When does law school become worth it?

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

When is it worth it?

HYS only!
16
8%
T6 with a scholarship.
9
4%
T6 without a scholarship.
16
8%
Upper/Mid T14 with a scholarship.
13
6%
Upper/Mid T14 without a scholarship.
13
6%
Lower T14 with a scholarship.
28
14%
Lower T14 without a scholarship.
35
17%
Tier 1 with a scholarship.
56
27%
Tier 1 without a scholarship.
21
10%
 
Total votes: 207

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby IAFG » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:14 am

happyshapy wrote: So what if you only net 35,300 for the first 7 years?

He's not even saying anyone will actually net that though... either you'll do considerably better than that, or you'll find something other than biglaw/market paying non-biglaw.

Kolya
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 1:03 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby Kolya » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:27 am

IAFG wrote:
Kolya wrote:Oh wows, so enlightening - it must be one or the other? Really? I'm sure your Fields Medal has already shipped.

But you are correct, lets not forget SA, which you have a 50% chance of getting, 30k*.5 = 15k over 7 years; guess the magic number is $37,450 now.


But... it doesn't make any sense to say that's what your "annual return" is. It's what your expected value is from the point of view of the decision to attend or not. Anyone who won the OCI lottery is going to get a much better return than that, and anyone who lost is either going to get a far worse return, or have won that other law school lottery and enjoy having their loans paid back for them.


I did use "expected" several times in my calcs; you are right that I forgot it at the end and that is an oversight. Even so, the "much better" prospects the kiddies are hoping for aren't all that spectacular, especially given the hellish work schedule and the cost of living in biglaw markets. You have no way of knowing which road you will be forced to take, so expected value is the only way to look at things.

My thoughts only apply to a handful of schools of course. Most schools are a 1-way ticket to poverty.

happyshapy wrote:
This is stupid. So what if you only net 35,300 for the first 7 years? If you plan to practice law as your career for the rest of your working life, then those first 7 or 10 or even 15 years of making a net income of 35,300 isn't that big of deal when all of your loans are paid off and you're making 200k a year when you're in your 40s. And if you're doing something you love like public interest law that pays shit then these numbers mean even less.


Ding ding ding, we have a winner! Amanda, show us what's behind curtain number two!

You can't be serious. 200k a year at 40 - you think you have that on lock? Better get biglaw and get a good exit op, or better get pretty damn lucky. (Actually you probably are serious and I guess that's funny).

User avatar
D-hops
Posts: 688
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 5:48 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby D-hops » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:30 am

IAFG wrote:
happyshapy wrote: So what if you only net 35,300 for the first 7 years?

He's not even saying anyone will actually net that though... either you'll do considerably better than that, or you'll find something other than biglaw/market paying non-biglaw.


Doing an expected value calculation really only makes sense if you have the opportunity to replicate the type of investment multiple times or are comparing it with other similar investments. It is retarded to use on a decision of choosing a school because you only get one shot at it.

Not to mention you cannot combine the economics of paying down a loan at biglaw salaries and at shitlaw salaries. There is no way you pay it down in 7 years working shitlaw. You IBR that shit until you die or it gets forgiven.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby IAFG » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:36 am

Well I know which path I'm on now since I'm a 2L (and it's neither of the paths you calculated out), but I think this sort of calculation isn't very helpful for when you're trying to decide what to do. For one thing, more than half of T14 students are going to land in 6 figure jobs. I assume you're getting that number from the NLJ250 stats, but plenty of people end up in non-NLJ250 jobs like boutiques, large firms in secondary markets, midsize firms, etc. For another, people who don't aren't just going to land in some $50k public sector job. They're going to make a rational choice calibrated to their situation, which may mean a non-soul sucking PI or gov't job (with LRAP and IBR) or a non-law job.

Bro if you decided you don't want to be a lawyer, great, but your formula sucks for practical decision-making.

User avatar
happyshapy
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby happyshapy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:38 am

IAFG wrote:
happyshapy wrote: So what if you only net 35,300 for the first 7 years?

He's not even saying anyone will actually net that though... either you'll do considerably better than that, or you'll find something other than biglaw/market paying non-biglaw.


Either way if he's thinking about law school in these kinds of terms, then don't go to law school. Oh it's not worth it because I only have a 50% chance at a t14 to net more then $40,000 a year? Yeah right. Some people actually want to go to law school because they want to be lawyers. Obviously don't go taking out 200k in loans at a TTTT in a place you have no ties and would never want to practice. But there's no reason to claim that law school outside of HYS isn't worth it just because you have less then a 50% chance of netting $40,000 after you factor in loans and expenses.

