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

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

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:40 am

armenazo wrote:
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.

Move to burbs and commute.

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

Postby TripTrip » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:32 am

armenazo wrote: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.

My parents made $60k growing up. We lived modestly, had insurance, and took vacations. I think your kids will be able to handle $160k.

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

Postby alex.feuerman » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:49 am

Techie:

If I knew shit about computers, I'd be working with computers. You have an AMAZING job for a 24 year old, get a masters in computer tech and demand more money, or go to business school and start a techie company, or create your own software and sell it.

You are TWENTY-FOUR years old, I am sorry that your parents do you agree with your career choices so far and wish they could have a different son. You are a grown up and they need to learn to deal with it and love the son that you grew up to be. My dad does the same thing to my other siblings, he's like, "that career isn't worth it" and if that's how they feel maybe they don't deserve a relationship with you.

I understand your desire to make more money, and I actually agree with you, $100k isn't worth shit when you're trying to raise kids right in a big city, hell $200k isn't either. But there are OTHER, much BETTER ways to make money, being a lawyer is not one of them. My family is all in the stock market, and (people will disagree with me) no one goes to law school to become rich (unless they go to go into business), 1M, 2M a year is tops what the richest lawyers make. You should go to law school because you like the law, and you like what you can do with it.

If you like technology and working with computers, why in the world would you change your career ro work in something you might or might not hate?
Last edited by alex.feuerman on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gobuffs10
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Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby gobuffs10 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:05 pm

For the love of god, no. Stay where you are. Stay as long as you can. Cherish it.

And ordinarily I'm not one of the big law, T14 or death people. But seriously, you have it pretty good. Don't waste the money for a small chance at big law. Also, everyone says they're going to do nothing but study. Some people do it, most get burnt out, and from what I've seen so far, those who do it know little more than the rest of us anyway while they're constantly on edge. It's just not worth leaving a good job.

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

Postby twenty » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:54 pm

SoCal COL does suck, but 100k is definitely more than enough to live on.

Instead of doing law school making about the same money you make right now, for a lot longer hours, and a lot less chance of actually getting that job to begin with (You have a 50% shot at this, really), take a part of your salary for the next 3-4 years and go buy some condos or something.

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

Postby somewhatwayward » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:15 am

I will register my strong vote for staying where you are unless you can get admitted to HYS or possibly CCN. Don't fall for the siren songs of crappy CA law schools in a seriously oversaturated CA market.

Also, you cannot count on getting special treatment from your firm if you went to law school. Sure, they will give you an interview, but if you don't meet their school and grades cutoff, they won't hesitate to reject you. Really. The school and grades cutoff, meaning where you have a viable shot, not where you definitely get the job, for a V15 in SoCal are probably:
-anyone except very bottom of the class at HYS (S preferred)
-median (at the bare minimum) from Berkeley
-top 1/3 from the other T14s, keeping in mind that some of them are more portable than others
-top 10-15% from USC/UCLA
-top 10% from Davis, Hastings, and UCI (and we have people on this board from these schools in the top 10% + Law Review who completely struck out with big law, let alone V15s)
-top 5% from Pepperdine/Loyola
-top 5 people from Chapman
-anywhere else (Southwestern, Thomas Jefferson, etc): no chance

Perhaps you can expect that because of your connection to the firm, if you are top 25% at USC instead of top 15%, they might give you a call back. But don't go to some heap-of-dung school like Southwestern and expect a V15 to hire you from median because you used to work there. It won't happen. Also, you have to realize that getting hired in big law is a numbers game: the vast majority of successful people have good school/stats and get face time with many firms. Having a connection with one firm isn't that helpful when it is a numbers game, unless you are in their range (see above) or at least borderline.

On to the question of how URMs perform in law school: people who are saying there is not evidence of this are incorrect. There is evidence that URMs get lower grades in law school, on the whole. The good news is that, as 'on the whole' implies, that doesn't prevent you, the individual, from rising above that. The person in this thread who took big money somewhere I expect is at no disadvantage. The further good news is that studies have shown that even though URMs are more likely to get lower grades in law school, their careers are not negatively affected, at least if you go to an elite school like UMich, where the study was done. I would hesitate to extrapolate that to a random CA T2 like Chapman. Any underperformers there, whether white or black, will have the equally bad outcome of unemployed debt slave.

