The reality of NYU at Sticker

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boosk
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby boosk » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:53 pm

Indifferent wrote:
ahnhub wrote:If you think your odds at Biglaw from NYU are basically a coin flip, then oh my god you should not go at sticker.

This is a dramatic misconception. In a good economy, which we are heading towards (I hope), NYU placed about 55% of its students in NLJ 250 firms and maybe 10% in federal clerkships. Source. Given that many NYUers self select into PI/business/small firms/what have you, I would argue that during OCI, more than 80% of students trying to get SAs got them.

So, yeah, not quite a coin flip.

ETA: fudged the numbers a bit


I guess I'm being conservative with my odds... I do think odds are better than a coinflip, but idk about 80% - hopefully I'm wrong.

als2011
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby als2011 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:18 pm

I don't think you are being overly conservative with your numbers. I did a very similar mathematical calculation and compared the economic outcomes for individuals earning 30k/40k/50k/60k a year who chose to work for 8 years rather than going to law school and then landing the best paying biglaw job (3 + 5 = 8 years).

Based on my math, I found that the person who went to Biglaw did not even start to BREAK EVEN on their investment until the 5 year mark when compared to an individual who simply worked for 8 years even if all they made was 30k a year.

My numbers were even more conservative than yours. I assumed the individual only borrowed 150k and finished law school with a total debt load of 190k (150k in principle + 40k in interest). In other words, with the current rate of most law schools, I assumed the individual borrowed NO money for COL- I did this because it varies from location to location etc. I did however, include lost opportunity cost in my equation.

Based on a 190k debt burden, I then assumed that said individual worked at Biglaw starting with a 160k salary (basically a V20 firm or higher) and progressed in lockstep for 5 straight years. I did not take into account bonuses at all, however, bonuses have been paltry lately.

That said, I was equally conservative for the individual who stuck with their 30k/40k/50k/60k a year job. That is to say, I also assumed that the individual making 30k/40k/50k/60k did so for 8 years straight WITHOUT any raises, bonuses, or anything else. I did however, assume that this individual lived outside of NYC, as you can likely find 30k/40k/50k/60k a year jobs outside the city with relative ease. Still, I did assume they were NYS residents and paid NYS income taxes on whatever they earned. Of course this individual could very well have a job outside of NY state paying even lower state taxes, whereas it is nearly impossible for you to find a Biglaw job outside a major metropolitan area with high city/state taxes.

The end outcome paralleled the conclusion you drew in your results. The break even point (after you consider lost opportunity cost, higher tax rates, higher cost of living, and account for incredibly generous loan repayments of roughly 50k a year) was at working year 5 for the law school grad (year 8 in the model). At this point, the individual working Biglaw in NYC at the top market rate of 160k a year and receiving annual promotions in lockstep had finally caught up with an individual making 40k a year. Prior to this, if the individual had lost their job, chose to quit, been fired, been laid off, etc-- law school proved to be a losing investment.

The 5th year is a very important year to consider, because attrition at firms by the fifth year is 78%. In other words, 4 out of 5 associates don't make it to their fifth year of employment. Don't forget only 1 in 12 these days make it to partner (and with trends being what they are, the odds of you becoming equity partner in the future are also likely to decline.)

In other words, at today's tuition prices, even for those attend the most elite law schools, win the biglaw lottery, land jobs at the most elite law firms, and manage to survive for 5 years, little if any economic benefit is achieved from attending law school.

Now of course, for the tiny minority who do survive long enough to be considered for partnership and somehow land an equity partnership position, the economics are quite different. After the 5 year mark, the income for the associate quickly outpaces that of the non-law associate in my model and partners make substantially more in a year. But again, odds are not in your favor that you will make it that far.

Mitterrand
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby Mitterrand » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:43 pm

I think you guys are looking pretty short term. By my calculations it would take about 5 years of big law before your real earning potential kicks in, or assuming a transition to a lower paying (80k-100k) job after 3 or 4 years, about 8-10 years.

For those of us who are liberal arts majors graduating at ~22, it seems to me like after 5-10 years of working you will have a 6 figure salary with a decent amount of savings. Of course, this assumes you can get big law and nothing goes horribly wrong...but based on my other career prospects law school seems like a winning ticket.

EDIT: I based my numbers on 170k taken out in loans so ~200k at graduation.

