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Old 07-08-2010, 10:36 AM
 
252 posts, read 509,654 times
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Well now, looks like this thing suddenly sprouted legs and took off. Thanks for the input Bhaalspawn. I appreciate the candor and the fact that unlike a few certain individuals, you didn't resort to being condescending.

I've done some additional research since I last posted a serious thought on this thread, and I've committed myself to the possibility of landing a 40k per year job. Hopefully this isn't the case;what I intend to do is work / study / network my ass off to place as high as I can in hopes of getting the best job possible. I still have not given up my goals, but I am prepared to make a hasty plan "B".

I just signed up for about 63k in loans for my first year (slightly more than average due to the fact that I have a kid to feed), but the good news is that it was all federal and therefore qualifies for IBR. I'm optomistic about my chances of getting in-state tuition for years 2 and 3.

QUESTIONS:
1) Who decided T14 was the goal? Why not T20, or T16, etc?
2) I know its bad out there, but do you see it (law economy) getting better as the economy cycles up?
3) I plan to practice in Minneapolis (unless I can't find a job). I know its oversaturated but at the same time, doesn't it count for something that its the superior law school to the other 3 in the cities? Also, would I improve my chances if I took the UMN degree back to Des Moines where the only law schools around are Drake, Creighton, and U of I (most Hawkeye grads practice either rural or out-of-state)? Des Moines currently has a much higher saturation of lawyer (1 for every 100 or so) than does Minneapolis.
3b) -I'm still a bit confused. I always thought that UMN being in the top 20/25 was an excellent choice. From what I've been hearing here it seems like it isn't any better than a TTT. Its more competitive than most of the other schools I applied to, and its got access to more resources. Doesn't this mean anything in the employment market? Are all T15 & below grads on equal footing once they get out of school and look for a job?

To address a previously mentioned concern, and to provide clarity to ol 'Boy GMOH, my interest is not primarily money. My interest is law. I can't really see myself doing anything else. Not that I owe an explanation, but if all I cared about was money I would use my finance degree to go work for an investment bank or scale management ranks @ the insurance co. I currently work at. Money is a player, but only in so far as risk is concerned. Luckilly, my entire loan balance is federal, so I can IBR it to provide some alleviation. I am rather annoyed when people presume all I am doing this for is money and incinuate the same(not referring to Bhaal, who seems to understand perhaps better than others). In this sense, I feel that Law School is only a scam if you go for the wrong reasons. I have career goals, but those goals aren't why I decided to go to law school (not entirely, anyway).



Also - GMOH you never answered the question as to why you attend SMU if you hate living in TX. You are keen to throw stones at me about going to law school, but it seems as if you are the one who has dug yourself a hole into staying where you don't want to be. Is that why you are sour & pompous toward others? Do you feel like insulting others is the best way to alleviate your own dissapointment? If so, I would add this to your list of 90+ problems. Should you decide to continue your arrogant tone as directed at me in the past, I would invite you to leave this thread (not that I can enforce this). Otherwise, if you do have positive feedback that you feel you can provide in a non-pejorative manner, feel free to jump right in.

Last edited by nrogers1122; 07-08-2010 at 10:46 AM..
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Purgatory (A.K.A. Dallas, Texas)
5,010 posts, read 12,892,579 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
Also - GMOH you never answered the question as to why you attend SMU if you hate living in TX. You are keen to throw stones at me about going to law school, but it seems as if you are the one who has dug yourself a hole into staying where you don't want to be. Is that why you are sour & pompous toward others? Do you feel like insulting others is the best way to alleviate your own dissapointment? If so, I would add this to your list of 90+ problems. Should you decide to continue your arrogant tone as directed at me in the past, I would invite you to leave this thread (not that I can enforce this). Otherwise, if you do have positive feedback that you feel you can provide in a non-pejorative manner, feel free to jump right in.

Because my house didn't sell. But that doesn't leave me stuck in Texas at the end of three years. I have other options once I graduate.

Edit - it also doesn't hurt that they are covering about 60% of my tuition.

I'm not "throwing stones" at you for going to law school, nor have I insulted you. I simply told you that everything you have posted absolutely reeks of someone who has absolutely no idea what they are actually about to undertake. You sound like a recruiting poster for UMN, having bought what they are selling hook, line, and sinker. You even said it, that you had made up your mind and no one was going to change it.

If you can't take someone calling you out for not having a clue what you're about to undertake, perhaps you ought to reconsider law school as you might be a little too sensitive. Don't cry the first time your professor rips you apart in class if your in-class research is anything approaching the level of research you put in to looking at law schools.

Last edited by getmeoutofhere; 07-08-2010 at 11:48 AM..
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Purgatory (A.K.A. Dallas, Texas)
5,010 posts, read 12,892,579 times
Reputation: 2414
However, since it appears you are dead set on going, you'll find this helpful.

Start here -

Amazon.com: Learning Legal Reasoning: Briefing, Analysis and Theory (Delaney Series)…

Then move on to this -

Amazon.com: How to Do Your Best on Law School Exams (9780960851454): John…

Continue with this -

Amazon.com: Getting To Maybe: How to Excel on Law School Exams…


And finish with this -

LEEWS - Law Essay Exam Writing System
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:54 PM
 
Location: Michissippi
3,116 posts, read 7,013,333 times
Reputation: 2054
Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
I just signed up for about 63k in loans for my first year (slightly more than average due to the fact that I have a kid to feed), but the good news is that it was all federal and therefore qualifies for IBR. I'm optomistic about my chances of getting in-state tuition for years 2 and 3.
It sounds like you're going in with your eyes open, now. I still think that the actual situation is worse than what you think it is. One other thing for you to consider is what effect the huge oversupply of lawyers will have on your quality of life within the profession even if you do find a job. This is a very cutthroat, miserable field where people are either unemployed, underemployed, or often heavily overworked (think 70+ hours/week). It's a field where you will have to perform under heavy pressure, often great stress, and deadlines while having to interact with other miserable and often backstabbing, unpleasant people.

You might be able to find a job, but will you ever be able to spend quality time with your wife and kids again? One of my best friends has done well for himself, but he has had almost no free time to spend with his wife and kids since he graduated a decade ago. He is essentially working two jobs and is a workaholic. Even if you become a partner you will probably still have to keep busting your ass because your ability to remain a partner will depend on bringing in new business, maintaining existing business, and even billing hours. So, lawyers might earn high salaries, but their after-tax wages often end up being low for a professional because of the huge amount of hours they have to work. (A few new graduates might earn $160,000 per year, but after you factor in income taxes and having to work 70+ hours/week, the actual after-tax wage isn't that amazing, especially if you would want a premium for hours worked past 40.)

That $63,000/year is an awfully huge amount of loan debt. It works out to $189,000 total assuming that you will be unable to get in-state tuition and even if you can, it would come out to about $170,000. You might also have to spend $3000-4000 for Bar Exam-related expenses. It would be wonderful if Income Based Repayment makes the payments on that ($1500+/month without it?) manageable. However, it's a scary amount of loan debt and you have to have faith in the federal government and the Republicans to honor the IBR program. It's going to get interesting 10 to 20 years from now when millions of student loans that never received many substantial payments start getting discharged in mass.

Quote:
2) I know its bad out there, but do you see it (law economy) getting better as the economy cycles up?
The legal job market has been bad for years, not just during this recession. Maybe it wasn't as bad for UMN grads, but it's never been all that great.

I don't think that the legal job market will improve much at all simply because there are a huge number of people with law degrees in our country and the law schools are now producing record numbers of graduates (44,000 in 2009). In the meantime, more law schools are opening and the ABA keeps accrediting new law schools. The growth in the amount of new lawyers produced has at least quadrupled population growth since the early Seventies.

The other huge factor is whether or not the U.S. economy will improve. You always hear people complain about how the U.S. has too many lawyers. It's actually a good sign in that lawyers are a sign of a nation's wealth and commerce. However, it also means that we are very much dependent on the nation's having wealth and an abundance of economic activity. What if the nation's economy doesn't recover or falls into a death spiral? Right now economists are talking about a "double-dip" recession.

(I think that they are wrong. It's actually one prolonged depression if not permanent structural change. It almost looks like the U.S. economy is going to transform into something resembling a third world economy where a small percentage of people will be wealthy, a small amount will be precariously middle class, with a huge percentage of the populace living in poverty. My theory is that by merging our nation's economy and labor market with the billions of relatively impoverished people of the third world, we are also merging our economic well being and standard of living with that of the third world, resulting in an averaging out of the standard of living with predictable results for the U.S. Also, if the oil ever starts to run out (Peak Oil) we're going to be in deep dodo.)

