Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

(Please Ask Questions and Answer Questions)

Is law school worth sticker to you?

Yes
297
60%
No
194
40%
 
Total votes: 491

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romothesavior
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:02 am

BioEBear2010 wrote:I'm surprised so many people would NEVER pay sticker, as there should really be no fear of debt at any of the T6 (and probably most/all of the T14). The large majority of law students work either for a BigLaw firm or a PI/Government group after graduation. At these schools, there really isn't much risk in not finding a job, especially now that the economy is picking up. BigLaw earns roughly 160K in most major markets, which would allow a student to pay of any loans rather comfortably. I believe all of the T6 schools have a LRAP program which will significantly help pay off debt if the student pursues PI/Gov't.

But maybe I'm underestimating the riskiness of attending a T6 (or I'm inherently risk-seeking).

A few things in rebuttal:

-For the most part, biglaw pays 160k in only the biggest markets. A lot of NLJ jobs do not pay anywhere near that, and some NLJ firms pay less than 100k.
-160k is a lot of money in any market, but it is a lot less in a city like NYC or D.C. (which is where these 160k jobs are). Once you factor in rent, taxes, transportation and other living expenses, you don't have nearly as much as you'd like to throw at your debt as you seem to think.
-Also, most people who work at a 160k-paying firm will be there for 2-3 years. Even making large loan repayments, you'll still have a ton of debt. You won't get anywhere close to paying off 200k in debt on a 160k/year salary for 2-3 years, especially in a city like New York or D.C. or one of the other big expensive markets. There's a good chance you'd still have six-figures of debt after leaving biglaw.

I'm not saying T6 isn't worth sticker. I think it is. I just think you are seriously underestimating just how much debt $200,000 is.

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sundance95
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby sundance95 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:04 am

Romo, I don't disagree with your post above, but where are you getting a 2-3 year average at firms? My understanding was the average is 4-6. I know that sounds a bit nitpicky but that's a potentially huge difference in debt repayment.

Thx in advance.

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powerlawyer06
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby powerlawyer06 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:05 am

It is worth it to me (inside of the t14 or paying in-state tuition). I am glad I don't have to pay it though.

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romothesavior
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby romothesavior » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:09 am

sundance95 wrote:Romo, I don't disagree with your post above, but where are you getting a 2-3 year average at firms? My understanding was the average is 4-6. I know that sounds a bit nitpicky but that's a potentially huge difference in debt repayment.

Thx in advance.

That could be a low estimate and maybe 4-6 is the average, but based on what I've heard, associates in the larger markets stick around for far shorter periods of time than in smaller markets. Almost every person I've talked to in STL who did biglaw and bailed left after like 3 years. I can't find a cite for the average, but you could be right. Maybe my number was low. Still, I just don't think it is wise to go into law school assuming biglaw for 4-6 years.

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ademska
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby ademska » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:11 am

romothesavior wrote:For the most part, biglaw pays 160k in only the biggest markets. A lot of NLJ jobs do not pay anywhere near that, and some NLJ firms pay less than 100k. and other smart words


Well, you could always go work for

Image

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BioEBear2010
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby BioEBear2010 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:19 am

romothesavior wrote:
sundance95 wrote:Romo, I don't disagree with your post above, but where are you getting a 2-3 year average at firms? My understanding was the average is 4-6. I know that sounds a bit nitpicky but that's a potentially huge difference in debt repayment.

Thx in advance.

That could be a low estimate and maybe 4-6 is the average, but based on what I've heard, associates in the larger markets stick around for far shorter periods of time than in smaller markets. Almost every person I've talked to in STL who did biglaw and bailed left after like 3 years. I can't find a cite for the average, but you could be right. Maybe my number was low. Still, I just don't think it is wise to go into law school assuming biglaw for 4-6 years.

I imagine many of these people who leave NYC jobs will go work at firms in other markets. It's not as if they're sitting around after they leave.

And people in other large markets, such as LA, SF, Chicago, and Houston make $160k and, from what I've heard, tend to stick around.

FiveSermon
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby FiveSermon » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:21 am

romothesavior wrote:
sundance95 wrote:Romo, I don't disagree with your post above, but where are you getting a 2-3 year average at firms? My understanding was the average is 4-6. I know that sounds a bit nitpicky but that's a potentially huge difference in debt repayment.

Thx in advance.

That could be a low estimate and maybe 4-6 is the average, but based on what I've heard, associates in the larger markets stick around for far shorter periods of time than in smaller markets. Almost every person I've talked to in STL who did biglaw and bailed left after like 3 years. I can't find a cite for the average, but you could be right. Maybe my number was low. Still, I just don't think it is wise to go into law school assuming biglaw for 4-6 years.


Is this because they got fired or were forced to leave?

Or was did they choose to leave completely voluntarily?

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ademska
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby ademska » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:35 am

FiveSermon wrote:Is this because they got fired or were forced to leave?

Or was did they choose to leave completely voluntarily?


Conwis is that the short turnover is from complete burnout. Biglaw is bigmoney but also bigstress and bighours.

FiveSermon
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby FiveSermon » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:47 am

ademska wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:Is this because they got fired or were forced to leave?

Or was did they choose to leave completely voluntarily?


Conwis is that the short turnover is from complete burnout. Biglaw is bigmoney but also bigstress and bighours.


I guess it takes tiger blood to last 5+ years in biglaw.

At least it's good news to hear it's mostly from burnout. Being fired would be worse.

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sundance95
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby sundance95 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 2:54 am

FiveSermon wrote:I guess it takes tiger blood to last 5+ years in biglaw.

At least it's good news to hear it's mostly from burnout. Being fired would be worse.

It would actually be better. Potential for severance/unemployment, etc. Getting fired is actually extremely underrated in my experience.

My understanding (which may be mistaken, please someone chime in if they have anything to add) is that barring some major issue, firms usually don't start pushing you out until around the 6 year mark, if it's decided you won't make partner.

Nevertheless, Romo's point is an excellent one:
romothesavior wrote:I just don't think it is wise to go into law school assuming biglaw for 4-6 years.

FiveSermon
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby FiveSermon » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:00 am

sundance95 wrote:
FiveSermon wrote:I guess it takes tiger blood to last 5+ years in biglaw.

At least it's good news to hear it's mostly from burnout. Being fired would be worse.

It would actually be better. Potential for severance/unemployment, etc. Getting fired is actually extremely underrated in my experience.

My understanding (which may be mistaken, please someone chime in if they have anything to add) is that barring some major issue, firms usually don't start pushing you out until around the 6 year mark, if it's decided you won't make partner.

Nevertheless, Romo's point is an excellent one:
romothesavior wrote:I just don't think it is wise to go into law school assuming biglaw for 4-6 years.


I'm not sure on how the biglaw model works but do people who don't make partner and probably won't get pushed out? Or do they stay on as senior associates?

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sundance95
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby sundance95 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:03 am

IIRC, they stay on as 'Of Counsel'. If they can.

ETA: Or they lateral. Although allegedly one should lateral around the 4-5 year mark, because if employers think you are jumping ship just because you won't make partner, it makes it more difficult to lateral.

FiveSermon
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby FiveSermon » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:08 am

sundance95 wrote:IIRC, they stay on as 'Of Counsel'. If they can.

ETA: Or they lateral. Although allegedly one should lateral around the 4-5 year mark, because if employers think you are jumping ship just because you won't make partner, it makes it more difficult to lateral.


I see. Thanks.

Is it difficult to lateral to an in house job?

Also how hard is it to stay on even if you don't make partner? Is it rare? Common?

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sundance95
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby sundance95 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:09 am

I really couldn't answer those Q's without moving into the realm of wild speculation. There are probably some older threads on the subject.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 5:33 am

DoubleChecks wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
bk1 wrote:I actually think alumniguy makes sense in that you won't want to live meagerly.

I think that is probably one my of my most unrealistic estimations of aggressively paying down debt, how willing I would be to live on less money.

Also, quite a few of his expenses seem to be one time type of things. He bought a whole new wardrobe which he wouldn't need to do the next year, same with the furniture. Some of these things people will have accumulated over time. It looks like he is living great and I wouldn't consider that an awesome life. Personally, I didn't expect to see him say he took 8k worth of vacation time his first year. That is a lot of money as well that i'm sure some people will save.


well yeah but you can just shift the vacation savings into checkings (which i personally would like to bolster in that situation). he did mention the fact that wardrobe and furniture were actually more semi-rolling expenses as things wear out decently quickly, you realize you need more than just 2 pairs of suits lol, and he tries to replace one IKEA item in his apt with a piece of "real furniture" a year to no longer be living like a college student haha.

the bolded comment you made kind of confuses me in what you're actually trying to say.

I actually meant I would consider that an awesome life. Oops. Also, business clothes are not really rolling expenses from what he described. You don't need a new suit every year. I've seen my dad wear the same suits to work for years. That guy bought everything he needed right away (I mean really, 3 pairs of dress shoes?) and shouldn't need to do anything but buy a shirt or tie here and there until his debt is paid off. You may want a new suit, but you don't need one, especially if you are buying high quality stuff. And i'm confused at what he is trying to replace from ikea. Do people really care that much about having a magohny (sp?) cabinet? I mean, a nice couch and lounge chair, nice bed, and nice electronics are all that must of us would care about I think. He said he spent 3k and then wanted to replace stuff. That seems like awfully expensive taste in furniture for a one bedroom. Personally, especially because I wouldn't want to stay in NYC for long, I would probably try to rent a furnished place.

My point being that I actually think most people would end up saving another 5-10k than that guy did while still living what I would consider an extremely comfortable life.

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blacklawboss
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby blacklawboss » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:31 am

To go back to original question. T14 and it depends on if you're staying in your region up to 30. A school like Fordham is worth sticker because of alumni and placement.

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classix
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby classix » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:28 am

There should be a method to what sticker price you will reasonably pay. instead of just saying T6 or T20.

Take your REALISTIC expected salary for your first year, given the prestige of the degree, the job markets accessible with that degree, and your likely grades. Call that number X.

Then take the total COA of getting the degree from a specific school, call that number Y.

In any case where Y>X the financial risk isn't worth the reward.


http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloandebtclock.phtml

"Do not borrow more for your entire education than your expected starting salary after you graduate. Otherwise you will find it difficult to repay the debt and will be at higher risk of default."

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Patriot1208
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:18 am

blacklawboss wrote:To go back to original question. T14 and it depends on if you're staying in your region up to 30. A school like Fordham is worth sticker because of alumni and placement.

I don't really think you can say any school that has nlj+art3 clerkship numbers under 50% is worth 200k. Some of those schools might be worth in state sticker for someone who wants to stay in the region, but I don't think you can argue for any of those private schools being worth that much when you look at expected income.

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blacklawboss
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby blacklawboss » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:40 am

Patriot1208 wrote:
blacklawboss wrote:To go back to original question. T14 and it depends on if you're staying in your region up to 30. A school like Fordham is worth sticker because of alumni and placement.

I don't really think you can say any school that has nlj+art3 clerkship numbers under 50% is worth 200k. Some of those schools might be worth in state sticker for someone who wants to stay in the region, but I don't think you can argue for any of those private schools being worth that much when you look at expected income.


It's really a case by case judgement.

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Patriot1208
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby Patriot1208 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:08 am

blacklawboss wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
blacklawboss wrote:To go back to original question. T14 and it depends on if you're staying in your region up to 30. A school like Fordham is worth sticker because of alumni and placement.

I don't really think you can say any school that has nlj+art3 clerkship numbers under 50% is worth 200k. Some of those schools might be worth in state sticker for someone who wants to stay in the region, but I don't think you can argue for any of those private schools being worth that much when you look at expected income.


It's really a case by case judgement.


For private schools farther down the rankings? Not really. It may be fine for you if you have a guaranteed job or something. But to say any school ranked in 30's is worth 200k when you go through an expected earnings analysis seems pretty absurd. Certainly Iowa or Ohio State may be worth sticker for the in state applicant who wants to be in taht area, but I wouldn't recommend them if I had to pay 200k for them. You are much better off going to a lower ranked school on scholarship in most of those cases.

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DoubleChecks
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby DoubleChecks » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:10 am

Patriot1208 wrote:
DoubleChecks wrote:
Patriot1208 wrote:
bk1 wrote:I actually think alumniguy makes sense in that you won't want to live meagerly.

I think that is probably one my of my most unrealistic estimations of aggressively paying down debt, how willing I would be to live on less money.

Also, quite a few of his expenses seem to be one time type of things. He bought a whole new wardrobe which he wouldn't need to do the next year, same with the furniture. Some of these things people will have accumulated over time. It looks like he is living great and I wouldn't consider that an awesome life. Personally, I didn't expect to see him say he took 8k worth of vacation time his first year. That is a lot of money as well that i'm sure some people will save.


well yeah but you can just shift the vacation savings into checkings (which i personally would like to bolster in that situation). he did mention the fact that wardrobe and furniture were actually more semi-rolling expenses as things wear out decently quickly, you realize you need more than just 2 pairs of suits lol, and he tries to replace one IKEA item in his apt with a piece of "real furniture" a year to no longer be living like a college student haha.

the bolded comment you made kind of confuses me in what you're actually trying to say.

I actually meant I would consider that an awesome life. Oops. Also, business clothes are not really rolling expenses from what he described. You don't need a new suit every year. I've seen my dad wear the same suits to work for years. That guy bought everything he needed right away (I mean really, 3 pairs of dress shoes?) and shouldn't need to do anything but buy a shirt or tie here and there until his debt is paid off. You may want a new suit, but you don't need one, especially if you are buying high quality stuff. And i'm confused at what he is trying to replace from ikea. Do people really care that much about having a magohny (sp?) cabinet? I mean, a nice couch and lounge chair, nice bed, and nice electronics are all that must of us would care about I think. He said he spent 3k and then wanted to replace stuff. That seems like awfully expensive taste in furniture for a one bedroom. Personally, especially because I wouldn't want to stay in NYC for long, I would probably try to rent a furnished place.

My point being that I actually think most people would end up saving another 5-10k than that guy did while still living what I would consider an extremely comfortable life.


While I agree with the statement that he probably could have easily saved another 5-10k for his bank account (or for a bit more loan repayment), I guess it really is subjective. I would not call it an extremely comfortable life at all lol. But like tk said, to each his own!

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northwood
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby northwood » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:17 am

in state sticker- i would say yes.
out of state sticker- depends.
private schools- depends.

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ademska
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby ademska » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:36 am

classix wrote:There should be a method to what sticker price you will reasonably pay. instead of just saying T6 or T20.

Take your REALISTIC expected salary for your first year, given the prestige of the degree, the job markets accessible with that degree, and your likely grades. Call that number X.

Then take the total COA of getting the degree from a specific school, call that number Y.

In any case where Y>X the financial risk isn't worth the reward.


http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloandebtclock.phtml

"Do not borrow more for your entire education than your expected starting salary after you graduate. Otherwise you will find it difficult to repay the debt and will be at higher risk of default."


I'd say that's a generally fair statement, but it doesn't apply to, say, public interest prospectives; absolutely no law school at sticker is going to measure up to your criteria if the desired job is 30-70k. You have to factor in strength of LRAP program, PSLF, etc...

flcath
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby flcath » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:39 am

ademska wrote:
classix wrote:There should be a method to what sticker price you will reasonably pay. instead of just saying T6 or T20.

Take your REALISTIC expected salary for your first year, given the prestige of the degree, the job markets accessible with that degree, and your likely grades. Call that number X.

Then take the total COA of getting the degree from a specific school, call that number Y.

In any case where Y>X the financial risk isn't worth the reward.


http://www.finaid.org/loans/studentloandebtclock.phtml

"Do not borrow more for your entire education than your expected starting salary after you graduate. Otherwise you will find it difficult to repay the debt and will be at higher risk of default."


I'd say that's a generally fair statement, but it doesn't apply to, say, public interest prospectives; absolutely no law school at sticker is going to measure up to your criteria if the desired job is 30-70k. You have to factor in strength of LRAP program, PSLF, etc...

Frankly, this advice (from the finaid site) just leads you to the debt repayment schedule now mandated by PI IBR.

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Alex-Trof
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Re: Is Law School Worth Sticker to YOU?

Postby Alex-Trof » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:58 am

FiveSermon wrote:
sundance95 wrote:IIRC, they stay on as 'Of Counsel'. If they can.

ETA: Or they lateral. Although allegedly one should lateral around the 4-5 year mark, because if employers think you are jumping ship just because you won't make partner, it makes it more difficult to lateral.


I see. Thanks.

Is it difficult to lateral to an in house job?

Also how hard is it to stay on even if you don't make partner? Is it rare? Common?

As far as I have been reading the conventional wisdom on TLS is that you will be taking a severe pay cut after your first Big Law gig. So if, say, you lasted 3 years, still have 6-figure debt left to repay, and have to take a pay cut and continue living in NYC/DC/LA/SF, you may potentially be screwed. That is especially true if you're trying to start a family or need to maintain one.




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