Is anyone else having second thoughts?

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HWS08
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Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby HWS08 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:20 am

I've been focused on going to law school (studying for the LSAT, taking the LSAT twice, and applying to schools) for close to two years. I had a much better cycle this year than last year, but now I am having second thoughts about law school. I am enthusiastic about working in law, am confident in my ability to do the work and get the good grades in law school, etc. but it seems like the job market is still just not that great. I'll probably have $125K+ in loans to pay off so that means I need to get a job paying over $100K right out of school. Plus, I keep hearing from/reading posts by attorneys who say that they wish they'd never gone to law school because of the crippling debt that makes them feel trapped in the profession. I wonder if I would be better off financially finding something else to do.

Anyone else in the same boat?

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Kabuo
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Kabuo » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:25 am

I think you're actually the only person who feels this way.

lawscholar20
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby lawscholar20 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:32 am

HWS08 wrote:I've been focused on going to law school (studying for the LSAT, taking the LSAT twice, and applying to schools) for close to two years. I had a much better cycle this year than last year, but now I am having second thoughts about law school. I am enthusiastic about working in law, am confident in my ability to do the work and get the good grades in law school, etc. but it seems like the job market is still just not that great. I'll probably have $125K+ in loans to pay off so that means I need to get a job paying over $100K right out of school. Plus, I keep hearing from/reading posts by attorneys who say that they wish they'd never gone to law school because of the crippling debt that makes them feel trapped in the profession. I wonder if I would be better off financially finding something else to do.

Anyone else in the same boat?


Please tell me a profession that isn't suffering due to the downturn in the economy? (Doctor, Financial Lawyer)

Point is everyone is having a hard time. You just got to be better than the majority of your profession to be successful. It's always been like that, it's just a little more of an "all or nothing" atmosphere now.

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pjo
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby pjo » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:37 am

lawscholar20 wrote:
HWS08 wrote:I've been focused on going to law school (studying for the LSAT, taking the LSAT twice, and applying to schools) for close to two years. I had a much better cycle this year than last year, but now I am having second thoughts about law school. I am enthusiastic about working in law, am confident in my ability to do the work and get the good grades in law school, etc. but it seems like the job market is still just not that great. I'll probably have $125K+ in loans to pay off so that means I need to get a job paying over $100K right out of school. Plus, I keep hearing from/reading posts by attorneys who say that they wish they'd never gone to law school because of the crippling debt that makes them feel trapped in the profession. I wonder if I would be better off financially finding something else to do.

Anyone else in the same boat?


Please tell me a profession that isn't suffering due to the downturn in the economy? (Doctor, Financial Lawyer)

Point is everyone is having a hard time. You just got to be better than the majority of your profession to be successful. It's always been like that, it's just a little more of an "all or nothing" atmosphere now.


This is very true. OP, type into google “career prospects in “x” field”. Read some of the articles posted. I recently did this and it proved many entry level careers are volatile right now. The two other things I ever really considered doing aren’t even close to the field of law. The articles I read about them though were eerily similar to what you read on the scam blogs about law school and the profession. You only know about law school because that is what you’re interested in and that’s what you are reading about.

HWS08
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby HWS08 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:48 am

pjo wrote:
lawscholar20 wrote:
HWS08 wrote:I've been focused on going to law school (studying for the LSAT, taking the LSAT twice, and applying to schools) for close to two years. I had a much better cycle this year than last year, but now I am having second thoughts about law school. I am enthusiastic about working in law, am confident in my ability to do the work and get the good grades in law school, etc. but it seems like the job market is still just not that great. I'll probably have $125K+ in loans to pay off so that means I need to get a job paying over $100K right out of school. Plus, I keep hearing from/reading posts by attorneys who say that they wish they'd never gone to law school because of the crippling debt that makes them feel trapped in the profession. I wonder if I would be better off financially finding something else to do.

Anyone else in the same boat?


Please tell me a profession that isn't suffering due to the downturn in the economy? (Doctor, Financial Lawyer)

Point is everyone is having a hard time. You just got to be better than the majority of your profession to be successful. It's always been like that, it's just a little more of an "all or nothing" atmosphere now.


This is very true. OP, type into google “career prospects in “x” field”. Read some of the articles posted. I recently did this and it proved many entry level careers are volatile right now. The two other things I ever really considered doing aren’t even close to the field of law. The articles I read about them though were eerily similar to what you read on the scam blogs about law school and the profession. You only know about law school because that is what you’re interested in and that’s what you are reading about.



That's a good point. I googled and found this BLS report: --LinkRemoved-- It looks like law is expected to grow at about the same rate as other fields.

I already have a couple of years of work experience and a job that pays decently, so it's not like my options are try to get into law vs. try to get into another field that's also experiencing a bad job market. I've been trying to factor three years of lost income in my cost-benefit calculations.

I want to go to law school, it just seems like such a huge gamble. The job market could pick up and I could do really well and end up making $160K, or the job market might not pick up/I might not make the top 10-20% of my class and end up unemployed with a mountain of debt.

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pjo
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby pjo » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:10 am

OP, this arrived in my inbox this morning - http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... hbxlogin=1 . You're right, it is a gamble, but it sounds like you are accounting for the risk.

bigkahuna2020
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby bigkahuna2020 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:03 pm

Who in god's name do you think you need six figures to pay off 125k over 10 years? Assuming 9% interest across loans, it's 18,000 a year.

65000 minus taxes is about 48000-18000=30000...good to live in even expensive cities in the US

This is all assuming you aren't supporting a family by yourself...

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Pricer
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Pricer » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:15 pm

bigkahuna2020 wrote:Who in god's name do you think you need six figures to pay off 125k over 10 years? Assuming 9% interest across loans, it's 18,000 a year.

65000 minus taxes is about 48000-18000=30000...good to live in even expensive cities in the US

This is all assuming you aren't supporting a family by yourself...


$30,000 wouldn't get you very far in any city that is a primary or secondary legal market. I always hear that Atlanta has a cheap CoL compared to other major cities, and I don't know how good of a life I could lead clearing $30,000 there.

ran12
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby ran12 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:17 pm

Pricer wrote:
bigkahuna2020 wrote:Who in god's name do you think you need six figures to pay off 125k over 10 years? Assuming 9% interest across loans, it's 18,000 a year.

65000 minus taxes is about 48000-18000=30000...good to live in even expensive cities in the US

This is all assuming you aren't supporting a family by yourself...


$30,000 wouldn't get you very far in any city that is a primary or secondary legal market. I always hear that Atlanta has a cheap CoL compared to other major cities, and I don't know how good of a life I could lead clearing $30,000 there.


Everyone's gotta struggle in the beginning. Builds character. Anyway, 30,000 should be enough to live on in NYC or DC. You just won't have anything left over and can't splurge.

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Magnolia
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Magnolia » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:34 pm

ran12 wrote:
Pricer wrote:
bigkahuna2020 wrote:Who in god's name do you think you need six figures to pay off 125k over 10 years? Assuming 9% interest across loans, it's 18,000 a year.

65000 minus taxes is about 48000-18000=30000...good to live in even expensive cities in the US

This is all assuming you aren't supporting a family by yourself...


$30,000 wouldn't get you very far in any city that is a primary or secondary legal market. I always hear that Atlanta has a cheap CoL compared to other major cities, and I don't know how good of a life I could lead clearing $30,000 there.


Everyone's gotta struggle in the beginning. Builds character. Anyway, 30,000 should be enough to live on in NYC or DC. You just won't have anything left over and can't splurge.

Hi. I live in NYC. I make $30,000/year after taxes. I live in an outerborough with 2 roommates and commute into Manhattan everyday. I never eat in restaurants, I never go shopping, and I never take vacations. I also don't have any dependents. I spend less money now than I did when I was in college. I still don't make enough money to put more than a couple hundred dollars into savings each month. I've worked at my current job for a year, and I barely have enough money to cover 2 months worth of expenses in my savings account. Forget actually contributing to my 401(k). $30,000 a year is nothing in a major city.
Last edited by Magnolia on Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

HooCavalier
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby HooCavalier » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:38 pm

Magnolia wrote:
ran12 wrote:
Pricer wrote:
bigkahuna2020 wrote:Who in god's name do you think you need six figures to pay off 125k over 10 years? Assuming 9% interest across loans, it's 18,000 a year.

65000 minus taxes is about 48000-18000=30000...good to live in even expensive cities in the US

This is all assuming you aren't supporting a family by yourself...


$30,000 wouldn't get you very far in any city that is a primary or secondary legal market. I always hear that Atlanta has a cheap CoL compared to other major cities, and I don't know how good of a life I could lead clearing $30,000 there.


Everyone's gotta struggle in the beginning. Builds character. Anyway, 30,000 should be enough to live on in NYC or DC. You just won't have anything left over and can't splurge.

Hi. I live in NYC. I make $30,000/year. I live in an outerborough with 2 roommates and commute into Manhattan everyday. I never eat in restaurants, I never go shopping, and I never take vacations. I also don't have any dependents. I spend less money now than I did when I was in college. I still don't make enough money to put more than a couple hundred dollars into savings each month. I've worked at my current job for a year, and I barely have enough money to cover 2 months worth of expenses in my savings account. Forget actually contributing to my 401(k). $30,000 a year is nothing in a major city.