Quote:
3) I plan to practice in Minneapolis (unless I can't find a job). I know its oversaturated but at the same time, doesn't it count for something that its the superior law school to the other 3 in the cities?
After you graduate I don't think it counts for too much. What ends up being most important is the experience you acquire in your first two or three years of practice. If you graduate and cannot find a job you could be permanently screwed as you become increasingly unemployable with each passing day, regardless of your alma mater. To make it count you must find a position in the profession before you graduate or shortly thereafter. This is where it will give you a significant leg up over graduates of the other three schools.

Quote:
Also, would I improve my chances if I took the UMN degree back to Des Moines where the only law schools around are Drake, Creighton, and U of I (most Hawkeye grads practice either rural or out-of-state)? Des Moines currently has a much higher saturation of lawyer (1 for every 100 or so) than does Minneapolis.
Holy hey. I had no idea there were so many lawyers in Des Moines. WTF is going on over there to cause that? In that case Des Moines's market is probably worse than that of the Twin Cities. How many large law firms have you heard of that come out of Des Moines? (As far as I know, zero.) It's very difficult to judge legal markets from afar. For example, New York City and Washington, D.C. have a huge amount of lawyers but they also has a huge number of large and medium-sized law firms.

Quote:
3b) -I'm still a bit confused. I always thought that UMN being in the top 20/25 was an excellent choice. From what I've been hearing here it seems like it isn't any better than a TTT. Its more competitive than most of the other schools I applied to, and its got access to more resources. Doesn't this mean anything in the employment market? Are all T15 & below grads on equal footing once they get out of school and look for a job?
UMN is a good choice. It's a good choice relative to the 90% of law schools that are not in the Top 20 and a very good choice relative to the 75% that are not in the Top 50. The problem is not that the University of Minnesota Law School is bad relative to other law schools. Rather, the problem is that going to law school at all, almost any law school, is a bad economic investment, and, even if you do find a job, it might not provide you with a high quality of life. A great many employed lawyers are very miserable.

Quote:
To address a previously mentioned concern, and to provide clarity to ol 'Boy GMOH, my interest is not primarily money. My interest is law. I can't really see myself doing anything else.
That sounds like a good reason for wanting to go. However, as other people have suggested, once you're staring at $170,000 of debt, money becomes a big issue. One of the complaints from advocates of public service is that graduates who wanted to work at non-profits or helping the poor simply cannot afford to do it after they graduate. It might be easier if all of the loans are now federal and subject to IBR. One of the problems that people are having today is not that they are earning a piddly $50,000/year with their law degrees, but that they simply cannot find any legal jobs at all. When you're facing that sort of a situation--just wanting to be able to sustain a middle class life--money becomes an issue. The other big concern is whether or not you'll be able to maintain a lasting interest in working as a lawyer given all of the problems with the profession.

You might succeed as a lawyer and be very happy. You certainly sound motivated and ambitious. If you have excellent people skills and can walk into a room and get strangers to bond to you, then you may have a very good chance. The problem is that the competition is very stiff and the probability of being able to do that seems to be decreasing every year.

Another concern is whether or not the spectrum of work that lawyers do is shrinking. For example, the ABA approved the outsourcing of certain low-level legal work to India and many people are trying to do their own legal work now (fill-in-the-blank software such as LegalZoom, etc.). Also, unless the nation's economy really improves, businesses will feel increasingly pressured to cut their legal budgets. It's already been reported that many businesses no longer want to be billed by summer associates. Large firms have laid off thousands of lawyers in the past several years, which suggests that business is down and that corporations are gaining the ability to haggle over billing rates and overall pricing.

I really don't want to make you feel badly about your choice or to shatter your dreams, but that's just how I see it. I can't recommend that anyone go to law school today unless it's one of HYS or the Top 10 or they already have a guaranteed job (Daddy owns the city's largest personal injury firm). Even attending the top schools today is not a guarantee of success, at least not unless you have good interviewing and people skills.

