PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

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twenty
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:50 pm

ColbyBryant wrote:Hey again. Twenty -- given your presence on all of the PI threads, I am just curious if you can touch on your current status in the legal field? Ie, how old are you, what year are you in law school/graduated, what work are you doing in the field, etc. I cannot tell if your profile is real.. it says reapplying for 2013-2014 but it is the 2014-2015 year, and given the consistency with which you give advice and make threads about the PI field, I had assumed that you were a graduate. Just curious, because people take advice on these threads very seriously sometimes. Thanks!


Sure -- I'm in a JD-Advantage position at a low-prestige federal agency, and everyone else here except me has their law degree. Many of the folks I interact with/eat lunch with are on PAYE/LRAP. But moreover, I would venture to say that most of the advice I give is based on factual data rather than my own personal experiences (specifically this thread) that should therefore be accessible to anyone. Before the PI thread, a lot of people were bouncing from thread to thread telling 0Ls that PI was "tougher to get than biglaw, so don't try." I hope my contributions to TLS give prospective law students extra considerations to factor into what will probably end up being one of the biggest decisions they'll ever make.

Anyways, I also wanted to add something here about the PAYE/LRAP combo. Come 2017-2018, the federal government is going to start forgiving an incredible amount of loans through PSLF. Even more in 2019-2020 once more graduates had caught on and started their 120 payments.


I don't disagree with you that the law will probably change eventually, but PAYE and IBR are currently not as used as you might think; there are approximately 37 million student borrowers out there, with only 650k-680k on IBR/PAYE. When you consider that even those people might have had "PI gaps" in their employment/aren't going for PSLF at all, (attorneys especially fall into this category -- when they can't get a PI job, they'll do doc review with a for-profit rather than non-legal PI), that number drops even further.

ColbyBryant
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby ColbyBryant » Wed Feb 26, 2014 8:21 pm

Gotcha, thanks for your response.

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jbagelboy
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:14 pm

Also, anyone coming in to law school expecting to do PI (unless they have an extremely concrete idea and significant full time work experience in that public interest field) should act fully on the hedging assumption they will come out, regardless whether it's after a clerkship, at a large firm where LRAP doesn't apply, where they are cranking 70 hr wks to take home way less because you went to a school with no merit aid program.

The vast majority of Harvard kids will be either starting at a firm after graduation or for 15-20% of the class, summer associate -> 1-2 yr clerkship(s) -> associate, and fall off LRAP anyway.

Just one more reason why going to a school for the LRAP is idiocy.

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skers
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby skers » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:47 pm

jbagelboy wrote:Also, anyone coming in to law school expecting to do PI (unless they have an extremely concrete idea and significant full time work experience in that public interest field) should act fully on the hedging assumption they will come out, regardless whether it's after a clerkship, at a large firm where LRAP doesn't apply, where they are cranking 70 hr wks to take home way less because you went to a school with no merit aid program.

The vast majority of Harvard kids will be either starting at a firm after graduation or for 15-20% of the class, summer associate -> 1-2 yr clerkship(s) -> associate, and fall off LRAP anyway.

Just one more reason why going to a school for the LRAP is idiocy.


I'm not sure whether to call this dumb or just brilliantly realistic.

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jbagelboy
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:59 pm

TemporarySaint wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Also, anyone coming in to law school expecting to do PI (unless they have an extremely concrete idea and significant full time work experience in that public interest field) should act fully on the hedging assumption they will come out, regardless whether it's after a clerkship, at a large firm where LRAP doesn't apply, where they are cranking 70 hr wks to take home way less because you went to a school with no merit aid program.

The vast majority of Harvard kids will be either starting at a firm after graduation or for 15-20% of the class, summer associate -> 1-2 yr clerkship(s) -> associate, and fall off LRAP anyway.

Just one more reason why going to a school for the LRAP is idiocy.


I'm not sure whether to call this dumb or just brilliantly realistic.


thanks, but not really?

I know obvious statement is obvious, but it bears repeating for these kids who see the numbers but still somehow assume they won't be practicing when they graduate, and that LRAP/LIPP/ect. will actually be relevant for them.

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skers
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby skers » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:17 pm

jbagelboy wrote:
TemporarySaint wrote:
jbagelboy wrote:Also, anyone coming in to law school expecting to do PI (unless they have an extremely concrete idea and significant full time work experience in that public interest field) should act fully on the hedging assumption they will come out, regardless whether it's after a clerkship, at a large firm where LRAP doesn't apply, where they are cranking 70 hr wks to take home way less because you went to a school with no merit aid program.

The vast majority of Harvard kids will be either starting at a firm after graduation or for 15-20% of the class, summer associate -> 1-2 yr clerkship(s) -> associate, and fall off LRAP anyway.

Just one more reason why going to a school for the LRAP is idiocy.


I'm not sure whether to call this dumb or just brilliantly realistic.


thanks, but not really?

I know obvious statement is obvious, but it bears repeating for these kids who see the numbers but still somehow assume they won't be practicing when they graduate, and that LRAP/LIPP/ect. will actually be relevant for them.


