(Closed) Lawyer bee’s and law student bee’s – advice on school.

posted 8 years ago in Legal
Post # 3
Member
1986 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

If you want to do it then go for it! 

I don’t know about having a normal routine but if your children are older I think they will understand- when my mom was going through nursing school we all supported her.

Post # 4
Member
536 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

Here are some things to consider from a lawyer who is retiring (after three short years of practice) to become a teacher.  

Before you commit to law school, be very certain that it is something you want to do.  The first thing you should consider is the cost.  Law school, especially private law schools, costs a lot of money to attend.  On top of that, unfortunately today’s economic climate is not terribly hospitable to lawyers.  Most of the lawyers graduating where I live do not have jobs.  The court system, AG’s office, DA’s offices, judges are all taking on lawyers to do volunteer work because there simply aren’t very many people hiring.  Unless you can pay for school without taking out a lot of loans, you might want to hold off.

I don’t know what kind of work/life balance you are looking for, but many private sector legal jobs require working many many hours per week to keep up with billable hour requirements.  This is especially true in bigger cities, but still the case in larger firms elsewhere.  Public sector jobs, on the other hand, can be great.  They are generally 9-5 jobs and I loved working at mine.  The downside is, of course, that they don’t pay as well.  They can also be harder to come by.  The best legal job, in my opinion, is clerking for a court or judge.  I really enjoyed clerking.  The hours were great and the work was generally very interesting.  I just got tired of sitting behind a desk all day.

Then there is law school.  I really did love law school.  I loved learning about the law.  The first year of law school is insane.  Essentially, the first year of law school is the most important.  Most law schools give letter grades and then rank all of the students in the class.  At the very beginning of your second year of law school, you will begin interviewing for jobs for the summer after your second year. This is where your grades come in–you are generally selected for interviews and given offers (at least in part) on your first year grades.  From then, you might be given an offer from the second summer employer for after graduation, or you can use that job to help you get other offers.  It’s crazy, I know, but it’s the way it is.  (At least in my experience).

All that said, I would not change my decision to go to law school.  I just don’t really enjoy actually practicing law.  I’m hoping that I might come back to it someday, but right now, it just isn’t for me.  My fiance,on the other hand, loves his job.  He is a public defender and he is in the courtroom every single day.  I’m very happy for him!  Sadly, most of the lawyers I know do not love their jobs.  Most lawyers don’t get to do the kind of exciting work that is in movies, tv, books, etc.  It’s too bad really!

Just really think about it and be sure that law school is something you really really want to do.  There will be times, especially in law school, when that is all you have to hold on to.  Because it’s hard and can make you crazy.  I hope I didn’t scare you too much!  Honestly, if someone had told me all of this before I went, I still would have gone.  Good luck!

Post # 6
Member
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Law school is a bad deal for the vast majority of people right now.  I’m at Chicago (a top 5 national law school) and on campus interviewing is a frightfest of no jobs.  I have a lot of callback interviews lined up, but I’m in the top 5% of my class.  My friends at the median are not so lucky (some of them have 1-2, but many have none).  And median at a school like this is no given or easy task to achieve.  I know people who worked really hard (harder than I did) and didn’t make median.  And outside of the few top schools, I don’t even want to think about how hard it is for students at the other 170 law schools in the country.

I loved my first year of law school, and I’m almost certain to get a great job.  Law school was a great investment for me.  But I am in the overwhelming minority.  And that great job will require me to work long, unpredictable hours.

If you can go to law school for almost free,  your opportunity costs aren’t high, and you have an extremely solid connection for a local job, then go for it.  If you can get into Columbia on a full or half scholarship, then go for it.  Otherwise, don’t go.

Post # 7
Member
931 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I wouldn’t recommend anyone go to law school right (given the job market, my own experiences and the cost) now unless each of the following are true:

(1) You are really dying to go and have always wanted to go.

(2) Money is not an object (either because of a scholarship or because you have money).

(3) You have something specific in mind for what you want to accomplish with your law degree (and hopefully that’s not finding a big-law job).

For you it sounds like the above may be the case. Now you ask if you can handle law school on top of your family obligations – that’s hard to say because I didn’t have a family when I went. But I will say that I studied all the time – though in reality, other than classes, you are the master of your own time management when you’re in law school. So if you study best at 10pm and need to sleep in until 11, no worries as long as you don’t have class.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with one cliche about the law that is completely true: The Law is a jealous mistress.

Post # 8
Member
548 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Does your friend in the admissions office know any small town lawyers that you can actually talk to about their jobs and what they’re doing? It might be helpful for you to get that kind of perspective. You should think about whether you’d be happy if you ended up hanging your shingle and doing wills and estates work or real estate closings as your bread and butter.

Also, maybe you could go sit in on a few of the school’s classes. Law school sounds so glamorous, but it’s very tedious. You spend hours and hours with your nose buried in pages of very dense reading. Now, some people enjoy practicing law way more than law school (and vice versa), but it may be worth taking a peek at some of the material. If you absolutely hate it, maybe law school wouldn’t be the right choice for you.

It’s good that you mention you wouldn’t have to work. The job market is very tough right now for lawyers. Take a look at the numbers. How much would you have to take out in loans (if any–you do mention the scholarship is very good) and how much would your loan payments be after you graduate? Consider whether your family will be able to make those payments comfortably if you can’t find a job.

Another thing wrt the scholarship. I have heard horror stories about schools giving first years huge scholarships to entice them to come and placing conditions on those scholarships that make it almost impossible to keep them. There might be a GPA requirement that doesn’t sound very high, for example, so everyone thinks oh, that’s not a problem, I can totally make a 3.1 to keep my scholarship. But the school has a very harsh mandatory curve or something so pretty much everyone loses the scholarship after the first year and has to pay full price to finish. I have NO idea what the situation is with your school and your scholarship, but you may wish to look into this. It’s just something I’ve heard of happening.

Hope this helps!

Post # 9
Member
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

@Miss Olive: yes x10. 

 

I’m 2 years into practice and I’m planning an out. This will not be my forever-career. I know soooo many people who have already gotten out, or who graduated and never even went into law. How much do you really know about what lawyers do? It is an emotionally draining job and definitely not the path the wealth and riches that its made out to be. 

Post # 10
Member
39 posts
Newbee

I hate to take this post off-track, but I have to say that it’s SO good to see other lawyers who are looking to get out!!!  I’ve been practicing for 4 years and, while I loved law school, I really do not like practicing law.  What are all you other “end of the line” lawyers looking to get in to?  Miss Olive said teaching, what about everyone else?

@tksjewelry:  I second what everyone else said – Make sure this is what you really want to do (maybe work at a law firm for a year before going to law school).  Also, you might want to make sure that the scholarship is for the entire time you’re in law school and not dependent upon being in the top 10% (which is very hard to do).  

 

Post # 11
Member
322 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m a 3L at a top 25 school and I would NEVER recommend that someone go to law school. Job prospects are zero, I know approx. 6 people out of my 225 person class that have jobs lined up. I have over a 3/4 scholarship and I’ll still have $25K in loans by the time I graduate and very little chance at a job, despite my fairly good grades.  

Non-legal employers won’t hire you either.  You’ll be both “overqualified” and “underqualified” at the same time for non-legal positions. Not to mention the fact that law school overwhelmingly is miserable. 

Sorry for my extremely negative opinion, but I keep seeing my friends go to mediocre law schools (and even really good law schools) and ending up depressed and unemployed.  Law school has been so romanticized in the media, and right now it’s just not a smart choice for most people.  It’s like paying $100K for a lottery ticket.

Post # 12
Member
446 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I agree with everyone on this thread.  I’m 6 years out and, while I don’t regret going to law school in the least, I can’t say this is my dream job.  I can’t say that I know ANYONE who truly loves being a lawyer the way friends in other professions (teachers, doctors) love their job.  Maybe if I thought long and hard about it, but none come to mind.  I can only think of people who want to get out of the practice, or at least out of practice at a firm. 

You mentioned that you are in your late 30’s and have children.  I’m 31 and my Fiance and I don’t have kids yet. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to go to law school, pull all nighters and then put in the long hours at work if I did have kids.

Unless being an attorney is something you truly want to do, I would pass,

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