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Bronck
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby Bronck » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:48 pm

Most people with liberal arts degrees aren't going to end up with a 6 figure salary.

Look at Robert Half Legal for a rough guide on salaries for attorneys in in-house positions (in NYC)... they're comparable to junior-senior associates (dependent on years of experience and firm size).

So your lifetime earnings are going to be vastly greater than if you didn't go to law school and land biglaw.

Even if you lateral into (federal) government positions, you'd be looking at a fairly comfortable salary.

als2011
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby als2011 » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:58 pm

Mitterrand wrote:I think you guys are looking pretty short term. By my calculations it would take about 5 years of big law before your real earning potential kicks in, or assuming a transition to a lower paying (80k-100k) job after 3 or 4 years, about 8-10 years.

For those of us who are liberal arts majors graduating at ~22, it seems to me like after 5-10 years of working you will have a 6 figure salary with a decent amount of savings. Of course, this assumes you can get big law and nothing goes horribly wrong...but based on my other career prospects law school seems like a winning ticket.

EDIT: I based my numbers on 170k taken out in loans so ~200k at graduation.



Is 8 years short term? Perhaps relative to a 40 year career or so, but let us not forget that most people burn out well before that point. You have to realize that Biglaw is a short-term job. The lexisnexis articles cites that between 2001-2006 78% of associates are out the door by year 5. Most people don't make it past the 2 or 3 year mark, much less the 5 year mark. Here are some general articles on the subject:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/community/lex ... rt-ii.aspx

http://abovethelaw.com/tag/attrition/

The bigger point is, that a lot of things have to go right for you to make it work. Exit options aren't as plentiful or well-paying as most people suspect and often involve significant paycuts. If you leave the Biglaw salary earlier in your career (before the year 5 mark), than the net worth and earnings disparities become even harder to make-up.

In other words, attending an elite law school requires that you take on a huge amount of financial risk for a roughly 50% chance of landing a short term job that pays you enough money to actually pay back all the debt it cost you to attend school in the first place. The scenario you describe--getting Biglaw in the first place, surviving for 5 years, paying off your debt and transitioning into a cozy in-house gig that pays 80-100k a year is an incredibly rosy scenario that works out for a relatively small proportion of lawyers and an even smaller proportion of law students.

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skers
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby skers » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:25 pm

I don't know if it's an extremely conservative analysis if you remove bonuses, which are a solid addition to compensation, especially towards years 3-5. Also, SA incone should be accounted for. We should also take into account the value of benefits as those are a part of compensation and are unlikely matched at $30k.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby ahnhub » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:26 pm

als2011 wrote: The bigger point is, that a lot of things have to go right for you to make it work. Exit options aren't as plentiful or well-paying as most people suspect and often involve significant paycuts. If you leave the Biglaw salary earlier in your career (before the year 5 mark), than the net worth and earnings disparities become even harder to make-up.

In other words, attending an elite law school requires that you take on a huge amount of financial risk for a roughly 50% chance of landing a short term job that pays you enough money to actually pay back all the debt it cost you to attend school in the first place. The scenario you describe--getting Biglaw in the first place, surviving for 5 years, paying off your debt and transitioning into a cozy in-house gig that pays 80-100k a year is an incredibly rosy scenario that works out for a relatively small proportion of lawyers and an even smaller proportion of law students.


This may be or may not be true. But you seem to be saying that 77% of people leave by the 5-year mark, and most of them don't have good exit opportunities. Associates are not fired at the 5-or-3 year mark unless they are seriously problematic. Are you telling me this 77% are voluntarily leaving a 200K+ paycheck for crappy jobs?

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby Mitterrand » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:32 pm

Is 8 years short term? Perhaps relative to a 40 year career or so, but let us not forget that most people burn out well before that point. You have to realize that Biglaw is a short-term job. The lexisnexis articles cites that between 2001-2006 78% of associates are out the door by year 5. Most people don't make it past the 2 or 3 year mark, much less the 5 year mark. Here are some general articles on the subject:

http://www.lexisnexis.com/community/lex ... rt-ii.aspx

http://abovethelaw.com/tag/attrition/


My assumption was that your real earning potential kicks in after 5 years of BIGLAW. The 8-10 year figure was if you exit BIGLAW after 3 or 4 years and move to a lower paying position. I realize exit options rant going to be nearly as high paying, but for my numbers I looked at transitioning to either an 80k or 100k job (a significant pay cut for an associate who started at 160k).

