I'm considering becoming a lawyer

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FatalTragedy
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I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby FatalTragedy » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:39 am

Okay, so there are a few things I will be talking and asking about in this post. For some background, I'm currently a high school student in California, about to start my senior year. I will likely attend UCLA for undergrad, though my dream school is Stanford, and while I do think I have a shot at being accepted there, I probably won't. If I don't become a lawyer I will almost definitely become a software engineer. Those are really the only two careers I am considering at this point. If I do become a lawyer, I am mainly interested in becoming either a public defender or prosecutor here in California. So unlike many other prospective lawyers I'm not really interested in getting a $160,000 a year job at a huge firm. Also, just an fyi, I'm not too worried about having to go in debt for student loans, because I stand to inherit about half a million from my grandparents once they, well, you know. So once that happens (not that I want it to happen, but its a fact of life) I'd be able to easily repay my debt.

So my first question is, how good of a law school would I need to attend to have a reasonable chance of landing a public defender or prosecutor job in California? I've heard law schools are separated into "top 14", "tier 1", "tier 2" and so on, but what level would I need to be accepted to in order to obtain the job I want? Given my overall level of intelligence and success in academics so far, I'm fairly certain I could get into a tier 1 school, and quite possibly even a top 14 school, but I can't really be sure of anything right now, or take anything for granted, considering I haven't even began college yet.

My second question is, what should I major in? Before I was considering becoming a lawyer, I was simply planning on becoming a computer science major. Which obviously could still work even if I go to law school afterwards. But the thing is, considering how hard I'm sure law school is, and considering that major doesn't really affect one's chances of getting into law school, I might rather just have an easier liberal arts major, probably political science (I'm really interested in politics). Additionally, I'd probably have a bit of a higher gpa with that major, meaning I'd have a little bit better chance of getting accepted into a top law school. But on the other hand, if I don't get into a top law school (read: one good enough to give me a good chance at the jobs I want), then I won't waste my money and attend law school, and if that happens, a political science degree would be useless, while a computer science degree would still allow me to be a software engineer. Another problem is that if I want to be a political science major, I'd have to decide for sure that I want to become a lawyer in about a year, and I'm not sure if I could make a decision in that time frame. So I'm really unsure of what my college major should be.

For me, at least, those two questions are related. If, for example, there is a good chance that I could get into a law school that would allow me to get a job as a public defender or prosecutor (i.e. If I'd only need to go to a tier 2 school), then I would probably major in political science. But if I'd need to get into a Top 14 school to have a shot at landing one of those jobs, then I'd major in computer science, since I would definitely need a backup plan.

So yeah, thats basically all I wanted to ask for now. Any answers would be much appreciated. :)

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paglababa
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby paglababa » Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:53 am

FatalTragedy wrote:Okay, so there are a few things I will be talking and asking about in this post. For some background, I'm currently a high school student in California, about to start my senior year. I will likely attend UCLA for undergrad, though my dream school is Stanford, and while I do think I have a shot at being accepted there, I probably won't. If I don't become a lawyer I will almost definitely become a software engineer. Those are really the only two careers I am considering at this point. If I do become a lawyer, I am mainly interested in becoming either a public defender or prosecutor here in California. So unlike many other prospective lawyers I'm not really interested in getting a $160,000 a year job at a huge firm. Also, just an fyi, I'm not too worried about having to go in debt for student loans, because I stand to inherit about half a million from my grandparents once they, well, you know. So once that happens (not that I want it to happen, but its a fact of life) I'd be able to easily repay my debt.

So my first question is, how good of a law school would I need to attend to have a reasonable chance of landing a public defender or prosecutor job in California? I've heard law schools are separated into "top 14", "tier 1", "tier 2" and so on, but what level would I need to be accepted to in order to obtain the job I want? Given my overall level of intelligence and success in academics so far, I'm fairly certain I could get into a tier 1 school, and quite possibly even a top 14 school, but I can't really be sure of anything right now, or take anything for granted, considering I haven't even began college yet.

