Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

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NotGreatBob

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Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby NotGreatBob » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:26 pm

I used to post here a couple years back when I was LSAT studying/applying, but have forgotten what my username even was. Anywho~~~

I ended up not going to law school, taking a job that was related to my undergrad major and paid awfully well for a 22-year old kid. I was pretty excited about it.

Fast forward to now, some of the things I had been sold about this job haven't come to fruition (and won't for a very long time). Despite being the top analyst in my group, compensation growth has been laughable (I got a $5k raise in a year where I received perfect scores across my entire performance review), and the niche nature of what I do makes it less portable than I thought it would be. Significant compensation growth won't occur until I reach Director status, which likely is 15 years away, minimum. Until it's a veryyyy slow climb until I hit around $200k all in 8 years from now - certainly not bad money but far less than I thought I'd be able to make here, and not that much more than a first year Biglaw associate. Furthermore, I hate the city I'm in and it's going to be a struggle to find a comparable job in a different city.

Should I have gone to law school? I was 3.9+/175+ so likely would have gotten a full scholarship. Should I go now? Yell at me and remind me how much law sucks (or don't if you honestly think I'm better off going!)

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zot1

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby zot1 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:30 pm

It depends. How much do you make now? How many hours do you work? Outside compensation, are you happy with the culture? Work life balance?

NotGreatBob

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby NotGreatBob » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:38 pm

I make around $100k all in right now. So the current amount is good, but considering how slowly I'll watch it inch up, this is the best I'll ever feel about it.
I work around 60 hours a week and then study another 10-15 on top of it for this professional development thing (I'm on the last stage though so that'll end soon). The job is also in an awful suburb of a not-great city, so I get stuck with a 45 minute commute each way every day. So work-life balance is pretty bad, which I'm okay with, if I have growth opportunities... Now that I'm kind of plateauing it's a source of frustration.
I guess the people I work with/culture are fine, but not really a needle mover in either direction.

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zot1

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby zot1 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:51 pm

Are you interested in the day to day of your work? If the answer is no and given your stats, then yeah it'd be worth applying again.

Keep in mind though that you seems annoyed at the lack of work life balance. You will get very little of that in biglaw, but you will be making more money.

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UVA2B

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby UVA2B » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:32 pm

The pay and attendant pay bumps seem to be getting to you, along with the city you're in. Would you be happier in a big city or any specific city? Do you exclusively want Biglaw, or do you have other goals for your degree?

You'd have really good options for law school if you decided on it, and you'd be set up very well to get that Biglaw paycheck. But I'd caution that it's pretty unlikely the few years of $180-250k in Biglaw (going off averages for associate turnover. If you made partner, obviously pay goes up significantly) will make you feel better about your general distaste for the work environment, because you'll likely work as many, if not more, hours and the stress may get worse than what you have now. I don't know your specific work situation beyond what you've told us, but there will likely be a point of diminishing returns if all you're looking for is a bigger paycheck than what you have now.

Only you truly know if you want this career, but you don't sound particularly enthused about your current situation, but you also don't seem convinced that a career in law will ever be anything more than a slightly higher paycheck. Don't forget to check that sense of "grass is greener." It can be a powerful drug when you're not wholly satisfied with your current options.

NotGreatBob

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby NotGreatBob » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:37 pm

Yeah I definitely think 90% of my problem is how "stuck" I feel in what I'm currently doing, and I'm not sure what options for pivoting I have. Law school would definitely be a viable pivot, but I'm not sure the ends are any better than what I'm currently staring down.

I don't mind that I work a ton - I mind that I work a ton and get paid barely more than the other analysts in my class who get to leave at 4:30 every day because they didn't take the time to develop skills that I did (so I get a lot more project flow).

But obviously the rigid pay structure in Biglaw means that would be a feature of that career too - there's no differentiation of top performers for years (and who knows if I'll even be good at Biglaw).

Another thought I've bandied in my head is using my good law school stats to do a JD/MBA at a school with a really good b-school, and shooting for management consulting, but that's something I'd need to research a lot further...

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armc808

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby armc808 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:20 pm

LSAT scores are valid for 5 years, and your GPA stays with wherever you go. Just wanted to highlight those points.

I won't comment on what has already been done because I don't think that'd be very productive; but, I think you would have some excellent schools to choose from with a 3.9/175, not to mention the good possibility of receiving generous scholarship packages. At the same time, though, law school isn't something you should do if you don't have a vague idea of why you'd want to go--whether it'd be a specific job, an area of work, or some kind of impact that you'd like to make. Even with your credentials it's still a significant cost in terms of time and finances (relocating, living expenses, etc. even if you don't have to pay for tuition), so I would say that if you're not happy with where you are right now in your work, think about if and how a JD could help you get to doing what you'd like to do.

SiddFinch85

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby SiddFinch85 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:39 pm

If you're not sold on law, I'd use the time you'll get back when your development program ends to start talking to people in different fields and get a sense of what you really want and would enjoy. I hear you on wanting that pivot (been there), but try to be certain law is it before going into law. Maybe business school makes more sense. Maybe you could transition to something that doesn't require another degree. Being clearer on your goals, what you value, strengths/weaknesses will help you decide what to do next.

NotGreatBob

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby NotGreatBob » Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:46 pm

armc and Sidd - good points. I think you're both right that I have a lot of self-reflection to do before I jump into anything. There are paths that a JD would open up for me that are interesting, but they're not high probability outcomes (bankruptcy would be my ideal outcome). Business school would be a good idea, but I'd need to continue to wait and build up two more years of work experience before I'd be a strong candidate for that. There are other career paths I'm interested in, but they're paths that I simply can't get to from where I stand. But maybe further research will uncover another viable path to something more fulfilling.

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goldenflash19

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Re: Did I mess up/Remind me I'm not missing anything

Postby goldenflash19 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:25 am

At the risk of sounding cliched, I think the answer depends on how much you want to be a lawyer. From the sounds of prior posts, it seems law is more escape valve from your current position rather than a career you want to pursue.

Even with a major scholarship, you still need to factor in opportunity costs. Even with a full tuition scholarship, you'd still be sacrificing a minimum of $300K (plus the amount you would get in raises during this time) on top of the living costs you incur during law school. Statistically, you wouldn't probably wouldn't be in biglaw long enough to make substantially more (or even come out even) money than you would make just sticking with your current gig.

Also, though you say it's a struggle to find a comparable job in a different city, you should probably consider the likelihood of you finding one of these jobs over the next 3.5 years. Based on your pay/description of the job, it sounds as if the job would be at least semi-marketable. Having a realistic chance at landing a comparable job in a city you like would weigh against going to law school now.

Good luck!



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