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Old 01-13-2009, 06:50 PM
 
243 posts, read 639,738 times
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Looking into this law school. I don't know much about it because I'm not from this part of the country. I've been sent items in the mail about it, but don't know anything more other then that it is located in downtown Detroit.

I've heard Detroit has a pretty bad reputation for crime, is it like that in the downtown area? I know the economy is terrible, real estate market has tanked etc, so should it be avoided?

I ask because I'm looking into other areas of the country to attend graduate school. Is the school itself any good? I'm not looking to attend a top tier law school like UMich, Georgetown, etc, etc. Also have considered Michigan State as well.

Any info would be great about both the school and the area. Demographic breakdown, employment opportunities, etc, etc.

Thanks.
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,718 posts, read 59,596,711 times
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WSU law school is fairly well respected locally. They do not have much of a national reputation. It is a good school. It does not compare to U-M law school, but I think that it is the next best law school in the state (at least it used to be). The prospects for jobs with local firms are not great right now. Michigan has the worst economy in the nation. Many law firms are laying off attorneys or just not hiring when someone leaves or retires. OUr firm is growing, but that is an unusual exception.

While not nationally recognized, I do nto thank that WSU graduates are ata huge disadvantage when applying for jobs in other states. There are dozens (possibly hundreds) of law schools that are not nationally reconized. I practiced law for 18 years in Orange County CA. I ran into a few WSU law grads, but not too many. I certainly would have considered interviewing a WSU grad if I had ever recieved a resume (never did). Here in Detroit, most of the lawyers in my firm are from WSU law school.

No one can predict what the market for new lawyers will be in three years. Right now it is bad almost everywhere and terrible in Michigan. In three years, it could be booming again.

Wayne should be able to give you employment statistics for their alumnai.

The area around Wayne state has vastly improved in recent years. It is one of the better parts of Detroit. The cultural center is in the same area. Although it is located in a large and very economically depressed city, it is reasonably clean and safe for such an area. You can get crime statistics from WSU. They have their own security/police force. They take security very seriously. I never have second thoughts about walking around that area at night, but I am a large male and accustomed to being in large cities. I am always careful anywhere at night in a big city.

There are some things to do in that area, but it is hardly a cultural/entertainment mecca. However if you have a car, there are a lot of neat places that you can drive to. Realistically, you do not need to be worried about what opportunities are in the area. In your first year you will have no time for anything but classes and studying.

Did you have any specific questions?
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Michissippi
3,116 posts, read 6,970,539 times
Reputation: 2050
If you can't gain admission to a Top 20 law school then you need to give very, very serious consideration to just not attending law school at all. I suggest that you do some research into what actual recent law school graduates think about the value of their law degrees.

My understanding of the situation is that decades ago law was an honorable profession where you could earn a secure middle class or upper middle class income without too much difficulty. Since that time, a great many new (profitable) law schools have opened up and now the market is flooded with lawyers, especially new, inexperienced lawyers. Law schools' and colleges' interest is in parting you from your money (universities operate as self-interested (and self-proclaimed) "non-profit" businesses), not to provide a service that's beneficial for society. The law schools also lie about their employment stats because often angry, embittered, suicidally depressed unemployed and underemployed graduates aren't going to want to bother to fill out job survey forms; those surveys are biased to primarily report the results of people who found work in the field. Sadly, the ABA continues to approve and credential new law schools when in reality we need to cut the number of schools by more than half. If it were up to me, I'd probably close every JD-mill in Michigan other than U of M and maybe Wayne State.

Consequently, a huge number of law school graduates never practice law. They still have to pay their massive student loans, but they can never get jobs in the field and often when they do, they're with crappy little firms that pay pathetically low salaries. In other words, your seven years of college education ends up having little income-producing value and it might even make you overqualified and unemployable for other jobs.

Note that if you don't find a job as a lawyer within about six months after you graduate you could end up unemployable in the field since you will be regarded as a loser--you could lose the value of your degree. Lawyers can also get disbarred for various reasons and lose the value of their degrees. Also, you will not be free to move around the country because bar registration is done on a state-by-state basis which means that you might have to retake the Bar Exam anytime you want to check out the grass or the legal job market in another state.

Now, if you graduate in the top 25% from one of the top 15 or 20 law schools and if you're personable and can conduct a professional job interview properly you can probably get in with a large firm or a medium-sized firm. The money will be good but you will be worked past exhaustion and you will be miserable. After a few years you'll probably either burnout or get laid off. (Firms are laying off associates left and right right now.) That's not such a bad deal because of the money and if you're smart you would have paid off your student loans by then and you'd have experience, but keep in mind that those few years would be pretty miserable.

