I stutter: should I still go to law school?

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SuperFreak
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I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby SuperFreak » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:04 am

So I stutter. I have a speech (largely neurological) impediment, which I would actually call a disability, that causes disorganized and often disorganized speech. It affects me in class to the point I hardly contribute to discussions at all. I'm turning 21, in my third year of UG, and am thinking of a career in law. So far I've done surprising well on LSAT practice tests but the question remains: will I be able to get and retain a BigLaw job?

Therapy can and does help but I doubt I'll ever completely stop having blocks and repeating words. Some of the avoidance strategies use are pretty peculiar too, at least when other people see them. I'd consider a different career path but law seems to be the only high salary job that corroborates my (admittedly scant and over-hyped) academic abilities.

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Grizz
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby Grizz » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:27 am

Good thing 99% of law does NOT involve speaking in court.

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romothesavior
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby romothesavior » Mon Jan 30, 2012 4:33 am

Grizz wrote:Good thing 99% of law does NOT involve speaking in court.

Yeah this. You may not ever be a trial lawyer or the head of a deal team, but your speech impediment does not foreclose you from being a lawyer. Most legal work is not in the courtroom. What do you want to do?

Oh, and you need to go to a great school or go for cheap, just like anyone else.

SuperFreak
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby SuperFreak » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:00 am

romothesavior wrote:
Grizz wrote:Good thing 99% of law does NOT involve speaking in court.

Yeah this. You may not ever be a trial lawyer or the head of a deal team, but your speech impediment does not foreclose you from being a lawyer. Most legal work is not in the courtroom. What do you want to do?

Oh, and you need to go to a great school or go for cheap, just like anyone else.


Both good points but I don't just land a job, I want to exceed at it. Doesn't that imply I'll need to be the head of a deal sometime in my career? I don't want to go to law school if my disability precludes chances of advancement right from the outset.

nsbane
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby nsbane » Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:39 am

SuperFreak wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
Grizz wrote:Good thing 99% of law does NOT involve speaking in court.

Yeah this. You may not ever be a trial lawyer or the head of a deal team, but your speech impediment does not foreclose you from being a lawyer. Most legal work is not in the courtroom. What do you want to do?

Oh, and you need to go to a great school or go for cheap, just like anyone else.


Both good points but I don't just land a job, I want to exceed at it. Doesn't that imply I'll need to be the head of a deal sometime in my career? I don't want to go to law school if my disability precludes chances of advancement right from the outset.


I'll start out and say I'm a 0L. But I don't really know what answer you are looking for. Most white collar jobs today require some sort of public speaking, at the very least giving a presentation to 4 or 5 other people in a conference room at some point. So yes, a job in law means you will have to open your mouth and talk. Most people are mature enough to understand it's a disability, and look past it. Are you asking if people in the legal field are especially more prejudiced against stuttering than the rest of the population?

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sunynp
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby sunynp » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:46 am

I was on a deal where there was a partner from another firm who stuttered. The whole room got impatient when he was trying to get the words out, it was painful. When everyone is tired, wants to get out of the building and has other a lot of stuff to do, waiting for someone to talk is annoying. Sorry if this is harsh, but it is what i observed. I would do something else if I were you. (edit: I think he was visiting New York from another office of that firm, he has since returned so I am not too worried about outing him or myself.)

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20130312
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby 20130312 » Mon Jan 30, 2012 10:49 am

sunynp wrote:I would do something else if I were you.


Not really an option, considering
nsbane wrote:Most white collar jobs today require some sort of public speaking, at the very least giving a presentation to 4 or 5 other people in a conference room at some point.


OP, if you want to be a lawyer, I say go for it. It will be difficult for you, but so will most other jobs.

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Paichka
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby Paichka » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:01 am

I know a very successful grad of my law school who was on law review, clerked for an article III judge, and currently works at a very prestigious law firm. He has what I think is Tourettes or something similar, which results in a series of verbal and facial tics, which are noticeable, but don't distract from how brilliant he is. If you've been successful in undergrad, I don't see why you couldn't also be successful in law school. If it's what you REALLY want to do and you have the gap and LSAT combo to make it worthwhile to go, you should go for it.

