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Author Topic: 0L with question about financing law school  (Read 1147 times)

EE2JD

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0L with question about financing law school
« on: January 25, 2008, 07:57:00 PM »
I, like every other 0L, am very concerned about how I will be financing law school.  I am in at BU, UIUC, and Univ. of Minnesota.  I would really like to go to BU or Univ. of Minnesota, but UIUC offered me a very generous scholarship.  I received $ from UMN as well but not as much.  On the BU financial aid form it states that the maximum total amount of subsidized and unsubsidized student loans allowed is ~$20K.  BU's tuition is ~$36K.  If I were to go to BU and wasn't awarded a scholarship, how could I pay for the remaining cost of tuition?  Private loans?  Do private loans accrue interest from the date at which the loan is borrowed or is it deferred until after graduation?  Either way I would anticipate at least $100K debt.  Is it worth the investment for the school?  I am an electrical engineering undergrad and plan on working in the patent litigation/prosecution field.  Any advice relating to finances would be helpful! ;D

smujd2007

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2008, 08:15:44 PM »
Private loans is probably the only option.  I would say go to the highest ranked school that gives you the most money. Also consider what you have to do to keep each scholarship.  For instance, some schools require you to keep a 3.0 or even higher GPA to maintain a scholarship.  Lower guaranteed scholarship money might be a better bet. 

Also, if you perform at the top of your class and work summers, that will help out some, as long as you don't blow your earnings.  I have a couple of classmates who did that and saved about 20-25 in debt, which is substantial.

smujd2007 is now an Attorney at Law!

Peaches

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2008, 08:22:29 PM »
GradPlus.  Go to BU.

Skallagrim

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2008, 08:25:24 PM »
IMO a legal education is a bad "investment" from a financial point of view. There are cheaper ways to make money if that's what you're looking for. In fact with an engineering degree you already have something marketable, in contrast to the vast numbers of english, poli sci, economics and history majors in law school.

I want to strongly emphasize this: you should want to go to and pay for law school because you want to be a lawyer, not because you want to make money. If you just want to make money then do not go to law school. Go be an engineer, or get some business training and be an executive at some tech place.

For your more nitty-gritty questions, you should ask your school or your lender. You should not be relying on random forum answers for a ~$100k loan.

thorc954

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2008, 08:31:08 PM »
hey, my best advice for you is to go to the best law school you get into.  Options from lower ranked schools are limited and if you are going to spend money and years on school, you want the best options you can.  However, think about what your priorities are.  Law school is expensive and time consuming and even if you go to BU, if you place outside the top 25% options upon graduation are slightly limited.  However, a degree from BU will still give you more options then the other schools.  The way I look at the application process is that if a school was willing to give me money then I certainly could be going to a better school.

Its expensive, but its worth going to the best school you can get in to.  Just take out private loans for the remaining portions.  I will owe about 200K in loan debt upon graduation, and that is before interest.  Supposedly you can make ends meet even if you do public interest, government, or small firm work upon graduation. 

When you die, you cant any money with you anyway, so you might as well spend it on an education.

EE2JD

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2008, 10:47:11 PM »
I appreciate the advice from all.  Skallagrim, I was not implying that I did not want to be an attorney.  My mention of 'investment' was in reference to the caliber of law school vs. scholarship money, not whether going to law school is a good investment.  Law school, and education in general, is most certainly an investment.  In evaluating law schools, I believe it's financially wise to consider your salary potential upon graduation; that is what I am trying to do.

kerminsky

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2008, 11:29:01 PM »
What don't you like about UIUC?  Go there and work for an IP boutique making market rates with less work pressure and stress, while not having to worry as much about paying back loans.  For someone with an EE degree, I don't think the difference between the schools matters at all.  Besides, UIUC is well known in engineering circles (your future clients).  Seriously.  These IP firms will eat up an EE with a good law school name.  Go where it's cheapest.

thorc954

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2008, 02:26:39 AM »
did you apply to GW? Some big firms will encourage GW IP kids to switch to part time, then pay just under market salary and pick up their tuition.  Its a sick deal.

jacy85

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2008, 10:13:56 AM »
Private loans do accrue interest from the date of disbursement.  And it adds up quickly.  GradPlus loans are an option, but you still need to look carefully at what your interest rate would be for private loans - it's possible your interest rate will be much lower than the fixed 8.5 GradPlus rate, although there are also other perks of the gov't loan.

Since you have an engineering degree, which is marketable (many engineers I know came out of school making really decent money), is it possible to take few years off, live frugally, save up a load of cash, and then go to law school?  If you live on a tight budget, you can put away a decent chunk of money and put off taking private loans out for as long as possible.  At the very least, you could make payments on the interest of any private loans as you go.

Peaches

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Re: 0L with question about financing law school
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2008, 10:57:28 AM »
If you do that, you may just screw yourself over for financial aid.  It would be really difficult to save up that much money anyway in just a few years, and if you're going to be making $60k more a year after you graduate, why postpone it?