I am passionate about this issue of lawyer overproduction (as well as the overproduction of graduates in many other fields). I think it is damaging our nation's economy (money wasted for no economic value) and destroying many promising young people's lives, which is why I like to get involved in these discussions. I am hoping that the general public will eventually learn the truth. I suspect, however, that a mass of loan defaults (a bursting of the student loan bubble) will eventually, forcibly resolve the problem.

Has your wife read through these posts and looked at all of those websites I linked to? She may as well read all of this since she's going to have to deal with these issues too. It's probably not something she'll be happy about, but she'll probably learn about all of these or at least many of these issues eventually. The JDScam blog page has a list of article links that you might want to check out if you haven't done so already. There's also a Minnesota law based blog that might be of interest.

http://minnlawyer.com/minnlawyerblog/

Anyway, best of luck to you. If you do go, I hope that you succeed, and if you succeed, I hope that you will have empathy for all of the little people who didn't make it. I'm one of the embittered people who was never able to enter into the profession, so take my comments for what they're worth. A happy lawyer will probably have a very different point of view.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:03 PM
 
252 posts, read 509,654 times
Reputation: 75
Bhaal, I can't think of a more valuable post to this thread. Again, I can't stress enough how great it is to hear an honest opinion without arrogance. I sincerely hope that you at some point are able to break into practice, as you seem like you would do quite well.

I definately recognize the risks of this endeavor. I don't plan on a sure-fire means to a job, but at the same time I'll never be able to practice law without going to law school. I could see a cliff jumper taking their first dive facing the same sort of hesitation.

I can definately understand the frustration towards lawyer over-saturation, especially when you get these kids that don't know why they went to law school or just did it because they were afraid to enter the work force. I actually know a kid that was in my LSAT prep course that said that he was going to law school because he "might as well". That was the closest I've been to ever wanting someone to fail.

Again - Thanks for the advice. I hope that you do well and are given an opportunity to use your law degree the way you had envisioned it.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:17 PM
 
252 posts, read 509,654 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getmeoutofhere View Post
Because my house didn't sell. But that doesn't leave me stuck in Texas at the end of three years. I have other options once I graduate.
So does this mean that law degrees from regional schools are able to be placed outside of their native locality? I'm confused, please clarify, because I thought that one of your main points is that regional schools CAN NOT place outside of their region.


Quote:
Originally Posted by getmeoutofhere View Post
I'm not "throwing stones" at you for going to law school, nor have I insulted you. I simply told you that everything you have posted absolutely reeks of someone who has absolutely no idea what they are actually about to undertake.
Its all about perception. You can't go around telling people that what they say "reeks" and that they don't know what they are talking about (pehaps, but perhaps not) and then wonder why they seem torked off. Is it really that shocking that a 0L doesn't know the exact ins and outs of law school? What would you expect? I'd at least like to think that I've researched and contemplated it more so than most of my peers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by getmeoutofhere View Post
You even said it, that you had made up your mind and no one was going to change it.
Yeah - after I had tossed it around on this thread and others. . . . I was legitmately torn between SMU and UMN. I started this find some insight to assist me in making a decision between the two.


Quote:
Originally Posted by getmeoutofhere View Post
If you can't take someone calling you out for not having a clue what you're about to undertake, perhaps you ought to reconsider law school as you might be a little too sensitive. Don't cry the first time your professor rips you apart in class if your in-class research is anything approaching the level of research you put in to looking at law schools.
Listen, pal. I was in the Army (Airborne Infantry 11B1P) for 8 years. I'm also a decorated combat veteran of Afghanistan GWOT. I can take it to be sure, so don't worry about that. I tolerated & handled the disrespect from drill sergeants & NCO's, and will do the same for law school professors. That doesn't mean I'm going to tolerate it from the likes of anyone else.

I don't plan on being a class gunner, but I do plan on returing fire.

