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Apparently, my advice has gone unheeded.  None of the zero-L’s on the Above the Law thread seem to get the point.  Granted, I know that twenty-year old kids have little perspective or patience.  I’m not sure I could have had the fortitude to change paths that late in the law school application process, but someone has to douse these students with a bucket of ice water.

I have friends who are partners in the biggest law firms in the world losing their jobs, or having their compensation annually slashed (and these are Harvard, Columbia, and Stanford Law grads).  The only reason it isn’t worse for them is that the firms keep cutting expenses and using LPO and contract attorneys to eliminate the need for the majority of first through fifth years associates.  Why in the world would you hire a neophyte Harvard law graduate for $160,000/year, when you can have that work done far better by a twelfth year partner from Bangalore, or a former big firm lawyer working through a contract agency, for $40,000/year, with no benefits?

To get an idea of the morass into which you’re walking, ask yourself this question:

Would you pay $90K to go to Berklee School of Music to learn how to be a rock guitarist?

Of course you wouldn’t, because the jobs with a true payoff (record deal and hit songs) are extremely few and far between.  It just wouldn’t be practical.  You would be flushing your money down the toilet.

You may not realize it now, but 3+ years from now, getting a job in the legal industry (no matter what your credentials are), that actually justifies your tuition and time investment, is going to be almost as difficult as getting a job as a highly-paid musician, actor, screenwriter, or athlete.

At least with the NBA and NFL, two other low-percentage aspirations, you don’t have to pay for the honor of being trained to do your profession.  The NCAA sports “factories,” at least, pay for your schooling, so you can one day graduate and NOT have a job in the area in which you have concentrated your training.

Zero-L’s: If there was ever a time to wake up and smell the coffee, now is that time.

Craig Levinson

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