Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

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NYstate
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby NYstate » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:17 am

ksllaw wrote:
NYstate wrote:At a certain point, willful ignorance is on them. Other people had only false data; if people with better data and mainstream media telling them law school is not worth the cost, it is their own doing. Lawyers need to know when to take heed of good advice.


This was the problem, sunynp.

It wasn't until the NYT's 2011 piece, "Is Law School a Losing Game," that the mainstream media covered it. And it wasn't until I saw Campos and Rhodes' lecture/talk at Stanford ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2gvnPTHvH8 ) last summer in 2012 that I full grasped the problem.

As I explained to Tiago above, I figured all these complainers online were just anonymous folks who did poorly in law school and were the few disgruntled and truly incompetent who could not find a job. I still thought of lawyers as having a relatively equal position/salary/prospects as a medical doctor did in society.

Having scambloggers rant against the legal economy and law schools was not at all convincing for me personally. The reason was credibility. You see these seemingly respectable legal institutions (we often equate universities with altruism and a place of great respect and pure learning) and think there is no way things could be this bad and for them to advertise the way they do. ... It would be as if someone told me becoming a medical doctor would have a high risk of unemployment and living in poverty. I would have just laughed and probably paid little attention. Or maybe I would have figured they were talking about a statistical few (maybe those living in rural areas) and that the majority still did extremely well.



I understand that problem and law schools still have a lot to answer for with their decades of lies coupled with revenue maximizing to obscene levels . They have created a false reality where people still think that jobs are plentiful. Even bough the employment numbers schools used to supply were so overly optimistic that a judge said no one would have relied on them and the New York Court of Appeals said there could be ethics charges brought against the deans and others involved.

But now 0Ls have to understand that law is not the profession they thought it was and many still think it is (And that wouldn't even matter if school had just kept tuition in line with iinflation rather than focusing on revenue maximizing.)

I posted these articles because it seems that many people posting here on TLS still don't get reality of the job market. Right now anyway , in New York, law students are supposed to be sophisticated consumers. For their own sake, 0Ls must understand that law school is a huge gamble for most of them. I think that a good many of the people on TLS who are thinking of paying sticker or otherwise incurring substantial debt should not go. You can't afford willful ignorance. When there is a massive flight from attending law school, you need to examine why that is. You can't ignore it by saying you will work hard and be top of your class.

On top of that, biglaw shows no sign of picking up steam in the next three years. If anything they will continue to keep classes small and stealth layoff juniors if they have to do so. Given the lack of government and PI hiring, and no sure secure biglaw career, how will they pay for school?

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby LRGhost » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:43 pm

NYstate wrote:But now 0Ls have to understand that law is not the profession they thought it was and many still think it is (And that wouldn't even matter if school had just kept tuition in line with iinflation rather than focusing on revenue maximizing.)

I posted these articles because it seems that many people posting here on TLS still don't get reality of the job market. Right now anyway , in New York, law students are supposed to be sophisticated consumers. For their own sake, 0Ls must understand that law school is a huge gamble for most of them. I think that a good many of the people on TLS who are thinking of paying sticker or otherwise incurring substantial debt should not go. You can't afford willful ignorance. When there is a massive flight from attending law school, you need to examine why that is. You can't ignore it by saying you will work hard and be top of your class.

On top of that, biglaw shows no sign of picking up steam in the next three years. If anything they will continue to keep classes small and stealth layoff juniors if they have to do so. Given the lack of government and PI hiring, and no sure secure biglaw career, how will they pay for school?


I don't think 0Ls can be expected to understand that law is a terrible bet. Even with the information available, they have to be able to find it. And even then, it doesn't really hit as hard outside of communities focused on law school and the legal economy. Not everyone is really down with posting on message boards so they miss out on a lot of information. Everything else, I agree with. This is part of the reason that people on TLS shitting on students at TTTs for poor job prospects bothers me. A fifty-fifty chance at getting Big Law with six figure debt only to encounter stealth layoffs when you become a midyear is pretty gloom. But you know, everyone says they'll work hard and that will save them. Sort of like the logic that the people they deride use.

WhatOurBodiesAreFor
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby WhatOurBodiesAreFor » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:37 pm

Allow me to jump in here and ask you guys a question.

Should I pay Michigan sticker? I have a liberal arts degree and a resume that has come to be somewhat decent, but I have no career path drawn out for me yet. Sure, I could land some sort of job then work my ass off to get my score up over the next two years, but I would really rather avoid all of that and go this fall.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby LRGhost » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:41 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:Allow me to jump in here and ask you guys a question.

