how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

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BradyToMoss
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby BradyToMoss » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:27 pm

biggamejames wrote:
harvey2L wrote:I am a 2L who went to a T14 at sticker price, assuming (reasonably I think) that the salary would make the price worth it. I got no callbacks from OCI, despite a respectable 3.5 GPA and membership on a secondary journal. I've contacted small firms that pay $50k to 70k in my hometown, and none are interested. I even applied to government agencies--got a couple of screening interviews, but otherwise no luck there. So I'm on track to be unemployed with $200k in debt. I guess I'll have a "prestigious" diploma to hang on my wall in the projects (or worse yet, in my parents' house), and the ability to engage in interesting discussions about constitutional issues at cocktail parties, but otherwise, I feel gypped. I read a lot of posts on this board, and people talk as if there are still 2007 job prospects. There aren't. I feel like I would have been better off staying on track to be a professional philosopher--at least then, if you're unsuccessful, people understand why. In law, if you're unsuccessful, you're viewed as a failure.

I'm in a similar situation (top 40% instead of top 30%, mid t-14 instead of lower t-14), but I'm not that freaked out about it. I figure that as long as I can find some job that pays 40k/year or more, I'll be better off than I would have been without law school, so I'll just be happy about the improvement. Can you just try taking a similar perspective?


It's hard to see how $200k in debt and 3 years of forgone income with a $40k/year job is a better situation than starting to work right out of UG.

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Aeroplane
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby Aeroplane » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:29 pm

thegor1987 wrote: I just want to bring this up because many posts on here about what school is and is not worth the tuition cost assume that people actually have to pay tuition, when many people in fact don't.
I'm not entirely on board with the details of thegor's post, but I agree with the gist of it. Many 0L's seem to assume that, if you get into a T14, it is somehow "normal" to finance a sticker-price private law school education entirely with loans (& perhaps a 2L SA gig) and graduate with no assets and $200K debt. If "normal" means "median", then I highly doubt that this is normal given merit & financial aid (e.g. Michigan awards grants to >50% of class), family help, spousal help, pre-LS savings & other assets, outside scholarships, and probably other things I'm leaving out.

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:31 pm

BradyToMoss wrote:
biggamejames wrote:
harvey2L wrote:I am a 2L who went to a T14 at sticker price, assuming (reasonably I think) that the salary would make the price worth it. I got no callbacks from OCI, despite a respectable 3.5 GPA and membership on a secondary journal. I've contacted small firms that pay $50k to 70k in my hometown, and none are interested. I even applied to government agencies--got a couple of screening interviews, but otherwise no luck there. So I'm on track to be unemployed with $200k in debt. I guess I'll have a "prestigious" diploma to hang on my wall in the projects (or worse yet, in my parents' house), and the ability to engage in interesting discussions about constitutional issues at cocktail parties, but otherwise, I feel gypped. I read a lot of posts on this board, and people talk as if there are still 2007 job prospects. There aren't. I feel like I would have been better off staying on track to be a professional philosopher--at least then, if you're unsuccessful, people understand why. In law, if you're unsuccessful, you're viewed as a failure.

I'm in a similar situation (top 40% instead of top 30%, mid t-14 instead of lower t-14), but I'm not that freaked out about it. I figure that as long as I can find some job that pays 40k/year or more, I'll be better off than I would have been without law school, so I'll just be happy about the improvement. Can you just try taking a similar perspective?

It's hard to see how $200k in debt and 3 years of forgone income with a $40k/year job is a better situation than starting to work right out of UG.

I did start work right after undergrad, and worked during undergrad, too, but the highest paying setup I could get paid $14k/year and was mind-numbingly boring to boot. $40k/year at a job that at least nominally involves using your mind is kind of awesome?

postitnotes
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby postitnotes » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:33 pm

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Last edited by postitnotes on Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:39 pm

postitnotes wrote:
biggamejames wrote:I did start work right after undergrad, and worked during undergrad, too, but the highest paying setup I could get paid $14k/year and was mind-numbingly boring to boot. $40k/year at a job that at least nominally involves using your mind is kind of awesome?

major? liberal arts?

Classics, from a middling local state school :mrgreen:

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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby postitnotes » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:41 pm

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:48 pm

postitnotes wrote:
biggamejames wrote:
postitnotes wrote:
biggamejames wrote:I did start work right after undergrad, and worked during undergrad, too, but the highest paying setup I could get paid $14k/year and was mind-numbingly boring to boot. $40k/year at a job that at least nominally involves using your mind is kind of awesome?

major? liberal arts?