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

Postby Lwoods » Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:41 am

Hey OP, I can relate to some of your post. I was a support staffer at a V10 in NY for a few years. I knew that in my position, I couldn't advance without a JD or an MLS. So, I switched industries and worked as an analyst in fashion retail. I did well and could have grown in the company. I ultimately decided on law school, though, because, and this is key, I loved the work. Regardless of the pay, I wanted to practice law.

In part because of personal drama (which impacted my decision not to retake the LSAT, my law school choice, and my first semester 1L grades), I was not a viable candidate at my old firm. While I LOVED my firm as a member of the support staff, I actually think it was a blessing in disguise because I want greater client exposure from the get go. I will be going into small law in a new city still making more than I did as a support staffer or an analyst but below Biglaw market.

I can't say go to law school or don't. That's a personal decision for you to make. But here are some things I think you should consider:

*Tests. You mentioned not being great at tests, but most law school grades are based entirely on a single test per course.
*Your V15 experience will help you. 1L employers will respect the name, and you might get interviews you wouldn't without the firm.
*However, your V15 experience will not guarantee you a job. Each firm is different, but big firms are less likely to make exceptions for people because it'd be difficult to draw the line.
*You will probably understand the practical side of law better than most of your classmates. This will probably only help you in legal research / writing if anything.
*You can't pursue law for the money. If that's what matters to you, absolutely stay in your current job.

The above is not exhaustive, but it's a starting point. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to chat about the transition from staffer to law student.

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

Postby armenazo » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:27 pm

Thanks for all of your contributions - especially wayward and lwoods.

After considering my options, I've decided that I'll be studying for the LSAT in my free time. If I raise my score to the mid 160's after some off and on studying, I'll devote some more time to it. My goal is to score a 170 plus. If I can't reach that score, then I agree, law school isn't worth it considering the odds.

If I fail, then I'll stay where I am. Maybe I'll create my own litigation software, and sell it to some of the TLS users on this site who have made partner at their respective Vault firms :D

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year all.

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

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:54 pm

I would trade my career for yours if I could, and I'm biglaw-bound.

Keep in mind that after most lawyers wash out of biglaw they end up going in-house to jobs that pay roughly around what you make now. Your odds of making biglaw are low, and your odds of making partner even lower. My guess is that going to law school would turn out to be a huge mistake.

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

Postby sinfiery » Wed Dec 26, 2012 1:38 am

acrossthelake wrote:I would trade my career for yours if I could, and I'm biglaw-bound.

Man, this is seriously depressing to read.

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

Postby suralin » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:26 pm

sinfiery wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:I would trade my career for yours if I could, and I'm biglaw-bound.

Man, this is seriously depressing to read.


+1

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bk1
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Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby bk1 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:30 pm

sinfiery wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:I would trade my career for yours if I could, and I'm biglaw-bound.

Man, this is seriously depressing to read.

Why? Trading slightly less money for a ton less hours seems like a trade that most people would happily make. Most people also don't have access to 6 figure pre-law jobs.

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

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:37 pm

bk1 wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:I would trade my career for yours if I could, and I'm biglaw-bound.

Man, this is seriously depressing to read.

Why? Trading slightly less money for a ton less hours seems like a trade that most people would happily make. Most people also don't have access to 6 figure pre-law jobs.


Yeah, this.

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

Postby sinfiery » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:54 pm

bk1 wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
acrossthelake wrote:I would trade my career for yours if I could, and I'm biglaw-bound.

Man, this is seriously depressing to read.

Why? Trading slightly less money for a ton less hours seems like a trade that most people would happily make. Most people also don't have access to 6 figure pre-law jobs.

Because she's in one of the most enviable positions within the legal field for her age and she would trade it away for a good but not really spectacular job. I can see the logic behind it but it's still depressing.

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bk1
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Re: Should I go to Law School? Techie with some strong W/E

Postby bk1 » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:04 pm

sinfiery wrote:Because she's in one of the most enviable positions within the legal field for her age and she would trade it away for a good but not really spectacular job. I can see the logic behind it but it's still depressing.

A job that pays 6 figures for someone a couple years out of undergrad is spectacular, not good.

