Top mistakes made in choose law schools.

<ul>
<li><p>Incurring over 100K of indebtedness to attend a Tier 3-Tier 4 school and even for most T2 schools without a solid job connection. Only exceptions might be if the T2-4 school is the top school in the state that you want to practice in such as University of New Mexico. Even then, I am not sure that this amount of indebtedness is worth it.</p></li>
<li><p>Accepting scholarship offers from much lower ranked schools especially if there are tough requirements to keep the scholarships cough...University of Seattle top 10%...cough.</p></li>
<li><p>Going to a T2-4 law school thinking that you can always transfer to a much higher ranked school.</p></li>
<li><p>Thinking that you will be that special snowflake who will get a job because you will be in the top 5%-10% of your law school class.The odds are guaranteed 9-1 against you.</p></li>
<li><p>Attending almost any lower tiered law school in a state that you have no intention to practice in, absent huge scholarships or guaranteed job connections.</p></li>
<li><p>Unless you have very rich parents, paying sticker for almost any law school outside of the top 15 schools or so unless you are getting in-state tuition.</p></li>
<li><p>After doing the correct research and finding the right school for you, listening to others</p></li>
</ul>

<p>Finally, going to any law school (yes, even a top tier school) without a thorough understanding of what will be required of you as lawyers (excessive time commitments, lots of stress, declining first year salaries etc) since I would bet that most of you will regret your decision about being a lawyer.</p>

<p>Woops, my title should have said, "Top mistakes made in choosing law schools." I hate not being able to edit my posts after 20 minutes.</p>

<p>I wanted to bump this up and make sure that folks considering law school are aware of it.</p>

<p>Unless students have a true passion to be a lawyer, it does not make economic sense to go to law school.</p>

<p>I don't care how passionate they are about law, which is questionable since they probably don't really know about law. However, going to a T2-T4 school, especially paying full sticker and incurring a lot of debt is a bad idea unless they have a solid job connection or rich parents.</p>

<p>Thank you for opening this thread, seriously.</p>

<p>I agree with you on almost everything that you mentioned here. I wanted to become a lawyer because I can see myself doing what my cousin does every day but I honestly don't think I could make it into one of the T14 schools. </p>

<p>It's a really frustrating situation. I feel as if I'm passionate about law, but then again I never practiced it myself. </p>

<p>There are a lot of other people out there though that think about Law without having taken an LSAT practice test, without testing it out in some way and with having the thought in mind to earn a lot of money. I just can't understand why people don't want to do proper research anymore.</p>

<p>My D is hot for the law school possibility. She is a senior with a 3.8 GPA---assuming she does well enough on the LSAT to put her in a T14 school, she is wiling to go for it. So what are your thoughts on attending any other school other than a T14 if you have to pay full tuition?
I am glad she is getting real about the circumstances of new lawyers today---
But my question is ---under what circumstance SHOULD a person attend law school?</p>

<p>Well, assuming she has an interest in the law (big assumption), she should definitely go if she gets into a T10 school. T14 is a tougher call since the job market is very tight right now. But I would still say go if she's committed to being a lawyer. Anything other than T14, I would say think VERY hard about whether she wants to be a lawyer or not.</p>

<p>She will be interning in a "law environment" in Washington DC in the fall---she is hoping this will help her decide about law as a career.
I just continue to tell her--yes study for the LSAT--yes take a test prep course if you must---and yes...you still do not have to go to law school! We shall see. Any chance a bunch of old lawyers are about to retire???
She wanted to be a killer whale trainer when she was 8, and I know the job market for them is not much better. Oh well!</p>

<p>As a lawyer, I would recommend that people do not go to law school.</p>

<p>What you don't know is that once you hit about 32 years old, no one will even hire you, because all the firms want just 3-5 years experience. You work ridiculous hours. By and large, the work is tedious.</p>

<p>I was given this advice 30 years ago, and pooh poohed it. Don't make the same mistake.</p>

<p>This advice only applies to those who will be paying; if you're independently wealthy or are getting a free ride-go for it! It's all indoor work with no heavy lifting...</p>

<p>Worst mistake: buying the canard that with a law degree "you can do anything"; baloney-with a law degree, you can practice law. Period. I went to law school 30 years ago when this whole business of the portability of a law degree got started. It simply isn't true-it wasn't then, and isn't now, especially in light of the numerous master's programs that didn't exist then-e.g. MA in Hospital Administration.
So DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL UNLESS YOU INTEND TO PRACTICE LAW. I can't imagine getting into debt to the tune of $100,000 and being ambivalent about law as a career.</p>

<p>Second worst mistake: Going to law school because you want to practice "public interest law". While this is a laudable goal, there just aren't any jobs. As in practically zero, and the few that exist won't pay the interest on your loans.</p>

<p>Third worst mistake: Making sure that if you do go, and decide to take on all that debt, you do so with your eyes wide open. I went to law school many years ago because I wasn't sure what to do; it was relatively cheap, so if I didn't like being a lawyer, no huge loss. That's not true now: if you go, realize you'll be in debt big-time, and unless you graduate at the top of your class and/or Law Review, finding a job will be tough. Don't be one of those newspaper articles where you're quoted "I'm 125K in debt and can't find a job. I didn't think it would be that tough." It will be that expensive and will be that tough to find a job. Forewarned is forearmed.</p>

<p>I would respectfully disagree that people interested in public interest law choose another path. I practice in that field and am extremely satisfied. While it's true that I make significantly less than attorneys in private practice or government jobs, I have an excellent quality of life and am able to support myself just fine, if not luxuriously!</p>

<p>However, public interest--like BigLaw firms--cares about prestige: the type of school you went to, what internships you had, etc. Going to a high-ranked school counts for a lot. Higher-ranked schools are also more likely than other schools to have loan repayment assistance programs (check the details! some are MUCH better than others), specific public interest advisers in the career services office, funded summer internships, and public interest scholarships. </p>

<p>I would say that if public interest is a definite goal, going to a SLIGHTLY less selective school in exchange for SIGNIFICANTLY reduced debt is a good plan. I wouldn't say that as much for students who want to work at firms.</p>

<p>Anyone who states in their post about one should only attend law schools which are ranked top 14/15 are being ridiculous and should not be taken seriously.</p>

<p>coolbreeze, why do you say that? Or do you make it a habit of spouting off generalizations about other people's opinions without giving an explanation?</p>

<p>Coolbrezze- help me out here.
Do you have insight into the job market for lawyers at other non T15 law schools? I am not saying people graduating from other than T14 schools will never be employed.
I am just hoping my kid has a job at the end of 3 years of law school that will pay for her $165,000 debt? I don't think it is ridiculous to be concerned for the success of your kid...whatever they do. She won't be a lawyer with ties to "the family firm" (we arn't lawyers)...so her success will be made on her own resolve. </p>

<p>Just a mom here, paranoid about bad job prospects and HUGE debt. Seems pretty smart to me to be concerned.</p>

<p>I know a good deal about the market at typical state law schools and equivalent privates and it is horrible.</p>

<p>Legal market is in shambles. There are huge hiring freezes. Even kids who got places like Columbia have struck out and are stuck with their debt. I'd be very afraid of going to a lower-ranked school while taking on loans for the whole thing.</p>

<p>What constitutes as a T1 Law School? Top 10?</p>

<p>Dissecting</a> the Rankings: The ?Top 14?</p>

<p>Chaos, the top schools are referred to as T-14. Or, if you'd prefer another view, you could create your own rankings like Cooley Law School did and rank your school as 2nd in the country, when most informed individuals understand that it is the lowest of the lowest tier and should be avoided at all costs.</p>

<p>Terminology can be confusing: Tier 1 actually refers to the top 100 law schools, while T14 refers to the top 14. (When I was in law school, we cared more about the top 10, so I don't know how 14 became the magic number.)</p>

<p>There are some very strong regional law schools in the tier 1 group, but outside T14. Employment prospects outside of elite firms and non-profit positions in urban centers don't depend entirely on going to an elite National law school. Even so, I would think even someone who is likely to do very well at a tier 1 school should not incur debt at the levels OP is talking about. Summer employment, scholarships, state schools can help with this. Work and save up some $$ before law school - it can also make for a stronger application. All loans? Not a great idea.</p>