USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

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solo_lawyer
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby solo_lawyer » Wed Apr 29, 2009 7:10 pm

just remember this: all lawyer income and employment stats are based on what the law schools feed everyone else. And those stats from the law schools are a lie.

The law schools massage, manipulate, twist and outright fabricate these stats to a fare-thee-well. And why not? No one audits them. And there are millions and millions of dollars at stake.

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General Tso
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby General Tso » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:14 pm

snotrocket wrote:
swheat wrote:While you analysis is good, your assumptions are faulty. 1st, you assume that there's no other option but to repay at the 10 year rate of $1,100 per month. 2nd, you posit a "likely" scenario in which the person will have 180k debt and a "8 in 10 chance" of earning only 55k. This bimodal talk is probably perfectly valid in some markets.

Your math is way, way off. The $1,100 per month is for a 30-year repayment plan -- as you assumed. The payments on a 10-year plan, for $150k, at 8% interest are $1,819 per month. At 7% interest (the only number that I changed from your assumptions), the payments are $1,742 per month. Learn how to do simple math (or use a loan calculator) before you go around calling people trolls.

http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml

Talk to whoever you want -- $70k in the Bay Area is equivalent to $55k anywhere that doesn't have an astronomical cost of living, so the net effect there is the same. And $45-55k jobs are quite the rule in California the same as anywhere (more common, actually, owing to the truly ridiculous number of law schools in the market). If you want to make a stupid mistake based on misinformation and blatantly incorrect calculations, then fine. But at least keep it to yourself and stop spreading your silliness in places where people trying to find good information might accidentally take it seriously.


I did use finaid.org calculator

Loan Balance: $150,000.00
Adjusted Loan Balance: $150,000.00
Loan Interest Rate: 6.80%
Loan Fees: 0.00%
Loan Term: 30 years
Minimum Payment: $50.00

Monthly Loan Payment: $977.89
Number of Payments: 360

Cumulative Payments: $352,037.80
Total Interest Paid: $202,037.80

Now do you have any proof to the claim that 45-55k lawyer jobs are the 'quite the rule' in CA? Or is that figure just 'silliness'?

leron
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby leron » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:25 pm

i second swheat on the salary figures. i always hear on these boards how people might end up making 45-55k out of law school. those must be the absolute bottom of the barrel or for people who work far from major cities. it's just not true in general. i know lots of people here (big 4) are hired from t2's like loyola la with a rank under top half and start at 70k+. of course, they aren't technically practicing lawyers since we're a public accounting firm.

the point is you'll have this option with respect to salary. big 4 firms aren't that hard to get into, especially when you have a law degree from anywhere.

deadatheist
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby deadatheist » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:29 pm

http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml


where has this been all my last couple weeks??

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General Tso
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby General Tso » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:30 pm

solo_lawyer wrote:just remember this: all lawyer income and employment stats are based on what the law schools feed everyone else. And those stats from the law schools are a lie.

The law schools massage, manipulate, twist and outright fabricate these stats to a fare-thee-well. And why not? No one audits them. And there are millions and millions of dollars at stake.


Are salary statistics fudged? You bet. Are they outright lies that in no way reflect the truth? Absolutely not.

Why should the USFs and the Cooleys of the world claim average starting salaries of 60k or 80k, or whatever? If they are outright lying and hoping to trick some hapless 0L into handing over the big bucks, why not just tell them the average starting salary is 150k?

If you look closely at the salary statistics reported by law schools, and you look at the USNWR rank, you see a clear correlation. Take a look at these CA law schools. I'll rank them by USNWR and let you pick out the correlation.

