How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

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sunynp
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby sunynp » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:12 pm

justonemoregame wrote:LST has done this for all law schools:

--LinkRemoved--


Also, Georgetown's calculator:

--LinkRemoved--

Thanks. I'm thinking of doing some comparison of debt and number of sa in target markets.

Me personally , knowing how tough it is to get big law. I would not take on much debt. Maybe comparing debt with hard numbers of a available sa in an area might help.
I think 0ls over estimate market paying jobs when considering debt.

BtW - sa means summer associate. Ite means in this economy - but it is dated now. It was useful around the time things crashed. But I don't foresee dramatic improvement.

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justonemoregame
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby justonemoregame » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:31 pm

One thing everybody could probably agree upon is that sticker price becomes less and less worth it as tuition keeps increasing.

Some great data on historic trends in tuition increases since 2005:

--LinkRemoved--

I think this analysis stops short at the 2010 entering class, so it's worse now.

FWIW, I've decided not attend my T13 - probably would've been looking at ~230K, but I'm an old and have other options

als2011
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby als2011 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:35 pm

rickgrimes69 wrote:
Wakelaw15 wrote:I would personally not attend a T14 unless I could do it for less than $100k in loans for all three years.


The rule of thumb is generally this: don't take on more debt then you plan to make your first year. So for those shooting for Biglaw, your ideal max debt load would be roughly $160k at graduation. If I had to put a number to it, that's about the most I'd personally feel comfortable with taking out ITE.


I'm inclined to agree with not attending unless I could do it for less than $100k. That was my original threshold in deciding whether or not to take a seat at a T14. The rule of thumb is to not take on more debt than what you plan to make the first year. However, 160k a year is an ideal outcome coming out of law school.

First, one simply has to look at NALP and ABA data to realize that, especially in recent years, only about half of a T14 class or so is going to receive a Biglaw salary (even Penn clocked in at 55% this year if I'm not mistaken). Second, not all T14 alums who got Biglaw got market salary when they graduated. And third, you must also consider your ability to sustain that income over the years. Attrition rates are high out of Biglaw and studies suggest that 4 out of 5 associates leave their initial firm by year 5. Even if you land an in-house job after leaving your firm (a good outcome), you are still going to experience a salary reduction which will inevitably impact your ability to repay your loans.

I would argue that you should not be calculating an acceptable level of debt based solely on an ideal outcome that a T14 law school may produce, but rather considering a range of possible outcomes going to school (including unemployment) and building a better risk model based on that.

My own thinking was, if all else failed, and I had to return to my prior job, what kind of debt load could I sustain on that sort of salary.

DrewPBottom
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby DrewPBottom » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:24 am

For what it's worth: Before I went to law school, I was quite a bit more debt-averse than the average forumite. Even so, I was very tempted to go to my top choice (mid-T14) with minimal scholarship over a lower T14 school. At the end of the day, however, I knew I wanted to do government work, so I went for the cheaper (but still excellent) school. I am grateful for my choice every day. The minimal debt I have compared to my co-workers enables me to do so much more with my life than I would have otherwise.

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moonman157
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby moonman157 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:56 am

DrewPBottom wrote:For what it's worth: Before I went to law school, I was quite a bit more debt-averse than the average forumite. Even so, I was very tempted to go to my top choice (mid-T14) with minimal scholarship over a lower T14 school. At the end of the day, however, I knew I wanted to do government work, so I went for the cheaper (but still excellent) school. I am grateful for my choice every day. The minimal debt I have compared to my co-workers enables me to do so much more with my life than I would have otherwise.


Do you think you would have made the same decision if you didn't know that you wanted to work in government, or if you didn't want to do government work at all? It's your last sentence that really has me re-evaluating my law school application strategy

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Renne Walker
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby Renne Walker » Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:16 am

The simple answer to your question is that the “worthwhile” equation depends on grades. There are firms making offers to those with median grades because of their T14 status. Firms also place a lot of weight with non-T14ers who have honors such as Order of the Coif, cum laude, LR. Either way, it is a gamble, one dependent on grades.