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

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:05 pm

bk1 wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Because she's in one of the most enviable positions within the legal field for her age and she would trade it away for a good but not really spectacular job. I can see the logic behind it but it's still depressing.

A job that pays 6 figures for someone a couple years out of undergrad is spectacular, not good.


Yeah, I'd argue that the OP has a spectacular job, and that biglaw is "good", not spectacular. Saying you're a lawyer might impress more lay people at cocktail parties, but long hours for only marginally better pay seems a steep price to pay to impress strangers at parties. Besides, I'm not very much interested in being good friends with people for whom that matters.

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

Postby jlx » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:11 pm

OP, just start your own business.

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

Postby sinfiery » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:12 pm

bk1 wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Because she's in one of the most enviable positions within the legal field for her age and she would trade it away for a good but not really spectacular job. I can see the logic behind it but it's still depressing.

A job that pays 6 figures for someone a couple years out of undergrad is spectacular, not good.

Fair enough, label it as you wish. Reading everything about how OP got said job (not to be mean, but a history degree and average GPA with some good experience), it is depressing. I never said I don't understand it.

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

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:24 pm

sinfiery wrote:
bk1 wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Because she's in one of the most enviable positions within the legal field for her age and she would trade it away for a good but not really spectacular job. I can see the logic behind it but it's still depressing.

A job that pays 6 figures for someone a couple years out of undergrad is spectacular, not good.

Fair enough, label it as you wish. Reading everything about how OP got said job (not to be mean, but a history degree and average GPA with some good experience), it is depressing. I never said I don't understand it.


OP has a useful skill, and identified a need in the market that wasn't being filled that he could fix with his skill. That's far more valuable than pedigree.

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

Postby armenazo » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:42 pm

sinfiery wrote:
bk1 wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Because she's in one of the most enviable positions within the legal field for her age and she would trade it away for a good but not really spectacular job. I can see the logic behind it but it's still depressing.

A job that pays 6 figures for someone a couple years out of undergrad is spectacular, not good.

Fair enough, label it as you wish. Reading everything about how OP got said job (not to be mean, but a history degree and average GPA with some good experience), it is depressing. I never said I don't understand it.


Yea, I think I got fairly lucky. Interestingly though, no one ever asked for my G.P.A., cared about my UG institution, or even my major. I think my previous work experience trumped all of those factors. My recruiter recommended I get certified in some big firm software programs (Relativity, Concordance, etc), which all in all cost around $2,000, but made me a pretty attractive candidate I suppose.

I have to say, hearing a Harvard Law student - who has a biglaw job lined up - say they would change positions with me is... very confusing. The perception of the practice of law as a prestigious career choice among non-lawyers and law students (maybe even practitioners) is just so wide. I'd imagine this is what drives most people to law school in the first place - and what brought me to create this thread.

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

Postby jlx » Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:35 pm

armenazo wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
bk1 wrote:
sinfiery wrote:Because she's in one of the most enviable positions within the legal field for her age and she would trade it away for a good but not really spectacular job. I can see the logic behind it but it's still depressing.

A job that pays 6 figures for someone a couple years out of undergrad is spectacular, not good.

Fair enough, label it as you wish. Reading everything about how OP got said job (not to be mean, but a history degree and average GPA with some good experience), it is depressing. I never said I don't understand it.


Yea, I think I got fairly lucky. Interestingly though, no one ever asked for my G.P.A., cared about my UG institution, or even my major. I think my previous work experience trumped all of those factors. My recruiter recommended I get certified in some big firm software programs (Relativity, Concordance, etc), which all in all cost around $2,000, but made me a pretty attractive candidate I suppose.

I have to say, hearing a Harvard Law student - who has a biglaw job lined up - say they would change positions with me is... very confusing. The perception of the practice of law as a prestigious career choice among non-lawyers and law students (maybe even practitioners) is just so wide. I'd imagine this is what drives most people to law school in the first place - and what brought me to create this thread.


you're spending too much time around lawyers. go hang out in silicon valley; your perception of prestige will change.

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

Postby armenazo » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:25 pm

jlx wrote:
armenazo wrote:
sinfiery wrote:
bk1 wrote:A job that pays 6 figures for someone a couple years out of undergrad is spectacular, not good.

