Should I go to law school?

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omorewa
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:31 pm

Should I go to law school?

Postby omorewa » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:15 am

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Last edited by omorewa on Mon Jul 31, 2017 3:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

Platopus
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Joined: Mon Feb 13, 2017 11:20 pm

Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Platopus » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:48 am

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Last edited by Platopus on Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tr5890
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby tr5890 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:50 am

I'm not yet a lawyer but I thought this sounded vert similar to my thinking last year, with the difference that I was still senior in college. My motivation to go to law school was that I loved the type of work (argumentation, reading and analysis) that many lawyers talk about, but was not thrilled about the work/life balance, firm culture, and things that about the job that are rudimentary (some parts of M&A, doc review, etc.). Essentially I didn't want to be a glorified scribe my whole life. I think being a law professor or judge would be the best job in the world, but those are jobs you just can't bank on.

I applied this past fall, was accepted to some schools, and I'm choosing to attend HYS this fall. I'm risk averse, but my opportunity cost is low (I have a liberal arts BA from a state school). For me, the decision was between working a low-paying 9-5 job with little long-term career prospects or the chance to get a great job (law prof, judge, unicorn PI) with the downside of a lot of debt and the possibility of being stuck in Big Law. That seemed like an easy choice.

Your opportunity cost is much greater. It's a tough call, but I thought I'd share how I came to my decision. I think if you can score above a 170, HS and maybe even Y are in your ballpark, or a big scholarship somewhere else. Best of luck though!

philepistemer
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby philepistemer » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:01 am

If you have to ask, the answer is no.

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stego
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby stego » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:39 am

you have a job you like that also pays well so keep doing that for a while and build up that sweet sweet work experience

take the LSAT and get the score you want and law school will always be there

if you do decide to go at some point you seem to have a better idea of why law school than most of the people who go

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MrAdultman
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby MrAdultman » Sat Jul 29, 2017 1:23 pm

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Last edited by MrAdultman on Sun Sep 17, 2017 4:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

jrose55
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby jrose55 » Sat Jul 29, 2017 2:46 pm

omorewa wrote:[pls don't quote]

mod edit: please don't quote when people ask not to be quoted


Please do more of the things you said you wanted to do up there (reading, seeing more of the world, nurturing your entrepreneurial spirit, learn another language, etc.).

I went from college straight to law school and have been working ever since. I make more money than anyone in my family ever did (with the exception of my millionaire aunt who is an entrepreneur), but I don't think I'm very happy. The optimism I felt as an undergrad has morphed into a good endurance that's kept me going through the long hours of biglaw (I work in a niche regulatory field), but I - like many, many, many others I know - feel that law school changed us forever. It's very hard to be happy and enjoy life when you're constantly worrying about billable hours, and frankly, a lot of that stress will kill a lot of the intellectual curiosity you have. I used to be the type to read a book a week, but now I no longer have the bandwidth to finish any book.

I graduated with a 3.7 (almost 3. 8) GPA at a top 20 undergrad - actually, my GPA in non-STEM classes was practically 4.0, with the exception of an A- in a philosophy class. But even excelling at a decent school did not prepare me for the kind of competition I faced at a T14. The environment felt hostile, and a lot of friendships didn't feel real. Law school, like the legal profession, is very competitive.

I don't know if I regret going to law school because my family always struggled to make ends meet, so this is the first time in my life i've ever lived comfortably... that being said, I wish I had looked into more consulting jobs out of college. The advice I always give people asking me about law school is to live a bit more in their 20s. That's time you will never get back, and if there's one thing I could do it'd be to hold off law school until I was 25 or so so I could have traveled and enjoyed life a bit more.

Hope that helps, and best of luck to you.

Veil of Ignorance
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Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Veil of Ignorance » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:32 pm

omorewa wrote:[pls don't quote]


What do you recommend?


