Going To Law School

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I will be graduating soon and since I have no real world skills I will be entering law school. Some questions. Is it worth going to law school if I can't get into one of the top 10? Will my life be hell? Will I have other job opportunities besides being a lawyer, and if not what do you suggest as an alternative to going to law school?

D Aziz (esquire1983), Sunday, 21 September 2003 19:53 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Yes, if it's worth going to law school in the first place
Possibly, but not necessarily
Yes, but it may not be the best/most cost-efficient choice for you

Why is law school preferable to you to working for a few years to figure out what you want to do? There are lots of jobs available to graduates of colleges such as yours (if I remember correctly).

gabbneb (gabbneb), Sunday, 21 September 2003 20:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

mr teeny is in his third year at a reasonably well-regarded state school (second-tier I think?) and is doing very well for himself. He's fifth in his class and although he said it wasn't that hard he is very bright and a bit older/more experienced than some of his classmates. He has a job waiting for him at the biggest law firm in the state and will be earning really good money (thank goodness b/c the student loans have been ridiculous). He was a 'summer associate' (paid intern) at this firm last summer and worked with a lot of other summer associates who were ivy-leaguers...he said some of them were great but some were utterly worthless and obviously riding on their family connections.

There are many many different flavors of lawyering out there, but even if one doesn't suit you, you can be a law librarian or a teacher or a politician for sure, or maybe offer legal advice to the poor.

teeny (teeny), Sunday, 21 September 2003 20:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

What are your expectations of a legal education? Can anyone but you judge its worth to you? Will your expectations be met by the knowledge that you will be receiving an education and training of a very generally useful nature or do you require that it translate directly into the certainty of a position with clearly defined parameters? If you judge worth by job placement statistics, are those of the law school you are considering available to you and are you satisfied with the odds? If you need to finance your education, do you have a prelaw advisor or someone who can explain the repayment obligations to you?

What is your idea of hell? Does it involve a difficult course of study or the idea of doing hard, tedious work? Does it involve competition among classmates? Does it involve great financial burdens or rewards?

Your job opportinities after law school will include jobs that require a law degree + jobs that do not require a law degree - jobs that require a medical degree or other specialized graduate degree (and likely minus professional athlete and ballerina). Alternatives to law school include alternate higher education, getting a job or being unemployed.

(basically what gabbneb said)

In all seriousness, however, your questions seem to indicate that it is very important to you what other people think you should do with your life. Deciding whether to take on the potentially huge debt burden of law school is probably one of the worst life decisions you can make by committee. If you have to borrow money for law school, your family, friends and classmates aren't going to be the ones with the huge debt load around their neck, you are. Even if you don't have to borrow money for law school, well, in this economy I'm sure there are tons of people who would gladly take your place off the wait list if you decided to defer.

My completely subjective impression has been that once you get a job and can do it the only people who are sensitive about where you went to law school are those who went to really elite law schools or those who went to really obscure law schools. It really doesn't matter if you can do the job unless you have your heart set on being a constitutional law professor at Yale law school straight after graduation.

Some lawyers do, in fact seem dissatisfied with their lives because it seemed like the easy thing to do and they were peer/parent pressured into going to law school straight out of college, worked many years at a job they hated to pay off their student loans and then wished they hadn't spent the best years of their lives doing that. It may be worth a year or more of deferring and doing something you've always wanted to do -- travel, apply for fellowships, explore other careers, bartending on a resort island, mooching off your parents -- whatever you feel like doing. Either you will have fewer regrets about things you might have wanted to try in life or you will have a greater appreciation of having the option of studying for a coveted professional degree that many people not as fortunate as you never have the realistic option of pursuing.

Hope that helps and good luck.

felicity (felicity), Monday, 22 September 2003 06:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

thanks for the responses!

D Aziz (esquire1983), Monday, 22 September 2003 15:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

how did i miss this thread? (and yes, i am up so late because i am working on a legal memorandum right now -- THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO AFTER GRADUATING D AZIZ YOU HAVE TO EARN THAT "ESQ."!)

gabb and felicity both raised good points. i have some points, too, but i'll do it WHEN I'M DONE WITH THIS FUCKING MEMO!

Little Big Macher (llamasfur), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 04:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Haha tad the memo! The first one mr teeny did...it was agony to be in the same house with him; he's got the knack of it now. I insist that he pronounce it 'meee-mo' because it's like a little kitten that way and not so threatening.

teeny (teeny), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 15:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Wow Law School is way different in Britain.

