Law School Discussion

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Messages - veganvenus

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11
Studying and Exam Taking / Re: Tips for how to not dwell
« on: May 10, 2007, 04:30:57 PM »
Beer.

12
General Board / Re: Smoking Ban
« on: May 10, 2007, 04:28:34 PM »
Also, if you knew how to read, you would see that I qualified my sentence with the words "to me."  I know that courts have disagreed with this viewpoint - as well as the one about the FCC's being unconstitutional - so don't bother being condescending to me.  It's called having an opinion, and has nothing to do with my not knowing how the Constitution has been interpreted.

You can articulate your own policy reasons for disagreeing with it all you want.  It doesn't make it unconstitutional.  I think it is telling that you cited the First Amendment for your FCC argument, but have yet to point to a single Constitutional provision restricting the ability of the states, or of Congress, to legislate against taste.  Or, for that matter, any Constitutional provision saying the government can't legislate private behavior.

You can say "to me" until you are blue in the face, but as long as you are going to throw around terms like "unconstitutional" you'll need to assert something more than your own ideology.

13
Weil, Gotshal & Manges (New York)
1st year: $125,000
2d year: $135,000
3d year: $150,000
4th year: $165,000
5th year: $190,000
6th year: $205,000
7th year: $215,000
Bonuses in all classes

Since we're law students who will enter the workforce in 2007-2010, I don't see how salary figures from five years ago are relevant.  I'm not bored enough to go find all the problems with your numbers, but suffice it to say that your numbers for Weil are way off, so whatever your source is, it is unreliable.

Next time try this http://www.lawfirmdiscussion.com/compensation/newyork07salary.php, NALP, Infirmation.com or the company's own website, all of which indicate a starting salary of $160k for Weil.

Nearly every BigLaw firm in NY, and many in other markets pay these rates.  If you would have paid attention, we were discussing the value of the degree from top schools:  If you go to a top school and then take a job in Newark with hideously below-market pay, that is your own fault and you are not permitted to complain.  It is not relevant to the positive value of the degree.

Edited to Add: Just checked Covington and Jenner, both are also at $160k to start. 

14
General Board / Re: Where does the bottom 50% end up?
« on: May 09, 2007, 06:55:48 PM »
Are you thinking about going for a non-legal job, lg?

Nah, I'm here because I want to be a lawyer.

I'm avoiding the sweatshop firms like the plague  - I'm certainly not going to pursue the only career with worse hours than BigLaw :)

15
General Board / Re: Smoking Ban
« on: May 09, 2007, 06:51:23 PM »
To me, it is definitely unconstitutional because it boils down to this: it is the legislation of taste. 

Ummm.. what does one have to do with the other?  PLEASE tell me you haven't taken con law yet.

16
St. John's U Law School / Re: deciding on st johns
« on: May 09, 2007, 06:41:15 PM »
If you are confident that you can score higher on the LSAT (you can never be certain), and you can take some time off, then I would apply for next year.  You will likely get into more competitive schools and more $$$ from the schools which have already accepted you.

I agree.  Your law school will follow you for the rest of your life. What's one more year?

17
i think your calculations are pretty good for the most part except that they ignore interest on your loan (not that high if you truly pay it off in three years, and assuming interest was deferred until graduation):

year 1: salary 160K + 30K bonus = 190K - 40% tax = 114K
year 2: salary 180K + 30K bonus = 210K - 40% tax = 126K
year 3: salary 200K + 30K bonus = 230K - 40% tax = 138K
__________________

Total earnings [3yrs]............................. .378K
Total [3 yr] interest accrued on a 180K loan......(~30K)
Living expenses [3yrs]*...........................(~150K)
Principal.................... .....................(~180K)
---------------------------------------------------------
                                      remaining    ~48K

Assuming you were replying to me:
The $180k principle is inflated; most law schools calculate tuition + COL @ $50k/year.

My numbers actually indicated earning more in the first three years than the principal, so I built in a cushion for interest, which would not be that much after three years.  Maybe my cushion wasn't high enough, but I was assuming a chunk of the loans were federal.

Assuming your interest numbers, plugging in actual salaries, and adjusting down the principal:
year 1: salary 160K + 30K bonus = 190K - 40% tax = 114K
year 2: salary 170K + 35K bonus = 205K - 40% tax = 123K
year 3: salary 185K + 40K bonus = 230K - 40% tax = 135K
__________________

Total earnings [3yrs]............................. .372K
Total [3 yr] interest accrued on a 180K loan......(~30K)
Living expenses [3yrs]*...........................(~150K)
Principal.................... .....................(~150K)
---------------------------------------------------------
                                      remaining    +72

Of course, you're free to dispute the idea that one can live on $17k a year.  I sure haven't - but I live with a spouse who has a job, so my own situation doesn't apply.  But these are the numbers that law schools use to calculate loan amounts, so I am going to assume they have some basis.

BUT, this is the absolute best case scenario in which you land a very high paying job at a top law firm with substantial salary increases and a growing economy that permits the assumption of a consistent bonus...and of course that you remain at your job for 3 years (not burning out).  How many people actually land those jobs? Should this same calculus really apply if you're just in the top 30% of your class at a tier 2 school...? probably not.
Your point is dead-on for burning out.  My friends in BigLaw gave me the impression that it does happen, but not in the first three years.

But since my post was about T14s the rest doesn't apply.  The salary increased I talked about are set by BigLaw across the board, so those salaries and raises will happen as long as you stay.   Everyone I know who went to a T14 and wanted BigLaw got it.  Of course, maybe the people I know at, say GULC are at the top of their class, but even those at the bottom here get those offers.

Still, if these are your goals and you feel confident you can make it, then as you say its a good investment. (uh, provided you actually like being a lawyer!)
Well, again I will definitely state that it was a good investment for me.  I worked in law several years before LS, and already got my offer, so I'm pretty confident it will pay off.  I do recommend it.  A paralegal gig won't help you get into law school, but getting one at a small firm will help you see what being a lawyer is like and buy you the extra time you need to really prep for the LSATs, which leads one down the road to securing that BigLaw gig.

But as they say YMMV, and I have zero knowledge of what it is like for those at T2s or so. 

18
General Board / Re: Law Schools To Avoid At All Costs!
« on: May 09, 2007, 03:39:26 PM »
These are more clubs for rich people to network than law schools.

Wow, and all this time my parents have been pretending to be lower-middle class.  They made me make my own way through undergrad, too!  I think I need to have a long talk with them. Thank you for letting me know they lied.

19
The value of an JD from a top school is definitely positive; even it may take 15 years to break even, the average Harvard JD, e.g., will still have 25 years to retire -- time period during which his salary will likely be in the range of 100-150K as opposed to the $60-70K that he would get had he not gone to law school. 

tuition & living expenses $60,000 X 3 = $180,000
lost wages                          $40,000 X 3 = $120,000

total                                             $300,000

You're right, but I think that that is a conservative estimate of how long it will take to break even.

Starting salaries for BigLaw are actually $160k plus $30k bonus, increasing $20-$25k per year afterward.  That means that assuming a 40% tax rate and $5k/mo. living expenses, you're saving $266k in the first three years. 

Tuition + living expenses are about $50k per year, which means that most would graduate with $150k in debt. While lost wages are part of an overall calculus, they aren't part of student loans.  If one lives frugally (which I'd imagine few first year biglaw associates do), you could really pay off those loans in two years.  Even at the high COL numbers above, you're paid off in three.

If you're calculating 'break even', not actual loan debt, you will factor in lost wages, but not living expenses, which you would have had to pay whether you were a law student or not.  $33k/year tuition plus $40k/year of lost wages comes out to $219k.  Since your salary was increased the first year by $150k - let's say $125k to optimistically assume three years of raises you missed - the degree pays for the expenses and missed opportunities in two years. 

If it wasn't so much work it would be one of the best investment opportunities there is.

The other thing about "top" schools is they have better loan forgiveness programs.  If you're not making the big bucks from these schools, odds are good that you're choosing to take a do-gooder job.  The calculus still works, since much of your loan debt then gets paid by the school.

ETA: Of course, not everyone is going to be as diligent about saving; I'm sure many see that paycheck and change their style of living dramatically, or are influenced by the culture to live high (I know a lot of i-bankers who fell pray to that) Furthermore, the rates of loan interest vs. savings interest may not make that the wisest use of your money.  This is not really intended to be 'how long will you be in debt' as much as addressing the question of whether T14s are worth the high tuition.

I'm two years in.  Law School was one of the best decisions I ever made.

20
General Board / Re: Where does the bottom 50% end up?
« on: April 26, 2007, 03:30:45 PM »
My real world experience is that a law degree doesn't help you find non-legal work. It's OK if you don't take this as the final word--after all, this is the anonymous internet and I could be a 12-year-old kid pretending to be a law school graduate--but what you should do is find real people who graduated from law school and who weren't able to find work in law. Ask them how their law degree helped them. Some of them will be dishonest becauase no one likes to admit they made mistakes in life. But hopefully some will tell you the truth I'm trying to tell you.

Like many other things, this depends on the reputation of your law school. I cannot speak to how far a T2-4 JD will get someone outside law, but our campus is crawling with i-banks and other businesses trying to woo us away from legal practice.

Your 'truth' is limited to situations similar to your own.

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