What's the deal with Harvard students?

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jbagelboy
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:21 am

Great post above. But even aside from the raw financial implications, I think the negative psychological impact of debt, especially in biglaw, is particularly damning. You'll have no regrets, congratulations.

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jbagelboy
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby jbagelboy » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:24 am

michlaw wrote:
Emma. wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
Varooom wrote:I’m fascinated by the groupthink here with regard to prestige as a fabricated idea without much value. Quite simply, the best schools in the country (undergrad, law, business, etc.) open doors that other schools do not. This is why a lot of people are willing to pay the higher cost. Now, of course, everyone must determine their own value – and, risk tolerance – for those said doors.

The focus here on comparing 1L hiring is misguided. As someone else said above, not all firms are equal. And, more importantly, a prospective career arc must be considered in full. Bigger spoils are more reachable from a better school. And, yes, this comes at a greater risk, particularly for a person that is an all-star on paper, but not quite in person.

In the end, the best schools are best for a reason. As bad a societal truth as it may be, and as much as people want to devalue it, there is much intangible – or, perhaps, deferred – value in attending the best schools. Unlocking that value depends on an alumnus’ abilities (i.e., positioning) and luck. But, to trivialize its value is, well, a bit foolish.

We're talking Harvard vs Columbia, not Harvard vs fucking Florida A&M. And we're talking about 180k plus interest.


This. Someone please explain to me the doors that HLS opens that Columbia doesn't.



What, no one is saying the schools are all the same


Seems that some are wondering? It's a valid question.


There aren't things a graduate of one school can do that a graduate at the other cannot. Emma's not wrong. There are some legal positions available to a larger (but still minority) of the class at Harvard than Columbia, but still available to both, or a larger set at Yale than Harvard. That's why the "opening doors" metaphor is so awful.

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LetsGoMets
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LetsGoMets » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:14 am

On the "doors" topic, another thing that H stressed hard at ASW was the strength of the alumni network, particularly for PI/gov work -- and the institutional resources they have in place to help connect current students with alums in those areas. While I'm sure the "H bomb" on a resume could catch the attention of some employers longer than CCN would, the "doors" that HLS opens seems to be more a function of the class size and the diversity of places where alums are working, and the strength and size of the PI/gov carer services office, at least based on what they told us at ASW.
Last edited by LetsGoMets on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:14 am

downbeat14 wrote:
abl wrote:
Assuming a 5% average interest rate (refi, yo) paid over 10 years, $28,000/year is about what you need to pay to pay off $225,000 in loans.



0L here taking a T14 full ride instead of sticker, so what do I know, but...

Here's the thing a lot of people that pay sticker really can't bring themselves to face about this situation (or maybe just don't get it or not care):

It's not just that you are giving up income and paying interest that you'll never see again. The bigger picture is that you will have earned a shit ton of money working BL in those 5-10 years and have very little show for it, since you are bleeding your money into the student loan abyss instead of building wealth, securing your future with liquid assets thereby self-insuring yourself against unforeseen obstacles ahead, retire comfortably, and be able to free up resources to give money to causes you care about and contribute to the betterment of those you can help by giving it to people that need it.

Here's a fun game I like to play to demonstrate the point:

Based on the 225K figure at 5% interest, to pay that off in ten years would be a monthly payment of $2386. Now, this is doable, but yeah you have to live more modestly and whatever.

Let's say you keep your frugal (and by the way this is a good thing I believe) lifestyle, but let's say you took a full ride to a T14 instead, and only have to take out 60K for COL. To pay that off in 10 years is a monthly payment of only $636.

Now doing the math here, that means in the debt financed tuition scenario you are giving up 1750 per month. Now you say, psssh whatever I gots plenty of money. BUT, and this is where shit gets cray, if you had instead gone the T14 for free route (let's face it it's likely you are making the same salary) AND put that monthly amount in a mutual fund earning an average annual return of 10% a year (not unusual), then after 10 years instead of having no money to show for all that debt, you instead of a single investment worth: 368,000. If you didn't contribute any more to that investment and just let it grow another 20 years to retirement, then you would have about 2.5 million.

