Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

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Which would you choose?

T14 with $150,000 in debt
27
18%
T40 with 0 debt + $9,000 stipend
123
82%
 
Total votes: 150

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cantaboot
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby cantaboot » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:37 pm

it cuts both ways.

Some people told me that the fact that they had taken out debts (no help from parents... etc.) gave them greater motivation to succeed in law school.

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thexfactor
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby thexfactor » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:44 pm

truevines wrote:
thexfactor wrote:I would go T14 at sticker vs T40.

These are the following outcomes:

1. Go to t40 and get biglaw/midlaw. 15%
2. Go to t14 get biglaw/midlaw 50%
3. Go to T40 get shitlaw or unemployed 85%
4. Go to T14 get nothing. 50%

Outcome 1 is only slightly better outcome 2 because the marginal utility of happiness is only slightly worse when you have to pay 25k a year for 5 years. IE making 160k vs 130k. You are only slightly less happy making 130k vs making 160k.

Outcome 3 is only slightly better than outcome 4. You make shitlaw at 30k a year. IBR takes away 10% of your income for 20 years. Paying 10% of your income when making shitlaw would only make yourself slightly more unhappy.

However the biggest difference is between outcome 2 and 3. Making over 100k (even after paying your student loans every year) is day and night better than going to a T40 without debt and getting a shitlaw job.

Therefore, theoretically if you add up the expected payout of each option, your best option will be to attend the T14 with debt.


OP has a full ride, a wife with a job and a house in the city of the T40. Even if OP graduates with nothing or ends up in shitlaw, he will not have to be worried because he has ZERO debt. Not to mention OP may get Biglaw/midlaw jobs.

He won't have to stress himself out come the finals; he won't be worried to death when he receives rejection letters from his callbacks; etc.

This serenity of mind, in my opinion, will help OP do well in law school.



That is true... but ... what have you accomplished after 3 years of LS? 35k job that makes you work 50 hrs a week? The OP even clearly stated that he wanted biglaw/midlaw.

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IAFG
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby IAFG » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:46 pm

cantaboot wrote:it cuts both ways.

Some people told me that the fact that they had taken out debts (no help from parents... etc.) gave them greater motivation to succeed in law school.

This. I don't know for sure which way is better, but I know I've seen terror and crushing debt propel people to the very top of the class, and people with full-rides/other full funding crash and burn. The reverse certainly happens too.

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Rowinguy2009
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby Rowinguy2009 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:51 pm

IAFG wrote:
Rowinguy2009 wrote:OP, I was in a very similar situation two years ago. Took the money and haven't regretted it once.

It's easy to say in hindsight. If you'd lost the law school game, you might feel differently.

It's a really personal decision that you're going to have to agonize over. The nice thing about elite school is that you have a better margin for error. If, in spite of your best efforts, you land in the bottom half at a T14, you still have a decent shot of landing a good job in your home market with your strong ties. If you go to the T40 and your hard work pays off, you'll be thrilled to have the reduced debt and same job you would have taken out of the T14. If you do well at the T14, you may ultimately regret your decision to pay so much for the prestige safety net. No one knows from where you stand now how that's going to shake out.

I will say though that I think thexfactor's percentages aren't really a fair assessment of the T14 risk. I think you have a much better shot than he suggests at getting big or midlaw out of the T14 as long as it's one of MVP DCN; more like 65-75%.


Admittedly it it easy to say in hindsight, and there were certainly ways things could have worked out for the worse (had I not met my scholarship stipulations I would have lost the entire scholarship, which would have obviously been devastating). But going to T14 at full price is risky as well. Even if the risk in that situation is less likely, the worse case scenario with the T14 (bottom of the class, no big law, 150K debt) is the absolute worse case scenario OP could possibly find himself in. Bottom of class at t40 with no big law would obviously really suck, but at least then he wouldn't have the debt and would be financially able to take a lower paying gig, even though that would not be the ideal situation. On the flip side, going to the t40 and doing well is the absolute best position OP could find himself in.

Both options have a certain level of risk, I would just be more comfortable with the risk at the t40.

