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Author Topic: What do you consider a reasonable amount of student loan debt from law school?  (Read 2037 times)

jbean29

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I read somewhere that your student loans shouldn't exceed what you expect to make your first year after graduating. I.E. You should only allow yourself $40,000 worth of debt if you expect your starting salary to be $40,000.00


Opie58

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Ideally, ZERO!!!  Realistically, you will probably incur $120,000+ if you finance the entire program in a T1/T2 school.  Therefore, anything less than that the lower, the better through scholarships, grants, etc., will benefit you and allow you the freedom to practice the type of law you want to practice.  Zero can occur if you look at alternative law schools, mainly California DL schools, but none are ABA-approved thus limiting practice opportunities.

IClawstud

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Excellent question.. This has really been the root question to all my dilemas. It is tough to judge though how much money you will be making after graduation. Some schools boast the top salary was $160,000 with an average of $75,000. But than there is also still half the class going to be making under $75,000 and a slight few unemployed. So I have been finding it very difficult to get a sound expectation of future salary.
Also I think it might not be exact to say you should only take as much debt as you may make first year after graduation, but I wouldn't say its that far off either. It seems that living expenses alone, besides tuition, is likely to be over that amount that many first year jobs will offer. I guess that heavily depends on where you live but I imagine most area cost of living is going to be around $15,000 a year including rent, books, and personal expenses.

Nonetheless, it is a very interesting question that I hope some more people who have been there can shed some light.

MsjayQ

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Knowing whether or not my investment in law school would truly be worth it in the end is the biggest dilemma I face. The only thing that makes me feel a little bit better about it is knowing that after paying loans for 10 years straight, the rest of our debt would be cancelled. 10 years still seems like a really long time though.

sollicitus

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I read somewhere that your student loans shouldn't exceed what you expect to make your first year after graduating. I.E. You should only allow yourself $40,000 worth of debt if you expect your starting salary to be $40,000.00

Why in the name of heaven would you plan to make $40,000 for the rest of your life doing anything other than being the night manager at a Wendies?

jack24

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I read somewhere that your student loans shouldn't exceed what you expect to make your first year after graduating. I.E. You should only allow yourself $40,000 worth of debt if you expect your starting salary to be $40,000.00

An alternative way to look at law school is to focus on the payment.  If you don't use income based repayment or some loan forgiveness option and you finance for 25 years, your payment will be approximately $883 on $125,000.

While this seems insanely brutal (especially considering the total payments will be $264,000), it's not as bad if you view it on a payment basis.  $883 a month is $10,596 a year.   That means you will need to make approximately $14,128 more per year gross than you would have at another job to break even.   
While you can't predict the future, try to estimate your yearly income if you don't go to law school.   I've only been an attorney for a year, but I imagine my 20 year average will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 85,000 a year, which is more than $14,128 higher than what my average probably would have been as a retail banker (my former career). 

A lot of this is based on semi-educated guessing.

jbean29

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I read somewhere that your student loans shouldn't exceed what you expect to make your first year after graduating. I.E. You should only allow yourself $40,000 worth of debt if you expect your starting salary to be $40,000.00

Why in the name of heaven would you plan to make $40,000 for the rest of your life doing anything other than being the night manager at a Wendies?

I didn't say for the rest of your life, I said your starting salary and it was an arbitrary number anyhow.

sollicitus

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I read somewhere that your student loans shouldn't exceed what you expect to make your first year after graduating. I.E. You should only allow yourself $40,000 worth of debt if you expect your starting salary to be $40,000.00

Why in the name of heaven would you plan to make $40,000 for the rest of your life doing anything other than being the night manager at a Wendies?



I didn't say for the rest of your life, I said your starting salary and it was an arbitrary number anyhow.

If you are using arbitrary numbers why not a billion? If you aren't using real math, then it means jack if trying to make a life decision based on it.

As for first year salary, you get it that you have pay beyond the first year right? You need to pretend you are still in undergrad statistics for a minute on this one. If  you skiped that class, good luck on the lsat.

jbean29

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I read somewhere that your student loans shouldn't exceed what you expect to make your first year after graduating. I.E. You should only allow yourself $40,000 worth of debt if you expect your starting salary to be $40,000.00

Why in the name of heaven would you plan to make $40,000 for the rest of your life doing anything other than being the night manager at a Wendies?



I didn't say for the rest of your life, I said your starting salary and it was an arbitrary number anyhow.

If you are using arbitrary numbers why not a billion? If you aren't using real math, then it means jack if trying to make a life decision based on it.

As for first year salary, you get it that you have pay beyond the first year right? You need to pretend you are still in undergrad statistics for a minute on this one. If  you skiped that class, good luck on the lsat.

I don't know why so angry. It one piece of advice I read from an article and you can plug in any numbers you like, it doesn't change what I was asking.  I was asking about the formula.

sollicitus

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I read somewhere that your student loans shouldn't exceed what you expect to make your first year after graduating. I.E. You should only allow yourself $40,000 worth of debt if you expect your starting salary to be $40,000.00

Why in the name of heaven would you plan to make $40,000 for the rest of your life doing anything other than being the night manager at a Wendies?



I didn't say for the rest of your life, I said your starting salary and it was an arbitrary number anyhow.

If you are using arbitrary numbers why not a billion? If you aren't using real math, then it means jack if trying to make a life decision based on it.

As for first year salary, you get it that you have pay beyond the first year right? You need to pretend you are still in undergrad statistics for a minute on this one. If  you skiped that class, good luck on the lsat.

I don't know why so angry. It one piece of advice I read from an article and you can plug in any numbers you like, it doesn't change what I was asking.  I was asking about the formula.

The fact that you don't get it, says more than I ever could.

Do you have a backup job that is not lawschool and pays at least $100,000 a year within less than 5 years of starting? If so, do that.