0Ls, this is what you are actually giving up when you pay sticker. Not only do you have to hand over more of your money to the government after they already take 28-30% in the short term, you lose your ability to determine your financial future.

Sorry rant over...


This assumes a level of financial discipline that, in my experience, very rarely exists. The pressures to spend in biglaw in particular are strong, and I've seen reasonably few biglaw attorneys actually manage to stash away anywhere close to the amount that you describe. That's not to say that it isn't possible, but I wouldn't underestimate how hard it is, or simply assume you'll be one of the rare cats who manages to pull it off. Far, far more often, there's a sort of budget creep that happens, where initial good intentions eventually become overwhelmed by the spending pressures that accompany life as a biglaw attorney. I can't tell you how many partners I know who have long since paid off their debt yet feel trapped by the many financial obligations they have entered into since joining biglaw. And it's not because these are otherwise weak-willed or undisciplined folks.

My point isn't that there aren't folks who can safely count on being one of the exceptions to this rule: if you managed to save significantly in your pre-law school job, for example, that's a good sign. My point is that the relevant comparison for most people is probably much more similar to what I outlined in my earlier post (that no debt = more daily luxuries) than what you outlined (that no debt = building huge cash stash).

(It's also worth noting that you're entirely ignoring the other side of the equation--how likely it is that you'll end up in your first choice job with the higher ranked school. As has been pretty universally acknowledged here, if your goal is biglaw and/or you derive little utility from your job outside of the income that it provides to you, taking scholly at a good school is almost always TCR. Being able to "step up" from Sidley to Kirkland, for example, is a relatively minor benefit to attending a better school that for few people will be worth significant money. It is when you're looking for something else or something more that the question becomes harder.)
Last edited by abl on Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:19 am

LetsGoMets wrote:On the "doors" topic, another thing that H stressed hard at ASW was the strength of the alumni network, particularly for PI/gov work -- and the institutional resources they have in place to help connect current students with alums in those areas. While I'm sure the "H bomb" on a resume could catch the attention of some employers longer than CCN would, the "doors" that HLS opens seems to be more a function of the class size and the diversity of places where alums are working, and the strength and size of the PI/gov carer services office, at least based on what they told us at ASW.


Yea, I'm skeptical of this being much (if any) advantage. My sense is that the bigger the student body, the smaller the alumni network bump is--and therefore, although there may be a lot of Harvard grads everywhere, I'm skeptical that this would translate to a hiring advantage worth much.

Re the "doors" point and jdbagelboy and Emma, it's obviously just an expression. You're both arguing against a straw man: I think we'd all agree here that there are relatively few opportunities that are truly unique to Harvard grads (or at least that are available to Harvard grads but not Columbia grads). Or, put in a better way, I think we'd all agree that the number of unique and desirable Harvard positions is not significantly greater than the number of unique and desirable Columbia positions (because at least at my HYS, there were a reasonable number of opportunities unique to my school, or unique to my school and one or two others--but I would assume that's the case at most top schools).

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby hdunlop » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:38 am

Harvard's ASW was an amazing sales job. My favorite was on the debt and you thing where they're like, "We know what it's like to have debt." I thought they were gonna be like "because we're all HLS grads!" But no. They're like, "Because we all own houses." Ha.

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downbeat14
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby downbeat14 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:45 am

@abl

You make valid points that many people are unable to control their irresponsible patterns of financial decision making, this is a problem of self control. The point wasn't that this is going to happen, but it's an opportunity lost if you pay sticker that is very doable. 1750 per month is not that hard to save and invest in good funds.

I'll agree that a lot, maybe most, will not be able to do that despite the feasibility, but the circumstances in which you are living show that it is possible to do biglaw and not touch 1750 per month comfortably. So there's no guarantee,but it's at least very possible.

Here's what else you are missing: the only guarantee in either scenario is that if u take out debt you WILL have to pay it back.

For the record, I wasn't even trying to relate to my own situation. I'm very careful with money and highly disciplined, which I learned from growing up in a not well to do family. Like don't use credit cards, cash only, etc. I'm planning on investing far more than that when I'm out of school each month (to be fair part if that is my SO makes a decent living and will be supporting me through LS, the hypo wasn't related to my situation other than to say that I'm just not going to take out debt so that's where I'm coming from).