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DaleCooper
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby DaleCooper » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:27 pm

justonemoregame wrote:FWIW, I've decided not attend my T13


"T13"? What's so bad about Cornell, aside from the weather?

Crazy TLSers and their crazy T-something-other-than-14s...

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PaulKriske
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby PaulKriske » Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:39 pm

DaleCooper wrote:
justonemoregame wrote:FWIW, I've decided not attend my T13


"T13"? What's so bad about Cornell, aside from the weather?

Crazy TLSers and their crazy T-something-other-than-14s...



normally, t13 excludes georgetttown.

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rickgrimes69
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Re: How much scholly would it take to make Lower T14 worthwhile?

Postby rickgrimes69 » Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:31 pm

als2011 wrote:
rickgrimes69 wrote:
Wakelaw15 wrote:I would personally not attend a T14 unless I could do it for less than $100k in loans for all three years.


The rule of thumb is generally this: don't take on more debt then you plan to make your first year. So for those shooting for Biglaw, your ideal max debt load would be roughly $160k at graduation. If I had to put a number to it, that's about the most I'd personally feel comfortable with taking out ITE.


I'm inclined to agree with not attending unless I could do it for less than $100k. That was my original threshold in deciding whether or not to take a seat at a T14. The rule of thumb is to not take on more debt than what you plan to make the first year. However, 160k a year is an ideal outcome coming out of law school.

First, one simply has to look at NALP and ABA data to realize that, especially in recent years, only about half of a T14 class or so is going to receive a Biglaw salary (even Penn clocked in at 55% this year if I'm not mistaken). Second, not all T14 alums who got Biglaw got market salary when they graduated. And third, you must also consider your ability to sustain that income over the years. Attrition rates are high out of Biglaw and studies suggest that 4 out of 5 associates leave their initial firm by year 5. Even if you land an in-house job after leaving your firm (a good outcome), you are still going to experience a salary reduction which will inevitably impact your ability to repay your loans.

I would argue that you should not be calculating an acceptable level of debt based solely on an ideal outcome that a T14 law school may produce, but rather considering a range of possible outcomes going to school (including unemployment) and building a better risk model based on that.

My own thinking was, if all else failed, and I had to return to my prior job, what kind of debt load could I sustain on that sort of salary.


You are correct that 160k is an ideal outcome and one has to consider the risk involved. But at a certain point, a fuckton of debt is a fuckton of debt. You'll need Biglaw to pay off $90k just like you'll need it to pay off $100k or $160k. If I wasn't sure I had a decent shot at Biglaw, my ideal debt load would fall closer to the $60k mark - again, about what you'd expect to make your first year (in an ideal scenario).

Also keep in mind that while your point about retention rates in biglaw is completely correct and something to be considered, nobody's saying you have to be debt free by year 5 when you decide to exit out. Even 3 years of Biglaw can be enough to pay back a significant chunk. Consider the following conservative scenario:

You work Biglaw for 3 years in NYC making $160k each year (this is discounting raises and bonuses). That leaves you with just about $100k in disposable income after taxes. From my experience, 50-60k (depending on your preferences) is more than enough to live comfortably in NYC. You won't be living in luxury, but you won't be wanting of income. That leaves you with an extra $40-50k per year you can put towards your loans. If you plan to exit Biglaw after three years, you could potentially be nearly debt free by that point.

Not to mention, the exit options you have coming from a Biglaw gig will be much better than they would have been otherwise. You might not be making six figures, but you'll make enough to easily pay back the sub-$50k in loans you'll still owe. Basically, my point is this: if you still have soul-crushing debt after three to five years in Biglaw, you lived far beyond your means and did something wrong. Kids paying sticker might have a harder time with this plan but frankly, I think paying sticker at anywhere outside of HYS is pretty silly ITE.




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