Getting a BTL and Going to Law School?

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  • #934257

    akuperma
    Participant

    Generous compensation and a decent work-life are usually incompatible.

    If you work a decent work-life (plenty of time off to learn with the kids, no hassles getting to minyan, of course plenty of time for vacation, etc.), try being an underpaid employee of the frum community or at worse, working for civil service or a non-profit.

    If on the other hand, you want to be the one who pays full tuition, whom they honor at the maleve malka, and who generously provides the bail outs for the vital community organizations who seem to base their business plan on the federal goverment (but minus the printing press- a role you will pay), then go for the generous compensation.

    #934258

    benignuman
    Participant

    “Decent” and “generous” are relative. My point is that these are the key factors to look at. Sure, no generously compensated lawyer has work-life like that of a government employee, but not all big law firms are created equal and it’s not always directly correlated to compensation.

    #934259

    playtime
    Member

    I Hear. Yup.

    #1578641

    Scaife09
    Participant

    Woah! Studying at Harvard is a dream and I am putting a lot of effort in my preparation in order to get into this law school. All I do is to Practice LSAT Questions all day long because I am scared of falling down. Becoming a successful and famous lawyer is a dream I see and I’ll do anything to achieve it.

    #1578777

    Midwest2
    Participant

    There’s an aspect here which many people aren’t addressing. The problem is that the country – and particularly the New York area – is oversupplied with lawyers.During the time I was in New York I had one lawyer acquaintance complain to me that it was difficult to get into a good firm unless you had either gone to a big-name law school or had a fantastic GPA. And this was in the ’90s. Children of friends who have become lawyers have had difficulty finding jobs. It’s just not a good career choice any more. Better you should take an extra year or two and do “real college,” perhaps even taking some STEM courses (math won’t bite you, believe me), and prepare for a career with a good future. Check either with Agudah’s COPE program or Touro College to get information on what would be a good career path. Instead of worrying about LSATs, you might have to take the GRE, which is a much more sensible type of test. You can actually prepare for it using some of the books available, or even the materials on the GRE website. I brought my quantitative score up by 150 points just using review books, so you can certainly prepare.

    Don’t do something just because everyone else is. Remember, those everyone elses are going to be out there competing with you, and if the field is limited, as law is, it won’t be a happy situation.

    #1578808

    akuperma
    Participant

    Scaif09: To get into Harvard Law School (or any of the top law schools) with no more than a BTL and good LSAT is probably hopeless. If you really want to be a lawyer, and realize that it doesn’t involve getting big bucks in Manhattan, but probably grubbing for a living in the outer boros or the suburbs, a respectable LSAT, a BTL and $150K (assume you can commute from home and don’t have a family to support) can get you into the legal profession. After that, what you make of it is a function of your own industry and competence.

    #1579506

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Scaif09………………………..
    I second akuperma’s comments.
    I went to and IVY league university, have and MBA and a law degree from a top school in Massachusetts. I did not go the large law firm route, but established my own firm 35+ years ago in a specialized area of law.

    I have never taken in a partner. My children and their spouses went to law school knowing they would be joining the family firm and had future ownership when I retire. I would not have let them go through law school and attempt to find decent positions and be saddled with hundreds of thousands in student loans. To work and bill enough hours as a new associate in a big firm leaves no life or family time.
    The profession has changed drastically in the past 25 years. Much of what we used to do and charge large fees for doing can be done with on-line forms, help and no degree or license. Most young lawyers are not making a living and many leave the field quickly. Law is not what it once was. It you do not a a job connection/plan consider something else.

    BTW>>>I have taught as a Law School adjunct faculty member for 15+ years at several top New England schools and have never run across a student admitted with just a BTL. It might get you into some NYC schools, but forget the IVY League, or UMICH, etc.

    #1579511

    frumnotyeshivish
    Participant

    CTL – your anecdotal reflections are interesting but not persuasive.

    People with BTL’s have attended elite schools, your adjunctcy notwithstanding. Further, the continued abundance of older attorneys is not fully reflective of biglaw’s need for young, bright, industrious, and trainable associates. There is a shortage of junior associates in many large firms these days. Firms are also more reluctant to hire straight out of school.