CA

Stanford 160k
UC Berkeley 160k
USC 145-160k
UCLA 125-160k
UC Davis 80-145k
UC Hastings 85-160k
Pepperdine 80-140k
San Diego 65-100k
Loyola LA 70-135k
Santa Clara 75-160k
USF 71-138k
McGeorge 61-93.5k
Southwestern 63-105k
Chapman 65-85k
Cal Western 60-73k
Whittier 65-85k
Golden Gate 50-82k
Thomas Jefferson 48-80k

Now of course, you have to understand that these numbers reflect only a subset of the class. This represents (a) graduates working in private practice only and (b) only those private practice grads that REPORTED salaries. So you have to accept that these statistics reflect only between 40 and 70% of the class, depending on the school. But for that subset, I would argue that these stats are fairly reliable. And from these statistics, I believe we can pretty well assume that snotrocket's "quite the rule" of 45-55k is pretty bogus. Perhaps it is "quite the rule" for the 25-50% of the class that falls into one of the following categories:
-slacker, bottom of the class graduate
-completely anti-social person who can't network and doesn't interview well
-one of the 30% or so of CA law grads who never pass the bar
-one of those who self-selects into a public interest role or other low-paying career for idealists.

If you don't fall into one of those categories, I believe it is "quite the rule" that you will do "quite well" financially in CA.

There was also a chart on one of the law professor blogs that showed a high correlation between USNWR rank and biglaw placement.

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General Tso
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby General Tso » Wed Apr 29, 2009 9:09 pm

leron wrote:i second swheat on the salary figures. i always hear on these boards how people might end up making 45-55k out of law school. those must be the absolute bottom of the barrel or for people who work far from major cities. it's just not true in general. i know lots of people here (big 4) are hired from t2's like loyola la with a rank under top half and start at 70k+. of course, they aren't technically practicing lawyers since we're a public accounting firm.

the point is you'll have this option with respect to salary. big 4 firms aren't that hard to get into, especially when you have a law degree from anywhere.


+1

See? Now I'll post the response I got from a bottom 25% Hastings 2008 graduate. I chatted with this guy on Facebook. I believe that personal testimonies from those who have actually gone through this weigh 100x more heavily than testimonies from pompous biglaw-or-die 0L's who speak more from pride than reason.

well i was in the bottom 25% of my class and i'm making $80,000 at a nice firm in walnut creek with a low hourly billing requirement. i basically work 40 to 50 hours a week and am pretty happy. so pretty much all of hastings grads have great opportunities. you do also have to do clerkships during the summer though. that puts you ahead of the others in the job search. this job was the first one i applied to. they saw that i was hastings and offered me the job 3 days after the interview. so i think hastings does carry a lot of weight, no matter where you are in the class.

if you're interested in doing tax you'll do fine. tax always pays well! ahah. if you're not, the firms that do what i do in SF pay at least $100,000 to start. Government law jobs start around $70,000 and are very accessible to Hastings grads. Even DA and PD work in the crim system pays around there. So you definitely won't be impoverished if you go to Hastings and choose to follow a lucrative or semi-lucrative career path. hope that helps! one thing you have to remember though - a wise professor once said (i can't remember who) you don't go to law school to be rich. to be rich you go to business school. you go to law school to have a profession that's a constant intellectual challenge.

Hope that helps!

snotrocket
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby snotrocket » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:12 pm

swheat wrote:Loan Interest Rate: 6.80%

That's the lowest rate that applies to Stafford loans only (capped at $20,500 per year). Grad PLUS loans, which will cover the other 2/3 of your borrowing, are at 8.5% now. Even assuming for the sake of your fantasy that it's all at 6.8%, that turns the BEST CASE from a $32k loss to a $7k loss. This of course still ignores the fact that total borrowing for those who have to finance all of their expenses through loans is going to be much higher than $150k total, even leaving aside debt from undergrad which many people will carry with them through law school.

As far as the salary figures go, with exceptions for Stanford and Berkeley, which have nothing to do with this discussion, your "40-70% of the class" assertion is utter bullshit. Lets look at some real numbers, from the US News data:

Total graduates: 205
Percent known to be employed (9 mos. out): 95.7%
Percent employed, working in private firms: 68%
Percent working in private firms that reported salary: 54%

205 * 0.957 * 0.68 * 0.54 = 72

So the entire range for their reported salaries is based on about 1/3 of the graduating class. And the 25th percentile figure is $71k. That means that the ONLY valid conclusion you can draw from this data is that 3/4 of the 72 who are working and reported salary data are making at least that much. That comes out to 54 people, out of 205. So 25% of the class is making $71k or more. What are the other 151 people doing, and how much are they making? I'll give you a hint -- they didn't just forget to report their salary because they were too busy counting their stacks of $100 bills.

