Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Should I go to law school? Please help

I am currently a rising second year graduate student in Huma creativee08/10/16
Just to add, I'm 26 years old pursing a Masters in Human Res creativee08/10/16
Why? As several others have pointed out you're ahead of the ejs201706/08/17
a perfect middle line is night school for someone like you. whiteguyinchina08/10/16
Agreed, this is one of the few instances where "JD Advantage dupednontraditional08/10/16
Thanks for your advice. Do you know of anyone in HR that has creativee08/10/16
Not personally. Only do this if your company pays for it. dupednontraditional08/10/16
OP, what do you actually want to do with a law degree? If y hairypalms08/10/16
Thanks for your advice. My ultimate goal is to be a director creativee08/10/16
You should not go to law school. You would probably incur ma trickydick08/10/16
Thanks for your advice. I spoke to a few attorneys and they creativee08/10/16
As I mentioned above, I think you would get more mileage out hairypalms08/10/16
I think the answer to that question is completely obvious ri therewillbeblood08/10/16
^This Especially this: "Going straight into law school wi 6figuremistake08/10/16
^These I can't imagine a stupider move than rejecting a $ jeffm08/10/16
You have an offer for $ 98,000 a year as well as benefits an caj11108/10/16
I was thinking about targeting Harvard, Yale or Stanford. Ho creativee08/10/16
If you need a reason why not, there are plenty of those to b caj11108/10/16
Only go at night for free. adamb08/10/16
If I were you, I would go on LinkedIn and search for people ipesq08/10/16
I went on Linkedin and noticed that most people with my drea creativee08/10/16
In your position an MBA would probably be a better decision. flharfh08/10/16
The market for MBA's is flooded. My HR summer internship coh creativee08/10/16
The market for JDs is flooded too. Please read http://insi ipesq08/10/16
Thanks for the link, I will check it out. creativee08/10/16
You are already going to have a master's degree? That makes flharfh08/10/16
No. flyer1408/10/16
Do not mess up this great job with law school. Make your emp fettywap08/10/16
If law school is truly your goal then you should pursue. How nighthawk08/10/16
I had no clue that simply getting a law degree could not onl creativee08/10/16
Even from a good school a JD pigeonholes you to a significan flharfh08/10/16
Take the job. Work for a year (or two) and get the lay of th anothernjlawyer08/10/16
Take the job. There are MANY lawyers who are not making t bittersweet08/10/16
Thanks for your advice. I have about two years of work exper creativee08/10/16
OP, you have all the information you need here as others abo hairypalms08/10/16
Thanks for your advice. I actually have two years of work ex creativee08/10/16
Take the job and run with it. I am making less than half of prodigy08/10/16
I appreciate the advice. It looks like work experience is ke creativee08/10/16
Well, look at this way. I would bet 90% of the practicing l therewillbeblood08/10/16
Why not get some certifications - HRCI, HRM, etc? These will guyingorillasuit08/10/16
Based on my interactions with HR departments, a law degree w quillan08/12/16
I agree with this. I have never met an HR person with a JD. hairypalms08/12/16
I really appreciate everyone who responded to this thread. I creativee09/02/16
No reason to get a law degree unless you want to actually pr patenttrollnj09/02/16
Take the job no law school. I practiced law for years before smallyer09/02/16
I won't break 100k til my second year of medical residency. bigsal09/02/16
Since your goal is to work in an area other than practice, a brokenjd09/17/16
Thanks for your reply. I will definitely take the offer and creativee09/18/16
Do you plan on marrying, settling down, and having a semblan sfgiantsfan09/25/16
Yes,I do plan on settling down and having children. I'm thin creativee10/26/16
Simple answer, hell no! boomeresq09/25/16
OP, are you serious? You have an offer for a 98K job and you lazlo09/25/16
Odds and skill set. The current debt doesn't matter. Your su loser1209/25/16
ask https://www.google.com for advice ambr11/08/16
Even if I get into a top school like Harvard,Yale or Stanfor creativee12/25/16
this is one of the few instances where I'll say NO. Look, dingbat12/25/16
98k in human resources is great. Not long hours, and the ski loser1212/25/16
Law school is the best decision you will ever make. Of cours mtobeinf12/26/16
if you don't believe this, just ask any parent over the age jdcumlaude12/26/16
It's better than being a medical doctor! Salary and job secu mtobeinf12/26/16
Lately, I have been thinking more and more about law school creativee06/08/17
If you're making close to 100k you're doing better than myse 3lol06/08/17
Law school is a highly risky but maybe worthwhile gamble for loblawyer06/08/17
Think long and hard before you commit. Peruse this board an bittersweet06/08/17

creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 1:04 am)

I am currently a rising second year graduate student in Human resources/Industrial relations at a big ten midwestern university. I just completed a summer internship with a top three tech company and received a full-time offer for 98k (full benefits, stock,etc) when I graduate next year.
A little bit about myself-I am a URM, graduated from a top 12 undergraduate school and worked for about a year at a non-profit and one year at a top tech company doing HR. Currently, I have about 25K in debt.
My question for you all is should I consider going to law school? I have always wanted to attend law school or at the very least obtain a JD to help propel me further in my career. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks:)

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:07 pm)

Just to add, I'm 26 years old pursing a Masters in Human Resources. It looks like that wasn't clear in my original post.

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ejs2017 (Jun 8, 2017 - 8:21 pm)

Why? As several others have pointed out you're ahead of the game and miles ahead of most law grads given the current climate. You already have what appears to be a great job. Finish your Masters and, if you need another credential, get another post-grad degree. The JD is a waste.

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whiteguyinchina (Aug 10, 2016 - 3:09 am)

a perfect middle line is night school for someone like you. I think a law degree can be helpful in the HR field, assume that will be your new job?

the good news is, you can pick the cheapest night law school option locally in your area, and start off slow to see if you want to keep going. I don't think anyone will care where your JD came from if you stay in the corporate HR field. I bet you can even not take the bar at the end, and no one would care. ask around, but I imagine that is the case.

if done that way, law school can actually be a lot of fun and very interesting learning, without having to lay your life and future on the line.

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dupednontraditional (Aug 10, 2016 - 6:40 am)

Agreed, this is one of the few instances where "JD Advantage" may actually be in play, as opposed to the general puffery you get from the law school cartel where a law degree helps you become a brain surgeon.

OP, check into your company's continuing education policies. If they give you five years or so to obtain a degree, and have a good reimbursement policy, then it may well be worth doing for the long-term.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 11:39 am)

Thanks for your advice. Do you know of anyone in HR that has obtained a JD and as a result received a career bump?

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dupednontraditional (Aug 10, 2016 - 3:47 pm)

Not personally. Only do this if your company pays for it. Also, the MBA and/or HR graduate degrees are likely more "on point," per the comments below - don't discount that.

As my handle implies, I'm a not-trad JD after having had a prior career in STEM. I'm in a "JD Advantage" position. If I could go back and do it over again, I wouldn't. The debt has been a killer to whatever edge I may have gotten from the JD, if any.

That said, there MAY be some room for an HR/JD in your organization, but only if the price is right, don't rush into it and get some experience first, etc. A JD will likely not "help" for a long time, if at all. Pay close attention to the concerns in the comments below as well. Good luck.

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hairypalms (Aug 10, 2016 - 6:45 am)

OP, what do you actually want to do with a law degree? If you think it will boost your career prospects in HR, I have my doubts. Most HR folk I know just have a BS. If anything, I think an MBA would be a better fit if you intended to continue with HR. In fact, I believe many MBA programs offer an HR track.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 11:41 am)

Thanks for your advice. My ultimate goal is to be a director/chief HR officer at a top company. I was thinking a JD would help push me in that direction in combination with my masters degree. Thoughts?

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trickydick (Aug 10, 2016 - 6:47 am)

You should not go to law school. You would probably incur massive amounts of debt and a JD would not significantly increase your earning potential. My advice: do not go to law school.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 11:42 am)

Thanks for your advice. I spoke to a few attorneys and they suggested that I not attend law school as well. My thought is that a JD in combination with HR would help push me further in the executive level.

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hairypalms (Aug 10, 2016 - 12:07 pm)

As I mentioned above, I think you would get more mileage out of an MBA for this route you plan to take re: HR. A JD would be a waste of time IMO.

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therewillbeblood (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:12 am)

I think the answer to that question is completely obvious right now:

You should wait to make that decision. Going straight into law school with a 98k offer out of undergraduate would be quite literally probably be the worst decision you ever made in your life.

If you're still in college and haven't started that job you don't have enough information about the company or about the field to decide now. Now it might be a good idea to take standardized tests like the LSAT now while you presumably have a bit more time to study, but you should be working for at least a few years before you decide what to do.

If you are doing HR like other people surmise, I think there are probably better options than law school. For the same amount of time, and frankly a lot less effort, you could get an MBA plus a second masters in something like human resources management. This would help your career but not make it look like you wanted to jump ship.

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6figuremistake (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:44 am)

^This

Especially this: "Going straight into law school with a 98k offer out of undergraduate would be quite literally probably be the worst decision you ever made in your life."

You're going to start off nearly making six figures in the Midwest with minimal debt. Aside from elite students, most law graduate don't make anything near that out of school.

Also one of knocks against practicing law even (or particularly) at the big firms is that it's boring and stressful. HR work for big companies (particularly tech companies) has to be more interesting and certainly less stressful.

Unless you can go for free at night, really end up enjoying studying law, and the JD will actually give your career a boost, it won't be worth it. As others have said, maybe going PT for an MBA would be wise at some point, but for now just enjoy your great new job.

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jeffm (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:54 am)

^These

I can't imagine a stupider move than rejecting a $98k HR salary to go to law school. There are many, many lawyers making barely half that (and no benefits).

A law degree would supplement an HR manager minimally. The fact is you will learn about employment law on the job - and a lot faster, too.

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caj111 (Aug 10, 2016 - 10:01 am)

You have an offer for $ 98,000 a year as well as benefits and stock? Why ruin a good thing? This seems like a pretty open and shut decision.

If you *must* go to law school, this is what I tell everyone who is considering it - go somewhere GOOD (by good I mean, Harvard, Yale or Stanford), or go somewhere CHEAP (so at least you don't rack up six-figure debt when making this mistake).

I'd be happy with the job offer you have.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 11:46 am)

I was thinking about targeting Harvard, Yale or Stanford. However, if I did decide to attend law school i would have to turn down my offer which I'm not exactly prepared to do at the moment. I guess I've always wanted to get a JD and thought why not

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caj111 (Aug 10, 2016 - 3:20 pm)

If you need a reason why not, there are plenty of those to be found on this board.

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adamb (Aug 10, 2016 - 10:28 am)

Only go at night for free.

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ipesq (Aug 10, 2016 - 11:59 am)

If I were you, I would go on LinkedIn and search for people who have your "dream job." Look to see what credentials/job experience they have.

I enjoyed law school, in that I enjoyed most of my classes, professors, and my classmates. I think my experience is rare. However, you will not learn practical skills for your dream job. In fact, you don't even really learn how to practice law. I know a lot of people think they have a dream to go to law school after watching "Legally Blonde" or "How to get away with murder" or whatever that crappy USA show is, but in actuality, that art does not imitate life. It will likely be a time and money suck and might even cause you to take a step back in your chosen career.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 12:36 pm)

I went on Linkedin and noticed that most people with my dream job had a Masters, MBA and a few had a JD.

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flharfh (Aug 10, 2016 - 12:05 pm)

In your position an MBA would probably be a better decision. In addition to being more versatile in your situation, it takes less time to obtain, is easier to do part time, and is cheaper. But I agree with the others above said you probably need to put in a few years before you have to decide whether to pursue an MBA, JD, or another graduate degree.

If you do not actually want to practice law, going to law school is almost always a sub-optimal decision. You would be a lunatic to give up a high compensation position at a good company to go to law school. If you do it at all (and again, it would probably be a bad decision) you should only do it 1) at night and 2) for free as Adamb said. Foregoing your lucrative job offer to attend law school full time would probably be the biggest mistake of your life - you've been warned.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 12:21 pm)

The market for MBA's is flooded. My HR summer internship cohort was split evenly between MBA's and Masters of HR Management students. When I'm done with my program I will have about 25-30K in debt opposed to 120,000 like my MBA counterparts.

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ipesq (Aug 10, 2016 - 1:02 pm)

The market for JDs is flooded too. Please read http://insidethelawschoolscam.blogspot.com by Law Professor Paul Campos before making your decision.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 1:38 pm)

Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

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flharfh (Aug 10, 2016 - 2:04 pm)

You are already going to have a master's degree? That makes law school even a worse decision.

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flyer14 (Aug 10, 2016 - 12:13 pm)

No.

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fettywap (Aug 10, 2016 - 12:48 pm)

Do not mess up this great job with law school. Make your employer pay for an MBA or JD later if it would be beneficial.

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nighthawk (Aug 10, 2016 - 1:12 pm)

If law school is truly your goal then you should pursue. However, keep this in mind: I met a fellow 7 or 8 years ago who wanted to go to law school. I told him to pursue his dreams, just keep a dose of reality. I explained to him the difficulty of finding a job, which may make the law school idea not that great. He insisted that he will go to a top 20 school and have no issues getting a job. He had a stellar undergrad resume and probably could have found a well-paying job with those credentials.

A few years later he went to law school. He did not get into a top 20 school; he went to a second tier school. He now does personal injury and other civil litigation, with dim chances of ever working in corporate law. If he is happy with how things worked out then that is great. His personal situation aside, most people go to law school with dreams of working in the corporate space. Most would be upset after working hard and having a star undergrad resume, go to law school, and not breaking into corporate law.

For those doing doc review at a big firm, I do not consider that breaking into corporate law. So even if someone who works at a PI firm and gets a job in a big firm's basement, clicking responsive is not corporate law.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 1:49 pm)

I had no clue that simply getting a law degree could not only derail your career but leave your once stellar resume blackened. Thanks for commenting

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flharfh (Aug 10, 2016 - 2:05 pm)

Even from a good school a JD pigeonholes you to a significant extent. Other master's degrees with a business focus are much more flexible.

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anothernjlawyer (Aug 10, 2016 - 5:20 pm)

Take the job. Work for a year (or two) and get the lay of the professional land. Then, if you think it makes sense, look into an evening law program. DO NOT reject the job offer in favor of law school.

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bittersweet (Aug 10, 2016 - 6:06 pm)

Take the job.

There are MANY lawyers who are not making the offer you talked about and would willingly give up law entirely for a job that paid that amount. Me included.

Take the job. Save up some money. Work for 5 years. Then reassess. The JD will probably limit your options.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:10 pm)

Thanks for your advice. I have about two years of work experience under my belt. Do you think that I should still work an additional 5 years before deciding to go back to school??

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hairypalms (Aug 10, 2016 - 6:36 pm)

OP, you have all the information you need here as others above have provided. Take the dang job and reassess whether you get an MBA or JD in a few years once you obtain some definitive work experience. IMO, K-JDs do poorly in obtaining jobs relative to individuals that are coming out of a specific industry with employment history. Law school will always be there. Make some money, save some money, find a spouse, have fun. With a 98K job out of undergrad, you're already well ahead of the vast majority of people, including holders of JD or MBA degrees with $200,000+ in student loan debt.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:13 pm)

Thanks for your advice. I actually have two years of work experience. I graduated from undergrad two years ago currently enrolled in a masters program. Thanks again for your advice.

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prodigy (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:09 pm)

Take the job and run with it. I am making less than half of what you are offered. Law school is not that bad but it is not always what it has cracked up to be. Experience is what matters. As advice above states take an evening programme.

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creativee (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:18 pm)

I appreciate the advice. It looks like work experience is key now a days so an additional degree would be useless. Thanks

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therewillbeblood (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:25 pm)

Well, look at this way. I would bet 90% of the practicing lawyers -- ones with jobs -- on this board would trade places with you in a second. Including relocating to wherever it is you are going to work.

