ApexChaser wrote:Personal judgment call on that one really. Odds are, people will tell you they won't pay sticker outside of the range of schools they are considering.
I would not. At the same time, there are people who would not pay sticker for anything below T14. And there are those who won't pay sticker outside of the trinity.
$200K for a school with a median private sector of $125k definitely something to be weighed...
In the interest of clarifying the salary statistics, you should be aware of what the numbers provided by the law school actually mean. I'm saying this strictly as someone who has been studying ways to get employment reporting to be more transparent, not because I have anything against the law school. It would help if they didn't make you have to do all this fuzzy math business to figure out what the actual job prospects look like.
According to this: http://law.scu.edu/careers/statistics-and-rankings.cfm
44% of the Class of 2008 reported a starting salary. [This is a very low reporting rate. Based on what we know of how law schools encourage salary reporting (and of how comfortable most people feel about reporting how much they make), you can assume that 100% of the top earners in the class are represented in these charts. In other words, the other 56% of the class likely all had worse options than the top performers listed in these charts.]
83% of the 44% who reported a salary reported making an average of $125K. breaking this down according to the last chart, perhaps 56% of the 86% with a combined average of $125K actually reported salaries of 125K or higher.
so, perhaps 21% of the entire class of 2008 managed to pull in salaries of 125K or higher. That was two years ago, before large law firms slashed their recruitment, before clerkship applications more than doubled, and before many nonprofits saw their fundraising drop to the point where they are either implementing hiring freezes or trimming down their legal counsel. A conservative estimate for this upcoming class of 2010 would cut that top salary bracket by half, so around 10% of the class.
Like I said, this is fuzzy math. But it's also more accurate than stating the private sector median salary is $125K. You should not expect a six-figure salary in factoring in how much debt you should assume. Just be sure to really look at what the numbers mean in figuring out how much debt is safe to take on. I'm not saying it's a bad decision by any means... I actually hung out with a bunch of Santa Clara kids during their alternative spring break trip to New Orleans last year while they were working with the New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice.
I also encourage you to contact the school directly and ask for more current information. Even the Class of 2009 statistics are irrelevant in today's market. You'll want to know how the Class of 2010 and Class of 2011 are shaping up. G'luck.