$200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

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hangnail
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$200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby hangnail » Mon May 06, 2013 7:51 pm

Want to work in PI (think national organizations like PIRG, Common Cause, etc) and will be taking on $200K+ debt from T10 school.

Truthfully...that sh*t cray? Even with LRAP and stuff...seems kinda cray.

If I took the "biglaw for a few years" (if I'm lucky) route, it still seems crazy and would probably change my law school experience (let alone my first few years out of law school) for the worse (i.e. by having to take classes I'm not interested in in order to at least prove interest in corporate law/familiarize myself with the vocabulary).

That shit cray?

J90
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby J90 » Mon May 06, 2013 7:55 pm

LRAP makes your $200k number relatively meaningless. Calculate how much you'd be expected to pay back and with what schedule according to your school's LRAP then post back with that declaration.

badaboom61
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby badaboom61 » Mon May 06, 2013 7:59 pm

Most schools' LRAP's (HYS possibly excluded) tie the repayment to your ability to hold down a full time public interest legal position for 10 years. If you fail to do this and take a private sector job at any point, you will be responsible for the balance of your loans + any extra interest.

I wouldn't bank on this, given how hard public interest / government jobs are to get these days.

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francesfarmer
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby francesfarmer » Mon May 06, 2013 8:13 pm

badaboom61 wrote:Most schools' LRAP's (HYS possibly excluded) tie the repayment to your ability to hold down a full time public interest legal position for 10 years. If you fail to do this and take a private sector job at any point, you will be responsible for the balance of your loans + any extra interest.

I wouldn't bank on this, given how hard public interest / government jobs are to get these days.

This is accurate. Check with your school. Some cover your loan payments with loans that are forgiven after a certain number of years in PI, so you have to stay in at least that long. I think the interest is pretty low though.

ETA for what it's worth I'm planning on doing the same thing at CLS but their LRAP is very generous.

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Mon May 06, 2013 8:39 pm

Remember that if you get married, your spouse's income affects your eligibility too.

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TheBiggerMediocre
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby TheBiggerMediocre » Mon May 06, 2013 9:04 pm

if you are really so worried about debt just ditch the U.S. and go to brazil, if you fail.

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cinephile
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby cinephile » Mon May 06, 2013 9:31 pm

Too risky. You don't know that you can hold down a PI job for 10 years, or that you'll even want to.

rad lulz
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby rad lulz » Mon May 06, 2013 9:42 pm

cinephile wrote:Too risky. You don't know that you can hold down a PI job for 10 years, or that you'll even want to.

If you even get a PI job

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sinfiery
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby sinfiery » Mon May 06, 2013 10:05 pm

With PAYE doesn't the downside of PLSF and not being able to hold down that PI job kind of diminish dramatically?

OP, this is what PI students have to deal with. Even full rides leave COL debt your paycheck won't likely easily be able to pay off.

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cinephile
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby cinephile » Mon May 06, 2013 11:58 pm

sinfiery wrote: Even full rides leave COL debt your paycheck won't likely easily be able to pay off.


Paying off 60k + interest on a 40-60k a year salary is quite doable.

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sinfiery
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby sinfiery » Tue May 07, 2013 9:33 am

Agreed. I put easily in there to create an infallible position though :mrgreen:

Yossarian79
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby Yossarian79 » Tue May 07, 2013 9:49 am

BaiAilian2013 wrote:Remember that if you get married, your spouse's income affects your eligibility too.


Assuming you file your taxes jointly.

badaboom61
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby badaboom61 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:54 am

Yossarian79 wrote:
BaiAilian2013 wrote:Remember that if you get married, your spouse's income affects your eligibility too.


Assuming you file your taxes jointly.


If you don't the tax consequences are probably higher than your loan payments.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue May 07, 2013 12:03 pm

badaboom61 wrote:
Yossarian79 wrote:
BaiAilian2013 wrote:Remember that if you get married, your spouse's income affects your eligibility too.


Assuming you file your taxes jointly.


If you don't the tax consequences are probably higher than your loan payments.

Nah, depends on your financial circumstances. I'm married, no kids, no house, and neither of us are in school right now. We're not getting any great tax benefits from being married. At least, that's how I understand it.

