Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Trying to decide about going to law school.

Considering University of Texas Law School. Will not have to req102002/20/18
So you would be giving up ~$270k, have to work extremely har joecoder02/20/18
You should not go. I can give you examples of people wh heythere03/05/18
The opportunity cost is substantial. I was making 100k per y dwismost04/11/18
https://www.lstreports.com/schools/ texas/jobs/ Data are a dogdaypm02/20/18
You got real skills and a $90k job? Keep your job. I w jeffm02/20/18
OMG I went to a law school ranked well above UT, and oh how disappearedattorney02/20/18
UT is only about $35K of in state tuition a year. It isn’ bizzybone131302/20/18
I work in a patent boutique, coming out of a slightly lower bucwild02/20/18
Any chance you can leave your job and go back if you don't g irishlaw02/20/18
where did you earn your EE? what is your SME --subject mat xstockholmsynhostag02/21/18
What do you know about the practice of law? Have you ever wo wolfman02/21/18
Social convention attracts him, and information about market wearyattorney02/21/18
Oh, I don't disagree, but EE is a pretty tough subject, so I wolfman02/21/18
It’s not about smarts, it’s about conditionining. OP un wearyattorney02/21/18
YES! You are describing Confirmation Bias. They guy watche dilbert11303/01/18
Urgo? supercalifragilisti04/08/18
OP you need to find a good, free, night program if you are s khazaddum02/21/18
OP you've received sage advice in this thread. You also need 6figuremistake02/21/18
Thank you everyone for responding. I will take everyone’s req102002/21/18
This is a stupid decision. You’re going to go into debt to physicssezno02/21/18
And with less job security and more hatred by the public... wearyattorney02/21/18
I would go if: 1. You really don't like your current job pisces21302/21/18
Keep in mind OP that almost everyone who does biglaw hates i massivemissive02/21/18
Don't. My brother is an EE. He's doing much better than bittersweet02/21/18
Listen, his boomer teachers explained it to him: if you want wearyattorney02/21/18
you are insane if you go to law school. Just put a bullet in cocolawyer02/21/18
You speak too kindly. I am a lawyer with over 20 years of e dilbert11303/01/18
It is 11:00 pm, and I just got home. I started work this mo disappearedattorney02/22/18
What area of law do you practice in? Sounds hard to believe themapmaster02/22/18
What you think I’m lying? I don’t see what’s so far f disappearedattorney02/22/18
You did not have better exit options than being a solo out o loblawyer02/22/18
This is very common and expected. It's the price people oft jeffm02/22/18
90k without benefits sounds amazing for sinking several hund wearyattorney02/22/18
Exactly! The work-day is totally different, though. As a s jeffm02/22/18
Absolutely, definitely easier than having half the year comp wearyattorney02/22/18
Going to midlaw making high 100s or going in house are not t disappearedattorney02/22/18
I was never in major league biglaw—just a “somewhat know khazaddum02/22/18
Not to mention how much more interesting technology is in te jeffm02/22/18
Yes, i also think JDU is 5-10 years behind on the IP bus. It khazaddum02/22/18
Your words, not mine, disappeared. You sound successful to m themapmaster02/22/18
Likewise, I specifically stated I didn't mean to offend. I'm loblawyer02/22/18
Well one of you questioned my truthfulness and the other sug disappearedattorney02/22/18
Yep. Downsizing is always met with skepticism. jeffm02/22/18
I was definitely being insensitive. You have my apologies. loblawyer02/23/18
He'd be going for free. And as an EE should not have a hard dogdaypm02/22/18
Sorry — OP did say he wouldn’t have to take out loans, s disappearedattorney02/22/18
Your education will not be free. It will cost you $90K/year qdllc02/22/18
This. If you strike out and have the 3 year resume gap, you loblawyer02/22/18
The only circumstance under which you should consider law sc anothernjlawyer02/22/18
Go back 5-10 years on this forum. You will find posts (depe wearyattorney02/22/18
One final point, call some of the major recruiters about the wearyattorney02/22/18
Is this post a joke. Except for boomer attorneys, law school cocolawyer02/22/18
Except... it isn’t even good for that 1/10,000.00. I’ve wearyattorney02/22/18
You missed one. Rural judge on the outskirts of big city. jeffm02/22/18
That seems legit. cocolawyer02/22/18
I do not recommend matriculating. Law school is three years parlance02/22/18
Well OP, the whole bloody mess has been laid out for you in disappearedattorney02/22/18
Try reading some of this board, OP. Clearly you haven't. dieter02/22/18
as an engineer, you can earn a salary plus equity in the pri xstockholmsynhostag02/23/18
Curious, what are you basing your prediction on? inho2solo02/23/18
Take everyone's advice and stick with engineering. guyingorillasuit02/23/18
He will go to Law School anyway, and he will deeply regret i dilbert11303/01/18
"He suffers from Confirmation Bias... he believes what he wa inho2solo03/01/18
I wonder what dilbert will say when OP makes big law and has themapmaster03/07/18
Where all of this is coming from? My local Domino's pizza d dilbert11303/06/18
I'll assume the above is directed at me and thanks for respo inho2solo03/07/18
I was just talking to a paralegal at my firm who is going to bostonlawyer.204/08/18
When all the boomers are dead and in the ground, and when mo wearyattorney04/09/18
"you are insane if you go to law school. Just put a bullet i ejs201704/09/18

req1020 (Feb 20, 2018 - 6:07 pm)

