How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Creighton at 40k or UGA/SMU/Tulane at 100k+?

Creighton University, #119, Full Tuition/Fees/Stipend (40k COA)
21
33%
University of Georgia. #34, In-State Tuition (100k COA)
25
39%
Southern Methodist University, #48, 17k (120k COA)
8
13%
Tulane University, #48, 28k (105k COA)
9
14%
ETC (KU/Mizzou/UNL/LSU)
1
2%
 
Total votes: 64

Redfactor
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby Redfactor » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:07 am

*grabs popcorn*

The funny thing is, the sidekick's LSN indicates she is attending NU with a 60k scholarship. Impressive, but not really the sound fiscal decision she and others appear to be preaching for.

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IAFG
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby IAFG » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:12 am

The fruits of your keen sleuthing skills would be somewhat more relevant if the job prospects from any of OP's potential schools were remotely similar to NU's.

Redfactor
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby Redfactor » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:21 am

IAFG wrote:The fruits of your keen sleuthing skills would be somewhat more relevant if the job prospects from any of OP's potential schools were remotely similar to NU's.


I have nothing but good will towards you and honestly hope you get clerkship/biglaw/lrap or whatever your sights are set on, but you have to admit, IF you've really been on these boards for 5 years and you're about making logical, sensible decisions when it comes to law school and debt, then you didn't really practice what you preach when you ED'ed Penn.

Am I wrong?

I am not trying to say OP shouldn't heed your advice, but it appears that not even you heeded your advice. Maybe some understanding about the OP's position on aspiratons and desire since you apparently went through something similar.

(unless you come from money or have a GI Bill or other uncommon means to pay. In that case, call me a twit, too lol)

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IAFG
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby IAFG » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:27 am

I am a 3L so it's a bit late to practice anything different but surely you get that picking out a school involves considering both placement AND debt, right? Just because sticker at Yale is worth it doesn't mean $100k for a state flagship is also worth it? You're imputing hypocrisy where none exists.

Redfactor
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby Redfactor » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:17 am

IAFG wrote:You're imputing hypocrisy where none exists.


When you are writing and berating people about how not to make bad choices when selecting if/which law school they go to, but you've make a similar bad choice and continue to defend it, yeah, I consider that hypocrisy.

Going to an elite law school with a fair chance of biglaw doesn't change how risk vs reward should be evaluated.

But, I have no dog in this fight and am glad you've landed a job. /end


OP, a lot of these are state schools. I don't know them well, but are you factoring in changing residency into the process?

A lot of the potential risk from losing the scholarship at LSU can be mitigated if you are able to and choose to become a resident for your second and third years. Especially since it sounds like leaving home is not big deal. It may help establish ties to the area, too, but I am not sure.

If you establish residency and keep the scholarship, even better.

http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu/admissions/docs/PM-31.pdf

Going 40k COA in debt for law school is not bad, imo. Even if it doesn't give the best odds at someone giving you a lawyer job, most non-law jobs will still be able to pay back the loans. So you're really not going to have to suicide or anything.

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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby WanderingPondering » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:45 am

Rad, being a 3L who has been through the hiring process doesn't excuse your hostility, abrasiveness, and condensing attitude you frequently display on this board.

You make a lot of good points, and are usually right, but how about being a human instead of a caricature. Its unfortunate, as you have a ton of good advice and insight that goes unheeded simply because of your tone.

And I know you were being polite and thoughtful in the beginning of this thread. But the point remains, why not be civil towards your colleagues?


Well now that I've got that out, I'm prepared to be berated for God knows what reason.

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North
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby North » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:38 am

WanderingPondering wrote:Rad, being a 3L who has been through the hiring process doesn't excuse your hostility, abrasiveness, and condensing attitude you frequently display on this board.

You make a lot of good points, and are usually right, but how about being a human instead of a caricature. Its unfortunate, as you have a ton of good advice and insight that goes unheeded simply because of your tone.

And I know you were being polite and thoughtful in the beginning of this thread. But the point remains, why not be civil towards your colleagues?


Well now that I've got that out, I'm prepared to be berated for God knows what reason.

Someone who has logged as much time as Rad into the thankless job of reeducating the unending barrage of clueless 0L's that come to this site on the cusp of making terrible, life-ruining decisions based on misinformation, misconceptions, and disgusting overconfidence can talk however the fuck he wants.

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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby WanderingPondering » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:05 am

North wrote:
WanderingPondering wrote:Rad, being a 3L who has been through the hiring process doesn't excuse your hostility, abrasiveness, and condensing attitude you frequently display on this board.