As to the second part, no offense but this is borderline insanity. The VAST majority of H grads are going to leave school with the same salary as the VAST majority of other T14 grads (talking here about ppl that end up going private sector). I'm not going to mortgage my financial future (as well as my future family) on some outside shot at a unicorn outcome, it's called unicorn on this site for a very good reason. Of course, this is all different if someone else is paying. But if you are debt financing, sticker is very risky and for most people very stupid. This is like gambling with your entire financial future for very marginal odds gains. Crazy

michlaw
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby michlaw » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:55 am

downbeat14 wrote:@abl

You make valid points that many people are unable to control their irresponsible patterns of financial decision making, this is a problem of self control. The point wasn't that this is going to happen, but it's an opportunity lost if you pay sticker that is very doable. 1750 per month is not that hard to save and invest in good funds.

I'll agree that a lot, maybe most, will not be able to do that despite the feasibility, but the circumstances in which you are living show that it is possible to do biglaw and not touch 1750 per month comfortably. So there's no guarantee,but it's at least very possible.

Here's what else you are missing: the only guarantee in either scenario is that if u take out debt you WILL have to pay it back.

For the record, I wasn't even trying to relate to my own situation. I'm very careful with money and highly disciplined, which I learned from growing up in a not well to do family. Like don't use credit cards, cash only, etc. I'm planning on investing far more than that when I'm out of school each month (to be fair part if that is my SO makes a decent living and will be supporting me through LS, the hypo wasn't related to my situation other than to say that I'm just not going to take out debt so that's where I'm coming from).

As to the second part, no offense but this is borderline insanity. The VAST majority of H grads are going to leave school with the same salary as the VAST majority of other T14 grads (talking here about ppl that end up going private sector). I'm not going to mortgage my financial future (as well as my future family) on some outside shot at a unicorn outcome, it's called unicorn on this site for a very good reason. Of course, this is all different if someone else is paying. But if you are debt financing, sticker is very risky and for most people very stupid. This is like gambling with your entire financial future for very marginal odds gains. Crazy


The reality is that the only schools that Harvard loses admits to, setting aside huge merit scholarships, are Yale and Stanford. It could be viewed as borderline unseemly to condemn those willing to pay sticker at Harvard while cheering those who take full rides. You do know that the free rides are supported on the backs of the "less deserving" individuals paying sticker at that school. There are many who think that need based aid is a whole lot more ethical and democratic than merit based aid, and YHS are need based.

bklynlady
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby bklynlady » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:18 pm

michlaw wrote:
downbeat14 wrote:@abl

You make valid points that many people are unable to control their irresponsible patterns of financial decision making, this is a problem of self control. The point wasn't that this is going to happen, but it's an opportunity lost if you pay sticker that is very doable. 1750 per month is not that hard to save and invest in good funds.

I'll agree that a lot, maybe most, will not be able to do that despite the feasibility, but the circumstances in which you are living show that it is possible to do biglaw and not touch 1750 per month comfortably. So there's no guarantee,but it's at least very possible.

Here's what else you are missing: the only guarantee in either scenario is that if u take out debt you WILL have to pay it back.

For the record, I wasn't even trying to relate to my own situation. I'm very careful with money and highly disciplined, which I learned from growing up in a not well to do family. Like don't use credit cards, cash only, etc. I'm planning on investing far more than that when I'm out of school each month (to be fair part if that is my SO makes a decent living and will be supporting me through LS, the hypo wasn't related to my situation other than to say that I'm just not going to take out debt so that's where I'm coming from).

As to the second part, no offense but this is borderline insanity. The VAST majority of H grads are going to leave school with the same salary as the VAST majority of other T14 grads (talking here about ppl that end up going private sector). I'm not going to mortgage my financial future (as well as my future family) on some outside shot at a unicorn outcome, it's called unicorn on this site for a very good reason. Of course, this is all different if someone else is paying. But if you are debt financing, sticker is very risky and for most people very stupid. This is like gambling with your entire financial future for very marginal odds gains. Crazy


The reality is that the only schools that Harvard loses admits to, setting aside huge merit scholarships, are Yale and Stanford. It could be viewed as borderline unseemly to condemn those willing to pay sticker at Harvard while cheering those who take full rides. You do know that the free rides are supported on the backs of the "less deserving" individuals paying sticker at that school. There are many who think that need based aid is a whole lot more ethical and democratic than merit based aid, and YHS are need based.