I appreciate this post! It was easy to relate to the things you want to do, and I totally get what you mean. Reading in college become mental labor for me, so I also stopped reading books for pleasure. Taking some time off after college to do many of the things you mentioned has made these past few years more enriching than the four in college. Don't rush back to school. It sounds like, once you want a stable, steady career, law might be a good fit for your interests, but once you go to LS, there's no turning back!
Here's a non law related piece of advice, too. When choosing a second language, don't do it based on what people tell you is "useful". Chinese won't be useful to you if you hate learning it and never go to China. Italian will be, however, if you love the language and develop a life-long relationship with the country (which you'll be able to travel to once you have all that law $$$ 8) )
Last edited by Veil of Ignorance on Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

omorewa
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Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:31 pm

Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby omorewa » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:20 pm

Platopus wrote:

tr5890 wrote:

stego wrote:

MrAdultman wrote:

jrose55 wrote:


Each of your thoughts have been so helpful in putting things in perspective!

I am definitely inching towards waiting out this coming cycle. Doing so is likely to be the best option, though admittedly, this feels like a heavy decision in part because of the excitement people I care about have garnered about me becoming a lawyer/applying this cycle. I can already feel their surprise, confusion, and doubts about whether I’m making the right decision. Regardless, I’m trying not to think about the social aspect and do what’s best for me.

Another option I’m considering is applying to a handful of schools this cycle and seeing my options (specifically, if any in the Top-6 will love me back with considerable moneys). I’m led to believe the T6 will give me the best shot at the type of career I want (including prospects within academia) and having less financial concerns will afford me greater agency in my career without feeling chained to the golden-handcuffs of biglaw. With this option, I’d make sure to give myself a solid break starting in the spring or summer to let myself be and live in the moment doing all those things I mentioned above (though I might feel a bit rushed).

But if T6 with money doesn’t happen, then I’ll definitely wait and possibly re-apply the following cycle after building a bigger nest egg, reaching my personal growth goals, talking to more lawyers, and feeling more confident about a legal career. I still need to look into if it’ll comes off poorly to re-apply to schools that already accepted me.. Perhaps they’ll frown upon the possibility that I’m re-applying to have other better options.
Last edited by omorewa on Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

omorewa
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:31 pm

Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby omorewa » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:28 pm

Veil of Ignorance wrote:
omorewa wrote:[pls don't quote]

What do you recommend?


I appreciate this post! It was easy to relate to the things you want to do, and I totally get what you mean. Reading in college become mental labor for me, so I also stopped reading books for pleasure. Taking some time off after college to do many of the things you mentioned has made these past few years more enriching than the four in college. Don't rush back to school. It sounds like, once you want a stable, steady career, law might be a good fit for your interests, but once you go to LS, there's no turning back!
Here's a non law related piece of advice, too. When choosing a second language, don't do it based on what people tell you is "useful". Chinese won't be useful to you if you hate learning it and never go to China. Italian will be, however, if you love the language and develop a life-long relationship with the country (which you'll be able to travel to once you have all that law $$$ 8) )


You're definitely right. Because I do have a genuine interest in the law, I think I will continue planning towards law school, but I don't have to go in the next year. I'm definitely going to try to focus on personal growth beforehand so I won't eventually feel like law school hindered me from knowing so much more to life.

And I’ve always wanted to build on my French. Being able to speak with my charming French beau of the future is definitely a motivating factor. Retiring near the mountain side or water in France is another.

omorewa
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:31 pm

Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby omorewa » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:32 pm

jrose55 wrote:
omorewa wrote:
What do you recommend?


Please do more of the things you said you wanted to do up there (reading, seeing more of the world, nurturing your entrepreneurial spirit, learn another language, etc.).

I went from college straight to law school and have been working ever since. I make more money than anyone in my family ever did (with the exception of my millionaire aunt who is an entrepreneur), but I don't think I'm very happy. The optimism I felt as an undergrad has morphed into a good endurance that's kept me going through the long hours of biglaw (I work in a niche regulatory field), but I - like many, many, many others I know - feel that law school changed us forever. It's very hard to be happy and enjoy life when you're constantly worrying about billable hours, and frankly, a lot of that stress will kill a lot of the intellectual curiosity you have. I used to be the type to read a book a week, but now I no longer have the bandwidth to finish any book.

