Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

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lslforums
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Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by lslforums » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:44 pm

I'm debating on going to Law School without any intent of being a full time lawyer.

I'll attempt to keep this very high level and brief. Please don't interpret this thread as a "brag", I'm simply trying to get the facts out there the quick and dirty way.

I am a very successful entrepreneur. My business/financial success has put me in a position of freedom to pursue what I wish to pursue.

A few years back I went back to school and got my Master's Degree in a business major. I enjoyed the experience although it didn't play any role in my business success. I do not regret spending the time or money on the graduate program (it was a night and weekends program so time-wise it wasn't getting in the way of anything).

I have a natural knack of being very logical and critical. I am careful in my day to day language with others, naturally, as to not get put in a bind of guaranteeing something I can't guarantee. I also naturally read contracts/agreements with an eye of distrust and naturally start thinking of scenarios in which the contract/agreement doesn't protect my interests (and then negotiate from there).

So why am I even considering law school if I am already successful, already have a graduate degree and already think logically/critically?
Because I love progressing. I love furthering my skills, abilities and knowledge. I feel as though there would be value associated with having a JD to help land on the board of some small businesses or non-profits. I enjoy business a lot and I really enjoy understanding how/why people do what they do. I want to be able to further my reach to others via my knowledge and skills and I feel as though law school can only amplify my abilities.

Are the above good enough reasons to spend $100k, spend 1 year full time and several years after the first year with thousands of hours attending classes and studying?
I don't know. :(
I need your honest opinion and suggestions on things to think about.

School Choice (if relevant)
My local state school, Arizona State University is ranked 25. I realize it isn't a T14 but I have no intention of doing big-law; it is close to home, I get in-state tuition and anyone in Arizona or surrounding states recognize it as a solid school.

The Ultimate Issue??
The ultimate issue with the decision to pursue Law School is that I am not a believer in making a living one hour at a time (aka billable hours). I've made a living by delegating and using resources to do more (aka employees, equipment, technology, etc). I have NO interest in making $200, $500 or $1000 a hour unless it was side consulting/part time work.
I am absolutely NOT interested in a traditional 40+ hour work week.
This may be the ultimate deciding factor if there really aren't many avenues for lawyers that don't work full time as a lawyer. Is part time work even a thing for small/mid or even big law? I want to be a lawyer to practice law when necessary, facilitate opening of some doors that wouldn't otherwise open (board seats for example) and to better my understanding of law in general. I am not interested in being a lawyer to work 60 hours a week, losing sleep over cases or trials coming up, etc, etc. I am too old (and lazy?) to get in that hyper-competitive game. :)

Thank you if you made it this far. :) I look forward to the discussion.

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HelloYesThisIsDog
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by HelloYesThisIsDog » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:10 pm

Law firms don't usually hire people who want to just dabble in the law. They need people who will do the work, do it well, and bill for it (generally in 6 minute increments). If you don't want billable hours, government or non profits are the other game in town.

If you just want to know more about the law and understand it better, law schools are hawking these new Masters of Jurisprudence-type programs for people just like you to pad their revenue stream. You can be in classes with JD students, learn some interesting stuff, and never practice law (the degree doesn't qualify you to sit for the bar exam). Since you appear to not be worried about burning piles of money on degrees that don't materially advance your career, this would be a good fit.

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George Marshall
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by George Marshall » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:11 pm

No. 100% no.

ETA: this is both a 100k+ cost, PLUS a three year opportunity cost. You're giving up three years that could be spent working on your business ventures and furthering your skills and abilities in areas more relevant to your goals (not to mention your personal life). That's a lot of time, and law school is going to be a lot more rigorous and stressful than a Master's in business. There are a lot of downsides to this and no tangible benefits that I can see. Second the suggestion of looking into Masters programs in law.
Last edited by George Marshall on Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Hey_Everybody
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by Hey_Everybody » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:03 pm

This seems like a weird plan. If you're such a successful entrepreneur that money basically means nothing to you and you just think law school sounds interesting then go for it. If you're actually trying to make law school economically viable by working as a part time lawyer, then there's no way the time and money would be worth it. A little hard to tell which is the case here from your description.

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heythatslife
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by heythatslife » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:08 am

lslforums wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:44 pm
This may be the ultimate deciding factor if there really aren't many avenues for lawyers that don't work full time as a lawyer. Is part time work even a thing for small/mid or even big law? I want to be a lawyer to practice law when necessary, facilitate opening of some doors that wouldn't otherwise open (board seats for example) and to better my understanding of law in general. I am not interested in being a lawyer to work 60 hours a week, losing sleep over cases or trials coming up, etc, etc. I am too old (and lazy?) to get in that hyper-competitive game. :)
If you want to go to law school because you have money and time to burn purely for self-fulfillment, by all means go ahead. As to your question of whether it's possible to have a viable part-time legal practice right out of law school, the answer is no. There are lawyers who practice part-time, but it's only after having spent years practicing full-time to build expertise, credentials and goodwill that this becomes feasible.

The problem is that law school teaches you very little about the actual practice of law so the tutelage of experienced attorneys is crucial in your development as a lawyer in the first few years. At the same time, those experienced attorneys who can train you will want someone who can put in 100% of their time (I mean, put yourself in their shoes and think about it). Maybe if money is totally a nonissue for you and you don't mind working for free, you might be able to find nonprofits willing to take you on part-time because they're often strapped for manpower and funding. But firms, I highly doubt you'd be able to find takers.

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cavalier1138
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by cavalier1138 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:07 am

lslforums wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:44 pm
I want to be a lawyer to practice law when necessary
In addition to what has already been said, I don't think that "practicing law when necessary" is a reasonable goal for a licensed attorney. Depending on your jurisdiction, you'd have to do CLE, pay fees, etc. to keep your license, and you'd be subject to professional discipline if you didn't perform competently, which is more likely to happen when you only practice occasionally. Plus, the professional standards carry over into your other work, so you could get disbarred for misconduct that you didn't commit while actually practicing law.

But yeah, overall, this is just not a good idea.

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sev
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by sev » Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:03 pm

I strongly identify with a lot of what you said. A couple things that came to mind:
1. The law is fundamentally a service profession. That's why lawyers are so tied to the billable hour. That's not to say that there aren't attorneys who work in different ways, but that you've gotta get your start at Red Lobster before you serve $150 steaks at Wolfgangs. If you want to practice law, you're probably going to need to put in your time. If you don't want to practice law (see point 4).

2. Law school changes you. Every case you read is a story of tragedy somehow. Someone loses, someone does something bad. Perpetually having a voice in the back of your head saying what might go wrong may change how entrepreneurial you are.

3. $100k and 3 years of excruciating work will buy you a lot more than a JD in terms of leadership positions in nonprofits and small businesses.

4. I sympathize with the desire to improve yourself. But $100k will buy you a lot more education than a JD if you don't need the sheepskin at the end.

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kellyfrost
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by kellyfrost » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:40 am

You're gonna love the law!

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DOT
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by DOT » Wed Apr 17, 2019 5:38 pm

If this is a serious thread, you should PM me. I might be able to help out

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pancakes3
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by pancakes3 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:05 pm

lslforums wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:44 pm
So why am I even considering law school if I am already successful, already have a graduate degree and already think logically/critically?
Because I love progressing. I love furthering my skills, abilities and knowledge. I feel as though there would be value associated with having a JD to help land on the board of some small businesses or non-profits. I enjoy business a lot and I really enjoy understanding how/why people do what they do. I want to be able to further my reach to others via my knowledge and skills and I feel as though law school can only amplify my abilities.
law school is just a pre-requisite for a professional license and doesn't really amplify any abilities. even at its most charitable characterization, all law school does is identify people with a knack for practicing law, it doesn't develop the skills to practice law. you might pick up reading/writing/organization skills but that's not because of any secrets or techniques unique to law school.

another part of law school is that it teaches you the rules and framework of practicing law. civil procedure, court systems, constitutional framework, etc. but that information is not worth going to law school. you can pick it up from wikipedia. or even sticking around here on LSL and asking questions.

just like you didn't think there was any value add with an MBA to your business skills, you won't find much value add to your logic/reasoning with a law degree.

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BlendedUnicorn
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by BlendedUnicorn » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:52 pm

Kim?

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George Marshall
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by George Marshall » Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:54 pm

BlendedUnicorn wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:52 pm
Kim?

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LeslieNum
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Post by LeslieNum » Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:02 pm

So, Im going to a Law Forum tomorrow and I want to know if anyone has any advice for me. Im re-taking the LSATs in October. Im applying as early as possible to some of the schools. My top choice school is in New York but, I am also really looking at a school in New Jersey and Michigan. Any words of encouragement or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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pancakes3
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by pancakes3 » Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:54 pm

you're in a law forum right now.

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heythatslife
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by heythatslife » Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:31 pm

pancakes3 wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:54 pm
you're in a law forum right now.
Excuse me sir, I believe this is THE law forum among these various fora

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heythatslife
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Re: -

Post by heythatslife » Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:36 pm

LeslieNum wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 12:02 pm
So, Im going to a Law Forum tomorrow and I want to know if anyone has any advice for me. Im re-taking the LSATs in October. Im applying as early as possible to some of the schools. My top choice school is in New York but, I am also really looking at a school in New Jersey and Michigan. Any words of encouragement or advice would be greatly appreciated.
Good news is that the LSAT is a highly learnable test and most people are able to improve their scores with the right methods. What schools are you looking at? And what are your career goals? With more information about your situation and goals, people here can offer more targeted and helpful advice. You may want to start a new thread instead of tacking on to a dead thread that doesn’t relate to your particular questions.

Jake
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Re: Law School w/o intent of being a FT lawyer?

Post by Jake » Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:59 am

Tax law and possibly Patent Law (if a STEM undergrad) might interest you. Many are remote and flat rate work. There are also firms that help people incorporate and other out if court contracts type paperwork stuff. You also may want to look into JD that are part time and weekend options too.

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