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Author Topic: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK  (Read 3325 times)

BearlyLegal

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Re: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2008, 07:41:05 PM »
I'm an attorney working for the federal government, and if I were paying off $200K in loans over 10 years, I'd be living on less than $700/month right now.  For me, the knowledge that I was keeping my mid-career options open might be little comfort to me while I spent ages 25-35 living in my parents' basement and driving my car from high school. But that's me.

Wallace Stevens, it's good that you point out the sometimes-unanticipated benefits of going to a top school, but I'm curious about your persistent blanket assertions that massive debt is irrelevant.  Are you just assuming everyone who goes to a T14 will either start out in biglaw or be content spending the best years of their lives in abject poverty if they don't?  Or do you just assume everyone has a trust fund or will marry rich?  I don't get it. 
T14 schools have some pretty nice LRAP plans. You won't starve. I promise!

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Re: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 07:59:30 PM »
This thread essentially describes my situation, so I don't might chiming in.  I've got a full ride at my 25-50 state school and an acceptance from Michigan (not T6, but close).  I also have family obligations that make staying put and taking the full ride very attractive.  However, the more I considered the situation, I've come to think that this is a once in a lifetime sort of opportunity.  The exit options that I'll have coming out of Mich are dramatically better to say the least (in terms of compensation and mobility, especially).  Plus, wherever I go in the future I'll always be a Michigan alum and, from what I can tell so far, I think that is something that I'll be very proud of.  There are a lot of other reasons, too (just individual preference sort of stuff).  In the end, though, I think that I would be very unhappy if I played it safe.

EDIT: I should probably also add that academia is an option that I want to have available.  The chance of this are much better at Michigan than at my state school.
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Re: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 08:16:46 PM »
I'm an attorney working for the federal government, and if I were paying off $200K in loans over 10 years, I'd be living on less than $700/month right now.  For me, the knowledge that I was keeping my mid-career options open might be little comfort to me while I spent ages 25-35 living in my parents' basement and driving my car from high school. But that's me.

Wallace Stevens, it's good that you point out the sometimes-unanticipated benefits of going to a top school, but I'm curious about your persistent blanket assertions that massive debt is irrelevant.  Are you just assuming everyone who goes to a T14 will either start out in biglaw or be content spending the best years of their lives in abject poverty if they don't?  Or do you just assume everyone has a trust fund or will marry rich?  I don't get it. 


but you're missing the point... did you attend a t6 school? if you did, then you most likely made the decision yourself to work for the govt and make 40-50k/year.  The fact is, the chances that you will be forced to "live in your parents' basement" and take a govt job after graduating from a t6 school are slim. thats why the massive debt is irrelevant, UNLESS you go to a t6 school with 200k in debt, and plan on getting a 40k/year job.  Otherwise, your job prospects coming out of a t6 will most likely not force you to eat ramen and live with the 'rents.
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Re: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 09:31:15 PM »
No, I'm not missing the point.  What I'm saying is this:  People argue, correctly, that not going to a T14 limits your career options down the road.  However, taking on $200K in debt limits your career and life options too, just in different ways. 

No one who goes to a T6 school will be forced to make $40-50K/year.  But many of them will be unable to do certain things that people without debt can do--like taking desirable jobs that pay $50K a year without sacrificing their ability to buy a house or support a family.  Or taking time off to raise a family.  Or saying "Screw the law, I'm going to become an artist." 

All I'm saying is that no blanket statement applies to everyone--there are very good reasons to attend a T6 with debt, and very good reasons not to.  It just depends on which options you're most concerned about keeping open.

Also, LRAPs can help (though they often phase out at absurdly low salaries, and they don't help you if you decide to become an artist)--definitely read the details and consider them in any calculus.

Bouzie

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Re: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2008, 09:55:14 PM »
I'm an attorney working for the federal government, and if I were paying off $200K in loans over 10 years, I'd be living on less than $700/month right now.  For me, the knowledge that I was keeping my mid-career options open might be little comfort to me while I spent ages 25-35 living in my parents' basement and driving my car from high school. But that's me.

Wallace Stevens, it's good that you point out the sometimes-unanticipated benefits of going to a top school, but I'm curious about your persistent blanket assertions that massive debt is irrelevant.  Are you just assuming everyone who goes to a T14 will either start out in biglaw or be content spending the best years of their lives in abject poverty if they don't?  Or do you just assume everyone has a trust fund or will marry rich?  I don't get it. 


but you're missing the point... did you attend a t6 school? if you did, then you most likely made the decision yourself to work for the govt and make 40-50k/year.  The fact is, the chances that you will be forced to "live in your parents' basement" and take a govt job after graduating from a t6 school are slim. thats why the massive debt is irrelevant, UNLESS you go to a t6 school with 200k in debt, and plan on getting a 40k/year job.  Otherwise, your job prospects coming out of a t6 will most likely not force you to eat ramen and live with the 'rents.

Even from a top school 200K in debt is FAR from irrelevant.  Once you start crunching some numbers, and realize the cost of buying anything in a city worth living in, the math doesn't exactly even out.  Plus, you're basically committing yourself to work X number of years at a job you know nothing about.  And all this doesn't even take into account the uncertainty about where the legal market is going.

I agree that going to a 'top school' is generally a better option but 100-200K worth of debt is most certainly a BIG DEAL.
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Re: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2008, 11:09:29 PM »
No, I'm not missing the point.  What I'm saying is this:  People argue, correctly, that not going to a T14 limits your career options down the road.  However, taking on $200K in debt limits your career and life options too, just in different ways. 

No one who goes to a T6 school will be forced to make $40-50K/year.  But many of them will be unable to do certain things that people without debt can do--like taking desirable jobs that pay $50K a year without sacrificing their ability to buy a house or support a family.  Or taking time off to raise a family.  Or saying "Screw the law, I'm going to become an artist." 

All I'm saying is that no blanket statement applies to everyone--there are very good reasons to attend a T6 with debt, and very good reasons not to.  It just depends on which options you're most concerned about keeping open.
Also, LRAPs can help (though they often phase out at absurdly low salaries, and they don't help you if you decide to become an artist)--definitely read the details and consider them in any calculus.

ok, i agree.
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JG

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Re: T6 (-200K) VS. T1 IN THE BLACK
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2008, 11:55:23 AM »
Bouzie makes a good point about crunching the numbers.  That's really important.  It's easy, when you're in your early twenties, to have a vague notion that the money stuff will all work itself out and that your only goal should be getting the best possible credentials.  But when you are actually trying to support yourself/others, buy a house, etc., the money stuff matters A LOT.  Even my small amount of loan debt (which is tiny by comparison to the debt people talk about here) limits my lifestyle noticably.

Also, when you crunch the numbers, be sure to use real numbers that take into account things like payroll taxes, loan interest, and the specific amount your LRAP might help you with, not fantasy numbers involving gross income, principal, and a vague notion that the LRAP will make the debt irrelevant.  Then you can make an informed decision.