Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

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worldtraveler
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:57 pm

BruceWayne wrote:I just want to point something out to all the 0Ls and 1Ls. Have you guys noticed, that even amongst posters who are all very different and definitely didn't see eye to eye in the past, that ALL of us who have actually graduated and gotten out into the real world concur about a lot of things? Like how these schools (yes even the top ones) really aren't worth the debt. And how unlikely you are to actually make these massive payments every month on your loans and to get rid of that 300K debt in lol 5 years. Or how we all agree that the likelihood of you actually staying in these big firm jobs is awful. But no just go ahead and keep thinking you know everything about these issues and we're just exaggerating. I mean damn DesertFox actually pulled off what's supposed to be the best case outcome if you have sticker debt and EVEN he is telling you it's not a good idea. And straight LOL at the living off $2K a month in NYC while working at a big firm is no big deal. I'm having a hard ass time living off a little less than that in a market with a COL half of NYC.

I really do find it kind of amazing that so many of us who entered at the same time have almost all come out with very similar stances on what things are like. It says a lot about what this profession is really like at the moment. Almost every post that I've read from WorldTraveler, Desert, Rad, and rayiner sounds like what I've experienced or what other people who I graduated with experienced as well. We were all bamboozled by these schools and this field.


I completely agree, although if I were to choose again I would still make the same choice. With my chosen career path, prestige matters. I'm happy I went to law school, happy with where my career is headed (I'm not a huge fan of what I'm doing now, but I'm headed on for bigger and better things), and I knew going into it that I would have loan debt hanging over my head and a low salary. I totally accept that.

But I really wouldn't recommend this path to many people. I get to do what I want to do and most people don't. For anyone except the extremely dedicated, I would 100% say don't go to an elite school, take on debt, and think you're going to do international law. 95% chance you won't succeed or even if you do, it will not be what you thought. Even if you make it, you will either do similar work to big law, and sit in a boring office in DC or NY, or do field work in a shithole country where it's next to impossible to have a family or any kind of security and likely end up with an alcohol addiction or seriously destructive tendencies.

So yeah, with those caveats I would say it is remarkable that virtually every law grad on this forum says it's not worth it.

baloneydanza
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby baloneydanza » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:59 pm

I'm just trying to figure out how these admissions people can live with themselves convincing students to take on a shitton of debt? Like, do they actually believe what they're saying, or are they heartless, or do they hate their lives just as much as TLS grads?

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patogordo
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby patogordo » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:01 pm

baloneydanza wrote:I'm just trying to figure out how these admissions people can live with themselves convincing students to take on a shitton of debt? Like, do they actually believe what they're saying, or are they heartless, or do they hate themselves just as much as TLS grads?

just following orders

rad lulz
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rad lulz » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:01 pm

I find it incredibly depressing when I get a paycheck then I pay over half of it to loans (over 1/4 of my take home) and then principal barely goes down at all

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rayiner
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rayiner » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:02 pm

I was probably optimistic about a number of things, but at the end of the day I'd go to law school again. I like it more than my chill laid back life as an engineer. That said, my dad is a Bengali immigrant that broke his way into the upper middle class in the U.S. working 80 hour weeks for decades, and my brother is a trader on Wall Street. My expectation going in was that I was going to work as hard as was physically able to.

I will say that I've come around on the debt issue. I'd take T14 with money over HYS in a heartbeat.

09042014
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby 09042014 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:06 pm

T14 with big money is the only way I'd recommend someone go to law school.

rad lulz
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rad lulz » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:07 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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worldtraveler
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby worldtraveler » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:09 pm

rayiner wrote:I was probably optimistic about a number of things, but at the end of the day I'd go to law school again. I like it more than my chill laid back life as an engineer. That said, my dad is a Bengali immigrant that broke his way into the upper middle class in the U.S. working 80 hour weeks for decades, and my brother is a trader on Wall Street. My expectation going in was that I was going to work as hard as was physically able to.

I will say that I've come around on the debt issue. I'd take T14 with money over HYS in a heartbeat.


I would go back in time and not tank my undergrad GPA with Arabic courses where the prof gives everybody C's so that a decent school would give me money.

random number
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby random number » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:10 pm

Desert Fox wrote:T14 with big money is the only way I'd recommend someone go to law school.


