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Messages - stateofbeasley

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51
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Pitt vs. Penn State
« on: January 17, 2008, 04:54:33 PM »
If you are so worried about the rankings, that fact that Penn State is pouring a ton of money into the law schools and structure (including bringing in better faculty) will probably affect its ranking in the near future.

The reality is that money cannot buy prestige.  PSU can spend as much $ as they want.  This does not change the fact that Dickinson and State College are far from large legal markets and are thus unlikely to attract top students.

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I can't really think of any other school that is trying to change its reputation and status by investing so much money in facilities and faculty.

The other reality is that many other T2 schools are investing heavily in buildings and people.  For example: http://law.shu.edu/administration/alumni_relations/campaign/index.html

Choose a law school for what it is NOW, not what it might achieve in a couple years.

That being said,

For Western PA practice, Pitt is the best option.
For Central PA practice, Dickinson might be a good option, as long as there's scholarship $ involved.  Otherwise, Dickinson is just another overpriced T2 school.

52
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: 3.35/154...Any Thoughts??
« on: January 13, 2008, 07:55:17 PM »
I think people need to be realistic about the job market.  It's really tough for the majority of law graduates.

The Wall Street Journal had a very good article on the realities of the market: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119040786780835602.html.

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Evidence of a squeezed market among the majority of private lawyers in the U.S., who work as sole practitioners or at small firms, is growing. A survey of about 650 Chicago lawyers published in the 2005 book "Urban Lawyers" found that between 1975 and 1995 the inflation-adjusted average income of the top 25% of earners, generally big-firm lawyers, grew by 22% -- while income for the other 75% actually dropped.

Look at the chart comparing legal services to GDP. 

At least one of the Deans of a lower ranked school (NYLS) was well aware of the problems in the job market several years ago:

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Many students "simply cannot earn enough income after graduation to support the debt they incur," wrote Richard Matasar, dean of New York Law School, in 2005, concluding that, "We may be reaching the end of a golden era for law schools."

This is not about negativity or reducing competition in the job market. This is about informing people of the economic realities of the decision to attend law school.

53
What evidence is there to produce? What prices can you compare? This is not the same as buying a TV or car or house.

You are missing the point.  All I am saying is that people need to do their homework before signing for a huge loan.  Comparing tuition & cost of living for different schools and weighing the costs v. the benefits is the prudent thing to do.


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The OP originally asked what his chances were. He didn't ask "is it economically feasible in todays society for me to attend law school?"  The guy wants to be an attorney.


If I had told friends on August 26, 2005 that I wanted to be in New Orleans in 2 days, and they had heard that Hurricane Katrina was likely to hit around then, I'd hope that they'd warn me.  Likewise, I think that most people would want to know if their actions could put them in a really bad financial position.

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If you want to go to law school then you should. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR IT if you want to be an attorney. You have to attend law school.
...

because of some jacka$$ like yourself wants to tell them its too expensive. What are you, their mom?

More ignorance and irrelevant insults. 

In some states, you can take the bar without having attended law school.  http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0603/p13s01-lecs.html

I'm done arguing with you.  People can weigh the #'s and links I've provided and make their own decision.

54
Note to everyone who wants to actually be a successful attorney: YOU NEED SOCIAL SKILLS!!!!!!!!!!!

I think this is true.  A former boss advised me that "half of all practice is getting clients".  That means a lot of networking with other lawyers to get referrals and getting out into the community to put your name out there.

yoyodawg, you still haven't provided any evidence as to why people should go to law school just because they feel like it.  If you were buying a house or a car, you'd want to compare prices, right?  You'd want to do some research and make sure there were no problems, right?

Merely insulting people, saying things like "You're totally right...ha!" are not going to win you any arguments, here or in the courtroom (try saying that to a co-worker or worse, a judge).

55
Does it make you feel better about yourself as opposed to the person that had to pay for his or her school to accomplish their dream of becoming an attorney?

I'll tell you exactly how I feel: I see friends and co-workers barely able to make ends meet, struggling along with six figures of debt.  They've mortgaged their lives and they are miserable.

A select few made it to the top.  This is perhaps 10-15% at most.  They can pay off their loans in ten years.  The rest are not so lucky.

56
More doom and gloom.

whatifwhatifwhatif...

The difference between your "whatif" and my calculations is that my calculations are the typical case while yours are the extreme exception.  Only 10% of the class makes the top 10%.  From a T3 school like Syracuse, a shot at that 6-figure job probably requires top 5% or even top 2%. 

