Rock v. Hard Place

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UntraditionalMainer
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Rock v. Hard Place

Postby UntraditionalMainer » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:38 pm

I am looking for some advice from either a current student or a recent grad.

First, a short bio about me:

I am a non-traditional student, that is, I am 28 and just finishing my UG in Business at a local part-campus/part-online school with a 3.94. My soon-to-be wife and I live about ten minutes from Maine Law. I work full-time (45 hrs over 4 days) in IT and am out of my mind hating it. She is a retail pharmacist doing quite well (this factors in later-I'm not just being a dick). I have applied to four schools: NESL (accepted today), Suffolk, Northeastern, and Maine, of course. We are getting married in three months, and plan to start our family shortly after the Class of 2016 graduates. Relocation is a non-starter. Yes, I realize three of those schools are in Boston. I would be commuting (yes, that’s completely fucking absurd to commute 2.5 hours each way for a TTT. Leave that alone and consider what facts I’m providing you), hence why Maine Law would be my first choice, even at sticker.

Now that you have a few facts about me, here is the narrative/dilemma:

I'm not naive enough to think that any of these schools is a BFD. I realize they're TTTs. I've been lurking here for a while, I have culled through what I could find on LST, and I know the marketplace is shit. I'm not oblivious. With my future wife's salary (which is really going to fuck me like a donkey in FA next year), we are not hell-bent on me scoring some big six-figure job. I realize that is neither realistic nor necessary. I want to better myself through law school, I would be comfortable with a 60-80k/year job while we start our family, and we are not deaf to the fact that the loans will be waiting for us at the other end of the tunnel. I network locally. I wouldn’t have had half of the chances I’ve had in life without networking. I’ve lived the value of it. The fact remains, however, that 2013 is the year I need to enter law school, if that is what I'm going to do. It cannot wait another year. Waiting would mean being almost 34 when we have our first child - not really an option when we want two or three. For some reason that I have yet to fully understand, I didn’t research the LSAT as I should have and thought that merely retaking practice tests over and over again would help improve my score. It didn’t, I ended up with a 153, and feel (deservedly so) like a shit-head.

I’m looking for some advice from a recent grad, or 3L who has a clue about what they’re talking about as to whether the opportunity cost of going to a Northeastern/Suffolk or Maine and working my ass off to be in the top 5-10% is worth leaving my shitty job for, while also bearing in mind my economic situation wherein a significant amount of loans will not leave us destitute, and ultimately what I view as acceptable for post-LS work. I’ve seen the types of rational, straight-forward people who are capable of giving meaningful insights without being douchy, and I would appreciate some. I’ve seen posters who claim to have been rebuffed when offering advice unsolicited. Well, I’m asking for it, and I’m listening

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Band A Long
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Band A Long » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:42 pm

Probably not what you want to talk about and I'm not your target demographic to get advice, but I have to ask — with that GPA, what is your LSAT score? If moving really isn't an option, you should at least be going to a school like that for free or nearly free.

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Dmini7
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Dmini7 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:50 pm

Band A Long wrote:Probably not what you want to talk about and I'm not your target demographic to get advice, but I have to ask — with that GPA, what is your LSAT score? If moving really isn't an option, you should at least be going to a school like that for free or nearly free.


He got a 153. I think you will still get money from your target schools, with that said everyone on here will say you are crazy for not retaking when your GPA is that high. You may want to consider retaking in June. See if the schools will allow you to retake for the chance to improve and obtain a higher scholarship.

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Band A Long
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Band A Long » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:53 pm

Dmini7 wrote:He got a 153. I think you will still get money from your target schools, with that said everyone on here will say you are crazy for not retaking when your GPA is that high. You may want to consider retaking in June. See if the schools will allow you to retake for the chance to improve and obtain a higher scholarship.


Whoops, sorry, RC fail. Gotta plug this advice, though, June retake (you've got 3 months!) could make a huge difference.

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Samara
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Samara » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:54 pm

Sorry, but everyone is going to tell you to retake and reapply. Why can't you wait one year? Why do you have to wait until three years after graduation to have kids?

One big problem is that legal salaries are hugely bifurcated. Very few 60-80k jobs exist anywhere, probably next to none in Maine. So, you're looking at 30-50k, if you can even get a job at all. Odds are, you won't get a full-time legal job from UMaine: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=maine UMaine doesn't provide any salary data for the jobs that people do get; that should tell you everything you need to know. Even with a full ride, it's probably not worth it. As for the other schools, why would you put yourself through a hellish and expensive commute for similarly bleak prospects? Retake or don't go at all.

