Quitting Law School.

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jhkim0319
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Quitting Law School.

Postby jhkim0319 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:22 am

I am seriously considering dropping out of a T-20 law school after poor first semester grades as a 1L (B+, B, B, B-, C+).

The poor grades come from many different factors, particularly psychiatric and health issues that became worse throughout the semester.

To put it simply, I am unhappy in law school and I don't think I will be happy practicing law (from what I've experienced so far). Acknowledging that coming into law school was a bad decision for me, I am seriously considering dropping out of law school.

However, it worries me because I haven't set up a clear career plan other than law at this point. My major was in political science/international relations, and even though I still enjoy studying the subjects, there are not many jobs in the field in my state (CA).

Putting aside everything else, would those grades hurt my chances of finding any legal career so that it will be difficult to pay off the 35K that I am taking out each year?

mr.hands
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby mr.hands » Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:39 am

First, you need to look into your school's reimbusement policy. I assume that you can't get your money back at this point because classes are about to start. (If that's the case, you don't need to make any moves until you see how second semester grades come out. In some ways, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. 1L Grades are 90% of the battle and by the end of the year, you should know where you stand and what your chances are of getting a job. Since you'll have an entire year's worth of grades, you won't wonder "what if?")

If you don't like the law, it's not a good idea to taking out 100k (before interest) and apply for jobs with a sub-3.0 GPA at a T20. Don't get a degree just because you can't think of another career. I'd look into options for taking leave next year. Then re-evaluate.

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sd5289
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby sd5289 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:21 am

jhkim0319 wrote:However, it worries me because I haven't set up a clear career plan other than law at this point. My major was in political science/international relations, and even though I still enjoy studying the subjects, there are not many jobs in the field in my state (CA).


This is not a good reason to stay.

I remember someone exactly like you from my 1L year, who did drop out after her first semester went poorly. She was also miserable, hated law school, and felt like she made a mistake in enrolling. It sucked for her to drop out and kind of flounder in the months following that, but I know she ended 2013 on a good note and is about to start a fairly high-paying entry job in the medical field.

So, it will suck in the beginning but it can work out. There's a significant difference between the 1Ls who didn't do as well as they wanted to and/or poorly their first semester and improve second semester (quite a few people go through that actually) versus the 1Ls who hate law school, did poorly, and are truly unhappy. The latter group should seriously consider dropping out before they rack up any more debt.

Putting aside everything else, would those grades hurt my chances of finding any legal career so that it will be difficult to pay off the 35K that I am taking out each year?


Yes. This is also short-sighted. Unless you have devised a way to prevent these same issues from recurring, you're more than likely going to continue to post poor grades, which will kill your ability to get a job.

First, you need to look into your school's reimbusement policy. I assume that you can't get your money back at this point because classes are about to start. (If that's the case, you don't need to make any moves until you see how second semester grades come out. In some ways, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.


Also, I'm 90% sure that this isn't correct. Most schools that I looked at when I was a 0L offer a tiered system for refunding tuition (though some tiers end more quickly than others). Even if you can't get 100% back right now, you should still be able to get a signifiant portion back.

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Hufflepuffer
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Hufflepuffer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:56 pm

What about taking a leave of absence, seeing what happens, and deciding later whether you want to go back or not?

Or is a leave of absence like the scarlet letter of noncommittal for hiring partners?

I'm in a similar position as you, though I haven't seen my grades yet. Pretty ambivalent about the whole law school thing, especially about spending 2 more yrs of my life here (more important than money, IMO).

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:02 pm

I would keep in mind that a JD is good for more than practicing law. Harvey Levin (TMZ guy) practiced some law but also went into entertainment and found great success independent of practicing law. His story is not representative of one's success, but it does serve as one example of how a JD might still be useful without practicing law (or practicing law for a lifetime).

Still, there are many factors with the above scenario that you must weigh yourself by applying the specifics of your own situation.

