Should I go to law school?

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Cats&Doodles
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Should I go to law school?

Postby Cats&Doodles » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:45 pm

I've never known what I want to do career-wise, only that I want to help people. Recently I've begun to consider law because of my dad, who was disabled and in a nursing home for several years. Those years-before and while he was in the nursing home-were so hard on my mom and me. Due those experiences, I want to work with the disabled, like helping them and their families figure out and obtain the help to which they are entitled, and helping them to protect their finances, especially if someone is in/going into a nursing home. I'm also thinking of nursing home abuse cases. I'm considering this career path because I have experienced these difficulties and know personally how hard it is to have a loved one in that kind of situation. I felt so helpless and confused, and I'd like to help others in the same or similar situation.

However, I'm hesitating to commit to this decision because I'm a junior in college already. I know that there aren't any required courses to take to be considered for law school, like there are for med school, but I just feel completely unprepared and unqualified for law school. I haven't even thought about LSATs because I haven't seriously considered a career in law till now. The only thing that might help me is the fact that I'm a Classical Studies major, and many dept. advisers I've spoken to have said that Classics is a good major for law school.

I do have a good GPA. Right now it's a 4.0. But I have no idea how I'd do on the LSAT. Also, I haven't done any extracurricular activities or internships because I wanted to spend time with my dad, and I'm a commuter student (it takes about 2 hours one way), and I have a part-time job, so I had a lot of restrictions on time. This semester I started volunteering with Peer Health Exchange, but it's completely unrelated to the area of law in which I'm interested. Are there any extracurriculars/internships/volunteer opportunities to look for that will give me experience? Should I even bother considering law school at this point?

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barestin
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby barestin » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:50 pm

Maintain the 4.0 by any means necessary...your major does not matter. Study your ass off for the LSAT and crush it. Everything else is secondary.

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cinephile
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby cinephile » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:50 pm

I thought I wanted to go into law to help people, but then I realized that this didn't mean anything to me if I never saw the people I was helping. If I'm spending the vast majority of my time at my desk doing research and writing, then it wouldn't be a rewarding profession for me.

But it might be for you. It really depends. Only you know best what you do and don't like in a job.

From what you related above, it sounds like social work might make you happy.

Cats&Doodles
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Cats&Doodles » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:00 pm

cinephile wrote:From what you related above, it sounds like social work might make you happy.


I was thinking of social work for a while, but I felt like I'd only be able to recommend them to legal help or other agencies. I was considering a dual degree in MSW/JD though.

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cinephile
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby cinephile » Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:52 pm

Cats&Doodles wrote:
cinephile wrote:From what you related above, it sounds like social work might make you happy.


I was thinking of social work for a while, but I felt like I'd only be able to recommend them to legal help or other agencies. I was considering a dual degree in MSW/JD though.


That sounds like a good plan.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:23 am

Cats&Doodles wrote:
cinephile wrote:From what you related above, it sounds like social work might make you happy.


I was thinking of social work for a while, but I felt like I'd only be able to recommend them to legal help or other agencies. I was considering a dual degree in MSW/JD though.

First of all, don't worry about "being prepared for law school." There isn't a college major that prepares you for law school. Law school is all about changing the way you think, and is unlike any undergrad course you will take.

Second, I was a social worker and am now in law school. I can tell you that even at the BSW level social work usually goes far beyond making referrals. You do need a MSW to do therapy, but social work is about a lot more than just making referrals. Gerontology is the fastest growing specialty in the profession. Obviously I left social work for law (although I will go back if the law thing doesn't work out), but I wouldn't have traded my time as a social worker to go into law school earlier. It definitely helped me really understand what I wanted to do with a law degree.

If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

sadsituationJD
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby sadsituationJD » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:46 am

A JD/MSW is probably the most worthless grad degree combo possible. Why not do Masters in Medieval Studies w/ a PhD in French Lit? Both will lead to a "career" at Starbucks.

There is already a comically huge surplus of attorneys. Why not do something unique/worthwhile with your life, rather than aspire to be some lifeless drone pushing makework paper 80 hours a week?

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Lawquacious
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:56 am

sadsituationJD wrote:A JD/MSW is probably the most worthless grad degree combo possible. Why not do Masters in Medieval Studies w/ a PhD in French Lit? Both will lead to a "career" at Starbucks.

There is already a comically huge surplus of attorneys. Why not do something unique/worthwhile with your life, rather than aspire to be some lifeless drone pushing makework paper 80 hours a week?


