Debt not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

What to do?

Go to highest ranked school I get into - pay sticker, graduate with no debt/possibly some leftover
42
51%
Go to lower ranked school with $$ - graduate with some leftover
5
6%
Aim for T14 JD/MBA - graduate debt free with two degrees
23
28%
Take the $ and run - do something better with the money besides Law school
13
16%
 
Total votes: 83

ElmoHope
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Debt not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby ElmoHope » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:41 am

As a longtime lurker, I've noticed that 99% of the time on this forum, when someone asks for advice on choosing a school, the most important factor is minimizing debt.

That is understandable, but, thankfully, debt will not be an issue for me. I have money from family and I can fully fund my tuition and COL for 3 years, even 4 years for a possible dual degree if I invest wisely.

So, given this situation, should I just go to the best (highest ranked) school I get into? I am a splitter (LSAT between 170 and 173, GPA between 3.0 and 3.3), so I will unlikely be looking at any money in the T14, but if I get my apps in early enough I should be able to snag at least one of them at sticker.

Also, I've noticed a lot of people on this forum speaking out against JD/MBAs. I'm assuming, however, that this is also related to debt. So, assuming no debt, is it worth to spend my money on a JD/MBA? (Note: I am actually interested in getting an MBA, its not just for the hell of it, and I would only attempt it if I was able to get into a law school that had a good business school like Mich or UVA. I have 3 years WE).

So, any advice?

(Also, if you're going to select the last option, please give me a suggestion of what you mean. I'm 99% going to law school unless I completely bomb my cycle, so its not really an option, but if you're serious you might as well give me your reasoning.)
Last edited by ElmoHope on Tue Mar 22, 2011 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

duckmoney
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby duckmoney » Tue Mar 22, 2011 9:46 am

If you want to be a lawyer, and get into a T-14 school, then go to the best school you can get into. You're in an awesome situation and a top legal education is an excellent use of that money.

On the other hand, if you DONT want to be a lawyer, don't go to law school and put the money to good use elsewhere.

ElmoHope
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby ElmoHope » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:33 am

10 poll responses but only 1 reply? really?

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BarbellDreams
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:35 am

I mean if money really isn't an issue I would aim for t14 or any strong regional school in the region you would like to practice in. U of Arizona for example is fine for someone not cring about debt who wants to practice in AZ. Same goes with Marquette for the Milwaukee market, L&C for Oregon market, Minnesota for their market, etc.

HWS08
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby HWS08 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:38 am

Do you know where you want to live after law school? That might be a factor to consider.

bartleby
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby bartleby » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:40 am

still try to go to the best school in the area you want to practice in - if not t14. please don't spend the money on American or Brooklyn/Dozo at sticker.

ElmoHope
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby ElmoHope » Tue Mar 22, 2011 10:44 am

HWS08 wrote:Do you know where you want to live after law school? That might be a factor to consider.


I'm flexible, but I am definitely a big city person. I also have connections in NYC, DC and Silicon Valley/San Francisco, so I feel like i'll have more options if I can get into a school with a good reach.

Also, i'm a EU citizen so I am able (and willing) to work in a European office of an American firm. This makes me more convinced that I should just go to the highest ranked school I can get into....

Bumi
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Bumi » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:01 am

ElmoHope wrote:(Also, if you're going to select the last option, please give me a suggestion of what you mean. I'm 99% going to law school unless I completely bomb my cycle, so its not really an option, but if you're serious you might as well give me your reasoning.)


I selected the last option. Have you read Montauk's suggestion for this? Pick up a copy of How To Get Into the Top Law Schools and find the part where he proposes a cool way to spend $200k over three years in your mid 20s. It was something like: bike across Spain and learn Spanish for a summer, then teach English in Spain for a year, then pick up a one-year economics grad degree in London. His was more creative though. If I had $200k sitting around to use, I would DEFINITELY consider something like this.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby BarbellDreams » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:03 am

What are your stats OP?