Should I pay Michigan sticker? I have a liberal arts degree and a resume that has come to be somewhat decent, but I have no career path drawn out for me yet. Sure, I could land some sort of job then work my ass off to get my score up over the next two years, but I would really rather avoid all of that and go this fall.


1. Why would it take two years?

2. Your career path as a lawyer really isn't set either, dude, even with Big Law.

It all comes down to you, though. Do you have any passions you'd like to turn into work? If you're at all considering taking a year off, I'd try to work one of my passions hard as fuck into a job or the beginnings of a career. Really.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby WhatOurBodiesAreFor » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:05 pm

LRGhost wrote:
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:Allow me to jump in here and ask you guys a question.

Should I pay Michigan sticker? I have a liberal arts degree and a resume that has come to be somewhat decent, but I have no career path drawn out for me yet. Sure, I could land some sort of job then work my ass off to get my score up over the next two years, but I would really rather avoid all of that and go this fall.


1. Why would it take two years?

2. Your career path as a lawyer really isn't set either, dude, even with Big Law.

It all comes down to you, though. Do you have any passions you'd like to turn into work? If you're at all considering taking a year off, I'd try to work one of my passions hard as fuck into a job or the beginnings of a career. Really.


Forgive me, but aren't you a 0L too? Why do you assert these things as if you're an expert? Keep in mind no one here isn't aware of the risk. Many here in TLS shrug off the argument against T-14 at sticker because they're stubborn, but a great many shrug off the argument against T-14 at sticker for very bona fide reasons. Keep that in mind.

Anyway, 1) two years because I am not eligible to take the LSAT again until December 2013. I realize I could apply next cycle too but I figure I'd rather want to continue down the career path I will have started and also apply early in the following cycle. If I'm sitting out one year, I'd probably want to sit out two.

2) I have WE and sort-of developed career interests if that's what you're asking. I could start a communications-based career but that's not extremely relevant to my eventual legal one and, even if I can make it relevant, the experience I have now will likely help just as much as two years of a semi-career.

I'm really only considering a year off to get HYSCCN or significant money from T-14. There's really not another reason. I'm kind of ready to get back to school.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby LRGhost » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:25 pm

I don't argue that they shrug it off for bona fide reasons. I do argue that a number of people are blaise about it all. Everyone applauds articles talking about how shitty the legal market is but for some reason a lot of people seem to think they're immune to this. I don't assert anything as an expert; I just think attitudes are sometimes hypocritical.

With regards to 2), I meant that if you have anything you'd want as a career aside from law, pursue that hard because it's literally your last chance to get into that. But if you have your heart dead-set on law school and a legal career and whatever jobs you were looking at would be superfluous, then fuck it.

I'm ready to get back to school as well.

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stillwater
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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby stillwater » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:27 pm

i used to like the atlantic monthly until it got poppy

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby WhatOurBodiesAreFor » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:47 pm

LRGhost wrote:....Everyone applauds articles talking about how shitty the legal market is but for some reason a lot of people seem to think they're immune to this......


No one thinks they're immune to it, they just think that if they go to a better school there is less risk. Which is undoubtedly true.

Now, if you are trying to highlight that the risk is probably more than what one typically thinks, then you probably need to do this. But talk of avoiding sticker at T-14, or T-18 for that matter, at all costs has no place. This is absurdly pessimistic. Let "work your ass off" and "know that bottom of the class can mean doom" be all the advice given. From this people who can afford to take another year off to retake will do so, and people who aren't prepared will rethink. But this whole argument gets way out of hand, IMO. Tell TLS to avoid Florida State and American at sticker at all costs, but not Cornell and Northwestern.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby smaug_ » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:51 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:But talk of avoiding sticker at T-14, or T-18 for that matter, at all costs has no place. This is absurdly pessimistic. Let "work your ass off" and "know that bottom of the class can mean doom" be all the advice given. From this people who can afford to take another year off to retake will do so, and people who aren't prepared will rethink. But this whole argument gets way out of hand, IMO. Tell TLS to avoid Florida State and American at sticker at all costs, but not Cornell and Northwestern.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby WhatOurBodiesAreFor » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:55 pm

hibiki wrote:
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:But talk of avoiding sticker at T-14, or T-18 for that matter, at all costs has no place. This is absurdly pessimistic. Let "work your ass off" and "know that bottom of the class can mean doom" be all the advice given. From this people who can afford to take another year off to retake will do so, and people who aren't prepared will rethink. But this whole argument gets way out of hand, IMO. Tell TLS to avoid Florida State and American at sticker at all costs, but not Cornell and Northwestern.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bImBBTaPDY