Go back to JD Underground. You don't know what you are talking about. MSW/JD is becoming a popular combo at some PD offices, and an MSW alone is an extremely useful degree if you want to be employed.

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John Mill
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby John Mill » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:52 am

sadsituationJD wrote:A JD/MSW is probably the most worthless grad degree combo possible. Why not do Masters in Medieval Studies w/ a PhD in French Lit? Both will lead to a "career" at Starbucks.

There is already a comically huge surplus of attorneys. Why not do something unique/worthwhile with your life, rather than aspire to be some lifeless drone pushing makework paper 80 hours a week?

Why don't you? lol it cracks me up how 90% of the people here have this consensus of "don't be a lawyer, its a sucky job and the market is terrible" meanwhile still striving to be a lawyer themselves :lol:

It reminds me of this story my cousin told me, while she was at NYU somebody in a study group deliberately gave her false information to increase his own class rank.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:57 am

Lawquacious wrote:
sadsituationJD wrote:A JD/MSW is probably the most worthless grad degree combo possible. Why not do Masters in Medieval Studies w/ a PhD in French Lit? Both will lead to a "career" at Starbucks.

There is already a comically huge surplus of attorneys. Why not do something unique/worthwhile with your life, rather than aspire to be some lifeless drone pushing makework paper 80 hours a week?


Go back to JD Underground. You don't know what you are talking about. MSW/JD is becoming a popular combo at some PD offices, and an MSW alone is an extremely useful degree if you want to be employed.

A JD/MSW doesn't give enough of a bump to PI jobs to justify the cost, and most organizations will not hire a JD/MSW as a social worker. Pick one or the other.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:03 am

dextermorgan wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:
sadsituationJD wrote:A JD/MSW is probably the most worthless grad degree combo possible. Why not do Masters in Medieval Studies w/ a PhD in French Lit? Both will lead to a "career" at Starbucks.

There is already a comically huge surplus of attorneys. Why not do something unique/worthwhile with your life, rather than aspire to be some lifeless drone pushing makework paper 80 hours a week?


Go back to JD Underground. You don't know what you are talking about. MSW/JD is becoming a popular combo at some PD offices, and an MSW alone is an extremely useful degree if you want to be employed.

most organizations will not hire a JD/MSW as a social worker.


Where are you getting this from? Regardless, if you simply want to be a social worker I agree that getting a JD makes no sense, but hopefully someone who has a JD/MSW is not applying to basic social work positions in any case.

Although it may not make sense to pursue both in terms of cost efficiency, the idea that the combo is worthless or likely to only land one a job at Starbucks is laughable (and what I was responding to).
Last edited by Lawquacious on Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:04 am

Lawquacious wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:
Lawquacious wrote:
sadsituationJD wrote:A JD/MSW is probably the most worthless grad degree combo possible. Why not do Masters in Medieval Studies w/ a PhD in French Lit? Both will lead to a "career" at Starbucks.

There is already a comically huge surplus of attorneys. Why not do something unique/worthwhile with your life, rather than aspire to be some lifeless drone pushing makework paper 80 hours a week?


Go back to JD Underground. You don't know what you are talking about. MSW/JD is becoming a popular combo at some PD offices, and an MSW alone is an extremely useful degree if you want to be employed.

most organizations will not hire a JD/MSW as a social worker.


Where are you getting this from? Regardless, if you simply want to be a social worker I agree that getting a JD makes no sense.

Although it may not make sense to pursue both in terms of cost efficiency, the idea that the combo is worthless or likely to only land one a job at Starbucks is laughable (and what I was responding to).

Several years in the profession (including time spent as a field instructor and on hiring committees for a large non-profit).

If you want a MSW go to a cheap state school (one that probably doesn't even have a law school). I agree that the posters comment was stupid, but encouraging people do a joint program of marginal value isn't wise.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:08 am

dextermorgan wrote:Several years in the profession (including time spent as a field instructor and on hiring committees for a large non-profit).


I also have a background in social work/social services, and I think that a JD/MSW combo could work for an applicant seeking a social work position as easily as it could work against them, although it is kind of beside the point because someone with both those degrees generally shouldn't be seeking just social work (unless realizing law was simply a mistake).
Last edited by Lawquacious on Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:47 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:13 am

dextermorgan wrote:but encouraging people do a joint program of marginal value isn't wise.


To clarify, I wasn't necessarily encouraging someone to do this, although I do think the combo can have more than marginal value and that this combo will become more popular over time.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:18 am

Lawquacious wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:Several years in the profession (including time spent as a field instructor and on hiring committees for a large non-profit).


