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post #1 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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2nd Bachelor's? Quit Law School? WTF am I thinking?

Well, my midlife crisis has struck early.

I'm very seriously considering quitting law school and pursuing a 2nd Bachelor's in Engineering. Way back when, when I originally made the decision to pursue law instead of engineering, it was based on the assumption that lawyers made more money than engineers. If salaries were equal, I would have preferred engineering. As it turns out, that assumption about lawyers' earning potential was incorrect. Now that I'm in my 2L year, it's become apparent that the 6-figure salary that the law schools dangle in front of prospective students is an unlikely proposition to put it lightly.

So I find myself in a dilemma. Do I take out another 50-60K in crippling student loan debt to pay for another year here? (The law school isn't shy about raising tuition. It started at 28K last year, and will be ~34K next, plus fees, etc.) Considering that the additional year will, at best, get me into a 60K/year job.

Option B involves going back to get a BS in Engineering. I'm not sure what the real-world salaries are, but I don know I would enjoy the work far more than legal work, and my preliminary research has indicated the demand for engineers is far better, and increasing at a faster rate, than the demand for lawyers. The plus side is that I'd be going to a IL state school and can pay for tuition for 3-4 years for what it cost me for 1 here. Meaning, at this point, getting the engineering degree will cost me less than finishing out my JD here.

Option C is getting the engineering degree while finishing my JD with night classes. JDs with an engineering background are in HUGE demand, since IP and patent law are the fastest growing field of law at the moment. And since most engineers go do something productive instead of going to law school, they're a rare commodity. And worst case scenario, I'd have WAY more job options in either field.

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post #2 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:47 PM
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post #3 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:49 PM
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You cant time the job market with such a huge leadtime. Finish your law degree but find an employer with an engineering theme. Let THEM pay for pursuing an engineering degree.
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post #4 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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You cant time the job market with such a huge leadtime. Finish your law degree but find an employer with an engineering theme. Let THEM pay for pursuing an engineering degree.
Wish that was an option. Those firms won't even talk to you unless you already have it.

And its not so much a timing thing as it goes with short term lulls and booms. The legal field, as a whole and for significant period has been growing more slowly than the economy in general. Also, law schools have followed a trend of admitting more and more students, all while more schools are getting accredited. My non-expert impression is that is and will continue to be a lawyer-bubble for a pretty significant length of time. Not to mention, I'm becoming more and more certain that actually practicing law is not something I want to do as a career.

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Last edited by Rob, Esq.; 02-12-2008 at 12:55 PM.
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post #5 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:52 PM
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I know quite a few people here will have a coronary about this, but money ISNT everything. Its better to have a job you enjoy and maybe get paid less than to have a job you hate and get paid more at. If engineering is what you enjoy, take that. About 20 yrs ago law was the big thing. Now we have WAAAAAYYYY to many lawyers.
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post #6 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:56 PM
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Ever watch the movie Rounders? Matt Damon quits in his last year of Law School to go play cards professionally.

If engineering is what will make you happy... then that is what you should pursue.

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post #7 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 12:58 PM
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option D, start your own business. working for other people sucks.
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post #8 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:05 PM
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My brother is a Mechanical Engineer, his current salary is a little over $150k and he's likely to see a nice increase in a month or two. He also loves what he does.

The question is, do you enjoy law? If not, do you really think doing law in the field of Engineering is going to make it any more enjoyable? Are you interested in dealing with Patents and IP issues? Just because there is a demand for it doesn't mean it's the right choice to make.

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post #9 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insomniac View Post
My brother is a Mechanical Engineer, his current salary is a little over $150k and he's likely to see a nice increase in a month or two. He also loves what he does.

The question is, do you enjoy law? If not, do you really think doing law in the field of Engineering is going to make it any more enjoyable? Are you interested in dealing with Patents and IP issues? Just because there is a demand for it doesn't mean it's the right choice to make.

Lesson of the day, do what you enjoy, not what makes you money.
Crikey! 150K?! Where did he get his degree and where does he work, if you don't mind my asking?

Generally speaking, I don't really enjoy this law thing much. If money were not a concern at all, then I'm almost certain I'd rather be designing motors or something like that.

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post #10 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:12 PM
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C

Best of both worlds. If you can't find work as one, you can fall back on the other.

Exactly what field of engineering. Civil, Mech etc..

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post #11 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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C

Best of both worlds. If you can't find work as one, you can fall back on the other.

Exactly what field of engineering. Civil, Mech etc..
Mechanical is my first choice. I'v got a few buddies doing it and from what they're telling me, its the type of stuff that I'd really dig.

Civil or aeronautical would be my 2nd choice.

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post #12 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:15 PM
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150k is manager or supervisor range. No normal 10-15yr ME will make that in general.

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post #13 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:20 PM
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stay in school, and open a law firm.

you'll have a degree and practice when you want.


being an employee isn't where its at now a days, if you want to make big money.

you want security, you want to punch in and punch out and not worry about shit when your shift is over, then being self employed or owning a corporation isn't for you.

50% partner in a corporation or owning it, time after time this proven method WORKS.

i don't care what the normal employed people say around here.



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post #14 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:21 PM
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Crikey! 150K?! Where did he get his degree and where does he work, if you don't mind my asking?

Generally speaking, I don't really enjoy this law thing much. If money were not a concern at all, then I'm almost certain I'd rather be designing motors or something like that.
He got his degree from Curtin University (www.curtin.edu.au) and he works for Transfield Worley (www.transfield-worley.com.au) on the North Rankin with a two weeks on two weeks off shift pattern, plus extra time off during shutdown and hurricane season. For the mention he is in his late twenties and has the offer to work on-shore for the same amount with the same company but loses the two on two off advantage.

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post #15 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:23 PM
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150k is manager or supervisor range. No normal 10-15yr ME will make that in general.
Wrong, he doesn't manage or supervise anything. He's simply an on-site engineer who runs around the rig collecting data to relay back to shore.
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post #16 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:24 PM
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Follow your heart on this one. If you would rather go into Engineering, do it. It's a personal decision, of course, but I had to make a similar decision about eight years ago and it changed the entire direction of my life.

A good law degree, on the other hand, and a good placement into a firm can net you a good income after lots of LONG hours and grunt work. If you like law, this won't matter to you. However, the loans seem to be a concern. Some law firms will pay off student loans, or at least a portion of them.

Tough call, but one you will need to make ultimately on your own.

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post #17 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:24 PM
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stay in school, and open a law firm.

you'll have a degree and practice when you want.


being an employee isn't where its at now a days, if you want to make big money.

you want security, you want to punch in and punch out and not worry about shit when your shift is over, then being self employed or owning a corporation isn't for you.

50% partner in a corporation or owning it, time after time this proven method WORKS.

i don't care what the normal employed people say around here.
Yup, finish your degree and go from there. Doesn't matter what you graduate in anymore. Go out there make some contacts and start your own thing. That's what I'm doing.

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post #18 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:26 PM
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Mechanical is the way to go. It's a broad engineering field, and they can do just about anything that more specified dicipline can do. ME's are the most common engineer at my company (200+ engineers). It sounds like you aren't into law, and from I heard, it's hard as hell to get a job at any pay grade. If you're shooting for 60k/yr you will most likely find an engineering job close to that. if you were looking for a job now, I would expect mid 50s starting.

here would be my issue - you will have to go back to school for much longer. it may cost the same (or a little less) dollar for dollar, but the money you would be earning in the 2-3 years after graduating will make up for that. It sounds like your real issue is not knowing what you want to do. I'd work that out before making a crazy decision.

my bottom line, everyone works for money. some take a sacrifice in pay to do what they like, but we all do it for money. i'm an engineer because I'm good at what I do and I can make money doing it. If I got the same salary at a mindless job with no pressure, I would take it in a second.

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post #19 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:31 PM
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I think quitting law school would be a bad decision all around. You only have one more year to go and since you are so close to finishing, might as well go all the way. You might regret dropping out later on. Finish your law degree and then if you still want to pursue engineering then do so.

Doesn't your school offer any sort of loan re-payment assistance once you graduate?? My sister just graduated from Columbia Law and they pay a very large percentage of her student loans. She only makes about $75k, which is actually a lot for her field, and the school pays about 80% of her student loans. I thought she said that is common for most law schools to do this.

I'm actually seriously considering going to law school and everyone I've talked to about it says that the first and second year are the hardest and the third year is a breeze.

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post #20 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Insomniac View Post
Wrong, he doesn't manage or supervise anything. He's simply an on-site engineer who runs around the rig collecting data to relay back to shore.
hazard pay bump?