If you can attend a school like USF and pay nothing, then at least you only have to eat the opportunity cost of three years lost earnings when things don't work out as you might have hoped. But taking on six figures of debt for a school that is not going to guarantee you a starting salary of equal magnitude -- and USF is not -- is just begging for a world of hurt. And no matter what you think of your prospects at any school, trying to maintain that you can rationally justify taking out $150k in loans for an increase in salary of $20k per year is just deranged.

Like you, I also have "sources," one of whom is an attorney that I worked with for two years, in San Francisco, who went to USF. He's done ok for himself and is happy with his career so far, but he also went with a clear plan in mind, and USF fit that plan. He got a full-ride and went straight into public interest, because he never had the desire or the need to make lots of money or to work in a big firm. His take, which he gave me when I applied there, based on his experiences and those of his classmates -- "I'll be honest, there is no way I would have gone if I had to pay for it."
Last edited by snotrocket on Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.

the_assassin
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby the_assassin » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:02 am

NO

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solo_lawyer
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby solo_lawyer » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:14 am

going to any third tier toilet school is worth it, yes. There are jobs out there for experienced litigation lawyers, even if you went to a lower ranked school.

You could be raking in the big bucks as a courtroom litigator. Doesn't matter where you went to school

Get a few years experience as a litigator and you will be in the money! Yes, most of these litigation positions are in the big city where the cost of living is high, but the jobs pay pretty well.

For example, look at this ad on craigslist posted just today:

--LinkRemoved--

NY Licensed Lawyer (Lower Westchester)

Reply to: job-pdu6s-1147295889@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-04-30, 9:28AM EDT


No-fault law office is looking for a NY licensed lawyer. You MUST be NY licensed. It is a plus if you have strong courtroom experience and sound writing skills. The pay range is 35,000 - 40,000 depending on experience with benefits. Please email your resume and cover letter AS AN ATTACHMENT to Ms. Kingston.

Location: Lower Westchester
Compensation: 35,000-40,000
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

'04 Grad
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby '04 Grad » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:26 am

leron wrote:i second swheat on the salary figures. i always hear on these boards how people might end up making 45-55k out of law school. those must be the absolute bottom of the barrel or for people who work far from major cities. it's just not true in general. i know lots of people here (big 4) are hired from t2's like loyola la with a rank under top half and start at 70k+. of course, they aren't technically practicing lawyers since we're a public accounting firm.

the point is you'll have this option with respect to salary. big 4 firms aren't that hard to get into, especially when you have a law degree from anywhere.


The myth of $70+ starting salaries is what propels people into jumping off the cliff by borrowing $120Kto attend schools like USF.

I graduated in 2004 from a T20 school. I was in the middle of my class. My first job was at a small firm doing medmal defense. I was in a major American city. I made $60K. Many of my friends ended up in similar firms. It is simply not true that $45-$55K is bottom of the barrell. Those are reasonable starting salaries for grads who don't get biglaw. Big 4 is an exception.

Further, my experience was in a better legal market. I don't think things will ever back to what they were, even if the economy improves. There are simply too many lawyers and the legal market is contracting. The huge growth in the past 10 years was driven by Wall Street. It's basic suppy and demand economics. If supply exceeds demand, salaries will decline.

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Kohinoor
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:18 pm

swheat wrote:
solo_lawyer wrote:just remember this: all lawyer income and employment stats are based on what the law schools feed everyone else. And those stats from the law schools are a lie.

The law schools massage, manipulate, twist and outright fabricate these stats to a fare-thee-well. And why not? No one audits them. And there are millions and millions of dollars at stake.


Are salary statistics fudged? You bet. Are they outright lies that in no way reflect the truth? Absolutely not.

