Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

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Kant
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Kant » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:58 pm

rayiner wrote:
Kant wrote:
ToTransferOrNot wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Loyola chicago....graduate in top 10% of class, which isn't that difficult for all these smart kids, and you will have a job.


1.) lol@anon posting.
2.) Being in the top 10% of any law school isn't "easy," because a huge part of the grading process is pure dumb luck.
3.) I know of people in the top 10% at both Loyola and Kent that will be happy with unpaid gigs for this coming summer, and don't have anticipation of making much after graduation.

bivons--keep in mind, many DA/PD offices are in complete hiring freezes right now, and probably will be for quite some time. Also, there are a fair number of people who really *want* those public interest gigs--and interviewers do push pretty hard on that point. Everything certainly isn't about biglaw, and IBR+debt forgiveness can certainly make public interest gigs worth it (though, I don't know if I would trust the funding for those programs to stay in place... obviously, that is speculation though) but paying off $180k of loans on a $40k salary isn't a particularly wonderful prospect.



Ummmm the median is 60 thousand. Look your school only gets you so far, after that you gotta grow a pair.

2) sounds like someone who didn't do to well


Um, ToTransferOrNot destroyed 1L and is now at a T6, IIRC.



So he says......

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:58 pm

If you're implying that I didn't do well in 1L... well... I just wouldn't base any arguments on that assumption. I say that grading is based on a huge amount of luck based on comparing my exams to exams other people took. What are you basing your sagely observations on?

Frankly, $60k at a private law firm is probably worse than $40k at a PI gig, because of the debt forgiveness (admittedly though, I haven't done the math there.) That said, neither one is particularly attractive when you're looking at $180k in debt. I'd be able to handle it (Though not happily, considering I walked away from a $40k/year job. Granted, I despised it.) because I've lived the vast majority of my life on a total family income of less than $30k/year. That isn't the average law school demographic, though.

Edit:

Kant wrote:So he says......

:roll:

Kant
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Kant » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:03 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:If you're implying that I didn't do well in 1L... well... I just wouldn't base any arguments on that assumption. I say that grading is based on a huge amount of luck based on comparing my exams--which are now the model answers for a fair number of classes I took last year--to exams other people took. What are you basing your sagely observations on?



If it is luck, why were you so damn consistent?

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:11 pm

I wasn't. I did significantly better on exams that didn't have word limits, for example (A+s vs. A-/B+s. A-s/B+s would have resulted in striking out at OCI, as that would have been ~25%.) I didn't have any take-home exams, which I imagine I would have done worse on. In 2L/3L, you can make class decisions based on final exams formats, but you can't do that 1L.

I happened to luck out in that I had the same prof for Civ Pro I and II, which gave me an obvious advantage in Civ Pro II.


Now, I won't argue that the difference between 50% and 1% is purely luck, though there is certainly some luck involved. I would argue that the difference between 25% and 10% has a large luck component, though, and that difference is a significant one. I think that spread gets larger as you get to higher ranked schools.

Kant
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Kant » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:12 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:I wasn't. I did significantly better on exams that didn't have word limits, for example (A+s vs. A-/B+s.) I didn't have any take-home exams, which I imagine I would have done worse on. In 2L/3L, you can make class decisions based on final exams formats, but you can't do that 1L.

I happened to luck out in that I had the same prof for Civ Pro I and II, which gave me an obvious advantage in Civ Pro II.


Now, I won't argue that the difference between 50% and 1% is purely luck, though there is certainly some luck involved. I would argue that the difference between 25% and 10% has a large luck component, though, and that difference is a significant one. I think that spread gets larger as you get to higher ranked schools.



So you are saying that the luck component comes in based on the exam structure that you are dealt in your various classes?

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James Bond
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby James Bond » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:17 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:bivons--keep in mind, many DA/PD offices are in complete hiring freezes right now, and probably will be for quite some time. Also, there are a fair number of people who really *want* those public interest gigs--and interviewers do push pretty hard on that point. Everything certainly isn't about biglaw, and IBR+debt forgiveness can certainly make public interest gigs worth it (though, I don't know if I would trust the funding for those programs to stay in place... obviously, that is speculation though) but paying off $180k of loans on a $40k salary isn't a particularly wonderful prospect.


