Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

If you had no student loans.

Most of the issues addressed here are with student loans. Le ambulancechaser201312/18/17
basically, I would not be working as a teacher (PSLF) and I jdcumlaude12/18/17
I might enjoy it more if I at least got the enjoy the money dietcoke12/18/17
100% this. I'm currently getting the promised hours without shikes12/18/17
Every paycheck I look at the 5 figure balance in my bank and dietcoke12/18/17
I don't have student loans and I'm not particularly enamored isthisit12/18/17
I have no student loans and I enjoy my career in law. Overal bucwild12/19/17
I mostly enjoy it, even with the loans. Although i am kinda flawed12/19/17
If XRP takes off I’ll let you know burneremail12/19/17
XRP will become obsolete in five years. They are trying t canon8312/20/17
I do currently enjoy what I do, to a degree. Certainly more jd4hire12/19/17
It's not worth it. I have no loans, and I've been pract patenttrollnj12/19/17
I would add that almost no job today in the private sector h ternarydaemon12/19/17
So, why bother with law school? If I wanted an unsecure, patenttrollnj12/21/17
Agreed. It is just part of an industrial complex that includ ternarydaemon12/21/17
Well, they certainly misrepresent something. Let's not patenttrollnj12/22/17
I would try to clerk for longer. I love clerking but it bar junkwired12/19/17
I left law because I found a job with the Feds that would pa flyer1412/19/17
Overall, I have no debt, and my practice at this point targe ternarydaemon12/19/17
Without the albatross of student loans I would change field bittersweet12/19/17
I only have about $10k left in loans, and as much of a relie 6figuremistake12/20/17
Actually no, I do not think the practice of law is worth the trijocker12/20/17
If I had no student loans, it'd have been a pretty solid inv thirdtierlaw12/21/17

ambulancechaser2013 (Dec 18, 2017 - 9:13 pm)

Most of the issues addressed here are with student loans. Let’s say all of you guys here had no student loans. Would you still hate the law or want to leave it? Would it not be a decent or even good investment then?

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jdcumlaude (Dec 18, 2017 - 9:44 pm)

basically, I would not be working as a teacher (PSLF) and I would just sit back and be a click monkey and sell stuff at flea markets on the weekend for some uncle same free income.

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dietcoke (Dec 18, 2017 - 9:15 pm)

I might enjoy it more if I at least got the enjoy the money I earned, I guess

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shikes (Dec 18, 2017 - 9:52 pm)

100% this. I'm currently getting the promised hours without the promised salary or lifestyle.

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dietcoke (Dec 18, 2017 - 10:22 pm)

Every paycheck I look at the 5 figure balance in my bank and feel like I'm finally makin' it.

Then I pay my exorbitant rent, other bills, and everything leftover to student loans and I'm right back to broke.

And for only two more years of this I can have a net worth of 0!

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isthisit (Dec 18, 2017 - 9:30 pm)

I don't have student loans and I'm not particularly enamored with the practice.

I do landlord/tenant and Immigration. It's not bad work but it's boring sometimes and needlessly adversarial. Plus Immigration is filled with soo many "down on your luck" cases and not always a solution. It can be depressing.

I don't mind the L/T since my family own the properties so we need that rent money or tenants can GTFO.

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bucwild (Dec 19, 2017 - 7:11 am)

I have no student loans and I enjoy my career in law. Overall, it has been a decent investment, but I got lucky in a lot of ways. I would not go to law school if I could do it all over again, and would not recommend law school to 95% of people.

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flawed (Dec 19, 2017 - 9:40 am)

I mostly enjoy it, even with the loans. Although i am kinda lucky settling into a pretty cush in house gig.

Would be nyc not to have to pay $500 a month while my balance baloons regardless. But i consider it my idiot tax

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burneremail (Dec 19, 2017 - 9:47 am)

If XRP takes off I’ll let you know

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canon83 (Dec 20, 2017 - 3:29 pm)

XRP will become obsolete in five years.

They are trying to solve a problem from the past.

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jd4hire (Dec 19, 2017 - 9:54 am)

I do currently enjoy what I do, to a degree. Certainly more so than my first job selling computer software to non-profits. In general, I hate billing time and each and every day revolves around that for me. It's palatable, but something I despise. As it stands, I have resigned myself to working towards partner and just deal with the billing issue, but as I work towards partner, will consider any chance to exit to the in-house promised land or I'd flip to the dark side and shake down carriers.