David. (Cozen), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 16:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

how so?

anthony kyle monday (akmonday), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 16:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It sounds like so much more hard work and much much more competitive than my experience. I'm just going into my final year, I would probably say I was a B student, in the top 30 of a 300 people class up until last year when I probably made it into the top 5 (because really the way our system works only the Honours Class of your degree really matters as I understand it, for employment purposes.) I guess I've kind of coasted through and then hit the gas and been able to rocket up but there was absolutely no pressure to do so other my own personal pride. Plus these figures are only rough - we don't know exactly what class placing we are unless we come top because then we win a prize but other than that it's a big indiscriminate mulch and you have to work it out (if you care) by cross-referencing gossip and asking your friends' results. It just seems a lot less pressured, perhaps because it is an undergraduate course here.

David. (Cozen), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 16:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Only the Honours Class of your degree matters = kick it for your last two years (although I didn't do any work last year and still managed my results).

David. (Cozen), Tuesday, 23 September 2003 16:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

four months pass...
I graduated with an English/Film Studies BA in 2000, and after a few years of miscallaneous jobs, I'm looking at possibly applying to law schools for Fall 2005. I'm looking specifically at entertainment law with a view to maybe becoming an agent/producer.

Felicity's post above is very well-written and helpful, but I have a few more questions.

Firstly, I am not native to the US (originally from England), and it has been a while since I have been involved with academia, so I have no idea how to start this process.

Which resources should I be using to find the right schools and how to apply?

Which tests will I need to take (GREs, LSATs, etc.) and what sort of entry requirements are there?

When will I need to start applying?

I am not particularly concerned with attending the biggest and best, but if I am going to be in for financial hardships then I need to justify it for myself. I'm based in California, so I guess I would be looking at schools here first.

D Marchand, Sunday, 8 February 2004 21:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

you need to take the LSAT. and give the schools that you're applying to your undergraduate transcripts. the transcript part's easy, you send it to LSAC (which is a clearinghouse), which in turn sends it along to the schools to which you will be applying.

if you want to go to l-school this fall, i think that it might be too late for some -- if memory serves me correctly, applications are due feb. 1 or (maybe?) march 1. you have to contact each individual school.

california has some very good l-schools. Stanford and Cal-Berkeley (Boalt Hall) obviously. ucla, cal-davis, cal-hastings, and loyola-marymount are also very good. the rest, i dunno. i would avoid the ones that aren't ABA-accredited (and CA has a number of those) -- b/c you won't be able to sit for any bar exam outside of CA if you go to one of those.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 8 February 2004 21:41 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks a lot, Eisbar. I really appreciate this.

Actually, I'm talking about applying for NEXT fall, 2005.

Do some schools specialize in certain law disciplines more than others? Is an English BA an acceptable degree for application or do they favor law undergrads?

D Marchand, Sunday, 8 February 2004 21:46 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Also - I realise this is perhaps a stupid question, but I'm just beginning here - where and how does one take the LSATs?

D Marchand, Sunday, 8 February 2004 21:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

you can find out a lot about the LSATs online. Yahoo it.

Also, you should strongly consider taking an LSAT prep course if you can swing it. If nothing else, buy a book on it and practice.

don weiner, Sunday, 8 February 2004 21:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Do some schools specialize in certain law disciplines more than others? Is an English BA an acceptable degree for application or do they favor law undergrads?

There is no undergrad law major at most top American colleges. An English BA is completely acceptable, common even, and I don't think any one major is favored. I wonder at times if the sciences aren't better preparation for legal study than the humanities.

gabbneb (gabbneb), Sunday, 8 February 2004 22:03 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

This is helpful.

Last but not least, people that attended/still attend law school - is it everything you had hoped for (for whatever reason you decided to go)? Would you recommend it?

D Marchand, Sunday, 8 February 2004 22:10 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i didn't like law school. i think that those who do are freaks, but some people do like it. anyway, practice is MUCH better.

i would recommend trying to get some inside info on whatever law school it is that you will attend -- you will spend 3 years there, so you might as well go where it won't be too painful.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Sunday, 8 February 2004 22:49 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I enjoyed some law school classes a lot; some of the clinics and summer jobs even more, but the whole thing was extremely expensive and demanding.