ETA: Did you take any college classes before your current program? If so, be sure to factor them into your GPA. LSAC looks at all college courses you took before earning your first degree. For some people, that drops their GPA a lot.

RPK34
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby RPK34 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:14 pm

Let me talk to you about the Portland market, because I'm very familiar with it. You say you're comfortable with a 60-80k job. Market salary for large law firms in Portland for first years is ~75k. So that's pretty much top of the market for Portland, so get 80k out of your mind.

Of firms that pay market in Portland, there's probably five to ten spots for incoming associates. Probably less. Pierce Atwood, Bernstein Shur, Verill Dana, and Pretti Flaherty will rarely take more than 1-2 first years, and some will often take none in recent years. Getting an SA in Portland is far from the end of the game, where market fluctuations, firm needs, etc. are so sensitive that no offering 1-2 SAs is not uncommon.

Not only that, Portland is an extremely popular place. There are always a handful of kids at BC/BU that have strong market ties, and are preferred over UMaine kids. Also, it's not uncommon for T14 kids to apply to Portland firms. UMaine is near the bottom of the pecking order for Portland firms.

I've heard in recent years, about 15-20 kids from the entire graduating class even get full time jobs in Maine. Several of these kids are working in family firms, meaning that shot at actually getting an entry level job in Maine is minuscule. The Portland market is built around laterals, not entry level jobs.

I just looked at the LST reports, and the majority of students aren't working in JD requires jobs. That means you have a better chance of being unemployed/working at McDonald's etc. than being employed. Please think about that.

UMaine is a horrible choice for law school. The Portland market is tiny, most of the jobs are well below your 60-80k range, and employment outcomes are abysmal. If you go there, don't expect 60-80k. Expect 35-45k with a 30% chance of unemployment

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Samara
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Samara » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:22 pm

Oh, and everyone wants to be top 10%, but only 10% are. Why do you think you'd be any different, especially with a five-hour commute taking up your time every day?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:24 pm

Samara wrote:Sorry, but everyone is going to tell you to retake and reapply. Why can't you wait one year? Why do you have to wait until three years after graduation to have kids?

One big problem is that legal salaries are hugely bifurcated. Very few 60-80k jobs exist anywhere, probably next to none in Maine. So, you're looking at 30-50k, if you can even get a job at all. Odds are, you won't get a full-time legal job from UMaine: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=maine UMaine doesn't provide any salary data for the jobs that people do get; that should tell you everything you need to know. Even with a full ride, it's probably not worth it. As for the other schools, why would you put yourself through a hellish and expensive commute for similarly bleak prospects? Retake or don't go at all.

ETA: Did you take any college classes before your current program? If so, be sure to factor them into your GPA. LSAC looks at all college courses you took before earning your first degree. For some people, that drops their GPA a lot.

When to start a family is obviously a highly personal decision, so I'm not trying to tell you what to do or to question that decision. But going to Samara's point - people do have kids during law school (especially as a guy - while I'm sure you will be a dedicated and devoted dad who pitches in 50%, the whole newborn thing seems almost invariably to be tougher on the mom, especially if she breastfeeds). In fact, having kids during law school is arguably easier than having kids during your first year or so at a law firm (if you're envisioning a firm job). You may well have other reasons for that timeline, but I wanted to throw that out there. (Also, plenty of people start having kids at 34 and older, but again, personal decision.)

But the real problem is Samara's other point - people often think (and I thought this myself), well, it's okay, I don't want $160K, $60-80K would be great, I'd be thrilled with that, without realizing that's an average (somewhere in some statistical breakdown) because salaries tend to be a few very very high ones, and a lot of quite low ones. So what exactly do you want to do that you can see yourself making $60-80K doing? Is that a realistic salary for mid/smalllaw where you are, or are you thinking about government/public interest? And who are you networking with? What if it was a $30-40K job?

On the flip side, I'm nontrad, married to someone with a reasonable salary (probably not as good as your wife's), and I left a career with crappy options to go to law school. I went to a lower T1 and I didn't get any scholarships (though it was in-state public, so not as bad as some places), and have debt. So far, it's been a worthwhile investment because I went to law school wanting to get work that I would find meaningful and enjoy, rather than a certain salary. But I have also so far managed to swing government work, so I'm crossing my fingers I can last for 10 years and get the debt forgiven. Nor do we have kids (or plan to have any), so not having a lot of savings is not that big a deal (as long as we can continue to have health insurance). We've been moving around, so haven't tried to buy a house yet (and while I really really really want a house, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen - there are benefits to apartments).