Also, over time, the amount of billable hours that an attorney is expected to produce at a law firm has also increased significantly and it is now a very miserable profession. I once heard from a former managing partner of a large firm that back in the Sixties it was thought that a lawyer could not bill more than 1300 hours of work a year since it would be hard to do more than that properly and it would be exhausting, but now firms expect 2100+/year.

Sadly, law school, a requirement for entry to what used to be a viable career field, has become a scam. It's merely a profitable business for colleges and universities because the costs of legal education are relatively low and the tuition is high. (All that's needed is a classroom, not a laboratory, etc.).

What if you want to open a solo practice? Surprise! Hundreds of thousands of other JDs across the country, including inexperienced and unemployed law school graduates, have also thought of this. Consequently, there isn't any shortage of solos willing to do criminal defense or divorces, etc. You'd be entering a very competitive and already flooded market.

I suggest that you investigate these allegations of mine first-hand and to give these issues very serious consideration.

See if you can find ABA statistics for the number of lawyers registered to practice in each state. (Last time I did this a couple years ago the number added up to about 750,000 I think.) Let's assume that 700,000 of them actually work as lawyers (liberal estimate), which means that perhaps the nation's economy can support 700,000 lawyers at one time, which seems like a lot. Now consider that about 150,000 people are currently in law school which is a three year program. If 50,000 new practitioners hit the market every year and if a lawyer will work for 35 years, then the market needs to be able to support about 1,750,000 attorneys, but right now it only supports about 700,000 attorneys.

There's even an oversupply of patent lawyers (science or engineering degree + law) now, especially in the science field where people fled another career graveyard (science field including the science Ph.D.) for law school in the hopes of making big bucks as patent lawyers, but that gravy train has long since left the station. (Maybe the market's not so bad if you have a EE.) There are also reports about legal work being outsourced to foreign countries.

To get a sense of how miserable you can be if you have a large amount of student loan debt and a law degree but you don't have a job in the field, I suggest reading the JD Underground forum and the End of Esq. blog. The content of the JD Underground forum is rather pathetic, but keep in mind that most of the posters there are lawyers and consider whether or not people who would post that sort of drivel are happy.

End of ESQ.
Bar Exam Discussion (http://jdunderground.com/forum.php - broken link)

-------------

I know that this post is very negative, but I'm just telling it like it is as I see it. The amount of misery in this career field, including amongst those who are gainfully employed in it, is huge. You're considering making a tremendous investment of time and money on this--do some serious research.

If you need to retool and get another college degree, you might be much better off doing something like accounting or engineering.

Last edited by Bhaalspawn; 01-14-2009 at 09:41 AM..
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Michissippi
3,116 posts, read 6,970,539 times
Reputation: 2050
Oh, about Wayne State Law School. I think it's a low second-tier law school but the best in the state of Michigan after the top-ten ranked U-of-M (which is a national law school where most graduates leave the state afterwards). If you want to work as a lawyer in Michigan it might not be so bad but I doubt that it's name and reputation would have much value outside the state of Michigan.

As for Wayne State University itself, understand that it is an urban university in the middle of the Detroit ghetto. The campus itself is pretty safe during the day but I wouldn't want to wander far outside of it, which means that living on campus isn't real attractive. Wayne State is a national research university with about 30,000+ students, perhaps 10,000 of whom are graduate students and it has one of (if not the) largest medical schools in the country. It's undergraduate students aren't the cream of the crop (which goes to U of M with lesser cream going to Michigan State University) and many are older, working students (nothing wrong with that). I suspect that the same can be said for many of the grad students (many of whom are probably foreign).

If you really want to become a lawyer in spite of all of this and you can't gain admission to a top school, then I think you should first figure out where you want to live after law school. See if you can get into the most reputable public university (lower tuition) in that state and go there. (If you wanted to live in Michigan and you couldn't get into U of M then you'd choose Wayne State, btw.) If not, then go to the least expensive or at least a more affordable ABA approved law school in the state. For example, for Ohio you'd go to Ohio State U. For Florida you'd go to the University of Florida, etc.
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Old 01-14-2009, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Durham, NC
1,049 posts, read 3,340,402 times
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^ take this very seriously. I got my JD from the University of Detroit Mercy (across the road from Wayne State), never used it because my MBA was garnering me better salaries than law firms.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:13 PM
 
243 posts, read 639,738 times
Reputation: 152
Alot of negativity, huh?

Let me guess, you got your JD put can't find work?