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cantaboot
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby cantaboot » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:02 pm

which T40?!
I've known people who are not at the top of the class (think: top 1/3) but who end up doing comfortably. not ideal, but certainly not bad at all.
I know midlaw jobs are rare but
It does not have to be biglaw and nothing.

martinprince
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby martinprince » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:19 pm

I was also in a similar situation a few years ago, and I took the money and have zero regrets.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby jawsome » Sun Apr 08, 2012 2:43 pm

I went to a T50 with a full ride over paying sticker at better schools. Personal preferences and differences aside, I think going where you get money is the smartest decision nowadays (non-dischargeable debt is terrifying in this economy and market). There is simply no way to tell how well you're going to do in law school. With little to no debt, you can afford to take almost any job.

Unless it's Harvard or Yale or Stanford, a full ride vs. sticker is always a pretty easy decision IMO.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby IAFG » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:21 pm

jawsome wrote:I went to a T50 with a full ride over paying sticker at better schools. Personal preferences and differences aside, I think going where you get money is the smartest decision nowadays (non-dischargeable debt is terrifying in this economy and market). There is simply no way to tell how well you're going to do in law school. With little to no debt, you can afford to take almost any job.

Unless it's Harvard or Yale or Stanford, a full ride vs. sticker is always a pretty easy decision IMO.

All the same arguments can be made for going to schools with great placement though. I think the legal market is too frightening to go to a school that won't give you a decent shot at a market-paying job below median. Even without debt, the future is pretty bleak for a JD with bad grades from an unprestigous school. That is why it is too personal a choice for there to be a consensus in either direction.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby Randomnumbers » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:28 pm

IAFG wrote:
jawsome wrote:I went to a T50 with a full ride over paying sticker at better schools. Personal preferences and differences aside, I think going where you get money is the smartest decision nowadays (non-dischargeable debt is terrifying in this economy and market). There is simply no way to tell how well you're going to do in law school. With little to no debt, you can afford to take almost any job.

Unless it's Harvard or Yale or Stanford, a full ride vs. sticker is always a pretty easy decision IMO.

All the same arguments can be made for going to schools with great placement though. I think the legal market is too frightening to go to a school that won't give you a decent shot at a market-paying job below median. Even without debt, the future is pretty bleak for a JD with bad grades from an unprestigous school. That is why it is too personal a choice for there to be a consensus in either direction.


If he's going to get bad grades from an unprestigious school where he lives in town, how is he going to do at a T14 with an hour drive each way? Take the money and run, it's a no-brainer.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby notedgarfigaro » Sun Apr 08, 2012 3:42 pm

This isn't a hard decision, and I'm pretty sure your mind is already made up- you're taking the money. If you didn't have a wife/place to stay/want to have kids soon, it'd be a much harder decision...but your current situation SCREAMS take the money. Enjoy law school life without the crushing debt load on your back, and make some babies.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby mmk33 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:00 pm

Randomnumbers wrote:
IAFG wrote:
jawsome wrote:I went to a T50 with a full ride over paying sticker at better schools. Personal preferences and differences aside, I think going where you get money is the smartest decision nowadays (non-dischargeable debt is terrifying in this economy and market). There is simply no way to tell how well you're going to do in law school. With little to no debt, you can afford to take almost any job.

Unless it's Harvard or Yale or Stanford, a full ride vs. sticker is always a pretty easy decision IMO.

All the same arguments can be made for going to schools with great placement though. I think the legal market is too frightening to go to a school that won't give you a decent shot at a market-paying job below median. Even without debt, the future is pretty bleak for a JD with bad grades from an unprestigous school. That is why it is too personal a choice for there to be a consensus in either direction.


If he's going to get bad grades from an unprestigious school where he lives in town, how is he going to do at a T14 with an hour drive each way? Take the money and run, it's a no-brainer.


There is some truth to this, but I think for instance being in the top 30% at a T40 you are definitely in a worse situation than being median at a T14...so there is more margin for error at a T14. The question is whether its worth $150,000 plus the inconvenience and stress.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby IAFG » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:07 pm

The definition of "shitty grades" is hugely different at a T40 and a T14. If I wanted a job in Milwaukee, I would rather be median at Northwestern than top quarter at UWisconsin.

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rayiner
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby rayiner » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:32 pm

mmk33 wrote:
Randomnumbers wrote:
IAFG wrote:
jawsome wrote:I went to a T50 with a full ride over paying sticker at better schools. Personal preferences and differences aside, I think going where you get money is the smartest decision nowadays (non-dischargeable debt is terrifying in this economy and market). There is simply no way to tell how well you're going to do in law school. With little to no debt, you can afford to take almost any job.

Unless it's Harvard or Yale or Stanford, a full ride vs. sticker is always a pretty easy decision IMO.

All the same arguments can be made for going to schools with great placement though. I think the legal market is too frightening to go to a school that won't give you a decent shot at a market-paying job below median. Even without debt, the future is pretty bleak for a JD with bad grades from an unprestigous school. That is why it is too personal a choice for there to be a consensus in either direction.


If he's going to get bad grades from an unprestigious school where he lives in town, how is he going to do at a T14 with an hour drive each way? Take the money and run, it's a no-brainer.


There is some truth to this, but I think for instance being in the top 30% at a T40 you are definitely in a worse situation than being median at a T14...so there is more margin for error at a T14. The question is whether its worth $150,000 plus the inconvenience and stress.


If the T40 in question is a place like Minnesota, it's more like top 1/4 at T40 ~= 3/4 at T14. Someone at those class ranks is just around where it starts becoming unlikely they'll get a six-figure job at a 50+ attorney firm.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby thexfactor » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:36 pm

I think you need to figure out if you are ok with making 35k a year doing insurance defense work, immigration, DUI... etc work. That is the likely outcome of attending a T40 even without debt. While you might get lucky and be in the 15% or so of students who gets good solid paying jobs, the chances are that you wouldnt get it at the T40 school.

If you are not ok with making 35k doing that kind of work, you should reevaluate going to the T40 or perhaps law in general. While minimizing debt is good, you also have to factor in the opportunity costs of doing so. What would you accomplish if you go to a T40 full scholarship, graduate and work at a shit law job spending 60-70hrs a week on cases that aren't interesting to you?

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby mmk33 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 5:50 pm

thexfactor wrote:I think you need to figure out if you are ok with making 35k a year doing insurance defense work, immigration, DUI... etc work. That is the likely outcome of attending a T40 even without debt. While you might get lucky and be in the 15% or so of students who gets good solid paying jobs, the chances are that you wouldnt get it at the T40 school.

If you are not ok with making 35k doing that kind of work, you should reevaluate going to the T40 or perhaps law in general. While minimizing debt is good, you also have to factor in the opportunity costs of doing so. What would you accomplish if you go to a T40 full scholarship, graduate and work at a shit law job spending 60-70hrs a week on cases that aren't interesting to you?


Anything is possible, but I would guess there are very few people if any who are given a full ride + books scholarship to a T1 law school and end up with this outcome.

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thexfactor
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby thexfactor » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:02 pm

mmk33 wrote:
thexfactor wrote:I think you need to figure out if you are ok with making 35k a year doing insurance defense work, immigration, DUI... etc work. That is the likely outcome of attending a T40 even without debt. While you might get lucky and be in the 15% or so of students who gets good solid paying jobs, the chances are that you wouldnt get it at the T40 school.

If you are not ok with making 35k doing that kind of work, you should reevaluate going to the T40 or perhaps law in general. While minimizing debt is good, you also have to factor in the opportunity costs of doing so. What would you accomplish if you go to a T40 full scholarship, graduate and work at a shit law job spending 60-70hrs a week on cases that aren't interesting to you?


Anything is possible, but I would guess there are very few people if any who are given a full ride + books scholarship to a T1 law school and end up with this outcome.


Well first of all, there are very few full rides in general. Second, there is only a very small correlation between first year grades and gpa/lsat. The margin of error at a t40 is very small. A bad day on 1 test might ruin your chances of biglaw.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby sunynp » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:24 pm

I voted for taking the money. You don't want to be in a situation with massive debt and two young children. You also may not want to be living the life of a biglaw associate with a young family, and you don't sound that interested in even doing biglaw.

You need to take the safer route here.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby dingbat » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:00 pm

sunynp wrote:I voted for taking the money. You don't want to be in a situation with massive debt and two young children. You also may not want to be living the life of a biglaw associate with a young family, and you don't sound that interested in even doing biglaw.

You need to take the safer route here.

As a family man myself, I concur

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thexfactor
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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby thexfactor » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:45 pm

I hope people understand that most shitlaw jobs that pay 35k are almost just as demanding as a biglaw job that pays 100k+.
Don't just assume that shitty pay= less hours.

Op has stated that he wants to be GC later on in his career. It is almost impossible to achieve that if he gets an insurance defense job or DUI defense job.

Too many people on this board talk like people from T1 schools can just waltz into a decent paying 70k job after graduation.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby spleenworship » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:31 pm

IAFG wrote:The definition of "shitty grades" is hugely different at a T40 and a T14. If I wanted a job in Milwaukee, I would rather be median at Northwestern than top quarter at UWisconsin.



Do you base this off experience?

As someone going to a strong regional (but not in WI), I'm not sure this is necessarily true. Seems to me that they are more like even, not having a 2:1 advantage.


Oh, and OP: Take the money. 1L with a wife, and I gotta tell you, you do not want to be commuting and worried about crushing debt AND law school at the same time. Trust me. Because I am doing all of those (TBF- my debt isn't crushing, but it is still debt) and it kinda blows sometimes.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby thexfactor » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:53 pm

spleenworship wrote:
IAFG wrote:The definition of "shitty grades" is hugely different at a T40 and a T14. If I wanted a job in Milwaukee, I would rather be median at Northwestern than top quarter at UWisconsin.



Do you base this off experience?

As someone going to a strong regional (but not in WI), I'm not sure this is necessarily true. Seems to me that they are more like even, not having a 2:1 advantage.


Oh, and OP: Take the money. 1L with a wife, and I gotta tell you, you do not want to be commuting and worried about crushing debt AND law school at the same time. Trust me. Because I am doing all of those (TBF- my debt isn't crushing, but it is still debt) and it kinda blows sometimes.



If you have ties to Wisconsin, I would say yes median at NW might be better than UW for Wisconsin. However NW would own Wisconsin in Chicago or any other market.

What are you going to tell ur wife when you sacrifice 3 years of your time and get a job that pays 35k? How is that a safe choice for your family?

Yes, you don't have soul crushing debt, but ur opportunities will be severely limited and chances are you wouldn't attain your goal of being GC.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby IAFG » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:55 pm

spleenworship wrote:
IAFG wrote:The definition of "shitty grades" is hugely different at a T40 and a T14. If I wanted a job in Milwaukee, I would rather be median at Northwestern than top quarter at UWisconsin.



Do you base this off experience?

As someone going to a strong regional (but not in WI), I'm not sure this is necessarily true. Seems to me that they are more like even, not having a 2:1 advantage.


Oh, and OP: Take the money. 1L with a wife, and I gotta tell you, you do not want to be commuting and worried about crushing debt AND law school at the same time. Trust me. Because I am doing all of those (TBF- my debt isn't crushing, but it is still debt) and it kinda blows sometimes.

I don't know what you mean by experience, but I base it off knowing people at other T1s, knowing the grades and offers of many of my peers, and talking to attorneys on hiring committees about their grade cutoffs for "local schools."

There is no way in hell they are "even" if you mean that a median person at a T1 is going to get the same offers and opportunities as a median person at a T14. Every secondary market has the luxury of skimming off the top of the class at a local school. Now, not every firm in every secondary is going to be wowed by the T14, but some firms in every secondary are.

You're going to be able to find examples of people with kids who took the money and are happy, and people who took the money and got fucked in the game, people who took the prestige and thank god every night that they did (I think bjsesq will tell you that despite the distance from his family and the debt for T14, he thinks he made the right choice; I know of many others), and (a relative few) people who struck out and regret the debt. There's no clear right answer, because knowing the right choice would require a crystal ball.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby spleenworship » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:06 pm

IAFG wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
IAFG wrote:The definition of "shitty grades" is hugely different at a T40 and a T14. If I wanted a job in Milwaukee, I would rather be median at Northwestern than top quarter at UWisconsin.



Do you base this off experience?

As someone going to a strong regional (but not in WI), I'm not sure this is necessarily true. Seems to me that they are more like even, not having a 2:1 advantage.