So is the opportunity cost worth it? It was for me. But only you can say if it will be for you. Really, I suppose, you have to answer this: what if you go through the 3 years, incur the debt, and can't find any job? Would it be worth it to you then? Would you hang a shingle, or what? Are you prepared to drop out after the 1st year if your grades are below median (or whatever might seem safe from Maine)? Are you doing this to get a secure job, or are you doing it because you really want to be a lawyer and nothing but a lawyer? (And if so, what makes you think that?)

(Sorry, that got disjointed by the end!)

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby ManoftheHour » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:38 pm

UntraditionalMainer wrote:I am looking for some advice from either a current student or a recent grad.

First, a short bio about me:

I am a non-traditional student, that is, I am 28 and just finishing my UG in Business at a local part-campus/part-online school with a 3.94. My soon-to-be wife and I live about ten minutes from Maine Law. I work full-time (45 hrs over 4 days) in IT and am out of my mind hating it. She is a retail pharmacist doing quite well (this factors in later-I'm not just being a dick). I have applied to four schools: NESL (accepted today), Suffolk, Northeastern, and Maine, of course. We are getting married in three months, and plan to start our family shortly after the Class of 2016 graduates. Relocation is a non-starter. Yes, I realize three of those schools are in Boston. I would be commuting (yes, that’s completely fucking absurd to commute 2.5 hours each way for a TTT. Leave that alone and consider what facts I’m providing you), hence why Maine Law would be my first choice, even at sticker.

Now that you have a few facts about me, here is the narrative/dilemma:

I'm not naive enough to think that any of these schools is a BFD. I realize they're TTTs. I've been lurking here for a while, I have culled through what I could find on LST, and I know the marketplace is shit. I'm not oblivious. With my future wife's salary (which is really going to fuck me like a donkey in FA next year), we are not hell-bent on me scoring some big six-figure job. I realize that is neither realistic nor necessary. I want to better myself through law school, I would be comfortable with a 60-80k/year job while we start our family, and we are not deaf to the fact that the loans will be waiting for us at the other end of the tunnel. I network locally. I wouldn’t have had half of the chances I’ve had in life without networking. I’ve lived the value of it. The fact remains, however, that 2013 is the year I need to enter law school, if that is what I'm going to do. It cannot wait another year. Waiting would mean being almost 34 when we have our first child - not really an option when we want two or three. For some reason that I have yet to fully understand, I didn’t research the LSAT as I should have and thought that merely retaking practice tests over and over again would help improve my score. It didn’t, I ended up with a 153, and feel (deservedly so) like a shit-head.

I’m looking for some advice from a recent grad, or 3L who has a clue about what they’re talking about as to whether the opportunity cost of going to a Northeastern/Suffolk or Maine and working my ass off to be in the top 5-10% is worth leaving my shitty job for, while also bearing in mind my economic situation wherein a significant amount of loans will not leave us destitute, and ultimately what I view as acceptable for post-LS work. I’ve seen the types of rational, straight-forward people who are capable of giving meaningful insights without being douchy, and I would appreciate some. I’ve seen posters who claim to have been rebuffed when offering advice unsolicited. Well, I’m asking for it, and I’m listening


I wouldn't blame you for NOT wanting to do IT work, but this isn't the way to go. If you really want to be an attorney, you have to retake. Since you're still scoring in the 150s, I suggest the Powerscore Bibles (minus the Reading Comp). Get to the lower 160s (maybe even the upper 150s) and then reapply next cycle. You'll probably have close to, if not, full rides to all the schools you're thinking of attending.

If you're hellbent on attending, then at LEAST, as I've said in many other threads, register for the June LSAT. You can put your deposit down at one of the lesser evils and try your best to prep for the June LSAT. If you bomb it, no foul. If you do significantly better, then you have the option of A. Reapplying next cycle for much better prospects. B. Use your new score to negotiate a scholarship. It's been done before!

LaBarrister
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby LaBarrister » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:09 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
Samara wrote:Sorry, but everyone is going to tell you to retake and reapply. Why can't you wait one year? Why do you have to wait until three years after graduation to have kids?