BigZuck
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby BigZuck » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:11 pm

If you hate law school, don't really want to become a lawyer, have grades that will make it difficult to get a good paying job, and will end up more than 100K in debt, I say yeah, just cut bait now. No shame in that at all, that would be a wise and admirable thing to do. Might as well move on to better things for you rather than make the situation much, much worse.

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sd5289
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby sd5289 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:51 pm

Graham42 wrote:I would keep in mind that a JD is good for more than practicing law.


Unless you're getting your education for free (as in, you're on a full scholly and your COL is not covered by loans), this isn't a good reason to stay in law school either. If you want to do "other things" than practice law, there's no reason you need a JD to do that.

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thesealocust
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:08 pm

Good hustle. No shame. Dropping out now will be the best thing you can do for the future.

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:11 pm

sd5289 wrote:
Graham42 wrote:I would keep in mind that a JD is good for more than practicing law.


Unless you're getting your education for free (as in, you're on a full scholly and your COL is not covered by loans), this isn't a good reason to stay in law school either. If you want to do "other things" than practice law, there's no reason you need a JD to do that.

A JD might not be necessary, but it can certainly propel one farther by virtue of having it in some cases. It's not a good blanket reason to stay in law school, but it may be a good reason to stay in law school depending on one's situation.

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thesealocust
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby thesealocust » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:11 pm

Graham42 wrote:I would keep in mind that a JD is good for more than practicing law. Harvey Levin (TMZ guy) practiced some law but also went into entertainment and found great success independent of practicing law. His story is not representative of one's success, but it does serve as one example of how a JD might still be useful without practicing law (or practicing law for a lifetime).

Still, there are many factors with the above scenario that you must weigh yourself by applying the specifics of your own situation.


No no no no no no no no.

Successful people with JDs often do a lot of things outside of the practice of law, sometimes without even first practicing law. That's true.

THAT DOES NOT MAKE THE JD INDEPENDENTLY VALUABLE. The ONLY intrinsic value to a JD is the law license and ability to hang a shingle or interview for JD-required/preferred jobs.

"You can do anything with a law degree" is utter bullshit constantly repeated by people who either don't know any better or have an incentive to keep their head in the sand. Many people find the JD is an albatross around the neck because in the real world the only people viewing the JD as a materially beneficial credential are people who need, or need to hire, lawyers.

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:20 pm

thesealocust wrote:
Graham42 wrote:I would keep in mind that a JD is good for more than practicing law. Harvey Levin (TMZ guy) practiced some law but also went into entertainment and found great success independent of practicing law. His story is not representative of one's success, but it does serve as one example of how a JD might still be useful without practicing law (or practicing law for a lifetime).

Still, there are many factors with the above scenario that you must weigh yourself by applying the specifics of your own situation.


No no no no no no no no.

Successful people with JDs often do a lot of things outside of the practice of law, sometimes without even first practicing law. That's true.

THAT DOES NOT MAKE THE JD INDEPENDENTLY VALUABLE. The ONLY intrinsic value to a JD is the law license and ability to hang a shingle or interview for JD-required/preferred jobs.

"You can do anything with a law degree" is utter bullshit constantly repeated by people who either don't know any better or have an incentive to keep their head in the sand. Many people find the JD is an albatross around the neck because in the real world the only people viewing the JD as a materially beneficial credential are people who need, or need to hire, lawyers.

I never said that a JD is independently valuable. My reply has been misinterpreted (twice now), so let me put it in plainer language:

A JD is good for more than practicing law. This does not mean a JD is good for everything more than practicing law. It is not wise to disregard your situation's specifics in choosing whether to get a JD. Yet, your situation may lead you to continue pursuit of a JD without intending to practice law. Do not get a JD hoping it will help you. Know that now, and if it will help you (and help you greater than the cost of getting a JD) get one. If it won't help or won't overcome that cost, then you probably shouldn't.

NYstate
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby NYstate » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:24 pm

Graham42 wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Graham42 wrote:I would keep in mind that a JD is good for more than practicing law. Harvey Levin (TMZ guy) practiced some law but also went into entertainment and found great success independent of practicing law. His story is not representative of one's success, but it does serve as one example of how a JD might still be useful without practicing law (or practicing law for a lifetime).

