So you want to do PI?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
User avatar
altoid99
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:04 am

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby altoid99 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:42 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
altoid99 wrote:I have a somewhat-related question regarding LRAPs. If your undergraduate loans are consolidated with your law school loans, does your law school provide assistance in repaying your undergraduate loans as well or do they only contribute to what you'd be paying only for law school loans?

Also, PSLF after 10 years and IBR after 25 forgives all federal loans and not just the ones for law school, correct?


It's a gray area that likely varies by school. The school technically has the ability to tell you to bugger off when you consolidate, but if you consolidate your undergrad with your law school debt, the IBR payment should be the exact same. In fact, there might even be a case where you only qualify for financial hardship (and thus IBR) by including your undergrad loans.

Some schools explicitly mention outside federal loans will be covered if consolidated -- the one that comes to mind is Penn. Some schools explicitly mention that non-law loans will not be covered; Stanford comes to mind here. Harvard will cover up to 30k of outside debt. In practice, I would imagine programs tied to PAYE (everywhere except HYS, Cornell, and Columbia's 50k/yr plan) would probably allow you to, and those five exceptions would not.


Thank you for this information. But it's true that PSLF is for all federal loans? I'm guessing this is so but I just want to make sure.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:16 pm

altoid99 wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
altoid99 wrote:I have a somewhat-related question regarding LRAPs. If your undergraduate loans are consolidated with your law school loans, does your law school provide assistance in repaying your undergraduate loans as well or do they only contribute to what you'd be paying only for law school loans?

Also, PSLF after 10 years and IBR after 25 forgives all federal loans and not just the ones for law school, correct?


It's a gray area that likely varies by school. The school technically has the ability to tell you to bugger off when you consolidate, but if you consolidate your undergrad with your law school debt, the IBR payment should be the exact same. In fact, there might even be a case where you only qualify for financial hardship (and thus IBR) by including your undergrad loans.

Some schools explicitly mention outside federal loans will be covered if consolidated -- the one that comes to mind is Penn. Some schools explicitly mention that non-law loans will not be covered; Stanford comes to mind here. Harvard will cover up to 30k of outside debt. In practice, I would imagine programs tied to PAYE (everywhere except HYS, Cornell, and Columbia's 50k/yr plan) would probably allow you to, and those five exceptions would not.


Thank you for this information. But it's true that PSLF is for all federal loans? I'm guessing this is so but I just want to make sure.


No, but the most common/popular (and therefore likely most relevant to you) loans are covered. Direct PLUS made to parents (or Parent PLUS), consolidation loans that paid off Parent PLUS, and certain FEEL loans are not covered. But Stafford and standard PLUS are covered.

User avatar
altoid99
Posts: 249
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:04 am

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby altoid99 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:20 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
altoid99 wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
altoid99 wrote:I have a somewhat-related question regarding LRAPs. If your undergraduate loans are consolidated with your law school loans, does your law school provide assistance in repaying your undergraduate loans as well or do they only contribute to what you'd be paying only for law school loans?

Also, PSLF after 10 years and IBR after 25 forgives all federal loans and not just the ones for law school, correct?


It's a gray area that likely varies by school. The school technically has the ability to tell you to bugger off when you consolidate, but if you consolidate your undergrad with your law school debt, the IBR payment should be the exact same. In fact, there might even be a case where you only qualify for financial hardship (and thus IBR) by including your undergrad loans.

Some schools explicitly mention outside federal loans will be covered if consolidated -- the one that comes to mind is Penn. Some schools explicitly mention that non-law loans will not be covered; Stanford comes to mind here. Harvard will cover up to 30k of outside debt. In practice, I would imagine programs tied to PAYE (everywhere except HYS, Cornell, and Columbia's 50k/yr plan) would probably allow you to, and those five exceptions would not.


Thank you for this information. But it's true that PSLF is for all federal loans? I'm guessing this is so but I just want to make sure.


No, but the most common/popular (and therefore likely most relevant to you) loans are covered. Direct PLUS made to parents (or Parent PLUS), consolidation loans that paid off Parent PLUS, and certain FEEL loans are not covered. But Stafford and standard PLUS are covered.


