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Author Topic: law school debt  (Read 817 times)

lawstud80

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law school debt
« on: October 15, 2009, 11:23:02 PM »
I have been looking at the cost of law school and I have read the range of law school debt for an elite law school is typically 100k to 120k.  This seems extremely low to me and I'd like to get some feedback from people who know more about the financial aspects of going to law school.  Here is my rudimentary analysis of law school costs (not including opportunity costs):

1.  cost of tuition is approximately 45k per year --> 135k total for 3 years
2.  cost of apartment per year --> about 1,500 (more or less) per month; 54k for 3 years
3.  cost of food, and miscellaneous costs --> at least 1000 per month; 36k for 3 years

Grand Total: 225k

Somebody please tell me that this analysis is incorrect.  Of course this is assuming no scholarship, which happens to a lot of students.  But let's assume a relatively small scholarship of 15-30k and you're still looking at a whopping 200k in debt.  How come I keep reading that the total debt is only 100-120k?  How much money do you get each summer assuming you intern at a large firm?

EarlCat

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Re: law school debt
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2009, 12:21:10 AM »
Apartment and food/misc costs are way high for most cities.  I don't spend near that much in Chicago.  Get a roommate, a smaller apartment, and a Costco card.

Also, not all schools are $45k/yr.  That's the high end.

And if you can get into biglaw, you can make 20-30k your second summer to knock out or prevent some of that debt.

lawstud80

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Re: law school debt
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2009, 12:45:08 AM »
The tuition for the top schools is always around 45k nowadays. For many cities where the top schools are located (nyc, chicago, boston, DC), 1,500 is pretty reasonable for a pretty good place.  Let's say I drop that down to 800 per month for a dingy single apartment and that's 28800 for 3 years just for apartment costs.  I think 1000 isn't that far off for food and miscellaneous expenses (things add up quickly, especially when you don't really cook, and don't have the time to in law school).  But let's drop that number down to 800 per month. Using my prior calculation you still get a grand total of 192,600.  That's huge.

Are 1L and 2L summer jobs both around 20-30k, or is this only for 2L summer?

Assuming I'm lucky and I get a 30k total scholarship (10k per year), and that I can save 20k each summer (40k total), only then am I looking at about a 120k+ debt, which is manageable. But of course the chances of all this happening isn't that high, and the prospect of a 192,600 debt is something I admittedly didn't realize.

How often do people get these 30k-ish scholarships?  Also, does financial aid take into consideration your parents' wealth, even though they won't be helping to pay for law school at all and you are legally independent from them?

Ninja1

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Re: law school debt
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2009, 03:08:21 AM »
If you're worried about debt but have great numbers, go to Texas or Georgia or something. Your education will be dirt cheap (comparatively)and you'll still get an excellent degree. 
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vesperholly

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Re: law school debt
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2009, 02:17:41 PM »
I still think your numbers are too high.

Actually, that's not true. What I think is that your numbers reflect a standard of living that's going to pile up some debt. It's amazing how cheaply you can live if you really push yourself (http://www.getrichslowly.org is a great site for money management and frugal living tips, as is The Simple Dollar).

It's entirely a matter of what you're willing to tolerate. I'm a big fan of the Dave Ramsey line, "Live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else."
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lawstud80

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Re: law school debt
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2009, 07:13:20 PM »
I still think your numbers are too high.

Actually, that's not true. What I think is that your numbers reflect a standard of living that's going to pile up some debt. It's amazing how cheaply you can live if you really push yourself (http://www.getrichslowly.org is a great site for money management and frugal living tips, as is The Simple Dollar).

It's entirely a matter of what you're willing to tolerate. I'm a big fan of the Dave Ramsey line, "Live like no one else so that later you can live like no one else."


hmmm...do you think $800 per month in a major city is really that much?  I know in the DC/nyc areas, 800 is pretty low (you can only get that price by living with a roommate).  I also eat a lot so I think $600 per month for food and miscellaneous expenses is the lowest I can go.  I think for most people that number may be $300-400 per month.  Even so, the total debt is still pretty extreme for a full-time T14 program.  Just tuition alone is already above 120k.

Does anyone know the average amount of financial aid that people tend to get?  My parents are upper-middle class but they're not paying a dime.


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Re: law school debt
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2009, 11:20:13 PM »
My parents are upper-middle class but they're not paying a dime.

Some schools will count this against you.  Others will treat you like an adult.