Maybe NYC DA/PD offices. I've been looking for an UG internship for next fall everywhere from Pittsburgh, to the rich suburbs, to my bumfuck home town and all of them are hiring minus hometown PD because there's only one. I know anecdotal evidence isn't what people are looking for, but I think the doomsday opinions, while based in truth, are a bit overblown.

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:25 pm

Not solely based on that. There were instances where it seemed like form trumped substance--i.e., I got points for issues I spotted, which other people didn't get points for. The difference could be attributed to some aspect of organization or style, which is also something of a luck thing (some professors really care about style/organization in final exams, some don't).

Similarly, some professors care much more about case/statute citation than others. The difference can't be completely attributed to luck, as that (should be) obvious to any test taker. That said, there are people who fundamentally have a very, very difficult time being able to recall citations/quotes without resorting to an outline or other materials, which costs them time. The ability to be an encyclopedia re: case citations and statutes has nothing to do with being a good lawyer, so I attribute this to "luck," though I admit it is sketchy.

Professors don't necessarily grade exams all in one sitting, and that can result to slightly uneven treatment. Slight differences in raw score can mean the difference between an A+ and an A- or B+.

bivons--I agree that some of the doomsday opinions are probably overblown. That said, you obviously have a sincere interest in PD/DA work. Interviewers for positions like that can tell who is using it as a fall-back position, and they aggressively weed those folks out.

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James Bond
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby James Bond » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:39 pm

ToTransferOrNot wrote:bivons--I agree that some of the doomsday opinions are probably overblown. That said, you obviously have a sincere interest in PD/DA work. Interviewers for positions like that can tell who is using it as a fall-back position, and they aggressively weed those folks out.


Fair enough. I'm very interested in looking back in 4 years when I graduate law school and seeing how "bad" it really was.

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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Oblomov » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:53 pm

Kant wrote:So you are saying that the luck component comes in based on the exam structure that you are dealt in your various classes?


As an anecdote, on my torts exam the highest grade was in the low 60s. The lowest was mid thirties. The difference between and A and a B+ was 3 raw points. Obviously the person getting a 60 didn't "luck out" of getting a 37, but its entirely conceivable that the person who got an A for the course "lucked out" of a B+.

Kant
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Kant » Wed Nov 18, 2009 11:54 pm

Oblomov wrote:
Kant wrote:So you are saying that the luck component comes in based on the exam structure that you are dealt in your various classes?


As an anecdote, on my torts exam the highest grade was in the low 60s. The lowest was mid thirties. The difference between and A and a B+ was 3 raw points. Obviously the person getting a 60 didn't "luck out" of getting a 37, but its entirely conceivable that the person who got an A for the course "lucked out" of a B+.



Was it a bell curve?

ToTransferOrNot
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby ToTransferOrNot » Thu Nov 19, 2009 12:02 am

The majority of law school classes are graded on a bell curve--almost all 1L classes, 2L/3L classes vary by school/class size (seminars often aren't on a curve.) That's the primary driver of the "luck" issue; everything I mentioned amount to symptoms.

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solotee
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby solotee » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:53 am

digitalcntrl wrote:
jason8821 wrote:
At this point, I panicked more. I began looking into what career paths offered a legitimate salary and a good economic forecast for the future. I quickly found out that for every sing career path that was deemed lucrative (M.D, architects, Comp Science, even engineers) many of them were complaining about money, job security etc.


I have never heard of a M.D. complain about job security. They do complain if they make less than 150-200K/year.

jason8821 wrote:I know the polls on the internet tend to suffer from self selection, and I know the people who post on the subject matter often have a strong opinion one way or the other. None the less, this has still caused me to think about applying to law school.

Is the legal field really that much worse than these other paths or is it just a matter of perspective. Is it possible that lawyers regret going into the profession because they end up making 60,000/year and not 120,000/year? For those that don't have unrealistic expectations. I.E) those that are willing to work hard at t2/t3 and start out at 50-60,000, are they still in serious trouble?

Thanks.


