Let's talk about dropping out

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whydoieven

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Let's talk about dropping out

Post by whydoieven » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:32 pm

Hi, I'm a 1L. I'm at median at Texas, and I've got no debt currently. I'm considering dropping out at the end of this year because I wake up dreading school everyday, and I am realizing I have no interest in practicing in the large markets fed by Texas. That said, I've got no other real skills; but, I do somehow have a job offer from a non-legal employer at roughly the same amount I was making when I came to school to try to find something I might actually be interested in (~70-80k), but I can't say I really enjoy that field either or see much future in it. Yes, I'm in therapy. Am I supposed to sleepwalk into 2L hoping I fall in love with this shit? I know that's a lot to ask of a job, but it would be nice to have some modicum of joy for the next couple of years.

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cavalier1138

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:46 pm

whydoieven wrote:I'm considering dropping out at the end of this year because I wake up dreading school everyday, and I am realizing I have no interest in practicing in the large markets fed by Texas.
Does this mean you have no interest in practicing law at all, or just no interest in practicing in Texas/the Southwest?

If it's the former, I think you should drop out. You're not in debt; you'll have a decently paying job. If you don't want to be a lawyer, there's no real point in having a JD.

whydoieven

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by whydoieven » Tue Apr 14, 2020 6:54 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:Does this mean you have no interest in practicing law at all, or just no interest in practicing in Texas/the Southwest?

If it's the former, I think you should drop out. You're not in debt; you'll have a decently paying job. If you don't want to be a lawyer, there's no real point in having a JD.
I am interested in practicing in California, Colorado, etc. but with my grades as they are and no new GPA movement due to us being pass/fail, I don't know if I can be sure of my ability to place in a firm in California, for example. Career office here basically tells me to shove it and to go stare at Martindale whenever I ask for guidance on applying anywhere but Houston, Dallas, Austin, or New York. Not that there are a huge number of non-IP alums from Texas or my UG out there, it seems like.

Edit, for some context: I ended up choosing Texas because 1) I'm from here, 2) they upped my scholarship late and it was really unbeatable, 3) everyone I met with ahead of admission told me that Texas' placement stats were all self-selection and that CA/CO/wherever was reachable pretty easily (yes, I'm a rube!).

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cavalier1138

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:02 pm

whydoieven wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Does this mean you have no interest in practicing law at all, or just no interest in practicing in Texas/the Southwest?

If it's the former, I think you should drop out. You're not in debt; you'll have a decently paying job. If you don't want to be a lawyer, there's no real point in having a JD.
I am interested in practicing in California, Colorado, etc. but with my grades as they are and no new GPA movement due to us being pass/fail, I don't know if I can be sure of my ability to place in a firm in California, for example. Career office here basically tells me to shove it and to go stare at Martindale whenever I ask for guidance on applying anywhere but Houston, Dallas, Austin, or New York. Not that there are a huge number of non-IP alums from Texas or my UG out there, it seems like.

Edit, for some context: I ended up choosing Texas because 1) I'm from here, 2) they upped my scholarship late and it was really unbeatable, 3) everyone I met with ahead of admission told me that Texas' placement stats were all self-selection and that CA/CO/wherever was reachable pretty easily (yes, I'm a rube!).
If you aren't biglaw-or-bust and have some ties to CA/Colorado, you could still work your way into a job offer in those markets. But if you don't have ties to those markets, then the question is whether you'd rather practice law in Texas/NYC or not practice law at all. I understand preferring certain locations, but it feels weird to me that you'd love to practice IP law in California, just not in Dallas. (And, of course, it feels weird that you'd go to UT in the first place if you were this anti-Texas to begin with.)

whydoieven

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by whydoieven » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:20 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
whydoieven wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote: If you aren't biglaw-or-bust and have some ties to CA/Colorado, you could still work your way into a job offer in those markets. But if you don't have ties to those markets, then the question is whether you'd rather practice law in Texas/NYC or not practice law at all. I understand preferring certain locations, but it feels weird to me that you'd love to practice IP law in California, just not in Dallas. (And, of course, it feels weird that you'd go to UT in the first place if you were this anti-Texas to begin with.)
Oh yeah, I have some ties to both, but I'm not IP, so I'm thinking it's tougher. And yeah, I shouldn't have gone to UT, I was trying to avoid any debt, and they let me do that. Live and learn, I should have studied where I wanted to live instead of thinking I could beat the odds. I agree, it's odd and was a bad decision.

