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Without context (for the moment): do we have any lawyers or law students here?

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    Without context (for the moment): do we have any lawyers or law students here?



    The Title line says it all: any attorneys or law students here? If so, either speak up in this thread or send me a private message. I've got some questions for you.


    I promise that I'm not looking for legal advice -- on the contrary, I'm in need of some educational/career advice from someone who is personally familiar with the change I'm on the cusp of making. Dovetailing with that, I could also use some related style/shopping/clothing advice.





    -- Justin


    #2


    Law student here - send me an email at [email protected] if you're looking for advice of a non-legal nature.

    Comment


      #3


      I'm a law student.


      The answer to your question is: No, don't go to law school.

      Ben

      Comment


        #4


        i am also a law student. i'm a 3L at emory.


        if you're framing the choice to go to law school as a "change," i'm assuming that you already have some sort of career and are making money.


        if you go to law school you will be giving up three years of that income to take out some modicum of debt, while not being guaranteed finding a legal job that pays more after graduating.


        most people should not go to law school, but it makes sense for some people. it worked out well for me, but i beat a lot of odds. i would not go to law school simply to go to law school, or because you're in a rut, or because you think it would be fun.


        post your e-mail if you want to talk more.

        Comment


          #5


          I'm a law student.


          The answer to your question is: No, don't go to law school.

          Comment


            #6


            Basically, I agree with everything Mr. Mr. said.


            People tend to view law school as a pathway to easy (or at least, guaranteed) money. There's a reason for this. It's because law schools want you to view them this way. Many law schools, particularly 3rd-tier ones, exist as pure profit-generating machines. New law schools are constantly popping up, and those that already exist are constantly expanding their class sizes... and the ABA has made no effort to put a stop to this. Quite the opposite - the ABA, unlike virtually any other professional organization in the country, is more than happy to accredit even the least academically-vigorous schools. There are far more "new lawyers" entering the field than the field could possibly require.


            Law school rankings are tied to post-graduation employment numbers, and all law schools lie and manipulate these numbers. So your law school tells you that 97% of graduates are employed within 9 months of graduation? Great, well, what they aren't telling you is that less than a quarter of these employed students are actually working in the legal field at all, let alone as a lawyer, and that part-time work or unpaid internships can often qualify as "employment." Some schools will actually hire their own recent graduates into part-time research assistant positions just to inflate their own employment numbers.


            The whole thing is a giant money-grubbing scam perpetrated and condoned by the ABA, the law schools, and the rankings. Students are the ones who get screwed over in the end by entities who promise them a glamorous career but are perfectly free to cut them loose after taking their tuition money.


            Now, lest you worry that I'm just bitter, I can tell you I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm at a high-ranking and well-regarded school and I've actually got a job informally promised to me in the field I want to work in, in the state I want to live. It's not a glamorous or high-paying job in a white shoe firm, but it's a job I want. That's a hell of a lot more than most of my peers can say. I'm also fortunate in that, while I have acquired law school debts, I can afford to be more flexible with paying them down than many people - which means I am more free to accept my middling-salary "dream job" than many students in my position.


            If you know what you want to do with your law degree, and you've got connections in the area you want to enter, and you're going to be attending a well-regarded school that is actually capable of finding jobs for its students, and you have realistic expectations of your future income, and you can pull it all off without acquiring $100k in debt... then maybe, just maybe, law school is for you.


            If not, you should seriously, seriously reconsider.

            Ben

            Comment


              #7
              <blockquote>

              The answer to your question is: No, don't go to law school.
              </blockquote>


              My retirement-aged father in law lawyer gives the same advice despite doing quite well. He says the landscape has changed and it's not worth it anymore.

              Comment


                #8


                it's almost like the government making student loans available to anyone has artificially inflated the cost of higher education and allowed universities to gouge students

                Comment


                  #9


                  Yup- and it's what's going to happen with healthcare. Another case of legislation achieving the exact opposite of what was intended.

