Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Should I stay or should I go?

If I go there will be trouble (go to law school OP)
1
4%
If I stay it will be double (stay where you are OP and continue working)
23
96%
 
Total votes: 24

User avatar
armenazo
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:08 pm

Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby armenazo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:34 pm

I'm fairly new to this site, and have very much enjoyed reading (nearly) everyone's contributions. I hope I can receive some well-reasoned advice about whether I should go to law school from this site's users.

My personal details:

- 24 y/o, URM (PR & Cuban) male.
- Single, with ties in: California (very strong), Chicago (strong), and Boston (moderate).
- Non-prestigious undergrad with 3.10 GPA in History.
- Can sometimes be lazy with respect to academics.
- Computer programmer with fairly impressive work experience (designed my own electronic records program used at several major hospitals.)

My story: I've never been good at standardized tests, so I settled on going to a lower ranked school with a scholarship. Since I was tired of staring at my computer monitor all day, I majored in History during college. I found it interesting, but under-performed due to lethargy. I’m not sure this means I’m not capable of performing well in academics –the classes I was interested in I destroyed - rather, I just got burned out (I graduated college in three years, not four.) After realizing I wasn’t cut out for academics, I turned to my strengths, technology.

After graduating college, I found a recruiter who helped place me in a V15 firm, where I work in their practice technology department (e-Discovery, trial presentation, and general litigation support.) Additionally, since I'm fairly new to the ropes, I'm also a provisional legal assistant, which means I draft memos, pleadings, rogs, discovery, etc., as they wanted me to gain a general knowledge of the litigation process. Overall, it's very enjoyable and I feel comfortable where I'm at. It's also very overpaid by my estimation - I make just over $100K (raised $5-7k/year, based off profitability) after overtime and bonuses are calculated. I have my own office, and am given a technology/wardrobe budget, in addition to being put on paid trips to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas for litigation technology summits.

I generally enjoy what I do, and don't mind hanging around with lawyers all day. Everyone treats me very professionally, as my relationship with partners is nothing like the relationship between partners and junior associates. On the whole, lawyers (mostly boomers) have lots of respect for people who understand how to seamlessly integrate technology into their practice. All in all, it's a pretty sweet gig, and I feel very comfortable where I am. Job security is basically a non-issue as I do things (technology/e-Discovery/trial stuff) cheaper than any vendor/client/anyone I know of could. For example, since they hired me they laid off 5-7 people who were permanent contract attorneys as I did the work cheaper and faster than they ever could at about 1/12th the rate (their hourly rate was about twice as much as mine is.) This equals savings to clients, who the partners I work for are well aware of. Things in my profession come easy to me, for example, I alone have brought to some of the partners’ attention numerous discovery abuses, which have led to sanctions by courts, and poisoning of wells between opposing counsels and their clients. I generally find stuff like this to be fun, and everyone I work for loves me for doing it since it weakens their competition.

So here lies the rub: I can't help but think I'm meant for something more. The partners I work with make much, much more than I do, which leads me to wonder: “if they can do it, why can’t I?” I have nothing but respect for lawyers and the legal profession, but at the end of the day, 50% of what lawyers do is non-legal (bringing in business, networking, communicating with clients and staff, administrative work, etc.), while the other 50% which is legal, seems very learn-able, and fun (depositions, arguing motions, jury selection, etc.)

Another reason is my embarrassment of working in a law firm, but not being a lawyer. I’m slightly self-conscious when I come across a family member/friend, and have the following conversation ad nauseaum:

Family Friend (FF): Where do you work?
Me: At a law firm.
FF: Ohh, congratulations! I’m so happy for you! Where did you go to law school?
Me: I didn’t go to law school.
FF: How are you a lawyer then?
Me: I’m not a lawyer.
FF: Then why do you work at a law firm?
Me: Well… *queue ten minute long conversation*

Every time I have this conversation, I get a little agitated. It’s almost as if you’re not a lawyer, and work at a law firm, you’re basically a janitor, as everyone else is unimportant.

Lastly (and this is the most burdensome reason), I simply can’t sustain the family pressure anymore to go to law school. I’m a first generation college student, and my parent’s dreams are to have a son who is a lawyer. I hear this all the time, and frankly I just don’t have the will to respond to it anymore. I feel like what I do is impressive – heck, it impresses lawyers – but to everyone around me who doesn't know what I do, I’m nothing more than an administrative assistant copy-slave.

