Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
mdilla
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:01 am

Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby mdilla » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:45 am

I need advice!

I am 5 years removed from undergrad and currently working at a profitable startup in Silicon Valley in the online media space. The job pays pretty well for my position/experience level (~90K/yr) but isn't stimulating.

I'm planning on going to law school in the fall (IP focus but not patent b/c I have no science/engineering background) and I've been accepted at UC Hastings and the Santa Clara U part-time program. My stats were decent (3.3, 167) but I received no $ from Hastings and very little ($3K) from Santa Clara.

My current job is pretty low stress (40 hrs week, no take-home/weekend work) and I'm in a position to potentially work full time and go to Santa Clara part time. This will certainly mean that life will suck for a few years but I wouldn't have to take a dollar in loans under this arrangement and could potentially still save 25% of my yearly earnings each year if I add the Santa Clara part-time tuition to my current level of expenses.

Choosing Hastings would require that I quit my job and take on $150K in debt. It seems like a big risk to give up my cushy job at this stage and saddle myself with that kind of debt if I don't have to.

Does Hastings' reputation advantage over Santa Clara justify this? Will part-time law school and full-time work crush me?

User avatar
Puffy
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:04 am

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby Puffy » Sun Mar 28, 2010 10:53 am

quitting a job that you describe yourself as not stressful and well-paying etc. for a very uncertain future with Hastings or SC JD-- If I were in your position, I would not do it. Can't you find a hobby or do some extreme sports for your stimulation?

User avatar
Borhas
Posts: 4852
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby Borhas » Sun Mar 28, 2010 12:09 pm

do you have reason to believe becoming a lawyer will be more stimulating? Will that increased stimulation be worth 180k in debt, or lost income if you can't keep your job and go to school at the same time? It makes no financial sense for you to go to law school...

you should find some patent lawyers and discuss it with them to see how stimulating their jobs are. It may well be worth for you in the long term, but there aren't a whole lot of people that can give you any sensible advice on this forum because none (or almost none) of us are practicing patent attorneys, and none of us know how stimulating your job is.

mdilla
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:01 am

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby mdilla » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:43 am

Thanks for the responses. I'm definitely seeking out advice from practicing attorneys in the IP field as well, outside of this forum. My objective in posting this was primarily to get feedback from people who have been through or understand the nuances of part time law school (specifically, Santa Clara's program, how it compares to full time program, how it is regarded in the job market, etc.) or those who have come out of Hastings and have tested this market or joined this field. I'm really trying to figure out if Santa Clara PT is a good option relative to Hastings and whether or not I'm setting myself up for severe burnout and failure by trying to balance LS with a full time job in order to hedge the risk of attending.

I'm leaning towards Hastings right now because I want the more ideal law school experience. I know what I am doing is not a good short term financial decision, which is why I'm considering the Santa Clara option too. If I attend Hastings, in terms of recouping the $160K investment, 3 years of lost wages, and compound interest on savings, I won't break even on this decision until I'm literally 40 (I'm 26 now), assuming the rosiest scenario (I kick ass in school, get the $150K/yr job at graduation). In terms of my current job, I'm fairly sure that it could be done by a couple of moderately intelligent monkeys and the field I'm in isn't a place I can see myself in a few years as my brain gradually turns to mush.

Out of curiosity, Borhas, why are you going to law school? It sounds like you're going with Hastings?

Grad09
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:17 pm

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby Grad09 » Mon Mar 29, 2010 12:56 am

I'm also looking into both of these schools. I don't know everything about them, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Loosing your job right now is a terrible idea. If I had a good job that pays decent/well, I would go PT to Santa Clara. you could pay it off as you work, so you won't be in any debt after graduation. If you want to do IP especially, Santa Clara has a solid name for itself in the Valley. Are the employment prospects at Hastings better? Absolutely. But not worth 150K.

Good Luck

erniesto
Posts: 298
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 10:56 pm

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby erniesto » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:01 am

This is a flame right?

If not, do more research. As an educated person you'll change your mind once you actually sit down and think about it.

mdilla
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:01 am

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby mdilla » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:19 am

erniesto wrote:This is a flame right?

If not, do more research. As an educated person you'll change your mind once you actually sit down and think about it.


Erniesto, who are you referring to?

fiftyonefifty
Posts: 77
Joined: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:49 am

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby fiftyonefifty » Mon Mar 29, 2010 1:39 am

OP, my situation is almost identical to yours if not spot on. My job has been getting to me since late last year and even if this law thing doesn't pan out, I know I can always come back to my current job.

I'm leaning towards hastings at sticker.

User avatar
General Tso
Posts: 2289
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:51 pm

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby General Tso » Mon Mar 29, 2010 2:22 am

Grad09 wrote: Are the employment prospects at Hastings better? Absolutely. But not worth 150K.


The way the economy is looking, you may not earn more than your current salary out of Hastings. I say this as a Hastings 1L with good grades who hasn't yet found a summer job.

Hastings is slightly better than SCU, but there is no way it is worth giving up an easy 90k job and going 150k in debt over. SCU is probably slightly better than its USNWR rank.

mdilla
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:01 am

Re: Hastings at sticker(+150K debt) or part time @ Santa Clara?

Postby mdilla » Mon Mar 29, 2010 3:05 am

fiftyonefifty wrote:OP, my situation is almost identical to yours if not spot on. My job has been getting to me since late last year and even if this law thing doesn't pan out, I know I can always come back to my current job.

I'm leaning towards hastings at sticker.


Good to hear there's someone else out there in my position. I'm finding it to be a really, really tough decision, probably the toughest I've had to make in my life. It's extremely hard to adequately weigh the risk v reward. I think there's a tendency for many people on this forum to reduce the this a purely financial argument which is hard enough to assess on its own, but there are a lot of other factors at play that are unique to the individual. Personally, I think that the prospect of getting up every day for the remainder of my career to go to a job that isn't challenging and doesn't really interest me is really shitty, even if it provides a comfortable living and job security along the way. Others may not feel that way and this is perfectly rational as well.

Over a long time horizon I still think LS can be a good financial investment if your earnings potential in your current industry hits a ceiling like mine does ($120-$130K 10 years into career) and you bust your ass and adequately set yourself up to eventually break into a more lucrative legal field (easier said than done). It's easy to forget that life is long and most of us will be working into our 60s or 70s... $160K of debt is definitely a shit-ton of money but compared with a couple million of lifetime earnings, it's manageable. My 4 attorney friends feel this way, albeit possibly b/c they are lucky enough to have landed good jobs in this market.

After talking to a lot of people and hearing a lot of strong but contradictory opinions on the subject of whether or not this is a risk worth taking, I'm starting to think that it inevitably comes down to having to take a big leap of faith and trying as hard as fucking possible to do well and to hit all the right notes along the way.

I'd be really interested in hearing from more people that are making a career transition into law or have already made this transition.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests