Not a flame... Unfortunately.

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lostjake
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Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby lostjake » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:03 pm

First off this post is not a flame, believe it or not. I, like many of you, am wondering if I should go to law school or not. My reasons though are somewhat different.

I personally don't mind my job right now, although I'm away from home approx 300 days per year working 12 hour days. Last year was a good year (gross 200K), but usually I'd expect it to be around ~150-180. The problem is my wife HATES my job (because I'm never home). Not that I want to do this job for the rest of my life, which leads me to this post! If I can't go to a T1-14 school I will not go, in fact I probably won't go unless I can go to a school where I can still be in my city, considering I already have a house here. I've done the following math:
Go to law school for 3 years: -150K
Miss three years of work: 450K

I'm already 600k in the hole here. Assuming I get a big law job (doesn't everyone...). I'll be running even by year 4, minus interest and such and by year 10 I could be making more or less, although if I kept my current job, I would of course probably already be retired and working on a beach some where. With my wife. Assuming she sticks around. Anyway, I'm currently 27 years old, so the law investment would be long term. Any thoughts? Would anyone else risk going, or just stick it out for a couple of more years?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:04 pm

If you hate lack of time to spend with your family, you probably shouldn't be looking at law school so much. Not because you'll have no time in law school, but because they'll be the last 3 years you'll have with any kind of free time.

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Cupidity
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby Cupidity » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:06 pm

As stated above, the kind of law where you will make money to justify this investment is the kind where you'll have less time than you have now.

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Borhas
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby Borhas » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:06 pm

so why do you want to go to law school again?

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TheBigMediocre
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby TheBigMediocre » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:08 pm

Don't go to law school. Spend the money to have your wife travel with you and she'll be much happier.

The best case? Fly your wife to your location and bill it to your client as an expense.

ppa840
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby ppa840 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:13 pm

lostjake wrote:First off this post is not a flame, believe it or not. I, like many of you, am wondering if I should go to law school or not. My reasons though are somewhat different.

I personally don't mind my job right now, although I'm away from home approx 300 days per year working 12 hour days. Last year was a good year (gross 200K), but usually I'd expect it to be around ~150-180. The problem is my wife HATES my job (because I'm never home). Not that I want to do this job for the rest of my life, which leads me to this post! If I can't go to a T1-14 school I will not go, in fact I probably won't go unless I can go to a school where I can still be in my city, considering I already have a house here. I've done the following math:
Go to law school for 3 years: -150K
Miss three years of work: 450K

I'm already 600k in the hole here. Assuming I get a big law job (doesn't everyone...). I'll be running even by year 4, minus interest and such and by year 10 I could be making more or less, although if I kept my current job, I would of course probably already be retired and working on a beach some where. With my wife. Assuming she sticks around. Anyway, I'm currently 27 years old, so the law investment would be long term. Any thoughts? Would anyone else risk going, or just stick it out for a couple of more years?


It doesn't seem like law school would be a sound investment at this time. Your opportunity cost is way too high to make law school worth it.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=110149

Go there and plug in your opportunity cost along with all other financial considerations, and you will know how much you will have to make to make the investment worth it. The number isn't pretty.

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lostjake
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby lostjake » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:14 pm

Borhas wrote:so why do you want to go to law school again?

I thought that I'd beable to spend more time at home (at least sleeping there would be better than now). I have an engineering degree and would be interested in patent law (BSEE, going for MSEE). I've heard that these two fields are a little better than general law. Also have somewhat good work experience to be in the field (oil field related), in which new patents are always popping up. Change anything? I've also considered just working another 2 years and becoming a high school teacher. After the house is paid off, eh, who cares right? Plus the wife is an engineer. Maybe I'll be a house husband and she can work! :twisted:

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jks289
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby jks289 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:20 pm

lostjake wrote:
Borhas wrote:so why do you want to go to law school again?