The bigger point is, that a lot of things have to go right for you to make it work. Exit options aren't as plentiful or well-paying as most people suspect and often involve significant paycuts. If you leave the Biglaw salary earlier in your career (before the year 5 mark), than the net worth and earnings disparities become even harder to make-up.

True, but I think i assumed pretty significant pay cuts should you leave BIGLAW before 5 years. 100k (3-4 year associate transitioning to an 80k job) pay cut is nothing to slouch at. Of course both these numbers assumed you aggressively paid down your loans while working in BIGLAW. I think the number I used was about $3,500 loan service a month, which is roughly half your take-home pay if you are a 1st year.

In other words, attending an elite law school requires that you take on a huge amount of financial risk for a roughly 50% chance of landing a short term job that pays you enough money to actually pay back all the debt it cost you to attend school in the first place. The scenario you describe--getting Biglaw in the first place, surviving for 5 years, paying off your debt and transitioning into a cozy in-house gig that pays 80-100k a year is an incredibly rosy scenario that works out for a relatively small proportion of lawyers and an even smaller proportion of law students.

At the same time, we are talking about a T6 school here. Of course these numbers don't work out for everyone or even a majority of students. The figures I'm throwing around are ones tailored for people going to a T6 looking to take on between 150k and 200k in loans. Maybe it is a bit rosy to assume all of the following but I don't think its entirely unrealistic to believe that students who have gotten into T6 can get into BIGLAW and then stick it out for 3-5 years. Obviously the economy could tank or BIGLAW could be unbearable for even a year, but thats a risk you take in any profession.

Life is risky, if there is a guaranteed way for me to make a 6 figure salary with no debt then please show me the path. But for me, a 21 year old liberal arts major with T6 acceptance, law school seems like a pretty good bet long term. Obviously not everyone is in my position but I'm sure there are several people in this thread who are so I figured I'd share what my excel sheets are showing.

EDIT: and my numbers are conservative. I'm not counting your stub year, SA or bonuses. I assumed those would be put toward savings/retirement. I also didn't include any pay increases, as i assumed those would go toward your COL. Based on my repayment numbers, on 160k after taxes, loans and 401k you would be living on about 45k. That really isn't much so I basically assumed any raise you get would be used to boost your COL.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby sunynp » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:45 pm

It isn't as simple as you make it sound. Plenty of people get laidoff or let go because they aren't cutting it. Most people leave because they can't take the hours or they want to have a life. Many biglaw associates are really unhappy and stay just to pay loans. Also people get jobs for a couple of years and then move back home to a smaller city where they can get a top salary and partnership at a local firm. People know they aren't going to make partner- so very few do- so they move on. Dont let the dollar signs fool you about biglaw. If it was a great place to work there wouldn't be 75% turnover.


ahnhub wrote:
als2011 wrote: The bigger point is, that a lot of things have to go right for you to make it work. Exit options aren't as plentiful or well-paying as most people suspect and often involve significant paycuts. If you leave the Biglaw salary earlier in your career (before the year 5 mark), than the net worth and earnings disparities become even harder to make-up.

In other words, attending an elite law school requires that you take on a huge amount of financial risk for a roughly 50% chance of landing a short term job that pays you enough money to actually pay back all the debt it cost you to attend school in the first place. The scenario you describe--getting Biglaw in the first place, surviving for 5 years, paying off your debt and transitioning into a cozy in-house gig that pays 80-100k a year is an incredibly rosy scenario that works out for a relatively small proportion of lawyers and an even smaller proportion of law students.


This may be or may not be true. But you seem to be saying that 77% of people leave by the 5-year mark, and most of them don't have good exit opportunities. Associates are not fired at the 5-or-3 year mark unless they are seriously problematic. Are you telling me this 77% are voluntarily leaving a 200K+ paycheck for crappy jobs?

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby spleenworship » Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:54 pm

Y'alls conversation is interesting (seriously, I think u should keep having it), but i thought i might offer some straight up advice:

OP- I would go Texas. COL is about the same as Phoenix, and u have a scholly so total COA is less than NYU, you would have decent big law shots (in TX), and u would probably be able to relocate to AZ if u wanted to go back.

