Dropping out as a rising 3L

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adviceneeded
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Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby adviceneeded » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:07 pm

I'm about to be a 3L at a T40. Grades were terrible 1L year, bottom quarter. As I really want to become a lawyer, I decided to stick it out for another year to try to bring up my GPA. I did marginally better, but it didn't make a significant difference as I'm still stuck at the bottom.

Obviously if I could go back to 1L summer I would certainly leave, but my level of indebtedness now presents me with 2 terrible options. I have 25K UG debt to go along with 65K law school debt thus far for a total of 90K. My final year of school would cost 30-35K total.

If I drop out, I feel that I'm screwed at this point. I haven't worked for 2 years now (obviously) which leaves a huge gap in my resume. I have a Econ and Poli Sci BA from a decent but not great UG. I took a year off between UG and law school to take the LSAT and worked at a job that I wouldn't be able to make into a career. Basically, there's no way I could go into the workforce with my resume and find a job that would come even close to servicing my debt.

If I stick it out, I am also screwed. I'll need to hustle and get really lucky to even have a chance at a low-paying smaller firm, even if by some stroke of fortune I get excellent 3L grades. Plus, I'll take out even more money to raise my debt to 120K. Despite my performance, I enjoy law school very much and have made lifelong friends during my 2 years.

My situation is causing me an incredible amount of stress as I feel I don't have any option that wouldn't cripple my financial future. My parents are pushing hard for me to finish my last year, and while they are incredibly supportive and well-intentioned, they do not understand the dilemma facing a law student with high debt and poor grades. I would have to use the IBR repayment plan no matter which decision I make as I have little in the way of savings.

Should I drop out now facing repayment for most of my adult life with a BA of little value, or should I get my JD and work as hard as I possibly can to find legal employment? Help would be greatly appreciated.

mr.hands
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby mr.hands » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:15 pm

What school-ish do you go to, what is your GPA, what market are you looking for, and is LRAP an option?

sparty99
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby sparty99 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:31 pm

You are 12 months from being a lawyer. Get a job part-time for the school year so you can pay off your debt. Do not drop out. You are too close to the finish line. At this point, an advanced degree is better than NO DEGREE.

Yes, the legal market sucks. But with your advanced degree, you can apply to other jobs. You can be a teacher and get a slight pay raise. You can apply to government agencies. Employers will like the fact that you have an advanced degree. It might not be relevant, but they will say, "Oh, he has a law degree. He is smart."

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okinawa
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby okinawa » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:33 pm

If your debt is already to the point that you would not be able to make payments on any plan except IBR, and you don't have any good prospects for getting a full time job without the JD, I think you'd be better served to finish. If you had a career to fall back on, maybe that'd be different. At least if you stay enrolled you'll get a year to apply to legal jobs + six months grace period on your loans (of course, if you are unemployed your payments will be $0 under IBR).

Spend 3L not necessarily focused on classes but rather interning at smaller firms or places that could conceivably hire you after graduation. 3L can't change your grades very much anyway and at this point, you'll need to focus on places that don't really care. Take employment law, family law, maybe estate planning--areas where non-big firms will have need and you can sell yourself better. Work with professors who will be great references for you and who have a reputation for helping students with employment. Impress your supervisor at your internship.

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Nightrunner
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby Nightrunner » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:35 pm

sparty99 wrote:You are 12 months from being a lawyer. Get a job part-time for the school year so you can pay off your debt. Do not drop out. You are too close to the finish line. At this point, an advanced degree is better than NO DEGREE.

Yes, the legal market sucks. But with your advanced degree, you can apply to other jobs. You can be a teacher and get a slight pay raise. You can apply to government agencies. Employers will like the fact that you have an advanced degree. It might not be relevant, but they will say, "Oh, he has a law degree. He is smart."

I more or less agree. It is true that having a JD can be a hindrance when applying for non-legal jobs, but I'm not sure it is more of a hindrance than being that dude who was a year out and quit. Personally, I'd rather apply as the guy who passed the bar but couldn't find a job in a shit market than be the guy who wasted two years and tens of thousands of dollars (and who has to overcome a "quitter" label, fairly or otherwise). It isn't like you're a 1L, and it isn't like you have another option at the moment.

adviceneeded
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby adviceneeded » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:44 pm

mr.hands wrote:What school-ish do you go to, what is your GPA, what market are you looking for, and is LRAP an option?


I'm at a private T40 in the Southeast, and my school has a good reputation/alumni network within its state. I'd like to stay in-state, as my best (and likely only) prospects for any job would be here.

My school uses an unorthodox grading system, but my GPA is in the B- range after getting almost all Cs 1L year and a low B average this past year. LRAP is an option but my school's version wouldn't cover all that much. I'd still love to get into public interest though, as I would enjoy the work and could take advantage of the federal 10-year forgiveness program.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:49 pm

Dropping out at this point is insane. Even if you exit school (with the degree), its at least something you will always have (and may one day use). the difference in debt (90k v. 125k) is so small that this really shouldn't be a consideration at this point. Dropping out was something you should have done after 1L. Its way too late to do that now. March forward, get through the year (and work someplace during the school year) and then decide after law school what you want to do. If you like PI work, try to intern at a PD or Prosecutor's office this semester (or something similar). If some cash opens up in the budget; you may even land a job.

NYstate
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby NYstate » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:02 pm

You are going to be on IBR or PAYE no matter what. Forget about servicing your debt as a primary concern.