One big problem is that legal salaries are hugely bifurcated. Very few 60-80k jobs exist anywhere, probably next to none in Maine. So, you're looking at 30-50k, if you can even get a job at all. Odds are, you won't get a full-time legal job from UMaine: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=maine UMaine doesn't provide any salary data for the jobs that people do get; that should tell you everything you need to know. Even with a full ride, it's probably not worth it. As for the other schools, why would you put yourself through a hellish and expensive commute for similarly bleak prospects? Retake or don't go at all.

ETA: Did you take any college classes before your current program? If so, be sure to factor them into your GPA. LSAC looks at all college courses you took before earning your first degree. For some people, that drops their GPA a lot.

When to start a family is obviously a highly personal decision, so I'm not trying to tell you what to do or to question that decision. But going to Samara's point - people do have kids during law school (especially as a guy - while I'm sure you will be a dedicated and devoted dad who pitches in 50%, the whole newborn thing seems almost invariably to be tougher on the mom, especially if she breastfeeds). In fact, having kids during law school is arguably easier than having kids during your first year or so at a law firm (if you're envisioning a firm job). You may well have other reasons for that timeline, but I wanted to throw that out there. (Also, plenty of people start having kids at 34 and older, but again, personal decision.)

But the real problem is Samara's other point - people often think (and I thought this myself), well, it's okay, I don't want $160K, $60-80K would be great, I'd be thrilled with that, without realizing that's an average (somewhere in some statistical breakdown) because salaries tend to be a few very very high ones, and a lot of quite low ones. So what exactly do you want to do that you can see yourself making $60-80K doing? Is that a realistic salary for mid/smalllaw where you are, or are you thinking about government/public interest? And who are you networking with? What if it was a $30-40K job?

On the flip side, I'm nontrad, married to someone with a reasonable salary (probably not as good as your wife's), and I left a career with crappy options to go to law school. I went to a lower T1 and I didn't get any scholarships (though it was in-state public, so not as bad as some places), and have debt. So far, it's been a worthwhile investment because I went to law school wanting to get work that I would find meaningful and enjoy, rather than a certain salary. But I have also so far managed to swing government work, so I'm crossing my fingers I can last for 10 years and get the debt forgiven. Nor do we have kids (or plan to have any), so not having a lot of savings is not that big a deal (as long as we can continue to have health insurance). We've been moving around, so haven't tried to buy a house yet (and while I really really really want a house, if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen - there are benefits to apartments).

So is the opportunity cost worth it? It was for me. But only you can say if it will be for you. Really, I suppose, you have to answer this: what if you go through the 3 years, incur the debt, and can't find any job? Would it be worth it to you then? Would you hang a shingle, or what? Are you prepared to drop out after the 1st year if your grades are below median (or whatever might seem safe from Maine)? Are you doing this to get a secure job, or are you doing it because you really want to be a lawyer and nothing but a lawyer? (And if so, what makes you think that?)

(Sorry, that got disjointed by the end!)


The average is much, much higher that 60-80k for lawyers, at least according to this: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm, which says that the median in 2010 was $112,000.00. Yes, you are right. The average is misleading because the data is skewed, but the median is not. And given that this was just after the market crash, I don't think that the median would be down to 60-80k in 2012, much less the average, but I could be wrong.

Or do you have some data to support your claim?

UntraditionalMainer
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby UntraditionalMainer » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:41 pm

Wow- this is quite a bit to take in. I think several of you raise some very valid points.

I am, however, having quite a difficult time wrapping my head around some of the average figures that are being presented. Some of the figures just seem unusually low. I realize that the market is still shit, and there are certainly higher-tiered candidates who would scoop up some of the better-paying entry jobs (and I'm not saying I'd limit my employment market to Portland, I would also consider Boston)...but hell, my IT job is considered entry-level and I'm still pulling $33k as a base, $40k+ with overtime, and that's in the Lewiston market. I hope some of you can see why some of these lower figures presented would really boggle my mind. They could be spot-on, but it is just hard to get my head around them. FWIW, I'm also not above government work, or having to work my way up from the very bottom of the ladder - whatever it takes.

To the respondent re: salary vs. work, for me it isn't entirely salary-focused, because I would truly like to be in a career that challenges me and gives me a sense of self-worth.