Talking apples and oranges here ... one makes $30k and the other has $30k left over after taxes and loans.

But living in DC on $30k even after taxes is like poverty. Go for it if you want.

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Hannibal
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Hannibal » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:39 pm

HWS08 wrote:I've been focused on going to law school (studying for the LSAT, taking the LSAT twice, and applying to schools) for close to two years. I had a much better cycle this year than last year, but now I am having second thoughts about law school. I am enthusiastic about working in law, am confident in my ability to do the work and get the good grades in law school, etc. but it seems like the job market is still just not that great. I'll probably have $125K+ in loans to pay off so that means I need to get a job paying over $100K right out of school. Plus, I keep hearing from/reading posts by attorneys who say that they wish they'd never gone to law school because of the crippling debt that makes them feel trapped in the profession. I wonder if I would be better off financially finding something else to do.

Anyone else in the same boat?


I don't understand how people think $125k in loans requires a $100k job, or traps you in the profession. Do the math, stretch out the loans, and you can very easily make 60k and pay off the loans comfortably.

PS I make 25k/year in a town with roughly the same COL as a major city, would be much more comfortable without $200 in UG loan payments each month. Not sure if I'm below the poverty line, but it's not as bad as you imagine it is.

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Magnolia
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Magnolia » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:43 pm

HooCavalier wrote:Talking apples and oranges here ... one makes $30k and the other has $30k left over after taxes and loans.

But living in DC on $30k even after taxes is like poverty. Go for it if you want.

I should've been clearer. I clear $30,000 after taxes and loans.

teleste
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby teleste » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:48 pm

Oh my.
Last edited by teleste on Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ran12
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby ran12 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:48 pm

Magnolia wrote:
HooCavalier wrote:Talking apples and oranges here ... one makes $30k and the other has $30k left over after taxes and loans.

But living in DC on $30k even after taxes is like poverty. Go for it if you want.

I should've been clearer. I clear $30,000 after taxes and loans.


Also, I think it depends on whether you're a guy or a girl. As I guy I think I could def do it. In DC for ex, as long as you don't live in Foggy Bottom or Downtown areas, it's def doable. Consider all the young staffers who make shit and still live there. Even a studio in Foggy Bottom is less than 2k a month; some even around 1.5k.

HooCavalier
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby HooCavalier » Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:55 pm

ran12 wrote:
Magnolia wrote:
HooCavalier wrote:Talking apples and oranges here ... one makes $30k and the other has $30k left over after taxes and loans.

But living in DC on $30k even after taxes is like poverty. Go for it if you want.

I should've been clearer. I clear $30,000 after taxes and loans.


Also, I think it depends on whether you're a guy or a girl. As I guy I think I could def do it. In DC for ex, as long as you don't live in Foggy Bottom or Downtown areas, it's def doable. Consider all the young staffers who make shit and still live there. Even a studio in Foggy Bottom is less than 2k a month; some even around 1.5k.


Yes doable but totally in poverty. Yet half of DC lives that way so you would be in good company, just don't go outside your SE apartment at night. LOL

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fltanglab
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby fltanglab » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:02 pm

HooCavalier wrote:
ran12 wrote:
Magnolia wrote:
HooCavalier wrote:Talking apples and oranges here ... one makes $30k and the other has $30k left over after taxes and loans.

But living in DC on $30k even after taxes is like poverty. Go for it if you want.

I should've been clearer. I clear $30,000 after taxes and loans.


Also, I think it depends on whether you're a guy or a girl. As I guy I think I could def do it. In DC for ex, as long as you don't live in Foggy Bottom or Downtown areas, it's def doable. Consider all the young staffers who make shit and still live there. Even a studio in Foggy Bottom is less than 2k a month; some even around 1.5k.


Yes doable but totally in poverty. Yet half of DC lives that way so you would be in good company, just don't go outside your SE apartment at night. LOL


Agreed. The pretty DC most people picture is arguably the only safe place to live (NW). A lot of people commute, but the suburbs are expensive.

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Moral_Midgetry
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Moral_Midgetry » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:06 pm

Clever trolling by the OP.

adevotchka
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby adevotchka » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:08 pm

I also live in NYC and for a while was pulling 30k after taxes (1200 buck paycheck twice a month, one went entirely to rent and utilities). I lived pretty comfortably--ate out, drank, used my tax refund for a vacation/paying off whatever credit card bill I had racked up shoe shopping. While I have no savings really, living on 30k is completely doable and I can't imagine it's worse in DC than NYC. Most of my friends here make around 35k before taxes. It's tight for them at the end of the month but they're fine and happy. I have one friend who works at the Paris Review and makes 25k...she's spread pretty thin.

