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Law School reality check

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Jul 23, 2011, 8:36am   #46
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DiorDeVille
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Originally Posted by Echoes
People around here don't really trust lawyers. If you were to hire one on in a different job capacity, you'd be wondering if they were trying to find a reason to sue you.
One of my classmates and buddies has been interviewing with companies for non-lawyer positions for about a year (he's just over being a lawyer, I think). He says that it's a rock and a hard place - he's either admitting that he hated his last job (bad in an interview), that he was a crummy attorney (also bad), being pushed out involuntarily (interviewer's impression), or that a cubicle job pushing paper from 8-5 is better than a "cushy law firm job" (which is something only former biglaw-ers are going to believe - and they aren't interviewing for these positions). He's been very depressed over the situation. He's recently started leaving the JD off of his resume and finds the gap year far easier to explain (I think he's using "study abroad" or something along those lines) than why he would leave a law firm to work for Acme & Sons.

Just FYI, the generally dismal advice here might not be universally applicable, which is something I'd forgotten. I hear from cohorts that IP law is doing well and in fact that qualified IP lawyers are in demand. (That's also one of the higher-paying specialties.) Miss Alice, BLL, have you heard anything related to that area of practice lately?
Jul 23, 2011, 8:53am   #47
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Echoes
NoWhere Atoll
I'm not sure what you mean by IP law, but if you mean the copyright vigilantes, their day is about to end very unpleasantly. Judges are coming down hard on them and throwing their cases out of court right and left.

They may adapt and change their tactics, but the way they're going now isn't working well.


Maybe you're referring to something else though.
Jul 23, 2011, 9:19am   #48
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BlkLadyLaw
Haute Legal Diva
I agree, different practice areas may have a different outlook. I went to a law school that was known for its IP Law program that attracted a lot of former US Patent & Trademark Office employees and people who majored in science/engineering in undergrad. Since most of those jobs require a science background the supply of qualified students is not as large....so they tend to have a better job outlook and IP lawyers are some of the highest paid lawyers because of it. All my IP law classmates had no problems. They are at Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble, pharmaceutical companies, partners at firms, at the Patent office, etc.
I am not a patent lawyer and do not have a science background but my focus in school was on soft IP (copyright/licensing/trademarks) and Internet law and I just had a natural geek interest in all things related to computers and the Internet. I ended up being a technology/IP licensing lawyer...I graduated during the dot.com and tech bubble where these jobs were everywhere. There was no such thing as 5+ years experience in those areas of law, the laws were being created at that time and the executives at the companies were very young....so it was easier for a new/young lawyer to get those jobs at that time. I started at an Internet company. I haven't noticed much difficulty in finding positions in IP licensing with some experience. I get headhunter calls a lot not just for myself but also fishing for other experienced contacts that may be looking but they are often for West coast/Silicon Valley jobs and thusfar I am happy in DC.
The key in the early years is to try and get the experience any way that you can even if it is for little to no pay...it will pay off later even if you have to struggle a bit in the beginning.
The hot practice areas seem to go in cycles. After the tech bubble crash, bankruptcy lawyers were in high demand. I imagine they still are in these times.
Jul 23, 2011, 9:27am   #49
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BlkLadyLaw
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Originally Posted by miss alice

IMO, and other attys can chip in, LLM is not really useful (in terms of getting a job) unless it is in taxation. lol, or if you want to teach law. foreign lawyers have no choice but to get an LLM if they want to practice law in the USA. Unless, they want to get a JD which is VERY rare. Havent seen that and I lived in the most diverse city in USA (arguably so lol). Most foreign LLBs come to USA and get LLM so they can take the bar and practice here. But, the pay is still different. And, JDs are still percieved as more desirable on an international level.
My school's LLM program mostly had foreign students in it for that reason. The two popular LLM tracks were Tax and IP Law. I think it can be useful for complex practice areas like that that require a lot more detail. I've heard that in Tax it can be a requirement to have an LLM but that is hearsay.
Jul 24, 2011, 12:09am   #50
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schadenfreude
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Fascinating thread! When I finished my 8 years of post-graduate medical training and couldn't find a single job in my city, I was so disheartened and angry -- $200k in student loan debt with two graduate degrees and up a creek without a paddle. There was more than a few times where I regretted not going to law school instead... but am grateful now for my field, reading your horror stories! I had no idea it was so brutal, although one of my partners now told me he got his JD after practicing as a physician with the intent of developing a consultation sort of business, but he got ZERO interest from any entities! Sheesh... so it makes me grateful to be in medicine, despite its MANY headaches!
Jul 24, 2011, 11:21am   #51
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All the IP lawyers I know/worked with (in house and outside counsel) have a PhD - that's in biotech. You don't need the advance degree to go into IP if you have engineering or cs background.
Jul 24, 2011, 9:21pm   #52
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Vinyl
Thanks for sharing the article, OP. Very insightful.

This thread just piqued my interest since I have two close friends who are studying for the LSAT & plan on applying to law school. I'm not convinced they are genuinely passionate about law. Both have made it clear they are doing it to avoid the real world for a few more years (we have one year left of college). Of course, I'm appalled because graduate school in general is a huge investment, but each to their own...
Jul 24, 2011, 10:58pm   #53
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toobabyish
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Thank you for this thread. I'm currently studying for my LSAT and will go to law school if I get into a top 40... I'm scared about not being able to find a job, but I don't graduate my undergrad until spring 2013 (I'm 22 but I took a break from school to travel to different countries -- which is something I don't regret one bit) so I hope there will be jobs by the time I finish in 2016-2017.
Jul 30, 2011, 1:12am   #54
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working it
This is a great thread and it provides a lot of insight for people who are just interested in law school because they think that it will secure them with a high-paying "glamorous" job. I used to think the same as a freshman in college but started working as a file clerk and then a legal secretary all throughout my undergrad at a civil litigation firm, and then worked as a paralegal at another firm right after I graduated...which opened my eyes and saw the reality of a lawyer's day to day workload. That turned me off but I still love interpreting the law.

For the past year, I've been working for one of the largest labs writing their contracts. Going to law school would take me up the ladder in one fell swoop where I would be able to make all the decisions and play a more important role in the company. Upper management earns $300-600k a year. I have no debt and no loans whatsoever so I'm willing to take on more education since I know that it will help me in my current career path and I love my job and know that I have a future there with or without the law degree. They also finance 90-100% of tuition costs which pretty much seals the deal.
Jul 31, 2011, 5:06am   #55
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LittleMsPerfect
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Originally Posted by toobabyish
Thank you for this thread. I'm currently studying for my LSAT and will go to law school if I get into a top 40... I'm scared about not being able to find a job, but I don't graduate my undergrad until spring 2013 (I'm 22 but I took a break from school to travel to different countries -- which is something I don't regret one bit) so I hope there will be jobs by the time I finish in 2016-2017.
Just want to throw in my plug for PowerScore's Logic Games Bible and the Kaplan 180 book. --I do not work for nor have I ever worked for either company

And for the record, I'm a law student going into my last year :) and I am not so happy about job prospects out there but I love the law more than I love fashion so I don't regret my decision of going to law school. But for those who are unsure of whether they want to practice law I would say to really investigate your desired field(s) to discover how much a JD can benefit you.
Jul 31, 2011, 7:13pm   #56
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toobabyish
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Originally Posted by LittleMsPerfect
Just want to throw in my plug for PowerScore's Logic Games Bible and the Kaplan 180 book. --I do not work for nor have I ever worked for either company

And for the record, I'm a law student going into my last year :) and I am not so happy about job prospects out there but I love the law more than I love fashion so I don't regret my decision of going to law school. But for those who are unsure of whether they want to practice law I would say to really investigate your desired field(s) to discover how much a JD can benefit you.
Thanks for your advice. I'm actually using all of the PowerScore books (Logic Reasoning, Logic Games, and Reading Comp) as well as The Last 10 LSAT Preptests. I also have the Kaplan books (a free gift from a friend that works at Kaplan) that I may look into if I don't feel like the PowerScore books are sufficient. I'm leaning towards fashion law. It's not glitzy and glamorous like people think since you're behind the scenes, but I love learning about copyrights/trademarks.
Aug 1, 2011, 12:50am   #57
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chinadoll724
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I just finished my first year of law school and will be interviewing with 10 firms at what is known as OCI (on campus interviewing) in a week. It will be for a summer associate position next summer, which will then hopefully lead into a full time position once I graduate. I will report back with my experience there. I'm considering patent law since I have biology degree and research experience, but I'm probably only eligible for the litigation side since I don't have a PhD. I might not want anything at all to do with patents, so I prefer a firm that will put us through rotations during the summer.
Aug 1, 2011, 7:55am   #58
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Thank you BlkLadyLaw, and all of the other posters. This is a great thread. I get a lot of pressure from my family to got to Law school, as if it were a guaranteed golden ticket. This makes me feel a lot better about my chosen career path.
Aug 1, 2011, 11:49am   #59
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titania029
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When I was in law school, I found out that the intellectual property firms generally will not hire someone without a science or math background. The bulk of the work/money is in patent law. The trademark/copyright stuff is more on the side. It was very disappointing for me, because I really enjoyed my copyright class.

Originally Posted by toobabyish
Thanks for your advice. I'm actually using all of the PowerScore books (Logic Reasoning, Logic Games, and Reading Comp) as well as The Last 10 LSAT Preptests. I also have the Kaplan books (a free gift from a friend that works at Kaplan) that I may look into if I don't feel like the PowerScore books are sufficient. I'm leaning towards fashion law. It's not glitzy and glamorous like people think since you're behind the scenes, but I love learning about copyrights/trademarks.
Aug 2, 2011, 12:29am   #60
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toobabyish
Member
Originally Posted by titania029
When I was in law school, I found out that the intellectual property firms generally will not hire someone without a science or math background. The bulk of the work/money is in patent law. The trademark/copyright stuff is more on the side. It was very disappointing for me, because I really enjoyed my copyright class.
Every brand/store/company has their own legal department, and I would like to get my foot in the door in one of those. I live in Washington, DC -- 20 minutes away from the US Patent and Trademark Office, so IP is pretty popular here. I don't think I would want to stay here tough...
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