Bumi
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Bumi » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:05 am

BarbellDreams wrote:What are your stats OP?


(LSAT between 170 and 173, GPA between 3.0 and 3.3)


Unless you meant bust, waist, and hip size.

ElmoHope
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby ElmoHope » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:21 am

Bumi wrote:
ElmoHope wrote:(Also, if you're going to select the last option, please give me a suggestion of what you mean. I'm 99% going to law school unless I completely bomb my cycle, so its not really an option, but if you're serious you might as well give me your reasoning.)


I selected the last option. Have you read Montauk's suggestion for this? Pick up a copy of How To Get Into the Top Law Schools and find the part where he proposes a cool way to spend $200k over three years in your mid 20s. It was something like: bike across Spain and learn Spanish for a summer, then teach English in Spain for a year, then pick up a one-year economics grad degree in London. His was more creative though. If I had $200k sitting around to use, I would DEFINITELY consider something like this.


How would this be applicable to any long-term goals? Sure, travelling for a few years sounds nice, but where am I when I get back? No graduate degree, no work experience and no money. I really don't think spending 200K+ on travelling and learning a language is a worthy investment. Plus, I actually already have traveled extensively, although I am not bi-lingual.

Bumi
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Bumi » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:31 am

ElmoHope wrote:
Bumi wrote:I selected the last option. Have you read Montauk's suggestion for this? Pick up a copy of How To Get Into the Top Law Schools and find the part where he proposes a cool way to spend $200k over three years in your mid 20s. It was something like: bike across Spain and learn Spanish for a summer, then teach English in Spain for a year, then pick up a one-year economics grad degree in London. His was more creative though. If I had $200k sitting around to use, I would DEFINITELY consider something like this.


How would this be applicable to any long-term goals? Sure, travelling for a few years sounds nice, but where am I when I get back? No graduate degree, no work experience and no money. I really don't think spending 200K+ on travelling and learning a language is a worthy investment. Plus, I actually already have traveled extensively, although I am not bi-lingual.


First of all, I bolded the part where a grad degree was part of the plan. Not all grad degrees take 3 years. Second of all, your entire life is going to be working and long-term career goals. You don't think meeting some people and having some experiences would be worthwhile while you still can? Lastly, yeah, I do think becoming bilingual is a worthwhile investment, and immersion is the best way to do it.

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niederbomb
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby niederbomb » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:34 am

ElmoHope wrote:
Bumi wrote:
ElmoHope wrote:(Also, if you're going to select the last option, please give me a suggestion of what you mean. I'm 99% going to law school unless I completely bomb my cycle, so its not really an option, but if you're serious you might as well give me your reasoning.)


I selected the last option. Have you read Montauk's suggestion for this? Pick up a copy of How To Get Into the Top Law Schools and find the part where he proposes a cool way to spend $200k over three years in your mid 20s. It was something like: bike across Spain and learn Spanish for a summer, then teach English in Spain for a year, then pick up a one-year economics grad degree in London. His was more creative though. If I had $200k sitting around to use, I would DEFINITELY consider something like this.


How would this be applicable to any long-term goals? Sure, travelling for a few years sounds nice, but where am I when I get back? No graduate degree, no work experience and no money. I really don't think spending 200K+ on travelling and learning a language is a worthy investment. Plus, I actually already have traveled extensively, although I am not bi-lingual.


The Economics Grad degree from the London School of Economics is the SHIT, if you can overcome their 5% acceptance rate. Much better than law school if you have the prestigious UG/math background to get in. I'm actually planning to do the External BSc in Accounting concurrently with law school (realistically, probably not till 2L-3L). That way, if I strike out at OCI in the bad economy, I'll have something besides my History degree.

OP, ED at UVA. You can get a job anywhere at a school with one of the highest reputation ratings in the nation. IF that doesn't work, you still have time to ED at Northwestern. Enjoy your free ride! If I were your rich relatives, I would only pay for an education at a school that could earn me points at rich people's cocktail parties.

