Law School Decision Help

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LawSchoolWorried

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Law School Decision Help

Postby LawSchoolWorried » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:15 am

I've been scouring these sites for the past six months. Its been enlightening and terrifying. I've had my heart set on law school because I truly find the law interesting and believe I could do good work, making a difference. I know I would be fairly set on public interest / government work. I know, I know. The heart wants what it wants though. I'm also incredibly debt averse having already paid off my private undergrad loans. The state of the legal job market is just about heartbreaking to me. That said, I am not law school or die. I'm 35 years old and if I have to walk away from this path, I will find something else worthwhile. I just really enjoy law. With that, I would love to get some advice from those that know more than I. Below are the schools I have heard back from. I'm still waiting on six others which is crazy because I have to start letting the schools I've gotten into know within the next three weeks.


George Washington U.
Scholarship: $90,000 over 3 years
Yearly tuition: $54,000

Emory
Scholarship: $109,000 over 3 years
Yearly tuition: $52,000

U of Missouri
Full tuition covered + $1500 a year stipend
At this school, I also have free room for the three years

Cardozo
Scholarship: $144,000 over 3 years
Yearly: $55,000

Pennsylvania State
Scholarship: $144,000 over 3 years
Yearly: $51,000

I'm still waiting to hear back from Fordham, Brooklyn Law, USC, UCLA & Columbia.

I currently live in NYC and while I would love to stay, I don't know how anyone can live here for three years with no income. That alone would add 100K to student loan debt. I also know myself to know that I can't live in the long term outside of a major metropolitan area. I'd love to hear anyone's honest thoughts. Even if its that the numbers don't add up, and I should run far away from law.

cavalier1138

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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 8:01 pm

Re: Law School Decision Help

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:09 am

What kind of PI/government work do you envision yourself doing?

ponderingmeerkat

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Posts: 1879
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:24 am

Re: Law School Decision Help

Postby ponderingmeerkat » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:51 am

LawSchoolWorried wrote:I've been scouring these sites for the past six months. Its been enlightening and terrifying. I've had my heart set on law school because I truly find the law interesting and believe I could do good work, making a difference. I know I would be fairly set on public interest / government work. I know, I know. The heart wants what it wants though. I'm also incredibly debt averse having already paid off my private undergrad loans. The state of the legal job market is just about heartbreaking to me. That said, I am not law school or die. I'm 35 years old and if I have to walk away from this path, I will find something else worthwhile. I just really enjoy law. With that, I would love to get some advice from those that know more than I. Below are the schools I have heard back from. I'm still waiting on six others which is crazy because I have to start letting the schools I've gotten into know within the next three weeks.


George Washington U.
Scholarship: $90,000 over 3 years
Yearly tuition: $54,000

Emory
Scholarship: $109,000 over 3 years
Yearly tuition: $52,000

U of Missouri
Full tuition covered + $1500 a year stipend
At this school, I also have free room for the three years

Cardozo
Scholarship: $144,000 over 3 years
Yearly: $55,000

Pennsylvania State
Scholarship: $144,000 over 3 years
Yearly: $51,000

I'm still waiting to hear back from Fordham, Brooklyn Law, USC, UCLA & Columbia.

I currently live in NYC and while I would love to stay, I don't know how anyone can live here for three years with no income. That alone would add 100K to student loan debt. I also know myself to know that I can't live in the long term outside of a major metropolitan area. I'd love to hear anyone's honest thoughts. Even if its that the numbers don't add up, and I should run far away from law.


I just want to take a quick second to thank the OP. This is a great "Choosing a Law School" post. It has most things that are often lacking in other posts. It includes OP's goals (PI or Gov), a broad spectrum of schools with tuition and scholarship included (much better than some weird, binary "Cooley full, UMich sticker" bullshit option the TLS mob has to discuss), and someone who has clearly done research before posting. Only thing I'd add is a poll so some people can weigh in without lengthy responses.

If it were me, I'd probably take Emory from that list (although I think you can make a case--not a strong one--for Cardozo).

First let's toss out Mizzou, Penn St. and GWU. Unless you see yourself in Western PA or Missouri for-ev-er...don't go to those two locations. I get the impression that's not how you see your life going, so stay far far away. Their JDs have almost zero geographic portability and certainly nothing that'll place in NYC.

I'd toss GWU because it's roughly $30K more in tuition than Emory, and DC is significantly more expensive to live in vs. Atlanta. So you're probably looking at ~50K more for a school that's basically a peer to Emory.

Is there a case to be made for Cardozo? Maybe. My guess is that it's going to cost roughly the same as Emory once you factor in the increased COA for NYC vs. ATL. So, you'd have to have friends/family support in NYC who can reduce your COA costs to justify it. Also, you'd probably need to be an "NYC or bust" type. Ultimately, I doubt a 35 year old is moving back in with Ma and Pa, so you're probably going to have to be content to count on loan forgiveness 20 years from now. Also, due to my perception of you as not being tied to NYC exclusively and due to your expressed interest in gov't work, I'd set this option aside.

Now, for Emory...probably your best option. Can it get you back to NYC? Yes. Is it likely? No--but it does have some portability (way more than Penn St. or Mizzou that's for sure). If you're gunning PI or gov't will you be able to get one or the other out of Emory? Probably--somewhere.

Now it all boils down to should you? I'm not sure if the ~$100K you'll need to finance an Emory JD is worth it honestly. It's right there in the grey area. Even if you were looking at pulling a stint in biglaw or gunning a clerkship, I'd suggest $75K is probably the max you should spend for the 30% chance Emory gives you. I've seen some people say $100K is their cutoff for a T20/T25-ish school--point being there's some debate about where on the smart-dumb spectrum Emory/GWU/ND/etc. debt amounts lie, but you're right on the ragged edge of sanity with $100K+.

So, if someone put a gun to my head and made me pick I'd go Emory given these options. But, ultimately, I'd probably start negotiating like crazy and, if in the end, I couldn't get that Emory number bumped, I probably wouldn't go. And who knows...maybe Fordham will come through with similar scholly numbers to Cardozo and give you an escape hatch. Wouldn't count on it, but things could evolve a little.

Good luck!

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Ronan

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Re: Law School Decision Help

Postby Ronan » Fri Mar 10, 2017 11:05 am

What kind of government/PI work do you want to do?

The reason I'm asking is, if you are looking to do ADA/PD govt- kind of work in NYC, go to the cheapest school in NYC as possible (Dozo, Brooklyn, hell maybe even CUNY). If you're looking to do the higher profile stuff (ACLU, etc), the pedigree of your school is going to matter more, so Emory may be the best option of your choices for that.



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