Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Which should I pursue?

Nearly free t14 education and subsequent legal career
9
41%
Mgt training position with major corp.
13
59%
 
Total votes: 22

harttrek1
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:48 pm

Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby harttrek1 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:52 am

I hope this is in the right place, sorry if it is not mods.

Basically, I have a tough choice in front of me. I've been accepted to several t14s so far, including my top choice school with a great scholarship. I have been hoping to go to this school for several years now, and it is a dream come true in many ways.

However, I've been given the opportunity to enter a select leadership and management training program for one of the largest automotive companies in the world. This program would utilize my undergrad degree (finance), and is aimed at placing participants in upper management roles with a long term perspective within the corporation. Taking this option would severely limit the potential for me to ever attend law school.

The pay starting out would be significantly less than Biglaw, but the quality of life is excellent and the potential for serious career upside exists, albeit with less predictability than perhaps lockstep Biglaw mobility.

I've always wanted to be a lawyer, and finally have the opportunity to attend a dream school for nearly free. From those who are on the other side of choosing law school and also Biglaw, what would you advise? All comments welcome. Thanks in advance.

User avatar
smaug_
Posts: 2195
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:06 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby smaug_ » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:05 am

I'm not sure as I never had the opportunities you have here. I'd be tempted take the job and sidestep the whole law thing. Although your legal education will be cheap because of that great scholarship, your opportunity costs are going to be high as this sounds like a decent career opportunity.

Moreover, law school will still be there if you decide you want to do it. It seems like law would be something to fall back on if the training program doesn't pan out. If it does pan out it seems like you'd just be in a great position, so it isn't a huge loss.

That said, dreams are dreams. I guess I'd look at how much the opportunity cost is, consider why exactly you want to be a lawyer, and think about how the most likely scenario from each option would play out.

User avatar
dproduct
Posts: 4087
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:58 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby dproduct » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:24 am

Always wanted to be a lawyer/Accepted to dream school with major scholarship/Limited debt...

Seems easy to me. JD all the way. Congrats on your hard work paying off!

User avatar
Tom Joad
Posts: 4542
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby Tom Joad » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:33 am

I think the job is the smart choice. You are one of the few law school applicants that has real opportunity costs. You didn't say full ride, so I assume you will have to pay something so let's say you have to take out $30,000 each year in loans to cover the rest of school and living. And this job sounds pretty good, so let's say you will average about $80,000 in salary and benefits each year over the 3 years of law school. Is it really worth foregoing $330,000 for a 50% chance at good outcome after busting your ass for 3 years? I would say no. And if you take this job and don't like it after a few years, you can always go back to school and get a JD or MBA. And the outcome will probably be better then, with your work experience and using savings to pay for school instead of loans.

User avatar
sinfiery
Posts: 3308
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:55 am

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby sinfiery » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:50 am

Tom Joad wrote:Is it really worth foregoing $330,000 for a 50% chance at good outcome after busting your ass for 3 years?

80k in PA (random state) = 57k after taxes
20k COL
37k * 3 = 110k from working if he lives off 20k a year.
if he's making 80k

so 171k total in debt + lost savings

User avatar
Tom Joad
Posts: 4542
Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2008 5:56 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby Tom Joad » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:56 am

sinfiery wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:Is it really worth foregoing $330,000 for a 50% chance at good outcome after busting your ass for 3 years?

80k in PA (random state) = 57k after taxes
20k COL
37k * 3 = 110k from working if he lives off 20k a year.
if he's making 80k

so 171k total in debt + lost savings

You are correct, but as a current law student I would still take the sure thing. If there is any room for advancement (big company, sounds like there would be) it sounds like he already has a better job locked up than the majority of T14 law students look for after they graduate.

User avatar
gguuueessttt
Posts: 473
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:18 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby gguuueessttt » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:00 am

Tom Joad wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:Is it really worth foregoing $330,000 for a 50% chance at good outcome after busting your ass for 3 years?

80k in PA (random state) = 57k after taxes
20k COL
37k * 3 = 110k from working if he lives off 20k a year.
if he's making 80k

so 171k total in debt + lost savings

You are correct, but as a current law student I would still take the sure thing. If there is any room for advancement (big company, sounds like there would be) it sounds like he already has a better job locked up than the majority of T14 law students look for after they graduate.


I agree with this unless OP has a very compelling reason for wanting to be a lawyer. But going to a T14 school nearly for free is not a bad decision either way.

User avatar
sinfiery
Posts: 3308
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:55 am

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby sinfiery » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:05 am

Tom Joad wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:Is it really worth foregoing $330,000 for a 50% chance at good outcome after busting your ass for 3 years?

80k in PA (random state) = 57k after taxes
20k COL
37k * 3 = 110k from working if he lives off 20k a year.
if he's making 80k

so 171k total in debt + lost savings

You are correct, but as a current law student I would still take the sure thing. If there is any room for advancement (big company, sounds like there would be) it sounds like he already has a better job locked up than the majority of T14 law students look for after they graduate.

Indeed. Financially, it seems like the job that promises to set you for life within a large company is the better financial situation.
Of course, large companies could be just as likely to lie and deceit their employees as Law Schools do to their students but as mentioned, if you go into the job, LS will still be there. Not vice-versa, presumably. Financially, I'd take the job.


