Cold Feet About Going to Law School

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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Re: Cold Feet About Going to Law School

Postby hoos89 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:38 pm

Last edited by hoos89 on Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Cold Feet About Going to Law School

Postby NYstate » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:56 am

OP: you may not be reading TLS generally but i assume you are following your own thread. I posted this from another thread for you to reads.

EijiMiyake wrote:I didn't read past page 1, so my apologies if this is redundant.

I was in a similar position to you, and have done a lot of reflecting lately about whether I made the right choice. Bottom line: the cost of law school has been very high for me, and if I had a redo, I would not do it again. And by cost, I'm not just referring to money. I think people really underrate the capacity of law school to completely disrupt your life, and the shit that you're attached to now might not be there when you come back.

Prior to law school, I spent 2 years working in a city that I loved, in a job that I disliked, but paid me about 80k a year. If I stayed, I would have been at 100k by year three, and would have been able to transition into any number of very solid business jobs, but probably not high finance (which didn't hold that much interest for me anyway), so there's a chance I would have topped out around the 100-120k mark for the foreseeable future.

Instead, I chose to go to HLS, and turned down full-rides from other schools to do so. I did not take the full-rides because I wanted to avoid big-law at any cost, and I felt like HLS gave me the best shot at doing so. It turns out that biglaw is much harder to avoid than I had anticipated. This is in part because some of the non-biglaw jobs I had my sights set on stopped hiring or had some other significant drawbacks that I didn't know about pre-law school. But it's also because the biglaw credential is so sought after that it makes sense to do it, and because I have about 120k in debt. (If you're at all thinking about public service, run the numbers on your school's LRAP plan and you'll see that it's actually relatively difficult to live on, which is why the vast majority of people I know that are going into public service do not have any significant debt to speak of.)

So, I will be spending at least a few years working biglaw in a city that I don't want to end up long term. (The wrong city aspect of this is completely my fault. I could have easily ended up in a firm in the city of my choice, but when I was going through OCI, I viewed 2L summer as a chance to try out a different city because I was still almost positive that I would not be going the biglaw route. But you should consider that many people end up in a big market not by choice, but because it's easier to find a job there.)

I did not particularly enjoy law school. And I will not particularly enjoy biglaw. And I'm far more worried about job security than I was in my old field. And if I failed the bar, I'll be out on my ass in just a few months. And it will take me at least 2 years just to get back to net worth 0, whereas if I hadn't gone, I would have had enough for a downpayment on a house by now. So assuming the sweet spot for lateralling into something I enjoy more starts in year 3, that's 6 years in my mid-twenties that I will spend far away from where I want to live and doing something that I don't particularly enjoy.

I am confident that I will eventually find a legal job that I like. But I also think I could have done any number of things that I would have found enjoyable, and I wouldn't have had to give up over half a decade to do so.


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Re: Cold Feet About Going to Law School

Postby Jacques_Bentley » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:32 pm

WhoisJohnGalt? wrote:Hi All,

today was d-day for me to give two weeks prior to starting law school, but I am having a lot of second thoughts about going to law school.

I have essentially a free ride for tuition to UC Irvine. I have enough in savings to cover living expenses, and will graduate with money in the bank.

I work for a Private Equity firm--my salary is consistent with associates at big law firms. A lot of prestige with my firm, but its uninspiring busy work at the best of times, and awful at the worst of times. There is a ceiling for me at my firm. I will not get promoted. It becomes increasingly more challenging to lateral firms at the mid level (probably consistent with mid level associates at law firms). I could be f'ed in a year, or be faced with a massive pay cut in going somewhere else.

My interest in the law lies either in joining my dad's shit law practice and trying to expand it, or do some form of litigation: FCPA, international disputes (i have worked abroad, speak two other useful languages). I would like to think my prior work experience will help a lot since more lawyers are not savvy in finance or business starting out.

Should I just try to go to B School next year or buy a subway instead? I think a legal education will help me in any career i end up--law or not, but 3 years has an opportunity cost, and I do not know if UCI lessens my pedigree since its unknown, esp outside the legal community.

I am losing sleep and have to decide tonight. Why i am on here, is probably the best question

Because you have chosen to post here using an Ayn Rand-inspired pseudonym, I will answer you with a pertinent quote from one of Rand's novels:

"If you want my advice, Peter, you've made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don't you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?"

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