Here's a question for everybody in the legal profession, from 1Ls facing their first exams to people who have spent decades practicing law (It should be especially germane to legal academics in particular):
If you were given what in our sandlot baseball games we used to call a do-over, would you go to law school today? By this I mean, if you were in the same place in life you were at when you enrolled in law school, would you do it again, given what you now know both about this profession, and about the changes in the costs and benefits of entering it?
For example, in my case that would mean deciding whether to spend $140,000 in tuition to attend the University of Michigan Law School, rather than the $16,000 I actually spent (this would be about $30,000 in present dollars). It would also mean taking into account the changes in the legal job market in general, and the market for legal academic jobs in particular, over the past 25 years (I enrolled in law school in 1986).
At the time I started law school, I was doing fun but low-paying entry level work in the world of journalism -- I apparently had a talent for picking professions that were about to go into serious long-term decline -- and like countless other people I more or less stumbled into taking the LSAT, and then went to law school with no clear idea why, other than it seemed like a fairly inexpensive way to open up all sorts of potentially desirable professional vistas. I thought very vaguely that perhaps I'd go back to journalism ("You can do so many things with a law degree -- just look at Linda Greenhouse!"), but in reality I didn't have anything resembling an actual plan.
In retrospect I was being a reckless idiot, although not anywhere close to as reckless as following a similar trajectory would be today, given how much more it costs, and how much worse the projected payoff -- both financially and psychically -- has become. It's vastly harder to get a legal academic job today than it was 20 years ago, working for a law firm is now a much worse deal in terms of both expected payoff and lifestyle considerations (in any case I'm pretty sure I would be miserable in private practice), and public interest law has gotten very badly squeezed over the course of the last couple of decades, making a decision to spend $200K in the hope of landing a very difficult to acquire job that pays $50K a year even more dubious than it would otherwise be.
So I guess that would be a "no."
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Would you go to law school today?
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At today's prices? The answer would be a most definite "No."ReplyDelete
If I got a true mulligan and got to decide whether or not to do law school again at 2005 prices, the answer would also likely be a "No."
Another 05 grad here. Same answer: no.ReplyDelete
I spent 22K to go to a TTT. So unless it is not obvious to any of you the answer couldn't be anything other than ... nope.ReplyDelete
I've been a lawyer for about eight years now. I'm finally earning now what I used to earn doing IT consulting before I went to law school (although IT consultants generally make less now than what they made in 1999). So no, I would not go to law school today.ReplyDelete
I guess another question would be: would you even do law school again if you could do it at the cost it was at the time. My answer would still be no. I paid about $100,000 to be a participant in a rat race.
Yes, hell yes, because of:ReplyDelete
If I could travel back in time to advise 2008-me of what to do, I'd probably say, "Your job is a good one, and you'll probably return to it. However, if you must go to law school, remember first that scholarships are ephemeral but in-state tuition is forever. Additionally, you will learn that all judgments of 'prestige' are bullshit unless you're a T14, and your school's true median starting salary is whatever a document review job pays in the area." I would then vanish while cackling in a cloud of fire and brimstone.ReplyDelete
Graduated ten years ago, did everything I could to avoid taking on extra debt. My answer: NO NO NO. This answer requires no thought. I despise this profession, cannot stand other lawyers, and have little or no faith in the people I represented. They are all greedy bastards.ReplyDelete
I know most people hate their jobs, but is this the only profession where the majority of practitioners would not even consider studying their profession again???? Will there be a "yes" answer to this question, from *any* area of the spectrum of law grads? Would investment bankers or doctors answer the same way? This profession is in a sad, sad state . . .ReplyDelete
When I was considering law school (I worked for a few years out of undergrad in consulting), a friend who went to law school immediately from undergrad told me I was "crazy" to consider law school. He had just left the profession after 3 misreadable years at a big firm in NYC. I blew it off. I kept telling myself, "It will be different with me."ReplyDelete
Well, the more I spend in practice, the more I realize that he was correct.
Yes, I would definitely do it again.ReplyDelete
But, what do you expect the vast majority of people on this site to say?ReplyDelete
We don't talk enough about what I think is the biggest reason why you should avoid law school - mental illness.ReplyDelete
If you went to the average person and told them, "If you do this for three years, your rate of depression will increase by a factor of 10" they would think you're talking about some sort of evil secret prison where governments torture people for information. Or perhaps a physically abusive relationship.
But they're not. They are talking about law school. 4% of 0Ls are depressed, but 40% of 3Ls are depressed, and 18% of graduates are depressed even two years after leaving law school.
Here is one of many studies on the topic (by they way, why did the ABA suddenly stop doing these studies?):
Here is a prominent biglaw partner talking about it.
Forget the lying about jobs. Forget about the lack of training. Forget about the law and X scam. This is worst than all of those combined because it will damage you in a way that will pervade the rest of your life.
P.S. The depression thing is NOT a tier 2/3/4 issue. It's as much a problem at University of Chicago as it is at Kent College of Law.ReplyDelete
No. Absolutely not.ReplyDelete
On depression, it's also a (less severe) problem in medical school, where 14% of students are depressed. http://www.medscape.com/medline/abstract/20841531ReplyDelete
But at least doctors have jobs. A 40% rate of depression in 3Ls + lack of jobs + debt = law school is a really really bad life choice.
Yes with a big caveat.ReplyDelete
First of all, I was adrift prior to law school - I was one class away from getting an English degree and waiting tables at the age of 27, wondering how I was ever going to get any marketable skills.
Then I started law school ten years ago, went to a third-tier school on scholarship, did well enough to keep that scholarship and only paid a net of $12,000 for three years of tuition. At today's prices that'd be a net of about $21,000.
In my first year of practice I tried to get the "best" jobs I could (this was back when the economy was a little better so there was some choice, and also my grades were good enough to be impressive to local small-to-mid-sized firms), and I was miserable and wondered what the hell I was thinking going to law school.
Then I lucked into a niche practice area that I enjoyed fairly well, got a part-time gig as an adjunct professor at my alma mater, and did well enough at that gig to have it turn into a full-time contract faculty position. Most of the tenured faculty treat contract faculty like dirt, but I don't have to interact with them much so I have a pretty good life.
So yes, it definitely worked out for me. However, I am very much aware that my situation is the equivalent of drawing three inside straights in a row. If I could go back, knowing that I would do just as well in law school, but would have to come out in the current job market... I'd probably still do it, but barely. If I had to start again not knowing how I'd do in law school, no way would I take that risk. I had no idea when I started law school that I was heading out onto a tightrope with no safety net. It worked out for me, but as I said I was very, very lucky.
