Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
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englawyer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:47 am

maxpower430 wrote:I was wondering if anyone could speak to the reliability of buses? In my search for housing, I've seen a few places that are near/at my price range and are on top of the campus, and then everything else seems to be about a 20-25 minute walk away from the law school. With buses though, it'd be less than 10 (in theory). Is counting on buses something that's advisable? Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.


depends on the bus. #77 is good. which route(s) are you thinking about

maxpower430
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby maxpower430 » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:57 am

englawyer wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:I was wondering if anyone could speak to the reliability of buses? In my search for housing, I've seen a few places that are near/at my price range and are on top of the campus, and then everything else seems to be about a 20-25 minute walk away from the law school. With buses though, it'd be less than 10 (in theory). Is counting on buses something that's advisable? Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.


depends on the bus. #77 is good. which route(s) are you thinking about


Most of the places I was looking at were either on, or just off of, Massachusetts Ave, which according to google maps uses the 77.

roranoa
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:14 am

Would you guys recommend law school or becoming a lawyer to your children? cousins? nephews?

I've seen a few people recommend law school and some people who were against it.
(all of whom are lawyers)

What about you guys here? You guys go to best school in the nation and I'm assuming you're all smart people knowing what you're doing with your life. Would you guys recommend someone very close to you to become a lawyer? I think this questions is like asking "Do you like being a lawyer (or the prospect of it)?"

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englawyer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:38 am

maxpower430 wrote:
englawyer wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:I was wondering if anyone could speak to the reliability of buses? In my search for housing, I've seen a few places that are near/at my price range and are on top of the campus, and then everything else seems to be about a 20-25 minute walk away from the law school. With buses though, it'd be less than 10 (in theory). Is counting on buses something that's advisable? Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.


depends on the bus. #77 is good. which route(s) are you thinking about


Most of the places I was looking at were either on, or just off of, Massachusetts Ave, which according to google maps uses the 77.


in that case you are good to go. during commute times (8 am-10 am , 4 pm - 6pm or something like that) the bus comes @ less than 10 minute intervals. during non-commute times i think its at most 20 minute intervals and you can use "nextbus" to track when its coming.

maxpower430
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby maxpower430 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:15 am

englawyer wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:
englawyer wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:I was wondering if anyone could speak to the reliability of buses? In my search for housing, I've seen a few places that are near/at my price range and are on top of the campus, and then everything else seems to be about a 20-25 minute walk away from the law school. With buses though, it'd be less than 10 (in theory). Is counting on buses something that's advisable? Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.


depends on the bus. #77 is good. which route(s) are you thinking about


Most of the places I was looking at were either on, or just off of, Massachusetts Ave, which according to google maps uses the 77.


in that case you are good to go. during commute times (8 am-10 am , 4 pm - 6pm or something like that) the bus comes @ less than 10 minute intervals. during non-commute times i think its at most 20 minute intervals and you can use "nextbus" to track when its coming.


Awesome thanks. Looking at the bus schedule, it seems like the longest interval is around 13 minutes, though I'm sure it becomes a bit iffier at night. I definitely feel a lot better about living kinda off campus, thanks for fielding my probably stupid questions guys, I appreciate it.

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:35 am

roranoa wrote:Would you guys recommend law school or becoming a lawyer to your children? cousins? nephews?

I've seen a few people recommend law school and some people who were against it.
(all of whom are lawyers)

What about you guys here? You guys go to best school in the nation and I'm assuming you're all smart people knowing what you're doing with your life. Would you guys recommend someone very close to you to become a lawyer? I think this questions is like asking "Do you like being a lawyer (or the prospect of it)?"

For someone considering HLS, the "whether to become a lawyer" advice is pretty much the same now as it has ever been. At schools much farther down the rankings, there's an additional problem that the law market collapsed in 2008 and appears to have reached a new normal of having far fewer jobs than seekers. But that hasn't really affected Harvard students, except maybe that we have to work a little bit harder in the job search to find something (but we still do find things, and they're generally what we want to do).