It's the same thing with medical school. Do you know how much money it costs to go to med school? Way much more then law school. The hours are insane and the pay at first is shitty. Med school is only worth it after at least 10 years after you factor in loans. But if you want something badly enough, and you put in the time and hard work it will be worth it. If you think a 160k should just fall out of the sky for you just because you went to three years of law school, then you're really just lazy.

User avatar
happyshapy
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby happyshapy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:38 am

Kolya wrote:
IAFG wrote:
Kolya wrote:Oh wows, so enlightening - it must be one or the other? Really? I'm sure your Fields Medal has already shipped.

But you are correct, lets not forget SA, which you have a 50% chance of getting, 30k*.5 = 15k over 7 years; guess the magic number is $37,450 now.


But... it doesn't make any sense to say that's what your "annual return" is. It's what your expected value is from the point of view of the decision to attend or not. Anyone who won the OCI lottery is going to get a much better return than that, and anyone who lost is either going to get a far worse return, or have won that other law school lottery and enjoy having their loans paid back for them.


I did use "expected" several times in my calcs; you are right that I forgot it at the end and that is an oversight. Even so, the "much better" prospects the kiddies are hoping for aren't all that spectacular, especially given the hellish work schedule and the cost of living in biglaw markets. You have no way of knowing which road you will be forced to take, so expected value is the only way to look at things.

My thoughts only apply to a handful of schools of course. Most schools are a 1-way ticket to poverty.

happyshapy wrote:
This is stupid. So what if you only net 35,300 for the first 7 years? If you plan to practice law as your career for the rest of your working life, then those first 7 or 10 or even 15 years of making a net income of 35,300 isn't that big of deal when all of your loans are paid off and you're making 200k a year when you're in your 40s. And if you're doing something you love like public interest law that pays shit then these numbers mean even less.


Ding ding ding, we have a winner! Amanda, show us what's behind curtain number two!

You can't be serious. 200k a year at 40 - you think you have that on lock? Better get biglaw and get a good exit op, or better get pretty damn lucky. (Actually you probably are serious and I guess that's funny).


At big law at 40 if you're not making 200k then you're lazy as shit and suck at your job. At 45 in mid law if you're not making 6 figures then you better be doing public interest or you're lazy as shit and suck at your job.

Have you ever lived in poverty? Because you sound like a spoiled brat. $40,000 a year after loan payments is way more than enough to live comfortably while you're young, especially if you have two income earners in your family.

Kolya
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 1:03 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby Kolya » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:56 am

IAFG, I'm not saying my formula is perfect, but its a hell of a lot better than most of the evaluative mechanisms thrown out on this board and lemmings like happyshapy could do worse than to think of it this way. I already said I wanted to be a lawyer. That doesn't mean that I should just forgo any consideration of the probable outcomes.

Dhops, you are correct, but even so things still suck in that world.

happyshapy:

"Oh it's not worth it because I only have a 50% chance at a t14 to net more then $40,000 a year? Yeah right." -- You saying this is inaccurate? 'Cus there are legions of unemployed HLS grads who would be happy to set you straight.

"At big law at 40 if you're not making 200k then you're lazy as shit and suck at your job." - You won't be in biglaw at age 40. Are you a total ignoramus? Have you done any research at all? You are unlikely to make it to 30.

And yes, I do look down on 40k a year. I had better hourly compensation as an intern this summer. Should people spend three years for another degree just so they can earn intern pay?

User avatar
happyshapy
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby happyshapy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:04 am

Kolya wrote:IAFG, I'm not saying my formula is perfect, but its a hell of a lot better than most of the evaluative mechanisms thrown out on this board and lemmings like happyshapy could do worse than to think of it this way. I already said I wanted to be a lawyer. That doesn't mean that I should just forgo any consideration of the probable outcomes.

Dhops, you are correct, but even so things still suck in that world.

happyshapy:

"Oh it's not worth it because I only have a 50% chance at a t14 to net more then $40,000 a year? Yeah right." -- You saying this is inaccurate? 'Cus there are legions of unemployed HLS grads who would be happy to set you straight.

"At big law at 40 if you're not making 200k then you're lazy as shit and suck at your job." - You won't be in biglaw at age 40. Are you a total ignoramus? Have you done any research at all? You are unlikely to make it to 30.