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guyingorillasuit (Aug 10, 2016 - 8:41 pm)

Why not get some certifications - HRCI, HRM, etc? These will help you advance early in your career. Then, if you feel like you're hitting a career block because you don't have an advanced degree, you will have a better shot at having your company pay for one. At an early stage in your career, a JD is a huge waste of time and money which could be used for something that will advance your career more effectively (i.e. cheaper and faster).

Expressing interest in your work, getting to know your bosses, and asking to shadow them will do about ten times what a JD will do for you, and at no cost.

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quillan (Aug 12, 2016 - 5:07 pm)

Based on my interactions with HR departments, a law degree would not help and might be a hindrance in getting your dream job. When interviewing for HR jobs, others may see you as not one of them, and the legal department and c-suiters may perceive you as a threat. Typically there are well-delineated responsibilities between HR and legal, and legal plays a key role in a lot of HR functions (investigations, exit interviews, etc.). While a legal degree may help with issue spotting, that doesn't seen to be a good enough reason to go to law school - you could just learn on your own.

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hairypalms (Aug 12, 2016 - 10:57 pm)

I agree with this. I have never met an HR person with a JD. These are 2 separate functions within most companies. There is typically not one person wearing both of these hats. Be an HR person or be a lawyer. If you like HR issues and want to be a lawyer, I suggest you pursue a career in employment law, whether on the plaintiff or defendant side, preferably the latter.

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creativee (Sep 2, 2016 - 11:01 am)

I really appreciate everyone who responded to this thread. I still have some more thinking to do but I am for the most part leaning towards not obtaining my JD.

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patenttrollnj (Sep 2, 2016 - 11:15 am)

No reason to get a law degree unless you want to actually practice law.

Otherwise, if you're getting it because you think it will help in your career in some other industry, think twice!! Best to work a few years in said industry, and then re-evaluate this question in a few years.

Good luck!

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smallyer (Sep 2, 2016 - 11:29 am)

Take the job no law school. I practiced law for years before breaking 100k and even now 100k with less stress and hours sounds appealing some days. So many lawyers never break 100k in their entire careers.

Unless you really really really want to be a lawyer, don't go.

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bigsal (Sep 2, 2016 - 11:32 am)

I won't break 100k til my second year of medical residency. You're very lucky.

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brokenjd (Sep 17, 2016 - 4:31 pm)

Since your goal is to work in an area other than practice, a few years of work experience would look better on your resume than a JD. Plus, it would give you access to people with better knowledge and recommendations than the people on this board.

Go work for a few years, and after you build relationships with senior people in your field, ask them about it. Develop some contacts to HR people who have gone to law school and see what they say. You'll be able to earn a salary and get access to people with decades worth of experience and wisdom about your field, who will give you much better advice. Law school will always be there, and they will still be desperate for qualified people 5 years from now. Also, since your using the JD to get a raise, essentially, you should try to get an idea of the cost/ benefit relationship for the JD. After a few years, you'll be making low six figures. At that point, it's highly unlikely that any law school, even if you go on full scholarship, will give you a sufficient raise to justify three years of lost wages.

This thread is a little old- but this is the no-risk way to make a good decision.

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creativee (Sep 18, 2016 - 11:59 am)

Thanks for your reply. I will definitely take the offer and try to get some years of work experience under my belt before thinking about law school. I'm starting to think that the lost wages will most likely not be worth it.

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sfgiantsfan (Sep 25, 2016 - 7:22 pm)

Do you plan on marrying, settling down, and having a semblance of work life balance? If so, I wouldn't do it. You seem bright, and young, and you're already flying high. Look at what people in Law schools actually do, and ask yourself if you want to do that for a few years, even if you get a free ride.

Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one...look at Josť FernŠndez.

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creativee (Oct 26, 2016 - 2:06 pm)

Yes,I do plan on settling down and having children. I'm thinking HR would give me the best shot to do so. Thanks for your comment.

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boomeresq (Sep 25, 2016 - 8:18 pm)

Simple answer, hell no!

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lazlo (Sep 25, 2016 - 11:22 pm)

OP, are you serious? You have an offer for a 98K job and you're thinking of going to law school?!

Your assignment: read the thread, "2015 Campbell Graduate and I cant buy a job". Ask yourself: how likely is it that I'll be able to avoid a similar outcome? Unless your answer is very likely, you shouldn't go.

Now, after you've worked 5-10 years earning six-figure income, THEN come back to JDU and ask again, lol.

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loser12 (Sep 25, 2016 - 11:59 pm)

Odds and skill set. The current debt doesn't matter. Your success or failure will be contingent on job vs no job or 100k vs 0k. 25k is so easy to pay back it shouldn't factor in. URM also shouldn't be factored in unless it's reasonably expected to benefit you. Most times, it's a negative because it tempts people into making dumb decisions - namely, the 10% chance now becomes 20% so it's less crazy to jump on it. These are the bets that get smart people to do stupid things.

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ambr (Nov 8, 2016 - 5:02 pm)

ask https://www.google.com for advice

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creativee (Dec 25, 2016 - 6:00 pm)

Even if I get into a top school like Harvard,Yale or Stanford?

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dingbat (Dec 25, 2016 - 6:15 pm)

this is one of the few instances where I'll say NO.

Look, you don't particularly want to be a lawyer, law professor, judge, or politician, so that eliminates most reasons to go to law school.
You want to do HR and have a really good offer to do HR, so you should go do HR for a few years and see where it takes you. If you decide in the future that you dislike HR and want to be a lawyer, then apply to law school and only go if you can get into HYS.
Alternatively, if after a few years you still like HR but think it would be useful to have a JD, then go to law school part-time.

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loser12 (Dec 25, 2016 - 8:45 pm)

98k in human resources is great. Not long hours, and the skill sets don't overlap.

Being in human resources requires social skills and political savinneas which help at a firm, but a firm is feudalism. You're either a noble or a serf. Hr are like the priests. If a serf preaches reason to the noble the noble will tie them up and shove a pitchfork into their butthole. Don't go to seed school to be a better priest.

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mtobeinf (Dec 26, 2016 - 10:03 am)

Law school is the best decision you will ever make. Of course u should go. Lawyers make so much money it will be impossible to f this up. And you're so well respected. You know for lawyers the streets are paved with gold.

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jdcumlaude (Dec 26, 2016 - 11:53 am)

if you don't believe this, just ask any parent over the age of 50. Law school is the best way to make sure your 21 year old will be rich, powerful, and secure!

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mtobeinf (Dec 26, 2016 - 12:11 pm)

It's better than being a medical doctor! Salary and job security incomparable. Literally, attorney jobs with less than 5 yrs attorney experience are everywhere. You practically fall into one walking down your street of gold!

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creativee (Jun 8, 2017 - 3:32 pm)

Lately, I have been thinking more and more about law school and think I will most likely attend night school after my first year of work. My company will cover 30 percent of the costs which would still leave me with a sizable amount to pay back.

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3lol (Jun 8, 2017 - 5:12 pm)

If you're making close to 100k you're doing better than myself and many of the lawyers on this board with an undoubtedly better lifestyle.

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loblawyer (Jun 8, 2017 - 8:06 pm)

Law school is a highly risky but maybe worthwhile gamble for unemployable liberal arts grads. Although even then, winning and getting biglaw isn't really winning.

You're making $98k or more now with presumably no debt. Many would trade places with you here. Think very, very long and hard before going down this path. If you strike out, the JD will likely make you less employable going forward.

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bittersweet (Jun 8, 2017 - 5:28 pm)

Think long and hard before you commit. Peruse this board and take a good look and what people are saying. Look past the rough language and the snideness. A lot of the people here have some real good advice, though steeped in sharp words and vinegar attitudes.

If I could get a job paying 3/4 of what you make I'd be happy to walk away from law entirely, and that's STILL owing 50K for a law degree I got 20 years ago.

It's NOT a very good investment.

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