Why did a guy with 3 perfect LSAT scores not go to law school?
I get that a lot, as you might imagine.
The short version - I make more money doing this than I would practicing law, and I love it.
The long version follows (and is, I'd imagine, pretty boring to anyone not named Dave Hall, but remember that you asked, OK?)...
I'd say that if they really thought about it, there are three considerations most people (and I certainly include myself here) think they should weigh in choosing a career (as opposed to a job, which is mostly about one thing: money). Those considerations are, in alphabetical order:
- Growth potential - the belief that your work will have an arc, not just a long flat line. You want to know you're headed somewhere.
- Happiness - the belief that your work has meaning. When it does, you sleep good (even if not enough) and you're better to everyone in your world. You find it easier to become a citizen when your work fulfills you, and you're a better one for it.
- Money (of course. Come on).
In other words, you want to do work that will allow you to retire someday. In this America, that's a tough proposition. You want to do work that's meaningful, so going to work isn't a chore. And for me, I wanted work that would allow my wife (who wanted to stay home full-time) to live the life she wants, too.
Velocity gives me all three of those - and in particular the second one of them - in a way that law school didn't seem to offer.
The particular history: When I took the test for the first time I got a 179 (those bastards) and figured I'd go to law school. This was for mercenary reasons - I had no particular love of the law nor calling to practice, but I'd just found out that my wife was pregnant. I needed a big kid job (before that, I'd been doing construction work in rural Appalachia, then teaching part-time for a national test-prep company. With a wife with a baby in her belly, I needed more income and security all of a sudden). Anyway, I do love to teach, and figured I'd go to law school just because I could, then teach law.
Then I started investigating law schools. Realistically, to follow the traditional path to a law professorship, I needed to go to Yale (or Harvard), which meant I'd shell out plenty of money for school to move my newly-growing family across the country for three years, then have to get a job practicing law for at least a little while before finding a position that might move us all across the country again… It wasn't an awesome-sounding life path.
Instead, I accepted a position running the LSAT program in Southern California for that test-prep company, and after some time doing that, I found that I was making more money than I would've been earning practicing law (At least, at any law firm I'd think about working for - my lawyer friends in such firms made between $65-90K. Yes, there are opportunities in law to earn 2-3 times that just to start, but like those friends, I wouldn't have even considered going into (highly-remunerative) indentured servitude at a big corporate firm. And look, if that's your bag, that's cool, and I'll help you get there, but it sounded like misery to me, even at the million-a-year I'd certainly eventually make as a partner).
So that was part three of my triptych from above, but I still had a significant hole at number one (growth potential - I had no intention of going any higher up the ladder than the Assistant Vice President label they stuck on me to justify my salary. Really, can you imagine me sitting behind a desk all day? Yeah, neither can I. So it seemed like I'd tapped out my potential for growth), and as a result, I wasn't all the way home at number two (happiness), either.
Then I did the deal that I'm proudest of in my whole working life; I negotiated a contract with that test-prep company that allowed me to work part-time teaching live classroom courses for them, while starting my own online-only venture at the same time. This deal satisfied my loyalty to the company and at the same time allowed my broader ambitions. I believe it's without precedent, and it managed to satisfy their needs and mine in a way that gives me a career doing meaningful work where I can grow almost without limits, work on my own hours, see retirement ahead of me, and still drop off and pick up my boy from first grade. Plus, think about how awesome this sounds: I get to offer the absolute best LSAT preparation available anywhere, and I get to determine the price, so we made it cheap so that it's not only rich people who get access to the best product.
We're trying to start a revolution, is what I'm saying.
And that, for the one person still reading this far, is how a guy with multiple perfect LSAT scores doesn't end up going to law school.
Hey - wake up! We've reached the end of the narrative, and you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. I've got a revolution to tend to!