Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

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Tls2016
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Tls2016 » Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:22 pm

BigZuck wrote:
BigZuck wrote:If we all just agreed that the big lawyers on this site are a bunch of babies/whiners who have never earned an honest day's pay in their life, do you think we could stop having this thread? Or would a new iteration pop up every two weeks just like it does now?

I'm totally good with agreeing that they're all dishonest whining babies if we can spare ourselves these threads.

+1

Only if we all agree:
1. Any anecdote about a TT grad, neighbor or relative making it rich automatically means you lose the argument (I propose calling it the "5 houses rule.")
2. Not to bring up blue collar jobs such as police or janitor as a reasonable lateral move for a biglaw lawyer.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:28 am

TheGoat18 wrote:Thanks fliptrip. Obviously a four year exit to a 125k job is not the "rosiest" of all scenarios, but it is an unequivocally good outcome. Does anyone have data on what a T14--->BigLaw---->In House career looks like later in life? Assuming 1 year off four year exit, you are out of BigLaw at 30. What does your average In House attorney who decided to stay working in law make at 40? at 50?

Unless everyone gets laid off, I would think most attorneys who exit from BigLaw firms are making at least 250k total comp at 50. Probably much more. That is nothing to scoff at. And certainly beyond the earning potential of your typical history or political science graduate.


Don't know about average, but compensation at my company varies so much depending on how well you do. We have a merit based compensation system and you make a lot more if you're at the top of the heap than in the middle. based on conversations with my mentor I think it would look something like this:

10 yrs with the company - Top ten percent - you're an exec or knocking hard on the door. You probably make 275K-325K plus about 25K-75K in non-vested stock options. If you're in the middle of the pack you're more likely making 185k-220K (no stocks).

20 yrs with the company - Top ten percent - You're a Chief attorney. Base pay is probably 375K -450K plus about 175K-200K in half and half stock options. If you're in the middle you are a lower level exec and make probably about 260-310K with 25K - 75K non-vested stock options.

The salary can get really large after that. My bosses' boss who is two levels below the GC and has been with the company over 30yrs makes ~2 Mil a year total compensation.

downside is, if you're at the bottom you either don't get raises or get very small raises and they do show some employees the door. Not nearly as much as Big Law but it does happen

Biglaw1990
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Postby Biglaw1990 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:24 am

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Last edited by Biglaw1990 on Tue Apr 19, 2016 1:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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unc0mm0n1
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby unc0mm0n1 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:52 am

Biglaw1990 wrote:
unc0mm0n1 wrote:
TheGoat18 wrote:Thanks fliptrip. Obviously a four year exit to a 125k job is not the "rosiest" of all scenarios, but it is an unequivocally good outcome. Does anyone have data on what a T14--->BigLaw---->In House career looks like later in life? Assuming 1 year off four year exit, you are out of BigLaw at 30. What does your average In House attorney who decided to stay working in law make at 40? at 50?

Unless everyone gets laid off, I would think most attorneys who exit from BigLaw firms are making at least 250k total comp at 50. Probably much more. That is nothing to scoff at. And certainly beyond the earning potential of your typical history or political science graduate.


Don't know about average, but compensation at my company varies so much depending on how well you do. We have a merit based compensation system and you make a lot more if you're at the top of the heap than in the middle. based on conversations with my mentor I think it would look something like this:

10 yrs with the company - Top ten percent - you're an exec or knocking hard on the door. You probably make 275K-325K plus about 25K-75K in non-vested stock options. If you're in the middle of the pack you're more likely making 185k-220K (no stocks).

20 yrs with the company - Top ten percent - You're a Chief attorney. Base pay is probably 375K -450K plus about 175K-200K in half and half stock options. If you're in the middle you are a lower level exec and make probably about 260-310K with 25K - 75K non-vested stock options.