I think the sentiment you're meaning to go for is don't look at LRAP as a fallback option. Otherwise, I think you can understand why saying 'if you're going to law school wanting to do PI, make choices based on the assumption you'll just give up on all your hopes and dreams in less than 12 months' is a little cynical.

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twenty
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:23 pm

TemporarySaint wrote:I think the sentiment you're meaning to go for is don't look at LRAP as a fallback option. Otherwise, I think you can understand why saying 'if you're going to law school wanting to do PI, make choices based on the assumption you'll just give up on all your hopes and dreams in less than 12 months' is a little cynical.


I would venture to say that the majority of TLSers that say they want PI/govt don't know what the frack they want and will, indeed, end up giving up on their hopes and dreams fairly quickly. "i want to do human rights law in north korea but i dont speak chinese so id be okay with getting a federal clerkship and then lateralling over into a public interest law firm that does that okay where should i go to school CU boulder with 90k or goerge mason with a full ride?" is not really very reassuring.

EDIT> Furthermore, I think even people that are pretty sure of what they want still have no idea of what their job will actually entail. One of the most nihilistic/fatalistic posts I've seen on TLS was by a PD who gunned for it all throughout law school and ended up absolutely hating it.

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jbagelboy
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby jbagelboy » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:48 pm

twenty wrote:
TemporarySaint wrote:I think the sentiment you're meaning to go for is don't look at LRAP as a fallback option. Otherwise, I think you can understand why saying 'if you're going to law school wanting to do PI, make choices based on the assumption you'll just give up on all your hopes and dreams in less than 12 months' is a little cynical.


I would venture to say that the majority of TLSers that say they want PI/govt don't know what the frack they want and will, indeed, end up giving up on their hopes and dreams fairly quickly. "i want to do human rights law in north korea but i dont speak chinese so id be okay with getting a federal clerkship and then lateralling over into a public interest law firm that does that okay where should i go to school CU boulder with 90k or goerge mason with a full ride?" is not really very reassuring.

EDIT> Furthermore, I think even people that are pretty sure of what they want still have no idea of what their job will actually entail. One of the most nihilistic/fatalistic posts I've seen on TLS was by a PD who gunned for it all throughout law school and ended up absolutely hating it.


Also, "cynical" in the sense that few come out of law school doing exactly what they thought they would be doing coming in, especially if their predictions were niche? Then sure. And yes, some will be miserable and disappointed. But I would posit that I'm hardly cynical in the more general sense that people have worse or less desirable outcomes from HYS. Far from it, firm work can lead to an incredibly rewarding career (not just financially). I'm not talking about mass unemployment here. Three current SCOTUS judges summered/worked at Paul Weiss, as did the litigators of many of the momentous civil rights cases in the past century (DOMA, Brown v Board of Ed, ect.). With a clerkship under one's belt, academia or fed gov work is often quite attainable after years at a firm. Cleary prides itself on its partners going back and teaching (especially the YLS ones...). Covington, Debevoise, other top DC firms feed into federal agencies and counsel positions. Remember vault has 70% attrition by yr 5, and while some of that is pressured out/down to another firm, many pursue other types of legal positions, including in-house counsel among all the aforementioned preftigious shit. Working at a prestigious law firm after graduating is far from a curse.

Where do young attorneys receive training? 1L Contracts? Fuck no, they get trained at large law firms. These kids aren't all failing at their dreams. Some just see the $$, sure, but others see the opportunities firm work affords them, and that the types of non-firm jobs in federal agencies or high profile IHR are incredibly few and far between right out of school.

All this to say, vast majority won't be eligible for LRAP anyway, and that's not necessarily a cynical position.

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worldtraveler
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby worldtraveler » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:56 pm

This varies by LRAP but some can allow you to enter 3 years after you graduate. So you can go to a firm and then jump to PI and still be covered.

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hung jury
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby hung jury » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:28 pm

twenty wrote:Okay. Look.

I enjoy prestige whoring as much as anyone else, but people need to stop recommending HYS > T14+full ride because omfg, HYS LRAPs are just so great. They're not. In fact, they're (comparatively) fairly terrible. Let's stop misleading prospective students with this crap.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume a prospective student has a full ride to Michigan (and will cover the rest with savings), will be paying close to sticker at all of HYS (250k COA), and also got into Columbia, but also at sticker. We'll also say for the sake of discussion, the PI job the HYSC grads land is a super awesome DOJ spot with upward mobility to a GS-14, and the Michigan grad lands a cool, but less prestigious spot with HUD with upward mobility to a GS-13.

Don't worry, we'll play with less ludicrous numbers later.