As always, at Harvard, the issue is whether you want to be a lawyer or not. And becoming a lawyer by default is, and has always been, a terrible idea. Most law jobs are your life much more than any other job ever would be (by virtue of how much time you spend working), and you have to want that life. Or you have to want to find a job that won't consume your life but probably won't pay as much (and by "won't pay as much," it will pay 30-40% what biglaw would).

Coming here was very much the right move for me, but I did spend nearly two years after I graduated working and thinking about it before I decided to apply. My only advice on whether to become a lawyer is to give it serious thought before jumping in.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby concurrent fork » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:36 am

maxpower430 wrote:Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.

This is basically what everyone does, but I think it's more a product of 0Ls being unfamiliar with other neighborhoods than any particular need to be across the street from Pound Hall.

maxpower430
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby maxpower430 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:59 pm

concurrent fork wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.

This is basically what everyone does, but I think it's more a product of 0Ls being unfamiliar with other neighborhoods than any particular need to be across the street from Pound Hall.


Gotcha well I'm glad that being in Porter or Davis would be fine/not a burden 1L, thanks for all the advice guys, I appreciate it.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby DoubleChecks » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:28 pm

maxpower430 wrote:
concurrent fork wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.

This is basically what everyone does, but I think it's more a product of 0Ls being unfamiliar with other neighborhoods than any particular need to be across the street from Pound Hall.


Gotcha well I'm glad that being in Porter or Davis would be fine/not a burden 1L, thanks for all the advice guys, I appreciate it.


Well, that might also depend on where you're from and what you're accustomed to (sry didn't go through thread to see if you already mentioned that). I'm from TX and drove everywhere so taking the T or bus to class would be infuriatingly unwelcome for me lol, and a heavy burden, but that's my perspective based on my past experiences/expectations. This applies more to Davis, imo, than Porter as you could walk, depending on where near Porter, to the law school campus and back.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:36 pm

DoubleChecks wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:
concurrent fork wrote:
maxpower430 wrote:Or does it make more sense to just suck it up 1L and pay a bit extra for a place that's really close and then move to a cheaper/further place 2/3L? Thanks.

This is basically what everyone does, but I think it's more a product of 0Ls being unfamiliar with other neighborhoods than any particular need to be across the street from Pound Hall.


Gotcha well I'm glad that being in Porter or Davis would be fine/not a burden 1L, thanks for all the advice guys, I appreciate it.


Well, that might also depend on where you're from and what you're accustomed to (sry didn't go through thread to see if you already mentioned that). I'm from TX and drove everywhere so taking the T or bus to class would be infuriatingly unwelcome for me lol, and a heavy burden, but that's my perspective based on my past experiences/expectations. This applies more to Davis, imo, than Porter as you could walk, depending on where near Porter, to the law school campus and back.


Porter is probably preferable to Davis for 1L. I know a lot of ppl up at Porter, and 2Ls/3Ls up at Davis, but no 1Ls at Davis. I don't think being dependent on the bus is that great for 1L.

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englawyer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Mon Mar 26, 2012 3:45 pm

acrossthelake wrote:Porter is probably preferable to Davis for 1L. I know a lot of ppl up at Porter, and 2Ls/3Ls up at Davis, but no 1Ls at Davis. I don't think being dependent on the bus is that great for 1L.


I know some people that did Davis for 1L. It is doable but Davis residents usually take the train (red line ) to harvard station rather than take the bus. The 77 does not go to davis, and the 96 is too infrequent.

thestillpoint
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thestillpoint » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:07 pm

Having recently received my financial aid package, I was wondering whether any current HLS students turned down a full ride at another school in the T7 to attend HLS with only loans? I did the math, and it comes out to paying back almost $400,000 over the 10 years. I confirmed this today by talking to two people at SFS. I really liked HLS, and it's undoubtedly my top choice -- I'm just not sure how to justify the price tag.

