Convince me NOT to go to LS

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby cole558 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:05 pm

Over the past few days, I have spent quite a great deal of time thinking about going to law school. My gut instinct tells me that it is not a sound financial decision. However, there is this voice that has pulled me to practice law since I was a teenager. I will not go into too many details regarding passion for law though since it is hard to quantify such passion.

Current situation:
I am 34 years old, engaged, no kids, paying mortgage, excellent credit scores (All FICO scores at or above 790; 800), salary: 75k, MBA from T-10 business school. My relatively low salary for MBA is because I work in Public Service. I choose this career route for two reasons. 1) Pension benefits are strong at current role. With my 10 years of experience in this sector, I have contributed greatly to pension. Employer matches 7.5% towards retirement. 2) PSLF. I have 100k in student loans yet only make $300 monthly payments. If I continue with PSLF, I will pay off student loan debt in 10 years and will only end up paying about 40k. My fiance and I live together in TX; our combined salaries are 124k. She also works in public sector but has not major debt.

Note that I have ZERO interest in working in Big Law. I am mainly interested in family/immigration/criminal law. Please let me know under what conditions (if any) law school would be worth it. I have not taken LSAT and do not want to prepare until I know for sure that I should do this. Or should I wait five years and go to LS at age 39. LS (part-time) would take 4 years so I would be graduating at 43 but would be done with current student loan obligations, assuming that I find a way to pay LS without further debt. I would truly appreciate your help!

User avatar
Barack O'Drama

Gold
Posts: 3266
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:21 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby Barack O'Drama » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:13 pm

cole558 wrote:Over the past few days, I have spent quite a great deal of time thinking about going to law school. My gut instinct tells me that it is not a sound financial decision. However, there is this voice that has pulled me to practice law since I was a teenager. I will not go into too many details regarding passion for law though since it is hard to quantify such passion.

Current situation:
I am 34 years old, engaged, no kids, paying mortgage, excellent credit scores (All FICO scores at or above 790; 800), salary: 75k, MBA from T-10 business school. My relatively low salary for MBA is because I work in Public Service. I choose this career route for two reasons. 1) Pension benefits are strong at current role. With my 10 years of experience in this sector, I have contributed greatly to pension. Employer matches 7.5% towards retirement. 2) PSLF. I have 100k in student loans yet only make $300 monthly payments. If I continue with PSLF, I will pay off student loan debt in 10 years and will only end up paying about 40k. My fiance and I live together in TX; our combined salaries are 124k. She also works in public sector but has not major debt.

Note that I have ZERO interest in working in Big Law. I am mainly interested in family/immigration/criminal law. Please let me know under what conditions (if any) law school would be worth it. I have not taken LSAT and do not want to prepare until I know for sure that I should do this. Or should I wait five years and go to LS at age 39. LS (part-time) would take 4 years so I would be graduating at 43 but would be done with current student loan obligations, assuming that I find a way to pay LS without further debt. I would truly appreciate your help!


So basically there's a voice in your head and that's your reason for going to law school?

Even against knowing instinctually it's financially a poor decision?

Seems like your life is going pretty well. You have a fiance, a good job, and a house. Don't go to law school. Especially if the reason for doing so is because there's a voice that you've successfully ignored for 20 years telling you to go.
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse

Diamond
Posts: 29317
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:24 pm

Family/immigration/criminal law tend to be small law, local law, more dependent on experience and connections than law school pedigree. So a full ride to a good school in the region where you want to practice would be a reasonable outcome (especially if your fiancee paid the cost of living while you were in school). However, there's no guarantee your salary would be higher than what you currently make, so you would have to be making this choice based on intrinsic value of the work to you, rather than other financial considerations. Probably the biggest risk is that you would end up in a small firm/non-PSLF eligible job after the JD, which would (as you realize) screw up your loan repayment plans unless you waited until you'd paid it all off.

That said, if you wait till your current loans are paid off, that gives you more time to consider whether this is what you really want to do. I don't think 39 is too old to start in those particular fields, but I suppose it depends on personal circumstances.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby cole558 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:26 pm

It is a little more than a voice of course. I do not find full enjoyment in current career. Right after undergrad, I worked as paralegal for 3 years and found work to be enjoyable. Being paralegal is not the same thing as attorney of course. It could be that I just need to find a different job/role in my current career. What about idea of going to school later in life?

So basically there's a voice in your head and that's your reason for going to law school?

