USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

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

Which school is the best option?

USC (COA ~$210,000 - Total debt ~$80,000)
5
16%
Vanderbilt (COA ~ $190,000 - Total debt ~ $60,000)
16
52%
Illinois (COA ~$48,000 - Total debt ~ 0)
10
32%
 
Total votes: 31

Dulator
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USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Dulator » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:31 am

This is an alt. account, as I do not wish to out myself.

I'm a 0L in a program with one of the military branches that guarantees me a JAG MOS after law school. I will commission prior to law school. The military branch that I am joining will provide minimal assistance for law school at most.

I am choosing between USC, Vanderbilt, and Illinois. I would like to minimize debt but I would also like to attend a school where I have the option of a good job in the private sector if I choose to leave the armed forces. I would also like to end up in Southern California.

Here are the pros and cons:

USC: Received the 90k scholarship, total debt would still be around $80,000. Have family in southern California and would like to end up in southern California.

Vanderbilt: Received the 89k scholarship, total debt would be around $60,000. Have a sibling (who I'm really close to) who would be at the college while I'm at the law school. Visited and loved the campus.

Illinois: Received a full ride. Would likely graduate debt free.

Opinions? Thoughts? I have calculated that I will be earning ~$85,000 within a year of becoming a JAG.

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Law Sauce
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Law Sauce » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:40 am

I think that you should go where you will be happiest. That being said, debt-free would be really, really nice. I wouldn't pick Illinois over those options with those preferences if you didnt have JAG. But with it, I'd probably lean towards Illinois, provided that doesn't conflict strongly with my first statement.

MyManKanye
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby MyManKanye » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:55 am

I don't know how the JAG program works with respect to getting placed. If it matters at all where you went to school I'd say USC. If it doesn't I'd say Illinois.

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Flips88
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Flips88 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:03 pm

I'd say USC or Vandy. $60-80k in debt is super manageable, even more so when you have a guaranteed $85k/yr job lined up. You could easily pay off whatever debt you have in 5 years. Vandy probably gives you the greatest national portability so if you get out and want to break into a market somewhere else, it would be easiest with Vandy. However, if you just want SoCal then USC should get the job done. I wouldn't consider Illinois even with your full ride. Also, are you including COL or do you have that paid for somehow?

Dulator
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Dulator » Mon Apr 18, 2011 12:06 pm

COL is included in COA. I have some money saved. I also live cheaply.

tittsburghfeelers
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Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:03 am

Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby tittsburghfeelers » Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:12 pm

Dulator wrote:This is an alt. account, as I do not wish to out myself.

I'm a 0L in a program with one of the military branches that guarantees me a JAG MOS after law school. I will commission prior to law school. The military branch that I am joining will provide minimal assistance for law school at most.

I am choosing between USC, Vanderbilt, and Illinois. I would like to minimize debt but I would also like to attend a school where I have the option of a good job in the private sector if I choose to leave the armed forces. I would also like to end up in Southern California.

Here are the pros and cons:

USC: Received the 90k scholarship, total debt would still be around $80,000. Have family in southern California and would like to end up in southern California.

Vanderbilt: Received the 89k scholarship, total debt would be around $60,000. Have a sibling (who I'm really close to) who would be at the college while I'm at the law school. Visited and loved the campus.

Illinois: Received a full ride. Would likely graduate debt free.

Opinions? Thoughts? I have calculated that I will be earning ~$85,000 within a year of becoming a JAG.


$85,000 as a JAG? Much more than I would have guessed.

Dulator
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:11 am

Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Dulator » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:01 am

O-3 within a year, BAH isn't taxed.

Jeffro
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Jeffro » Tue Apr 19, 2011 12:54 am

Where do you plan on being stationed to pull down the kind of BAH that would get you to ~$85,000/yr?

And is that at 0-3 pay with 2 or less years? Or 3 or 4? Each of those options affects the pay rate. I'm not familiar with how your time in law school will count, but this sounds like it's not via FLEP or anything similar...so you won't be accruing active time I'm guessing? I'm also assuming you're not prior enlisted if you aren't using the GI Bill too, but obviously there are scenarios where you wouldn't be using it if you had it. Just wondering. I had ruled out JAG for myself, but I'm definitely more interested if your math is right.

Dulator
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Dulator » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:04 am

O-3 with four years within a year. Some programs give time in service. Adjusted the current military pay charts up 4% to account for raises. Base salary of $62,000 roughly.

Without outing myself, I looked at BAH for various places in California. Added subsistence allowance. Adjusted for not being taxed. Its around 85,000 if not more.

tittsburghfeelers
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby tittsburghfeelers » Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:02 pm

Dulator wrote:O-3 with four years within a year. Some programs give time in service. Adjusted the current military pay charts up 4% to account for raises. Base salary of $62,000 roughly.

