Which law school is the best investment?

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PunkedbyReality
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Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:18 am

My best friend from law school: "Yeah, it's a lot of debt, but you'll be able to pay it off in a few years and then you'll net a lot of money to save."

Me after leaving law school: "That happens for a certain percentage of law students. What about those for whom it doesn't? And what if you finally start working in Big Law and realize you don't like the work?"

Best friend: "For those that don't get Big Law and don't get hefty aid, it's honestly not a pretty picture, even at a top-15 law school like ours. And if someone takes the law school gamble and hates Big Law, they honestly have to suck it up for about 4000-6000 billable hours and then exit into something that's a better fit. But they'll spend this time just paying off their debt."

Me: "So the downside-risk is two-fold: "1) You take out a lot of debt, like sports-car to mortgage levels, and you don't get a law job that will allow you to pay this off within 3-5 years, and 2) you take out the debt without knowing enough about Big Law to know whether it would be a good fit and then you're stuck doing it for a few years, wishing you hadn't made the bet."

Best friend: "That's fair."

Me: "Well, since it's such a gamble these days unless you get great scholly money or go to a top school, do you think that potential law students are doing rigorous financial analysis, considering the investment is so large in terms of time and money? I mean, I do investment analysis for work and I spend a lot of time vetting and pitching a $150k investment?"

Best friend: "I'm not sure, but I don't think law students do enough investment analysis before taking the plunge and going to school. Maybe the students aren't equipped with the skills to do it, or maybe they have too many schools to analyze, but I don't think enough analysis happens."

Me: "That's a problem."

I left law school to go into management consulting; I wasn't sure I wanted to be a lawyer and I honestly didn't like the investment decision I had made in going to school. My best friend from school is a lawyer through and through, and he'll be going to a top-10 firm in NYC after he's done. We still debate whether it's a good investment for many who go to law school, and we think it's tougher than many realize to determine which school represents the best investment for those who have been accepted to many.

What do you think? We've built a survey to gather data that's going to help us figure it out, and we'll eventually share this with potential law students. If you've got 60 seconds, please take this survey and help us get the data we need to find out: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1stNbRn ... E/viewform

And also, seriously, what do you think about law school, generally, as an investment and picking the best investment when you've been accepted to multiple schools?

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ballcaps
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby ballcaps » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:22 am

yale

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:30 am

ballcaps wrote:yale


Yale may be the best investment for those that get in.

But in the end, we would be able to build a tool that would allow potential law students to better understand the investment value, holistically, of attending different schools. It could help them decide 1) if they should go to law school, and 2) which specific school represents the best investment.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:32 am

Why does the survey not ask about debt?

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:25 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Why does the survey not ask about debt?


Debt is something that students will have to self-report when using the tool. We don't need the data on debt, but we do need the data on the characteristics of law students that perform well in school and those that don't. So debt isn't in it.

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:29 am

PunkedbyReality wrote:My best friend from law school: "Yeah, it's a lot of debt, but you'll be able to pay it off in a few years and then you'll net a lot of money to save."

Me after leaving law school: "That happens for a certain percentage of law students. What about those for whom it doesn't? And what if you finally start working in Big Law and realize you don't like the work?"

Best friend: "For those that don't get Big Law and don't get hefty aid, it's honestly not a pretty picture, even at a top-15 law school like ours. And if someone takes the law school gamble and hates Big Law, they honestly have to suck it up for about 4000-6000 billable hours and then exit into something that's a better fit. But they'll spend this time just paying off their debt."

Me: "So the downside-risk is two-fold: "1) You take out a lot of debt, like sports-car to mortgage levels, and you don't get a law job that will allow you to pay this off within 3-5 years, and 2) you take out the debt without knowing enough about Big Law to know whether it would be a good fit and then you're stuck doing it for a few years, wishing you hadn't made the bet."

Best friend: "That's fair."

Me: "Well, since it's such a gamble these days unless you get great scholly money or go to a top school, do you think that potential law students are doing rigorous financial analysis, considering the investment is so large in terms of time and money? I mean, I do investment analysis for work and I spend a lot of time vetting and pitching a $150k investment?"

Best friend: "I'm not sure, but I don't think law students do enough investment analysis before taking the plunge and going to school. Maybe the students aren't equipped with the skills to do it, or maybe they have too many schools to analyze, but I don't think enough analysis happens."

Me: "That's a problem."

I left law school to go into management consulting; I wasn't sure I wanted to be a lawyer and I honestly didn't like the investment decision I had made in going to school. My best friend from school is a lawyer through and through, and he'll be going to a top-10 firm in NYC after he's done. We still debate whether it's a good investment for many who go to law school, and we think it's tougher than many realize to determine which school represents the best investment for those who have been accepted to many.

What do you think? We've built a survey to gather data that's going to help us figure it out, and we'll eventually share this with potential law students. If you've got 60 seconds, please take this survey and help us get the data we need to find out: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1stNbRn ... E/viewform

And also, seriously, what do you think about law school, generally, as an investment and picking the best investment when you've been accepted to multiple schools?


I should also mention that by taking the survey, you have a 1-2% chance of winning a $100 Amazon gift card.

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bjsesq
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby bjsesq » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:37 am

I took your quiz, but I'm not sure how illuminating your results will be here. It doesn't even ask what sort of work you are doing, in what sector, if you are in a JD necessary position, etc. These feel relevant.

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ballcaps
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby ballcaps » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:42 am

appreciate the vim and vigor, but i believe you're making this issue much, much more complicated than it actually is.

the best investment is the school that provides the best chances* of meeting career goals** at reasonable (if not lowest) cost.***

*appropriateness here depends on individual risk aversion, to some extent
**vary widely by individual
***see above

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:45 am

bjsesq wrote:I took your quiz, but I'm not sure how illuminating your results will be here. It doesn't even ask what sort of work you are doing, in what sector, if you are in a JD necessary position, etc. These feel relevant.