I understand there is LIPP, which I might take advantage of, but I don't know at this point. Also life choices such as getting married or buying a house seem to have substantial impact on LIPP eligibility (as in your spouse ends up subsidizing the better part of your loans if he/she has even a somewhat decent salary).

Most likely I am looking to clerk after graduation and then work in "big law" for some time. I'd really appreciate any advice on this decision!

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby abacus » Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:50 pm

thestillpoint wrote:Having recently received my financial aid package, I was wondering whether any current HLS students turned down a full ride at another school in the T7 to attend HLS with only loans? I did the math, and it comes out to paying back almost $400,000 over the 10 years. I confirmed this today by talking to two people at SFS. I really liked HLS, and it's undoubtedly my top choice -- I'm just not sure how to justify the price tag.

I understand there is LIPP, which I might take advantage of, but I don't know at this point. Also life choices such as getting married or buying a house seem to have substantial impact on LIPP eligibility (as in your spouse ends up subsidizing the better part of your loans if he/she has even a somewhat decent salary).

Most likely I am looking to clerk after graduation and then work in "big law" for some time. I'd really appreciate any advice on this decision!


Did you get the email from SFS? They offered to connect us to people that also weighed big $ offers from other schools and chose to come to HLS.

If I were the one making a choice between HLS at sticker and a full ride to any school in the top 10, I would take the full ride.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thestillpoint » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:29 am

abacus wrote:
thestillpoint wrote:Having recently received my financial aid package, I was wondering whether any current HLS students turned down a full ride at another school in the T7 to attend HLS with only loans? I did the math, and it comes out to paying back almost $400,000 over the 10 years. I confirmed this today by talking to two people at SFS. I really liked HLS, and it's undoubtedly my top choice -- I'm just not sure how to justify the price tag.

I understand there is LIPP, which I might take advantage of, but I don't know at this point. Also life choices such as getting married or buying a house seem to have substantial impact on LIPP eligibility (as in your spouse ends up subsidizing the better part of your loans if he/she has even a somewhat decent salary).

Most likely I am looking to clerk after graduation and then work in "big law" for some time. I'd really appreciate any advice on this decision!


Did you get the email from SFS? They offered to connect us to people that also weighed big $ offers from other schools and chose to come to HLS.

If I were the one making a choice between HLS at sticker and a full ride to any school in the top 10, I would take the full ride.


Thanks for the input. I did get that email, and I asked to be connected to current students who had to make a similar decision -- but I haven't heard anything back. Nor have I heard back from the HLS recent alum I emailed who I asked this question to (among other questions). So I was hoping for some input on TLS, since so far I haven't had much luck with the regular HLS channels.

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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby freestallion » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:03 am

thestillpoint wrote:
abacus wrote:
thestillpoint wrote:Having recently received my financial aid package, I was wondering whether any current HLS students turned down a full ride at another school in the T7 to attend HLS with only loans? I did the math, and it comes out to paying back almost $400,000 over the 10 years. I confirmed this today by talking to two people at SFS. I really liked HLS, and it's undoubtedly my top choice -- I'm just not sure how to justify the price tag.

I understand there is LIPP, which I might take advantage of, but I don't know at this point. Also life choices such as getting married or buying a house seem to have substantial impact on LIPP eligibility (as in your spouse ends up subsidizing the better part of your loans if he/she has even a somewhat decent salary).

Most likely I am looking to clerk after graduation and then work in "big law" for some time. I'd really appreciate any advice on this decision!


Did you get the email from SFS? They offered to connect us to people that also weighed big $ offers from other schools and chose to come to HLS.

If I were the one making a choice between HLS at sticker and a full ride to any school in the top 10, I would take the full ride.


Thanks for the input. I did get that email, and I asked to be connected to current students who had to make a similar decision -- but I haven't heard anything back. Nor have I heard back from the HLS recent alum I emailed who I asked this question to (among other questions). So I was hoping for some input on TLS, since so far I haven't had much luck with the regular HLS channels.


