How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

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ScottRiqui
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How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby ScottRiqui » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:06 pm

Let's say that right now you have (or can get) a steady job making $X/year. But you're thinking about switching careers and going into law. Further, assume that you can get into a T20 school (but probably not a T6), and tuition/fees/living stipend would be paid for, so going to law school would really only cost you the money that you won't be making at your other job for the three years you're in school.

If you think the job satisfaction would be comparable either way, how low does "X" have to be before you'd quit/pass up the job and go to law school instead?

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NZA
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby NZA » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:09 pm

Well...personally, I want to go to law school because I'm actually interested in practicing law. I don't really desire to learn $$$, just enough to live comfortably.

Soo...I don't know that there is some dollar amount that I take in lieu of law school.

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gbpackerbacker
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby gbpackerbacker » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:10 pm

Completely depends on how one feels about my current job. I'd play MLB for peanuts.

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AreJay711
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:13 pm

NZA wrote:Well...personally, I want to go to law school because I'm actually interested in practicing law. I don't really desire to learn $$$, just enough to live comfortably.

Soo...I don't know that there is some dollar amount that I take in lieu of law school.


Nah, there is some price. It is just probably unreasonably high. With enough money you could do just about anything you want.

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NZA
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby NZA » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:15 pm

AreJay711 wrote:
NZA wrote:Well...personally, I want to go to law school because I'm actually interested in practicing law. I don't really desire to learn $$$, just enough to live comfortably.

Soo...I don't know that there is some dollar amount that I take in lieu of law school.


Nah, there is some price. It is just probably unreasonably high. With enough money you could do just about anything you want.


True, true.

You're right about that. But I was thinking about it, and then really the question will essentially have changed to, "What kind of experiences in life would you take over attending law school?"

And the answer to that question...well, kind of a long list it would be. :)

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ScottRiqui
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby ScottRiqui » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:20 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. I realize that job satisfaction plays a huge part - that's why I tried to frame the question such that the satisfaction would be largely the same either way. Obviously, everyone has some job that they'd do for (almost) free, as long as their basic needs are met.

Holding all else equal, I guess the heart of the question is "What do you consider the 'expected value' (to use a finance/statistics term) of your salary to be after attending law school, also taking into account the three year's worth of lost salary from the job you left/passed up?

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AreJay711
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby AreJay711 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:29 pm

ScottRiqui wrote:Thanks for the replies so far. I realize that job satisfaction plays a huge part - that's why I tried to frame the question such that the satisfaction would be largely the same either way. Obviously, everyone has some job that they'd do for (almost) free, as long as their basic needs are met.

Holding all else equal, I guess the heart of the question is "What do you consider the 'expected value' (to use a finance/statistics term) of your salary to be after attending law school, also taking into account the three year's worth of lost salary from the job you left/passed up?

Holding all else equal? So working a job that I thought I'd like about the same as being a lawyer? 80-90K. That is pretty high but thats what I'd imagine as a thought experiment. I know I turned down a 50K job with about 10 years to 200K. That probably isn't financially sound since I'm not necessarily banking on making partner but I think I'd like being a lawyer more.

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TommyK
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby TommyK » Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:45 pm

Would I have to pass on law school altogether? or just postpone it?

pass on law school altogether - $125k and a defined career path implying opportunities for increased responsibilities and compensation (assuming I semi-enjoy my work)

Postpone it for three years - $85k

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Beast15
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby Beast15 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:53 am

I'll play.

This is purely subjective, of course, but I'm of the opinion that one should not turn down a chance at law school if one is passionate about the being an attorney. Maybe it's a bit idealistic--maybe somewhat extreme--but I think that pursuing what you love should trump any financial concern.

I started in business at an early age and became very successful. I made more money than what most aspiring lawyers hope to earn. But I was never happy. When I finally got a chance to get out and pursue a legal career, I did it without hesitating.

