OT Law school question

Submitted by hillbillyblue on April 22nd, 2012 at 6:58 AM

I have a question for the mgolawyers and those currently in law school.  Is it worth it and would it be wise to take a scholarship at a lesser school or take out loans to go to a school that is ranked a little higher?  I am graduating from Western Michigan this coming Saturday with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in social work and have spent the last two years doing everything necessary to get ready for law school.  I have recently been accepted at Wayne State (currently waiting for scholarship info), have a 75% scholarship at Michigan State, have been placed on waiting lists at Iowa and Wisconsin, and am still waiting to hear back from Chicago-Kent.  The reason that I am asking if it's worth it is because the closer I get to quitting my job and enrolling in a school the more second-guessing I am doing.  I am particularly worried about quitting my job because although I hate it, it pays quite well and I have a famliy to support.  My wife and I have crunched the numbers and it will be possible to live on her income for the next 3-4 years but after that it will be tough.  Any info you guys could give me would be great.  And I am prepared for the snarky comments for considering sparty law.

 

Edit:  I just checked my status at Wayne State and it shows on Friday they mailed out a scholarship acceptance form.

Comments

Other Chris

April 22nd, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

Find out what the requirements for keeping the scholarship are, and then find out the percentage of the class that meets those requirements.  If the requirement is 3.0 or above, don't be suckered into thinking it's the same 3.0 you've seen elsewhere.  Grade inflation has not hit law school. Try to find out what percentage keep their scholarship through their full law school career.

It is not likely that this is readily available information, or information the school will be happy to give you. 

ColsBlue

April 22nd, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

My wife graduated from a Tier 3 law school 10 years ago and is now a partner in a large, Michigan based firm. I'm sure a better ranked school would have opened more doors initially, but she's achieved success with the degree she holds. I believe, very strongly, that it was her hustle and attitude that put her in this position. If you decide you want to practice law and are willing to be patient as your career develops, any school (within reason) can get you there. Finish near the top of your class, participate in Law Review, and, fergodsake, interview well. When I asked her about her houghts on this thread, the first thing my wife said was that so many students and young attorneys interview poorly. I've noticed the same in my profession - young professionals don't want to build careers anymore. They want high pay, short paths to partnership, and easy lifestyles along the way. Be smart, work hard, and be patient - you'll do fine with a degree from any of these schools (if it's what you truly want to do).

UAUM

April 22nd, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

You don't have to go to a top 25 law school to be successful (you just have to work hard and be savy).  I've worked with some of the top attorneys in the state who are partners at 400+ attorney firms and two of them came from Tier 4 law schools.  The only benefit from going to a top 25 school is the mere possibility at getting a job as an associate at a large firm.  But do you really want to do that, seriously (maybe you don't, maybe you do)?

Keep in mind out-of-state vs. in-state tuition too.  That can be just as valuable as a partial scholarship.

Also think about which metro are you want to practice in.  Law school location can help your pactice.  So if you want to live and work anywhere in Michigan, go to a Michigan school.  If you want to work in Chicagoland, go to Wisconsin or Chicago-Kent.

I do think that you need a graduate degree to get ahead though, so perhaps you're just debating betwen a JD, MBA, or something else...

 

Random selfless plug here:  I'm an attorney in Columbus, Ohio and Google just did a YouTube video abot my new firm (which I hope to be expanding back into Michigan this fall).  You can check it out by clicking on my signature or here.

 

UAUM

April 22nd, 2012 at 6:09 PM ^

But like a few others have said, you have to set yourself apart because there are so many good lawyers, just being good isn't enough anymore. So if Google wants to pay for a producer and film crew to make a story about my little biz that clients find interesting,I'll take it.

m1817

April 22nd, 2012 at 6:53 PM ^

UAUM, the video made a good first impression about your practice, but the plug for Google left a more lasting impression.  

~30 sec of the video explains why you started the practice but  ~1:10 of the video is spent promoting Google.  It reminds me of an American Express commercial where a small business owner talks about how the AMEX card is integral to their success.

The other thought that I have about the video is that you may want to emphasize your experience/expertise rather than why you are starting a new practice.  Clients are more concerned about your expertise than why you decided to start your own firm.  

UAUM

April 22nd, 2012 at 7:05 PM ^

When we filmed it, they took about 5 hours of film with probably 2 hour spent interviewing on what makes the firm different, our practice areas, other stuff about us, but since Google paid and produced the video, they chose what went into the final version of the video.

Thougts on the website generally are welcome too.  Sometimes it's tough to view it from an outside perspective since I design it and view it all the time.

LSA Superstar

April 22nd, 2012 at 5:09 PM ^

Hard work is a necessary but not sufficient condition of success.  Successful people are often oblivious to that fact.

Your wife worked hard.  That's to her credit - most people are unwilling or unable to.  She was also very very lucky.

ColsBlue

April 22nd, 2012 at 9:23 PM ^

There's no question, a part of success is still "right place, right time". But to say someone's "very very lucky" to complete a 7-year partnership track is a stretch. My point was that there are successes from lower tier schools and failures from top tier schools. Neither the school nor the degree makes the person. It's also a bit insulting to say that successful people are oblivious to the work involved to be successful. I'd say that less successful folks are oblivious to the work, time, and sacrifice to achieve the "luck" you speak of.

GRFS11

April 22nd, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

I just want to push back on a couple of the more dire things that have been said - in particular, the BC Law student letter and abovethelaw.com are both really exaggerated sources of data, so please don't take those as fact.  They have purposefully sensionalized many aspects of law school and the process, and abovethelaw.com is often times flat out wrong or misleading.  I also know plenty of lawyers who do enjoy their work, even with some long hours.  I don't think it's unreasonable to have to expect to work hard, especially for the few years out of law school.  If you don't want to work hard, I wouldn't become a lawyer.  That being said, I think you just have to ask yourself where you want to practice law.

 

If you want to be in Detroit, Wayne State should get you there, provided you work hard.  MSU should probably get you there too.  If you want to work in Chicago, then Kent is a good bet.  Plus, those schools will teach to the bar exams in Michigan and Illinois, respectively, rather than a kind of "national" outlook.  If you have significant work experience, that will help you greatly in your job search.  Employers are increasingly looking to work experience not necessarily as a requirement, but certainly a huge boost to applicants.

 

The market is tough, but having a law degree can open up a lot of doors, and the economy IS getting better.  Scholarships would certainly make it easier, and I like the insight of some of the above posters on the possiblities to go part time.  Don't be scared or enticed by any one stat; there are exceptions to every rule, and you have to decide if the risk is worth it.  So far, I'm happy with my decision.

Urban Warfare

April 22nd, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

You don't know what you're talking about.  I went to a top tier school, wrote onto a journal, and graduated in the top half of my class.  Like the majority of my classmates, I am working as a solo practitioner trying to get court appointed cases.

The market is so bad right now that even document review jobs only want the top 30%.

Logan

April 22nd, 2012 at 3:37 PM ^

This is going to sound a bit patronizing, and I apologize, but you're just a 1L.  This thread is not about whether you're liking law school so far and are happy with your decision, it's about whether it's worth it to go to law school in the first place. And the important question certainly isn't "where" you want to practice law. The most important question is "why"...in the past a lot of us couldn't answer that other than "I couldn't think of anything else and I wanted the prestige and pay of being a lawyer." Coming from a someone who practiced, and worked hard, at a large law firm for years, my piece of advice would be, if that's your answer to the "why" then stop right there. Hopefully, that is what the hugely negative response from practicing lawyers on this thread has proven. It's an even trickier question to answer nowadays with the state of legal employment than it was when I entered law school years ago.

Also, if you're hoping to go to a big firm and think you will only have to work especially hard only for the first few years after law school to succeed, you're kidding yourself. Apart from a business opportunity arising for me, one of the biggest reasons I left was that I saw non-equity (and even some equity) partners working insane hours and basically being treated as a glorified senior associates by the firm rainmakers (there were A LOT of other reasons as well).

There is a huge opportunity cost to going to law school. Now that I've been out for a while, I'm not sure what doors having a law degree opens (other than actually working as an attorney) that you couldn't open without a law degree with some hustle. I realize you're excited about your future and I definitely don't know your situation..I just think some of the advice you're giving is because you haven't actually experienced practicing. In the end the OP will make the best decision for him and his family, but I think the whole point of this thread is to explain the reality that sometimes blinds law school applicants and enrollees.

bronxblue

April 22nd, 2012 at 5:51 PM ^

I don't disagree with your sentiment much about law school, but as a counter-point I would argue that sometimes people attend law school for different reasons, and that someone closer to the current job market (like a 1L) may have a better idea of what drives students today compared to a more experienced (but necessarily distant) member.  I've only been practicing about 5 years, so still a young pup to many, but I do think there is a place for attorneys who understand that those shiny employment statistics you find in the brochures are exaggerated.  

firstzugie

April 22nd, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

I have been a criminal defense lawyer for 34 years in Chicago, IL. I went to UM on a football scholarship and graduated in 1970. I then spent 3 years in the Marines as an officer and went to law school on the GI Bill. I had no debt when I finished, and that was when tuition at both UM and law school was $2500.00, a semester (big money back then). 

Two things jumped out at me when I read your post. 1) You wasted your time in undergrad by taking criminal justice and social work courses. Your time would have been better spent taking business courses and any course that teaches critical thinking, i.e. philosophy. history. creative writing. literature, etc. Being a lawyer is not a job. It's a calling. It's a classical profession, along with being a medical doctor and a clergyman. Undergrad criminal justice courses are ok if you want to be a cop or work in the security field. Buisness courses are necessary now because law is now more of a business than as a profession. Any chance you may have at a job may be to open your own law firm. I learned this at a time before advertising was allowed in the legal profession. I also had a mentor for the first 5 years I was a lawyer. I learned more about being a lawyer from him than I ever did in law school.If you don't have political connections you can't even get a job as a Public Defender or Prosecutor.

2) I have a thriving criminal defense practice and have hired several lawyers recently. I hired lawyers who are retired from the Public Defenders Office or the State's Attorney Office. The reason is twofold. First, they have at leasd 18 years experience in trying criminal cases. Second, they have a pension and all their benefits paid for by the county. I don' t have to provide them. I save money that way. 

It's tough out there, kid. Unless you're absoluetly sure that you want to be a lawyer and can weather the financial shitstorm, and have political connections to get that first job, don't do it. 

Commie_High96

April 22nd, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

Does Brian know how many lawyers read this blog? He must be horrified. There are lots of careers and opportunities for lawyers and there will continue to be. As a past president of the Washtenaw County young/new lawyers, I can tell you there aren't a lot of young lawyers in Ann Arbor! Suprising since we have two law schols in town and three more within a 45 minute drive. The problem with law school is that they only train you to get a job at a big firm. A large percent of lawyers end up as solos or in small firms, bu law school do nothing, absolutely noting to prepare people for this fact of legal life.

Afte a summer at firm whose name sounds like birkland and smellis, I knew if I were to work in a firm, I would get fired. IMO, after seeing several firms (even some fairly big Michigan firms) implode in the last few years, every lawyer should be redy to practice as a sol at a moments notice.

Wolverine 73

April 22nd, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

1.  There is a lot of really good advice above.  I graduated Michigan Law over 30 years ago.  It was a different law world then.  Don't go to law school today UNLESS you really want to be a lawyer.  Don't do it because you think it might be a good idea or you think you will make a lot of money.

2.  If you really want to be a lawyer, going to a top school only matters a lot if you want a job at a big law firm.  Those jobs aren't what they once were.  It is much harder to become an equity partner (almost everyone now has an underclass of salaried partners), there is far more dreary work at the lower levels, and the chance to acquire skills at an early age is more limited.  The pressure to produce big hours is enormous, and after awhile there is pressure to generate meaningful new clients also.

3.  Even if you want to go to a big law firm, going to a halfway decent law school and being at the top of your class will be you noticed, perhaps more so than going to a renowned law school and getting mediocre grades.  This is especially true if you have a story of why you went to the smaller school--like you got a full ride and needed it because you had a family.  (I have been on my firm's hiring committee for over 10 years; I am not making this up.)

4.  if you want to be a prosecutor or practice criminal defense work, or even be a plaintiff's personal injury lawyer, having the personality for it and a bit of acting flair will take you a long way.  And it won't matter so much where you went to law school.  It is, however, helpful to have contacts to get into a prosecutor's office or get a start with a small firm.  Do your very best to apprentice with someone during law school to get that foot in the door.

I enjoyed law school, and I enjoy what I do.  But if I were coming out of college today, I would really think twice about whether I wanted a career in law given the way things have evolved.

WindyCityBlue

April 22nd, 2012 at 2:44 PM ^

...and if someone hasn't recommended doing this, I would recommend giving B-school a thought.  If your heart is set on law, then disregard my post. 