What level of $ do you recommend for those who are interested in doing biglaw? Given your experience, what debt load should someone feel comfortable with?

09042014
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby 09042014 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:12 pm

random number wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:T14 with big money is the only way I'd recommend someone go to law school.


What level of $ do you recommend for those who are interested in doing biglaw? Given your experience, what debt load should someone feel comfortable with?


120k at a T12

90k at Gtown and Sixigan

150k at HYS.

Total debt after the bar including interest. Not deducting SA money since LOL nobody actually uses it to pay tutiotn.
Last edited by 09042014 on Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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patogordo
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby patogordo » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:13 pm

if i could do it over again i'd still be in the army, debt-free and halfway to retirement, but also probably twice divorced and maybe dead.

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rayiner
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rayiner » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:13 pm

random number wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:T14 with big money is the only way I'd recommend someone go to law school.


What level of $ do you recommend for those who are interested in doing biglaw? Given your experience, what debt load should someone feel comfortable with?


$100k debt. Like half tuition scholarship plus saving your 2L SA money and using it to pay living expenses.
Last edited by rayiner on Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

random number
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby random number » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:14 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
120k at a T12

90k at Gtown and Sixigan

150k at HYS.


Thanks! I have spent time with COA calculators/looking at repayment plans, but hearing real numbers from someone who is been there is far more useful.

Edit: And thanks to rayiner too!
Last edited by random number on Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rad lulz
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rad lulz » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:15 pm

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rad lulz
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rad lulz » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:15 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

random number
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby random number » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:19 pm

rad lulz wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:120k at a T12

90k at Gtown and Sixigan

150k at HYS.

For the vanilla applicant k-Jd or w one year of whatever WE and no assistance I'm down w this

Maybe 90k and ut if you are from Texas and at Vandy if you are from south

Maybe


Thanks! Based on the school categories you use (HYS, T12), I take it that you would take slightly more money at a lower T12 over the chance of going to a T6 for slightly (e.g. 30K) more? This is assuming no specific career/geographic goals which are influenced by school choice.

jlamb555
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby jlamb555 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:52 am

BruceWayne wrote:And straight LOL at the living off $2K a month in NYC while working at a big firm is no big deal. I'm having a hard ass time living off a little less than that in a market with a COL half of NYC.


Yes living on 2k a month in NYC is absurd but I'm not even sure where that figure came from. Even a conservative estimate would indicate paying off 200k in 4 years would allow ~4.5k a month to live on at the start and ~7k a month by the end of the repayment. 300k in 6 years is also possible if you start ~4k month in living expenses.

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rayiner
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rayiner » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:59 am

jlamb555 wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:And straight LOL at the living off $2K a month in NYC while working at a big firm is no big deal. I'm having a hard ass time living off a little less than that in a market with a COL half of NYC.


Yes living on 2k a month in NYC is absurd but I'm not even sure where that figure came from. Even a conservative estimate would indicate paying off 200k in 4 years would allow ~4.5k a month to live on at the start and ~7k a month by the end of the repayment. 300k in 6 years is also possible if you start ~4k month in living expenses.


I don't know how you're doing your math. From Paycheck City (Single, 2 allowances):

Monthly Gross Pay $13,333.33
Federal Withholding $2,927.81
Social Security $826.67
Medicare $193.33
New York $857.99
SDI $2.60
City Tax $491.75

Net Pay $8,033.18


Using the Bankrate calculator: http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mor ... x?MSA=8872

$200k at 7.61% paid off over 48 months requires a payment of $4,846.05. That leaves you $3,187 per month in NYC. $250k at 7.61% paid off over 48 months requires a payment of $6,057.57, leaving you $1,975. $300k at 7.61% paid off over 72 months requires a payment of $5,203 per month, leaving you with $2,830 per month.

These are all unrealistic schedules. Most people will pay about $2,000 per month in rent in New York. When you're working long hours, your desire to commute from Queens from an apartment you share with two other people will be very low. Your desire to come home to a shitty, filthy apartment after a 16 hour day will be very low. Yes, lots of people live in NYC on $2k-3k/month. By and large, these folks have other things going for them, a 40 hour a week job that leaves plenty of time for relaxing and hanging out with friends that makes the scrimping tolerable. Also, speaking of friends, the ones you have will want to make the most of their limited time off and go somewhere nice for dinner. They're not going to want to head to Shake-Shack for dinner like you did with your college friends.

