Who's succeeding, why?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
Coach
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Who's succeeding, why?

Postby Coach » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:52 am

As a new law-student prospect, Im finding it harder and harder to recognize a potential positive outcome. I've come to realise that many have the same dreams of "top law schools", "big-law" paychecks and status, etc. However, there doesn't appear to be room for all of those seeking the same thing. I guess Im looking for grads and students who can offer a different perspective. Maybe some of you have a different plan than those mentioned above and are perfectly fine with it. I'd like to hear from you and learn what your experiences have been like. Some questions for the "little guy/gal..."

1. What did you do after graduation?
2. Is finding "median" work really that tough?
3. Did you start your own practice right away, is it even possible?
4. Are you satisfied with your decision to become a lawyer, Why or why not?
5. Do you feel your education choices are holding you back?

usfvictor
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby usfvictor » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:58 am

BUMP

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rayiner
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby rayiner » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:14 am

As a recent grad working in big law--the single most important thing is to go to a top school, and the second most important thing is to put a lot of effort into 1L grades, and the third most important thing is to hustle.

In my class at NU, I know few people who didn't get a decent job that did all three of the above. But especially for the last two, I need to emphasize that you need to really do more than you probably think you do. Doing well in 1L isn't just about studying the material, it's about being analytical, trying to game the system, and trying to figure out what will get you points on the exam (that's the only thing that matters). Hustling for jobs doesn't mean going to one networking event and doing a few job applications a week. It means reaching out to every person you have ever met and applying to jobs systematically like it's your full-time job. If you're not keeping spreadsheets of all the places you need to apply to, what you have applied to, the status of your applications, the need for follow-up, etc, then you're not hustling.

The key is to avoid distraction. Avoid getting distracted in 1L by what the professor wants to talk about--always be thinking about what will be on the exam. Don't think "the professor makes a really interesting philosophical point" but rather think "is this something that could be tested on a law-school format exam, and how?" Unless you're a genius, law school rewards you for cutting through the academic bullshit and cutting straight to the fairly mechanical process of doing well on a law school exam. Don't get distracted by extracurricular activities. Employers don't care. This isn't high school. The only extracurricular activities you should be doing is drinking and having sex. Otherwise you should be preparing for exams. During your 2L job search, don't be distracted by journal and extracurriculars or classes. Pre-job 2L is not for grades or turning in a really good comment. That's for post-job 2L. Skip classes to attend callbacks, skip classes to work on job applications, turn in the minimum you need for your journal. This will piss off your editors, but fuck them they're not grading you.

And even if you do everything right, there is still risk. Some people end up bottom 1/4 even though they fully understand the highly stylized and game-able game that is 1L. Some people get good grades, hustle, and for reasons outside their control still come up short on the job search. But if you did what I said and went to a top school, that risk should be bearable if frightening.

Coach
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby Coach » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:40 am

rayiner wrote:As a recent grad working in big law--the single most important thing is to go to a top school, and the second most important thing is to put a lot of effort into 1L grades, and the third most important thing is to hustle.

In my class at NU, I know few people who didn't get a decent job that did all three of the above. But especially for the last two, I need to emphasize that you need to really do more than you probably think you do. Doing well in 1L isn't just about studying the material, it's about being analytical, trying to game the system, and trying to figure out what will get you points on the exam (that's the only thing that matters). Hustling for jobs doesn't mean going to one networking event and doing a few job applications a week. It means reaching out to every person you have ever met and applying to jobs systematically like it's your full-time job. If you're not keeping spreadsheets of all the places you need to apply to, what you have applied to, the status of your applications, the need for follow-up, etc, then you're not hustling.

The key is to avoid distraction. Avoid getting distracted in 1L by what the professor wants to talk about--always be thinking about what will be on the exam. Don't think "the professor makes a really interesting philosophical point" but rather think "is this something that could be tested on a law-school format exam, and how?" Unless you're a genius, law school rewards you for cutting through the academic bullshit and cutting straight to the fairly mechanical process of doing well on a law school exam. Don't get distracted by extracurricular activities. Employers don't care. This isn't high school. The only extracurricular activities you should be doing is drinking and having sex. Otherwise you should be preparing for exams. During your 2L job search, don't be distracted by journal and extracurriculars or classes. Pre-job 2L is not for grades or turning in a really good comment. That's for post-job 2L. Skip classes to attend callbacks, skip classes to work on job applications, turn in the minimum you need for your journal. This will piss off your editors, but fuck them they're not grading you.

And even if you do everything right, there is still risk. Some people end up bottom 1/4 even though they fully understand the highly stylized and game-able game that is 1L. Some people get good grades, hustle, and for reasons outside their control still come up short on the job search. But if you did what I said and went to a top school, that risk should be bearable if frightening.