Wow, $400,000 sounds really high. Did you take into account ~$30,000 you might make during your 2L summer if you work for a firm?

thestillpoint
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thestillpoint » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:12 pm

freestallion wrote:
thestillpoint wrote:
abacus wrote:
thestillpoint wrote:Having recently received my financial aid package, I was wondering whether any current HLS students turned down a full ride at another school in the T7 to attend HLS with only loans? I did the math, and it comes out to paying back almost $400,000 over the 10 years. I confirmed this today by talking to two people at SFS. I really liked HLS, and it's undoubtedly my top choice -- I'm just not sure how to justify the price tag.

I understand there is LIPP, which I might take advantage of, but I don't know at this point. Also life choices such as getting married or buying a house seem to have substantial impact on LIPP eligibility (as in your spouse ends up subsidizing the better part of your loans if he/she has even a somewhat decent salary).

Most likely I am looking to clerk after graduation and then work in "big law" for some time. I'd really appreciate any advice on this decision!


Did you get the email from SFS? They offered to connect us to people that also weighed big $ offers from other schools and chose to come to HLS.

If I were the one making a choice between HLS at sticker and a full ride to any school in the top 10, I would take the full ride.


Thanks for the input. I did get that email, and I asked to be connected to current students who had to make a similar decision -- but I haven't heard anything back. Nor have I heard back from the HLS recent alum I emailed who I asked this question to (among other questions). So I was hoping for some input on TLS, since so far I haven't had much luck with the regular HLS channels.


Wow, $400,000 sounds really high. Did you take into account ~$30,000 you might make during your 2L summer if you work for a firm?


I did not factor that in when figuring out just the total amount I would owe, assuming I did not pay down any of the debt while in law school. However, I do plan to work at a firm for 2L summer, so I know that I could pay down some/most of the interest that was accruing while I was in school. Regardless, SFS confirmed that I would have accrued almost $50,000 in additional interest by graduation-- so it might be more like $20,000 if I put my 2L money towards that. That's on top of the projected $227,000 to cover tuition and living expenses.

However, I am also interested in a clerkship after graduation. It looks like clerkships *may* be LIPP eligible: "Graduates who intend to take a LIPP-qualifying position after the clerkship is completed are eligible for LIPP assistance under certain provisions." But this doesn't sound like a sure thing, especially since I don't think I'd be taking a LIPP eligible job directly afterwards-- so the 6 month grace period would run out during the clerkship, and I think I might have to save some of my money from 2L summer to ensure I could start making my loans payments while also covering the cost of living on a clerkship salary.

After multiple conversations with SFS, it looks like I'd owe between $3,000 - $3,500 a month for 10 years to pay off my loans. Even with a big law salary, that's an intimidating amount of money.

roranoa
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Tue Mar 27, 2012 1:57 pm

I wanted to ask you guys this just because you guys go to Harvard.

How bad do you think it is to have a 1year gap in your resume? That is, 1 year gap between undergrad and law school. For employment sake I mean.

splbagel
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby splbagel » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:07 pm

roranoa wrote:I wanted to ask you guys this just because you guys go to Harvard.

How bad do you think it is to have a 1year gap in your resume? That is, 1 year gap between undergrad and law school. For employment sake I mean.


What were you doing in that year? Unemployed and looking for work? Caring for an aging relative? Volunteer work? Travelling the globe?

ignatiusr
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ignatiusr » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:15 pm

thestillpoint wrote:I did not factor that in when figuring out just the total amount I would owe, assuming I did not pay down any of the debt while in law school. However, I do plan to work at a firm for 2L summer, so I know that I could pay down some/most of the interest that was accruing while I was in school. Regardless, SFS confirmed that I would have accrued almost $50,000 in additional interest by graduation-- so it might be more like $20,000 if I put my 2L money towards that. That's on top of the projected $227,000 to cover tuition and living expenses.