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post #21 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:32 PM
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if i can do it, so can anyone else.

i started with Paint Odysseys back in 1994, with a credit card limit of 5000.00, i maxed that fucker out and used my little S-10 blazer and start doing work for any mom and pop dealer that would COD right there on the spot, then a few months later started working for major car dealerships on a 30 day billing cycle.


NOW, after all this time and now owning a total of 2 corporations and personally financing another 1 for my wife so she can do her own thing, i wont even brag cause i am not that type of person, in fact i am still frugal type of person "i like hording money" hell i am sitting here with putty dust all over me when i dont even have to work any longer if i choose not to.

the point is if my ass can do it, so can others.

you have to sacrifice NOW for later, never give up! always push, always find a WAY!



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post #22 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:33 PM
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Rob, what do you have a knack and passion for?

Do what you love, love what you do.. (but make sure it can pay the mortgage).

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post #23 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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I think quitting law school would be a bad decision all around. You only have one more year to go and since you are so close to finishing, might as well go all the way. You might regret dropping out later on. Finish your law degree and then if you still want to pursue engineering then do so.

Doesn't your school offer any sort of loan re-payment assistance once you graduate?? My sister just graduated from Columbia Law and they pay a very large percentage of her student loans. She only makes about $75k, which is actually a lot for her field, and the school pays about 80% of her student loans. I thought she said that is common for most law schools to do this.

I'm actually seriously considering going to law school and everyone I've talked to about it says that the first and second year are the hardest and the third year is a breeze.
I wish they did the loan repayment thing, but thats not an option. The closest thing available is loan forgiveness for certain public service jobs. If you work as a public defender/state's attorney for something like 10 years and pay your loans during that period, at the end they 'forgive' the remainder of the load debt.

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post #24 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:36 PM
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I'm a mechanical engineer and wish I was making $150k/year

I'm a design engineer by title and love what I do. I work for a smaller company and am a lot more involved in projects that some of my buddies who also work in the industry. I'll get a project dropped off on my desk, a little intro, and it's my job to hit the dates. It can be frustrating as hell at sometimes, but for the most part, it's great. I'm in charge of designing, procuring parts, assembling, qualifying and fulfilling customer orders from concept to production release where then the project goes on autopilot.

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post #25 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:36 PM
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All I have to say is those two fields are like oppistie ends of the spectrum! wow if you really wanted to be an engineer then I could see no way you would of wanted to be a lawyer. Go with the engineering field!
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post #26 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:38 PM
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hazard pay bump?
His job is pretty low on hazard scale, and as I said, they've offered him the same amount to work on-shore in an office. The biggest risk is the plane or heli crashing on the way to/from the rig. Apart from that they won't let him anywhere near the rig if the weather is bad. The reason he got the job was due to previous experience on rigs, otherwise most companies don't want to send fresh Engineers onto them. The reason is some people go a little loopy from the separation from society.
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post #27 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:58 PM
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if i can do it, so can anyone else.

i started with Paint Odysseys back in 1994, with a credit card limit of 5000.00, i maxed that fucker out and used my little S-10 blazer and start doing work for any mom and pop dealer that would COD right there on the spot, then a few months later started working for major car dealerships on a 30 day billing cycle.
law or engineering is a bit more difficult to get started right out of college. I agree that working for yourself is the way to go, but with some professions, you need to suck it up and work for the man out of college.

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post #28 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 01:58 PM
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post #29 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 02:07 PM
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post #30 of 96 (permalink) Old 02-12-2008, 02:08 PM
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law or engineering is a bit more difficult to get started right out of college. I agree that working for yourself is the way to go, but with some professions, you need to suck it up and work for the man out of college.
i can agree, but as i don't know those fields personally,if thats what it requires like most (proving yourself, having a great business resume, accomplishments, etc, etc.) still do what you have to do within that industry, never loose site of doing what you like doing and the passion it drives to show in your work and it will reflect. trust me i know how it feels to just do the job because of the money, cause i do that also with something else i do.

but i can TOTALLY see Rob, as an attorney with his own law firm, still posting away on CLSB while he sends out his employed attorneys getting %'s of every case the firm handles.

good luck to you man with what ever you choose to do.

i gotta get back to work, though...why?

because i always need more money if i want to CONTINUE to improve myself, help my family and all the children in my family.



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