Thanks for your response. However, this is the kind of the normal responses I see everyday. Based on the number of law schools, grads., available jobs, market and so on, there simply has to be more people out there making it work with middle to low tier JD's, median jobs, private practices , etc. I'd like to stay away from how it absolutely must be necessary to have an HLS degree and George Washington on your family tree. I'm certainly not knocking these people or their dreams. I'm simply saying there has to be more people making it in some other way. Theres just not enough room for even all the posters on this board to get what they want. I'm looking for what happens then?

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minnbills
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby minnbills » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:49 am

Over time law grads scatter to the winds. If you don't find a job in law you'll end up somewhere else eventually, probably in some kind of business job. I don't think there's an easy answer. There are JD preferred jobs, but these aren't all that common.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby BruceWayne » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:10 pm

Miniballs is right. After talking to more people and branching out I'm beginning to realize that a lot of JD's leave law altogether. There just aren't enough desirable legal jobs for everyone who wants them. It's unfortunate but it's simply a career path where a lot of people end up not doing particularly well. I'm not saying their starving but many do not end up pulling in the type of salaries that one expects from a professional graduate degree.

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IAFG
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby IAFG » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:19 pm

What do you mean by "median" work? Are you talking about the "median" salary reported by NALP (in the $70-80k range IIRC)?

Coach
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby Coach » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:54 pm

IAFG wrote:What do you mean by "median" work? Are you talking about the "median" salary reported by NALP (in the $70-80k range IIRC)?


Anything less than the "dream..." From reading many articles online and this forum among others, I get the impression that $70-80k is not even a goal, little-lone say $50-60k. Aside from money, "median" could also reference the desired status that one may have percieved while going through the process. Rather than being a big name in the law world, they just pay the bills doing 'petty' P.I. and bankruptcy type stuff.

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bk1
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby bk1 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:33 pm

Coach wrote:1. What did you do after graduation?

Current 2L so doesn't apply.

Coach wrote:2. Is finding "median" work really that tough?

I'm going to interpret this as getting a 50-60k full time legal job working at a small firm. The answer is, yes it is tough. Around half of all law grads don't get full time legal jobs. It isn't as bad at top schools so going to a good school is very important.

Coach wrote:3. Did you start your own practice right away, is it even possible?

It is quite hard since law school doesn't teach you how to (a) be a lawyer, or (b) run a small business. You need those things to start your own practice. You also likely lack capital for things like initially feeding yourself, getting an office, malpractice insurance, etc. People who start their own practice right after graduation have generally failed to get a job elsewhere.

Coach wrote:4. Are you satisfied with your decision to become a lawyer, Why or why not?

As a student it's hard to say. So far I've done well, but I don't have my loan payments breathing down my neck yet.

Coach wrote:5. Do you feel your education choices are holding you back?

Going to a lower ranked school will hinder your choices. Taking on a lot of debt for a higher ranked school creates a lot of risk though. I'm fairly sure that I would have had more options had I gone to a better school.

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IAFG
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby IAFG » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:32 pm

Coach wrote:
IAFG wrote:What do you mean by "median" work? Are you talking about the "median" salary reported by NALP (in the $70-80k range IIRC)?


Anything less than the "dream..." From reading many articles online and this forum among others, I get the impression that $70-80k is not even a goal, little-lone say $50-60k. Aside from money, "median" could also reference the desired status that one may have percieved while going through the process. Rather than being a big name in the law world, they just pay the bills doing 'petty' P.I. and bankruptcy type stuff.

Have you seen the bimodal distribution of lawyer salaries, or read about it at all? That'd be a good place to start if you want to talk about outcomes generally.

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Legacy Rabbit
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby Legacy Rabbit » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:41 pm

minnbills wrote:Over time law grads scatter to the winds. If you don't find a job in law you'll end up somewhere else eventually, probably in some kind of business job. I don't think there's an easy answer. There are JD preferred jobs, but these aren't all that common.


I acutally posted about this but no one responded. I figured it is the TLS culture: Top 14 - Big Law or bust.

If only 55 percent of new law school grads are doing work that requires a JD, per the ABA, there are going to be a lot of people who will have to take jobs that are:
1. JD Preferred
2. JD Advantage
3. Professional Positions

I seriously wonder if people on this site realize that even coming out of the top 14, there is a very good chance you will not be practicing law.

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minnbills
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby minnbills » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:42 pm

Legacy Rabbit wrote:
minnbills wrote:Over time law grads scatter to the winds. If you don't find a job in law you'll end up somewhere else eventually, probably in some kind of business job. I don't think there's an easy answer. There are JD preferred jobs, but these aren't all that common.


I acutally posted about this but no one responded. I figured it is the TLS culture: Top 14 - Big Law or bust.

