How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

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062914123
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby 062914123 » Mon May 20, 2013 11:37 pm

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Last edited by 062914123 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

muskies970
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby muskies970 » Mon May 20, 2013 11:54 pm

Finally some reasonable posts on TLS

wisdom
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby wisdom » Mon May 20, 2013 11:54 pm

Real Madrid wrote:
wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


First, Chicago is not expensive.

Second, isn't it a bit disingenuous (if not outright ridiculous) to say on the one hand people are being foolish for assuming they'll have six-figure exit options from big law only to turn around
and basically say that at no point in your career post-big law will you approach 160k. If you're trying to be the voice of reason, it kind of requires that you be, you know, reasonable.


Wait, what? How are the two points I made at all inconsistent?

1. People should not assume they can land a six-figure exit option from big law = it is hard to get a six-figure exit option from big law.

2. Therefore, the 180-190K or so that a young attorney makes as a third-year associate could very well end up being the highest annual salary they achieve in their lifetime (in real dollars, not nominal dollars, at least).

Is this really crazy to say? What are the jobs in law where you can earn greater than 180-190K? If you go into federal, state, or local government, you almost certainly will never see 190K again (the salary scale for fed. government attorneys tops out around 155-160K; even federal judges make 170-180K I believe). Those are the jobs with the best balance of hours, interesting work, and stability. If you go to smaller law firms, you're going to be taking a pay reduction. If you hang a shingle, there is a one in a thousand shot you'll be good enough to crack six figures.

So, yes, for some small percentage of law grads who become partners at law firms (there aren't many partners being made nowadays, even at small firms where profits may only be 200K per partner) or who go in-house (where salaries start under 180-190K but then can go above that), 190K will not be the most money they make in a year. What percentage of people who go into big law do you think achieve those outcomes?

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jbagelboy
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby jbagelboy » Tue May 21, 2013 1:53 am

wisdom wrote:
Real Madrid wrote:
wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


First, Chicago is not expensive.

Second, isn't it a bit disingenuous (if not outright ridiculous) to say on the one hand people are being foolish for assuming they'll have six-figure exit options from big law only to turn around
and basically say that at no point in your career post-big law will you approach 160k. If you're trying to be the voice of reason, it kind of requires that you be, you know, reasonable.


Wait, what? How are the two points I made at all inconsistent?

1. People should not assume they can land a six-figure exit option from big law = it is hard to get a six-figure exit option from big law.

2. Therefore, the 180-190K or so that a young attorney makes as a third-year associate could very well end up being the highest annual salary they achieve in their lifetime (in real dollars, not nominal dollars, at least).

Is this really crazy to say? What are the jobs in law where you can earn greater than 180-190K? If you go into federal, state, or local government, you almost certainly will never see 190K again (the salary scale for fed. government attorneys tops out around 155-160K; even federal judges make 170-180K I believe). Those are the jobs with the best balance of hours, interesting work, and stability. If you go to smaller law firms, you're going to be taking a pay reduction. If you hang a shingle, there is a one in a thousand shot you'll be good enough to crack six figures.

So, yes, for some small percentage of law grads who become partners at law firms (there aren't many partners being made nowadays, even at small firms where profits may only be 200K per partner) or who go in-house (where salaries start under 180-190K but then can go above that), 190K will not be the most money they make in a year. What percentage of people who go into big law do you think achieve those outcomes?


As a whole, most JDs will not ever make $190,000. This is indisputable. The vast majority of law graduates at many TTT will never hit this mark -- they might not even see six figures ever.

But we arent talking about that crowd, and so this message is overly bleak. There's definitely a dip post-big firm, but the all the attorneys I know who attended top schools made 400,000+ at some point in their career via their own firms, as partners at larger firms, or as in-house counsel.

The average JD in my geographic region makes $155,000 (per ABA). This ranges up to $165,000 in NYC and $195,000 AVERAGE in bay area. Remember this includes ALL shitlaw, doc review, everything from Western to Stanford grads are doing. So if only a tiny fraction of the people who make up that average are getting biglaw, that slice are by any powers of deduction averaging way over $200,000 to compensate for the shitty -$40,000 positions.