The issue is not only the number of open positions (whether they be mid law or not) but also the number of students competing for those positions. The school I transferred from accepted 500 students as 1Ls this year (up from 300 the previous year) and I assume the class of 2013 will be just as large. You also have to take into account current 2Ls and 3Ls, if these people are unable to secure positions they will work as volunteers and will compete with you for paying jobs later on (and will have more experience then you on their resumes). You are also forgetting that unemployed attorneys, who have a significant advantage over law students since they have experience and you do not, will also be competing with you. There will be an oversupply for at least another 5 years IMO.


According to a biglaw hiring attorney, firms usually prefer fresh graduates over experienced attorneys. Additional research seems to support this.

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CE2JD
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby CE2JD » Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:55 pm

Wait... people who don't go to T14s get JOBS? I was unaware of this.

Mark71121
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Mark71121 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:16 pm

Kant wrote:No. If you are inside the top 30 you are still fine. Hell if you are in the top 100 you are probably still fine. The ppl that tell you otherwise have a security complex.

AKA, they are not smart, but desperately want to feel smart and want others to think that they are smart, so they want T14 very badly.


lolol

Kant
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Kant » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:27 pm

Mark71121 wrote:
Kant wrote:No. If you are inside the top 30 you are still fine. Hell if you are in the top 100 you are probably still fine. The ppl that tell you otherwise have a security complex.

AKA, they are not smart, but desperately want to feel smart and want others to think that they are smart, so they want T14 very badly.


lolol


yes, because there are only 100 firms that higher lawyers

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nealric
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby nealric » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:35 pm

:
No. If you are inside the top 30 you are still fine. Hell if you are in the top 100 you are probably still fine. The ppl that tell you otherwise have a security complex.


Sigh...

It's all about personal circumstances. Ppl who tell you otherwise aren't really considering the reality of the situation.

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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Mark71121 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:09 pm

Kant wrote:
Mark71121 wrote:
Kant wrote:No. If you are inside the top 30 you are still fine. Hell if you are in the top 100 you are probably still fine. The ppl that tell you otherwise have a security complex.

AKA, they are not smart, but desperately want to feel smart and want others to think that they are smart, so they want T14 very badly.


lolol


yes, because there are only 100 firms that higher lawyers


lolol

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Rocky Estoppel
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Rocky Estoppel » Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:16 pm

Mark71121 wrote:
Kant wrote:
Mark71121 wrote:
Kant wrote:No. If you are inside the top 30 you are still fine. Hell if you are in the top 100 you are probably still fine. The ppl that tell you otherwise have a security complex.

AKA, they are not smart, but desperately want to feel smart and want others to think that they are smart, so they want T14 very badly.


lolol


yes, because there are only 100 firms that higher lawyers


lolol

Laugh out loud out loud?

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dresden doll
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby dresden doll » Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:20 pm

Kant wrote:No. If you are inside the top 30 you are still fine. Hell if you are in the top 100 you are probably still fine. The ppl that tell you otherwise have a security complex.

AKA, they are not smart, but desperately want to feel smart and want others to think that they are smart, so they want T14 very badly.


I'd roar with laughter, but it's just too sad.

articulably suspect
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby articulably suspect » Tue Nov 24, 2009 9:36 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
biv0ns wrote:The career outlook for biglaw really is that bad ITE. Other jobs are harder to come by than usual because of the economy too, but people here sometimes don't understand that OMGBIGLAW!!!111 isn't everyone's dream. Just because making 40K out of law school as some ADA or Public Defender doesn't fit someone's personal formula for "is law school worth it financially" doesn't mean those people making 40K aren't happy as shit enjoying something they've always wanted to do.