9:11, The reason it worked out for you is because you became a full-time contract law professor?ReplyDelete
At today's prices I would have to say no. I graduated in the mid 90's with $52k debt. Because of good luck (stock options) I was able to pay that off in 6 years quite easily. If I had to graduate today with 2 or 3 times that amount of debt, even with similar good luck on the job/$ front I would be paying my loans for 15 years. That's too long. If I had a do-over I would choose another profession, likely in healthcare/nutrition.ReplyDelete
I graduated just over ten years ago. I like being a lawyer and am very happy doing legal work. But given the rise in tuition, stagnation in starting salaries (I started as an assistant DA, not in biglaw) and having watched my peers working on wall street make buckets and buckets of dough, even through bad times, I'd have to say no.ReplyDelete
Even if you "win" the law school lottery today (which is becoming ever increasingly more unlikely), you still lose. Tuition is much higher and to make up for IBR, the gov't has locked in interest rates at 8.5% on many loans. In 2003, you could lock in an 2.5% interest rate. A difference of 5% is HUGE when you are talking about 200K of debt, which is close to an extra 10K a year just in interest that you need to come up with in after tax income. Also, bonuses are 30 grand less than what they used to be. The cost of living hasn't gone down in many of the overpriced areas that biglaw jobs tend to congregate around.ReplyDelete
Go to school again?ReplyDelete
Bwaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
I am by all accounts pretty successful in terms of being an attorney. I went to a top school, worked at a top firm, clerked for a federal judge, and am now a federal prosecutor. Do I enjoy my job? Yes. Would I go to law school if teleported back a decade? No way. Well, only if I had a full ride with living cost paid and no GPA stipulation. Then maybe.ReplyDelete
I don't think students realize that being a lawyer is a lifetime of hustling. Landed at a top school? Now you need to hustle for a job. Landed at a top firm? Well, it's a temp gig, kid. Now you need to hustile to (1) stay employed long enough to pay off loans before getting sacked (like 80 percent of the people at these firms do within 5 years); and (2) come up with an exit plan.
More often than not that plan comes with a pay cut.
There's no stability, you are constantly fighting to land the next big thing. The profession now is, quite frankly, driven by careerism. If you aren't committed to a lifetime of looking for the next big jump, like Supreme Court Justice Kagan (see the article written by Paul), you are in the wrong field, will stop practicing, and more likely than not be stuck with a severe finalial burden.
And look...you just that decision without spending years trying to force schools that you call scams to be "transparent." Weird. But if you forced loan reform so that students aren't screwed for life after they inevitably make this poor decision....interesting idea.ReplyDelete
2007 T2 grad in 100K debt.ReplyDelete
No way would I go to law school again. It is a sucker bet.
They say you get one big mistake; Law school was mine. I just wish it didn't cost so much. But hey, at least I didn't knock up my high school girlfriend (makes sign of the cross).
Current 1L. No.ReplyDelete
Get out while you still can.
@9:51-- those are important insights. I would say that there are not many professions (certainly not any that have the potential for making money or achieving status) in which people are automatically set for life. The days of lifetime employment in one place with a steady trajectory up-- or a safe position of stasis at one level-- were gone long, long ago. Actually, it was never like that in private firms. It was up or out. Now, of course, they hire more people and more people will have to go "out". But life as a lawyer has never been easy and stable.ReplyDelete
"without spending years trying to force schools that you call scams to be "transparent."ReplyDelete
i.e. please drop the fraud lawsuits against my employers!
Absolutely not. I have been out for almost 20 years. I left science to go to law school at a second tier joint on a scholarship that paid about half the cost of the then ridiculously overpriced tuition (the joint charges 3x now what it charged 20 years ago). I graduated in the top 5% of the class, did the law review stuff, and worked during law school to make all my living expenses. I was the only single graduate out of 300 that got a job making 75K at that time at a national biglaw firm, the equivalent of 145K today (you could get 82K at the top paying firms in NYC at the time, the 160K of today). Probably no more than half of the graduating class ever got a lawyering job at all. The nurses went back to nursing, the accountants went back to accounting, and one of my colleagues is now all these years later a high school teacher. What did the irresponsible law school do a few years later you ask? It increased its class size by about 25%!!ReplyDelete
I commenced working with some of the nastiest, most abusive, greedy individuals imaginable at my first job. They gave me absolutely zero training. I was only abused and belittled because I didn't know anything about our very specialized practice area as a neophyte. I had not previously been told that biglaw firms were revolving doors filled with sick, abusive people. Oh well, a significant number of them, even the partners, are unemployed now. I suppose they left their positions "to pursue other interests" or "spend more time with their family" or some such yarn as is always spun when partners are kicked out without another job to go to.
I worked in biglaw firms for 12 years, mind you in a practice area that was booming at the time. It is now glutted completely. The law schools have churned out hundreds and thousands into that subspecialty area for which there are nowhere near enough jobs. I have seen law firms go bankrupt, partners fired and kicked out, partners fist fight in the hall, partners steal work and clients from one another, partners demoted, highly talented associates kicked out for little or no reason, unfortunately known at least two colleagues who apparently took their own lives, seen partners sentenced to jail for fraudulent financial schemes, etc. I had a law firm pay a headhunter in the neighborhood of 50K to hire me allegedly because I was needed...only to show up, have absolutely no work, and exist in a twilight zone being treated as if no one remembered I was there. In the words of one partner at another firm, "What won't a biglaw firm do if they think they can make a buck?"
I now work in a small firm with collegial people, generally like what I do, like my clients, and make a decent living. However, when I look back, I would never, ever have anything to do with the law business again. As one Supreme Court justice opined, "What a shame to see smart people going to law school. There are so many things they could do to meaningfully contribute to society." (paraphrased but very near a direct quote) The legal industry is sick from the very beginning....lying from the beginning to lure or trick students in and trap them with huge debts, teaching so little of value that one must hire a commercial service to pass a bar examination, flooding the business with way too many people so that few can make a decent living at it for an entire career, etc. As a lawyer, you never ever have a secure job....never.
No, absolutely not. Law is an unfortunate waste of time for most people as well as a waste of talented peoples' lives. I do not know one single attorney at least 10 years out who would do it again, and I know scores who will admit that they would never do it again, including more than one managing partner at a biglaw firm branch office. In my opinion, the only solution is to close at least two thirds or three fourths of the law schools to rid society of an evil that causes endless misery to tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of victims.
"I was the only single graduate out of 300 that got a job making 75K at that time at a national biglaw firm, the equivalent of 145K today (you could get 82K at the top paying firms in NYC at the time, the 160K of today). Probably no more than half of the graduating class ever got a lawyering job at all."ReplyDelete
There goes the notion that law schools only recently started lying about their ability to place graduates.
Yes I would.ReplyDelete
I'm a 2006 grad. Graduated from a Tier 1 (T45) LS. I love what I do. I have a good job in a niche practice in a V5 firm.
I graduated Magna, Law Review and Order of the Coif. I worked my butt off.