                  Comment


                    #10


                    ^ Mr. Mr. - That may be relevant to undergraduate universities, but I think the ABA plays a bigger role with the dilution of the JD's value. Other professional associations have been stingy as heck in accrediting new schools in their professions. The Association of American Medical Colleges and the AMA (who jointly accredit medical schools through the LCME) have been much more protective of the value of a medical degree, and much more restrictive on what schools they accredit. So much so that there is a shortage of doctors at the moment - so the LCME is accrediting a number of new schools to respond to the shortfall. In other words, the LCME tries to balance the supply and demand within the medical employment market.


                    The ABA, however, has seemingly no interest in stifling the explosive growth of third-tier, for-profit law schools. The ABA is constantly accrediting new schools, giving them their "stamp of approval" if you will. Yet there has been no parallel increase in demand for new lawyers. If anything, in the current economy, firms are figuring out ways to squeeze the same amount of billable hours out of fewer and fewer associates (and more and more unpaid interns). As a result, there is a massive surplus of "lawyers" who will never actually find work in the legal field. They're saddled with $100k or more in non-dischargable debt and three years of their lives down the toilet, and essentially nothing to show for it. The for-profit law schools, on the other hand, are laughing all the way to the bank with that $100k and figuring out ways to manipulate their employment statistics and rankings to lure in more and more prospective students. The ABA has actively diluted the value of the JD by not only tolerating, but sanctioning this behavior via over-accreditation. These schools are able to prey on unwary law student hopefuls who mistakenly believe that a degree from an ABA-accredited school holds some kind of value beyond the paper it's printed on. It doesn't.


                    The end result is that, while it's a lot harder to get into medical school, graduating doctors are virtually guaranteed to find meaningful employment and start to pay off their school debts. Anyone and their grandma can get into law school, but perhaps one in ten is able to find meaningful legal employment after graduating.

                    Ben

                    Comment


                      #11


                      BenR isn't just being bitter. There are lots of lengthy articles in the NYT on this topic. Here's one, but I don't know if it's the one I read earlier in the year: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/bu...pagewanted=all

                      Comment


                        #12


                        benr - i agree on the accreditation problem, but school still costs way more than it used to.


                        they're distinct problems.

                        Comment


                          #13


                          3L here that everything has worked out for. Snap judgment:


                          School ranked below 50 = only go if it means very little debt upon graduation


                          School between 50 and 14 = Go if debt is not horrible/you're okay not making six figures after graduation. Schools that are tops in their market in this category are much better, provided you want to stay there post-graduation.


                          School ranked 14, above = Considerably better chance of making six figures, making debt more palatable but not with any certainty.


                          I fall into the second category, have no debt (substantial merit scholarship), have an associate position lined up at the top law firm in the market, and am very, very happy with how things turned out.


                          Am I the exception? Probably. Enough so that I'm pretty uncomfortable talking about how well things seem to have worked out for me. But if I had listened to everyone saying law school isn't worth it, I wouldn't be where I am now.


                          And if a large law firm didn't work out for me, I'd have been fine, because without much debt and being at a decently ranked school, I would have been able to get something.


                          Good luck with whatever you do and look dapper while doing it. :-)

                          Comment


                            #14


                            Fairly new attorney here. I was barred in 2010 in the the state of California. I went to Syracuse Law in New York and passed the CA bar my first time around. It took me almost 8 months post bar to find a job. It was an arduous and frustrating process. If you don't have a job lined up after graduation, expect to experience what I experienced. My biggest hurdle (and many others) was that I had zero attorney experience (who really does after graduation?) and most jobs were not seeking entry level associate positions. Good luck in your endeavor OP.

                            Comment


                              #15


                              I'm another relatively recent law school grad (2008) from a tier 2 school. I'm a practicing litigator in NYC. If that's a demographic that you think could help answer your question, send me a message.

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