My wife is an attorney and if we both had no student loans I'd be very happy. Probably easier said than done, but we pay enough in student loans that we could afford a second mortgage or bank some money towards retirement or just have more money to eat out, go to concerts, weekend getaways, etc. We don't have kids, yet. We still do a lot of that, just on credit cards, unfortunately.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 19, 2017 - 11:30 am)

It's not worth it.

I have no loans, and I've been practicing for 15 years. True, it's all been at small firms, but that's still better than most from my cohort. Regardless, the whole experience has been "underwhelming" at best, and outright "toxic" on the bad days. Specifically, my gripes are as follows:

First, the work itself is mindless and repetitive. True, there are some attorneys out there doing "real" legal work, but they are a minority. Most attorneys are "over-glorified secretaries" doing work that any monkey could do.

Second, the day-to-day routine for many lawyers is very solitary. Rather than actually communicate with people, I find that many attorneys actually work in isolation in some dusty office shifting through files. True, there are many attorneys that actually do interact with clients, other attorneys and/or the courts, but too many don't.

Third, there is absolutely no job security. Something like 1/3 of law school graduates cannot find work a year after graduating. As for the 2/3 who do, how long do they keep these jobs? And, how many are able to find a replacement job if they do lose the job? I suspect less than 50% of law school graduates are actually practicing law 10 years after graduation. Anecdotally, NONE of my friends from law school are still practicing law.

Fourth -- low salaries, which tend to go down over time (rather than up).

Finally (and most importantly), the law degree and legal experience is rarely marketable when one is trying to shift into some other field or practice area. True, we have attorneys getting jobs in compliance, risk management and/or switching specialties. I, myself, went from insurance defense into patent law--so it is possible. However, I don't think that is realistic for most lawyers. Most attorneys are pigeon-holed into what they do, until they lose their job and end-up driving UBER cabs.

So, why bother?? It just isn't worth the effort or expense.

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ternarydaemon (Dec 19, 2017 - 2:09 pm)

I would add that almost no job today in the private sector has any sense of security. The legal profession is not the only one affected.

Also, salaries are overall quite low on almost all sectors except a few tech/financial sectors, some of which are bubbles about to burst (again).

Again, most entry level jobs and even most jobs requiring 3 years experience could be done by high school graduates, like in the 60s, but the issue is that the population has gotten dumber and overcredentialized, and now you need people with 4 years college degrees to (barely) do jobs that a baby boomer did in the 60s at 19 years old, just out of high school. Even more, many jobs today should be automated or done by computers, but companies are of course resisting the elimination of fat cushy jobs that feed Genexers and Boomers that produce low or no value.

As it has been mentioned in the board and the scamblogs for years, the real issue is the extra 3 years of postgraduate education and the ridiculous debt for attorneys and, to a lesser extent, doctors. If law was a bachelor degree like in asia or latin america, lawyers would have salaries and debt comparable to, for example, accountants or designers.

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patenttrollnj (Dec 21, 2017 - 8:46 am)

So, why bother with law school?

If I wanted an unsecure, low-paying job that any mouth-breathing monkey could do, I'd just apply for that job directly and avoid all the time and expense of law school.

I fully understand what you're saying. Salaries are down across all sectors, and security in the workforce is non-existant. However, some professions are still more secure than others. Law should be one of those "safer" professions given the tremendous investment we make to obtain that license. Unfortunately, we're being played by legal academia and the ABA who are looking out for their interests, and as a result the profession has been glutted with people that are, let's face it, poorly trained and ill prepared to practice.

Further, law schools misrepresent to their students what the practice of law is actually like. I mean, when did any law school teach its students about doing file review? After all, that's what about 1/3 of all their graduates end-up doing (another 1/3 is unemployed a year after graduating), yet that little fact is withheld from us.

So yes, things are bad in all professions, but in law things are especially egregious.

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ternarydaemon (Dec 21, 2017 - 12:43 pm)

Agreed. It is just part of an industrial complex that includes universities, accrediting bodies, government, big law firms, etc.

Overall, I do not think law schools misrepresent their curricula. After all, they teach a set of credits and information pertaining the legal "way of thinking". This no new, and it has been the case for 80+ years. The same could be said of most programs, they just teach you according to an accredited program, and they are not, technically or didactically, intended to be glorified training workshops. Even way before the dot.com bubble, there was already a disconnection between what you learned and what the job market required, but at leas the wage and cost of living fundamentals still allowed most graduates to make a minimum descent living.

The great recession only made the reality clearer and harsher, but there is nothing new under the sun...

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patenttrollnj (Dec 22, 2017 - 10:11 am)

Well, they certainly misrepresent something.

Let's not forget that law school is a professional school, and the JD is a terminal degree. Whatever it is that they teach there, it is supposed to be for the purpose of performing that profession.

Given that so many law graduates end-up being either unable to find a law job OR get some mindless document review job that leads nowhere, whatever sophistry the law professors pontificate about is in actuality quite far-removed from the reality of what their graduates end-up doing.

The fact that they've had this same curriculum for 100+ years is no excuse. If anything, it suggests how LAZY and out of touch law professors are with the reality of their own profession. I think it also demonstrates that some new way of educating future lawyers is necessary.

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junkwired (Dec 19, 2017 - 11:52 am)

I would try to clerk for longer. I love clerking but it barely pays the bills.

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flyer14 (Dec 19, 2017 - 12:38 pm)

I left law because I found a job with the Feds that would pay off my student loans. Now that my loans are paid in full, I have little desire to return... although I do keep that option open, I'm looking even further afield of law now.

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ternarydaemon (Dec 19, 2017 - 2:14 pm)

Overall, I have no debt, and my practice at this point targets small startups. 95% of my work is delivered via email and freelancing platforms, and most clients I have never even talked with them via voice. I have opened a couple of side-businesses and I am on my way to achieve a 50/50 earning ratio of law work and my own businesses in a some years.

It would be soul crushing to wake up each day with tens or hundreds of thousands in debt, working 12 hours a day in an office like a prisoner, with colleagues that bore me, bosses I despise, doing boring work that even clients despise, until the day I get fired, I get my first heart attack, or I retire an old, crushed shadow of my younger self. Or perhaps I was never cut for the legal environment.

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bittersweet (Dec 19, 2017 - 3:10 pm)

Without the albatross of student loans I would change fields and do something tech related. Unfortunately that would require some schooling, b/c the Fortran class I took in college is WAY out of date. But I know dozens of people near me making six figures with just a BS and the technical experience.

I don't have the time to go learn the stuff while I am constantly either working or looking for work. And I can't afford to take the time off or borrow money while dealing with the damn loans and rent in the DC area.

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6figuremistake (Dec 20, 2017 - 3:55 pm)

I only have about $10k left in loans, and as much of a relief as it is, it's still depressing to think that I've wasted over $100k to pay for a worthless degree - when that money could have gone to my mortgage, retirement fund, or just about anything else.

It's an absolutely worthless degree for those who don't practice law - and about 1/3 of graduates end up like me; even if I didn't have to pay for it, it would been a waste. Keep in mind, many people who do go into law after LS wish they didn't and a good number find their way out eventually. Except for the minority that strike it rich and/or really like their role, we all would have been better of with just a BA/BS.

Even if you get out without the debt, there's still a huge opportunity cost in sacrificing some prime years of work experience, saving for retirement, and saving for a house. Don't do it kids.

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trijocker (Dec 20, 2017 - 6:49 pm)

Actually no, I do not think the practice of law is worth the sacrifice
I have lived in major metros, and sometimes when I apply for JD jobs, 100 or more people apply.
If I did not have the student loan burden, I could work at what I choose, and I would not care what that was, as long as it paid the bills and I had a roof over our heads.
If I think back on jobs I most enjoyed in my life they were bartender, lifeguard where I got to talk to a lot of the locals and kids, and working in a bookstore. None of these jobs paid anything but scant above minimum wage, but I was happy and did not have high blood pressure like I do now.
If I won the lottery or could discharge my student loans I would walk away all together.

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thirdtierlaw (Dec 21, 2017 - 12:07 pm)

If I had no student loans, it'd have been a pretty solid investment. There are days that I love my job, there are also days that I hate it. But I'm not sure I'd be any happier doing anything else. But it's hard to say, though I'm making way more than I could have with my undergrad degree, any career path available to me would have a lot less stress. So there are trade-offs all the way around.

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