Thank you for a well thought-out reply.

I have had misgivings about the law path for essentially the reasons you mention, and especially after much research. I know that being an attorney is not as glamorous as television shows make it out to be and I realize that the high income figures often reported for lawyers are skewed (as in the top law firms pay the most to the top law school grads, and the rest are stuck with little to nothing). I also understand that with the American economy the way it is and the large surplus of aspiring lawyers, the field is even more competitive today. I appreciate you confirming this first-hand.

The only problem is that at this point in my life, I feel like I have no other choice. I am currently a sophomore in college at a relatively good private liberal arts college. I have little aptitude (at least, little in terms of a comparative advantage) in the traditional hard sciences - biology, chemistry, physics - so medical school or grad school in those fields is not an option. I also am not especially talented at math and have never taken a computer science class, so computer programming (I mention it because it is frequently lauded here on LW as a lucrative career choice) is not an option either. Grad school in the fields I am interested in - political science, economics, and philosophy - is not particularly appealing due to the glut of grad school graduates in the social sciences and the large time investment.

My comparative advantages lie in being able to read quickly with high comprehension, write analytically, and think logically. I want to make enough money to live well and to be able to donate to the cause(s) I am/will be interested in.

What do I have left besides law school? (not purely a rhetorical question, by the way)

One other question: In your personal, but informed, opinion, would graduating from a top-14 or top-20 law school in the top 25-50% of my class 'guarantee' me a job? In this economic climate and in the near future?

ETA: Are there any specific situations where you would recommend law school? Such as receiving a scholarship or getting into a top law school.

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One other question: In your personal, but informed, opinion, would graduating from a top-14 or top-20 law school in the top 25-50% of my class 'guarantee' me a job? In this economic climate and in the near future?

If you are accepted into the top three schools (Yale >>> Harvard, Standford), you are very likely to be employed as a lawyer. Especially since the economy will have improved a bit during the passage of time at law school. If you in admitted into the top 4-8, you can feel somewhat comfortable. The rest of the top tier is unclear.

If y... (read more)

4brazil849yI think this is a good question and unfortunately I don't have an answer. For like 50 or 60 years, law school was a good way for a reasonably smart person to have a reasonably prestigious well-paying career. Most importantly, if it didn't work out you would not be facing financial ruin. But now it seems the law school train has left the station. Actually, it seems like higher education in general is not the good deal it once was. Quite possibly there are more opportunities now than ever before but they require more creativity to find. I am not really informed on this question since I graduated law school 15 years ago. It's also really hard to get good information on this sort of question since so many people have an agenda or an axe to grind. You might try asking on a few of the law school discussion boards. I do think it's worth considering if you get a bona fide scholarship. In that case, your main risk is 3 years of your life. Just beware of the "section stacking scam." That's where the law school gives you a scholarship contingent on maintaining a certain grade point average and then puts all the scholarship students in the same section. Guaranteeing that a very large percentage will lose their scholarship. Going to a top-rated law school is still a bit dangerous. You may land a high-paying job only to get laid off or discover that you hate your high paying job.

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