Elaborate

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby smaug_ » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:04 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:
hibiki wrote:
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:But talk of avoiding sticker at T-14, or T-18 for that matter, at all costs has no place. This is absurdly pessimistic. Let "work your ass off" and "know that bottom of the class can mean doom" be all the advice given. From this people who can afford to take another year off to retake will do so, and people who aren't prepared will rethink. But this whole argument gets way out of hand, IMO. Tell TLS to avoid Florida State and American at sticker at all costs, but not Cornell and Northwestern.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bImBBTaPDY

Elaborate


Full freight debt is a serious issue at any school. The employment statistics of someplace like Georgetown are pretty scary. Paying $200k+ for a 50% (or lower) shot at an acceptable outcome is irrational and foolish.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby timbs4339 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:50 pm

WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:Allow me to jump in here and ask you guys a question.

Should I pay Michigan sticker? I have a liberal arts degree and a resume that has come to be somewhat decent, but I have no career path drawn out for me yet. Sure, I could land some sort of job then work my ass off to get my score up over the next two years, but I would really rather avoid all of that and go this fall.


I graduated from a T6 school and know a ton of people who paid sticker. They are paying, in effect, between 65% and 75% of their 160K salary to various levels of government and are working in jobs where the best I've heard is "it's okay for the money" and the worst is "/killself".

I assume that you are like many top law school students and have no real love of "the law." You probably wouldn't be happy with a 40K small law or criminal defense job. You want an upper-middle class career that generally involves intellectually stimulating work for sophisticated and intelligent co-workers and clients. You can get it from a T10, and it'll probably be a good investment spread out over 40 years. But if you've got a chance to take a few years and jump into a career that you're interested in do it, because once you decide to pay sticker at Michigan or any other T14 you're locked into biglaw or LRAP/PSLF jobs.
Last edited by timbs4339 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby LRGhost » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:59 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote:Allow me to jump in here and ask you guys a question.

Should I pay Michigan sticker? I have a liberal arts degree and a resume that has come to be somewhat decent, but I have no career path drawn out for me yet. Sure, I could land some sort of job then work my ass off to get my score up over the next two years, but I would really rather avoid all of that and go this fall.


I graduated from a T6 school and know a ton of people who paid sticker. They are paying, in effect, between 65% and 75% of their 160K salary to various levels of government and are working in jobs where the best I've heard is "it's okay for the money" and the worst is "/killself".

I assume that you are like many top law school students and have no real love of "the law." You probably wouldn't be happy with a 40K small law or criminal defense job. You want an upper-middle class career that generally involves intellectually stimulating work for sophisticated and intelligent co-workers and clients. You can get it from a T10, and it'll probably be a good investment in 40 years. But if you've got a chance to take a few years and jump into a career that you're interested in do it, because once you decide to pay stick at Michigan you're locked into biglaw or LRAP/PSLF jobs.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby firstpagegrad » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:02 am

timbs4339 wrote:it'll probably be a good investment spread out over 40 years


40 years doing what? BigLaw is a pyramid, an in-house legal department is an unpopular cost-center, smalllaw is a road to poverty. Do the math -- there aren't enough lawyers practicing today for all of the previous grads to have had 40 year careers. And this includes top law school grads.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:36 am

firstpagegrad wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:it'll probably be a good investment spread out over 40 years


40 years doing what? BigLaw is a pyramid, an in-house legal department is an unpopular cost-center, smalllaw is a road to poverty. Do the math -- there aren't enough lawyers practicing today for all of the previous grads to have had 40 year careers. And this includes top law school grads.


Show your work then.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby LRGhost » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:44 am

timbs4339 wrote:
firstpagegrad wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:it'll probably be a good investment spread out over 40 years


40 years doing what? BigLaw is a pyramid, an in-house legal department is an unpopular cost-center, smalllaw is a road to poverty. Do the math -- there aren't enough lawyers practicing today for all of the previous grads to have had 40 year careers. And this includes top law school grads.


Show your work then.


You're just flat out wrong. Or maybe not wrong, but a 40 year investment shouldn't be seen as a winning move. Like, it shouldn't justify going to LS at sticker. It's also hard to talk about previous grads even ten years ago because tuition was much cheaper and many more were getting big law. But even those who didn't could work for 40-60k and pay off their debts. Today, not so much.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:50 am

LRGhost wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:
firstpagegrad wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:it'll probably be a good investment spread out over 40 years


40 years doing what? BigLaw is a pyramid, an in-house legal department is an unpopular cost-center, smalllaw is a road to poverty. Do the math -- there aren't enough lawyers practicing today for all of the previous grads to have had 40 year careers. And this includes top law school grads.


