Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

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ChiNYC26
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Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:19 am

Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

Postby ChiNYC26 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:16 am

Hello TLS,

New to the website, first post. I've been working in financial regulation for 4 years now, 3 with a regulator, 1 with a consultancy firm, and it has made me contemplate law school. Through my experience, I have developed an expertise in certain federal regulations and also have practical investigative experience working with federal attorneys on enforcement cases.

I'm looking for some advice or thoughts as I'm kind of struggling with the decision to follow through with the LSAT/application preparations. My biggest dilemma is opportunity cost aspect. Going to law school would completely wipe out my savings and I would forego 3 years of my current salary which is into the 6 figures. However, I'm currently bored out of my mind and my thought is that I'm limited to what I can do in this field without a law degree. I'm also thinking that I may be presented with more interesting work as an attorney.

Some other facts, I wasn't the most serious undergraduate student (3.05) and most likely will not score remarkably high on the LSAT (~160-165). Based on what I've read, despite my work experience, I'm basically disqualified from the T14. Is it worth going if I don't go T14? Will a JD leave me better off in the long run? What's the job market like for someone like me after I finish?

Any thoughts or insights are much appreciated.

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smaug_
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Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:06 pm

Re: Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

Postby smaug_ » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:22 am

ChiNYC26 wrote:Hello TLS,

New to the website, first post. I've been working in financial regulation for 4 years now, 3 with a regulator, 1 with a consultancy firm, and it has made me contemplate law school. Through my experience, I have developed an expertise in certain federal regulations and also have practical investigative experience working with federal attorneys on enforcement cases.

I'm looking for some advice or thoughts as I'm kind of struggling with the decision to follow through with the LSAT/application preparations. My biggest dilemma is opportunity cost aspect. Going to law school would completely wipe out my savings and I would forego 3 years of my current salary which is into the 6 figures. However, I'm currently bored out of my mind and my thought is that I'm limited to what I can do in this field without a law degree. I'm also thinking that I may be presented with more interesting work as an attorney.

Some other facts, I wasn't the most serious undergraduate student (3.05) and most likely will not score remarkably high on the LSAT (~160-165). Based on what I've read, despite my work experience, I'm basically disqualified from the T14. Is it worth going if I don't go T14? Will a JD leave me better off in the long run? What's the job market like for someone like me after I finish?

Any thoughts or insights are much appreciated.


No. Stay with your current job or contemplate something other than law. You don't know that you'd actually find (1) work as an attorney (2) work that pays well as an attorney (3) work that is interesting and pays well and an attorney.

Your GPA will cause you problems during law school admissions and you have real opportunity costs for attending law school. There might be a better job out there for you, but I doubt law is the right field for you to go into.

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Tiago Splitter
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Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:20 am

Re: Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:50 am

You can study hard for the LSAT and get a score good enough to get you into the T-14, but even with a 180 law school almost certainly won't be the smart financial decision. I think it would actually make more sense if you wanted to do something completely unrelated to what you do now, like be a public defender or something. If you go to law school to do SEC enforcement stuff your most likely and perhaps best case scenario is that you'll go to a firm for a few years and end up right back in the job you're currently in. Your worst case scenario is that you can't land a big firm job and you go back to what you were doing but with six figures in debt hanging over you.

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fundamentallybroken
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Re: Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

Postby fundamentallybroken » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:04 am

It's not a categorically bad decision, but one you are correct in approaching with caution.

I was in a somewhat similar situation - 4 years in state insurance regulation, after a number of years in the industry. I had reached the top of my career without a JD, and took the jump. Thankfully, I had great 1L grades, a solid number of connections, and landed a 1L SA at a mid-size local firm, then went back for 2L SA, and will start next August as a litigation associate, focusing on insurance compliance. I go to a somewhat regional TT, with a sizable scholarship. My results are not typical.

Best case scenario, a JD brings you to the next level of marketability in your career. You may start off making the same amount, but your potential to make more is far greater.

Worst case scenario, you end up in loads of debt, with no job, and can hopefully go back to your old path with 3 years' lost time, but there's no guarantee even of that.

ChiNYC26
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:19 am

Re: Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

Postby ChiNYC26 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:42 pm

Thanks a lot for the replies. I think I'm going to at least apply to see where I get in and continue to discuss with lawyers in the industry. The way I see it, there's no harm in taking the LSAT and applying. The real decision comes when I see where I am granted admission and how much it's going to cost.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:00 pm

ChiNYC26 wrote:Thanks a lot for the replies. I think I'm going to at least apply to see where I get in and continue to discuss with lawyers in the industry. The way I see it, there's no harm in taking the LSAT and applying. The real decision comes when I see where I am granted admission and how much it's going to cost.

This sounds like a good plan, but maintain your open mind. Law school might still be a bad decision even if you throw up a 175 on the LSAT. Be careful not to feel like you have to go just because you did well on the LSAT. Sounds easy now, but I assure you it won't be if that time comes. Good luck.

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Dogg
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Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:44 am

Re: Compliance Professional Contemplating Law School

Postby Dogg » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:12 pm

ChiNYC26 wrote:Thanks a lot for the replies. I think I'm going to at least apply to see where I get in and continue to discuss with lawyers in the industry. The way I see it, there's no harm in taking the LSAT and applying. The real decision comes when I see where I am granted admission and how much it's going to cost.

only go if you get full ride




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