Grad school or paralegal? Need input

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ejf5060
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Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby ejf5060 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:22 am

Hello everyone. I am taking a year off between undergrad and law school (Why? Primarily because I applied late--as in March 31). I am graduating with degrees in history, journalism, political science from a public ivy; URM; 90th percentile LSAT; high GPA; strong softs. I got into a couple T20 schools, but (due to the lateness of my applications) no aid (VERY important). Also, I am studying hard for the June LSAT and I believe I can get a much higher score (when I first took it in February I self-studied, now I am self-studying using the invaluably helpful blueprint online course). Career-wise, I want Biglaw. Anyway, my options boil down to work or study:
1)one-year masters in economics at the University of Hong Kong (very highly ranked school, around $15,000 in loans)
or
2)Work for a law firm (already have job offer from mid-size mortgage banking firm downtown but also considering paralegal certificate during summer then work)

What would you do? Thank you in advance for the help and let me know if there is any relevant information I forgot to include.

FiveSermon
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby FiveSermon » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:23 am

Work. Work looks better on your resume and can be valuable for OCI. You can also save $.

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dr123
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby dr123 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:24 am

Work

Making money > spending money

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BlakcMajikc
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby BlakcMajikc » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:29 am

which ever one makes you more happy. you'll be fine with either option.

The chump change that you save as a paralegal will pale in comparison to the scholly dollars you will get when you increase that LSAT score.

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cucullu
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby cucullu » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:39 pm

paralegal! provides a familiarity with the field that will make for useful context once you are in school. also, it's nice to be out of school for a bit.

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swilson215
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby swilson215 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:44 pm

cucullu wrote:paralegal! provides a familiarity with the field that will make for useful context once you are in school. also, it's nice to be out of school for a bit.


+1. That's what I did.

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paratactical
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby paratactical » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:46 pm

Whatever you do, you don't need the paralegal certificate.

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gbpackerbacker
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby gbpackerbacker » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:47 pm

ejf5060 wrote:Hello everyone. I am taking a year off between undergrad and law school (Why? Primarily because I applied late--as in March 31). I am graduating with degrees in history, journalism, political science from a public ivy; URM; 90th percentile LSAT; high GPA; strong softs. I got into a couple T20 schools, but (due to the lateness of my applications) no aid (VERY important). Also, I am studying hard for the June LSAT and I believe I can get a much higher score (when I first took it in February I self-studied, now I am self-studying using the invaluably helpful blueprint online course). Career-wise, I want Biglaw. Anyway, my options boil down to work or study:
1)one-year masters in economics at the University of Hong Kong (very highly ranked school, around $15,000 in loans)
or
2)Work for a law firm (already have job offer from mid-size mortgage banking firm downtown but also considering paralegal certificate during summer then work)

What would you do? Thank you in advance for the help and let me know if there is any relevant information I forgot to include.



15 in loans, but how much in total cost? I think that if you're just spending 15k total then it will be an invaluable experience worth the cost.

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Veyron
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby Veyron » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:51 pm

[quote="BlakcMajikc"]which ever one makes you more happy. you'll be fine with either option.[quote]

Wrong, the masters could create problems at OCI, you don't want to add debt to LS debt, the parallegal gig will help you make connections and w/e helps at OCI.

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loblaw
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby loblaw » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:15 pm

paratactical wrote:Whatever you do, you don't need the paralegal certificate.


+1--I feel like we need a special anti-paralegal certificate thread. For those that have bachelor's and plan to paralegal for a few years, it's a useless moneysuck.

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swilson215
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby swilson215 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:58 pm

loblaw wrote:
paratactical wrote:Whatever you do, you don't need the paralegal certificate.


+1--I feel like we need a special anti-paralegal certificate thread. For those that have bachelor's and plan to paralegal for a few years, it's a useless moneysuck.


Again, +1. I worked at a firm without my paralegal cert for two years. Did almost the exact same things, got paid almost the same starting salary, and didn't have to take classes/spend $.

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dr123
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby dr123 » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:14 pm

paratactical wrote:Whatever you do, you don't need the paralegal certificate.


Unless you're in California, they require you to complete a couple semester program in order to be a Paralegal

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BlakcMajikc
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby BlakcMajikc » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:03 pm

Veyron wrote:
BlakcMajikc wrote:which ever one makes you more happy. you'll be fine with either option.

Wrong, the masters could create problems at OCI, you don't want to add debt to LS debt, the parallegal gig will help you make connections and w/e helps at OCI.