For all these reasons, I’m starting to think it would be a good idea to apply to law school for the 2014-2015 cycle. I took one practice test and scored a 152 on it. After three weeks of preparation, I raised my score to a 157. Cost won’t be an issue for me as I have saved around $80,000, and will likely have saved up $160,000 come the beginning of the fall term for the 2014-2015 year.

Concerning career outcomes: I would like to work at a vault firm (LA/SF/OC/Chicago/NY/DC), working as a lawyer. While I understand technology very well, my desired career outcome is to be a litigator, (with some IT/technology consulting on the side for clients.) I would not want to be perceived as some tech guru, rather, I would want to be someone who goes to court, argues motions, takes depositions, and am respected by my peers.

If I missed the biglaw boat, I would likely go back to what I’m doing now, but would probably be miserable. I would be down about $550,000 ($250,000 for tuition, $300,000 for lost income), and be exactly where I started. Only, I wouldn't be exactly where I started, I would likely receive snickers by my peers, as I was the guy who couldn't “cut it” in law school, and am a non-lawyer J.D. Things like this matter a lot to me, and I would be devastated if it didn't work out.

Lastly, I’m well aware that the average cycle of an associate in biglaw is around 3-5 years. Most of the associates that introduce themselves to me will not settle here for their careers – but there’s a strong chance that I will be able to. While I may not make as much money as they do, I will likely sustain my level of income for many years to come, as they will see a large drop after years 3-5. Furthermore, I won’t have to pay down law school debt/forego income for three years.

So what do you think TLS? Go for it? Stay? Think of this as your fact pattern, and try to work through the complexities of my decision, since I’m honestly not sure what the right move is here.

Thanks a bunch in advance.

Addendum: Before I completely wrap this up, I have some questions on the side as well:

1. Does anyone know how legal staff generally performs in law school?
2. Does anyone know how people with software technology backgrounds perform in law school?
3. How do PR/Cuban URM’s fare in law school. I’m aware they receive a boost in admission, but that says nothing of how they perform in law school.
4. How does the job market fare for those who have a foot in the door, like I do? As I said earlier, I work in a high ranking vault firm, directly under a group of partners in a very distinguished practice group. I imagine if I went to a good school, and my grades were decent, they would likely go to bat for me. Is this just lawyer bullshitting, or does it actually happen?
5. Since I’m “biglaw or bust,” I was wondering if anyone else has any experience, or knows anyone who received a JD, couldn't get a job in biglaw, so worked as a non-JD staff in a biglaw firm.

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2739
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby TripTrip » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:02 pm

Holy shit, do NOT go to law school. Not now, not ever. You have an awesome career.

First off, you will not be getting biglaw with a 3.1/157. You won't even be getting law. You would go to a crap school and after graduation you would do nothing with your JD. Most likely, you'd realize you just wasted three years of your life and go back to what you are doing now. Also there is NO WAY you would be making $100k anytime soon. A 3.1 is a terrible GPA for law school applicants (reality is reality) and a 157 is a terrible LSAT. (You can improve that, but you already said you're a terrible standardized tester).

armenazo wrote:1. Does anyone know how legal staff generally performs in law school?
2. Does anyone know how people with software technology backgrounds perform in law school?
3. How do PR/Cuban URM’s fare in law school. I’m aware they receive a boost in admission, but that says nothing of how they perform in law school.
4. How does the job market fare for those who have a foot in the door, like I do? As I said earlier, I work in a high ranking vault firm, directly under a group of partners in a very distinguished practice group. I imagine if I went to a good school, and my grades were decent, they would likely go to bat for me. Is this just lawyer bullshitting, or does it actually happen?
5. Since I’m “biglaw or bust,” I was wondering if anyone else has any experience, or knows anyone who received a JD, couldn't get a job in biglaw, so worked as a non-JD staff in a biglaw firm.

1. There are plenty of paralegals in law school. They don't do any better than anyone else.
2. Same as everyone else.
3. Cuban is not URM.
4. This is the only thing you have going for you. However, it's irrelevant since firms in the cities you listed are fed by schools you can't get into.
5. You're not going biglaw. Having a JD is a negative for applying to a law firm in a non-attorney position because it looks like you failed to succeed, which you did.


I'm not trying to belittle you with this. I think you've got awesome things ahead of you doing what you're doing now. Keep your head up and keep your pride. You'll lose it if you try to go to law school.

ETA: Here's biglaw placement: http://www.lstscorereports.com/?r=other&show=jobs

User avatar
armenazo
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:08 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby armenazo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:44 pm

Thank you for your response. Some quick points of clarification:

TripTrip wrote:A 3.1 is a terrible GPA for law school applicants (reality is reality) and a 157 is a terrible LSAT. (You can improve that, but you already said you're a terrible standardized tester).


I didn't so much say I'm a "terrible" test-taker, as I said I've never been that good at standardized tests. I am confident I can increase my LSAT score, but the LSAT isn't everything. While I can study for the LSAT in a low pressure environment, knowing I can PT/retake, until I get my desired score, I cannot do as much for law school exams. You have one shot at 1L, and one semester, one class - even one test - can break you.

I guess what I'm wondering is since I'm not the strongest test taker, I wonder if I could get by with just brute force (insane study schedule, no friends, go into seclusion for 9 months.)

TripTrip wrote:3. Cuban is not URM.


Isn't Hispanic URM? I am Puerto Rican, and Cuban. I am wondering how Hispanic URM's perform in law school.

Thanks a bunch. Nothing you said offended me. I'm coming here for honest, critical, and informed advice.

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2739
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby TripTrip » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:58 pm

armenazo wrote:I guess what I'm wondering is since I'm not the strongest test taker, I wonder if I could get by with just brute force (insane study schedule, no friends, go into seclusion for 9 months.)

I respect the dedication. However, you'd better believe that everyone goes to law school with effectively the same plan. It is still difficult to end up in the top 1/3 of your class, regardless of where you go.

armenazo wrote:
TripTrip wrote:3. Cuban is not URM.


Isn't Hispanic URM? I am Puerto Rican, and Cuban. I am wondering how Hispanic URM's perform in law school.

Puerto Rican is, Cuban is not. It's a strange world we live in. There really isn't any data on how well hispanics specifically perform in law school that I am aware of.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby Nova » Mon Dec 17, 2012 10:10 pm

armenazo wrote:. I am wondering how Hispanic URM's perform in law school.

Ethnicity doesnt affect law school performance....

User avatar
bluepenguin
Posts: 285
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:33 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby bluepenguin » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:34 am

TripTrip wrote:Holy shit, do NOT go to law school. Not now, not ever. You have an awesome career.

+1

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

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:49 am

I can understand where you are coming from but you are doing better right now than 99% of 24 year olds and that should feel good. You understand the limitations your current job has, and it is fair to look at how you could improve your already good position. Here is my 2 cents, since you know you want to work at a Vault firm you are a going to have to go to a good school to get there. With your low GPA you won't get into a good school unless you do really well on the LSAT. I don't know the exact kind of numbers a PR needs to get into a T14 or one of the other decent bets (UCLA/USC/Vandy/Texas). I would poke around on the URM forum and try to figure that out. I think URM cycles are generally less fortunate for people with low GPAs, so you still might need a great LSAT score to be competitive at the top schools. So I would figure the score you would need, then practice and see if you would be able to hit your target, then make up your mind on what you want to do if you are practice testing at the score you would need to get into a top school.

law2015
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 4:29 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby law2015 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:05 am

I was just going to +1 the URM factor having nothing to do with law school. You are PR and therefore counted as a URM. Starting out with a 157 is not bad at all and with studying you can probably get it much higher than that. Your URM status is going to help a lot and if you can get an lsat in the upper 160's, i think you will be admitted to a number of T14 schools considering the applicant drop and your work experience. Just my opinion. Good luck!

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2739
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby TripTrip » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:20 am

law2015 wrote:i think you will be admitted to a number of T14 schools

No. No. NO.
OP should not even apply to law school with a 165. OP should not go to schools in the lower T14. If OP really wants law school, it had better be YHS so he doesn't get screwed afterward. Remember, he is effectively risking his $100k job for a chance at a $160k job. Anything under 50% biglaw opportunity would be a ton of risk for little reward.

User avatar
NoodleyOne
Posts: 2358
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 7:32 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby NoodleyOne » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:40 am

TripTrip wrote:
law2015 wrote:i think you will be admitted to a number of T14 schools

No. No. NO.
OP should not even apply to law school with a 165. OP should not go to schools in the lower T14. If OP really wants law school, it had better be YHS so he doesn't get screwed afterward. Remember, he is effectively risking his $100k job for a chance at a $160k job. Anything under 50% biglaw opportunity would be a ton of risk for little reward.

This.

User avatar
armenazo
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:08 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby armenazo » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:23 pm

Nova wrote:
armenazo wrote:. I am wondering how Hispanic URM's perform in law school.