***
Now that thats been said, I do appreciate the links. I had worries about my house selling too. I actually put it on the market with about 18 months to spare and it sold in 3. Now I have to coop up here in an apartment for the duration of my time in IA.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Purgatory (A.K.A. Dallas, Texas)
5,010 posts, read 12,892,579 times
Reputation: 2414
Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
So does this mean that law degrees from regional schools are transferrable?
I didn't say you had options, I said I had options.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
Its all about perception. You can't go around telling people that what they say "reeks" and that they don't know what they are talking about (pehaps, but perhaps not). Is it really that shocking that a 0L doesn't know the exact ins and outs of law school? I'd at least like to think that I've researched and contemplated it more so than most of my peers.
Not even close. Yes, it's shocking to me that someone looking to take on $120K or more in debt doesn't do an exhaustive amount of research.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
Yeah - after I had tossed it around on this thread and others. . . . .I was legitmately torn between SMU and UMN. I started this find some insight to assist me in making a decision between the two.
You said that you made up your mind about things and nothing will change it. Not exactly a constructive attitude.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
Listen, pal. I was in the Army (Airborne Infantry 11B1P) for 8 years. I'm also a decorated combat veteran of Afghanistan GWOT. I can take it to be sure, so don't worry about that. I tolerated & handled the disrespect from drill sergeants & NCO's, and will do the same for law school professors. That doesn't mean I'm going to tolerate it from the likes of anyone else.
If you think I was being rude or disrespectful, then you're going to have a meltdown in law school.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nrogers1122 View Post
Now that thats been said, I do appreciate the links. I had worries about my house selling too. I actually put it on the market with about 18 months to spare and it sold in 3. Now I have to coop up here in an apartment for the duration of my time in IA.

I suggest reading them in that order. LEEWS suggests going back and redoing their audio program 6 weeks in to law school as a refresher, and because you are more familiar with the material.

Someone calls you a gunner? Screw them. Grades are everything. Period. I would even sacrifice a little bit of in-class prep for final exam prep. It doesn't matter if you look silly in class. That's not part of your grade.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:39 PM
 
252 posts, read 509,654 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getmeoutofhere View Post
Thanks again - I'm definately going to purchase all of them. In the words of Blago, these are "F**king Golden".
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:45 PM
 
Location: Purgatory (A.K.A. Dallas, Texas)
5,010 posts, read 12,892,579 times
Reputation: 2414
And since you're not going to SMU -

How to Succeed in Law School

How to Succeed in Law School

Success in Law School - A Unique Perspective
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:19 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,022 times
Reputation: 10
Here's what I find interesting:

Quote:
I'm from Iowa. I am 28, have a wife and a 4 year old son. I live in Iowa. I will be starting law school in August. I have been accepted to two top law schools; Southern Methodist, and the University of Minnesota.
Quote:
7-8 years handling P&C claims & the initials to back it up is something that many of my lawyer friends state would be an asset to any PI firm or insurance defense firm.
Quote:
Listen, pal. I was in the Army (Airborne Infantry 11B1P) for 8 years. I'm also a decorated combat veteran of Afghanistan GWOT. I can take it to be sure, so don't worry about that. I tolerated & handled the disrespect from drill sergeants & NCO's, and will do the same for law school professors. That doesn't mean I'm going to tolerate it from the likes of anyone else.
1. I assume that you joined the military at the age of 17 (with parental consent). 17 + 7 + 8 = Age 32 at the bare minimum. How can you possibly be 28?

2. Insurance defense / PI Firm = Jim Adler type law. Good luck taking on 63k in debt yearly to make 40K a year. Not to mention this field is oversaturated, just open up a yellow book.

3. You mention that you will compete for jobs 3 years after law school. Flawless logic except for the fact that you will be competing for 1L internships next year. Then for summer associate positions 2L. 3L? LOL. GLHF.

4. USNWR? Surely schools would not selectively report their salaries to make their school seem better.

5. There are many BIG 4 CPA qualified law students still floundering around for jobs. I think the numerous Big 4 Exp + CPA jobless candidates are just signs that your P&C exp is barely a soft.

Listen to GMOH and the people who are telling you the honest truth. Regional schools like SMU will place better in their respective region. T-10 schools and up prestige is rapidly fading, and as such, I doubt UMN's ability to place on a national scale in this economy.

The honest truth is this: Law school sucks unless its free OR its a T10 or better. EVERYBODY plans to be in the top 10%, and obviously, that is not possible. You mentioned that UMN alumni tell you that it is a great school. Think about this : How many alumnis of their OWN law school will degrade it publicly, and in turn, themselves for attending? Its like me driving a brand new 350Z and telling everybody it is horrible.
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