I thought that I'd beable to spend more time at home (at least sleeping there would be better than now). I have an engineering degree and would be interested in patent law (BSEE, going for MSEE). I've heard that these two fields are a little better than general law. Also have somewhat good work experience to be in the field (oil field related), in which new patents are always popping up. Change anything? I've also considered just working another 2 years and becoming a high school teacher. After the house is paid off, eh, who cares right? Plus the wife is an engineer. Maybe I'll be a house husband and she can work! :twisted:


I know a small amount about this because my sister in law works in patent law. Basically she had to put in 3-4 crazy year of intense work. Probably similar to the hours you keep now, but obviously not traveling as much. In that time she made her name as an associate on a few big cases, and built her own client base. Now she works part time hours for essentially a full time salary, because the firm pays her based on her clients (who she could take with her if she went elsewhere). She pulls in 150K, in the office three days a week and is home before her kids get out of school. There are a few late nights, but in general it is sweet. If you have connections from your work now, that you could turn into clients later down the road, I think it might be a good compromise for your family. Patent law is such a specific field, you are going to get better advice contacting lawyers who are in it than you will on this site.

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evilxs
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby evilxs » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:22 pm

Work another couple of years and become a teacher. Law just isnt worth it in your scenario.

It aint like it used to be.

Of course with all of your time away from home if you nailed a spectacular LSAT score you might be able to get a mostly free ride somewhere changing your numbers a lot.

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Borhas
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby Borhas » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:32 pm

lostjake wrote:
Borhas wrote:so why do you want to go to law school again?

I thought that I'd beable to spend more time at home (at least sleeping there would be better than now). I have an engineering degree and would be interested in patent law (BSEE, going for MSEE). I've heard that these two fields are a little better than general law. Also have somewhat good work experience to be in the field (oil field related), in which new patents are always popping up. Change anything? I've also considered just working another 2 years and becoming a high school teacher. After the house is paid off, eh, who cares right? Plus the wife is an engineer. Maybe I'll be a house husband and she can work! :twisted:


I don't know how patent law works in a big firm, but my roommates dad is an in house IP Lawyer at fortune 500 chemical company. He works around 50 hours a week. He travels quiet a bit but not anywhere close to what you are doing, and he rakes in around 150k a year (quiet a bit of money for Richmond, VA). But people don't get in house gigs straight out of LS, they have to put in their hard labor at a big firm.

If you think you can keep your marriage together just stick it out for a couple more years then do the teacher/retirement gig.

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Grizz
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby Grizz » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:35 pm

If you get biglaw, you will still work nice 60+ hour weeks which I'm sure you're wife also will not like. Buy her some shoes, clothes, diamonds, etc. She will be happier.

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agentdedalus
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby agentdedalus » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:38 pm

clone self. /thread.

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Knock
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby Knock » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:41 pm

Are there any alternatives between keeping your current job and dropping everything for a huge career change? maybe try and get a different job with your EE degree?

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lostjake
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby lostjake » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:50 pm

Knockglock wrote:Are there any alternatives between keeping your current job and dropping everything for a huge career change? maybe try and get a different job with your EE degree?



Yes, several. I have considered:
1. Going to school in Cornell in the day, working at night. Make 150K per year and still go to school. 0 time at life. 0 time at home. 0 chances for good grades. Maybe .05%. Yes, not 5%. (I know<--- Idiot).
2. Teaching after 2 more years or so of working, but you know how that goes. Its hard to turn down a job when you're making money.
3. Having wife quit job and moving out here to the southern teir with me. Work 12 hours a day and go home to see her. Although she makes pretty good money herself right now (90k). Funny how you can talk about this stuff online.... Also, I live in detroit, and my house value went down 60K last year. yay.

One thing about the opp. costs is that my wife and I plan on having kids, and we have the mind set that we don't want our kids to be in day care.

Ok, after typing this, its pretty obvious what the answer is. Damn it, I really wanted to be a lawyer though :(

A) Wife quits job, moves out to NY, lost jake eats house cost. Its hard doing that and selling a house in D town.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby SteelReserve » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:01 pm

Lostjake,
What a great financial position you are in, and kudos on thinking out this decision. While I don't know your exact life and mentality, I am confounded as to why you think biglaw would be a good fit for you and your family.