Considering University of Texas Law School. Will not have to take out loans to attend. BUT, I will be giving up a $90k/year job. I have a BS in Electrical Engineering and would want to do either BigLaw or patent law at a boutique firm.

However, I’m terrified of giving up a secure job that pays well and attending a school that is ranked 14/15. What are employment prospects like for someone who would be graduating UT Law? How hard is it to get BigLaw? How hard to get a position at a patent boutique?

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joecoder (Feb 20, 2018 - 10:16 pm)

So you would be giving up ~$270k, have to work extremely hard (probably) to finish in that big law band of your class, for a shot at what salary (and what hours requirement)?

How demanding is your current job and what would your salary be 3 years from now?

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heythere (Mar 5, 2018 - 8:01 pm)

You should not go.

I can give you examples of people who went to worse schools than UT and with a similar background as yours and who succeeded. I can give you the converse example. All you can do is look at the data.

There are two areas: patent lit and patent pros. If you are going to do patent lit, "Cases filed in the calendar year 2017 (4,057 cases) represent a decline of 10.3% over 2016 (with 4,529 cases)." In 2015, there was a filing spike so the people making money off patent support have an incentive think that the pre-2015 plateau is the normal. Given TC Heartland decision moving litigation venue outside of ED Texas and primarily to Delaware, in my opinion the filings will keep dropping.
https://lexmachina.com/lex-machina-q4-litigation-update/

For patent pros,

http://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_941_2017.pdf see Fig. 2 on pg. 30 and note the non-resident filings exceed the resident filings. That means someone from overseas filed a patent application in an overseas country first and then in the US. The overseas attorney known the case best and will send you detailed instructions or ready to file responses. Less work for you = less money

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dwismost (Apr 11, 2018 - 4:41 pm)

The opportunity cost is substantial. I was making 100k per year for a couple years but almost went to law school in 2010 as I was searching for something.

The good people here talked me out of it. Bounced around and found a job I liked a little better and made significantly more. Now I own a townhouse worth 750 and it’s almost paid off. Timing was everything. I bought it in 2012. If I’d gone to law school in 2010 I’d still be deep in dept, more than likely, and I wouldn’t own this piece of real estate.

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dogdaypm (Feb 20, 2018 - 6:17 pm)

https://www.lstreports.com/schools/texas/jobs/

Data are about a year old, but if you scroll down you will see that for UT grads maybe 33% get into firms larger than 250 lawyers, and about 28% into firms >500 lawyers.

UT grads in general also appear to get legal jobs at about an 80% rate.

If you want to do patent prosecution with your EE, my understanding is that you are better off than most other undergrads (e.g., Bio/Chem/ME/ChE) in terms of demand for people having that UG.

Have you considered becoming an agent first? I.e., get the patent bar out of the way, then float your resume for a year or so as a would-be patent agent (while continuing to work your same job). That way you can assess how strong of an interest there is in you as someone who could do patent prosecution, without yet taking the leap into LS.

UT will still be there in a year. I promise. And if your LSAT/UGPA are high enough to have gotten you a free ride for this coming year, it's unlikely (but this time not "promising") that your offer will change a whole lot by next year.

Also, if your current company has an in-house patent department, consider asking for an informational interview with some guys in the trenches to get a better feel for their day-to-day, and what their day-to-day was like when they were in a firm.

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jeffm (Feb 20, 2018 - 6:17 pm)

You got real skills and a $90k job? Keep your job.

I went to UT 1990-93, and back then, Biglaw was not the typical result for graduates. A sizable chunk of the class (maybe as much as half) had nothing lined up after graduation. I'm sure everyone mostly wound up doing okay eventually, but still... Back then, we were lured to school by the prospects of that $55k/year "average" starting salary. It can't have improved that much since then.

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disappearedattorney (Feb 20, 2018 - 10:19 pm)

OMG I went to a law school ranked well above UT, and oh how I wish I could have a steady $90,000 per year job again. I can’t believe people are still asking questions like this with a straight face.