Oh wow I can't wait to talk to all those hundred and hundred of HLS grads who can't find a job. You're retarded. Legions?

And second of all I wasn't saying that those numbers are innacurate. I was making fun of anyone who would decide not to go to law school on the one fact that after you factor in student loan payments, you'd only net $40,000 a year. Don't go to law school if this is all you care about. The field doesn't need anymore people like you.
Last edited by happyshapy on Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
happyshapy
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby happyshapy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:12 am

Kolya wrote:
And yes, I do look down on 40k a year. I had better hourly compensation as an intern this summer. Should people spend three years for another degree just so they can earn intern pay?


If you truly want to be a lawyer then yes. People take lower paying jobs in a field they enjoy all the time. If you're only looking at law school as a means to end of getting 160,000 then this isn't the field for you and you will most likely hate it.

Kolya
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 1:03 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby Kolya » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:26 am

happyshapy wrote:Oh wow I can't wait to talk to all those hundred and hundred of HLS grads who can't find a job. You're retarded. Legions?

And second of all I wasn't saying that those numbers are innacurate. I was making fun of anyone who would decide not to go to law school on the one fact that after you factor in student loan payments, you'd only net $40,000 a year. Don't go to law school if this is all you care about. The field doesn't need anymore people like you.


Lol, you don't believe that there are hundreds of HLS kids who can't find a job? I guess I can't help you if you won't bother to research the obvious truth on your own. I can't physically introduce them to you, but they exist. They are also smarter than you, more connected than you, and are still screwed, and that should give you pause.

I do want to be a lawyer. I just don't want to be broke, or to have 150k hanging like a cartoon piano over my head. I want to be reasonably well compensated for the amount of shit I will have to go through as a lawyer, and for the high opportunity cost of not joining other professions to which I have some access. If you are okay with 40k after 3 years of professional education then either you aren't worth much or don't value yourself enough.

User avatar
happyshapy
Posts: 192
Joined: Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:41 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby happyshapy » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:49 am

Kolya wrote:
happyshapy wrote:Oh wow I can't wait to talk to all those hundred and hundred of HLS grads who can't find a job. You're retarded. Legions?

And second of all I wasn't saying that those numbers are innacurate. I was making fun of anyone who would decide not to go to law school on the one fact that after you factor in student loan payments, you'd only net $40,000 a year. Don't go to law school if this is all you care about. The field doesn't need anymore people like you.


Lol, you don't believe that there are hundreds of HLS kids who can't find a job? I guess I can't help you if you won't bother to research the obvious truth on your own. I can't physically introduce them to you, but they exist. They are also smarter than you, more connected than you, and are still screwed, and that should give you pause.

I do want to be a lawyer. I just don't want to be broke, or to have 150k hanging like a cartoon piano over my head. I want to be reasonably well compensated for the amount of shit I will have to go through as a lawyer, and for the high opportunity cost of not joining other professions to which I have some access. If you are okay with 40k after 3 years of professional education then either you aren't worth much or don't value yourself enough.


Wow you sound like a elitist jerk who will probably be forever alone. Good luck with that. I have done my research. I plan on getting a large scholarship or go to a school with a very good LARP so I can work in public interest. I will not go into that much debt, and be satisfied with my life choices. And gasp! I'll do it at a school other than HYS. And I am okay with netting 40k, after loan payments and after taxes, because I will like my job. How do I know this? Maybe because I actually have work experience.

And why don't you do some research yourself. --LinkRemoved--

So 1.6% of HLS grads were unemployed in 2009, a horrible year for the legal field. Out of 567 graduates, only 9 were unemployed. Hundreds? Really, I think not. Those odds look pretty good to me. The 25th Percentile was 160,000. If you can't get a job with a Harvard Law Degree then either you're not looking for a job, or you don't deserve a job.

I really don't care about your rationalizations in going to law school, but don't make it sound absurd that people want to study law for reasons other then money. And there's no reason skew Harvard's job prospects to make your point. It's not a safe bet that you'll have a high paying legal job from T1, but it's an almost air tight bet that you'll have a high paying legal job from Harvard.

EMZE
Posts: 715
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:53 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby EMZE » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:07 am

Hostile thread.

There is no one fits all answer for this, not even close.