Only reason to take the T14 would be personal desire, as mentioned ITT also.

User avatar
John Mill
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:21 am

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby John Mill » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:06 am

How good are your chances at getting an upper management job if you choose to go through with the leadership program? Is that a sure thing? Almost a sure thing? 50/50? In the end it will come down to what you want, if it were me, I would go to law school, especially with a scholly at my dream school.

Don't let the choice anxiety get to you though, whatever you choose it sounds like you have two great opportunities ahead of you! I would kill for your problem lol

TooOld4This
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:52 am

Job.

It will not limit your ability to go to law school. Law school will be there if and when you have finished exploring this path. You don't want to spend every blown holiday, late night, and unreasonable client wondering what would have been if you had gone management rather than spending 3 years in law school with no income and tuition payments.

User avatar
nygrrrl
Posts: 4948
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:01 am

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby nygrrrl » Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:57 am

John Mill wrote:How good are your chances at getting an upper management job if you choose to go through with the leadership program? Is that a sure thing? Almost a sure thing? 50/50? In the end it will come down to what you want, if it were me, I would go to law school, especially with a scholly at my dream school.

I agree with the above, but admittedly I'm a risk-taker and I'm big into people following their dreams.
You really can't lose either way - congrats, OP!

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:25 am

Advice might be different depending upon the T-14 law school in question. Obviously, it is not Harvard, Yale or Stanford because those law schools do not award scholarships. Most likely it's Virginia--based on your prior posts. Tough to offer meaningful advice without knowing more about each opportunity.

Are you willing to share your undergraduate university (via PM?) ? Foundation Fellow or University Fellow ? USC"s Moore School ? If so, I have some off-topic questions.

User avatar
bizzybone1313
Posts: 996
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:31 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby bizzybone1313 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:09 pm

OP, I was in a similar boat as you 6 months ago. I was doing consulting working for a Big Four accounting firm making $60K with very good future earning potential, but I was miserable. I have wanted to be an attorney for a very long time. So, being that I graduated Magna Cum Laude from undergrad, I knew I was risking my future by not quitting my job to focus on the LSAT. So I quit- but it was a very stressful decision knowing that I was leaving a job that so many people would kill for. The T-14 schools produce US Senators, Governors and GC's of Fortune 100 companies. Can you live with yourself not knowing what could have been with the T-14 law degree? I could not, so I quit.

User avatar
bizzybone1313
Posts: 996
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:31 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby bizzybone1313 » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:16 pm

A lot of these other posters are all doom and gloom and expect a perfect job outcome straight out of school. They aren't very forward looking. Even if you do not make $160K coming straight out of school, what about 10 or 20 years down the line? Where will you be then with the Duke law degree? You could be the next Nixon (and I am not joking). A lot of TLS acts as if the legal economy will forever be bad. Even it does slug along, life will eventually be ok for T-14 graduates.

User avatar
YYZ
Posts: 139
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 3:39 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby YYZ » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:20 pm

I would go for law. Follow your dreams first. You obviously have good credentials, and you can get a job in business if you don't like law school. There are lots of businesses out there but very few top notch law schools. The assumption is that you can go to law school later, but you may find it more difficult than you think to leave a good paying job to go into debt.

Also, be careful about the larger automotive companies. Before considering that path, I would make sure that you would "fit" within the culture. If you had any doubts about the people or culture during your interview, follow you gut and bail out now. I learned this through personal experience.

CanadianWolf
Posts: 10439
Joined: Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:54 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby CanadianWolf » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:52 pm

OP: Are you willing to share the starting pay rate ?

If I had to make a recommendation, it would be to take the job. Participants in these programs tend to be treated & paid quite well. Law school will always be there. Your LSAT is good for 5 years & your GPA is set in stone. Serious managerial training work experience might be enough when combined with your current numbers to get you into the T-6 as well as multiple lower T-14s with money. I asked about University Fellows, Foundation Fellows & the Moore School for several reasons including cultural connections with your prospective employer if they recruit from these programs. This can be very important for job security & career advancement in that company. Law school will always be there, but the management training "fast-track" programs won't as they want recent graduates.

P.S. Also, after 2 or more years in the management training program, top MBA programs become an option.

harttrek1
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:48 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby harttrek1 » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:16 am

Wow, thanks for all of the advice! I appreciate all the different perspectives; that's exactly what I was hoping for when I asked.

The starting pay is right at $60k. This increases immediately after the training period. As far as my undergrad, I went to an SEC school which is regionally strong in the business department but certainly not a national name. I think this answers any response questions.

Thanks again for all of the help. I am very much aware that this is not a problem in any way, just different opportunities to consider. I appreciate every opinion.

User avatar
HawkeyeGirl
Posts: 459
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 9:13 pm

Re: Law School v. Other opportunity, advice needed please.

Postby HawkeyeGirl » Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:53 am

I went into investment banking right after college and am now in the process of applying to law schools, so kind of similar situation. (though I had no intention of going to law school exiting college!) I'm actually very happy with my route, because given all the doom and gloom talk about the law market, I always have a fantastic back up plan of being a banker or going to work for a large corporate. It makes the legal employment situation a hell of a lot less scary because I have real options to pay off debt after school even if worse comes to worst and I don't get a BigLaw job. Just something to think about, since a K-JD does not have the option of returning to a different career path.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests