Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Is law school worth it?

LSATStudent780LSATStudent780 Alum Member
edited June 2018 in Law School Admissions 102 karma

I am sorry for all the questions in this post, but will genuinely appreciate any help and advise. I have done lots of research on salaries and rankings, but it seems that they are not accurate. I graduated with my GPA at 3.6. I am hoping to go to law school in Fall 2019. I am worried that even if I get a 169 or 170 on the LSAT, it won't be enough for T14. On the other hand, many law schools including Penn Law, are now accepting the GRE. I'm worried that if I am not accepted to Penn with my GRE, then I will be behind another year. How important is Top 14? Should I be aiming to go to the highest law school in hopes of receiving more money in my career? Will my chances be better for big law because the law school ranking is higher? Are there even lawyers making 6 figures anymore? If so, how? Also, do people just take loans? My only problem is I don't want to take out 150k+ loans only to be making 50k a year. What is the most reasonable decision for now and what are my chances of truly getting into big law? Thank you for your help!

Questions!
  1. Should I take the GRE or LSAT?79 votes
    1. GRE
        5.06%
    2. LSAT
      94.94%
  2. Is Top14 really important if you want to get into Big Law?79 votes
    1. Yes
      84.81%
    2. No
      15.19%

Comments

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    For Big Law the top 14 and the top 6 or so in particular are unrivaled. Market paying Big Law jobs in New York the biggest market pay $180,000 a year to start and go up from there. In lower cost of living cities Big Law pays a little less, but probably affords a better quality of life. Chances of getting those jobs are usually higher than 50/50 in the Top 14 and quickly drop off afterwards. In the Top 6 or so almost everyone who wants Big Law gets it. However, Big Law itself isn't a guarantee of job security. About 50 percent make it through the first 3 years and at least 90 percent are pushed out before partnership decisions are made. Usually they give you some time to search for a job and it is often easier to find a job with a couple years of Big Law experience. So if you get this option, you better pay back debt and save fast while you can.

    The interesting part is usually deciding whether to go to a lower ranked school with a substantial scholarship or a higher ranked school with better odds at Big Law.

    For most people best to worse case is going to be Get Big Law with minimal debt, Get Big Law with Big Debt, Miss Big Law with minimal debt, miss Big Law with Big Debt. So it's going to depend on what you value. If you just want to ensure you get through law school into a legal job without debt you take the scholarship. If you want to maximize money you can either gamble one way going deeply into debt for a great shot at Big Law or the other way hoping for Big Law without the debt with a higher risk of not getting Big Law.

    I'm strongly debt adverse so I choose a scholarship at a mid Top 14 over acceptances in the Top 6. I also don't care that much about Big Law. I see it as a nice safe way to get a job and know I have it if I get good grades(Big Law hires for the second summer jobs at the end of your first summer mainly on first year grades and school ranking and then keeps most of the second summer people for good), a way to get good training, and a way to improve my financial position before they inevitably kick me to the curb and I start doing whatever I want to taking whatever job I want to/can get hired for regardless of pay while using my savings from Big Law growing in the stock market as a retirement plan. I figure I'll try to use my law degree to do at least as much good as I figure I did bad in Big Law. After that if I like what I'm doing I'll keep doing it, but if not I'm free to do anything that keeps me fed and insured while my retirement saving grows(PhD, Peace Corps, open a store selling Petoskey Stones, work at a Taco Bell or a Waffle House, Juggle on the streets, save up a little during the winter and hike the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trail, become a stay at home parent, go back to school and get certified as a high school teacher, tutor the LSAT or Econ, work for a political campaign, ect.) If I miss Big Law, then I skip right to step two and worry a little more about my salary and saving up for my retirement and therefore probably stay a lawyer longer hopefully with some sort of government job(probably state or local) even if I turn out to not like it, but don't have to dedicate a few years of my life to working long hours for a Big Firm working for Big Corporations.

    But with the big picture in mind we still need to go one step at a time. For me that is the first year of law school. For you it is deciding if you want Law as a career and if you do then studying for and taking the LSAT. If you can crack 170 you'll probably have a decent shot at the Top 14 accepting you or a full scholarship at schools like Washington University in St Louis and Vanderbilt. If you can't get into the Top 14, I'd probably mostly focus on minimizing debt rather than chasing Big Law since outside the Top 14 the chance of Big Law isn't worth the debt of law school at full cost to most.

  • samantha.ashley92samantha.ashley92 Alum Member
    1777 karma

    I haven't heard of lawyers making $50,000 except for people right out of law school going to work for the government. Either way, your LSAT score can help you get scholarship. That is a big focus for me. I think that law school would put you in more than $150,000 of debt because of living expenses, books, and the fact that many schools cost more than $50,000 a year. I guess if you work part time while in law school you'll have less debt, but if you're in a competitive school, focusing on your GPA is crucial.

  • stepharizonastepharizona Alum Member
    3197 karma

    Like you've already done and what there have said. I'd recommend looking at lstreports and examining the finance and debt for the schools you are looking at. There are a lot of paths to big law, some more likely than others. T 14 is a great way to get to big law but not the only way and going to a T14 does not guarantee you big law either.

    There are so many different types of big law. Do you want New York big law or California big law? Or local big law? This does make a big difference.

    I know people who have gone to Brooklyn Law and Cardozo Law are now in big law, and they pretty much only paid for living expenses but that was still 115,000k of debt. Oh course they represent a much smaller group of graduates.

    And the other thing is six figures varies a lot depending on where you live, in regards to standard of living, as mentioned above.

    I was aiming for New York and then after looking at the numbers I realized I'd make more money because the cost-of-living with a big law salary in my home state than. The starting salary here is equivalent to $270,000 in NYC when you take standard of living into account.

    Once I looked at things from that perspective it flipped my cycle completely.

    So for me, it's worth it and I'll graduate with minimal debt and good prospects.

  • LSATStudent780LSATStudent780 Alum Member
    102 karma

    Thank you so much for taking your time to reply to this! I honestly really appreciate it! @Rtwrtw8 @"Seeking Perfection" @"samantha.ashley92" @stepharizona

  • edited June 2018 101 karma

    It depends on where/how you want to practice. If you want to practice in big time law and work for some 500+ lawyer law firm, then yes you might want to go balls to the wall and nail a well ranked school. If you are not interesting in doing big law within a Manhattan office or working in academia, the need to go 150k in debt for a T14 isn't there.

    For the lawyers who are nailing the $50,000 mark, those are your fresh outta school local/state gov kinda people. Assistant Public defenders and assistant DA's are going to be in that range. However, if said ADA or APD went to not T14 school, got a good LSAT and got good schollys for school, a 50K a year job won't be that bad since their loans won't insurmountable.

    My wife's cousin graduated Duquense Law School in Pittsburgh. Sub 100 school and tuition is higher than it should be for that school. But she got amazing scholarships, went into little to no debt, and is now assistant DA for Allegheny county. She clerked for 1-2 years post JD and is doing well.

    All about where you want to be.

    Also, consider this: If you go to a sub T-14 school, say Case Western which is T-65, and you finish top 25% or higher in your class, that will look mighty fine. If you go to a T-14 and finish on the lower range of your class, which might not be unrealistic considering the company that you'll be in, you might not get the same looks that you think.

  • tams2018tams2018 Alum Member
    727 karma

    a good discussion.

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    2531 karma

    Big Law is not the only answer to loan repayment. Find out what the loan repayment process is like at any given school before you consider attending with a substantial amount of student loans. Some allow for a good standard of living, even if you make 60k/year.

  • OverRatedUnderAchieverOverRatedUnderAchiever Legacy Member
    609 karma

    What are you looking into? What was your undergrad career/background? Sorry if you answered this, and I missed it. If so, just disregard this comment.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    For Big Law the top 14 and the top 6 or so in particular are unrivaled. Market paying Big Law jobs in New York the biggest market pay $180,000 a year to start and go up from there. In lower cost of living cities Big Law pays a little less, but probably affords a better quality of life. Chances of getting those jobs are usually higher than 50/50 in the Top 14 and quickly drop off afterwards. In the Top 6 or so almost everyone who wants Big Law gets it. However, Big Law itself isn't a guarantee of job security. About 50 percent make it through the first 3 years and at least 90 percent are pushed out before partnership decisions are made. Usually they give you some time to search for a job and it is often easier to find a job with a couple years of Big Law experience. So if you get this option, you better pay back debt and save fast while you can.