I pay $1500/mo towards my loans, which I will pay off in another 4 years (my rates are 2 1/4, so not worth paying faster).
When people ask if I think they should go to law school? I tell them only if: (1) you've worked as a Legal assistant/paralegal for several years and you still want to be a lawyer, (2) you can secure some form of financial aid/assistance from parents to lessen debt (and you can live frugally for at least 10 years) and (3) you must be an excellent student. Not a good student, an excellent student.
lol @ T45. did you really need to distinguish yourself from those loser Tier 1 schools ranked 46-50?ReplyDelete
I was a good looking, charming, intelligent, street smart person with great work ethic and a huge future. I could have easily been a millionaire, maybe a billionaire. But my life was side-tracked by law school. Now I'm in a bunch of debt that I can't discharge in bankruptcy.ReplyDelete
If you would stop pushing for "transparency" and start pushing for bankruptcy discharge of student loans, maybe I could get my life back on track. But no LawProf, you need to waste everyone's time on something that doesn't matter.
2007 grad here: lots of debt, currently work in sales. Hell no.ReplyDelete
I didn't want to say T1 and have people think it was T10 or T25. Just trying to give realistic info without being to precise.
10:37, what do people in sales make? I've heard you can make a lot of money if you dedicate yourself. True?ReplyDelete
Graduated '09 from a top 50 lschool...I got into top 20 schools, but was lucky enough to know that I wanted to be a DA and do trial work so I didn't go to the highest ranked, most expensive school I was admitted to because I thought 100k plus debt would cripple that dream (even though I was pressured to by parents, school advisors, and currently practicing attorneys). Instead I went for the best combination school I go into (location, rank, cost). I consider myself "lucky" that I only graduated with 50k in debt having worked 2 years during lschool at a DA's office, and a 2L summer associate at a NYC Investment Bank General Counsel...After graduation I returned to my home state, passed the bar and had to volunteer with a local DA's office. I have since had to leave due to finances, as the DA's here have hired only 10 new DA's in a 5 year stretch and my supervisors said they will not be hiring for another 2 years. That will result in 10 new entry level law jobs in the field I wanted to enter in an area I want to live in over a 7 year period. I have applied to surrounding DA's offices and the hiring statistics are similar if not worse. As a result of this, and my inability (and admittedly, lack of desire) to find a big law job, I have been forced to join a small law firm which is essentially a start up, and am pretty much responsible for generating my own business. I am as much, if not moreso, a salesman rather than a lawyer at this point. I entered law because I thought, and was lead to believe, that it was a relatively "safe" and "interesting" career that would allow me to have options in my adult life. But the reality is my odds of achieving that are less than if I had just taken my promissory note and went to a casino and played roulette. My answer would most definitely and emphatically be "NO" and I have tried to tell my situation to any possible student considering going to lschool. If I can save 1 person from this misery I would consider myself a candidate for the nobel peace prize. I have no regrets about the school I chose, as I honestly believe I would've been even worse off if I had attended the highest ranked school I was accepted too. My only regret is going to lschool in the first place.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, for far too many 1L's, simply being a hard worker does not necessarily make one an "excellent student" of the law.ReplyDelete
Very few people, in fact, can (over the course of one semester) acquire the native ability necessary to succeed on a law school exam (and, in effect, a law school course).
Enough has been said about all the economic reasons why not to go to law school, but there is another critical point that bears repeating: what law school passes of as pedagogy, is in fact a self-referentially sophist shell game grounded in a model of teaching that was long ago abandoned in nearly every other educational venue.
If you do not already possess the native ability to synthesis a voluminous amount of fresh material into a discrete application of rules that were barely even explained to you to begin with, then you probably do not possess the native talent to succeed at law school, and therefore should not attend it.
Congratulations on your success 10:44.ReplyDelete
Thanks 10:45. I actually know a Lathamed V10 biglawyer working for free at the prosecutor's office. I won't tell him your story, but I appreciate the insight into that world.ReplyDelete
I went to a T6 school in 2009 at half-scholarship over a T14 school at full. The T14 school required me to take a year off and work to get the scholarship. I chose the T6 for a number of reasons, but one was that I didn't think I could find a decent job for the year with my humanities BA from a state school. I figured a biglaw job was all but guaranteed from either school, so why wait a year?ReplyDelete
I ended up middle of the class after 1L, made some bidding mistakes, missed out on a SA job, and now I have no job prospects and about 110K in federal debt. I am probably depressed, and spend too much time posting on law school forums and blogs. My school does an unpaid fellowship for 3Ls graduating jobless and I will probably end up in that- then who knows.
Would the year of work experience have helped me get a job? Probably not. Made my grades better? Probably not. Would it have insulated me from a crappy market, yes. In fact, even if I didn't get into the school offering me a full scholarship, I wish I took a deferment from my current school.
So no. I wouldn't do what I did again. I'd probably work for 1 or 2 years at Target.
vbp. I disagree that you need any innate talent to do well. You simply need to get an outline, from a top student, from a prior class. That will essentially act as a script for the professor's lecture. Most professors do not redo their lectures and often repeat even the jokes from year to year.ReplyDelete
The other key step is doing practice problems and practice exams, so you know how to give the professor what they want.
A law school exam, in terms of innate difficulty, is on par with a high school exam. What makes it difficult is all the "hide the ball" nonsense. To be fair it might not be nonsense, perhaps they're testing your ability to find hidden information which is a necessary element of success in the real world. But any way that's how you play that game.
Jesus 10:48. These stories are so depressing.ReplyDelete
Is this a true Replay situation? If so, I might, because presumably I'd do substantially better. But better enough? Even with complete access to all my future knowledge in my younger body, I'd still have to think very hard about it. And that may speak more volumes about how things are than a mere reflex to say "hell no, I'd never do it again."ReplyDelete
If you burn your hand on a stove fixing an omelet, you don't swear off omelets, you try again and don't touch the stove with your hand. But law school may be more like cooking meth than an omelet: when you set yourself on fire, you may consider that the activity itself may not be for you.
Anyway, Replay's my favorite daydream, outside of the ones where I have Kryptonian powers with which I heat-vision the people who've wronged me from space. If it's simply sending a message back in time, then what I'd say is "Don't do it, you fool. Stay at the restaurant. I know you think your bachelor's degree means you're better than this, but it doesn't. Stay, they'll put you on a management track. It may suck sometimes, but you won't be in debt, and you'll learn more socially and economically valuable things, your girlfriend won't leave you, and you won't try to commit suicide every November.* If you want to help people, just go volunteer somewhere. But help yourself first."
*No worries. Thanksgiving came early this year.
I don't recall taking very many blue book exams in high school, and even then there was never an instance where my entire grade for the semester rested on one exam. This is a deeply flawed analogy to make.ReplyDelete
I can accept any defense that could be offered about hiding the ball. But on what justifiable basis should your entire grade be based on one exam? Even LawProf says the only reason for this is that they simply don't have time to grade more than one (which, again, is a legitimate concern, but certainly not controlling).
And nearly every single 1L uses outlines and takes practice exams: this is neither new nor esoteric information. Yet few actually make the grade. What do you think accounts for this?
@ VPB and !0:50ReplyDelete
I used excellent student as a moniker for "you must be able to do well in law school." I saw too many people who did not have the drive, ambition or just plain skills to get by. At the same time, there were many people who had done very well in college only to fail in LS.
That's fair about the 1 exam thing. Why do they do it? Because professors are lazy opportunists. You can't have 5-10 hour work weeks if you give one exam every two weeks. Given a choice between your well being, and their well being, they choose the latter.ReplyDelete
I disagree that every 1L uses the *right* outline, and takes the *right* practice exams. There's a lot of bs floating around a 1L class. Also, at some point intelligence and study habits matter too. Having the outline and practice exam alone won't get you the grade. You need to memorize the outline cold and take the practice exams.
I hope these comments are just a reflection of the kind of lawyer / law-student that participates in the blogs, which I suppose, to some extent, it is.ReplyDelete
Even so, it is not a pretty picture. At all.
Lawprof, what else would you do? Questions like these can't be answered in a vacuum.ReplyDelete
I went to a T10 school paid for by a small scholarship and some money I earned doing clown collar work in undergrad (where I was given a full scholarship). I graduated law school with almost no debt, and I got a Biglaw job that caused me so much stress I snapped and got a little physical with a tyrant ("had a breakdown") and have been trying to piece things together since.
What else would I have done? Nothing; the middle class factory work my family thrived on for three generations was stolen by greedy pigs and buffoons, leaving nothing in its place but clown collar work and grifting/sales jobs. So the answer to your question is yes.
11:02, Can you please share what happened with your boss? I've heard of horror stories and I can empathize with your anger, but it seems every person's story is different. What was yours?ReplyDelete
Short answer: Yes.ReplyDelete
I graduated in 2005 from a T1 (top 30) public law school. In-state tuition was between around $9,000 (2003) to $10,000 (2005). Today tuition is almost $20,000!!! In six years it's doubled, in this crappy economy! Holy hell.
Taking into account the $20,000 tuition, I would still do it. I have a STEM background, worked in research after undergrad at a world-class university, and went to law school knowing I would go into Patent Law. Patent Law also meant that the number of peers I was competing against for jobs was limited to only those who could take the Patent Bar. That made all of the difference then, and makes all of the difference in this hypothetical. Anything outside of Patent Law, no way am I going to law school now.
11:00- 10:48 here. Many of my classmates have similar opinions as I do about law school. But since 80% of them have biglaw or other jobs they really don't think about it a lot or post online. They don't feel any need to. Yes, it's a shitty system, could probably be done a lot cheaper and a lot better, but it doesn't affect them because they got what they wanted (biglaw, clerkship, prestigious PI) out of it. And when asked by admitted students, they won't voice their concerns.ReplyDelete
Co-workers I've had at lower ranked schools have been a lot more bitter, hopeless, and jaded.
I think it is pretty much accepted that many, many lawyers hate their jobs and that there is a very low degree of career satisfaction in the profession.
I find it sort of funny how some in the upper echelons of the profession attempt to hide this fact. My state bar went so far as to include in their monthly magazine a section called "Why I Love Being a Lawyer!" It included ground breaking insights into the pleasures of being a lawyer such as "Because I love helping people!" and "Because I love solving problems!"
11:07, I agree the biglw salary makes up for a lot of the negative aspects of the law school. Even any legal job probably helps, but once you start talking to the 50% of law grads (mostly from lower tiers) who got nothing out of the experience - you're speaking to very deservedly angry people.ReplyDelete
I haven't applied to law school, yet. I have been following this blog for the past month, or so, but I really hope Campos succeeds in discouraging the many many potential law applicants from applying. What I want to know is, what everyone's expectations were before they decided to go to law school.ReplyDelete
Were you expecting biglaw and buckets and buckets of money as one commenter put it, or were you trying to help society? I personally want to go to law school to go down the prosecutor route, despite the low salary, because I come from a crime infested part of the country, and I can't wait to put the baddies in jail.
In my 1L experience, nearly every single outline I came across purported to be the "right outline". Practice exams are beneficial for the purpose of familiarizing you with the professor's approach to exam-writing, but they still occur in a feedback vacuum. Ultimately, you can no more predict your grade on a law school exam based on past performance than you can predict your future self in a decade.ReplyDelete
"Drive" is highly subjective. So are "study habits". Hands down the most successful one of my cohorts as a first year put it half as much time with the material as any of the rest of us. There's no denying that there are a select group of people for whom this material just sticks to them and that these folks tend to be clustered towards the top of every law school class. Conversely, a student who puts in as much time as he or she can physically put in but, at the end of the day, still be stuck with a bunch of black-letter rules floating about in their head with no framework for applying them, certainly isn't suffering from a lack of drive.
I learned everything I needed to know about actual issue-spotting while preparing for the bar. Your average bar exam is several magnitudes more difficult that your average law school exam (curve notwithstanding), and yet if the same pedagogical approach were taken to bar prep that is often employed in law school, I imagine we would see far, far lower passage rates.
Why not take the civil service exam and become a L.E.O. instead?ReplyDelete
Job security, probably better salary, etc. And not all that much physical risk once you put your time in on the road and make detective/criminal investigator.
That was to 11:12ReplyDelete
I agree the bar exam was hard, if for no other reason than the volume of material and endurance required. In my state it was three days straight.ReplyDelete
I took three days worth of bar as well (the NY/NJ two-step . . . also not recommended unless you can justify paying dues to a state you will never practice in).ReplyDelete
potential lschool students have the same mentality as 17 yr old combat soldiers...."the bullet isnt meant for me, i am different, i will be successful,"...they possess (and i was one of them) the sense of invincibility because a majority of them havent faced their own mortality (in combat death, in lschool financial crippling and job/grade rejection)ReplyDelete
I wanted to thank Prof Campos and the commenters on this blog for putting me solidly in the "no way in hell am I going to law school" camp. All last year, I studied for the LSAT, and then crashed and burned on it pretty mightily (compared to what I had expected). My score could still get me a decent scholarship at a lower-ranked school, but even then, I'd have to take out loans for living costs. No way in hell am I doing it now. The only reason I wanted to go was that my current career field- in which I have been working since I graduated undergrad in '04- is mostly a dead-end and I'm growing to hate it. I was just looking for an "anything but this" path, but I know now that it's not worth giving up my decent career trajectory, current salary, and financial security (bought my house at 24, I have great credit and minimal consumer debt) for a shot at the lottery, essentially.ReplyDelete
So, thanks. You guys did save at least one person from making a horrible mistake. I'm sure there are others.
That's because they look at the job placement numbers, which suggest that winners make $160k and losers make $50k to $80k. Well, $50k to $80k is still a great salary, so there is essentially no downside.ReplyDelete
Of course the numbers are a lie. At your average tier 2 a trivial number make 160k, winners make $50k to $80k and losers (generally about 50% of the class) can't get a legal job.
11:31, if you still want to go, do it at night.ReplyDelete
At AM @ 11:04ReplyDelete
A few years makes all the difference. I graduated 2011 from Villanova, went in knowing I wanted to practice patent law, and cannot find any starter work whatsoever, nor could I during my three years of school. From my class, 7 kids could practice patent law and only 2 found work - the valedictorian, and a guy who got into a firm through his older brother (not knocking his grades, but that's how he got his foot in the door). The other 5 of us could never seem to get started.
I know it might be early to say, but no I wouldn't do it again. I had so many better options, but I was fooled into thinking that law was the best.
What do you mean you were "fooled?" There was tons of data out there telling you that law school is a scam. You were dumb for trusting the school's job placement numbers and dumb people get what they deserve in life.ReplyDelete
11:31 As top-law-schools.com would say, retake, retake, retake. Law schools only care about the highest LSAT score because they don't have to report any other scores to USNWR. Too often students buy into the "law school on demand" idea. They decide to go to law school. They might shoot for Fordham and miss out and instead of waiting a year and retaking they "settle" for one of the many lower ranked options because they are so hell-bent on law school. But you seem to have a good head on your shoulders and the profession would benefit from having you, but not at the cost of your own financial future.ReplyDelete
I'm applying to several schools next year. Wish me luck.ReplyDelete
"The Profession would benefit from having you"ReplyDelete
In light of many of today's comments, that's really the funniest thing I've heard all day.
At vbp, why?ReplyDelete
One problem with the nature of transparency now is that it is driving away the people who are better informed and more risk averse. And because there hasn't been a reduction in law schools or seats this means that those seats are being filled with less-qualified people who take big risks (without even knowing they are taking risks). That's not a good thing for the long-term viability of the profession.
Of course, it says nothing about whether the individual would benefit from joining the profession. That's for him to decide.
@1148 - And imagine what the classrooms are gonna look like as there is more and more transparency (if there ever is).ReplyDelete
This is why I argue that transparency is not going to solve the problems by itself--it may solve some, but it will create others.
Loan reform is more important, IMHO.
11:03, I'm not going to talk about my situation, but I'll give you one anecdote about that partner:ReplyDelete
A female associate's father passed away toward the deadline for a massive filing. The associate asked for some time off to go to the funeral and the partner said, "I can't stop you from flushing your career down the toilet." Later (after she didn't go to her own father's funeral) the partner took a memo she wrote, wadded it up into a ball and threw it at her and said, "thank g-- your father wasn't alive to see you waste the law degree he bought you."
Let's just say, he thinks twice about pulling that sort of thing around male associates now.
"This is why I argue that transparency is not going to solve the problems by itself--it may solve some, but it will create others."ReplyDelete
In other words, keep lying to students so the best ones are misled into coming to law school. What a scumbag.
"Let's just say, he thinks twice about pulling that sort of thing around male associates now."ReplyDelete
This was in biglaw? I thought they have HR and image concerns that prevent such outrageous abuse. I've heard of such things happening in shitlaw though.
12:06 chill back. He isn't saying keep lying, he says that a bunch of things need to be changed, and only changing one aspect won't bring about the kind of reform needed to bring stability to this system.ReplyDelete
That's exactly what Avor keeps advocating. He wants law schools to be allowed to lie as much as they want. Ask him and he'll tell you that we should put transparency on hold, for the impossible task of reforming educational loans. It's the scumbag law professor's devious idea of derailing the entire anti-law school fraud movement.ReplyDelete
I don't think he/she meant that it's a good idea to "keep lying to students so the best ones are misled into coming to law school," forgive me if I'm wrong, but I think that what he/she meant was that Transparency-"by itself--it may solve some [problems], but it will create others."
Now, that's what I call close reading.
If you read Avor's posts, you'll see he is one of the most inherently evil people you could ever have the displeasure of speaking to. His brain completely lacks the capacity for morality.ReplyDelete
I think we need to take it upon ourselves (although, I suppose I am violating this idea right now, to a certain extent), so simply refuse to respond to the person(s) who sets up these ridiculous straw-men based on exaggerating what other people say.ReplyDelete
In case it needs to be said, yes I think law schools should report accurate statistics, and if not, then NO statistics, but either one of those things alone isn't going to solve the problems of A)law school tuition increases
D)law grads' ability to do actual legal work
E)and many other things...
Earlier, you wrote, "And imagine what the classrooms are gonna look like as there is more and more transparency." That was in response to a post stating that transparency will lead risk-averse people away and fill the seats with "less-qualified" risk-takers.ReplyDelete
Yes, or no. Is that not what you wrote?
You completely fail to see the immorality of lying to people so that you get particular types of students in your classroom. That's called fraud, something people with the capacity for morality understand. Your brain does not have the capacity for morality. It's evidenced in every one of your posts. When have you ever made a contribution that touches on issues of morality? That is anything but an opportunistic analysis?
@ 10:45 am, 10:37 here. Yes, that's pretty accurate. It's not for everybody and can be stressful, and you do get what you put in. I think money varies depending on field. I am on track to earn 75-80k this year and made close to 70K my first year in that helps.ReplyDelete
Avor, I doubt anyone other than a monomaniac or two disagrees with what you're saying, but I think you under-rate the extent to which accurate employment and salary data would make the problems you list seem far more acute than most people in the legal academy currently perceive them as being.ReplyDelete
If legal academics actually understood how many of their students were and were not getting legal jobs, and what the jobs they're getting pay, they would (I hope) be more concerned about skyrocketing tuition, student debt, the practical uselessness of so much legal pedagogy, etc.
Based on what I've seen, a huge number of people in legal academia remain in deep denial about how bad the situation is. I'm convinced a lot of law professors couldn't even tell you what current tuition is at their schools, even roughly. As for how many of their students are getting jobs, and how much debt they have, they literally have no idea.
Transparency is only a starting point of course.