I graduated with a 3.7 (almost 3. 8) GPA at a top 20 undergrad - actually, my GPA in non-STEM classes was practically 4.0, with the exception of an A- in a philosophy class. But even excelling at a decent school did not prepare me for the kind of competition I faced at a T14. The environment felt hostile, and a lot of friendships didn't feel real. Law school, like the legal profession, is very competitive.

I don't know if I regret going to law school because my family always struggled to make ends meet, so this is the first time in my life i've ever lived comfortably... that being said, I wish I had looked into more consulting jobs out of college. The advice I always give people asking me about law school is to live a bit more in their 20s. That's time you will never get back, and if there's one thing I could do it'd be to hold off law school until I was 25 or so so I could have traveled and enjoyed life a bit more.

Hope that helps, and best of luck to you.


Thanks again.. and also for making your first post in response to mine!

Your comments definitely resonate with a huge part of what I’m concerned about--that I won’t actually find law school/legal work that intellectually stimulating and the environment won’t be conducive to having a satisfying career. Also, your entrepreneurial millionaire aunt fascinates me because in having met a few entrepreneurs who seem to have "made it" by acting strategically and without a huge stroke of luck, I wonder if I can’t just stay in consulting while also exploring this bug to pursue a venture based on an idea I’ve had for a little while now.

Annakwags
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:32 am

Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Annakwags » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:55 am

Hi Everyone -

I have a similar problem. I've been admitted to a Top 30 school part time, which is only giving $8k a year. After one semester, I can transfer into the full time program. I've thought about a legal career on and off for a decade. I know what it's like to find $9 on my shelf and think, "Great! We can eat dinner the next two days." I don't want that life. I went to NYU undergrad and graduated cum laude with a 3.79 GPA (my goal was 3.8, come on!). I worked 14 months as a litigation paralegal at a BigLaw firm working in bankruptcy/corporate reorganization and was very good at it. I didn't like the subject matter at all, but I was super organized, always thought about next steps so I'd be prepared when my attorney would call me to his office, and never went to an attorney about a problem unless I had a potential solution in mind. I spent as much time as possible working on immigration/asylum probono work, which is what I loved (I interned at Human Rights Watch in undergrad). I applied to law school to cover my bases, not because I knew I wanted to go. I didn't want to get to July and decide I really wanted to go to law school and then not have applied for this fall. I was waitlisted or rejected to all the schools I applied to until a few weeks back when one school offered me admission part time. They gave me two days to make a decision. I accepted.

I accepted to buy time. I still don't know if law school or legal practice is right for me. I've reached out to countless attorneys from my previous job, and all but one said it didn't sound like I should go this year - maybe wait a year. Here are my thoughts: I could be a kickass lawyer, but I don't know that I would be happy. I don't particularly love BigLaw work environment, at least not at the firm I worked. I was born in Sweden but moved to the US about a decade ago, and the work environments I see here are just borderline criminal. I'm not against working my butt off (I kept a sleeping bag at the office at one point), but when a 4 1/2 month pregnant attorney is worked to the point of sleeping 2-3 hours two nights in a row without anyone batting an eye, there's something wrong. I'm also a very creative person who's thinking of taking a year to do something non-legal, maybe take French and design classes on the side. But I'm still drawn to law school for some reason. I'm analytical, I like doing the right thing and following the rule of law, having the knowledge to keep people from getting screwed. But when I walked around campus at the school at which I was admitted, all I could think was, "Do I really have to do this?" I wasn't ready to commit to studying my butt off. I'm terrified of making the "wrong" decision either way, and of wasting time. I'm already two years out of undergrad at age 25. Do I know what kind of law interests me most? No. It was int'l. law/public interest, but IP or entertainment sounds interesting too. Does corporate life appeal to me? Not in the least. Do I know which country I want to live in? Nope. Do I care about courts, judges, or trial? Not really, no. But I think I have this skewed idea that BigLaw practice gives stability/certainty that I wouldn't be able to find elsewhere just by virtue of going to this top 30 school and doing well academically.