Without outing myself, I looked at BAH for various places in California. Added subsistence allowance. Adjusted for not being taxed. Its around 85,000 if not more.


http://www.jdjournal.com/2009/06/08/law ... jag-corps/

This is a link regarding the Army's pay for lawyers. It's my understanding that the military has a flat pay scale, meaning someone with the same rank in the Marines will make the same amount as someone with the same rank in the Army. According to this, the base salary is much lower than what you're anticipating. I'm not trying to discredit you at all, but I know a few people in the Army and I thought that 85,000 a year, if not more, seemed much too high for a military salary.

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thexfactor
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby thexfactor » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:01 pm

doenst jag pay for law school debt?

id go to vandy.

duckmoney
Posts: 886
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby duckmoney » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:11 pm

Also consider LRAPs, as JAG would likely qualify since BAH isn't taxed.

xyzbca
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby xyzbca » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:37 pm

This sounds like USMC. If so, I have to ask b/c it will change my answer: Have you graduated from OCS/OCC yet?

(I graduated from OCS years ago)

xyzbca
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:36 pm

Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby xyzbca » Wed Apr 20, 2011 5:45 pm

tittsburghfeelers wrote:http://www.jdjournal.com/2009/06/08/lawyers-eager-to-join-jag-corps/

This is a link regarding the Army's pay for lawyers. It's my understanding that the military has a flat pay scale, meaning someone with the same rank in the Marines will make the same amount as someone with the same rank in the Army. According to this, the base salary is much lower than what you're anticipating. I'm not trying to discredit you at all, but I know a few people in the Army and I thought that 85,000 a year, if not more, seemed much too high for a military salary.


His numbers are generous but probably accurate. His program will give him credit for time in service while in law school so he'll start active duty with 3 years "seniority," which matters for military pay. He's also assuming O-3 pay grade (Captain). Today, if he was in that situation he would be making just under $60k. He's then throwing in BAH which is tax free housing allowance which is granted to military members that don't live in military provided housing. Depending on how he is treating the tax advantages of BAH, his number is in the right ballpark. I think 4% raises is too generous as base pay only went up 1.4% this year.

Military pay chart (read it as monthly pay): --LinkRemoved--

Jeffro
Posts: 163
Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Jeffro » Thu Apr 21, 2011 12:24 am

xyzbca wrote:His numbers are generous but probably accurate. His program will give him credit for time in service while in law school so he'll start active duty with 3 years "seniority," which matters for military pay. He's also assuming O-3 pay grade (Captain). Today, if he was in that situation he would be making just under $60k. He's then throwing in BAH which is tax free housing allowance which is granted to military members that don't live in military provided housing. Depending on how he is treating the tax advantages of BAH, his number is in the right ballpark. I think 4% raises is too generous as base pay only went up 1.4% this year.

Agreed, based on the updated information about being 3 years in at graduation. There is a lot banking on being stationed in California, however, because it would take being there to get a BAH high enough to warrant that overall pay (or NYC, which is the highest I believe). And yes, 4% seems particularly high - in the past 5 years base pay raises have not broken 4% annually

Assuming that you're tracking your pay details yourself, and to get back to what OP is really asking, I'm inclined to say that you should go to USC. JAG is a good route, but I don't think it's likely to provide you with the kind of networking you would want to break into Southern California, especially if you are coming from Vandy or Illinois and do not get stationed in California as you're hoping. I could be wrong, but it also seems to me that no matter what the recruiters tell you the majority of JAG attorneys end up handling UCMJ matters concerning enlisted drunkenness - not really the kind of practice that translates well. These could be two big detriments to you.

A lot depends on your career goals (BigLaw, PI, etc.) as well, so it's hard to say. My thinking is that if you don't already have any solid legal connections, give yourself every advantage if you want to ultimately end up in Southern California, even if you have to pay extra on the front end. I don't normally advocate taking on extra debt, but coupling a guaranteed JAG income, with LRAP, and a JD from within your preferred market seems like a great combination.

tittsburghfeelers
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby tittsburghfeelers » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:34 am

Yeah, after reading through everything and seeing that you only have 80k debt, I'd actually change my mind and agree with the above. OP, banking on getting stationed in Cali is kind of a risk. 50-50% in the Marine Corps.

Dulator
Posts: 6
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Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Dulator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:59 am

I'm actually only assuming annual raises of 1.4%, which leads to a 4% raise over the 3 years.

Basic pay for an O-3 with 4 is currently $5,942.16. Add 4.2% and you get $62,952.96%

Add subsistence at $223.84 which is $2686.08 over a year. Then BAH, which is unknown.

Essentially its $62,000 + 2700 + BAH. I also looked at BAH for an O-3 at Parris Island. BAH is 1300 which would be 15,600 over a year, bringing total compensation to $62,000 +$18,300 untaxed, which would be right around $85,000. More if in California.

Edit: Year one, I'm estimating pay is ~$8,000 lower (as an O-2).

Dulator
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:11 am

Re: USC vs. Vanderbilt vs. Illinois (For JAG)

Postby Dulator » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:06 am

Career Goals:

Biglaw would be nice but probably difficult to get to from the Marine Corps. Midlaw would be ideal.

Possibly government. I'm open to a variety of jobs at this point.




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