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Messages - Burning Sands

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Current Law Students / Re: Sage advice for soon to be 1L's
« on: July 15, 2005, 09:27:55 AM »
Yup. I saved all those days I could be absent in class for finals time. I stayed away from school around finals time. I had pages of my outline stolen. People were desperate at my school. I hung out on the top floors of the undergrad library and studied for my finals because people were calling me at home. I wonder if exam time will be that bad in our second and third years.

No Sh!T!!!!!  People get crazy desperate around finals.  This dude I had studied with periodically during the semester turned into this outline monster, demanding outlines from everybody in sight.

When that realization sets in that you're not 100% before finals, you can see some pretty crazy things in law school.

Current Law Students / Re: Sage advice for soon to be 1L's
« on: July 15, 2005, 09:24:02 AM »
Don't let your classmates stress you out, especially around finals.

In fact, the day of finals DO NOT talk to any other law students, period.

Current Law Students / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 15, 2005, 09:22:35 AM »
Quinten & Midwest - I'm trying to tell you guys this is very much reality, straight from the horse's mouth.  I'm sitting next to an attorney right now as we speak.  He worked for White & Case for 5 years before coming here (in house counsel) and he said in actuallity the 74k number seemed about right, if not a little higher than what he used to take home.

Another attorney here came from Sullivan & Cromwell, she said the same thing.

And besides, this should be second nature to you by now if you are working.  If you went straight from undergrad to law school then it probably looks unreal but having come from corp. america prior to law school, even I can tell you that your base salary & your take home are two different animals.

Just make it easy on yourself and call it the top 10%

Current Law Students / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 13, 2005, 07:34:55 PM »
Yeah, if you don't have an ENRON 401k company backing you, you'll be alright.

They did a study recently on channel 5 (NYC) that said in order for you to live well in Manhattan, you would need to CLEAR $500,000 a year after taxes.  But that's NYC for you.  It costs too much to live out here.  People out here don't believe it when I tell them what I used to pay for rent back in the Midwest.

Current Law Students / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 13, 2005, 02:16:07 PM »
After federal & state taxes (especially in New York) and your other deductions you can turn $125,000 a year into $65,000 real quick.

sands, is it not that something is not right here?

If you mean do I think it's not right as in "the system" then yes. I think its messed up.  Why the government needs that much of your money I will never understand.  And how you can take six figures and turn it upside down into almost 1/2 of its original value is another magic trick that I'd like to congratulate Uncle Sam on accomplishing.

Ok, maybe I am missing something.

125k puts me in the 28% tax bracket. Plus 3% for Illinois state income tax = 31%

so 69% of 125k is about $7100 per month....
As opposed to the $1800 or so per month that I used to make with $30k per year. That's a hell of a difference and it still sounds pretty good to me.

Widwest, please allow me to correct the slight miscalculation of a fellow law student.

You are correct about the 28% tax bracket, but incorrect in the full application of the 28% tax bracket.

Let's assume that we're all geniuses and also assume that we get very lucky and we all end up at Cravath as a 1st year associate in the heart of Big Law Capital (aka - New York City). 

We all start at $125,000 a year.

(so far so good)

Oh but then comes in Uncle Sam.  (not good) and Sam says congrats kid, you're now in the 28% tax bracket, which means give me $14,325 OFF TOP...PLUS 28% of everything you make above $70,350. 

Everything we make above 70,350 is 125,000-70,350 = 54,650.  28% of 54,650 = $15,302. 

Now when you add our $15,302 to what we originally had to give off top according to the tax bracket we're in ($14,325) we get $15,302 + $14,325 = $29,627.  Let's just call it 30k.

So now, already, the Feds have hit us up for 30k off the top. That takes our $125,000 to $125,000-$30,000 = $95,000.  AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN GOT TO STATE TAXES YET.

So, not to be outdone, here comes Mr. State of NY and he says, oh good job kid, I see you're a new corporate lawyer making $125,000 of taxable income, why don't you give me $6,532 off top PLUS 8.54% of anything you make over $100k.  Add all that mess up, that equals another $8,667, let's just call it 9k.

So take our $95,000 and take away another 9k and we have $86,000 as take home....

...Oh but wait, this is all assuming you have $0.00 in a 401k, mutual funds, IRA's, health care deductions, dental plan, optical plan, and other benefits.  The average person throws in 10% to a 401k ($12,500), which would take $125,000 down to $112,500.  Assume all the other deductions round us out to an even 105k, and then we have to do the whole Fed Tax & State Tax thing all over again.  All of that mumbo jumbo brings our take home salary to somewhere around $74,000 a year.

Now you see how we can go from $125,000 a year down to $74,000 a year.

However, on a positive note, this is all TAKEHOME.  So you divide $74,000 by 12 months, and you're looking to take home over $6,000 a month.  That's 6 G's in your pocket each month.

I don't know about you, but that still sounds pretty good to me considering my take home before coming to law school was about 1/3 of that.