A masters in econ will create problems at OCI? bullcrap.

I expect the OP to get a $$$ at a T20... She understands the need to get a higher score on the LSAT (signaled by being on TLS and posting here) and has a year to do so. URM, high GPA from a public ivy, solid softs (the masters), add in an LSAT retake in the 165+ range and the OP will be cruising on $$$. The $15k of debt won't be a problem.

keg411
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby keg411 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 12:01 pm

dr123 wrote:
paratactical wrote:Whatever you do, you don't need the paralegal certificate.


Unless you're in California, they require you to complete a couple semester program in order to be a Paralegal


I did a paralegal certificate program because I applied for a few jobs and they all told me that they needed a certificate (I'm in NJ and most of the people in my class were already working as paralegals and their employers were paying). However, I did it more for as a career change and worked FT during the day in my old job, so the money thing wasn't bad (and the program was cheap). Ended up going to law school, so I never really used it (although it did influence my decision to apply in the first place).

However, OP, if you just want to do BigLaw paralegal you should just apply and don't need the certificate. Or you can just take the job you were already offered (which is what I would do if I was in your situation.

ejf5060
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby ejf5060 » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:39 pm

gbpackerbacker wrote:15 in loans, but how much in total cost? I think that if you're just spending 15k total then it will be an invaluable experience worth the cost.


15k plus flights and food. Total will be around 20k, but I have some money in the bank and several free flights from Delta because they lost all my baggage when I was coming back from studying abroad, twice.

About the job. It is in downtown Philly (really cool location btw right next to city hall). Unfortunately, I would be effectively pigeonholed for a year, i.e. the partner emphasized that I will be doing one thing--data entry--and work little with lawyers or, for that matter, any other part of the foreclosure process. Not really sure if that is the experience I want (I guess that raises another question: Am I expecting too much as an entry level paralegal?) . Considering this and the amount of time I have left till graduation (with no other paralegal job offers though I am still applying), I am seriously considering (much to the dismay of many TLSers from what I have been reading) a summer-long paralegal certificate program at Villanova (cost:$6000). Thoughts? Thanks everyone for the help it has been very useful.

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BlakcMajikc
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby BlakcMajikc » Sat Apr 23, 2011 9:49 pm

ejf5060 wrote:
gbpackerbacker wrote:15 in loans, but how much in total cost? I think that if you're just spending 15k total then it will be an invaluable experience worth the cost.


15k plus flights and food. Total will be around 20k, but I have some money in the bank and several free flights from Delta because they lost all my baggage when I was coming back from studying abroad, twice.

About the job. It is in downtown Philly (really cool location btw right next to city hall). Unfortunately, I would be effectively pigeonholed for a year, i.e. the partner emphasized that I will be doing one thing--data entry--and work little with lawyers or, for that matter, any other part of the foreclosure process. Not really sure if that is the experience I want (I guess that raises another question: Am I expecting too much as an entry level paralegal?) . Considering this and the amount of time I have left till graduation (with no other paralegal job offers though I am still applying), I am seriously considering (much to the dismay of many TLSers from what I have been reading) a summer-long paralegal certificate program at Villanova (cost:$6000). Thoughts? Thanks everyone for the help it has been very useful.


Youre not expecting too much. One of my good friends is a first year paralegal and already flying to Oklahoma for a trial... no certificate, just an undergrad degree.

I had a decent amount of interaction in my paralegal work (summer clerk) at a mid-size firm. Definitely wasn't all data entry. I would not get the certificate. It's a waste.

Do the job if you want the job, if not, then do the degree. Either way you will be fine. You just have to make sure if you get the degree that you do "20k worth of work" into your LSAT studying and law school applications because you definitely don't want any tuition debt to add onto that. feel free to PM me if you have more detailed questions.

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tea_drinker
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Re: Grad school or paralegal? Need input

Postby tea_drinker » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:50 pm

swilson215 wrote:
loblaw wrote:
paratactical wrote:Whatever you do, you don't need the paralegal certificate.


+1--I feel like we need a special anti-paralegal certificate thread. For those that have bachelor's and plan to paralegal for a few years, it's a useless moneysuck.


Again, +1. I worked at a firm without my paralegal cert for two years. Did almost the exact same things, got paid almost the same starting salary, and didn't have to take classes/spend $.


Another +1

Do you plan to work in Hong Kong or China after graduation? If so, I will vote for the master degree from UHK. If you have no intentions to work in Asia, then work.




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