Big Risk?

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highdraws
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Big Risk?

Postby highdraws » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:35 pm

ITE, Is going to an upper-T1 school as an ISS with no scholarship a crazy idea? In terms of debt and employment prospects? Is it safer to go to a upper-T2 or TTT school for half-tuition/free?

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General Tso
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:37 pm

depends on the upper T1 school

UW/CUB are probably still good values

Davis/Hastings (one of which I attend), maybe not.

highdraws
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby highdraws » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:49 pm

swheat wrote:depends on the upper T1 school

UW/CUB are probably still good values

Davis/Hastings (one of which I attend), maybe not.


What kind of factors, would you say, differentiate those schools? Tuition? The degree to which the school dominates its region?

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General Tso
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:57 pm

highdraws wrote:
swheat wrote:depends on the upper T1 school

UW/CUB are probably still good values

Davis/Hastings (one of which I attend), maybe not.


What kind of factors, would you say, differentiate those schools? Tuition? The degree to which the school dominates its region?


Tuition, job prospects. Davis and Hastings still offer decent prospects but there is little value left in a UC law degree. The tuition is just too much.

If you go over 100k debt, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Chances are you will make somewhere between 60-80k ITE out of a lower T1. That is if you are lucky. For most parts of the country that is around $3,000-4,000 per month after taxes. With student loans of over 100k meaning $1,000/mo. payments, you are looking at 25-33% of your initial income going down the toilet right off the bat.

Sure you will get raises over time, but life will most likely not be rosy for the first 5 or 6 years of your legal career. That is especially true if you live in an expensive area like CA. I personally am looking to go into about 75k debt at Hastings, and I still expect to have a pretty tight budget after I graduate.

highdraws
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby highdraws » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:03 pm

swheat wrote:
highdraws wrote:
swheat wrote:depends on the upper T1 school

UW/CUB are probably still good values

Davis/Hastings (one of which I attend), maybe not.


What kind of factors, would you say, differentiate those schools? Tuition? The degree to which the school dominates its region?


Tuition, job prospects. Davis and Hastings still offer decent prospects but there is little value left in a UC law degree. The tuition is just too much.

If you go over 100k debt, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Chances are you will make somewhere between 60-80k ITE out of a lower T1. That is if you are lucky. For most parts of the country that is around $3,000-4,000 per month after taxes. With student loans of over 100k meaning $1,000/mo. payments, you are looking at 25-33% of your initial income going down the toilet right off the bat.

Sure you will get raises over time, but life will most likely not be rosy for the first 5 or 6 years of your legal career. That is especially true if you live in an expensive area like CA. I personally am looking to go into about 75k debt at Hastings, and I still expect to have a pretty tight budget after I graduate.


Solid advice. I'm in Florida, looking at UF and FSU primarily. So one advantage is that COL and taxes aren't quite as big of an issue as in some other places. I'm very debt-wary and reading some of the posts here have made me more nervous.

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General Tso
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:05 pm

highdraws wrote:Solid advice. I'm in Florida, looking at UF and FSU primarily. So one advantage is that COL and taxes aren't quite as big of an issue as in some other places. I'm very debt-wary and reading some of the posts here have made me more nervous.


I think UF is probably worth it, not so sure about FSU. Do you have savings or parental support, or will you be financing the whole thing? I think you should max out at 100k debt, and try to stay closer to 75.

highdraws
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby highdraws » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:26 pm

swheat wrote:
I think UF is probably worth it, not so sure about FSU. Do you have savings or parental support, or will you be financing the whole thing? I think you should max out at 100k debt, and try to stay closer to 75.


I'll be taking out loans. Parental support is always available but I'm planning to cut myself off. My best guess is that I'll graduate with around $80,000 of debt which scares the hell out of me but my belief is if I get a job paying close to that then I'll be ok and I mostly just want to verify that with other people here.

As for the two schools, I'm actually leaning towards FSU. Through research/visiting, I've gotten the impression that FSU is on the rise and UF has become a bit complacent. I'll probably piss people off by saying that but it's just my gut feeling.

Anyway, a UF vs. FSU discussion probably sounds boring to you, Mr. UC-Hastings, but I really appreciate the advice.

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General Tso
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 17, 2010 8:30 pm

highdraws wrote:
swheat wrote:
I think UF is probably worth it, not so sure about FSU. Do you have savings or parental support, or will you be financing the whole thing? I think you should max out at 100k debt, and try to stay closer to 75.


I'll be taking out loans. Parental support is always available but I'm planning to cut myself off. My best guess is that I'll graduate with around $80,000 of debt which scares the hell out of me but my belief is if I get a job paying close to that then I'll be ok and I mostly just want to verify that with other people here.

As for the two schools, I'm actually leaning towards FSU. Through research/visiting, I've gotten the impression that FSU is on the rise and UF has become a bit complacent. I'll probably piss people off by saying that but it's just my gut feeling.

Anyway, a UF vs. FSU discussion probably sounds boring to you, Mr. UC-Hastings, but I really appreciate the advice.


nope not boring at all...I think 80k debt is a reasonable sum for those schools.

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drdolittle
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby drdolittle » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:10 pm

Yeah, swheat usually gives solid advice, but I'm a bit surprised by his response here. If I remember correctly, his older posts strongly (and effectively) argued in favor of Davis/Hastings job prospects vs. regional T2 schools. Has finding a decent job out of Hastings become that much more difficult of late?

