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Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:24 pm
by Nickg415
Don't care where I work as long as it pays of the debt. I get that this has been discussed in the past. I just want a straight up tally of what everyone thinks. Additional comments of support or criticism are just icing on the cake.

If you think there should be a third answer let me know and I'll throw it up there in the poll.

I applied ED to UPenn got it so what my other options in terms of law schools are irrelevant. I'm happy with it but I'd be lying if I said wasn't a little nervous.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:34 pm
by empyreanrrv
I don't think you are crazy at all. Everyone has a different level for debt tolerance, and you could do much worse than Penn. Not to say there is no risk involved, but it isn't really comparable to other absurd types of decisions I see thrown around here. Just my two cents.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:43 pm
by banjo
If you really want to be a lawyer, I don't think it's that crazy.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:45 pm
by tnguy03
let's be serious. you have a very good chance to bring in a lucrative career from a top notch school. Probably much better than what you can hope from your current prospects.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:17 pm
by Nickg415
Wow the responses (Even the poll) is a lot more positive than what I anticipated. I expected at least a handful of people to be of the mindset that anything outside of HYS is ludicrous. Either way. I appreciate the responses thus far.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:22 pm
by bfigsan
Penn's a great school and Penn also has an excellent network, which you should't undervalue. Sure it'd be great to get a sholly somewhere else, but it's not a bad idea per se to pay sticker. I would.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:23 pm
by star fox
Yes when you actually think about it (you're taking a 3 year and $250 K gamble that you will make a lot of money) but it's not your fault as that's the system in America today. If you want to be a lawyer you're making the right decision. Best of luck and congrats.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:27 pm
by Aberzombie1892
If you would attend Columbia, Harvard, or Chicago at sticker, Penn at sticker is an acceptable alternative (peer). That being said, I wouldn't recommend spending that kind of money on any kind of law degree. Cornell with a huge scholarship is certainly a preferable alternative, in my opinion.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:49 pm
by helix23
Nickg415 wrote:Wow the responses (Even the poll) is a lot more positive than what I anticipated. I expected at least a handful of people to be of the mindset that anything outside of HYS is ludicrous. Either way. I appreciate the responses thus far.


I am also surprised no one has jumped in here to say 250k+ debt for a 58% chance at biglaw is ludicrous. I am not that familiar with the ED process. Are you really stuck at sticker? Do you get to apply for need? Are you considered for any merit scholarships or does being ED preclude you?

Stealing Nova's format (although tweaking it):
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=penn
•82.4% of graduates were known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs. This figure includes no school-funded jobs.
•58% of graduates were working at firms with 101+ attorneys
•8% of graduates were underemployed.

Your chances at getting the job you need to service your absurd debt is better but not significantly better than a coin flip.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:09 am
by ercmilla
helix23 wrote:
Nickg415 wrote:Wow the responses (Even the poll) is a lot more positive than what I anticipated. I expected at least a handful of people to be of the mindset that anything outside of HYS is ludicrous. Either way. I appreciate the responses thus far.


I am also surprised no one has jumped in here to say 250k+ debt for a 58% chance at biglaw is ludicrous. I am not that familiar with the ED process. Are you really stuck at sticker? Do you get to apply for need? Are you considered for any merit scholarships or does being ED preclude you?

Stealing Nova's format (although tweaking it):
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=penn
•82.4% of graduates were known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs. This figure includes no school-funded jobs.
•58% of graduates were working at firms with 101+ attorneys
•8% of graduates were underemployed.

Your chances at getting the job you need to service your absurd debt is better but not significantly better than a coin flip.


Maybe I'm being nit-picky, but you should include Federal Clerkships as a "good outcome" (~10% per year at UPenn). Many people that grab these sought-after positions follow up their term with biglaw alongside signing bonuses and other goodies. My buddy and college roommate clerked for the supreme court and signed on with a firm that paid all of his law school debt (he paid sticker at a UPenn peer btw). That's the dream (and not realistic), but it happens.

OP - congrats on Penn. I've been considering EDing there as well. I'm of the opinion that we're about to see biglaw pick up again relative to the last few years. It may not ever get to early 2000 levels, but that isn't required to make your investment sound. Markets correct themselves over time. We saw an over-correction occur when the mortgage bubble burst.