Ethnicity doesnt affect law school performance....


I never said it "affect[ed]" law school performance, just that it was a factor to take into account among several others that may or may not contribute to pre-determining my law school performance. If it is something to take into account, I would certainly like to know about it before I drop $250k.

My question is a simple one: how do URM's perform in law school, relative to their peers? I've been searching TLS, and can't find anything definitive on this. There's tons of threads regarding how URM's perform on the LSAT, or detailing URM admission cycles to law schools, but nothing on how URM's actually perform in law school.

Tom Joad wrote:I can understand where you are coming from but you are doing better right now than 99% of 24 year olds and that should feel good. You understand the limitations your current job has, and it is fair to look at how you could improve your already good position. Here is my 2 cents, since you know you want to work at a Vault firm you are a going to have to go to a good school to get there. With your low GPA you won't get into a good school unless you do really well on the LSAT. I don't know the exact kind of numbers a PR needs to get into a T14 or one of the other decent bets (UCLA/USC/Vandy/Texas). I would poke around on the URM forum and try to figure that out. I think URM cycles are generally less fortunate for people with low GPAs, so you still might need a great LSAT score to be competitive at the top schools. So I would figure the score you would need, then practice and see if you would be able to hit your target, then make up your mind on what you want to do if you are practice testing at the score you would need to get into a top school.


Thanks for your message. UCLA/USC/Vandy/Texas are great schools that I would be glad to attend, but aren't I out of the running for them due to my GPA?

Another question: if I scored high on my LSAT (relative to other URM's) but not above median relative to non-URM's, and had a low GPA, would I receive an admission boost at all? Does the admission boost only make sense for those who have high GPA's, but a lower LSAT (reverse splitters?) Don't I come off as lazy if I'm a splitter URM?

TripTrip wrote:
law2015 wrote:i think you will be admitted to a number of T14 schools

No. No. NO.
OP should not even apply to law school with a 165. OP should not go to schools in the lower T14. If OP really wants law school, it had better be YHS so he doesn't get screwed afterward. Remember, he is effectively risking his $100k job for a chance at a $160k job. Anything under 50% biglaw opportunity would be a ton of risk for little reward.


Is YHS possible with my GPA? Don't these schools have minimum GPA floors (that I'm well below)?

And yes, I understand it is a gamble, but I am thinking long term here. Ten years from now, my salary will likely be $160k, but a biglaw lawyer at my age would probably have a salary 4-7 times mine - and that's a big difference.

Thanks all.

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

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby Tom Joad » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:28 pm

armenazo wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:I can understand where you are coming from but you are doing better right now than 99% of 24 year olds and that should feel good. You understand the limitations your current job has, and it is fair to look at how you could improve your already good position. Here is my 2 cents, since you know you want to work at a Vault firm you are a going to have to go to a good school to get there. With your low GPA you won't get into a good school unless you do really well on the LSAT. I don't know the exact kind of numbers a PR needs to get into a T14 or one of the other decent bets (UCLA/USC/Vandy/Texas). I would poke around on the URM forum and try to figure that out. I think URM cycles are generally less fortunate for people with low GPAs, so you still might need a great LSAT score to be competitive at the top schools. So I would figure the score you would need, then practice and see if you would be able to hit your target, then make up your mind on what you want to do if you are practice testing at the score you would need to get into a top school.


Thanks for your message. UCLA/USC/Vandy/Texas are great schools that I would be glad to attend, but aren't I out of the running for them due to my GPA?

Another question: if I scored high on my LSAT (relative to other URM's) but not above median relative to non-URM's, and had a low GPA, would I receive an admission boost at all? Does the admission boost only make sense for those who have high GPA's, but a lower LSAT (reverse splitters?) Don't I come off as lazy if I'm a splitter URM?

I don't know about the URM questions, but the UCLAs, USCs, Texases, and Vandys of the world are probably the lowest ranked schools that could be considered worth the money given your career goals. And that is a stretch as it is. Your current job probably pays more than the median private sector jobs grads of those schools are getting.

User avatar
Nova
Posts: 9116
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 8:55 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby Nova » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:21 pm

armenazo wrote:
Nova wrote:
armenazo wrote:. I am wondering how Hispanic URM's perform in law school.

Ethnicity doesnt affect law school performance....


I never said it "affect[ed]" law school performance, just that it was a factor to take into account among several others that may or may not contribute to pre-determining my law school performance. If it is something to take into account, I would certainly like to know about it before I drop $250k.