But that's a separate question from whether I would recommend it. D, I'm just not sure how to answer that. Law school in and of itself is neither good nor bad. As some posters have suggested upthread, that question can only be judged in relation to what you want in life and work.

If you have a strong desire to practice law (lawyer) or to create law (politics, legislation, lobbying, policy-making) then law school is the way to go. If however you suspect that your heart is really elsewhere (publishing, journalism, teaching, business, etc), then I'd say think real hard about whether 3 yrs of law school is the best way to get there. And if you're not sure about what you want to do, then I'd say law school is not the right place for you now. Maybe later it will be, but not now.

Sorry if this sounds redundant and obvious.

Collardio G. (collardio), Sunday, 8 February 2004 23:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Re: info on the LSAT... lsac.org. I second that if you have the money and are serious about it, I really suggest investing in a Kaplan course. Helped immensely.

I'm about a month or so away from hearing from law schools (I got some good advice on old threads which I'll try to find). Law schools like people who have worked and have diverse experience, so don't think that your background is a negative.

Biggest thing I'd reiterate is to really make sure you want to invest the time and money (average debt leaving law school is $100,000). It's understood that law school is highly competitive -- both to get in and once you're there -- in the sense of the school you get into and how well you do have a major impact on your career. Not that that should necessarily guide you, but just know it upfront.

Oh. And for $10 or $20, you can look at the US News law school rankings online. They'll give you a good sense of what sorts of grades and LSAT scores get you into what schools.

Aaron W (Aaron W), Sunday, 8 February 2004 23:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Just curious, how are these new answers suddenly appearing? I think I can score high enough to go basically where I want, my question is would it better to be the top of the class at a mediocre school or to be average at a top school? Maybe even below average at a really good school?

D Aziz (esquire1983), Sunday, 8 February 2004 23:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Go to a good school where you're likely to be above average. The exception might be for a couple of the top schools, where average might be a fine place to be. But below average at top school or top of class at mediocre school don't sound to me like situations to shoot for.

Collardio Gelatinous (collardio), Monday, 9 February 2004 00:56 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

D, go to the best school you possibly can. The rank/reputation of your school can make a significant difference in regard to your job opportunities post-graduation (if you intend to practice law, that is). Think twice about LSAT prep courses--I used to teach one for Princeton Review and I believe it is a waste of money. If you don't have significant test anxiety, just buy a book and practice--the courses cost upwards of $1000 dollars, and reading comprehension isn't something you can learn in a few weeks. Focus on the logic games section, that is the one that is easiest to improve. Use a pen and paper, sketch out the problems so you can look at them.

You've already heard about the cost, which is significant. You should enjoy speaking in public and be confident about your ability to do so, and you should be competitive by nature--these qualities will serve you well. Think hard about your decision; many of my law school classmates were completely miserable. It's great for some, but it isn't for everyone. Good Luck!

webcrack (music=crack), Monday, 9 February 2004 05:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

If you don't want to practice law, think about a degree in economics or urban planning, something fun as well as useful. They will tell you that a law degree opens doors to all sorts of careers, but it's primarily bullshit.

webcrack (music=crack), Monday, 9 February 2004 05:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

My wife went for one year. During that year, she figured out how to be a law school student, and she was pretty good at it. By the time she was halfway through her summer internship, she realized that living that life was no way to live. She dropped out and I was very happy because although I would be an awesome house-husband, I didn't want to be a law widow.

Now she wishes she'd stayed in, as we would be rich. And, probably, the whole dealing-with-me thing.

Begs2Differ, Monday, 9 February 2004 05:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

a prof at an NYC law school (not telling which one) told me last night that law school was "worthless."

hstencil, Monday, 9 February 2004 06:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

that prof is right.

but you still gotta spend 3 years there and get the JD in order to sit for the bar and (if you pass) practice.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 06:07 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"trade school with pretensions"

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 06:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Law school (Harvard for me) was ok but no great shakes intellectually; big firm practice is a nightmare to be avoided at all costs. Less pretentious schools may have lead to better results for me.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 07:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

interesting, i was considering Columbia. Why go to Harvard if not to get into a big firm?

D Aziz (esquire1983), Monday, 9 February 2004 08:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Because of the faculty and the wide and deep curriculum.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 08:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Now she wishes she'd stayed in, as we would be rich.