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bizzybone1313 (Feb 20, 2018 - 11:20 pm)

UT is only about $35K of in state tuition a year. It isn’t as cut and dry as other schools in the country in terms of making a decision. Plus, a lot of times their employment outcomes are better than T-14 Georgetown.

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bucwild (Feb 20, 2018 - 10:46 pm)

I work in a patent boutique, coming out of a slightly lower ranked school. As a EE you should not have trouble finding a job a good firm, assuming you don't completely mess up in school. With that being said, I would not give up that salary to go back to school, even if have a full ride.

I was making less than half your salary as a chemist before I started law school, so going to school wasn't as big as an opportunity cost. If I could go back in time, I would have stayed in science, despite my relative success in law.

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irishlaw (Feb 20, 2018 - 11:30 pm)

Any chance you can leave your job and go back if you don't get Biglaw? UT for free and you usually find out if you made biglaw after 1l summer, might be worth the chance.

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xstockholmsynhostag (Feb 21, 2018 - 12:34 am)

where did you earn your EE?
what is your SME --subject matter expertise? is that SME in demand? if so then become an agent--perhaps just PT, investigated the over hyped field of IP law, and make your own decision.
I think that SME is very important. If you are an expert in digital controllers, that may not be the heavy in demand SME such as spectrum analysis for mobile phones that the law firm working for Qualcomm, Samsung want. They may not hire you unless you can demo that SME.
Becoming an agent first greatly reduces your risk. You may get an in-house job, say at GOOG, and then just earn an online law degree while remaining at GOOG.

But, I suspect that deeper down, you want a different career than analyzing technology, and patent filing may be even less satisfying than the steady job that you now have. You may end up spending a large house mortgage in oppty costs to end up less satisfied, less marketable than you are now.

Law school is hard and demands time. If you remain in your current career , and poured those hours into a starup with equity, or AMZN, then what might you end up with $ wise? what would that financial freedom be worth?

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wolfman (Feb 21, 2018 - 1:13 am)

What do you know about the practice of law? Have you ever worked in a law firm? Do you have any family members or mentors currently working as lawyers in big firms or boutiques? If so, can you arrange to shadow them and/or get an idea of what their day is like? What are the specific things they do as big firm or IP boutique lawyers that you think you would enjoy doing more than your current job for the rest of your career?

You need to ask yourself all these questions before condidering law school. It often pulls in people with liberal arts educations and no real shot at a meaningful career otherwise (or so they think, very often erroneously). Your position is quite different. In short, why do you think you would enjoy being a lawyer (in the very specific ways you described) more than doing your current job and advancing in it?

Forget money and pacement stats for a minute - UT's are OK, I suppose, though not Harvard, but law in general is an awful way to make money (you're paid by their hour and have no stake in creating wealth), placement stats can change, and, most importantly, going to LS puts you into a very specific professional market largely operating by its own metrics and rules, and no easy way to leave it for something else - so you need to be certain you want to be in that market. WHY do you want to do it and WHAT specifically attracts you about the work?

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wearyattorney (Feb 21, 2018 - 1:19 am)

Social convention attracts him, and information about market conditions that existed 30 years ago and 15 years ago. The TV says lawyers make money, urgo, lawyers make money and have prestige. Telling him something to the contrary is a difficult pill to swallow after 25-35 years of conditioning.

The information will trickle into the culture soon enough, and the progeny of the parasites running the law schools will find another well leisured scam to prey on the naive, uninformed, and unconnected.

At some point though, personal responsibility has to kick in. The guy is about to throw a 90k a year job into the toilet for a speculative outcome. It is what it is. Let the body bags pile up.

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wolfman (Feb 21, 2018 - 1:28 am)

Oh, I don't disagree, but EE is a pretty tough subject, so I assume OP is somewhat smart. Hopefully, he will see that if he doesn't know what day-to-day lawyer work actually is, he should find out, in great detail, on the chance that he may decide it really sucks - and if you go to school to learn how to do something that, as far as you are concerned, really sucks in terms of day-to-day activities required, it won't end well, prestige or social convention or whatever...

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wearyattorney (Feb 21, 2018 - 2:44 am)

It’s not about smarts, it’s about conditionining. OP understands that the chances of making 500k or more as a top engineer (start up founder, EVP, etc) is low. Society has conditioned us that this goal somewhat more attainable for law and medicine, but for the former it isn’t anymore, it’s about the same chance of success with a higher price tag and harder falling, and for the latter, it isn’t going to be the case anymore soon.

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dilbert113 (Mar 1, 2018 - 8:41 pm)

YES! You are describing Confirmation Bias. They guy watches an episode of Law & Order, thinks he can do what the pictures on Tee-Vee are doing, and goes to law school. He might even ask a senior citizen who blabbers about the days when lawyers were compared to doctors and the list of folks who passed the bar exam was published in the local newspaper. Yes, those things really happened, 50 years ago. He won't listen to anything actual lawyers have to say, he will go, and he will regret it for the rest of his life. Oh, and that 90K a year job he is leaving won't re-hire afterwards. Nor should they hire someone with such poor judgment.

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supercalifragilisti (Apr 8, 2018 - 5:14 pm)

Urgo?

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khazaddum (Feb 21, 2018 - 8:00 am)

OP you need to find a good, free, night program if you are set on this. You will otherwise walk away from $360,000 from first day to likely first day of working. Your odds of breaking $90,000 in year 1-3 of Law aren’t close to 100% favorable.

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6figuremistake (Feb 21, 2018 - 8:10 am)

OP you've received sage advice in this thread. You also need to keep in mind that even if you do land BigLaw, it's likely a temporary opportunity. Sure you'll make $160-80k, but unless things are different in the IP world, you're going to earn a much lower salary when it's time to move on. Maybe those few years will give you a nice "bonus" because you won't have loans to repay, but you could find yourself on a very similar salary trajectory as you would have had you not left your current job.

Even if you're getting bored of engineering, there are options for you in technology, analytics, and project management - all of which don't require expensive graduate education. Unless you have a really great justification for being an attorney, there is no reason to go down this path.

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req1020 (Feb 21, 2018 - 10:13 am)

Thank you everyone for responding. I will take everyone’s input into consideration.

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physicssezno (Feb 21, 2018 - 10:23 am)

This is a stupid decision. You’re going to go into debt to work longer hours for less money and for worse people in a declining job market for Lawyers.

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wearyattorney (Feb 21, 2018 - 11:31 am)

And with less job security and more hatred by the public...

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pisces213 (Feb 21, 2018 - 11:03 am)

I would go if:

1. You really don't like your current job AND
2. you don't see yourself liking it in the future AND
3. You would rather do something you like while getting paid less AND
4. You know what being a patent lawyer is about AND
5. You know that you're going to like it better

OR:

1. You can get your job back after 3-4 years of doing something unrelated to your job AND
2. You don't mind spending 270k+ exploring a "what if."

The way I see it, unless you really know about the field you want to get into, and seriously believe you'd like it more than your current job, you're better off staying put.

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massivemissive (Feb 21, 2018 - 12:12 pm)

Keep in mind OP that almost everyone who does biglaw hates it. And few make partner.

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bittersweet (Feb 21, 2018 - 4:53 pm)

Don't.

My brother is an EE. He's doing much better than I am financially.

If you want to do something different, find a job with a company that will cover your education. My brother's employer has already paid for his MBA. He will be set to retire (if he wants) before I have my student loans paid off, and he's 10 years younger than I am.

Just. Don't.

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wearyattorney (Feb 21, 2018 - 7:29 pm)

Listen, his boomer teachers explained it to him: if you want a surefire way to succeed, you become a doctor or a lawyer. Everything else is inadequate and/or represents excessive risk. The chances of joining the executive team as an engineer is small, but you know, partner at a Big or medium sized firm? Totally reasonable.

The scam doesn’t just claim liberal artists, but people with legit careers. Government backed guanrateed loans make it possible for someone like this to 1) leave a well paying job that 2) benefits society, while 3) turning him or her into a debt slave that will do irrelevant and harmful work to society, where 4) the tax payer will have to cover the cost of the failure.

This is all possible solely to ensure that law professors have a pampered existence. It’s remarkable, and it’s how I transitioned from Democrat to Republican in my 40s.

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cocolawyer (Feb 21, 2018 - 7:41 pm)

you are insane if you go to law school. Just put a bullet in your head now because you will be financially screwed.

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dilbert113 (Mar 1, 2018 - 8:27 pm)

You speak too kindly. I am a lawyer with over 20 years of experience. I spend a mortgage payment every two weeks on advertising and still don't make all that much. I run into unemployed and underemployed lawyers all the time. I recently tried to hire a lawyer to re-shingle my roof, and I am not kidding. I would pay him 25.00 per hour to re-shingle it, and that is more than he makes doing sketchy, short-term document review projects right now.

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disappearedattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 12:23 am)

It is 11:00 pm, and I just got home. I started work this morning at 8:00 am. I didn’t have a brief or a deadline — just the normal work. I’m in my 18th year of practice, went to a much better law school than UT, and I made Biglaw. Now I’m a solo, and I haven’t seen $90,000 in annual profit since the Biglaw days years ago.

But yeah OP, you should totally bet a half million ($270,000 in lost earnings plus 3 years of tuition, living expenses, and compounded interest) on UT Law. If it were me, I’d rather wager a half million on black at the roulette wheel. But you’ve got dreams, man.

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themapmaster (Feb 22, 2018 - 1:11 am)

What area of law do you practice in? Sounds hard to believe. There’s a lot of estate planning attorneys in my state that, it sounds like, work half as hard as you and make significantly more.

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disappearedattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 7:44 am)

What you think I’m lying? I don’t see what’s so far fetched about it. I’m actually doing better than many of my classmates, at least those who care to be found.

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loblawyer (Feb 22, 2018 - 9:52 am)

You did not have better exit options than being a solo out of biglaw? Do not mean to be crass, but shouldn't you be in midlaw making high 100s as counsel or in-house doing 9-6?

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jeffm (Feb 22, 2018 - 9:54 am)

This is very common and expected. It's the price people often pay to get out of BL and become their own bosses. Not everyone wants to be owned by a boss. $90k isn't bad. You can live alright on it, and don't have to put in nearly the hours.

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wearyattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 9:58 am)

90k without benefits sounds amazing for sinking several hundred k, a decade of post- secondary education, a few years of work experience thereafter, complete liability, etc.

Why, it’s only 30k less than a teacher who works in an affluent suburb or major north east city.

An amazing deal!

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jeffm (Feb 22, 2018 - 11:00 am)

Exactly! The work-day is totally different, though. As a solo, you can blow off most of the day almost every day. You don't get really rich that way, but there's hardly anything easier for the same money.

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wearyattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 11:51 am)

Absolutely, definitely easier than having half the year completely off, total job security, retirement benefits, and 30-120k more in pay a year, not to mention health care benefits.

And the market is only getting better for attorneys!!!! I’m sure those tasks that permit that “easy” 90k a year gross income are only going to increase in costs, as opposed to get automated and/or further surpressed with an effective market oversaturation of 30-50 percent a year (partially compounding).

This is sage advice and likely to produce many fullfiled, productive and welll capitalized individuals whose failure will not be subsidized by the federal government (and by extension, the tax payer).

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disappearedattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 10:39 am)

Going to midlaw making high 100s or going in house are not the most common exits from Biglaw, and in fact, are unusually good. Far more common is leaving the profession all together. On balance, I think I’m doing okay — I’m actually making a living as a solo, a real solo, with a permanent office and staff and enough work to keep me at the office until 11:00. But thanks for pointing out what an absurd GD failure you think I am, mapmaster and loblawyer. I’m used to it, but the OP can still be saved from a terrible mistake.

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khazaddum (Feb 22, 2018 - 11:11 am)

I was never in major league biglaw—just a “somewhat known” firm’s Chicago office for a handful of years. I graduated law school in 1998. After a few really rough non-law gigs after I left Chicago, I am at about 67,000 with decent benefits (total comp maybe ~80,000) in a pretty boring and dead end practice area. I am with you on OP avoiding law with his current career path... at 46 I earn less than OP, and I am at my maximum potential of earnings.

I don’t work until 11pm, but I do work on Saturday since we have US mail. I will work Sunday afternoon too. And yes, if I don’t work these hours the clients and partners know. At my age you Can Not give the appearance you are slowing down. If you do, your job is gone.

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jeffm (Feb 22, 2018 - 11:15 am)

Not to mention how much more interesting technology is in terms of the direction it's headed. Law just moves like a slow train, and it might as well be a wreck. Technology is opening doors we never could have imagined. It just seems like EE has so much more to offer for a curious mind.

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khazaddum (Feb 22, 2018 - 11:25 am)

Yes, i also think JDU is 5-10 years behind on the IP bus. Its easier to get a job in technical IP but I haven’t heard the “$190,000 Midwest IP” offer in almost a decade now. The federal judiciary is getting sick of a lot of the esoteric money making “disputes.”

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themapmaster (Feb 22, 2018 - 2:40 pm)

Your words, not mine, disappeared. You sound successful to me. Just wanted to know what practice area requires those hours to net 90k. I never made biglaw to begin with despite trying so I have no room to talk in any event.

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loblawyer (Feb 22, 2018 - 5:19 pm)

Likewise, I specifically stated I didn't mean to offend. I'm hardly a success story and not going to judge. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised the post biglaw outcomes aren't as advertised.

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disappearedattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 9:51 pm)

Well one of you questioned my truthfulness and the other suggested that high 100s midlaw or a position in a corporate GC office are just there for the taking on your way out the Biglaw door. I assure you that even those of us who went to the so-called “best” law schools and made Biglaw are affected by the scam too. When we find ourselves in our 40s and unemployed, it’s just as much of a disaster as it is for any other lawyer — except now our credentials, which were supposed to have been a good thing, get held against us because (as the two of you did) even people who should know better react in disbelief and conclude there must be something “wrong” with us.

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jeffm (Feb 22, 2018 - 10:01 pm)

Yep. Downsizing is always met with skepticism.