The common thread from our discussions is that there are simply too many LS graduates compared to the number of available jobs. This translates into 50% of us not finding legal employment. It also means lower salaries for those that do and no bargaining power so partners can work you to death and treat you like dirt because there's always some desperate new grad like myself itching for the opportunity to be abused. The flood does nothing to help the poor and middle classes as young attorneys can't charge them enough to cover our loans and we are not adequately trained to do the work. I think that the overarching problem is that we have no institutional voice. The ABA is co-opted and unresponsive and state bar associations and legislatures are seemingly powerless to stop the flood of new graduates. I've mentioned this before, we need some ABA-alternative to advocate for everyone who is not a BigLaw partner. I'd say a union, but the Supreme Court probably would not allow it under its monstrous interpretation of the NLRA. So, how do we start establishing such a body today?ReplyDelete
I agree 12:29. The movement needs to go from commenting on blogs into putting real pressure on professors, deans and law schools.ReplyDelete
So, transparency would be as important for other law academics as much as for the would-be students...I guess I haven't really looked at it from that perspective, and I suppose you may be correct.ReplyDelete
BUT, one would have to assume that the legal academic today almost has to be intentionally remaining ignorant of these things! If that is the case, are they going to pay any attention to accurate data if it conflicts with what they want to believe? Granted, at least then they would not be able to point to the numbers that are currently out there, but it seems that any reasonable legal academic has no plausible deniability in this mess.
My personal opinion is that the "loan reform" over "transparency" group fall into one of three categories:ReplyDelete
1. Legal academics who want to change the law school scam movement from something that places heat on them, into something that places heat on the federal government. They want to kill the law school scam movement by changing it from something with a feasible goal into something that will be crushed by taking on the impossible task of reforming federal educational loans.
2. Graduates from prior years who do not care about the future generations, and whose only concern is that their particular student loans be dischargeable in bankruptcy.
3. Commenters with a grudge against a person they call "transparency boy."
Neither category is worth listening to in my opinion.
No, no, a thousand times no. I graduated from a T2 in 1998, was on the law review, graduated Coif, and clerked on the 9th Circuit. You'd think my story would have ended well, but you would be wrong. To make a long story short, my career crashed and burned after I had years of stellar reviews, years of billing more than any other associate in my department--and then made the fatal mistake of having a child (for whom I did not even take a real maternity leave, but that didn't stop my overlords from informing me that I could not be promoted because the firm did not promote mothers, and that is a direct quote). Now I write briefs for cheap idiots at bottom-feeding firms in secondary markets. Thank God I paid off my loans while still at "the firm."ReplyDelete
The "what else would you have done" question is a good one. My answer, with the full benefit of hindsight, is "ANYTHING but the law." In reality, I probably would have stayed a secretary. After graduating from a top-10 undergrad school during the early 1990s recession, that was the only job available--clearly, my timing sucks!
"If legal academics actually understood how many of their students were and were not getting legal jobs, and what the jobs they're getting pay, they would (I hope) be more concerned about skyrocketing tuition..."ReplyDelete
How will their actual understanding of the situation and their increasing concern fix the problem? What if tomorrow every law school and professor knew and understood what you are stating they should understand, how does this "fix" things?
I'll play this inane semantic game. How will denying them "actual understanding of the situation" "fix" things?ReplyDelete
12:40: At my law school, the administration literally tripled resident tuition between 2004 and 2011, from $10,700 to over $31,000. This happened without the benefit of any faculty discussion --let alone approval of -- these decisions. I don't think my institution is unusual in this regard. It's easy for faculty to claim that tuition is an administrative matter. It's easy for law school administrators to claim that they're at the mercy of central administration. It's easy for central administration to claim they're at the mercy of the Regents. At a public school, it's easy for the Regents to claim they're at the mercy of the legislature. It's easy for the legislature to claim they're at the mercy of the taxpayers.ReplyDelete
At some point, somebody has to start taking responsibility for this mess.
I appreciate the response LawProf. What would be the next step if you succeed in your goal of transparency? If everything is out in the open, so to speak, which I see no problem with, who is responsible, and how do you hold them accountable?ReplyDelete
Genuine transparency would make it much easier for people within legal academia to bring about the following debate, which needs to happen at about 197 law schools: What does the ratio need to be between the salaries of the jobs our graduates are taking, and the educational debt our graduates leave with, in order for a degree from our school to be a sensible investment for a sufficiently large percentage of our students?ReplyDelete
At that point the person responsible for unemployed law grads is no other than the unemployed law grad himself.
1:04: the day that law schools start putting out honest stats.ReplyDelete
Allow me to analogize with smoking.ReplyDelete
Back when smoking was touted as healthy (it was, in advertisements), cool and such, without any warning of the health risks - the cigarette companies were viewed as responsible for the lung cancer that almost inevitably resulted. Similarly, right now law schools are responsible for the debt, depression and unemployment that inevitably results for most law grads.
However, now that every box of cigarettes has a gigantic warning on it telling smokers that they will die as a result of using this product, cigarette companies are no longer seen as responsible. Rather, the blame for the resulting cancer is placed on the smoker.
Nice analogy, but how can "law schools" be responsible? I don't mean to sound inane, or to play semantic style games, but you're stating that, essentially, a building(s) is to blame. How do you find who is REALLY responsible, and how do you hold them accountable? You cannot close your eyes and point your finger at everyone in the room.ReplyDelete
I'm one of the suckers who turned down a full ride at a lower tier school for the promise of a "more prestigious" degree from a higher-ranked school. I am lucky to have found a job doing public interest law, and I love my job, but I hate living on IBR and having over $100k in debt to my name.ReplyDelete
If I could do it over again, I think I would still go to law school, but I would have accepted the full ride at the lower tier school. I may or may not have had the opportunities I have now, but at least it would have been debt-free.
Absolutely not. I went to a standard Tier 2 school (University of San Diego School of Law) and graduated in 2009. OCI was an absolute bloodbath and it's just depressing talking to 90% of the people who graduated along with me. A handful of people from my class, about 7-8% landed biglaw jobs, myself included. I had 0 debt going into law school and came out owing 170k (borrowed about 150k, but it matured to 170k by the time I graduated--8.5% interest on grad plus will do that to you).ReplyDelete
I started at a Biglaw firm paying 145k and worked that gig for 2 stressful years. The only reason I got the job was because I had an advanced degree in the physical sciences. The firm was dying, so associates were constantly quitting or getting laid off--work was scarce, nobody hit numbers, so nobody got raises or bonuses. After 2 years making 145k and sinking 3k/month towards student loans I took a pay cut and went in-house.
After paying over 70k in after tax income towards loans, I still owe 110k. The sad thing is, the other 92% of the people who graduated in my class would literally kill to be in my situation.
Hey...there's always this:ReplyDelete
And to be honest, it's not a joke. You probably won't have to worry about loans anymore.
If I was desperate (and single), I would do it.
I couldn't say it better. I agree with everything you said. I've been out for 25 years, make a decent living and I am supposedly in the "fun" area of law---plaintiff trial work. Ha! I still wouldn't do it again on a bet.