Why should the USFs and the Cooleys of the world claim average starting salaries of 60k or 80k, or whatever? If they are outright lying and hoping to trick some hapless 0L into handing over the big bucks, why not just tell them the average starting salary is 150k?

If you look closely at the salary statistics reported by law schools, and you look at the USNWR rank, you see a clear correlation. Take a look at these CA law schools. I'll rank them by USNWR and let you pick out the correlation.

CA

Stanford 160k
UC Berkeley 160k
USC 145-160k
UCLA 125-160k
UC Davis 80-145k
UC Hastings 85-160k
Pepperdine 80-140k
San Diego 65-100k
Loyola LA 70-135k
Santa Clara 75-160k
USF 71-138k
McGeorge 61-93.5k
Southwestern 63-105k
Chapman 65-85k
Cal Western 60-73k
Whittier 65-85k
Golden Gate 50-82k
Thomas Jefferson 48-80k

Now of course, you have to understand that these numbers reflect only a subset of the class. This represents (a) graduates working in private practice only and (b) only those private practice grads that REPORTED salaries. So you have to accept that these statistics reflect only between 40 and 70% of the class, depending on the school. But for that subset, I would argue that these stats are fairly reliable. And from these statistics, I believe we can pretty well assume that snotrocket's "quite the rule" of 45-55k is pretty bogus. Perhaps it is "quite the rule" for the 25-50% of the class that falls into one of the following categories:
-slacker, bottom of the class graduate
-completely anti-social person who can't network and doesn't interview well
-one of the 30% or so of CA law grads who never pass the bar
-one of those who self-selects into a public interest role or other low-paying career for idealists.

If you don't fall into one of those categories, I believe it is "quite the rule" that you will do "quite well" financially in CA.

There was also a chart on one of the law professor blogs that showed a high correlation between USNWR rank and biglaw placement.
Law school grades are curved. If Albert Einstein and 999 of his clones went to law school, you'd still have people at the bottom of the class because there has to be a bottom. Summarily dismissing them as lazy or slackers is disingenuous.

'04 Grad
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby '04 Grad » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:03 pm

Kohinoor wrote:
swheat wrote:
solo_lawyer wrote:just remember this: all lawyer income and employment stats are based on what the law schools feed everyone else. And those stats from the law schools are a lie.

The law schools massage, manipulate, twist and outright fabricate these stats to a fare-thee-well. And why not? No one audits them. And there are millions and millions of dollars at stake.


Are salary statistics fudged? You bet. Are they outright lies that in no way reflect the truth? Absolutely not.

Why should the USFs and the Cooleys of the world claim average starting salaries of 60k or 80k, or whatever? If they are outright lying and hoping to trick some hapless 0L into handing over the big bucks, why not just tell them the average starting salary is 150k?

If you look closely at the salary statistics reported by law schools, and you look at the USNWR rank, you see a clear correlation. Take a look at these CA law schools. I'll rank them by USNWR and let you pick out the correlation.

CA

Stanford 160k
UC Berkeley 160k
USC 145-160k
UCLA 125-160k
UC Davis 80-145k
UC Hastings 85-160k
Pepperdine 80-140k
San Diego 65-100k
Loyola LA 70-135k
Santa Clara 75-160k
USF 71-138k
McGeorge 61-93.5k
Southwestern 63-105k
Chapman 65-85k
Cal Western 60-73k
Whittier 65-85k
Golden Gate 50-82k
Thomas Jefferson 48-80k

Now of course, you have to understand that these numbers reflect only a subset of the class. This represents (a) graduates working in private practice only and (b) only those private practice grads that REPORTED salaries. So you have to accept that these statistics reflect only between 40 and 70% of the class, depending on the school. But for that subset, I would argue that these stats are fairly reliable. And from these statistics, I believe we can pretty well assume that snotrocket's "quite the rule" of 45-55k is pretty bogus. Perhaps it is "quite the rule" for the 25-50% of the class that falls into one of the following categories:
-slacker, bottom of the class graduate
-completely anti-social person who can't network and doesn't interview well
-one of the 30% or so of CA law grads who never pass the bar
-one of those who self-selects into a public interest role or other low-paying career for idealists.