Thoughts? I'm a week away from classes starting, and I can't seem to make a decision. I feel like it's "now or never."

Damage Over Time
Posts: 467
Joined: Mon May 16, 2016 8:14 pm

Re: Should I go to law school?

Postby Damage Over Time » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:51 am

Annakwags wrote:Hi Everyone -

I have a similar problem. I've been admitted to a Top 30 school part time, which is only giving $8k a year. After one semester, I can transfer into the full time program. I've thought about a legal career on and off for a decade. I know what it's like to find $9 on my shelf and think, "Great! We can eat dinner the next two days." I don't want that life. I went to NYU undergrad and graduated cum laude with a 3.79 GPA (my goal was 3.8, come on!). I worked 14 months as a litigation paralegal at a BigLaw firm working in bankruptcy/corporate reorganization and was very good at it. I didn't like the subject matter at all, but I was super organized, always thought about next steps so I'd be prepared when my attorney would call me to his office, and never went to an attorney about a problem unless I had a potential solution in mind. I spent as much time as possible working on immigration/asylum probono work, which is what I loved (I interned at Human Rights Watch in undergrad). I applied to law school to cover my bases, not because I knew I wanted to go. I didn't want to get to July and decide I really wanted to go to law school and then not have applied for this fall. I was waitlisted or rejected to all the schools I applied to until a few weeks back when one school offered me admission part time. They gave me two days to make a decision. I accepted.

I accepted to buy time. I still don't know if law school or legal practice is right for me. I've reached out to countless attorneys from my previous job, and all but one said it didn't sound like I should go this year - maybe wait a year. Here are my thoughts: I could be a kickass lawyer, but I don't know that I would be happy. I don't particularly love BigLaw work environment, at least not at the firm I worked. I was born in Sweden but moved to the US about a decade ago, and the work environments I see here are just borderline criminal. I'm not against working my butt off (I kept a sleeping bag at the office at one point), but when a 4 1/2 month pregnant attorney is worked to the point of sleeping 2-3 hours two nights in a row without anyone batting an eye, there's something wrong. I'm also a very creative person who's thinking of taking a year to do something non-legal, maybe take French and design classes on the side. But I'm still drawn to law school for some reason. I'm analytical, I like doing the right thing and following the rule of law, having the knowledge to keep people from getting screwed. But when I walked around campus at the school at which I was admitted, all I could think was, "Do I really have to do this?" I wasn't ready to commit to studying my butt off. I'm terrified of making the "wrong" decision either way, and of wasting time. I'm already two years out of undergrad at age 25. Do I know what kind of law interests me most? No. It was int'l. law/public interest, but IP or entertainment sounds interesting too. Does corporate life appeal to me? Not in the least. Do I know which country I want to live in? Nope. Do I care about courts, judges, or trial? Not really, no. But I think I have this skewed idea that BigLaw practice gives stability/certainty that I wouldn't be able to find elsewhere just by virtue of going to this top 30 school and doing well academically.

Thoughts? I'm a week away from classes starting, and I can't seem to make a decision. I feel like it's "now or never."


This decision is a big one and merits considerable thought and self-reflection (going to law school can be one of the most life changing things you do, at the very least career-wise). It sounds like you're genuinely unsure you want to go. My recommendation would be to withdraw from the part-time program and spend the next year evaluating and putting yourself in the best position for going to the school that makes most sense for you. You can improve your LSAT, get work experience/accumulate some savings, apply early and earn a better scholarship, have informational coffees/meetings with attorneys, and generally get yourself together for starting law school.

I'd advise against attending for now. If you do decide to go to law school, you'll feel better knowing that you've thought the decision through and you'll probably be more committed and driven in your studies. Right now, it sounds like you're answering the "do I want to do this?" question with "I guess so" which isn't ideal when you're considering something that impacts your life so profoundly. Depending on the particulars of your stats/situation, you may be able to get into a better school/receive a better financial aid package as well if you hold off on attending for a year, which can have tremendous benefits as well.




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