People speak of money and debt and stuff, if that is an insurmountable risk, I urge you consider a job with the military. As an officer, I can tell you that you will make very okay money. If you stay in til around the 10 year mark, you will be making about 100k plus insurance for you and the whole fam. And, I have never, ever heard of a JAG who retired from the Army and had any trouble making money on the outside. You will have awesome connections within the government.

So yeah, just saying. If you have relegated yourself to solely earning big money and are afraid of taking risks (yes, those are contradictory) don't go to LS.

And FWIW, I have a friend who graduated from TTT and is making 6 figures now. It is because he worked his ass off during LS making connections and after graduation at the office. I know this is not the norm, but if law is your dream, desire, goal, and you simply cannot afford to take any risk with money, then find a school that will give you money.

I don't mean to sound overly idealistic, I just hate this attitude of "pursuing your dreams aren't worth it." I read the article on CNN or w/e about law school grad turned stripper, I know these things happen.

User avatar
NiccoloA
Posts: 181
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 6:46 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby NiccoloA » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:37 am

happyshapy wrote:
Have you ever lived in poverty? Because you sound like a spoiled brat. $40,000 a year after loan payments is way more than enough to live comfortably while you're young, especially if you have two income earners in your family.



On TLS? No. Never.

User avatar
ahduth
Posts: 2468
Joined: Wed Sep 29, 2010 10:55 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby ahduth » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:02 pm

NiccoloA wrote:
happyshapy wrote:
Have you ever lived in poverty? Because you sound like a spoiled brat. $40,000 a year after loan payments is way more than enough to live comfortably while you're young, especially if you have two income earners in your family.



On TLS? No. Never.


lol +1

Kolya
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 1:03 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby Kolya » Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:26 pm

happyshapy wrote:Wow you sound like a elitist jerk who will probably be forever alone. Good luck with that. I have done my research. I plan on getting a large scholarship or go to a school with a very good LARP so I can work in public interest. I will not go into that much debt, and be satisfied with my life choices. And gasp! I'll do it at a school other than HYS. And I am okay with netting 40k, after loan payments and after taxes, because I will like my job. How do I know this? Maybe because I actually have work experience.

And why don't you do some research yourself. --LinkRemoved--

So 1.6% of HLS grads were unemployed in 2009, a horrible year for the legal field. Out of 567 graduates, only 9 were unemployed. Hundreds? Really, I think not. Those odds look pretty good to me. The 25th Percentile was 160,000. If you can't get a job with a Harvard Law Degree then either you're not looking for a job, or you don't deserve a job.

I really don't care about your rationalizations in going to law school, but don't make it sound absurd that people want to study law for reasons other then money. And there's no reason skew Harvard's job prospects to make your point. It's not a safe bet that you'll have a high paying legal job from T1, but it's an almost air tight bet that you'll have a high paying legal job from Harvard.


You actually believe school statistics? A "job" is something with a full-time permanent contract, a salary, and health insurance. There are hundreds of HLS kids from years 2008-2011 without that, and if you are too blind to see it then I guess you are beyond my help.

Good luck with "public interest;" that is almost as competitive as biglaw.

I'm sure I'll be "forever alone" just because I had the temerity to point to the stark but undeniable truth that this profession is in the gutter and should be avoided by 90% of those seeking entrance to it. Quit harping about money - you think biglaw is big money? Biglaw is a temporary stopover in the upper-middle-class world followed by a rapid exit from it unless you are so fortunate as to make partner.

The point is you haven't done adequate research, have zero ambition, and it is your problems writ large that lead to the glut of lemmings flooding this market.

EMZE
Posts: 715
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:53 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby EMZE » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:30 pm

Over the top. Seriously.

Do you really see no value in pursuing a world class education from some of the schools you are rallying against? I get it about why schools like Cooley, NYLS, even most of the tier 2's are a bit more risk than they are probably worth, but if you cannot find a job out of a T14, it's not the school or the market, its probably the person.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby bk1 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:55 pm

EMZE wrote:Do you really see no value in pursuing a world class education from some of the schools you are rallying against?

What world class education are you talking about? You mean the one that I can get from the library/Wikipedia/internet/etc without spending $200,000+ and 3 years of my life?

EMZE wrote:if you cannot find a job out of a T14, it's not the school or the market, its probably the person.

Agreed. But if you can't find a job that can repay sticker price debt? Eh, not so much.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby Grizz » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:59 pm

bk1 wrote:
EMZE wrote:Do you really see no value in pursuing a world class education from some of the schools you are rallying against?