If you don't fall into one of those categories, I believe it is "quite the rule" that you will do "quite well" financially in CA.

There was also a chart on one of the law professor blogs that showed a high correlation between USNWR rank and biglaw placement.
Law school grades are curved. If Albert Einstein and 999 of his clones went to law school, you'd still have people at the bottom of the class because there has to be a bottom. Summarily dismissing them as lazy or slackers is disingenuous.


It's how 0Ls justify mortgaging their futures. It's a way of making it a little bit less frightening to borrow $150K (although anyone with any sense should be frightened of borrowing that much - especially to attend a school like USF). $45K only happens to *those* other people. I'll work hard and control my destiny.

It doesn't work that way.

Of course putting aside the fact that small firms pay between $35k and $60K in all major American cities and schools outside of the T14 place primarily at small firms.

But I guess that doesn't matter if you talked to one guy on Facebook.

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General Tso
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby General Tso » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:23 pm

http://www.ilrg.com/employment/salaries/

The data below reflect the low to high range of the national averages.

First year associates, small law firms, 2007: $46,500 - $70,000

The regional variance factor for SF Bay Area is 130, yielding a range of 60,450 to 91,000. So yeah, I'd say it's quite the rule that small firms in NorCal are paying 45-55k just like you guys allege, with NO EVIDENCE by the way. I can't speak for other 0Ls, but this is how this 0L rationalizes his position...with research.

First troll to sniff out ILRG.com's ulterior motive in making these blatant lies wins a cookie! Time starts.....now!

Salary and economic data presented on this page come from compensation consultants, industry organizations, and trade publications, as well as from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics
...all sources which are clearly not as well informed as 04 Grad

'04 Grad
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby '04 Grad » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:42 pm

swheat wrote:http://www.ilrg.com/employment/salaries/

The data below reflect the low to high range of the national averages.

First year associates, small law firms, 2007: $46,500 - $70,000

The regional variance factor for SF Bay Area is 130, yielding a range of 60,450 to 91,000. So yeah, I'd say it's quite the rule that small firms in NorCal are paying 45-55k just like you guys allege, with NO EVIDENCE by the way. I can't speak for other 0Ls, but this is how this 0L rationalizes his position...with research.

First troll to sniff out ILRG.com's ulterior motive in making these blatant lies wins a cookie! Time starts.....now!

Salary and economic data presented on this page come from compensation consultants, industry organizations, and trade publications, as well as from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics
...all sources which are clearly not as well informed as 04 Grad


There are small firms that pay above market. Those firms do premium work and USF grads aren't going to be able to compete for those jobs.

I've always qualified that I'm talking about small firms that do the kind of work that most grads do, i.e. family law, insurance defense, wills & estates and criminal law. There are small firms that do more lucrative work but their standards are much higher.

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General Tso
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby General Tso » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:44 pm

solo_lawyer wrote:For example, look at this ad on craigslist posted just today:

--LinkRemoved--


Nobody uses Craigslist to find a legal job. Those listings are there for the truly desperate only. I recently quoted an article from Kiplinger's that said that 80% of all workers find their jobs through networking. Only 20% find jobs through internet searches like craigslist, monster, etc. as well as through headhunting agencies.

For legal jobs, OCI and networking are paramount. So please, stop posting Craigslist ads as if they are indicative of the legal market as a whole, when in actuality they exist only for the absolute bottom rung of the profession.

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General Tso
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby General Tso » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:47 pm

'04 Grad wrote:
There are small firms that pay above market. Those firms do premium work and USF grads aren't going to be able to compete for those jobs.

I've always qualified that I'm talking about small firms that do the kind of work that most grads do, i.e. family law, insurance defense, wills & estates and criminal law. There are small firms that do more lucrative work but their standards are much higher.


:roll:

Where on the ilrg.com website does it mention these statistics are for "premium work" small law firms? I didn't see that anywhere.

Or are we supposed to accept at face value your unquestionable authority on this one?