Compared to law school, B-school is:

1. cheaper

2. less time

3. better on families (i.e. less academically rigorous)

4. offers more career versitility

5. seems to have better % of people who graduate with jobs

Same rules apply in that I would go to a top 10 or not go at all (although this seems less strict in b-school compared to law school)

As a Ross full-time MBA grad, I can say that it was the best career move of my life and I graduated during the shit economy.  Many of us kept our jobs, some were impacted, but all of us landed on our feet right away.  If you are interested to know more, let me know.

ccdevi

April 22nd, 2012 at 3:24 PM ^

Very interesting thread, too long (with so many long posts) for me to read in full but I agreed with  a lot of what I read.

I went to UM law (and undergrad) and am a partner at one of the top 10 firms in the country.  So I'm easily a 1%er when it comes to law school grad success.   My advice generally to people is dont go to law school.  If you are smart enough and hard working enough to have great success in law, you can make more money and/or have more satisfaction/better lifestyle in other professions.

If people really want to give law a try I say go to a great school or dont go.  Now note thats a big city big law perspective.  So I would say if you're not going to a great school than yeah take the scholarship.  My firm for example wouldnt care if you went to Wayne St or MSU.  You'd probably have no chance at either but you'd have to have absolutely killed it (like be 1st in your class) at either.  At someplace like Iowa, you would have a little better chance but if you're not top10% at a place like Iowa, again no chance.

To be clear there will always be exceptions, always be success stories from small schools and failures from the best schools, but the percentages are stacked against you in a big way from a lesser school.

d.

April 22nd, 2012 at 3:25 PM ^

The best advice coming from current 2L is just make sure you want to go to law school.  It's too much of a time/stress/monetary investment to not entirely buy-in. 

You'll also want to take into consideration where your family is.  I assume since you're at Western, that you live in/around the Kalamazoo area?  If true, are you going to relocate the fam during school or commute?  If you already live in the detroit area, then staying in the area and going to Wayne may be your best bet that way you won't have to reacclimate everyone to a new area.  Chicago will be tough just because the legal culture sucks here right now and is over-saturated with lawyers and law students, but there are opportunites there for the right people.

At the end of the day, you need to make the decision for yourself though.  Folks on here have been through the trenches, but no one can get inside your head.  Wherever you go and whatever you decide to do, just make sure you've done your own work and don't rush your decision. 

Best of luck!

 

MGoBender

April 22nd, 2012 at 3:33 PM ^

Not a lawyer.  Teacher actually.  I was on a hiring comittee for one of our administrative positions and of the 20 or so resumes we seriously considered, I would say 7ish had JDs.  Might be a sign, might not be worth anything.

But, I guess you could say that private-sectors still will appreciate a JD and if you decide to not go the lawyer route you may have other options.

Needs

April 22nd, 2012 at 4:36 PM ^

Just to echo this, I was on a grad school admissions committee for doctoral work this year. Saw about 30 applicants with JDs out of the 140 candidates in my particular subfield, including applicants with JDs from Boalt, Penn, Columbia, and Harvard. And the JD did not benefit them, as none were admitted (we made only 5 offers).

bronxblue

April 22nd, 2012 at 5:44 PM ^

Just as a counter, I'm currently an MS student at Columbia and they cited my law background (both degree and experience) as a positive for my admission.  So it does work both ways.  What doctoral program were they applying to, if you don't mind me asking.

Brunette Girl

April 22nd, 2012 at 3:54 PM ^

I turned down a 75% scholarship to Depaul Law to go to Villanova Law... totally regret it.  As several others have said, unless you're at a T-14 school, you'll likely need to finish top 5-10% of your class to even get interviews at firms that start first-year attorneys at a six-figure salary.  I graduated in 2009 and just recently started a job in NYC where I can comfortably make my monthly loan payment, which now, with interest, is about $200,000.  

ppToilet

April 22nd, 2012 at 4:02 PM ^

Your monthly loan payment with interest is $200,000?  I'm hoping you only have to pay that for one month.

Kidding, of course, but this has to be one of the most depressing threads I've read on MGoBlog in ages and this is a crude attempt at levity...

firstzugie

April 22nd, 2012 at 4:03 PM ^

Hillbilly, don't let people scare you from your dream. You'll always regret it. But, having said that, be wise in your decision whether to go to law school. It's a tough, demandind, stressful, overglutted profession.  And don't think biglaw is the way to go. Here in Chicago, many solo and small firm lawyers make as much or more than biglaw lawyers. Many are starving, as well. If you go solo or small firm (your own, not as an employee) be sure you are schooled in business and marketing as well. In the "old" days, being a good lawyer was enough. Today, there are so many lawyers out there no one will know who you are unless you market yourself wisely. If you decide to attend Chicago Kent College of Law in Chicago, become  involved in local politics. (Be a democrat as republicans have almost no power in Chicago.) That will greatly enhance your chances of becoming an ass't public defender or ass't state's attorney when you graduate. Intern in the summers with local solos, also to enhance job opportunities upon graduation. The Cook County Public Defender's Office and Cook County State's Attornys Office have what's called a 7-11 program. That's for 3L law students who work free and get courtroom experience (under the supervision of an atttorney). That's under Rule 7-11 of the Supreme Court Rules.

Good luck.

firstzugie

April 22nd, 2012 at 4:06 PM ^

Hillbilly, don't let people scare you from your dream. You'll always regret it. But, having said that, be wise in your decision whether to go to law school. It's a tough, demanding, stressful, overglutted profession.  And don't think biglaw is the way to go. Here in Chicago, many solo and small firm lawyers make as much or more than biglaw lawyers. Many are starving, as well. If you go solo or small firm (your own, not as an employee) be sure you are schooled in business and marketing. In the "old" days, being a good lawyer was enough. Today, there are so many lawyers out there no one will know who you are unless you market yourself wisely. If you decide to attend Chicago Kent College of Law in Chicago, become  involved in local politics. (Be a democrat as republicans have almost no power in Chicago.) That will greatly enhance your chances of becoming an ass't public defender or ass't state's attorney when you graduate. Intern in the summers with local solos, also to enhance job opportunities upon graduation. The Cook County Public Defender's Office and Cook County State's Attornys Office have what's called a 7-11 program. That's for 3L students who work free and get courtroom experience (under the supervision of an atttorney). That's under Rule 7-11 of the Supreme Court Rules.

Good luck.

bronxblue

April 22nd, 2012 at 5:40 PM ^

Late to the party, but my 2 cents.

Went to MSU law school (graduated in 2007) on a 75% scholarship.  Made law review, did reasonably well grade-wise, was published a couple of times, etc.  Had a technical degree (UM CE), some work experience, passed the state bar, the whole shebang, and struggled to get even interviews.  Ultimately took a job as a programmer, then moved to NYC and worked as an attorney for a couple fo years before going back to software development at a small company, which has worked out well so far.

My advice is that unless you plan on being a "BigLaw" lifer/can deal with crushing debt, only go to law school if you see it furthering your career in some meaningful way.  In my case, I was having a hard time finding a job as a programmer and liked the IP aspect of law, so it made sense for me given the relatively low amount of debt I accrued.  And if you plan on staying on the west side of the state, MSU makes good sense because their hiring presence out there is solid.  But it is a sad state of the profession that there are simply more attorneys being minted every year than the market can handle.  In my case, I made it work by going back to my earlier profession and then using my legal background to supplement my utility.  

But if you are just graduating and have options, try to work/branch out before investing in law school.  Many of my classmates were fresh graduates who viewed law school as a "holding pattern" area of study while they figured out what to do next.  Many of them wound up struggling to find employment and are still suffering under 6-figure debt.  They would probably say they stand behind their decision to attend law school, but I know with me I have had to put off some life decisions temporarily while I work off my debt, with that being a fraction of their's.  So my perhaps jaundiced advice is if you have doubts about whether or not law school is for you, consider that even 25% of law school tuition and room/board/living expenses will run you north of $40k.  If you can handle that, then by all means go for it (and MSU is a good school - it jumped from T3 when I was there to top-100 now), but if not then hold back and figure out if you love law or just the the prestige/paycheck.

bronxblue

April 22nd, 2012 at 6:49 PM ^

I'm a patent attorney, and while there are more jobs there than other specialities, it still isn't full of opportunities.  Most firms I interviewed with/know of want an attorney with years of experience in a specific technical field (for example, most bio/chem attorneys you see have Ph.D.'s), and that might not make sense for the OP.

goblue20111

April 22nd, 2012 at 6:17 PM ^

Umm so I'm not reading this entire thread but I'm in a similar boat.  I applied senior year of UG, got into some schools, none great, retook the LSAT and got some money out of the schools I got into the next cycle.  Will be going to Wayne in the fall, a little bit of money from Wayne (not a whole lot) for my first year but I'm thankful that my parents are willing to help me out with some expenses to help keep my debt load down.  Unless I plan on moving out, I won't have to take out COL loans.  Take the money from the best school in the market you want to work in.  For me, I have no dreams of NYC/Chicago/DC BigLaw, want to live in and work in SE Michigan, have wanted to go to LS for a while, don't exactly have the most marktable degree in the world (lolPoliSci) and the thought of selling insurance for the rest of my life makes me want to blow my brains out.  I've read all the horror stories above elsewhere and tbh it impacted my decision to take a year off and reassess if LS was right for me.  I decided it was am scared shitless.  I came here to check out some playoff stuff for the NHL games, saw this thread, and decided to post.  Not sure I've actually said anything of substance or helped anybody.  Just wanted to post.  Good luck OP. 

The FannMan

April 22nd, 2012 at 6:45 PM ^

 

I am a bit late here - I was working this weekend.

My bio is a U of M BA in the early 90s, UM law degree in the mid-90s.  I have been with the same mid-sized Michigan firm since, and I now have a good bit of input on hiring.  My wife is an attorney as well.  She went to Wayne State.  I hope I can bring some perspective to your decision.

First, do make sure that you want to go to law school.  That is covered very well above.

Second, Wayne State is an excellent law school which produces very good attorneys.  The only issue is that it is not well known beyond Michigan.  If you want to stay around the area, Wayne is a great bet.  I still know people that my wife went to law school with - all top notch attorneys

Third, I wouldn't be too sure about walking into a lower rated school and dominating.  Most schools set their curve so most will get B+s, but is it really hard to pull all As.  Also, really smart people end up at "lower rated" schools for a number of reasons.  You could end up with a lesser known degree and the typical 3.33 GPA. 

Fourth, as a guy who is invovled in hiring, the law school that you go to matters - and not just for "Big Law."  My firm is under 30 attorneys and a resume from a good school, like Wayne, gets more attention from a "lesser" school.  Full disclosure - I have no information on most of the other schools you name.  So please take this as a general point, not a negative on the other schools.

Finally, school loans suck.  However, if you are going to committ to a law degree, I would go ahead and go for the best school you can.  You will eventually pay off the loans (trust me, you will).  However, you will have the same JD for your entire career.  This is a long term investment. 

Good luck to you.  Tell your wife to brace herself for the fact that you will be a little nuts.  Don't even ask me about the bar.

If you do go to law school, treat it like a job, not like undergrad.  Get there at 8 and start working on your case books.  Classes are your meetings.  Bring your lunch and keep working until 6:00 p.m.when you can put it all away and go home to the family.  This way you can stay up in your classes and still live a normal family life.  I learned this the hard way from classmates who had families and jobs and knew the deal.  I tried to do law school like undergrad (waking up 15 minute before class, cramming for exams, etc) which made for a very tough end of the semester.

panthers5

April 22nd, 2012 at 7:25 PM ^

STUDENT LOANS!!!!!!

 

You probably won't get this from lawyers who have been practicing for 10+ years, but the Income based repayment plan for US Dept of Edu loans is a life saver. Don't listen to all these people that say, "you will struggle to cover your loan costs". Simply not true. As I said, my wife graduated from Duke Law (and again the name matters a lot), and she comfotably makes the loan repayments. Of course you won't pay them back as quickly on IBR, but it will give you time to catch your breath and get yourself in good financial standing before you have to make full repayments.

My wife also had full scholarships to tier 3 schools (Drake, Capital) and even tier 1 Ohio State, which she turned down thank God! She is in the same boat as everyone else, but people respected she went to Duke, and if you want to stay in Michigan go to a Michigan school, but a note worthy name can make all the difference.

CTAlum

April 22nd, 2012 at 8:45 PM ^

I graduated from UM and went straight into a JD/MBA program at BC (back 20 years ago).  My advice comes from that experience.  Going to school with law and business students at the same time provided an interesting perspective.  I was in business school with many people who wanted to attend law school, decided to be a paralegal first, then saw they did not like working in law.  They saved themselves the headache and money of attending law school by getting real exposure first.

On the other hand, I was on a law review at the law school during my3rd and 4th year while interviewing with law firms.  A couple people I knew on the journal were asking why I was interviewing with law firms.  They were miserable in law school and questioning why become a lawyer.  They were envious that I had options (i.e. my MBA).

I did end up taking an IT job, left that for law, then went back to IT for the last 16 years.  I do not regret getting my law degree, but a bit of a luxury at the cost.  

If you can defer, take some time, be a paralegal, see what the real world of practicing law is like and see if that is really what you want to do.  If it is, you probably were a good paralegal and will have a good "in" to get hired later . . .

 

Good luck with your decision.