Still, there are many factors with the above scenario that you must weigh yourself by applying the specifics of your own situation.


No no no no no no no no.

Successful people with JDs often do a lot of things outside of the practice of law, sometimes without even first practicing law. That's true.

THAT DOES NOT MAKE THE JD INDEPENDENTLY VALUABLE. The ONLY intrinsic value to a JD is the law license and ability to hang a shingle or interview for JD-required/preferred jobs.

"You can do anything with a law degree" is utter bullshit constantly repeated by people who either don't know any better or have an incentive to keep their head in the sand. Many people find the JD is an albatross around the neck because in the real world the only people viewing the JD as a materially beneficial credential are people who need, or need to hire, lawyers.

I never said that a JD is independently valuable. My reply has been misinterpreted (twice now), so let me put it in plainer language:

A JD is good for more than practicing law. This does not mean a JD is good for everything more than practicing law. It is not wise to disregard your situation's specifics in choosing whether to get a JD. Yet, your situation may lead you to continue pursuit of a JD without intending to practice law. Do not get a JD hoping it will help you. Know that now, and if it will help you (and help you greater than the cost of getting a JD) get one. If it won't help or won't overcome that cost, then you probably shouldn't.


Like what? What else is a JD good for?

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:30 pm

NYstate wrote:
Graham42 wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
Graham42 wrote:I would keep in mind that a JD is good for more than practicing law. Harvey Levin (TMZ guy) practiced some law but also went into entertainment and found great success independent of practicing law. His story is not representative of one's success, but it does serve as one example of how a JD might still be useful without practicing law (or practicing law for a lifetime).

Still, there are many factors with the above scenario that you must weigh yourself by applying the specifics of your own situation.


No no no no no no no no.

Successful people with JDs often do a lot of things outside of the practice of law, sometimes without even first practicing law. That's true.

THAT DOES NOT MAKE THE JD INDEPENDENTLY VALUABLE. The ONLY intrinsic value to a JD is the law license and ability to hang a shingle or interview for JD-required/preferred jobs.

"You can do anything with a law degree" is utter bullshit constantly repeated by people who either don't know any better or have an incentive to keep their head in the sand. Many people find the JD is an albatross around the neck because in the real world the only people viewing the JD as a materially beneficial credential are people who need, or need to hire, lawyers.

I never said that a JD is independently valuable. My reply has been misinterpreted (twice now), so let me put it in plainer language:

A JD is good for more than practicing law. This does not mean a JD is good for everything more than practicing law. It is not wise to disregard your situation's specifics in choosing whether to get a JD. Yet, your situation may lead you to continue pursuit of a JD without intending to practice law. Do not get a JD hoping it will help you. Know that now, and if it will help you (and help you greater than the cost of getting a JD) get one. If it won't help or won't overcome that cost, then you probably shouldn't.


Like what? What else is a JD good for?

Academia, but I'm not going to write a list. The point is that the question you just asked me is the question one must ask him/herself when pondering this subject, weigh the costs, and make a decision.

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nothingtosee
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby nothingtosee » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:35 pm

Graham42 wrote:Academia, but I'm not going to write a list. The point is that the question you just asked me is the question one must ask him/herself when pondering this subject, weigh the costs, and make a decision.


Academia? So after you get your JD, you're gonna hit up another 7 year credential and then...you will have one credential required for academia and one credential that will allow you to teach in a high school if you go through an alternate certification route...just like the people who graduated with no JD!

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:38 pm

nothingtosee wrote:
Graham42 wrote:Academia, but I'm not going to write a list. The point is that the question you just asked me is the question one must ask him/herself when pondering this subject, weigh the costs, and make a decision.


Academia? So after you get your JD, you're gonna hit up another 7 year credential and then...you will have one credential required for academia and one credential that will allow you to teach in a high school if you go through an alternate certification route...just like the people who graduated with no JD!

