sunynp wrote:There is a difference between living at poverty level because you are in poverty and living at a poverty level when you have a 6 figure income. Your peers, your clients and your bosses will expect you to live, or at least dress and appear, at a certain level of income and status. I think you will tire of living on that restricted budget, and tire of traveling a long way home after working all night. But maybe you have great levels of discipline.
Sunny D - You're right there's a difference. Your earlier questions asked about worst-case scenario and not having a six figure income, or no job at all, and you were asking 'where are those numbers/spreadsheets'. First thing to note is that a $35k/yr post taxes budget is FAR
from the poverty level... and I mean *FAR*
. But, to address the implications of your comment - if you are in big law, you don't have to follow Admisions' spreadsheet/budget. You could choose to live a lot easier and take ten years to pay off your loans.
But in a worst-case scenario, you will be forced to be disciplined. Seriously, once you get used to living on a lower income level, you find there are plenty of ways to enjoy life (the hardest part is the mental/spiritual pain of dealing with feeling like you are worthless and being bitter about your choices and dreaming that the grass would have been greener had you gone a different direction.) It may not be the financial freedom and lifestyle you are used to/want, but it also won't be hell on Earth (unless your a rich spoiled brat who's never had to live within limited means.)
sunynp wrote:The poster who suggested, laughingly, I think - that a grad could just get a non-law, non-profit job after law school, or work as a janitor for the state government - I would not count on those jobs being open to you after you graduate with a JD. I don't think either of these places are anxious to hire JDs. What happens after you have a JD is that other employers assume you will leave as soon as you find another job, or they may assume that you will be a pain-in-the-ass because that is what they think of all lawyers. A JD is not marketable in other areas and can make it more difficult to get hired.
I'm not sure how it works to take your JD off your resume. You will have a large gap of time. I have heard that people get away with no questions asked about gaps in employment once they start applying for truly low level (as in sales clerk at walmart) jobs. Maybe the janitorial staff won't care either.
I may be overly cautious on your behalf. Everyone has all these calculations as to why I am wrong. But I do know T14 and even T6 grads who lost their biglaw jobs and have struggled ever since. I know T14 and T6 grads who didn't get biglaw at all. Yes, this has colored my view, maybe too much to the negative, but it does happen. There are people on this forum who don't have jobs. It isn't a rare and unheard of outcome.
Sunny D - How long have you worked? Have you ever been unemployed? I was laughing, because I have worked in these fields. The jobs are attainable, but most people go out of their way to avoid them. (Most the time the requirement is, can you show up on time, and can you not do drugs while on the job.) Sometimes it takes a long brush with unemployment to suck-up your pride and fight for a job as a janitor, or a laborer in a construction yard, or work for $20k/yr at a homeless shelter as the over-night staff. Your JD will help you in almost any direction you go, even at the "menial" jobs. At a minimum it will present options to rise to shift manager/things like that. If you were able to get yourself into a T-50, chances are you will very likely be able to get yourself some secretarial or office work somewhere (prolly not at a law firm). If you are worried about the jobs not being available to you... you ever hear stories about passion and persistance paying off? Like someone refusing an applicant an interview, or not hiring someone, but the person keeps leaving messages, keeps applying, etc. and then they get the job. Trust me, if you do that for a janitorial job, you'll end up getting it.
Again though, you were asking about absolute worst-case scenario, and that's what all of this is about. Everyone knows its possible to not get any law-job. I'm certainly hedging my bets against ending up there, but I think I have a good picture of what life would be like in a worst-case scenario. I gave you an example in my previous post, but as many others pointed out, this is a futile activity because worst-case looks incredibly different for each person. For instance, I could most certainly get back into my government job, and prolly get paid even slightly more than I do now (which you evidently think is living at the poverty level).
Regarding un-employed law grads. I have friends there right now like you do. Guess what - the one's who worked before law school and had career's earning (from your perspective) not enough to live on, that didn't land Big Law and have a $150k debt - they still think it's a good idea to go to law school. All of them manage to get by. We even go out for drinks here and there, have SO's and have manage a vacation or two.
blsingindisguise wrote:Yeah, of course there are people who make $35/k a year and still somehow manage to put a little money aside. Yes it can be done. But most people who work biglaw hours and are surrounded by biglaw people tend to find it pretty difficult to live like the person making $35K.
BSindisguise - Why are you surrounded by BigLaw people and not getting paid BigLaw? I have two ideas for you. (1) Get the BigLaw folks pay when you go out, or (2) don't surround yourself with BigLaw people if you're not working in BigLaw. You may not need a 0L to lecture you on how to live on a budget, but you sure as hell need someone to lecture you on it. The budget on the spreadsheet is not a joke, it's a reality for a majority of working people in the US.
People who make$35k/yr do not live on the budget that Admisions made. People who make $41k/year live on that budget. Admisions' budget was post-tax. People living on $35k/year salary live much more frugally than that. A LOT of people live on a $40k or less salary - even in the Big Cities, even in NYC. If you can't do it, just recognize that somewhere around 110 MILLION
working Americans earn less than that (that's somewhere around 65-70% of all working people
in the US). To assert that Admisions' budget is un-realistic and unlivable is ridiculous. You, in particular, may not like it, but it is very livable. Additionally if you can't put in four years like that, you don't have to - the budget was showing how you could pay off sticker price at a T14 in under three years, thereby making the investment extremely worth while when the rest of your life you'll be able to earn more than what 70% of individuals in the US make and have no debt. All you had to do was live like a majority of the US for four years after school. What's even more amazing, is that if you are able to do that 4 year budget, you not only end up with 0 debt, but ~$60k in savings. The average American family has $35k in saving per household. So in four years of living within the budget constraints of a majority of Americans, you will end up with more saving and WAYY higher income, and you're only four years out of school.
There were two great points being made through this thread. Admisions was showing the OP how to pay off the debt really quickly- it can be done, and done well. Then there was Rayiner, showing the calculations to refute the idea that T14 at sticker was NEVER
worth it. Ray showed that, when weighted for risk, most t14's at sticker are worth it (if you are risk neutral).