How to be a successful Law Student

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Steven24

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How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Steven24 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:09 am

Hi there,

I'm not in Law school quite yet but I'll taking the LSAT in February.

I've been contemplating on whether or not it would be a good idea since of all the horror stories you hear such as debt, no job market, if you don't get into a top-tier Law school your job opportunities are not as what you would expect.

I'm hope to be going to a well-known Law school in my state. As cool as it would be to go to a top 50 even if I did get accepted.. it just never appealed to me.

Are these stigmas true though?

If you don't go to a big Law school then you won't be able to get into a large firm?

To get that dream job you want, do you have to get a 4.0 GPA?

My dream is work at a large firm straight out of school. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I want to make a reasonable income (Supposedly new associates in my state are offering 120k?? How do I position myself to get there?) so I can pay off my debt and also work towards the future.

Any advice, suggestions or stories you can share will be helpful!!

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MKC

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby MKC » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:37 am

No one can predict how they will perform in law school, so get a 170 on the LSAT and go to at least a T-20 school with a substantial scholarship.

Do not go to a lower ranked school if your ultimate goal is biglaw. That's a terrible bet.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

acr

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby acr » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:44 am

Steven24 wrote:My dream is work at a large firm straight out of school. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I want to make a reasonable income (Supposedly new associates in my state are offering 120k?? How do I position myself to get there?) so I can pay off my debt and also work towards the future.


Don't go to law school. People don't (usually) last longer than 2-3 years at large law firms. The LSAT, three years of investment during law school, the Bar exam, and likely your sanity are not worth it for the "dream" of billable hours and mountains of documents to pay off debt. You can make a reasonable income doing something else without the baggage of the legal profession.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Nov 11, 2016 12:51 pm

Moved to correct forum. (0Ls are not allowed to post in the Law Student forum.)

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Barack O'Drama

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Barack O'Drama » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:06 pm

acr wrote:
Steven24 wrote:My dream is work at a large firm straight out of school. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I want to make a reasonable income (Supposedly new associates in my state are offering 120k?? How do I position myself to get there?) so I can pay off my debt and also work towards the future.


Don't go to law school. People don't (usually) last longer than 2-3 years at large law firms. The LSAT, three years of investment during law school, the Bar exam, and likely your sanity are not worth it for the "dream" of billable hours and mountains of documents to pay off debt. You can make a reasonable income doing something else without the baggage of the legal profession.



lol that answers the question
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Nov 11, 2016 2:25 pm

OP, look at the law school reports at lawschooltransparency.com. Check out the school you're considering and see how many people from that school get jobs in big firms like the job you want. The problem is that as you go down the school rankings, fewer and fewer people get jobs at those big firms. It's not impossible, but it's determined largely by your grades and you will need to be in the top 15-5%, depending on the school and market. It sounds like you're in a secondary market, and if the "well known" school you're talking about is the top school in the region, I'm sure some of its grads do go into biglaw. But you have to keep in mind that law school classes are all graded on a curve, and only 10% of the class will be in the top 10%. You can't guarantee where you will be, so it's best to presume you'll fall at the median, and consider your options from there. Median from a lower-ranked school is extremely unlikely to get a biglaw job.

So this is why people will tell you to get a good LSAT score and go to a higher-ranked school, if you want to get a job with a big law firm paying $120K+.

(Leaving aside whether that job is one you actually want to have/will be able to keep for very long.)

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby lavarman84 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:08 am

Steven24 wrote:Hi there,

I'm not in Law school quite yet but I'll taking the LSAT in February.

I've been contemplating on whether or not it would be a good idea since of all the horror stories you hear such as debt, no job market, if you don't get into a top-tier Law school your job opportunities are not as what you would expect.

I'm hope to be going to a well-known Law school in my state. As cool as it would be to go to a top 50 even if I did get accepted.. it just never appealed to me.

Are these stigmas true though?


Yes, they're true.

If you don't go to a big Law school then you won't be able to get into a large firm?


If you don't go to a top 50 law school, you will likely not get a job with a big firm.

