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Lawyer CAGs and CAGs in law school.


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#31 SpazX

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 12:58 AM

I can see where a degree in some kind of art or english (kind of) is irrelevant to a law degree, but unless you're talking about some specific kinds of law, math and science degrees seem even less relevant. Something like political science, history, or criminal justice seems to make more sense as an undergrad degree if you're going for law afterwards.

Obviously if you got terrible grades it doesn't really matter, but I don't see where a degree in fields like engineering or biology would be more relevant to law in general. Maybe I'm missing something.

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#32 Koggit

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:03 AM

Doc, could you point out where I said only engineers should go to law school? Pretty sure I didn't say that.

To condense my previous post: prospective law students should expect their J.D. career prospects to be better than but proportional to their bachelor's degree career prospects. It's really that simple.


I can see where a degree in some kind of art or english (kind of) is irrelevant to a law degree, but unless you're talking about some specific kinds of law, math and science degrees seem even less relevant. Something like political science, history, or criminal justice seems to make more sense as an undergrad degree if you're going for law afterwards.

Obviously if you got terrible grades it doesn't really matter, but I don't see where a degree in fields like engineering or biology would be more relevant to law in general. Maybe I'm missing something.


Leaving aside the benefits of studying formal logic, which is covered extensively (and almost exclusively) in technical fields, the idea isn't so much that the technical background makes you a better lawyer, but rather the technical background is favored by law school admissions committees (helping you get into a better school) and desired by employers (since patent law is relatively lucrative and there are disproportionately fewer lawyers with technical backgrounds).

#33 soulvengeance

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:18 AM

Relax man, I'm just fucking with you.:) I guess it really depends what branch of law you're going into which makes it worthwhile and lucrative. Don't they cover formal logic in Philosophy too? That's pretty much a useless degree unless you continue on to grad school or law school.

Doc, could you point out where I said only engineers should go to law school? Pretty sure I didn't say that.

To condense my previous post: prospective law students should expect their J.D. career prospects to be better than but proportional to their bachelor's degree career prospects. It's really that simple.




Leaving aside the benefits of studying formal logic, which is covered extensively (and almost exclusively) in technical fields, the idea isn't so much that the technical background makes you a better lawyer, but rather the technical background is favored by law school admissions committees (helping you get into a better school) and desired by employers (since patent law is relatively lucrative and there are disproportionately fewer lawyers with technical backgrounds).


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#34 lawhorns04

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 02:56 AM

There is no statement that makes my blood boil more than "you can do anything with a law degree." Other than practicing law, there isn't anything that you can do with a law degree that is suddenly open to you after going through law school.

Also, your law degree and experience isn't going to fling open doors in the business sector either. In fact, most people will look at you strangely and wonder why you're going another route instead of raking in the money as a lawyer.

If you can go to law school for free or with minimal loans, then it might not be a bad idea. It really depends on what you'd be doing if you weren't in law school. Also, the $160K jobs aren't there like they were a few years ago. Even patent lawyers were laid off recently, and the supply of lawyers for those jobs far outweighs the demand, even when legal work is at a high.

#35 Koggit

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:26 AM

You don't need $160k+ to be rich.. average starting salary private sector from UW Seattle is $92k and they're just rank 30 or so (they're my current undergrad, and probably going to be my most realistic target for law)... that's already about 50% more than the average UW CSE grad, and I'd argue that the CSE department is harder to get into (slightly higher acceptance rate.. but.. well, I'll spare the details unless anyone requests them).. $92k is about the upper limit for many engineering employers and yet half of new grads from a rank ~30 school are raking in more than that.. I have a lot of trouble viewing that as under compensated

#36 c0rnpwn

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 04:00 AM

Doc, could you point out where I said only engineers should go to law school? Pretty sure I didn't say that.

To condense my previous post: prospective law students should expect their J.D. career prospects to be better than but proportional to their bachelor's degree career prospects. It's really that simple.




Leaving aside the benefits of studying formal logic, which is covered extensively (and almost exclusively) in technical fields, the idea isn't so much that the technical background makes you a better lawyer, but rather the technical background is favored by law school admissions committees (helping you get into a better school) and desired by employers (since patent law is relatively lucrative and there are disproportionately fewer lawyers with technical backgrounds).


Slacker majors? Liberal arts does not equal education? Goodness gracious, you don't realize why those people are getting those degrees. It's not for the money (and if it is, I agree with you they should've chosen something else).

And you'd probably poo poo my Latin major, despite the fact I've probably learned as much logic from it (the language itself as well as the classical philosophers) as you have from engineering. I'd say you're being a little short-sighted, but you'd probably respond indignantly.
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#37 kill3r7

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 05:40 AM

There is no statement that makes my blood boil more than "you can do anything with a law degree." Other than practicing law, there isn't anything that you can do with a law degree that is suddenly open to you after going through law school.


A JD can be as useful as you want it to be. It all depends on what you want to get out of it. One of my good law school buddies runs a managing firm for Broadway actors (for him the JD is just a means to an end...it looks good on the wall). If you plan to run for public office there is nothing better to have in your arsenal than a JD. With a JD you can work as a consultant/ public service/ sit on corporate boards and a variety of other things.

In the end it's your imagination that is stopping you from getting the most out of your JD.
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#38 Koggit

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 05:48 AM

I'm not bothered by people choosing useless degrees, nothing wrong with em, I'm just bothered by the ones that come out 4 years later bitching about the job market (or 7 years later, re: law school), and unfortunately that's the majority

#39 thack

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:22 AM

I dropped out of Washington University in St. Louis after a semester about 6 years ago. I wasn't too enthused about the prospects of being $120K+ in debt after finishing school. That said, I'm going to retake the LSAT this June and dip my toe back into the law school pond.

My advice is to apply as broadly as possible and do everything you can to minimize the amount of debt you take on to finance law school. The top 14 schools are probably the only ones worth going deeply into debt for, and that's soley due to their reputations.

#40 irishsoccermbw

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 01:33 PM

People are saying "no job prospects" what professions have 'good' job prospects in the economy we live in today? Besides the always in demand medical field, what areas have high demand?

When I clicked on this thread I thought there would be an intelligent discussion about the legal profession and the education process, that sure has not happened as of yet.

Also, Latin major? What opportunities does a Latin major have outside of teaching? I'm just curious.

#41 Gentlegamer

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:10 PM

I got in there :) Not sure where I'm going to go yet (prolly USC or U of Texas), but I am attending law school in the fall I'm super excited :)

Get ready to lose that excitement.
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#42 Gentlegamer

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:11 PM

If you have to finance your legal education through loans, don't go unless you are planning to attend a top-10 school. I cannot emphasize this enough.

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#43 c0rnpwn

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:33 PM

Also, Latin major? What opportunities does a Latin major have outside of teaching? I'm just curious.


Law, just as the Ancient Romans intended. :-P

Or I could get an MBA and be one of them. I'm fortunate enough where I won't need to take on any debt for higher education.
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#44 rusty

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 03:58 PM

If you have to finance your legal education through loans, don't go unless you are planning to attend a top-10 school. I cannot emphasize this enough.


This seems to be the general consensus among experts these days. Even students at the top 10 are having some difficulties finding jobs in this economy. If you can get a full ride or good funding at some local or regional school, then you may be in good shape. But the 100k jobs generally only come out of the top 15 schools or being top 10% somewhere out of the top 25 or so...

I'll probably be taking the plunge after the LSAT this June. If I don't get into a top school, its probably not worth going.

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#45 irishsoccermbw

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 05:18 PM

Get ready to lose that excitement.


Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not going to happen. I'm not one of those "well I have nothing else to do, might as well go to grad/law school", I've been wanting to go since I was like 5. I've shadowed people in class, and know what to expect. I also scored a 172 on the LSAT and 3.92 from the University of Michigan, so a decent school is in the realm of possibilities...but keep being a downer, life must be great that way.

