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1/15/10 11:18 PM
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Freedom57
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Ok, so I got my first semester grades back. They were much better than I expected. As in top 10% of the class.

Here is the problem. I absolutely HATE law school. I hate the law. I don't want to ever practice law. I came into school from a LE background with the idealistic fantasy that I would be able to "make a difference in the world." I wasn't getting paid well in LE despite working in the field for several years, and a promotion or two. (Mid 30K range.) I got the foolish idea that if I only went to law school I would be able to A: Make lots of Money. B: Effect positive change in the system.

Both assumptions are wrong.

Due to the rapid realization that the system is irreparably broken and that the manipulation of the law by corrupt lawyers is a large part to blame, I became disgusted with the field. The more I read about ivory tower elitists imposing their wills on the "uneducated masses" I became infuriated. I have always been a relatively simple person. I went to the Military out of High School. Got married. Had a couple of kids. Then went into Public Service. I've never made more than the high 30K range in my life, yet we managed to get along fine.

In any case, after my mid semester epiphany, I basically quit studying. I decided that I could give myself an excuse to quit if I did poorly on finals. I had done reasonbly well on the midterms, so I figured that if I just did the bare minimum, I'd not break the median (which is ridiculously curved at a C+) and then I could leave in peace. So, instead of spending 12 hrs a night pouring over books like many of my classmates, I decided to skim over the cases, read a couple of E&Es and memorize Gilberts.

I went to class and didn't do much else. I was convinced that I would be at or below median, and I would have my excuse to quit.

To my utter surprise, not only didn't I fail, I broke the top 10%. How I did it is beyond me. All I did on the exams was regurgitate the stuff from Gilberts, practically verbatim. How that qualifies as "lawyering" is anyone's guess.

So here is my dilemma. Should I quit anyway? Or should I keep on drudging along and get the J.D.? (I will NOT take the Bar exam, I will turn down Law Review even if I do keep my grades at this level, and I will NOT practice law.) At this point, the only purpose that the J.D. would serve, would be to hopefully land me a better position in LE. I know that there are a lot of people in LE Admin (LT. and above) who have J.D.s Thus, it might be worthwhile to get the degree to use in that respect. It might also help in an investigative rather than patrol position.

I am going to school for free, but it is a T4.

So, what would you do?
1/16/10 10:02 AM
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Memorizing outlines isn't studying?
1/16/10 1:32 PM
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Freedom57
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I didn't make a single outline on my own. I didn't do any studying beyond memorizing Gilbert's during the final two weeks. The rest of the Semester I went to class and then went home. I skimmed the cases and read a couple of E&Es.

I shouldn't have broke median, I can't figure out how I did.

In any case, I am more concerned about how the J.D. will affect my LE employment. I know I could go back to my last agency, simply by saying the word, but I keep hearing these horror stories about how a J.D. is a detriment rather than a positive on non-legal resumes.
1/16/10 1:47 PM
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Why have you convinced yourself that your studying methods are inferior when they appear to be more efficient?
1/16/10 8:30 PM
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Freedom57
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"you would be a GIANT fucking idiot if you did this, no matter what you think you will end up doing in the future. you MUST become a member of your state's bar, and you really really really should do law review if you are able. otherwise you will put a black mark on your record that makes you look like a lazy failure douche."

Would this be true even if I didn't want to practice law? Would a future LE agency care if I did LR or not and if I was a member of the bar?

"To answer your main question, it depends: 1) are you paying for law school? if yes, how much and what school? 2) can you afford to stay a student for 2 more years and give up working during that time?"

I am going to school for free, but it is a T4 school. (I took the money rather than the upper tier schools.)

"i say stick it out, graduate at the top of your class with as many honors as possible, pass the bar exam!, and then do whatever you want to do. at least that way you have as many doors opened to you as possible. having a JD is NEVER a detriment, no matter what your job is, and it actually gives you a really great background for almost any job you can think of. i had the SAME exact feelings as you and i stuck with it and am EXTREMELY happy that i did. stop whining so much and focus on the enjoyment/lack of responsibilities that comes along with being a student."

The thing about the Bar is that it would basically require me to waste another couple of months studying for something that I don't would be beneficial for me.

I must confess, you have a completely different perspective on the value of J.D. than many of the other people I see post at Abovethelaw and J.D. Underground. I hear all these horror stories about how a J.D. is only good for practicing law. They claim that the legal market is horrible, so much so, that if you don't have a T14 pedigree, you will not get a legal job. Further, they claim that if you have a J.D. on your resume for a non-legal job, no one will hire you.

The latter is what scares me the most. I don't know how much of a problem a J.D. would be for a LE position.