    The interesting part is usually deciding whether to go to a lower ranked school with a substantial scholarship or a higher ranked school with better odds at Big Law.

    For most people best to worse case is going to be Get Big Law with minimal debt, Get Big Law with Big Debt, Miss Big Law with minimal debt, miss Big Law with Big Debt. So it's going to depend on what you value. If you just want to ensure you get through law school into a legal job without debt you take the scholarship. If you want to maximize money you can either gamble one way going deeply into debt for a great shot at Big Law or the other way hoping for Big Law without the debt with a higher risk of not getting Big Law.

    I'm strongly debt adverse so I choose a scholarship at a mid Top 14 over acceptances in the Top 6. I also don't care that much about Big Law. I see it as a nice safe way to get a job and know I have it if I get good grades(Big Law hires for the second summer jobs at the end of your first summer mainly on first year grades and school ranking and then keeps most of the second summer people for good), a way to get good training, and a way to improve my financial position before they inevitably kick me to the curb and I start doing whatever I want to taking whatever job I want to/can get hired for regardless of pay while using my savings from Big Law growing in the stock market as a retirement plan. I figure I'll try to use my law degree to do at least as much good as I figure I did bad in Big Law. After that if I like what I'm doing I'll keep doing it, but if not I'm free to do anything that keeps me fed and insured while my retirement saving grows(PhD, Peace Corps, open a store selling Petoskey Stones, work at a Taco Bell or a Waffle House, Juggle on the streets, save up a little during the winter and hike the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trail, become a stay at home parent, go back to school and get certified as a high school teacher, tutor the LSAT or Econ, work for a political campaign, ect.) If I miss Big Law, then I skip right to step two and worry a little more about my salary and saving up for my retirement and therefore probably stay a lawyer longer hopefully with some sort of government job(probably state or local) even if I turn out to not like it, but don't have to dedicate a few years of my life to working long hours for a Big Firm working for Big Corporations.

    But with the big picture in mind we still need to go one step at a time. For me that is the first year of law school. For you it is deciding if you want Law as a career and if you do then studying for and taking the LSAT. If you can crack 170 you'll probably have a decent shot at the Top 14 accepting you or a full scholarship at schools like Washington University in St Louis and Vanderbilt. If you can't get into the Top 14, I'd probably mostly focus on minimizing debt rather than chasing Big Law since outside the Top 14 the chance of Big Law isn't worth the debt of law school at full cost to most.

    190k now

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    For Big Law the top 14 and the top 6 or so in particular are unrivaled. Market paying Big Law jobs in New York the biggest market pay $180,000 a year to start and go up from there. In lower cost of living cities Big Law pays a little less, but probably affords a better quality of life. Chances of getting those jobs are usually higher than 50/50 in the Top 14 and quickly drop off afterwards. In the Top 6 or so almost everyone who wants Big Law gets it. However, Big Law itself isn't a guarantee of job security. About 50 percent make it through the first 3 years and at least 90 percent are pushed out before partnership decisions are made. Usually they give you some time to search for a job and it is often easier to find a job with a couple years of Big Law experience. So if you get this option, you better pay back debt and save fast while you can.

    The interesting part is usually deciding whether to go to a lower ranked school with a substantial scholarship or a higher ranked school with better odds at Big Law.

    For most people best to worse case is going to be Get Big Law with minimal debt, Get Big Law with Big Debt, Miss Big Law with minimal debt, miss Big Law with Big Debt. So it's going to depend on what you value. If you just want to ensure you get through law school into a legal job without debt you take the scholarship. If you want to maximize money you can either gamble one way going deeply into debt for a great shot at Big Law or the other way hoping for Big Law without the debt with a higher risk of not getting Big Law.

    I'm strongly debt adverse so I choose a scholarship at a mid Top 14 over acceptances in the Top 6. I also don't care that much about Big Law. I see it as a nice safe way to get a job and know I have it if I get good grades(Big Law hires for the second summer jobs at the end of your first summer mainly on first year grades and school ranking and then keeps most of the second summer people for good), a way to get good training, and a way to improve my financial position before they inevitably kick me to the curb and I start doing whatever I want to taking whatever job I want to/can get hired for regardless of pay while using my savings from Big Law growing in the stock market as a retirement plan. I figure I'll try to use my law degree to do at least as much good as I figure I did bad in Big Law. After that if I like what I'm doing I'll keep doing it, but if not I'm free to do anything that keeps me fed and insured while my retirement saving grows(PhD, Peace Corps, open a store selling Petoskey Stones, work at a Taco Bell or a Waffle House, Juggle on the streets, save up a little during the winter and hike the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trail, become a stay at home parent, go back to school and get certified as a high school teacher, tutor the LSAT or Econ, work for a political campaign, ect.) If I miss Big Law, then I skip right to step two and worry a little more about my salary and saving up for my retirement and therefore probably stay a lawyer longer hopefully with some sort of government job(probably state or local) even if I turn out to not like it, but don't have to dedicate a few years of my life to working long hours for a Big Firm working for Big Corporations.

    But with the big picture in mind we still need to go one step at a time. For me that is the first year of law school. For you it is deciding if you want Law as a career and if you do then studying for and taking the LSAT. If you can crack 170 you'll probably have a decent shot at the Top 14 accepting you or a full scholarship at schools like Washington University in St Louis and Vanderbilt. If you can't get into the Top 14, I'd probably mostly focus on minimizing debt rather than chasing Big Law since outside the Top 14 the chance of Big Law isn't worth the debt of law school at full cost to most.

    190k now

    I just want there to be Big Law firms that are still hiring when I get out of law school. Haven't they ever considered cutting back so they will be able to weather a future recession? Expansions don't last forever.

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    2531 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    For Big Law the top 14 and the top 6 or so in particular are unrivaled. Market paying Big Law jobs in New York the biggest market pay $180,000 a year to start and go up from there. In lower cost of living cities Big Law pays a little less, but probably affords a better quality of life. Chances of getting those jobs are usually higher than 50/50 in the Top 14 and quickly drop off afterwards. In the Top 6 or so almost everyone who wants Big Law gets it. However, Big Law itself isn't a guarantee of job security. About 50 percent make it through the first 3 years and at least 90 percent are pushed out before partnership decisions are made. Usually they give you some time to search for a job and it is often easier to find a job with a couple years of Big Law experience. So if you get this option, you better pay back debt and save fast while you can.

    The interesting part is usually deciding whether to go to a lower ranked school with a substantial scholarship or a higher ranked school with better odds at Big Law.

    For most people best to worse case is going to be Get Big Law with minimal debt, Get Big Law with Big Debt, Miss Big Law with minimal debt, miss Big Law with Big Debt. So it's going to depend on what you value. If you just want to ensure you get through law school into a legal job without debt you take the scholarship. If you want to maximize money you can either gamble one way going deeply into debt for a great shot at Big Law or the other way hoping for Big Law without the debt with a higher risk of not getting Big Law.

    I'm strongly debt adverse so I choose a scholarship at a mid Top 14 over acceptances in the Top 6. I also don't care that much about Big Law. I see it as a nice safe way to get a job and know I have it if I get good grades(Big Law hires for the second summer jobs at the end of your first summer mainly on first year grades and school ranking and then keeps most of the second summer people for good), a way to get good training, and a way to improve my financial position before they inevitably kick me to the curb and I start doing whatever I want to taking whatever job I want to/can get hired for regardless of pay while using my savings from Big Law growing in the stock market as a retirement plan. I figure I'll try to use my law degree to do at least as much good as I figure I did bad in Big Law. After that if I like what I'm doing I'll keep doing it, but if not I'm free to do anything that keeps me fed and insured while my retirement saving grows(PhD, Peace Corps, open a store selling Petoskey Stones, work at a Taco Bell or a Waffle House, Juggle on the streets, save up a little during the winter and hike the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trail, become a stay at home parent, go back to school and get certified as a high school teacher, tutor the LSAT or Econ, work for a political campaign, ect.) If I miss Big Law, then I skip right to step two and worry a little more about my salary and saving up for my retirement and therefore probably stay a lawyer longer hopefully with some sort of government job(probably state or local) even if I turn out to not like it, but don't have to dedicate a few years of my life to working long hours for a Big Firm working for Big Corporations.

    But with the big picture in mind we still need to go one step at a time. For me that is the first year of law school. For you it is deciding if you want Law as a career and if you do then studying for and taking the LSAT. If you can crack 170 you'll probably have a decent shot at the Top 14 accepting you or a full scholarship at schools like Washington University in St Louis and Vanderbilt. If you can't get into the Top 14, I'd probably mostly focus on minimizing debt rather than chasing Big Law since outside the Top 14 the chance of Big Law isn't worth the debt of law school at full cost to most.

    190k now

    I just want there to be Big Law firms that are still hiring when I get out of law school. Haven't they ever considered cutting back so they will be able to weather a future recession? Expansions don't last forever.

    Recessions are challenging if not impossible to predict. Recessions are not on a specific timeline. I don't think that any large firm functions in this way, especially not with low-level hiring practices. That being said, if a recession hits then there will be a problem, yes.

  • tringo335tringo335 Alum Member
    3679 karma

    I think you would definitely still have a chance with a 170 and 3.6 GPA at a T14 school. See ranking information here:

    https://7sage.com/top-law-school-admissions/

    Like others said above a T14 definitely helps your chances at Big Law but a well-known school in the region you'd like to stay in - even if it's not a T14 - can land you a great job as well.

    The debt is certainly daunting. I have pushed back my application goal several years to ensure I go to law school debt free (or as close to it) using a combination of scholarships and savings. So I think you're on the right track taking the debt into STRONG consideration.

    It may be worthwhile taking some time and narrowing down which law track youd like to go into. If it's Big Law or bust, from there you can decide which T14 schools you can reasonably get into with the type of score you're aiming for and then if you have a region you'd like to settle in, which lower ranked schools have favorable Big Law odds in that region. From there you can figure out which schools you'd like to apply to and start your goals from there. Then once you start getting acceptance letters, see how much the scholarships are and make your final decision based on amount of debt you'll have to take on at each school.

  • Seeking PerfectionSeeking Perfection Alum Member
    4423 karma

    @Ohnoeshalpme said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    For Big Law the top 14 and the top 6 or so in particular are unrivaled. Market paying Big Law jobs in New York the biggest market pay $180,000 a year to start and go up from there. In lower cost of living cities Big Law pays a little less, but probably affords a better quality of life. Chances of getting those jobs are usually higher than 50/50 in the Top 14 and quickly drop off afterwards. In the Top 6 or so almost everyone who wants Big Law gets it. However, Big Law itself isn't a guarantee of job security. About 50 percent make it through the first 3 years and at least 90 percent are pushed out before partnership decisions are made. Usually they give you some time to search for a job and it is often easier to find a job with a couple years of Big Law experience. So if you get this option, you better pay back debt and save fast while you can.

    The interesting part is usually deciding whether to go to a lower ranked school with a substantial scholarship or a higher ranked school with better odds at Big Law.

    For most people best to worse case is going to be Get Big Law with minimal debt, Get Big Law with Big Debt, Miss Big Law with minimal debt, miss Big Law with Big Debt. So it's going to depend on what you value. If you just want to ensure you get through law school into a legal job without debt you take the scholarship. If you want to maximize money you can either gamble one way going deeply into debt for a great shot at Big Law or the other way hoping for Big Law without the debt with a higher risk of not getting Big Law.

    I'm strongly debt adverse so I choose a scholarship at a mid Top 14 over acceptances in the Top 6. I also don't care that much about Big Law. I see it as a nice safe way to get a job and know I have it if I get good grades(Big Law hires for the second summer jobs at the end of your first summer mainly on first year grades and school ranking and then keeps most of the second summer people for good), a way to get good training, and a way to improve my financial position before they inevitably kick me to the curb and I start doing whatever I want to taking whatever job I want to/can get hired for regardless of pay while using my savings from Big Law growing in the stock market as a retirement plan. I figure I'll try to use my law degree to do at least as much good as I figure I did bad in Big Law. After that if I like what I'm doing I'll keep doing it, but if not I'm free to do anything that keeps me fed and insured while my retirement saving grows(PhD, Peace Corps, open a store selling Petoskey Stones, work at a Taco Bell or a Waffle House, Juggle on the streets, save up a little during the winter and hike the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trail, become a stay at home parent, go back to school and get certified as a high school teacher, tutor the LSAT or Econ, work for a political campaign, ect.) If I miss Big Law, then I skip right to step two and worry a little more about my salary and saving up for my retirement and therefore probably stay a lawyer longer hopefully with some sort of government job(probably state or local) even if I turn out to not like it, but don't have to dedicate a few years of my life to working long hours for a Big Firm working for Big Corporations.