Not necessarily; it's a decent living, but there is no guarantee of richness--plenty of other careers will bring salaries as high as attorney salaries. Also, in order to make the big bucks, you need to bill upwards of 2000 hours/year, and in order to do this generally must work around 70 hours per week. When you break it down, the time/money ratio can really suck.

webcrack (music=crack), Monday, 9 February 2004 16:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, this "lawyer = rich" thing really oughta die. i do OK, but i am by no means rich. and the folks i know in the big NYC/Philly firms don't feel rich, either (b/c the cost of living in NYC and Philly -- and Philly's ridiculous resident/commuter tax -- eat up the big firm paychecks real fast).

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 16:51 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I was making enough money to be super rich in about a year or two from when I quit, but you know what? It wasn't worth it.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 16:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I don't know from personal experience but my friend went to Columbia Law then got a job at a big firm in LA making good money. He said he got paid 2 salaries: one for his work and another for his soul. He'd meet us out on Friday/Saturday nights after work -- for last call (2am in LA). He stayed on for 2 years, saving up money then took a year long vacation travelling the world. He went back to school and now he's doing something else and entirely happy.

gygax! (gygax!), Monday, 9 February 2004 17:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That sounds like a great plan, but you need to have discipline to stick with it. Most people will get addicted to the $ and just keep sucking up the long hours, even if they are completely miserable, because many people equate quitting the profession with failure.

webcrack (music=crack), Monday, 9 February 2004 17:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

does anyone work at a City law firm in London, or did in the past?

I will be joining a City firm as a trainee soon. I feel apprehensive to say the least...

regret, Monday, 9 February 2004 19:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The whole quitting = failure thing is real, and really freaking ugly. After a couple of months, you realize that it's the failures who stick around.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 20:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

so much of the "quitting = failure" is the blame of the profession. b/c there are WAY too many lawyers with hangups wr2 credentials, as well as the billables pressures and other things. this is a profession full of insecure, crotch-sniffing snobs -- still sure you wanna join up?

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I really don't want to work straight out of college, but I don't feel like going to grad school for econ either. Getting an MBA would be nice but they want job experience. You guys have really put a damper on my expectations for the future, are you sure a law degree can't be used for some other profession besides being a lawyer? What about entertainment law, can't that be fun?

D Aziz (esquire1983), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

This last post makes you sound like a poster boy for the "FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T GO TO LAW SCHOOLAS A DEFAULT" Foundation.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

well, law is NOT glamorous or even fun. it's a demanding profession. the "fun" comes in doing yer job as best as you can (kinda like any other job). though you don't get much such "fun" in yer first few years (i.e., you'll be doing lotsa document review, "due diligence," memorandum writing, and other scut work. unless you go small firm -- and even then, you'll do scut work [b/c small firms don't have the budget to have armies of paralegals, secretaries, and file clerks]).

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

maybe you should work for a couple of years as a paralegal, to see if you like law before you go off to school. that route is TOTALLY acceptable -- and very common -- particularly at NYC/Philly BigLaw. (they like you to commit for 2 years [though some such paralegals don't stay the full 2 years], but think about it -- those 2 years, you get to see how law firms operate, what lawyers do, etc., and you go from there. if you like it, you go to law school -- if not, you get out while you can.)

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

And for God's sake, do not take these posts as a challenge.

On the other hand, if you are willing to work your ass off to make something work and starve for a few years after law school, there are good jobs as a lawyer to be had.

x-post: all of the smartest, most interesting paralegals I ever worked with who took the job as a taste test all decided to do something else with their lives.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

you and i are both former paralegals, colin. what are you saying about us? ;-)

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Exactly what you think. :)

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:23 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Seriously, though, I was a paralegal for a sole practitioner, and that would have been a better gig for me, I think.

Colin Meeder (Mert), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

to 2d what colin said. fwiw, i think that my mediocre l-school grades (i was a b/3.0 student at an ok-not-great school) has been a blessing in disguise. my grades were too shitty to tempt BigLaw, which meant that i had to figure out what i REALLY wanted to do and how to market myself. i eventually got a job at a nice small firm doing work that i like (i mainly do t&e and tax work, w/ some general corporate transactional stuff thrown me occasionally) -- though i'll be the 1st to admit that i was VERY lucky.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

on the other hand, my paycheck is kinda small compared to what friends at BigLaw are pulling down, and i'd be lying if i said that i gave that no thought at all. so yeah, you do starve if you go small-firm (by choice or necessity).