There is nothing to suggest ethnicity has anything to do with how well you will do in law school.

There are URMs, like myself, who chose to attend law school with very competitive numbers and big scholarships. There is no reason for me to believe I am predisposed to do any worse than anyone else.

Your real question seems to be "how does being under both medians factor into law school performance" or "how does having a substantially lower LSAT than my peers factor into law school perfromance". Am I right?

cynthiad
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2012 1:16 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby cynthiad » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:37 pm

Even with URM boost, there's no way OP is getting into HYS. Maybe if you get your LSAT up to 165-170, there's a chance at CCN. Check out LSN--I found a 3.2/166 URM who got into NYU, but I would advise aiming for a higher LSAT score so you can get $$. But seriously, don't go to any school outside the T6. You will be in debt, and you might not get a decent job.

Please know that if you don't get a biglaw associate position, you WILL NOT be able to go back to the job you're doing now. Law firms hate to hire "overqualified" JD's for paralegal or other non-lawyer jobs. You could end up giving up the really good job you have now for uncertain prospects.

User avatar
dr123
Posts: 3503
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2011 2:38 am

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby dr123 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:38 pm

Going to LS P/T might be a good option for OP

User avatar
armenazo
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:08 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby armenazo » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:15 pm

Nova wrote:
armenazo wrote:
Nova wrote:
armenazo wrote:. I am wondering how Hispanic URM's perform in law school.

Ethnicity doesnt affect law school performance....


I never said it "affect[ed]" law school performance, just that it was a factor to take into account among several others that may or may not contribute to pre-determining my law school performance. If it is something to take into account, I would certainly like to know about it before I drop $250k.


There is nothing to suggest ethnicity has anything to do with how well you will do in law school. [...]
Your real question seems to be "how does being under both medians factor into law school performance" or "how does having a substantially lower LSAT than my peers factor into law school perfromance". Am I right?


Bolded: Great! That was my question. Is there any literature, or online stuff regarding that, or is your statement more anecdotal?
Italicized: I hadn't considered that question, but it is a good one. I don't want to be given a URM boost, and get into a school with lower numbers, only to perform substandard in law school. Anyone know how people who get into LS that are below both medians perform?

Thanks Nova.

User avatar
armenazo
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:08 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby armenazo » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:18 pm

dr123 wrote:Going to LS P/T might be a good option for OP


That's an option, but I can't help but think dividing myself between school and work would lead to mediocre performance in the first/latter or both.

I've also seen Northwestern has a program that allows a student to graduate in two very intensive years. That might be an option if I can get my numbers up.

timbs4339
Posts: 2733
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:19 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby timbs4339 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:41 pm

You shouldn't rely on "brute force" or grinding to get good grades since 1) there is no guarantee you will be able to pull off such a demanding schedule although you may think so now, 2) many more people will lock themselves in the library than will get the grades for biglaw at the schools you are likely to get into, 3) pure grinding does not guarantee good grades and may even be counterproductive since once you have gained a certain level of familiarity with the material knowing how to take exams becomes paramount.

The rest of your post reads like a checklist of cliches. Many a paralegal has gone to law school on the encouragement of partners and associates at firms only to be given a courtesy interview when their school/1L grades fall below the firm's cutoffs. If they are going to hire you as an associate, then you will be doing associate work and need to meet the standards for being hired as an associate. Nobody should give a shit that you are not a lawyer or you are an admin assistant or discovery guy or whatever. You make six figures w/ benefits and job security and you seem to be developing a set of transferable skills so you would be able to switch jobs if you aren't feeling compensated enough. That's like a top 5%, maybe top 1% outcome for recent college grads with liberal arts degrees. You should feel very proud of where you are, not ashamed. That burning hunger for prestige has ruined many a young law student's life.

TLDR; your family and people you meet don't know what the fuck they are talking about and you're in a much better situation than someone unemployed or making 40K as a "lawyer." Retake.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18410
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby bk1 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:43 pm

armenazo wrote:I've also seen Northwestern has a program that allows a student to graduate in two very intensive years. That might be an option if I can get my numbers up.


It's more like 2.5 years (2 years and a summer semester) so it's not that different.