There are plenty of lawyer job openings where I'm from. Some people practicing around where I live are from Harvard Law, others are from T3 and T4 schools like Duquesne Law. They charge about the same, and the Harvard grad doesn't have a better acquittal rate either. Not everything's about money, nor is biglaw the end-all, but this is Top Law Schools, so there's an obvious, and intentional, slant. :)


I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is the cost/benefit factors. The cost of law school nowadays are ridiculously slanted to where schools charge tuition based on biglaw salaries (even at t4s, where maybe top 2% has a shot at biglaw in a good economy). Realistically you are looking at around $50K in debt to just cover the cost of living. There's nothing wrong with making $40K /year at graduation but if you don't get a full ride or close to it, it is pretty unrealistic to ever pay off your debt (the obvious exceptions are schools like HYS that essentially pay your loans for you if you don't make a lot of money after graduation). I mean you just can't feasibly repay a $25-30K yearly loan repayment w/ a $40K salary (which post-tax would be under your loan repayment for that year)-- assuming a typical 10 year repayment & $150-200K in debt. For most people getting a full-ride means attending a relatively low ranked school and then there is the worries because the person often actually wants to be a lawyer and not just drop out after their first year if their grades aren't great, and the problem is that the low ranked schools have tendency to attach GPA stipulations to the scholarship (sometime pretty steep ones). So as a result I think a lot of people are forced into aiming for biglaw just for the purpose of paying off their student debt even if that's not what they ultimately want to do for the long run. I mean if law school cost like $60K total, and it were possible to get into a lot of the jobs that biglaw associates exit into, I think a lot of the people that aim for biglaw right now would just skip that step (I mean there isn't a ton of people that actively shoot for working 60-70 hour weeks- so pretty much 12 hours a day, 6 days a week).


LRAP and IBR will help those with low starting salaries working in the public sector though. It makes the debt more manageable with a low salary.

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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby Mark71121 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:41 pm

ejjones wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
biv0ns wrote:The career outlook for biglaw really is that bad ITE. Other jobs are harder to come by than usual because of the economy too, but people here sometimes don't understand that OMGBIGLAW!!!111 isn't everyone's dream. Just because making 40K out of law school as some ADA or Public Defender doesn't fit someone's personal formula for "is law school worth it financially" doesn't mean those people making 40K aren't happy as shit enjoying something they've always wanted to do.

There are plenty of lawyer job openings where I'm from. Some people practicing around where I live are from Harvard Law, others are from T3 and T4 schools like Duquesne Law. They charge about the same, and the Harvard grad doesn't have a better acquittal rate either. Not everything's about money, nor is biglaw the end-all, but this is Top Law Schools, so there's an obvious, and intentional, slant. :)


I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is the cost/benefit factors. The cost of law school nowadays are ridiculously slanted to where schools charge tuition based on biglaw salaries (even at t4s, where maybe top 2% has a shot at biglaw in a good economy). Realistically you are looking at around $50K in debt to just cover the cost of living. There's nothing wrong with making $40K /year at graduation but if you don't get a full ride or close to it, it is pretty unrealistic to ever pay off your debt (the obvious exceptions are schools like HYS that essentially pay your loans for you if you don't make a lot of money after graduation). I mean you just can't feasibly repay a $25-30K yearly loan repayment w/ a $40K salary (which post-tax would be under your loan repayment for that year)-- assuming a typical 10 year repayment & $150-200K in debt. For most people getting a full-ride means attending a relatively low ranked school and then there is the worries because the person often actually wants to be a lawyer and not just drop out after their first year if their grades aren't great, and the problem is that the low ranked schools have tendency to attach GPA stipulations to the scholarship (sometime pretty steep ones). So as a result I think a lot of people are forced into aiming for biglaw just for the purpose of paying off their student debt even if that's not what they ultimately want to do for the long run. I mean if law school cost like $60K total, and it were possible to get into a lot of the jobs that biglaw associates exit into, I think a lot of the people that aim for biglaw right now would just skip that step (I mean there isn't a ton of people that actively shoot for working 60-70 hour weeks- so pretty much 12 hours a day, 6 days a week).


LRAP and IBR will help those with low starting salaries working in the public sector though. It makes the debt more manageable with a low salary.



except that public sector jobs are hard to come by.

06072010
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby 06072010 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:48 pm

PoliticalJunkie wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
Mr. Pablo wrote:I am not sure why, but people seem to think that you either make $160k or $40K and that there are no jobs that pay between that.

You are aware of the bimodal distribution of attorney salaries, are you not? There may be jobs that pay in between, but not for first-year lawyers.


