Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

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iCanHazLawSchool
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Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:10 pm

Goals:
I Want to live and work in Boston, although I wouldn't be completely opposed to living and working in NYC. That being said, Go Patriots, Celtics, and Sox.
I Want to have a big law job for 5 years or so in order to pay off debt aggressively at first, and then move on to a smaller firm that will allow me to have some sort of a life.
I Want to minimize additional debt since I have 40k already racked up because of undergrad. It sucks to be poor. I know.

What's going on with CLS?
I'm in at CLS but haven't heard back from financial aid because they are holding my decision hostage! They told me to get extensions for the BC and BU deadlines because they "don't work around other deadlines". Anyway, extensions were granted and I'm hoping CLS will offer something soon. However, I'm pretty pessimistic about what CLS will give me since I'm certainly not one of their stronger applicants and I have read about how stingy they can be.

What do you say? Is CLS worth going to at any cost? What's a reasonable amount of debt anyway?

Thank you so much for your help!!! I really appreciate it since I have to decide by April 20th and I'm completely freaking out.

Edit: 84k and 90k are scholarships, not COA. I didn't really make that clear. Sorry! Also my parents are going to help out with some portion of rent, but I'll likely have to take out some loans to cover that completely.

Edit:

Not sure where people are getting their numbers, but let me clarify. It's not that I'm going to pay sticker for CLS. It's that I just don't know what they have decided for financial aid. My application is still in review.

As far as COA at BC and BU: It's going to be an additional 40k total at either and that's a generous estimate. It takes into account cost-effective loan types (i.e. Perkins and institutional loans) that i have been offered, as well as the fact that my parents will help me out with cost of living (they can cover all of it in Boston, and a portion of it in NYC). Along with my undergrad loans, that leaves me at around 80k total for both BU and BC.
Last edited by iCanHazLawSchool on Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Mr. Somebody » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:27 pm

I think your debt's still going to be very large out of BU/BC, but the difference in biglaw prospects at CLS are like night/day. There's no inbetween? (MVPDNC w/ $$?)

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:34 pm

Paying off 300K in debt and aggressively investing is going to be tough to manage in a five year BigLaw career.

But still Columbia. Graduating BC/BU with 200K+ means BigLaw is a must, might as well go all in.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:40 pm

Mr. Somebody wrote:I think your debt's still going to be very large out of BU/BC, but the difference in biglaw prospects at CLS are like night/day. There's no inbetween? (MVPDNC w/ $$?)


No in between sadly. These are my only options. Since I was positive I wanted to be in Boston, I applied to BC and BU. I only subsequently applied to CLS because my parents forced me to. I was shocked that I got in. You're going to have to clarify the acronym...I'm new here. What can I say!

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Mr. Somebody » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:41 pm

iCanHazLawSchool wrote:
Mr. Somebody wrote:I think your debt's still going to be very large out of BU/BC, but the difference in biglaw prospects at CLS are like night/day. There's no inbetween? (MVPDNC w/ $$?)


No in between sadly. These are my only options. Since I was positive I wanted to be in Boston, I applied to BC and BU. I only subsequently applied to CLS because my parents forced me to. I was shocked that I got in. You're going to have to clarify the acronym...I'm new here. What can I say!


#'s/URM? You may want to consider re-applying. Some other T14's can get you back to Boston w/ ties and might give you $$$

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bk1
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby bk1 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:44 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Paying off 300K in debt and aggressively investing is going to be tough to manage in a five year BigLaw career.

But still Columbia. Graduating BC/BU with 200K+ means BigLaw is a must, might as well go all in.


These numbers seem off. I have no idea what the interest on OP's UG loans is, but BC (by itself) is going to be something like 110k debt. CLS by itself is going to be at least 270k+.

Honestly OP I think your options all suck. BU/BC are going to put you 150k+ in the hole when coupled with your UG debt. CLS is going to be over 300k+. You have to keep in mind that only 20% of biglaw associates actually make it to their 5th year and your CLS debt is going to take more than 5 years to pay off (meaning no investing at all). This creates a substantial risk that you won't last in biglaw long enough to pay off your CLS debt. On the other hand, BU/BC aren't spectacular for biglaw. On top of that, I wouldn't recommend CLS at sticker (or any T14 at sticker) unless you were okay with working in NYC. Can you get Boston from CLS? Very possibly, but most biglaw jobs are in NYC and you need to be prepared for the eventuality that you have middling grades wherever you go to school.

What's your GPA? I honestly think your best plan of action is to work for a while and pay off your UG debt and maybe even save up some. In the meantime, if your GPA makes scholarship money to the T14 a possibility retake so that you can minimize the cost of the T14. If I had to choose I'd probably take BU/BC. Your chances of biglaw are much lower than CLS but you are less fucked by the debt since even if you got biglaw from CLS you have a decent chance of not lasting in biglaw long enough to pay down your debt.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:46 pm

Mr. Somebody wrote:
iCanHazLawSchool wrote:
Mr. Somebody wrote:I think your debt's still going to be very large out of BU/BC, but the difference in biglaw prospects at CLS are like night/day. There's no inbetween? (MVPDNC w/ $$?)


No in between sadly. These are my only options. Since I was positive I wanted to be in Boston, I applied to BC and BU. I only subsequently applied to CLS because my parents forced me to. I was shocked that I got in. You're going to have to clarify the acronym...I'm new here. What can I say!


#'s/URM? You may want to consider re-applying. Some other T14's can get you back to Boston w/ ties and might give you $$$


I'm not going to be re-applying. I can't really afford to start paying back my undergrad loans in the interim and I can't put that on my parents. To answer your second question, yes I'm a URM but I'm not interested in discussing whether that's why I got into CLS or received scholarships so I won't share my numbers for that reason since I'm sure that would be likely to elicit some discussion of that nature.

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bk1
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby bk1 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:50 pm

iCanHazLawSchool wrote:I'm not going to be re-applying. I can't really afford to start paying back my undergrad loans in the interim and I can't put that on my parents.


You really can't get a job and start repaying your loans?

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Mr. Somebody » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:51 pm

iCanHazLawSchool wrote:
Mr. Somebody wrote:
iCanHazLawSchool wrote:
Mr. Somebody wrote:I think your debt's still going to be very large out of BU/BC, but the difference in biglaw prospects at CLS are like night/day. There's no inbetween? (MVPDNC w/ $$?)


No in between sadly. These are my only options. Since I was positive I wanted to be in Boston, I applied to BC and BU. I only subsequently applied to CLS because my parents forced me to. I was shocked that I got in. You're going to have to clarify the acronym...I'm new here. What can I say!


#'s/URM? You may want to consider re-applying. Some other T14's can get you back to Boston w/ ties and might give you $$$


I'm not going to be re-applying. I can't really afford to start paying back my undergrad loans in the interim and I can't put that on my parents. To answer your second question, yes I'm a URM but I'm not interested in discussing whether that's why I got into CLS or received scholarships so I won't share my numbers for that reason since I'm sure that would be likely to elicit some discussion of that nature.


If you are a URM reverse-splitter you could be saving tens of thousands of dollars by retaking/reapplying. Just keep that in mind... as it is now I guess if you have to pick I'd go with CLS. But I agree with others that these are both scary options

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Tom Joad
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:54 pm

So you are officially in at Columbia or held? Your post isn't clear to me or I can't read.

iCanHazLawSchool
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 5:54 pm

Tom Joad wrote:So you are officially in at Columbia or held? Your post isn't clear to me or I can't read.


sorry, it's unclear. I'm in, I'm just waiting on financial aid. Thanks : )

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Tom Joad
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Tom Joad » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:02 pm

iCanHazLawSchool wrote:
Tom Joad wrote:So you are officially in at Columbia or held? Your post isn't clear to me or I can't read.


sorry, it's unclear. I'm in, I'm just waiting on financial aid. Thanks : )

Then I would be all over CLS. It is the closest thing to HYS secure.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby envisciguy » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:05 pm

I think you
iCanHazLawSchool wrote:
Mr. Somebody wrote:
iCanHazLawSchool wrote:
Mr. Somebody wrote:I think your debt's still going to be very large out of BU/BC, but the difference in biglaw prospects at CLS are like night/day. There's no inbetween? (MVPDNC w/ $$?)


No in between sadly. These are my only options. Since I was positive I wanted to be in Boston, I applied to BC and BU. I only subsequently applied to CLS because my parents forced me to. I was shocked that I got in. You're going to have to clarify the acronym...I'm new here. What can I say!


#'s/URM? You may want to consider re-applying. Some other T14's can get you back to Boston w/ ties and might give you $$$


I'm not going to be re-applying. I can't really afford to start paying back my undergrad loans in the interim and I can't put that on my parents. To answer your second question, yes I'm a URM but I'm not interested in discussing whether that's why I got into CLS or received scholarships so I won't share my numbers for that reason since I'm sure that would be likely to elicit some discussion of that nature.


I think you misunderstood why people asked about you being URM. They don't want to discuss whether that's what got you into CLS, they want to use that info along with your #s to tell you if retaking the LSAT would give you a much better chance at money and likely suggest other places you could consider should you choose to sit out a cycle. I realize you're not likely to do that, but I just wanted to point out that nobody is trying to belittle your accomplishments, just give you more constructive advice that requires more info to give.

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bk1
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby bk1 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:05 pm

I think both cases are risky but I'm basically 50/50 on either.

CLS - You aren't going to be investing anything since you will need to pay down a ton of loans while in biglaw. I'd also say you need to be okay with working in NYC if that's what it takes to get biglaw. But the real kicker is it's going to take you 5+ years to pay off your CLS debt and only 20% of biglaw associates make it that far. So you have a very real chance of not lasting long enough to pay down your debt.

BU/BC - Much lower chance at biglaw, but you're not going to be fucked by debt. Even if you end up at a small firm making 40-50k/year you will be able to be debt free in 10 years.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:17 pm

bk1 wrote:I think both cases are risky but I'm basically 50/50 on either.

CLS - You aren't going to be investing anything since you will need to pay down a ton of loans while in biglaw. I'd also say you need to be okay with working in NYC if that's what it takes to get biglaw. But the real kicker is it's going to take you 5+ years to pay off your CLS debt and only 20% of biglaw associates make it that far. So you have a very real chance of not lasting long enough to pay down your debt.

BU/BC - Much lower chance at biglaw, but you're not going to be fucked by debt. Even if you end up at a small firm making 40-50k/year you will be able to be debt free in 10 years.


Thanks for sharing your opinion. You actually seem to understand the decision I'm facing here. I'm sorry my post was so confusing, I hope I have clarified it since.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:24 pm

I think you misunderstood why people asked about you being URM. They don't want to discuss whether that's what got you into CLS, they want to use that info along with your #s to tell you if retaking the LSAT would give you a much better chance at money and likely suggest other places you could consider should you choose to sit out a cycle. I realize you're not likely to do that, but I just wanted to point out that nobody is trying to belittle your accomplishments, just give you more constructive advice that requires more info to give.


No, I understood why it was being asked. It's just that I'm not considering re-applying. Of course, I could get some type of job while i wait for the next cycle, but that wouldn't make much of a dent on my debt, especially since I'm not likely to earn very much. Every year that I would work before law school would also entail a year of forgone income after law school, so in terms of debt, it's best to be earning a higher salary as soon as possible.

Having said that, you're right in detecting that I'm a little sensitive about people saying nasty things. That's why I wanted to stay away from any sort of discussion about numbers -- not because I'm assuming that's why the question would be asked, but because I'm generally weary of some other jerk butting in just to offer their rude remarks. I've had just enough of that from some people I know.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby envisciguy » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:32 pm

That's completely understandable. In terms of actually answering your question, I'd lean toward CLS a little bit, but the money from the other schools would be hard to pass up. I think once you find out about aid from CLS it should be an easier decision. If you get any reasonable amount of aid, I think CLS becomes the best choice easily.

Also - have you visited any or all of the schools to see if one really jumps out at you as "the right choice"? It won't help as much as the costs, but it could help a little bit.
Last edited by envisciguy on Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:35 pm

envisciguy wrote:That's completely understandable. In terms of actually answering your question, I'd lean toward CLS a little bit, but the money from the other schools would be hard to pass up. I think once you find out about aid from CLS it should be an easier decision. If you get any reasonable amount of aid, I think CLS becomes the best choice easily.


Yea, that's generally how I'm feeling. Thanks for your input!

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby DaftAndDirect » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:35 pm

bk1 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Paying off 300K in debt and aggressively investing is going to be tough to manage in a five year BigLaw career.

But still Columbia. Graduating BC/BU with 200K+ means BigLaw is a must, might as well go all in.


These numbers seem off. I have no idea what the interest on OP's UG loans is, but BC (by itself) is going to be something like 110k debt. CLS by itself is going to be at least 270k+.

Honestly OP I think your options all suck. BU/BC are going to put you 150k+ in the hole when coupled with your UG debt. CLS is going to be over 300k+. You have to keep in mind that only 20% of biglaw associates actually make it to their 5th year and your CLS debt is going to take more than 5 years to pay off (meaning no investing at all). This creates a substantial risk that you won't last in biglaw long enough to pay off your CLS debt. On the other hand, BU/BC aren't spectacular for biglaw. On top of that, I wouldn't recommend CLS at sticker (or any T14 at sticker) unless you were okay with working in NYC. Can you get Boston from CLS? Very possibly, but most biglaw jobs are in NYC and you need to be prepared for the eventuality that you have middling grades wherever you go to school.

What's your GPA? I honestly think your best plan of action is to work for a while and pay off your UG debt and maybe even save up some. In the meantime, if your GPA makes scholarship money to the T14 a possibility retake so that you can minimize the cost of the T14. If I had to choose I'd probably take BU/BC. Your chances of biglaw are much lower than CLS but you are less fucked by the debt since even if you got biglaw from CLS you have a decent chance of not lasting in biglaw long enough to pay down your debt.


The amount of time an associate will last in Big Law seems to be popping up all over the place. Are exit eptions from Big Law after 3 to 4 years really so low-salaried that you can't continue to make a decent dent in your loans? What are former Big Law associates typically getting paid at their new gigs (let's assume they're not going in to PI or government but to a smaller firm or in-house)?

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby sunynp » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:39 pm

OP - will you at least take the weekend to consider whether you can reapply? You didn't apply to enough schools. It can really be worth it to reapply and get into a top school with scholarship money.

Even if you need to defer loans, you can take some classes at community college. I think as long as you are in school you can defer payment. Go to Community college with enough credits to allow you to defer and then also work. Or find some other way to defer. I know it isn't optimal, but it really may be your best move.

Please at least seriously consider applying next year. I am trying to give you good advice here. I think you need to learn more about the admissions process.

Having said that, if you have to choose, go for Columbia. You have to get biglaw and that is your best chance out of these options.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:41 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:
bk1 wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Paying off 300K in debt and aggressively investing is going to be tough to manage in a five year BigLaw career.

But still Columbia. Graduating BC/BU with 200K+ means BigLaw is a must, might as well go all in.


These numbers seem off. I have no idea what the interest on OP's UG loans is, but BC (by itself) is going to be something like 110k debt. CLS by itself is going to be at least 270k+.

Honestly OP I think your options all suck. BU/BC are going to put you 150k+ in the hole when coupled with your UG debt. CLS is going to be over 300k+. You have to keep in mind that only 20% of biglaw associates actually make it to their 5th year and your CLS debt is going to take more than 5 years to pay off (meaning no investing at all). This creates a substantial risk that you won't last in biglaw long enough to pay off your CLS debt. On the other hand, BU/BC aren't spectacular for biglaw. On top of that, I wouldn't recommend CLS at sticker (or any T14 at sticker) unless you were okay with working in NYC. Can you get Boston from CLS? Very possibly, but most biglaw jobs are in NYC and you need to be prepared for the eventuality that you have middling grades wherever you go to school.

What's your GPA? I honestly think your best plan of action is to work for a while and pay off your UG debt and maybe even save up some. In the meantime, if your GPA makes scholarship money to the T14 a possibility retake so that you can minimize the cost of the T14. If I had to choose I'd probably take BU/BC. Your chances of biglaw are much lower than CLS but you are less fucked by the debt since even if you got biglaw from CLS you have a decent chance of not lasting in biglaw long enough to pay down your debt.


The amount of time an associate will last in Big Law seems to be popping up all over the place. Are exit options from Big Law after 3 to 4 years really so low-salaried that you can't continue to make a decent dent in your loans? What are former Big Law associates typically getting paid at their new gigs (let's assume they're not going in to PI or government but to a smaller firm or in-house)?


That's an excellent point. My reasoning for going into big law is to take a big bite out of the debt. I don't think it would be a crisis situation if I couldn't eliminate it completely in 5 years. I also wouldn't go into PI or government, so my ability to pay back loans at a smaller firm does become relevant.

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Mr. Somebody
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Mr. Somebody » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:44 pm

sunynp wrote:OP - will you at least take the weekend to consider whether you can reapply? You didn't apply to enough schools. It can really be worth it to reapply and get into a top school with scholarship money.

Even if you need to defer loans, you can take some classes at community college. I think as long as you are in school you can defer payment. Go to Community college with enough credits to allow you to defer and then also work. Or find some other way to defer. I know it isn't optimal, but it really may be your best move.

Please at least seriously consider applying next year. I am trying to give you good advice here. I think you need to learn more about the admissions process.

Having said that, if you have to choose, go for Columbia. You have to get biglaw and that is your best chance out of these options.


+1. Take the weekend to calculate what kind of schollies you could potentially get at other T14, given Columbia's stinginess. Use LSN. See if that money will outweigh the cost of waiting another year and paying UG loans.

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby iCanHazLawSchool » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:50 pm

Mr. Somebody wrote:
sunynp wrote:OP - will you at least take the weekend to consider whether you can reapply? You didn't apply to enough schools. It can really be worth it to reapply and get into a top school with scholarship money.

Even if you need to defer loans, you can take some classes at community college. I think as long as you are in school you can defer payment. Go to Community college with enough credits to allow you to defer and then also work. Or find some other way to defer. I know it isn't optimal, but it really may be your best move.

Please at least seriously consider applying next year. I am trying to give you good advice here. I think you need to learn more about the admissions process.

Having said that, if you have to choose, go for Columbia. You have to get biglaw and that is your best chance out of these options.


+1. Take the weekend to calculate what kind of schollies you could potentially get at other T14, given Columbia's stinginess. Use LSN. See if that money will outweigh the cost of waiting another year and paying UG loans.


Would you argue then that I should forgo Columbia even if they offer a comparable (although probably less generous) financial aid package?

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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby bk1 » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:50 pm

DaftAndDirect wrote:The amount of time an associate will last in Big Law seems to be popping up all over the place. Are exit eptions from Big Law after 3 to 4 years really so low-salaried that you can't continue to make a decent dent in your loans? What are former Big Law associates typically getting paid at their new gigs (let's assume they're not going in to PI or government but to a smaller firm or in-house)?


I know rayiner said something like 100-180k (I'm not sure where he got his data). According to Robert Half Legal, an in-house counsel with 3 years of experience barely cracks 6 figures on average (http://www.roberthalflegal.com/FreeResources). Even with raises and assuming higher than average, it's gonna be a stretch for in-house to get up to 160k. That's pre tax which means only about 100k post tax and the same as a first year biglaw associate. A 5th year biglaw associate (with lockstep raises/bonuses) makes 250k pre tax which comes out to 150k post tax.

When you're looking at paying back 300k debt at graduation, these differences become pretty huge.

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Nelson
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Re: Help me people! BU (84k) vs. BC (90k) vs. Columbia (unknown)

Postby Nelson » Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:51 pm

I don't think OP is at risk of striking out at Columbia. A diversity candidate at Columbia is as close to a sure thing for biglaw as there can possibly be. I would be much less confident about OP's chances from below median at BU/BC. If this is a binary choice between these two options, Columbia at sticker has much less risk involved than BU/BC.




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