Yeah, that's what I'm most concerned with. As long as it covers my undergraduate loans as well. With interest, undergrad loans won't be getting any smaller while in law school :cry:

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 03, 2013 7:40 pm

If you have undergraduate loans that won't be covered by IBR/PSLF, AND you're strongly considering doing PI, don't. Wait on law school until after you pay the original undergrad loans, otherwise you'll be paying off undergrad loans on a PI salary... which is already going to be pretty low as it is.

User avatar
TheJanitor6203
Posts: 811
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:12 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby TheJanitor6203 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 8:45 pm

Not to derail, but if anyone in here is PD could you PM me please?

User avatar
FlanAl
Posts: 1474
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby FlanAl » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:05 pm

mr. wednesday wrote:Here is what going to a T14 at full cost for public interest looks like:

1L summer, you work in public interest and the school gives you a stipend of $5000-7000 or so. Some people also find other grants, or AmeriCorps education stipends, or whatever. 2L summer, same story. Maybe you also make some money from your PI or gov't job, and usually you get to keep both up to an extent. Expect $5000-15000, depending on a few factors. You can also RA or intern during the term, and sometimes people get $1000-2500 or so for a semester in wages or other funding.

You graduate with $250k in loans. Hopefully you've taken out the bare minimum COL to survive. Best case scenario, you lived on the 9 month estimate for 12 months (or even less), minus the $10k - $25k or so you made throughout your time at law school. That barely makes a dent in the quarter of a million total but it still helps.

Add a $10k or so loan for bar expenses and living during the summer, because no firm is paying for you to take the bar. Maybe you can live with family or you have a spouse who is working. If you don't have that support, this money needs to cover your entire job search, which can last months or even a year. At a T14, this is where the launch grant comes in. You get $1k-2k a month for 9 months or so to survive on while you volunteer and apply.

Now, you hopefully start working for, say, $50k a year. You sign up for PAYE or IBR, and you are responsible for a monthly payment based on your salary. Your school LRAP pays all or a portion of your IBR payment, leaving you with little to no loan payment. If you get raises, every dollar you make increases your IBR payments and decreases LRAP's contribution to them, so in some situations you will be poorer with a raise than you were before. At some point, you may start making enough money that LRAP pays nothing, and you make your full IBR payment.

Continue for 10 years and then you apply for PSLF, and your loans are now gone. You will have a six figure loan balance for 10 years, including every time you want to buy a car or a house. If you leave your PSLF position before 10 years, you will probably owe more than $250k and will no longer be eligible for forgiveness or LRAP.


My understanding is that most t14s don't start contributing less than the full payment until you make 100k plus. This is one reason why Vandy isn't a great option for PI people they stop helping you out once you get past something very low like 45k or something.

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:56 pm

FlanAl wrote:My understanding is that most t14s don't start contributing less than the full payment until you make 100k plus. This is one reason why Vandy isn't a great option for PI people they stop helping you out once you get past something very low like 45k or something.


That would be awesome if true, but unfortunately less than full payment threshold for the T14 is around 46k for Cornell and Harvard on the low end, and at 80k for NYU/Penn/Chicago on the high end. With the notable exception of Chicago, most LRAP programs continue to give prorated variations of assistance in accordance with how much more you make over the threshold.

You're right though in that there comes a point where you're financially better off making less money -- take Chicago, for example. 100% of the PAYE nut is taken care of if you're at less than 80k a year, and you take care of the entirety of the PAYE payment if you're making over 80k a year. Therefore, if you're making 81k a year, you have to make ~6k in PAYE payments on your own, which brings your net down to 75k a year.

dixiecupdrinking
Posts: 3142
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 2:39 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:08 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
FlanAl wrote:My understanding is that most t14s don't start contributing less than the full payment until you make 100k plus. This is one reason why Vandy isn't a great option for PI people they stop helping you out once you get past something very low like 45k or something.


That would be awesome if true, but unfortunately less than full payment threshold for the T14 is around 46k for Cornell and Harvard on the low end, and at 80k for NYU/Penn/Chicago on the high end. With the notable exception of Chicago, most LRAP programs continue to give prorated variations of assistance in accordance with how much more you make over the threshold.

You're right though in that there comes a point where you're financially better off making less money -- take Chicago, for example. 100% of the PAYE nut is taken care of if you're at less than 80k a year, and you take care of the entirety of the PAYE payment if you're making over 80k a year. Therefore, if you're making 81k a year, you have to make ~6k in PAYE payments on your own, which brings your net down to 75k a year.