To those encouraging a re-take, I can understand the premise, but without a rational end result, I'm not sure I can justify it. Let's look at it this way: a higher score can result in one of two things, either a better school, or better FA. To the first, it's a given that I would not matriculate outside of Maine or Boston, so what are the best schools in Boston...BC, BU, and Harvard? Harvard is obviously out. If I were to raise my score to the mid-160s, that makes me moderately competitive at the two, but on the border, at best because of a weaker UG, despite my GPA. Alternatively, let's look at it from the FA angle. Maine in-state is around $23k/year, so let's say I could knock another $5k a year off of that in scholarships (throwing out a mostly-arbitrary number). To me, I'm not sure I could justify the time investment in a higher LSAT given the two potential outcomes for a higher score, especially considering I'm in four classes this semester.

That's how I've rationalized things based on the feedback I've received thus far from you guys. I could be completely wrong. I really do appreciate the time that each of you has taken to respond and provide your insights, whether I agree with them or see the issue differently. Most of you have lived this process and know more about it than I do. If there's something I'm missing here, salaries notwithstanding, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Thanks again.

Edit: Acronyms
Last edited by UntraditionalMainer on Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

NYstate
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby NYstate » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:49 pm

UntraditionalMainer wrote:Wow- this is quite a bit to take in. I think several of you raise some very valid points.

I am, however, having quite a difficult time wrapping my head around some of the average figures that are being presented. Some of the figures just seem unusually low. I realize that the market is still shit, and there are certainly higher-tiered candidates who would scoop up some of the better-paying entry jobs (and I'm not saying I'd limit my employment market to Portland, I would also consider Boston)...but hell, my IT job is considered entry-level and I'm still pulling $33k as a base, $40k+ with overtime, and that's in the Lewiston market. I hope some of you can see why some of these lower figures presented would really boggle my mind. They could be spot-on, but it is just hard to get my head around them. FYIY, I'm also not above government work, or having to work my way up from the very bottom of the ladder - whatever it takes.

To the respondent re: salary vs. work, for me it isn't entirely salary-focused, because I would truly like to be in a career that challenges me and gives me a sense of self-worth.

To those encouraging a re-take, I can understand the premise, but without a rational end result, I'm not sure I can justify it. Let's look at it this way: a higher score can result in one of two things, either a better school, or better FA. To the first, it's a given that I would not matriculate outside of Maine or Boston, so what are the best schools in Boston...BC, BU, and Harvard? Harvard is obviously out. If I were to raise my score to the mid-160s, that makes me moderately competitive at the two, but on the border, at best because of a weaker UG, despite my GPA. Alternatively, let's look at it from the FA angle. Maine in-state is around $23k/year, so let's say I could knock another $5k a year off of that in scholarships (throwing out a mostly-arbitrary number). To me, I'm not sure I could justify the time investment in a higher LSAT given the two potential outcomes for a higher score, especially considering I'm in four classes this semester.

That's how I've rationalized things based on the feedback I've received thus far from you guys. I could be completely wrong. I really do appreciate the time that each of you has taken to respond and provide your insights, whether I agree with them or see the issue differently. Most of you have lived this process and know more about it than I do. If there's something I'm missing here, salaries notwithstanding, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Thanks again.


Yes salaries are that low. There are plenty of people who don't work as lawyers at all, but their zero salaries aren't included as far as I know. If you want to know more about the legal market read the now closed blog of inside the law school scam or the book Dont Go to Law School Unless, by Paul Campos.

FWIW: There are plenty of people from top schools who would take jobs at firms in Portland. Someone from my firm left not too long ago with her husband and they both have jobs there. They each graduated from Chicago.

As far as children go, I think having kids when you are in school and have a flexible schedule is better than when you are starting work. If the idea is that your wife will be able to stay home, then I guess that alters the plan.

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ManoftheHour
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby ManoftheHour » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:57 pm

UntraditionalMainer wrote:Wow- this is quite a bit to take in. I think several of you raise some very valid points.

I am, however, having quite a difficult time wrapping my head around some of the average figures that are being presented. Some of the figures just seem unusually low. I realize that the market is still shit, and there are certainly higher-tiered candidates who would scoop up some of the better-paying entry jobs (and I'm not saying I'd limit my employment market to Portland, I would also consider Boston)...but hell, my IT job is considered entry-level and I'm still pulling $33k as a base, $40k+ with overtime, and that's in the Lewiston market. I hope some of you can see why some of these lower figures presented would really boggle my mind. They could be spot-on, but it is just hard to get my head around them. FYIY, I'm also not above government work, or having to work my way up from the very bottom of the ladder - whatever it takes.

To the respondent re: salary vs. work, for me it isn't entirely salary-focused, because I would truly like to be in a career that challenges me and gives me a sense of self-worth.

