How much debt is too much for UChicago?

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )

Is UChicago worth $160K-$180K in debt?

Yes
31
72%
No
12
28%
 
Total votes: 43

Nomad17
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomad17 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:49 am

One of the reasons I'm interested in biglaw at all are the exit options. Perhaps this is the exception, but at the small/mid-sized firm where I talked to some attorneys, it seems like most of the partners working in those practice areas went biglaw --> small/mid law partner. It also seems like landing a job with a smaller sized firm out of school is such a crapshoot.

The wisdom here is apparently to always assume you'll end up around median. Wouldn't it be better to be at median at Chicago/Columbia/etc. with big debt than a standard Tier 1 with $50k-$60K in debt? Or is the possibility of finishing near the top of the class with less debt make it worth a shot?

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:15 pm

Nomad17 wrote:One of the reasons I'm interested in biglaw at all are the exit options. Perhaps this is the exception, but at the small/mid-sized firm where I talked to some attorneys, it seems like most of the partners working in those practice areas went biglaw --> small/mid law partner. It also seems like landing a job with a smaller sized firm out of school is such a crapshoot.

The wisdom here is apparently to always assume you'll end up around median. Wouldn't it be better to be at median at Chicago/Columbia/etc. with big debt than a standard Tier 1 with $50k-$60K in debt? Or is the possibility of finishing near the top of the class with less debt make it worth a shot?


My b, didn't know you were talking about a boutique with big law refugees. "Real estate" is such a broad field, but I was wrong to assume you meant a modest outcome. Yeah, if you want something more niche then Chicago makes a lot more sense than a UIUC.

I'd rather be median at Chicago than a standard Tier 1 for suresies, but I also would refuse to put myself in 170K debt in the first place so I'm probably pretty biased against answering your hypo. Northwestern doesn't drip with near as much prestige as THE University of Chicago but I would have copped that cool 150K and used the spousal support to escape with 30-50K debt there (or whatever it would be) rather than stuff that FAT CAT Posner's pockets even further.

Gun to my head, I probably would have taken 50K at UIUC over 170K at Chicago. But I'm a spineless chicken, so YMMV. I took the money (and also had some personal reasons) at a lower ranked school and pretty much my only regret is that I think I would have been prouder of having a JD from a higher ranked school (so I can relate to your prestige thirst there). But that's a really shallow thing, I realize that, and it doesn't cause me to lose any sleep at night. I also have the benefit of hindsight (albeit only as a 2L, lots of bad stuff could happen from here on out). But yeah, I'm probably a lot more debt averse than most so take everything I said here with the appropriate heaping of salt.

Anyway, I'll stop, just listen to the Chicago kids, they're way more knowledgeable than me.

Nomad17
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 8:15 pm

Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Nomad17 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:45 pm

Thanks for the input BigZuck - some of the same factors that make me thirst for prestige also make me want to take the money (i.e., any of the amounts I listed are huge chunks of money to me). My general debt aversion is the only thing keeping me from doing it.

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DoveBodyWash
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby DoveBodyWash » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:02 pm

elterrible78 wrote:
2014 wrote:Zuck Idk the current 2Ls well, but we (3Ls) had a few non-ties non-LR people get Texas BL. I can think of maybe one person who wanted it and didn't get it and I think her issue was mostly bidding and not great grades.


I know of three 2Ls who did the same.

know of at least one 2L with no ties to Texas get CoA clerkship there after the initial hiring frenzy.

Nomad17 wrote:Wouldn't it be better to be at median at Chicago/Columbia/etc. with big debt than a standard Tier 1 with $50k-$60K in debt? Or is the possibility of finishing near the top of the class with less debt make it worth a shot?

