Advice for an 0L reconsidering law school?

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eric922
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Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:05 pm

Advice for an 0L reconsidering law school?

Postby eric922 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:18 pm

I've been a poster here for a few months now, but have planned on law school for a lot longer than that. However, lately I've been reading a lot of Paul Campos's blog "Inside the Law School Scam" and it's made me reconsider whether law schools is worth it at least right now. I do think I would enjoy being a lawyer, but after reading numerous stories of people graduating from elite schools and 5+ years in Biglaw suddenly finding themselves out of work, I'm not sure it's worth the risk anymore. My numbers, roughly 3.0-3.3ish GPA will likely keep me from getting anything close to a full ride. I haven't taken the LSAT yet, but even a 180 would likely still require me to take some loans at a good school due to my low GPA.

My original plan was to take the LSAT this June and apply in December with my Fall semester grades, but now I'm really not sure it is worth paying sticker at a T-14 or even going to one with a half tuition. I'm seriously considering taking the LSAT in June (retaking if I don't get high enough), working at a local newspaper or something for a year or so and EDing to NU and hoping for a full ride there. I figure even if I start law school at 27 it's better than starting at 26 and going into massive debt.

Alternately, I've started considering saying "screw law school" going back to UG getting a degree in Computer Science/Software Engineering and trying to fulfill my childhood goal of designing video games. It's got to be at least plausible as finding and keeping a legal job. This isn't my first choice as I have always wanted to be a lawyer, but from a purely economic standpoint I'm not sure it's worth the risk. Besides I figure a software engineer can find decent work anywhere so I won't be limited to my current location, which is good because the thought of living here my whole life terrifies me.

So, do you current law students and graduates have any advice for someone in my position?
Last edited by eric922 on Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nickb285
Posts: 1500
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:25 pm

Re: Advice for an OL reconsidering law school?

Postby nickb285 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:40 pm

You can still get into a good school and/or minimize debt if you kick serious ass on the LSAT. I have a 3.17 personally (with a 169 LSAT); my total COA will be somewhere in the $65k range (plus or minus $10k due to scholarship stips), because I'm going to a regional school--didn't want biglaw, so I figured I needed to keep costs down more than I needed to get into a T14. Had I been less choosy about what region I wanted to work in, I could have had COA as low as $45-50k. In real terms, this means a loan you can pay back on $40-45k/year. All in all, out of 18 applications to schools ranging from #13-#127 (Wyoming), I got 14 acceptances, three waitlists, and 13 scholarship offers. And that's with a 169, which, if you were interested in T14/biglaw/NYC/LA, you'd want to retake.

That said, your strategy changes as a splitter. Don't ED unless you're willing to pay sticker at a particular school--at most schools, ED means you're unlikely to get scholarships (since they don't have to entice you to visit), and splitter cycles are unpredictable, especially with the drop in applicants. Know what you want going in and what you'll likely need to get it--if I'd wanted T14 or major cities, I'd have retaken my 169 at least once and possibly twice. Apply to a broad range of schools, especially if you're not picky about where you live and/or you want to minimize debt more than you want dat preftige. It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on things, but browse TLS some and see what various splitters are doing, check lawschoolnumbers.com for splitter applicants, etc.

Also, don't overestimate the comp sci/programming market. It may not be as rough as the legal market, but claiming that "a software engineer can find decent work anywhere" is about as accurate as claiming that "a JD is a really versatile degree."

Oh, and it's not OL, it's 0L (zero L).

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Clearly
Posts: 4166
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Re: Advice for an OL reconsidering law school?

Postby Clearly » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:43 pm

You almost certainly wouldn't get the full ride ED with your GPA. Obviously when they started giving the full ride with ED admits, they raised the standards; the point of the full ride ED is to poach qualified students from CCN and occasionally YHS. That said, no one can tell you if it's worth it for you, or for that matter if you are capable of scoring high enough to put T14 on the table at all... Hit the books, take June, and then reevaluate where you could end up and what it would cost. Right now you're not in a position to speculate yet, you don't have an official lsat. Best of luck!

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nickb285
Posts: 1500
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:25 pm

Re: Advice for an 0L reconsidering law school?

Postby nickb285 » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:18 pm

Oh wait, does NU do the full ride ED thing? Well then yeah, it'd be worth a shot but unlikely. Other than that, what I said above.

FamilyLawEsq
Posts: 110
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:30 pm

Re: Advice for an 0L reconsidering law school?

Postby FamilyLawEsq » Sat Apr 06, 2013 12:33 pm

eric922 wrote:I've been a poster here for a few months now, but have planned on law school for a lot longer than that. However, lately I've been reading a lot of Paul Campos's blog "Inside the Law School Scam" and it's made me reconsider whether law schools is worth it at least right now. I do think I would enjoy being a lawyer, but after reading numerous stories of people graduating from elite schools and 5+ years in Biglaw suddenly finding themselves out of work, I'm not sure it's worth the risk anymore. My numbers, roughly 3.0-3.3ish GPA will likely keep me from getting anything close to a full ride. I haven't taken the LSAT yet, but even a 180 would likely still require me to take some loans at a good school due to my low GPA.

My original plan was to take the LSAT this June and apply in December with my Fall semester grades, but now I'm really not sure it is worth paying sticker at a T-14 or even going to one with a half tuition. I'm seriously considering taking the LSAT in June (retaking if I don't get high enough), working at a local newspaper or something for a year or so and EDing to NU and hoping for a full ride there. I figure even if I start law school at 27 it's better than starting at 26 and going into massive debt.

Alternately, I've started considering saying "screw law school" going back to UG getting a degree in Computer Science/Software Engineering and trying to fulfill my childhood goal of designing video games. It's got to be at least plausible as finding and keeping a legal job. This isn't my first choice as I have always wanted to be a lawyer, but from a purely economic standpoint I'm not sure it's worth the risk. Besides I figure a software engineer can find decent work anywhere so I won't be limited to my current location, which is good because the thought of living here my whole life terrifies me.

So, do you current law students and graduates have any advice for someone in my position?


If the LSAT is not high enough to score a 50% or more scholarship get the computer degree. There are too many lawyers at all levels of practice and too few jobs.




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