The #1, #2, #3 and #4 reason people try to get into biglaw is money. The #5 reason is exit options.

You already have reasons #1-4 covered. Sure you might make more cake ten years down the road as a partner, but that chance is extremely low and you will doubtless advance your salary to strasopheric levels if you stick with your current job.

But more importantly, it seems your goal is family (kudos) and thus biglaw is not a good match. I don't need to repeat the hours worked, the stress induced, the weekends lost and the relationships strained. Nearly every biglawyer I know that started a family quit and moved elsewhere to smaller firms or inhouse.

The bottom line here is you will be into your forties by the time this pays off and you will still be working ludicrous hours.

If I were in your blessed situation, I would work a few more years and keep my expenses low low low then do something with easy hours that you can enjoy--you mentioned teaching for instance.

Lostjake, you have one life to live. Family is more important. All the best to you!

yeff
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby yeff » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:20 pm

Obviously, you've been pointed in this direction already, but it makes very little sense to try for law and biglaw based on your considerations.

From your description, your family with dual income no kids is pulling in 240-300k a year but you have no time together.

I don't know what your lifestyle is like, but with that kind of income, by living not-that-modestly for a few years until you have kids, you could save enough to be semi-retired during your kids childhood. Sounds pretty amazing to me.

Its hard to turn down a job when you're making money.


I understand (intellectually at least) the problems of golden handcuffs, but opportunity costs aren't measured just in lost income.

jerjon2
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby jerjon2 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:28 pm

jks289 wrote:
lostjake wrote:
Borhas wrote:so why do you want to go to law school again?

I thought that I'd beable to spend more time at home (at least sleeping there would be better than now). I have an engineering degree and would be interested in patent law (BSEE, going for MSEE). I've heard that these two fields are a little better than general law. Also have somewhat good work experience to be in the field (oil field related), in which new patents are always popping up. Change anything? I've also considered just working another 2 years and becoming a high school teacher. After the house is paid off, eh, who cares right? Plus the wife is an engineer. Maybe I'll be a house husband and she can work! :twisted:


I know a small amount about this because my sister in law works in patent law. Basically she had to put in 3-4 crazy year of intense work. Probably similar to the hours you keep now, but obviously not traveling as much. In that time she made her name as an associate on a few big cases, and built her own client base. Now she works part time hours for essentially a full time salary, because the firm pays her based on her clients (who she could take with her if she went elsewhere). She pulls in 150K, in the office three days a week and is home before her kids get out of school. There are a few late nights, but in general it is sweet. If you have connections from your work now, that you could turn into clients later down the road, I think it might be a good compromise for your family. Patent law is such a specific field, you are going to get better advice contacting lawyers who are in it than you will on this site.


Does the person you know do patent litigation or patent prosecution? (The crazy schedule at the beginning sounds like it would be litigation but I'd just like to clarify) Also, if she does litigation did she have a technical background going into the field? Also, does she work in the patent practice of a GP firm or in a patent specific firm? (I'm sorry for the barrage of questions and sort of hijacking the thread but I'm trying to decide between litigation/prosecution and GP Firm/Patent Specific.

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jks289
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby jks289 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:37 pm

jerjon2 wrote:
jks289 wrote:
lostjake wrote:
Borhas wrote:so why do you want to go to law school again?

I thought that I'd beable to spend more time at home (at least sleeping there would be better than now). I have an engineering degree and would be interested in patent law (BSEE, going for MSEE). I've heard that these two fields are a little better than general law. Also have somewhat good work experience to be in the field (oil field related), in which new patents are always popping up. Change anything? I've also considered just working another 2 years and becoming a high school teacher. After the house is paid off, eh, who cares right? Plus the wife is an engineer. Maybe I'll be a house husband and she can work! :twisted:


I know a small amount about this because my sister in law works in patent law. Basically she had to put in 3-4 crazy year of intense work. Probably similar to the hours you keep now, but obviously not traveling as much. In that time she made her name as an associate on a few big cases, and built her own client base. Now she works part time hours for essentially a full time salary, because the firm pays her based on her clients (who she could take with her if she went elsewhere). She pulls in 150K, in the office three days a week and is home before her kids get out of school. There are a few late nights, but in general it is sweet. If you have connections from your work now, that you could turn into clients later down the road, I think it might be a good compromise for your family. Patent law is such a specific field, you are going to get better advice contacting lawyers who are in it than you will on this site.