So, do you mean to say that a JD is completely, utterly, and entirely invaluable in the pursuit of any career in academia?

pretzel
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby pretzel » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:40 pm

Graham42 wrote:Academia, but I'm not going to write a list. The point is that the question you just asked me is the question one must ask him/herself when pondering this subject, weigh the costs, and make a decision.



Color me curious what a 0L's list of what a JD is useful for would include (other than academia of course).

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Danger Zone
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:40 pm

Graham42 wrote:
nothingtosee wrote:
Graham42 wrote:Academia, but I'm not going to write a list. The point is that the question you just asked me is the question one must ask him/herself when pondering this subject, weigh the costs, and make a decision.


Academia? So after you get your JD, you're gonna hit up another 7 year credential and then...you will have one credential required for academia and one credential that will allow you to teach in a high school if you go through an alternate certification route...just like the people who graduated with no JD!

So, do you mean to say that a JD is completely, utterly, and entirely invaluable in the pursuit of any career in academia?

Unless your law degree is from HYS (but really Y), yes. It's fucking useless.

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sd5289
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby sd5289 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:41 pm

Graham42 wrote:So, do you mean to say that a JD is completely, utterly, and entirely invaluable in the pursuit of any career in academia?


Depends on what academia you're talking about. I suspect you mean law professor, and in that case, no. It's extremely hard to become a law professor, and I'd love to see an example of a recent law school grad who jumped into working as a law professor. It just isn't done. Add on top of that lower than median grades and a non-T-14, and I'd give this a snowball's chance in hell of actually happening. Actually, the odds are probably worse.

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:42 pm

pretzel wrote:
Graham42 wrote:Academia, but I'm not going to write a list. The point is that the question you just asked me is the question one must ask him/herself when pondering this subject, weigh the costs, and make a decision.



Color me curious what a 0L's list of what a JD is useful for would include (other than academia of course).

This is irrelevant. The point was that a JD is good for more than practicing law. If you admit that it academia is included (which it seems you just did) then no list is needed. I never said how big/small a list would be. I only said there exists a list. My job is not to enumerate it.

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:44 pm

Danger Zone wrote:
Graham42 wrote:
nothingtosee wrote:
Graham42 wrote:Academia, but I'm not going to write a list. The point is that the question you just asked me is the question one must ask him/herself when pondering this subject, weigh the costs, and make a decision.


Academia? So after you get your JD, you're gonna hit up another 7 year credential and then...you will have one credential required for academia and one credential that will allow you to teach in a high school if you go through an alternate certification route...just like the people who graduated with no JD!

So, do you mean to say that a JD is completely, utterly, and entirely invaluable in the pursuit of any career in academia?

Unless your law degree is from HYS (but really Y), yes. It's fucking useless.

1. Thanks for a straight answer, and 2. it seems you also believe a JD might be useful without practicing law, but with more conditions.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:45 pm

The condition being that you need to go to one of the top three law schools in the country to even have a prayer? That's a pretty huge condition, sir.

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:46 pm

Danger Zone wrote:The condition being that you need to go to one of the top three law schools in the country to even have a prayer? That's a pretty huge condition, sir.

But a condition, nevertheless.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:48 pm

And one that doesn't apply to the OP, who, by all reasonable accounts, should cut their losses and run for the hills.

Graham42
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Graham42 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:51 pm

Danger Zone wrote:And one that doesn't apply to the OP, who, by all reasonable accounts, should cut their losses and run for the hills.

We don't know if this applies to the OP or not. Chances are it doesn't, but we cannot be sure. All in all, I can agree that it may be in OP's best interest not to continue.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Quitting Law School.

Postby Danger Zone » Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:52 pm

Graham42 wrote:
Danger Zone wrote:And one that doesn't apply to the OP, who, by all reasonable accounts, should cut their losses and run for the hills.

We don't know if this applies to the OP or not. Chances are it doesn't, but we cannot be sure. All in all, I can agree that it may be in OP's best interest not to continue.

Are you being willfully dense? They say right in the fucking OP that they go to a T20. Since all law students are preftige whores, this actually means somewhere between 15 and 20, because if it were in the T14 they would have said that, and if it were HYS you best believe they would have said that.




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