When you see the masses run in fear, invest. When you see the masses invest, run in fear. (as a general rule) :lol:

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:23 am
by helix23
ercmilla wrote:
Maybe I'm being nit-picky, but you should include Federal Clerkships as a "good outcome" (~10% per year at UPenn). Many people that grab these sought-after positions follow up their term with biglaw alongside signing bonuses and other goodies. My buddy and college roommate clerked for the supreme court and signed on with a firm that paid all of his law school debt (he paid sticker at a UPenn peer btw). That's the dream (and not realistic), but it happens.


I'll be nit-picky. It's 9.1% for the federal clerkship. That plus our biglaw score is 67.1%. What happens when you hit the bottom 1/3 of your class?

I don't think it's a terrible investment. I'm really just playing devil's advocate here.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:26 am
by tim.jonner
helix23 wrote:
ercmilla wrote:
Maybe I'm being nit-picky, but you should include Federal Clerkships as a "good outcome" (~10% per year at UPenn). Many people that grab these sought-after positions follow up their term with biglaw alongside signing bonuses and other goodies. My buddy and college roommate clerked for the supreme court and signed on with a firm that paid all of his law school debt (he paid sticker at a UPenn peer btw). That's the dream (and not realistic), but it happens.


I'll be nit-picky. It's 9.1% for the federal clerkship. That plus our biglaw score is 67.1%. What happens when you hit the bottom 1/3 of your class?

I don't think it's a terrible investment. I'm really just playing devil's advocate here.


The cats that snag federal clerkships are the same ones that snag big law. It's not two distinct groups. Firms keep offers open.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:26 am
by Bronck
Aberzombie1892 wrote:If you would attend Columbia, Harvard, or Chicago at sticker, Penn at sticker is an acceptable alternative (peer). That being said, I wouldn't recommend spending that kind of money on any kind of law degree. Cornell with a huge scholarship is certainly a preferable alternative, in my opinion.


Trolololol, you're seriously clumping Penn in as a peer with Harvard?

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:29 am
by ercmilla
helix23 wrote:
ercmilla wrote:
Maybe I'm being nit-picky, but you should include Federal Clerkships as a "good outcome" (~10% per year at UPenn). Many people that grab these sought-after positions follow up their term with biglaw alongside signing bonuses and other goodies. My buddy and college roommate clerked for the supreme court and signed on with a firm that paid all of his law school debt (he paid sticker at a UPenn peer btw). That's the dream (and not realistic), but it happens.


I'll be nit-picky. It's 9.1% for the federal clerkship. That plus our biglaw score is 67.1%. What happens when you hit the bottom 1/3 of your class?

I don't think it's a terrible investment. I'm really just playing devil's advocate here.


Lets go a bit further then and say that there is some percentage of the class that doesn't want either a Federal Clerkship or Big Law / couldn't get a federal Clerkship and doesn't want Big Law. What could this percentage be? Who knows. I would speculate at least 10% of the class, but I have nothing to back it up. It's definitely a non-trivial amount. So I would say bottom quarter of class -ish has a "non-optimal" outcome. "non-optimal" still doesn't prove "bad investment".

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:30 am
by CFprez
Imagine someone posting if a top 10 Engineering or Medical school was worth it.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:39 am
by helix23
ercmilla wrote:
helix23 wrote:
ercmilla wrote:
Maybe I'm being nit-picky, but you should include Federal Clerkships as a "good outcome" (~10% per year at UPenn). Many people that grab these sought-after positions follow up their term with biglaw alongside signing bonuses and other goodies. My buddy and college roommate clerked for the supreme court and signed on with a firm that paid all of his law school debt (he paid sticker at a UPenn peer btw). That's the dream (and not realistic), but it happens.


I'll be nit-picky. It's 9.1% for the federal clerkship. That plus our biglaw score is 67.1%. What happens when you hit the bottom 1/3 of your class?

I don't think it's a terrible investment. I'm really just playing devil's advocate here.


Lets go a bit further then and say that there is some percentage of the class that doesn't want either a Federal Clerkship or Big Law / couldn't get a federal Clerkship and doesn't want Big Law. What could this percentage be? Who knows. I would speculate at least 10% of the class, but I have nothing to back it up. It's definitely a non-trivial amount. So I would say bottom quarter of class -ish has a "non-optimal" outcome. "non-optimal" still doesn't prove "bad investment".