To get that dream job you want, do you have to get a 4.0 GPA?


At a law school outside of the top 50? Maybe not a 4.0, but you'll need something close to that.

My dream is work at a large firm straight out of school. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I want to make a reasonable income (Supposedly new associates in my state are offering 120k?? How do I position myself to get there?) so I can pay off my debt and also work towards the future.


Your choices basically boil down to:
1. Go to a top law school and likely work for a big firm
2. Get a great scholarship, attend a lesser school, and likely not work for a big firm

But as others said, the lifestyle at large firms is generally bad. So you might find that dream ends up being a nightmare. Or maybe you'll love it. Who knows. But if you want to make that goal (work at a big law firm) probable, you should work hard to ace the LSATs and attend a t14 school. If you don't get a good enough LSAT score, sit out a year and retake.

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SixSigma

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby SixSigma » Sat Nov 12, 2016 7:06 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:So this is why people will tell you to get a good LSAT score and go to a higher-ranked school, if you want to get a job with a big law firm paying $120K+.


Clearly hasn't been here, yet.

My research looking at Law School Numbers, etc. has indicated that the better your LSAT score, the higher quality school you're likely to get into. Further, there are a variety of schools- mostly in the T20- that all but guarantee a salary of $120K+. LST used to offer the ability to evaluate older salary data for schools that haven't published it recently. However, older data are still available from NALP. Salary appears to be strongly correlated with Large firm + Fed Clerk as a metric. Resultantly, you can almost use 75%ile LSAT as a proxy for starting salary width across the cohort.

I was recently enjoying a post on instagram from James Lorié, associate director for item development at LSAC. He also created the Spanish language version now given in Puerto Rico. It has now become my desktop background. On October 14th, 2016, he opined "This is not a test of innate talent; it is a test of acquired and practiced skills. The more you practice for the LSAT, the better you will become." If you're looking for some additional motivation, please consult this video for an hour's pleasant viewing of law school admission information. While everyone involved is African-American, the review of admissions information with particular regard to psychometrics and the utility of the test is valuable. After consuming much of this and similar material, I am convinced that scoring in the 99th percentile is possible for nearly any test taker of slightly above average intelligence willing to devote the time to mastering the skills tested.

That being said, if you're applying for the March cycle, you are probably significantly handicapping yourself by limiting the number of schools that can accept you. I recommend mastering the test, performing near the maximum, and then applying early (September) to every school myLSN, et al, suggests you are likely to achieve acceptance. That being said, I am always willing to consider differing evidence-based opinions.

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zot1

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby zot1 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 1:38 pm

Please please do more research about the legal profession and what you'd be doing day to day as an attorney. Being a lawyer is heavily romanticized by the media and even by some of us who tend to remember the better parts of it.

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby nick417 » Sat Nov 12, 2016 2:03 pm

Steven24 wrote:Hi there,

I'm not in Law school quite yet but I'll taking the LSAT in February.

I've been contemplating on whether or not it would be a good idea since of all the horror stories you hear such as debt, no job market, if you don't get into a top-tier Law school your job opportunities are not as what you would expect.

I'm hope to be going to a well-known Law school in my state. As cool as it would be to go to a top 50 even if I did get accepted.. it just never appealed to me.

Are these stigmas true though?

If you don't go to a big Law school then you won't be able to get into a large firm?

To get that dream job you want, do you have to get a 4.0 GPA?

My dream is work at a large firm straight out of school. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I want to make a reasonable income (Supposedly new associates in my state are offering 120k?? How do I position myself to get there?) so I can pay off my debt and also work towards the future.

Any advice, suggestions or stories you can share will be helpful!!



The stigma is not entirely true. Most people do find jobs who go to law school (the caveat is that you are going to a legitimate law school, which I will define as a school ranked in the top 100). The two problems people encounter though: (1) high debt compared to their salary and (2) working in an undesirable location.