My second question is, what should I major in? Before I was considering becoming a lawyer, I was simply planning on becoming a computer science major. Which obviously could still work even if I go to law school afterwards. But the thing is, considering how hard I'm sure law school is, and considering that major doesn't really affect one's chances of getting into law school, I might rather just have an easier liberal arts major, probably political science (I'm really interested in politics). Additionally, I'd probably have a bit of a higher gpa with that major, meaning I'd have a little bit better chance of getting accepted into a top law school. But on the other hand, if I don't get into a top law school (read: one good enough to give me a good chance at the jobs I want), then I won't waste my money and attend law school, and if that happens, a political science degree would be useless, while a computer science degree would still allow me to be a software engineer. Another problem is that if I want to be a political science major, I'd have to decide for sure that I want to become a lawyer in about a year, and I'm not sure if I could make a decision in that time frame. So I'm really unsure of what my college major should be.

For me, at least, those two questions are related. If, for example, there is a good chance that I could get into a law school that would allow me to get a job as a public defender or prosecutor (i.e. If I'd only need to go to a tier 2 school), then I would probably major in political science. But if I'd need to get into a Top 14 school to have a shot at landing one of those jobs, then I'd major in computer science, since I would definitely need a backup plan.

So yeah, thats basically all I wanted to ask for now. Any answers would be much appreciated. :)



1. Facts: No one here is going to predict how well you are going to do in college, or what your lsat is going to be, and those are the only 2 things that matter for law school admission. You'll get a slight boost if you're a URM or have exceptional softs (i.e. actor, gold medalist, ect).
2. As you mentioned, you'd want to maximize your GPA. If you think you could do that with computer sci, go for it. Personally, you're young as hell and it doesn't even sound like you're 100% positive if you want to be a lawyer. I would go for a useful degree, but that's me.
3. You should be shooting for admission to T14. For that to be a chance, go back and read point one.

I admire your foresight but seriously, you're just a kid. Go live and enjoy college and just keep your grades up as high as you can.

PS. I wouldn't want to spend that half a million on lawschool if I were you.

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prezidentv8
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 1:34 am

FatalTragedy wrote:For some background, I'm currently a high school student in California, about to start my senior year.

Chill, bro. Enjoy dat senior year before proceeding. Law isn't going anywhere. Neither are computers.

FatalTragedy wrote:I will likely attend UCLA for undergrad.

Sweet. My UCLA bros tell me it's a pretty sweet spot.

FatalTragedy wrote:If I don't become a lawyer I will almost definitely become a software engineer.

Why? And how do you know? No need to decide yet bro. As you get older, you'll change. And the market might still be a bastard when you graduate anyway, so you might not have a great deal of choice in the matter. Uncertainty is good at this point. Wise thing to do: try lots of things, figure out if you actually like said things.

FatalTragedy wrote:Those are really the only two careers I am considering at this point.

That's a terrible idea. And as far as I can tell, those are two pretty different skill sets, although frankly I don't know all that much about software engineering.

FatalTragedy wrote:If I do become a lawyer, I am mainly interested in becoming either a public defender or prosecutor here in California. So unlike many other prospective lawyers I'm not really interested in getting a $160,000 a year job at a huge firm.

That's cool. Laudable goal, lots of courtroom time early on, some interesting work, etc. etc. But just so you know, lots of those people trying to get (or working) one of those $160k jobs are not doing so because they have a passion for working past midnight on a Saturday, or because they're really into mergers and acquisitions, or because they are really into prestige (some - well, lots - are though). They're doing it because they owe lots of money, or for the resume line so that they can move on to something better.

FatalTragedy wrote:Also, just an fyi, I'm not too worried about having to go in debt for student loans, because I stand to inherit about half a million from my grandparents once they, well, you know. So once that happens (not that I want it to happen, but its a fact of life) I'd be able to easily repay my debt.

You know, if you didn't have debt to repay, you could keep all that money. Invest it, buy a house, start a small business, save it for a rainy day, donate it to your favorite charity, buy season tickets for life. $500k won't make you rich, or give you lifetime financial security, but half a mil is a lot of cash. Even try your hand at starting up a solo criminal practice. Whatever you'd want to do with it, you can do with it. Which is better than sending some law school dean on vacation. And you seem like a bright one, so here's what I'll tell you regarding the debt: cop dat full scholarship, stay local (or full/close to full scholly at T14 if you can), intern & extern at local PD/DA offices starting before law school.