However, I am also interested in a clerkship after graduation. It looks like clerkships *may* be LIPP eligible: "Graduates who intend to take a LIPP-qualifying position after the clerkship is completed are eligible for LIPP assistance under certain provisions." But this doesn't sound like a sure thing, especially since I don't think I'd be taking a LIPP eligible job directly afterwards-- so the 6 month grace period would run out during the clerkship, and I think I might have to save some of my money from 2L summer to ensure I could start making my loans payments while also covering the cost of living on a clerkship salary.

After multiple conversations with SFS, it looks like I'd owe between $3,000 - $3,500 a month for 10 years to pay off my loans. Even with a big law salary, that's an intimidating amount of money.


How are you arriving at the $50,000 figure? Economics/accounting is not my strong suit, but I'm struggling to understand how you could accrue that much interest in 3 years. Most loans have an annual interest rate of between 5-8% (HLS website says that Stafford is 6.8%, Perkins is 5%, and HLS loans are 7%). Stafford is unsubsidized, Perkins is subsidized, and HLS loans are a mixture, so not even all of these loans would generate interest while you were in school. Still, even if you assumed that all of your loans began accruing interest immediately, and they all had a rate of 8%, I don't see how ~75k a year in annual loans generates 50k in interest over a three year span.

I'm not suggesting that I'm right about this, given my limited understanding of the subject. I also haven't been able to apply for aid yet, so I don't have all the details laid out in front of me. I'd just be interested to know how you reached that number.

roranoa
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby roranoa » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:41 pm

splbagel wrote:
roranoa wrote:I wanted to ask you guys this just because you guys go to Harvard.

How bad do you think it is to have a 1year gap in your resume? That is, 1 year gap between undergrad and law school. For employment sake I mean.


What were you doing in that year? Unemployed and looking for work? Caring for an aging relative? Volunteer work? Travelling the globe?


The first half, I worked at some company for about a month and quit. the next half job hunting. I know, it sucks. I should've been travelling the globe.

thestillpoint
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby thestillpoint » Tue Mar 27, 2012 2:54 pm

ignatiusr wrote:
thestillpoint wrote:I did not factor that in when figuring out just the total amount I would owe, assuming I did not pay down any of the debt while in law school. However, I do plan to work at a firm for 2L summer, so I know that I could pay down some/most of the interest that was accruing while I was in school. Regardless, SFS confirmed that I would have accrued almost $50,000 in additional interest by graduation-- so it might be more like $20,000 if I put my 2L money towards that. That's on top of the projected $227,000 to cover tuition and living expenses.

However, I am also interested in a clerkship after graduation. It looks like clerkships *may* be LIPP eligible: "Graduates who intend to take a LIPP-qualifying position after the clerkship is completed are eligible for LIPP assistance under certain provisions." But this doesn't sound like a sure thing, especially since I don't think I'd be taking a LIPP eligible job directly afterwards-- so the 6 month grace period would run out during the clerkship, and I think I might have to save some of my money from 2L summer to ensure I could start making my loans payments while also covering the cost of living on a clerkship salary.

After multiple conversations with SFS, it looks like I'd owe between $3,000 - $3,500 a month for 10 years to pay off my loans. Even with a big law salary, that's an intimidating amount of money.


How are you arriving at the $50,000 figure? Economics/accounting is not my strong suit, but I'm struggling to understand how you could accrue that much interest in 3 years. Most loans have an annual interest rate of between 5-8% (HLS website says that Stafford is 6.8%, Perkins is 5%, and HLS loans are 7%). Stafford is unsubsidized, Perkins is subsidized, and HLS loans are a mixture, so not even all of these loans would generate interest while you were in school. Still, even if you assumed that all of your loans began accruing interest immediately, and they all had a rate of 8%, I don't see how ~75k a year in annual loans generates 50k in interest over a three year span.

I'm not suggesting that I'm right about this, given my limited understanding of the subject. I also haven't been able to apply for aid yet, so I don't have all the details laid out in front of me. I'd just be interested to know how you reached that number.