LawSchoolChampion
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby LawSchoolChampion » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:07 am

1. Rob a Bank.

2. Invest.

3. ??????????

4. Profit.


No one on this board can tell you your future as a lawyer, or how it will turn out. I highly doubt you will be able to move up significantly in a firm (to partner level or quite close to it), but that does not mean you will not have a high paying job.

It's hard to be considered a figurehead of anything if you have serious issues speaking in public, and nowadays, I'd be surprised if anyone could work their way up without that ability. But once more, and I will quote myself, "No one on this board can tell you your future as a lawyer, or how it will turn out."

Only personal opinions.

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kalvano
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby kalvano » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:12 am

I know very successful attorneys who spend all day behind a desk and don't have to speak to anyone. As long as you don't want to be a trial lawyer, you'll be fine. A lot of what the majority of attorneys do on a daily basis is written work.

sillyboots
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby sillyboots » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:13 am

There's such a massive amount of stuff that goes down in law and lawsuits, and such a small portion of it requires oral communication. Unless you specifically want to be a trial lawyer or head talks and deals, I don't see any insurmountable roadblocks for you. You can be a total legal badass. In fact, you'll probably even seem more badass if you don't talk-- legendary rumors will spread.

ringo
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby ringo » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:48 am

SuperFreak wrote:Therapy can and does help but I doubt I'll ever completely stop having blocks and repeating words. Some of the avoidance strategies use are pretty peculiar too, at least when other people see them. I'd consider a different career path but law seems to be the only high salary job that corroborates my (admittedly scant and over-hyped) academic abilities.


So stop using them. They do not work, and as you have acknowledged they are distracting to your listener. Stop using them.

As others have pointed out, every job a person on this board would be willing to spend the rest of their life doing also requires speaking. Spend the next year coming to terms with that and figuring out how you will deal with your disability. Now you have a topic for your PS.

taxguy
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby taxguy » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:29 pm

The good news is that I don't think your handicap will limit your ability to get into law school. However, if you are going into law and have a bad stutter problem, you REALLY need to understand the reality that you will be up against. Law, as with accounting, deals with people. Even the most desk oriented legal job usually involves client contact, meetings with partners, associates etc. If you can't communicate well, effectively, and quickly, you will be at a TREMENDOUS disadvantage. I can't sugar coat this for you. Frankly, your only option might be to serve as a paralegal or form preparer, or document examinar which might well limit your salary potential. You might also have some opportunities preparing briefs such as appellate briefs, since these don't normally mandate client contact.

Now you might be able to work for the government as a document preparer, patent reviewer, contract manager etc, which might be your best career option.

Bottom line: This is going to a tough, uphill battle for you if you want to go into law. You will need to seriously think about legal jobs where your handicap won't limit your career growth. Honestly, I think you should seek guidance of a speech therapist. I think , with training, you can somewhat overcome your stuttering program.

KDP
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby KDP » Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:19 am

I realize this thread is old and you should either be graduating law school already or given up on it but I'm going to respond anyway for others who may be in the same situation.

I have stuttered most of my life. I have been a trial lawyer for more than 20 years. 4 of them were spent as a prosecutor. There are many people still in prison to this day as a result of my efforts. I was the thorn in the side of many a defense attorney to the extent that they threw a party when I went into private practice. I have tried close to 100 jury trials and several thousand bench trials with a mid 90% success rate. DO NOT let ANYONE tell you what you can and cannot do! This includes the voice in your head that tells you you are a stutterer and thus you can't do "_____." That is crap. You can either be what you want to be in this world or you can be what other people want to "let" you be. I will tell you though that the more you talk in the courtroom the easier it will be. When I started I could barely get through introducing my without stuttering. Now, I don't even mention my stuttering during voir dire because I might never stutter in front of the jury.

Don't take any crap off of anybody. If someone has a problem with your stutter, it's their problem, not yours.

