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Author Topic: Well, I got into law school...  (Read 9134 times)

FalconJimmy

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2011, 12:50:06 PM »
How is $140K a "BIG" investment? It's one years salary.

for maybe the top 50% at HYS, yeah.  For maybe the top 30% of the rest of the T14, yeah.  for those of us in T3 and T4 schools, maybe, maybe 1 or 2 people in the class might make this.  Maybe.

the rest will probably be working for something in the neighborhood of 40-60.

jack24

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2011, 02:15:26 PM »
You are right, $140K is not a "big" investment... it's a HUGE risk if you are looking at a T3/4 or non-ABA school.  It is not one years salary either, especially if it was borrowed.  At best, starting salary is realistically $80K, at best.  After taxes that is now about $45K take home. Factor in rent and other living expenses and there is not a whole lot left for loan payments.   In the mean time, that $140K is accruing about 8% interest - so it's a festering growing boil that does not quickly go away.  After loan payments, there is not a whole lot left for improving one's quality of life (nice car, vacation, travel, etc.).

It's not like one gets a job making $140K, throws all of that money at the loan, and it is gone in one year.

How is $140K a "BIG" investment? It's one years salary.


$140,000 in debt is $998 a month for 25 years. (Total payment amount of $299,531)
Or it's $1,093 for 20 years (Total payments of $262,521)
Or it's $1,632 for 10 years (total payments of $195,929)

At my T2 school, about 10% of graduates start in the 100,000+ range,  the next 20% or so start in the 75,000-90,000 range, and the other 70% of graduates fight for the same 40,000-65,000 per year jobs.

If you are fortunate enough to average $75,000 over 10 years, then your monthly take-home would be between $4,000 and $5,000 a month.

$4500
-1400/mo mortgage
-400/ mo food
-400/ mo cars
-150/mo insurance
-400/mo phones and utilities
=$1750 a month left over for everything else.
How much of that $1750 are you really going to be able to/want to put on student loans?  That's why so many people do IBR or a 25 year term and end up paying nearly double their principal amount because of interest.

That is a massive investment for 90% of graduates.


*EDIT*
My monthly take home is pretty favorable but that is based on the idea that your mortgage interest and student loan interest would be deductible.  That also doesn't include any retirement, insurance, or other very likely withholdings from your paycheck.

 



fortook

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #42 on: August 09, 2011, 04:03:23 PM »
I'm not saying you're wrong at all, I agree with you.  Anything over 100K is a massive, life long investment.

Some of your bills are unnecessary and some are inflated.  Why would anyone pay $400 a month for a car unless you have money to burn, which you can't with debt.  Are you leasing a new car?  If so, you are paying way too much, both in total and monthly, unnecessarily.  $400 a month in phone and utilities?  How is that even possible?  There is no need to pay anymore than $50 a month per phone.  Are you heating a castle or something (oh and if your are using AC, why?- its the most unnecessary wasteful thing ever- just a minority opinion I know) ?  $400 in food?  You must have a large family or eat out every night.

Like I said, I agree with you.  Your point is well made, but if these are your real number, then you could easily cut your expenses in half and put more toward your loans.  Fyi.  Good luck.
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jack24

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #43 on: August 09, 2011, 06:42:36 PM »
I'm not saying you're wrong at all, I agree with you.  Anything over 100K is a massive, life long investment.

Some of your bills are unnecessary and some are inflated.  Why would anyone pay $400 a month for a car unless you have money to burn, which you can't with debt.  Are you leasing a new car?  If so, you are paying way too much, both in total and monthly, unnecessarily.  $400 a month in phone and utilities?  How is that even possible?  There is no need to pay anymore than $50 a month per phone.  Are you heating a castle or something (oh and if your are using AC, why?- its the most unnecessary wasteful thing ever- just a minority opinion I know) ?  $400 in food?  You must have a large family or eat out every night.

Like I said, I agree with you.  Your point is well made, but if these are your real number, then you could easily cut your expenses in half and put more toward your loans.  Fyi.  Good luck.


Yeah, and I also left out a lot of expenses.  Do you have a family?  Do you actually know how much utilities cost for a normal sized house (electric, maybe Gas, water, sewer, garbage.)   Even if you are a penny pincher your utilities will be around 200 a month for a 2500 + square foot house.  I lived in a 600 square foot apartment and electric alone averaged around 75 bucks and water was 50.    I'm not trying to pick a fight here, but Saying A/C is unnecessary and wasteful is incredibly naive.  First, I live in the southwest, second I have small children.  It's 108 outside right now and I'm supposed to tell my 2 year old to use a fan? If my wife is home with the kids she's just supposed to leave the thermostat at 90?  You aren't going to be single forever, or maybe you will if you don't ever use A/C.  I'm including cell phones in that phone analysis for me and my wife.  Our combined bill is around 125 bucks because I have to have a smart phone for my job.  You might be able to cut two lines with smart phones down to 100 bucks if you get the right plan. 

Maybe you have a sugar momma, but most likely you'll have two cars in your family someday and those cars have payments, insurance, gas, and upkeep.  Yeah, gas.  If you commute 30 minutes to work like me then your gasoline bill will be between 150 and 200 a month.  I'm not leasing a mercedes here or something..  I pay 120 a month for a honda, 90 a month for my wife, 92 a month for insurance, and 175 a month for gas.  Maintenance is around 400 a year, so that's actually over $500 a month for transportation expenses.

$400 a month in food is only 12 bucks a day genius.  Cereal for breakfast, PB&J for lunch, and fried chicken for dinner almost costs that much for four people.   Take the wife out for subway sandwiches and your whole day is blown.

Also, I didn't include entertainment, clothing (some years are expensive for a lawyer even if you're cheap), dental bills, internet, possibly TV, potential homeowners association dues, gifts, and any vacations you might ever want to take.   Maybe your wife will work and make 50 grand.  Well she'll get taxed to death since you make so much money.  Daycare is a money suck.

The point is, living on $3000 a month net for a small family is no small task.
 

fortook

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #44 on: August 09, 2011, 07:19:52 PM »
Hmmm.  I thought I was being soft enough to be helpful rather than piss you off- guess not.  It's okay.  Look, you don't have to defend yourself, but most of us in the US pays 10X more than is necessary.  You can buy a very reliable car for $5K with only liability and be totally fine.  Nissan makes a $4K new car and does not market it in the US because they know we will pay 10X as much on average.  THEY KNOW IT.

Human beings have lived for a long time without AC.  It is a luxury, an unhealthy one at that. You get used to summer if you don't isolate yourself from it, it isn't that bad even in the S East.  Really, you and your kids would be totally fine without it.  One quick question on the AC issue:  Do you think its healthy not to sweat for decades?  Millions of people don't.  I know I'm a freak on this issue, the US has become AC addicted and some how many people do consider it a necessity.  Personally, I hate AC and wish it had never been invented. But hey, it is the middle of summer and I wear a wool suit to the courthouse.  Makes perfect sense.

Onto food expenses, come on you really don't think $100 per person per month two of whom are kids is expensive?  Okay, I'll give it to ya.  I don't agree, but oh well. All subway all day would be cheaper.  It cost Jared less.

Phone, I pay $25 a month and use a smart phone.  I have to have only for my job too. The three big companies charge crazy amount for services you can buy elsewhere.  Utilities, AC might be a huge gulper there.  Solar panels still seem too hippieish for some people, but if it pays for itself in two years-  I don't know.  I hope you enjoy your house, it sure is expensive. 

Lastly, how to say this?  Your response reeks of character assassination and credibility undermining rhetoric.  Not kool, man and totally unnecessary.  Why would I fight with you over what you pay?  If you want to pay more than you need for things that aren't necessary, then by all means be my guest.  It's the American way, isn't it? You are entitled to an opinion, but then so am I.  Also, I was kind of hinting that your estimates were inflated, presumably, to strengthen your point. Hence the questioning, but oh well.  Don't you love the circle. Cheers.
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Duncanjp

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2011, 01:40:35 AM »
Duncan, you're obviously a very intelligent person.  Our stories are remarkably similar.  I'm not even that far away from you as far as age goes.  You've obviously made an informed decision and are comfortable with the various risks involved.

Personally, although there may be a very small set of people for whom a non-ABA school may be appropriate, that set is probably very, very small. 

To me, the frightening thing is that it severely narrows your options.  Going to an ABA school may be problematic, and I think everybody should be aware of the potential pitfalls.  (My opinion?  Half of current law grads are probably going to be very disappointed at their professional lives after graduation.)

The thing that would frighten me about a non-ABA school is that as daunting as the prospects are for ABA-school grads, they're probably an order of magnitude worse for non-ABA grads. 

I have ideas of what I would like to do upon graduation, but who knows.  I have other options.  I can try to go JAG corps.  I can try to apply for work in the federal government.  Just off the top of my head, those are two options that no non-ABA graduate can even contemplate.

I can transfer to a better ABA school if I can get good enough 1L grades.  Again, no non-ABA graduate can even think about this.

Your decision may be appropriate for you, personally.  I just fear that only a very, very, very, very small proportion of your 1L classmates realistically know what they're getting into.  Granted, probably fully half or more of the 1Ls at my school don't know what they're getting into, either, but at least upon graduation, they're eligible to pursue a job in the DOJ or whatnot.

Best of luck to you.  As I said, we're not that different.  You're obviously a very intelligent person.  I hope things work out exactly as you have planned for them to.

Thanks for the compliments, Falcon. The only really intelligent thing I've ever done was to marry for love. But you're obviously just as intelligent as anybody here and you clearly have a generous measure of class to go with it.

I think you're right on target about the benefits of an ABA school. If a person wants options after graduation, ABA is the only way to go. This thread has been an exercise for me to explore some of Hamilton's rhetorical questions. Hopefully, the OP is getting some useful food for consideration out of it as well, in light of the difficult issues that have been discussed. But one of the most poignant things I've heard anybody say anywhere on this forum is your observation, Falcon, that "half of current law grads are probably going to be very disappointed at their professional lives after graduation." That smacks of fact. One of the hardest things to do in life is to find a career that you absolutely love, and then weave your life around it. Too many people of my acquaintance have settled for jobs they hate (the current marketplace for jobs notwithstanding). Somehow I managed to get it right, but I was 34 before I did. Enrolling in law school before you've fallen in love with a career in law seems bass-ackwards to me. It's certainly risky, at any rate. A person should first discover a love for working in law, at least on some level, and when that prerequisite has been established, boom: enroll. Otherwise, I fear the reality of what it means to be a lawyer may be sadly disappointing, if not flat-out boring for many people. In my discussions with classmates about our study habits, the better students consistently describe the bulk of their law school experience as solitary. The really good students that I've met don't seem to be chronically socializing with other students or meeting in study groups to practice spotting issues and to discuss cases. Instead, they're confined to their dens by themselves: reading cases and writing briefs, outlines, and practice exams. In essence, teaching themselves the law and how to apply it. It's a lonely business and not for everyone.

So as I survey the people spread across my class, I know that a percentage, mostly the younger ones, are unclear why they're even there or what they should expect from it. The older students tend to be very clear, on the other hand. Most of the older people expect the law education to enable them to perform their jobs better and to help them stay on top of their game and remain competitive, even if they never pass the bar. That in itself makes the education worthwhile. For example, I have several colleagues, all of whom ought be doing exactly what I'm doing to avoid stagnating at their desks. I don't mean to sound like I'm clapping myself on the back, but after a long day at work, I'm sitting in a classroom learning about res ipsa loquitur or 3PB contracts while my co-workers are all at home eating dinner and preparing for a hard night's TV schedule. The company sees this. Just as importantly, so do our clients. And after a single, swift year of law school, even at a mere state school, I'm becoming aware that I'm pulling ahead of my peers, most or all of whom have been in the business twice as long as I have. Pretty gratifying. At the same time, a lot of important leaders in my company and industry are stampeding toward retirement, and there isn't exactly a surfeit of qualified people to replace them. When those people start calling it a day in the next few years and the powers above look around at their options for promotion, I expect to be standing far apart from the crowd.

You're probably right that there aren't many people who can make a state school education really pay off. But for the right person in the right place with a good plan, I believe it's not as big a gamble as it may appear.

like_lasagna

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2011, 02:38:21 AM »
Lastly, how to say this?  Your response reeks of character assassination and credibility undermining rhetoric.  Not kool, man and totally unnecessary.  Why would I fight with you over what you pay?  If you want to pay more than you need for things that aren't necessary, then by all means be my guest.  It's the American way, isn't it? You are entitled to an opinion, but then so am I.  Also, I was kind of hinting that your estimates were inflated, presumably, to strengthen your point. Hence the questioning, but oh well.  Don't you love the circle. Cheers.

Your response reeks of trying too hard and being wrong and horrible at life. Yes, we are all bad people if we use AC when we live in the southwest or the southeast. We should put that money to better use.

What you're talking about (in how $140K isn't that much) involves sacrificing quite a bit. You're making jack's point for him; if you have to give up that much just to pay off your student loans, something is wrong.

fortook

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #47 on: August 10, 2011, 10:10:11 AM »
What's happening here?  Deep breath in, hold, deep breath out.  Jack, buddy, I was saying you were exaggerating your expenses to make your point- which I have said I agree with.  I, however, still think it necessary to point out facilities, even if I agree with the underlying argument itself. If you were not exaggerating your expenses I was planing on giving you some unconventional alternatives that are used less and cost much, much less.

My opinion on AC- Yes I think it is unnecessary.  Yes, I don't like it.  Yes, I think it is unnatural.  Yes, I think Americans are unnecessarily dependent on it.  Yes, I think people are better off without it.  If you disagree, I can still respect you.  Assuming you can make a cogent point and not a string of unrelated insults.  It is my opinion, I am entitled to it.  If you don't like it, well honestly, too bad.  I hate AC, uh sorry.

Lasagna, I try to hard to be wrong and am horrible at life?  Is this for real?  Once I graduated middle school I was afforded the privilege (and right) of not having to deal with a string of incoherent insults strung together in a sentence.  Grown ups don't do that.  Well, grown ups of normal intelligence don't do that.  I don't know or really care what your problem is, be it young age or mental retardation. When children do it, I can handle it because I'm the adult in charge.

I won't deal with this anymore.  Lasagna, you need a time out.  Good luck Jack, really.  If you want some money alternatives I'll help you if I can.   
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Hamilton

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2011, 10:33:52 AM »
It is easy to get into the weeds on these boards.  Jack put together a well-reasoned back-of-the-envelope financial breakdown to demonstrate that (1) a realistic salary of $75K is not that much money, and (2) when factoring in living expenses it does not leave much extra for paying off loans.  Quibbling over the numbers the specific numbers is not worth it because he is right: onece you get out working and living life, you will have expenses and "needs" that consume your cash.  Nobody will live a monklike life simply so they can pay off their loans - life will be calling and you will participate.  This will be triply true if you have a family - one simply cannot and will not live a spartan existence so they can throw extra money at their student loan and pay it off.

The main point remains, $100K in loans IS a big deal and should be taken VERY seriously because they are not quickly and easily disposed.

fortook

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Re: Well, I got into law school...
« Reply #49 on: August 10, 2011, 11:04:50 AM »
Very well put and true, Hamilton.  I was not arguing for a spartan existence, however.  The assumption I was is way too extreme. I was only saying: many expenses are unnecessary and/or have more affordable choices that work just as well.  Being informative is not the same a being condemning. Cars, for example and perhaps more than anything else, do not need to be a major expense.  The majority of people use expensive options.  I often ask why?  The answer, it seems, is awareness of options.  People simply do not know, they think the most expensive approach is the only one because it is the most common.  Companies know this and cater and exploit it.  Its a vicious cycle. 

We have gotten a little of topic.  The original sub issue was the crippling cost of law school.  I, in no way, contest its a sh.. ton of debt and makes life harsh for decades.  In an ironic way we are making the pro non accredited argument stronger.  Look at us ABA school fools arguing over and trying to manage our crippling debt.  I laugh with you, ha.
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