The Michigan student graduates with no debt. He doesn't need LRAP.
Year 1) 51k salary, no debt payment.
Year 2) 62k salary, no debt payment.
Year 3) 74k salary, no debt payment.
Year 4) 89k salary, no debt payment.
Year 5) 92k salary, no debt payment.
(at this point a HUD attorney with no debt would probably roll to a boutique/policy gig, but suppose he slugs up the steps):
Year 6) 94k salary, no debt payment.
Year 7) 98k salary, no debt payment.
Year 8) 100k salary, no debt payment.
Year 9-10) 102k salary, no debt payment.
Over ten years, the student has made $864k, and has made no payments

Now, the Columbia student gets DOJ, and needs LRAP. Columbia's LRAP kicks in the entire PAYE payment up to a 71k salary, and then the student more or less pays the rest of it. In reality, Columbia pays a prorated amount, but the difference between the numbers is about 1k, and I'm too lazy to prorate the numbers myself:
Year 1) 62k salary, no debt payment.
Year 2) 74k salary, ($)5.5k in payments.
Year 3) 89k salary, 7k in payments.
Year 4) 105k salary, 8.7k in payments.
Year 5) 108k salary, 9k payments,
(this continues up to...)
Year 6-10, avg. 115k salary, 10k in payments.
Over ten years, the student has earned ~900k, and has paid 75k in payments.

Now the Harvard student gets DOJ and, of course, needs LRAP. Harvard's LRAP covers everything up to 46k a year, which means that even in year 1 at 62k/yr, our HLS grad will be in the highest LRAP bracket.
Year 1) 62k salary, 5.2k in payments.
Year 2) 74k salary, 10k in payments.
Year 3) 89k salary, 16k in payments.
...the fack?

At this point, an H student goes, "wtf, I'm paying literally double of what the Columbia grad in the desk over from me is paying." That is because the Columbia grad is on PAYE. See, HYS LRAPs are not PAYE-contingent, which means that in order to participate, the student must be on a standard repayment plan. Even though both LRAPs allow the student's loans to be forgiven at the end of the ten year period, the monthly payment is more than twice the amount of a straight-up PAYE payment. When all is said and done, the HLS grad will have made approximately 160k in payments, unless the HLS grad decides to bite the bullet, switch his payments over to PAYE, and join the ranks of everyone else trodding down the PSLF path.

Yale's is similar, and is slightly better for the early years of a PI career, but this difference quickly becomes marginalized in the upper salary ranges. On LIPP, an HLS grad will max out at $1,200 + .4*(salary-52k). A YLS COAP participant will be in the top bracket at 80k, but with $6,750 + .6*(salary-80k). That means at 100k/yr salary, a YLS participant will pay $18,750 a year in payments, while an HLS grad will pay $20,400. In either event, that's significantly more than the Columbia/PAYE payment at $8,200 a year. By the fifth year, HLS does offer a "longevity allowance" which is approximately 5k a year, but if you're still in LIPP by the fifth year, you're doing something very wrong.

But that's not all. If you come in with any preexisting cash assets, HLS' LRAP will reduce your award amount based on the time you've been out of undergrad and the time you've spent working outside of undergrad. More details can be found here: http://www.law.harvard.edu/current/sfs/lipp/assets.html

- HLS and YLS claim to forgive 30k of outside student debt with its LRAP forgiveness, but PSLF subsumes all (federal) outside student debt.
- HLS and YLS have no participation window, SLS has a five-year window, but PAYE/PSLF has no participation window.
- HLS and YLS claim to cover federal clerkships, even though these will be covered under not only PAYE/PSLF, but almost all other T14 LRAPs. SLS conditionally covers federal clerkships.
- SLS does not cover academia. PAYE/PSLF definitely covers academia.

Of the three HYS LRAPs, SLS' is unquestioningly the worst. Exceeding 80k puts you in a $9,750 + 70%*(income-80k) block, which means for someone making 100k, your yearly payment is 23.7k. Leaving SLS' LRAP means you lose time spent in eligibility, which means that the year you were expecting to be eligible... well... guess what, you're not. Enjoy whatever interest accumulated on your loans, because you're going to be paying that bitch back in full.

Furthermore, all of HYS LRAPs factor in your spouse's salary. Many T14 LRAPs do not, and even if they did, you block out in a few years to where you're on straight-PAYE, and that certainly doesn't factor in your spouse's salary (as long as you file separately).

To be fair, there are three situations where HYS' LRAPs could presumably be argued as better than PAYE-contingent LRAPs. First, if you only plan on doing PI for <2 years and then immediately transferring into biglaw (which is a dumb idea, and you should have taken the full ride at the T14 regardless), your loans aren't accumulating interest because HYS is paying it. This is different from PAYE, where your loans go all neg-am on you and capitalize as well.

Secondly, if you're pursuing a LONG Ph.D post law school, HLS/YLS are kind of cool (SLS is not). You're making no money as a Ph.D student, so you weren't going to make any payments anyway, but now your timeframe is 10 years on HLS/YLS rather than 20 years on PAYE/non-PSLF. Plus, if you graduate in, like, 7 years, your overall debt will be substantially lower than it would have been on PAYE.

Finally, if you want to open up your own firm, all of HYS cover private firm startups. But then why the frack did you go to HYS if you wanted to open a shitelaw firm? But I guess 10 years in repayment > 20 years, probably.


What now?

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twenty
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Re: PSA: HYS LRAPs are definitely not "amazing."

Postby twenty » Wed Mar 05, 2014 9:30 pm

hung jury wrote:What now?


Welp... :|




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