I have my own practice now and have for years. My clients could choose anyone. They choose me. I have many, many repeat clients. They are certainly aware of my problem. It comes down to your ability as a lawyer, not whether you are a lawyer who stutters. Do you know the relevant law? Can you fight? Do you inspire trust in your client? (Stuttering has nothing to do with it). I fight so hard for my clients that prosecutors and insurance defense lawyers frequently ask me if I am related to or have some other connection to my client because I seem so personally involved and adamant to get the result I am after. It's all about results. Clients love it when you stand up and fight for them. Personally, male or female, I think it takes huge balls to stutter and be a trial lawyer. Who wants a lawyer with huge balls? Everyone.

Hopefully this will be of use to someone in a similar situation.

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Clearly
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby Clearly » Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:49 am

My concern isn't with actually practicing, it's with getting through OCI with an offer.

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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby KDP » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:23 am

I'm not on the cutting edge of big firm hiring practices. I would not fit into their mold even without the stuttering. However, unless things have gotten drastically better (and I suspect they have actually gotten worse), there are about 50 million reasons why you or anyone else might not get an offer through OCI that have nothing at all to do with stuttering. My earlier reply is applicable here also. If you truly want to do this, then DO IT. Stuttering aside, these days I tell EVERYONE who asks me that there are far better employment futures out there with greater earning potential than being a lawyer. But that should be YOUR decision, not something forced upon you because of someone else's view of a disability. Ask yourself whether your desire to be a lawyer is dependent on getting an offer through OCI. If it is then you may want to reexamine your decision. I can promise you that in a career as a lawyer the OCI hurdle will only be the first of many for you and your non-stuttering classmates. If you are going to let someone else determine your self worth or value because of a subjective decision they make then you are headed for disappointment. There is always a new "OCI" event in your future. If you are not willing to have the mindset of "I am going to be a lawyer no matter what!", then unless you are an extremely lucky individual and just happen to never encounter adversity at any of these critical points then you will be disappointed.

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Clearly
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby Clearly » Tue Jul 07, 2015 12:56 pm

You know that law school is like 300k now right? Like I support the message your sending, but self confidence doesn't pay the bills. I have a friend from a great school with great grades who came perilously close to striking out because of a stutter. I fear for those that aren't so lucky...

sandwhich
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby sandwhich » Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:38 pm

Current judicial intern here.

Just yesterday I observed a motion hearing and one of the attorneys had a very noticeable stutter. It didn't seem to keep him out of the courtroom.

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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby KDP » Tue Jul 07, 2015 5:45 pm

There is no way I would spend that kind of money on a law degree these days. The job market just is not there. What I routinely tell people is that unless you have just always, always, always wanted to be a lawyer your entire life and you just don't think you could stand it if you were not a lawyer then you should probably do something else. The first thing I was surprised by when I began having business clients was how many of them were making significantly more money than I was and were doing seemingly mundane things. My main point here is YOU choose for yourself! Don't let others choose for you because they will if you allow it.

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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Jul 07, 2015 6:15 pm

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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:59 pm

KDP wrote:I'm not on the cutting edge of big firm hiring practices. I would not fit into their mold even without the stuttering. However, unless things have gotten drastically better (and I suspect they have actually gotten worse), there are about 50 million reasons why you or anyone else might not get an offer through OCI that have nothing at all to do with stuttering. My earlier reply is applicable here also. If you truly want to do this, then DO IT. Stuttering aside, these days I tell EVERYONE who asks me that there are far better employment futures out there with greater earning potential than being a lawyer. But that should be YOUR decision, not something forced upon you because of someone else's view of a disability. Ask yourself whether your desire to be a lawyer is dependent on getting an offer through OCI. If it is then you may want to reexamine your decision. I can promise you that in a career as a lawyer the OCI hurdle will only be the first of many for you and your non-stuttering classmates. If you are going to let someone else determine your self worth or value because of a subjective decision they make then you are headed for disappointment. There is always a new "OCI" event in your future. If you are not willing to have the mindset of "I am going to be a lawyer no matter what!", then unless you are an extremely lucky individual and just happen to never encounter adversity at any of these critical points then you will be disappointed.