Classics, from a middling local state school :mrgreen:

hmm you may be right then ;)

there's a good, on average, minimum 30k salary difference between liberal arts majors and business/econ/engineering majors at my ugrad

That makes sense. Plus I've got to consider that I'm atrocious at getting jobs (as one of my best friends put it, I just smell like "loser" to employers), so I'm willing to believe that any job I might get with my t-14 degree could be a job I would never have gotten with a degree from my cheaper local school.

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ruleser
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby ruleser » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:04 pm

I think part of the answer is what schools are saying more and more - work for a while first. For my case, my UG degree was as silly/useless for jobs as they get. And honestly, I didn't have office skills/maturity, contacts, resume, numerous things that would make me ready to hire, or at least ahead of the rest of the crew, even coming from the right school high up. Sure, some firms might have hired me in a good economy anyway, but from where I'm at now, I can make a less-guesswork decision. I have a career of some years, have climbed to a nice level/salary. So ideally even if there are zero law jobs, I can get back into the industry (non-profits) that I've been it at at least as high, very possibly higher level. There are specific areas in non-profs where JD's are real added val. Also, I have contacts in terms of either getting clients or getting into law firms.

For those of us who will pay our own way, I think this is what you would want barring sizeable scholarships to a high-ranked school. Mathmatically, from what I see in my current field, the added degree/credential would be worth about an extra 30K-70K per year or more in my current field, not to mention more sastisfying positions. Also, with the resume I have and the specific skills I have (have overseen research programs, worked with clients extensively, etc.) it makes a bit more sense for a firm to take a chance on me maybe than someone else.

I don't say this to talk about my case really, but to suggest this is why schools suggest working for a while first. On top of having realistic understanding of what expenses/salaries are, you aren't starting from 0$/0 experience/0 contacts. Also, you have more realistic understanding of what work will be like, so don't go from never having worked an 8-10 hour day to the sort of ass-kicked whining you hear about big law, etc. You have a feel for what that means, as well as for what you will be looking to accomplish when there that will lead to a useful career path.

I find it amazing that firms ever considered people with no WE worth 160K - it was just part of a bubbled-era I guess. I could see the value of a top law student starting somewhere 70-90ish max, at a very big firm that thinks they'll stay a while. Someone with signficant WE, maybe 100Kish. But for the most part I'd imagine expect what you would from any career, starting not so high, but having significant ops as you move up - IF you are any good. In my career, I started with what I thought was great money in an entry position at about 30K (little less.) That didn't mean I'd earn 30K for the next ten years, or even five. The bumps come, slowly at first, then less slowly, then you get in a position where you can push/bargain a bit. It took all of about 2 years to increase my salary about 80%. Another 2 1/2 years to increase it another 50-60%ish. Then 4 years to bump another 3040% ish. All of the bumps came as a result of me being successful and having ops come up to bargain from. Long and short, about 1 decade to more than triple my starting salary.

Again, I don't say this to tell my story, but to give some perspective on what starting salary means - it doesn't mean what you will earn in 5 years, or even any resemblence to it necessarily.

One last thing - I agree with above poster about saving - another reason to work first. If you work a few years and have, say, 20-20-25k in the bank, you have your loan payment covered for 1-2 years. That is no small thing. That gives you a couple pressure free years to start out your career. If you are not someone whose parents will pay tuition/help if disaster strikes, and you don't get a big scholarship to your chosen school, a delay to take this route might be worth it. Just ask yourself, would you be as panicked if you had a 5 -year resume/field you came from, some contacts/knowledge of the working world/fallback options, and 30K in the bank?

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:16 pm

ruleser wrote:I don't say this to talk about my case really, but to suggest this is why schools suggest working for a while first. On top of having realistic understanding of what expenses/salaries are, you aren't starting from 0$/0 experience/0 contacts. Also, you have more realistic understanding of what work will be like, so don't go from never having worked an 8-10 hour day to the sort of ass-kicked whining you hear about big law, etc.

I mean, this sounds great in theory, but honestly, how many people with BAs will be in a position to make useful "contacts," save money, or learn about work in any way that will be relevant to a legal job? I'm guessing the number is small.