    Your experiences are fascinating, and I’d love to talk about them over a cup of coffee but I’d refrain from making decisions based on only your observations.

    #1579598

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @frumnotyeshivish
    My post is not meant to be persuasive.
    It is the observations of someone who has plied this trade for more than 35 years and made a substantial living doing it.
    The poster I responded to did not use the word ‘ELITE” when posting, he wrote about Harvard. I responded about TOP New England Law Schools. I have never taught at Harvard, but my niece is a Law Professor there and we do talk about it. I have taught at Yale Law School (in my home town), as well as Boston University, Quinnipiac Law and UCONN Law. My children and spouses went to Columbia, Yale and Penn (my alma mater).
    I have rec’d resumes and interview requests from many frum law grads looking for positions because they think working in a frum run firm would have its advantages, alas living and working in small town Connecticut has its drawbacks for frum young people.

    While BTLs may have attended some ‘ELITE’ schools, chances are they were in the New York metro area. New England and Harvard are very conservative places. WASP anti-semitism is long entrenched in blueblood New England and even if not practiced openly it exists.
    In 1970 while applying and interviewing for colleges I was told in three New England schools that the Jew Quota was closed, this at a time when the Civil Rights Act was the law of the land (unlike my eldest brother who was told that at Princeton in 1963 when discrimination was still legal). Yale was never so overt, they would tell us that the quota for ‘Townies’ (New Haven residents) was full and they wanted a diverse geographic mix. 90%+ of Townies who applied in the 60s-90s were Jewish. From the 20s-60s Yale would accept Townies but stick them in the Sheffield Scientific School, home of Jews and Catholics. WASPS tended to be in Yale College. When I attended PENN undergrad, the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce had a much larger Jewish percentage than the College or College for Women (The 3 main undergrad colleges in the University). Much of this has changed in the last 4+ decades, but change in New England comes extremely slowly.

    #1579625

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    In my previous post where it says my children and spouses, it means my childrens’ spouses. There is only one Mrs. CTL.

    #1579676

    Avi K
    Participant

    One cannot get into an Ivy league school with only a “good” LSAT score. It has to be close to the top, as does one’s GPA. However, from what I have read BTLs do very well on the LSAT as it tests analytical skills (BTW, you can see the ranking of majors by average LSAT scores online and you will see that Pe-Law is not very high). Moreover, many schools look for a diversity of majors.

    Having written that, I do not understand why anyone who is not rich or good enough to get a full scholarship would go to law school today. Tuition is out of control (about five times the inflation rate over the last forty years – to give an idea, the gross starting salary at a NYC DA office forty years was twice the total three year tuition whereas now it is only a bit over one year’s tuition) and, as CTL observed, much work that was done by lawyers can be done by lay people (or paralegals). If someone likes the law but is not rich or a genius I would advise taking a paralegal course at a reputable school. It is much cheaper and faster.

    #1579690

    akuperma
    Participant

    My impression is that at this point in time there is no longer a problem of discrimination against Jews other than a prejdice against Orthodox Jews, and that only against ones who “look frum” (not affecting women with bare heads, men with bare heads and no beard, going out of the way to aviod being “too frum” in public, etc.), and even there some who is “too frum” could still get into a law school (though with a BTL and no other credential probably would not work at an elite school).

    The point that needs to be made is that if someone’s “dream” is to open a law office in a frum neighborhood, representing local people and businesses, and not expecting a road to riches – the “elite” law schools are largely worthless as their focus is on preparing students for the elilte lawfirms and academic life but not working in middle class communities.

    #1580253

    frumnotyeshivish
    Participant

    CTL- I mean no disrespect, only that your experiences, while fascinating and worthwhile to share, are not determinative of objective fact. I know of BTL’s who went through HLS. Penn, Umich, UCLA, Columbia, NYU, and Georgetown too, IIRC. I’m younger than you, and have less experience as an attorney, but exponentially more experience as a recent law grad. Idk of BTL’s in YLS, but that is a small sample size (both in terms of my circles, and in terms of yls class size). Bottom line- I’m not saying that a BTL should go to law school, just that it’s been done as a matter of objective fact.

    #1580261

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    I’m not saying a BTL can’t get into law school. My daughter who went to PENN was a music major undergrad. All her high school years working in my office paid off. The poster was talking about Harvard and I replied about New England schools.
    I had a long talk with my niece (the Harvard Law Prof <UMICH Law Review, father and grandfather appellate court judges>) and she said they are looking at writing samples more and more as opposed to just LSAT and GPA

    If you practice, you know writing is your bread and butter, far more than logic questions on a test.

    #1580269

    Ender
    Participant

    I am going to back up frumnotyeshivish on this one. I too am a recent law grad. I went to a tier 1, albeit not t-14, law school with only a BTL. I have multiple friends and acquaintances, however, who have gone to t-14 schools, including Harvard, with only a BTL.

    #1580332

    Avi K
    Participant

    It should also be mentioned that it is not absolutely necessary to go to law school in order to become a lawyer. VA, VT, WA, and CA allow people to take the bar exam after an apprenticeship program without ever having set foot in a law school. At one time NY did not require law school either and someone who flunked out of BLS twice went the apprenticeship route and passed the bar exam on the first try. He is now a Justice in the NYS Appellate Division, First Department.

    #1580421

    Joseph
    Participant

    The bar is a racket. Their primary purpose is to reduce the number of new lawyers in order to reduce competition for existing lawyers.

    #1580650

    Avi K
    Participant

    Joseph, that is true of exams given by professional organizations in general. For example, most candidates fail even the initial actuarial exams. With law though it starts in law school. Some schools even have (or had – the enormous tuition is very tempting) a policy of flunking out one in three first year students. Supposedly a Harvard prof told students on the first day “Look at the person on your left and the person on your right. Next year one of you won’t be here”.

    #1580734

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    AviK

    PLEASE: Don’t confuse the Professional Organization>>>Bar Association, and the division of State Government that administers the Exam. They are NOT the same.

    Here in CT, the exam is administered and scored by the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee, part of the state Superior Courts.
    In Massachusetts the exam is administered and scored by the Board of Bar Overseers, also part of the state court system.
    I know first hand about NY and CT because I took and passed and am licensed in both states. After holding my license in CT for 5 years, all I had to do was drive to Albany, pay a fee and be sworn in at the state judicial offices. That was decades ago, now one would have to take the exam

    It is also these entities who discipline attorneys for misdeeds.
    Membership in the Bar Association is not required to maintain one’s license. I haven’t bothered paying dues to the bar associations (statewide or county) in about 20 years. I’m not interested in their golf outings or treif dinners.

    #1580893

    Avi K
    Participant

    CTL, I presume that the members of the various state committees are attorneys and also senior members of the bar associations.

    #1580931

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @AviK
    I can only speak to CT where I know who the administrators of the Bar Examining Committee are.
    Yes, many of them are attorneys, but they have been bureaucrats working full time for the government for their entire careers, also the chief judge of the Superior Court (judges are not elected in CT).
    They tend NOT to be members of the Bar Association which is composed mainly of attorneys in public practice.
    Membership in the Bar Association is not a requirement to practice law in CT and I know many attorneys who do not spend the money to belong.

    The Bar Association in CT has far less influence than it had 30 years ago.
    CT currently uses questions from the national testing service for its state exam day, it no longer constructs its own exam, so Bar Association influence has no bearing on the test at this point.

    #1582780

    mmft
    Participant

    Does anyone know if a btl works for psychology?

    #1582904

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    I recently went back to get a Masters in Psychology for a new venture we are pursuing. I never took any Psych courses undergrad. The University told me that I could take any three intro psych courses at any accredited college, and they admit me with any Bachelor’s degree. I took the classes on-line from a local community college to meet the requirement and am now doing the masters at the University of Bridgeport.

    #1582851

    Joseph
    Participant

    Or if it works for Computer Science.

    #1583092

    mmft
    Participant

    How long do those courses take?

    #1583275

    Avi K
    Participant

    I would imagine that it would also work for an MBA. I know someone who has one although her BA is totally unrelated,

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