Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

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Ruxin1
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Ruxin1 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:38 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:Again, most people in NYC live on around $60k or less pre-tax (I mean individual income, not household).

Yeah, but a lot of those people don't have to dress well or work 80 hours per week or deal with $200K in debt.

Someone who makes $60K pre-tax in NYC makes $42K post-tax. Someone who makes $160K pre-tax in NYC makes $90K post-tax, and then after paying $3K/mo. toward their debt they make $54K post-tax.

So the "most people" who live on $60K/yr in NYC are actually making only about $12K/yr less post-tax than your first-year associate. They cover that $12K/yr difference by living in the cheaper parts of Brooklyn or Queens. You could do that too, but again, goes back to that whole frugal-or-not point JCougar was making.


Honestly, if you go to NYC w/ 200k debt because that is your only option then that sucks. I still think the financial position you are in if you make it 4-5 years, pay debt down to a reasonable amount, and then take a 6-figure exit option is pretty good. Obviously, a lot has to go right for that to happen but I don't think it is any more likely that you would be in NYC making more money if you had not gone to law school.

The NYC examples are hard to argue with b/c I have done the math and even with my $150k debt I didn't see how it made any sense for me to choose NYC over a BOS/ATL/CHI/TEX type secondary market or even DC where I could be debt free in 5 years if I wanted to and still have the law degree upside opportunities potentially available.


Is COL really that much cheaper in LA/SF/CHI/DC markets? I can't imagine its much better


http://www.nalp.org/buying_power_index_class_of_2010

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vanwinkle
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:40 pm

AllTheLawz wrote:Honestly, if you go to NYC w/ 200k debt because that is your only option then that sucks.

For a lot of people it will be the only option if they want to do BigLaw. There are just more jobs in NYC than in any other city, and NYC is completely undemanding about ties to the city.

The only way as a 0L to have a strong hope of landing TX BigLaw is to be from there. And as more people look at the high salary/low COL there and start aiming for it as some kind of legal mecca, the competition for those jobs is just going to get worse.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Rahviveh » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:41 pm



Wow this is fantastic. Thanks for sharing

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sinfiery
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby sinfiery » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:42 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Undergrad is less difficult and costs less, and there are far more jobs that require a bachelor's than require a JD. This makes the reward for UG much higher and the risk much lower.

You can't just say everything's a risk. It matters how much risk for how much reward. Otherwise you're just gambling, and at $200K to play, law school is one hell of a ridiculous gamble.

I'd agree that a UG degree has a lower risk to reward ratio.
Unless you're paying sticker at Ivy/Out-of-state for your English/Pre-law/hundreds of other non-skill based degrees.
Then the answer is, no. It isn't.

The difficulty of UG is easier.
But the way TLS judges difficulty, it is harder.
Why? Everyone in UG has the same GPA from HS, similar SAT/ACTs, they all try. But, in LS the graduation rate is far higher than the UG graduation rate.
I was more-or-less making fun of the complete anonymity approach people here say to take towards your expected class rank in LS. What is really different about UG? Is lack-of-effort that rampant at real UGs? (At my TTT, it was. Thus I agree UG is easier.)


Right, the odds of which are ridiculously low from the 0L starting point.

Indeed. But 5000% pay-off and it is possible. I'd buy that lottery ticket. All day, erryday.

Okay, well, on the 0L front, even if you go to a T6 you can't assume you'll get BigLaw, and even those who have T6 and work BigLaw for a while will not keep making over $160K/yr.

Indeed. NLJS250 leaves it at about 47% for T4-8. T1-3, one would assume don't all want Biglaw. I'd say, realistically, 70% of those who want biglaw get it from T6.

They will not necessarily make "500% more" over 40 years than those that didn't make BigLaw, because they'll ultimately end up in non-BigLaw jobs with salary bands that overlap what the folks who didn't make BigLaw are earning. If you do BigLaw for 5 years and then go be a public defender, you're making as much for the following 35 years as everyone who started out as a public defender is making.

Indeed. They won't necessarily make more.
But this is a financial reasoning for LS. If you went to a T6 and are attempting to gain financial benefit from the decision by the public defender route, you are likely at the bottom of your class.
As we are assuming there is no way at all to dictate your position in class rank before entering LS, a scholly + T100 could very easily end up at the bottom of his class and working at McDonalds. Or if you believe TLS, at the medium of his class and working at starbucks.

The risk is there for T6, but it's also there for T100 with scholly. And UG. As someone said, 85k mid career salary is not the average. That is very respectable.

I'd say the biggest benefit from a T6 education is indeed job placement. Considering how big of a deal unemployment is on TLS, would one really say that's not a very big deal?


It's not, necessarily. It's worth it in terms of odds and chances, but not making more money in the same job. If you make BigLaw you'll make similar money as everyone else in BigLaw. If you leave BigLaw and go do gov't/PI work then you'll make the same as other people doing gov't/PI work. If you leave and go join a small practice then you'll make as much as anyone else in that practice. The pedigree may be good for helping you land those jobs, but it won't be good for helping you make more money than other people in those same jobs.

