Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

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Miss Trial

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Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby Miss Trial » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:46 pm

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Last edited by Miss Trial on Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.

cavalier1138

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 9:59 pm

Well, why did you go to law school in the first place? At 40, you're mature enough to have seriously weighed this decision before making it. So what got you to apply?

dabigchina

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby dabigchina » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:27 pm

Also, I'm of the opinion that networking doesnt matter all that much. Don't sweat it if you don't find you connect with a bunch of KJDs or can't make it out to networking events.
Last edited by dabigchina on Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:40 pm

Re #1 and #2: Plenty of people hate LOTS of things about law school and go on to be good lawyers and enjoy practice - law school is notoriously NOTHING like practice.

Bluebooking and memorizing the FRCP have almost nothing to do with practice - depending what you do, you won't be citing a lot of cases (and if you are, you will get how to cite cases down very quickly, and never have to look at almost anything else in the bluebook). As for the FRCP, if you do civil litigation you will have to understand how they work, but in practice it's extremely different from just sitting down and memorizing them in law school. (Or you can just do criminal law or transactional law.) They're both things that are annoyingly different from anything else you've ever encountered, but once things click you're fine, and it's much easier for that to happen when you're using them in practice rather than just memorizing stuff in a vacuum.

But frankly the Bluebook and the FRCP aren't that big a part of the law school curriculum - if those are the only things you hate, you're in good shape. (Of course the FRCP is a *bigger* part, but lots and lots of people hate their civ pro course and never feel like they know what's going on.)

Re #3 and #4: Law school social events are great and it's good to get to know people in your class, but they're not required for networking. I was near your age when I started law school, I was married, and I commuted an hour to get to school, so I was never a big part of the law school social scene. You don't have to be. It will be fine.

(Though I want to ask - when you say you're so busy with "work and family," are you doing paid work on top of law school? Or do you mean your law school work?)

Personally, the best way for me to get to know people was through activities at the law school (law review, moot court, clinic) and internships/externships/jobs, most of which aren't going to happen during 1L. But if you plan for those things for the next couple of years, you can/will meet plenty of people in your class and in the legal community generally.

To echo cav, what kind of law do you want to do? That also affects what kind of networking you want to be doing.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:05 pm

I wouldn't sweat a lot of the stuff that's bothering you right now. 1L tends to mess with your mind and make you doubt yourself.

You don't need to attend social events to network. Just chat with people when you're at school (before and after classes, between classes, etc.). You'll be plenty fine that way. As Nony said, you'll also meet people as you take part in activities or join organizations during your LS career.

I'd advise dropping out if you just can't see yourself working in law. Otherwise, probably worth sticking it out. What are your ultimate goals? what do you want to do with your law degree?

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby BigZuck » Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:53 pm

You wrote a lot of words but never once said you wanted to be a lawyer

That says something, IMO

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby Clytemnestra3 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 12:23 am

I think you should definitely stay - even if you don't want to be a lawyer. If you are at a top school (i.e. top 14), you should be able to get a good paying legal job right after graduation. You can use that job to gain professional experience, support your family, and save up. In the meantime, you can use that breathing space to transition to a career you like more after two years (if you don't like law). Most lawyers end up leaving legal practice after a while and often end up in a decent paying job. But if you don't get some experience in the professional world now, it will be much, much harder to get a decent paying job at this point in your life.

Try to keep your eye on the ball. Your goal is to end up in a good paying job you enjoy. The fact that you don't enjoy your classes or your classmates isn't relevant. The best use of your 1L year is to do as well as you can in your classes (even if your school doesn't have grades it probably distinguishes students in some way) and to talk with career services about the best options in law for a single parent. Networking with your classmates isn't that important. Networking with potential employers is.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby Miss Trial » Sun Nov 13, 2016 1:17 am

Why did I want to go to law school?
- In addition to reasons like wanting to do policy work to make the world a better place, encountering the legal system in my own life (one time it was my own family law case, another time it was a deposition I had to give) perked my interest in the legal field. However, the biggest motivating factor was money. I was aware that snagging a high-salary job was a possibility for those graduating from top law schools, and as I've looked for a way out of the restaurant industry it seemed like a way to provide for my kids. I wanted a career where I could afford a huge house for them, and money to send them to college.

I said a lot of stuff but never mentioned why I wanted to be a lawyer:
- That is a good observation. I think I had hopes and dreams that lit the fire under my feet to switch careers and study hard for the LSAT, but reality has a way of putting a wet blanket onto your plans. I don't think it is likely I will end up doing exciting policy things in Washington D.C.