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francesfarmer
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby francesfarmer » Tue May 07, 2013 12:27 pm

cinephile wrote:
sinfiery wrote: Even full rides leave COL debt your paycheck won't likely easily be able to pay off.


Paying off 60k + interest on a 40-60k a year salary is quite doable.

$40-60k is a generous assumption for a PI salary.

But I'm not trying to be a negative nancy. I hope your school's LRAP is good.

ETA: what would you all say is a reasonable debt load in this scenario for a T10? Does that change for a T6? I'm just curious.

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Rahviveh
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby Rahviveh » Tue May 07, 2013 1:02 pm

If you get PI then the debt load is meaningless. If you strike out getting PI, then you have to work in the private sector and you'll pay it off (if biglaw) or go on IBR (shitlaw). So those are the downsides.

de5igual
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby de5igual » Tue May 07, 2013 1:09 pm

ChampagnePapi wrote:If you get PI then the debt load is meaningless. If you strike out getting PI, then you have to work in the private sector and you'll pay it off (if biglaw) or go on IBR (shitlaw). So those are the downsides.


The thing is, it's almost always the latter regardless of what school you go to. To get PI, you pretty much have to demonstrate interest in PI, which means foregoing a SA and doing unpaid PI work. If the PI work turns into a fulltime offer, great. If not, 3LOLCI ain't gonna save you, and you're up the creek without a paddle and a 200k+ debt load pulling you down.

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twenty
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby twenty » Tue May 07, 2013 1:29 pm

Keep in mind that some school's LRAP programs allow you to jump in and out at will (i.e, Columbia) whereas some schools don't (i.e, Northwestern).

I'd also take some time and talk to the PI oriented students at these various law schools. Not to pick on NU, but the students are constantly complaining on here how few PI jobs there are, whereas the Michigan students have said that they "don't know of a single person who wanted PI and didn't get it."

firstimer
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby firstimer » Wed May 08, 2013 3:52 pm

hangnail wrote:Want to work in PI (think national organizations like PIRG, Common Cause, etc) and will be taking on $200K+ debt from T10 school.

Truthfully...that sh*t cray? Even with LRAP and stuff...seems kinda cray.

If I took the "biglaw for a few years" (if I'm lucky) route, it still seems crazy and would probably change my law school experience (let alone my first few years out of law school) for the worse (i.e. by having to take classes I'm not interested in in order to at least prove interest in corporate law/familiarize myself with the vocabulary).

That shit cray?


Yes....very cray.

Let's ignore all the huge financial bombs that could go off...1) you not being able to get a PI job and therefore not qualifying for LRAP OR 2) you not being able to get any job because of a bad economy OR 3) you losing your PI job after a couple of years, falling out of LRAP, facing a larger loan balance because of potential negative amortization, and being stuck in IBR / PAYE for 20 years instead of 10, potentially facing a huge tax bomb at the end.

Let's ignore the tremendous pressure you'll face during your law school career to cave in and get a private sector job instead of going the PI route (and who could blame you if you did?)

Lets ignore that even if you do end up in BigLaw, a $200k debt load for a job that pays $160k per year (at best) is barely defensible...most rules of thumb say to keep your debt load under 1-1.5x your starting salary.

Let's ignore all that....

OP, how much do you value your freedom? The ability to switch careers, move to a different part of a country, start a family, have kids, take a vacation or travel, start a business, take a risk, etc?

Understand that going this route locks you into at least 4 years (if you do BigLaw) or 10 years (if you do PI) in a certain career path, or a certain job, that you will NEED to hold down in order to have any semblance of a financial future.

$200k of debt is not meaningless...and debt at that level may close more doors than your T10 degree will open.

I'm a 0L, so take this with a lot of salt. But I've gone through the process of paying off undergrad debt, and let me tell you....freedom is invaluable.

If I was in your shoes:
If I was set on PI, (given that you probably got into a T14 or T20 school with more money), I would take a cheaper option. Or find another career in the public interest that doesn't require a law degree...there are many (though tough to get).

If I was fine with BigLaw, I'd make sure those employment stats at the school I'm attending were pretty darn good - we're talking HYS or CC quality.

Finally, if this post comes across as hyperbolic, I apologize.

Lumieres
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Re: $200k+ Debt and PI...Crazy?

Postby Lumieres » Thu May 09, 2013 1:20 pm

Totally cray cray.




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