Sort of depends on the market you want i guess...but i was top of the class at T20 with 60k debt (full ride + COL) and my BigLaw opportunities from Chicago were better by a large margin in the markets that i cared about (stayed long enough at T20 before transferring to compare my initial OCI results). I don't think the chances of finishing near the top of the class are worth the less debt because it's unlikely that you'll be at the top of the class, and EVEN IF you are top of the class, the chances of you getting a chance to interview with the firms you want to aren't better depending on the school you go to. It makes sense if striking out with 60k debt is a better outcome than your desired job with 160k debt or whatever, but if that's the case then probably better to just not go to law school and have 0 debt.

suboxoneman
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby suboxoneman » Wed Mar 11, 2015 2:59 pm

One thing we haven't talked about in this thread: how much do you really want to be a lawyer? You didn't touch on it a lot in your OP, but it doesn't seem like you are super jacked to be a lawyer. If that's the case, I wouldn't go to law school under any circumstance(even in some alternate reality where yale gave you a totally free ride)

Mal Reynolds
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby Mal Reynolds » Wed Mar 11, 2015 3:03 pm

I wouldn't have enrolled here for that much debt. It's not the most absurd amount in the world, but it's probably pushing the boundaries of what's reasonable.

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2014
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby 2014 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:00 pm

Nomad17 wrote:The wisdom here is apparently to always assume you'll end up around median. Wouldn't it be better to be at median at Chicago/Columbia/etc. with big debt than a standard Tier 1 with $50k-$60K in debt? Or is the possibility of finishing near the top of the class with less debt make it worth a shot?

Depends on your personal goals and risk tolerance. Median at U.Chicago/Columbia/Penn gives you $X expected career earnings while marginally above median at a standard Tier 1 gives you $Y expected career earnings. Because so many CCP students take the same general career path (big law + standard exits) $X is both higher and less volatile. If you exceed it, it's probably because you made partner or made GC somewhere, and if you fall below it, it's probably because you chose a PI exit or dropped out of the workforce. $Y on the other hand is lower and can be wildly variable since well over half of the class is going to have to take some unconventional path as compared to T13 counterparts.

For the person who wants to do BigLaw and a standard exit, the expected value of a better school even with more debt is going to wildly outweigh other options. Even if you have some balls, playing the T1 lottery and hoping for big law is a tough sell. For someone who wants to take a different path though, or who would be cool with big law but really just wants to be a lawyer, the debt makes no sense. It's a different discussion when you start comparing peer schools because the $X number for those schools is pretty close and you have to put some value on the extra like 10% of cushion Penn gives you over Virginia or whatever.

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:46 pm

2014 wrote:
Nomad17 wrote:The wisdom here is apparently to always assume you'll end up around median. Wouldn't it be better to be at median at Chicago/Columbia/etc. with big debt than a standard Tier 1 with $50k-$60K in debt? Or is the possibility of finishing near the top of the class with less debt make it worth a shot?

Depends on your personal goals and risk tolerance. Median at U.Chicago/Columbia/Penn gives you $X expected career earnings while marginally above median at a standard Tier 1 gives you $Y expected career earnings. Because so many CCP students take the same general career path (big law + standard exits) $X is both higher and less volatile. If you exceed it, it's probably because you made partner or made GC somewhere, and if you fall below it, it's probably because you chose a PI exit or dropped out of the workforce. $Y on the other hand is lower and can be wildly variable since well over half of the class is going to have to take some unconventional path as compared to T13 counterparts.

For the person who wants to do BigLaw and a standard exit, the expected value of a better school even with more debt is going to wildly outweigh other options. Even if you have some balls, playing the T1 lottery and hoping for big law is a tough sell. For someone who wants to take a different path though, or who would be cool with big law but really just wants to be a lawyer, the debt makes no sense. It's a different discussion when you start comparing peer schools because the $X number for those schools is pretty close and you have to put some value on the extra like 10% of cushion Penn gives you over Virginia or whatever.


TTT in decline, etc. but your anti-NYU (and other schools) trolling right here feels SOOOOO 2012. Makes it kind of hard to take you seriously on a day when you're trying to declare your not-a-shillbotdom

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2014
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby 2014 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:10 pm

NYU adds another variable I didn't want to deal with because someone would roll in here and be like "1/5 OF NYU SELECTS INTO PI THEREFORE YOUR CAREER EARNINGS ARGUMENT IS STOOPID" so I just fixed that in advance :lol: I'm cool w/ NYU, I really only have issues with GULC.

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:14 pm

2014 wrote:NYU adds another variable I didn't want to deal with because someone would roll in here and be like "1/5 OF NYU SELECTS INTO PI THEREFORE YOUR CAREER EARNINGS ARGUMENT IS STOOPID" so I just fixed that in advance :lol: I'm cool w/ NYU, I really only have issues with GULC.