Long story short, Attorneys are still doing pretty well in this country -- they are after all he 2nd highest paid profession on average (after MD physicians). Lets stop complaining about our imaginary salary ceilings.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby californiauser » Tue May 21, 2013 2:25 am

jbagelboy wrote:
wisdom wrote:
Real Madrid wrote:
wisdom wrote:It might sound crazy and entitled to say, "Oh God, I have to live like someone making ~ 70k (pretax), 45-50k (post-tax)." But then keep in mind that the cities you're working in for big law (NYC, DC, SF, LA, Chicago) are not cities with an ordinary cost of living. Yeah, in a lot of places in this country, take-home pay of 45-50k is great. In New York it's pretty mediocre.

Also keep in mind that when you leave big law, it's not like you have any guarantee you'll still score a lower-stress job that pays six figures. So in the only period of your career where you earn great money, the vast majority of it goes to taxes and to paying for the credential that allowed you to obtain that job. We're basically like NFL players who wash out after 3-5 years in the league with $50k in savings off of nominal earnings in the millions.


First, Chicago is not expensive.

Second, isn't it a bit disingenuous (if not outright ridiculous) to say on the one hand people are being foolish for assuming they'll have six-figure exit options from big law only to turn around
and basically say that at no point in your career post-big law will you approach 160k. If you're trying to be the voice of reason, it kind of requires that you be, you know, reasonable.


Wait, what? How are the two points I made at all inconsistent?

1. People should not assume they can land a six-figure exit option from big law = it is hard to get a six-figure exit option from big law.

2. Therefore, the 180-190K or so that a young attorney makes as a third-year associate could very well end up being the highest annual salary they achieve in their lifetime (in real dollars, not nominal dollars, at least).

Is this really crazy to say? What are the jobs in law where you can earn greater than 180-190K? If you go into federal, state, or local government, you almost certainly will never see 190K again (the salary scale for fed. government attorneys tops out around 155-160K; even federal judges make 170-180K I believe). Those are the jobs with the best balance of hours, interesting work, and stability. If you go to smaller law firms, you're going to be taking a pay reduction. If you hang a shingle, there is a one in a thousand shot you'll be good enough to crack six figures.

So, yes, for some small percentage of law grads who become partners at law firms (there aren't many partners being made nowadays, even at small firms where profits may only be 200K per partner) or who go in-house (where salaries start under 180-190K but then can go above that), 190K will not be the most money they make in a year. What percentage of people who go into big law do you think achieve those outcomes?


As a whole, most JDs will not ever make $190,000. This is indisputable. The vast majority of law graduates at many TTT will never hit this mark -- they might not even see six figures ever.

But we arent talking about that crowd, and so this message is overly bleak. There's definitely a dip post-big firm, but the all the attorneys I know who attended top schools made 400,000+ at some point in their career via their own firms, as partners at larger firms, or as in-house counsel.

The average JD in my geographic region makes $155,000 (per ABA). This ranges up to $165,000 in NYC and $195,000 AVERAGE in bay area. Remember this includes ALL shitlaw, doc review, everything from Western to Stanford grads are doing. So if only a tiny fraction of the people who make up that average are getting biglaw, that slice are by any powers of deduction averaging way over $200,000 to compensate for the shitty -$40,000 positions.

Long story short, Attorneys are still doing pretty well in this country -- they are after all he 2nd highest paid profession on average (after MD physicians). Lets stop complaining about our imaginary salary ceilings.


This. And small law doesn't necessarily mean shit law. There are plenty of small-medium sized firms in metropolitan cites/their surroundings where lawyers can make 150k+.

I don't think it's an absurd ideation to assume that a t14 student will land a 100k job post big law.