Also, people on this board talk about minimizing debt and talk against JD/MBA because they are shortsighted. They are right that an MBA will not be terribly useful to you immediately, but its value increases after a few years when you accumulate some WE and, like many worn-out disillusioned associates, want an exit option into consulting. You save a lot in opportunity cost getting it DONE while you're in law school as opposed to quitting work 6 years into your career to do it.

ElmoHope
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby ElmoHope » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:44 am

Bumi wrote:
ElmoHope wrote:
Bumi wrote:I selected the last option. Have you read Montauk's suggestion for this? Pick up a copy of How To Get Into the Top Law Schools and find the part where he proposes a cool way to spend $200k over three years in your mid 20s. It was something like: bike across Spain and learn Spanish for a summer, then teach English in Spain for a year, then pick up a one-year economics grad degree in London. His was more creative though. If I had $200k sitting around to use, I would DEFINITELY consider something like this.


How would this be applicable to any long-term goals? Sure, travelling for a few years sounds nice, but where am I when I get back? No graduate degree, no work experience and no money. I really don't think spending 200K+ on travelling and learning a language is a worthy investment. Plus, I actually already have traveled extensively, although I am not bi-lingual.


First of all, I bolded the part where a grad degree was part of the plan. Not all grad degrees take 3 years. Second of all, your entire life is going to be working and long-term career goals. You don't think meeting some people and having some experiences would be worthwhile while you still can? Lastly, yeah, I do think becoming bilingual is a worthwhile investment, and immersion is the best way to do it.


"pick up a one-year economics degree in london"

this is so random. what makes you think its so easy to get an econ degree in london, and why london?? if you're referring to LSE, you're out of your mind, I couldn't get in there with my GPA (they only accept applicants from US schools with a 3.4 or up, and that is just APPLICANTS, its still one of the hardest schools to get into in Europe). Kings college and UCL wouldn't be much easier with my numbers.

Also, who says i'm good at econ? or WANT a masters in econ?? Would you tell someone who scored a 150 LSAT to 'pick up a law degree' in London? If anything, an MBA is more useful than a masters in Econ. And you can't just saunter into a school somewhere and be like 'hi i have a BA in political science from the USA can i sign up for a masters in Econ? Oh btw i'm learning spanish"

ElmoHope
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby ElmoHope » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:49 am

niederbomb wrote:
ElmoHope wrote:
Bumi wrote:
ElmoHope wrote:(Also, if you're going to select the last option, please give me a suggestion of what you mean. I'm 99% going to law school unless I completely bomb my cycle, so its not really an option, but if you're serious you might as well give me your reasoning.)


I selected the last option. Have you read Montauk's suggestion for this? Pick up a copy of How To Get Into the Top Law Schools and find the part where he proposes a cool way to spend $200k over three years in your mid 20s. It was something like: bike across Spain and learn Spanish for a summer, then teach English in Spain for a year, then pick up a one-year economics grad degree in London. His was more creative though. If I had $200k sitting around to use, I would DEFINITELY consider something like this.


How would this be applicable to any long-term goals? Sure, travelling for a few years sounds nice, but where am I when I get back? No graduate degree, no work experience and no money. I really don't think spending 200K+ on travelling and learning a language is a worthy investment. Plus, I actually already have traveled extensively, although I am not bi-lingual.


The Economics Grad degree from the London School of Economics is the SHIT, if you can overcome their 5% acceptance rate. Much better than law school if you have the prestigious UG/math background to get in. I'm actually planning to do the External BSc in Accounting concurrently with law school (realistically, probably not till 2L-3L). That way, if I strike out at OCI in the bad economy, I'll have something besides my History degree.

OP, ED at UVA. You can get a job anywhere at a school with one of the highest reputation ratings in the nation. IF that doesn't work, you still have time to ED at Northwestern. Enjoy your free ride! If I were your rich relatives, I would only pay for an education at a school that could earn me points at rich people's cocktail parties.