I think a lot of my problem is that I miss working. I liked LE a lot. I just wasn't getting paid well.
1/17/10 9:24 AM
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What makes you think feeling soulcrushed is atypical?
1/17/10 7:51 PM
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Freedom57
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Thanks. I do appreciate your insight.
1/18/10 2:13 AM
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KenTheWalrus
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Quit. Seriously, if you don't like studying the law, don't plan on practicing, and are only doing this for a higher degree then find something you enjoy. Maybe a post-graduate in Public Administration will suit you better.

If you continue doing something that you dislike then that feeling will start to creep into other areas in your life.

-ken
1/18/10 2:23 PM
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J Flip
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KenTheWalrus - Quit. Seriously, if you don't like studying the law, don't plan on practicing, and are only doing this for a higher degree then find something you enjoy. Maybe a post-graduate in Public Administration will suit you better.

If you continue doing something that you dislike then that feeling will start to creep into other areas in your life.

-ken

Truth. I recently graduated law school and am now working my ass off to try to get into a master's program doing something I actually enjoy. I hated every second of law school and the tanking job market for lawyers hasn't done much more than enforce that I should have done something else with my three years.
1/18/10 3:05 PM
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Xtina
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i don't believe it's true that having a JD is never a detriment to your career prospects.  some will think you're not practicing law because you couldn't hack it.

i agree with the last two posters.  if you can accomplish your goals without going to law school, do it.  life is too short to waste time doing something you hate if it really isn't going to help you later on.
1/18/10 3:15 PM
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Don't most law students dislike law school?
1/18/10 5:01 PM
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Xtina
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Edited: 01/18/10 5:21 PM
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Yeah, I guess most people don't like it, although I actually really liked law school.  But the law school experience is nothing like the actual practice of law.
 
1/18/10 11:26 PM
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KenTheWalrus
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Let me put it another way. You have kids, right? Would you rather be the father that hates what he's doing but still does it anyway or would you rather be the father who is strong enough to admit when he is not happy and does something about it?

Not to bring your kids into this or anything, but there are as many reasons to leave law scool as there are to stay. Providing a better life for your kids is not just about the material things you can give them, but also the strength of character that you can provide. If this was one of your kids, would you rather they be happy or that they stick with something even if it makes them miserable? -ken
1/19/10 11:49 AM
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MMA Sports Agent
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As one of those ivory tower elitists who pisses on the uneducated drivel I despise, but allow to exist so they can fuel the consumer economy, my advice to you is as follows. You may stay or you may quit, it really makes no difference because you'll never be an attorney of consequence with your pussy fucking attitude. What branch of the military did you serve in? I'd bet close to everything I own it wasn't the USMC.

Was the study of law all that different from what you expected? Shocking how nitpicky, arbitrary, unjust, and fake the decisions in your casebook are? Is criminal law getting you down? Buck. The. Fuck. Up. We are imperfect people who operate an imperfect legal system. Despite our imperfections in administering it, Western justice is simply the 'best' legal system to have graced the earth. Having a Juris Doctor degree from an American Bar Association approved post graduate learning institution is a merit in any career field, including whatever the fuck LE is (loaned employee? life extension? leading edge? WTF? I worked in the federal government and thought I knew all acronyms, it appears I was mistaken.)

Also, such a degree qualifies you to take pretty much any jurisdiction's bar examination. You don't need to fucking study for two months straight to pass the North Dakota bar exam; you probably don't even need to study two weeks straight. So don't bitch about the bar exam being a 'waste' of two months. I played golf almost every day for a month while studying six weeks for the NY bar exam. I worked part time for three weeks as well. And I fucking passed. Don't want to practice ANY sort of law? Then don't take any jurisdiction's bar examination. I believe a JD is worth the time investment on its own. Unless you go to Cooley of course.

If you truly feel that the study of law revolts you totally then now is the time to get out and stop wasting your time. If you really smashed your grades and if you can repeat the performance then transfer to a T14 (or T50) school and become an attorney that big law or whatever public interest niche you want to go into will hire.

Whatever you do, make sure you quit whining like a six year old girl. No one said law school was easy. Just because you've discovered commercial outlines and how much more time efficient they make exam performance doesn't mean that the experience is a cake walk. Give it time, your soul will develop callouses, and eventually you may find some of the material to actually be interesting/stimulating. But as I'm sure you're already aware: most of it isn't.
1/19/10 12:49 PM
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KenTheWalrus
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LE = Law Enforcement.

Another option that may be of interest to the OP is to go back into service. CID in the Army pays fairly well, better than what you were making in whatever jurisdiction you were in. If you are eligible to re-enlist you might consider that option. Warrant officers make some decent coin.

I don't know why I've been thinking about this thread so much over the last couple days, but something else came to mind. If the action and excitement, the not knowing what the day will bring you is what makes you enjoy law enforcement so much, then any degree that you get will probably take you away from that. Municipalities generally don't pay the guys in the action that well. The better pay is reserved for the desk riders.

Your option then becomes working for the states or the feds. Fed agencies generally pay more than municipalities. Unless of course you work in an urban warzone with low life expectancy/short career lengths for officers. Then they commonly pay a premium for anyone to work a beat.

Something else to keep in mind, the FBI does recruit heavily from law schools.

Also, have you looked into JAG? Maybe military law is something you might enjoy. -ken
1/19/10 5:06 PM
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MMA Sports Agent
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KenTheWalrus - LE = Law Enforcement.

Another option that may be of interest to the OP is to go back into service. CID in the Army pays fairly well, better than what you were making in whatever jurisdiction you were in. If you are eligible to re-enlist you might consider that option. Warrant officers make some decent coin.

I don't know why I've been thinking about this thread so much over the last couple days, but something else came to mind. If the action and excitement, the not knowing what the day will bring you is what makes you enjoy law enforcement so much, then any degree that you get will probably take you away from that. Municipalities generally don't pay the guys in the action that well. The better pay is reserved for the desk riders.

Your option then becomes working for the states or the feds. Fed agencies generally pay more than municipalities. Unless of course you work in an urban warzone with low life expectancy/short career lengths for officers. Then they commonly pay a premium for anyone to work a beat.

Something else to keep in mind, the FBI does recruit heavily from law schools.

Also, have you looked into JAG? Maybe military law is something you might enjoy. -ken



FBI: terrible bureaucracy but great benefits for the kiddos. DEA is always looking for investigators who understand what a chain of evidence actually is, and how to admit hearsay. DHS is still straightening itself out and is always looking for talent. Plus you basically cannot be fired if you are a federal employee.

A law degree is the next natural step in moving up the ladder as a constable. Major municipalities prefer that their homicide detectives have JDs. Also most have city law departments if civil matters interest you.
1/19/10 7:19 PM
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Freedom57
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My thanks to all of you.

I found out my official standing in the class is well within the top 10. (Not top 10% but top 10 in the class.) Basically everyone I talk to says that I'd be a giant idiot to quit at this point.

I'm going to buck up and get through it. Going to school for free isn't something that everyone gets to do. I might as well make the most of it.
1/19/10 8:34 PM
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Subadie
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Edited: 01/19/10 8:36 PM
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Freedom57: Its funny how different our LS experience. I read the casebook only, read(practically) no commercial outlines, and didn't even outline cases on my own; was in no study groups because I was thought to know nothing by other students.

To read cases and think about them, how could it have been done differently, what is right, what is wrong ? Black letter law held little interest then or now. Recognizing and creating gray - now thats cool.

If you are not reading the cases, how can you know that its broken ?

How many seasons are in your life ? How many summers, winters, springs ?

IMO ? Quit.
1/20/10 1:40 AM
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KenTheWalrus
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You realize if you make another thread like this in the summer everyone who posted in this thread gets to kick you in the balls, right? Just making sure you understand the situation now.

Good luck with your studies. -ken
1/20/10 8:23 AM
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If your assessment of your own study methods was flawed, what makes you think your assessment of the entire legal system is correct?
1/20/10 3:41 PM
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Freedom57
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"You realize if you make another thread like this in the summer everyone who posted in this thread gets to kick you in the balls, right? Just making sure you understand the situation now."

Fair enough.
1/20/10 3:49 PM
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Freedom57
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"If your assessment of your own study methods was flawed, what makes you think your assessment of the entire legal system is correct?"

It could be, but the sociopathic behavior of many of my classmates does not give me hope for the future attorneys in the group to be significantly different from the Vaughn Walkers of the world.
1/21/10 8:47 AM
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Fake Pie
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Yeah but you go to a T4...
1/21/10 9:52 AM
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MMA Sports Agent
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Fake Pie - Yeah but you go to a T4...


Indeed, and this is crucial. Freedom, you're probably surrounded by classmates who AREN'T going to law school for free and have huge chips on their shoulders because they didn't land in either a TTT law school or in the top half of their class in your FTT. And they're PAYING for that. Sounds like a miserable crowd.

Seriously think about transferring. What state do you live in? In state tuition makes many top 100 legal educations affordable with loans; even while supporting a family. I transferred from a top 100 school to a top 50 school for a number of reasons, the quality of my classmates wasn't one of them. However, I believe you'd notice a tangible difference not only in terms of the quality of your professors (huge) but also in terms of the quality of your classmates (important as well) if you get out of your FTT.

When you have normal, confident student peers who can both push you to put more energy into studying and provide meaningful insight during class law school becomes a much less prison-like setting. Don't make any mistakes though, it still is depressing and sucks in general. But it is LESS suicidal. Just something to think about.
1/21/10 12:28 PM
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goku
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 transfer

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