(Closed) Career Advice: Attorney Bees Please Share Your Wisdom!!

posted 9 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
1064 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

I know law school is very expensive, but if it’s one of your dreams, you need to find a way to make it happen. I am a very firm believer that your spouse should support your dreams and try to encourage and help you accomplish them. He doesn’t sound like he wants to sacrifice and help you grasp your dream. I think that’s sad. It sounds to me he is trying to turn you into a stay at home mom. If you have always wanted to go to law school, I really think you need to sit down and share your heart with him.

Post # 4
523 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

The job market is tough for attorneys right now.  If it’s a very top law school and you put the work in, generally it’s worth the investment.  Outside of the top it’s a huge, low-odds gamble of whether you’ll place highly enough in your class to earn a job that allows you to make more than you would have as a paralegal, and enough to pay your loans.  It frightens me now to hear about 2Ls having a hard time at OCI from the University of Chicago.

You should do what YOU want to do.  Do you want to have children now, or wait?  Do you want to go to law school?  Do you want to go to business school?  You’re going to be miserable doing something you don’t want to do, so take some time to reflect.  Stand up for yourself.  Your fiance got to do what he wanted to do for his career, and it’s completely inappropriate for him to request you to raise his children instead of pursuing your own dreams.

Post # 5
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

im not an attorney but i just wanted to reiterate chicagobrides advice.  we have a lot of friends out here in sunny california that are struggling attorneys.  the degree alone does not guarantee you a job of financial freedom.  a close friends loan payments are $1800 a month from law school.  in theory, after you graduate, you will be making enough to cover that.  but if you dont place high enough, you likely will not get a job paying that kind of money.  the job market is hard but i know 2 lawyers here in la that have recently changed firms and negotiated higher salaries.

that being said. law school + parenting is hard.  another friend (why does it sound like all of my friends are lawyers?), is going part time while she stays at home and raises her daughter.  and let me tell you, her life sucks right now.  their baby is only 2 so she requires a lot of watching.  then she goes to school for 4-5 hours, then comes home and does all the ‘woman work’, since her hubby wont.  im sure your Fiance is nothing like this guy, but part time law school is just as hard and expensive as full time, only you wont make any of the connections.

and just so you know, the market is also saturated with MBAs.  and a MBA from a top notch school is $100k.  and a MBA alone does not guarantee you a job.

i guess my advice is to think long and hard about what YOU want.  are you willing to put off your dreams any longer so that he is comfortable?

Post # 6
2765 posts
Sugar bee

I definitely believe that spouses should support each other in the support of each persons’ dreams!

If you had been single, would you have gone into debt to go to law school?  I ask because you mentioned your Bachelor’s debt… so wondering what your decision would have been without your FH’s input.

Post # 8
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2009

I’m an attorney – have been practicing for 5 years.  Before you go to law school, I think that it’s important to think about what it is about being a lawyer or practicing law that appeals to you, and what your realistic job options are.  I worked for a legal services organization for 4 years, and then went to work for a small firm.  I am not making tons of money, and I have about $160K in debt, payments of approximately $1500 per month for the next 30 years.  I went to a first-tier private law school.  Because of this debt, my husband and I cannot buy a home or travel, and we struggled to pay for our wedding.  That is unfortunately the reality that many people deal with after law school.  Everyone will tell you that you will make a lot of money, but those super high paying jobs are few and far between, especially right now. 

That being said, I think that there are ways to do it to lessen the debt load (Hello, State Schools!!!)  You also have a lot of value as an attorney that translates into a variety of jobs, and your earning potential will increase over time.  I know that I have the ability to earn more and more the more experience I get.  I like my job and it always challenges me. 

My now-husband has been really supportive and has contributed much more than his fair share to our expenses so that I have always been able to make my loan payments.  He does this knowing that I will eventually be in a position to provide more financial support to our family. 

I think that it is really important to discuss all of these things with your fiance.  It’s a big commitment of time and money, and law school is hard!  Don’t get an MBA if you want to be a lawyer – you will have resentment forever!  If it’s your dream, there are so many ways to make it happen.  I wish I had been more thoughtful in selecting a school and pursuing scholarships, but other than that I wouldn’t change a thing. 


Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more – it’s a big decision, and one that you have to make together!


Post # 9
599 posts
Busy bee

You should never give up your dream just because he says so. Otherwise you will end up resenting him. Thats not how you want to start off your marriage.

Post # 10
7173 posts
Busy Beekeeper

You’ve gotten some great advice, but I thought I would share a bit of my story with you.  I was in ‘similar’ shoes 13 years ago.  I was fresh out of my private undergrad, overwhelmed with my school debt, and considering law school.  I decided I would move home, work to pay off my debt and work on the whole LSAT process, which I did.  In the meantime, my Boyfriend or Best Friend and I started discussing and planning for our future.  He didn’t feel I should go to law school because of the debt and because it would interfere with our future children.  I reasoned that it didn’t make sense to get into that kind of debt and then have children, so I made the decision not to pursue it, and I’ve regretted it EVER since.  It turned out that the Boyfriend or Best Friend (after many years, we ultimately broke up) didn’t want me to go to law school because he was scared it would take me away from him.  He also didn’t want me to be the successful one in the relationship.  It sounds like your Fiance might have some underlying reasons (other than the costs) as to why he doesn’t want you to do this.  Maybe not, but it’s worth a conversation to uncover possible reasons why he doesn’t want you to do this.

I also vividly remember a conversation I had with a mom who practiced law and she said she really enjoyed the flexibility.  It hadn’t dawned on me that having a legal career might actually give me flexibility when it came to raising a family.  I have another set of friends where both of them are in law.  The wife is more specialized and does hourly work – she works one day a week and makes more than her lawyer husband who works full time.  That said, I think what ankile said about what field you might want to pursue is really wise.  It’s equally important to have your FI’s support through this process.  

I’d encourage you to talk to your Fiance, explain to him how you really want to go to law school and pursue this career and need his support.  Hopefully, that will open the lines of communication and you will come to a clearer consensus of how you should move forward.

Best of luck to you!

Post # 11
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

Well, it’s not bad if your fiance is tempering your desire with his desire as long as he is open to discussion and persuasion. When you guys r getting married, all decisions should be made together as a team. Nobody gets a carte blanche in a marriage that one partner always have to support another without question.

It’s important to do a cost benefit analysis of what you really want versus what you’ll need to sacrifice. Is ur desire of becoming a lawyer worth one or more of the following: delaying having children, not having children at all, having lots of debt, having inflexible work hrs, sacrificing your lifestyle, etc? Depending on what type of law and what tier of law school you get in, one or more of these factors will come into play. If you understand the potential sacrifices and still decide that you still would find a career in law rewarding, you should definitely work to pursue your law degree. If you make that decision, you will also need a consensus from your fiance that he is also willing to make the same sacrifices with you. If he is not willing, this is where new consensus has to be reached or the partnership will break down.

I believe that after extensive soul-searching and communication with your fiance, an answer will emerge and I hope both of you can come to a decision that you both are happy with.

Post # 12
2022 posts
Buzzing bee

I have to agree with chicagobride on all levels.  Lawschool may not be “worth” the investment, depending on what you want to do after you graduate and *if* you can even find a job.  I ended up going to a state school for approximately 1/3 the overall price of the debt I would have incurred in a private school.  Therefore, my loans are about $350 per month as opposed to $1000 per month. 

Also, I know many who have gone to lawschool and are unhappy as lawyers and have even stopped practicing.  My brother is currently thinking about it, and I feel bad discouraging, but it is (as I am sure you know from your FI), an unforgiving career where you may work a ton of hours and never feel satisfied with what you are doing. 

However, it sounds like your Fiance is not being supportive, and that is not fair.  He had his shot at the career he wanted, and so should you.  I think the fact that you are really thinking about it is a good thing, but make sure that whatever decision you make, it is because you made the decision based on what you wanted and felt rather than out of guilt.

Post # 13
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

I don’t know if I have too much new stuff to add, but I’ll throw my opinion in anyways.

First, as said above, what really appeals to you about being a lawyer? Do you have any family members or close friends that are lawyers? Do you have a sense that you know what being a lawyer is really like? Turns out that I had no clue what lawyers really spend their time doing. Yes, there are many different types of lawyers, but I feel like the title is a little more exciting than the job and you should make sure that you REALLY have a passion for being a lawyer before you jump into it.

Second, are you figuring that 200K including your undergrad debt? Law school does not need to cost that much. I went to a top tier law school, had a few lower-level scholarships, and tried to minimize costs. Overall it cost me about 70K (including bar expenses).

Third, what type of school can you reasonably get into? The legal market SUCKS right now. I’m so not even kidding. Yes if you have experience you’ll be okay, but attorneys just coming out into the market are pretty well up a creek if ya know what I mean. I still have friends that I graduated with (in 2008) who had good grades and have not found jobs– and we are from a top teir school! True, the market may be better in 3-4 years (hopefully), but the legal market is just oversaturated and with SO many people who can’t find jobs heading back to school, I don’t see that problem subsiding any time soon.

Fourth, you say “we” want you to stay home with the kids. Do you really? It seems to me that if YOU really wanted that then you wouldn’t want to do law school now (or maybe its that you don’t want to have kids now?). If you do really want to stay home with your kids, now might not be the best time for law school. People who are relatively established in their careers can take a few years off and be ok. But someone who is brand new is going to have a TON of trouble getting a job with little experience and a several-year lapse in employement.

Fifth, realize the attorneys that you hear about with super flexible schedules who review a few contracts and rake in the big bucks are the exception, not the rule. And also, they are experienced. You will not come out of law school knowing how to be a lawyer. You will need a minimum of 5 years working in some type of structured environment (whether that be a firm, government, legal aid, whatever) before you are competent enough to free-lance. Even then, finding enough clients to do that type of work is HARD.

All of that being said… no one knows you better than you. If not going to law school is something that you’re going to regret for the rest of your life, can you afford NOT to go?

Post # 14
16 posts
  • Wedding: June 2009

I’m going to have to one-up all of you. 🙂  Both my new husband and I are attorneys..we met when he was a 2L and I was a 3L in law school.  We have been out of law school for 3-3 1/2 years.  I’ll be honest with you….we have A LOT of debt.  There is NO WAY we could have gotten married while we were in or right after law school.  There was too much pressure to figure out loan payments, find a job etc. The other bees are right…its a serious investment financially and emotionally. 

Student loans will take as long as a mortgage to pay off and almost everyone has them.  In addition, there is different pressure on a relationship where only 1 of you is attending law school.  This is NOT college and NOT a part time job. The time committment is much, much more significant and its necessary that you intern and clerk in order to find a job afterward.  Most successful law students do not go to class then come home at night ready to run a household.  There are hours of studying, clerkships, moot court, papers, exams etc.

That said…there was a girl in my class who had TWO children while in school.  I guess it can be done!!  I hope you guys have a long conversation about it!  Good luck!

Post # 15
1962 posts
Buzzing bee

I will give you another nugget of advice.  It doesn’t sound like the places you applied to are offering you much by way of merit financial aid.  I worked my booty off for LSAT/Application prep and it paid by way of scholarships.  I graduated in 2007 so I don’t know what schools are offering with regards to merit awards now that the economy has tanked (my school lost a sizeable chunk of its endowment).  I think that you might want to consider retaking the LSAT and blowing out of the water in order to get a free ride or close to it (when I was going to school merit scholarships like that exisited).

Other advice: Don’t get an MBA unless you want to.  In this economy its as “useless” as a JD, maybe more so because the market is flooded.

Post # 16
4567 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I don’t know much about law school or student loans, but I think there’s a bigger picture problem here. Not going to lie, it really bothers me that your Fiance isn’t being supportive of what you want to do. If anyone in the whole world, needs to support you, it’s him, and right now it seems like he’s shutting you down left and right and that is so not okay. It sounds like you aren’t the biggest fan of being a Stay-At-Home Mom and that he is more or less trying to manipulate you into it by telling you that you can get around to your career “later”. Mr. Bee had a point about whether it’s something you would do if you were single; just because it is (something you would do)  doesn’t mean you don’t give your Fiance input, but you have to have input in your own life even if you’re sharing it with someone else. Just something to think about! Good luck!

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