Do not agree that it is more "ethical" and "democratic." The ones who suffer under that system are the middle-class people who make enough to live a half-normal life but not enough to pay for HLS. These are the people who have the dilemma of giving up big scholarship $$ to attend H at sticker. The very rich have the bucks to pay and don't care and the lower income people get the aid. How is that more "ethical and democratic"? p.s. the folks getting need based aid at HLS are also doing so on the backs of the schmucks paying sticker; again, how is that more ethical or democratic?

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby FloridaCoastalorbust » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:19 pm

why is this thread still alive. it sucks.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LoganCouture » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:31 pm

bklynlady wrote:
michlaw wrote:
downbeat14 wrote:@abl

You make valid points that many people are unable to control their irresponsible patterns of financial decision making, this is a problem of self control. The point wasn't that this is going to happen, but it's an opportunity lost if you pay sticker that is very doable. 1750 per month is not that hard to save and invest in good funds.

I'll agree that a lot, maybe most, will not be able to do that despite the feasibility, but the circumstances in which you are living show that it is possible to do biglaw and not touch 1750 per month comfortably. So there's no guarantee,but it's at least very possible.

Here's what else you are missing: the only guarantee in either scenario is that if u take out debt you WILL have to pay it back.

For the record, I wasn't even trying to relate to my own situation. I'm very careful with money and highly disciplined, which I learned from growing up in a not well to do family. Like don't use credit cards, cash only, etc. I'm planning on investing far more than that when I'm out of school each month (to be fair part if that is my SO makes a decent living and will be supporting me through LS, the hypo wasn't related to my situation other than to say that I'm just not going to take out debt so that's where I'm coming from).

As to the second part, no offense but this is borderline insanity. The VAST majority of H grads are going to leave school with the same salary as the VAST majority of other T14 grads (talking here about ppl that end up going private sector). I'm not going to mortgage my financial future (as well as my future family) on some outside shot at a unicorn outcome, it's called unicorn on this site for a very good reason. Of course, this is all different if someone else is paying. But if you are debt financing, sticker is very risky and for most people very stupid. This is like gambling with your entire financial future for very marginal odds gains. Crazy


The reality is that the only schools that Harvard loses admits to, setting aside huge merit scholarships, are Yale and Stanford. It could be viewed as borderline unseemly to condemn those willing to pay sticker at Harvard while cheering those who take full rides. You do know that the free rides are supported on the backs of the "less deserving" individuals paying sticker at that school. There are many who think that need based aid is a whole lot more ethical and democratic than merit based aid, and YHS are need based.

Do not agree that it is more "ethical" and "democratic." The ones who suffer under that system are the middle-class people who make enough to live a half-normal life but not enough to pay for HLS. These are the people who have the dilemma of giving up big scholarship $$ to attend H at sticker. The very rich have the bucks to pay and don't care and the lower income people get the aid. How is that more "ethical and democratic"? p.s. the folks getting need based aid at HLS are also doing so on the backs of the schmucks paying sticker; again, how is that more ethical or democratic?


Even as a low income person, getting max aid at YHS still sets you back a cool 160K+ (debt at repayment). For the very low income crowd who has to think about supporting their parents/family after graduating (repay debts, stay in their home, let them retire sometime before age 90, etc) need aid still doesn't go far enough IMO.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LSATneurotic » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:39 pm

FloridaCoastalorbust wrote:why is this thread still alive. it sucks.

I love it! I think it's an important discussion that will inform the decisions of 0Ls for generations to come.

abl
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:54 pm

downbeat14 wrote:@abl

You make valid points that many people are unable to control their irresponsible patterns of financial decision making, this is a problem of self control. The point wasn't that this is going to happen, but it's an opportunity lost if you pay sticker that is very doable. 1750 per month is not that hard to save and invest in good funds.

I'll agree that a lot, maybe most, will not be able to do that despite the feasibility, but the circumstances in which you are living show that it is possible to do biglaw and not touch 1750 per month comfortably. So there's no guarantee,but it's at least very possible.