Fair enough, label it as you wish. Reading everything about how OP got said job (not to be mean, but a history degree and average GPA with some good experience), it is depressing. I never said I don't understand it.


Yea, I think I got fairly lucky. Interestingly though, no one ever asked for my G.P.A., cared about my UG institution, or even my major. I think my previous work experience trumped all of those factors. My recruiter recommended I get certified in some big firm software programs (Relativity, Concordance, etc), which all in all cost around $2,000, but made me a pretty attractive candidate I suppose.

I have to say, hearing a Harvard Law student - who has a biglaw job lined up - say they would change positions with me is... very confusing. The perception of the practice of law as a prestigious career choice among non-lawyers and law students (maybe even practitioners) is just so wide. I'd imagine this is what drives most people to law school in the first place - and what brought me to create this thread.


you're spending too much time around lawyers. go hang out in silicon valley; your perception of prestige will change.


I have no doubt that my work is less prestigious than some people's work in SV. Like I said in my OP, litigation technology support is overpaid in big law firms, but who in their right mind would turn down a larger than deserved salary. At the end of the day though, I'm living near my family, am happy, and enjoy what I do. I just came to this thread in search of something more, and will decide in the coming months whether I have what it takes to get a high LSAT.

With that being said, most of my friends who work in SV make anywhere between 50-70k - which is a great salary. People who have dreams of being the next Zuckerberg or Jobs are usually confronted with the same, bimodal salary structure that law students have to face - those at the very top make bank, while everyone else gets by on a decent wage. However, a noticeable difference is that law students sometimes take out 1/4 million in debt, and in some cases end up making the lower of the bimodal salary outcomes.

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

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:49 pm

armenazo wrote:
I have to say, hearing a Harvard Law student - who has a biglaw job lined up - say they would change positions with me is... very confusing. The perception of the practice of law as a prestigious career choice among non-lawyers and law students (maybe even practitioners) is just so wide. I'd imagine this is what drives most people to law school in the first place - and what brought me to create this thread.


I wasn't driven to go to law school for the prestige. Prestige is only useful as a means to an end (a job you desire); it's a completely useless end. I was driven to go to law school because I had no other career options that were going to pay me 6 figures and I don't have useful technical skills. Heck, upper five figures would've been fine. I know several people who went to work at Microsoft after undergrad with their CS or Econ degrees making around $80K, and I'd love to have their job. I just didn't major in anything that put me in that position.

I'm equally confused as to why someone who has a job where they can say:

armenazo wrote: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...Everyone treats me very professionally... lawyers (mostly boomers) have lots of respect for people who understand how to seamlessly integrate technology into their practice...I feel very comfortable where I am. Job security is basically a non-issue as I do things ... Things in my profession come easy to me... I generally find stuff like this to be fun, and everyone I work for loves me for doing it ...I'm living near my family, am happy, and enjoy what I do


would want to trade that for a $200,000-$300,000 3-year trip to law school, for the chance to get a job that pays marginally more with much worse hours, and that you will in most likelihood get pushed out of after 3-5 years. I'm not really aware of many 1st-3rd year associates who describe biglaw as being anywhere near as pleasant as you've described your job.

Job security is a huge issue. My firm could go belly up--look at what happened to Dewey. If the economy crashes, as a young associate, I'll be at very high risk of getting cut. Plenty of HLS grads who went to work for prestigious firms had their careers destroyed in the '09 crash...when firms started hiring again, they just picked up with hiring students coming straight out. Until you start pulling in clients on your own (which really doesn't happen until much later on in your career), you're entirely replaceable.

If your issue is that you feel like you don't entirely have room to grow (don't feel challenged and are bored), or you worry that someday you'll become irrelevant (so, no job security), that is probably a decent reason to consider an alternative job (and probably fixable through some other means than law school), but I sincerely hope you aren't considering this gamble for prestige.

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

Postby jlx » Wed Dec 26, 2012 11:33 pm

Seems like a prestige chaser to me. He can't possibly fathom living in a house that is less than $1 mil to 1.5.

OP, if you planned and invested wisely, and lived on a smart and reasonable budget, there's no reason that you couldn't retire by the time you're 35.




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