Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

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Dave Davely
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Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Dave Davely » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:31 pm

After reading this board for a while, it seems like most knowledgeable posters have come to agree on a few things:

1) Law is not going to be an easy or reliable path to wealth for the vast majority of prospective law students
2) Paying sticker to attend a TTT/low ranking law school (which schools are TTTs differs slightly based on who you ask) is a mistake in all or almost all cases
3) Most law schools place well only in their home geographic region
4) Most prospective law students need to balance COA/debt and expected job placement when choosing a law school


What I have not seen much discussion of here though, is the question of whether significant percentages of recent graduates from T14 law schools are having issues paying back their (often very large) student loans. By issues I not just going into default, but also just generally struggling to make their monthly loan payments without having to resort to extreme measures (borrowing from family members, living like an absolute pauper, etc.). Does anyone have any info (anecdotal or otherwise) on this?

Related to this question is the issue of whether more than a token number of Midlaw positions exist for recent graduates of top schools who miss out on Biglaw

tourdeforcex
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby tourdeforcex » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:07 pm

ideas from a 0L:

question is: "whether significant percentages of recent graduates from T14 law schools are having issues paying back their student loans?"

i would say yes. your "significant" is undefined but i will assume more than 5%

i would imagine that unemployed recent graduates form T14 schools are having issues paying back their student loans. as are many of those who are underemployed (esp. those working jobs that do not require a JD).

also, i would qualify being restricted to jobs that pay over x amount, an issue--x amount being the amount needed to pay back loans in a reasonable (10 years maybe?) amount of time + basic cost of living / "living like an absolute pauper"

next question: "whether more than a token number of Midlaw positions exist for recent graduates of top schools who miss out on Biglaw"

from what i understand, T14 does not equal biglaw. i think it's fair to say the majority of T14 graduates do NOT work in biglaw. thus, yes. more than a token number of midlaw positions exist for recent grads of T14.

hope this helps.

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Knock
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Knock » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:11 pm

Yes, a non-insignificant number. Check out the employment data: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=150681.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:13 pm

Let me put it this way, about 45% of the graduates from the average T14 are in a better position than about 80% of the graduates of most of the T50 (the top 20% - on average - of the T50 are competitive for positions that are accessible to the 45% of graduates from most of the T14).

The remaining 55% of T14 graduates (on average) are not in a better position than remaining 80% of the T50 (on average). If you are one of those people that believe people outside of the top 20% of T50 schools are screwed, then you should equally assume that remaining 55% (on average) of the T14 are screwed as well.

Most "midlaw" is just as hard to get as big law, and frequently these positions go to students who could have gotten big law but chose not to.

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Law Sauce
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Law Sauce » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:17 pm

tourdeforcex wrote:from what i understand, T14 does not equal biglaw. i think it's fair to say the majority of T14 graduates do NOT work in biglaw. thus, yes. more than a token number of midlaw positions exist for recent grads of T14.



This is incorrect. Just look at the nlj 250, which most agree is at least close to what most would call biglaw. This puts most t-14s at the 40 or 50% range. Plus you must add that nearly all t-14 A3 clerks go directly to Biglaw another 10-15%. If you look back a few years the percentage that went straight was like 55-70%. I think that it is safe to say that easily most, meaning more than 50%, of t-14 grads definitely start out (or clerk and then start out) in Biglaw. The few crazy outliers are Duke this year, GULC, and Yale, but the other t-14s do enough to make up this number.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:21 pm

The debt problem is kind of spread around to everybody. People who were smart enough to use only federal loans will be eligible for IBR to manage their debt. However, this means that 1) they'll be making payments on their debt for up to 25 years and 2) the remaining debt left gets absorbed by the government/taxpayers.