Here's what else you are missing: the only guarantee in either scenario is that if u take out debt you WILL have to pay it back.

For the record, I wasn't even trying to relate to my own situation. I'm very careful with money and highly disciplined, which I learned from growing up in a not well to do family. Like don't use credit cards, cash only, etc. I'm planning on investing far more than that when I'm out of school each month (to be fair part if that is my SO makes a decent living and will be supporting me through LS, the hypo wasn't related to my situation other than to say that I'm just not going to take out debt so that's where I'm coming from).

As to the second part, no offense but this is borderline insanity. The VAST majority of H grads are going to leave school with the same salary as the VAST majority of other T14 grads (talking here about ppl that end up going private sector). I'm not going to mortgage my financial future (as well as my future family) on some outside shot at a unicorn outcome, it's called unicorn on this site for a very good reason. Of course, this is all different if someone else is paying. But if you are debt financing, sticker is very risky and for most people very stupid. This is like gambling with your entire financial future for very marginal odds gains. Crazy


I'm not sure how feasible it is to do biglaw and not touch $1,750/m comfortably when the alternative is having that as disposable income. Debt is its own weird form of forced savings.

Regarding the second part, I think you need to go back and reread the thread if you haven't already. The relevant point of comparison is the % of H students who would prefer non-biglaw outcomes that get them as compared with the % of Columbia students who would prefer non-biglaw outcomes that get them. For purposes of our discussion, it's irrelevant what the "VAST majority of H grads" make as compared with what the "VAST majority of other T14 grads" make. Nobody's arguing that for a student who wants biglaw and cares about little besides maximizing their earnings it probably doesn't make sense to turn down $$$ at Columbia for Harvard.

Also, I'll say this once again: looking only at the salary of top law school grads misses often (usually/always) what is most important. It is irrelevant whether Harvard grads generally make the same salary as other T14 grads. In fact, most of the "best" non-biglaw jobs in law pay less than biglaw market. The reason why you choose Harvard over Columbia is not to get a better paying job -- it's to get a more rewarding, more substantive, etc, job.

Finally, the word "unicorn" is generally appropriate because these sorts of jobs are rare and hard to find and land for students from most law schools. However, in the aggregate, these jobs are not as rare and unavailable for HYS as what their name might imply, and a real percentage of the class at HYS (especially YS) genuinely do end up in these sorts of jobs. I don't know if 10%, 15%, or 20% more of the class (in absolute numbers) at Harvard ends up in these sorts of positions as compared with Columbia, but I am pretty confident that it is a real difference--and the numbers available for elite hiring outcomes like federal clerkships and Skaddens support this.

Go back and re-read my post about my own experience and values. I also can't imagine that I'm particular unique in valuing the utility that I lose from having an effective take-home income of $85,000 instead of $100,000 at a fraction of the utility that I gain from having a job that I really like instead of a job that I don't. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that I easily gain 10x the utility from my current job (as compared with the biglaw position I would have been in) than I do that marginal difference in take-home income. Not only do I not think that's "borderline insanity," I think it's a view that you'd find is pretty widely shared among young associates in biglaw and young lawyers in unicorn positions. It's absurd to argue that taking an effective pay cut of that nature constitutes mortgaging one's financial future, and you're naive if you think that there aren't enormous differences in the personal utility that various types of lawyers derive from their work.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby UnicornHunter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:57 pm

lc39 wrote:Even as a low income person, getting max aid at YHS still sets you back a cool 160K+ (debt at repayment). For the very low income crowd who has to think about supporting their parents/family after graduating (repay debts, stay in their home, let them retire sometime before age 90, etc) need aid still doesn't go far enough IMO.


Honestly, your opinion seems kind of stupid. Why should it matter if your financial obligations to your family flow up the family tree (i.e. to your poor parents) or down (to your children)?

To be fair, merit scholarships are also a bullshit system that places the burden for paying for law school squarely on the backs of those who are, statistically, least likely to get a good outcome from law school. Really, the only equitable solution is for schools to drop the whole scholarship system and just reduce tuition across the board.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Fawkes » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:58 pm

yot11 wrote:
bklynlady wrote:So was there any consensus among the alumni you connected with?


FWIW, I spoke to two HYS alums. One (I think) had no debt, the other definitely did (although I couldn't tell you how much). They graduated in 2014, and 2010, respectively. Neither regretted their decision to attend HYS.


None tried to sell their school in that "My school is the only right choice for you!" kind of way. They all commented on how it was a personal decision that each person should make for themselves. They spoke about what factors they were considering and why that led them to the school they chose, and no one I talked to (from any school) regretted their decision. The HYS people I talked to did have significant debt (since I was specifically seeking out those who had to pay back a lot of debt as they are the most likely to regret their decision, IMO). They didn't lie about the debt and say it was negligible. They emphasized that it should be an incredibly important consideration, but they also said that it wasn't difficult for them to pay it off. They didn't see it as largely damaging or restricting. Apparently, the consensus among them was that the debt load does not appear as bad as it does from a 0L perspective. I personally found that surprising because I thought the debt would seem much worse as you're paying it off and feeling the real impact of that significant amount of money being deducted from your disposable income. As probably expected, the main reason most chose HYS was for that marginally greater degree of career flexibility. The other factors they mentioned were very school specific since I was asking for a direct comparison of my top choices.

The CCN people I talked to had typical biglaw jobs, I think. They weren't really gunning for the "unicorn" jobs. As most people know from the stats, these alums had no trouble getting their jobs. Not going to HYS didn't really hurt their career prospects considering their career goals.

ETA: The HYS alums were also working in biglaw. I forgot to mention that.
Last edited by Fawkes on Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LSATneurotic » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:00 pm

TheUnicornHunter wrote:
lc39 wrote:Even as a low income person, getting max aid at YHS still sets you back a cool 160K+ (debt at repayment). For the very low income crowd who has to think about supporting their parents/family after graduating (repay debts, stay in their home, let them retire sometime before age 90, etc) need aid still doesn't go far enough IMO.


Honestly, your opinion seems kind of stupid. Why should it matter if your financial obligations to your family flow up the family tree (i.e. to your poor parents) or down (to your children)?

To be fair, merit scholarships are also a bullshit system that places the burden for paying for law school squarely on the backs of those who are, statistically, least likely to get a good outcome from law school. Really, the only equitable solution is for schools to drop the whole scholarship system and just reduce tuition across the board.


Disagree about the last part. It makes total sense to invest the most resources in the students who have demonstrated the most work ethic and talent, because they are the one's most likely to go on to successful careers (and perhaps improve the school's brand, though this is debatable). If you want to argue whether the current merit scholarship calculus adequately assesses student ability, I won't argue, but I think it's unreasonable to suggest throwing out the entire merit based system. It's not like the students who get shitty offers are being forced to matriculate.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:00 pm

lc39 wrote:
bklynlady wrote:
michlaw wrote:
downbeat14 wrote:@abl

You make valid points that many people are unable to control their irresponsible patterns of financial decision making, this is a problem of self control. The point wasn't that this is going to happen, but it's an opportunity lost if you pay sticker that is very doable. 1750 per month is not that hard to save and invest in good funds.

I'll agree that a lot, maybe most, will not be able to do that despite the feasibility, but the circumstances in which you are living show that it is possible to do biglaw and not touch 1750 per month comfortably. So there's no guarantee,but it's at least very possible.

Here's what else you are missing: the only guarantee in either scenario is that if u take out debt you WILL have to pay it back.

For the record, I wasn't even trying to relate to my own situation. I'm very careful with money and highly disciplined, which I learned from growing up in a not well to do family. Like don't use credit cards, cash only, etc. I'm planning on investing far more than that when I'm out of school each month (to be fair part if that is my SO makes a decent living and will be supporting me through LS, the hypo wasn't related to my situation other than to say that I'm just not going to take out debt so that's where I'm coming from).