Eisbär (llamasfur), Monday, 9 February 2004 21:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

haha cool i dont really know anything abt it btw

johnny crunch, Friday, 1 February 2013 22:52 (four years ago) Permalink

the rude awakening is now he looks in the mirror and sees a lawyer

― iatee, Friday, February 1, 2013 5:33 PM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink


If you "read on" you actually see that things didn't work out so badly for me. I'm in a smaller firm at a good salary, my work is relatively interesting, and I get to see my family. And staying on in my firm and making partner is actually not so crazy -- not like the 1/7 or 1/10 or whatever shot you have in biglaw.

My work also sometimes involves ERISA sometimes, although it doesn't require me to be steeped in the arcana of the statutory scheme.

space phwoar (Hurting 2), Friday, 1 February 2013 23:01 (four years ago) Permalink

Yeah, me neither. My area is employee benefits litigation so it's pretty straight forward (except when it's a total mess, but that's kind of fun, too).

I work in biglaw but as a staff attorney (so not partner track) which is pretty sweet. I get the perks of biglaw (well, aside from the huge salary) without the pressure.

carl agatha, Friday, 1 February 2013 23:15 (four years ago) Permalink

i do a lot of freelance "litigation support" for biglaw, and yeah afaict staff attys know what's up

Still S.M.D.H. ft. (will), Friday, 1 February 2013 23:22 (four years ago) Permalink

If you know why you are going, have a specific sub-specialty in mind, and plan on hanging out your own shingle or have a good network away from large law firms, you should feel great. Otherwise, you should feel like a sucker now and avoid the rush in three years.

wish i had this advice when i started.

een, i highly recommend you check out this article. it's one i wish i had read before choosing to take the plunge. the social mobility bit about the vague aspirational middle class law school hopes really hit home for me.


for some context i'm at law school in canada, but am in a similar situation to spectrum's. dealt with a lot of depression type stuff last year, plus the whole realization of "i have no idea why i'm here in the first place." so i'm deferring my 3rd year until september just to kind of get my depression settled down and figure my life out a bit. it's going pretty ok so far; the funny thing is that the people who like the idea most are lawyers =_=

still not entirely sure of what's gonna be in store for me when i return. not sure if i wanna practice or not i guess. i kinda find the majority of my colleagues hideous and depressing (although a select few are truly wonderful). i think i might be able to get myself back in gear school-wise and look for work. right now i'm thinking that i could just be selective and not spring for a law job immediately after graduation. just take my time to find a firm where i actually like the people. i'm blessed with having kind middle-class parents who used like all their money to fund my (cheap) canadian legal education, so i'm not in debt.

is there such thing as a low-stress (relatively speaking) law job? does that exist in family law? i'm thinking it might be nice to shoot for family law mediation. there's new legislation in my province that basically funnels every family court case to mediation, so i imagine there'll be lots of opportunities there. it also seems like an ~~existentially rewarding~~ career path, fwiw (which is a lot to me).

one of the big worries i have is that even in family law mediation, you're still subject to a lot of the agonies and horrors of family law in general. anyone know anything about this? i'm wondering if me, a sensitive individual, would be able to handle it. i left largely cuz of stress (shocker) and i found that despite being really quite good at trial advocacy, i might have had a hard time dealing with the adrenaline-rush cutthroat nature of it all. it kinda sucks that my greatest lawyer strength is the thing that seemingly gave me the biggest headache, but eh. hopefully a door opens as that window closes, ya know.

this ended up being a minor soliliquy i see. whoops

cocktail onion (fennel cartwright), Friday, 1 February 2013 23:30 (four years ago) Permalink

even anxious, non-confrontational introverts can learn to (sometimes) love and be good at the cutthroat stuff. i can't see anything in family law being low stress but i don't know about mediation. would they want you to have experience outside of mediation first? it's probably hard to select that specifically in the beginning when you're just looking for any opportunity.

