are willing to stay in Arizona, you will most likely find full time employment with better payment options that your stated alternative (waiting tables).

(5) Once you get the first job, it is a lot easier from there. Go look at any firms website... unless the people have latin honors (i.e., summa, magna, and cum laude) or law review, you have no idea if they graduated just outside of latin honors, or bottom of the barrel. Once you get that first job, it is all about whether you do good work and what experience you have.

I know the idea of that much debt is extremely scary, but at around median at a decent school with a strong Arizona presence, I personally think you should stick it out. Anyways, best of luck to you.

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Lawquacious
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:02 pm

employment_numbers wrote:54% of UA grads got full-time, bar-required positions (not counting funded positions or people who ended up in <10 person firms). The number was 44% at ASU.



Wrong with your stats as far as I can tell.

For 2011 it was 75% full-time employed (requiring bar) U of A, and 68% at ASU according to the ABA site. Maybe you just got the math wrong.

I would think maybe you were looking at a different year, but the 2010 report on ABA site doesn't have the same full-time bar required data, and it would be out-of-date anyway in light of the available 2011 info. Also, I suspect 2011 grads had it at least as rough as 2010 grads in getting a job (or that the numbers would be very close in any case).

iswis
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby iswis » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:00 pm

Thanks for all of the feedback. I am still not 100% sure what I am going to do, but I am leaning towards staying. Thanks again for the input, it is much appreciated.

opX
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby opX » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:08 pm

Im broke too, so I get what your going thru.

IMO, believe in yourself and stay. I get that its a lot of pressure, but you can do it. You can absolutely carve out a good career for yourself, dont give up.

if you had an alternative lucrative career, I would understand. To me, you are all in! Dont be stressed by that, use that as a way to feel liberated. You are near median at a respectable school. Keep going!

HOPEFORCHANGE
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby HOPEFORCHANGE » Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:57 pm

Ever consider IBR aka Income-Based Repayment for your loans? Also, contrary to popular belief, it is NOT limited to those who make $75K or less. Anyway, IBR might alleviate some of the nightmares about being a slave, etc.

bloobook
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.

Postby bloobook » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:01 pm

.
Last edited by bloobook on Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby rad lulz » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:15 pm

bloobook wrote:^ Yes!

If you earn very little, your payments could potentially be 0$ per month - meaning, 0$ COUNTS TOWARD A PAYMENT.

Then your interest will continue to accrue because you are paying nothing or close to nothing and you will likely owe taxes on the amount forgiven after 25 years.

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Flash
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Re: contemplating dropping out - what do you think?

Postby Flash » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:32 pm

rad lulz wrote:
bloobook wrote:^ Yes!

If you earn very little, your payments could potentially be 0$ per month - meaning, 0$ COUNTS TOWARD A PAYMENT.

Then your interest will continue to accrue because you are paying nothing or close to nothing and you will likely owe taxes on the amount forgiven after 25 years.

Yes but that's future him's problem.




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