@3:12: considered French Foreign Legion myself, but after doing some research US military is a better choice. Military service qualifies as public interest, so in 10 years you are free with some cash saved and you on move with your life.ReplyDelete
JAG would be nice but those spots are about as competitive as anything else that requires JD if not more. But any JD can become an officer. I am going to be 24 when I graduate so unless I can get 33K after tax salary (19K loan payments and 14K to survive) military it is. Hopefully with my GPA I can get into the Air Force.
3:12, how the hell would you no longer have to worry about loans? it's not that easy.ReplyDelete
Good luck. My buddy did the military route but without law school (West Point). He actually made a decent amount of money but mostly because he was in combat zones (and therefore got it tax free with no expenses). Air Force would be ideal but if not, go Navy.
Good luck. Anything is better than sitting around doing part-time document review for years after graduation.
What are they going to do? Sue you in French court? Come after you while you're stationed in the Ivory Coast?
After three years you become a French citizen and you can basically tell the US to piss off. And, my understanding it that they give you a new identity in the FFL.
If you're good at math or science that's the way to go. Otherwise, I would try business. Law school has not paid out the dividents I expected. However, my comp. sci. degree continues to make me money.ReplyDelete
For any students out there studying for law exams,
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"After three years you become a French citizen and you can basically tell the US to piss off."ReplyDelete
lol @ your naivete about how the world works.
Please look at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_librarian_blog/2011/11/hello-congress-want-to-eliminate-wasteful-spending.html?utm_source=feedburnerReplyDelete
This thread is such a train wreck of credible anti law school posts.ReplyDelete
Ever heard of Ira Einhorn?
Three years in the FFL and you are a French citizen. What French court is going to enforce a judgment against a former solider who came to France to escape the oppressive effects of Anglo Saxon capitalism?
You're not naive. Just clueless.
Unlike you I don't have encyclopediaic knowledge of murderers in my brian, but I googled Mr. Einhorn's name and he is serving a prison sentence. What is your point?ReplyDelete
"You cannot close your eyes and point your finger at everyone in the room."ReplyDelete
It wouldn't be fair to blame everyone in the law school system.
The point is that he lived openly in France for over 20 years AFTER his conviction for murder in the United States because France refused to extradite him. If you weren't so ill informed about international affairs perhaps you would have known that.
Every heard of Mark Rich? Ever heard of Roman Polanski?
Again, if you think that a French court would enforce a judgment against a French citizen who was a soldier/former soldier because the American government pressed them to do it, you are clueless.
In fact, I suspect that it wouldn't ever come to that. They would try to hold back tax refunds (wouldn't be filing US taxes anymore, so pointless) and then they would try to garnish your US wages (and you wouldn't be making money in the US anymore, so again, pointless). Given that we are talking 120K or so, the US government would likely put it in the VERY low priority pile.
@8.51 - Yeah, the US never denies extradition of murder suspects to its closest allies . . . . except when it's election year, the murder suspects in question are provisional IRA or INLA-linked terrorist suspects wanted by the Irish Republic and the UK, and the US's elected judiciary are afraid of pissing off the American-Irish community.ReplyDelete
All signatories of the relevant protocols of the European Convention on Human Rights (that's not just France, but every other country in the EU) are forbidden from extraditing to a country where the person in question will face the death penalty, or will be tortured, or will otherwise be denied rights under the convention. If the US has trouble guaranteeing those rights, then EU countries will have trouble extraditing to the US - it's that simple.
The reasoning behind the refusal of various states in the US to extradite terrorist suspects to the UK and the Irish Republic is hardly so clear. What was then found to be potentially unfair treatment of terrorist suspects in the UK and the Irish Republic during the Troubles is actually much better in terms of fairness than the treatment which the US now gives its own terrorist suspects.
Well as far as I know there is no death penalty for student loan defaults, so France woud extradite you to the US?ReplyDelete
Yes, I'd do it again. HYS Class of 2006, 30K left in student loans, left biglaw to do public sector criminal law @ 80K salary. This isn't a utopian profession, but HYS remains a good investment for people who want to work very hard in law school and throughout their career. I agree with the commenter above who said that succeeding in law at the highest echelons always requires hustling for the next big thing. IMO, that's great: I'd be terribly bored if I felt that I had "made it" only five years out of law school and didn't have to keep striving. YMMV.ReplyDelete
I understand that HYS opens a uniquely wide range of doors, and I send pre-law students I meet, who don't have HYS offers, to this blog to help them in making their decision.
Good question. The new (2010) EU-US Extradition treaty says:ReplyDelete
1. An offence shall be an extraditable offence if it is punishable under the laws of the requesting and requested States by deprivation of liberty for a maximum period of more than one year or by a more severe penalty. An offence shall also be an extraditable offence if it consists of an attempt or conspiracy to commit, or participation in the commission of, an extraditable offence. Where the request is for enforcement of the sentence of a person convicted of an extraditable offence, the deprivation of liberty remaining to be served must be at least four months."
However you'd have to look at how this was implemented in the updated US/France agreement. Even if extradition is not an option, depending on French law, proceedings might be brought in the French courts, or a French court might enforce a US court's decision.
But as has already been pointed out, this will only be done if it is worth it - and it may well not be.
GW Class of 2011, 160+K in debt with no employment in sight (though the school keeps trying to get me to accept temporary employment from them at $10/hr, I'm guessing so they can write me off as employed in the upcoming USNWR rankings). No, I would not do law school again.ReplyDelete
I loved my legal education, and I cherish all that I've learned, but the investment was not equal to the payout. I will likely be in debt for the rest of my life, and will be lucky to find ANY job in the legal, much less the kind of job I went to law school to find.
Sorry, I meant "in the legal field" not "legal."ReplyDelete
I'm 32 years out of a T2 law school, and have been lucky. I went in for all the wrong reasons--I was pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy being a lawyer, but law school itself was an interesting (and, then, relatively cheap) way to spend three years. I quickly discovered that I was blessed with a talent for writing law exams, and so graduated well despite studying only the things that I found particularly interesting.ReplyDelete
As I expected, I hated practice, and left after a few years. But back then, the job opportunities for lawyers were so good, and it was so hard to get into law school, that lots of other professions were only too glad to recruit lawyers--people assumed that I was really capable and really dedicated to whatever non-law gig I approached because I was willing to take such a huge salary cut to do it.
After two more graduate degrees and quite a few jobs, I've found an obscure corner of the business world which I find facinating, and I am paid embarassingly well.
I think career paths like mine are somewhere in the back of the mind of the folks who talk about how a law degree opens lots of doors outside the practice of law. And it was true, once. But in today's world, I'd be road kill. Law school was a great choice 35 years ago, but there's no way it would work now.
Perhaps this woman's alternate path to legal practice is a good example of how the apprenticeship model can be used in the future. Granted, she is likely confined to practice within Washington State, but keep in mind that all-important things she does have that most law school graduates don't: a certain legal job without any debt along with hands-on, practical experience.