Current Law Students / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: July 13, 2005, 10:44:14 AM »

I plan to work in big law for 3-4 years then switch to in-house stuff.  I am going in with my eyes open, knowing that biglaw probably going to suck.  However, I've worked 55 hours a week for $30,000.  I think I can work 55-65 for $125,000 plus bonuses!  hello. Then maybe after a few years I can open my own firm because I'll have money saved up from working in BigLaw.

It must be the mid-west connection b/c I said the exact same thing when I decided to finally go to law school. I used to work at an engineering firm making not much more than what you just said, and I used to average 55 hr/wk, so I figured a few more hours for 3 times the salary...not bad mathematically speaking.

But there is ONE LITTLE THING that is overlooked with that statement...good ol' Uncle Sam, and his annoying kid brother, FICA.  When you're in the 29 - 70k tax bracket, things don't look "so" bad.  You still get taxed, and you complain about it, but its doable.  When you move over that 70k mark, you get straight up raped on taxes.  After federal & state taxes (especially in New York) and your other deductions you can turn $125,000 a year into $65,000 real quick.  Oh and by the way, bonuses are taxed at 45% (because they haven't taken enough from you already).

Now, if you're like me, 65 grand a year in take home is not bad, and you won't hear me complaining, but its not exactly the lottery either.

Current Law Students / Re: What's Your 1L Cirriculum?
« on: July 12, 2005, 11:15:09 AM »
Not at all, MidWest. We have the exact same first semester.

Rutgers - Newark:

Fall Semester
Torts - 4
Property - 4
Contracts - 4
Crim Law - 3
Legal Research & Writing - 1
16 hours

Spring Semester
Civ Pro - 5
Con Law I & II - 5
Professional Responsiblity/Tax/ADR/Jurisprudence (elective) - 3
Legal Research & Writing - 2
15 hours

Law School is a crash course in time management.  Especially 1L.  The advice so far on this thread has been excellent.  I can only add a few things that worked for me as far as briefing/reading cases v. commercial supplements.

A brief overview of the entire class is always helpful, and you can get that from looking through the supplements and getting familiar with legal terms/concepts up front.  However, case briefing is an Art that you NEED to learn how to do.  You don't have to do it for the entire year (in fact, you shouldn't because your time will be better spent on practicing exams at the end of the semester than reading cases) but it is something that you need to learn how to do. 

If I may borrow an analogy from cars (one of my favorite hobbies), learning to brief on your own is like learning to drive stick.  Its tough at first, and you're gonna mess it up, but you gotta learn the basics.  Learning from commercial supplements only would be like learning to drive automatic only - all the work is already done for you (automatically) and you get to where you're trying to go just fine, but the final exam is an F1 race course and F1's only come in stick.  The bronze, silver and gold medals go to those who are most familiar with how to drive using the basics.

Like I said before, you do not, and should not, continue to read & brief every single case for the remainder of the year once you get the basics down.  Only you will know when that time comes for you to switch over.  For some people they stop briefing by the end of the first month.  That's cool if you've mastered how to find the issue and the black letter law of a case in a month's time, but most 1L's are not quite there yet.  I'd say as a general rule, by about mid-semester you should be able to make the switch over to "automatic" without hurting your chances in "the race."  Because at that point, you need to spend less time reading and more time preparing your outline, using flashcards, meeting with study groups AND, most importantly, taking practice exams.

I was very cautious at first, because I felt like if I didn't brief every single little case then I was somehow cheating myself or taking the easy way out. Not true.  In fact, if I could do it all over again, I wouldn't have briefed 1/2 the cases that I ended up briefing.

The one exception: Constitutional Law.  I found that in order to thoroughly analyze and understand a Con Law case, I had to first read the commercial brief to get a general understanding AND THEN read the pertinent parts of the actual case.  Con Law cases are crazy.  There's always 3 or 4 concurring opinions and 3 or 4 dissenting opinions and plurality opinions and majority opinions...and what will really piss you off is that each Supreme Court Justice feels the need to expand on their view for about 20-30 pages.  You can easily have a 165 page Con Law case.  It will be tempting to just read the commercial brief only, but if you do, you will miss the nuggets of info that will build into your arsenal of understanding come exam time.

I guess since we have to throw out credentials here for credibility's sake, I started off rocky like most 1L's but did end up doing very well at the end of my 1L and made Law Review.

P.S. - One last thing, read the section on how to write a law school exam in the back of the Torts E&E by Glannon. I never made less than a B+ on a law school exam after I read that. He breaks down the common mistakes that law students make (and that I made) when attempting to write a law school exam. It may sound crazy now, but knowing the law and writing a law school exam are two completely different things.

Current Law Students / Re: Sage advice for soon to be 1L's
« on: July 11, 2005, 12:24:45 PM »

Lastly, don't take advice from C students, unless they have raised their grades to A's.  Watch out because you don't know who you are getting advice from when you get to school.


As a 1L, you're going to hear 1001 pieces of advice from 1001 different people.  Know who you're talkin to and act accordingly.

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