Penn Students Taking 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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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:40 am

SaintsTheMetal wrote:
Nelson wrote:The budget is way too high and one of the advantages Penn has over the NYC schools is that you can shave a lot off COA in living expenses.


Just curious, which part of the budget is so over-estimated?

If we consider for 12 months from here https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/fi ... pplicants/
If I look their rest estimate, $746 doesn't really seem extravagant from the listings I've seen
$13 a day for food doesn't seem very outlandish to me either...
The rest of the budget seems pretty small and easily filled up with stuff like gas, household supplies, other random shit...

I guess I'm just confused where you guys are making all the savings.. If we cut the Health Insurance, their budget is like living on an 15.5k take home salary, or with health insurance 19.5k.
I'm not trying to say I can't live decently on a 16k take home salary, but I'm not quite seeing how it is WAY too high.

Maybe I'm just missing something, but I've been working on my budget so :x

Why would you try to spread it out over 12 months?

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JamesDean1955
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JamesDean1955 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:57 am

@Nelson: Hmm guess I was mistaken, but my interpretation of IBR was that it was pretty broad, and also, to get PSLF, you need to make 120 payments while in qualifying employment, not stay in it for 10 consecutive years. Therefore, you could leave qualifying employment for a period and come back to it and pick up your IBR/PSLF payments where you left off. I also thought that LRAP was pretty broad too.

Also, to your post above, are you saying we shouldn't try and spread it over 12 months because we can expect to have paid employment 1L summer in some form or another that will cover summer living expenses? I'm not sure why that surprises you (I've thought the same thing - that I should budget it over 12 months to be safe in case I don't get paid employment 1L summer).

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:06 pm

Nelson wrote:
JamesDean1955 wrote:
Nelson wrote:Agreed 100% with everything that PennBull said. I have no problem with CP&P (as a 1L who hasn't done OCI yet). They've been pretty helpful to me and they've brought in new staff recently to help people interested in PI (Tory Messina is great). Not sure what people expect from career services besides helping with OCI, some interview prep/resume advice, and putting you in touch with some alums.

I don't really buy the whole less people go into PI from Penn than other schools. There is a small but committed minority of people who want to do PI. I think this is pretty typical. The job stats we have don't suggest that significantly fewer people from Penn are going into PI than peer schools. PI is just a damn hard path where you have to make your own opportunities happen (instead of using OCI) and it's really hard to pursue if you have a significant loan burden.



Even with TollRAP/IBR/PSLF? I thought that was a huge advantage of PI work.

Also, how hard is it for a Penn student with no public interest background before law school to get a PI position? Assuming they have good grades and get involved with PI/pro-bono stuff throughout law school, are they at any sort of disadvantage to people who have been saving refugees before coming to law school?

In my opinion, LRAP is overrated by 0Ls and career services people. Remember that on IBR, your loans just keep gaining interest and the principle does not decrease. That means that if you leave the program at any time, for any reason, you're going to have as much loans as the day you entered. That's fine if your loan burden is relatively modest. It's horrible if you have six figure debt. You're straightjacketing yourself to "qualifying employment," the definition of which is very narrow. Then you have to hope you manage to get 10 years (sounds like a long time to me) in qualifying employment and that the feds are still in the business of eating six figures of your student debt + interest. Neither IBR or Penn's program is guaranteed in any way.

As for getting into PI, it's obviously easier with a demonstrated commitment to public service before law school. That said, it's not hard to get involved with pro bono orgs on campus and do PI your 1L summer to start building a resume and making connections. A bigger barrier to pursuing public interest without a pre-law school background in it is that you have no idea what you want to do, who to talk to, or how to find that stuff out. People with previous PI involvement usually have a clear goal going in.


As far as LRAP is concerned, I think the Public Interest Center does a good job of outlying the requirements and informing students about the financial planning they need to make. Also, the public interest minded students I know will easily meet the employment criteria based on their goals. I think a few students who want to do public interest coming in willfully go work for a firm for the first few years (important sidenote: law firms do a TON of public interest work, and working for a firm is a fantastic way to make actual working connections with top public interest organizations, as opposed to sitting in an interview room with them trying to convince them through words that you're a good fit).

IBR is definitely fool's gold. It's okay for those who strike out at OCI or whatever and have to take a shitty job, because it helps you have a decent take-home salary. That said, it's just like paying the minimum balance on a credit card. Not recommended at all.

Getting employed in public interest is not something I'm well-versed in, but Penn has a seemingly endless array of opportunities for all students who go to school here to build up an impressive public interest resume in the three years that you're here.

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:09 pm

JamesDean1955 wrote:Also, to your post above, are you saying we shouldn't try and spread it over 12 months because we can expect to have paid employment 1L summer in some form or another that will cover summer living expenses? I'm not sure why that surprises you (I've thought the same thing - that I should budget it over 12 months to be safe in case I don't get paid employment 1L summer).


The numbers given by Penn are a 9-month estimation. Just treat it as such. Also, as noted above, most public interest/gov't 1L internships (which is what most people get) qualify for work-study stipends.

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JamesDean1955
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JamesDean1955 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:32 pm

PennBull wrote:
JamesDean1955 wrote:Also, to your post above, are you saying we shouldn't try and spread it over 12 months because we can expect to have paid employment 1L summer in some form or another that will cover summer living expenses? I'm not sure why that surprises you (I've thought the same thing - that I should budget it over 12 months to be safe in case I don't get paid employment 1L summer).


The numbers given by Penn are a 9-month estimation. Just treat it as such. Also, as noted above, most public interest/gov't 1L internships (which is what most people get) qualify for work-study stipends.



Well, that makes my life less stressful for sure :D .

What about the point I made regarding the combination of PSLF/IBR? Isn't it 120 payments not 10 consecutive years? Is this still a bad deal? I thought most, if not all, of the negativity with IBR is assuming you don't combine it with PSLF and instead go on the 25 year repayment plan and get hit with a giant tax bomb.

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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:36 pm

JamesDean1955 wrote:What about the point I made regarding the combination of PSLF/IBR? Isn't it 120 payments not 10 consecutive years? Is this still a bad deal? I thought most, if not all, of the negativity with IBR is assuming you don't combine it with PSLF and instead go on the 25 year repayment plan and get hit with a giant tax bomb.

It's 120 payments, but not sure why that matters? I think you're underestimating how unpleasant it would be to spend 10 years knowing that you had that kind of debt hanging over your head. I guess some people do it, but most PI 3Ls I've talked to do not have ~200k loan burdens.

PennBull wrote: I think a few students who want to do public interest coming in willfully go work for a firm for the first few years (important sidenote: law firms do a TON of public interest work, and working for a firm is a fantastic way to make actual working connections with top public interest organizations, as opposed to sitting in an interview room with them trying to convince them through words that you're a good fit).

This is basically what I was alluding to. I think going to a firm for awhile is a much more likely outcome for most people with loans interested in PI than relying on LRAP. You do litigation, make your connections, try to fit some pro bono practice in around your billables, then exit to government or PI.
Last edited by Nelson on Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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02889
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby 02889 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:37 pm

JamesDean1955 wrote:
PennBull wrote:
JamesDean1955 wrote:Also, to your post above, are you saying we shouldn't try and spread it over 12 months because we can expect to have paid employment 1L summer in some form or another that will cover summer living expenses? I'm not sure why that surprises you (I've thought the same thing - that I should budget it over 12 months to be safe in case I don't get paid employment 1L summer).


The numbers given by Penn are a 9-month estimation. Just treat it as such. Also, as noted above, most public interest/gov't 1L internships (which is what most people get) qualify for work-study stipends.



Well, that makes my life less stressful for sure :D .

What about the point I made regarding the combination of PSLF/IBR? Isn't it 120 payments not 10 consecutive years? Is this still a bad deal? I thought most, if not all, of the negativity with IBR is assuming you don't combine it with PSLF and instead go on the 25 year repayment plan and get hit with a giant tax bomb.

Confused about the tax bomb as well. Does it not count as taxable income if it's the law school paying the remainder of your debt (after 10 years) instead of the government (after 25)?

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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:40 pm

02889 wrote:
JamesDean1955 wrote:
PennBull wrote:
JamesDean1955 wrote:Also, to your post above, are you saying we shouldn't try and spread it over 12 months because we can expect to have paid employment 1L summer in some form or another that will cover summer living expenses? I'm not sure why that surprises you (I've thought the same thing - that I should budget it over 12 months to be safe in case I don't get paid employment 1L summer).


The numbers given by Penn are a 9-month estimation. Just treat it as such. Also, as noted above, most public interest/gov't 1L internships (which is what most people get) qualify for work-study stipends.



Well, that makes my life less stressful for sure :D .

What about the point I made regarding the combination of PSLF/IBR? Isn't it 120 payments not 10 consecutive years? Is this still a bad deal? I thought most, if not all, of the negativity with IBR is assuming you don't combine it with PSLF and instead go on the 25 year repayment plan and get hit with a giant tax bomb.

Confused about the tax bomb as well. Does it not count as taxable income if it's the law school paying the remainder of your debt (after 10 years) instead of the government (after 25)?

It's the government paying your loans after 10 years. Penn just makes the IBR payments that you would have made otherwise during the 10 year period. There's no tax penalty on the federal public loan forgiveness.

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02889
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby 02889 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:48 pm

Nelson wrote:
02889 wrote:
JamesDean1955 wrote:What about the point I made regarding the combination of PSLF/IBR? Isn't it 120 payments not 10 consecutive years? Is this still a bad deal? I thought most, if not all, of the negativity with IBR is assuming you don't combine it with PSLF and instead go on the 25 year repayment plan and get hit with a giant tax bomb.

Confused about the tax bomb as well. Does it not count as taxable income if it's the law school paying the remainder of your debt (after 10 years) instead of the government (after 25)?

It's the government paying your loans after 10 years. Penn just makes the IBR payments that you would have made otherwise during the 10 year period. There's no tax penalty on the federal public loan forgiveness.

Ohh, so the "tax bomb" on IBR is a factor of just using IBR for lower-paying possibly private work, while public interest loan forgiveness is a separate thing?

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby one_by_one » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:52 pm

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Last edited by one_by_one on Fri Jul 17, 2015 1:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Nelson
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nelson » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:55 pm

02889 wrote:
Nelson wrote:
02889 wrote:
JamesDean1955 wrote:What about the point I made regarding the combination of PSLF/IBR? Isn't it 120 payments not 10 consecutive years? Is this still a bad deal? I thought most, if not all, of the negativity with IBR is assuming you don't combine it with PSLF and instead go on the 25 year repayment plan and get hit with a giant tax bomb.

Confused about the tax bomb as well. Does it not count as taxable income if it's the law school paying the remainder of your debt (after 10 years) instead of the government (after 25)?

It's the government paying your loans after 10 years. Penn just makes the IBR payments that you would have made otherwise during the 10 year period. There's no tax penalty on the federal public loan forgiveness.

Ohh, so the "tax bomb" on IBR is a factor of just using IBR for lower-paying possibly private work, while public interest loan forgiveness is a separate thing?

Yes.

SportsFan
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby SportsFan » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:25 pm

While we're on the subject and LRAP and PI and whatnot, I'll just add that the pro bono work I've done 1L year has been my favorite part of law school so far, and I highly recommend all 0L's try to get involved with PI stuff 1L year. Its a great distraction from reading and outlining, especially if you find something you're passionate about (which IMO isn't hard). I think a lot of people wait until 2L year to get involved with PI stuff, which is understandable given the workload, but as long as you do stuff during the first ~10 weeks of the semester its not hard to find time for it. Plus, I'm sure it'll be something good/useful for me to talk about during OCI.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby 5965 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:34 pm

Georgiana wrote:Hi all!

I'm trying to procrastinate (aren't we all) so I figured I would make a thread to keep me busy.

Random info about me:
3L
~ top 25-30% (after 1L... probably have fallen below that by now... oops)
Involved in the Penn IP Group (as a 2L... not anymore)
Applied to way too many schools so I know a lot about admissions
Worked as an RA 1L summer, Worked at a V10 2L summer (DC)
Secondary Journal (Made board for 2010-2011)
I do awesomely awesome pro bono work

Questions can be about anything, not just Penn.

Edit: You can also feel free to PM me if you have a question you don't want everyone reading :)

UPDATE: I'm done with law school :) Will still be around over the summer but not sure I'll stick around after that (maybe one of those super cool "First Year Biglaw Associate Taking Questions" threads will be mine!) but hopefully some current students will take over for me here :)


Hi Georgiana, this might sound too basic, but as 0L, I am curious if being an IP lawyer requires a separate bar exam (like the case for 'patent') and also if a science/engineering background advantage usually applies to a 'patent' track or IP in general?

By the way, I appreciate answers from anyone in the forum!)

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francesfarmer
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby francesfarmer » Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:39 pm

I have a question! I'm going to try to visit the school in April (ASW's not gonna happen)--where should I stay? Think hostel-level cheap.

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JamesDean1955
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JamesDean1955 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:06 pm

Does Georgiana still post ITT? I didn't think she did.

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:08 pm

JamesDean1955 wrote:Does Georgiana still post ITT? I didn't think she did.


She's up and graduated, so she's prolly off in the depths of biglaw haha

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:10 pm

francesfarmer wrote:I have a question! I'm going to try to visit the school in April (ASW's not gonna happen)--where should I stay? Think hostel-level cheap.


Well, for your visit date, I encourage you to consider our April 8th Preview Day.

As far as staying somewhere...where are you from? You could just make it a day visit. That's what I did for various schools to cut down on costs.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:12 pm

SportsFan wrote:Plus, I'm sure it'll be something good/useful for me to talk about during OCI.


Careful on this last part. Consult the thread in the legal employment forum that's titled something like "V15 Interviewer answering questions."