I want to go to law school, something that many people can't say they have accomplished. My grades are good, B/B+ average from a top 50 university. Getting into law school will put me ahead of much of the working population, and I know with that degree, no matter where it is from I could use it effectively.

Don't put people down about law school, yes graduating from a top 20 law school is great, but a majority of lawyers in this country have not done that. So please don't discourage those who are trying to better their lives.

I understand the debt that I could face, but in an economy like this, and living in Michigan you most likely understand how bad it is, a college degree means nothing. A law degree however does, whether its from Harvard or if its from Wayne State. To those saying its not, maybe they did something wrong along the way.
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Old 01-14-2009, 03:15 PM
 
243 posts, read 639,738 times
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By the way, Coldjensens thanks for the positive reply. As a WSU grade did you have trouble finding work? How was it coming from Michigan and passing the bar in California?
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:09 PM
 
Location: Michissippi
3,116 posts, read 6,970,539 times
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It's your decision.

There isn't any shame in being a law school graduate who couldn't find work in the field; the overwhelming majority of the general populace would never suspect that law as a career suffered from a huge oversupply of lawyers, and the schools lie about the career prospects. In the meantime the media and the politicians continue to sell education to people as though it were an opiate of the masses, claiming that higher education is essentially a guarantor of middle class prosperity.

Do what you want, but don't say that you weren't warned. Just about everyone who attends a higher education program expects that they'll find a job in the field and that it will be the other guy who won't get one. I'm sure your sentiments are no difference from what a great many unemployed and underemployed-involuntarily-out-of-field JDs thought before they went to law school, too.

I'm not saying not to go, but if you do, do it because you thought about it thoroughly and conducted research and made a wise decision. Be aware of the value you are purchasing and the reality of the situation. Going to law school because you cannot currently find a job or something else to do with a liberal arts degree is not the solution to your problem because in three years time you could be right back in the same situation but with a whole lot of student loan debt, an unemployability factor, and tremendous feelings of guilt, shame, and embarrassment.

Quote:
I want to go to law school, something that many people can't say they have accomplished.
Just piling on educational credentials doesn't work anymore like it might have decades ago when only a relatively small percentage of the populace went to college. Today, advanced degrees are a penny-a-dozen because everyone else and their brother and their friend had the exact same idea you do. We now have a large oversupply of Ph.D. scientists, lawyers, MBAs, and people with liberal arts masters degrees. If your goal is to work in some other field I suggest obtaining training for that field and then using that training and that degree effectively. It's true that perhaps only a small percentage of the population has advanced degrees and professional degrees, but sadly, the employment market can't utilize all of those advanced and professional degrees. Unused education is almost worthless or at least not worth its cost and constitutes a large economic inefficiency in our society. This truth is one of the dirty little secrets in our society.

Last edited by Bhaalspawn; 01-14-2009 at 06:30 PM..
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:47 PM
 
243 posts, read 639,738 times
Reputation: 152
For one, I never said I was going to law school because the economy is bad and can't currently find a job, I've been wanting to go for quite some time actually before this whole economic meltdown.

Also, "everyone and their brother" have advanced degrees? Yeah, really? Show me some statistics, then I'll start to believe you, until then, you're sounding pretty ignorant like you happen to be mad at the world because your degree or advanced degree didn't get you anywhere.

The facts are like this, to get any type of job today outside of performing physical, backbreaking labor you need some sort of higher education. A degree isn't the same anymore I give you that, but saying that an advanced degree isn't worth anything is a complete lie. The only advanced degree that may be lacking today is an MBA and thats because the financial markets have taken such a hit, but trust me as soon as the economy gets back on track those with MBAs will be at an advantage again.

It seems to me that you believe getting a higher education past the typical 4 year degree is worthless today, but let me ask you something what do you except people to do without an education? Work in Detroit's auto factories? Please, stop bashing a law degree, masters, or PhD.

What you say is basically this: Get a bachelors degree, don't get a job because you can't find one. On the other hand though, don't go for an advanced degree because you won't be able to find a job. In the end, atleast you got some education right? And on paper when it comes down to eventually getting a job, I don't care if its out a factory, a person with a better educaiton is more likely to get the job.
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Old 01-15-2009, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Michissippi
3,116 posts, read 6,970,539 times
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Quote:
It seems to me that you believe getting a higher education past the typical 4 year degree is worthless today, but let me ask you something what do you except people to do without an education? Work in Detroit's auto factories? Please, stop bashing a law degree, masters, or PhD.
Years and years ago when I was more idealistic, younger, and naive I might have posted almost exactly what you've posted, but having obtained some real-world experience and having paid close attention to these issues for the past decade, I've come to see things very differently. There's no reason for you to feel offended by most; I'm merely offering a different point of view for you to consider and to question. It's always good to see the opposing point of view (something you might learn to appreciate in law school).

