Archive for the ‘1L’ Category

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Am I making a big mistake?

July 9, 2010

YES … if I wanted to believe the numerous negative blogs out there. Believe me, if you are looking for reasons not to go to law school, there are plenty of online resources who will reinforce your fears. One of my favorites is the choleric liberal Elie Mystal from Above the Law. Every other post of his contains, at minimum, a snarky comment on why anyone would be stupid enough, or at best, apatheticuninformed and full of hubris, to go to law school these days. Look at the horrible job market! he warns. The 2010 grads can’t get jobs! he hyperventilates. The investment isn’t worth it! he doubles down with negativity.

Clearly, the man regrets his own decision to go to law school and is now projecting his disappointment and negative perspective on everyone else. Basically, unless you are going to be in the top 10% of the class of one of the Top 10 schools, you’re wasting your time (and more importantly, your money). Even then, you’ll likely hate your job.

He’s not the only one who talks like this; as I said, there’s no shortage of doomsayers running around the internet. Many of them have some salient points, and I agree that one should not go into law school uninformed and optimistically blind. It’s true: the job market for lawyers isn’t good right now.

But tell me, which job market is good right now? Medicine? Engineering? Even those have been hit to some degree. The truth is, there is no good job market right now. The whole country is in a depression, and every field is tough to break into. Should we all throw up our hands and give up?

My degree is in English (a truly completely worthless degree), and my work experience is in technical writing and editing, so I figured I’d conduct a little experiment. I did a job search for “writer,” another for “editor,” and yet another for “attorney.”

The “attorney” jobs available–and this is only a cursory search–far, far, FAR outnumbered the writer/editor jobs here in the Denver Metro Area. Moreover, it became clear to me that because I’ve been out of the loop for several years, I would have no choice but to take an entry-to-mid-level job in the writer/editor fields (think $30-40K/year). According to Elie Mystal logic, I should settle for this.

One reason I chose to pursue a JD was that it is somewhat versatile (more versatile than, say, a PhD in English, anyway). I may or may not be working as an attorney in the future; I’m keeping my options open. Yes, it is an expensive degree, and that does concern me somewhat. But then, so is every other degree. I also agree that tuition reform is needed, as well as student loan reform.

But am I making a big mistake by going to law school, as many would suggest? I suppose I won’t know for sure until three years from now. However, given my options, I’m confident I’m doing the right thing. I’m excited about starting school and a new career path. My old career path is even more forbidding than law, not to mention the crap pay, the lack of upward mobility, and job dissatisfaction. I plan to work in Denver, not NYC or DC–and definitely not in BigLaw–making DU, a tier 2 school, an appropriate choice for me. Everything has been falling into place, and I feel good about what I’m doing and where I’m headed.

Besides, I’m optimistic that Obama will lose his job in 2012 and the economy will begin to recover shortly thereafter. :-) See? It’s not all doom and gloom.

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Fall 2010 Class Schedule

July 2, 2010

I just got my class schedule for the Fall 2010 semester, and I’m absolutely giddy. Don’t ask me why, but this schedule has been the NUMBER ONE thing I have wanted to know for months! So here it is:

  • Lawyering Process – 10:30 a.m., M/W
  • Criminal Law – 2:45 p.m., M/T/Th
  • Civil Procedure – 9:00 a.m., T/Th/F
  • Torts – 10:35 a.m., T/Th/F

Overall, I’m really pleased with this schedule. My two younger kids will be in school from 9:00 to 3:30, and my older child will be able to look after herself, more or less, though it looks like I’ll mostly be around when she’s around.

On Mondays and Wednesdays, I’ll be able to drop my two younger kids off at school and make it in plenty of time for my own classes. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I’ll have to leave the house at 8:00 am for my own class, so I will have to arrange either a friend or “before care” at the school for that hour. However, I expect one child to be in choir on T/Th, starting at 8:00, so it could work out really well, actually.

On Wednesdays and Fridays, I’ll be able to be home in time to get the kids from school. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, I won’t get out of class until almost 4:00, and I won’t get home until at least 4:45. That is where Supportive Hubby comes into play and may have to leave work early to get the kids, or pony up for child care.

There are a few minor challenges with the kids’ schedules, but it could have been much, much worse. I’ll have lots of study time each afternoon, and I will be trying to make the most of it. (I’ll be doing as much as I can AT the school, as opposed to facing distractions like laundry at home.) And I’m thrilled that I have NO 8:00 a.m. classes! Can I get an AMEN?

This is officially what the life of a mom-law student begins to look like. In case you ever wondered.

Update: Now it will be revealed to you just what a dork I am. I spent way too much time on my little visual schedule (which could change, because this schedule is unconfirmed). But I am kinda proud of it. Isn’t it pretty?