As to the second part, no offense but this is borderline insanity. The VAST majority of H grads are going to leave school with the same salary as the VAST majority of other T14 grads (talking here about ppl that end up going private sector). I'm not going to mortgage my financial future (as well as my future family) on some outside shot at a unicorn outcome, it's called unicorn on this site for a very good reason. Of course, this is all different if someone else is paying. But if you are debt financing, sticker is very risky and for most people very stupid. This is like gambling with your entire financial future for very marginal odds gains. Crazy


The reality is that the only schools that Harvard loses admits to, setting aside huge merit scholarships, are Yale and Stanford. It could be viewed as borderline unseemly to condemn those willing to pay sticker at Harvard while cheering those who take full rides. You do know that the free rides are supported on the backs of the "less deserving" individuals paying sticker at that school. There are many who think that need based aid is a whole lot more ethical and democratic than merit based aid, and YHS are need based.

Do not agree that it is more "ethical" and "democratic." The ones who suffer under that system are the middle-class people who make enough to live a half-normal life but not enough to pay for HLS. These are the people who have the dilemma of giving up big scholarship $$ to attend H at sticker. The very rich have the bucks to pay and don't care and the lower income people get the aid. How is that more "ethical and democratic"? p.s. the folks getting need based aid at HLS are also doing so on the backs of the schmucks paying sticker; again, how is that more ethical or democratic?


Even as a low income person, getting max aid at YHS still sets you back a cool 160K+ (debt at repayment). For the very low income crowd who has to think about supporting their parents/family after graduating (repay debts, stay in their home, let them retire sometime before age 90, etc) need aid still doesn't go far enough IMO.


This isn't true. I did not get max aid from HYS, did not receive financial support through law school, am not in other ways a special circumstance, and I graduated with about half of that in law school debt at repayment. (My summers were both income neutral.) From what I've seen, it's possible to graduate with <$50k in loans on repayment for someone on a budget with max need aid who maximizes their biglaw $$ over the summers. That said, this still may be prohibitively expensive for truly low income prospective law students, so although I disagree with your numbers, I absolutely agree with your broader point.

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LSATneurotic
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LSATneurotic » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:02 pm

lol at ABL's last post. you went to school a long time ago, buddy. in case you haven't looked at the recent COA figures, even with max need aid (for a single student) you are coming out with $150,000+, no question.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:09 pm

LSATneurotic wrote:lol at ABL's last post. you went to school a long time ago, buddy. in case you haven't looked at the recent COA figures, even with max need aid (for a single student) you are coming out with $150,000+, no question.


Not long enough ago to make that sort of difference, and the COA figures at my school, at least, drastically overstated what the actual COA was. They were essentially a reflection of the max reasonable COA (e.g., the COA assuming the most expensive local housing, frequent expensive meals out, frequent weekend trips/city visits, etc). I couldn't tell you if that was particular to my school or if it's common.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:09 pm

abl wrote:This isn't true. I did not get max aid from HYS, did not receive financial support through law school, am not in other ways a special circumstance, and I graduated with about half of that in law school debt at repayment. (My summers were both income neutral.) From what I've seen, it's possible to graduate with <$50k in loans on repayment for someone on a budget with max need aid who maximizes their biglaw $$ over the summers. That said, this still may be prohibitively expensive for truly low income prospective law students, so although I disagree with your numbers, I absolutely agree with your broader point.

I don't know why you're even arguing this. Harvard expects students to contribute $44,300 per year. Even if you can cut 10k off of that number every year you'll be way, way north of 50k.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LSATneurotic » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:11 pm

abl wrote:
LSATneurotic wrote:lol at ABL's last post. you went to school a long time ago, buddy. in case you haven't looked at the recent COA figures, even with max need aid (for a single student) you are coming out with $150,000+, no question.


Not long enough ago to make that sort of difference, and the COA figures at my school, at least, drastically overstated what the actual COA was. They were essentially a reflection of the max reasonable COA (e.g., the COA assuming the most expensive local housing, frequent expensive meals out, frequent weekend trips/city visits, etc). I couldn't tell you if that was particular to my school or if it's common.

assuming you went to Yale. Yeah, New Haven is probably relatively cheaper COL than what they list. Still doesn't change the $150,000 number. I don't care to debate the finer points, because it's obvious IMO.

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Desert Fox
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Desert Fox » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:13 pm

Fawkes wrote:
yot11 wrote:
bklynlady wrote:So was there any consensus among the alumni you connected with?