I don't think PT is a good idea since the only PT school where you'd have a good chance of getting biglaw would be GULC and it doesn't seem like your current job is in DC. While I agree your grades and/or work product might suffer, I think the problem with PT is that, outside of GULC, it's essentially a waste since you likely won't get biglaw. I can see no way in which law school would be a financial boon to you unless you got really lucky, even if you went to a T14. Odds are that becoming a lawyer is going to be a net financial negative. Even if you get biglaw, factoring in opportunity costs means it's not even close unless you were to make partner (which is unlikely). Furthermore, you are likely currently making more on an hourly basis than most biglaw associates.

I would say buck up and tell your family to shove it. You've got a great job that you like. You can always go to law school later. Might as well enjoy life now and save up money. Later on down the line, the opportunity cost will not be a big deal if you already have money saved and you want to be a lawyer.

User avatar
TripTrip
Posts: 2739
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:52 am

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby TripTrip » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:40 am

bk1 wrote:Even if you get biglaw, factoring in opportunity costs means it's not even close unless you were to make partner (which is unlikely). Furthermore, you are likely currently making more on an hourly basis than most biglaw associates.

I think this might be something OP hasn't considered entirely. If you graduate and go biglaw (and we've shared that that is a big IF), you may be making $160k, but you'll be working 100+ hours/week. There's a reason most people burn out after three years; it's not worth it. They switch to comfy jobs that are 40-50 hours/week and pay $90k/yr -- and that's with experience. To make partner and thus the extravagant amounts the people you work with make, you'd have to ride the 100+ hrs/wk bandwagon for quite a few years and be the best of the best.

I have dreamt of going to law school for a long time, but if I was making $100k at a job I enjoyed, I would NOT be going to law school.

User avatar
armenazo
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:08 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby armenazo » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:19 am

I guess in the interest of full disclosure, I live in Southern California. While 100k seems like a lot, CoL is very high, and the tax man takes about 35-40%. This makes financing a home mortgage, funding a family, and contributing to savings nearly impossible on anything less than 250k/year. While my salary is more than enough at this point in my life, I'm just worried about the long term - hence my interest in law school.

While I'm more than aware that biglaw hires students from top schools, I thought my bosses would make an exception for me since I have a foot in the door. Maybe they would, maybe they wouldn't, in any event, I've been convinced not to take that gamble.

You've all given me quite a bit think about. I think I'm going to study for the LSAT with my free time during the week and on weekends. If I start pulling up my score, I'll put some more time into it.

Thanks for the advice everyone. The wealth of information on this site and the quality of it's users helps correct a lot of misinformation out there. One example: I went to a career counselor about a month ago and I explained basically everything I wrote in my OP. He advised I go to a school that is in the "fourth tier" (think Thomas Jefferson SOL/Whittier SOL/Southwestern SOL) because of their "diversity," strong faculty and promotion of "scholarship" (a nebulous word, that I imagine can be applied to both ABA and non-ABA schools.) I was considering it until I spoke to some associates at my firm, and they told me to come to this site.

Needless to say, I thank God for TLS.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18410
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby bk1 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:24 am

armenazo wrote:I guess in the interest of full disclosure, I live in Southern California. While 100k seems like a lot, CoL is very high, and the tax man takes about 35-40%. This makes financing a home mortgage, funding a family, and contributing to savings nearly impossible on anything less than 250k/year. While my salary is more than enough at this point in my life, I'm just worried about the long term - hence my interest in law school.

Uhhh, no. That's not true, even in SoCal. And, as has been pointed out, law school is almost assuredly a net financial loss if money is something you care about.

You're right that having your foot in the door might help and that then again it might not (there are plenty of biglaw paralegals in law school and they don't get to just walk into biglaw). Good luck with the LSAT.

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

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:27 am

Good God, how can a family in SoCal survive on less than 250 grand a year?

OP, if you are trolling, you need to step back and appreciate your situation.

User avatar
cinephile
Posts: 3469
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:50 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby cinephile » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:28 am

What I heard you say is that you are thinking of law school to please other people (family, friends, random people who ask you what you do). If you go ahead for these reasons, you will find yourself miserable. Do not go to law school. You love what you're doing now so stick with it. What other people think doesn't matter.

User avatar
armenazo
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:08 pm

Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby armenazo » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:39 am

Tom Joad wrote:Good God, how can a family in SoCal survive on less than 250 grand a year?

OP, if you are trolling, you need to step back and appreciate your situation.


I appreciate making what I do - I'm just trying to be realistic, and speaking based off experience. You figure a house in LA/OC/SD in a largely urban area will cost around 1-1.5 million. That, factored in with kids, saving for their college, insurance(s), vacations - a 100k salary simply can't sustain these things.




Return to “Law School FAQ”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests