Best choice for the PNW

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sophistry
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Best choice for the PNW

Postby sophistry » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:30 pm

My plan is to practice in either Seattle or Portland, with the hope that I will have the freedom choose the city that fits me best in three years. UW is clearly the best choice, but they have not yet made a decision on my app and thus I am expecting no love. Below are my options. Debt numbers include projected living expenses but do not include potential summer employment.

1) Lewis & Clark: $10k/year projected scholarship at top 50% of class. Max debt: $150k; Min debt: $130k.

2) Seattle University: $19k/year scholarship at top 25% of class. Max debt: $161k; Min debt: $133k.

3) UC Hastings: $10k grant 1st year, with same grant likely in year 2 and 3. Max debt: $200k; Min debt: $180.

4) University of Arizona: $25k renewable with good academic standing. Debt: $108k.

I have a few contacts in both Seattle in Portland already, so I would find a decent, if low paying, job during the summers in those cities.

I'm concerned about degree prestige (comparatively), debt load, and ability to work in Seattle or Portland. Given my future debt, I would like to find a decent mid law job if possible. I think I know which school is the best choice, but I could use a confirmation. I appreciate the advice!

singingvontrapp
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby singingvontrapp » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:36 pm

The consensus on these boards seems to be that you don't get "mid-law" or boutique law firm positions out of law school. You should check and see what sorts of jobs are available for fresh JDs in your location(s) of choice before making your decision.

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sophistry
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby sophistry » Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:50 pm

singingvontrapp wrote:The consensus on these boards seems to be that you don't get "mid-law" or boutique law firm positions out of law school. You should check and see what sorts of jobs are available for fresh JDs in your location(s) of choice before making your decision.


Ah, yes, you're right about mid-law. I guess I'll reframe my question as, "a job that will allow me to pay down my debt."

As for jobs that are available for fresh JDs, that's part of my question I suppose. I know the 2007 median private sector starting salaries for each school, but that is both outdated and dubiously self-reported. To add to that, I'd like to immediately move to either Portland or Seattle when I graduate, so the Hastings and Arizona numbers likely won't be accurate. Any insight would help here.

arundodonax
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby arundodonax » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:10 pm

I'm not sure Hastings is worth 200k unless you are cool with a high paying job in SF. Keep saying it with me: 200k. 200k. Lets say you don't get a flashy job, the market is still poor, and you start at 60k a year in Seattle. You'll be throwing 17k/per year of that at your loan if your paying it off in 25 years (yes, that's 200k in interest), or 28k/per year if you pay it off in 10 years. :shock:

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sanpiero
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby sanpiero » Tue Mar 30, 2010 10:20 pm

Your 108k estimate seems high for UA. I believe tuition is around 35k for OOS students. COL in Tucson shouldn't run your more than 14k/year (unless, of course, you have a family to support). You should also consider that you might be able to attain residency for 3L at UA. Even without residency for 3L, I have your total COA at around 90k (close to 80k w residency for 3L). I'd go here, BTW. Lowest cost of attendance by far, least stringent scholarship renewal, second best ranked school, great quality of life for 3 years, and most of the attorneys at mid and larger firms in the PNW are likely familiar with the school. Sure, it might be easier to network in the PNW while at Seattle or Lewis and Clark but I simply wouldn't be able to turn down such a great opportunity to spend three years in the sun and save a good bit of money. I don't think it will hurt your career any.

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Jerome
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby Jerome » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:07 am

sanpiero wrote:Your 108k estimate seems high for UA. I believe tuition is around 35k for OOS students. COL in Tucson shouldn't run your more than 14k/year (unless, of course, you have a family to support). You should also consider that you might be able to attain residency for 3L at UA. Even without residency for 3L, I have your total COA at around 90k (close to 80k w residency for 3L). I'd go here, BTW. Lowest cost of attendance by far, least stringent scholarship renewal, second best ranked school, great quality of life for 3 years, and most of the attorneys at mid and larger firms in the PNW are likely familiar with the school. Sure, it might be easier to network in the PNW while at Seattle or Lewis and Clark but I simply wouldn't be able to turn down such a great opportunity to spend three years in the sun and save a good bit of money. I don't think it will hurt your career any.


