How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

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RickyDnwhyc
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How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:02 pm

How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

I've already perused this - http://www.top-law-schools.com/prelaw1.html

Went to a decent business school in NYC and graduated with a marketing degree because numbers make me nauseous. Which worries me because some people make legal careers sound a lot like forensic accounting, except, with words instead of numbers. It doesn't sound terrible, since I do prefer words to numbers, but it sounds equally tedious. I'm looking for that silver lining...

Everyone on this forum raves about how Law School being an extremely useless indicator of the actual practice of law, so how does the average prospective student make this monumental life decision?

Paralegal work? I've been busting my as* trying to find a decent paralegal job or anything similar but I'm having no luck. I don't see what my options are short of using voodoo magic to place my soul into the body of an actual lawyer for a month. I'm starting to consider unpaid internships but I do have bills so I'm going to exhaust all other options first...

The most confusing element is there are so many sub-careers within the legal profession. Plaintiffs work, Small law, BigLaw, Public interest, Clerkships, and a ton I'm sure I missed. I have no idea what any of these are like or if I'd enjoy them at all, and they seem like they would entail very different work, and very different lifestyles.

A little about me (though this probably will sound irrelevant and reek of naivety):
I love to argue/debate, even if I don't agree with the point I'm arguing
I think I would enjoy the competitive nature of litigation, the adversarial system, it sounds exciting
I enjoy writing, speaking, social interaction, and learning about a wide range fields such as tech/science/business

I realize a lot of the job is tedious, I'm sure there's a fair share of grunt work especially when starting out, I'm just trying to discern if there's some light at the end of the tunnel, something that might balance the scale out a little bit. I don't want to be miserable ALL the time. I've read a lot of "Biglaw associate answering questions" threads, and they seem to indicate a generally skewed perspective. Some of them just plain hate their jobs. Some of them hate their jobs but praise the "intellectual nature" of the work. But the other side basically says all you're doing is heavy amounts of research, flipping through endless amounts of paperwork and caselaw, and writing up/drafting routine legal documents 24/7.

I'm not saying I need to know right now if I'll LOVE being a lawyer. I know that's asking for too much. But I want to get an idea of what my day to day would be like at each of these different types of legal professions, and if I can tolerate it/ if there are some days where I actually will enjoy the work and find it interesting.

Can anyone reccomend some documentaries/movies? Articles? Any good resources? Any reference I can use to determine if a legal career is suitable for me. Unfortunately I don't know any actual lawyers, but I do work at a law firm right now (in a largely administrative role) so I will try to reach out to a few attorneys and ask them about their experiences, but I'm really not sure how to go about this since I don't even know what areas of law interest me. The only thing I'm reasonably sure about is a desire to do litigation rather than transactional work, and that is based almost completely on intuition unfortunately. What steps should I take to make an informed decision?

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JCFindley
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby JCFindley » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:07 pm

My cousinvinny?

Sory, I am no help at all here.

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:19 pm

JCFindley wrote:My cousinvinny?

Sory, I am no help at all here.


... It's all I've got so far. I'll watch it.

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JCFindley
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby JCFindley » Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:45 pm

Hey, if it works you could write a PS about how Marisa Tomei is HOT and she likes attorneys.

Image

In all seriousness, I wanted to go to LS after undergrad but was distracted for a while flying jets for the Air Force. That said, I did a lot of "lawyerly" like work in the USAF getting regulations changed, fighting the "man" and then actually writing the regs that I got changed. While certainly not what most attorneys do, fighting the man IS what crim defense attorneys do and I have been a crusader for flight safety for a long time. There are several fields in law were I can continue that as well....

May not help you much, but that is why I "think" I will like it.

If nothing else, there is always the models and bottles argument.

Oh, and Marisa IS hot!

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Bronte
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby Bronte » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:03 pm

To understand whether you want to be a lawyer, you have to understand a little bit about the legal market.

Law school graduates usually end up doing one of five things after law school: working for a "big law" firm, working for a non-big law firm, working for the government, working for a public interest organization, or not finding work. Unfortunately, of those five, the most common by far is not finding work. For the roughly 40,000 new JDs in 2011, there were only about 20,000 jobs. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 58142.html.