Guess what? No debt, very pretty high chance at jerb, you get to keep your inheritance. That's a win.

Also:
paglababa wrote:PS. I wouldn't want to spend that half a million on lawschool if I were you.


FatalTragedy wrote:So my first question is, how good of a law school would I need to attend to have a reasonable chance of landing a public defender or prosecutor job in California?

HYS > T14 > Top Local School > Shitty Local School >>> TT > TTT > TTTT

See also http://www.lawschooltransparency.com/

But this all really is a cost/benefit analysis, and in my experience, the PD/DA stuff emphasizes experience and commitment to the job. Prestige is less important than it would be, say, in a big firm or fed. clerkship. So, as I alluded to earlier, local w/ full scholly seems like a credited bet.

Watch out for scholarship stipulations though!

FatalTragedy wrote:I've heard law schools are separated into "top 14", "tier 1", "tier 2" and so on, but what level would I need to be accepted to in order to obtain the job I want?

See above. And do not forget that geography and price matter.

FatalTragedy wrote:Given my overall level of intelligence and success in academics so far, I'm fairly certain I could get into a tier 1 school, and quite possibly even a top 14 school, but I can't really be sure of anything right now, or take anything for granted, considering I haven't even began college yet.

Getting into a tier 1 law school is not very hard if you put in a reasonable effort. So just do yo' best bro.

FatalTragedy wrote:My second question is, what should I major in?

To quote the great Gary Radnich, "nobody cares."

Pick something that will get you a job. Pick what you like. Pick something you'll do pretty well in.

FatalTragedy wrote:Before I was considering becoming a lawyer, I was simply planning on becoming a computer science major. Which obviously could still work even if I go to law school afterwards. But the thing is, considering how hard I'm sure law school is, and considering that major doesn't really affect one's chances of getting into law school, I might rather just have an easier liberal arts major, probably political science (I'm really interested in politics).

I think you meant to say "how hard getting into law school is." Which is to say, not very.

Per what major to pick, see above.

Political science is not a good pick because you'll probably get hosed in the job market if you don't decide to go to law school or don't get a job after law school. Better idea: take a few political science electives in subjects you'd like to learn a bit more about. Maybe minor in Polisci. Develop a marketable skill. Don't major in polisci.

FatalTragedy wrote:Additionally, I'd probably have a bit of a higher gpa with that major, meaning I'd have a little bit better chance of getting accepted into a top law school. But on the other hand, if I don't get into a top law school (read: one good enough to give me a good chance at the jobs I want), then I won't waste my money and attend law school, and if that happens, a political science degree would be useless, while a computer science degree would still allow me to be a software engineer.

I think you intuitively understand some of what I'm trying to get at. Again: Pick something that will get you a job. Pick what you like. Pick something you'll do pretty well in.

FatalTragedy wrote:Another problem is that if I want to be a political science major, I'd have to decide for sure that I want to become a lawyer in about a year, and I'm not sure if I could make a decision in that time frame. So I'm really unsure of what my college major should be.

No, you don't. And you shouldn't.

FatalTragedy wrote:For me, at least, those two questions are related. If, for example, there is a good chance that I could get into a law school that would allow me to get a job as a public defender or prosecutor (i.e. If I'd only need to go to a tier 2 school), then I would probably major in political science. But if I'd need to get into a Top 14 school to have a shot at landing one of those jobs, then I'd major in computer science, since I would definitely need a backup plan.

I don't think this is the right approach. Law isn't going anywhere. It'll be there no matter what you're up to in the meantime. Calm down, chill out, try new things, enjoy yourself, play some club sports, meet some women, get a service job, and just have fun.

FatalTragedy wrote:So yeah, thats basically all I wanted to ask for now. Any answers would be much appreciated. :)

Fo sho. You seem like a legit bro, bro. But take a step back and relax. Life's more like a round of golf than a train ride, if you catch my drift.

