Debt?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
jhare
Posts: 68
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:06 am

Debt?

Postby jhare » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:24 pm

Is there an accepted formula for how much debt one should/shouldn't take on during law school? I've been accepted into some schools but I don't know if taking on that amount of debt would be a wise decision.


Thanks

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Debt?

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Apr 17, 2010 4:26 pm

Where have you been accepted and with what scholarships/ anticipated amount of debt? There is no formula, but common sense by TLS will weigh in on your decision depending on the options you have.

MidlawMyth
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 2:48 am

Re: Debt?

Postby MidlawMyth » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:00 pm

HYS sticker
CCN 1/2
rest T14 full ride
below T14 no

User avatar
cardnal124
Posts: 219
Joined: Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:31 am

Re: Debt?

Postby cardnal124 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:07 pm

MidlawMyth wrote:HYS sticker
CCN 1/2
rest T14 full ride
below T14 no


+150

User avatar
BarbellDreams
Posts: 2256
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:10 pm

Re: Debt?

Postby BarbellDreams » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:17 pm

cardnal124 wrote:
MidlawMyth wrote:HYS sticker
CCN 1/2
rest T14 full ride
below T14 no


+150


Funny sutff.

User avatar
PhantaManta
Posts: 276
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 4:45 pm

Re: Debt?

Postby PhantaManta » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:17 pm

Putting aside the useless responses you have gotten thus far,

Certainly, the primary difference is whether you have a good job already or have a degree where you can get one. If you have that, then you should really consider if law school is right for you.

Secondly, you need to consider whether you really want to be a lawyer or not. If you aren't sure, then taking out a lot of debt might not be the best idea.

On average, I think these guidelines are more practical and realistic:
1. T14 Sticker
2. T30 Some money (but sticker if you prepare yourself for the debt load and possibility of no big law)
3. T50 50% scholarship
4. T100 75%-full scholarship
5. Tier 3 Full scholarship
6. Tier 4 Full scholarship + stipend

User avatar
Bronte
Posts: 2128
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Debt?

Postby Bronte » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:21 pm

OP there is no decision rule regarding the appropriate amount of debt for law school. Obviously, a significant number of students take on enough debt to cover full tuition (often, $150k+) at every school. Whether or not this is wise is open to debate. I put together a spreadsheet that helps quantify the decision (viewtopic.php?f=1&t=110149), but it will not provide you with a simple yes or no answer. The appropriate amount of debt depends on the school, your plans, and your risk tolerance.

User avatar
BruceBarr
Posts: 279
Joined: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Debt?

Postby BruceBarr » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:24 pm

PhantaManta wrote:Putting aside the useless responses you have gotten thus far,

Certainly, the primary difference is whether you have a good job already or have a degree where you can get one. If you have that, then you should really consider if law school is right for you.

Secondly, you need to consider whether you really want to be a lawyer or not. If you aren't sure, then taking out a lot of debt might not be the best idea.

On average, I think these guidelines are more practical and realistic:
1. T14 Sticker
2. T30 Some money (but sticker if you prepare yourself for the debt load and possibility of no big law)
3. T50 50% scholarship
4. T100 75%-full scholarship
5. Tier 3 Full scholarship
6. Tier 4 Full scholarship + stipend



Yea... fuck everyone above. Most of the people on this site that talk the elite game weren't even accepted into the Top 30. Most people who got into HYS will tell you to follow your dreams... cause honestly, we have nothing to prove.

This formula above however is pretty good. And if you don't have the best acceptances, go where you can get the best education for the best price.

User avatar
beesknees
Posts: 458
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:46 am

Re: Debt?

Postby beesknees » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:32 pm

There's no hard and fast rules, IMO. Its ridiculous to break it down by tier because job outcomes still aren't consistent across those tiers. IE some people from MVP will strike out at OCI and then even having half the debt of sticker (around $90-100k) and you'll still have to get a good paying job to pay that off comfortably. Also, sticker at say, UT instate could cost relatively the same as a T14 with 1/3 scholly and thus make it worth it if that person were to get biglaw in Texas afterward.

You have to figure out how much debt you will have from each of your options, figure out how much it'd be in monthly payments, then compare it with various salary grades. Typically, it is advised that you don't go above 15% of your monthly income in debt payments because it will become difficult to live and repay the debt. However, the higher the salary, the more you can forego to repay debt (ie someone making $60k can only pay so much towards his debt before he hits the absolute minimum to sustain himself with housing, food, etc. However someone making $160k can easily forego an expensive condo, expensive car, etc to help put more towards debt repayment).

Then you have to determine what you can feasibly expect to make from a school, which will inevitably require guesswork because even if 1/2 of the school's grads take biglaw, that means the other half do not and probably get paid much less. But I'd say, be conservative and actually analyze what the scenario would be if you were to land a job that is normal for kids at the median of that school

SO, figure out what your monthly payment will be, see if its even feasible to pay back based on possible employment outcomes, and let that number stick in your head for the next 3 years in LS and let it put the fear of God in you to make you work hard to land said job.

User avatar
whuts4lunch
Posts: 391
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:54 pm

Re: Debt?

Postby whuts4lunch » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:46 pm

This question is completely dependent on the situation of the individual. There are scenarios where Chicago would only make sense with a lot of scholarship money (say, someone who makes 100k/year in their current job or someone who has a HYS acceptance); there are others where paying sticker at a T2 could make sense (strong connections to particular market, no existing debt).

fwaam
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:50 pm

Re: Debt?

Postby fwaam » Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:29 pm

If you're just looking for a rule of thumb, I've heard you shouldn't take out more debt than you expect to make in your first year, but that's not a hard-and-fast rule: you might get loan repayment assistance, or you might just have to spend a lot of money on paying back debt for awhile. I've heard that you can extend the term of your repayment (i.e. pay it back over 15 years as opposed to 10) if you can't make the payments, but you'd want to look into that yourself if it's something you're considering.

The guidelines that have been posted seem more geared toward people who can get into T14 schools. Obviously plenty of people do pay sticker at T100 schools and come out just fine. Also, the posts so far haven't looked at differences between TT and TTT schools: paying $16k/year in-state tuition isn't a bad deal if you're confident you want to be an attorney and willing to put in the legwork to get a job, and if you realize you're unlikely to be making a starting salary above $80,000. Paying $45k/year at a private T100 school though.... probably not a great idea.

Long story short: really, you need to look at the cost of the school you're considering and your expected starting salary, then find a debt calculator online to figure out what your monthly payments will be. You probably don't want more than 15% of your salary going toward debt payments, but then you'll be making progressively more after the first year, so I've heard as much as 20% is livable to start out with.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: carlos_danger, derekne and 2 guests