need help choosing a law school

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PennStateCivic
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby PennStateCivic » Thu May 03, 2012 1:10 am

in case i was unclear, i know my odds of working to be top 5% are slim. what i meant was once i get into a career i feel i would be able to work up from wherever i end up. and honestly as long as i can afford a car, decent place to live, and be able to pay on my loans i will be happy. if i start at 60k roughly or even 50k thats fine as long as i have the CHANCE to earn 100k with about 5 or 10 years experience. i know attorneys that went to dickinson and duquesne that are doing very well now that they are established and i want to know which school/option would make the most sense for me. both schools have pros and cons compared to the other and i just need some guidance. i'm really stressed cause its a tough call and i need to decide eventually. going to tour both schools though and hopefully that will help the decision cause i need to at least like the school i go to.

timbs4339
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby timbs4339 » Thu May 03, 2012 1:23 am

PennStateCivic wrote:in case i was unclear, i know my odds of working to be top 5% are slim. what i meant was once i get into a career i feel i would be able to work up from wherever i end up. and honestly as long as i can afford a car, decent place to live, and be able to pay on my loans i will be happy. if i start at 60k roughly or even 50k thats fine as long as i have the CHANCE to earn 100k with about 5 or 10 years experience. i know attorneys that went to dickinson and duquesne that are doing very well now that they are established and i want to know which school/option would make the most sense for me. both schools have pros and cons compared to the other and i just need some guidance. i'm really stressed cause its a tough call and i need to decide eventually. going to tour both schools though and hopefully that will help the decision cause i need to at least like the school i go to.


I guess the first question is, how much undergrad debt do you have now, and what is your total cost of attendance at the two schools you're looking at?

r6_philly
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby r6_philly » Thu May 03, 2012 1:46 am

PennStateCivic wrote:in case i was unclear, i know my odds of working to be top 5% are slim. what i meant was once i get into a career i feel i would be able to work up from wherever i end up. and honestly as long as i can afford a car, decent place to live, and be able to pay on my loans i will be happy. if i start at 60k roughly or even 50k thats fine as long as i have the CHANCE to earn 100k with about 5 or 10 years experience. i know attorneys that went to dickinson and duquesne that are doing very well now that they are established and i want to know which school/option would make the most sense for me. both schools have pros and cons compared to the other and i just need some guidance. i'm really stressed cause its a tough call and i need to decide eventually. going to tour both schools though and hopefully that will help the decision cause i need to at least like the school i go to.


I guess you are overestimate the chance to start at 60k get any kind of legal job.

Yes there are attorneys 10-15 years out that are doing very well. How many are there? How many grads are not doing well? Also they went to school at a time when few people are getting into the market.

But I respect that you are simply asking about the said schools. Best of luck OP.

PennStateCivic
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby PennStateCivic » Thu May 03, 2012 7:24 am

i currently owe approx 40k or so and dickinson is a lil more than 38k and duq before scholarship is around 34k but i'm gettin a 12k scholarship to duq and my fafsa should be around 25k ish.

timbs4339
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby timbs4339 » Thu May 03, 2012 3:23 pm

PennStateCivic wrote:i currently owe approx 40k or so and dickinson is a lil more than 38k and duq before scholarship is around 34k but i'm gettin a 12k scholarship to duq and my fafsa should be around 25k ish.


That is per year?

So a total of 184K at Penn St. including living expenses of 12k per year, and 151K at Duq (again, CoL at 12K per year). Does that sound right?

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flem
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby flem » Thu May 03, 2012 3:25 pm

timbs4339 wrote:
That is per year?

So a total of 184K at Penn St. including living expenses of 12k per year, and 151K at Duq (again, CoL at 12K per year). Does that sound right?


Jesus Rollerblading Christ

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soitgoes9
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby soitgoes9 » Thu May 03, 2012 11:24 pm

That's what the numbers would be. You will be in a very bad debt position. Penn State is the better school but the prospects are not that much better. I would really listen to r6 on everything. It seems like you should go now but you have very little to lose and retake in a few years. We may sound mean but we have your best interest at heart.

PennStateCivic
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby PennStateCivic » Thu May 03, 2012 11:58 pm

well living expenses are covered by my parents so thats a non-issue and i'm liking duquesne for the pittsburgh networking through internships and clerkships. is this a realistic assumption? i feel this could help finding a job and the school seems nice as well, i like the new dean, real down to earth kind of guy.

timbs4339
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby timbs4339 » Fri May 04, 2012 1:13 am

PennStateCivic wrote:well living expenses are covered by my parents so thats a non-issue and i'm liking duquesne for the pittsburgh networking through internships and clerkships. is this a realistic assumption? i feel this could help finding a job and the school seems nice as well, i like the new dean, real down to earth kind of guy.


So you are looking at about 150K at Penn State and 115K at Duq. The real amounts will probably be about 10K higher when you factor in accrued interest during your 3 years in law school and tuition increases.

Networking might help finding A job, but not anywhere that is going to pay enough to pay back your loans. Your most likely starting salary will be 40-50K with incremental raises (no place is going to let you go 40 > 50 > 60 etc. That's biglaw raises). You will have to rely on government income based repayment programs to pay back your loans- but at that point you will be carrying so much debt that the interest will be accruing faster than the loan program is paying down the principal so you will be caught in the "IBR death spiral." I would seriously read up on IBR and PSLF as these are the programs you will be using to pay back your loans. Also consider the political climate in this country right now.

The best choice is to retake. You can IBR 40K of debt for one year much easier than you can IBR 120K or 150K of debt. If you decide to go I think your best bet would be to shoot for a local or state government or public interest job and hope to get on the 10 year government repayment. Having checked out the employment statistics for both schools I cannot recommend either as their placement into qualifying legal employment is dismal. Most students seem to go into very low paying private sector firm jobs that will not qualify for 10 year repayment.

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1776
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Re: need help choosing a law school

Postby 1776 » Sun May 06, 2012 7:43 pm

I went to see Justice Scalia a while back for Duquesne's Centennial. Their Dean was very poorly spoken and unprofessional, and the students I ran in to were stating they would "worry about passing the bar" before looking for a job. Also, Duquesne is a devoted Catholic school, so that's also something to keep in mind. During his speech, the Dean openly said they prefer less qualified Catholics to more qualified, non Catholic students. Don't know if that matters to you or not. Duquesne isn't in a great part of the city. There's a good amount of crime in the surrounding area.

None of the handful of people I know who attended Duquesne have jobs yet (pre graduation), or it took them a few months to find something. Although Duquesne has a better reputation in PGH than it's T4 ranking, it's not placing students well.

I was only slightly above PSU's median and got a pretty nice scholarship, and I had a very doable score. If you really want PSU, and considering your undergrad debt, it may be worth reapplying to receive more money. I wouldn't rely on FAFSA. I got a lot of need based in undergrad, and no need based grants for law school, just loans.

I want to practice in PGH, and I didn't bother applying to Duquesne. It's way overpriced at 34K a year. Pitt, instate, is only 28K. Pitt's a better pick for PGH. If you are at median (159, 3.4), you have a chance at money. I know people with similar or slightly lower who got 6-8K.I think Pitt, at sticker, in state, would be better than Duquesne at 22K a year.

Duquesne's average 25th-75th private sector salary is 45-79. Pitt's is 55-120, with the 50th percentile Duquesne's 75th percentile.

Pitt has a higher employment percentage, is cheaper, and a better value for the PGH market. Penn State is pricey, and is a lot of debt.

I looked at similar schools, but Duquesne wasn't even on my list, even though I want PGH or nearby areas. Just my insight based on my decision with similar schools.




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