Does the person you know do patent litigation or patent prosecution? (The crazy schedule at the beginning sounds like it would be litigation but I'd just like to clarify) Also, if she does litigation did she have a technical background going into the field? Also, does she work in the patent practice of a GP firm or in a patent specific firm? (I'm sorry for the barrage of questions and sort of hijacking the thread but I'm trying to decide between litigation/prosecution and GP Firm/Patent Specific.


Her firm is IP specific. I am not entirely positive on the details. I think she started out in litigation, and now actually writes the patents. She is only disposed or in court if litigation results from something she wrote. She has a technical background in biomedical/computer stuff. I don't know much about it other than she is highly paid (out of a lower ranked school) and has a really nice deal on hours. My understanding is that if you have contacts in your field, and control your book of business you end up with a lot of say in your schedule.

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Philo38
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby Philo38 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:42 pm

So are we to gather that the lesson from this thread is: don't buy an expensive house? Because, I am getting ready to buy a VERY expensive house called law school debt . . . I hate to think of myself trapped in something I don't want to do, or that is hurting my family because I have debt looming over my head. Me scared.

jerjon2
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby jerjon2 » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:56 pm

jks289 wrote:Her firm is IP specific. I am not entirely positive on the details. I think she started out in litigation, and now actually writes the patents. She is only disposed or in court if litigation results from something she wrote. She has a technical background in biomedical/computer stuff. I don't know much about it other than she is highly paid (out of a lower ranked school) and has a really nice deal on hours. My understanding is that if you have contacts in your field, and control your book of business you end up with a lot of say in your schedule.


Thanks for the insight.

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lostjake
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby lostjake » Tue Mar 16, 2010 6:59 pm

I think that was the general lesson of 2008 :|

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kswiss
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby kswiss » Tue Mar 16, 2010 7:02 pm

Have you considered getting a great LSAT score and going to a T14 on a scholarship? Just save some $$ for a year and live cheaply for 3 years.

That is, if law is something you really want to do. If not, why go through all the trouble when what you have right now is a sure bet?

Keile
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby Keile » Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:15 am

lostjake wrote:First off this post is not a flame, believe it or not. I, like many of you, am wondering if I should go to law school or not. My reasons though are somewhat different.

I personally don't mind my job right now, although I'm away from home approx 300 days per year working 12 hour days. Last year was a good year (gross 200K), but usually I'd expect it to be around ~150-180. The problem is my wife HATES my job (because I'm never home). Not that I want to do this job for the rest of my life, which leads me to this post! If I can't go to a T1-14 school I will not go, in fact I probably won't go unless I can go to a school where I can still be in my city, considering I already have a house here. I've done the following math:
Go to law school for 3 years: -150K
Miss three years of work: 450K

I'm already 600k in the hole here. Assuming I get a big law job (doesn't everyone...). I'll be running even by year 4, minus interest and such and by year 10 I could be making more or less, although if I kept my current job, I would of course probably already be retired and working on a beach some where. With my wife. Assuming she sticks around. Anyway, I'm currently 27 years old, so the law investment would be long term. Any thoughts? Would anyone else risk going, or just stick it out for a couple of more years?


What do you do right now?

200k gross sounds incredible.

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soundgardener
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby soundgardener » Wed Mar 17, 2010 2:56 pm

I'm going to guess he's a petroleum engineer.

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98234872348
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Re: Not a flame... Unfortunately.

Postby 98234872348 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 3:04 pm

Bro, don't go to law school...

Seriously.




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