The salary can get really large after that. My bosses' boss who is two levels below the GC and has been with the company over 30yrs makes ~2 Mil a year total compensation.

downside is, if you're at the bottom you either don't get raises or get very small raises and they do show some employees the door. Not nearly as much as Big Law but it does happen

Are these in-house salaries for attorneys? Do you mind sharing which sector your company is in? How many years did you spend in Biglaw before lateraling? TIA.


PM'd

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GFox345
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby GFox345 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:42 am

totesTheGoat wrote:
GFox345 wrote:Again, I am a PARALEGAL at a large firm, but I have no reason to think that Associates live in misery like so many people on this site like to assume is the natural condition of all associates. I have met several senior partners that work a lot, but they still have what appears to be a happy life with a loving family. The stress load varies with the course of a given matter. You are going to get a RADICALLY different estimation of quality of life out of an associate during a trial as opposed to other times.


As somebody who also works at a large firm, I can tell you that the associates I'm surrounded with are billing 2200 hours on average. To not do so would immediately take them out of contention for partner. Assuming that they're not fraudsters, that means they're averaging 55-60 hours worked/week in order to get to 43/week billable. Some weeks more, some weeks less. No, it's not averaging 80/week or 100/week (although I just talked to some associates in my group who billed 120+ the week of their trial, so 100/week isn't unheard of). Nothing that you've said puts any dent in my personal experience that the quality of life in biglaw is awful. Perhaps your firm is better than mine at those things?

I have made friends with several of these associates, and they all indicated that law school was one of the best decisions of their lives and that they would do it again if they could.


And I'm sure that a vast majority of lottery winners say that buying the winning ticket was one of the best decisions of their lives. Not to say that law school is a gamble like a lottery ticket, but you're getting a really frickin' rosy picture when you're talking to people who got the best outcome possible out of law school.

My point is that the natural position of a reasonable person is that of skepticism - not pessimism. Just like it is not safe to assume that you'll love BigLaw, it is equally unsound to assume that you will hate it.


This is unfettered crap. The balance fallacy is strong here. It's not unreasonable to assume that most people are going to dislike a job that is notorious for destroying any sense of work-life balance.

As far as the claim that the average T-14 graduate (that takes out roughly $160k after interest and fees) is starving in the street or utterly miserable, I have yet to see evidence to substantiate it.


Beat that strawman!! Who the hell is saying that you're going to be poor if you go to a T-14 and take out $160k? Who's saying that you're guaranteed to be miserable? All we're saying is that it's extraordinarily risky, and you will be tied to a pretty big anchor, no matter your outcome.


I am no longer sure that I understand what you're saying. In the same breath you say that the quality of life at BigLaw is awful and that most people are miserable, and yet you also claim that BigLaw is the best outcome possible out of Law School. Did you mean to suggest that getting BigLaw and happening to like it is the best outcome possible out of Law School? I don't understand how having an awful quality of life and no work-life balance is analogous to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.

I am aware of the fact that 100/week is not unheard of, but it is the exception and not the rule as a lot of posters here might have you believe. If you have the ability to work remotely 55/week average is a lot, but it's not like you're killing yourself. I have been averaging just over 50 hours a week for a year now with my highest point being 90/week and my lowest around 40. And I don't work weekends at all. That is completely doable, and there is no reason to assume that you will be miserable.

Still you are right that it is too strong of a claim to say that assuming that you'll be miserable is equally unreasonable as assuming that you'll love it. But it is still unreasonable. I have already addressed your point that BigLaw "destroys work-life balance." Again, I have been working the hours that you yourself admit are the average for an associate (although I have never crossed the 120 hour week mark, but this cannot be sustained for very long for obvious biological reasons), and I feel like I have a decent work-life balance. At the very least, the imposition on my life would be remedied by the fact that I would be making such an outrageous amount of money.