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ruleser
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby ruleser » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:35 pm

biggamejames wrote:
ruleser wrote:I don't say this to talk about my case really, but to suggest this is why schools suggest working for a while first. On top of having realistic understanding of what expenses/salaries are, you aren't starting from 0$/0 experience/0 contacts. Also, you have more realistic understanding of what work will be like, so don't go from never having worked an 8-10 hour day to the sort of ass-kicked whining you hear about big law, etc.

I mean, this sounds great in theory, but honestly, how many people with BAs will be in a position to make useful "contacts," save money, or learn about work in any way that will be relevant to a legal job? I'm guessing the number is small.

Any job you work, you know the top people there, even if you don't work with them all the time. You have staff meetings where the senior managers are there. And if you are any good, word travels very quickly. As for experience relating to a legal job, I think a lot of experience in a lot of fields translates. Anything in an office or dealing with clients.

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:47 pm

ruleser wrote:
biggamejames wrote:I mean, this sounds great in theory, but honestly, how many people with BAs will be in a position to make useful "contacts," save money, or learn about work in any way that will be relevant to a legal job? I'm guessing the number is small.
Any job you work, you know the top people there, even if you don't work with them all the time. You have staff meetings where the senior managers are there. And if you are any good, word travels very quickly. As for experience relating to a legal job, I think a lot of experience in a lot of fields translates. Anything in an office or dealing with clients.

I guess you're right. I just never had an office job until my 1L summer, so I never think about that as an option for UG grads.

edit: although, I guess when I think about it, a big number of my classmates had ridiculous jobs at investment banks and shit like that out of undergrad.

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ruleser
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby ruleser » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:49 pm

biggamejames wrote:
ruleser wrote:
biggamejames wrote:I mean, this sounds great in theory, but honestly, how many people with BAs will be in a position to make useful "contacts," save money, or learn about work in any way that will be relevant to a legal job? I'm guessing the number is small.
Any job you work, you know the top people there, even if you don't work with them all the time. You have staff meetings where the senior managers are there. And if you are any good, word travels very quickly. As for experience relating to a legal job, I think a lot of experience in a lot of fields translates. Anything in an office or dealing with clients.

I guess you're right. I just never had an office job until my 1L summer, so I never think about that as an option for UG grads.

Yeah, I got my career via a temp job - temp work is a great way for a general college grad to get into offices, and if one place likes you enough, there begins a career.

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chadwick218
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:50 pm

OP, do you mind sharing which school you attend? I have quite a few 2L friends who are in the exact same boat!

FuturehoyaLawya
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby FuturehoyaLawya » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:53 pm

biggamejames wrote:
harvey2L wrote:I am a 2L who went to a T14 at sticker price, assuming (reasonably I think) that the salary would make the price worth it. I got no callbacks from OCI, despite a respectable 3.5 GPA and membership on a secondary journal. I've contacted small firms that pay $50k to 70k in my hometown, and none are interested. I even applied to government agencies--got a couple of screening interviews, but otherwise no luck there. So I'm on track to be unemployed with $200k in debt. I guess I'll have a "prestigious" diploma to hang on my wall in the projects (or worse yet, in my parents' house), and the ability to engage in interesting discussions about constitutional issues at cocktail parties, but otherwise, I feel gypped. I read a lot of posts on this board, and people talk as if there are still 2007 job prospects. There aren't. I feel like I would have been better off staying on track to be a professional philosopher--at least then, if you're unsuccessful, people understand why. In law, if you're unsuccessful, you're viewed as a failure.

I'm in a similar situation (top 40% instead of top 30%, mid t-14 instead of lower t-14), but I'm not that freaked out about it. I figure that as long as I can find some job that pays 40k/year or more, I'll be better off than I would have been without law school, so I'll just be happy about the improvement. Can you just try taking a similar perspective?

parelegals make more than 40K, unless before you started, you had no job, no work experience, no previous debt, then i guess that would be an improvement. however, in general, it's difficult to think you invested over 100K for a 40,000 salary or worse no job at all after graduating from t-14.

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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby bahama » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:54 pm

biggamejames wrote:
ruleser wrote:I don't say this to talk about my case really, but to suggest this is why schools suggest working for a while first. On top of having realistic understanding of what expenses/salaries are, you aren't starting from 0$/0 experience/0 contacts. Also, you have more realistic understanding of what work will be like, so don't go from never having worked an 8-10 hour day to the sort of ass-kicked whining you hear about big law, etc.

