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Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:44 pm
by capnobvious123
rpupkin wrote:
JustWannaGraduate wrote:I accept the fact I'll have to slog away in big law for a bunch of years after a year or two of clerking if I go down that route. My SO is gonna work on the hill, and we're planning on working pretty much all the time in our 20s.

At the risk of sounding patronizing, I think it's impossible for a person such as yourself to understand what it means to work "pretty much all the time." You have no reference point--the big-law environment isn't analogous to anything you've encountered before. A significant percentage of young associates end up seriously depressed, with poor physical health and failed personal relationships.

Some people survive fine. And, as I mentioned in my previous post, a small minority excel and enjoy it. But there's a decent chance that you'll be one of those who hates it. And if you take on a massive debt, you'll have no way out. It's just a huge, huge life risk.


I think he has a point here. I sit here and like to think I love being miserable if it means coming out better on the otherside, but who knows how it actually feels when you're there, unless you've done it. Saying the words "chronic depression," "suicidal tendencies," and "alcoholism" are just words with concepts attached, it's probably much different to actually experience it.

I'm in a sort of similar situation to OP in that I have 0 debt from undergrad. I've been out a few years and working, but have very little savings at the moment. I have scholly opportunities at Cornell and Texas Austin that are generous and I haven't started negotiating yet. I also haven't yet heard back from Michigan, Northwestern, UVA, NYU, or Vandy.

I'd LOVE to think that I'll be able to get in & negotiate my way to a UVA/NYU/Mich scholly, but it's probably not in the cards, and if I got in to any of them at sticker, I'm not sure the threat of future depression would dissuade me. (not that this is a smart call, you're probably all right and I/we probably shouldn't do it, but that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to make the smart call...)

(Also, inb4 retake the LSAT, I've done 3 takes and this is my second cycle applying. Maybe I'll reapply AGAIN next cycle, earlier this time, with more optional essays, but fuck me I'm sick of this and want to get on with my life)

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:47 pm
by capnobvious123
JustWannaGraduate wrote:Honest question for everyone: if biglaw is so terrible, why do so many people from top schools do it? Just for money? I guess that makes sense, but I've gotta think it's not as bad as people say. Maybe I'm a naive know-nothing undergrad though


As I've said I'm also just an idiot 0L, but I wanted to add to what the other two have said and point out that biglaw is a big deal for resume building to people. In addition to paying off debt and making cash, I think people often slog through it in order to have a network and a resume that allows them to go do something they actually want to do, and the more I've tried to read the more it seems like everyone hates biglaw and it's completely and utterly miserable.

Just because it's industry standard doesn't mean it's enjoyable/doable/not that bad, just that there are lots of reasons to suffer through it.

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:54 pm
by runinthefront
JustWannaGraduate wrote:Honest question for everyone: if biglaw is so terrible, why do so many people from top schools do it? Just for money? I guess that makes sense, but I've gotta think it's not as bad as people say. Maybe I'm a naive know-nothing undergrad though


You're overestimating the amount of people actually paying back $300k of debt via biglaw earnings, e.g., without substantial savings scholarships, or familial help. I think any job is much easier to deal with when you're pocketing $30k+ in savings a year and have the mental relief of knowing you can be fired or quit at any time and not be straight fucked

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:09 pm
by zot1
Can someone explain to me how does "I need to get on with my life" means "I need to go to law school right now no matter what"?

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:11 pm
by bk1
capnobvious123 wrote:I think he has a point here. I sit here and like to think I love being miserable if it means coming out better on the otherside, but who knows how it actually feels when you're there, unless you've done it.

I don't think biglaw (or at least my experience in it) are as bad as what others have implied, but things are not as automatic as your hypo suggests.

Nobody knows for sure how much "better" (if at all) they will be on the other side. Maybe you get to the gov job you wanted, maybe you get canned after 3-4 years and end up working at a smaller firm making a lot less money without good prospects of hopping into government. The real world is not nearly as clean cut as "I'm fine suffering through X, because I get Y on the other side."

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:21 pm
by mjb447
capnobvious123 wrote:
JustWannaGraduate wrote:Honest question for everyone: if biglaw is so terrible, why do so many people from top schools do it? Just for money? I guess that makes sense, but I've gotta think it's not as bad as people say. Maybe I'm a naive know-nothing undergrad though


As I've said I'm also just an idiot 0L, but I wanted to add to what the other two have said and point out that biglaw is a big deal for resume building to people. In addition to paying off debt and making cash, I think people often slog through it in order to have a network and a resume that allows them to go do something they actually want to do, and the more I've tried to read the more it seems like everyone hates biglaw and it's completely and utterly miserable.