You say that no one is suggesting that you are going to be poor, but yet that it is "extraordinarily risky." How exactly is taking out $160k in debt for better than a coin flip's chance at a 160k + bonus salary in your FIRST year out "extraordinarily risky"? As I've said earlier, that is a better ROI and a better chance of a positive outcome than most investments I can think of. In fact, I think the chance at BigLaw is considerably better than a coin flip because 50% of the class going into BigLaw =/= 50% of people who try to get BigLaw get BigLaw. I have met MANY law students that go into Law School with absolutely no intention of touching Biglaw. I would say it's more like 70% of all candidates try for biglaw. So if 70% try and 50% get it, your success rate is more like 70% than 50%. So you're talking about a 70% likelihood of 160k + bonus a year your FIRST year out? As in, you stand to make in total earnings the entire sum of the debt that you took out in the FIRST year (an potentially more with bonus) AND you get solid 10% Salary raises year over year assuming you stay in? I know you can't pay every cent that you earn toward your debt, but what distorted world are you living in where this is an "extraordinarily risky" investment? You are outside of your mind if you think that most investments offer better chances of great outcomes than that. Or do you think that the act of investing is always "extraordinarily risky"?

I'll be the first to tell you: if you sit around your entire life and wait for a better investment opportunity than that to come around, chances are you will die waiting.

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Kummel
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Kummel » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:48 am

GFox345 wrote:I am no longer sure that I understand what you're saying. In the same breath you say that the quality of life at BigLaw is awful and that most people are miserable, and yet you also claim that BigLaw is the best outcome possible out of Law School. Did you mean to suggest that getting BigLaw and happening to like it is the best outcome possible out of Law School? I don't understand how having an awful quality of life and no work-life balance is analogous to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.


GFox, that's pretty much what many posters are going to tell you. That "winning" the game is going to be losing. Getting BigLaw is the end game, but it sucks so you lose.

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Hikikomorist
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Hikikomorist » Thu Mar 31, 2016 10:55 am

GFox345 wrote:I am no longer sure that I understand what you're saying. In the same breath you say that the quality of life at BigLaw is awful and that most people are miserable, and yet you also claim that BigLaw is the best outcome possible out of Law School. Did you mean to suggest that getting BigLaw and happening to like it is the best outcome possible out of Law School? I don't understand how having an awful quality of life and no work-life balance is analogous to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.

You're confused how there are sometimes in life choices between only shitty options?

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GFox345
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby GFox345 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:05 am

Hikikomorist wrote:
GFox345 wrote:I am no longer sure that I understand what you're saying. In the same breath you say that the quality of life at BigLaw is awful and that most people are miserable, and yet you also claim that BigLaw is the best outcome possible out of Law School. Did you mean to suggest that getting BigLaw and happening to like it is the best outcome possible out of Law School? I don't understand how having an awful quality of life and no work-life balance is analogous to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.

You're confused how there are sometimes in life choices between only shitty options?


What you say is right if you take what I said out of context. This is my response to his claim that the associates that I know that say law school was the best decision of their lives in retrospect are just giving a rosy picture of law school because of their outcome. I really don't think people who believe that BigLaw was a shitty outcome would say that they'd do it all over again if they could unless you are such a heinous pessimist that you think that that person was just doomed to be miserable and is only saying that because it was the least shitty option on the table. Lighten up a little - Jesus!

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zhenders
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby zhenders » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:08 am

These analyses always seem to start in the wrong place, don't they? Question #1: do you want to be an attorney?

If the answer is "yes, definitely!" then it makes considerably more sense to go to the best law school you can -- because regardless how long you stay in Biglaw (or even if you don't go into it in the first place, but especially if you do) you will likely have considerably more other legal options. Exit options are real, and they don't pay nothing. Biglaw Salary for 3 years PLUS a legal job you enjoy@80k/year is, for someone who genuinely wants to be a lawyer, a pretty good trajectory.

On the other hand, that trajectory basically sucks (bearing in mind the debt load) if you don't want to be an attorney.

The reality is that the great legal jobs which people enjoy but which pay less are still being populated by top schools. These are the realities of saturated- and semi-saturated markets: the T-14 (and especially the T-6) get the first bite at most of the apples.


If you're on the fence about LS and aren't sure that you want to be an attorney, don't go. Don't go don't go don't go. Everything everyone has said about opportunity costs and debt is completely real. On the other hand if you're SURE you want to be an attorney as a career, the debt makes more sense -- but know your school's placement rates: striking out at OCI is not ideal and closes shit tons of doors.

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Kummel
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Kummel » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:09 am

GFox345 wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:
GFox345 wrote:I am no longer sure that I understand what you're saying. In the same breath you say that the quality of life at BigLaw is awful and that most people are miserable, and yet you also claim that BigLaw is the best outcome possible out of Law School. Did you mean to suggest that getting BigLaw and happening to like it is the best outcome possible out of Law School? I don't understand how having an awful quality of life and no work-life balance is analogous to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.

You're confused how there are sometimes in life choices between only shitty options?


What you say is right if you take what I said out of context. This is my response to his claim that the associates that I know that say law school was the best decision of their lives in retrospect are just giving a rosy picture of law school because of their outcome. I really don't think people who believe that BigLaw was a shitty outcome would say that they'd do it all over again if they could unless you are such a heinous pessimist that you think that that person was just doomed to be miserable and is only saying that because it was the least shitty option on the table. Lighten up a little - Jesus!


There's also a bit of self-selection on here. I think people who hate their jobs are more likely to find an outlet to vent about it with other people in similar situations. Those who actually don't mind their job are probably not here

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pancakes3
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby pancakes3 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:12 am

Just a minor quibble in that striking out at OCI is the symptom but not the cause. The cause is either (1) you've got shite grades or (2) you've got shite interviewing/people skills. Of course being at a T3/T6/T10/T14 offsets those to varying degrees but once you're past the T14, you've got to be perfect AND lucky.

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby abl » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:17 am

DCfilterDC wrote:
GFox345 wrote:I am no longer sure that I understand what you're saying. In the same breath you say that the quality of life at BigLaw is awful and that most people are miserable, and yet you also claim that BigLaw is the best outcome possible out of Law School. Did you mean to suggest that getting BigLaw and happening to like it is the best outcome possible out of Law School? I don't understand how having an awful quality of life and no work-life balance is analogous to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.


GFox, that's pretty much what many posters are going to tell you. That "winning" the game is going to be losing. Getting BigLaw is the end game, but it sucks so you lose.


There are much better outcomes than biglaw. They're hard to find and harder to land, but they're definitely out there. Biglaw is only the "endgame" for folks with little imagination or few other choices (or for the rare lawyer who really likes biglaw).

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Hikikomorist
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Hikikomorist » Thu Mar 31, 2016 11:21 am

GFox345 wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:
GFox345 wrote:I am no longer sure that I understand what you're saying. In the same breath you say that the quality of life at BigLaw is awful and that most people are miserable, and yet you also claim that BigLaw is the best outcome possible out of Law School. Did you mean to suggest that getting BigLaw and happening to like it is the best outcome possible out of Law School? I don't understand how having an awful quality of life and no work-life balance is analogous to purchasing a winning lottery ticket.

You're confused how there are sometimes in life choices between only shitty options?


What you say is right if you take what I said out of context. This is my response to his claim that the associates that I know that say law school was the best decision of their lives in retrospect are just giving a rosy picture of law school because of their outcome. I really don't think people who believe that BigLaw was a shitty outcome would say that they'd do it all over again if they could unless you are such a heinous pessimist that you think that that person was just doomed to be miserable and is only saying that because it was the least shitty option on the table. Lighten up a little - Jesus!

Nah, that seems pretty reasonable to me. If I'm "lucky," I'm sure I'll be one of the people saying it after law school.

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fliptrip
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby fliptrip » Thu Mar 31, 2016 12:07 pm

GFox345 wrote:You say that no one is suggesting that you are going to be poor, but yet that it is "extraordinarily risky." How exactly is taking out $160k in debt for better than a coin flip's chance at a 160k + bonus salary in your FIRST year out "extraordinarily risky"?