I also had (more than) several years in social work/social services (not just non-profit), and I think that a JD/MSW combo could work for an applicant seeking a social work position as easily as it could work against them, although it is kind of beside the point because someone with both those degrees generally shouldn't be seeking just social work (unless realizing law was simply a mistake).

The point was, SadSituationJD was spouting off about JD and/or MSW being worthless (regardless of how they act in combo) and I was correcting his overstatement.

That's my point. Burnout is already high enough, without having to add the greener pastures syndrome. Social work employers know this. The JD/MSW combo exists solely to add an additional skill set for lawyers, and it is one that is not worth the cost. If you want to get a JD/MSW then just get the MSW first (for 1/2 to 1/4 of the price it will cost you to add a year on at most schools offering the dual degree).

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dextermorgan
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby dextermorgan » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:22 am

Lawquacious wrote:
dextermorgan wrote:but encouraging people do a joint program of marginal value isn't wise.


To clarify, I wasn't necessarily encouraging someone to do this, although I do think the combo can have more than marginal value and that this combo will become more popular over time.

We will just have to disagree on that. MSW programs give you great skills, but I think people should pick one or the other.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Lawquacious » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:31 am

dextermorgan wrote:. The JD/MSW combo exists solely to add an additional skill set for lawyers, and it is one that is not worth the cost..


In many cases that may be true, but I disagree that it is categorically not worth it for anybody.

Even if it doesn't pay economic dividends, having advanced professional training in social work could be extremely useful in terms of being effective (and staying sane) in work with difficult clients or in certain sub-fields of law.

But I wasn't advocating anyone pursue a joint MSW/JD per se, and I think that in general it does make sense to just pursue one or the other.

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PDaddy
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby PDaddy » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:00 am

A legal career can be extremely rewarding, but it isn't for everyone.

Because of practical concerns, I would suggest that anyone considering getting an MBA (Finance), an M.D. (Cosmetic/Reconstructive Surgery, Neurosurgery, Vascular Surgery, or Thoracic Surgery), a DDS (Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Periodontics, Endodontics, or Cosmetic Dentistry) a CPA, a Masters in Architecture (M.Arch) if you have an undergrad architecture degree, or possibly an Engineering degree. These careers can be both intrinsically and financially rewarding.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Architecture

A legal career is rewarding only for those who are truly passionate about the law, but I recommend caution before going to law school and, once committed to attending, possibly doing a dual-degree program (ex. JD/MBA). It can't hurt, and the elite schools have three-year JD/MBA programs. I know a 27 year-old Penn Law grad (2009) who makes well over $200K (maybe closer to $300K) at an elite NY Biglaw firm and absolutely hates what she does. For the skeptics...yes, she was one of the very few lucky ones...

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sinfiery
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby sinfiery » Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:08 am

PDaddy wrote:To everyone, I would suggest considering getting an MBA (Finance), an M.D. (Cosmetic/Reconstructive Surgery, Neurosurgery, Vascular Surgery, or Thoracic Surgery), a DDS (Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery, Orthodontics, Periodontics, Endodontics, or Cosmetic Dentistry) a CPA, a Masters in Architecture (M.Arch) if you have an undergrad architecture degree, or possibly an Engineering degree. These careers can be both intrinsically and financially rewarding.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_of_Architecture

A legal career is rewarding only for those who are truly passionate about the law, but I recommend caution before going to law school and,once committed to attending, possibly doing a dual-degree program (ex. JD/MBA). It can't hurt, and the elite schools have three-year JD/MBA programs. The legal field just isn't the field right now. I know a 27 year-old Penn Law grad (2009) who makes well over $200K (maybe closer to $300K) at an elite NY Biglaw firm and absolutely hates what she does. For the skeptics...yes, she was one of the very few lucky ones...

A legal career isn't for everyone.

I don't see how any of those fields differ from a legal career. Can you go into any of those fields without a passion for said field, and find it rewarding? Is a legal career really that unique? I doubt it but I'm just a 0L.

Or maybe this is an argument about the financial side of things since you mention "just isn't the field right now".

Jimbo_Jones
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:49 pm

sinfiery wrote:Or maybe this is an argument about the financial side of things since you mention "just isn't the field right now".


Except all those alternative careers he mentioned are no more or less financially rewarding/secure than law is. Go read an online forum dedicated to one of those careers and you'll find the exact same complaints (e.g., no one is hiring, salaries are shrinking, jobs are being outsourced, etc.) as you see here. Simple truth is more and more people are competing for fewer and fewer high-paying highly skilled jobs across the board. Barriers to entry are getting more and more difficult surmount in every career.

grace123
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby grace123 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:01 pm

Don't jump right into law school if you're not sure. Schools will look more highly on your application if you have some work experience to show your commitment/seriousness and you will know better what you want to do with your life.