To those encouraging a re-take, I can understand the premise, but without a rational end result, I'm not sure I can justify it. Let's look at it this way: a higher score can result in one of two things, either a better school, or better FA. To the first, it's a given that I would not matriculate outside of Maine or Boston, so what are the best schools in Boston...BC, BU, and Harvard? Harvard is obviously out. If I were to raise my score to the mid-160s, that makes me moderately competitive at the two, but on the border, at best because of a weaker UG, despite my GPA. Alternatively, let's look at it from the FA angle. Maine in-state is around $23k/year, so let's say I could knock another $5k a year off of that in scholarships (throwing out a mostly-arbitrary number). To me, I'm not sure I could justify the time investment in a higher LSAT given the two potential outcomes for a higher score, especially considering I'm in four classes this semester.

That's how I've rationalized things based on the feedback I've received thus far from you guys. I could be completely wrong. I really do appreciate the time that each of you has taken to respond and provide your insights, whether I agree with them or see the issue differently. Most of you have lived this process and know more about it than I do. If there's something I'm missing here, salaries notwithstanding, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Thanks again.


I'm don't think you fully understood my post. Just because you retake the June LSAT does not mean that you don't start law school this fall. There is absolutely NO RISK in you registering and taking the June LSAT. Just put a deposit down at one of your current schools and then retake. If your retake goes horribly wrong, then it doesn't matter. You'd be attending, say Maine, this fall anyway (not that I'd recommend that). If you do well, I would use your new score to negotiate a scholarship with your current choice. They'll probably throw some money your way. If that fails, you can use the score to reapply next cycle. Who knows? What if you get a mid to high 160? Then all of a sudden, your entire world opens up and you'd be very competitive for BC/BU. Let's say you get a 165 and you don't think your next cycle will be much better (which is totally absurd) and your current selection does not offer you more money in light of your new score. Then, in that case, if you so wish to, just attend in the fall. You already put the deposit down. The point is, by retaking this June, you have a choice. There's really no reason why you shouldn't retake. The only thing you lose is time studying and the 160 bucks for registration.

You don't even have to be aiming for BC or BU. A few points higher in your score can mean anywhere from a half scholarship to full tuition covered for the schools that you're choosing between now.

How can this retake not be justified? A mid 160 probably means full ride at all your current choices. And even if you fail on the June LSAT, you can still attend the school of your current choices this fall.
Last edited by ManoftheHour on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Samara
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Samara » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:59 pm

Yep, salaries really are that bad. And again, that's if you even get a full-time legal job, which only 44% of Maine grad do. Government jobs are not a fallback, they are often more competitive than private practice and getting into the Boston market from UMaine is probably next to impossible. But putting that aside for the moment...

If your LSAC GPA really is 3.94 (I'm not saying you're lying, just want to make sure you've taken everything into account) you could at the very least get a full scholarship to Maine. Then, at least your debt is minimized so that if you have to go back IT, you don't have a six figure debt staring you in the face.

With a higher LSAT, doable with smart, dedicated studying, Harvard is definitely within reach, or even a middle ground of a significant to full scholarship at BU or BC. Both schools prefer GPA over LSAT, so get up into the mid-to-high 160s and I bet you would be looking at significant money from BU/BC. BU and BC still don't have the best employment numbers, but they are both leaps and bounds better than UMaine. People actually get legal jobs out of those schools, many of them are even good-paying jobs. Retaking and reapplying would put you in a completely different realm than what you're looking at right now

I know a dude about your age who went to IU-Indy, a school with better employment stats than UMaine in a much larger market than Portland. He studied hard and did reasonably well, but struck out and has been working as a waiter since. Oh, and he already has a kid. Don't be that dude.

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Samara
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Samara » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:08 pm

LaBarrister wrote:The average is much, much higher that 60-80k for lawyers, at least according to this: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm, which says that the median in 2010 was $112,000.00. Yes, you are right. The average is misleading because the data is skewed, but the median is not. And given that this was just after the market crash, I don't think that the median would be down to 60-80k in 2012, much less the average, but I could be wrong.

Or do you have some data to support your claim?

You must be new.

Here's a chart showing salaries for entry-level jobs for c/o 2011:
Image

As you can see, nearly all jobs are in the 40-60k range or the 150-160k range. The median entry-level salary for full-time legal jobs was 60k for 2011, a 17% drop since 2009.

And that's nationwide. The smaller the market, the lower the median starting salary. In Maine, that median is less than 50k. One student (1.1% of ~95 students) from UMaine c/o 2011 got a job in a firm of 101+ lawyers, the typical indicator of an above median salary. The school does not release salary data, probably because that student was the only one to receive a salary above 80k.