I'm saying that I think people's best bet today is to get a bachelor's degree and/or advanced or professional degree in a strategically chosen field and that there is a huge amount of misery (including amongst those who are employed), unemployment, and underemployment in the legal profession. Also, I recommend getting the bachelor's degree from the best public university in a state where you have in-state tuition (which, presumably, you wouldn't have at Wayne State--a factor to give serious consideration too) and trying to minimize student loan debt if possible. If you were to ask me what I think of getting an MD--a field where the supply of practitioners and graduate school slots is very limited--I'd say I think it's a great field. I think engineering is a good field too if you can do the math and if you're a good problem solver.

[quoteAnd on paper when it comes down to eventually getting a job, I don't care if its out a factory, a person with a better educaiton is more likely to get the job.[quote]

Do not say that. Have you ever heard of the concept of "overqualified"? I have read stories about people removing their degrees or at least dramatically toning down the emphasis on their having certain degrees on their resumes so as not to appear "overqualified" for certain types of jobs they were applying to. The reasoning goes like this:

"You have a degree in Field X. That's a red hot field! The newspapers say so and everyone with a degree in Field X is rich! Therefore you must be a complete loser or very bad at Field X if your applying for a job here." Also, "Since you have a degree in Field X you must really want to work in Field X. Will you be sulking about feeling that this job is below you? Since this job is far below someone in Field X, won't you quit it as soon as you can find a job in hot Field X? I'd be better off hiring Frank here who doesn't have those kinds of opportunities and who has trained for this field."

Quote:
Also, "everyone and their brother" have advanced degrees? Yeah, really?
Relative to the market demand for people with advanced degrees.

Quote:
Show me some statistics, then I'll start to believe you, until then, you're sounding pretty ignorant like you happen to be mad at the world because your degree or advanced degree didn't get you anywhere.
My claims are based on over a decade of reading various news, magazine articles, anecdotal stories, and first-hand conversations with advanced degree holders in various fields about this subject. Take it or leave it; the advice is worth what you paid for it. Do your own research.

Quote:
The facts are like this, to get any type of job today outside of performing physical, backbreaking labor you need some sort of higher education.
I agree with you on that point. Unfortunately, the economy can only support so many college-education-requiring, knowledge-based jobs regardless of how many people flood into the colleges. Sadly, the truth of what you said won't magically create jobs for the oversupply of people who have underutilized degrees. I'm not saying not to go to college, just to be very very careful what fields you major in and how you make your investment.

Quote:
A degree isn't the same anymore I give you that, but saying that an advanced degree isn't worth anything is a complete lie.
That's going to depend on the degree in question, the prestige of the institution amongst employers, and the person getting the degree. I don't deny that many people won't be successful and won't find solid middle class and upper middle class jobs and careers afterwards, but my point is that a great many won't and that that large risk needs to be taken into consideration and taken very seriously.

Quote:
The only advanced degree that may be lacking today is an MBA and thats because the financial markets have taken such a hit, but trust me as soon as the economy gets back on track those with MBAs will be at an advantage again.
I'm not as knowledgeable about the MBA market but even before the financial crisis, I'd have been pretty skeptical about its value from a non-top 20 school. I'm under the impression that it might make sense if you already have a job and you can obtain the degree on the side or already have years of marketable experience in the field.

I disagree with your claim that the MBA is the only advanced degree that may be lacking. How about the MS in English or the Ph.D. in philosophy? Also, as I said, the science Ph.D. has very questionable career and employment value and there are many angry and underemployed science PhDs. (Know what a "postdoc" is?) A few science career references:

Required Reading — PhDs.org: Science, Math, and Engineering Career Resources
2nd Edition: Contemporary Problems in Sci Jobs
Huddled Masses - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers
Who Speaks for Early-Career Scientists? - Science Careers - Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Faculty, Postdoc jobs on Science Careers

Quote from that last link:

Quote:
Despite these perceptions, tens of thousands of Ph.D.s, many of them American-born and American-educated, are stuck in dead-end positions, struggling to find careers commensurate with their training and experience. Many others with technical expertise watch companies use H-1B visas to move their jobs offshore. A major "disconnect [separates] what the politicians believe is happening ... and what seems to be the reality on the ground," Hira says.
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