This is true for anyone who doesn't make enough to fully service their loans. Are there significant numbers of T14 students in this category? Definitely. It's important to keep in mind that while being at a T14 increases your chances of securing a high-paying (BigLaw, etc.) job, it doesn't come close to guaranteeing it. For those with high debt loads, the debt may be manageable under IBR, but it's still going to follow them around for a very long time.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:23 pm

Law Sauce wrote:
tourdeforcex wrote:from what i understand, T14 does not equal biglaw. i think it's fair to say the majority of T14 graduates do NOT work in biglaw. thus, yes. more than a token number of midlaw positions exist for recent grads of T14.

This is incorrect. Just look at the nlj 250, which most agree is at least close to what most would call biglaw. This puts most t-14s at the 40 or 50% range. Plus you must add that nearly all t-14 A3 clerks go directly to Biglaw another 10-15%. If you look back a few years the percentage that went straight was like 55-70%. I think that it is safe to say that easily most, meaning more than 50%, of t-14 grads definitely start out (or clerk and then start out) in Biglaw. The few crazy outliers are Duke this year, GULC, and Yale, but the other t-14s do enough to make up this number.

Even assuming you're right, and up to 70% of T14 students get BigLaw, that still leaves at least 30% who don't. That's still a rather substantial number.

You're not correct, but I'm just saying, even if you were it's not really that important a point.

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Law Sauce
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Law Sauce » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:28 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Law Sauce wrote:
tourdeforcex wrote:from what i understand, T14 does not equal biglaw. i think it's fair to say the majority of T14 graduates do NOT work in biglaw. thus, yes. more than a token number of midlaw positions exist for recent grads of T14.

This is incorrect. Just look at the nlj 250, which most agree is at least close to what most would call biglaw. This puts most t-14s at the 40 or 50% range. Plus you must add that nearly all t-14 A3 clerks go directly to Biglaw another 10-15%. If you look back a few years the percentage that went straight was like 55-70%. I think that it is safe to say that easily most, meaning more than 50%, of t-14 grads definitely start out (or clerk and then start out) in Biglaw. The few crazy outliers are Duke this year, GULC, and Yale, but the other t-14s do enough to make up this number.

Even assuming you're right, and up to 70% of T14 students get BigLaw, that still leaves at least 30% who don't. That's still a rather substantial number.

You're not correct, but I'm just saying, even if you were it's not really that important a point.


I completely agree. I just think it is incorrect to say that less than 50% of t-14 student are able to get biglaw, or at least that less than 50% of t-14 student will be able to get biglaw in 2014 or 2015 when the entering classes will be graduating. That seems overly pessimistic to me. I didn't say 70% if that matters.

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Aberzombie1892
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Aberzombie1892 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:36 pm

Law Sauce wrote:I completely agree. I just think it is incorrect to say that less than 50% of t-14 student are able to get biglaw, or at least that less than 50% of t-14 student will be able to get biglaw in 2014 or 2015 when the entering classes will be graduating. That seems overly pessimistic to me. I didn't say 70% if that matters.


Well at this point it is uncertain how things will look in a few years. True it will get better, but will likely never bee what it once was. My statement was referring to the classes of 2009/2010 (around 45%) and likely 2011/2012 (likely be similar), which is what the OP asked about.

Who knows what the average big law placement will be for the class of 2014. However, no student should take anything for granted - and as a result - each student should should not consider chances of big law to be more than a coinflip outside of HYSCCN.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Patriot1208 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:40 pm

Law Sauce wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
Law Sauce wrote:
tourdeforcex wrote:from what i understand, T14 does not equal biglaw. i think it's fair to say the majority of T14 graduates do NOT work in biglaw. thus, yes. more than a token number of midlaw positions exist for recent grads of T14.

This is incorrect. Just look at the nlj 250, which most agree is at least close to what most would call biglaw. This puts most t-14s at the 40 or 50% range. Plus you must add that nearly all t-14 A3 clerks go directly to Biglaw another 10-15%. If you look back a few years the percentage that went straight was like 55-70%. I think that it is safe to say that easily most, meaning more than 50%, of t-14 grads definitely start out (or clerk and then start out) in Biglaw. The few crazy outliers are Duke this year, GULC, and Yale, but the other t-14s do enough to make up this number.