veryupsetmom (harbl), Friday, 1 February 2013 23:37 (four years ago) Permalink

i swing between loving and hating my publ1c d3f3nd3r job so wildly and often think i could enjoy something more dry and regulatory but i'm moving up the ladder pretty fast here and want loan forgiveness so i'm not gonna leave anytime soon

veryupsetmom (harbl), Friday, 1 February 2013 23:39 (four years ago) Permalink

ilxmailed u een

乒乓, Friday, 1 February 2013 23:56 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah, in my province you have to work at a firm for 3 years before you can get certified as a family law mediator

and i dunno. i had a very hard time learning to love the cutthroat stuff, although i did get reasonably decent at it. i came like SO close to actually loving it - or, uh, convincing myself i loved it. i have a beastmode trigger deep down that seems to go off when i'm in high pressure situations like trials. but, like... i hate that beastmode trigger, and i hate how it turns me into a ravenous adrenaline junkie. so yeah... here i am thinking about mediation. ok then

cocktail onion (fennel cartwright), Saturday, 2 February 2013 00:09 (four years ago) Permalink

i did some regulatory law work for the ag's in my state ... i don't think there's a more boring area of law out there. it's like living inside the head of humphrey from yes minister. i did get to do some pretty cool corruption stuff, and i think i unknowingly assisted in some of it, but that probably comes with the territory... there was def an interesting vibe going on there.

fennel, if you're sensitive then i'd imagine you'd have to learn how to get a thicker skin or learn to be able to let go if you're going to be working in an emotionally-charged area like family law. i did some criminal law with a family flavor at the PDs office during law school and it was downright depressing sometimes. even when i was proud of myself for doing a good job, it was like "was I really right to do that?" like getting some deadbeat dad/serial wife beater a lighter than expected probation, I felt gross about it. conflict is pretty much the job of an advocate, both b/t the parties, and sometimes your own personal morals, and you're thrust into the middle of some of the darkest moments in peoples' lives. it's not an easy job, at least in my opinion.

Spectrum, Saturday, 2 February 2013 00:12 (four years ago) Permalink

oh yeah, various xposts

Spectrum, Saturday, 2 February 2013 00:12 (four years ago) Permalink

it takes at least a year to start feeling like the adversarial stuff is bothering you less. it's hard but it's always there so you just grow into it. interesting subject matter and stories and always something very absurd to laugh at is what keeps me going. i never, ever feel gross or guilty about helping someone who did something shitty, no matter how shitty it is. really. oddly i'm not sure how i'd feel about representing union-busting corporations or polluters. part of it is i never feel like the state is doing the right thing either, i guess. that's not all of it though. i don't think i get the existentially rewarding effect from anything, but i do get excited about people who do bad stuff. they're just interesting. you don't have to like what they do.

veryupsetmom (harbl), Saturday, 2 February 2013 00:24 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah, not everyone's made for it. i do understand some of that appeal, though ... everyday going into the office was like the intro montage to one of those old cop shows. crazy homeless people spinning around in the streets holding up traffic, drug deals in broad daylight, prostitutes hanging out on the corner, people playing dice on the wall of police station. it had this kind-of thrilling anarchy to it, but i couldn't stop thinking about the people involved when i actually argued matters... took away from some of the street justice/maury povich appeal.

turning point for me was when my supervisor was representing this guy who chopped up his wife and kids and threw 'em out in garbage bags like it was garbage day. being face to face with that guy made me want to throw up.

Spectrum, Saturday, 2 February 2013 01:05 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm p-side and I do a lot of investor litigation, so I never have to feel too bad about who or what I'm representing. At worst I might be working on a meh case that will do no one any significant harm, at best I'm helping a municipal pension fund recover from investment fraud or helping individuals recover retirement savings. I guess since it's all more financial and abstract I also don't have to see the ugliest sides of humanity, although the downside is that it can feel very detached.

space phwoar (Hurting 2), Saturday, 2 February 2013 03:09 (four years ago) Permalink

Hope dayo dissuades anyone from going to lawl school praise Jesus

buzza, Saturday, 2 February 2013 03:45 (four years ago) Permalink


buzza, Saturday, 2 February 2013 03:48 (four years ago) Permalink

buzza! ;-)

乒乓, Saturday, 2 February 2013 04:07 (four years ago) Permalink

hey, how's ls going anyway?

space phwoar (Hurting 2), Saturday, 2 February 2013 04:07 (four years ago) Permalink

family law is as close to hell on earth as a person can get. plus family law clients don't like paying their bills. i don't know why anyone in their right mind would concentrate on that area if they have other options.

estate litigation can get just as nasty as family law, but usually at least you know there's some money there to make it all worthwhile.

i have a history of enabling your mother. (Eisbaer), Saturday, 2 February 2013 09:15 (four years ago) Permalink

fennel, what prov are you in? I always forget there are more Canadians on ILX than I remember.