This is ultimately a religious debate. Whether or not $160k is a good investment for a 70% chance at landing biglaw salaries for 2 years is absolutely a settled question. The answer is yes, on the numbers. Anything beyond that is how someone feels about the job, the hours, the work, etc. You will never be able to argue someone down who honestly feels their investment and carrying the debt isn't worth it, so there's little point in trying. Ultimately...you've gotta make up your own damn mind...


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asdfdfdfadfas
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby asdfdfdfadfas » Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:57 pm

zhenders wrote:These analyses always seem to start in the wrong place, don't they? Question #1: do you want to be an attorney?

If the answer is "yes, definitely!" then it makes considerably more sense to go to the best law school you can -- because regardless how long you stay in Biglaw (or even if you don't go into it in the first place, but especially if you do) you will likely have considerably more other legal options. Exit options are real, and they don't pay nothing. Biglaw Salary for 3 years PLUS a legal job you enjoy@80k/year is, for someone who genuinely wants to be a lawyer, a pretty good trajectory.

On the other hand, that trajectory basically sucks (bearing in mind the debt load) if you don't want to be an attorney.

The reality is that the great legal jobs which people enjoy but which pay less are still being populated by top schools. These are the realities of saturated- and semi-saturated markets: the T-14 (and especially the T-6) get the first bite at most of the apples.


If you're on the fence about LS and aren't sure that you want to be an attorney, don't go. Don't go don't go don't go. Everything everyone has said about opportunity costs and debt is completely real. On the other hand if you're SURE you want to be an attorney as a career, the debt makes more sense -- but know your school's placement rates: striking out at OCI is not ideal and closes shit tons of doors.


How can you say with any degree of certainty that you want to be an attorney, without actually being an attorney? There is a big difference between actually being an attorney and what your idealized perception of what being an attorney entails.

It's really a leap of faith based on what you have read and other people's experiences with the downside, given 150K+ in debt, of possibly setting yourself back multiple years. NO one is going to feel sorry for you if you borrowed that money and are working a job paying you 40-55k. Try grinding down 150k on 40-55k a year.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:17 pm

There are degrees of uncertainty, though. Some people actually do work with lawyers and get some familiarity with the field before school. Some choose law because of Suits/Law and Order/it seems like a respectable office job that makes you money. All of them may end up hating law, but the former group probably has a better shot at knowing what they want than the latter.

(I also think working some kind of career-type job before law school really helps you evaluate other careers, because if you're K-JD and never have worked a real job before, you don't have anything to compare law to or any real way to know what does/doesn't work for you.)

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Tls2016 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:22 pm

I liked my big law career but I'm a self admitted striver workaholic.

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asdfdfdfadfas
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby asdfdfdfadfas » Thu Mar 31, 2016 2:26 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:There are degrees of uncertainty, though. Some people actually do work with lawyers and get some familiarity with the field before school. Some choose law because of Suits/Law and Order/it seems like a respectable office job that makes you money. All of them may end up hating law, but the former group probably has a better shot at knowing what they want than the latter.

(I also think working some kind of career-type job before law school really helps you evaluate other careers, because if you're K-JD and never have worked a real job before, you don't have anything to compare law to or any real way to know what does/doesn't work for you.)

+1 You are right. I should have specified, I meant a large enough degree of certainty that you are willing to risk the possibility of paying back $150k in debt,in this hypothetical situation, on 40-55k a year. That situation would be misery. I think a lot of people over value the pay off and under value the risk and uncertainty. For me, the biggest problem isn't even a financial one, it's a character/ ethical one. With 150k hanging over your head, you are, in my opinion, a lot more likely to be more complacent with unethical behavior. Also, if it wasn't about the money for the schools, why not make some agreement that if I get biglaw you can have x% of my salary until you are paid back? The school's financial situation should be tied to the outcome.

Plus, back to the intern example, just because you went and interned somewhere doesn't mean you will get a job there or that your experience was representative of what an actual Attorney does there or at other firms.

