Law School

  • This topic has 61 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 11 years ago by RSRH.
Viewing 50 posts - 1 through 50 (of 62 total)
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  • #592942
    Ender
    Participant

    I am thinking of going to law school, and I am curious about where people went to school, and their overall experiences.

    #709510
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I did not go to Law School. Nor do I wear overalls that I would have any overall experiences.

    The Wolf

    #709511
    akuperma
    Participant

    If law as a discipline interests you, law school is fun. Making a living as a lawyer can be challenging, especially if you look and act frum, or have serious concerns about engaging in immoral conduct (such as helping evil-doers prosper). Remember that the big money is law is in being a hired gun for people whose misconduct requires one – helping the innocent is less lucrative. One can have a perfectly respectable career as a lawyer, and one totally compatible with a hareidi lifestyle, but you probably will not even be in the running for the “filthy rich” lifestyle many law school students aspire to. Note that public law schools in one’s home state are usually affordable, and well qualified students can get merit scholarships at private law schools (but borrowing $150K on the assumption that in three years you’ll be making that much as an associate at a fancy law firm is probably folly, especially for a frum person). If a legal career appeals to you independent of the hope of getting an upper class parnasah out of the deal, you should probably consider going to law school.

    #709513

    Thanks Wolf,

    I got a good laugh out of that!

    #709514

    I work in an accounting firm and hope to become a CPA. My boss always tells me to go to law school and become a lawyer because she says accounting is 90% work and 10% bs…..but law is 10% work and 90% bs….so hatzlacha to you!!!!

    #709515
    Sacrilege
    Member

    If you are thinking of going because you like law and find it interesting, then go. If you want to go for the money I would advise against it. The law field got hit pretty hard in the economic down-turn and many graduates find themselves out of work.

    the firm where I work all agree that given the chance to do it all over, they wouldnt become lawyers, and I qoute, “Its a waste of time and money”

    #709516
    cantoresq
    Member

    As one who has practiced law for fifteen years, Akuperma is completely wrong about the practice. Law is what you make of it. Rarely are people completely “innocent” or entirely “guilty.” Like the rest of life, there are significant gray areas. Most disputes are often honest misunderstandings of the facts with the sides having divergent interpretations or recollections. Having said that, there are honest lawyers and dishonest ones. The betters ones, those who are well respected and the most successful, in my experience, are the honest ones.

    #709517
    A23
    Participant

    Many (though not all) graduates of Fordham, Cardozo, Brooklyn, Hofstra, etc. are having major problems finding jobs now and will likely not get a job paying more than $70-80k.

    Being frum will likely hurt you: your grades will probably be lower (on account of lost time studying for davening, Shabbos, and yom tov), firms will be reluctant to hire you.

    In sum, if you can, look into medical school or some other profession.

    #709518
    Sacrilege
    Member

    Seems like something happened to my previous post…

    What it should have said is:

    Ironically, the Partners at the firm where I work all agree that given the chance to do it all over, they wouldnt become lawyers, and I qoute, “Its a waste of time and money”

    #709519
    NoNonsense
    Participant

    To A23: if you are in it for the money, then medical school is an even a worse option! The frum issue is worse and the pay is only getting worse with each mnedicare fee reduction! Speak to someone in the medical field first, before going that route!

    #709520
    WIY
    Member

    Sacrilege

    So what’s better? Accounting? Finance? Everything got hit!

    #709521
    squeak
    Participant

    If you’re in it for the money, the only field that really pays off is (taking) government benefits. It requires no upfront investment of time or money (read: college and student loans), no hard work other than filling out forms and a lot of waiting around, and no overtime. Job security is almost assured, there are no issues with being frum, and best of all- you have no responsibilites, so you can ethically spend your entire day in the CR.

    Your employer will pay your housing costs, food costs, medical insurance (including dental and vision), a cell phone (often a landline phone as well), your heating/cooling bill, and some petty cash. Plus, instead of paying taxes on your pay, you actually get to claim negative amounts on your tax return and collect money (your employer will pay someone to fill out your tax forms for you, too)! It’s almost like being a partner in the IRS, except without any training or work 🙂

    #709522
    Sacrilege
    Member

    WIY

    The consensus is that they would work on Wall Street.

    #709523
    Moq
    Member

    Wallstreet that dropped 20% of it’s workforce wall street? That wall street?

    #709524
    Sacrilege
    Member

    Moq

    The Partners didnt graduate yesterday. A lot of lawyers were fired in the down turn as well, I’m going to guess the Wall Street Financiers who were fired werent the 20+ year veterans.

    The logic was that in order to become Partner you have to put in 80 hour work weeks (for arguments sake) On Wall Street you work 9-5 and make pretty much the same salary.

    Granted, once you make Partner life is good, until then…not so much.

    #709525
    rescue37
    Participant

    the people making the big bucks on wall street are not working 9am to 5pm. They are putting in the same crazy hours as the lawyers, with the only difference of not having to fill out a time sheet.

    #709526
    Helpful
    Member

    Wall Street has been firing countless financers with 30+ (and less) years experience, left and right.

    #709527
    Moq
    Member

    And after wife number three. Guess it helps to be lawyer when that happens.

    #709528
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    By the way. Lawyers need to bill 2000 hours per year. That works out to 8.4 billing hours per day on a 5 day workweek with 15 days vacation.

    That is not an 80 hour week.

    #709529
    Helpful
    Member

    But not every working minute in the office is billable.

    #709530
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    neither is every billable minute working.

    #709531
    Sacrilege
    Member

    Popa

    For every 2 hours billed there is an hour of unbillable tasks to be done.

    Besides, the big firms expect you to bring in new clients, have working lunches etc. all of which arent counted towards billable hours.

    #709532
    charliehall
    Participant

    Nononsense is 100% correct about medical school. DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT GOING TO MEDICAL SCHOOL IF YOU ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY. I say that as someone who is married to a physician who finished her training with over two hundred thousand dollars of debt and who has taught medical students since 1998. Physician salaries aren’t what people think they are; only a few specialties are lucrative today. And the training is grueling: 80 hour weeks including 24 hour shifts.

    #709533
    ChanieE
    Participant

    If you’re really driven and you have $$$ to spare, go ahead …

    Most of the lawyers I know (myself included) are working in other fields, although I guess if I was still in law I would know more practicing lawyers. “Successful” practicing lawyers put in a LOT of time; government work is 9-5 but the pay is low.

    #709534
    memo
    Member

    when i was looking into career possibilities I asked my uncle now a successful lawyer in the ny area whether law is a good field to go into? he said he 100% wouldn’t recommend it since the few success new comers are ones who went to the ivy league universities! the competition is huge there are tons of young lawyers without work at all and the only “in” is to have someone who will promise to take you in their firm…

    if you still have a chance to decide your career plan the lucrative fields today are: medicine,business (and accounting is always needed around the world)

    #709535
    Ender
    Participant

    More or less everyone is saying that law is not worth it. My question with a BTL what profession is worthwhile, that won’t take too many years (medicine)? For those who are saying MBA, from what I hear its harder to come by bussiness jobs than law jobs.

    #709536
    Sacrilege
    Member

    Ender

    If you are good in math/statistics maybe look into becoming an Actuary. While you cant apply a full BTL towards the degree, if you get a BA in accounting or mathamatics you may be able to apply some Yeshiva credits if you get the degree through Touro.

    #709537
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    That’s ridiculous. People are getting fine jobs out of Penn.

    #709538
    zalmy
    Member

    (my background: finished law school a few years ago, work as a patent attorney, obviously have many friends/acquaintances who are attorneys.)

    – whoever mentioned it before, i cannot emphasize enough that the legal marketplace (as a whole) was hit very hard. this is true nationwide, but nowhere moreso than NYC. put simply, the demand for lawyers has gone down drastically, but the supply of lawyers (i.e, the number of new law school graduates coming into the job market every year) is higher than ever before. you don’t need a degree in economics to understand what this means.

    – the reason for this is (in part) due to the fact that the barrier for entry into law school (and the legal profession) is very low. there are no prerequisites for law school (case in point

    – you can get a BTL, take the LSAT, and go to law school). as a result, 10’s of 1000’s of college graduates with relatively-worthless (from an employment/earning standpoint) undergraduate degrees (think philosophy, history, sociology, etc., etc.) apply to (and attend) law schools every year.

    – the case has always been (and is true all the moreso now) that, when all things are equal, the best jobs will go to the most qualified students. since there are far fewer jobs now, the competition for them is incredibly fierce. if you do a bit of searching, you can find many reports, articles, etc., documenting how so many lawyers are unemployed now, including many ivy league graduates, etc. so, the only way that investing 3 years and probably around $150k in student loans is worth it, is if you attend one of the top 14 law schools (the higher the better in large part), or you finish at the very top (say %5-10) of one of the top 100 law schools. any school ranked below 100 (on the US news list) is simply not worth attending, in most cases. the reason being what i wrote above – would you rather hire a top student from hofstra, touro, etc., or an average student from columbia (again, assume all other factors are equal)? you simply do not have a good chance of getting a job paying more than 50k/year (starting salary) if you attend a law school ranked below 100 or so.

    the ONLY exceptions to this rule (in sum: either go to a top 14 school, or else do VERY well at a top 100 school, or else it is VERY unlikely that you will be getting paid more than 50k/year when you graduate) are:

    1. if you have a job waiting for you when you go to law school (i.e. your parent/close relative has a firm, or is a partner in a firm, or is a major client of a firm).

    or

    2. you have a specialized background/education that you can apply to your legal career (and which therefore distinguishes you, and makes it so that the history, philosophy, etc., majors can’t compete with you for the same jobs), for example, a hard science/engineering degree (i.e., chemistry, electrical engineering, etc.) which enables you to practice patent law, or an accounting/finance degree which may give you something of an advantage in tax law, as well as in corporate, securities, and bankruptcy. now, there are many unemployed lawyers in these areas, too, but far fewer.

    something else to think about: your law school performance is based entirely on your grades which are (for the most part) given based on a single blind-graded (i.e., the professor does not see your name, just your answers, and gives the grade “blind”) exam for each class. the exams almost always consist of 3-5 essay questions, the answers to which are usually 10-20 paragraph responses. many BTL graduates have poor english writing skills, especially when compared to college graduates who have been writing essays/papers for 4 years. even with a “gemmara kup,” this puts many BTL graduates at a significant disadvantage.

    not trying to dissuade you if you really think its for your, but you need to know the truth (at least from my own experiences/observations). law schools in particular try to skew their salary reporting data, because they make tons of $$$ every year from student loans from every student who goes to law school thinking they’re gonna make good $$ when they leave. if the schools were honest about this, far fewer people would go to law school, and the legal market would slowly normalize (hopefully).

    #709539
    A23
    Participant

    Popa, I’m sorry I didn’t list all the top schools: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Chicago, NYU, Berkeley, Penn, Michigan, UVa, Duke, Northwestern, and Georgetown.

    #709540
    Homeowner
    Member

    Other than some punctuation issues 🙂 , I’ll agree with almost all of what Zalmy said.

    #709541
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    People get fine jobs out of Cornell.

    (I figured once I’m being ridiculous, I shouldn’t stop.)

    #709542
    A23
    Participant

    Popa,

    Ever since Cornell rejected me, they no longer deserve a position as a ‘top’ school.

    #709543
    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    I’m sorry. Where did you go? Did you go?

    #709544
    ronrsr
    Member

    Divorce lawyers have been particularly hard hit.

    I had a discussion recently at the nearby probate courthouse with a divorce lawyer who said business has been down terribly. Divorce is the ultimate discretionary purchase. Many people are putting off divorces until times get better.