Stuck in the final 24 hours of a factum for my Supreme Court advocacy class which was supposed to be fascinating and awesome and mostly is except group work is the worst and trying to write a 35ish page factum with four people is actually probably way more difficult/tedious than just doing it yourself. And thus. I'm resigning myself to not fiddle too much with the sections I didn't write and won't be arguing, esp because the class is Pass/Fail but it is taking substantial amounts of restraint sometimes.

twinkin' and drinkin' and ready to fly (Alex in Montreal), Monday, 4 February 2013 01:34 (four years ago) Permalink

Gonna slip blissfully in the mindless detail work of citations after scarfing down dinner and hope that helps destress.

twinkin' and drinkin' and ready to fly (Alex in Montreal), Monday, 4 February 2013 01:36 (four years ago) Permalink

hey alex, i'm in BC. vancouver to be exact. i assume you're at mcgill? what are you looking at after school?

had a nice conversation with one of my two real friends at law school. was a little reassuring. seems like something i might be able to ease back into. needs some thinking in the meantime.

i understand family law proper is hellish. but i wonder if family law mediation would be fundamentally different than family law. i wouldn't even have to practice family law 3 years to be a certified mediator in BC; it can be any area of law and then just a few accreditation courses.

cocktail onion (fennel cartwright), Tuesday, 5 February 2013 08:34 (four years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Just need to randomly bitch about some litigation bullshit that is getting to me -- people I'm working with on a brief keep doing two really annoying things: (1) making what I'd call "gotcha" arguments, like "Defendants don't address x, therefore they acknowledge that our arguments on that point are correct" (so obviously not true! do you really think the court will fall for this?) and (2) neurotically addressing every single nitpicky point the other side raises. Sometimes you can just let a bad micro-argument go and trust the court to see it.

huun huurt 2 (Hurting 2), Monday, 6 May 2013 19:35 (four years ago) Permalink

hoo boy, me no big lawyer no more, but i vaguely remember in one of my litigation classes you concede a point by omitting it in your answer when it's addressed in the plaintiff's complaint, which is really just supremely lazy since all you need is a one-sentence form answer to keep it alive ... is that what they're doing??

Spectrum, Monday, 6 May 2013 19:40 (four years ago) Permalink

but it's a motion to dismiss, not an answer

huun huurt 2 (Hurting 2), Monday, 6 May 2013 19:58 (four years ago) Permalink

you definitely do not concede a point by omiting an arugment on it from your motion to dismiss - you can file a motion to dismiss that addresses only one point and still preserve all other arguments

huun huurt 2 (Hurting 2), Monday, 6 May 2013 19:59 (four years ago) Permalink

ok, i'm not even sure why they'd be bringing that up in the first place.

Spectrum, Monday, 6 May 2013 20:02 (four years ago) Permalink

how do you like being a practicing attorney? i've been tossing the idea around of jumping back into it.

Spectrum, Monday, 6 May 2013 20:03 (four years ago) Permalink

It's alright. I like being p-side, some of my work is interesting, and my firm is relatively humane with hours for a nyc firm. I'm still less happy than I was working in my bottom-of-the-barrel newspaper reporting job but that job wouldn't have supported a family. I get the feeling there are a lot of happier jobs than mine.

huun huurt 2 (Hurting 2), Monday, 6 May 2013 20:14 (four years ago) Permalink

I think what I hate most about lawyering is (1) you are stuck in an office for many hours staring at a computer screen, which sucks to an extent no matter what you're doing and (2) you have to dervote enormous attention to boring details, which combines with the stress of all the consequences that follow if you fuck up those boring details.

huun huurt 2 (Hurting 2), Monday, 6 May 2013 20:45 (four years ago) Permalink

(1) making what I'd call "gotcha" arguments, like "Defendants don't address x, therefore they acknowledge that our arguments on that point are correct" (so obviously not true! do you really think the court will fall for this?)