Long story short, it's good to use to show that you've learned some semblance of actual lawyering skills, and have a personality for other interests, but too much emphasis on it can signal to some interviewer types that you're going to up-and-leave the first chance you get to a more relaxed public interest lifestyle.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby francesfarmer » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:09 pm

PennBull wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:I have a question! I'm going to try to visit the school in April (ASW's not gonna happen)--where should I stay? Think hostel-level cheap.


Well, for your visit date, I encourage you to consider our April 8th Preview Day.

As far as staying somewhere...where are you from? You could just make it a day visit. That's what I did for various schools to cut down on costs.

I live in NYC so I guess I could take the bus down in the morning and leave at night, but I'd rather stay the night and go out somewhere. And I think Penn is the only school I'm going to visit so I can spend a little bit on top of the $24 bus ticket.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby SportsFan » Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:57 pm

PennBull wrote:
SportsFan wrote:Plus, I'm sure it'll be something good/useful for me to talk about during OCI.


Careful on this last part. Consult the thread in the legal employment forum that's titled something like "V15 Interviewer answering questions."

Long story short, it's good to use to show that you've learned some semblance of actual lawyering skills, and have a personality for other interests, but too much emphasis on it can signal to some interviewer types that you're going to up-and-leave the first chance you get to a more relaxed public interest lifestyle.

Ah, thats a good point. Yeah, I definitely won't focus on it, but I think I've learned some good client interaction skills, and I think I'll try to emphasize that rather than "Yeah I LOVE pro bono work!!!"

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby JDizzle2015 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:18 pm

5965 wrote:What is something you don't like about Penn Law? I think knowing its downsides will help me have a balanced understanding!

I tried to come up with a good answer to this too, but the only thing I can think of was the fake dog this year for first semester finals. It looked so real that it creeped me out. Apparently we couldn't get real puppies because of allergies of something. It was kind of a bummer.

That's most likely not really the type of thing you were looking for, but take what you will from the fact that it is the worst thing I can think of. Oh and as a west coast person, this weather isn't really my favorite.

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PennBull
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby PennBull » Thu Mar 14, 2013 5:32 pm

francesfarmer wrote:
PennBull wrote:
francesfarmer wrote:I have a question! I'm going to try to visit the school in April (ASW's not gonna happen)--where should I stay? Think hostel-level cheap.


Well, for your visit date, I encourage you to consider our April 8th Preview Day.

As far as staying somewhere...where are you from? You could just make it a day visit. That's what I did for various schools to cut down on costs.

I live in NYC so I guess I could take the bus down in the morning and leave at night, but I'd rather stay the night and go out somewhere. And I think Penn is the only school I'm going to visit so I can spend a little bit on top of the $24 bus ticket.


Various nights at the Sheraton right next to the law school go for $109 a night, which I don't think is that bad considering we're in a city.

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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby annieq » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:03 pm

PennBull wrote:
SportsFan wrote:Plus, I'm sure it'll be something good/useful for me to talk about during OCI.


Careful on this last part. Consult the thread in the legal employment forum that's titled something like "V15 Interviewer answering questions."

Long story short, it's good to use to show that you've learned some semblance of actual lawyering skills, and have a personality for other interests, but too much emphasis on it can signal to some interviewer types that you're going to up-and-leave the first chance you get to a more relaxed public interest lifestyle.


I got both sides of this while interviewing for 1L SA positions this year. I had an interviewer who was really interested in a pro bono project I had on my resume, and it turned out he had done some pro bono work on a similar issue. (Got the job.) At another place, the interviewer noticed I had a fair amount of public sector work on my resume (pre-law school, plus the pro bono projects) and flat-out asked something like, Are you comfortable working for "the Man"? (Haven't heard back.)

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Nickg415
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby Nickg415 » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:47 pm

Hoping some of the current 1Ls and 2Ls can talk about what the 1L SA opportunities are looking like the last couple of years at Upenn. Specifically grade cut-off, location, and duration of the SA.

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sopranorleone
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Re: Penn Students Taking Questions

Postby sopranorleone » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:03 pm

Nickg415 wrote:Hoping some of the current 1Ls and 2Ls can talk about what the 1L SA opportunities are looking like the last couple of years at Upenn. Specifically grade cut-off, location, and duration of the SA.


As a current 1L, I think getting a 1L SA is sort of a crapshoot. I'm estimated in the top 10%, sent out about 90 apps for various SAs, and only got 2 interviews, none of which resulted in an offer. However, both places invited me back for an automatic callback this fall for a 2L SA (but I suspect this is basically standard operating procedure). I think having a connection or being a diversity candidate greatly increases your chances. That said, I think getting a 1L SA is easier at Penn than at many, many other schools.

Edit: I also want to add that I heard that, of the current 2L class, about two dozen or so had 1L SAs. As to duration, I believe that most 1L SAs are just as long as 2L SAs -- unless you request to split your summer and work for another organization or judge.




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