I have the same concerns as OP, and will likely choose between Davis/Hastings and $$ from SCU/USF, etc..., but it won't be an easy decision. I want to practice in CA and everything I've read on TLS and elsewhere leads me to think that I should pick the T1 school, despite the price tag.

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General Tso
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby General Tso » Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:29 pm

drdolittle wrote:Yeah, swheat usually gives solid advice, but I'm a bit surprised by his response here. If I remember correctly, his older posts strongly (and effectively) argued in favor of Davis/Hastings job prospects vs. regional T2 schools. Has finding a decent job out of Hastings become that much more difficult of late?

I have the same concerns as OP, and will likely choose between Davis/Hastings and $$ from SCU/USF, etc..., but it won't be an easy decision. I want to practice in CA and everything I've read on TLS and elsewhere leads me to think that I should pick the T1 school, despite the price tag.


Well, it's a little different for Cali, I think. My main thing with the CA T2s is that they give their students these HUGE scholarships (eg - I got 80k+ from Loyola and USD with mediocre stats) but they each carried a top 30% GPA req. And having looked at the no. of students getting scholarships at these schools (around 50%), it's not hard to see why they do this. Roughly half of their scholarship recipients will lose them.

But in this economy, with the tuition getting so ridiculous at Davis and Hastings, I think I might have taken that risk at USD. It has been very hard for me and other 1Ls to get summer jobs this year.

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drdolittle
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby drdolittle » Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:31 am

It really sucks that 1Ls at a school like UC Hastings are struggling to find summer jobs in a major legal market, but for what it's worth, it seems to me that much higher ranked schools are now running into similar issues. OP on TLS, who transferred from SCU to Berkeley, wrote that OCI there was rough this year for most, maybe a little less so for those with technical or advanced degrees. Another Stanford 1L OP also grumbled about an unusually tough OCI this year, etc...All this is anecdotal evidence, of course, though plenty of sources reflect a hard job market for Ls. I guess we just have to suck it up and hope for the best. And trust that rankings and regional ties do make a significant difference in the end because otherwise how the hell could the UCs even begin to justify their current and projected tuition? I mean, Berkeley/Hastings/Davis/UCLA costing as much or even more than Y/H/S is already a joke without the prospect of being jobless out of said Berkeley/Hastings/Davis/UCLA. Not to mention Irvine...

phabulosa
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby phabulosa » Fri Mar 19, 2010 2:26 am

swheat wrote:
highdraws wrote:
swheat wrote:depends on the upper T1 school

UW/CUB are probably still good values

Davis/Hastings (one of which I attend), maybe not.


What kind of factors, would you say, differentiate those schools? Tuition? The degree to which the school dominates its region?


Tuition, job prospects. Davis and Hastings still offer decent prospects but there is little value left in a UC law degree. The tuition is just too much.

If you go over 100k debt, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Chances are you will make somewhere between 60-80k ITE out of a lower T1. That is if you are lucky. For most parts of the country that is around $3,000-4,000 per month after taxes. With student loans of over 100k meaning $1,000/mo. payments, you are looking at 25-33% of your initial income going down the toilet right off the bat.

Sure you will get raises over time, but life will most likely not be rosy for the first 5 or 6 years of your legal career. That is especially true if you live in an expensive area like CA. I personally am looking to go into about 75k debt at Hastings, and I still expect to have a pretty tight budget after I graduate.


I have been paying attention to some of your thorough analysis on TLS. I also decided to dump SCU for Hastings. I got some scholarship from Hastings, but not sure how much need based grant I could get. Could you please explain how you came up with the number of $75K in debt. With the rising tuition and lack of scholarship at Hastings, $75 seems much less than realistic.

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General Tso
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Re: Big Risk?

Postby General Tso » Fri Mar 19, 2010 3:36 am

phabulosa wrote:
I have been paying attention to some of your thorough analysis on TLS. I also decided to dump SCU for Hastings. I got some scholarship from Hastings, but not sure how much need based grant I could get. Could you please explain how you came up with the number of $75K in debt. With the rising tuition and lack of scholarship at Hastings, $75 seems much less than realistic.


Sure, no problem at all. (congrats on your acceptance and the grant/scholly too btw). Hastings over SCU was not a hard choice for me...SCU is a good school but their scholarship offers are generally very weak next to those of San Diego and Loyola. For me they offered $6k a year.

I am in the fortunate position of having some support from my parents. They are paying around $5k per semester towards my tuition. They also put my brother through law school (at a much cheaper state school) so they are doing the same for me.

I also worked for two years prior to law school --> personal savings.

For someone like me, looking to go into private practice, I think it's important to get out of school with as little debt as possible. Rent is high in and around SF (and major socal markets too), and I don't want to get into a situation where I have to make 90k+ just to break even on my bills. I am (cautiously) expecting a starting salary in the 60-80k range assuming I finish top half at Hastings. With 75k debt I think this should still allow me a somewhat comfortable lifestyle, assuming my loan payments are around $750-900 per month.

If I was looking to go into public interest, I'd probably be willing to go up to around 125k debt. Just my arbitrary threshold. I get to this figure by (a.) counting on IBR and PICAP (like LRAP at Hastings) to help pay my loans over 10 years (b.) not getting myself in too deep should IBR and PICAP disappear (a real possibility given budget crises across the US).




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