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Monochromatic Oeuvre
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 21, 2013 9:04 am

If you assume rational actors (not that people who think they can be Bruce Wayne at 25 are rational), than you can pretty easily reduce the law school question to a math problem, albeit a very crude one. Law school becomes a financially rationally decision over timeframe T when

((S(u)* (T+3)) < [{p(b)*(T * (S(b)) - d(b))} + {(1-p(b))*(T * S(n) - d(n))}]

wherein:
T is the studied time frame, in years out of law school
S(u) is your expected per-year after-tax income over T, presuming you don't go to law school
S(b) is your expected per-year after-tax income over T, presuming you go and get biglaw
S(n) is your expected per-year after-tax income over, presuming you go and don't get biglaw
p(b) is your expected probability of getting biglaw, as a binary variable (you either get it or you don't)
d(b) is your expected debt if you do get biglaw (this presumes less compounded interest due to greater monthly payments)
d(n) is your expected debt if you don't get biglaw (this presumes more compounded interest due to lower monthly payments)

If that looked confusing, here it is in English: The decision to go to law school is a function of the opportunity cost of three years of salary, and the relative difference between expected debt repayment abilities between biglaw and non-biglaw, qualified for the probabilities of obtaining each.

So, here's an example of how that calculation would work.

T = 10 years, I think a graduate's focus should be much more long-term than this, but so many of you are terrified about 3-5 year plans.
S(u) = 40k (this is just a guess, as anyone considering this decision probably at least goes into a high-stress high-paying job anyway)
S(b) = 100k (a guess, modeled off the Cravath scale where you leave in 3-5 years and drop about 30% in salary, but who knows)
S(n) = 60k (this one seems much more variable, but I'd call this an okay ten-year average)
d(b) = 300k (compounded) at sticker
d(n) = 350k (compounded) at sticker

520k < {(700 * p(b)) + (250 * (1-p(b))}

I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k. You can plug in your own numbers/timeframe if you want. Yes, all of the listed above is full of holes, cut corners and the like (doesn't account for alternatively accelerating pay schedules, how fast a non-biglaw starter can recover, greater need of payment in the beginning of a timeframe, different hours worked, etc. the list goes on), but it serves as a general framework for how that decision might be made.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Tue May 21, 2013 9:28 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552

fallingup
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby fallingup » Tue May 21, 2013 9:32 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552


60% of your students being in NLJ250 firm jobs =/= a 60% chance at NLJ250 firm jobs. This needs to stop.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue May 21, 2013 9:32 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552

"Percentage working at firms" is not the same as "chance at a firm job."

ETA: beat me to it.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 21, 2013 9:38 am

And another thing that needs to be mentioned: Just because a school has more per-capita grads in Biglaw in a certain market absolutely does not mean it "places better", because that phrase implies you have to want to be in a market in the first place. The fact that UT has a higher per-capita Biglaw placement in Houston than Harvard indicates only that a much greater percentage of UT grads want to practice in Houston than Harvard grads. We don't have any good data on how successful job applicants from each school in a given market are, but I'll bet you dollars to donuts a Harvard grad gets a look before a UT grad all over Texas. A much better estimate would be school ratings from recruiters broken down by market. Since we don't have that either, I think the best estimate is still the data showing the number of top firms that have 5 or more graduates from a school (at least it demonstrates a school's graduates have the ability to go anywhere), but even that introduces a large biases towards bigger schools, as it's much easier to find five Georgetown grads than five Stanford grads. Qualify that list and it does a decent job of demonstrating which schools can place nationally. If the question is "Which school places better in Market X, then I'd say the better option is to take the national rankings, give the local schools some predetermined boost, and move on--if you're talking T14, they're called that because you'll probably be fine anywhere; parsing the differences in particular market doesn't do a ton of good.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 21, 2013 9:46 am

fallingup wrote:
Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552


60% of your students being in NLJ250 firm jobs =/= a 60% chance at NLJ250 firm jobs. This needs to stop.


TITCR.

The NLJ250 data is the absolute floor for "percentage of the student body with a chance at Biglaw." No one actually believes a given Yale grad intent on Biglaw has a 30% chance of finding a job.

The percentage with a chance is equal to the percentage who have a Biglaw job, PLUS the percentage who could have had one but chose another route.

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ph5354a
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby ph5354a » Tue May 21, 2013 9:50 am

I agree that that T20-25 is too low for a 60% shot at big law, but why do we have to rely on the NLJ 250? I think 100+ firms + Federal clerkships is a much more accurate statistic. I think what monochromatic's analysis shows is that IF we assume everyone is gunning for big law, then you should only pay sticker at a school where you can fall below the median and still have a decent chance a big law job. That sounds like T7 to me.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Jimbo_Jones » Tue May 21, 2013 9:52 am

fallingup wrote:
Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552


60% of your students being in NLJ250 firm jobs =/= a 60% chance at NLJ250 firm jobs. This needs to stop.


