Stay or not to stay

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
ew1987
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:05 pm

Stay or not to stay

Postby ew1987 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:23 pm

Current 1L at a T2. So far I do like my ls experience but I don't love it. My question is whether I should cut my losses or stick with it. Here is the scenario.

With my scholly my ls debt will end up being around 70K, then to add to it my UG debt is about 20k. My UG degree was finance which I loved. Even though I like the idea of being a lawyer and I had planned on going to law school since high school it's getting harder to imagine settling for a job (assuming I get one) with at least 90k in debt when the average salaries for T2 schools are not too much better if at all than a salary I can get with my UG degree. It would be nice to know where I stand grade wise but since ls grades so generously come out almost 2 months into the 2nd semester I would have to pay another tuition payment just to see them. So my options are...

1)Finish all the way through
2)Finish off the semester and see where I stand
3)Leave now and just cut my losses at 15k
4)Do what I have begun to do- Start applying to finance jobs, studying for finals and playing it by ear.

handsonthewheel
Posts: 182
Joined: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:12 pm

Re: Stay or not to stay

Postby handsonthewheel » Fri Nov 02, 2012 5:23 pm

If you really want to be an attorney, then it may be worth pushing through (I say 'may' because the job market sucks and it can be difficult to find a desirable practice).

If you want to be a professional with a reasonable standard of living, law school very well may not be worth sticking with.

rwhyAn
Posts: 294
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 1:09 pm

Re: Stay or not to stay

Postby rwhyAn » Fri Nov 02, 2012 6:32 pm

OP, I don't know what to tell you to do, but I ended up dropping out a few weeks ago for the same reasons you are thinking about, and I was also a 1L at a TT. While my situation may be a little different than yours, I'll explain the reasons behind my departure.

First, I'm in my late 20s with 6 years work experience. I was making $55k/yr, and while I didn't love my job, I liked it. I had a 9-5 with weekends off, full benefits and a 401(k) as well. I was on a 50% scholarship, and even with that, it was going to cost me about $100k, which I would have to finance all by myself with loans. I was also carrying $14k in undergrad loans. All in all, a conservative estimate would be $120k. However, if I fell below 50% class rank, my scholly would be gone, and I'd owe another $40k or $160k total.

Just in case you are a K-JD and haven't had a full-time job before (and this is also for anyone else that may be K-JD), $55k/yr after all of my deductions and taxes is about $1500/biweekly or $3000/month. Now, if I were able to keep my scholarship and escape with *only* $120k in debt, my monthly payments would be $1500/month, and if I were to lose my scholarship, I'd owe $2000k/month. All in all, the amount repaid with interest would be $180,000 or $240,000. These are assuming 10-year repayment options. If you were to repay the debt over 20 years, the monthly payments would be significantly smaller, but you'd end up owing even more!

At $55k/yr, which would be about what one could reasonably expect from a TT, you'd paying almost half of your monthly income to loans! Yes, there's IBR, but there's no guarantee that will last. So, say you try to pay the full amount of loans per month, your $3k a month net income is down to $1500. Now you're stuck with $1500/month for rent, utilities, car payments, food etc. By me, you can't get a decent place for under $1000 month, so try to imagine living off of less than $500/month or about $125/week for EVERYTHING other than rent. It's tough!

Luckily, I was able to get my pre law school job back, and I left school as early as I could to minimize my debt. I actually liked law school and found the cases to be interesting, but I did not want to have to work so hard for 3 years, only to have a 50/50 shot to be making the same salary I was prior, but this time with $120k in debt hanging over my head. If money weren't and issue, I'd go back to law school in a heartbeat, but unfortunately, it is, and I didn't want to be a slave to my debt and have to live with mom and dad at 35.

If you like finance so much, my advice for you would be to leave and minimize your debt. Also, unlike a JD, many employers will foot the bill for an MBA, which would help you further your finance career.

I must admit that I do have times where I wonder "what if" I had stayed, and it wasn't fun at first to come back home and have people ask you why you left. It was a bit demoralizing, dropping out. However, it's not as demoralizing as being stuck with all that debt and no job. Honestly, if I could have kept the debt to around $50k, I'm sure I would have stayed. All might not agree with my rationale or decision, but if you or anyone else has any questions, don't hesitate to PM me. Best of luck in whatever decision you make.

ew1987
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:05 pm

Re: Stay or not to stay

Postby ew1987 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:48 pm

I appreciate the responses. I have a good UG degree but no experience which is tough in finance. I want to leave to pursue finance but not sire if I should take an undesirable position just to gain experience or stay the course.

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ChikaBoom
Posts: 6485
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:16 am

Re: Stay or not to stay

Postby ChikaBoom » Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:17 pm

Rwhyan- That's basically the boat I'm in and the reason I'm thinking of not going.

OP, I don't know that you would be in any better of a position if you quit, and that has a lot to do with your lack of work experience. The problem is, you won't know how successful you are at this until after you have to make the decision.

What are your entry level options in finance? Can you get a job with good prospects?

I still say go for it and stay. If you don't you just wasted 15,000 dollars. Perhaps you can drop before the 100 percent refund deadline? Not even sure if this is a thing in lawlskool though.

ew1987
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 4:05 pm

Re: Stay or not to stay

Postby ew1987 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 2:35 pm

ChikaBoom wrote:Rwhyan- That's basically the boat I'm in and the reason I'm thinking of not going.

OP, I don't know that you would be in any better of a position if you quit, and that has a lot to do with your lack of work experience. The problem is, you won't know how successful you are at this until after you have to make the decision.

What are your entry level options in finance? Can you get a job with good prospects?

I still say go for it and stay. If you don't you just wasted 15,000 dollars. Perhaps you can drop before the 100 percent refund deadline? Not even sure if this is a thing in lawlskool though.


Without experience I would need to find a basic bookkeeping/data entry job or a marketing job (Usually 30-40K) to add to my resume before having a realistic shot at a legit valuation or analyst position. I would rather do financial analysis than law but I don't want to take a marketing type job and get stuck there. On the other hand as much as I hate wasting 15K, I don't want to run that up around 6 figures just to justify the first semesters costs.

TheZoid
Posts: 417
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:07 pm

Re: Stay or not to stay

Postby TheZoid » Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:23 pm

To the above poster who dropped out- that's the analysis more people should be doing and it sounds like you made the right decision. I'm just kinda curious why you started, knowing what you know.

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typ3
Posts: 1362
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:04 am

Re: Stay or not to stay

Postby typ3 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:04 am

Get a job in sales. Any business (even law firms) prefer people with sales experience. If you don't have any clients you won't have any work and therefore you won't make any $. Focus on learning skills at your jobs rather than titles.




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