Side note: play some golf with some bros. Relaxing, social, fun, and not a bad business idea either.

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manofjustice
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby manofjustice » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:33 am

Why do you want to be a lawyer?

FatalTragedy
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby FatalTragedy » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:50 am

manofjustice wrote:Why do you want to be a lawyer?

It seems like a job that I would enjoy and be good at. I also specifically want to be a defense attorney because sometimes I feel like the justice system is biased towards the prosecution. Although I wouldn't actually mind being a prosecutor, I'd just prefer criminal defense. Really I find all of criminal law to be the most interesting option (Plus public defenders and prosecutors don't have to work 70 hours a week like the lawyers at huge firms).

Additionally, I might eventually want to get into politics, and although you can do that from any career field, being a lawyer first is the most common and probably is the best preparation for politics.

Da1andOnlyPharo
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby Da1andOnlyPharo » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:10 am

I'm going to give my input, which may echo some of the responses you've already gotten.

Which major? I personally think that the best course of study to prepare you for law school is Philosophy. I've never met anyone who really agreed with me on that, but I really think its true. The type of critical thinking that is used in reading and writing philosophy papers seems akin to what you would find in law school.

With that being said, don't go major in Philosophy just because of that. Like you said, major doesn't really affect your chances on getting in, and schools take into consideration that getting a 4.0 in chemical engineering is more difficult than getting that in Life Sciences, and you'll probably do better in classes that you are more interested in anyway. I think that choosing an "easier" major is entirely pointless actually. Just do your best and use ratemyprofessors.com to pick out the easiest profs. My buddy got into a T14 with a 3.3, I got in with a 3.4

I think given your circumstances you should go with computer science. That way you wind up with a set of hard skills that would most certainly benefit you if you chose to be a software engineer, and you would have a unique educational background among law school applicants. Not to mention, you'd also be eligible to be a patent prosecutor, but I'm not sure if you have any interest in that.

Also, like prezidentv8 mentioned, maybe you'll wind up with some other career interest, so you don't have to set barriers for yourself in any case.

RodneyRuxin
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby RodneyRuxin » Sun Aug 04, 2013 9:14 am

FatalTragedy wrote:
manofjustice wrote:Why do you want to be a lawyer?

It seems like a job that I would enjoy and be good at. I also specifically want to be a defense attorney because sometimes I feel like the justice system is biased towards the prosecution. Although I wouldn't actually mind being a prosecutor, I'd just prefer criminal defense. Really I find all of criminal law to be the most interesting option (Plus public defenders and prosecutors don't have to work 70 hours a week like the lawyers at huge firms).

Additionally, I might eventually want to get into politics, and although you can do that from any career field, being a lawyer first is the most common and probably is the best preparation for politics.


Be careful about this. I had a friend who was interested in criminal defense work and he worked for a shitlaw crim defense firm. Turns out he hated the stress(murder cases make you age like crazy), type of clients (often repeat offenders), and the amount you need to be friends/in bed with judges, prosecutors, etc (just what I heard from him). When I suggested public defender, he said that they are often overstaffed and can't control the caseloads in front of them. It's not the skill of the public defender that was lacking, it's the state funding to afford more people to handle the number of cases. It's not exactly rewarding to plea bargain out everyone that's assigned to you before you have the time to research into the case and get leverage for a fair plea--and that's essentially what you have to do if you want to have time for clients that you think have a better shot.

This is all anecdotal from my friend, but it killed any passing interest I ever had for defense work. It's not what it looks like on TV/Movies (which is likely your source of information at this point--it was when I was that age).


Also, you should watch Primal Fear.

Legally Bleached
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby Legally Bleached » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:50 am

Per what major to pick, see above.

Political science is not a good pick because you'll probably get hosed in the job market if you don't decide to go to law school or don't get a job after law school. Better idea: take a few political science electives in subjects you'd like to learn a bit more about. Maybe minor in Polisci. Develop a marketable skill. Don't major in polisci.


At least not as your only major, if you choose to do it. I studied political science but had another major and minor that allowed me to get the job that I just accepted. Actually, most liberal arts students I know doubled but that could vary by school.