Thanks for the correction Nony.

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby GFox345 » Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:36 pm

asdfdfdfadfas wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:There are degrees of uncertainty, though. Some people actually do work with lawyers and get some familiarity with the field before school. Some choose law because of Suits/Law and Order/it seems like a respectable office job that makes you money. All of them may end up hating law, but the former group probably has a better shot at knowing what they want than the latter.

(I also think working some kind of career-type job before law school really helps you evaluate other careers, because if you're K-JD and never have worked a real job before, you don't have anything to compare law to or any real way to know what does/doesn't work for you.)

+1 You are right. I should have specified, I meant a large enough degree of certainty that you are willing to risk the possibility of paying back $150k in debt,in this hypothetical situation, on 40-55k a year. That situation would be misery. I think a lot of people over value the pay off and under value the risk and uncertainty. For me, the biggest problem isn't even a financial one, it's a character/ ethical one. With 150k hanging over your head, you are, in my opinion, a lot more likely to be more complacent with unethical behavior. Also, if it wasn't about the money for the schools, why not make some agreement that if I get biglaw you can have x% of my salary until you are paid back? The school's financial situation should be tied to the outcome.

Plus, back to the intern example, just because you went and interned somewhere doesn't mean you will get a job there or that your experience was representative of what an actual Attorney does there or at other firms.

Thanks for the correction Nony.


I get the impression from LST that ending up making 40 - 55k/year out of a T-14 is a rather unlikely outcome unless you intentionally seek some sort of low-paying PI work (which people do), but for some people that is the desired outcome to begin with.

You are right that there is no way to know that you actually want to be an attorney without being one, but I think that working in the field with actual attorneys and getting their opinions is as close as you can get. I understand that I am taking a leap of faith in going to Law School, but at some point there is a base level of uncertainty that you must accept. Short of that you'll never be able to make a single important decision in your life. The fact of the matter is that coming out of a T-14, there is a far greater chance of a good outcome than a bad one.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:01 pm

Oh, I agree that much of working with lawyers still isn't going to be enough to really know what it's like. It's much better than nothing, but not perfect. I do think if you're more working with attorneys on the same kind of thing - say you work with refugees and by extension with their lawyers - you get a better idea than if you're just an intern in a firm, though.

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby asdfdfdfadfas » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:21 pm

GFox345 wrote:
asdfdfdfadfas wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:There are degrees of uncertainty, though. Some people actually do work with lawyers and get some familiarity with the field before school. Some choose law because of Suits/Law and Order/it seems like a respectable office job that makes you money. All of them may end up hating law, but the former group probably has a better shot at knowing what they want than the latter.

(I also think working some kind of career-type job before law school really helps you evaluate other careers, because if you're K-JD and never have worked a real job before, you don't have anything to compare law to or any real way to know what does/doesn't work for you.)

+1 You are right. I should have specified, I meant a large enough degree of certainty that you are willing to risk the possibility of paying back $150k in debt,in this hypothetical situation, on 40-55k a year. That situation would be misery. I think a lot of people over value the pay off and under value the risk and uncertainty. For me, the biggest problem isn't even a financial one, it's a character/ ethical one. With 150k hanging over your head, you are, in my opinion, a lot more likely to be more complacent with unethical behavior. Also, if it wasn't about the money for the schools, why not make some agreement that if I get biglaw you can have x% of my salary until you are paid back? The school's financial situation should be tied to the outcome.

Plus, back to the intern example, just because you went and interned somewhere doesn't mean you will get a job there or that your experience was representative of what an actual Attorney does there or at other firms.

Thanks for the correction Nony.


I get the impression from LST that ending up making 40 - 55k/year out of a T-14 is a rather unlikely outcome unless you intentionally seek some sort of low-paying PI work (which people do), but for some people that is the desired outcome to begin with.