Most law school graduates who do get jobs go to "top law schools." Thus, the first question you'll want to ask yourself is: can I get into a top law school? There are a lot of resources on this forum to that effect.

Of those graduates who do get jobs, most probably go to law firms and, of those, the vast majority go to big law firms. Big law firms almost exclusively represent large companies. Thus, a very large portion of students who are "successful" in law school in the sense of finding gainful employment end up practicing what can broadly be characterized as "business law."

This is very important because many of these same people have no interest whatsoever in business and finance--i.e., they're liberal arts students who came to law school interested in matters like civil rights, foreign affairs, etc.--but end up practicing in this area anyway. I think this is a major source of the general discontent in the legal profession.

Thus, an initial question you might ask yourself is, do you have an interest in general business issues? Since you, OP, went to business school, that's a decent indicator that you do. Still, you should ask yourself whether you enjoyed that kind of stuff enough to continue in that vein. In particular, the fact that you shied away from finance is a bit concerning, as much law firm work is finance related.

The other thing you'll want to ask yourself is this: do you enjoy technical writing? Although the popular opinion of the lawyer is as a courtroom warrior, in reality most lawyers--at least during the early part of their careers--spend a ton of time drafting, editing, and reading documents. Whether it's a court motion or an asset purchase agreement, these types of documents are very long and very bureaucratic. Many people discover they really do not like being involved with these documents in any way.

Finally, you should ask yourself whether you are a detail-oriented person. The law is a very fine-grained thing, and young attorneys especially are immersed in detail work, from proofing legal citations to making fine distinctions between the meanings of words. Easy-going, "big picture" people who have never much paid attention to grammar, typography, citations, definitions, and the like are often disappointed by the realization that this is now to be a major part of their lives.

As far as recommendations for stuff to read, you could take a look at the following and see what you think:

- A "complaint," which is a document drafted by lawyers and filed with the court: http://www.sec.gov/litigation/complaint ... 010-59.pdf
- A very short article written by a law professor about a technical legal issue: http://www.michiganlawreview.org/assets ... /Baude.pdf

Good luck.

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BlaqBella
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby BlaqBella » Fri Sep 14, 2012 4:53 pm

- Check out Above the Law blog to get an idea of what is going on in the legal market (the good, bad and ugly).

- American Lawyer/AM Daily for legal news.

- Visit one of those LSAC forums they host in cities throughout the US of A. They have these symposiums talking about law school, what lawyers do (lawyers attend and ask questions) and law school deans speaking about their respective schools.

- TLS

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:03 pm

Thanks Bronte, great response.

I shyed away from finance particularly because I'm not a fan of math/calculus. The detail oriented nature is not of huge concern to me. Couldn't I argue that most professions are pretty "Detail oriented" except for creative type positions like marketing and advertising? I'm really not interested in those hit or miss type fields. The law is finite so that gives me a sense of comfort.

I am well aware that the legal job market is slowly collapsing around us. I would not consider going to law school unless I was admitted to a top 20 school or a lower school(with strong regional ties) with a full scholarship. I really don't want to overanalyze the admissions/employment prospects at this point, though. I realize the most sound career path is Biglaw/Prestigious Clerkship - > Whatever the hell else you wanted to do.

But before any of that I want to know what being a lawyer is like. If it's something I really want to do, it's all the more motivation to take my time with regards to the LSAT and rigorous admissions process.

I don't know if I'm "Detail oriented", but my mind usually works deductively rather than inductively. Basically, I like figuring things out. I would study quantum physics if I could get into a halfway decent school and have a career with NASA waiting for me, but unfortunately I need food and shelter. I can get a bit obsessive and overanalytical sometimes. I'm just not sure if this will lateral over to business law. I used to edit essays for my friends in undergrad, I sort of enjoyed it, and I was decent at it. I'm good at spotting grammatical errors(consciously - I'm sure there are tons in this post), and I can get pretty anal with definitions sometimes too.

Isn't one of the main purposes of law school to teach you to be more in tune with the details? This is one of those important things I want to figure out before even considering Law School...

I don't see a problem with being a "business lawyer". I do think I would find it fascinating(depending on the level of substantiveness of the work I'd be getting...).