It is a ridiculous assumption to think going to a T6 will guarantee you long-term riches.


I think we generally agree. In terms of odds, it is worth it. It gets you in the door. It won't make you rich, but there is a chance you will be. It gets you in the door. A big benefit, imo.


This is only true if you pay off everything within 5 years. And if you do, then yes, the costs stop then.

What you're missing is that there is no guarantee the income will keep flowing at higher and higher levels after 5 years. Hell, it's a mistake to assume that if you get BigLaw you'll be allowed to stay 5 years. Some people get pushed out faster or burn out faster. A lot of people can't take BigLaw hours forever; they start leaving around the 3-4 year mark and move to jobs that pay less but are survivable to them. If you haven't paid off all your debts by then, you're still going to have costs continuing for much longer because you're likely settling for a lower income in exchange for better quality of life, and lower income means less money to put toward your debts each year.

As a 0L, even going to T6, you can't assume you'll get BigLaw. Or that you'll stay in it for 5 years if you get it. Or that you'll get a job that will ever pay as much as BigLaw did after you leave. Because even among those who get BigLaw there are a significant number of people who end up not making that kind of money for long.

Indeed. Risks are present. Life ain't perfect, even at a T6. But I'd much rather be in this position than T100 with $$$ with or without Biglaw.

This being the statement I found ridiculous.

So in other words, you're living like you would have lived without getting biglaw if you just went to a school that gave you a full tuition scholarship.

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JCougar
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:20 pm

AllTheLawz wrote:I think some people here have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a very good career path is for someone straight out of undergrad. A very, very good starting salary is $55-$65k (yes, this includes engineers). You work your way up to middle-management over 5-10 years and make $75-85k (slightly higher top-level for engineers). From there you either pray for some luck or go get an advanced degree or certification if you have any hopes of moving up. That's right people, a VERY GOOD mid-career salary is something like $75-85k. Yes, people make above that but they are the straight out of undergrad mathematical equivalent of law students who get biglaw.


Two of my three best friends went into engineering. They're both making six figures before age 30. Neither of them have any school debt at all. Maybe it's a sample size problem, but the people I know in engineering are doing far better than what you are contending.

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Ruxin1
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Ruxin1 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:23 pm

JCougar wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:I think some people here have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a very good career path is for someone straight out of undergrad. A very, very good starting salary is $55-$65k (yes, this includes engineers). You work your way up to middle-management over 5-10 years and make $75-85k (slightly higher top-level for engineers). From there you either pray for some luck or go get an advanced degree or certification if you have any hopes of moving up. That's right people, a VERY GOOD mid-career salary is something like $75-85k. Yes, people make above that but they are the straight out of undergrad mathematical equivalent of law students who get biglaw.


Two of my three best friends went into engineering. They're both making six figures before age 30. Neither of them have any school debt at all. Maybe it's a sample size problem, but the people I know in engineering are doing far better than what you are contending.


But more than likely they are maxed out at that income level.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby 09042014 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:25 pm

rayiner wrote:
IAFG wrote:
JCougar wrote:In other news, I met a Biglaw attorney last weekend at a party. He's been practicing for 5 years, and still has $140K of debt...and a newborn son. He was an awesome guy. I really hope he makes partner. Otherwise, I don't think he has any idea how he's ever going to pay down that debt. He went to a "top" law school.

Even making Biglaw doesn't save you from today's astronomical debt burdens.

If you have been practicing since 2007, you got the last big bonus (Cravath paid 2007ers $35k) and then mostly smaller bonuses (with c/o 2007 receiving $20k in 2011 on top of a $210k salary and making $230k in 2012). You can't tell me this bro has $140k in debt because he couldn't find a way to get out from under it.


I mean what a bad example. If he graduated in 2007 and got an SA, his total debt load couldn't have been more than say $180k to start with. Meanwhile, he's been getting paid on the $160k scale this entire time. He could a couple of years of decent bonuses too. He's clearly been living like he makes $160k, and not $160k with $180k of debt.

Also, what do you think he's going to do after leaving big law if he doesn't make partner? Wait tables?


He may also have low interest rates, which are no longer available. Some big law bros have like 3% interest. So yea, they have 170K in debt, but 200K in investments.

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sinfiery
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby sinfiery » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:31 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Some big law bros have like 3% interest.

What the fuck?!
Never have I been more jealous of the pre-Class of 2007s than now.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:33 pm

WhiskeynCoke wrote:What retail chain was this? My roommate has been a retail manager for years in places like Banana Republic, Cole Haan, Club Monaco, and Armani. Almost no one makes 6 figures a year in retail management (highest paid manager he saw was making ~80k). To move into the 6 figure range, you need to be promoted into corporate (then move up the "ladder" for atleast a few years), which requires a bachelors degree(every major chain has this requirement, which is what kept him out).

You seem to be suggesting that if one just works in retail, one of the most dead-end underpaying jobs in the country, you have a reasonable (comparable to biglaw from T14) shot at 6 figures in 4-7 years. You also seem to be suggesting that with this retail job, you'll be able to not only get approved for a mortgage at the age of 20, but be able to pay that mortgage off before you're 30.