Even assuming you're right, and up to 70% of T14 students get BigLaw, that still leaves at least 30% who don't. That's still a rather substantial number.

You're not correct, but I'm just saying, even if you were it's not really that important a point.


I completely agree. I just think it is incorrect to say that less than 50% of t-14 student are able to get biglaw, or at least that less than 50% of t-14 student will be able to get biglaw in 2014 or 2015 when the entering classes will be graduating. That seems overly pessimistic to me. I didn't say 70% if that matters.

While I agree with the point that once you take into account those who opt for DOJ, SEC, DHS, PI, etc positions it's probably over 50% for the t14 in aggregate. But certainly some fare far better than others. Also, again, if you are entering law school next year, you have to take into account how the economy looks in 2013 not 2015.

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Alex-Trof
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Alex-Trof » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:14 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:Let me put it this way, about 45% of the graduates from the average T14 are in a better position than about 80% of the graduates of most of the T50 (the top 20% - on average - of the T50 are competitive for positions that are accessible to the 45% of graduates from most of the T14).

The remaining 55% of T14 graduates (on average) are not in a better position than remaining 80% of the T50 (on average). If you are one of those people that believe people outside of the top 20% of T50 schools are screwed, then you should equally assume that remaining 55% (on average) of the T14 are screwed as well.

Most "midlaw" is just as hard to get as big law, and frequently these positions go to students who could have gotten big law but chose not to.


I don't think 55% of T14 are screwed. Not everybody is gunning for big law in a first place. Further looking at the numbers, about half goes straight into big law. 10-15% do clerkships, another 5-10% do federal jobs, + another 5% does academia, corporate or something else valuable. Keeping this in mind, I do think that vast majority of people interested in well-paying big law jobs will get them.

Dave Davely
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Dave Davely » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:40 pm

Clearly there is a great deal of disagreement on this issue. I think some posters are talking past each other by conflating two separate issues (both of which are relevant I think):

1) What percentages of grads from specific schools are getting Biglaw (the NLJ250 numbers give us this for 2010 grads)

2) What are the T14 grads doing that don't get Biglaw? More specifically, if you're a typical white bro at a Georgetown or Duke and you finish in the bottom 1/2 of your graduating class what happens to you? For arguments sake let's assume our guy isn't a master networker and doesn't have strong legal connections coming into law school.

Dave Davely
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Dave Davely » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:46 pm

Aberzombie1892 wrote:Let me put it this way, about 45% of the graduates from the average T14 are in a better position than about 80% of the graduates of most of the T50 (the top 20% - on average - of the T50 are competitive for positions that are accessible to the 45% of graduates from most of the T14).

The remaining 55% of T14 graduates (on average) are not in a better position than remaining 80% of the T50 (on average). If you are one of those people that believe people outside of the top 20% of T50 schools are screwed, then you should equally assume that remaining 55% (on average) of the T14 are screwed as well.

Most "midlaw" is just as hard to get as big law, and frequently these positions go to students who could have gotten big law but chose not to.


Isn't this assuming that T14 graduates who don't get Biglaw are in the exact same position as T50 graduates who don't get Biglaw. Do you really think that superior Biglaw placement is the only advantage (speaking strictly of employment prospects) of attending a T14 law school?

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bk1
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:50 pm

Dave Davely wrote:Isn't this assuming that T14 graduates who don't get Biglaw are in the exact same position as T50 graduates who don't get Biglaw. Do you really think that superior Biglaw placement is the only advantage (speaking strictly of employment prospects) of attending a T14 law school?


They may be in a better spot that the T50 grads who don't get biglaw (maybe), but the problem is that the number of non-biglaw jobs that can pay back sticker price debt is very minimal.

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zanda
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby zanda » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:52 pm

bk1 wrote:
Dave Davely wrote:Isn't this assuming that T14 graduates who don't get Biglaw are in the exact same position as T50 graduates who don't get Biglaw. Do you really think that superior Biglaw placement is the only advantage (speaking strictly of employment prospects) of attending a T14 law school?