Don't make money the deciding factor behind what you do with your life. Just do what makes you happy and the financial rewards will come naturally. And if they don't for whatever reason, at least you'll be doing something you love.

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KMaine
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby KMaine » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:20 am

Beast15 wrote:I'll play.

This is purely subjective, of course, but I'm of the opinion that one should not turn down a chance at law school if one is passionate about the being an attorney. Maybe it's a bit idealistic--maybe somewhat extreme--but I think that pursuing what you love should trump any financial concern.

I started in business at an early age and became very successful. I made more money than what most aspiring lawyers hope to earn. But I was never happy. When I finally got a chance to get out and pursue a legal career, I did it without hesitating.

Don't make money the deciding factor behind what you do with your life. Just do what makes you happy and the financial rewards will come naturally. And if they don't for whatever reason, at least you'll be doing something you love.


This is very sweet. But after 12 years of teaching at a private high school (a job that I loved), I was making 45k per year. I have 3 children and a mortgage. Maybe I shouldn't have had kids, maybe I should have rented a 1 room apartment. Doing something you love sometimes has a cost. I think I will like being a lawyer. I know my children will like not losing our home and being able to pay for groceries, so law school made sense.

And the correct answer to this question is 80K

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Beast15
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby Beast15 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:38 am

KMaine wrote:
Beast15 wrote:I'll play.

This is purely subjective, of course, but I'm of the opinion that one should not turn down a chance at law school if one is passionate about the being an attorney. Maybe it's a bit idealistic--maybe somewhat extreme--but I think that pursuing what you love should trump any financial concern.

I started in business at an early age and became very successful. I made more money than what most aspiring lawyers hope to earn. But I was never happy. When I finally got a chance to get out and pursue a legal career, I did it without hesitating.

Don't make money the deciding factor behind what you do with your life. Just do what makes you happy and the financial rewards will come naturally. And if they don't for whatever reason, at least you'll be doing something you love.


This is very sweet. But after 12 years of teaching at a private high school (a job that I loved), I was making 45k per year. I have 3 children and a mortgage. Maybe I shouldn't have had kids, maybe I should have rented a 1 room apartment. Doing something you love sometimes has a cost. I think I will like being a lawyer. I know my children will like not losing our home and being able to pay for groceries, so law school made sense.

And the correct answer to this question is 80K


Haha. Yeah, like I said, my view is quite idealistic. Everyone's different, and there are certainly more complicated choices to be made when you have dependents.

$80K is too low for most; but I can imagine that coming from $45K with a family would influence your choice a bit. Good luck buddy.

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mez06
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby mez06 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:06 am

I'm giving up 60k...and HAPPY to do so.

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KMaine
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby KMaine » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:08 am

Beast15 wrote:
KMaine wrote:
Beast15 wrote:I'll play.

This is purely subjective, of course, but I'm of the opinion that one should not turn down a chance at law school if one is passionate about the being an attorney. Maybe it's a bit idealistic--maybe somewhat extreme--but I think that pursuing what you love should trump any financial concern.

I started in business at an early age and became very successful. I made more money than what most aspiring lawyers hope to earn. But I was never happy. When I finally got a chance to get out and pursue a legal career, I did it without hesitating.

Don't make money the deciding factor behind what you do with your life. Just do what makes you happy and the financial rewards will come naturally. And if they don't for whatever reason, at least you'll be doing something you love.


This is very sweet. But after 12 years of teaching at a private high school (a job that I loved), I was making 45k per year. I have 3 children and a mortgage. Maybe I shouldn't have had kids, maybe I should have rented a 1 room apartment. Doing something you love sometimes has a cost. I think I will like being a lawyer. I know my children will like not losing our home and being able to pay for groceries, so law school made sense.

And the correct answer to this question is 80K


Haha. Yeah, like I said, my view is quite idealistic. Everyone's different, and there are certainly more complicated choices to be made when you have dependents.

