rayiner wrote:Let me throw in one thing that I think will back up Desert Fox's point about taking the money if your only interest is NYC biglaw: loans are a serious bitch.
With tuition + cost of living - proceeds from a summer SA, your total loans will be in the $230k range if you pay sticker. Remember, you'll rack up tens of thousand of dollars in deferred interest payments while in school --- you can't just multiply the cost of attendance by 3x.
Now, the monthly take-home in NYC, after taxes is $8100. Just the minimum loan payment, on a 10-year plan, is going to be a crushing $2700/month. A reasonably nice apartment is going to run you $2,500/month, assuming you want to live within a 30 minute commute, want some semblance of amenities, etc. And when you're working 12 hours a day, trust me, you will feel entitled to these things. That leaves $2,900/month. Which is a ton of disposable income, but it's not really all disposable.
1) Dressing the way you'll be expected to dress at a big NYC firm is not cheap. You'll spend $100/month on dry-cleaning and laundry.
2) You'll end up eating out a lot because you don't have time to cook.
3) The nice gym near your office will run $150-$200/month.
4) Transportation will run $100/month for an unlimited MTA pass.
Aside from these basic expenses, there is the simple fact that you're likely going to be out of biglaw in 3-5 years. With your loans at a level that would be completely unmanageable if you had to take a normal job, you're going to want to pay them down. Moreover, from your perspective, it's a risk-free 7.6% return.
I made out a basic budget and at the end of the day, once the huge NYC taxes and staggering loan payments are factored in, I'll have less disposable income after graduating from law school and making $160k than I did after graduating from college and living in Atlanta making $60k.
Getting rid of the loan payments would mean a very real difference in your QoL during your stint in biglaw.
You can find a nice apartment in Manhattan for less than $2500. Regarding your list, a few comments:
2.) Yes to the take-out point, but a very large percentage of it is expensed to the firm (work past 6 = free dinner)
3.) Free gym memberships for associates
4.) Free car home if you work past 8, which is quite frequent - this makes the unlimited metro pass not worth it. Monthly transportation cost is < $100