And that's only counting people who managed to find full-time legal jobs. Over half of law school grads for 2011 failed to find such employment.
Last edited by Samara on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:12 pm

Furthermore the left hump is probably larger due to underreporting

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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:15 pm

It would be sheer lunacy for you to attend Maine. You know deep down it is a bad decision. Just admit it to yourself bro.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:18 pm

LaBarrister wrote:The average is much, much higher that 60-80k for lawyers, at least according to this: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm, which says that the median in 2010 was $112,000.00. Yes, you are right. The average is misleading because the data is skewed, but the median is not. And given that this was just after the market crash, I don't think that the median would be down to 60-80k in 2012, much less the average, but I could be wrong.

Or do you have some data to support your claim?

Yeah, I was using "average" loosely. I don't know what the actual average salary is. I know when I was applying to law school, there were schools reporting $60-80K as "average" salaries for their grads, without revealing the bimodal nature of salary distribution. So that was in the back of my head when I referred to average. It's nice to see from Samara's chart that I remembered that semi-accurately.

More importantly, I'm talking about starting salaries (which I didn't think needed to be said, when we're talking about jobs on graduation), and your BLS data refers to all lawyers. So rather different. If you think that $112K as an average salary for lawyers is a helpful statistic given the number of biglaw partners pulling millions, well...
Last edited by A. Nony Mouse on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby rad lulz » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:21 pm

Also let me dispel the notion right away that even if you get a job (which you by now know is unlikely), that the job will be interesting and fulfilling. A lot of law is cut and paste drivel bro. Especially when you have clients who can't or don't want to pay you (your small law firm clients don't want to pay you). Hell, a lot of working in a small firm is trying to do your own collections bro.

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hephaestus
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby hephaestus » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:23 pm

Samara wrote:
LaBarrister wrote:The average is much, much higher that 60-80k for lawyers, at least according to this: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm, which says that the median in 2010 was $112,000.00. Yes, you are right. The average is misleading because the data is skewed, but the median is not. And given that this was just after the market crash, I don't think that the median would be down to 60-80k in 2012, much less the average, but I could be wrong.

Or do you have some data to support your claim?

You must be new.

Here's a chart showing salaries for entry-level jobs for c/o 2011:
Image

As you can see, nearly all jobs are in the 40-60k range or the 150-160k range. The median entry-level salary for full-time legal jobs was 60k for 2011, a 17% drop since 2009.

And that's nationwide. The smaller the market, the lower the median starting salary. In Maine, that median is less than 50k. One student (1.1% of ~95 students) from UMaine c/o 2011 got a job in a firm of 101+ lawyers, the typical indicator of an above median salary. The school does not release salary data, probably because that student was the only one to receive a salary above 80k.

And that's only counting people who managed to find full-time legal jobs. Over half of law school grads for 2011 failed to find such employment.

Also LeBarrister, consider that the BlS average is age agnostic. That means that it is the verge salary of all practicing lawyers, not entry level lawyers. Also the average obviously does not include all graduates, just lawyers. These two categories are vastly different. Many students do not becomes lawyers and get screwed by debt.

UntraditionalMainer
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby UntraditionalMainer » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:29 pm

rad lulz wrote:It would be sheer lunacy for you to attend Maine. You know deep down it is a bad decision. Just admit it to yourself bro.



I am not disagreeing with you. I know I have some game, not T14 game, but some nonetheless. I feel my selection may be a reflection more of circumstance than ability, with the question then being, would a Juris Doctor degree leave me more marketable than I am in my present condition? I believe the answer to that is yes.

I have, however, been convinced of doing a retake (thank you). It sounds like it would have tangible benefits. My remaining question to that would be, how impactful would a higher LSAT be in 2L and 3L FA? Admittedly, finances have been on my radar less than actually being offered admission, and as such, the realm of LS financing has thus far escaped me.

TL;DR higher LSAT or solid LS grades for better LS FA beyond 1L?

Samara: factoring in my AAS degree, I think it brings it down to ~3.91

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Samara
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby Samara » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:42 pm

UntraditionalMainer wrote:
rad lulz wrote:It would be sheer lunacy for you to attend Maine. You know deep down it is a bad decision. Just admit it to yourself bro.