Oh, and OP: Take the money. 1L with a wife, and I gotta tell you, you do not want to be commuting and worried about crushing debt AND law school at the same time. Trust me. Because I am doing all of those (TBF- my debt isn't crushing, but it is still debt) and it kinda blows sometimes.

I don't know what you mean by experience, but I base it off knowing people at other T1s, knowing the grades and offers of many of my peers, and talking to attorneys on hiring committees about their grade cutoffs for "local schools."

There is no way in hell they are "even" if you mean that a median person at a T1 is going to get the same offers and opportunities as a median person at a T14. Every secondary market has the luxury of skimming off the top of the class at a local school. Now, not every firm in every secondary is going to be wowed by the T14, but some firms in every secondary are.


Maybe it is the market I'm in, but it really seems like here, at least, median at the local is about as good as median at a T14. But, then again, we are incredibly parochial and the usual response from employers when a HYS applies for a job there is "why the hell would he/she want to work here?" The only T14 I regularly see here is Georgetown, for some reason.

So, given the information relayed above, I would guess that my market is not representative. T14 is probably significantly better.

All the same, I stick with my advice to OP. No debt is probably the best thing on earth after sex, scotch, and chocolate. Even if OP doesn't get biglaw, he might find perfectly good jobs in law that make him happy... and he'll be able to do them debt free which would make his 35-55K a year actually worth something.

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby spleenworship » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:08 pm

thexfactor wrote:
What are you going to tell ur wife when you sacrifice 3 years of your time and get a job that pays 35k? How is that a safe choice for your family?



If that was directed at me I would say: I got a job I like way more than the last one, and it pays 5K more than the one I left!

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Re: Huge money + named scholarship at the T40 vs. T14 + debt

Postby rayiner » Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:19 am

spleenworship wrote:
IAFG wrote:
spleenworship wrote:
IAFG wrote:The definition of "shitty grades" is hugely different at a T40 and a T14. If I wanted a job in Milwaukee, I would rather be median at Northwestern than top quarter at UWisconsin.



Do you base this off experience?

As someone going to a strong regional (but not in WI), I'm not sure this is necessarily true. Seems to me that they are more like even, not having a 2:1 advantage.


Oh, and OP: Take the money. 1L with a wife, and I gotta tell you, you do not want to be commuting and worried about crushing debt AND law school at the same time. Trust me. Because I am doing all of those (TBF- my debt isn't crushing, but it is still debt) and it kinda blows sometimes.

I don't know what you mean by experience, but I base it off knowing people at other T1s, knowing the grades and offers of many of my peers, and talking to attorneys on hiring committees about their grade cutoffs for "local schools."

There is no way in hell they are "even" if you mean that a median person at a T1 is going to get the same offers and opportunities as a median person at a T14. Every secondary market has the luxury of skimming off the top of the class at a local school. Now, not every firm in every secondary is going to be wowed by the T14, but some firms in every secondary are.


Maybe it is the market I'm in, but it really seems like here, at least, median at the local is about as good as median at a T14. But, then again, we are incredibly parochial and the usual response from employers when a HYS applies for a job there is "why the hell would he/she want to work here?" The only T14 I regularly see here is Georgetown, for some reason.

So, given the information relayed above, I would guess that my market is not representative. T14 is probably significantly better.

All the same, I stick with my advice to OP. No debt is probably the best thing on earth after sex, scotch, and chocolate. Even if OP doesn't get biglaw, he might find perfectly good jobs in law that make him happy... and he'll be able to do them debt free which would make his 35-55K a year actually worth something.


You two are arguing slightly different things.

IAFG is arguing if you want a job in Milwaukee, you'd rather be median at T14 than top 1/4 at UW.
You're arguing that some set of firms perceive median at UW equivalent to median at a T14.

Your point can be true at the same time as IAFG's. Most firms in Wisconsin might perceive someone at median at the T14 equivalent to someone at median at UW. But they're not going to hire either.[1] However, there are some firms in Wisconsin that don't really care about grades for people at T14 schools, as long as the person demonstrates sufficient ties to and interest in the market.

[1] For 2011, UW only placed 15% of its class into firms with (> 25) attorneys or federal clerkships: http://www.law.wisc.edu/career/employme ... index.html. Note that we're not even talking about big law here. Average starting salary for firms in the 25-50 lawyer range is about $75,000: --LinkRemoved--.




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