Considering Law School.

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john in kc
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:23 pm

Considering Law School.

Postby john in kc » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:38 pm

Hello all. I am a CPA in the KC area. I have a bachelors degree and an M.S. in Accountancy; I have a fairly good academic record and high scores on all four sections of the CPA exam. I spent a lot of time working on obtaining my CPA. Sometimes I find myself interested in the possibility of attending law school. However, I think I am going into it for the wrong reasons, and I also might need to have some sense knocked into me. I wanted to mention the pros/cons of what would be my situation, and get some insight from others who have gone through the process.

Cons:
* I am not moving out of Missouri...I like it here. So it's either UMKC, KU Law, or SLU Law. Maybe WashU if they would have me. A move to STL would suck because I would have to sell my house.
* I have no student loans and I make decent money as an accountant; on top of that I work in forensic accounting for a governmental agency and my credentials support that career (CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, 5+ years of experience). I would have to leave that behind.
* I would have to leave my job, and after law school (and the related debt) starting salaries around here are less than what I make now. I have no illusions of working for big law.
* From what I have heard before, law school is for people who KNOW they want to study law, not something for a person who "might be interested...".

Pros:
* I have heard CPA/Attorneys who want to get into tax law can make very good money.
* My preferred practice area - and I know so little about this, so please bear with me - would be criminal law. It sounds really interesting, but I don't know nearly enough about it.
* Despite all the cons, you only live once right?

Anyway, does anyone have any insight on the process...particular leaving a relatively stable career for the unknown.


Thanks.

BruceDenton
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:42 pm

Re: Considering Law School.

Postby BruceDenton » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:45 pm

john in kc wrote:
Cons:
* I am not moving out of Missouri...I like it here. So it's either UMKC, KU Law, or SLU Law. Maybe WashU if they would have me. A move to STL would suck because I would have to sell my house.
* I have no student loans and I make decent money as an accountant; on top of that I work in forensic accounting for a governmental agency and my credentials support that career (CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, 5+ years of experience). I would have to leave that behind.
* I would have to leave my job, and after law school (and the related debt) starting salaries around here are less than what I make now. I have no illusions of working for big law.
* From what I have heard before, law school is for people who KNOW they want to study law, not something for a person who "might be interested...".



This.

Just make sure you keep that in mind. I'd say it sounds like something to at least consider, but I'd take a while to really think it over and see if you can make up your mind and decide that you KNOW you want to do it. Definitely don't go because you "might be interested".

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Bosoxfan
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:46 pm

Re: Considering Law School.

Postby Bosoxfan » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:47 pm

You have to want it. Hours a day of reading law journals and the like is only appealing to one species of human being - the one who wants to be at Law School.

lurkylurk
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:41 pm

Re: Considering Law School.

Postby lurkylurk » Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:55 pm

Your reasons don't make sense. One of your pros is that tax attorneys can make lots of money, but then you state your interest is in criminal law, not tax. "You only live once" is a terrible justification for leaving CPA credentials and 5+ years of work experience behind. By the way, those well-to-do tax attorneys you reference work at the biglaw firms (or their KCMO equivalents, of which there are few) you disclaimed interest in.

Of the schools you listed, the only one worth paying any significant amount of tuition at is WUSTL. Even then, realize that the type of work you express an interest in (criminal law) is not high paying work and you will need to be able to clearly and seriously articulate why you want to become a prosecutor/criminal defense lawyer after being a CPA for 5+ years. Your career path will likely start at an underfunded and overworked public defender's office, where you will make <$50k/year defending indigents.

ihhwap1
Posts: 113
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 2:37 pm

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Postby ihhwap1 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:26 pm

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Last edited by ihhwap1 on Fri Jul 29, 2011 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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thesealocust
Posts: 8448
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Re: Considering Law School.

Postby thesealocust » Mon Jul 25, 2011 6:32 pm

ihhwap1 wrote:tl;dr = don't go to law school. Seriously.


Yep. Law school is awful even if you know it's what you want. Shit was designed to hurt even back when you could actually get a job. With 30%+ of law students graduating unemployable, now is not the time to be giving it the old college try.

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MoS
Posts: 404
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 10:59 pm

Re: Considering Law School.

Postby MoS » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:00 pm

While I would agree that going to law school for the hell of it is probably not the most sound idea, I wouldn't agree that means you should not go to law school. You obviously have some reason for wanting to go to law school or you wouldn't have this conflict. I'd advise you to sit down and really think about why you want to go to law school.

If you come up with a decent reason why, whether that is you want to change the world, make lots of money, or because you think you would find it more enjoyable than your current life, then you should talk about it with the people it will affect, not TLS people. Your significant other and other family.

If you still think you want to do it, take an LSAT practice test see where you score. Many people can raise that score significantly. I'd say if you score a 150 or above you are well on your way to a decent score. Take a class or start a study program. Get you letters of recommendation together. Come on TLS and look for advice on the application process. Schedule an LSAT date. Take it see what you get. Compare it to your goals and you practice tests. Consider a retake if necessary.

While some of these people will tell you law school is hell and you will rack up 200k in debt and not get a job. That doesn't have to be your reality. I like law school personally. I do fairly well and will have well under 100k in debt when I graduate because I applied places I thought would give me scholarship and put me in a region I wanted to be. Will I have a job in a couple years? I'm optimistic. I am also proactive and don't expect someone to hand me a job because I passed law school (a remarkably unincredable feat). Don't go to a crappy school and don't have unrealistic expectations. Oh and you forgot about Mizzou in your list of schools.




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