Advice Request Regarding Law Career Path

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
BeHelpful
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 3:45 am

Advice Request Regarding Law Career Path

Postby BeHelpful » Sun May 20, 2012 4:10 am

Hello everyone, I stumbled on this website after many hours of browsing through various law-related websites, and I'm so glad to have found a great resource for those people that are trying to get into law schools. I have a great deal of interest in Trusts & Estates primarily due to the wealth management internship that I had at Merrill Lynch while I was in college, and Regulation exam when I was studying for the CPA. I love prospecting, meeting new people, and being the person to guide families to achieve financial goals, and so I am seriously considering going to a top law school in California (obviously if I get in, haha).

I am in low-20s, graduated from a good public school in California with a ~3.7 overall GPA, and working at a Big 4 Accounting Firm. I loved my experience so far, but I don't find this career path particularly a rewarding one, due to some of the observations that I've had in audit. This means that I need to study again, to get an advanced degree. Below are my dilemmas:

Q1) MBA vs. Law Degree

- I know it probably sounds strange that I bring up MBA in this forum, but I'm hoping that someone else was debating about this before ultimately choosing to go to the law school route. Given my skill sets and background, I think most people have said that going to the MBA route would be better. In addition, due to the depressed market for lawyers in the past few years (with no real sight of economy recovering), I'm not sure how "safe" this route would be. Regardless, if anyone has thought of choosing between the two, please let me know how you made the decision at the end! :)

Q2) LSATS/Schools
- What is the timing for LSATs and applying for schools? To give you an idea, I'm hoping to take it next year (May 2013ish), apply right after, and attend the school the following year (2014). If I only want to do estate planning, what schools in California are good for that? (Is it Stanford -> UC Berkley --> UCLA?)

Q3) Networking
- I live in LA, California and would like to remain here. For finance/accounting jobs, I networked early in my college years to meet with working professionals to have an "in" at the big banking and accounting firms. Has anyone tried to network (pretty much cold-calling) with the lawyers and how did that go? When my work frees up more during the summer, my plan is to meet as many lawyers as possible to network and learn about how I can break into the specific field of Trusts and Estates.

Well, there is that. I know it's a length post with a lot of questions, but please let me know if you need any clarifications. Thanks for your help in advance!

CanadianWolf
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Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Advice Request Regarding Law Career Path

Postby CanadianWolf » Sun May 20, 2012 8:11 am

MBA may be a better option since you should be able to complete it in one academic year due to your extensive accounting & business background. Take the GMAT to see if you score high enough for Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, Chicago, Dartmouth or Penn. You'll need to score above 710 to be safe.

If still curious about law school after taking the GMAT, then prepare to take the LSAT. After receiving your LSAT score, determine your law school options. Be prepared to invest three years & up to $250,000.

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dailygrind
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Re: Advice Request Regarding Law Career Path

Postby dailygrind » Sun May 20, 2012 2:32 pm


Renzo
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Advice Request Regarding Law Career Path

Postby Renzo » Sun May 20, 2012 4:43 pm

It sounds like you've got the background and resume to get into one of the big MBA programs. If you can, do that. The state of the legal profession is not great, and in general I would warn away anyone who has both a) other options and b) doubts about how badly they want to be a lawyer. I'd say a good 50% of people in top law schools are there because they suck at math too bad to get into B-school.

All that having been said, your instincts about networking are great. I would start by using Martindale Hubble to search for trusts & estates lawyers that are alumni of your school, or that you otherwise might have an 'in' with, and email them. As long as you make clear you aren't looking for a job, but for information, someone will likely bite. This is the best way to decide if law school is a good choice. Talk to practitioners, find out what the job is really like. If you like what you hear, and it's really what you want to do, then do it.

As for applications, generally, the schools begin to accept them in the fall for the following school year. The LSAT is offered in Feb, June, Oct, and Dec. If you want to attend in fall 2014, you need to take it in Oct 2013 or earlier; some schools have rolling admissions, so waiting until Dec 2013 could put you at a slight disadvantage.

BeHelpful
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 3:45 am

Re: Advice Request Regarding Law Career Path

Postby BeHelpful » Mon May 21, 2012 3:36 pm

Thank you all for your reply. @ Renzo, thank you for letting me know about Martindale Hubble. Is there a way to filter by schools? I went to UCSD by the way.

Also, what do you think the outlook for the law field is 4 years down the line? I'm planning to take LSAT in June 2013 and be the admit class of 2014 (if I'm going MBA route, push back of one year).

Lastly, what are your views on careers in Trusts & Estates? Thanks!

Renzo
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Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2008 3:23 am

Re: Advice Request Regarding Law Career Path

Postby Renzo » Mon May 21, 2012 4:22 pm

BeHelpful wrote:Thank you all for your reply. @ Renzo, thank you for letting me know about Martindale Hubble. Is there a way to filter by schools? I went to UCSD by the way.

Also, what do you think the outlook for the law field is 4 years down the line? I'm planning to take LSAT in June 2013 and be the admit class of 2014 (if I'm going MBA route, push back of one year).

Lastly, what are your views on careers in Trusts & Estates? Thanks!


Yes, if you go to martindale.com and search for lawyers, there's a field for law school/university attended.

As for the general outlook for law, no one really knows. But, there are fundamental structural problems with the legal market that aren't going away in that time frame that should make you at least pause and consider whether it's the right occupation for you.

And, I can't speak for what T&E work is like on a day-to-day basis, because I've never done anything even close. The most I can tell you is that most lawyers doing such work are not making a ton of money; they are solo or small-firm practitioners trying to do a volume business and compete with Legal Zoom, We The People, and other such form providers. There is a small niche of T&E lawyers at more prestigious firms working for high net worth individuals, but I can't tell you how hard it is to break into this kind of work or what it is like once you do.




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