So the first few years as an associate I'd ONLY be "drafting, editing, and reading documents"? Aren't there some firms that let you get more involved with litigation/trial, maybe do some pro bono work? There are so many firms out there, they can't ALL be the same... I can't imagine anyone (barring sociopaths) would actually enjoy getting intimate with legal paperwork 12 hours a day. There's gotta be more to the job than that!!! Otherwise you're basically just a "white collar janitor" as someone said in another thread I was reading.

I'll check out those links too, thanks.
Last edited by RickyDnwhyc on Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:04 pm

BlaqBella wrote:- Check out Above the Law blog to get an idea of what is going on in the legal market (the good, bad and ugly).

- American Lawyer/AM Daily for legal news.

- Visit one of those LSAC forums they host in cities throughout the US of A. They have these symposiums talking about law school, what lawyers do (lawyers attend and ask questions) and law school deans speaking about their respective schools.

- TLS



Did not know that those existed! I will definitely try to attend one. Sounds like exactly what I need. Thanks!

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Lawquacious
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:06 pm

you probably don't really want to be a lawyer.... even many ppl who think they do end up hating it. But if your other options are pure shit it may be worth going to law school, even to not practice law

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:11 pm

Lawquacious wrote:you probably don't really want to be a lawyer.... even many ppl who think they do end up hating it. But if your other options are pure shit it may be worth going to law school, even to not practice law


I agree. TBH I'd rather be a supermodel or earn six figures playing Texas Hold'em.

Maybe the title of this thread should have been "How do I know I won't *COMPLETELY* F**KING HATE my job after law school?"

Then again there's always that 0.0001% glimmer of hope that this is my life calling!

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Bronte
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby Bronte » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:33 pm

RickyDnwhyc wrote:So the first few years as an associate I'd ONLY be "drafting, editing, and reading documents"? Aren't there some firms that let you get more involved with litigation/trial, maybe do some pro bono work? There are so many firms out there, they can't ALL be the same... I can't imagine anyone (barring sociopaths) would actually enjoy getting intimate with legal paperwork 12 hours a day. There's gotta be more to the job than that!!! Otherwise you're basically just a "white collar janitor" as someone said in another thread I was reading.


There are a lot of posters on this forum that will tell you that "a bunch of sociopaths spending twelve hours a day getting intimate with legal paperwork" is just about a dictionary definition of big law. In reality, as you move up the latter in big law, you will move from doing almost entirely legal research and writing (or the equivalent in transactional practice) to doing depositions, managing subordinates, interfacing with clients, etc. But even then most of your time is still going to be spent doing highly technical work involving reading and writing.

Also, in regard to all professions being detail oriented, that may be true. Very, very few, however, are as detail oriented as legal work.

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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:41 pm

Bronte wrote:
RickyDnwhyc wrote:So the first few years as an associate I'd ONLY be "drafting, editing, and reading documents"? Aren't there some firms that let you get more involved with litigation/trial, maybe do some pro bono work? There are so many firms out there, they can't ALL be the same... I can't imagine anyone (barring sociopaths) would actually enjoy getting intimate with legal paperwork 12 hours a day. There's gotta be more to the job than that!!! Otherwise you're basically just a "white collar janitor" as someone said in another thread I was reading.


There are a lot of posters on this forum that will tell you that "a bunch of sociopaths spending twelve hours a day getting intimate with legal paperwork" is just about a dictionary definition of big law. In reality, as you move up the latter in big law, you will move from doing almost entirely legal research and writing (or the equivalent in transactional practice) to doing depositions, managing subordinates, interfacing with clients, etc. But even then most of your time is still going to be spent doing highly technical work involving reading and writing.

Also, in regard to all professions being detail oriented, that may be true. Very, very few, however, are as detail oriented as legal work.


Okay, but after a few years in BigLaw, it's possible to lateral into government positions, in house/GC positions, or upper level plaintiffs work, no? Don't 99% of BigLawyers get into it for the exit options? Is this reasonable ITE? Or are these positions really dwindling that much?


I guess what it boils down to is, how much (not if) will I hate doing legal research and writing for 60-90 hrs a week?
What's the quickest way to figure this out? Aside from attending a few semesters of Law School....

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sunynp
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby sunynp » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:44 pm

You do go to client meetings and you do work collabotmratively with a large group of people. Most big law firms have large pro bono programs where you can go to court if that is what you want.