All of the loans I was offered were unsubsidized. Stafford loans have a 6.8% fixed interest rate, compounded quarterly, and I only received a small portion of my loans as Stafford Loans. I'm looking at taking out the vast majority as Federal DirectPLUS loans, which have a 7.9% interest rate, compounded annually. Not to mention that both of these types of loans have loan fees (the Stafford has a much lower fee though). Thus, half of the $75,000 to cover 1L year (this does presume taking out the full amount for living expenses, but also I cannot live on campus and Cambridge has a high COL) would start to accrue interest from this August when it is disbursed. The other half of the $75,000 would accrue interest starting from January when it is disbursed, and so on, until graduation.

When I did out the math for the amount of interest that would accrue before graduation, I was also very surprised at how high it is. Also, bear in mind, interest will continue to accrue during the "6 month grace period" after graduation before you enter the repayment period-- so it's really 3.5 years of accrued interest for some of those loans. I've spoken to two separate people in the SFS office, and both confirmed that this type of package generally accrues $40,000+ in interest by the time you begin repayment, assuming you do not pay your debt down while in school. Most students use income from their 2L summer to pay this down, but mostly that helps defray the cost of accrued interest rather than actually decreasing your loans.

I'm not sure whether you're in a similar situation, but feel free to PM me if so. I have the numbers I did out and went over with SFS. The second woman I spoke with (whose name I can give you) was particularly helpful -- and she said $380,000 to $400,000 is the ballpark total amount that would be paid back over 10 years if you only receive loans. I definitely encourage everyone to figure out the interest accruals you'll be looking at, I'm glad I took that advice they kept giving us at ASW!

ETA: Loan fees can definitely add up as well. According to SFS, it's a .05% loan fee on Stafford Loans and a 4% on the Direct GradPLUS loans. So if you need to borrow around $50,000 in GradPLUS loans each year -- that's an additional $1,000 for each disbursement, with $625 due at that time (so $3,750 total just for borrowing, since you will have loans disbursed six times while in school). Only 2.5% is due prior to disbursement, but ultimately you'll pay the full 4% fee on those loans if you decide to consolidate your debt or if you miss any of your payments in the first 12 months. So while my projected interest before repayment comes to around $41,000 -- I'm factoring in another $4,000 or so in loan fees as well.

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englawyer
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby englawyer » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:52 pm

roranoa wrote:
splbagel wrote:
roranoa wrote:I wanted to ask you guys this just because you guys go to Harvard.

How bad do you think it is to have a 1year gap in your resume? That is, 1 year gap between undergrad and law school. For employment sake I mean.


What were you doing in that year? Unemployed and looking for work? Caring for an aging relative? Volunteer work? Travelling the globe?


The first half, I worked at some company for about a month and quit. the next half job hunting. I know, it sucks. I should've been travelling the globe.


you are still in the second half of that year off right? i would try to find something asap (even volunteer or unpaid internship) for now until august. the less gap the better. this could have an effect for at least your 1L job search.

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acrossthelake
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby acrossthelake » Tue Mar 27, 2012 3:55 pm

englawyer wrote:you are still in the second half of that year off right? i would try to find something asap (even volunteer or unpaid internship) for now until august. the less gap the better. this could have an effect for at least your 1L job search.


+1

tomwatts
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Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby tomwatts » Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:51 pm

thestillpoint wrote:Having recently received my financial aid package, I was wondering whether any current HLS students turned down a full ride at another school in the T7 to attend HLS with only loans? I did the math, and it comes out to paying back almost $400,000 over the 10 years. I confirmed this today by talking to two people at SFS. I really liked HLS, and it's undoubtedly my top choice -- I'm just not sure how to justify the price tag.

I understand there is LIPP, which I might take advantage of, but I don't know at this point. Also life choices such as getting married or buying a house seem to have substantial impact on LIPP eligibility (as in your spouse ends up subsidizing the better part of your loans if he/she has even a somewhat decent salary).