The question presented is whether your job prospects are worth another year of your life, and $35,000 more debt which you can't repay.

Do you have any experience, contacts, clinics, anything at all that might help you get a job? Do you want to practice law?

adviceneeded
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby adviceneeded » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:03 pm

Thanks everyone for your helpful responses. I am leaning toward staying since I'm so close and may be able to market my JD to other employers if I cannot find legal employment. I'm clearly not optimistic, but am still hopeful that something breaks my way in the future whether as a lawyer or otherwise.

adviceneeded
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby adviceneeded » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:08 pm

NYstate wrote:You are going to be on IBR or PAYE no matter what. Forget about servicing your debt as a primary concern.

The question presented is whether your job prospects are worth another year of your life, and $35,000 more debt which you can't repay.

Do you have any experience, contacts, clinics, anything at all that might help you get a job? Do you want to practice law?


I'm currently an RA for my family law professor and will be involved in child advocacy clinic in the fall, so I'm seriously considering family law.

And yes, I absolutely want to practice law if given the chance.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:18 pm

adviceneeded wrote:
NYstate wrote:You are going to be on IBR or PAYE no matter what. Forget about servicing your debt as a primary concern.

The question presented is whether your job prospects are worth another year of your life, and $35,000 more debt which you can't repay.

Do you have any experience, contacts, clinics, anything at all that might help you get a job? Do you want to practice law?


I'm currently an RA for my family law professor and will be involved in child advocacy clinic in the fall, so I'm seriously considering family law.

And yes, I absolutely want to practice law if given the chance.



Dude. You want to go into family law and you're thinking about dropping out because of grades? That makes zero sense. Family law firms don't care one bit about grades. They care about finding people "passionate about family law" translation: People that can put up with working in the most thankless and god-awful sector of the law. I'd rather gouge out my fucking eyes than handle a contested divorce and believe me - I'm not alone.

Grades are for real areas of law. Family law is - for the most part - the ultimate shitlaw. No one cares about your grades.

RodneyRuxin
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby RodneyRuxin » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:30 pm

don't drop out and enjoy shitlaw

/thread

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reasonable_man
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby reasonable_man » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:40 pm

Op. Seriously. This thread has to be a pitch for pity. You cannot possibly be so fucking dense to believe that grades have anything to do with getting a job in shitlaw. After 2 years of law school you really should have a better grasp on things. I mean seriously - did you see a lot of big-family-law firms that you couldn't apply to at OCI? Do you think that this guy (who is offering uncontested divorces for 99 bucks and a fucking ham sandwich) is only interviewing associates with cum laude grades from HLS?

Image


I take back my previous advice. Drop out now.

mr.hands
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby mr.hands » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:00 am

Don't drop out. If ish up, get the degree, and move on from there. You'd be crazy to drop out.

MSUlaw49
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby MSUlaw49 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 12:37 pm

I'm in the same situation but with a worse school. I have managed to get internships for prosecution offices (some paying) and am hoping that someone will want to hire me as a prosecutor

dudeman2014
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby dudeman2014 » Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:42 pm

MSUlaw49 wrote:I'm in the same situation but with a worse school. I have managed to get internships for prosecution offices (some paying) and am hoping that someone will want to hire me as a prosecutor



Wut skool?

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Young Marino
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby Young Marino » Thu Jul 25, 2013 5:51 pm

With your debt as high as it is, an extra $30k isn't that bad. I would just stick it out because at least having a JD will give a better shot at landing maybe a teaching job and if you hustle hard enough maybe you can get small firm gig

BFrankBYangC
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby BFrankBYangC » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:14 pm

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Last edited by BFrankBYangC on Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hutz_and_Goodman
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby Hutz_and_Goodman » Fri Jul 26, 2013 12:32 pm

OP, I agree with the above--your going to be better off finishing. I hope you find a legal job. If not, people are much more aware now of the legal job situation and a JD is more likely to be an asset for non-legal jobs (where previously a lot of people would few such an applicant as a flight risk). Also some JDs are more valuable for nonlegal jobs either because of the prestige of the school or the alumni network. It sounds like you may have some advantages in both categories.

conwaystern
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby conwaystern » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:03 pm

Have some fortitude and finish what you start.

Employers will throw your application in the garbage if they see that you're a quitter.

jocas99
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby jocas99 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:24 pm

You can't drop out now, that would be a dumb move. You will regret the decision, because at this point, you are 2 years out, with no job experience and will have to go back to minimum wage jobs.
There really is no point in you dropping out. Sure finding a job will be a pain, but finding a job from a non T-14 and a non top 20% in your class outside the top 14 was going to be a gamble to begin with.
My cousin graduated T3 school, bottom 30% and found a job, and is making around 80K in small law and he enjoys his job. While a friend of mine went to biglaw and hates it since he can't interact with clients. Finish up the year, get a job on the side clerking, join the PD office or the PRosecutor gets some real time experience and then take the bar where you want to practice.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby ManoftheHour » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:45 pm

sparty99 wrote:But with your advanced degree, you can apply to other jobs. You can be a teacher and get a slight pay raise.


This. My friend (who is a teacher) showed me a teaching pay chart for Laguna yesterday. You would definitely be able to get a pay raise just by having an advanced degree. Doesn't even matter in what.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Dropping out as a rising 3L

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Feb 05, 2014 12:38 am

OP, how are you faring now?




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