I do want to note that I have tremendous respect for my classmates, and really admire their hard work and dedication at such a young age. My complaint was that I don't get to see them more often!

Thank you for the responses and advice < 3

grades??

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby grades?? » Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:09 am

Miss Trial wrote:Why did I want to go to law school?
- In addition to reasons like wanting to do policy work to make the world a better place, encountering the legal system in my own life (one time it was my own family law case, another time it was a deposition I had to give) perked my interest in the legal field. However, the biggest motivating factor was money. I was aware that snagging a high-salary job was a possibility for those graduating from top law schools, and as I've looked for a way out of the restaurant industry it seemed like a way to provide for my kids. I wanted a career where I could afford a huge house for them, and money to send them to college.

I said a lot of stuff but never mentioned why I wanted to be a lawyer:
- That is a good observation. I think I had hopes and dreams that lit the fire under my feet to switch careers and study hard for the LSAT, but reality has a way of putting a wet blanket onto your plans. I don't think it is likely I will end up doing exciting policy things in Washington D.C.

I do want to note that I have tremendous respect for my classmates, and really admire their hard work and dedication at such a young age. My complaint was that I don't get to see them more often!

Thank you for the responses and advice < 3



Well there are a few problems here for you with this answer. 1- if you want to do policy, you don't need a law degree. Also, there likely wont be many policy opportunities for the perceivable future with the new administration anyway. 2- Even if you found a "policy job", the usual suspects are extremely hard positions to obtain like committee work on the hill. 3- you never really gave any interest in legal work outside of policy and money. It is fine for people not know what they want to do, but legal work is extremely tedious and the vast majority is technical reading and writing. 4- If you get a high paying job in big law, you are certainly not likely to be doing anything that is making the world a better place. 5- Objectively, it is harder to get a big law job as an older law student from what I understand. But even if you do get a big law job, the vast majority of people don't make it past a few years, so the motivating factor of making money in the best case anyway only works for a few years before you take a 50%+ pay cut when you are shuffled out of your big law firm job. So money is not a good justification either here.

Honestly considering your seeming lack of understanding of legal work generally and the fact of the kind of things you want to do (policy work) which doesn't really require a legal degree, I think dropping out is not a bad decision in this case.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby dabigchina » Sun Nov 13, 2016 2:21 am

With a 60% scholarship to a T10 school and no first semester grades, OP would be a fool to drop out.

If everybody who hated 1L dropped out of law school there wouldn't be very many lawyers.

ETA: just saw that OP also has almost free housing on campus. If she goes where I think she goes that by itself is worth 20-30k a year.

cavalier1138

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby cavalier1138 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 8:38 am

I'm on the fence on this one.

On the one hand, yes, hating 1L (or hating the entire law school experience) shouldn't be a gauge of whether someone will feel fulfilled working as a lawyer. On the other hand, it really doesn't sound like the OP wants (or ever wanted) to be a practicing lawyer, and that's a big problem. The question for me is whether she can stomach a 2.5 more years and at least a few years after school in a position that will pay off her debt. That's not an insignificant time investment for a field that the OP appears to have no real interest in.

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zot1

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby zot1 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:06 pm

BigZuck wrote:You wrote a lot of words but never once said you wanted to be a lawyer

That says something, IMO


It's weird how many people do go to law school who don't consider this.

OP, I think you should take a moment to explore what it means to be an attorney in the field you'd like to practice. From your response, it doesn't seem that you know more than hearing about biglaw salaries. That doesn't help you much if you're not interested in biglaw and can't network.

Free rent is nice, but I wouldn't engage in a career I don't want just for free rent.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby dabigchina » Sun Nov 13, 2016 6:24 pm

What exactly was your "long career" in the restaurant industry? Were you a chef? A line cook? A waitress?

Either way it sounds like you know for a fact you don't want to go back to that. Unless you have some other skill you aren't telling us you are looking at a long and painful retraining/retooling process anyway. 60% scholarship + free rent at a t14 is an objectively good outcome. Don't waste it because you don't like civ pro.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby anon3030 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:36 pm

I started law school in my early 30's and also left a pretty decent career. I was also interested in law school based on my own family law case, a deposition I had to give for work, and some other legal issues my previous employer had to deal with as routine business.

First, do not drop out. Seems like you went to school to make money and support your family. You should be able to get a good paying job going to a top school and it will be worth it. Even if the work is boring, you can survive a few years. After that experience you will have many options that will be less dull.

Second, networking and friends will come when you are a 2L and you start to intern/summer associate. I would not consider myself shy, but I did not make many friends 1L because I was focused on my school work and being present for my girlfriend. I highly recommend trying to join the law review or just any journal. Once I did that I made many friends who shared a similar work ethic and made a great network out of it. I also grew my network as a summer assoicate and at internships.

Be patient and enjoy your scholarship. Dropping out sounds like a bad option.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby BigZuck » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:44 pm

anon3030 wrote:I started law school in my early 30's and also left a pretty decent career. I was also interested in law school based on my own family law case, a deposition I had to give for work, and some other legal issues my previous employer had to deal with as routine business.

First, do not drop out. Seems like you went to school to make money and support your family. You should be able to get a good paying job going to a top school and it will be worth it. Even if the work is boring, you can survive a few years. After that experience you will have many options that will be less dull.

Second, networking and friends will come when you are a 2L and you start to intern/summer associate. I would not consider myself shy, but I did not make many friends 1L because I was focused on my school work and being present for my girlfriend. I highly recommend trying to join the law review or just any journal. Once I did that I made many friends who shared a similar work ethic and made a great network out of it. I also grew my network as a summer assoicate and at internships.

Be patient and enjoy your scholarship. Dropping out sounds like a bad option.

What are the many options that will be less dull?

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby anon3030 » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:55 pm

People with law degrees, significant work experience prior to law school, a few years experience in big law, and lots of cash can go on to do many things that don't involve significant legal work. I won't list them all out, but starting your own business or getting a senior position in many companies are two.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby Miss Trial » Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:20 pm

Prior restaurant work:
- I did everything, but mostly waitressing. I worked in some pretty nice places and the money was actually pretty good (for a job that doesn't require a college degree). The cash tips kept me there for probably 10 years longer than I should have stayed.

Housing:
- Yes, it is roughly $25K free a year.

Skills:
- I truly have nothing else to fall back on.

Policy work:
- I should have specified I was interested in high-impact litigation (ACLU, etc)

Thank you for the advice. I think BOTH SIDES have some really compelling points and I am thinking about what everyone said : )

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby BigZuck » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:13 am

Sincerely not trying to beat a dead horse and I'm not necessarily saying drop out by wanting to stack FAT STACKS as a lawyer with the ACLU is not a good reason to go to law school. I'm not even sure that's possible, let alone attainable with a sufficient degree of certainty.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby Johann » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:24 am

Do not drop out! There are lots of lucrative positions for law school grads that are not practicing law. Plus practicing law is nothing like law school so there's no way to know its not for you yet.

Basically with no skills and no alternative career options, law school is probably the best spot for you to be second only to business school.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby Nebby » Sun Nov 20, 2016 1:29 am

I think you should stay Miss Trial because you will not have a lot of debt and you appear to go to a school where it is possible to get some good jobs. The most important thing you can do is to keep hitting the books and start putting together a resume and find jobs you want to intern at next summer. If you don't want to go to a law firm, then where you intern your first summer will be more important and should have some relationship to the work you hope to do post-grad.

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BaiAilian2013

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:00 am

In your situation, it might be worth staying for the long-term financial security alone. None of your #1-4 reasons sound like good reasons for dropping out.

#1-2 -- there is so much more to law than this. Do you know where my Bluebook is? If so, can you please let me know?
#3 -- this doesn't matter and may be largely in your head.
#4 -- there may be a time in your career when you need to network, but this is not that time. Not a problem.

If you are at a school that offers a great chance at biglaw, there are plenty of realistic paths for you that don't involve spending your life blue booking or reading the FRCP. For example:

-go to biglaw, do corporate, discover that you actually kind of enjoy corporate work and realize that you hated law school because it is so lit-focused (these people exist, I know them), either stay in biglaw long-term or eventually go in house.

-go to biglaw, hate it, cheer yourself up with pro bono work (there truly are a LOT of opportunities to make a difference in biglaw pro bono), tough it out for 2-3 years and go in house.

-go to biglaw, find some niche practice you enjoy (tax, real estate, ERISA, etc.), either stay there forever or eventually land in midlaw or a small firm doing that work at a slower pace for less money.

-in house offers decent pay, reasonable hours, job security, a chance to build long-term relationship with company and co-workers, and at the very least surely beats waitressing.

There are also some less realistic paths that would be good (biglaw, USAO, non-profit??) but my point is that I don't think you have to rely on them to build a good life by staying in law school.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby run26.2 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:56 am

What kind of debt load are you going to have when you're done? How are you planning to deal with that? If you have an answer for that, then I say stay in school. Even if it's 50K, that could be difficult to pay back if you don't make much and you have 3 people to support. I'm guessing someone else may have an answer to this question, though--I no familiarity with the loan forgiveness programs.