You are right that there is no way to know that you actually want to be an attorney without being one, but I think that working in the field with actual attorneys and getting their opinions is as close as you can get. I understand that I am taking a leap of faith in going to Law School, but at some point there is a base level of uncertainty that you must accept. Short of that you'll never be able to make a single important decision in your life. The fact of the matter is that coming out of a T-14, there is a far greater chance of a good outcome than a bad one.


Based on the numbers of Fedclerk+Biglaw, I'd say you have a 50/50 chance of not getting either of those. Remember that some of those 50% who did get those jobs had connections. So we are talking, without connections, from a statistical standpoint, you have less than a chance of a coin flip of getting Biglaw even if you get T-14. There is a thread on here called so you want to be a NYC Corporate lawyer of a guy who literally won the law school game. I'd recommend reading it if you haven't had a chance. It's very well written.

With that being said, in my opinion, I don't think there is a far greater chance of having a good outcome than a bad one, especially considering opportunity costs. If you are not on the positive side of that you are looking at 40-55k, based on the data I have seen. It's also important to note that a lot of those people have a lot more debt than just 150k.

I am not saying you should or shouldn't do it. These are just my thoughts on it all after lurking for awhile, talking with family members who are in big law, and trying to make a decision myself.

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:35 pm

asdfdfdfadfas wrote:Based on the numbers of Fedclerk+Biglaw, I'd say you have a 50/50 chance of not getting either of those. Remember that some of those 50% who did get those jobs had connections. So we are talking, without connections, from a statistical standpoint, you have less than a chance of a coin flip of getting Biglaw even if you get T-14.

I think GFox is too optimistic but this goes too far in the other direction.

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby asdfdfdfadfas » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:40 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
asdfdfdfadfas wrote:Based on the numbers of Fedclerk+Biglaw, I'd say you have a 50/50 chance of not getting either of those. Remember that some of those 50% who did get those jobs had connections. So we are talking, without connections, from a statistical standpoint, you have less than a chance of a coin flip of getting Biglaw even if you get T-14.

I think GFox is too optimistic but this goes too far in the other direction.


I was referencing statistically from the class of 2014, I believe. I don't have the numbers right in front of me, but I ran the statistics for T-14 Biglaw+Fed from the spreadsheet and it's around 50%. Granted, obviously you have better odds the better school you go to.

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:42 pm

asdfdfdfadfas wrote:
Tiago Splitter wrote:
asdfdfdfadfas wrote:Based on the numbers of Fedclerk+Biglaw, I'd say you have a 50/50 chance of not getting either of those. Remember that some of those 50% who did get those jobs had connections. So we are talking, without connections, from a statistical standpoint, you have less than a chance of a coin flip of getting Biglaw even if you get T-14.

I think GFox is too optimistic but this goes too far in the other direction.


I was referencing statistically from the class of 2014, I believe. I don't have the numbers right in front of me, but I ran the statistics for T-14 Biglaw+Fed from the spreadsheet and it's around 50%. Granted, obviously you have better odds the better school you go to.

I think it might be higher than 50%, but even if it isn't you have to account for the fact that a meaningful percentage of people don't shoot for biglaw. Outside of maybe GULC (and I guess Michigan maybe can't figure them out) the vast majority of people in the T-14 who want biglaw are getting it.

Regarding going because you want to be an attorney: no one is just dying to be a biglaw associate. People do it because law schools is a straightforward way to a respectable career and a decent income, but there's nothing really unique about this job that differentiates it from lots of others for people who just want the decent UMC life. It does make sense to go to law school if you really want to be an attorney if you want to do something that can only be done as a lawyer, like be a public defender or prosecutor or judge or something.

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Re: Which law schools are worth 160k debt?

Postby asdfdfdfadfas » Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:45 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:Oh, I agree that much of working with lawyers still isn't going to be enough to really know what it's like. It's much better than nothing, but not perfect. I do think if you're more working with attorneys on the same kind of thing - say you work with refugees and by extension with their lawyers - you get a better idea than if you're just an intern in a firm, though.


Absolutely, I agree.




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