You make a lot of good points, and are usually right, but how about being a human instead of a caricature. Its unfortunate, as you have a ton of good advice and insight that goes unheeded simply because of your tone.

And I know you were being polite and thoughtful in the beginning of this thread. But the point remains, why not be civil towards your colleagues?


Well now that I've got that out, I'm prepared to be berated for God knows what reason.

Someone who has logged as much time as Rad into the thankless job of reeducating the unending barrage of clueless 0L's that come to this site on the cusp of making terrible, life-ruining decisions based on misinformation, misconceptions, and disgusting overconfidence can talk however the fuck he wants.


Yea man, I disagree but to each his own. I understand that position, seriously.

But I know people who do actually life defining things (ie curing cancer) and would never think of talking that way to anyone - even lowly medical students.

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star fox
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby star fox » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:39 pm

WanderingPondering wrote:Rad, being a 3L who has been through the hiring process doesn't excuse your hostility, abrasiveness, and condensing attitude you frequently display on this board.

You make a lot of good points, and are usually right, but how about being a human instead of a caricature. Its unfortunate, as you have a ton of good advice and insight that goes unheeded simply because of your tone.

And I know you were being polite and thoughtful in the beginning of this thread. But the point remains, why not be civil towards your colleagues?


Well now that I've got that out, I'm prepared to be berated for God knows what reason.


Would you rather someone online stranger be mean to you and help you avoid making an awful decision of have everyone how special and amazing you are and find out the harsh realities for yourself three years later? The choice for me is pretty obvious.

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romothesavior
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby romothesavior » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:45 pm

IAFG wrote:I am employed and not bitter and agree with everything rad lulz has said ITT. I voted for Creighton because its far and away your best option but I think the much better plan is to skip law school altogether. One of my dear friends graduated from Creighton during the boom and even then, their placement was sorta shitty. Lots of people doing low paying "JD preferred" or straight non-law work.

This + what rad has said.

OP, the responses and advice ITT has been civil, reasonable, and frankly, spot on. That you are quick to label us as "bitter and unemployed" and complain about people being hostile and aggressive really tells me that you're just looking to have your opinion validated. Nobody is being a forum warrior. They're dispensing advice in a civil tone. Let your defenses down dude.

You either should take Creighton and embrace Omaha or take time off, work, and retake. The other options just not great.

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Robespierre
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby Robespierre » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:59 pm

romothesavior wrote:You either should take Creighton and embrace Omaha or take time off, work, and retake. The other options just not great.

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bass08
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby bass08 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:30 pm

I think you are likely underestimating the total COA may a fair amount as you should factor in COL for summer and and accumulated interest since it starts accumulating right when you take out the loans.

But on the other hand, I would say if you really want to go, I don't think 150k in debt is all that serious if being a lawyer is something you want to do. Although at the schools you're looking at I may consider dropping out of your grades are bad the first year. I think SMU/UGA may be the better/best options of the schools you listed. Understand you likely won't get Biglaw without connections if you are not in the top 10-15%.

Personally I wouldn't want to go to Creighton for free because then you're in relatively small city in a small legal market. SMU/UGA at least have large legal markets in the backyard. But you are from there, so being a local would likely help you out and if you like it there, that's a plus. I'm just concerned about the size of the market and the types of jobs available there.

But on the other hand, I don't think being a lawyer is/will be all that great. I don't think 150k in debt is all that bad if you will like what you're doing, though.

If you think you can improve on your LSAT, it might be worth a retake. Applications keep going down, and so improvement on the LSAT can help you much more these days and get you more scholarship money.
Last edited by bass08 on Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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paratactical
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby paratactical » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:45 pm

WanderingPondering wrote:
But I know people who do actually life defining things (ie curing cancer) and would never think of talking that way to anyone - even lowly medical students.

You know someone who cured cancer?

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ArchieHicox
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby ArchieHicox » Thu Mar 28, 2013 2:53 pm

This + what rad has said.

OP, the responses and advice ITT has been civil, reasonable, and frankly, spot on. That you are quick to label us as "bitter and unemployed" and complain about people being hostile and aggressive really tells me that you're just looking to have your opinion validated. Nobody is being a forum warrior. They're dispensing advice in a civil tone. Let your defenses down dude.

You either should take Creighton and embrace Omaha or take time off, work, and retake. The other options just not great.


I think perhaps I overreacted in my responses a little bit, but I think for the most part I've been trying to listen and be open-minded. I didn't label anyone bitter, I just asked what rad lulz's background was to weigh his advice. Its not in his profile, so I didn't know and I wanted to try to put it into context. There are a lot of 0Ls who tend to talk out of their ass, and I wanted to know if he was one of them. Apparently he isn't.

I think his advice, while couched in crass language and delivered in a mean-spirited tone, was fairly on-point. He did link to the calculator, and provided some reasonable advice. I am grateful for that and his time.

If I was to point blame as to where the thread devolved.... it would be the entry of the sidekick. I think rad lulz was making his points, and succeeding in making me feel like shit and reconsider things, but then being attacked again... its going to make anyone shell up. So I don't think there was really any point for the "IAFG" chap to come in and play hype man, but whatever.

This is where I am struggling. Essentially the accepted thought process seems to be basically at sticker no school is worth it (save for *maybe* some elite HYS level schools). Fair enough, agreed. To jump though, to full tuition scholly is the only reasonable way to go to law school to any other school is too extreme. I don't understand how that works. Max 5-10% of people are attending at full scholarship. So 90% of people are making a mistake?

And the COA will never be lower than 50k over three years. So to make a law school fit under the acceptable budget, I'd have to find a school where tuition and fees are lower than 10k annually after scholarships. Which is going to be incredibly difficult for me (and most applicants). My LSAT is in the 87-88% range and at around the 75% marker for most schools I've applied to. So I'm not a fringe candidate who is hoping to just slide in. I don't see how very many people can attend Law School at the price-point this forum has deemed valuable.

So the question for me is, is $60,000 more worth it for the (slightly better) mobility of a UGA, Tulane, or SMU degree and (moderately better) job prospects and (moderately better) quality of life? Probably shouldn't have posed it to this forum, but its just a lesson for the future.

I still stand by the assertion that people on TLS *vastly* overrate how much better other markets are and seem to think finding a high paying job you enjoy/tolerate is super-easy. Thanks for the responses though.

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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby somewhatwayward » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:01 pm

Robespierre wrote:
romothesavior wrote:You either should take Creighton and embrace Omaha or take time off, work, and retake. The other options just not great.


+1,000,000

I'm a 3L, will be employed at a big firm, not bitter (but nervous about my situation). Whatever style he said it in, rad is basically right although I actually would not attend any of these schools without a full ride and, for the ones in parochial regions, ties to the area. As you pointed out, a full ride still means 40K-50K in COL expenses (plus opportunity cost) so there s still a decent amount of risk because there is a very real possibility that if you attend one of these schools, the job choices you will have post-graduation will pay about the same as the job choices you have now; that is, you'd have the same salary you could have now but now you have 40-50K of debt. That sucks. However, since 40-50K isn't crushing, it is not the end of the world to end up in not-so-great law job or a non-law job if you feel that the upside shot at a good legal job is worth that risk. Of course there is also the pretty big risk of getting no legal job to consider also.

Just as an aside, how did you calculate your COA? Do you have savings or something? I can't understand how UGA could only cost you $100K if you haven't gotten in yet and don't know about scholarships.

I am talking about full rides, though. I would not borrow 75K for these schools. By the way, it is not "greedy" to want a full ride (or sufficiently close to one). What is greedy is the way tuition has become so crazily high that we think 100K for an education is a bargain. It is a classic sales trick: something originally priced at $100 but now down to $50 will sell better than the same item priced at $50. Back in the mid-1980s, a Tulane dean wrote an article about how concerned he was about how quickly tuition was rising. He worried that schools would be increasingly filled with wealthy students and that graduates would enter the profession with the “single-minded objective of milking the profession for all it is worth to be able to pay retrospectively for their legal education." At that time, average tuition, converted to 2012 dollars, was $4,247 for public schools (resident) and $16,484 for private schools. He must be horrified by the fact that average tuition is 600% higher at public schools and 250% at private schools on average. The point is it is not greedy to want a big scholarship. The Tulane dean thought (again, 2012 dollars) $16,000 a year was too high for private schools.

That was a bit of a tangent, sorry. Another thing is that people are very bad at predicting how they will feel in the future. It is easy to borrow $100,000 now and think it is not big deal, but debt sucks. Go read the thread in the lounge called USS Debt with everyone talking about how much it sucks. We also tend to discount future pain if it puts off current, or nearer-future pain. In other words, you don't really like your options now (although you didn't talk about what jobs you have tried to get just to have options) so if, instead of dealing with not liking your current job options, if you decide to go to law school, you pile a huge amount of pain onto your future self for the purpose of removing your current self from a situation you don't like. It is definitely worth thinking about alternate ways to change your current situation other than attending law school (unless these options get a lot cheaper). What is it about law that attracts you? Think about ways that can be pursued with no further degree or a cheaper degree. I am not saying you definitely have to do whatever the answer to that is, but at least give yourself some more options.

Deciding not to go to these schools at these prices obviously doesn't mean never going to law school. It just means waiting until the time is right. Right off the bat you put yourself in a not-so-great situation by applying late. You can correct me if I am wrong, but to me late applicant signals either that you decided on the spur of the moment to apply or that you procrastinated on your app or something. I also assume it means that you have not extensively explored other options and that you have not maximized your LSAT score. Rushing into this type of decision and not putting yourself in the best position (by applying late and not maximizing the LSAT) sends off warning bells. Another thing that is a red flag is people who insist on going this year now no matter what because it means that they are not considering all of their options. If they're not considering all of their options, they aren't making a rational decision. Okay I think I said that like five times in different ways, haha.

I think you see where I am going with this. Take time off, study like crazy for the LSAT, and reapply. Then negotiate like crazy when you get your scholarship offers. Meanwhile find some type of job. Note: entry-level jobs just suck, whether they are in law or another field - our generation, me included, tends to expect that we should have exciting, flexible, intellectually-stimulating, prestigious jobs right out of the gate, but that is unrealistic whether you attend law school or whether you take a job now. The average graduate from the schools you are considering probably has a legal job that pays about the same about as the jobs available to you and is about as interesting as the jobs available to you. You will not be upgrading jobs by going to law school (even if you land the big firm, which is like a 10% chance at these schools, you just get a prestigious job that is occasionally exciting and intellectually-stimulating and the antithesis of flexible).

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paratactical
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby paratactical » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:03 pm

ha-ri wrote:This is where I am struggling. Essentially the accepted thought process seems to be basically at sticker no school is worth it (save for *maybe* some elite HYS level schools). Fair enough, agreed. To jump though, to full tuition scholly is the only reasonable way to go to law school to any other school is too extreme. I don't understand how that works. Max 5-10% of people are attending at full scholarship. So 90% of people are making a mistake?


The problem is that there are a lot of people who are making a terrible mistake. I think what rad and IAFG were trying to say is that your situation, your desired market, and your admissions and scholarships don't line up. It would be one thing if you had more ties, another if you had a place you were committed to being in, another if the stipulations were different.

ha-ri wrote:
I still stand by the assertion that people on TLS *vastly* overrate how much better other markets are and seem to think finding a high paying job you enjoy/tolerate is super-easy. Thanks for the responses though.

While you're right and other employment is not necessarily easy to come by, other employment doesn't require additional debt. The whole point is that you're looking at going into six figure debt while running a very real risk of making the same five figure salary you would without that debt and years of lost income.

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Mick Haller
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby Mick Haller » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:12 pm

OP these guys are giving sound advice. Legal hiring today is roughly half what it was before the recession. Yes most of these posters have landed big firm jobs. This forum is disproportionately populated with highly qualified people from top schools.

Your odds of joining their ranks from these lower ranked schools is at best 5-10%. Your odds of ever practicing law at all are likely in the 50-60% range.

Rage against that if you like; it won't change anything or help you in any way.

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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby somewhatwayward » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:23 pm

ha-ri wrote:If I was to point blame as to where the thread devolved.... it would be the entry of the sidekick. I think rad lulz was making his points, and succeeding in making me feel like shit and reconsider things, but then being attacked again... its going to make anyone shell up. So I don't think there was really any point for the "IAFG" chap to come in and play hype man, but whatever.


Yes, actually, there are studies that show that when people feel attacked about a commitment they have (whether to a belief or to something like going to law school), it ultimately makes them cling to that commitment even more strongly because they perceive the counter-information as ego-threatening, which brings up various unconscious defense mechanisms and cognitive biases that help them ignore or explain away the threatening information (eg, attacking the person who said it, explaining why it does not apply in their situation, etc). The cognitive process of coming up with ways to explain the counter-information away has the byproduct of making the person even more of a believer because it reiterates the reasons, or comes up with new reasons, for why the commitment is right. Of course people can receive counter-information without having this type of reaction, but it has to not come across as an attack. This has made me think more about how to present information about the dangers of law school. I still get frustrated sometimes and say something in a more attacking way than I intend.

This is where I am struggling. Essentially the accepted thought process seems to be basically at sticker no school is worth it (save for *maybe* some elite HYS level schools). Fair enough, agreed. To jump though, to full tuition scholly is the only reasonable way to go to law school to any other school is too extreme. I don't understand how that works. Max 5-10% of people are attending at full scholarship. So 90% of people are making a mistake?