Show your work then.


You're just flat out wrong. Or maybe not wrong, but a 40 year investment shouldn't be seen as a winning move. Like, it shouldn't justify going to LS at sticker.


Most careers are a long-term investment. You don't go to law school to get rich before you are 30, and most people can't do that anyway.

If a person can handle the 3-5 years of paying off 50K of debt per year is another question from if it's a good long-term investment. I've talked to enough people at firms to know that they don't just take every single third-year associate out the back and put two in the head after they are done with them.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby LRGhost » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:59 am

timbs4339 wrote:Most careers are a long-term investment. You don't go to law school to get rich before you are 30, and most people can't do that anyway.

If a person can handle the 3-5 years of paying off 50K of debt per year is another question from if it's a good long-term investment. I've talked to enough people at firms to know that they don't just take every single third-year associate out the back and put two in the head after they are done with them.


I don't think even I suggest that fire all third years and that they can't jobs. I do suggest that by your fourth year, most of your class is gone and it's not easy to just lateral into a sweet in-house job. But it's not 3-5 years of paying 50k either. 5 years would be super aggressive with very little leisure. No going out. No buying clothes. No taking a vacation. No taking care of parents/brother/sister/family. And most importantly to personal finances, no savings.

I agree that it can be a good long-term investment but for most, and this includes the T14, that's not the case. And it's not the case because the career is bullshit or whatever; it's tuition and salary today that has made it so.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:07 pm

LRGhost wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:Most careers are a long-term investment. You don't go to law school to get rich before you are 30, and most people can't do that anyway.

If a person can handle the 3-5 years of paying off 50K of debt per year is another question from if it's a good long-term investment. I've talked to enough people at firms to know that they don't just take every single third-year associate out the back and put two in the head after they are done with them.


I don't think even I suggest that fire all third years and that they can't jobs. I do suggest that by your fourth year, most of your class is gone and it's not easy to just lateral into a sweet in-house job. But it's not 3-5 years of paying 50k either. 5 years would be super aggressive with very little leisure. No going out. No buying clothes. No taking a vacation. No taking care of parents/brother/sister/family. And most importantly to personal finances, no savings.

I agree that it can be a good long-term investment but for most, and this includes the T14, that's not the case. And it's not the case because the career is bullshit or whatever; it's tuition and salary today that has made it so.


"Most" of your class isn't gone by Y4. People lateral to other firms, other cities, midlaw, boutiques, clerkships, state and federal government. They go in-house in both legal and non-legal roles. Again, I've talked to enough very cynical people at firms who have every reason to report "the sky is falling" and they don't report the kind of wasteland for post-biglaw employment that you and the more radical elements of the scamblog movement seem to assume is par for the course. You'd need to present me with some hard data.

W/r/t the lifestyle aspect, there just isn't a lot of time to do that stuff anyway. That's a completely different consideration from whether biglaw is worth it financially. If you value your free time and flexible vacation schedule biglaw isn't for you even if you have $0 debt.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby LRGhost » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:13 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
LRGhost wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:Most careers are a long-term investment. You don't go to law school to get rich before you are 30, and most people can't do that anyway.

If a person can handle the 3-5 years of paying off 50K of debt per year is another question from if it's a good long-term investment. I've talked to enough people at firms to know that they don't just take every single third-year associate out the back and put two in the head after they are done with them.


I don't think even I suggest that fire all third years and that they can't jobs. I do suggest that by your fourth year, most of your class is gone and it's not easy to just lateral into a sweet in-house job. But it's not 3-5 years of paying 50k either. 5 years would be super aggressive with very little leisure. No going out. No buying clothes. No taking a vacation. No taking care of parents/brother/sister/family. And most importantly to personal finances, no savings.

I agree that it can be a good long-term investment but for most, and this includes the T14, that's not the case. And it's not the case because the career is bullshit or whatever; it's tuition and salary today that has made it so.


"Most" of your class isn't gone by Y4. People lateral to other firms, other cities, midlaw, boutiques, clerkships, state and federal government. They go in-house in both legal and non-legal roles. Again, I've talked to enough very cynical people at firms who have every reason to report "the sky is falling" and they don't report the kind of wasteland for post-biglaw employment that you and the more radical elements of the scamblog movement seem to assume is par for the course. You'd need to present me with some hard data.

W/r/t the lifestyle aspect, there just isn't a lot of time to do that stuff anyway. That's a completely different consideration from whether biglaw is worth it financially. If you value your free time and flexible vacation schedule biglaw isn't for you even if you have $0 debt.