I mean, this sounds great in theory, but honestly, how many people with BAs will be in a position to make useful "contacts," save money, or learn about work in any way that will be relevant to a legal job? I'm guessing the number is small.


Why do people get undergrad degrees that are essentially worthless?

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chadwick218
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:55 pm

worst case scenario for me, I'll use the LLM in taxation track and go back in work in public accounting somewhere ...

avacado111
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby avacado111 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:55 pm

chadwick218 wrote:OP, do you mind sharing which school you attend? I have quite a few 2L friends who are in the exact same boat!


what schools?

Are you serious. Top 30%=no job... I thought if you were in the top 40% you would be considered "safe" at a bottom t14.

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chadwick218
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby chadwick218 » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:57 pm

avacado111 wrote:
chadwick218 wrote:OP, do you mind sharing which school you attend? I have quite a few 2L friends who are in the exact same boat!


what schools?

Are you serious. Top 30%=no job... I thought if you were in the top 40% you would be considered "safe" at a bottom t14.


This doesn't surprise me ... I know quite a few people who are in the top half at T14's who have not found jobs ... too the most part, my friends received a handful of prestigious callbacks, but personality seemingly did them in ...

postitnotes
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby postitnotes » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:59 pm

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Last edited by postitnotes on Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:01 pm

FuturehoyaLawya wrote:parelegals make more than 40K, unless before you started, you had no job, no work experience, no previous debt, then i guess that would be an improvement. however, in general, it's difficult to think you invested over 100K for a 40,000 salary or worse no job at all after graduating from t-14.

(1) Paralegals have a more boring job.
(2) I'm okay with those numbers, if only because I can't think of anything realistic I'd really rather be doing, all told.

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laidoffjournalist
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby laidoffjournalist » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:03 pm

This is precisely why my only goal is to get a huge scholarship somewhere. If I don't get a large scholarship for law school, I won't go. I'll instead pray the economy recovers enough that I can get entry-level marketing/communications and work my way up. Getting six figures worth of debt that is impossible to get out of doesn't appeal to me. A lot of people don't seem to understand this and everyone I know told me I should've applied this cycle. It's my money and my debt -- I'd rather wait and be smart about it.
Last edited by laidoffjournalist on Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:04 pm

bahama wrote:
biggamejames wrote:
ruleser wrote:I don't say this to talk about my case really, but to suggest this is why schools suggest working for a while first. On top of having realistic understanding of what expenses/salaries are, you aren't starting from 0$/0 experience/0 contacts. Also, you have more realistic understanding of what work will be like, so don't go from never having worked an 8-10 hour day to the sort of ass-kicked whining you hear about big law, etc.

I mean, this sounds great in theory, but honestly, how many people with BAs will be in a position to make useful "contacts," save money, or learn about work in any way that will be relevant to a legal job? I'm guessing the number is small.

Why do people get undergrad degrees that are essentially worthless?

Because, like me, they're bad at math and hate numbers and business.

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dgouzoul
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby dgouzoul » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:08 pm

top 30% at t-14 huh? and total strikeout with OCI and small firms? Flame or OP has no people skills whatsoever

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biggamejames
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby biggamejames » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:13 pm

dgouzoul wrote:top 30% at t-14 huh? and total strikeout with OCI and small firms? Flame or OP has no people skills whatsoever

It's not that unusual these days. I know a lot of people with in similar situations that have perfectly fine people skills.

Yimbeezy
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Re: how on earth are we ever going to pay off loans?

Postby Yimbeezy » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:17 pm

biggamejames wrote:
bahama wrote:
biggamejames wrote:
ruleser wrote:I don't say this to talk about my case really, but to suggest this is why schools suggest working for a while first. On top of having realistic understanding of what expenses/salaries are, you aren't starting from 0$/0 experience/0 contacts. Also, you have more realistic understanding of what work will be like, so don't go from never having worked an 8-10 hour day to the sort of ass-kicked whining you hear about big law, etc.

I mean, this sounds great in theory, but honestly, how many people with BAs will be in a position to make useful "contacts," save money, or learn about work in any way that will be relevant to a legal job? I'm guessing the number is small.

Why do people get undergrad degrees that are essentially worthless?

Because, like me, they're bad at math and hate numbers and business.

I think he meant: why go to college at all if you are going to get a degree in humanities? To which (putting aside non-utilitarian arguments of which I'm fond) id reply that the silly job market demands a bachelors unless you want to work a janitorial night shift.




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