Provide a better indicator for the % chance a 0L entering law school this fall has at biglaw placement and people will then stop. Do you know of some source that we all don't know of that estimates biglaw placement using something other than past placement data? You holding out on us? For people trying to determine if they can pay back sticker by getting biglaw, what else is there?

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Bronte
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Bronte » Tue May 21, 2013 10:01 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:Provide a better indicator for the % chance a 0L entering law school this fall has at biglaw placement and people will then stop. Do you know of some source that we all don't know of that estimates biglaw placement using something other than past placement data? You holding out on us? For people trying to determine if they can pay back sticker by getting biglaw, what else is there?


I think you misunderstand. Even if the most recent NLJ250 survey will accurately predict the exact number of grads that go to big law every year from a given school, that is not the correct measure of the probability of getting big law from that school. It inevitably underestimates this probability because some number of people do not even attempt to get big law. Likewise, even of those who do want big law, some will do clerkships. Thus, even if you have 100% faith in the survey's accuracy and predictive power (which would be unwise), it does not accurately measure the probability of getting big law.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue May 21, 2013 10:06 am

Jimbo_Jones wrote:
fallingup wrote:
Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552


60% of your students being in NLJ250 firm jobs =/= a 60% chance at NLJ250 firm jobs. This needs to stop.


Provide a better indicator for the % chance a 0L entering law school this fall has at biglaw placement and people will then stop. Do you know of some source that we all don't know of that estimates biglaw placement using something other than past placement data? You holding out on us? For people trying to determine if they can pay back sticker by getting biglaw, what else is there?

The "better indicator" is simply taking those NLJ numbers and then subjecting them to some common sense. If you want to be ultra conservative in your estimates then at the very least you should still add in clerkship numbers, because many of those clerking will be going to firms afterwards and almost all of the rest could if they wanted to. There is also quite a lot of self-selection out of law firms, believe it or not, probably on the order of 5-15% depending on the school. I'm sympathetic to the notion that it's hard to quantify that self-selection and so it's difficult to take into account as a 0L, but that doesn't mean you should ignore that it exists.

Also, as Bronte alluded to, the numbers are not totally accurate. They don't account for a few of the bigger firms in NYC. I recall Paul, Weiss didn't participate, and at least one or two of the other huge ones—maybe Davis Polk or Simpson Thacher? That tends to make schools like Penn look better, because they probably only send a handful of grads to each of those firms, and bigger schools like NYU, CLS and HLS look worse because they each have 10-20 graduates in those firms every year.

ETA: Just looked at the data briefly. Davis Polk reported 6 graduates, when the real number was probably more like 80+. Because there's a Boalt and a UCLA graduate, I'm guessing only a small California office submitted their data. And Paul, Weiss isn't reported, like I said. Those two firms alone would raise NYU, CLS and HLS's NLJ placement by somewhere from 5-10%. I'd guess there's some other inaccurate data as well.
Last edited by dixiecupdrinking on Tue May 21, 2013 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby ph5354a » Tue May 21, 2013 10:09 am

Bronte wrote:
Jimbo_Jones wrote:Provide a better indicator for the % chance a 0L entering law school this fall has at biglaw placement and people will then stop. Do you know of some source that we all don't know of that estimates biglaw placement using something other than past placement data? You holding out on us? For people trying to determine if they can pay back sticker by getting biglaw, what else is there?


I think you misunderstand. Even if the most recent NLJ250 survey will accurately predict the exact number of grads that go to big law every year from a given school, that is not the correct measure of the probability of getting big law from that school. It inevitably underestimates this probability because some number of people do not even attempt to get big law. Likewise, even of those who do want big law, some will do clerkships. Thus, even if you have 100% faith in the survey's accuracy and predictive power (which would be unwise), it does not accurately measure the probability of getting big law.