First lesson: You can't bank on finding a job at a large firm right out of law school. That is not realistic (unless you are at an elite law school and even then... not a guarantee). Realistically, you should be preparing for a job that pays between $40-60K. And thus, research how much law school will cost you and determine whether you can realistically pay off your debt making less than $60K a year. People get in trouble when their debt reaches six figures and their salary is $60K per year.

Second lesson: choose a law school in a region you want to work. You have some leeway with this rule if you attend an elite law school. But it amazes me how many people think they can go to a school like Temple or Penn State and think they can go back to California or Florida and work. It isn't impossible, but illogical. You should attend school in a state/region you want to work.

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Pomeranian

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Pomeranian » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:23 pm

"My dream is work at a large firm straight out of school."

LOL! *If* you get this big firm job, you'll probably only last 3 years before burning out after coming home crying every night in tears. Sorry to burst your bubble.

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby BigZuck » Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:44 pm

Pomeranian wrote:"My dream is work at a large firm straight out of school."

LOL! *If* you get this big firm job, you'll probably only last 3 years before burning out after coming home crying every night in tears. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Has this been what your experience working as an attorney at a large law firm has been like?

Steven24

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Steven24 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:35 pm

I appreciate everyone's opinion and input regarding the topic I posted. I'm not going to lie, I'm learning more and more about the law profession as I seek out advice from those who are lawyers and those in these forums who have posted before. Maybe I am being a little unrealistic in terms of my expectations. Deep down, I would love a job out of Law school that would allow me to be financially stable. All I know is that when I wake up in the morning, I can be satisfied that I made the investment and that I get to work everyday as a lawyer practicing law.

Currently live in MN and would love to work in the state as well. We do have a variety of large-small firms here. There are only 3 schools here, U of Minnesota, St. Thomas School of Law and Hamline. I'm not aware of what the market here is like compared to East or West coast but I don't think it would be as big as those areas. My goal is to get into the St. Thomas with the best LSAT score I can get and work to the best of my abilities to get the highest GPA as possible. Then can I only hope that I have a shot at working at the big Law firms here.

I'm sorry if I seem very ignorant when it comes to this topic, I'm honestly looking for advice and the best way to use my investment to the best of my abilities.

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:59 pm

If you want big law then you should focus on schools like Michigan, Northwestern, etc. Minnesota likely won't get you there, and St. Thomas almost certainly won't.

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Steven24 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:24 pm

BigZuck wrote:If you want big law then you should focus on schools like Michigan, Northwestern, etc. Minnesota likely won't get you there, and St. Thomas almost certainly won't.


Are you saying that I would have a better shot going to a school out of state that is more "well-renowned" to get a job at a large law firm in MN rather than go to law school in MN to get a job in MN??

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:29 pm

Steven24 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:If you want big law then you should focus on schools like Michigan, Northwestern, etc. Minnesota likely won't get you there, and St. Thomas almost certainly won't.


Are you saying that I would have a better shot going to a school out of state that is more "well-renowned" to get a job at a large law firm in MN rather than go to law school in MN to get a job in MN??


For a big law firm, yes. If you want to work for a small-to-mid-sized firm, then stay in MN for school. But biglaw is only a realistic outcome from T14 schools.

That said, MN is probably a pretty insular market, so Michigan/Northwestern/Chicago would be your goal schools. No real point in going to the East Coast in this situation.

Steven24

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Steven24 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:06 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Steven24 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:If you want big law then you should focus on schools like Michigan, Northwestern, etc. Minnesota likely won't get you there, and St. Thomas almost certainly won't.


Are you saying that I would have a better shot going to a school out of state that is more "well-renowned" to get a job at a large law firm in MN rather than go to law school in MN to get a job in MN??


For a big law firm, yes. If you want to work for a small-to-mid-sized firm, then stay in MN for school. But biglaw is only a realistic outcome from T14 schools.

That said, MN is probably a pretty insular market, so Michigan/Northwestern/Chicago would be your goal schools. No real point in going to the East Coast in this situation.


Here is a huge plot twist.... I don't think I'd even be considered in a top 15.. with the undergrad GPA that I have and even if I score a 160+... Are my aspirations hopeless now?

cavalier1138

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:09 pm

Steven24 wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Steven24 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:If you want big law then you should focus on schools like Michigan, Northwestern, etc. Minnesota likely won't get you there, and St. Thomas almost certainly won't.