Ummm have you seen the curve? The two humps only take into account about 40% of the market. 60% of first years will not be either in the 30K-60K or 160K humps. Most will be in the middle..........

http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib


You fail. The chart says that "Collectively, salaries of $40,000 - $65,000 accounted for 42% of reported salaries."

160 has a little under 24% so..............

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rayiner
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby rayiner » Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:05 am

The bimodal salary chart is a bit misleading. Yes, there is a sizeable group between 65k and 160k. However:

1) The salary data includes roughly half of overall graduates. So if 20% of people reporting reported salaries in the 65-130k range, that's 20% of 50% of graduates. 30% of graduates, according to ABA data, never even get a legal job...
2) The salary data is pre-ITE.
Last edited by rayiner on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby JazzOne » Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:05 am

PKSebben wrote:
PoliticalJunkie wrote:
JazzOne wrote:
Mr. Pablo wrote:I am not sure why, but people seem to think that you either make $160k or $40K and that there are no jobs that pay between that.

You are aware of the bimodal distribution of attorney salaries, are you not? There may be jobs that pay in between, but not for first-year lawyers.


Ummm have you seen the curve? The two humps only take into account about 40% of the market. 60% of first years will not be either in the 30K-60K or 160K humps. Most will be in the middle..........

http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib


You fail. The chart says that "Collectively, salaries of $40,000 - $65,000 accounted for 42% of reported salaries."

160 has a little under 24% so..............

lol

Thanks PK. That sounds more reasonable.

0Ls. Sheesh.
Last edited by JazzOne on Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

articulably suspect
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Re: Is the career outlook for a non t-14 lawyer really that bad?

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:10 am

Mark71121 wrote:
ejjones wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
biv0ns wrote:The career outlook for biglaw really is that bad ITE. Other jobs are harder to come by than usual because of the economy too, but people here sometimes don't understand that OMGBIGLAW!!!111 isn't everyone's dream. Just because making 40K out of law school as some ADA or Public Defender doesn't fit someone's personal formula for "is law school worth it financially" doesn't mean those people making 40K aren't happy as shit enjoying something they've always wanted to do.

There are plenty of lawyer job openings where I'm from. Some people practicing around where I live are from Harvard Law, others are from T3 and T4 schools like Duquesne Law. They charge about the same, and the Harvard grad doesn't have a better acquittal rate either. Not everything's about money, nor is biglaw the end-all, but this is Top Law Schools, so there's an obvious, and intentional, slant. :)


I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is the cost/benefit factors. The cost of law school nowadays are ridiculously slanted to where schools charge tuition based on biglaw salaries (even at t4s, where maybe top 2% has a shot at biglaw in a good economy). Realistically you are looking at around $50K in debt to just cover the cost of living. There's nothing wrong with making $40K /year at graduation but if you don't get a full ride or close to it, it is pretty unrealistic to ever pay off your debt (the obvious exceptions are schools like HYS that essentially pay your loans for you if you don't make a lot of money after graduation). I mean you just can't feasibly repay a $25-30K yearly loan repayment w/ a $40K salary (which post-tax would be under your loan repayment for that year)-- assuming a typical 10 year repayment & $150-200K in debt. For most people getting a full-ride means attending a relatively low ranked school and then there is the worries because the person often actually wants to be a lawyer and not just drop out after their first year if their grades aren't great, and the problem is that the low ranked schools have tendency to attach GPA stipulations to the scholarship (sometime pretty steep ones). So as a result I think a lot of people are forced into aiming for biglaw just for the purpose of paying off their student debt even if that's not what they ultimately want to do for the long run. I mean if law school cost like $60K total, and it were possible to get into a lot of the jobs that biglaw associates exit into, I think a lot of the people that aim for biglaw right now would just skip that step (I mean there isn't a ton of people that actively shoot for working 60-70 hour weeks- so pretty much 12 hours a day, 6 days a week).


LRAP and IBR will help those with low starting salaries working in the public sector though. It makes the debt more manageable with a low salary.



except that public sector jobs are hard to come by.


right now, yes hiring freezes, 4 yrs from now...




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