WhatOurBodiesAreFor wrote: somewhatwayward wrote:
I think a somewhat tenuous argument can be made for T14 at sticker, but I don't think you are making it if you think that your chances of not having a good outcome are "very small" (so I get that you don't think they're "very, very small"
This is not the basis of my reasoning. You guys have called me out on the "feeling" thing enough; you should know this.
Well it is pretty much impossible for us to make an argument based on your feelings, so there is no way to have a rational debate about it. The tricky thing about feeling that if you just work really hard, you will have a good outcome is that everyone feels that way! Do you really think anyone expects to land in the bottom of the class? I bet 95% of people expect to be above median going into law school.
somewhatwayward wrote:But unless you think 25-50% = "very small", then you are not acknowledging the risk you are taking, so you are not making a rational argument. Also, you must acknowledge that even if you land in the 50-75% by getting big law (which comprise a lot more than half of the good outcomes) you still may not be able to pay back 200K+ bc of turnover in big law.
How is that reasoning logical? Even 50% biglaw and 1% of another good outcome would force at least the bolded to be 25-49%. I understood what you were saying in that convoluted mess, that it's not rational to take on the risk because you think your chances are small, but - in addition to my comment above - I'll say that it's not like if you strike out you'll be doomed to a life of misery automatically. Pick a T14 that has a good LRAP program? In essence, by the "very small" thing I mean to say that the likelihood of a life of doom and misery solely because I'm paying Michigan sticker is very little (I definitely concede that there's a chance mind you)
Well Mich isn't placing 50% of the class into big law and clerkships. It's like 35-38% into firms of 101+ and 10% into clerkships. But I was just estimating a bad outcome because it is hard to know the outcomes of the other ~30% who are employed but not in big law or clerkships. Some are probably happily employed in the PI/small firm jobs they were seeking, and some are probably miserably employed in those jobs, worried about their dependence on LRAP and IBR. I don't think there is data on this, but I would also guess that there is some correlation between the amount of scholarship you received and having a good outcome. Thus, the people on IBR and LRAP also may have the highest debt. But even if the sticker people are evenly spread throughout the people who can afford their debt and the people who can't, there's still a lot of people who are dependent on these programs to service their debt.
Anyway, I know your point is that you won't be miserable if you are depending on IBR and LRAP. There are several reasons that this is a very bad way to think about it unless you are gunning for PI (although PI, bc of PSLF, is super competitive). If you are going into PSLF-eligible PI, your debt will be forgiven with no tax on the forgiveness after ten years in PI (as I said, you still take risks with this program: getting and keeping a PI job, but it is clearly superior to the other possibilities). If you are in a non-PI job, you make IBR payments for 25 years and then your debt is forgiven but as you must know you pay tax on that forgiveness. If your payments have been very low all that time, your debt will have grown a lot; interest accrues but does not capitalize as long as you don't leave the program, so it is not as bad as compounded interest would be but the debt can still be very large. Now there is an insolvency exception that says you can only be taxed on forgiveness of indebtedness to the extent that the fair mkt value of your assets exceeds your liabilities. That may sound good, but think about it for a second. You are now 50 years old, and hopefully you have been saving for retirement, your kids' college, bought a home (but see my next point...). Unfortunately, all those things count as assets, so you won't be able to take as much advantage of the insolvency exception as you would if you had none of those things. Basically the "tax bomb" punishes people for saving for retirement, kids' college, buying a home etc. Sure, you can decide to not do any of those things, but that is a big sacrifice, especially not saving for retirement! For another thing, it is very hard to get loans, for cars, homes, etc, when you have 200K in debt hanging over your head. This is the situation you will be in for 25 years. Lastly, we don't know if it will still be around and what form it will take in two decades.
You should not rely on IBR to make you feel okay about paying way too much for law school. That is why I am so torn about having it. We need it for people who are already hopelessly indebted, but every year law schools unethically advertise it to induce students to feel safe with the risk of taking out six figures of debt. IBR is a safety net, not a plan for paying for law school.
somewhatwayward wrote:I mean, you don't have to justify your choices to me, but spouting off this stuff about how taking this huge debt "feels" right and your chance of a bad outcome is "very small" in other people's threads is encouraging other people to ignore these risks, and we are going to challenge you on that.
How can you honestly maintain that my stance on this issue gets the same respect as yours in these threads? I want a debate and I expect (want) you guys to disagree with me because this is an issue that needs to be hammered out, as there is no TCR and the more and more we talk about it the better readers (and me) can evaluate this decision. But you guys do more than disagree. You chastise anyone who shares my view.
You are right that they don't get the same respect, but the reason is that we are fighting some serious delusion on this board. I don't agree with doing it in a flippant way and I generally try to reason rather than just be dismissive. It is not the fault of the prospective students as I think most of us on the other side have been in that position and understand that perspective. We were raised to believe more education is always better and will lead to an upper-middle class lifestyle and also to pursue prestige and achievement, and it appears that going to a prestigious law school will set us for the stable career and the prestige/achievement. But law schools are taking advantage of that naivete.