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JCFindley
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby JCFindley » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:27 pm

Bronte wrote:
Of those graduates who do get jobs, most probably go to law firms and, of those, the vast majority go to big law firms. Big law firms almost exclusively represent large companies. Thus, a very large portion of students who are "successful" in law school in the sense of finding gainful employment end up practicing what can broadly be characterized as "business law."



Bronte is generally right on but the bold is simply not true. VERY few graduates percentage wise go into biglaw.

RickyDnwhyc wrote:
Okay, but after a few years in BigLaw, it's possible to lateral into government positions, in house/GC positions, or upper level plaintiffs work, no? Don't 99% of BigLawyers get into it for the exit options? Is this reasonable ITE? Or are these positions really dwindling that much?


I guess what it boils down to is, how much (not if) will I hate doing legal research and writing for 60-90 hrs a week?
What's the quickest way to figure this out? Aside from attending a few semesters of Law School....


Keep in mind that THIS forum is very biglaw oriented but there are MANY things you can do besides biglaw right out of the gate. The problem is that you need to be able to service the debt from LS and if you pay sticker then it is kind of biglaw or bust.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RedBirds2011 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:31 pm

JCFindley wrote:
Bronte wrote:
Of those graduates who do get jobs, most probably go to law firms and, of those, the vast majority go to big law firms. Big law firms almost exclusively represent large companies. Thus, a very large portion of students who are "successful" in law school in the sense of finding gainful employment end up practicing what can broadly be characterized as "business law."



Bronte is generally right on but the bold is simply not true. VERY few graduates percentage wise go into biglaw.

RickyDnwhyc wrote:
Okay, but after a few years in BigLaw, it's possible to lateral into government positions, in house/GC positions, or upper level plaintiffs work, no? Don't 99% of BigLawyers get into it for the exit options? Is this reasonable ITE? Or are these positions really dwindling that much?


I guess what it boils down to is, how much (not if) will I hate doing legal research and writing for 60-90 hrs a week?
What's the quickest way to figure this out? Aside from attending a few semesters of Law School....


Keep in mind that THIS forum is very biglaw oriented but there are MANY things you can do besides biglaw right out of the gate. The problem is that you need to be able to service the debt from LS and if you pay sticker then it is kind of biglaw or bust.



Im glad you addressed that first part. Yea, like 8 percent of law grads work in big firms. That is not even remotely close to a majority lol

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spleenworship
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby spleenworship » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:53 pm

RickyDnwhyc wrote:


So the first few years as an associate I'd ONLY be "drafting, editing, and reading documents"? Aren't there some firms that let you get more involved with litigation/trial, maybe do some pro bono work? There are so many firms out there, they can't ALL be the same... I can't imagine anyone (barring sociopaths) would actually enjoy getting intimate with legal paperwork 12 hours a day. There's gotta be more to the job than that!!! Otherwise you're basically just a "white collar janitor" as someone said in another thread I was reading.

I'll check out those links too, thanks.


re the bolded: they are called small firms. Or working for the government. Biglaw doesn't let you touch any of that your first few years unless, by some coincidence, the entirety of the partners in your firm had heart attacks all at once.

re the italicized: f**k you. I do like it and I will spend 12 hours doing it.... and I'm pretty sure I'm not a sociopath. Probably.


ETA: if you want more experience quickly, you need to go outside of the biglaw box. The only realistic way to do that is make sure you aggressively manage your debt. The smaller the better.

My list of things that make good attorneys:
Quick reader
smart
good writer
detail oriented
willing to fight over sh*t they don't really care about.
doesn't mind that almost all opposing counsel are as**oles
doesn't mind that almost all opposing counsel thinks he/she is an as**ole/b**ch
is willing to stand up in front of strangers and talk (if that person wants to do litigation/trial work)

SchopenhauerFTW
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby SchopenhauerFTW » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:22 pm

I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but I learned that I wouldn't be a good one.

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Lawquacious
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby Lawquacious » Fri Sep 14, 2012 8:55 pm

Bronte wrote:. . .most of your time is still going to be spent doing highly technical work involving reading and writing. Also, in regard to all professions being detail oriented, that may be true. Very, very few, however, are as detail oriented as legal work.