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hypermeganet
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby hypermeganet » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:51 pm

'04 Grad wrote:
swheat wrote:http://www.ilrg.com/employment/salaries/

The data below reflect the low to high range of the national averages.

First year associates, small law firms, 2007: $46,500 - $70,000

The regional variance factor for SF Bay Area is 130, yielding a range of 60,450 to 91,000. So yeah, I'd say it's quite the rule that small firms in NorCal are paying 45-55k just like you guys allege, with NO EVIDENCE by the way. I can't speak for other 0Ls, but this is how this 0L rationalizes his position...with research.

First troll to sniff out ILRG.com's ulterior motive in making these blatant lies wins a cookie! Time starts.....now!

Salary and economic data presented on this page come from compensation consultants, industry organizations, and trade publications, as well as from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics
...all sources which are clearly not as well informed as 04 Grad


There are small firms that pay above market. Those firms do premium work and USF grads aren't going to be able to compete for those jobs.

I've always qualified that I'm talking about small firms that do the kind of work that most grads do, i.e. family law, insurance defense, wills & estates and criminal law. There are small firms that do more lucrative work but their standards are much higher.



The boutique firms would only affect the upper end, right? And are there really enough of them to pull the entire top 25% up by as much as you are insinuating?

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spinsta
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby spinsta » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:59 pm

I'll feed the flames a bit - everyone complains about how "serious" 150k of debt is. I agree, but put it in perspective. If you ever plan on owning a home, you will be much more in debt than 150k. That being said, I still stand by my statement that that much debt is only justified by T14 or possible T10.

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General Tso
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby General Tso » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:06 pm

spinsta wrote:I'll feed the flames a bit - everyone complains about how "serious" 150k of debt is. I agree, but put it in perspective. If you ever plan on owning a home, you will be much more in debt than 150k. That being said, I still stand by my statement that that much debt is only justified by T14 or possible T10.


That's my take on it as well. In CA people borrow 500, 600, 900 thousand dollars all the time to purchase a house. When you measure that against 100-150k to go to a T100 law school, I don't see how it could possibly be THAT disastrous. A lot of these homebuyers have taken a shot lately, and rightfully so, but I never heard of someone going bankrupt over student loan debt.

I don't think we can unilaterally say in every situation that a person should not borrow 100k+ to go to a non T14 law school. Every person's situation and expectations are different.

hieveryone
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby hieveryone » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:09 pm

I think the 6 figure debt argument is relevant for most schools, but I'm not sure for USF it is. They have to compete with Stanford, Berkeley, Hastings, Davis, etc. So 120,000 is too much to pay for that school, at least from my point of view.

edit: It's not always bad to have 6 figure debt, and I think debt is sometimes overblown a bit here on TLS, but for a school like USF it's probably not worth it.

snotrocket
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby snotrocket » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:12 pm

spinsta wrote:I'll feed the flames a bit - everyone complains about how "serious" 150k of debt is. I agree, but put it in perspective. If you ever plan on owning a home, you will be much more in debt than 150k. That being said, I still stand by my statement that that much debt is only justified by T14 or possible T10.

The difference there is that buying a house is not a means of gaining income but a means of managing an expense that you have to incur anyway. If you approach buying a house rationally, then you will wind up with a mortgage payment similar to or less than what you would be paying to rent a like sized home, so there is no net difference in your position. Nobody needs to buy a J.D., and most people who do could find something much more rewarding to do with the next three to thirty years of their lives.

'04 Grad
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby '04 Grad » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:53 pm

swheat wrote:
spinsta wrote:I'll feed the flames a bit - everyone complains about how "serious" 150k of debt is. I agree, but put it in perspective. If you ever plan on owning a home, you will be much more in debt than 150k. That being said, I still stand by my statement that that much debt is only justified by T14 or possible T10.


That's my take on it as well. In CA people borrow 500, 600, 900 thousand dollars all the time to purchase a house. When you measure that against 100-150k to go to a T100 law school, I don't see how it could possibly be THAT disastrous. A lot of these homebuyers have taken a shot lately, and rightfully so, but I never heard of someone going bankrupt over student loan debt.