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loblawyer (Feb 23, 2018 - 9:13 am)

I was definitely being insensitive. You have my apologies.

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dogdaypm (Feb 22, 2018 - 7:30 am)

He'd be going for free. And as an EE should not have a hard time getting a patent attorney job paying considerably more than current.

I still think he should send his resume to (e.g.) Austin office of Fish & Richardson, now, see if he gets nibbles as tech spec.

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disappearedattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 7:46 am)

Sorry — OP did say he wouldn’t have to take out loans, so no interest. But someone would still be paying tuition and cost of living.

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qdllc (Feb 22, 2018 - 7:40 am)

Your education will not be free. It will cost you $90K/year.

Go part-time. Pay your own way if need be. You’ll finish debt free AND still have your job.

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loblawyer (Feb 22, 2018 - 9:53 am)

This. If you strike out and have the 3 year resume gap, you will never find your way back into engineering. Doc review or small law is just as likely a possibility for you as biglaw or midlaw. This is a boom or bust profession and once you go all in, there is little chance to go back.

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anothernjlawyer (Feb 22, 2018 - 10:27 am)

The only circumstance under which you should consider law school is if your electrical engineering employer will cover the tuition while you work full time and go at night.

If your current employer won't do this and you still want to go, look for an IP law firm that will hire you, full time, as a patent examiner (or similar position) and pay your tuition at night school while you work full time.

If you can't find an employer who will do this, don't go.

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wearyattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 5:16 pm)

Go back 5-10 years on this forum. You will find posts (depending on the time period) indicating that a particular practice area, eg tax, ip, bankruptcy, etc afforded a little more flexibility and career options than regular law practices. As time progressed, you can see that the consensus changed, and even those practice areas are over saturated and life is hard for most practitioners in any practice area.

As someone alluded above, the advice given today might be outdated because every single year- every single year- it gets worse. We are at the point now where people now generally know that even big law is not a good outcome. It’s a temporary period of employment with an abnormally high pay rate, which in most instances, is unlikely to be replicated.

If you want to succeed in the private sector in a globalized economy, you need to be number 1 in whatever you do. There is no silver medal, and being number 1 doesn’t mean working the hardest or the smartest. It means, above all, being able to manipulate other people to do work, and then hard work and smarts is a catalyst that adds on to success.

If you can’t be number 1 in engineering, you aren’t going to be number 1 in law, so you’ll wind up in a much worse position than you are now (much, much worse).

The only other way to succeed if you aren’t already rich and connected is to take an unusual risk and/or do something unorthodox and creative. Despite all the disadvantages of the present age, there is an unprecedented access to credit. You can take a chance on something, and the people that take the funny and strange chances live the best lives. The big law partner working 80 hours a week and making 5 million a year ain’t got nothing on the guy who bought a few bitcoin mining machines in 2010. Both scenarios are unlikely outcomes, but comparing unlikely outcome to unlikely outcome really shows you how bad law is (at any level).

If you don’t want to take a risk, keep this in mind: law is the biggest risk, a lot bigger than opening up a side business and failing. If you don’t want to take a risk, get a job teaching math or science in an affluent suburb or large wealthy city. The steady pay check, middle class (or slight above middle class) life isn’t in the private sector anymore, that ship sailed when Slick Willy felt your pain and sent your jobs to China for some “speaking fees.” Talladaga Nights: “it’s either you are first or you are last” with a proviso: you work for a strong politically powerful organization that gets you paid irrespective of market forces, then there is something in between.

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wearyattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 5:28 pm)

One final point, call some of the major recruiters about the particular practice area you are interested in. You’ll find that they will likely tell you nothing is spared from present market over-saturation. I’ve heard stories from these guys about guys from fourth tier law schools being offered 75k bonuses (for hyper niche practice areas) in the mid-90s to work in certain areas of the country, and now people aren’t making that as a starting salary (in those same practice areas) from first tier law schools and other strong credentials.

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cocolawyer (Feb 22, 2018 - 6:25 pm)

Is this post a joke. Except for boomer attorneys, law school is only beneficial for 1 out of 100 law students, financially (considering the SLD).

From a mental stress standpoint law is only good for about 1 out of 100 law students.

So for you to be that golden goose where financially, and mentally law school is beneficial you are the one person out of every 10,000.00. Most attorneys that like law will tell you they are poor. Most attorneys that are successful, will say they drink a lot, on drugs, or cry themselves to sleep.

So ask yourself do you want to spend 200k to see if you can be that 1 out of 10,000.00?

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wearyattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 6:44 pm)

Except... it isn’t even good for that 1/10,000.00. I’ve seen it. Even if you get the driven and complete sociopath that likes the kill and 80 hour work week, he or she will still be pissed off because the CEO, COO, investment banker, etc has more power and more money than him/her as the GC or big law partner.