Ironically, her indirect path to legal practice has put her in much better position than most law graduates.
I like practicing law, and have made a pretty good (not spectacular) living at it. The economics are worse now than 20 years ago when I graduated, but if I was as clueless now as I was then, I'd probably end up doing it. That is, I was way too casual about debt, and only lucked into it not being a killer.ReplyDelete
I'm a regular reader, and have been sending people here whenever I hear them talk about going to LS. One thing I don't recall seeing mentioned: the impact of the 'greedy associates' culture from the late 90s and early 00s. A soapbox evolves out of the new technology, and, for the first time, junior lawyers become visible in collective form. Smug entitled assholery by the self-appointed spokespeople for a generation may have drained away a lot of sympathy for when hard times came.
No.. I've been in practice for two years and came from an engineering background. My biggest issue is that the vast majority of lawyers are complete fakers. Very few lawyers I encounter provide anything to be impressed by. Everyone is just faking their way through the day. There are few role models available for young lawyers and most that would make good mentors are so burned out that they don't want to make the extra effort.ReplyDelete
There is not much to be excited about.
to 10:18 p.m.ReplyDelete
I agree that HYS credentials opens a lot of doors. I personally only know one Yale law graduate unemployed (c. 15 yrs. experience) and two Stanford law graduates unemployed (c. 10-12 yrs. experience) currently. I must admit, the three Harvard law graduates that I personally know are all working as of my last contact (c. 20 yrs. experience in each situation).
I would say yes but I am well aware that my situation is unique. Graduated University of Richmond Law and went JAG and then Federal Attorney. Hours good, atmosphere collegial, work challenging, and no billable hours. That said, for every opening with my agency we get about 300 applicants.ReplyDelete
I would never go to law school if given the chance to make the decision again. When you get there, you have to deal with imperious professors and pompous classmates. The professors seem to be more interested in proving their cleverness than teaching law in an accessible way.ReplyDelete
Then you get into the legal profession. People say, "Well, everybody who hated law school usually loves law practice." Wrong. Opposing counsel are usually the pompous asses who you hated in law school. The clients are whiny when they're not trying to omit important facts from their case or outright lie to you. Clients come to you expecting an attorney to find a way to help them effectuate their stupid and often illegal schemes. Plus, the higher up you go, the more work there is for you to do.
Some of my second cousins are considering law school. They tell me that they find law interesting, to which I respond, "If you're interested in the law, then don't go to law school." But I have been mostly unsuccessful in dissuading these kids from making such a huge mistake. They have the hubris and delusion that their experience will be different from that of everyone else.
Until people are willing to listen to those who speak from experience, thousands of graduates will keep making the biggest mistake of their lives every year. And all the while, the law schools will get richer.
I graduated from law school 30 years ago. It was the biggest mistake I ever made. The problems with unemployment and underemployment are not new. The dearth of jobs is a problem which has plagued the legal profession for decades. The unemployment issue is being discussed now because young kids are incuring hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt in pursuing what is, in essence, a worthless degree.ReplyDelete
I have friends my age or younger who are high school teachers. In many cases, they make more money, work shorter hours, have a 10 month work year, enjoy more job security, have more community respect and have happier lives than the vast majority of lawyers I know.
My undergraduate degree was in Russian. I have been told, by other lawyers, that my Russian degree is far more valuable than my law degree.
Currently, I am caring for an elderly parent with severe Alzheimers which has required me to give up my legal career. However, when I re-enter the job market, I seriously doubt I will seek another legal job, even though I have highly specialized knowlege in several legal fields, and no outstanding student loans.
There is a lot of negativity here, and that is understandable. You have to want to go to law school for the right reasons. Further, you have to be able to avoid taking things personally and have tough skin. After that, it can be an extremely rewarding experience that challenges the mind. If you fully devote yourself, it is bootcamp for your mind. You will never think the same way again.ReplyDelete
I chose to go to an in-state law school that is well known and respected in the region but not nationally, since I had no intention of practicing outside of this region. This kept my debt to a minimum, and it also allowed for fantastic contacts in the area.
Most people I meet want to go to a top law school and work for a big firm. That is great. Go for it. But if you really want to know the secret, keep your debt low, learn all you can, and try to find a medium to small firm that practices in a field you can enjoy working in day in and day out. Find a firm that does not require 80 billable hours a week. Find a passion.
If you are going to law school because it is "something to do," then stop right there and do something else.
I would still go to Law School! While I agree that there are too many lawyers, this should not discourage those who really want to become lawyers from doing it. Those who are unsure though should obviously reconsider. One good things about the controversy regarding law school's job posting statistics (people working in a bar are included as "employed") and the growing number of students that are suing law schools, new students should be on notice that a law degree is not a printing press. I hope that over the years this will create a large group of lawyers who go to law school for the right reasons. I loved law school but I admit that my experience may have been shaped by the fact that I went to Harvard (transferred from Brooklyn Law after my first year). As a Harvard grad, I have not been subject to the same struggles as some other students but I do feel their pain. I know that many of my good friends at Brooklyn still do not have jobs.ReplyDelete
NOT in a million years. Finally decided to close my law office and pursue a degree in fashion which was my lifelong dream. I hated practicing law and I have never hated anything so much in my life.ReplyDelete
NOT EVEN IF YOU PUT MY BALLS IN A VICE GRIP TO FORCE ME TO GO! '01 grad here, laid off 2 1/2 years ago, virtually no atty positions (and I was an accomplished appellate attorney- now accomplished at spotting not fully used discarded cigarette buts), no other jobs take me seriously (applied for 26 jobs last night, for example, from paralegal to dishwasher), and, all bombast aside, on the verge of homelessness (not meaning downsizing or moving in w parents, bc I don't have parents, but unf'ingadulterated homelessness). This is beyond tragic and is now just undoubtedly completely f'ing dumber than my the costliest error I ever made in my life- law school. Suicide is most definitely an option, a daily consideration really. But observing my life rather than further participating in it keeps me alive. BTW, I'm bright, socially gracious, scholarly, conscientious, kind, and a funny m'fer, but I'm learning the accolades of becoming Bukowski, and the f'ing pain. Hope you never become as strong as I have- I hate it. Best wishes, and if you're thinking of going to law school, just know that you'll feel a sense of rage you never thought possible, and an overwhelming loss that you'll discover altogether too late is control over the one and only destiny you'll ever have, at least in this life you destroyed by going to law school. And don't be scared, just don't go to law school. I read your thoughts on here and you're some quality, truth-seeking peeps- my best to all of you.ReplyDelete
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This is depressing... Thank you all so much for your thoughts. I think some of you have rescued me from going to LS. This question might seem redundant, but do most lawyers and law students you know feel this way? Are these responses an accurate representation of the majority?ReplyDelete
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