    But with the big picture in mind we still need to go one step at a time. For me that is the first year of law school. For you it is deciding if you want Law as a career and if you do then studying for and taking the LSAT. If you can crack 170 you'll probably have a decent shot at the Top 14 accepting you or a full scholarship at schools like Washington University in St Louis and Vanderbilt. If you can't get into the Top 14, I'd probably mostly focus on minimizing debt rather than chasing Big Law since outside the Top 14 the chance of Big Law isn't worth the debt of law school at full cost to most.

    190k now

    I just want there to be Big Law firms that are still hiring when I get out of law school. Haven't they ever considered cutting back so they will be able to weather a future recession? Expansions don't last forever.

    Recessions are challenging if not impossible to predict. Recessions are not on a specific timeline. I don't think that any large firm functions in this way, especially not with low-level hiring practices. That being said, if a recession hits then there will be a problem, yes.

    They can't operate that way unless they all do. The second one firm goes to 190 all the other firms have to or they will miss out on the best prospects since fresh lawyers aren't going to go anywhere below market if they have other options.

  • westcoastbestcoastwestcoastbestcoast Alum Member
    3788 karma

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:

    @westcoastbestcoast said:

    @"Seeking Perfection" said:
    For Big Law the top 14 and the top 6 or so in particular are unrivaled. Market paying Big Law jobs in New York the biggest market pay $180,000 a year to start and go up from there. In lower cost of living cities Big Law pays a little less, but probably affords a better quality of life. Chances of getting those jobs are usually higher than 50/50 in the Top 14 and quickly drop off afterwards. In the Top 6 or so almost everyone who wants Big Law gets it. However, Big Law itself isn't a guarantee of job security. About 50 percent make it through the first 3 years and at least 90 percent are pushed out before partnership decisions are made. Usually they give you some time to search for a job and it is often easier to find a job with a couple years of Big Law experience. So if you get this option, you better pay back debt and save fast while you can.

    The interesting part is usually deciding whether to go to a lower ranked school with a substantial scholarship or a higher ranked school with better odds at Big Law.

    For most people best to worse case is going to be Get Big Law with minimal debt, Get Big Law with Big Debt, Miss Big Law with minimal debt, miss Big Law with Big Debt. So it's going to depend on what you value. If you just want to ensure you get through law school into a legal job without debt you take the scholarship. If you want to maximize money you can either gamble one way going deeply into debt for a great shot at Big Law or the other way hoping for Big Law without the debt with a higher risk of not getting Big Law.

    I'm strongly debt adverse so I choose a scholarship at a mid Top 14 over acceptances in the Top 6. I also don't care that much about Big Law. I see it as a nice safe way to get a job and know I have it if I get good grades(Big Law hires for the second summer jobs at the end of your first summer mainly on first year grades and school ranking and then keeps most of the second summer people for good), a way to get good training, and a way to improve my financial position before they inevitably kick me to the curb and I start doing whatever I want to taking whatever job I want to/can get hired for regardless of pay while using my savings from Big Law growing in the stock market as a retirement plan. I figure I'll try to use my law degree to do at least as much good as I figure I did bad in Big Law. After that if I like what I'm doing I'll keep doing it, but if not I'm free to do anything that keeps me fed and insured while my retirement saving grows(PhD, Peace Corps, open a store selling Petoskey Stones, work at a Taco Bell or a Waffle House, Juggle on the streets, save up a little during the winter and hike the Appalachian or Pacific Coast Trail, become a stay at home parent, go back to school and get certified as a high school teacher, tutor the LSAT or Econ, work for a political campaign, ect.) If I miss Big Law, then I skip right to step two and worry a little more about my salary and saving up for my retirement and therefore probably stay a lawyer longer hopefully with some sort of government job(probably state or local) even if I turn out to not like it, but don't have to dedicate a few years of my life to working long hours for a Big Firm working for Big Corporations.

    But with the big picture in mind we still need to go one step at a time. For me that is the first year of law school. For you it is deciding if you want Law as a career and if you do then studying for and taking the LSAT. If you can crack 170 you'll probably have a decent shot at the Top 14 accepting you or a full scholarship at schools like Washington University in St Louis and Vanderbilt. If you can't get into the Top 14, I'd probably mostly focus on minimizing debt rather than chasing Big Law since outside the Top 14 the chance of Big Law isn't worth the debt of law school at full cost to most.

    190k now

    I just want there to be Big Law firms that are still hiring when I get out of law school. Haven't they ever considered cutting back so they will be able to weather a future recession? Expansions don't last forever.

    I recall reading an article stating that biglaw firms have restructured to better weather recessions.

  • LSATStudent780LSATStudent780 Alum Member
    edited June 2018 102 karma

    @OverRatedUnderAchiever My undergrad was criminal justice and psychology. I am looking into corporate law, but honestly open to suggestions. I had a 3.6 GPA for undergrad and am still working on the LSAT for September!

    @OverRatedUnderAchiever said:
    What are you looking into? What was your undergrad career/background? Sorry if you answered this, and I missed it. If so, just disregard this comment.

  • LSATStudent780LSATStudent780 Alum Member
    edited June 2018 102 karma

    @"Freddie Mercurys Mustache" Thank you so much for your insight! I agree that it is important to have a higher ranking in law school, which may be more difficult with the students in T14. Do you think if someone was to not go to T14, could they still realistically be making 6 figures?

    @"Freddie Mercurys Mustache" said:
    It depends on where/how you want to practice. If you want to practice in big time law and work for some 500+ lawyer law firm, then yes you might want to go balls to the wall and nail a well ranked school. If you are not interesting in doing big law within a Manhattan office or working in academia, the need to go 150k in debt for a T14 isn't there.

    For the lawyers who are nailing the $50,000 mark, those are your fresh outta school local/state gov kinda people. Assistant Public defenders and assistant DA's are going to be in that range. However, if said ADA or APD went to not T14 school, got a good LSAT and got good schollys for school, a 50K a year job won't be that bad since their loans won't insurmountable.

    My wife's cousin graduated Duquense Law School in Pittsburgh. Sub 100 school and tuition is higher than it should be for that school. But she got amazing scholarships, went into little to no debt, and is now assistant DA for Allegheny county. She clerked for 1-2 years post JD and is doing well.

    All about where you want to be.

    Also, consider this: If you go to a sub T-14 school, say Case Western which is T-65, and you finish top 25% or higher in your class, that will look mighty fine. If you go to a T-14 and finish on the lower range of your class, which might not be unrealistic considering the company that you'll be in, you might not get the same looks that you think.

  • OhnoeshalpmeOhnoeshalpme Alum Member
    2531 karma

    @LSATStudent780 said:

    @"Freddie Mercurys Mustache" Thank you so much for your insight! I agree that it is important to have a higher ranking in law school, which may be more difficult with the students in T14. Do you think if someone was to not go to T14, could they still realistically be making 6 figures?

    @"Freddie Mercurys Mustache" said:
    It depends on where/how you want to practice. If you want to practice in big time law and work for some 500+ lawyer law firm, then yes you might want to go balls to the wall and nail a well ranked school. If you are not interesting in doing big law within a Manhattan office or working in academia, the need to go 150k in debt for a T14 isn't there.

    For the lawyers who are nailing the $50,000 mark, those are your fresh outta school local/state gov kinda people. Assistant Public defenders and assistant DA's are going to be in that range. However, if said ADA or APD went to not T14 school, got a good LSAT and got good schollys for school, a 50K a year job won't be that bad since their loans won't insurmountable.

    My wife's cousin graduated Duquense Law School in Pittsburgh. Sub 100 school and tuition is higher than it should be for that school. But she got amazing scholarships, went into little to no debt, and is now assistant DA for Allegheny county. She clerked for 1-2 years post JD and is doing well.

    All about where you want to be.

    Also, consider this: If you go to a sub T-14 school, say Case Western which is T-65, and you finish top 25% or higher in your class, that will look mighty fine. If you go to a T-14 and finish on the lower range of your class, which might not be unrealistic considering the company that you'll be in, you might not get the same looks that you think.

    Yes, generally 15-25 can make 6 figures if they go to a specific region where those jobs are offered. For example, Minnesota ranked #20 has a median salary of $110,000 and the UC schools in that range are in the 6 figures as well.

  • JustDoItJustDoIt Alum Member
    3112 karma

    Similar to what was stated above, I really think it depends on what you want to do. For me, it required a lot of introspection. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do before deciding to begin the LSAT journey. I also think it's worth mentioning, as you alluded to, you kind of have to do big law unless you get Hamilton, Ruby, Dillard, etc. Which, truthfully, is not a bad a thing; biglaw opens many doors. But you are going to work long and hard for that $190k. Just make sure this is absolutely what you want to do.

    I know this kind of beats around the bush but I can't stress it enough. Law school is significant investment of your time and money. It is not worth it unless you are going to be able to do what you want to do and be happy doing it.

  • LCMama2017LCMama2017 Alum Member
    edited June 2018 2134 karma

    @westcoastbestcoast said:
    190k now

    ... and 80 hour work weeks. When I was a paralegal at a top NYC law firm the associates worked their asses off, as did we, except paralegals didn't get the big bucks the lawyers got - at the time it was $110k starting for associates.

    I considered going back to big law after getting my law degree but no way in hell am I going to be working those ridiculous hours. New associates are expected to be at the beck and call of the partners and clients. So if you are on vacay or at a graduation and you get a call to review a document or whatever, guess what? You have to do it.

    I think I'll find the big bucks elsewhere!

  • btownsqueebtownsquee Alum Member
    1202 karma

    I highly recommend reading Don't Go to Law School Unless (https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Law-School-Unless-Opportunity-ebook/dp/B009D13IA6)

    Very relevant to this discussion.

  • 101 karma

    @LSATStudent780 said:

    @"Freddie Mercurys Mustache" Thank you so much for your insight! I agree that it is important to have a higher ranking in law school, which may be more difficult with the students in T14. Do you think if someone was to not go to T14, could they still realistically be making 6 figures?

    @"Freddie Mercurys Mustache" said:
    It depends on where/how you want to practice. If you want to practice in big time law and work for some 500+ lawyer law firm, then yes you might want to go balls to the wall and nail a well ranked school. If you are not interesting in doing big law within a Manhattan office or working in academia, the need to go 150k in debt for a T14 isn't there.

    For the lawyers who are nailing the $50,000 mark, those are your fresh outta school local/state gov kinda people. Assistant Public defenders and assistant DA's are going to be in that range. However, if said ADA or APD went to not T14 school, got a good LSAT and got good schollys for school, a 50K a year job won't be that bad since their loans won't insurmountable.

    My wife's cousin graduated Duquense Law School in Pittsburgh. Sub 100 school and tuition is higher than it should be for that school. But she got amazing scholarships, went into little to no debt, and is now assistant DA for Allegheny county. She clerked for 1-2 years post JD and is doing well.

    All about where you want to be.

    Also, consider this: If you go to a sub T-14 school, say Case Western which is T-65, and you finish top 25% or higher in your class, that will look mighty fine. If you go to a T-14 and finish on the lower range of your class, which might not be unrealistic considering the company that you'll be in, you might not get the same looks that you think.

    Sure it is, but to be honest, I think you're really caught up with the idea of salary so I wanna make sure you're thinking about law school for the right reasons. If you want to make a for sure six figures and go into some nice debt and have a more promising chance of even getting a job, go to med school.  
    

    But anyways, I will use Pitt as an example. They are #74 with a tuition of $33,000. It will be unlikely that the students make $100,000 out the gate but they do have a record of placing in 500+ lawyer firms. Pittsburgh is a decent market so there is a chance for this as long as you aren't a shitbird and you do well in school and rank really well within the class.

    All depends. And I think that when you apply and see where you get in and see what schollys will be there for you, you might change your mind on the high ranked schools. If I got into two schools, lets say Yale and Pitt, and Pitt offered me $90,000 in scholarships over 3 years (basically free) and Yale offered me very little and I was going to into 100K debt, I am going to Pitt no questions asked. Hell, pitt gives me $70,000, I'm going to Pitt. The lower monthly payment to likely salary makes it a no contest.

  • Adam HawksAdam Hawks Alum Member
    edited June 2018 990 karma

    For those that are talking about Big Law, I hope you understand what Big Law means. Bye bye personal life and I don't know that I could justify $200k for it. Who knows, maybe I'll sing a different tune depending on how much I owe in loans.

    Is it worth it? Answer is different for everyone, but probably not.

Sign In or Register to comment.