Another non-surprising fact is that I get paid peasant wages compared to my friend that did computer engineering. This is why he has a beautiful view of downtown to himself and I am considering law school in the next few years. If you just like politics, join a political organization but major in what you would want to do with your life if you end up not pursuing law.

Get the best GPA you possibly can. Day drinking most of your freshman year seems pretty YOLO until you start using LawSchoolNumbers.com.

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buddyt
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby buddyt » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:30 pm

Major in computer science. It's part of a very, very small group of degrees that even ITE virtually guarantees you a good-paying job with reasonable hours. Work as a developer or analyst in-house somewhere, or do consulting and work on different projects at a variety of clients--you can't go wrong with either route. I honestly don't think there exists a better career path for someone who is about to start college and wants a good money/hours ratio. Just make sure to keep those grades up.

After working in IT, you may still want to be a lawyer. If that's the case, study for the LSAT while working, get a 170+ and go T14 w/$ or flagship local w/$$$. Getting a job as a defender or prosecutor may be tough, but if it doesn't work out then you'll have the CS degree which allows you to do patent prosecution.

Source: worked at a large multinational IT consulting firm before going to law school. got a CIS degree but wish I did CS so I could cop dat patent pros.

blsingindisguise
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby blsingindisguise » Sun Aug 04, 2013 4:33 pm

The best majors for law school are the ones that require substantial amounts of reading, writing, and analytical thinking. My English major was helpful for law school, but ONLY because I had one good professor (with whom I took several courses) who did old-fashioned close reading. All the bullshitty literary theory stuff that some schols emphasize is not helpful. Philosophy could be a good background as long as you take some formal logic courses (will also help for LSAT). But I've found that science and math majors sometimes do very well in law school too, because they are more used to analytical rigor. If you're interested in Comp Sci, major in Comp Sci, and maybe just make sure to take some reading and writing-heavy courses for your minor or on the side.

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manofjustice
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby manofjustice » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:22 pm

FatalTragedy wrote:
manofjustice wrote:Why do you want to be a lawyer?

It seems like a job that I would enjoy and be good at. I also specifically want to be a defense attorney because sometimes I feel like the justice system is biased towards the prosecution. Although I wouldn't actually mind being a prosecutor, I'd just prefer criminal defense. Really I find all of criminal law to be the most interesting option (Plus public defenders and prosecutors don't have to work 70 hours a week like the lawyers at huge firms).

Additionally, I might eventually want to get into politics, and although you can do that from any career field, being a lawyer first is the most common and probably is the best preparation for politics.


Why do you think you would enjoy it and be good at it?

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prezidentv8
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby prezidentv8 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:17 pm

manofjustice wrote:
FatalTragedy wrote:
manofjustice wrote:Why do you want to be a lawyer?

It seems like a job that I would enjoy and be good at. I also specifically want to be a defense attorney because sometimes I feel like the justice system is biased towards the prosecution. Although I wouldn't actually mind being a prosecutor, I'd just prefer criminal defense. Really I find all of criminal law to be the most interesting option (Plus public defenders and prosecutors don't have to work 70 hours a week like the lawyers at huge firms).

Additionally, I might eventually want to get into politics, and although you can do that from any career field, being a lawyer first is the most common and probably is the best preparation for politics.


Why do you think you would enjoy it and be good at it?


Because he enjoys typing things like "the subject matter of the request is highly likely to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence" for hours, weeks, months, or years on end?

ETA: Commentary from other thread:
BaiAilian2013 wrote:Being a lawyer is one of the few jobs where what you get paid for is reading, then thinking, then writing. Then reading more, then deleting, then re-reading, then thinking again, etc. It's like 90% sitting on your butt looking at words. If that's not what you're good at, then almost ANY other career would be a better fit.

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cinephile
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby cinephile » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:41 pm

Please enjoy your youth and don't worry about this yet. Also major in something useful because you never know how you're going to feel in the future. And your major doesn't matter for law school anyway, so might as well do something that gives you a plan B option.

Also, take some time to work between college and law school.