Dude, this is an absolutely ridiculous claim to make. people who work in retail get paid minimum wage and are kept at low hours so they don't get benefits. You get a 10 cent raise per year until you shoot yourself.

Get real....


I don't want to out myself anymore than I already have on here, but it's a lot bigger than a store you would find in a mall. No matter how low you start out at, no retail job forces you to go deeper into debt than most mortgages do. So even if you only have a HS diploma, if you're out of work, you just go on unemployment. You don't have to worry about non-dischargeable student loan debt.

Keep in mind that if you're smart and focused enough to get into even an average law school, you're probably smart and focused enough to outlast most of the competition in retail management.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:36 pm

Ruxin1 wrote:
JCougar wrote:Two of my three best friends went into engineering. They're both making six figures before age 30. Neither of them have any school debt at all. Maybe it's a sample size problem, but the people I know in engineering are doing far better than what you are contending.


But more than likely they are maxed out at that income level.


I doubt it. One already owns a bunch of stock options in his consulting firm, and is continually being given more. The other has a government job and is still on the lower end of his pay band.

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby 09042014 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:37 pm

sinfiery wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:
Some big law bros have like 3% interest.

What the fuck?!
Never have I been more jealous of the pre-Class of 2007s than now.


CLass of 2007 may have been too late for that, but class of 2005 and before had super low rates. If you look at old XO threads people would always say "LOL why would pay off your debt!?!?" Or they'd say "just pay min. and put your bonuses into loans, you'll pay it off in 5 years"

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Swimp » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:41 pm

JCougar wrote:
Ruxin1 wrote:
JCougar wrote:Two of my three best friends went into engineering. They're both making six figures before age 30. Neither of them have any school debt at all. Maybe it's a sample size problem, but the people I know in engineering are doing far better than what you are contending.


But more than likely they are maxed out at that income level.


I doubt it. One already owns a bunch of stock options in his consulting firm, and is continually being given more. The other has a government job and is still on the lower end of his pay band.


As far as I know, it's true that engineer salaries tend to top out at a little over $100K, so if your friends have a lot more room to grow, they landed some really great gigs.

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JCougar
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby JCougar » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:42 pm

It is true. Interest rates used to be much lower. I have zero undergrad debt, as my school was cheaper than high school. But I do have a MS degree from before 2007. I consolidated these loans at 3.25% interest. Really no reason not to max out the time frame for those.

Of course, back then, there was a limit on the amount of loans the government would give you. If you reached that limit, you'd have to take out supplemental loans from places like CitiBank at about 11% interest, and they charged you a bunch of fees, too.

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rayiner
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby rayiner » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:21 pm

JCougar wrote:
Ruxin1 wrote:
JCougar wrote:Two of my three best friends went into engineering. They're both making six figures before age 30. Neither of them have any school debt at all. Maybe it's a sample size problem, but the people I know in engineering are doing far better than what you are contending.


But more than likely they are maxed out at that income level.


I doubt it. One already owns a bunch of stock options in his consulting firm, and is continually being given more. The other has a government job and is still on the lower end of his pay band.


Stock options are worthless unless your company goes public for a big valuation. And getting them means nothing. I got them my first year as an engineer.

By and large, engineers will top out around 120k if that. You can pretty easily hit $100k before 30 by job hopping, but that's because an engineer with 5-8 years experience is much more valuable than one with just 1-2. But after 15 years of experience, your value as an engineer actually starts going down. That's why engineer salaries ramp up quickly then stagnate.

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Rahviveh
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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby Rahviveh » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:14 pm



Does that factor in the fact that in some of these cities you will need a car, and in NYC you wont? Thinking of LA in particular

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby ajr » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:41 am

JCougar wrote:
AllTheLawz wrote:I think some people here have a fundamental misunderstanding of what a very good career path is for someone straight out of undergrad. A very, very good starting salary is $55-$65k (yes, this includes engineers). You work your way up to middle-management over 5-10 years and make $75-85k (slightly higher top-level for engineers). From there you either pray for some luck or go get an advanced degree or certification if you have any hopes of moving up. That's right people, a VERY GOOD mid-career salary is something like $75-85k. Yes, people make above that but they are the straight out of undergrad mathematical equivalent of law students who get biglaw.


Two of my three best friends went into engineering. They're both making six figures before age 30. Neither of them have any school debt at all. Maybe it's a sample size problem, but the people I know in engineering are doing far better than what you are contending.


Been there; done that. Now in law school. :)

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Re: Just read Don't Go to Law School (Unless)

Postby PatBarB » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:13 am

Hey all,

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This one just launched SPAM

It was started by a guy who passed the exam back in May and has been tutoring and helping others study and pass the exam since then. The site is pretty well put together, easy to navigate, and the forum section looks promising to be able to find information easily.

He also is offering a paid membership (which gives access to a LOT of other study resources for the exam).

All the best to you as you keep deciding what to do with your careers.




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