Despite the fact that Milan sucks, I completely agree with the above. Plus, Arizona places admirably on the west coast. Least amount of debt, good job prospects, and fewer stinky hippies than LC all point to AZ.

arundodonax wrote:I'm not sure Hastings is worth 200k unless you are cool with a high paying job in SF. Keep saying it with me: 200k. 200k. Lets say you don't get a flashy job, the market is still poor, and you start at 60k a year in Seattle. You'll be throwing 17k/per year of that at your loan if your paying it off in 25 years (yes, that's 200k in interest), or 28k/per year if you pay it off in 10 years. :shock:


+1. But also keep in mind IBR if you really like the idea of CA. Though you shouldn't - the tuition at CA state schools will be 100k a year shortly.

Norwood
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby Norwood » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:42 am

Your Hastings cost projection seems a bit high considering in-state tuition after 1L and your 10k grant/year. That said, increasing tuition should put you somewhere around 150k debt at completion.

If I were you I'd go for Lewis and Clark. Seattle's tuition is going to be 38k next year and the top 25% stipulation on your scholarship is risky... imagine losing your scholarship after year one and being stuck paying ~40k/year for the remaining 2 years. The safe bet is the L&C -- top 50% is a whole lot more manageable than making the top 25%. I guess in your situation Arizona is also a great option since it is low cost and you already have networks in the PNW that can help you with employment. Go and check out both schools and go for the one you feel most comfortable with. If everything continues to remain equal then just go to Arizona and enjoy the sun and Pac-10 sports!

JOThompson
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby JOThompson » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:45 am

Lewis and Clark will be the best value if you want to end up in the PNW. If you're fortunate enough to get into U-Dub, then that should be the clear winner at even full price.

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sophistry
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby sophistry » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:14 am

Thanks for the great comments. Unless I get into UW, the decision will come down to L&C versus UA. Frankly, if I wasn't so damn pale I'd be heavily leaning towards UA already! UA's scholarship offer was a welcome surprise. My biggest concern at this point is ending up in the bottom 50% at UA and getting stuck in the southwest. I don't like getting my hand burned when opening my car door.

Norwood wrote:Your Hastings cost projection seems a bit high considering in-state tuition after 1L and your 10k grant/year. That said, increasing tuition should put you somewhere around 150k debt at completion.


I actually didn't know that it was easy to get residency after the first year in CA. But to be clear, all of my cost projections were taken directly from each respective school website for 2010-2011, multiplied by three. This doesn't take into account rises in tuition rates or getting summer associate jobs, etc. In the case of Hastings, I expect the constant rise in tuition could potentially offset any in-state discount.

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sanpiero
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Re: Best choice for the PNW

Postby sanpiero » Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:03 pm

sophistry wrote:Thanks for the great comments. Unless I get into UW, the decision will come down to L&C versus UA. Frankly, if I wasn't so damn pale I'd be heavily leaning towards UA already! UA's scholarship offer was a welcome surprise. My biggest concern at this point is ending up in the bottom 50% at UA and getting stuck in the southwest. I don't like getting my hand burned when opening my car door.


FWIW, I moved to AZ from a much colder climate and my car door has never burned my hand in the 9 months I've lived here. :) I'm also quite pale and have managed to avoid any significant sun burn. Your life, at least as a 1L, will be spent inside the library or in class, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I agree with your stance on UW. If you get in (I hope you do) I think it would suit you very well to matriculate there given your interest in working in Seattle or Portland.

Your decision, barring a UW acceptance, between UA and LC is a tough one. LC would certainly give you more opportunity to network and extern in the PNW during law school. OTOH, it could cost you 40-60k more to attend LC. As I said before, I think that attorneys in the PNW at midsized and larger firms will recognize UA's strength as a law school. Yes, you might have difficulty moving to a firm in the PNW out of UA if you are bottom 50%. But for me it's hard to look past the financial aspect of the decision. Which may be a bad thing because any advantage UA gives you in access to larger firms and clerkships is largely confined to the state of AZ. So, the added cost at LC might be a worthwhile investment because of the opportunity it allows for networking, externships, etc. in the PNW. At any rate, good luck with your application to UW. You have a few really good options whichever you decide to choose.




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