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Author Topic: Living expenses during law school  (Read 2901 times)

chvis

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Living expenses during law school
« on: January 06, 2011, 11:37:02 AM »
I'm not the law student, my husband is (he's too busy working/studying right now to post this himself, ha). We own a house / have a mortgage, have a car loan (which is nearly paid off), and he is working full-time while attending school part-time (he's a 1L). He also has a partial scholarship - the highest that can be awarded without attending full-time. Does anyone have any suggestions for how we might be able to cope expenses so he can attend school full-time and quit his job? I know the potential is there for additional loans, but is that really the way to go? And what does that entail? (P.S.: Selling our home is not an option right now, as we've only owned it for two years and would lose more money that it would be worth.) Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Hamilton

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Re: Living expenses during law school
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 12:37:13 PM »
OK, you may not like this post, but its not made out of malice...

He works full time... is it a decent job?  Is it a career?  How old is he?  Kids?  Is he going to a T1, T2, T3/4?  What does "partial scholarship" mean?  What are his salary goals upon graduation?

These elements all factor into the equation.  My knee-jerk reaction is to not take on any debt for law school... especially if he is older, has a decent job, and is playing the bonus round hoping to level-up career-wise.  He may need his current job when he gets done, its a grim employment marked for fresh JDs... especially those expecting to make more than $60K out of the gate.

Also, being underwater on the home mortgage is a big factor - you do not want to get yourseld in such a financial hole that you cannot get out of it or possibly lose home.  Need to think about the real possibility of coming out of law school with about $100K in debt and slim job prospects in the field.  Now, not only have mortgage, but big stuent loan debt - what happens if no law job found, or one not found that pays enough to make the payments?

Not trying to be a downer here, but these are real considerations and real situations many JDs find themselves in.  May want to rethink the whole idea of law school... just throwing that out there.  My initial questions go toward making that assessment.

chvis

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Re: Living expenses during law school
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 12:59:50 PM »
He's only 26, we have no kids, and although he enjoys what he's doing, it's not something he wants to continue doing for the rest of his life. He's currently in the second semester of his first year and does not plan on quitting school if he can't go full-time, it would just be a lot less stressful if he COULD go full-time. The "partial scholarship" is $6,000 a year toward $20,000/year tuition. Although he'd like to come out making more, we're not assuming that will happen and would be fine with him coming out making 60K. The goal of him going to law school wasn't to become rich.

I appreciate the input, though, because these are all factors we've been thinking about, too!

OK, you may not like this post, but its not made out of malice...

He works full time... is it a decent job?  Is it a career?  How old is he?  Kids?  Is he going to a T1, T2, T3/4?  What does "partial scholarship" mean?  What are his salary goals upon graduation?

These elements all factor into the equation.  My knee-jerk reaction is to not take on any debt for law school... especially if he is older, has a decent job, and is playing the bonus round hoping to level-up career-wise.  He may need his current job when he gets done, its a grim employment marked for fresh JDs... especially those expecting to make more than $60K out of the gate.

Also, being underwater on the home mortgage is a big factor - you do not want to get yourseld in such a financial hole that you cannot get out of it or possibly lose home.  Need to think about the real possibility of coming out of law school with about $100K in debt and slim job prospects in the field.  Now, not only have mortgage, but big stuent loan debt - what happens if no law job found, or one not found that pays enough to make the payments?

Not trying to be a downer here, but these are real considerations and real situations many JDs find themselves in.  May want to rethink the whole idea of law school... just throwing that out there.  My initial questions go toward making that assessment.

BikePilot

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Re: Living expenses during law school
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 02:43:36 PM »
Student loans and scholarships are it really other than any income you may be able to contribute.  He'll be busy studying and such anyway, so you might as well put in some overtime or pick up a second job if you are able.

Student loans are generally easy to get and administered through the financial aid office of his law school.  They may not be as easy to repay though.

best of luck!
HLS 2010

PriaBee3

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Re: Living expenses during law school
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2011, 02:57:38 PM »
That is a difficult situation. If he goes full time could he receive more money from his scholarship? I would try looking into more scholarship options. Usually there are local scholarships offered and other options that you can consider. If you think in the long run him becoming a full time student would outweigh the negative aspects of taking out a loan, I would suggest doing that. Hopefully, after law school he could pay them back quickly.
Best of luck!

EarlCat

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Re: Living expenses during law school
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2011, 04:07:05 PM »
The part time programs I looked at were all 4 years long.  A full-time program would be 3 years.  So in return for the 3 years of surrendered income from his current job (2L through 4L) plus the additional 2 years of debt to replace at least some of that income, he gets the JD (and presumably a job as a lawyer) one year earlier. 

So if he makes, say, $40,000 per year after taxes, that's an $120,000 opportunity cost (the money he would have made over the next three years) to go full time plus whatever debt (say $30,000) that would be needed to keep the lights on.  (I'll assume for a moment the difference in tuition/scholarship is a wash)  How certain are you that his first year of pay as an entry-level lawyer (assuming he finds a job) will cover the difference?  He'd have to pull at least $150,000 after taxes for it to make sense. 

Granted, finances are not the only consideration.  There may be quality-of-life issues that make full-time study more desirable than part-time study plus full-time work too. 

kathlenrt

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Re: Living expenses during law school
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2011, 02:04:18 PM »
Student loans and scholarships are it really other than any income you may be able to contribute.  He'll be busy studying and such anyway, so you might as well put in some overtime or pick up a second job if you are able.

Student loans are generally easy to get and administered through the financial aid office of his law school.  They may not be as easy to repay though.

best of luck!

Thanks a bunch for posting those suggestions. They helped me a lot. ;)

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MikePing

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Re: Living expenses during law school
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2011, 05:29:37 PM »
Add to the mix that if your husband does well enough, he can get a paying summer associate position during his 2L summer. I earned 20K during my 2L summer. 

Also, if he attends full time he can work a part-time job after 1L year is complete.  Its tough, but as you are farther along in school, you become more effective. 

I went to law school with kids.  So anything I could make made a difference.  My 3L year, I clerked 20 hours a week for a firm that paid me $20 per hour.