Throw Michigan in there and we've got ourselves an agreement

( :wink: )

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BiglawAssociate
Posts: 355
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BiglawAssociate » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:07 am

2014 wrote:If Chicago is not worth 160-180k god save 75% of my class.




You'd be surprised at what percentage of the class is having parents pay full price. Half of my friends in law school had parents worth 10mm+ so paying law school tuition was a joke to them. This forum makes you think a lot of people are in your boat - taking out massive loans. A third of the people I work with in biglaw that I've spoken to about loans had parents pay full price. There are a lot of rich kids in this profession in both biglaw and public interest - they aren't like you. Most of these rich kids aren't trolling this forum, but there are a lot of them.

Before I went to law school, I would have said yes, Chicago is worth the almost 200k debt. After practicing for a few years, I would say no.

Biglaw can be terrible, and is terrible most of the time. Plus, a lot of people burn out of the profession after a few (less than 5) years in biglaw, and many leave the legal practice forever. I'd estimate even up to a quarter/third of the people who left my firm, left the profession entirely. Who knows if you will pay off your debt by then. Don't take on massive debt for something you will likely dislike.

If you don't do biglaw, and do something more interesting, you'll likely be working a lot of hours for crap pay - there is very little middle ground in this profession, which is also another factor that makes it suck. A lot of other professions allow you to make a reasonable salary for a 40 hour work week. That doesn't exist in law - there is rarely a 40 hour work week, even in public interest jobs that pay 50-60k starting. And if you do public interest, you better be a trust fund kid (since that's the only way you can afford living in a city with your meager salary).

InHouseF50
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby InHouseF50 » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:23 am

As in-house counsel, I'd say that people in this threat are crazy who suggest Chicago/other top 5s are not worth sticker for those looking for long-term law firm/in-house options. You are looking at a very good chance of getting in-house, or firm that can get you there from the absolute bottom of Chicago or Harvard or Columbia's class. These chances decrease significantly outside the top-5. You need to be in the top-third of UT's class to be competitive right?

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BiglawAssociate
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BiglawAssociate » Thu Mar 12, 2015 12:26 am

InHouseF50 wrote:As in-house counsel, I'd say that people in this threat are crazy who suggest Chicago/other top 5s are not worth sticker for those looking for long-term law firm/in-house options. You are looking at a very good chance of getting in-house, or firm that can get you there from the absolute bottom of Chicago or Harvard or Columbia's class. These chances decrease significantly outside the top-5. You need to be in the top-third of UT's class to be competitive right?


To go in house? Or to get biglaw? Going in house has a lot less to do with your law school than your firm/work experience. Getting biglaw is another story - but going in house these days requires you to do biglaw for 5+ years.....FIVE PLUS YEARS. Many people burn out before then. I bet OP wouldn't even last 5 years in biglaw to get in house, let alone "good" in house (which is also not that common these days). A lot of in house jobs are terrible sweatshops. There are laterals at my firm who came back to biglaw because in house was terrible. Some of these in house jobs (like Amazon) pay a lot of money, but work you to death. And if you go in house at banks, you're probably doing the driest of the dry work that makes you want to shoot yourself on a daily basis.

So if you like working to death for comparably crappy pay compared to working in finance/banking, then yes, law is the right field for you. There's just a lot more money to be made in finance (similar to biglaw hours) and you don't need to spend 3 years in law school and 200k in debt for crappier pay.

BigZuck
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Re: How much debt is too much for UChicago?

Postby BigZuck » Thu Mar 12, 2015 1:05 am

InHouseF50 wrote:As in-house counsel, I'd say that people in this threat are crazy who suggest Chicago/other top 5s are not worth sticker for those looking for long-term law firm/in-house options. You are looking at a very good chance of getting in-house, or firm that can get you there from the absolute bottom of Chicago or Harvard or Columbia's class. These chances decrease significantly outside the top-5. You need to be in the top-third of UT's class to be competitive right?

Feels strawmannish

Who was talking about sticker at Chicago and in house jobs? How is that at all responsive to the OP's situation? And what does UT have to do with anything?




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