They may be in a better spot that the T50 grads who don't get biglaw (maybe), but the problem is that the number of non-biglaw jobs that can pay back sticker price debt is very minimal.

PI plus good LRAP?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:53 pm

Dave Davely wrote:Isn't this assuming that T14 graduates who don't get Biglaw are in the exact same position as T50 graduates who don't get Biglaw. Do you really think that superior Biglaw placement is the only advantage (speaking strictly of employment prospects) of attending a T14 law school?

I think it's assuming that any advantages outside of BigLaw don't matter in this discussion, because outside of BigLaw you're unlikely to make enough money to service your debts.

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bk1
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby bk1 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:53 pm

zanda wrote:PI plus good LRAP?


Exemplifying my comment when I say minimal.

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zanda
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby zanda » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:59 pm

bk1 wrote:
zanda wrote:PI plus good LRAP?


Exemplifying my comment when I say minimal.

Explain? Are you trying to contend that T14 people who don't get biglaw won't be able to get PI jobs? Certainly some won't be able, but many, likely most, will.

Better schools generally have better LRAP programs. Students from better schools will generally be more appealing to PI employers. Therefore, if you're not contending that it's the number of PI jobs that is minimal (your post is vague), but rather something else is minimal, I'm not following.


(full disclosure- I'm a T6 2L, PI focused, above median but not top third, paying almost sticker)

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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby pereira6 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:07 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Dave Davely wrote:Isn't this assuming that T14 graduates who don't get Biglaw are in the exact same position as T50 graduates who don't get Biglaw. Do you really think that superior Biglaw placement is the only advantage (speaking strictly of employment prospects) of attending a T14 law school?

I think it's assuming that any advantages outside of BigLaw don't matter in this discussion, because outside of BigLaw you're unlikely to make enough money to service your debts.


But, if you're able to get IBR, you should be okay...right?

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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby fatduck » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:08 pm

pereira6 wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
Dave Davely wrote:Isn't this assuming that T14 graduates who don't get Biglaw are in the exact same position as T50 graduates who don't get Biglaw. Do you really think that superior Biglaw placement is the only advantage (speaking strictly of employment prospects) of attending a T14 law school?

I think it's assuming that any advantages outside of BigLaw don't matter in this discussion, because outside of BigLaw you're unlikely to make enough money to service your debts.


But, if you're able to get IBR, you should be okay...right?

depends on your definition of "okay"

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AreJay711
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby AreJay711 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:09 pm

With IBR the options really aren't biglaw, PI, or poorhouse. It is more like biglaw, PI, or making it but worse than you would have without going to law school.

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Sentry
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Sentry » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:14 pm

Did you not read that article in the NYT about the nearly 500 dead CLS/NYU grads who committed suicide because they didn't get biglaw/clerkships?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:26 pm

fatduck wrote:
pereira6 wrote:But, if you're able to get IBR, you should be okay...right?

depends on your definition of "okay"

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Redsgomarchingon
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby Redsgomarchingon » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:28 pm

even if you don't make biglaw and you're 150,000 in debt, at 6.8% interest, you'd be paying around 21,000 a year for a little over 10 years. Therefore, you'd be alright making 65K/yr. Not living the dream of course, but around the national average for income and definitely not in a cardboard box. For a recently graduated history major who needs a few years of work experience before they're making decent money anyway, this isn't that bad of an outcome

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vanwinkle
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Re: Are Some T14 Graduates Getting Buried by LS Debt?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:29 pm

Redsgomarchingon wrote:even if you don't make biglaw and you're 150,000 in debt, at 6.8% interest, you'd be paying around 21,000 a year for a little over 10 years. Therefore, you'd be alright making 65K/yr. Not living the dream of course, but around the national average for income and definitely not in a cardboard box. For a recently graduated history major who needs a few years of work experience before they're making decent money anyway, this isn't that bad of an outcome

Flaw: Presumes attainable employment pays $65K/yr.




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