Are you saying that I would have a better shot going to a school out of state that is more "well-renowned" to get a job at a large law firm in MN rather than go to law school in MN to get a job in MN??


For a big law firm, yes. If you want to work for a small-to-mid-sized firm, then stay in MN for school. But biglaw is only a realistic outcome from T14 schools.

That said, MN is probably a pretty insular market, so Michigan/Northwestern/Chicago would be your goal schools. No real point in going to the East Coast in this situation.


Here is a huge plot twist.... I don't think I'd even be considered in a top 15.. with the undergrad GPA that I have and even if I score a 160+... Are my aspirations hopeless now?


Well, what's your GPA? Stop playing coy and give us your specific situation.

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby BigZuck » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:09 pm

Why do you want to work at a large law firm?

Steven24

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Steven24 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:47 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Steven24 wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:
Steven24 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:If you want big law then you should focus on schools like Michigan, Northwestern, etc. Minnesota likely won't get you there, and St. Thomas almost certainly won't.


Are you saying that I would have a better shot going to a school out of state that is more "well-renowned" to get a job at a large law firm in MN rather than go to law school in MN to get a job in MN??


For a big law firm, yes. If you want to work for a small-to-mid-sized firm, then stay in MN for school. But biglaw is only a realistic outcome from T14 schools.

That said, MN is probably a pretty insular market, so Michigan/Northwestern/Chicago would be your goal schools. No real point in going to the East Coast in this situation.


Here is a huge plot twist.... I don't think I'd even be considered in a top 15.. with the undergrad GPA that I have and even if I score a 160+... Are my aspirations hopeless now?


Well, what's your GPA? Stop playing coy and give us your specific situation.


My GPA is 2.6-2.7.. I just took my first ever practice test that was given to me from a LSAT prep course company and let's just say, I did not even subpar but very below.. Do I really have a chance? I just feel like no one has done as poorly as I have even if it is there first time.

Steven24

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Steven24 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:49 pm

BigZuck wrote:Why do you want to work at a large law firm?


I mean who does not want to work at a large firm?? I'm not saying the pay at a large firm is that much significant compared to those working at small-mid size or maybe it is I don't know.. But also the stature of it.. It's like working in the Finanace industry, don't you want to make it to the top like Wells? U.S. Bank? Ameriprise?

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zot1

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby zot1 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:16 pm

Steven24 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Why do you want to work at a large law firm?


I mean who does not want to work at a large firm?? I'm not saying the pay at a large firm is that much significant compared to those working at small-mid size or maybe it is I don't know.. But also the stature of it.. It's like working in the Finanace industry, don't you want to make it to the top like Wells? U.S. Bank? Ameriprise?


I think this answer says it all.

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby cavalier1138 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:36 pm

Steven24 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Why do you want to work at a large law firm?


I mean who does not want to work at a large firm?? I'm not saying the pay at a large firm is that much significant compared to those working at small-mid size or maybe it is I don't know.. But also the stature of it.. It's like working in the Finanace industry, don't you want to make it to the top like Wells? U.S. Bank? Ameriprise?


Based on this response and your low numbers, I would not recommend law school for you.

Steven24

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby Steven24 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:41 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
Steven24 wrote:
BigZuck wrote:Why do you want to work at a large law firm?


I mean who does not want to work at a large firm?? I'm not saying the pay at a large firm is that much significant compared to those working at small-mid size or maybe it is I don't know.. But also the stature of it.. It's like working in the Finanace industry, don't you want to make it to the top like Wells? U.S. Bank? Ameriprise?


Based on this response and your low numbers, I would not recommend law school for you.


You are more likely than right. I appreciate your honesty. Maybe i'll take some more practice tests to see if this was a fluke. I have not had any prep or anything prior of taking my first test..

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zot1

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Re: How to be a successful Law Student

Postby zot1 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:25 pm

This thread was weird.



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