Also, the fact of the matter is that 80% of people won't even make it six years in big law.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Mar 28, 2014 10:26 am

rayiner wrote:
random number wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:T14 with big money is the only way I'd recommend someone go to law school.


What level of $ do you recommend for those who are interested in doing biglaw? Given your experience, what debt load should someone feel comfortable with?


$100k debt. Like half tuition scholarship plus saving your 2L SA money and using it to pay living expenses.

Weren't you a splitter who wouldn't have had this choice? I ask because the 180 degree turn you've made on these issues has made me rethink the advice I give to 0L's, but I have no idea what splitters are supposed to do.

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rayiner
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rayiner » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:12 am

Tiago Splitter wrote:
rayiner wrote:
random number wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:T14 with big money is the only way I'd recommend someone go to law school.


What level of $ do you recommend for those who are interested in doing biglaw? Given your experience, what debt load should someone feel comfortable with?


$100k debt. Like half tuition scholarship plus saving your 2L SA money and using it to pay living expenses.

Weren't you a splitter who wouldn't have had this choice? I ask because the 180 degree turn you've made on these issues has made me rethink the advice I give to 0L's, but I have no idea what splitters are supposed to do.


I know it's a bit of "do as I say, not as I do." For me, keeping my debt low by going to a T25 with money and coming out with a $60-70k job wouldn't have been an acceptable outcome, because I was making that much in my previous career with lots of room for growth. It was a "go big or go home" situation, and if you're a super-splitter and find yourself in that position, your calculus is different. But your typical applicant, even a splitter, is not in that position. These days, a 3.x/172+ is getting substantial money in the T14. Many if not most people who went to T14's in the C/O 2012-2013 could have gotten substantial money at those schools if they had applied the last couple of cycles.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby Tiago Splitter » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:23 am

I hear you and like you I had zero interest in going outside the T14 given my other career options. But even if people with 170+ can get good money in the T14 these days, "good money" still means 150-200k in debt.

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Nickg415
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby Nickg415 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:37 am

While a plan to pay off 250+ in loans seems pretty unreasonable in 4 years in big law, A plan that entails paying your loans down to 70-100K while working big law for a few years and then exiting to a secondary market or other more life-style friendly position seems very acceptable and probable (note: we are assuming that big law is attainable - an assumption that is, as most people know, not realized by most graduating law students.)

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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby buffalo_ » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:38 am

rayiner wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:Weren't you a splitter who wouldn't have had this choice? I ask because the 180 degree turn you've made on these issues has made me rethink the advice I give to 0L's, but I have no idea what splitters are supposed to do.


I know it's a bit of "do as I say, not as I do." For me, keeping my debt low by going to a T25 with money and coming out with a $60-70k job wouldn't have been an acceptable outcome, because I was making that much in my previous career with lots of room for growth. It was a "go big or go home" situation, and if you're a super-splitter and find yourself in that position, your calculus is different. But your typical applicant, even a splitter, is not in that position. These days, a 3.x/172+ is getting substantial money in the T14. Many if not most people who went to T14's in the C/O 2012-2013 could have gotten substantial money at those schools if they had applied the last couple of cycles.


I disagree with this. I am a 175+ 3.X and I find getting aid is more difficult than you think. It depends on the splitter. I am a LSAT>75 GPA<25 splitter. So I only help one median and I hurt the other. I don't think schools are giving aid to candidates like me. If your GPA is between 25-50 it might be a different story. And unfortunately it means that splitters aren't looking at half-schooly from mid-low T14. Its more like decent scholly (half-full) from a good regional school ranked 30-40 or T14 at sticker.

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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby t-14orbust » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:49 am

Desert Fox wrote:
random number wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:T14 with big money is the only way I'd recommend someone go to law school.


What level of $ do you recommend for those who are interested in doing biglaw? Given your experience, what debt load should someone feel comfortable with?


120k at a T12

90k at Gtown and Sixigan

150k at HYS.

Total debt after the bar including interest. Not deducting SA money since LOL nobody actually uses it to pay tutiotn.


Is that including UG debt or no? Are you implying that no one should go to HYS unless they're paying a significant portion with savings/from parents?

rad lulz
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Re: Paying off 200k/300k debt on big law salary

Postby rad lulz » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:26 pm

d
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