$80K is too low for most; but I can imagine that coming from $45K with a family would influence your choice a bit. Good luck buddy.


Thanks, I am actually pretty excited about the law and the opportunities it will open up for me and my family. And my 80K was based on the small town where I live in Maine.

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AreJay711
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby AreJay711 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:09 am

Beast15 wrote:
$80K is too low for most; but I can imagine that coming from $45K with a family would influence your choice a bit. Good luck buddy.

I don't think 80K at a job you enjoy is to low for most -- maybe some but not most -- especially when you consider the risk of getting shut out looking for a legal job. I'm probably better insulated against unemployment that most but still, being one of those people without a job and 150K of debt at graduation needs to be considered. I guess it also depends on income growth potential.

justadude55
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby justadude55 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:17 am

i would give up a million a year. i really want to be a lawyer, and think i can get another opportunity to make similar money, even if it isn't in law.

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Beast15
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby Beast15 » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:24 am

AreJay711 wrote:
Beast15 wrote:
$80K is too low for most; but I can imagine that coming from $45K with a family would influence your choice a bit. Good luck buddy.

I don't think 80K at a job you enjoy is to low for most -- maybe some but not most -- especially when you consider the risk of getting shut out looking for a legal job. I'm probably better insulated against unemployment that most but still, being one of those people without a job and 150K of debt at graduation needs to be considered. I guess it also depends on income growth potential.


I meant most TLSers. I see your point though. If job satisfaction is comparable, then it becomes a bit more difficult to choose. So many variables to consider; this is really only something that can be argued on a case-by-case basis.

*TLSer: over-achiever, above-average intelligence, academic record, and so forth.

rundoxierun
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby rundoxierun » Sun Jan 09, 2011 4:24 pm

Depends on where I lived. In an average CoL area I would say the max I would give up is 75-80k.

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Spinozist21
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby Spinozist21 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:35 pm

In this economy right now and looking forward with likely loans from grad school etc...I think it would be hard to pass up an 80-85K job. You may well, in fact, be making something very similar to that after law school as it is and missing out on that amount for 3 years while accruing additional debt and additional interest on that debt seems to not be the best move...pragmatically.

nonprofit-prophet
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby nonprofit-prophet » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:37 pm

mez06 wrote:I'm giving up 60k...and HAPPY to do so.


me too! High five!

serdog
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby serdog » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:32 am

I'm giving up $65,000 per year to attend

paulbruze
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby paulbruze » Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:41 am

If you are stable in your job and profession then it is bad. If you are not getting a great career for now and you need to higher up your name then it is worth to give up a paycheck. That is just fine if you have an enough allowance for the whole period while you are in schooling.

roofles
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby roofles » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:08 am

I gave up 85k to attend law school. I was told before, during and afterwards that I am an idiot for doing it, but it's what I want to do so f off.

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Smitten
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby Smitten » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:21 am

Dang, I'm only giving up $28K/year! In answer to the hypothetical question, I would go to law school if my job paid anything less than $60K (which it does, and I am). If I got paid more than that, I might have to stay! Assuming advancement opportunities at each job of course...

BaronDetroit
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby BaronDetroit » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:37 am

60k a year - depends on the particuliar circumstances, but walking away from 80k would be crazy in my view. If your a youngster in your mid 20's that certainly weighs in favor of keeping the job because law school will always be there. Thats a lot of money especially in a depressed economy. Of course, if you love the idea of studying the law money is irrelevent to the decision.

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Beast15
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Re: How big of a paycheck would you give up to go to law school?

Postby Beast15 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:43 am

BaronDetroit wrote:60k a year - depends on the particuliar circumstances, but walking away from 80k would be crazy in my view. If your a youngster in your mid 20's that certainly weighs in favor of keeping the job because law school will always be there. Thats a lot of money especially in a depressed economy. Of course, if you love the idea of studying the law money is irrelevent to the decision.




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