Also, people on this board talk about minimizing debt and talk against JD/MBA because they are shortsighted. They are right that an MBA will not be terribly useful to you immediately, but its value increases after a few years when you accumulate some WE and, like many worn-out disillusioned associates, want an exit option into consulting. You save a lot in opportunity cost getting it DONE while you're in law school as opposed to quitting work 6 years into your career to do it.


Thanks, this is very helpful. This is what I always thought about the JD/MBA thing, but people on this forum were always bashing it so I wanted to make a clear distinction w/o debt. The only comment against it that I have heard that doesn't concern debt is that it makes some legal employers wary of your 'commitment to law', but then I've also heard that many firms offer a hiring bonus for JD/MBAs, sooo, somewhat conflicting info.

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birdlaw117
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:51 am

I can't believe nobody has said this yet, but a good investment is a good investment. Unless the money can only be spent on law school (unlikely), you should still make the best financial decision. The best financial decision should be practically the same whether you are taking out loans or paying out of pocket. A law degree from a TTT is not worth $150k whether you pay with your own money or with loans.

ElmoHope
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby ElmoHope » Tue Mar 22, 2011 11:54 am

birdlaw117 wrote:I can't believe nobody has said this yet, but a good investment is a good investment. Unless the money can only be spent on law school (unlikely), you should still make the best financial decision. The best financial decision should be practically the same whether you are taking out loans or paying out of pocket. A law degree from a TTT is not worth $150k whether you pay with your own money or with loans.


Well, luckily, unless there is a blemish on my apps i'm not seeing, TTT is not where I will be going. However the question then becomes, according to your assessment, which is a BETTER investment: [see options in poll]

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Patriot1208
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:00 pm

So, you have 200k in cash? If you really want to be a lawyer I think the credited response is to take half of it and invest and take a scholarship.

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niederbomb
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby niederbomb » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:06 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:So, you have 200k in cash? If you really want to be a lawyer I think the credited response is to take half of it and invest and take a scholarship.


Unfortunately, the difference between a scholarship and sticker in this economy is quite often the difference between unemployed and Big Law. Definitely go to the best school you can get into. In 20 years when you're at the height of your career, you will be happy you went to UVA, etc. over some regional JD dump.

People on this board way underestimate the power of school name in the "Land of the Privileged" USA. It's more than what you get in OCI. Your long-term future matters, too. A Harvard grad who fucks up OCI will still probably have a good life, a UVA grad will probably recover too, but the same cannot be said about an Arizona grad.

OP has privilege, so use it wisely! :)
Last edited by niederbomb on Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Patriot1208
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:09 pm

niederbomb wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:So, you have 200k in cash? If you really want to be a lawyer I think the credited response is to take half of it and invest and take a scholarship.


Unfortunately, the difference between a scholarship and sticker in this economy is quite often the difference between unemployed and Big Law. Definitely go to the best school you can get into. In 20 years when you're at the height of your career, you will be happy you went to UVA, etc. over some regional JD pump.

Compound interest on 100k is likely to be bigger than any difference in salary he'll have between attending GW and UVA.

EDIT: here, i'll do the simple calculation for you using the stock market average of around .08 returns per year and forty years till retirement. FV = 100k (1+.08)^40 is 2,172,452.15. There is a very small chance that the difference in salary will be that large between those two schools.

As Albert Einstein said "The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest".
Last edited by Patriot1208 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Fred_McGriff » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:10 pm

Haven't read most of the thread, and gather you're not talking about TTT and TTTT schools, but wanted to say this...


DePaul is ranked 20 spots ahead of the University of South Carolina. DePaul grads are going to have a very hard time finding jobs because they're competing with a dozen or so higher ranked schools, a handful of peers, and students from lower ranked schools with better grades / connections in a very saturated market. USC grads run the legal market of South Carolina, and while they might struggle for Charleston, there are probably better options to fall back on in the state than there are for a TT in Chicago.