I don't know exact percentages but at many schools it is more than 90%. Maybe at the schools you are considering it is 70%. Remember that some people have parents who pay or whatever. Also, in the end, some get jobs that can service their debt, but it is a minority and no one knows whether it will be them before they go. I don't think anyone is saying that you must have full-tuition at any non-HYS school. Including COL, I think like 100K would be okay for Cornell, maybe 60-70K for WUSTL. But you know the age old adage: just because your friends are jumping off a bridge wouldn't make you jump off it, right? Thousands and thousands of law students are making irreversible life-altering (ruining?) irrational decisions. That is not a reason to do the same.

And the COA will never be lower than 50k over three years.


Actually it can be if you work and save for a few years, even better if you go part-time and work full-time during the day. If you do the latter, you probably won't save up all 50K, but you could make a dent in it.

I don't see how very many people can attend Law School at the price-point this forum has deemed valuable.


You're right, and that is because most people shouldn't go right now. Median debt for c/o 2011 was $112,563, and more than half of grads made less than $65,000 a year. FinAid Calculator says you need $155,446 to service a $112,563 debt comfortably on a ten-year repayment plan. There are very few jobs available that pay that much.

I still stand by the assertion that people on TLS *vastly* overrate how much better other markets are and seem to think finding a high paying job you enjoy/tolerate is super-easy. Thanks for the responses though.


People are really focusing on why not to go to law school, period. No one is saying other entry-level job markets are great, but see my last paragraph in my post above labelled 3/28/13 2:01 PM about entry-level jobs. $30,000-40,000/year now at a crappy job now is better than $40,000-50,000 at a crappy legal job (if in the lucky 60%) with $100,000 in debt. That is pretty obvious, right?

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OutCold
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby OutCold » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:29 pm

To put the point everyone else has made succinctly, you are talking about taking out 100k in loans. Standard interest rate on Grad Plus loans is almost 8%. Chances are extremely high that you are making around 40k when you graduate from one of these schools. You are accruing $8000 in interest alone, and then you have principal payments, undergrad loan payments (if you have them), and living expenses, not to mention a chunk you will lose to taxes. That's not a pretty existence.

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IAFG
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby IAFG » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:25 pm

Redfactor wrote:
Going to an elite law school with a fair chance of biglaw doesn't change how risk vs reward should be evaluated.


The actual risk and actual reward changes the, um, actual risk and reward?

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stillwater
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby stillwater » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:40 pm

What a thread full of jesters.

Redfactor, purveyor of unreason, I am speechless.

Anyway, while the advice didn't come in swaddling cloth, people aren't trying to belittle you or insult your choices. They are just trying to give you to the opportunity to make informed choices. I agree with the Creighton or retake advice but would probably advise just retake. Creighton is well Creighton.

oh, and, shitlaw LOOMS from these options. So you should accept that before proceeding.

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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby Tier2Allstar » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:12 pm

I always love the "Shit Law" looms crap people here throw out. This is exactly the elitist BS people are talking about. Not everybody aspires to Big Law. Even if Creighton doesn't place more than 2% in Big Law they do have higher employment scores and lower underemployment scores (by half) than a school like say... BU.
He posted a poll to ask a question I think its fair to give him your opinion but to just continue to drop the "shit law" bomb like it matters isn't helpful. According to LST about 38.5% of people at a school like BU for example would be lucky to practicing "shit law" right now.

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IAFG
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby IAFG » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:13 pm

Go hang out a while at an ID or PI firm and you'll see why we call it shitlaw.

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hephaestus
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby hephaestus » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:16 pm

Tier2Allstar wrote:I always love the "Shit Law" looms crap people here throw out. This is exactly the elitist BS people are talking about. Not everybody aspires to Big Law. Even if Creighton doesn't place more than 2% in Big Law they do have higher employment scores and lower underemployment scores (by half) than a school like say... BU.
He posted a poll to ask a question I think its fair to give him your opinion but to just continue to drop the "shit law" bomb like it matters isn't helpful. According to LST about 38.5% of people at a school like BU for example would be lucky to practicing "shit law" right now.

Nice red herring. TLS is not full of elitists who look down on everyone else. However, people here don't want to see others destroy their futures because of bad information and reckless thinking.

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Tier2Allstar
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Re: How much debt is too much for a regional T1? (Poll)

Postby Tier2Allstar » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:37 pm

ImNoScar wrote:Nice red herring. TLS is not full of elitists who look down on everyone else. However, people here don't want to see others destroy their futures because of bad information and reckless thinking.


I agree. TLS has been invaluable to me in this process and has seriously helped me get real about my expectations and melt any snowflakyness I may have once had. I do have a hard time seeing how someone running 40 K in debt for a JD is that reckless. I think 80% of people on here probably dropped more on an undergrad liberal arts degree with far worse prospects.
I myself majored in History.... great fuckin call there... where was my top history school page when I needed you?




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