If you think your scenario is so great, show me some big scholarships that schools give after admissions.  Give some links to biglaw firms that hire 1L summer associates from T3 schools like Syracuse. 

I've shown hard numbers and real calculations.  You've shown absolutely nothing save one anecdote.


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Its been my experience that if you want to do something, then you should just do it. You never know whats going to happen until you actually do it.  Up until the point of action, everything is just a hypothetical.

Great! That's exactly the strategy of people who took out subprime mortgages!  I want a house!  I'll buy it!  Who cares what my earnings are and what the interest rate will be next year!  I want a plasma TV even though I have no job!  I'll put it on a credit card!  Taking actions without weighing the risks is an easy way to get into huge trouble.

57
I agree with yoyodog.  I've been reading this board for a month or two and I'm sick of the T14 snobs who look down on anyone no applying to Boalt.

This has NOTHING to do with snobbiness and EVERYTHING to do with economics.  For the record, I graduated from Temple University School of Law in 2006.  This is a Tier 2 school with a good regional rep, but nothing special nationally.

Suppose the OP gets into Syracuse Law.  The OP's LSAT/GPA aren't spectacular, but he is sort of within Syracuse's range.  http://www.law.syr.edu/overview/facts.aspx

Tuition is $41,000/year for the current 1L class.  http://www.law.syr.edu/overview/facts.aspx

Living expenses (housing, food, books, supplies, insurance, transportation) are estimated to be $16,175/year.  http://www.law.syr.edu/financialaid/attendance_costs.aspx

That's a total of $57,175/year to attend. 

Assume that the OP receives no scholarship $, which is reasonable because his #'s are not very high for Syracuse.  Assume that inflation is sufficiently low that living costs do not appreciably increase over the next 3 years.

So the OP would have to borrow about $171,525 to pay for 3 years of law school. 

If the OP borrows $61,500 in Staffords at 6.8% fixed http://www.finaid.org/calculators/loanpayments.phtml and the rest (110,025) at 8% fixed on a federal PLUS loan.  This is about 7.57% interest on the total. 

The finaid.org calculator says:

Loan Balance:  $171,525.00 
Adjusted Loan Balance:  $171,525.00 
Loan Interest Rate:  7.57%
Loan Fees:  0.00%
Loan Term:  30 years
Minimum Payment:  $50.00 

 
Monthly Loan Payment: $1,207.56 
Number of Payments:  360


 
Cumulative Payments:  $434,721.64 
Total Interest Paid:  $263,196.64 

$1,200/month IS NOT a fun amount to pay off for 30 years.  This doesn't even take into account that the PLUS loans accumulate interest while you are in school.  It's downright awful if you get a job at a small firm making 43k/year.

Suppose further that the OP decides to work for a small firm or government office in Philadelphia, for $43,000/year. After paying federal, state, and city wage tax (4.26% as of 1 Jan 2007), OP will be taking home a meager $607.55/week, or about $2,600/month [calculated at paycheckcity.com, assumptions: single taxpayer, 2 exemptions, PA resident living in Philadelphia County].

Paying 46% of your after-tax salary to service loans is horrible.  You can only get a tax deduction for $2500 in interest.  And people wonder why lawyers start doing document review.

58
mikefear,

botbot's assessment is very harsh, but I think you should listen to him (or her).  With your #'s, it is unlikely that you will get any scholarship money, even from a low ranked school.

I strongly recommend that you work for a few years and take an LSAT prep class.  The professional experience will make you much more marketable to law firms, and a higher LSAT score will give you a better shot at scholarship money.

If you really want to go to law school, be smart about it.  Mortgaging your life to a $150,000 debt for 30 years could be one of the worst mistakes ever.

59
Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Needing Honest Opinions
« on: January 06, 2008, 10:03:49 AM »
i have heard good things about cuny, but won't that lock me out of boston practice, or at least, make it difficult to break back in to massachusetts?
ld all be solved if one of the freaking umass schools would get a law program.

I don't think that CUNY will lock you out of Boston practice any more than Cardozo will.  Both CUNY and Cardozo are NYC schools, and do not have lots of pull outside their regions.

60
http://officialguide.lsac.org/

You can search for schools with admissions ranges containing your GPA/LSAT.

What might give you more options is taking a couple years to work and taking an LSAT prep class to boost your score.  Having professional work experience is a good thing for the following reasons: (1) You look more seasoned and mature to the adcoms (2) It makes your resume look better when you interview for jobs while in law school.  (3)  You have work experience to fall back on if you have a hard time finding employment after law school. 


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