So past placement functions as a floor, but it still can't be used to accurately compare placement ability due to varying degrees of self-selection among schools, i.e. big law placement shouldn't be used as an argument that Penn gives you a higher probability of big law than NYU.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby sinfiery » Tue May 21, 2013 10:18 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:And another thing that needs to be mentioned: Just because a school has more per-capita grads in Biglaw in a certain market absolutely does not mean it "places better", because that phrase implies you have to want to be in a market in the first place. The fact that UT has a higher per-capita Biglaw placement in Houston than Harvard indicates only that a much greater percentage of UT grads want to practice in Houston than Harvard grads. We don't have any good data on how successful job applicants from each school in a given market are, but I'll bet you dollars to donuts a Harvard grad gets a look before a UT grad all over Texas. A much better estimate would be school ratings from recruiters broken down by market. Since we don't have that either, I think the best estimate is still the data showing the number of top firms that have 5 or more graduates from a school (at least it demonstrates a school's graduates have the ability to go anywhere), but even that introduces a large biases towards bigger schools, as it's much easier to find five Georgeto
wn grads than five Stanford grads. Qualify that list and it does a decent job of demonstrating which schools can place nationally. If the question is "Which school places better in Market X, then I'd say the better option is to take the national rankings, give the local schools some predetermined boost, and move on--if you're talking T14, they're called that because you'll probably be fine anywhere; parsing the differences in particular market doesn't do a ton of good.

The data sucks. Top firm ranking, according to TLS common wisdom, is even less important than USNWR so that probably wouldn't be a great measure of placement. But if you were to do something like that, the t6 has a pretty distinct edge over MVPB and down.

Actually, a ranking entity that considers reputation as you say should be accounted for is USNWR


So, we base our analysis is at the whims of anecdotes of people on this website.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 21, 2013 11:26 am

ph5354a wrote:I agree that that T20-25 is too low for a 60% shot at big law, but why do we have to rely on the NLJ 250? I think 100+ firms + Federal clerkships is a much more accurate statistic. I think what monochromatic's analysis shows is that IF we assume everyone is gunning for big law, then you should only pay sticker at a school where you can fall below the median and still have a decent chance a big law job. That sounds like T7 to me.


That standard changes the calculation, of course. Let's suppose that the complete set of Biglaw opportunities operates on a sort of quota system by class rank. For an example, I'll say anyone at YHS can have a Biglaw job (if they want one), as can the top 80% at CCN and the top 60% at MVP. That implies, that of the subset of those who are below-median, you have a 60% chance at Biglaw and 20% chance at MVP.

This is complicated by a couple of factors. One, you have a pool of applicants who have universally been above-median studens their entire lives and will not intrinsically comprehend that there is a real possibility they will finish below-median, even if they intellectually understand that, of a peer group full of people with backgrounds just like them, half of all people must finish below-median. Ergo, you'll almost never be able to convince someone that there's a real possibility they'll be in that position--I'd be willing to bet if you polled the incoming class at a T10, over 75% would say they're going to finish in the top quarter.

Two, by paying sticker at anywhere that isn't YHS, you've already introduced a statistical bias to the above calculation. This requires two presumptions: a) Those with higher UGPA/LSAT ultimately are more likely to have a higher class rank (we know the correlation with 1L grades exist, so this isn't really a stretch), and b) Schools are more likely to pay money to those with higher UGPA/LSAT (in the non-URM pool, we know this to be true). So if you're paying sticker at some place where people who got merit aid are going, you are, ceteris paribus, more likely than not to finish below median.

If you hold all else equal, you have an equal chance of finishing in each percentile group (going by 1, by 5, by quarter, or by half) you define. And it seems obvious that your odds at getting Biglaw decline as your percentile rank decreases, no matter where you go (well, maybe not Yale). You could therefore qualify your analysis for that. I am assuming that's already factored in to this nebulous number I'm calling "probability of Biglaw."

EDIT: Here's an easy way to conceive of the probability of Biglaw. Assume that for School X, the top half of the class will certainly get Biglaw, if they want it. In the third quarter, you have a 50% chance of getting Biglaw if you want it. In the bottom quarter, you have no chance.

So if Biglaw were everyone's first choice, 62.5% of the class would get it, and it would also be the probability a given student intent on Biglaw has to get it. Note, as mentioned previously, that the latter number theoretically can never be lower than the former, but in practice is almost always higher, accouting for some percent of students in every class who are not interested in Biglaw. I am guessing that in the above hypothetical, School X roughly conforms to the options of an MVP grad, but I could be wrong. The only person who can really know what grades you need to get are recruiters. With that distribution, a below-median student has only a 25% chance at Biglaw. I wouldn't call that "decent", but below-median students being SOL when it comes to Biglaw is nothing new.

The conclusion I draw from that analysis is sort of the same as I think most non-Chicken Little TLSers have said. At a T14, you'll probably (probably) be able to make enough to have sticker debt paid fully by the time you're 35. A little lower (15-25) is a calculated risk, and you can debate until the cows come home about whether it's more desirable than the alternatives. Anything lower, and sticker becomes a time bomb that only a small percentage of non-T25s will be able to defuse.
Last edited by Monochromatic Oeuvre on Tue May 21, 2013 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

muskies970
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby muskies970 » Tue May 21, 2013 11:45 am

fallingup wrote:
Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552


60% of your students being in NLJ250 firm jobs =/= a 60% chance at NLJ250 firm jobs. [b]This needs to stop[/b].


+1

This thread is about paying back sticker from Biglaw as a feasible option which we have shown is very doable as long as you show a little restraint/ care.

Now you've switched the debate to "Oh no what if you can't get Biglaw". Well at School's like Michigan as long as you're making less than 88k in some sort of JD required job (not just public interest) the school helps you pay off your debts and forgives after 10 years. I know Georgetown is similar for Public Interest positions and I'm sure other schools in the top25 have similar plans/ IBR programs.

Just stop. Once people show that Biglaw does pay off sticker you all start whining "well what if I don't get Biglaw" in order to hate on law school some more. If you don't want/ get biglaw you have other feasible options as well.

Disclaimer: I'm talking T30 schools but I'm sure T50 is probably doable in some areas too. Are people on the internet really this pessimist go outside and get some sun.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue May 21, 2013 11:48 am

muskies970 wrote:Well at School's like Michigan as long as you're making less than 88k in some sort of JD required job (not just public interest) the school helps you pay off your debts and forgives after 10 years.

Michigan forgives the debt? You sure about that?

muskies970
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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby muskies970 » Tue May 21, 2013 11:58 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
muskies970 wrote:Well at School's like Michigan as long as you're making less than 88k in some sort of JD required job (not just public interest) the school helps you pay off your debts and forgives after 10 years.

Michigan forgives the debt? You sure about that?


I think I was a little off, thanks for the catch, it's the Federal Government's Income Based Repayment so 10 years public interest or 25 years private sector to be paid off.

However, as long as you're making less than GS-11 pay ~50k Michigan will make the payments for you whether private or public sector and will provide assistance up to 175% of that pay rate ~88k.

Source: --LinkRemoved--

In my opinion as long as you graduate with some law related job (not just public interst) from Michigan you should be fine, I think it's a great program.

ETA: In my opinion, yes 10-25 years with crushing debt over your head is daunting, but if you were planning on working a job for 30-80k anyways for life and know you want to be a lawyer it is a great way to afford a t10 law degree and education for almost no money out of pocket. That should satisfy the TLS mantra that paying for school shouldn't cost an individual anything in their lifetime (the horror of living somewaht less conveniently) I jest...

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Monochromatic Oeuvre » Tue May 21, 2013 12:18 pm

muskies970 wrote:
fallingup wrote:
Jimbo_Jones wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:I believe (I could be wrong, I haven't had coffee) that the equations turns positive at p(b) = .6, or a school at which you have a 60% chance of biglaw. Put simply, under those crude parameters with those crude assumptons, sticker pays off at a school giving you a 60% chance to start out on the higher end of the bimodal distribution. Intuitively, that sounds like T20-25 to me, but I could be way off, perhaps it's fewer schools. I'm also biased because T20 is about as far down as I would take on 250k.


Taking a look at the 2012 NLJ250 report, only Penn gave law students a 60% chance at a NLJ250 firm, so it's much worse than you think.

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNL ... 0421092552


60% of your students being in NLJ250 firm jobs =/= a 60% chance at NLJ250 firm jobs. [b]This needs to stop[/b].


+1

This thread is about paying back sticker from Biglaw as a feasible option which we have shown is very doable as long as you show a little restraint/ care.

Now you've switched the debate to "Oh no what if you can't get Biglaw". Well at School's like Michigan as long as you're making less than 88k in some sort of JD required job (not just public interest) the school helps you pay off your debts and forgives after 10 years. I know Georgetown is similar for Public Interest positions and I'm sure other schools in the top25 have similar plans/ IBR programs.

Just stop. Once people show that Biglaw does pay off sticker you all start whining "well what if I don't get Biglaw" in order to hate on law school some more. If you don't want/ get biglaw you have other feasible options as well.

Disclaimer: I'm talking T30 schools but I'm sure T50 is probably doable in some areas too. Are people on the internet really this pessimist go outside and get some sun.


Yes and no. It's true that the original notion was OP saying "It seems like to pay back sticker, you need to work long hours for five years and have middle-class take-home pay in a major market," and the general consensus was basically "Yeah, that's what it takes." So all's well and good if you can just waltz into Biglaw. But as you noted, that's only true for graduates of a few schools, and as the data shows, Biglaw access is only commonplace among T14 (depending on who you talk to, perhaps fewer). It's also been shown that, because of the bimodal distribution, not geting Biglaw usually means a starting salary of $85k or less. And if you don't make six figures, it's nearly impossible to start putting a dent in a $250k balance.

So maybe it's not such a bad idea for prospective applicants to consider whether or not they might potentially be completely screwed. Again, just on raw data, this isn't a humongous deal for T14 students, who make up a disproportionate share of TLSers. But, for the average applicant, the most important datum for a school is the percentage of students applying for Biglaw jobs who will get one. And below a certain threshold, you probably won't. That's not pessimism, that's due diligence.

Also, regarding pessimism: 68k applicants for 25k jobs. Applicants should be way, way more pessimistic than they currently are.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby muskies970 » Tue May 21, 2013 12:26 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Yes and no. It's true that the original notion was OP saying "It seems like to pay back sticker, you need to work long hours for five years and have middle-class take-home pay in a major market," and the general consensus was basically "Yeah, that's what it takes." So all's well and good if you can just waltz into Biglaw. But as you noted, that's only true for graduates of a few schools, and as the data shows, Biglaw access is only commonplace among T14 (depending on who you talk to, perhaps fewer). It's also been shown that, because of the bimodal distribution, not geting Biglaw usually means a starting salary of $85k or less. And if you don't make six figures, it's nearly impossible to start putting a dent in a $250k balance.

So maybe it's not such a bad idea for prospective applicants to consider whether or not they might potentially be completely screwed. Again, just on raw data, this isn't a humongous deal for T14 students, who make up a disproportionate share of TLSers. But, for the average applicant, the most important datum for a school is the percentage of students applying for Biglaw jobs who will get one. And below a certain threshold, you probably won't. That's not pessimism, that's due diligence.

Also, regarding pessimism: 68k applicants for 25k jobs. Applicants should be way, way more pessimistic than they currently are.


I completely agree with everything you said.

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby muskies970 » Tue May 21, 2013 12:30 pm

Question,

Most graduates from TTTT schools would probably have been facing options of working for salaries of 30-50k at best before law school anyways without the debt...

If they have 250k plus in debt from making the choice to attend law school, then end up with the same low paying 50k law job and unable to pay the debt, what is the difference?

I know you can't default on student loan debt, but it's not like we've instituted debtors prisons (yet...) So what actually happens if you're swimming in debt with no way out? Do they demand you pay or is it just there haunting you for life getting bigger and bigger? Does it pass on to your children?

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Re: How the Heck Do You Pay Back Sticker?

Postby Rahviveh » Tue May 21, 2013 12:35 pm

muskies970 wrote:Question,

Most graduates from TTTT schools would probably have been facing options of working for salaries of 30-50k at best before law school anyways without the debt...

If they have 250k plus in debt from making the choice to attend law school, then end up with the same low paying 50k law job and unable to pay the debt, what is the difference?

I know you can't default on student loan debt, but it's not like we've instituted debtors prisons (yet...) So what actually happens if you're swimming in debt with no way out? Do they demand you pay or is it just there haunting you for life getting bigger and bigger? Does it pass on to your children?


You go on IBR.




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