#46 Gentlegamer

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:24 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not going to happen. I'm not one of those "well I have nothing else to do, might as well go to grad/law school", I've been wanting to go since I was like 5. I've shadowed people in class, and know what to expect. I also scored a 172 on the LSAT and 3.92 from the University of Michigan, so a decent school is in the realm of possibilities...but keep being a downer, life must be great that way.

Ok, Gunner, have a ball.
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#47 speedracer

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:50 PM

You gotta remember that right now things are tough everywhere, including law.

Having said that, yes you absolutely can get a job from "just" a top 50 school if you are a top 10% or even better, a top 5%. If you have the dedication and drive, you can still get there. But don't kid yourself and think you're going to go to a law school ranked #55 and be in the bottom half and walk into a job paying 6 figures. It ain't happening.

And there's many jobs outside of the big firms that are hiring and do so based on factors other than grades. Higher education hires based on their experience with a recruit during an internship. I know people that have been offered by colleges that otherwise wouldn't give them the time of day if it were a straight GPA thing, but loved the intern and wants to keep them on.

It also depends on the market. Here in Houston, due to the nature of the work done here, big and regional size firms are still hiring. The top 10% at UHouston have jobs. Bracewell, Locke Lord, V&E, etc. etc. are all still hiring.

It's all about your first year. The other two years of law school don't matter (relatively speaking) for getting a job. IF you can bust your ass on a level you never thought possible and IF you can write well and IF you're a good interview, you should have no fear of taking on debt for a law degree. Your 1st year internships should be with public sector, your 2nd year internships with big firms, and then you can sit back and decide on your offers.

That's how it's done.

lol @ gunner
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#48 Gentlegamer

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:58 PM

Hey speed, I'm from Houston, too. In my case, I should have stayed in Houston for law school. I realized too late the intern/networking opportunities for someone like me (going to school on my own dime) in Lubbock were mostly non-existent. Just one of the lessons I've had to learn on my own since I don't come from family with professional background.

I'll add some constructive advice: one reason you have to bust your ass like never before is because how retarded the grade curving in law school is. You're not just trying to do well on the exams, you're trying to do better than everyone else, or you'll end up with Cs or even Ds with just 1 or 2 points different in your exam grades from the "upper ranks."
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#49 c0rnpwn

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 08:50 PM

Hey speed, I'm from Houston, too. In my case, I should have stayed in Houston for law school. I realized too late the intern/networking opportunities for someone like me (going to school on my own dime) in Lubbock were mostly non-existent. Just one of the lessons I've had to learn on my own since I don't come from family with professional background.

I'll add some constructive advice: one reason you have to bust your ass like never before is because how retarded the grade curving in law school is. You're not just trying to do well on the exams, you're trying to do better than everyone else, or you'll end up with Cs or even Ds with just 1 or 2 points different in your exam grades from the "upper ranks."


Fortunately, I've been well versed in curves in my undergrad experience. Gotta love a grade deflating school! That dalliance I had with computer science as a major really fucked me over, but hopefully I can overcome it.

Law school looks like a pain in the ass, but from my internships it doesn't look like being a lawyer is much more miserable* than being any other kind of professional.

*that is, if you're doing it solely for the money. I'm not, so I hope that it'll remain a passion for years to come (but who knows that far).
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#50 Magus8472

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:34 AM

Meh, grades. Law school grades don't mean much. I'd advise no one delude themselves into thinking they'll be vindicated by "hard work." As was hinted at above, you'll be much better off putting the lion's share of effort towards schmoozing and staying out of the bottom third of your class than you would be living like a monk and acing everything. That or just go to Harvard and solve all of your problems in advance.

But in the interest of total candor, I hate law school with a deathless passion so it's probably just sour grapes from me. My grades are good, though. :)
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#51 RedvsBlue

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 04:38 AM

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not going to happen. I'm not one of those "well I have nothing else to do, might as well go to grad/law school", I've been wanting to go since I was like 5. I've shadowed people in class, and know what to expect. I also scored a 172 on the LSAT and 3.92 from the University of Michigan, so a decent school is in the realm of possibilities...but keep being a downer, life must be great that way.


172? If you're telling the truth, I hate you.

#52 IvanHood

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:17 AM

I'm a current student at a top ten law school. If anyone has any questions about admissions, job prospects (which are pretty abysmal right now), or anything else related to law school, I'd be glad to help my fellow CAGs.

#53 irishsoccermbw

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:35 PM

172? If you're telling the truth, I hate you.


Yeah its the truth, took it June 9th of this year, I'm thinking about taking it again in Feb. due to potential scholarships if I score a bit higher.

I'm a current student at a top ten law school. If anyone has any questions about admissions, job prospects (which are pretty abysmal right now), or anything else related to law school, I'd be glad to help my fellow CAGs.


I don't do well in the cold/snow, should I try to suffer through 3 more years in the North (aka north east) or would I have similar job prospects if I went to a school out West? Also what specialty are you leaning towards and how is it at your school? (if that one is too personal, disregard it) Thanks

#54 Koggit

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 06:51 PM

Unless your practice tests are consistently 175+, which would be pretty incredible, retaking after a 172 would be a mistake IMO... scoring lower on a retake would hurt you more than scoring higher would help you, it's just not worth the risk. A lot of people score lower on their retake, and that's out of a self-selected group who all felt they could improve on a retake. Just something to keep in mind.

Top-Law-Schools.com has a great forum with a ton of info, check it out if you haven't yet.

#55 IvanHood

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Posted 08 December 2009 - 08:23 PM

I don't do well in the cold/snow, should I try to suffer through 3 more years in the North (aka north east) or would I have similar job prospects if I went to a school out West? Also what specialty are you leaning towards and how is it at your school? (if that one is too personal, disregard it) Thanks


First, I agree that it would probably not help you very much to retake a 172. With that score and your grades, you already have a really good shot at some solid scholarships at middle and lower T14 schools. That being said, it's my impression that most schools now only look at the higher LSAT score. US News used to average multiple LSAT scores in computing their rankings, but now they only look at the highest, so it probably won't hurt you too much if you decide to retake and get a lower score. Law schools want to improve their rankings, so if US News doesn't care about something, law school admissions offices typically don't either.

Weather played a role in deciding where I wanted to go to law school, but it depends on what your options are. Obviously, choosing Berkeley over Michigan is easier to justify than choosing Berkeley over Harvard. Another thing to consider is that it is probably easier to get a job in California from Berkeley than from Michigan (and, vice versa, easier to get a job in Chicago from Michigan than Berkeley). In this economy, though, I think I would prioritize scholarship money over location, especially if you're not dead set on being in a specific geographic region after law school.

I don't really want to out my school, but I am going into IP. I have really enjoyed all of my IP classes, but it is such a common field that I would think that the IP programs at most good schools would be pretty similar.

#56 kodave

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 04:33 PM

Its funny to hear about the "no jobs" stuff from people at T14s, T50, or even T100 schools.

Yeah, for the T14s, not everyone gets to walk out with their B+ curve average and walk into a $100K/yr job at a huge firm. They *MAY* have to settle with jobs and small or regional practices, only making a measly $80k a year or something until the market recovers and they can move back over to big law.

Just think about those at the schools at the end of the T100 list or even the lower tier schools - the majority of them were never gunning for those big law jobs outside those in the top 10%. While employment prospects for them were always going to be harder, now they're really hard with the shit economy and an influx of lawyers looking for work that wouldn't normally be dipping down to positions that lower ranked school grads commonly shot for.

I mean, really, if you want to be rolling around in big money, go to a T14. If you want to practice law and don't care about being paid out the ass to do so, go to any decent school (as long as its not one of those for-profit ones) thats in the region you want to practice in that has a good bar passage rate - just be sure to do it on a substantial scholarship.

It's not like memorizing rules of Civil Procedure and applicable case holdings and knowing when to apply them varies from school to school. It's all the same. And besides, you'll relearn all that stuff two months before the bar anyway and that's all you really need to cap off your degree. The rest of learning about being a lawyer will come from outside the classroom, if you can find an internship that's about more than making photocopies for other attorneys and tabbing or highlighting them where they ask.