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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby LgllyBlnde » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:47 am

FatalTragedy wrote:
manofjustice wrote: (Plus public defenders and prosecutors don't have to work 70 hours a week like the lawyers at huge firms).



I've done the DA's office, PD's office, and private criminal defense... This is not true. Especially with budgetary constraints, DA's and PD's often work a ton of hours because offices are understaffed (at least where I worked). Private criminal defense was definitely my favorite, but also required a lot of hours. Prepping for trial required endless nights at the office, little sleep, and phone calls from my boss at 3am asking me about random facts of the case. I love criminal law, but do not think that working at the DA or PD's office will allow you to work a normal 9-5 because that's just not how it works in my experience. It often ends up being a lot of hours for little pay.

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willwash
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby willwash » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:04 am

Please, please PLEASE do not major in political science.

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wtrc
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby wtrc » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:35 am

Best title ever op

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Otunga
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby Otunga » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:08 pm

Lots of good posts in this thread. I'll just say something regarding a potential major.

I majored in philosophy mainly because I was fascinated with the subject matter and I enjoyed engaging with it - I didn't decide to aim for law school until after graduation. Now, as many will say about philosophy, particularly philosophy departments that are desperate to attract students, philosophy courses do a good job of developing reasoning skills. In the typical philosophy paper, you either provide some sound, persuasive reasoning or your paper is doomed to fail. And some of the topics you deal with are so seemingly esoteric and obscure that by the time you start looking at what the real-world is arguing about, real-world arguments are comparatively easier to understand. Many say philosophy majors are 'aloof' and that's because most of the stuff you talk about has no immediate practical application. That's not to say that the skills you learn in philosophy are impractical, just that the content is. Of course, much of moral philosophy is the exception to the rule, as moral topics tend to be discussed fairly frequently in everyday conversation and in political debates.

Anyway, that's just a peek into one major that's good for law school. Here's what I suggest for you to do: find a major with more immediate application in the job market that you're interested in and then minor in something that happens to be conducive to learning the reasoning skills you need for law school (commonly cited majors are economics and philosophy). You say you're into computer science and that's great, as that's much more likely to get you a decent job than most majors that prospective law students choose. If you major in the 'practical' thing and minor in the 'impractical' thing, then you get the best of both worlds. You get exposure to the reasoning skills you'll need as well as exposure to the job market post-bachelors degree. ...One might be thinking that I'm downplaying the impact a computer science degree could have on your ability to succeed in law school, but I don't mean to be. Computer science may be even more useful than philosophy, as after all, you need to have sharp analytical skills to succeed in computer science. Another moral of the story: stay inclined towards computer science.

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guillaume_aus
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby guillaume_aus » Thu Aug 08, 2013 9:55 pm

Be a CompSci major.

Or, if you're ambitious, double major CompSci and Philosophy. They're both fantastic subjects. And there's a surprising amount of overlap.

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star fox
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby star fox » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:31 pm

As a Poli Sci/History double major fresh out of college graduate, don't major in those. Consider that you might be 22 and say "gee, Law school sure looks like a suckers game, maybe I don't want to go into all of that debt." and find yourself working 50 hour weeks for 30 K. I mean, it's not the end of the world or anything but there's way more useful majors that can give you good job prospects so you don't feel like you're trapped into going to law school.

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ThetaX
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby ThetaX » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:25 am

john7234797 wrote:As a Poli Sci/History double major fresh out of college graduate, don't major in those. Consider that you might be 22 and say "gee, Law school sure looks like a suckers game, maybe I don't want to go into all of that debt." and find yourself working 50 hour weeks for 30 K. I mean, it's not the end of the world or anything but there's way more useful majors that can give you good job prospects so you don't feel like you're trapped into going to law school.


I can certainly relate to what you are saying. However, as a History major you develop research skills that can land you a decent job somewhere.

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guano
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby guano » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:33 am

ThetaX wrote:
john7234797 wrote:As a Poli Sci/History double major fresh out of college graduate, don't major in those. Consider that you might be 22 and say "gee, Law school sure looks like a suckers game, maybe I don't want to go into all of that debt." and find yourself working 50 hour weeks for 30 K. I mean, it's not the end of the world or anything but there's way more useful majors that can give you good job prospects so you don't feel like you're trapped into going to law school.