If you think you want to help people going into a nursing home, start volunteering at a nursing home and see what kind of impact you could make there as a lawyer. Talk to other lawyers involved in that field. Ask them if they would be willing to spend 15 minutes talking about their job (they probably will - lawyers usually like talking about themselves).

If this sounds like too much work for you, then you probably shouldn't go to law school, because it is a shit-ton of work. Before you spend a huge amount of money and time preparing for the practice of law, do your research and make sure you're not going to hate it.

If you need help finding lawyers around you that do health law, PM me where you live and I will run a search for you. Bonus: This is in my opinion the fastest growing field of law that is going to need the most lawyers.
Last edited by grace123 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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SuperCerealBrah
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby SuperCerealBrah » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:03 pm

Jimbo_Jones wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Or maybe this is an argument about the financial side of things since you mention "just isn't the field right now".


Except all those alternative careers he mentioned are no more or less financially rewarding/secure than law is. Go read an online forum dedicated to one of those careers and you'll find the exact same complaints (e.g., no one is hiring, salaries are shrinking, jobs are being outsourced, etc.) as you see here. Simple truth is more and more people are competing for fewer and fewer high-paying highly skilled jobs across the board. Barriers to entry are getting more and more difficult surmount in every career.


This.

Cats&Doodles
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Cats&Doodles » Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:47 pm

grace123 wrote:If you think you want to help people going into a nursing home, start volunteering at a nursing home and see what kind of impact you could make there as a lawyer.

I don't need to volunteer because I've spent three years visiting a nursing home. I've heard the complaints from other residents, seen the deficiencies in care with my own eyes, and felt the apprehension and worry about finances and quality of care that I'm sure many families feel. Besides, the volunteers do nothing worthwhile, at least in the nursing home where my dad was. They just transport people from their rooms to the cafeteria, the recreation room, the boutique, or physical therapy. What a rewarding experience.

grace123 wrote:If this sounds like too much work for you, then you probably shouldn't go to law school, because it is a shit-ton of work. Before you spend a huge amount of money and time preparing for the practice of law, do your research and make sure you're not going to hate it.

Honestly, nothing of what you mentioned is terribly taxing for anyone, no matter whether they are thinking of law school or not.

grace123 wrote:Bonus: This is in my opinion the fastest growing field of law that is going to need the most lawyers.

Good to know. Makes me feel a little less anxious about career prospects.

Cats&Doodles
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Cats&Doodles » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:00 pm

PDaddy wrote: A legal career is rewarding only for those who are truly passionate about the law, but I recommend caution before going to law school and, once committed to attending, possibly doing a dual-degree program (ex. JD/MBA). It can't hurt, and the elite schools have three-year JD/MBA programs. I know a 27 year-old Penn Law grad (2009) who makes well over $200K (maybe closer to $300K) at an elite NY Biglaw firm and absolutely hates what she does. For the skeptics...yes, she was one of the very few lucky ones...


In a sense, I agree with you. I don't see many happy lawyers out there. But I feel that a lot (not all, but a significant percentage) of individuals pursing law degrees do so because they think lawyer=big money when, in many cases, it doesn't.

I'm considering a legal career not because I have a passion for law, but because law, especially issues in elder law and disability, can be very confusing and overwhelming. I want to be the person who makes things clear and manageable and unambiguous. I just want to help people.

sadsituationJD
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby sadsituationJD » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:04 pm

I'm considering a legal career not because I have a passion for law, but because law, especially issues in elder law and disability, can be very confusing and overwhelming. I want to be the person who makes things clear and manageable and unambiguous. I just want to help people.


What's "confusing" about being warehoused in some piss-smelling nursing home sitting on a rubber sofa watching "Wheel of Fortune" reruns until you get an staph-infected bedsore and then tossed underground for a long dirt nap?

I fully support legalized euthanasia for the terminally ill/Alzheimer's afflicted elderly. It's much more humane and a tremendous cost-savings. More economical than filling out 96,547 pages of makework Medicaid legalese shitpaper and having your heirs screwed out of a payday thanks to the Medicaid "look-back" period. There is no quality of life in nursing homes, and most of the patients (if they were indeed sentient) would opt to just die.

Of course, private nursing homes are big business here in the USA, and combined with the screwball Jesus-freaks we have 0 shot of getting legalized euthanasia.




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