How common is an explicit "lol do you really think the court will fall for this?" in responses to such arguments? I've seen a lot of subtle working-the-refs-without-seeming-to on a legal blog I follow, and wondered if any of it blows up into actual "you gotta be fucking kidding me and kidding the judge too."

What makes a man start threads? (WilliamC), Monday, 6 May 2013 20:57 (four years ago) Permalink

ppl who know what they are doing should strive not to do it. not professional and betrays insecurity imo. just write the argument. a couple days ago i found an opinion somewhere where the judges called out one of the parties for snarky tone.

veryupsetmom (harbl), Monday, 6 May 2013 22:33 (four years ago) Permalink

er, insecurity betrays u? what i'm i trying to say? i'm so tired.

veryupsetmom (harbl), Monday, 6 May 2013 22:34 (four years ago) Permalink

one of my major goals in life is to never go to law school. so far so good.

i have opinions about empire burlesque (Treeship), Monday, 6 May 2013 22:35 (four years ago) Permalink

i think being a lawyer is cool for people who want to do it, but too many people like me -- who don't want to be lawyers -- seem to get sucked into it. i don't want to be one of those people.

i have opinions about empire burlesque (Treeship), Monday, 6 May 2013 22:36 (four years ago) Permalink

Trying to edit an 80 pp brief down to 50 right now, and I'm fighting people attached to every insignificant little half-point-scoring line. I had a really annoying argument with a junior partner about a moment where he thought he was "using defendants' argument against them" but doing so was actually perversely kind of double-cutting back against us.

huun huurt 2 (Hurting 2), Monday, 6 May 2013 22:38 (four years ago) Permalink

xp Tell everyone you communicate with regularly that if you say something like, "I really want to help people in a meaningful way, and I think law school is a good way to make that happen" they are to hit you in the head with something until you recant your statements. Same thing if you start talking about "alternative legal careers" (hint: there are like five job openings for alternative legal careers and all five of them were just filled while I was typing this).

carl agatha, Monday, 6 May 2013 22:39 (four years ago) Permalink

hey, that line got me a nice scholarship at my law school! too bad I believed it at the time. :{

Spectrum, Monday, 6 May 2013 22:44 (four years ago) Permalink

xxp to hurting. that sounds maddening.

Spectrum, Monday, 6 May 2013 22:47 (four years ago) Permalink

i can kind of sympathize with the young buck wanting to approach his case from a more creative angle, which is probably what he thought the law was all about before becoming a lawyer

i have opinions about empire burlesque (Treeship), Monday, 6 May 2013 23:14 (four years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

if you don't have a subscription this link should work

Spectrum, Tuesday, 16 July 2013 17:49 (three years ago) Permalink

three months pass...


Here’s some spooky news for law schools. The number of law school admission tests administered in October is down nearly 11% from the previous year, according to new data from the Law School Admission Council.

October LSAT takers numbered 33,673 versus the 37,780 who sat for the test the year before. It’s the fewest number of October test takers since 1998 and the second-lowest figure going back to at least year the 1980s. The half-day LSAT is given four times a year in annual cycles starting in June.

The figures are the latest sign that the law-school bubble hasn’t stopped deflating. Law Blog reported in August that law-school applicants are down 12.3% and applications are down 17.9% compared to a year ago.

The number of test takers peaked four years ago and has been on the decline ever since. The total for June and October is down 38% from four years ago. And the October total alone is 45% below the 2009 peak.

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Thursday, 31 October 2013 23:20 (three years ago) Permalink

Suck it, law schools.

carl agatha, Thursday, 31 October 2013 23:59 (three years ago) Permalink

thanks, obama

twist boat veterans for stability (k3vin k.), Friday, 1 November 2013 00:01 (three years ago) Permalink

suck on my L-SAC

#fomo that's the motto (Hurting 2), Friday, 1 November 2013 00:36 (three years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

"I didn't always agree with Scalia, but he was brilliant," and other complete bullshit you learn to spout in law school, such as "I really want to do transactional work, although I think lit could be interesting too,"

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Thursday, 18 February 2016 03:27 (one year ago) Permalink

Things I Have Never Said for $1000

Comprehensive Nuclear Suggest-Ban Treaty (benbbag), Thursday, 18 February 2016 04:23 (one year ago) Permalink

but otm

Comprehensive Nuclear Suggest-Ban Treaty (benbbag), Thursday, 18 February 2016 04:23 (one year ago) Permalink

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