Cheap law schools? Or: applying to a T3 for a full ride?

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tilapiahollandaise
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Cheap law schools? Or: applying to a T3 for a full ride?

Postby tilapiahollandaise » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:27 am

tl;dr: I'm interested in applying to cheap law schools or law schools which award me a lot of money because my undergrad debt is already high and I mostly want a legal education and legal experience working for a corporation which could aid in paying off my student loans in the process--I do not necessarily want a permanent, high-paying job that I could do for the rest of my life.

l;r: I posted a thread a while back about my financial situation, but it's been too long for anyone to remember.

Basically, I come from a slightly poor family and went to some private colleges during undergrad not knowing a lot about loans or finance so I, like a lot of students, will be graduating with a lot of debt. (probably around $80k-90k.) My majors (Philosophy/English), while I enjoy them a lot, were picked when I was a freshman who was dead-set on going to law school. I don't think I would especially enjoy grad school because I already feel quite burdened from my undergrad debt and grad school would not help me pay that off in the least.

Now, I don't view law schools as a means to a lot of money. In fact, I'm not even sure I want to do law forever. There are a few things I want to get out of law however:

1. A legal education. I want to know how a corporate lawyer thinks. This, to me, is more valuable than an MBA -- I usually play at the edges of whatever rules I'm made to follow, so if I can know what rules businesses are playing by I feel like I'm in good shape to start my own.

2. Experience applying knowledge from (1).

3. A decent job which can help pay off my loans.

I feel like I can achieve both 1 and 2 by going to a law school that is fairly under what I am capable of getting accepted to. (stats: don't know for sure, but based on my LSAT practice tests and GPA, it will probably be somewhere in the range of GPA: 3.4ish (maybe a bit under) and LSAT: somewhere between 171 and 165.)

The idea of applying to a T3 law school in TX, where I live, and receiving enough award money to only have to pay for a year of law school is quite attractive to me. If I did that I could graduate law school with about $120k in debt, which while still enormous is not uncommon for lawyers. I'm aware that while these schools don't have much pull outside of TX, they can make pretty good (by non-lawyer standards) money ($80k starting, iirc) in their region which, combined with the cheap cost of living, would be a good path to paying off these loans.

Does this seem like an okay plan to anyone else? Am I crazy? I'm aware this is top-law-schools but it is also quite-a-helpful-site-nonetheless and the idea of taking on $200k from going to a top 30 school when I'm pretty sure I won't want to be a lawyer past my mid-30s is, admittedly, a little scary.

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glewz
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Re: Cheap law schools? Or: applying to a T3 for a full ride?

Postby glewz » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:43 am

tilapiahollandaise wrote:tl;dr: I'm interested in applying to cheap law schools or law schools which award me a lot of money because my undergrad debt is already high and I mostly want a legal education and legal experience working for a corporation which could aid in paying off my student loans in the process--I do not necessarily want a permanent, high-paying job that I could do for the rest of my life.

l;r: I posted a thread a while back about my financial situation, but it's been too long for anyone to remember.

Basically, I come from a slightly poor family and went to some private colleges during undergrad not knowing a lot about loans or finance so I, like a lot of students, will be graduating with a lot of debt. (probably around $80k-90k.) My majors (Philosophy/English), while I enjoy them a lot, were picked when I was a freshman who was dead-set on going to law school. I don't think I would especially enjoy grad school because I already feel quite burdened from my undergrad debt and grad school would not help me pay that off in the least.

Now, I don't view law schools as a means to a lot of money. In fact, I'm not even sure I want to do law forever. There are a few things I want to get out of law however:

1. A legal education. I want to know how a corporate lawyer thinks. This, to me, is more valuable than an MBA -- I usually play at the edges of whatever rules I'm made to follow, so if I can know what rules businesses are playing by I feel like I'm in good shape to start my own.

