Pepperdine or Don't Go?

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Should I go to Pepperdine or No?

Yes
6
14%
No
37
86%
 
Total votes: 43

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Finnick
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Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby Finnick » Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:08 pm

Up until the last month or so, I've been planning on attending Pepperdine out in California. I started getting cold feet when I got the loan application for $178K (includes a $15k/year scholarship with a top 50% stipulation)..along with 51.6% LST employment, the even lower chance of getting a job in a field of interest, and whether or not I'd actually enjoy practicing law. I'm also uncomfortable with the ABA stats that 45% of lawyers are unsatisfied with their careers and 60% wouldn't recommend it to others. I'm from Florida, and don't have any ties on the west coast, but I want to live in California (LA, SF, or SD). I have ties to Florida and have a well-known lawyer in the family, but I'm not interested in practicing in Florida. I definitely don't know for sure what I would do career wise, but Sports and Entertainment, Intellectual Property, Human Rights Law, academia, and politics are all of interest. I don't want to post my stats, but I'm a median applicant at Pepperdine (so 158-162 LSAT range, 3.0-3.4 GPA range). I'm maxed out on the LSAT, so retaking isn't an option.

I'm leaning towards not going, because it seems like the obvious answer (200K in debt plus a coin-flip chance at a job, on top of the fact that I'm really wondering how fulfilling doing paperwork 80 hours a week would be). Just thought I'd throw myself to the lions and have you guys confirm that it's a terrible idea. I've already put in a lot of money/time prepping for both the LSAT and 1L (as I was hoping to give myself a good shot at transferring up), but a few thousand bucks is nothing compared to what I would have to put down for school. My family is pushing me to go. I don't really care for their opinion all that much, but it would still be nice/comforting for them to understand why it would be a poor decision. My parents know a lot of attorneys that have done well for themselves and who seem to have decent work/life balance, and they want me to have the same, I guess.

At Pepperdine, the 75th percentile income is 100k...which at first seems exciting, until:
$100,000
-$28,000 federal tax
-$10,000 state income tax
-$20,000 10 yr loan repayment
=$42,000 net

If I worked 60 hours a week (it'd probably be higher)...my take home pay would be about $13.46 an hour :shock:. That's kind of tough to imagine, particularly when I have to lose three years of earning potential to earn the same wage as a McDonald's supervisor. According to the UMich Debt Wiz Calculator, making the pepp average salary (~80K) would barely give me enough for COL and debt repayments. And I would have to live modestly to do that.

My parents are just pushing the idea (and I doubt they care what the debt numbers and job prospects are...or what people on the internet have to say) because they think law will open so many doors for me. Of course, I thought college would do that too, and I've yet to find a decent job alternative. And I think it's hard for most people to imagine how becoming a lawyer could be a bad financial move. Anyways, if any of y'all have some feedback, additional thoughts, or suggestions for other exciting things I could blow 200k on, I would appreciate it!

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twenty
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby twenty » Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:36 pm

Given that your interests are:

I definitely don't know for sure what I would do career wise, but Sports and Entertainment, Intellectual Property, Human Rights Law, academia, and politics are all of interest.


Sports and Entertainment, for all intents and purposes, is biglaw.
IP, for all intents and purposes, you won't be doing without a STEM major.
Human Rights Law, you won't be doing outside of T14, and even in the T14 it's not easy to get.
Academia you need HYS, maybe UChicago.
If you want reasons why Pepperdine is a terrible idea for politics, I might write something up later, or you can just take my word for it that 200k in debt at 8.8% interest does not bode well when entry level politics you won't be making a lot of money/can't go on PSLF.

Retaking is an option, you just have to wait a while. But for you, I think a straight up "don't go to law school" is warranted if you're thinking you may not actually want to be an attorney.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:38 pm

You're numerical calculations are a little oversimplified but on balance it's probably worse than the picture you're painting. We only know that 9.6% of the Pepperdine class of 2012 made over 80k, so thinking that you have a 25% chance at 100k is far too optimistic. Definitely do not go.