What world class education are you talking about? You mean the one that I can get from the library/Wikipedia/internet/etc without spending $200,000+ and 3 years of my life?

EMZE wrote:if you cannot find a job out of a T14, it's not the school or the market, its probably the person.

Agreed. But if you can't find a job that can repay sticker price debt? Eh, not so much.

BK, TCR, yet again.

EMZE
Posts: 715
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:53 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby EMZE » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:22 pm

bk1 wrote:
EMZE wrote:Do you really see no value in pursuing a world class education from some of the schools you are rallying against?

What world class education are you talking about? You mean the one that I can get from the library/Wikipedia/internet/etc without spending $200,000+ and 3 years of my life?

EMZE wrote:if you cannot find a job out of a T14, it's not the school or the market, its probably the person.

Agreed. But if you can't find a job that can repay sticker price debt? Eh, not so much.


Yes, I've seen good will hunting. And I wish you the best of luck in your aspirations to be successful after spending 3 years surfing wikipedia. You're right, Harvard is not a world class institution. Wikipedia is. And employers cowtow to UoWiki.

It does not make sense to me at all that you would be so risk adverse to not go to an awesome school because of the possibility of spending some time unemployed and in debt. That risk is not unique to law.

EMZE
Posts: 715
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:53 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby EMZE » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:28 pm

Grizz wrote:
bk1 wrote:
EMZE wrote:Do you really see no value in pursuing a world class education from some of the schools you are rallying against?

What world class education are you talking about? You mean the one that I can get from the library/Wikipedia/internet/etc without spending $200,000+ and 3 years of my life?

EMZE wrote:if you cannot find a job out of a T14, it's not the school or the market, its probably the person.

Agreed. But if you can't find a job that can repay sticker price debt? Eh, not so much.

BK, TCR, yet again.


As for you grizz, you can't be trusted if your brand really is grizzly mint. Copenhagen is the only brand for me. But maybe that's just me being elitist

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby bk1 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:29 pm

EMZE wrote:Yes, I've seen good will hunting. And I wish you the best of luck in your aspirations to be successful after spending 3 years surfing wikipedia. You're right, Harvard is not a world class institution. Wikipedia is. And employers cowtow to UoWiki.

You brought up knowledge for knowledge's sake, not employment. Try to keep up with your own argument.

EMZE wrote:It does not make sense to me at all that you would be so risk adverse to not go to an awesome school because of the possibility of spending some time unemployed and in debt. That risk is not unique to law.

For someone who already has an undergraduate degree, the six figures worth of debt is pretty unique when you compare going back to school (such as law school) versus straight up just finding a job with the undergraduate degree.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby Grizz » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:30 pm

EMZE wrote:Yes, I've seen good will hunting. And I wish you the best of luck in your aspirations to be successful after spending 3 years surfing wikipedia. You're right, Harvard is not a world class institution. Wikipedia is. And employers cowtow to UoWiki.


lolololol I'm guessing you're not in lawl school, 0L

It does not make sense to me at all that you would be so risk adverse to not go to an awesome school because of the possibility of spending some time unemployed and in debt. That risk is not unique to law.


I redact my comment, see BK
Last edited by Grizz on Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Grizz
Posts: 10583
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 6:31 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby Grizz » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:31 pm

EMZE wrote:
As for you grizz, you can't be trusted if your brand really is grizzly mint. Copenhagen is the only brand for me. But maybe that's just me being elitist

Actually I'm more of a skoal straight man as of late.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 18418
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby bk1 » Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:33 pm

Kolya wrote:You actually believe school statistics? A "job" is something with a full-time permanent contract, a salary, and health insurance. There are hundreds of HLS kids from years 2008-2011 without that, and if you are too blind to see it then I guess you are beyond my help.


So let's do the math. 2008-2011 is 4 graduating class's worth of kids. 500 kids a class. Hundreds means at minimum 200. So that's about 2000 grads and 200+ without a job. You're really trying to argue that 10%+ of HLS grads are without a "job" as you put it. You are a certifiable troll.

EMZE
Posts: 715
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 10:53 am

Re: When does law school become worth it?

Postby EMZE » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:29 pm

bk1, are you a law school student? I ask because given your opinions, I don't understand why it is you would attend/pursue law school. If you are in attendance, or plan on it, what makes it worthwhile for you?




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], cooldog, drillteam and 7 guests