2. Experience applying knowledge from (1).

3. A decent job which can help pay off my loans.

I feel like I can achieve both 1 and 2 by going to a law school that is fairly under what I am capable of getting accepted to. (stats: don't know for sure, but based on my LSAT practice tests and GPA, it will probably be somewhere in the range of GPA: 3.4ish (maybe a bit under) and LSAT: somewhere between 171 and 165.)

The idea of applying to a T3 law school in TX, where I live, and receiving enough award money to only have to pay for a year of law school is quite attractive to me. If I did that I could graduate law school with about $120k in debt, which while still enormous is not uncommon for lawyers. I'm aware that while these schools don't have much pull outside of TX, they can make pretty good (by non-lawyer standards) money ($80k starting, iirc) in their region which, combined with the cheap cost of living, would be a good path to paying off these loans.

Does this seem like an okay plan to anyone else? Am I crazy? I'm aware this is top-law-schools.org but it is also quite-a-helpful-site-nonetheless.org and the idea of taking on $200k from going to a top 30 school when I'm pretty sure I won't want to be a lawyer past my mid-30s is, admittedly, a little scary.



Seems like a reasonable plan to me, but keep in mind that an MBA is currently considered a more versatile degree than a JD. (But unless you have some work experience, you can put that out of your mind.)

At the end of the day, the higher your LSAT, the more feasible your plan becomes. At 170+, you'd be in a position to receive significant scholarship awards (probably some full rides) from T20s and T30s, depending on your softs. Keep in mind that many law schools do not consider your current debt as a reason to award $, but still, the fact that you have ?financial need? (duno how accurate your assessment is...perhaps you should conduct a more detailed evaluation) might make you eligible for big $s.

Best luck.

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tilapiahollandaise
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Re: Cheap law schools? Or: applying to a T3 for a full ride?

Postby tilapiahollandaise » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:54 am

Thanks for the advice. My parents earn about $30,000/year (combined) if that helps. During the worst of the recession it was really low, at least by the standards of people who apply to law school--about $25,000.

By the way, about the MBA thing. There's a reason I'm not going after an MBA that I didn't mention in the first post for brevity's sake: while I am decent at the LSAT, I am terrible at math. My edge on the LSAT comes from the fact that I am very strong in the kind of informal logic that the LSAT tests, and when you add math this edge goes away. Moreover, I have not taken many business courses other than intro micro/macro economics. I like reading business textbooks for personal learning, sure, but that doesn't show up on my transcript. So for business schools, I am probably an uncompetitive applicant.

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glewz
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Re: Cheap law schools? Or: applying to a T3 for a full ride?

Postby glewz » Fri Dec 17, 2010 6:58 am

tilapiahollandaise wrote:Thanks for the advice. My parents earn about $30,000/year (combined) if that helps. During the worst of the recession it was really low, at least by the standards of people who apply to law school--about $25,000.

By the way, about the MBA thing. There's a reason I'm not going after an MBA that I didn't mention in the first post for brevity's sake: while I am decent at the LSAT, I am terrible at math. My edge on the LSAT comes from the fact that I am very strong in the kind of informal logic that the LSAT tests, and when you add math this edge goes away. Moreover, I have not taken many business courses other than intro micro/macro economics. I like reading business textbooks for personal learning, sure, but that doesn't show up on my transcript. So for business schools, I am probably an uncompetitive applicant.


Having taken the GMAT, I really think that the math is learnable if you purchase the right prep books, but you probably know yourself best - go LSAT :). btw, for MBA school, most top programs will take your LSAT score in lieu of the GMAT, and many schools offer JD+MBA dual degrees.

Business schools don't necessarily want undergrad bus. majors - in fact, I've heard many people saying that some admissions committees disadvantage those candidates. That said, bus. schools still want you to have a solid direction and understanding of how an MBA would add value to your short&long term goals. beatthegmat.com and gmatclub.com are good resources if you are curious about your chances.

I'm no expert on financial aid, but that sounds like a combined income that deserves significant $ in paying for a near-200k education.




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