This assumes u don't get money at U of M.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby ahnhub » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:03 am

sunynp wrote:It isn't as simple as you make it sound. Plenty of people get laidoff or let go because they aren't cutting it. Most people leave because they can't take the hours or they want to have a life. Many biglaw associates are really unhappy and stay just to pay loans. Also people get jobs for a couple of years and then move back home to a smaller city where they can get a top salary and partnership at a local firm. People know they aren't going to make partner- so very few do- so they move on. Dont let the dollar signs fool you about biglaw. If it was a great place to work there wouldn't be 75% turnover.


Huh? I'm not saying it's a great place to work. The poster claimed exit opportunities from Biglaw are largely an illusion. I am saying that probably isn't true, because then people would be sticking around longer than 3 and 5 years . (and there is almost zero incentive for a firm to lay off someone at the 3-or-5 year mark, unless that person literally cannot perform their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to assume most early attrition is voluntary.)
Last edited by ahnhub on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby bk1 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:05 am

ahnhub wrote:Huh? I'm not saying it's a great place to work. The poster claimed exit opportunities from Biglaw are largely an illusion. I am saying that probably isn't true, because then people would be sticking around longer than 3 and 5 years if they didn't have exit opportunities (and there is almost zero incentive for a firm to lay off someone at the 3-or-5 year mark, unless that person literally cannot perform their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to assume most early attrition is voluntary.)


The job might easily be soul-sucking enough that people would voluntary leave even if their exit options aren't spectacular.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby Mitterrand » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:07 am

ahnhub wrote:
sunynp wrote:It isn't as simple as you make it sound. Plenty of people get laidoff or let go because they aren't cutting it. Most people leave because they can't take the hours or they want to have a life. Many biglaw associates are really unhappy and stay just to pay loans. Also people get jobs for a couple of years and then move back home to a smaller city where they can get a top salary and partnership at a local firm. People know they aren't going to make partner- so very few do- so they move on. Dont let the dollar signs fool you about biglaw. If it was a great place to work there wouldn't be 75% turnover.


Huh? I'm not saying it's a great place to work. The poster claimed exit opportunities from Biglaw are largely an illusion. I am saying that probably isn't true, because then people would be sticking around longer than 3 and 5 years if they didn't have exit opportunities (and there is almost zero incentive for a firm to lay off someone at the 3-or-5 year mark, unless that person literally cannot perform their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to assume most early attrition is voluntary.)


Agreed. I'm an 0L so I may be way off base here, but if i had significant loans and was at a 160k job with very poor exit opportunities (Unemployment - 40k at best) I wouldn't leave until I was handed a pink slip.

als2011
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby als2011 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:10 am

ahnhub wrote:
als2011 wrote: The bigger point is, that a lot of things have to go right for you to make it work. Exit options aren't as plentiful or well-paying as most people suspect and often involve significant paycuts. If you leave the Biglaw salary earlier in your career (before the year 5 mark), than the net worth and earnings disparities become even harder to make-up.

In other words, attending an elite law school requires that you take on a huge amount of financial risk for a roughly 50% chance of landing a short term job that pays you enough money to actually pay back all the debt it cost you to attend school in the first place. The scenario you describe--getting Biglaw in the first place, surviving for 5 years, paying off your debt and transitioning into a cozy in-house gig that pays 80-100k a year is an incredibly rosy scenario that works out for a relatively small proportion of lawyers and an even smaller proportion of law students.


This may be or may not be true. But you seem to be saying that 77% of people leave by the 5-year mark, and most of them don't have good exit opportunities. Associates are not fired at the 5-or-3 year mark unless they are seriously problematic. Are you telling me this 77% are voluntarily leaving a 200K+ paycheck for crappy jobs?



What may or may not be true? The attrition rates I am citing have been cited elsewhere and I've provided some articles that elaborate upon them. I can substantiate with further links and articles if you wish. It is also frequently discussed by TLS contributors and if you wish you can read other forums. Not to mention the attrition rate is built into the business model. Its an up-or out model. Either you pull the huge billable hours and make it, or you don't. If you aren't making the cut, a fresh pool of OCI candidates are eagerly waiting to take your place.

Many partners will bluntly tell you (if you ask) that you can on average expect to make it about 2-3 years at these firms. If you are unaware of this, I believe you should consider doing some further research before committing to law school. TLS has several good articles about quality of life, culture, and professional life in Biglaw. Many people do voluntarily leave and many more are let go and pushed out due to cost cutting efforts by the firm, lack of billable hours, poor performance, etc.

Exit opportunities are more difficult to evaluate because of the lack of concrete statistical data that we have pertaining to such opportunities. That said, with so many people leaving firms, competition is fierce, and the general economic climate has become that "good" exit options have become harder to come by as a result of the recent economic downturn. Don't forget you, and the majority of your fellow associates will all be looking for exit options together.

But, lets say you land a solid in-house position. It is also important to recognize that if you are on a 10 year repayment plan and you have borrowed 159k in principle than your monthly payments are 1,890 a month or so (22,680 of post-tax income). If you are on a 20 year repayment plan than your monthly payments are 1,282 a month (15,348 of post-tax income). If you exit into an 80k a year job, those are significant sums to be taken out of your post-tax income.

The big picture I am trying to convey is, that many people look at law school/a legal career solely in terms of reward and fail to consider all the risks associated with it. If you plan on attending, at least have an honest sense of what law school will really cost you and what the status of the legal economy really is.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby ahnhub » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:15 am

bk1 wrote:
ahnhub wrote:Huh? I'm not saying it's a great place to work. The poster claimed exit opportunities from Biglaw are largely an illusion. I am saying that probably isn't true, because then people would be sticking around longer than 3 and 5 years if they didn't have exit opportunities (and there is almost zero incentive for a firm to lay off someone at the 3-or-5 year mark, unless that person literally cannot perform their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to assume most early attrition is voluntary.)


The job might easily be soul-sucking enough that people would voluntary leave even if their exit options aren't spectacular.


Well I guess we're arguing about what constitutes "good" and "spectacular." The poster seemed to be suggesting that 80-100K was the absolute best someone could expect, and that a small handful would get even that. If you were making 200K and your exit opportunity was a crappy 60K job, how awful would your 200K job have to be that you'd take it? At the very least I would postpone the decision as long as possible looking for something better.

Anecdotally, of the four or five people I know who left Biglaw they are much happier now, and strongly encourage me to avoid Biglaw altogether since I will have minimal loans. I have no idea how much money they make, and it's possible they don't realize they couldn't have landed the job they have now without Biglaw.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby sunynp » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:17 am

You must be right. All those asociates voluntarily leave for great jobs making as much or more than they did before or else, why would they leave? Maybe a few would leave for less because they want to never have to work all night or ( 3 nights in a row) again, but I'm sure those people are outliers.

Firms let people go all the time. If they can't trust you to get a deal done they can't use you.
Last edited by sunynp on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

als2011
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby als2011 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:17 am

Mitterrand wrote:
ahnhub wrote:
sunynp wrote:It isn't as simple as you make it sound. Plenty of people get laidoff or let go because they aren't cutting it. Most people leave because they can't take the hours or they want to have a life. Many biglaw associates are really unhappy and stay just to pay loans. Also people get jobs for a couple of years and then move back home to a smaller city where they can get a top salary and partnership at a local firm. People know they aren't going to make partner- so very few do- so they move on. Dont let the dollar signs fool you about biglaw. If it was a great place to work there wouldn't be 75% turnover.


Huh? I'm not saying it's a great place to work. The poster claimed exit opportunities from Biglaw are largely an illusion. I am saying that probably isn't true, because then people would be sticking around longer than 3 and 5 years if they didn't have exit opportunities (and there is almost zero incentive for a firm to lay off someone at the 3-or-5 year mark, unless that person literally cannot perform their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to assume most early attrition is voluntary.)


Agreed. I'm an 0L so I may be way off base here, but if i had significant loans and was at a 160k job with very poor exit opportunities (Unemployment - 40k at best) I wouldn't leave until I was handed a pink slip.