I think the high impact litigation jobs will be hard to get for someone that isn't more focused on doing whatever it takes to get the job (but that's just my impression). But there are plenty of other public interest jobs out that that would be very fulfilling--I always admire the people who provide landlord-tenant legal services. Their work has the potential to have huge impacts in the lives of individuals and families who have severe disadvantages relative to the other party (bargaining power, resources, legal sophistication, etc.). The problem is they don't pay much, hence my first question.

Finally, I disagree that networking, even now, is not worthwhile. It can take years for networking efforts to bear fruit, but they are usually worth it, if you are consistent about it. Maybe this is less true in public interest, but in the law firm world, in most cases, the people that can afford not to network are those that are cashing in on someone else's relationships. Maybe there's an exception if you're in a niche and you do amazing work for clients who keep referring business to you. In most cases, it is to your benefit to do what you can to get your name out there.

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby nick417 » Sun Nov 20, 2016 11:44 am

Miss Trial wrote:I'm a 1L at a top law school that does not assign grades, and I was given a very generous scholarship that covers 60% of my tuition and allows me to live for nearly free on campus.

I was excited when I was admitted, especially after having studied the LSAT for 1.5 years and taken the exam two times. But now that I am here, I am finding myself stuck in a daily rut where I examine my life choices and contemplate dropping out.

#1: I hate blue booking with a passion. If law schools had to recruit new students with a primer course on blue booking I think half of us wouldn't go.
#2: I hate memorizing the FRCP. It is so incredibly dull.
#3: I am not fitting in with the rest of my class as well as I had expected to, which brings me to the next issue...
#4: I am significantly older than my classmates, who are all in their early-to-mid 20's. I am so busy with work and family that I have not yet made it to a single social event. This worries me because: networking. I am unable to network while the semester is in session. I worry this will impact my career.

I am almost 40 years old. I am a single parent with two almost-teenage children. Even though I am older, I often come off as too young to be taken seriously, and my shyness also contributes to an overall lack of confidence in my "presentation" as a competent attorney. I worry this will affect me negatively in job interviews and in the courtroom.

The refund date for tuition paid has passed. I left a long "career" in restaurant work and I do not want to go back to it. I have no idea what else I would do in life and I have no other skills. I have practically zero funds to work with as I used all my savings to move the family here. I have a small extended family. If I dropped out now I would have to take out private loans out to pay rent somewhere else while I looked for a job, and I would then also have loans from 1L to pay, and a small undergrad loan, that would kick in.

Keep in mind dropping out = free apartment gone + likely a move to a different state, which disrupts the kids as they are just now settling into a new state and have new friends. Family considerations--including the fact that we have free rent here--is the only thing keeping me in law school.

Things seem grim. Can anyone who has faced a similar situation offer me any advice? Is practicing law more fulfilling than being in law school?



There is a lot to unpack here. But lets start with the simple things:

1. Networking is overrated as a law student. In the future, this will be important; now is not the time. Yes, you will hear the occassional law student who networks there way to an incredible job. But most of us got jobs through our grades and experiences. Frankly, you are in a better spot than most of us since you are at presumably a top 10 law school. Which then begs the question: why are you complaining with a full-ride at an ivy league school. You are in a better spot than most of us.

2. I don't understand what "I come off as too young to be taken compentely" means. If you are 40, you are not "too young." Anyone above the age of 25 is not "too young." If you do not appear competent, then you need to work on this. Your age is not the problem.

3. Why are you in law school? If you hate bluebooking/FRCP, don't become a litigator. You do realize that not every lawyer is a litigator right? It appears litigating is not in your blood. Because I hate to break this too you, but being able to cite cases and knowing rules is what litigators do. If you dislike this, then look at the corporate side of law. It is not uncommon for a 1L to change legal focus areas. I have friends who wanated to be litigators, but realized they loved corporate work (and visa versa).

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby Nebby » Sun Nov 20, 2016 12:37 pm

TBF, about 1% of your time as a litigator is FRCP and Bluebooking, so it doesn't make sense to rule that out either. It sounds like litigation is the type in work OP might be interested in, since legal impact orgs use litigation as one tool in their arsenal

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Re: Thinking About Dropping Out - Advice?

Postby PeanutsNJam » Mon Nov 21, 2016 12:48 am

As a fellow bluebook hater, it's something you get used to and now don't even think about after writing a brief or two, especially after a summer internship. After a while, you won't even need to consult the bluebook unless you're cite-checking for a journal or writing an academic paper.

Also, memorizing the FRCP (like, verbatim?) is an absolute waste of time, even if your civ pro exam is closed book.



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