If only 55 percent of new law school grads are doing work that requires a JD, per the ABA, there are going to be a lot of people who will have to take jobs that are:
1. JD Preferred
2. JD Advantage
3. Professional Positions

I seriously wonder if people on this site realize that even coming out of the top 14, there is a very good chance you will not be practicing law.


Yeah, the problem is that it's hard to tell how many of those jobs there are. Since they make up a small portion of my school's stats, I assume there aren't that many.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:44 pm

Legacy Rabbit wrote:If only 55 percent of new law school grads are doing work that requires a JD, per the ABA, there are going to be a lot of people who will have to take jobs that are:
1. JD Preferred
2. JD Advantage
3. Professional Positions

I seriously wonder if people on this site realize that even coming out of the top 14, there is a very good chance you will not be practicing law.


Define very good chance. You don't think the 55% number applies to all schools evenly right?

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IAFG
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby IAFG » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:48 pm

Legacy Rabbit wrote:
minnbills wrote:Over time law grads scatter to the winds. If you don't find a job in law you'll end up somewhere else eventually, probably in some kind of business job. I don't think there's an easy answer. There are JD preferred jobs, but these aren't all that common.


I acutally posted about this but no one responded. I figured it is the TLS culture: Top 14 - Big Law or bust.

If only 55 percent of new law school grads are doing work that requires a JD, per the ABA, there are going to be a lot of people who will have to take jobs that are:
1. JD Preferred
2. JD Advantage
3. Professional Positions

I seriously wonder if people on this site realize that even coming out of the top 14, there is a very good chance you will not be practicing law.

4. None of the above.

I've had lawyers help me find my size at the Gap, refill my diet coke at Applebee's, sell me a new couch at the furniture store...

usfvictor
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby usfvictor » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:04 pm

IAFG wrote:
Legacy Rabbit wrote:
minnbills wrote:Over time law grads scatter to the winds. If you don't find a job in law you'll end up somewhere else eventually, probably in some kind of business job. I don't think there's an easy answer. There are JD preferred jobs, but these aren't all that common.


I acutally posted about this but no one responded. I figured it is the TLS culture: Top 14 - Big Law or bust.

If only 55 percent of new law school grads are doing work that requires a JD, per the ABA, there are going to be a lot of people who will have to take jobs that are:
1. JD Preferred
2. JD Advantage
3. Professional Positions

I seriously wonder if people on this site realize that even coming out of the top 14, there is a very good chance you will not be practicing law.

4. None of the above.

I've had lawyers help me find my size at the Gap, refill my diet coke at Applebee's, sell me a new couch at the furniture store...


lol not sure if sarcastic or not, but that kind of statement gets thrown out alot on TLS. I've never come accross that situation and I know two people that graduated from Cooley. Yes they graduted a couple years ago before the Recession, but they are not doing horrible. Hell I even know a dude that graduated from Barry Law and he has a job, not a great job at all lol but still has a legal job and he just recently passed the bar.

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Legacy Rabbit
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby Legacy Rabbit » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:25 pm

I noted in my other post that I work for a Fortune 500, that uses JDs for work in consulting, risk management, licensing, and contracts.

All of the JDs tell me not to go to law school. Many say business school as an alternative route, and others say why go back if you are going to accumulate further debt.

"There are people here who are like you just the undergrad degree and are doing fine. Why do you want to take on more debt, you are already here...The value in a JD is not necessarily what you think and does not hold the guarantees that were previously assumed".

One young law grad who is a manager even questions the purpose of the rankings.

I have heard great success stories from people leaving TTT and TTTT, but these people have work experience and know how to network. Other stories of new grads leaving top-14 and are doing non-JD required work.

I still see law school as a good benefit, because it is lucrative. But, what is lucrative if you have invested $45k plus a year in loans and time to leave a top 50 school and maybe make $80k annually.

If one is under 25 years with little work experience on their resume, I will always say push hard for top 14.
However, those over 25, 2+ years of solid work experience, peferrably Fortune 500. I can see the argument for attending a lower ranked school.

minnbills wrote:
Legacy Rabbit wrote:
minnbills wrote:Over time law grads scatter to the winds. If you don't find a job in law you'll end up somewhere else eventually, probably in some kind of business job. I don't think there's an easy answer. There are JD preferred jobs, but these aren't all that common.


I acutally posted about this but no one responded. I figured it is the TLS culture: Top 14 - Big Law or bust.

If only 55 percent of new law school grads are doing work that requires a JD, per the ABA, there are going to be a lot of people who will have to take jobs that are:
1. JD Preferred
2. JD Advantage
3. Professional Positions

I seriously wonder if people on this site realize that even coming out of the top 14, there is a very good chance you will not be practicing law.