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smaug_
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby smaug_ » Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:49 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:Your numerical calculations are far too optimistic. Definitely do not go.

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transferror
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby transferror » Sat Jun 28, 2014 1:59 pm

You need to figure out whether you really want to go to law school. Sports and entertainment is a pipe dream, IP will require a certain background that I'm not sure you have, human rights is incredibly difficult to get into and the pay is awful (sounds like you care about making $$), academia is equally difficult to get into and will require a degree from elite schools that are out of reach for you, and it would be easier/cheaper to get into politics without wasting three years on a JD.

Talk to some attorneys, intern with a DA or PDs Office, get a job as a runner or paralegal at a law firm, and figure out what lawyering entails on a day-to-day basis. From Pepperdine, your most likely outcome will be working at a small firm or local government (DA/PD/Legal Aid), and that's if you find a job.

As to salary, http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/pepperdine/sals/2012/ only 55% of grads reported their salary, probably because they were the only grads with a salary to report, and even then the 75% was 80k rather than 110. Forget the salary numbers, as law jobs have a bi-modal salary distribution. One camp sits at 120-160k, the other at 30-60k, with very little in-between (or at least very little available to recent grads). Rather than look at the schools mean or median salary, just look at how well it places into the 120-160 camp (i.e., biglaw or AIII clerkships that presumably lead to biglaw). Pepperdine's placement was 10% for class of 2013. You also need to consider that Pepperdine is a local school, and you have no ties to California, meaning that you will be far less competitive for jobs. Even if you're in the top 20%, Sally at median that grew up down the road is going to be equally/more competitive for small firms/DA/PD and basically everything other than firms that only cherry-pick from the top 20% of the class.

So don't go to law school yet (or Pepperdine ever). Law school is a very expensive three-year investment; don't jump in blind. Figure out where you want to live, since you will have to attend a local/regional school. Work for a little while, save some money, and you will be eligible for a retake in 2 years or less. Cracking the high 160s should get you a full ride or at least significant money at the state flagship (depending on state) or local school in the area you want to work. You will have to accept the fact that biglaw and big $$ are probably off the table, and you will need to be ok working at a small law firm or in local government, but you will have minimal and manageable debt. This is the reality of a good outcome at most schools outside of the top 25ish, and it's absolutely the right path for some people.

However, it sounds like you are interested salary more than the type of work, which means law school isn't for you.

** Some of this was scooped while I was typing

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Finnick
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby Finnick » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:11 pm

Thanks for the tips so far. I'm not interested just for the money, but would obviously gravitate towards biglaw/high salary to be able to pay off the debt. At the least, I think I'm going to defer for a year and see if I can find a career alternative. I think law is interesting, but a lot of the day-to-day activities probably won't be. I'm going to be shadowing an attorney in a few weeks, and could easily get an internship or more shadowing opportunities, if I ask. It'll be worthwhile to step foot in a firm before I decide if that's what I want to do forever and ever.

Anyone have any thoughts on the idea that "law will open so many doors for you"..such as going into business or hanging your own shingle? I've found a lot of blogs saying going solo, especially right out of school, is an awful idea..but curious if anyone has any experiences with using a JD in another area.

timbs4339
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby timbs4339 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:07 pm

Finnick wrote:Thanks for the tips so far. I'm not interested just for the money, but would obviously gravitate towards biglaw/high salary to be able to pay off the debt. At the least, I think I'm going to defer for a year and see if I can find a career alternative. I think law is interesting, but a lot of the day-to-day activities probably won't be. I'm going to be shadowing an attorney in a few weeks, and could easily get an internship or more shadowing opportunities, if I ask. It'll be worthwhile to step foot in a firm before I decide if that's what I want to do forever and ever.

Anyone have any thoughts on the idea that "law will open so many doors for you"..such as going into business or hanging your own shingle? I've found a lot of blogs saying going solo, especially right out of school, is an awful idea..but curious if anyone has any experiences with using a JD in another area.