Most of your class is gone by Y4. Lateraling, finding other work, or leaving law entirely counts as being gone. Some people leave of their own volition and some are nudged out and some are probably in between, but problem is what you do afterwards. Again, you probably won't pay off your debt in five years and your next job will most likely pay less than you made in big law. There are exit options but they're not all desirable or easy to get.

About lifestyle, I don't know man. I've worked two jobs and long hours and I still find time to go out and enjoy life. Granted the schedule is a bit different at big law but you can certainly work 60 hour weeks and go out. And this says nothing of the times that you're relatively dead.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby cinephile » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:27 pm

timbs4339 wrote:Most careers are a long-term investment. You don't go to law school to get rich before you are 30, and most people can't do that anyway.



This is dumb. You don't have to get rich, but you should have your debt paid off within 10 years of taking it out. Otherwise, it was a horrible investment.

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Re: Atlantic: law school is professional Russian roulette

Postby timbs4339 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:40 pm

LRGhost wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:
LRGhost wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:Most careers are a long-term investment. You don't go to law school to get rich before you are 30, and most people can't do that anyway.

If a person can handle the 3-5 years of paying off 50K of debt per year is another question from if it's a good long-term investment. I've talked to enough people at firms to know that they don't just take every single third-year associate out the back and put two in the head after they are done with them.


I don't think even I suggest that fire all third years and that they can't jobs. I do suggest that by your fourth year, most of your class is gone and it's not easy to just lateral into a sweet in-house job. But it's not 3-5 years of paying 50k either. 5 years would be super aggressive with very little leisure. No going out. No buying clothes. No taking a vacation. No taking care of parents/brother/sister/family. And most importantly to personal finances, no savings.

I agree that it can be a good long-term investment but for most, and this includes the T14, that's not the case. And it's not the case because the career is bullshit or whatever; it's tuition and salary today that has made it so.


"Most" of your class isn't gone by Y4. People lateral to other firms, other cities, midlaw, boutiques, clerkships, state and federal government. They go in-house in both legal and non-legal roles. Again, I've talked to enough very cynical people at firms who have every reason to report "the sky is falling" and they don't report the kind of wasteland for post-biglaw employment that you and the more radical elements of the scamblog movement seem to assume is par for the course. You'd need to present me with some hard data.

W/r/t the lifestyle aspect, there just isn't a lot of time to do that stuff anyway. That's a completely different consideration from whether biglaw is worth it financially. If you value your free time and flexible vacation schedule biglaw isn't for you even if you have $0 debt.


Most of your class is gone by Y4. Lateraling, finding other work, or leaving law entirely counts as being gone. Some people leave of their own volition and some are nudged out and some are probably in between, but problem is what you do afterwards. Again, you probably won't pay off your debt in five years and your next job will most likely pay less than you made in big law. There are exit options but they're not all desirable or easy to get.

About lifestyle, I don't know man. I've worked two jobs and long hours and I still find time to go out and enjoy life. Granted the schedule is a bit different at big law but you can certainly work 60 hour weeks and go out. And this says nothing of the times that you're relatively dead.


I'd dispute that more than 50% of the class is cut or leaves after Year 3. If you have numbers I'd love to see them.

The whole point is that they don't get nudged out to the abyss where they can never get another job in law. Most of them take other legal or other professional jobs. They go into government and then back to a firm, or to another biglaw firm or midlaw. Their career tracks aren't over, and they've paid down enough debt they can manage the rest on the lower salary. Then you have to look longer term, did it open up options you would not have had otherwise?

I'm not denying that some people, especially in 08-09, got screwed. And there are not enough decent paying legal jobs to absorb 100% of the biglaw castoffs. Nothing is certain in life. But this notion that you're debtpwnd for life because you get pushed out of a firm after three years doesn't really comport with what I've seen and heard, which is people moving on from firms to other decent jobs.

And I know plenty of biglawyers who still have savings, make large loan payments, and live a comfortable lifestyle within the confines of their schedule. 160K plus bonus goes a long way.

cinephile wrote:
timbs4339 wrote:Most careers are a long-term investment. You don't go to law school to get rich before you are 30, and most people can't do that anyway.



This is dumb. You don't have to get rich, but you should have your debt paid off within 10 years of taking it out. Otherwise, it was a horrible investment.


You're talking about something different. I'm arguing against the idea that you'll get pushed out of biglaw and not be able to pay off your loans because there are NO JOBS ANYWHERE IN LAW EVER OR THEY ALL PAY 40k WITH NO BENEFITS.




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