Most likely I am looking to clerk after graduation and then work in "big law" for some time. I'd really appreciate any advice on this decision!

I did turn down a near full-ride at NYU to go to HLS (and do a dual-degree, to boot; that's a $300,000 total cost of attendance before interest). I could do this because I had a fair amount of money saved up to begin with, I resolved to live cheaply, and I'm doing a small amount of term-time work (and likely more after 1L year) to keep debt from spiraling out of control. I'll graduate with less than half of that cost of attendance as loans, I hope.

If you made no money at all during law school and borrowed everything, you would indeed graduate with monthly payments at roughly 25% of your starting biglaw salary, maybe slightly less, before bonuses. But 1) you should earn money during law school, at minimum during your second summer as an associate but possibly also at other times. Also, 2) lawyers do get raises and bonuses. After a few years, you will be earning more, possible a fair amount more.

If you clerk and then go straight into biglaw, I think that LIPP doesn't cover your clerking year, but I think you also sometimes get a (fairly fat) bonus from the law firm for your clerking year or other incentives from the firm, and that's why LIPP doesn't cover it.

There's nothing wrong with taking the money at a slightly lower-ranked school. But coming here is also doable.

ignatiusr
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:05 pm

Re: Harvard Student(s) Answering Your Questions

Postby ignatiusr » Tue Mar 27, 2012 8:10 pm

thestillpoint wrote:All of the loans I was offered were unsubsidized. Stafford loans have a 6.8% fixed interest rate, compounded quarterly, and I only received a small portion of my loans as Stafford Loans. I'm looking at taking out the vast majority as Federal DirectPLUS loans, which have a 7.9% interest rate, compounded annually. Not to mention that both of these types of loans have loan fees (the Stafford has a much lower fee though). Thus, half of the $75,000 to cover 1L year (this does presume taking out the full amount for living expenses, but also I cannot live on campus and Cambridge has a high COL) would start to accrue interest from this August when it is disbursed. The other half of the $75,000 would accrue interest starting from January when it is disbursed, and so on, until graduation.

When I did out the math for the amount of interest that would accrue before graduation, I was also very surprised at how high it is. Also, bear in mind, interest will continue to accrue during the "6 month grace period" after graduation before you enter the repayment period-- so it's really 3.5 years of accrued interest for some of those loans. I've spoken to two separate people in the SFS office, and both confirmed that this type of package generally accrues $40,000+ in interest by the time you begin repayment, assuming you do not pay your debt down while in school. Most students use income from their 2L summer to pay this down, but mostly that helps defray the cost of accrued interest rather than actually decreasing your loans.

I'm not sure whether you're in a similar situation, but feel free to PM me if so. I have the numbers I did out and went over with SFS. The second woman I spoke with (whose name I can give you) was particularly helpful -- and she said $380,000 to $400,000 is the ballpark total amount that would be paid back over 10 years if you only receive loans. I definitely encourage everyone to figure out the interest accruals you'll be looking at, I'm glad I took that advice they kept giving us at ASW!

ETA: Loan fees can definitely add up as well. According to SFS, it's a .05% loan fee on Stafford Loans and a 4% on the Direct GradPLUS loans. So if you need to borrow around $50,000 in GradPLUS loans each year -- that's an additional $1,000 for each disbursement, with $625 due at that time (so $3,750 total just for borrowing, since you will have loans disbursed six times while in school). Only 2.5% is due prior to disbursement, but ultimately you'll pay the full 4% fee on those loans if you decide to consolidate your debt or if you miss any of your payments in the first 12 months. So while my projected interest before repayment comes to around $41,000 -- I'm factoring in another $4,000 or so in loan fees as well.


Thanks for the detail. My situation isn't identical (I'm hoping for some need-based aid), but I'm sure my loans will be very substantial. It sounds like the info. on the HLS website is either misleading or I misunderstood it.




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