Yeah, the problem is that it's hard to tell how many of those jobs there are. Since they make up a small portion of my school's stats, I assume there aren't that many.

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IAFG
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby IAFG » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:28 pm

usfvictor wrote:
lol not sure if sarcastic or not, but that kind of statement gets thrown out alot on TLS. I've never come accross that situation and I know two people that graduated from Cooley. Yes they graduted a couple years ago before the Recession, but they are not doing horrible. Hell I even know a dude that graduated from Barry Law and he has a job, not a great job at all lol but still has a legal job and he just recently passed the bar.

Not sarcasm at all, I've actually had all of these encounters. In fact the furniture salesman is a close friend of mine. He graduated from a TTT and could tell you some very sad stories about classmates.

The Duck
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby The Duck » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:43 pm

IAFG wrote:
usfvictor wrote:
lol not sure if sarcastic or not, but that kind of statement gets thrown out alot on TLS. I've never come accross that situation and I know two people that graduated from Cooley. Yes they graduted a couple years ago before the Recession, but they are not doing horrible. Hell I even know a dude that graduated from Barry Law and he has a job, not a great job at all lol but still has a legal job and he just recently passed the bar.

Not sarcasm at all, I've actually had all of these encounters. In fact the furniture salesman is a close friend of mine. He graduated from a TTT and could tell you some very sad stories about classmates.


I met a Cooley grad once...driving a taxi in Ann Arbor. Graduated 5+ years ago and never found legal work. JDUnderground is full of lawyers working at Starbucks (or trying to anyhow...there's some evidence that the JD makes it harder to get a non-legal job as they assume you're going to leave).

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rayiner
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby rayiner » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:50 pm

When you meet a recent law grad in a good job, don't just take that single data point. Ask him what his friends are doing.

There are non-T14 folks in my associate class. But out of 100+ associates, there are maybe half a dozen who didn't go to a T14.

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TheThriller
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby TheThriller » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:55 pm

rayiner wrote:When you meet a recent law grad in a good job, don't just take that single data point. Ask him what his friends are doing.

There are non-T14 folks in my associate class. But out of 100+ associates, there are maybe half a dozen who didn't go to a T14.



Yikes

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TrialLawyer16
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby TrialLawyer16 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:37 pm

TheThriller wrote:
rayiner wrote:When you meet a recent law grad in a good job, don't just take that single data point. Ask him what his friends are doing.

There are non-T14 folks in my associate class. But out of 100+ associates, there are maybe half a dozen who didn't go to a T14.



Yikes

+1

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paratactical
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:40 pm

I was trying to hire a legal secretary and 3/4 of the resumes I got were from people with JDs, many of whom had passed the bar.

Coach
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby Coach » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:47 pm

IAFG wrote:
Coach wrote:
IAFG wrote:What do you mean by "median" work? Are you talking about the "median" salary reported by NALP (in the $70-80k range IIRC)?


Anything less than the "dream..." From reading many articles online and this forum among others, I get the impression that $70-80k is not even a goal, little-lone say $50-60k. Aside from money, "median" could also reference the desired status that one may have percieved while going through the process. Rather than being a big name in the law world, they just pay the bills doing 'petty' P.I. and bankruptcy type stuff.

Have you seen the bimodal distribution of lawyer salaries, or read about it at all? That'd be a good place to start if you want to talk about outcomes generally.


Actually wasn't too concerned with the salary part of it. More-less whatever median meens to those that believe that is their reality. I expect or assumed that would be different across the board.

Not aimed at the above post but it amazes me that this thread has turned into almost the same rhetoric as most here at TLS. Maybe thats because it's TLS... Seems there aren't many "regular" folks here. Some here have mentioned business degrees and I'd like to say that the circumstances in that field are the same, if not worse. Everyone has an M.B.A.

I have a business degree. Been there, blah dah-dah. I'm a teacher, more because I coach H.S. football, but still. I have no desire to be big law, to go to a TTT or TTTT or Tx10... My wife is a paralegal and her small, insignificant firm literally can't give work away and yes, they have more than enough to do so. It's because there is a 'TLS attitude' and noone wants to lower themselves to do a divorce, custody, bankruptcy , etc. For these people, I'm glad the coffee biz is good... I was simply looking to hear from "the bottom." Thank you for your replies.

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TheThriller
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby TheThriller » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:51 pm

paratactical wrote:I was trying to hire a legal secretary and 3/4 of the resumes I got were from people with JDs, many of whom had passed the bar.


Still looking? :lol:

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paratactical
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Re: Who's succeeding, why?

Postby paratactical » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:54 pm

TheThriller wrote:
paratactical wrote:I was trying to hire a legal secretary and 3/4 of the resumes I got were from people with JDs, many of whom had passed the bar.


Still looking? :lol:

:lol: :lol:

Might try again in another month or two.




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