Even against knowing instinctually it's financially a poor decision?

Seems like your life is going pretty well. You have a fiance, a good job, and a house. Don't go to law school. Especially if the reason for doing so is because there's a voice that you've successfully ignored for 20 years telling you to go.[/quote]

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby cole558 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:30 pm

Thoughtful response. Thank you for taking time to write back. You hit the nail right on the head. My desire to practice law is driven by intrinsic motivations. During my MBA, I was offered a position at Bank of America but turned it down even though money was good. Having said that, I also would not want to make less than what I do now. I even contemplated idea of practicing law on part-time basis while keeping my current role. Not sure how realistic that is. Immigration/family law is mostly "paper pushing" so maybe I could pick up 3-4 clients per month.

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Family/immigration/criminal law tend to be small law, local law, more dependent on experience and connections than law school pedigree. So a full ride to a good school in the region where you want to practice would be a reasonable outcome (especially if your fiancee paid the cost of living while you were in school). However, there's no guarantee your salary would be higher than what you currently make, so you would have to be making this choice based on intrinsic value of the work to you, rather than other financial considerations. Probably the biggest risk is that you would end up in a small firm/non-PSLF eligible job after the JD, which would (as you realize) screw up your loan repayment plans unless you waited until you'd paid it all off.

That said, if you wait till your current loans are paid off, that gives you more time to consider whether this is what you really want to do. I don't think 39 is too old to start in those particular fields, but I suppose it depends on personal circumstances.

User avatar
bretby

Bronze
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:15 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby bretby » Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:42 pm

cole558 wrote:It is a little more than a voice of course. I do not find full enjoyment in current career. Right after undergrad, I worked as paralegal for 3 years and found work to be enjoyable. Being paralegal is not the same thing as attorney of course. It could be that I just need to find a different job/role in my current career. What about idea of going to school later in life?

So basically there's a voice in your head and that's your reason for going to law school?

Even against knowing instinctually it's financially a poor decision?

Seems like your life is going pretty well. You have a fiance, a good job, and a house. Don't go to law school. Especially if the reason for doing so is because there's a voice that you've successfully ignored for 20 years telling you to go.
[/quote]

You're not too old to go to law school. Agree with previous poster who said given your goals it makes sense to take a full ride at a reasonable school in the market where you want to practice. It doesn't sound like you have been primarily motivated by money in the past, and if this is a career you think would be meaningful to you and you can undertake it without too much sacrifice (by getting a full ride), I think it is a reasonable choice to make. You probably know this, but in the off chance you aren't fluent in Spanish, you should start working on that now if you have ambitions in immigration.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby cole558 » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:02 pm

Thank you. I am fluent in Spanish (native language). As you mentioned, that is a requirement (not really an advantage) for Immigration Law. I live and work in Houston TX so I would be looking at UH as only reasonable choice. Not sure whether program offers scholarship for part-time students though.
South Texas College of Law does offer part-time but they no scholarship money. And Thurgood Marshall has worrying bar pass rates (and no part-time).

Would it be best for me to wait another 5 years? It would be really nice if an accredited school offered an online program for working professionals.

User avatar
Barack O'Drama

Gold
Posts: 3266
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:21 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby Barack O'Drama » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:09 pm

cole558 wrote:It is a little more than a voice of course. I do not find full enjoyment in current career. Right after undergrad, I worked as paralegal for 3 years and found work to be enjoyable. Being paralegal is not the same thing as attorney of course. It could be that I just need to find a different job/role in my current career. What about idea of going to school later in life?

So basically there's a voice in your head and that's your reason for going to law school?

Even against knowing instinctually it's financially a poor decision?

Seems like your life is going pretty well. You have a fiance, a good job, and a house. Don't go to law school. Especially if the reason for doing so is because there's a voice that you've successfully ignored for 20 years telling you to go.
[/quote]

Yeah, I figured as much but I was only trying to convince you not to go to LS, as your title asked. If you actually want to go and know what you're getting into then I think nony's advice is spot on.

I think it's perfectly fine to go later in life. Besides, you're never too old to do what you want. Even at 40, you'll have 40 years left to live. Might as well be doing something you enjoy.