This is extremely credited basic truth about the vast majority of legal jobs IMO. It is very technical and detail oriented. Which IMO actually sucks pretty big cock that even high pay can't make up for. But OTOH, it is also true (as mentioned) that over time the work can become more client-focused rather than strict research and writing. There are also various positions that it helps to have a law degree for that don't necessarily involve the tedium of actually practicing law, but arguably--for many ppl at least--there are better paths than law school to these jobs. Which is why my position is (basically) that only if your other options are (truly) pure shit then law school may be a good idea if you're not sure about wtf you ultimately want to do.

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Bronte
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby Bronte » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:22 pm

JCFindley wrote:
Bronte wrote:
Of those graduates who do get jobs, most probably go to law firms and, of those, the vast majority go to big law firms. Big law firms almost exclusively represent large companies. Thus, a very large portion of students who are "successful" in law school in the sense of finding gainful employment end up practicing what can broadly be characterized as "business law."



Bronte is generally right on but the bold is simply not true. VERY few graduates percentage wise go into biglaw.


RedBirds2011 wrote:Im glad you addressed that first part. Yea, like 8 percent of law grads work in big firms. That is not even remotely close to a majority lol


I think we might be having a little math miscommunication here. First, I said that half of law students do not get jobs. Then, I said, I would guess about half of those that do get jobs (that's 25% of all law grads, to be clear) get firm jobs, many regional. Then, of those that get firm jobs, most probably get what could be characterized as "big law" jobs (to keep the math going, we're now at 12.5% of all law grads).

This was meant to just be a quick back of the napkin calculation.To be clear, though, I never even came close to saying that most law students get big law jobs. Most law students are either unemployed or doing temp work, and I'll be the first to tell you that.

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RedBirds2011
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby RedBirds2011 » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:27 pm

Bronte wrote:
JCFindley wrote:
Bronte wrote:
Of those graduates who do get jobs, most probably go to law firms and, of those, the vast majority go to big law firms. Big law firms almost exclusively represent large companies. Thus, a very large portion of students who are "successful" in law school in the sense of finding gainful employment end up practicing what can broadly be characterized as "business law."



Bronte is generally right on but the bold is simply not true. VERY few graduates percentage wise go into biglaw.


RedBirds2011 wrote:Im glad you addressed that first part. Yea, like 8 percent of law grads work in big firms. That is not even remotely close to a majority lol


I think we might be having a little math miscommunication here. First, I said that half of law students do not get jobs. Then, I said, I would guess about half of those that do get jobs (that's 25% of all law grads, to be clear) get firm jobs, many regional. Then, of those that get firm jobs, most probably get what could be characterized as "big law" jobs (to keep the math going, we're now at 12.5% of all law grads).

This was meant to just be a quick back of the napkin calculation.To be clear, though, I never even came close to saying that most law students get big law jobs. Most law students are either unemployed or doing temp work, and I'll be the first to tell you that.





Edit: nvm, i think you might be right actually. The numbers are a bit off from what youre saying but your reasoning is right. Here is the article i was referring to. It is 8.4 percent of law grads total, not of those with jobs as i had initially thought.

http://www.abajournal.com/ipad/comments ... /#comments

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JCFindley
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby JCFindley » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:01 pm

RedBirds2011 wrote:
Bronte wrote:
JCFindley wrote:
Bronte wrote:
Of those graduates who do get jobs, most probably go to law firms and, of those, the vast majority go to big law firms. Big law firms almost exclusively represent large companies. Thus, a very large portion of students who are "successful" in law school in the sense of finding gainful employment end up practicing what can broadly be characterized as "business law."



Bronte is generally right on but the bold is simply not true. VERY few graduates percentage wise go into biglaw.


RedBirds2011 wrote:Im glad you addressed that first part. Yea, like 8 percent of law grads work in big firms. That is not even remotely close to a majority lol


I think we might be having a little math miscommunication here. First, I said that half of law students do not get jobs. Then, I said, I would guess about half of those that do get jobs (that's 25% of all law grads, to be clear) get firm jobs, many regional. Then, of those that get firm jobs, most probably get what could be characterized as "big law" jobs (to keep the math going, we're now at 12.5% of all law grads).