Just because it's industry standard doesn't mean it's enjoyable/doable/not that bad, just that there are lots of reasons to suffer through it.

Yeah, this is part of it too. Most legal employers have some idea of how horrible it is to work in biglaw, and surviving a few years there (theoretically) signals good things about your work ethic, 'grit,' etc. regardless of whether the specific skills you develop transfer very well.

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:56 am
by tinyvessels
This thread is peak TLS.

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:38 pm
by capnobvious123
Question in somewhat of a different direction: If everyone is arguing that paying sticker at Penn/UVA/Duke is foolish for the amount of debt that you're taking on, is it equally foolish to pay sticker at CCN? What about HYS? Are the jobs that those schools land you really that different? Sure they're "better" schools, tiers above for a reason, but at the end of the day, isn't 200k in debt 200k in debt?

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 2:55 pm
by runinthefront
capnobvious123 wrote:Question in somewhat of a different direction: If everyone is arguing that paying sticker at Penn/UVA/Duke is foolish for the amount of debt that you're taking on, is it equally foolish to pay sticker at CCN? What about HYS? Are the jobs that those schools land you really that different? Sure they're "better" schools, tiers above for a reason, but at the end of the day, isn't 200k in debt 200k in debt?

1. "Is it equally foolish to pay sticker at CCN?" In my opinion, yes. If you're looking at Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (half ride), It's pretty dumb to take Columbia's offer absent (a) familial support [if your parents are willing to help you with costs and have enough $$ to do so with it adversely affecting them, go to the highest ranked school you can!]; (b) absolutely needing a "unicorn" PI job... that TLS often offers as a particular reason for going to H at sticker. I don't know what kind of PI jobs are only available for H students, though.

2. "What about HYS?" Not as many students attend HYS at full sticker without familial support as you think. But yeah, IMO it would be objectively dumb to go to Stanford at sticker for biglaw over a full ride at Berkeley/Michigan or one of those named scholarship at NYU/Columbia/Chicago/UVA. People do it all the time, but it's still foolish.

3. "At the end of the day, isn't 200k in debt 200k in debt?" Yes. Paying more to go to a higher ranked school is definitely defensible as "insurance," (e.g., paying 45k more to go to Chicago over UVA) but at a certain cost differential, it becomes foolish, especially if you end up median working at [insert generic biglaw firm] or something, where you would've gotten the same outcome had you gone to the other school

Re: Sticker Success Stories

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:08 pm
by capnobvious123
runinthefront wrote:
capnobvious123 wrote:Question in somewhat of a different direction: If everyone is arguing that paying sticker at Penn/UVA/Duke is foolish for the amount of debt that you're taking on, is it equally foolish to pay sticker at CCN? What about HYS? Are the jobs that those schools land you really that different? Sure they're "better" schools, tiers above for a reason, but at the end of the day, isn't 200k in debt 200k in debt?

1. "Is it equally foolish to pay sticker at CCN?" In my opinion, yes. If you're looking at Columbia (sticker) vs. Duke (half ride), It's pretty dumb to take Columbia's offer absent (a) familial support [if your parents are willing to help you with costs and have enough $$ to do so with it adversely affecting them, go to the highest ranked school you can!]; (b) absolutely needing a "unicorn" PI job... that TLS often offers as a particular reason for going to H at sticker. I don't know what kind of PI jobs are only available for H students, though.

2. "What about HYS?" Not as many students attend HYS at full sticker without familial support as you think. But yeah, IMO it would be objectively dumb to go to Stanford at sticker for biglaw over a full ride at Berkeley/Michigan or one of those named scholarship at NYU/Columbia/Chicago/UVA. People do it all the time, but it's still foolish.

3. "At the end of the day, isn't 200k in debt 200k in debt?" Yes. Paying more to go to a higher ranked school is definitely defensible as "insurance," (e.g., paying 45k more to go to Chicago over UVA) but at a certain cost differential, it becomes foolish, especially if you end up median working at [insert generic biglaw firm] or something, where you would've gotten the same outcome had you gone to the other school


All good points, thanks a lot!

While I've been continually aware of the folly of rankings since starting this process, I think on some level I've allowed myself to become very much a rankings-whore for personal reasons, so it's interesting to hear that scholly at a lower tier is smarter than sticker at even the "best" schools, and good reasoning behind it.