Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
dallasstar
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:17 am

Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby dallasstar » Tue Mar 26, 2013 8:22 am

I'm trying to understand if any of you regret your decision to go to law school after leaving a career.

Would you leave a $~150-200k job to go to law school for patent law if you didn't like the career path you were on? What if you had enough savings+scholarships to graduate from law school without debt? I had decided on law school even before I started in my career, but somehow, I ended up sticking around a few extra years.

I keep thinking I'd love to practice law, but people's horror stories keep discouraging me. I think a lot of them are from people who've never experienced other careers (stress exists in all careers). I'd love to hear experienced people's perspectives (along with a description of your prior career).

I've thought about M7 MBAs, but frankly, I don't think I'd get in because I don't have "leadership" experience... not to mention MBAs don't prepare you for any career... They just set you up to go further in a similar path to what you're on. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Giddy-Up
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:36 am

Re: Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby Giddy-Up » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:21 am

Have you ever thought about working as a Patent Agent (or some other job) and going to school at night? There is not a lot of discussion on this board regarding part timers, but for some I think it makes a lot of sense. There is a much bigger safety net if you go to school at night and hold on to your other career for a bit longer. The toughest part is the SA, but my company was pretty cool with me doing an SA and then returning to my current job until graduation. (I was not a patent agent, but have an engineering background).

dallasstar
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:17 am

Re: Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby dallasstar » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:32 am

I'm pretty dead-set on T14/T6, and I have the scores for it (not sure they do part-time).... and as with many jobs, my hours aren't conducive to part-time coursework (I did some part-time graduate math courses, and it was hell on earth).

I guess I just wanted to get an idea of whether people who switched careers are happy with their new careers. I know that's unique to every individual, but I'm curious about perspectives specifically from experienced people (bonus points for people w/ engineering backgrounds).

I've considered being a patent agent, but it seems like most of those positions require prior experience... and I'd also rather not delay something I want. I'm giving myself till this summer to make a decision.

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bk1
Posts: 18414
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby bk1 » Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:52 am

OP, try the search function. There are several former engineers (and other "good career" types) on TLS, though most of them are law students and thus don't have the perspective of actual grads.

This thread should be a good start: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=187375 You can also try pm'ing people who are former engineers and seeing if they wouldn't mind answering questions about why they left and whether they felt it was worth it.

dallasstar
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:17 am

Re: Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby dallasstar » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:15 am

bk1 wrote:OP, try the search function. There are several former engineers (and other "good career" types) on TLS, though most of them are law students and thus don't have the perspective of actual grads.

This thread should be a good start: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=187375 You can also try pm'ing people who are former engineers and seeing if they wouldn't mind answering questions about why they left and whether they felt it was worth it.


That thread is awesome. Thank you.

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guano
Posts: 2268
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:49 am

Re: Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby guano » Tue Mar 26, 2013 10:35 am

dallasstar wrote:I'm trying to understand if any of you regret your decision to go to law school after leaving a career.

Would you leave a $~150-200k job to go to law school for patent law if you didn't like the career path you were on? What if you had enough savings+scholarships to graduate from law school without debt? I had decided on law school even before I started in my career, but somehow, I ended up sticking around a few extra years.

I keep thinking I'd love to practice law, but people's horror stories keep discouraging me. I think a lot of them are from people who've never experienced other careers (stress exists in all careers). I'd love to hear experienced people's perspectives (along with a description of your prior career).

I've thought about M7 MBAs, but frankly, I don't think I'd get in because I don't have "leadership" experience... not to mention MBAs don't prepare you for any career... They just set you up to go further in a similar path to what you're on. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

I left a high-paying job to go to law school. I then left law school when I received an offer of another high-paying job in my old industry. I also have an MBA and experience with that. Ask me anything.

One question I have for you, though, is, what do you know about the actual practice of law, and do you know what kind of law you want to practice?

anonmyuos
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:33 am

Re: Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby anonmyuos » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:05 am

I fit your description. I'm mostly OK with my choice -- I think it's probably a close call, and it's very individualized, but for me it was fine. Honestly, I don't really feel like posting anything though because the thread that was linked above contains most of what I would post. It's chock full of useful information and has a great discussion on both sides, and I find it useless to repeat it. But I will post just to say I'm open to PMs if you have any specific questions.

iiifly
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 3:57 pm

Re: Did any of you leave good jobs to go to law school?

Postby iiifly » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:03 pm

If you take the NPV benefit of leaving work, going to LS, then rejoining the workforce it's less than staying where you are (I did this kind of analysis). Esp having already a "big law" salary.

However, I concluded that getting a decent scholarship at a part time program may be positive. If you can get into a decent school PT with $$$ and keep your day job that's ideal. Basically, I'm doing it for the challenge not $. But wasn't going to mortgage my future for what amounts to a challenge - so I took a lower ranked school with close to full scholly

So it takes you 4 years (in my case, would be 3.5 years this December) but in the end you made money for all of them before potentially getting a law job or simply staying where you are for no net impact.

I'm not going to share my study habits, but I am able to balance it all and still maintain top 20%. In hindsight, I would've preferred to go to a much better school with $$$ if I had not spaced on the LSAT.




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