There is only one job that law school can provide that has features that don’t exist elsewhere: law school professor. There is no other job with that kind of pay, leisure, prestige and customer base.

You made big law partner and make 5 million a year? The CEO makes 100 million and has more power.

You are a PI charlatan making 1 million a year running a mill? The guy who owns the used car dealerships makes 2 million, with more time off and less liability.

You work for the state as an attorney with a 90k salary and 40k pension? The teacher makes 120k, and a 60k pension (better hours and benefits too).

You do doc review for 32 an hour? The guy at cosco makes 25 an hour (if you factor in the same experience level, eg ten years at Cosco as opposed to ten years in school) without 250k in student loans.

You went into the FBI as law enforcement and make 130k with a 40k pension and have to deal with super complicated issues? The port authority cop makes 200k with a 100k pension dealing with routine matters.

You are a great business person and run a 500k a year legal practice? I own several bagel shops or franchises and make 5 million a year (less work and less liability).

Case to case comparison reveals that it’s a loss, it’s a big loss. Law schools have mastered asymmetric comparisons, eg I’ll compare the guy at cosco to the state attorney or the guy doing doc review to someone working at Mcdconalds or the GC to the mid level manager at a corporation, so the scam rolls on.

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jeffm (Feb 22, 2018 - 8:20 pm)

You missed one. Rural judge on the outskirts of big city. My friend's sister is getting ready to win the county court at law bench. Easy gig. A county with a population of something like 50,000. Criminal misdemeanors, family, probate, guardianship and occasional civil. I imagine there are probably 8 court days a month, and each court day is probably a morning segment which is done by 10:30 a.m. and an afternoon segment done by 2:00 p.m. Great pay, and of course, state retirement. Probably not more than 3 - 5 trials per year.

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cocolawyer (Feb 22, 2018 - 8:32 pm)

That seems legit.

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parlance (Feb 22, 2018 - 9:09 pm)

I do not recommend matriculating. Law school is three years of self-delusion followed by an adulthood of angst, second-guessing and pedigree-driven snobbery. It only has a few moments of living up to the coolness envisioned, couched in oceans of doubt and strain. Before your first job, it's very hard to get hired. After the age 40, it suddenly gets very hard to leave.

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disappearedattorney (Feb 22, 2018 - 9:57 pm)

Well OP, the whole bloody mess has been laid out for you in this thread. Much more can be found by Googling “law school scam.” Don’t say you weren’t warned.

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dieter (Feb 22, 2018 - 11:11 pm)

Try reading some of this board, OP. Clearly you haven't.

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xstockholmsynhostag (Feb 23, 2018 - 12:09 am)

as an engineer, you can earn a salary plus equity in the private sector. In the government, you can earn a salary plus pension.

In law, you wont get stock options such as Amazon, AAPL etc have granted to mid level engineers.

I predict that the job market for JD grads even with EE in 2020-2025 period will be significantly worse than for the class of 2018

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inho2solo (Feb 23, 2018 - 7:43 am)

Curious, what are you basing your prediction on?

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guyingorillasuit (Feb 23, 2018 - 12:19 am)

Take everyone's advice and stick with engineering.

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dilbert113 (Mar 1, 2018 - 8:32 pm)

He will go to Law School anyway, and he will deeply regret it. He suffers from Confirmation Bias. That means, essentially, that he believes what he wants to believe, pays attention to anything that confirms his pre-existing belief that going to Law School is a Good Idea (i.e., he watches an episode of Law & Order, so Bang, that confirms that law is a great choice for him) and disregards any information that contradicts he pre-existing belief set (like actual lawyers telling himself that leaving a job where he makes close to 100K to go to law school makes about as much sense as shooting himself in the head). He has it all figured out. I will offer to pay him 25.00 per hour to re-shingle my roof after he graduates and is un or under-employed. He will not be the first failed lawyer I have made that offer to.

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inho2solo (Mar 1, 2018 - 10:21 pm)

"He suffers from Confirmation Bias... he believes what he wants to believe... anything that confirms his pre-existing belief ... watches an episode of Law & Order... confirms that law is a great choice for him... disregards any information that contradicts he pre-existing belief ... He has it all figured out..."

Wondering WTH is all of this crap coming from?

The guy posted only his OP in which he stated he was scared about the prospects, then posted again saying thanks and he'd take everyone's comments into consideration.

You just feel like going off on an insane rant tonight or something?

Or are you trolling as some sort of amalgamated caricature of JDU negativity?

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themapmaster (Mar 7, 2018 - 12:16 am)

I wonder what dilbert will say when OP makes big law and has a highly lucrative legal career. If OP was a Cooley law school prospect, dilberts ranting would be nasty and uncalled for, but not idiotic. But when OP has credentials as extraordinarily strong as they are, dilberts ranting about OP roofing for him is so stupid that it is almost hard to believe.