Best of luck!
Last edited by Barack O'Drama on Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.

mcmand

Silver
Posts: 722
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 12:45 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby mcmand » Sun Jan 21, 2018 11:21 pm

...
Last edited by mcmand on Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Johann

Diamond
Posts: 19693
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:25 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby Johann » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:41 am

leaving a job you dont hate that pays 75k with potential for 6 figures (assuming MBA and non public interest job gets you there) is so dumb. lawyers work a lot. bt being in professional services means you basically only get paid for 80%~ of the time you work. if you value work life balance and like your job at all, i woudnt.

User avatar
nealric

Gold
Posts: 2760
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:53 am

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby nealric » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:03 pm

I don't think immigration law would be particularly rewarding for you. The only way to make a living at it is very high volume, which means you won't be spending a lot of time getting to know your clients. There are rarely complex or interesting legal arguments to be made. The true hard luck cases are going to be pro-bono.

Family law can be a lot more interesting, but it can still be a grind especially if you tire of human drama.

My recommendation: if you do it, go to UH at night. Don't quit your job. As you learn more about law and these practice areas, you may realize the calling isn't as strong as you first thought. Then you will at least have your good government job to fall back on- the JD may even help your growth potential at that job.

Subban_Fan

New
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:52 am

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby Subban_Fan » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:42 pm

South Texas College of Law does offer part-time but they no scholarship money. And Thurgood Marshall has worrying bar pass rates (and no part-time).


Bar passage rates are a crucial statistic to gauge law schools overall, but proper bar prep plays an important role too. You appear to have a history of being academically disciplined. Even if you aren't, at least staying academically disciplined for a few months and making sure to do your Bar prep course properly goes a long way to Bar passage. Even the worst law schools in the country have 30-60% passage, so proper Bar prepping goes a long way.

I agree with nealric that initially immigration may be very boring for you. But I do know some practitioners that do a mix of immigration and criminal matters, and that sounds like a very interesting practice.

It also can be a lot more lucrative than what people typically think if you're in the right network and city. A lot of the highest paying jobs in the U.S. are filled by immigrants who work in the tech industry. A decent amount of this population is male, young, and enjoying their financial success and life in the United States. Sometimes, they go overboard. When they do, they'll pay very large sums of money to keep stuff off their record and to stay in the country. The hard part though is getting into this network as it tends to be pretty insular.

Some interesting reads:
https://www.americanbar.org/publication ... n-law.html

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/09/ ... on/499712/

User avatar
jbagelboy

Diamond
Posts: 10241
Joined: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:57 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Jan 24, 2018 11:01 pm

Come on. Seriously. Law school?

Law school is pathetic. Its the end of the road for the low-creativity, disenchanted, highly insecure, above average intellect but below average socialized freak show; that which has resigned itself when all else is bust. And many of my dearest friends and some of the best people I know are attorneys. But it is, to be blunt, the fucking worst (its actually a great time — if you ignore opportunity cost, tuition, and job prospects). Do yourself a favor: don’t go.

This entire website, come to think of it, is a perverse idolization of a patheticism. Sad.

cole558

New
Posts: 15
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:08 pm

Re: Convince me NOT to go to LS

Postby cole558 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:27 pm

Thanks for writing back. I agree that immigration law can be lucrative given right conditions. I also agree with other posters that one needs high volume in most cases in order to make a decent living. I appreciate your thoughtful response. At this point, I would only go to law school if I 1) it is part time and 2) I get at least partial money.

Subban_Fan wrote:
South Texas College of Law does offer part-time but they no scholarship money. And Thurgood Marshall has worrying bar pass rates (and no part-time).


Bar passage rates are a crucial statistic to gauge law schools overall, but proper bar prep plays an important role too. You appear to have a history of being academically disciplined. Even if you aren't, at least staying academically disciplined for a few months and making sure to do your Bar prep course properly goes a long way to Bar passage. Even the worst law schools in the country have 30-60% passage, so proper Bar prepping goes a long way.

I agree with nealric that initially immigration may be very boring for you. But I do know some practitioners that do a mix of immigration and criminal matters, and that sounds like a very interesting practice.

It also can be a lot more lucrative than what people typically think if you're in the right network and city. A lot of the highest paying jobs in the U.S. are filled by immigrants who work in the tech industry. A decent amount of this population is male, young, and enjoying their financial success and life in the United States. Sometimes, they go overboard. When they do, they'll pay very large sums of money to keep stuff off their record and to stay in the country. The hard part though is getting into this network as it tends to be pretty insular.

Some interesting reads:
https://www.americanbar.org/publication ... n-law.html

https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/09/ ... on/499712/



Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate?

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests