is there seriously no real alternatives to big law?

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cinephile
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Re: is there seriously no real alternatives to big law?

Postby cinephile » Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:30 pm

Lawquacious wrote:
IAFG wrote:LRAP-eligible jobs (for which you would be more qualified with some years of biglaw experience).



No, you would not be more eligible for the LRAP qualifying jobs after biglaw. To the contrary. One thing biglaw can actually hurt you for is if you want to do legit public interest work (which is a nemesis to biglaw).


I attended a public interest law networking dinner recently at my school and one thing I found while talking to the various lawyers there is that NONE of those public interest organizations represented were willing to take students fresh out of law school. The lawyers there really encouraged us to go get the training we need at a firm first because they couldn't afford to train us. Most of them had prior biglaw experience before moving into public interest.

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HarlandBassett
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Re: is there seriously no real alternatives to big law?

Postby HarlandBassett » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:11 pm

One of the ironies in life that I joke about with students is you work four times as hard to get a quarter of the money in public interest.

– Alexa Shabecoff, Assistant Dean for Public Service at Harvard Law School, commenting on the limited public interest opportunities available for students in comparison with the school’s enormous Early Interview Program for private firms.

ksllaw
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Re: is there seriously no real alternatives to big law?

Postby ksllaw » Sun Nov 25, 2012 10:20 pm

sangr wrote:for those who dont make big law or who may not want big law

what is there? is it that there are no alternatives or is it that the alternatives are real shitty?


DISCLAIMER: OL here. :lol: (But one that has spent the last 3-4 months aggressively researching law school... :mrgreen: ...if that lends any credence to my response.)

The main issue with working outside of big law as someone mentioned earlier (I believe) is that you may struggle with paying back your school loans and any other debt you've accumulated. That to me seems one of the "Top 3" concerns (for me, at least) in deciding whether to attend law school or not.

Theoretically, I wouldn't mind working outside of biglaw doing any number of legal tasks in:

a.) a small private firm
b.) a legal aid/public interest firm
c.) doing government law (state/local & federal)
d.) working in "mid-law"

a.) thru c.) are open to new JD grads, but usually offer low starting salaries ($40-45K-ish) with some exceptions here and there.

NOTE: I'm not commenting on how difficult/easy it may be to obtain a.) thru c.), but just saying that they are open to new JD grads.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=183482
"Big Law vs. ..."

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=193923
"Missing Big Law = Poverty?" (has a good link to a chart showing the bi-modal starting salaries of law school grads)

[Also, I found the two threads above helpful in elaborating on what work options exist and what they are like outside of biglaw. You may want to check them out. The first thread is quite long, but gets better throughout from what I remember. I found some useful tips and perspective in it for possibly working in small law].

d.) usually requires previous experience working in biglaw for several years, but offers substantially better salaries than a.) - c.) on average ($80-120K-ish).

So, for all intents and purposes, d.) is not an option if you don't get into or want biglaw. So, you're mainly looking at a.) - c.) if you still desire to work in law after law school.

The problem with a.) thru c.) is that the starting salaries can be quite low in relation to the typical law school grad's debt load after graduation. I believe median debt (all debt for that student) for law grads is somewhere close to $150K (you may want to double-check).

This seems to be the big risk with attending law school. If you have a $45K salary after graduation, it may be difficult to pay back your school loans while maintaining a desirable quality of life.

After taxes, you'd have $34K.

On a $150K outstanding loan balance, the annual interest alone (not including principal) at the going rate of 6.9 to 7.9 percent is about $11K. When you factor in principal loan payments, living expenses (rent, food, clothing, household supplies, utility bills, car bills, gas, insurance, entertainment, emergency funds, etc.) and savings, then that $45K/year job (with $150K student loan debt) may not go very far and may lead to poverty.

DoctorShawHi
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Re: is there seriously no real alternatives to big law?

Postby DoctorShawHi » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:32 pm

How would you feel to graduate with a JD and earn just 40-45k, or rather just slightly less than the average recent graduate accountant?


Yikes.

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Zoomie
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Re: is there seriously no real alternatives to big law?

Postby Zoomie » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:23 pm

sangr wrote:thanks again to the input

1) how much do grades matter if u fuck up 1st year (not good enough for big law). so how much do ur 2nd and 3rd yrs matter

2) is law school anything like undergrad in that if u get mediocre grades semester but do well 2nd, the upward trend allows u to be forgiven a bit



lawyers are needed for title and deed companies, contracting, government, state and local agencies. There are possibilities out there. Do a google search for attorney postings. I think the most important thing is to have your expectations managed that you may earn a very modest salary. A guy I know owns his own business. He worked with a firm for 3 years then went out on his own. He does some personal injury work but says he makes the most of his money from family law, wills and successions. He says it is very taxing and sad at times. He doesn't do much advertising because of the expense but he isn't hurting financially either.

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Zoomie
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Re: is there seriously no real alternatives to big law?

Postby Zoomie » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:25 pm

cinephile wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:
IAFG wrote:LRAP-eligible jobs (for which you would be more qualified with some years of biglaw experience).



No, you would not be more eligible for the LRAP qualifying jobs after biglaw. To the contrary. One thing biglaw can actually hurt you for is if you want to do legit public interest work (which is a nemesis to biglaw).


I attended a public interest law networking dinner recently at my school and one thing I found while talking to the various lawyers there is that NONE of those public interest organizations represented were willing to take students fresh out of law school. The lawyers there really encouraged us to go get the training we need at a firm first because they couldn't afford to train us. Most of them had prior biglaw experience before moving into public interest.


Interesting. Thanks for sharing. (I'm not being sarcastic).




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