Thank you!

And good points. Might be worth collecting.

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:55 am

ballcaps wrote:appreciate the vim and vigor, but i believe you're making this issue much, much more complicated than it actually is.

the best investment is the school that provides the best chances* of meeting career goals** at reasonable (if not lowest) cost.***

*appropriateness here depends on individual risk aversion, to some extent
**vary widely by individual
***see above


What if the student could know his quantified chances of meeting his career/financial goals, and also taking into account the cost, could quantify the value of his investment? I agree with your points. In principle, the best school would satisfy your criteria. But the truth is, students currently only speculate about their chances*, and this is typically not the best way to approach a significant investment of money and time.

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Winston1984
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby Winston1984 » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:57 am

PunkedbyReality wrote:
ballcaps wrote:appreciate the vim and vigor, but i believe you're making this issue much, much more complicated than it actually is.

the best investment is the school that provides the best chances* of meeting career goals** at reasonable (if not lowest) cost.***

*appropriateness here depends on individual risk aversion, to some extent
**vary widely by individual
***see above


What if the student could know his quantified chances of meeting his career/financial goals, and also taking into account the cost, could quantify the value of his investment? I agree with your points. In principle, the best school would satisfy your criteria. But the truth is, students currently only speculate about their chances*, and this is typically not the best way to approach a significant investment of money and time.

That would mean knowing how well you would perform in law school. Something that just can't be reliably quantified.

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ballcaps
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby ballcaps » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:04 pm

Winston1984 wrote:
PunkedbyReality wrote:
ballcaps wrote:appreciate the vim and vigor, but i believe you're making this issue much, much more complicated than it actually is.

the best investment is the school that provides the best chances* of meeting career goals** at reasonable (if not lowest) cost.***

*appropriateness here depends on individual risk aversion, to some extent
**vary widely by individual
***see above


What if the student could know his quantified chances of meeting his career/financial goals, and also taking into account the cost, could quantify the value of his investment? I agree with your points. In principle, the best school would satisfy your criteria. But the truth is, students currently only speculate about their chances*, and this is typically not the best way to approach a significant investment of money and time.

That would mean knowing how well you would perform in law school. Something that just can't be reliably quantified.

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Clemenceau
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby Clemenceau » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:07 pm

Of course there's speculation. There will always be speculation. Even if you somehow accurately predicted what someone's 1L grades would be, the decision to attend law school would still involve speculation.

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:10 pm

Clemenceau wrote:Of course there's speculation. There will always be speculation. Even if you somehow accurately predicted what someone's 1L grades would be, the decision to attend law school would still involve speculation.


Fair enough. But quantified speculation (a prediction) is what typically underlies an investment of capital; this is why increasingly, business and investment decisions are data-driven. So what if law school could be more like this? And if it was relatively accurate, wouldn't it provide information to students that isn't already out there and could be helpful?

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Clemenceau
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby Clemenceau » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:17 pm

PunkedbyReality wrote:
Clemenceau wrote:Of course there's speculation. There will always be speculation. Even if you somehow accurately predicted what someone's 1L grades would be, the decision to attend law school would still involve speculation.


Fair enough. But quantified speculation (a prediction) is what typically underlies an investment of capital; this is why increasingly, business and investment decisions are data-driven. So what if law school could be more like this? And if it was relatively accurate, wouldn't it provide information to students that isn't already out there and could be helpful?


Eh. Quanitified speculation, as you define it, is pretty useless at an individual level.

Law school needs a paradigm shift, not new data. The data is out there. It's grim. People still go.

Edited for clarity

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BVest
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby BVest » Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:06 pm

The free one.

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ballcaps
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby ballcaps » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:37 pm

PunkedbyReality wrote:
Clemenceau wrote:Of course there's speculation. There will always be speculation. Even if you somehow accurately predicted what someone's 1L grades would be, the decision to attend law school would still involve speculation.


Fair enough. But quantified speculation (a prediction) is what typically underlies an investment of capital; this is why increasingly, business and investment decisions are data-driven. So what if law school could be more like this? And if it was relatively accurate, wouldn't it provide information to students that isn't already out there and could be helpful?


i believe what you're describing is the millennia-old practice of fortunetelling.

of course i agree this would be incredibly valuable, but could most profitably be applied to the stock market, assuming you manage to pin down the technology.

good luck!

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PunkedbyReality
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby PunkedbyReality » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:30 am

ballcaps wrote:
PunkedbyReality wrote:
Clemenceau wrote:Of course there's speculation. There will always be speculation. Even if you somehow accurately predicted what someone's 1L grades would be, the decision to attend law school would still involve speculation.


Fair enough. But quantified speculation (a prediction) is what typically underlies an investment of capital; this is why increasingly, business and investment decisions are data-driven. So what if law school could be more like this? And if it was relatively accurate, wouldn't it provide information to students that isn't already out there and could be helpful?


i believe what you're describing is the millennia-old practice of fortunetelling.

of course i agree this would be incredibly valuable, but could most profitably be applied to the stock market, assuming you manage to pin down the technology.

good luck!


Thank you!

And to anyone else out there who has made it through this thread, take this survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1stNbRn ... E/viewform

It will only cost you 60 seconds, literally, and you'll have a 1-2% chance of winning a $100 Amazon gift card. Plus, it will lead to some interesting findings!

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dabigchina
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Re: Which law school is the best investment?

Postby dabigchina » Sun Feb 22, 2015 9:46 pm

i'm confused by how a survey can act as a proxy for financial analysis. this seems like a job for excel.




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