Last post on TLS until after I get my LSAT score:
So, you are married? Possibly with kids? Maybe in a house you took out a mortgage for?
I'm sorry, these kinds of problems simply do not represent the lifestyle of an average law school graduate. I'm talking about people who are coming out of college without families or any plans to live in anything other than the small for-rent apartments that most twenty-something year olds live in. If you can't afford a small apartment with all the loans, then you have two options: live with parents or get roommates. Simple as that. I think you guys are really confusing my argument about law school. I make no claim that upon graduation you will be able to live very comfortably, put a down payment on a home, or even afford a nice car. Know any doctors who can do that until after their 30th birthday? I simply suggest that, by the time you're 50, you will *most likely* be in a better position financially than your friend who decided to be an accountant, a teacher, a nurse, or (for the vast majority) an engineer. If you went to an Ivy League caliber school and a lot of your friends are getting jobs in i-banking that pay north of 100K straight out of undergrad, then fine. You win. Law school (outside of top of the class at a T14) is definitely a losing game. As far as the people who don't/can't get jobs in law upon passing the bar, they either need to try harder or open up their own firm.
If I am wrong, so be it. But I think my claims are rather modest.
I am married, but I did not live with or marry my spouse until about a year after law school. We are both in our 30's. We now live in a small basement apartment which costs us $1,100 and is in the realm of the cheaper places you can get around here (not a big high cost of living city, but availability is an issue that raises costs). We have no intention of a mortgage for a long while and will be renting for at least another 3+ years. No children, one reason being we can't afford them right now - including not only the straight out costs, but also the loss of income, even temporarily! We do not live near our families, as that is not where the jobs were. Nor could our families take us in - they have health issues and other things going on.
And what do you know about the lifestyle of the "average law graduate"? A huge number of people I went to school with had prior work experience (some law schools almost demand it!), were living on their own or with a spouse/partner, many had children and families of their own, many were away from home and found work away from home as their parents lived where they did not or could not live, many were starting in their late 20s/early 30s etc.
You make opening up your own firm seem so simple. It's not. It requires not only knowledge of the practice of law (which you have zero of at graduation) but also the ability to run a business - particularly a legal business with all its requirements for trust accounting and so forth.
"Try harder" ranks right up there with "network" in terms of naive advice.
As for "where they are at when they are 50", many of the accountants, nurses, engineers I know well are doing very well as they saved themselves $150,000 in tuition, 3 more years of lost opportunity costs, and many years of servicing their loan debt (so they could save more, etc). Some of the accountants and engineers I know are partners in their own firms or consulting businesses and doing very well.
You really do come across as VERY naive about the "cost of life".
I love my career. I am doing well at it. I do not regret law school at all. But I will also say that it was an incredibly stressful choice financially, and I would not encourage anyone to go to law school unless they were 100% certain as you can be before you ever try it that they wanted to be a lawyer (not going just wanting to "open other doors"), could greatly minimize the debt (scholarship, savings) and were going to a school that greatly improved their odds of stable employment (i.e. something in the T14 at minimum if you are in the US). That does not necessarily mean Big Law, but it does mean something stable with a salary that can allow you to live without having to depend on others for hand outs (such as your parents).