romothesavior wrote:the problem with the argument is that it starts with the false premise that everyone deserves to go to law school. If someone had a terrible GPA and a mediocre MCAT, we would probably say tough luck, go do something else with your life. The fact that George Mason at 125,000 dollars in debt is the best someone can do doesn't mean that person should go to law school.
I agree, and I didn't intend to suggest that anyone should always go to law school no matter what, even if their best option isn't good. I'm just say we really do have to consider what the trade-off is in each situation, because the range of possible options is so wide. If OP has an offer to go code at Microsoft for $80k/yr, his trade off is much different than if OP is a philosophy major who's been blackballed from ten major industries. But maybe the question that's the most significant, from strictly a financial perspective, is "What is the lifetime expected net worth of a Mason grad with $125k of debt, versus the lifetime expected net worth of someone with a Bachelor's?"
Micdiddy wrote:a) Never seriously considered working with just a Bachelor's until retirement in a global economy where that degree is falling fast in relative value What poster fits this criteria?
Well, for one, me--I've been thinking about law school since 16 and been set on going since 18. This is probably most true for K-JDs (like myself). I fully believe I'm not in a good position to say what a particular person's job prospects are with a Bachelor's. But then again, even those who have WE on here (a lot of whom are T-14 bound and will probably have better career prospects than 95% of Americans) aren't necessarily representative of what the options of someone targeting a non-T14 school would be if they didn't go. This is because the kind of people who get accepted to T14s are also the kind of people who are presumably capable enough to land something half-decent even without a JD. If you can't get into a good school, then you probably don't have those kinds of capabilities with a Bachelor's. As we've discussed, it's hard to just slap a figure on the expected value of a Bachelor's. But however you slice it, it's pretty low. And the larger that opportunity cost is, the wider range of schools it would be beneficial for a student to attend.
b) Never considered applying outside the T14 Lots of megaposters not only applied, but attend or graduated from schools outside the t14. Many other who will/do attend a t14 definitely applied to some outside (myself included)
Maybe the better phrasing would be "A lot of posters never considered applying to a Tier-2 school." It would be more literally true, and the intent of the point would stand.
c) Immediately scream "Retake!" at every thread even when a poster makes absolutely clear they've done the best they are going to do I think you're purposefully misdescribing this. There is an important or don't go that follows, and IS relevant to those who have "done the best they are going to do."
Fair point. I agree this is the relevant dichotomy to present.
d) Treat every situation in which someone has debt at 30 as an epic disaster Considering many (most/almost all) of us are putting ourselves in debt before the age of 30, I do not see how you reached this conclusion by any stretch of the imagination.
A lot of the debt calculations that float around this site gear people toward making decisions based on financial outcomes in 3-7 year spans. That's okay if you're making an apples-to-apples comparison over a specific time frame, but it doesn't necessarily translate to the criteria that would be best to use in deciding whether or not to go to law school. More succinctly, a lot of people seem to view a law degree as a 7-10 year investment. It's not, it's a lifetime degree, and someone who has one will, all else equal, be much better off than someone with a Bachelor's between, say, 40 and 65.
e) Confidently assert you would be better off turning tricks in Compton than paying sticker at non-YHS, or otherwise completely fail to consider the opportunity cost of whether or not to go to law school. Another clear misrepresentation. We may not wax at length about opportunity costs, but mostly because A: The random OP has already provided us with enough information to support that whatever the other option is, it is better than law school, or B: OP refuses to get into it and thus we cannot weigh the two costs and simply go with some unspecified average cost of opportunity, that I doubt (and so do you) is anything like turning tricks in Compton
Agreed, and I know sometimes there isn't enough data available to make as good of a calculation as we might like. I think an important question that should be added to the criteria would be something along the lines of "What would you do if you didn't go to law school?" Then, like I said, we'd have different answers for "I'll go work at a biotech firm" and "I'd be unemployed for years."
jbagelboy wrote:while I appreciate Monochromatic's effort to work with available options, as he/she will learn, often "don't go" is far more substantive advice then attending the "best option" that would endorse six figure debt for <25% shot at gainful legal employment
Certainly "don't go" is the best advice possible in many situations. I don't think that's the case in this situation--as I mentioned, I think $ at W&M is the best realistic option OP has. I am, as I've said before, less pessimistic about the prospects of relatively inexpensive T1 schools, believing that they will usually be an investment with a long term ROI. Saying don't go to Mason for $125k is close to saying "Don't pay six figures for any non-T25." I know a lot of posters believe this to be the case (and that's their opinion) but I'm merely suggesting they're not necessarily considering some factors the average person might find very important.