This doesn't mean the rankings are bogus and it doesn't matter where you go, but use them as a small part of a very complicated very personal decision. If you've got a job lined up out of a TTT in a small market and you'd be much happier there than anywhere else in the country, don't let a TTT publication rain on any part of your no brainer decision.

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niederbomb
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby niederbomb » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:15 pm

Patriot1208 wrote:
niederbomb wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:So, you have 200k in cash? If you really want to be a lawyer I think the credited response is to take half of it and invest and take a scholarship.


Unfortunately, the difference between a scholarship and sticker in this economy is quite often the difference between unemployed and Big Law. Definitely go to the best school you can get into. In 20 years when you're at the height of your career, you will be happy you went to UVA, etc. over some regional JD pump.

Compound interest on 100k is likely to be bigger than any difference in salary he'll have between attending GW and UVA.


UVA is one of the top 10 law schools and places quite well around the country, over half of its class into the NLJ 250 (at least by the time OP OCI's). GW is a regional school at the bottom of the heap in a region dominated by much, much better schools. The whole compounded interest thing means zit if OP goes to GW and can't get a job.
The only situation where it might be smart to take a non-T13 school is if you're from Texas and get a full ride to UT. Doesn't sound like OP is in that position, nor does it sound like OP (as a splitter) will get full tuition at GW.

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Patriot1208
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:17 pm

niederbomb wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
niederbomb wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:So, you have 200k in cash? If you really want to be a lawyer I think the credited response is to take half of it and invest and take a scholarship.


Unfortunately, the difference between a scholarship and sticker in this economy is quite often the difference between unemployed and Big Law. Definitely go to the best school you can get into. In 20 years when you're at the height of your career, you will be happy you went to UVA, etc. over some regional JD pump.

Compound interest on 100k is likely to be bigger than any difference in salary he'll have between attending GW and UVA.


UVA is one of the top 10 law schools and places quite well around the country, over half of its class into the NLJ 250 (at least by the time OP OCI's). GW is a regional school at the bottom of the heap in a region dominated by much, much better schools. The whole compounded interest thing means zit if OP goes to GW and can't get a job.
The only situation where it might be smart to take a non-T13 school is if you're from Texas and get a full ride to UT.


You are talking about the extremes. If we are using statistical probabilities there is almost no way that the difference in salary over a 40 year career is more than 2 million dollars. You are just banging your head against the wall with platitudes. These are just the examples of two schools. In fact, it's probably almost smarter to take a full ride at Emory or 3/4 at BC and invest more of it.
Last edited by Patriot1208 on Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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birdlaw117
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby birdlaw117 » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:17 pm

ElmoHope wrote:
birdlaw117 wrote:I can't believe nobody has said this yet, but a good investment is a good investment. Unless the money can only be spent on law school (unlikely), you should still make the best financial decision. The best financial decision should be practically the same whether you are taking out loans or paying out of pocket. A law degree from a TTT is not worth $150k whether you pay with your own money or with loans.


Well, luckily, unless there is a blemish on my apps i'm not seeing, TTT is not where I will be going. However the question then becomes, according to your assessment, which is a BETTER investment: [see options in poll]

The way I see it, the scholarship (assuming you get one), would be a better decision.

Basically what I'm saying is that without actual numbers, it's tough to give a full response. Allotted scholarship offers are very difficult to predict. I wouldn't take full ride at Brooklyn over sticker at Virginia, but I would take full ride at washU over sticker at GTown.

The fact that you aren't taking loans just means you can take financing costs out of your cost-benefit analysis. Beyond that it doesn't really change anything.

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Fred_McGriff
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Re: $$$ Not an Issue - Go to highest ranked school?

Postby Fred_McGriff » Tue Mar 22, 2011 12:20 pm

niederbomb wrote:
The only situation where it might be smart to take a non-T13 school is if you're from Texas and get a full ride to UT.


Or full ride at University of Montana, chances are you'll get a job, and enjoy living in a skiier's/outdoorsman's paradise for the rest of your life. Or $$$ at (insert TT or TTT in an awesome isolated market) and enjoy living there.




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