I think most of them are phased out in ways that don't give you this kind of weird situation.

It's worth keeping in mind, too, that even if you earn enough to be fully disqualified from your school's LRAP, you are still eligible for 10 year forgiveness (if you are still in qualifying employment).

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:19 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
FlanAl wrote:My understanding is that most t14s don't start contributing less than the full payment until you make 100k plus. This is one reason why Vandy isn't a great option for PI people they stop helping you out once you get past something very low like 45k or something.


That would be awesome if true, but unfortunately less than full payment threshold for the T14 is around 46k for Cornell and Harvard on the low end, and at 80k for NYU/Penn/Chicago on the high end. With the notable exception of Chicago, most LRAP programs continue to give prorated variations of assistance in accordance with how much more you make over the threshold.

You're right though in that there comes a point where you're financially better off making less money -- take Chicago, for example. 100% of the PAYE nut is taken care of if you're at less than 80k a year, and you take care of the entirety of the PAYE payment if you're making over 80k a year. Therefore, if you're making 81k a year, you have to make ~6k in PAYE payments on your own, which brings your net down to 75k a year.

I think most of them are phased out in ways that don't give you this kind of weird situation.

It's worth keeping in mind, too, that even if you earn enough to be fully disqualified from your school's LRAP, you are still eligible for 10 year forgiveness (if you are still in qualifying employment).


Actually it's a fairly rough split, HYS, Chicago, Penn, Michigan, Duke (assuming a descending curve towards 99.9% non-contribution at <1 dollar difference), Northwestern (sort of), and Cornell give you this weird situation where it's beneficial to make less money. Columbia, NYU, UVA, Berkeley, and Georgetown seem to phase out the LRAP on a proration so that this never happens.

Basically, I really, really like studying LRAPs. :D

User avatar
FlanAl
Posts: 1474
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby FlanAl » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:43 am

cornell's isn't necessarily plugged into PAYE. my understanding of it is that you end up paying a little more than 10% up to like 16% if you make 100k area but that you can pull the trigger and go private with those loans actually being paid off (you definitely end up paying more but with the advantage of being able to quite early having made actual progress on your loans). And my understanding from talks with financial aid is that if you enroll in the fed program they just make your payments for you like the other t14s do but you're locked into the 10 year forgiveness thing. I think michigan has the same sort of leave it when you want program but I'm not sure.

User avatar
midwest17
Posts: 1686
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 5:27 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby midwest17 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:15 am

twentypercentmore wrote:Actually it's a fairly rough split, HYS, Chicago, Penn, Michigan, Duke (assuming a descending curve towards 99.9% non-contribution at <1 dollar difference), Northwestern (sort of), and Cornell give you this weird situation where it's beneficial to make less money. Columbia, NYU, UVA, Berkeley, and Georgetown seem to phase out the LRAP on a proration so that this never happens.

Basically, I really, really like studying LRAPs. :D


When I have to decide where to enroll, can you actually make that choice for me? ;)

linkx13
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:27 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby linkx13 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:38 pm

This is a great thread for us committed to PI. Thanks so much for sharing.

linkx13
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:27 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby linkx13 » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:45 pm

linkx13 wrote:This is a great thread for us committed to PI. Thanks so much for sharing.



Actually, I do wonder if you agree with the following statement. I'll put it simply:

If one goes to a T-14, is committed to PI (meaning have a history) and knows what he/she wants to do, networks, and graduate in the top 15% of his/her class, do you believe that he/she will have good job options upon graduating?

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7669
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:01 pm

linkx13 wrote:
linkx13 wrote:This is a great thread for us committed to PI. Thanks so much for sharing.



Actually, I do wonder if you agree with the following statement. I'll put it simply:

If one goes to a T-14, is committed to PI (meaning have a history) and knows what he/she wants to do, networks, and graduate in the top 15% of his/her class, do you believe that he/she will have good job options upon graduating?


I would say yes, as long as your school sponsors fellowships.

Seriously, if you plan on doing PI you should assume you will graduate unemployed. The odds are not in your favor. Organizations do not have the money to hire new grads, and gov hiring is just terrible right now. Chances are you will be unemployed but if your school has year long or 2 year fellowships, just take one of those, get experience, and turn it into a job. Entry level PI is almost impossible.

User avatar
FlanAl
Posts: 1474
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 4:53 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby FlanAl » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:06 pm

linkx13 wrote:
linkx13 wrote:This is a great thread for us committed to PI. Thanks so much for sharing.



Actually, I do wonder if you agree with the following statement. I'll put it simply:

If one goes to a T-14, is committed to PI (meaning have a history) and knows what he/she wants to do, networks, and graduate in the top 15% of his/her class, do you believe that he/she will have good job options upon graduating?


That top 15% at a t14 should bag you a fed clerkship or a state level clerkship which are both pretty good steps into public interest work. (at least civil public interest). Or take that top 15% and transfer to Yale. Outside of the top 15% it seems like most of the people who graduated from my t14 last year that wanted PI that I knew about got it but many had to take it in a different geographic area than they would have liked.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:35 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Honestly, a lot of the conventional wisdom about financing law school, choosing courses, and basically everything is just backwards for what PI people need to do. What makes you competitive for Cravath is not what makes you competitive for a prestigious PI fellowship, and what is financially prudent for going into big law is not the same as going PI.


This is a big part of the reason why you really do have to be gunning for PI as soon as possible. The "strategy" for law school is very, very different -- doing the right thing for biglaw can easily mean doing the wrong thing for PI, and vise-versa.



Interesting. I was under the impression that the traditional markers of success for BigLaw (good grades, hi ranked school, law review) couldn't hurt for PI?

Or do they think: "all those hours being a cite-check slave, you could have been racking up pro bono hours?"

User avatar
twenty
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:17 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby twenty » Fri Dec 06, 2013 8:04 pm

BlueLotus wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Honestly, a lot of the conventional wisdom about financing law school, choosing courses, and basically everything is just backwards for what PI people need to do. What makes you competitive for Cravath is not what makes you competitive for a prestigious PI fellowship, and what is financially prudent for going into big law is not the same as going PI.


This is a big part of the reason why you really do have to be gunning for PI as soon as possible. The "strategy" for law school is very, very different -- doing the right thing for biglaw can easily mean doing the wrong thing for PI, and vise-versa.



Interesting. I was under the impression that the traditional markers of success for BigLaw (good grades, hi ranked school, law review) couldn't hurt for PI?

Or do they think: "all those hours being a cite-check slave, you could have been racking up pro bono hours?"


For the majority of PI (excluding DOJ, ACLU, etc), you probably won't even be asked for your transcripts except to prove you're actually enrolled in law school.

None of those things are "bad" (especially going to a better school, which can only be a good thing) but you have to understand that unless you're planning on forgoing sleep during law school, your time is limited. If you want a job in biglaw, your time is far better spent on law review than volunteering. If you want to work for a legal housing counselling group, you're way better off spending 8 hours a week volunteering for NeighborWorks or Legal Aid Society than on law review.

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7669
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:24 pm

twentypercentmore wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:Honestly, a lot of the conventional wisdom about financing law school, choosing courses, and basically everything is just backwards for what PI people need to do. What makes you competitive for Cravath is not what makes you competitive for a prestigious PI fellowship, and what is financially prudent for going into big law is not the same as going PI.


This is a big part of the reason why you really do have to be gunning for PI as soon as possible. The "strategy" for law school is very, very different -- doing the right thing for biglaw can easily mean doing the wrong thing for PI, and vise-versa.



Interesting. I was under the impression that the traditional markers of success for BigLaw (good grades, hi ranked school, law review) couldn't hurt for PI?

Or do they think: "all those hours being a cite-check slave, you could have been racking up pro bono hours?"


For the majority of PI (excluding DOJ, ACLU, etc), you probably won't even be asked for your transcripts except to prove you're actually enrolled in law school.

None of those things are "bad" (especially going to a better school, which can only be a good thing) but you have to understand that unless you're planning on forgoing sleep during law school, your time is limited. If you want a job in biglaw, your time is far better spent on law review than volunteering. If you want to work for a legal housing counselling group, you're way better off spending 8 hours a week volunteering for NeighborWorks or Legal Aid Society than on law review.


This is exactly right. You have limited time in law school. You cannot study hard, edit law review, take a full schedule, do a clinic, run a student organization, and network without burning out.
I would say your order of priorities should be:
1. getting relevant experience (pro bono, clinics, whatever works)
2 . making contacts and getting good references


3. grades
4. law review/journals


5. student clubs

linkx13
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:27 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby linkx13 » Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:30 am

worldtraveler wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:
Interesting. I was under the impression that the traditional markers of success for BigLaw (good grades, hi ranked school, law review) couldn't hurt for PI?

Or do they think: "all those hours being a cite-check slave, you could have been racking up pro bono hours?"


For the majority of PI (excluding DOJ, ACLU, etc), you probably won't even be asked for your transcripts except to prove you're actually enrolled in law school.

None of those things are "bad" (especially going to a better school, which can only be a good thing) but you have to understand that unless you're planning on forgoing sleep during law school, your time is limited. If you want a job in biglaw, your time is far better spent on law review than volunteering. If you want to work for a legal housing counselling group, you're way better off spending 8 hours a week volunteering for NeighborWorks or Legal Aid Society than on law review.


This is exactly right. You have limited time in law school. You cannot study hard, edit law review, take a full schedule, do a clinic, run a student organization, and network without burning out.
I would say your order of priorities should be:
1. getting relevant experience (pro bono, clinics, whatever works)
2 . making contacts and getting good references


3. grades
4. law review/journals


5. student clubs


Hear you, but if one wants jobs at DoJ,ACLU, etc eventually, it only makes sense to get good grades and have those options.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:16 pm

worldtraveler, i know you say student clubs aren't important, but how about clubs that actually do work with real clients in the community (i.e. an immigration law group doing citizenship clinics)??

User avatar
mr. wednesday
Posts: 406
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:15 am

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby mr. wednesday » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:36 pm

BlueLotus wrote:worldtraveler, i know you say student clubs aren't important, but how about clubs that actually do work with real clients in the community (i.e. an immigration law group doing citizenship clinics)??

that's more of a clinic, not a club. Anything actually doing something that is in the area you want to practice is a plus.

Remember that the number one thing you are trying to say with your resume for gov't/PI is "I desperately want to be in this area, doing this kind of work, and I'm not just applying because I struck out during OCI." The number two message is along the lines of, "I can hit the ground running (as much as possible for a recent grad) because of my experience doing exactly what you do."

Anything that goes toward those two messages is probably a great addition to your resume.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:47 pm

cool, thanks!

which one of the following clinics should i do 3L?

-civil litigation (a general legal aid bureau for the indigent, w/ practice areas ranging from landlord-tenant, family law, consumer, public benefits, etc.)
-juvenile rights advocacy
-immigration (leaning away from this since i did immigration 1L and am volunteering at an immigration non profit 2L year--don't wanna pigeonhole myself)
-criminal justice (prosecution or defense--tho i hear that for obvious reasons, Legal Aid looks suspiciously on folks who worked at the DA)
-housing law
-community enterprise (transactional)
-federal appeals

I'm leaning towards the first, as it would provide the full legal aid experience and expose me to the widest array of practice areas.

User avatar
Pleasye
Posts: 7970
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:22 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby Pleasye » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:03 pm

Civil litigation or housing law is probably the most like what you would do at legal aid. Unless you want to be a PD then obviously do the juvenile rights or criminal defense one.

User avatar
BlueLotus
Posts: 2428
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 8:07 pm

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby BlueLotus » Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:34 am

Pleasye wrote:Civil litigation or housing law is probably the most like what you would do at legal aid. Unless you want to be a PD then obviously do the juvenile rights or criminal defense one.


yeah, civil lit seems like the most logical choice.

there's talks in the works about school-sponsored postgrad fellowships at my T30. realllllly hope this materializes, as in T-5 months, i shall officially be a Valer!

User avatar
worldtraveler
Posts: 7669
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:47 am

Re: So you want to do PI?

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:46 am

There are more open PI jobs in housing law and access to public benefits (as in helping people access disability) than anything else. There is a huge need for it, and it's not very sexy so no one wants to do it.

Also lots of openings for working with immigrant juveniles on all of the new deferred action stuff.

Honestly if I were a PI person and didn't care so much about the issue and just really wanted to be in direct legal services, I would target housing law. Lack of affordable housing, evictions, and foreclosures are huge, growing problems but most PI lawyers want to work on other things.




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: neptunian and 2 guests