« on: November 29, 2007, 01:59:20 PM »
The math seems simple enough so I would assume someone who is a paralegal (your hypo character) would be smart enough to understand the financial ramifications. That being said, why would they do it? Job satisfaction perhaps? Since economics isn't just about cash, and assuming your hypo employee isn't happy, the "bad" investment is a positive in the long run with or without the raises to $75k. Does that make sense? It's just about perspective.2LMan is right in that it is your life, do what you want for what ever reason. But if you are coming on these boards to ask "is it worth it" then maybe you already know the answer? But again, other than the debt (which really isnt that big of a deal) I can't see any down side to a law degree. Of course, I'm biased.Possible downside: you had a job as a paralegal making 30-40k in a small town before law school. You went to a mediocre school, rank 35-75. You accumulate 80k+ in debt to attend law school and now you end up back at your old small town firm starting out at 45k. In 3-5 years, youll move up to an avg pay of 75k.
In concrete terms, you lost 100k (minus 5k summer employment) in income and now have an extra ~80k in debt. This 180k was spent to increase your earning capacity twofold (ie, 35k to 75k, which technically is a bit more than twofold). It will take roughly 7 years for the investment to pay off assuming no interest. (30k for first 3 yrs, then 3.75 yrs for last 150k). With interest, you likely need 10-12 yrs to come out ahead.
Just imagine if you take out 120k for law school and you probably need 15-20 yrs before realizing the payoff. If you're a non-trad and you end up in this situation, you may not have much of a net payoff.
If the question is: How much does a law degree cost? Then debt might be an issue. If the question is: How much would you pay? Debt may not be the biggest concern. I hope to go to FSU to keep my debt down, but if they don't want me I'll go wherever I can without concern for the cost.