Anonymous User wrote: ↑Thu May 14, 2020 10:02 amThis is ridiculous and as elitist as it comes. The vast majority of law students pay for law school with student loans. The vast majority of law students do not get into biglaw. To say that a law student with debt who cannot get into biglaw should drop out of law school is plainly wrong. The OP is a t14 law student who will get a job as a lawyer (assuming he passes the bar), even if that job is a $60,000/year job with a small ten person law firm. A t14 graduate who starts at a small 10 person law firm will make partner after ~10 years and then will be billing $350-$550/hour and have a better lifestyle than most biglaw lawyers.Anonymous User wrote: ↑Thu May 14, 2020 9:05 amCompletely disagree with this post - not one word about student debt, and as someone that was similar to OP after 1L (about 3.0 GPA at T14), I would not recommend someone continuing to take on student loans in this situation. OP - if you are taking on substantial loans, you should absolutely drop out. I have friends that dropped out of college with that kind of GPA, let alone law school. Do not waste another dime on a legal education if you are using debt. If not, then that is a whole different story, and the previous post makes more sense. But the fact is, your financial situation should be the number one consideration here and there will not be many doors open to you, especially with the economy in the shape that it is in. I knew of plenty of people from my law school with low grades that ended up fine after a few years of struggle, but none of them had below a 3.0, let alone a 2.0 and the economy was on the upswing, not on the verge of a recession.Anonymous User wrote: ↑Wed May 13, 2020 4:48 pmOP, my overarching guidance here is to lean heavily on your institution to help you out and to do your best to speak with empathetic and compassionate people who can see past your "bad" semester and help you out. This is not an easy task, but I think it is doable.
First, it's critical that you take stock of and are able to persuasively explain what happened your 1L fall, so that you build a narrative that makes clear that while your first-semester grades are disappointing, they don't define you and don't detract from your strengths. I would start by meeting with several career counselors - not just your assigned counselor, but a variety of them. I would pool together advice on what you should do and plan to meet regularly with the counselor who offers you the best advice and is most empathetic.
Many times, someone has a bad semester because something has happened. If that's the case for you, then I definitely would craft your narrative based on that. But not every "bad" semester is caused by a single, identifiable issue. And that's where a narrative comes into play.
Second, I think you should meet with or discuss these issues with a professor that you had during the second semester of your 1L year. I would try to pick a professor in class where you performed the best in and, ideally, a class where you were able to secure a good grade. Explain to them what happened to you during your first semester and ask them for advice on how to improve. Good professors tend to give good advice. But, ideally, you will be able to build a relationship with this professor who likely can be a resource for you in the future. The professor will be able to serve as a reference and help to explain that your first-semester grades don't define you, or they will write you that letter of recommendation in the future that will contextualize your first semester. When you can't lean on your grades, you have to lean on other things and create a holistic picture that makes clear that your grades don't define you.
Third, it is very important that you work to identify the issues that tripped you up during your first semester and pick a curriculum for your 2L year that gives you the opportunity to take classes you can excel in but also remains rigorous. Again, here's where an academic counselor or a career counselor can help you.
If you are able to improve considerably your 2L year (or even the first semester of your 2L year), your cumulative GPA will not be so important. What will be important is the upward trajectory. Then you can add to your narrative so you can say, "I had a really bad first semester. Here's what happened to me. Here's how I worked to fix it. And as you can see from my subsequent grades, here's how I improved over time. It shows my tenacity, my eagerness to work hard, and my ability to overcome problems."
I had low grades during my 1L year (and actually did even worse my second semester than I did during my first) and this is how I was able to break through and land the job of my dreams. It is not going to be easy, but nothing really is, and it's going to take a lot of work and energy. But, if you want to be a lawyer and you are committed to practicing law, then it is worth fighting for. Now is not the time to give up, or to let naysayers tell you about how hard it is and that they've never seen someone do it before.
Best of luck to you, OP.
OP - drop out and be thankful you'll never be a lawyer.
I know several lawyers (in my home state) who went to unranked law schools and have never worked in firms larger than 10 people. All of those lawyers (now in their 50s+) make $500,000-$1,000,000/year working less hours than biglaw associates. Indeed, I worked for a firm my 1L summer that had about a dozen lawyers. I worked with one of the named partners (who is a long time family friend). He worked half a day on Wednesdays in the summer and didn't work summer Fridays so he could golf. He had two full time paralegals and a few associates. He once told me that over the past 12 years (at the time), he has never had a year in which he made under $1,000,000 (although he's the exception, everyone else I know like him make closer to $350,000-$500,000). He does commercial real estate and land use. He never worked in biglaw, never clerked for an Art. III judge, and did not graduate from a t14.
A second example: another long time family friend went to a lower ranked law school (Penn State Law, I think). He joined a small PI firm out of law school. Although he is now in his 50s, he is now one of the area's best and most respected PI lawyer. He lives in a multimillion dollar home, has several vacation homes, and each of his 4 kids went to private highschools and private universities. He lives a great life despite not being a t14 graduate.
OP can have a great career if he wants to work for a small firm. He will work hard and make partner and have a great life, even if he is not working at Cravath on the world's biggest deals. He will pay back his debt even if it takes longer than his classmates who work in biglaw.
If your examples are 50+ years old, they established their practices in a completely different era from the one we're living in. The time when you could go to any law school with whatever grades and still work your way to a lucrative legal career is long gone. Not to mention: take a look at what law school cost then versus now. The tuition at HLS, for example, was $22,054 in 2000, around the time when Gen Xers were in law school. Today it's $65,875. There is a very real possibility OP is burying themselves in insurmountable debt.