I don't think we can unilaterally say in every situation that a person should not borrow 100k+ to go to a non T14 law school. Every person's situation and expectations are different.


You've never heard of someone going bankrupt over student loan debt because student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.

A mortgage is very different from student loan debt. First, as stated above student loan debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy. Second, the interest on a mortgage is tax deductible along with property taxes. You can only deduct the interest on your student loans if you make less around $60K (can't remember the exact figure). Basicall if you can afford to repay $150K in debt, you won't be able to deduct the interest. Plus the amount of your interest you can deduct begins decreasing when you make in the forties. Third, in pre-economic meltdown world a house would be worth at least what you paid for it. A $120K degree from USF is not worth $120K except for the very top of the class. And most importantly, you need a place to live so you have to incur that expense. Either you rent or you buy. You don't have to have a JD, therefore there is no need to incur that expense.

'04 Grad
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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby '04 Grad » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:55 pm

hypermeganet wrote:
'04 Grad wrote:
swheat wrote:http://www.ilrg.com/employment/salaries/

The data below reflect the low to high range of the national averages.

First year associates, small law firms, 2007: $46,500 - $70,000

The regional variance factor for SF Bay Area is 130, yielding a range of 60,450 to 91,000. So yeah, I'd say it's quite the rule that small firms in NorCal are paying 45-55k just like you guys allege, with NO EVIDENCE by the way. I can't speak for other 0Ls, but this is how this 0L rationalizes his position...with research.

First troll to sniff out ILRG.com's ulterior motive in making these blatant lies wins a cookie! Time starts.....now!

Salary and economic data presented on this page come from compensation consultants, industry organizations, and trade publications, as well as from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics
...all sources which are clearly not as well informed as 04 Grad


There are small firms that pay above market. Those firms do premium work and USF grads aren't going to be able to compete for those jobs.

I've always qualified that I'm talking about small firms that do the kind of work that most grads do, i.e. family law, insurance defense, wills & estates and criminal law. There are small firms that do more lucrative work but their standards are much higher.



The boutique firms would only affect the upper end, right? And are there really enough of them to pull the entire top 25% up by as much as you are insinuating?


There aren't that many boutiques but they often pay Biglaw rates therefore they distort the analysis.

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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby '04 Grad » Thu Apr 30, 2009 2:57 pm

swheat wrote:
solo_lawyer wrote:For example, look at this ad on craigslist posted just today:

--LinkRemoved--


Nobody uses Craigslist to find a legal job. Those listings are there for the truly desperate only. I recently quoted an article from Kiplinger's that said that 80% of all workers find their jobs through networking. Only 20% find jobs through internet searches like craigslist, monster, etc. as well as through headhunting agencies.

For legal jobs, OCI and networking are paramount. So please, stop posting Craigslist ads as if they are indicative of the legal market as a whole, when in actuality they exist only for the absolute bottom rung of the profession.


Unfortunately the "truly desperate" include many recent law school grads. This networking argument you keep making is based on the flawed assumption that the jobs obtained through networking pay substantially more than the jobs posted on Craigslist. In my experience, the firms posting on Craigslist do pay less but it's not a huge difference.

I keep writing this but you need to look at what small firms, that do the kind of work that you will be able to do, pay. And that is $35K through $60K.

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Re: USF - worth it for $120,000 in loans?

Postby Cleareyes » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:03 pm

'04 Grad wrote:
Unfortunately the "truly desperate" include many recent law school grads. This networking argument you keep making is based on the flawed assumption that the jobs obtained through networking pay substantially more than the jobs posted on Craigslist. In my experience, the firms posting on Craigslist do pay less but it's not a huge difference.

I keep writing this but you need to look at what small firms, that do the kind of work that you will be able to do, pay. And that is $35K through $60K.


So how low on the totem pole are you willing to go where $120,000 makes sense? Or are you one of those "Sticker @ Yale = Doom, DOOM" people?




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