    #709545
    Lawstudent
    Member

    Zalmy, as a 2L at Cardozo I think you did the poster a tremendous favor by writing a long, detailed post exposing the problems with the legal field. That being said, looking for summer (or spring semester) employment, know of anything for me? 🙂 (while written in a humorous vein, dead serious about the employment issue, I’m quite good at research, writing and motion practice) Thanks!

    #709546
    Homeowner
    Member

    Lawstudent, have you checked the summer internsips at any of the City agencies and especially the Corporation Counsel?

    #709547
    A23
    Participant

    Popa, it was okay. I went somewhere else on that list. While I didn’t apply to all of them, the only one that did reject me was Cornell, so I’ve developed an irrational hatred of them.

    #709548
    Lawstudent
    Member

    Homeowner, I sure have, NYC Law Dept, D.A. etc. Already have judicial internships on the resume so not that. There are lots of applicants for not too many jobs, however, and that causes fierce competition for the most basic jobs. I am currently part-time doing heavy motion practice at a plaintiff-side PI litigation firm.(paid, but not great $$) If you know of anything….

    #709549
    Homeowner
    Member

    A23, that’s too bad. While I never went to Ithaca, I did attend some lectures by Faust Rossi and he is indeed a great professor.

    #709550
    Sacrilege
    Member

    A23

    Maybe they heard that you like herring and yogurt…

    #709551
    A23
    Participant

    Sacrilege,

    Of course they heard. It was on my resume and my personal statement was about the fateful day I tried this new delicacy.

    #709552
    Sacrilege
    Member

    A23

    Cant really blame them then… 😉

    #709553
    asyyeger
    Participant

    I graduated from Penn Law fifteen years ago and initially had trouble getting a job for the opposite reason. Everyone was getting jobs in the private sector but I wanted to go into the public sector, and Penn’s career guidance was not particularly helplful there. I ended up in the DA’s office, and have spent the last 15 years in various government offices. I work normal hours, have fabulous vacation and benefits, but not a comparatively high salary.

    The question is why do you want to go to law school. I agree with everyone who said you should not go if your goal is simply to make money. There is simply no guarantee of a high paying job. Also factured in to the equation is whether you have to take out loans for school. If so, it’s even less worth it. However, if your parents can put you through with minimal or no loans, it certainly makes the decision to go easier if it’s something you really want to do. I went to law school because I knew I would love law school (my brother went before me), not because I really wanted to be a lawyer at the time.

    Coming from Penn, I always said that if you want to make money, go for an MBA. It’s a cheaper degree and an easier degree. (Sorry all you MBA’s out there, but I spent three years watching the Wharton students drink, network, and maybe stay up all night every few months when their projects were due.) Plus, if you can get an entry-level job at a company now, many companies will pay for an MBA if you agree to work for them for a few years. At least that’s the way it used to be. In this economy, I can’t say.

    You’re right that MBA’s can have trouble finding a job also. Everyone today is having trouble. But every bit of education gives you more practical knowledge and can make you more marketable. That gives you a leg up on the competition.

    Good luck!

    #709554
    Homeowner
    Member

    asyyeger, which DA’s office were you in? I spent time with RMM.

    #709555
    asyyeger
    Participant

    Homeowner:

    I was in the Bronx DA’s office for seven years, and also spent two years in the Rockland DA’s office.

    #709556
    Homeowner
    Member

    asyyeger, did you know Justice Collins? He was my bureau chief.

    #709557
    asyyeger
    Participant

    Homeowner:

    I did appear before him, but never tried a case in front of him. Did you overlap with Bongiorno?

    #709558
    Homeowner
    Member

    asyyeger, no, don’t know any Bongiorno. John was chief of the Complaint and Consumer Protection Bureau, which after he got on the bench broke into two bureaus.

    #709559
    Lawstudent
    Member

    So back to my original, (and well-practiced) question: Anyone know of a Summer or Spring Intern, Associate, Clerk position? Several of you seem to be seasoned practitioners, and if you have (or know of) any such openings, your help would be appreciated. I’ve got pretty decent references, writing samples and Resume.

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