The JD usually can open a lot of doors for you...if you can get a legal job first. I know lawyers who transitioned into management consulting or finance after working in the M+A group of a NYC biglaw firm. There are plenty of politicians who are lawyers...after being an ADA (Spitzer, Eliot) or becoming fantastically rich (Edwards, John) or a Harvard law professor (Warren, Elizabeth). You're probably not going to be any of those things out of Pepperdine.

The law schools like to make broad claims about the versatility of a law degree, but they can never come up with any specifics, like which jobs actually prefer freshly minted JDs, or what salaries those jobs pay, etc. etc. What we do know is that JDs who are in other jobs make less money than grads who go into the law, and at schools where the graduates are in highest demand, well over 90% become lawyers.

I know you say you are doubting, but the overly optimistic way in which you are reading the salary data (which has so many holes it might as well be useless) makes me think you are still holding out hope. One thing is for certain- taking out 180K to attend Pepperdine is a terrible, terrible plan.

Sicem007
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby Sicem007 » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:17 pm

Hey finnick, I stumbled onto your post, and it was eerily similar to my own situation. In at Pepperdine and a few others with >25% discounts. I had been planning on becoming a lawyer since I was 15, but after shadowing a lawyer for a year, and doing some serious soul searching. I realized that if I did follow through I would likely be unhappy, unhealthy, and more than likely financially ruined. I capped out at 160 on my LSAT and realized that some people including myself don't have the aptitude to become a lawyer(not saying you don't). It took a lot of guts to be realistic with yourself on this board.

You sound like you have more than enough connections if law really is what you want to do, but I got a sense law isn't for you.

My process for deciding what the next step was in my life. Ask probing questions to yourself. What do I like to do for fun? Do I like to be active? What kind of job has these characteristics? Etc.

Hope my post helps as much as your post helped reiterate my own decison.

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PepperJack
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby PepperJack » Sat Jun 28, 2014 7:30 pm

Sicem007 wrote:Hey finnick, I stumbled onto your post, and it was eerily similar to my own situation. In at Pepperdine and a few others with >25% discounts. I had been planning on becoming a lawyer since I was 15, but after shadowing a lawyer for a year, and doing some serious soul searching. I realized that if I did follow through I would likely be unhappy, unhealthy, and more than likely financially ruined. I capped out at 160 on my LSAT and realized that some people including myself don't have the aptitude to become a lawyer(not saying you don't). It took a lot of guts to be realistic with yourself on this board.

You sound like you have more than enough connections if law really is what you want to do, but I got a sense law isn't for you.

My process for deciding what the next step was in my life. Ask probing questions to yourself. What do I like to do for fun? Do I like to be active? What kind of job has these characteristics? Etc.

Hope my post helps as much as your post helped reiterate my own decison.

If you are calculating the financial situation like you are based off of their MISLEADING DATA -> Don't go!

First of all, 100k is a GREAT OUTCOME from ANY LAW SCHOOL. If you can get other jobs that pay you 42k after taxes then any non-top 14 is always going to be rough. The odds of pulling 100k are very, very low. More likely, 5% of your class will get 160 and 95% will be worse off than when they started. It's also worth noting that people that go to a school like Pepperdine are not dumb so 10% isn't so easy.

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cron1834
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby cron1834 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 1:05 am

DON'T GO to Pep in these circumstances.

should-i-do-it
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby should-i-do-it » Sun Jun 29, 2014 2:22 am

Just over a 50% chance of actually getting a job as a lawyer. Don't go bro

http://www.lstscorereports.com/schools/pepperdine/jobs/

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Finnick
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby Finnick » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:46 pm

Thanks for all the responses guys, I appreciate it. Definitely going to turn Pepp down. I can always reapply in the future if I change my mind again. Too big of a risk for such a low chance of a positive outcome.

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twenty
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby twenty » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:53 pm

Definitely. Your GPA isn't going anywhere, and if it's above 3.0, you're not completely locked out of the T14/full ride at a good regional. If you ever decide you really want to be an attorney, retake the LSAT in a year or two and come back. :)

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KD35
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby KD35 » Sun Jun 29, 2014 12:54 pm

For the majority of people, going there is not financially viable or the right decision. You fall into that category. And I go to Pepperdine and say that.

notutterlystupid
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby notutterlystupid » Tue May 30, 2017 4:36 am

Since when is a law school 1L loan all tuition up front? Also, Finnick, your parents are stupid. Twenty is also very stupid for his comments about academia. Ask the guys that went to Virginia and Missouri, practiced and then taught at ABA schools at six-figure salaries if HYS/Chicago is necessary for academia.

The law is not a shitty field. The people are shitty. Racism is shitty. Favoritism is shitty. Cronyism is shitty. That shit where you hire your friends and family - nepotism, nepotism is shitty when you're on the losing end. Actually nepotism is kind of shitty in general, but nepotism feels less shitty when you're the friend or family member being hired. Shitty professors are shitty. In so far as those and other shitty things infiltrate your study of the law, your experience in law school will be shitty.

What's worse, nepotism or being 200k in debt with no job? Is that the prospective that you want to give yourself? Is that the approach you want to your career? Do you think people in other fields begin with the assumption that they have to beat the shit out of everyone else in a conniving, Survivor kind of way day-one? Do you think, if that's the field in which you have to enter, that going to a Christian school is going to help you develop the type of mentality to get ahead in a field that is by most descriptions incredibly competitive? Are those descriptions accurate? Can you focus on your studies and deny the bullshit?

The truth is, someone's going to make it big as a lawyer. Some guys/gals are going to kick ass, and some of them know who they are going in and stay the same person forever. The question is, are you that guy? Do you know if you're that guy? Do you want to pay over a hundred thousand dollars to find out if you're that guy? If you were in Vegas, would you give the money up for a chance, given the same chances? What's the difference - in law school, studies determine grades determine job prospects? or relationships determine job prospects? Can you focus on those instead of viewing the endeavor as a crapshoot or a Vegas bet? Do you think Pepperdine helps people who are those guys stay those guys? Do you think you're the Apex or the beta?

Npret
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby Npret » Tue May 30, 2017 5:38 am

notutterlystupid wrote:Since when is a law school 1L loan all tuition up front? Also, Finnick, your parents are stupid. Twenty is also very stupid for his comments about academia. Ask the guys that went to Virginia and Missouri, practiced and then taught at ABA schools at six-figure salaries if HYS/Chicago is necessary for academia.

The law is not a shitty field. The people are shitty. Racism is shitty. Favoritism is shitty. Cronyism is shitty. That shit where you hire your friends and family - nepotism, nepotism is shitty when you're on the losing end. Actually nepotism is kind of shitty in general, but nepotism feels less shitty when you're the friend or family member being hired. Shitty professors are shitty. In so far as those and other shitty things infiltrate your study of the law, your experience in law school will be shitty.

What's worse, nepotism or being 200k in debt with no job? Is that the prospective that you want to give yourself? Is that the approach you want to your career? Do you think people in other fields begin with the assumption that they have to beat the shit out of everyone else in a conniving, Survivor kind of way day-one? Do you think, if that's the field in which you have to enter, that going to a Christian school is going to help you develop the type of mentality to get ahead in a field that is by most descriptions incredibly competitive? Are those descriptions accurate? Can you focus on your studies and deny the bullshit?

The truth is, someone's going to make it big as a lawyer. Some guys/gals are going to kick ass, and some of them know who they are going in and stay the same person forever. The question is, are you that guy? Do you know if you're that guy? Do you want to pay over a hundred thousand dollars to find out if you're that guy? If you were in Vegas, would you give the money up for a chance, given the same chances? What's the difference - in law school, studies determine grades determine job prospects? or relationships determine job prospects? Can you focus on those instead of viewing the endeavor as a crapshoot or a Vegas bet? Do you think Pepperdine helps people who are those guys stay those guys? Do you think you're the Apex or the beta?

I'm not sure who you're talking to or why you posted here or what your agenda is but this thread is three years old.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Pepperdine or Don't Go?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 30, 2017 5:53 am

Yeah, don't necro old threads for no reason. OP isn't looking for advice at this point.




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