Yes, many people do not wish to leave. If you read the lexisnexis piece about structural changes in the legal economy, it goes into some detail about why (outsourcing, downsizing of firms, the impact of technology and its effect on doc review) many associates are finding themselves unemployed because they are being let go. These are relatively recent developments that are beneficial to the Biglaw model (esp. to partners) because they can produce more work at a cheaper cost. However, this also means that law students and current associates are facing an increasingly challenging economic climate as firms cut the amount of American associates they hire and retain.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby Mitterrand » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:35 am

als2011 wrote:
Mitterrand wrote:
ahnhub wrote:
sunynp wrote:It isn't as simple as you make it sound. Plenty of people get laidoff or let go because they aren't cutting it. Most people leave because they can't take the hours or they want to have a life. Many biglaw associates are really unhappy and stay just to pay loans. Also people get jobs for a couple of years and then move back home to a smaller city where they can get a top salary and partnership at a local firm. People know they aren't going to make partner- so very few do- so they move on. Dont let the dollar signs fool you about biglaw. If it was a great place to work there wouldn't be 75% turnover.


Huh? I'm not saying it's a great place to work. The poster claimed exit opportunities from Biglaw are largely an illusion. I am saying that probably isn't true, because then people would be sticking around longer than 3 and 5 years if they didn't have exit opportunities (and there is almost zero incentive for a firm to lay off someone at the 3-or-5 year mark, unless that person literally cannot perform their job, so it is perfectly reasonable to assume most early attrition is voluntary.)


Agreed. I'm an 0L so I may be way off base here, but if i had significant loans and was at a 160k job with very poor exit opportunities (Unemployment - 40k at best) I wouldn't leave until I was handed a pink slip.


Yes, many people do not wish to leave. If you read the lexisnexis piece about structural changes in the legal economy, it goes into some detail about why (outsourcing, downsizing of firms, the impact of technology and its effect on doc review) many associates are finding themselves unemployed because they are being let go. These are relatively recent developments that are beneficial to the Biglaw model (esp. to partners) because they can produce more work at a cheaper cost. However, this also means that law students and current associates are facing an increasingly challenging economic climate as firms cut the amount of American associates they hire and retain.


The same could be said for a vast majority of industries though. Again, you seem to be operating under the assumption that there is some significantly better alternative out there. Of course there are risks and of course nothing is guarantee, but that's pretty much every industry. You seem to be looking for reasons why law school is a losing proposition. I'm sure structural changes are going on but I doubt that within the next 5 years it will be unattainable for a T6 grads to put in 3-5 years at BIGLAW should they desire. I figure at worst things revert to what they were like in the few years after the recession...in which case every industry is in trouble with law being no exception. Again, tell me what a ~21 year old liberal arts major can do that has the earning potential of going to a T6 with less risk. I don't think anyone here is being unrealistic about their prospects considering this is a thread concerning NYU.

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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby als2011 » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:45 am

The same could be said for a vast majority of industries though. Again, you seem to be operating under the assumption that there is some significantly better alternative out there. Of course there are risks and of course nothing is guarantee, but that's pretty much every industry. You seem to be looking for reasons why law school is a losing proposition. I'm sure structural changes are going on but I doubt that within the next 5 years it will be unattainable for a T6 grads to put in 3-5 years at BIGLAW should they desire. I figure at worst things revert to what they were like in the few years after the recession...in which case every industry is in trouble with law being no exception. Again, tell me what a ~21 year old liberal arts major can do that has the earning potential of going to a T6 with less risk. I don't think anyone here is being unrealistic about their prospects considering this is a thread concerning NYU.[/quote]


Look, its entirely up to them to consider it for themselves. What you say is absolutely true. The one factor that is different about law school, is that by the time this 21 year old is going to be 24, he/she is going to be about $250,000 in debt.

Very few degrees exist that will put you into that kind of indebtedness. Of those that do, very few professions/degrees exist today that ask you to take on that kind of debt and offer you a 50% or slightly better shot of acquiring a job that will actually allow you to repay it. That sort of debt load has the potential to ruin a persons life.

If it came down to one issue, then that would be the biggest one that I would advise anyone making a risk/reward assessment about when considering law school, even NYU.

At the end of the day, its up to the individual to decide. I was simply drawing attention to some economic data that, I believe, should raise redflags about the prospect of going to law school as an automatic path to wealth(which I believe is a common assumption for many young people today).

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Bronck
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby Bronck » Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:47 am

Dude, your rhetoric is extremely hyperbolic.

Mitterrand
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby Mitterrand » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:02 am

Look, its entirely up to them to consider it for themselves. What you say is absolutely true. The one factor that is different about law school, is that by the time this 21 year old is going to be 24, he/she is going to be about $250,000 in debt. Very few degrees exist that will put you into that kind of indebtedness. Of those that do, very few professions/degrees exist today that ask you to take on that kind of debt and offer you a 50% or slightly better shot of acquiring a job that will actually allow you to repay it. That sort of debt load has the potential to ruin a persons life.

Many professional schools will ask you to assume that debt load. Those I know considering medicine or dentistry wish they could escape with the debt burden many law school grads look at. Again, there isn't much you can do today with a bachelors degree that will give you the career earning potential of going to a T6 law school. Unfortunately taking on debt to gain education has become a mainstay of today's society. There are a few who are lucky and can escape it though scholarships, savings, or a wealthy family, but for many people it's one of the few opportunities for upward advancement. Of course you should thoroughly look at your situation and the numbers before taking on such a debt load, but I don't think it helps when you misrepresent certain statistics to make a T6 law school seem a worse proposition than it truly is. Looking at Chicago's recent employment numbers, and speaking with numerous students, you have a significantly better shot than 50/50 to get a BIGLAW job coming out of a T6 school. It's not a guarantee, but this isn't 2009 anymore. In addition, BIGLAW is not the only way to pay off your law school loans. LRAP programs and IBR offer a long term path to debt relief for many students who elect to go into PI for example. When you make statements like the one above you give the impression that students entering a T6 have a 50/50 shot of ever paying back their loans, and if they don't they will have their life ruined. That simply isn't true. There is risk, and you should fully understand that risk before choosing to go to law school, but there is really no need to misrepresent things in the most pessimistic fashion possible.

If it came down to one issue, then that would be the biggest one that I would advise anyone making a risk/reward assessment about when considering law school, even NYU. At the end of the day, its up to the individual to decide. I was simply drawing attention to some economic data that, I believe, should raise redflags about the prospect of going to law school as an automatic path to wealth(which I believe is a common assumption for many young people today).

I don't think anyone here has that impression. Just look at the purpose of this thread.

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sunynp
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby sunynp » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:13 am

(in response to the comment that if the ecominy tanks again, all employment outcomes are bad) Many grads from top schools wish they hadn't gone after they got fired, stealth laidoff or deferred in the recession. (one guy I've seen- he has a blog about law- graduated from NYU, got Lathamed from his job in 2009 and has never worked in law again. He had to move back home to Alabama) I don't think it is hyperbolic to remind people that if they lose the grad gamble, they bid poorly, screw up OCI, or the economy tanks, meaning they don't get biglaw - they are going to be struggling for a long time.

People going into six figures of debt for law school make calculations off a biglaw salary as if they already have it. People make calculations that they have a 50% or 80% chance of getting biglaw - and start making financial decisions as if those numbers are real. They calculate what they would be making when they may never even cross the door of a biglaw firm. Even if you took the extreme figure that 80% of NYU grads who want biglaw get it- what happens if you are in the 20% who doesn't. But at a personal level, you either get the job or you don't. If you don't, was your 100,000 plus gamble worth it?

Just the chance for that kind of money seems worth the risk of 6 figure of debt.

Going to law school just because you think you will score a big payday is a mistake. Going into unreasonable amounts of debt that only a certain limited in supply and highly competitive job will allow you to repay is a big risk.

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skers
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby skers » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:17 am

Also, it should be noted that the small firm hiring partner that's an excellent resource on these forums pegged attrition at small firms at ~55% IIRC.

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:35 pm

Two further points about taxes:

1. You get to claim student loan interest as a deduction, and you can claim that deduction as well as the standard deduction. With the amount of interest you would be paying, that should make some difference.

2. The government will (in effect) pay you $10000 to get married, since then you can claim your spouse.

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skers
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Re: The reality of NYU at Sticker

Postby skers » Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:39 pm

AntipodeanPhil wrote:Two further points about taxes:

1. You get to claim student loan interest as a deduction, and you can claim that deduction as well as the standard deduction. With the amount of interest you would be paying, that should make some difference.

2. The government will (in effect) pay you $10000 to get married, since then you can claim your spouse.


I don't think you can deduct interest if you're making a big law salary.




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