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Throwaway5818

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by Throwaway5818 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:32 pm

Definitely drop out if you have no debt. Law school is a scam, practicing law isn't much better. Get out while you still can.

cam1992

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by cam1992 » Tue Apr 14, 2020 9:35 pm

I had VERY similar feelings my 1L year at Texas. I was debt-free and relatively certain I could return to my old job, which I had loved. I even went as far as having meetings with the Dean about dropping out. My first semester I was FAR below median, so I had other motivations besides not enjoying the material. And, I was lucky enough to have a stellar second semester, which really lifted my spirits and convinced me to stay enrolled. However, all throughout my 2L year I really struggled with not liking law school. I took a broad array of doctrinal classes and really found none of them interesting. During my 3L year I took a bankruptcy course and FINALLY found something that I really enjoyed and found intellectually fulfilling. Now I am lucky to have a job at a big firm in a Bankruptcy group, but I still am not convinced that I will stay in law for my entire professional career. It has taken me a long time to realize this, but it is TOTALLY normal and okay to feel unsure about your career. Even with having a passion for a subset of law, I am totally open to leaving the profession all together. My experience with Texas Law is that the school puts a couple of dozen students on a pedestal, so a lot of students start to think that those "visible" students are the "average" law student and that those experiences are the "average" Texas experience. NOT TRUE. If you reach out to your classmates, I suspect more than you think will be feeling the way you are feeling. Best of luck to you and know that many Texas students have struggled like this in the past.

whydoieven

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by whydoieven » Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:01 pm

cam1992 wrote:My experience with Texas Law is that the school puts a couple of dozen students on a pedestal, so a lot of students start to think that those "visible" students are the "average" law student and that those experiences are the "average" Texas experience.
Holy shit I've never felt more validated.

Thank you.

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by LBJ's Hair » Tue Apr 14, 2020 10:07 pm

whydoieven wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Does this mean you have no interest in practicing law at all, or just no interest in practicing in Texas/the Southwest?

If it's the former, I think you should drop out. You're not in debt; you'll have a decently paying job. If you don't want to be a lawyer, there's no real point in having a JD.
I am interested in practicing in California, Colorado, etc. but with my grades as they are and no new GPA movement due to us being pass/fail, I don't know if I can be sure of my ability to place in a firm in California, for example. Career office here basically tells me to shove it and to go stare at Martindale whenever I ask for guidance on applying anywhere but Houston, Dallas, Austin, or New York. Not that there are a huge number of non-IP alums from Texas or my UG out there, it seems like.

Edit, for some context: I ended up choosing Texas because 1) I'm from here, 2) they upped my scholarship late and it was really unbeatable, 3) everyone I met with ahead of admission told me that Texas' placement stats were all self-selection and that CA/CO/wherever was reachable pretty easily (yes, I'm a rube!).
You have perfectly fine grades at a good law school. If you don't want to be a lawyer, drop out, but you are *absolutely not* DQ'd from CA BigLaw as an average student from a T14-plus school. There are people with shittier grades from way shittier law schools who get market-paying jobs in SF/LA every single year, c'mon.

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decimalsanddollars

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by decimalsanddollars » Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:53 am

Texas alum, and I generally agree with most of what's been said re: the CSO being basically useless and putting a few dozen students on a pedestal while more students have a rough time. Just jumping in to add that (1) you can get California bl from median at UT with real interest (ties not really required) and (2) Colorado is hard for ANYONE without ties, including people at higher-ranked schools.

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LSATWiz.com

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by LSATWiz.com » Wed Apr 15, 2020 10:30 am

I don't know that school is a proxy for practice. I'd say if anything if you love law school for the reasons people typically love it (thinking about high brow legal issues and boundaries of a particular law), you might be disappointed with practice. UT is a quality school and if you sustain median with no debt, you're likely to find yourself in an enviable financial position 10 years out.

Does the $70-80k job have long term growth potential? Is it through a connection? Are you fulfilled by that kind of work or is the certainty of having a job just appealing to you? Do you have reason to think you'd be a long term employee there as opposed to just someone they test out? You'd want to trust the stability of that opportunity before making a life-changing move.

I'd also ask yourself what it is that you hate so much about law school - if it's something specific to thinking like a lawyer or more how law school works. Society raises us to be somewhat dependent on positive reinforcement and praise in educational settings so many students need that praise like a dog needs to be petted. Law school can be taxing because that praise is delayed for many months and students can't ever be positive they did a good job until grades are released so it can be mentally taxing. I'm sure therapy is helping you focus less on things you can't control but I wouldn't take hating law school as a proxy for hating practice, and would remember that there is value in developing the ability to only be psychologically impacted by that which you can control that will be valuable in most industries and areas of life.

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by objctnyrhnr » Wed Apr 15, 2020 2:01 pm

For what it’s worth, I and a number of my classmates didn’t really like law school.

But I really like being a lawyer.

Conversely I know people who were all about law school in every way, who now struggle in legal practice.

Just like the lsat isn’t a proxy for legal exams, law school isn’t a proxy for real lawyering.

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by Yugihoe » Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:50 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:For what it’s worth, I and a number of my classmates didn’t really like law school.

But I really like being a lawyer.

Conversely I know people who were all about law school in every way, who now struggle in legal practice.

Just like the lsat isn’t a proxy for legal exams, law school isn’t a proxy for real lawyering.
What kind of law do you practice? I feel like I personally don't know anyone in corporate (big) law who actually feels the way you do.

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objctnyrhnr

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by objctnyrhnr » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:15 pm

Yugihoe wrote:
objctnyrhnr wrote:For what it’s worth, I and a number of my classmates didn’t really like law school.

But I really like being a lawyer.

Conversely I know people who were all about law school in every way, who now struggle in legal practice.

Just like the lsat isn’t a proxy for legal exams, law school isn’t a proxy for real lawyering.
What kind of law do you practice? I feel like I personally don't know anyone in corporate (big) law who actually feels the way you do.
I litigate. As it happens, lots of litigators really like litigating. Can’t say the same for corporate, though, which is why they often find enjoyment by going in house relatively earlier.

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by dozefalls » Wed Apr 15, 2020 7:15 pm

cavalier1138 wrote:
whydoieven wrote:
cavalier1138 wrote:Does this mean you have no interest in practicing law at all, or just no interest in practicing in Texas/the Southwest?

If it's the former, I think you should drop out. You're not in debt; you'll have a decently paying job. If you don't want to be a lawyer, there's no real point in having a JD.
I am interested in practicing in California, Colorado, etc. but with my grades as they are and no new GPA movement due to us being pass/fail, I don't know if I can be sure of my ability to place in a firm in California, for example. Career office here basically tells me to shove it and to go stare at Martindale whenever I ask for guidance on applying anywhere but Houston, Dallas, Austin, or New York. Not that there are a huge number of non-IP alums from Texas or my UG out there, it seems like.

Edit, for some context: I ended up choosing Texas because 1) I'm from here, 2) they upped my scholarship late and it was really unbeatable, 3) everyone I met with ahead of admission told me that Texas' placement stats were all self-selection and that CA/CO/wherever was reachable pretty easily (yes, I'm a rube!).
If you aren't biglaw-or-bust and have some ties to CA/Colorado, you could still work your way into a job offer in those markets. But if you don't have ties to those markets, then the question is whether you'd rather practice law in Texas/NYC or not practice law at all. I understand preferring certain locations, but it feels weird to me that you'd love to practice IP law in California, just not in Dallas. (And, of course, it feels weird that you'd go to UT in the first place if you were this anti-Texas to begin with.)
I agree. Is it more you don’t want to practice in Texas? Because this seems like a fixable issue. It might be difficult to get out with lower grades or no ties, but it’s possible.

I would also add that law school is quite different from practicing law. Are you certain there isn’t an area of law that interests you? Before you completely drop it, I would explore that possibility. If not, then drop out.