Didn't realize this was 3 years ago, but to this point: I think that a down job market impacts those with any diverse characteristic differently than it impacts the general population. The data shows that diversity initiatives throughout the profession stuttered greatly during the recession, and that general social advances throughout the workforce have generally correlated with more prosperous economic times. While stutterers have never benefited from active initiatives, being that they are a diverse group, it stands to reason that they may be more impacted by a rough economy than the general population. In a cost-benefit analysis, anyone below median after 1L should have a rational self-reflection of whether it's financially prudent to move forward. For a stutterer, I'd suggest that the cut off be much higher. If the odds of a net positive outcome at School A were 50:50 for any random student then the random student entering with a disadvantage must be confident they are above the 50th percentile in order for attending School A to be an intelligent decision.

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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby KDP » Tue Jul 07, 2015 10:17 pm

Although I disagree with what you say about people who stutter needing to abandon ship sooner based on their disability I am highly supportive of people lower in the class standing dropping out solely for the reason of dropping the higher ranked people down in class standing. I was well above the middle but not high enough to be relevant. It irritated me to no end how people would flaunt their class rank over others who were a mere two or three percentage points below them as though it were some infallible measure of self worth. I always found it odd that they did not appreciate the presence and mathematical necessity of everyone "beneath them".

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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby AReasonableMan » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:36 pm

KDP wrote:Although I disagree with what you say about people who stutter needing to abandon ship sooner based on their disability I am highly supportive of people lower in the class standing dropping out solely for the reason of dropping the higher ranked people down in class standing. I was well above the middle but not high enough to be relevant. It irritated me to no end how people would flaunt their class rank over others who were a mere two or three percentage points below them as though it were some infallible measure of self worth. I always found it odd that they did not appreciate the presence and mathematical necessity of everyone "beneath them".

Not saying they should jump ship, but that person had specified big law, which is, by and latge, a fairly traditional market. If we're being objective, the white shoe world was behind the 8-ball when it came to most social issues. For decades, Jews were precluded from all the top firms, then African-Americans, women, etc. I don't think any of this was a conscious effort to harm any of these groups so much as it was a struggle to separate what is great about tradition from what is less great about tradition. The real difference though is the cost of law school tuition has escalated so much that unless one comes from wealth, there really isn't room for struggle. Whether one struggles due to their own shortcomings or a lack of fairness - you're talking about 200k in debt, and a profession that won't license you if you default on your debt.

I also don't think anyone flaunts rank anymore. I simply meant using the data as a way of predicting what the next step is. I would imagine the people walking around flaunting their rank to the exact percentage point are also people who will likely underperform their standing and struggle with basic social acumen such that their careers will have a low ceiling.

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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby KDP » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:36 pm

I don't really think there is any question that from a pure investment standpoint that it does not make financial sense to go to law school. The job market is just saturated. Although I would never want to work in a firm environment, I doubt that if I did that there would be many opportunities open to me even with a proven track record and a book of business. ( if I have to bring my own business why would I want to go in the first place).

I still glance over the classified section of the Bar publication. I always laugh at the jobs that want 20 plus years of experience, you bring your own clients and they want to see your law school transcripts! That doesn't sound like anywhere I would want to work. If it were me I would want to see someone's tax returns. After all, are we trying to impress everyone with how smart some professor thought we were 20 years ago or are we trying to get good results for our clients and make a good living at the same time? I'll take the guy who made B's and C's, has happy clients and generated seven figures in fees consistently for the last five years. The guy with all A's and law review that billed $300K but I had to pay him $175K plus provide all his support staff can go work for the big firm where they can have lunch with all the other "smart" people and think about how much better than me they are. Not all people in big firms are like that but I can assure you that there are enough of them to perpetuate the stereotype.

Practicing law is great, but it is not for the faint of heart. You can make up for a lot with sheer determination, stubbornness, tenacity and the refusal to take "No" for an answer.

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Clearly
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Re: I stutter: should I still go to law school?

Postby Clearly » Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:56 pm

The boomer is strong with this one.




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