I can certainly relate to what you are saying. However, as a History major you develop research skills that can land you a decent job somewhere.

Define "decent" and "anywhere"

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Otunga
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby Otunga » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:06 am

ThetaX wrote:
john7234797 wrote:As a Poli Sci/History double major fresh out of college graduate, don't major in those. Consider that you might be 22 and say "gee, Law school sure looks like a suckers game, maybe I don't want to go into all of that debt." and find yourself working 50 hour weeks for 30 K. I mean, it's not the end of the world or anything but there's way more useful majors that can give you good job prospects so you don't feel like you're trapped into going to law school.


I can certainly relate to what you are saying. However, as a History major you develop research skills that can land you a decent job somewhere.


Eh. You can get research skills in any major if you take the right classes and are adamant about getting to know a professor.

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buddyt
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby buddyt » Fri Aug 09, 2013 1:59 pm

guano wrote:
ThetaX wrote:
john7234797 wrote:As a Poli Sci/History double major fresh out of college graduate, don't major in those. Consider that you might be 22 and say "gee, Law school sure looks like a suckers game, maybe I don't want to go into all of that debt." and find yourself working 50 hour weeks for 30 K. I mean, it's not the end of the world or anything but there's way more useful majors that can give you good job prospects so you don't feel like you're trapped into going to law school.


I can certainly relate to what you are saying. However, as a History major you develop research skills that can land you a decent job somewhere.

Define "decent" and "anywhere"

:lol:

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Captain Hammer
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby Captain Hammer » Fri Aug 09, 2013 2:33 pm

FatalTragedy wrote:If, for example, there is a good chance that I could get into a law school that would allow me to get a job as a public defender or prosecutor (i.e. If I'd only need to go to a tier 2 school), then I would probably major in political science. But if I'd need to get into a Top 14 school to have a shot at landing one of those jobs, then I'd major in computer science, since I would definitely need a backup plan.

1) Given the current legal market, you should have a backup plan regardless.

2) PD and prosecutor jobs are hyper-competitive these days. T14 would be good, but possibly not good enough. Other things that will matter, such as your law school GPA and your ability to get internships while in law school that could help your job prospects, absolutely cannot be predicted in advance. (If you think you can say you'll get good grades in law school because you're smart or dedicated, then stop. Just stop. Most people who attend top-tier law schools are smart and dedicated, and practically everyone at a T14 will be.)

3) The job market is shrinking, especially for PDs:

http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/budget-cuts-decimating-federal-public-defender-offices-1.1527554

http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/02/orleans_parish_public_defender_4.html

http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=5049461&page=1

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/public_defenders_feeling_budget_pinch_450-per-lawyer_caseloads/

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/07/us/07georgia.html?_r=0

4) You will be eternally broke. These jobs do not pay well, and you will have $200K in debt if you go to the best school you can get into. If you don't, you'll have less debt, but likely fewer chances of landing a job you want. Then you'll still have anywhere from $60-180K in debt and no legal job to show for it.

TL;DR: Don't plan on being a lawyer. Plan on doing something else, and if you decide you still want to be a lawyer later, you can apply to law school then.

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manofjustice
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Re: I'm considering becoming a lawyer

Postby manofjustice » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:50 pm

LgllyBlnde wrote:
FatalTragedy wrote:
manofjustice wrote: (Plus public defenders and prosecutors don't have to work 70 hours a week like the lawyers at huge firms).



I've done the DA's office, PD's office, and private criminal defense... This is not true. Especially with budgetary constraints, DA's and PD's often work a ton of hours because offices are understaffed (at least where I worked). Private criminal defense was definitely my favorite, but also required a lot of hours. Prepping for trial required endless nights at the office, little sleep, and phone calls from my boss at 3am asking me about random facts of the case. I love criminal law, but do not think that working at the DA or PD's office will allow you to work a normal 9-5 because that's just not how it works in my experience. It often ends up being a lot of hours for little pay.


Just FYI, I don't think I said what I'm quoted as saying...




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