I never said it was a bad investment. I provided employment outcomes. It depends on how debt averse you are, but "non-optimal" outcomes do happen and it would suck for that to happen 250 grand deep.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:49 am
by Rahviveh
OP what are your current career and salary prospects? That's something to think about that helped me make my own decisions

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:16 am
by ercmilla
ChampagnePapi wrote:OP what are your current career and salary prospects? That's something to think about that helped me make my own decisions


What career prospects in your opinion should dissuade someone from taking out the debt to fund law school?

Also, salary prospects are difficult to predict at the age most folks make the decision to go to law school (22-26 presumably). They also have relatively low salaries due to entry-level work.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:19 am
by 20130312
CFprez wrote:Imagine someone posting if a top 10 Engineering or Medical school was worth it.

Even business school kids would :shock: at the question.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:27 am
by Dato
helix23 wrote:I am also surprised no one has jumped in here to say 250k+ debt for a 58% chance at biglaw is ludicrous. I am not that familiar with the ED process. Are you really stuck at sticker? Do you get to apply for need? Are you considered for any merit scholarships or does being ED preclude you?

Stealing Nova's format (although tweaking it):
http://www.lstscorereports.com/?school=penn
•82.4% of graduates were known to be employed in long-term, full-time legal jobs. This figure includes no school-funded jobs.
•58% of graduates were working at firms with 101+ attorneys
•8% of graduates were underemployed.

Your chances at getting the job you need to service your absurd debt is better but not significantly better than a coin flip.


This is the kind of ass backward 0L thinking that I find ridiculous.

Side note...Sounds like going to law school might be wrong for you in general. "Don't care as long as it pays the debt" is the kind of mentality that turns half of America's lawyers into 50 year old grey-haired divorcee alcoholics. Do it because you want to, not because you don't care.

But either way I'll entertain your question because the poster I quoted is being even more absurd... Here's why:

Let's look at the breakdown:

(a) 83.9% Full Time long term legal jobs
(b) 9.1% FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS
(c) 8.1% (which you call underemployed) are pretty much all SHORT TERM legal jobs... see point 3 below.

So the 83.9% figure that you turned into 82.4% because "UP TO 1.5% may be employed by the school" is ridiculous for a few reasons:
1. 0% are employed by the school. I know because I go to Penn. There is one former student that is both not a professor and employed by the school, and that person graduated 4 years ago, worked for a few years, and CAME BACK to manage a program.
2. It misleads because it doesn't include the 9.1% of the class employed in FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS, which are taken by folks who EASILY could've gotten big law gigs with their grades.
3. It misleads because it doesn't include the 8.1% in (c), virtually all of which have taken either state clerkships (usually because they are gunning for some of the nations most prestigious DA/PD offices, where state trial level and appellate level clerkships are like GOLD for hiring), or because they have obtained a 2-year fellowship (think skadden fellows... EJW fellows, etc.) with prestigious PI organizations like the ACLU (which doesn't hire pre-bar) or because they have obtained a 2-year fellowship with prestigious PD offices (a la San Francisco).

Add 83.9 to 9.1 to 8.1 and you get 99.1%.

Next, let's address the fact that 69% of the 83.9% (aka 58% of the overall class) that are working in full time legal positions are working big law... to make the math easier, let's deal in integers... 58/84 we'll say. That leaves 26/84 that aren't doing big law.
(1) 6.2% are doing public interest according to LST. Don't think for a second that those who are doing public interest didn't want to. Some are working for the feds (DOJ, SEC, EPA, etc.), some are working at PD/DA/legal aid/immigrant rights/international etc. We came to law school with a passion, and that passion is for service. I would never take a corporate job, and neither would the vast majority of my public-interest minded classmates. My grades would get me a V20 if I so desired, but I don't. So now we're down to 20/84. Of those 20/84 many are doing the 3 year JD/MBA with Wharton, and going back into finance afterward. I can't put a number on it, but I'd guess 5-10% of the class. Let's go with 8%. Now we're down to 12/84. Of the remaining 12% of the class, some had cushy family gigs to begin with in smaller firms, and others had geographical preferences (family reasons or otherwise) that put them in places where they are working for firms with less than 101 attorneys. Some of those firms are boutique firms. You see where I'm going with this. The general consensus here is that you pretty much have to be a terrible interviewer and get bottom 10% grades (B minuses) in ALL your classes to not have a solid shot at a firm gig.

Now that I've put the antidote in the ridiculous TLS koolaid I want to reiterate that firm work sucks. Not many people really look forward to it. They look forward to the paycheck, and they look forward to lateraling out to a cushy in-house gig, or to building a nice nest-egg and then working for the government/PI. The few that are excited about it, that love finance, M&A, transactions, contracts etc. are going into it because they want to make partner. To each his own... I reserve the right to think that they are nuts, but hey, we all are. All I'm saying is analyze your motives. Life is short, and nobody will tell you that being an associate at a NLJ250 firm is living.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:38 am
by Tiago Splitter
tim.jonner wrote:The cats that snag federal clerkships are the same ones that snag big law. It's not two distinct groups. Firms keep offers open.

It's employment nine months out from graduation. There is zero overlap.

Dato wrote:Let's look at the breakdown:

(a) 83.9% Full Time long term legal jobs
(b) 9.1% FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS
(c) 8.1% (which you call underemployed) are pretty much all SHORT TERM legal jobs... see point 3 below.

So the 83.9% figure that you turned into 82.4% because "UP TO 1.5% may be employed by the school" is ridiculous for a few reasons:
1. 0% are employed by the school. I know because I go to Penn. There is one former student that is both not a professor and employed by the school, and that person graduated 4 years ago, worked for a few years, and CAME BACK to manage a program.
2. It misleads because it doesn't include the 9.1% of the class employed in FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS, which are taken by folks who EASILY could've gotten big law gigs with their grades.

Clerkships are considered long term employment.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:48 am
by bluepenguin
1. 0% are employed by the school. I know because I go to Penn. There is one former student that is both not a professor and employed by the school, and that person graduated 4 years ago, worked for


Who gets these?

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:50 am
by 20130312
bluepenguin wrote:
1. 0% are employed by the school. I know because I go to Penn. There is one former student that is both not a professor and employed by the school, and that person graduated 4 years ago, worked for


Who gets these?

Paid by the school =/ employed by the school
Each fellowship pays for one graduate to work for a year as an attorney at a sponsoring public interest organization.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:51 am
by Nickg415
ChampagnePapi wrote:OP what are your current career and salary prospects? That's something to think about that helped me make my own decisions


Well I am finishing my undergrad in Economics. I don't have any relevant econ interns (They have all been law related). I am looking into a potential internship that are econ specific this summer and if law wasn't on my mind I would probably take the tests and be an actuary. But to be honest I wouldn't be content with the work. Law has always intrigued me and I genuinely want to work in law at the highest level I can. So its not so much a question of is going into law a bad idea as I have already decided I want that.

Re: Am I crazy for attending UPenn at sticker (Poll)?

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:52 am
by Dato
Tiago Splitter wrote:
tim.jonner wrote:The cats that snag federal clerkships are the same ones that snag big law. It's not two distinct groups. Firms keep offers open.

It's employment nine months out from graduation. There is zero overlap.

Dato wrote:Let's look at the breakdown:

(a) 83.9% Full Time long term legal jobs
(b) 9.1% FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS
(c) 8.1% (which you call underemployed) are pretty much all SHORT TERM legal jobs... see point 3 below.

So the 83.9% figure that you turned into 82.4% because "UP TO 1.5% may be employed by the school" is ridiculous for a few reasons:
1. 0% are employed by the school. I know because I go to Penn. There is one former student that is both not a professor and employed by the school, and that person graduated 4 years ago, worked for a few years, and CAME BACK to manage a program.
2. It misleads because it doesn't include the 9.1% of the class employed in FEDERAL CLERKSHIPS, which are taken by folks who EASILY could've gotten big law gigs with their grades.

Clerkships are considered long term employment.



With regards to contention 1 (zero overlap) TITCR, although I'm not sure the poster meant to say that they are statistically the same group, but rather that they should be considered as such. I think you're preaching to the choir?

With regards to contention 2, show me on LST where it says that? Either way it doesn't include state clerkships.

I also wanted to add one more thing, which is that Penn has its own fellowships that it gives to PI-folks with select organizations. That should be considered in the 4% "school funded" figure. This should answer bluepenguin's question.