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by QContinuum » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:03 pm

objctnyrhnr wrote:
Yugihoe wrote:What kind of law do you practice? I feel like I personally don't know anyone in corporate (big) law who actually feels the way you do.
I litigate. As it happens, lots of litigators really like litigating. Can’t say the same for corporate, though, which is why they often find enjoyment by going in house relatively earlier.
I really liked law school and really like being a lawyer. A corporate lawyer, at that.

I guess I'm a unicorn or something. Or maybe there's just something wrong with me.

But back on topic, I agree that there are plenty of folks who hate law school and find they love legal practice. It depends on what you hate about law school. If it's the final exams, or the discussions of abstract legal theory, or being cold-called, or applying to journals/student orgs, or any of those things, those all go away after law school. But if you dislike "thinking like a lawyer" - if you think it's the dumbest thing in the world to think about what the meaning of the word "is" is - then you will likely also dislike legal practice.

whydoieven

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by whydoieven » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:28 pm

Reading over all of the great feedback and advice you all have given, I really am becoming more comfortable just saying "I hate law school" rather than "I hate the law." I hate journals, I hate hallway chatter, the chosen students, the administration, all of it.

I need to have a long think about where I want to be in 10 years, I guess; I came here to 1) find a field I thought I might enjoy (I am now trying to reconcile that this is not necessarily representative of the field itself) and 2) to help myself get more financially secure. While the job opportunity is something I know I'd enjoy, I can't say it will help with that second point as it will be in a very expensive city and raises will be good but not huge in the future. Also a chance to maybe go public sooner rather than later (whatever that means). I don't know.

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by LSATWiz.com » Wed Apr 15, 2020 8:41 pm

whydoieven wrote:Reading over all of the great feedback and advice you all have given, I really am becoming more comfortable just saying "I hate law school" rather than "I hate the law." I hate journals, I hate hallway chatter, the chosen students, the administration, all of it.

I need to have a long think about where I want to be in 10 years, I guess; I came here to 1) find a field I thought I might enjoy (I am now trying to reconcile that this is not necessarily representative of the field itself) and 2) to help myself get more financially secure. While the job opportunity is something I know I'd enjoy, I can't say it will help with that second point as it will be in a very expensive city and raises will be good but not huge in the future. Also a chance to maybe go public sooner rather than later (whatever that means). I don't know.
None of the other stuff matters. People have a tendency to base their self worth on how well they fit into the environment they're in but law school doesn't matter beyond getting a job and learning some skills. Some people can get on fine being an outsider because they don't really care about anything except a specific goal. Others struggle with that. If you're the latter, look for something outside of school for your social outlet or whatever. The question is whether you're confident obtaining a goal will make you happy. Whether the process makes you happy is irrelevant.

whydoieven

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Re: Let's talk about dropping out

Post by whydoieven » Wed Apr 15, 2020 9:25 pm

LSATWiz.com wrote:
whydoieven wrote:Reading over all of the great feedback and advice you all have given, I really am becoming more comfortable just saying "I hate law school" rather than "I hate the law." I hate journals, I hate hallway chatter, the chosen students, the administration, all of it.

I need to have a long think about where I want to be in 10 years, I guess; I came here to 1) find a field I thought I might enjoy (I am now trying to reconcile that this is not necessarily representative of the field itself) and 2) to help myself get more financially secure. While the job opportunity is something I know I'd enjoy, I can't say it will help with that second point as it will be in a very expensive city and raises will be good but not huge in the future. Also a chance to maybe go public sooner rather than later (whatever that means). I don't know.
None of the other stuff matters. People have a tendency to base their self worth on how well they fit into the environment they're in but law school doesn't matter beyond getting a job and learning some skills. Some people can get on fine being an outsider because they don't really care about anything except a specific goal. Others struggle with that. If you're the latter, look for something outside of school for your social outlet or whatever. The question is whether you're confident obtaining a goal will make you happy. Whether the process makes you happy is irrelevant.

You're totally right. I've never felt uncomfortable being an outsider until I came into this environment. I was fine with that when I was working, I assume because I had made an effort to invest in other parts of my life.

As for whether the outcome will make me happy, I think so. If I can manage to end up where I want to be geographically and live comfortably, I will be happy—or at least positioned to do what I need to do to be so.

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