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Messages - jakew

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: computers
« on: April 14, 2005, 02:59:54 PM »
On the Windows side I am a big fan of IBM's laptops. They are very well built - super sturdy. They are, however, expensive. Next up would be Dell, who is fairly cheap but I've seen friend after friend go through hell trying to get stuff fixed by them. Finally, Sony's notebooks are also nice, but on the expensive side... they are very sexy, though.

Now, personally I took the plunge last year and bought an Apple Powerbook. It was my first Mac, and to be completely fair, I had hated Macs for a long time... but I gave in because of all the neat little features (such as a backlit keyboard). OS X is quite awesome... if it weren't for the fact I like games I would never buy a Windows machine again (as it is, I don't think i will buy a Windows laptop since I wouldn't game on a laptop anyway). Apple's are on the expensive side, although they do have a good student discount.

Law School Admissions / Re: Spinoff- Is a JD a Master's or Doctorate?
« on: March 19, 2005, 10:35:03 AM »

The study was, as far as I can tell, commissioned to provide a comparison of educational levels. Basically, it is a nice, concise way of showing that: more education = more earnings potential. While most people probably know that already, it does provide numbers to go with that assumption.

Law School Admissions / Re: Spinoff- Is a JD a Master's or Doctorate?
« on: March 19, 2005, 10:26:14 AM »
Measuring a person's value by dollars earned is a disgusting bias in itself.
Uh, who did that?

Law School Admissions / Re: Spinoff- Is a JD a Master's or Doctorate?
« on: March 19, 2005, 10:06:26 AM »
I always thought professional degree was some kind of crazy community college style thing.  Like welding, or something like that.  Although I guess those are more often certificates than degrees....
Well, I know the Census considers JD, MD, DDS, and DVM (Vets) degrees to be "professional degrees". Community colleges usually give out two year Associates Degrees. Just because it is interesting, here is a Census study about earnings by level of education (in which they do break out JD, etc into Professional Degree):

Law School Admissions / Re: Spinoff- Is a JD a Master's or Doctorate?
« on: March 19, 2005, 08:37:48 AM »
Also, the question about what box to check when stating your highest education (masters, doctorate, etc…) does everyone agree JD’s should check masters? 

A lot of times the boxes will have a box for "professional degree", which I believe is the true category that a JD falls under (as well as MDs and Dentists, if I remember correctly)

We hijacked this thread in just under 8 minutes, which is about the time it takes me to drive from my apt to Juliet's (the nearest adult entertainment).

Well, if we are going to bring up adult entertainment I must point out that Portland has, per capita, the most strip clubs in the country. That should boost L&C, no?


Incoming 1Ls / Re: What is the best laptop to get for law school?
« on: March 01, 2005, 10:57:10 AM »
I'm a big fan of Apple's notebooks, I have a 15in Powerbook and absolutely love it. On the Windows side, I really like IBM's laptops. They are very sturdy and well built, most are quite small with great battery life. Unfortunately, both Apple and IBM would be in the higher-priced category. That said, the iBooks are pretty reasonable and Apple has GREAT student discounts (go to and click on the education store... its on the right-side bar).

I've also heard good things about Sony laptops, they are stylish and small... but again, on the expensive side.

I'm from Portland, OR and am going to undergrad in DC and would like to go to law school in Cali.

Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Is Harvard worth it???
« on: February 27, 2005, 02:08:47 PM »
DEBT: I can't understand why people freak out about student loan debt (credit card debt is another story). Student loan debt is not that big a deal. When it comes down to it, the payments might be (I am guessing) $25-$50 more per month for attending Harvard.

You have obviously never been in debt up to your eyeballs! You forget that people often also have a car payment, a mortgage, and many many many other issues to deal with.  Those debts will still be there when you're putting your kids through college (especially if he's doing public interest work), and what happens if there's an emergency and he loses a lot of cash? That's when the collection agencies start callin...

Also, the interest on a student loan is so low that it doesn't matter how far you extend it...your net loss from doing that will be negligible.

NOT TRUE.  With debt this big, you're paying interest for the first ten years practically, and paying almost nothing towards the principal.  The longer you extend the loan, the more money the mortgager makes on the interest.  It's fun to sit and say "hey, I can take out a million dollar loan, and if I have 60 years to pay it back, I'm golden."  Sure, that's fun and all, but you'll be paying back double and more of what you borrowed!  I don't know if this guy is a loan shark trying to sell you a line about this debt thing, but honest to God, unless you hit partner in 5 or 6 years, that bag of coals is gonna be there for a VERY long time.  Since I don't expect you'll be in that market, I advise the Toronto route.  PI really isn't going to frown upon you for that.  Most of them will be from even lesser schools

As stated above though, that LIPP at Harvard is a SWEET deal.  I say look into that!


I guess the perceived debt is relative, and I respect the fact that you see it as a huge albatross (SP?) weighing you down for years to come. However, I'm not a loan shark and for what it's worth and whether you believe me or not, I have had debt higher than $150K that I have paid down. It's possible and I think once you graduate you will see all the possibilities for making money that will help you pay it down. I am really trying to help people make an informed decision and although the debt looks huge to you now, I don't believe it will look that great to you in the future.

When I made my remarks, I was considering our friend's dilemma here and I was really thinking about the numbers and not much else. I'll further explain what I was thinking.

Situation upon graduation: If he does go into the public sector, I think he will start off as a GS 13, which (although I don't have the GS pay scale) I belive is about $60K.
So we have the following rough numbers:
Salary = $60K
Monthly Gross = $5K
Monthly Take Home After Taxes = $3.5

Let's assume that our friend lives comfortably, but within his means. The following represent what I believe will represent his expenses upon graduation:
Loan = $500
Car = $350
Rent / Mortgage = $1500
Food = $500
Misc. = $500
Total Exp   . = $3350

Loan: The loan amount assumes that the payments are ammortized so that he is paying less in the beginning up to probably around $700 / month toward the end of his payments. The interest on $150k paid off over 30 years at 3% (which i think is a reasonable student loan rate) will probably be around $80k, so the total amount paid off will be $230k.

Additional factor: Most top schools will grant some loan forgiveness for public sector work, so the $150k might be a lot less, but I don't know enough about that to state a figure.

Now let's say our friend stays in the public sector and climbs up the GS pay scale at the standard rate. I think, according to the GS pay scale that he will go up in salary about $5k / year, capping out at $120k in year 10 or 11. Let's be conservative and assume that he works 30 years and doesn't receive a raise after year 10 or 11. His total earnings over his career in the public sector will be around $3.25M. Plus he will have better investment options as a public sector worker, so with annuities, the public sector investment fund, and other investments, I believe that he will be ok and have a nice life. I don't think in the end that the debt he initially carries from a Harvard education will hurt him that much. I am not saying it will be pain free, but I don't think it will detract much from the quality of his life.

My point with all this is that I don't believe the debt should be a huge factor in anyone's decision. And I for one, believe that Harvard is worth it.

That's a very frugal life our friend would be living.  Amazing that he can survive on $150 a month.  I hope he doesn't have any plans to contribute towards retirement, or insurance premiums/co-pays, or buys gifts for others, or has a girlfriend, or has an internet connection beyond dial-up, or buys clothing, or has a social life, or has anything in his house to buy/maintain, or any number of other factors.  $650/month is do-able, yes, as is walking around with a thumb tack in the bottom of your foot for 10 years, but is spending a decade in either situation truly worth it?  Maybe going to the Toronto law school and living happily for those 10 years would provide the opportunity cost necessary to change his mind.  I for one don't believe prestige is enough to make me happy, nor pay my bills.  Then again, I'm no XOXOHTH fellow myself...

Furthermore, I don't agree with the $120K after 10 years bit, otherwise people wouldn't always moan about how hard it is to pay for everything on a PI salary.  I'm sure some very lucky people make it there, but it'll take much more than a degree from Hahvahd.

Well, I have no idea how fast one can move up the GS pay scale, but GS13 is indeed over 60k. In fact, for the DC area GS13 step 1 is $74,782. GS13 step 10 is almost $100,000 and GS14 and 15 can go up well over $100.

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