This was meant to just be a quick back of the napkin calculation.To be clear, though, I never even came close to saying that most law students get big law jobs. Most law students are either unemployed or doing temp work, and I'll be the first to tell you that.





Edit: nvm, i think you might be right actually. The numbers are a bit off from what youre saying but your reasoning is right. Here is the article i was referring to. It is 8.4 percent of law grads total, not of those with jobs as i had initially thought.

http://www.abajournal.com/ipad/comments ... /#comments


Yupp, so 16ish percent or so of those that get jobs get biglaw which is a fair amount but still leaves 84ish percent that get jobs elsewhere. There is a LOT of elsewhere out there but will elsewhere service the debt?

One thing to think about here is if you really think you will HATE biglaw then a strong regional school with a full ride will likely be a better option than a T-14 at sticker. Even if you like the idea of models and bottles and the sound of 160/yr keep in mind that there are an awful lot of T-14 grads that don't get biglaw even if they do want it so the key is to choose wisely.

For me, I would rather gouge my eyes out with a spork than do biglaw. At least that is how I feel at the moment. (Some exceptions to that specifically in the area of aviation law which will likely be boutique firms anyway.)

So, spend some time watching Franklin and Bash, flip a coin and see what you think.*

*Notice, Franklin and Bash bear no resemblance to real law.

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Bronte
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby Bronte » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:40 pm

JCFindley wrote:Yupp, so 16ish percent or so of those that get jobs get biglaw which is a fair amount but still leaves 84ish percent that get jobs elsewhere.


Even out of that remaining group that does not get "big law," many are still practicing what can be characterized as "business law." First of all, the 8.4% figure is just NLJ250. There are firms outside of the 250 largest firms that are employing people and still largely representing business entities. Further, there are people who go to clerkships: many of those people then end up going to big law firms. Finally, of people that go into a government, many are still practicing "business law": people who go to, for example, DOJ Antitrust, SEC, CFTC, OCC, etc.

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JCFindley
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby JCFindley » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:42 pm

Bronte wrote:
JCFindley wrote:Yupp, so 16ish percent or so of those that get jobs get biglaw which is a fair amount but still leaves 84ish percent that get jobs elsewhere.


Even out of that remaining group that does not get "big law," many are still practicing what can be characterized as "business law." First of all, the 8.4% figure is just NLJ250. There are firms outside of the 250 largest firms that are employing people and still largely representing business entities. Further, there are people who go to clerkships: many of those people then end up going to big law firms. Finally, of people that go into a government, many are still practicing "business law": people who go to, for example, DOJ Antitrust, SEC, CFTC, OCC, etc.


All true. I would still rather gouge my eyes out with a spork though.

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Bronte
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby Bronte » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:48 pm

JCFindley wrote:
Bronte wrote:
JCFindley wrote:Yupp, so 16ish percent or so of those that get jobs get biglaw which is a fair amount but still leaves 84ish percent that get jobs elsewhere.


Even out of that remaining group that does not get "big law," many are still practicing what can be characterized as "business law." First of all, the 8.4% figure is just NLJ250. There are firms outside of the 250 largest firms that are employing people and still largely representing business entities. Further, there are people who go to clerkships: many of those people then end up going to big law firms. Finally, of people that go into a government, many are still practicing "business law": people who go to, for example, DOJ Antitrust, SEC, CFTC, OCC, etc.


All true. I would still rather gouge my eyes out with a spork though.


Sure, but that's exactly my point. Many, many law students come to law school wanting to do a variety of "impact" type work--typically, wanting to be involved in various civil rights related causes or other niche areas--only to find out that law school, when it does place people into gainful employment, primarily places people into business-related gainful employment.

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scifiguy
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Re: How do I know if I want to be a lawyer?

Postby scifiguy » Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:56 pm

Bronte wrote:To understand whether you want to be a lawyer, you have to understand a little bit about the legal market.

Law school graduates usually end up doing one of five things after law school: working for a "big law" firm, working for a non-big law firm, working for the government, working for a public interest organization, or not finding work. Unfortunately, of those five, the most common by far is not finding work. For the roughly 40,000 new JDs in 2011, there were only about 20,000 jobs. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 58142.html.


But aren't you excluding jobs outside of law? Your "five things" makes #1-4 all legal jobs and then #5 unemployed.




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