FWIW, I spoke to two HYS alums. One (I think) had no debt, the other definitely did (although I couldn't tell you how much). They graduated in 2014, and 2010, respectively. Neither regretted their decision to attend HYS.


None tried to sell their school in that "My school is the only right choice for you!" kind of way. They all commented on how it was a personal decision that each person should make for themselves. They spoke about what factors they were considering and why that led them to the school they chose, and no one I talked to (from any school) regretted their decision. The HYS people I talked to did have significant debt (since I was specifically seeking out those who had to pay back a lot of debt as they are the most likely to regret their decision, IMO). They didn't lie about the debt and say it was negligible. They emphasized that it should be an incredibly important consideration, but they also said that it wasn't difficult for them to pay it off. They didn't see it as largely damaging or restricting. Apparently, the consensus among them was that the debt load does not appear as bad as it does from a 0L perspective. I personally found that surprising because I thought the debt would seem much worse as you're paying it off and feeling the real impact of that significant amount of money being deducted from your disposable income. As probably expected, the main reason most chose HYS was for that marginally greater degree of career flexibility. The other factors they mentioned were very school specific since I was asking for a direct comparison of my top choices.

The CCN people I talked to had typical biglaw jobs, I think. They weren't really gunning for the "unicorn" jobs. As most people know from the stats, these alums had no trouble getting their jobs. Not going to HYS didn't really hurt their career prospects considering their career goals.

ETA: The HYS alums were also working in biglaw. I forgot to mention that.


The debt is way worse than you'd think. Though there are several reasons why you might hear otherwise from people. If you are asking someone sufficiently older (even like 5th year+) their tuition was a lot lower than you would get now. I told a 5th year at my firm that I took out loans for my school and he said "so what like 150-160k in debt?" He was off by like 100k. And I started school over 4 years ago. Anyone starting in Fall 2015, will have way more debt than I do.

Wages have been statement and full fare debt loads are rising very quickly. The difference between someone with 150k debt in 2009 and someone with 300k debt in 2019 is way worse than double.

Also, almost nobody is actually paying off their debt quickly in big law. They are paying 10 year plan or sometimes even 20-25 year plans. But you won't get biglaw for that long. So yea, paying the ten year plan on biglaw salary isn't crushing, but what the fuck happens when your firm lays off 20% of your litigation group and you now have to take a MASSIVE paycut. That 2500 dollar a month loan bill is now too much to handle.

But, even if the debt is bearable (and again it really isn't), it still retarded to pay 2000 dollars a month more for a Harvard diploma than a Columbia diploma.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LoganCouture » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:14 pm

LSATneurotic wrote:lol at ABL's last post. you went to school a long time ago, buddy. in case you haven't looked at the recent COA figures, even with max need aid (for a single student) you are coming out with $150,000+, no question.


Yeah, I have it plugged in on lawschool22's spreadsheet.

Yale first year expenses: 79,517
Max need based grant: 35,017

Extrapolated that to future years (increasing tuition/COL by 4%/2.5% respectively and adjusting grant aid to compensate for that increase) and adjust 3L year grant aid down for a 2L SA and even if you can contribute 15K from the SA to 3L expenses (lol) you're still left at $161,395.

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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby LSATneurotic » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:17 pm

@ Fox

Not arguing for H over Hamilton. But doesn't YHS set you up for a firm where transitioning in-house is pretty much a done deal? Maybe I'm really naive (I am a 0L), but it's hard to envision too many YHS grads struggling to find employment that can cover their debt loads, even at full price. Maybe the really nerdy ones with no social skills (not an inconsiderable number, based on what I've seen, but still the minority.).

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: What's the deal with Harvard students?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:19 pm

LSATneurotic wrote:@ Fox

Not arguing for H over Hamilton. But doesn't YHS set you up for a firm where transitioning in-house is pretty much a done deal? Maybe I'm really naive (I am a 0L), but it's hard to envision too many YHS grads struggling to find employment that can cover their debt loads, even at full price. Maybe the really nerdy ones with no social skills (not an inconsiderable number, based on what I've seen, but still the minority.).

Columbia does too except for 200k less. The last person who should choose full loans at Harvard over a Hamilton is the one who wants biglaw to inhouse.




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