I am not disagreeing with you. I know I have some game, not T14 game, but some nonetheless. I feel my selection may be a reflection more of circumstance than ability, with the question then being, would a Juris Doctor degree leave me more marketable than I am in my present condition? I believe the answer to that is yes.

I have, however, been convinced of doing a retake (thank you). It sounds like it would have tangible benefits. My remaining question to that would be, how impactful would a higher LSAT be in 2L and 3L FA? Admittedly, finances have been on my radar less than actually being offered admission, and as such, the realm of LS financing has thus far escaped me.

TL;DR higher LSAT or solid LS grades for better LS FA beyond 1L?

Samara: factoring in my AAS degree, I think it brings it down to ~3.91

Okay, you're still in a great position to attend a much better school. You are unlikely to get any scholarship money beyond what you are awarded your 1L year. I think sometimes schools give money to people who threaten to transfer, but you have to be at the very top of your class to make transferring a legitimate threat.

Actually, a JD from Maine would make you less marketable. You would get shut out of a lot of jobs for being "over-qualified." You could easily end up in the far worse of position of being unable to get a legal job and unable to go back to your IT job. The upside to attending Maine is close to zero, while the downside is huge. Retake and reapply.

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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby TooOld4This » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:06 am

OP -- you are not caught between a rock and a hard place, only tangled up in your own misconceptions and misinformation.

1. Go to lawschoolnumbers.com and look at the applicants for each of the schools you are interested in. You are not sacrificing $15,000 over 3 years by not retaking, you are potentially sacrificing well over $100,000. With your GPA, you are an absolute fool to go to one of the law schools you are considering this fall. Quite frankly, taking one year off and improving your LSAT will "pay" you more than you are likely to make in any single year with one of the degrees you are considering -- ever. Consider studying for the LSAT a paying job, because it quite literally can be.

2. Look at Law School Transparency. Less than 1/2 of the graduates of some of the schools you are considering will get a job that actually required a JD. Your salary potential in IT is vastly better than a JD from these schools. In 3 years in IT you can work and develop new skills that can lead you to a path where you will earn more at year three than you will after going into debt for 3 years and getting a JD. If you do not succeed in getting a legal job, you will most likely find that the JD is a mark on your resume. If you have not had to pay tuition (see above), it may be a risk well worth taking (especially if you are willing to drop out after your first year if you have not gotten the grades required to be competitive for legal positions). Going into significant debt for these schools is a fools errand, especially when you are leaving a viable career to do so.

3. Financial aid is mostly merit in law school. It is handed out before you start. Your LSAT will determine the maximum amount of aid you will receive throughout law school. You may lose some of it if your grades aren't top (some schools have stipulations on their scholarships) but you are extremely unlikely to get more (rarely do schools offer additional aid to the top students to keep them from transferring).

4. You don't say what you don't like about IT, but I would think hard about that before you assume you would like a legal job. There are more similarities between the two than you might think. A lot of legal work is tracking down obscure information, reading documents for consistency, and other tedious tasks. In the world of e-discovery, there is even more overlap between the law and IT. It sounds from your posts that you have an ideal about what legal work is like, but may not have any actual experience with it. Talk to lots of lawyers before you make the jump.

CR2012
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby CR2012 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:54 am

FWIW, I have it on good authority that Maine does not (has once in recent history) give out full schollys.

LaBarrister
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Re: Rock v. Hard Place

Postby LaBarrister » Tue Mar 12, 2013 11:22 am

Samara wrote:
LaBarrister wrote:The average is much, much higher that 60-80k for lawyers, at least according to this: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/lawyers.htm, which says that the median in 2010 was $112,000.00. Yes, you are right. The average is misleading because the data is skewed, but the median is not. And given that this was just after the market crash, I don't think that the median would be down to 60-80k in 2012, much less the average, but I could be wrong.

Or do you have some data to support your claim?

You must be new.

Here's a chart showing salaries for entry-level jobs for c/o 2011:
Image

As you can see, nearly all jobs are in the 40-60k range or the 150-160k range. The median entry-level salary for full-time legal jobs was 60k for 2011, a 17% drop since 2009.

And that's nationwide. The smaller the market, the lower the median starting salary. In Maine, that median is less than 50k. One student (1.1% of ~95 students) from UMaine c/o 2011 got a job in a firm of 101+ lawyers, the typical indicator of an above median salary. The school does not release salary data, probably because that student was the only one to receive a salary above 80k.

And that's only counting people who managed to find full-time legal jobs. Over half of law school grads for 2011 failed to find such employment.


Thank you.




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