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dilbert113 (Mar 6, 2018 - 7:42 pm)

Where all of this is coming from? My local Domino's pizza deliveryman wants to attend law school at U. Baltimore. Like this poster, he said that being a lawyer has always been his dream. Many, many people are suckered into going to law school for all the wrong reasons. Why do I care? Well, I started law school well over 20 years ago, when the tuition was reasonable and the job market wasn't bad. Now, I, a solo practitioner, must compete for junk traffic cases with people who not only should not have attended law school, but probably should not have even gone to college. There are more and more desperate law grads trying to survive by handling DUI cases for joke fees, and this hurts my bottom line. I have a stake in at least trying to convince people that going to Law School in 2018 is a profoundly bad idea, for all kinds of reasons.

Respectfully, and kindly, please understand that Confirmation Bias drives a lot of bad decisions, like the decision to go to law school when it is over priced and there are no jobs for most graduates. Confirmation bias tells people that their plan to study International Law/Sports Law/Space Law really makes sense. And yes, people really do decide to attend law school based on watching TV shows like Law & Order. I am not the first attorney to point this out, sir, it's not some personal rant of mine. . .and I sincerely hope your solo practice is going well. That's not meant to be snarky, I hope it's working out for you.

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inho2solo (Mar 7, 2018 - 4:29 am)

I'll assume the above is directed at me and thanks for responding/explaining.

I heartily agree that law schools for too long have been churning out twice as many grads (give/take) as can be supported by the work to be had, and lament the race-to-bottom slide that law has become for many, just as you describe.

But i don't think this guy's going to be hanging a shingle and competing for traffic tickets in 3-4 years. Unless he's a complete aspie dork who can't interview, he'll land a job at Fish (etc.) in Austin or elsewhere before he graduates.

Thanks for you well wishes and I hope things can turn for the better for you, too. I haven't pulled the trigger on hanging my own shingle just yet, though. Chicken.

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bostonlawyer.2 (Apr 8, 2018 - 6:44 pm)

I was just talking to a paralegal at my firm who is going to law school.

BU Law School in Boston is charging $58,000 a year in tuition alone!

Let that sink in. I graduated from law school in 2006 and BU was charging about $32,000 per year.

This represents an 81% increase in tuition in 12 years. It's insane.

Because salaries have no way kept in line with tuition growth.

If law school was a terrible idea in 10 years ago, it's even worse now!

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wearyattorney (Apr 9, 2018 - 9:53 am)

When all the boomers are dead and in the ground, and when movies show how most lawyers live, and when other jobs that are considered bad are shown for what they are, then and only then, will this stop.

The feds aren’t going to curb student loans because curbing student loans is racist.

The world has so fundamentally changed in every single way, but the culture refuses to take the changes into account because the people in the driver seat (boomers) aren’t going to acknowledge the change.

Consider this: I watched Die Hard last night (the original) and there was this one scene where the Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department is super impressed the FBI is coming over and starts kissing rear end accordingly. In reality, the Deputy Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department is a multi millionaire and no special agent, etc holds a candle to his or her lifestyle. In fact, even an LAPD lieutenant is outliving and outearning 99 percent of the FBI. This isn’t going to be acknowledged because Jim Boomer remembers J Edgar Hoover growing up, and everyone knows FBI is the top law enforcement gig.

I have siblings in law enforcement and they laugh at FBI guys on the regular. A direct quotation “those a$$h don’t even make overtime.”

Yet, there isn’t a single TV show or movie that is going to reflect this. Everybody knows being an FBI agent is better than being a regular cop and everybody knows lawyers makes lots of money. Until “everyone knows” differently, tuition will go even higher.

And this is going to take a really long time. They’ll keep going to the lowest common denominator to reaffirm their beliefs. Bill Maher has a segment on how teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona were being shafted. The whole premise being that teachers have a raw deal. Yeah? Maybe in the red states, (although I’d like to see what the earnings are for other professionals before passing judgment), but in wealthy blue states teachers make more than prosecutors, and by more, i mean a lot more. What are the chances you’ll see a TV segment on that? Zero. And it’s not because of some grand conspiracy, it’s because that’s how these guys and gals were brought up and you aren’t going to tell them the world changed.

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ejs2017 (Apr 9, 2018 - 10:24 am)

"you are insane if you go to law school. Just put a bullet in your head now because you will be financially screwed.

^ This.

"When all the boomers are dead and in the ground, and when movies show how most lawyers live, and when other jobs that are considered bad are shown for what they are, then and only then, will this stop.

^ And this.

It's not worth it. Don't believe the propaganda. You're doing well now by all objective standards. Go back and get a master's or an MBA.

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