Law School Discussion

"On Being a Happy, Healthy and Ethical Mbr of an Unhappy, Unhealthy and Unethi..

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Hopefully like his mentor, Scalia.

You mean a self righteous pinhead?

As far as the article goes...
I think it makes some very good points and some not so good points. One thing that has changed quite a bit is debt to salary ratio. Unless you do biglaw, 150+k in debt really is untenable. He dismisses the debt issue, but cites figures of less than half of what students are under today.

It's not true that $150K+ is untenable unless you do biglaw. The median American salary is <$50K and one can easily pay back their debt on a lesser salary than biglaw and still end up with $50K to take home.

What less-than-biglaw salary are you suggesting would allow you to have $50K after your loan payments, and in what market/location do you expect to have this $50K post-loans income?

I made around $20K a year in my first job after undergrad. Now people with liberal arts degrees are starting somewhere in the 30s. I don't get how this equates to having to have a biglaw salary to pay off student loans when most people with liberal arts degrees would NOT be making $50K if they were just a few years out of undergrad. My sister is living quite comfortably with her sub-$40K salary and I have other friends who manage to live in NYC with less than $40K as well and aren't impoverished.

Well of course, 20K-50K is more than enough for a single person in their 20/30s.

If you have a family, however, that's a different story.
To have that kinda debt hovering over your head is really a constraint on whatever it is that married people do... buying a house, going on family vacations, etc etc.

Well of course, 20K-50K is more than enough for a single person in their 20/30s.

If you have a family, however, that's a different story.
To have that kinda debt hovering over your head is really a constraint on whatever it is that married people do... buying a house, going on family vacations, etc etc.

The median HOUSEHOLD income in 2005 was less than $50K. Those are typically families, not just individuals. Fee free to check out the data here- http://www.whitehouse.gov/fsbr/income.html. We're no longer in a society where one parent works- the other spouse will be working too and they will be making far above the median income even after paying back loans.

queencruella,

i) I was referring to your personal examples: you making 20K, your sister and your friend. I don't know who your sister/friend is or whether they are married but I was assuming they were single. If they are in fact married with kids, I find it pretty hard to believe that they live comfortably with a sub-40K (total), or in NYC with debt to pay off.

ii) and honestly it puzzles me that you would bring up the median American household income, especially after you presented your case (a single 20something) as an example of the feasibility to live comfortably while making a less-than-average-income, to back up your argument that paying back (undergrad and) law school loans will be easy with an average job. Don't get me wrong: it IS possible. But it's not "easy." Only a fraction of Americans goto college, much less law school. The median American household income measured by the US Census Bureau includes all Americans, spanning from the rich few and millions of people living in poverty.

I don't necessarily think that you need a BigLaw job to pay off all your debt, but I also don't agree that it's "easily paid off" with an average 9 to 5 job.

queencruella,

i) I was referring to your personal examples: you making 20K, your sister and your friend. I don't know who your sister/friend is or whether they are married but I was assuming they were single. If they are in fact married with kids, I find it pretty hard to believe that they live comfortably with a sub-40K (total), or in NYC with debt to pay off.

ii) and honestly it puzzles me that you would bring up the median American household income, especially after you presented your case (a single 20something) as an example of the feasibility to live comfortably while making a less-than-average-income, to back up your argument that paying back (undergrad and) law school loans will be easy with an average job. Don't get me wrong: it IS possible. But it's not "easy." Only a fraction of Americans goto college, much less law school. The median American household income measured by the US Census Bureau includes all Americans, spanning from the rich few and millions of people living in poverty.

I don't necessarily think that you need a BigLaw job to pay off all your debt, but I also don't agree that it's "easily paid off" with an average 9 to 5 job.

People who are married have 2 salaries coming in most of the time. Since I have no friends who are lawyers or in high-powered professions, most of them were making under $80K as a couple when they first got married. They go on vacations, buy homes, and start families like everyone else. We aren't talking paying off loans with a $40K salary, we are talking about having $35-40K after paying them off. This is quite frankly what many people in their mid-20s to early 30s are making without nearly as much growth potential.The reality of the matter is that most people going into law school will be better off financially than they would be with just a bachelor's degree.

Alamo

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Quote
Hopefully like his mentor, Scalia.

You mean a self righteous pinhead?

As far as the article goes...
I think it makes some very good points and some not so good points. One thing that has changed quite a bit is debt to salary ratio. Unless you do biglaw, 150+k in debt really is untenable. He dismisses the debt issue, but cites figures of less than half of what students are under today.

It's not true that $150K+ is untenable unless you do biglaw. The median American salary is <$50K and one can easily pay back their debt on a lesser salary than biglaw and still end up with $50K to take home.

What less-than-biglaw salary are you suggesting would allow you to have $50K after your loan payments, and in what market/location do you expect to have this $50K post-loans income?

$50K after loan payments is not an unreasonable expectation unless you're doing public interest work.    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_money_does_a_lawyer_earn

queencruella,

i) I was referring to your personal examples: you making 20K, your sister and your friend. I don't know who your sister/friend is or whether they are married but I was assuming they were single. If they are in fact married with kids, I find it pretty hard to believe that they live comfortably with a sub-40K (total), or in NYC with debt to pay off.

ii) and honestly it puzzles me that you would bring up the median American household income, especially after you presented your case (a single 20something) as an example of the feasibility to live comfortably while making a less-than-average-income, to back up your argument that paying back (undergrad and) law school loans will be easy with an average job. Don't get me wrong: it IS possible. But it's not "easy." Only a fraction of Americans goto college, much less law school. The median American household income measured by the US Census Bureau includes all Americans, spanning from the rich few and millions of people living in poverty.

I don't necessarily think that you need a BigLaw job to pay off all your debt, but I also don't agree that it's "easily paid off" with an average 9 to 5 job.

People who are married have 2 salaries coming in most of the time. Since I have no friends who are lawyers or in high-powered professions, most of them were making under $80K as a couple when they first got married. They go on vacations, buy homes, and start families like everyone else. We aren't talking paying off loans with a $40K salary, we are talking about having $35-40K after paying them off. This is quite frankly what many people in their mid-20s to early 30s are making without nearly as much growth potential.The reality of the matter is that most people going into law school will be better off financially than they would be with just a bachelor's degree.

Wasn't your point "whether you can pay back LAW SCHOOL LOANS on an average job and STILL HAVING 50K TO SPARE"? I know what you've suggested above is mostly true (2 salaries per household, not necessarily. when you have multiple kids and can't afford daycare more often than not you're a full time Mom (lesser extent Dad)), but it doesn't pertain to your argument.

It's true that people live comfortably with an around-50K salary, go on vacations, buy homes, etc etc but that's mostly people with a Bachelor's and sometimse Masters. With a JD, unless you came on full ride or damn good of a scholarship, your loans will still be a burden. That's all I'm saying.

In my opinion his motives are crystal clear.

1) To advise aspiring lawyers/his students that money isn't everything (ergo, to enter practice with other reasons than money);
3) to show in great detail what Big Law firms are like or at least give an idea of it (which someone who hasn't worked in one wouldn't know);
3) and to advise out of his personal experience and empirical data that there are ways to practice law "happily, healthily and ethically."

I personally think the article is a detailed advice on the universal and conventional wisdom that money doesn't equal happiness. So if you choose to ignore/criticize it, it's really your choice. No need to be bitter about somebody's good intentions.

Oh, and Lenny, since when was spending six years of Associate and two years of Partner (which, as you should know, means you were a stellar Associate and is extremely hard to become in a Big Law firm) "not long"?

It is well intentioned, and it is very accurate.  But posting it here is just asking for it to be flamed.  It is not what people here want to hear. 

DDBY

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Everyone seems to forget the minimum payment option, and the consolidation and refinance options.  Even if yous start with a low salary; $150K in student loans is still cheaper than $150k in a mortgage note.  Your return on investment is greater than buying a house, and your risk of total loss is less. Student loans ar nothing to worry about.  I sell $250,000 houses to people with 50k salaries and they still take vacations, still eat well, buy thier prferred cars, and don't live from paycheck to paycheck.

You all just fear $150K because you're not used to thinking in 6 figure debt.  With proper management, and planning ther is nothing to worry about even if you only make $30k after L.S..

I know I'm a little late in a response, but I just had to respond and say that Dollar Dollar Bill Ya'll's posts are so stupid. So stupid.