HooCavalier
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby HooCavalier » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:12 pm

adevotchka wrote:I also live in NYC and for a while was pulling 30k after taxes (1200 buck paycheck twice a month, one went entirely to rent and utilities). I lived pretty comfortably--ate out, drank, used my tax refund for a vacation/paying off whatever credit card bill I had racked up shoe shopping. While I have no savings really, living on 30k is completely doable and I can't imagine it's worse in DC than NYC. Most of my friends here make around 35k before taxes. It's tight for them at the end of the month but they're fine and happy. I have one friend who works at the Paris Review and makes 25k...she's spread pretty thin.


She sounds sexy. :shock:

HWS08
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby HWS08 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:25 pm

Moral_Midgetry wrote:Clever trolling by the OP.


Not at all. I've really been struggling with this for about a week.

I live in DC now. I realize that you can live in an area like this on $30K after taxes and loan payments but let's face it, for someone with 7 years of education it's a pretty shitty lifestyle.

My statements about the amount of time and starting salary needed to pay of the debt are based on calculators like this one:http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml If anyone has a reason to think this one is inaccurate or knows of a better one, please share it.

I didn't intend for this to start a debate about whether or not you can live off of $30K in high cost areas. I really just wanted to hear from other people who may have gone through this when they were considering law school or are going through it now. I've talked to family/friends/my bf about it a little, but I think their opinions are tainted for one reason or another- they don't want to see me throw away all the work I've done/ they don't have student loans from UG and don't realize that they are not something to take lightly/ they want to believe I'll get a kick-ass job, etc.


If it helps inform anyone's post, I am looking at Top 30 @ sticker, want to work in the private sector, and have a few years of work experience already. About 33% of my prospective school's class gets hired by biglaw every year according to the NLJ, and the law school's self-reported data is that the median salary for private sector grads is $160K (not sure I believe that).


I can't decide if I am just having a temporary lack of confidence or if this is a realistic concern.

BeautifulSW
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby BeautifulSW » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:43 pm

Of course it's a "realistic concern". In fact, it might be just about the BIGGEST realistic concern.

If you run the numbers and you don't like what you see, DON'T DO IT! Count yourself as lucky to be among the few in America today who seem to understand that numbers represent reality. Go become a CPA instead. Or a Registered Nurse. Or even an engineer.
Last edited by BeautifulSW on Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brock2010
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Brock2010 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 2:48 pm

Yea I feel the same way. I'm thinking about going to a t-10 at sticker which would be much more than 150K. I don't know if I would go even if I were guaranteed biglaw. Almost every fucking lawyer I've talked to has told me not to do it.

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Kabuo
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby Kabuo » Thu Mar 17, 2011 5:50 pm

HWS08 wrote:If it helps inform anyone's post, I am looking at Top 30 @ sticker, want to work in the private sector, and have a few years of work experience already. About 33% of my prospective school's class gets hired by biglaw every year according to the NLJ, and the law school's self-reported data is that the median salary for private sector grads is $160K (not sure I believe that).



It does help inform some probably, but it would have been quicker to just say Fordham if you're going to say that much anyway. I'm pretty worried about debt too, as I imagine almost everyone is. WUSTL at 84k is currently my best offer, but I'd still end up with ~90k in debt, which is pretty hefty if I don't land biglaw.

HWS08
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Re: Is anyone else having second thoughts?

Postby HWS08 » Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:43 pm

Kabuo wrote:
HWS08 wrote:If it helps inform anyone's post, I am looking at Top 30 @ sticker, want to work in the private sector, and have a few years of work experience already. About 33% of my prospective school's class gets hired by biglaw every year according to the NLJ, and the law school's self-reported data is that the median salary for private sector grads is $160K (not sure I believe that).



It does help inform some probably, but it would have been quicker to just say Fordham if you're going to say that much anyway. I'm pretty worried about debt too, as I imagine almost everyone is. WUSTL at 84k is currently my best offer, but I'd still end up with ~90k in debt, which is pretty hefty if I don't land biglaw.


Fair enough. I'm referring to Boston College. I do want to stay in the Boston/New England area.

WUSTL for $90K may not be too bad. It seems like they are pretty generous with merit aid. I have a friend who got offered $75K at BC but a full ride at WUSTL, which I think is ranked higher.




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