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Is Law School a Losing Game? Article

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Rugger, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. Milpool

    Milpool Senior member

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    Difficulty and quality of education is irrelevant to the discussion. The point was that as a liberal arts major in good standing what (if any) are the legitimate options besides law school?

    And if there are none, then "rolling the dice on Law" is not that much of a gamble as the job statistics might make it appear.

    A shot a big law looks a hell of a lot better then a shot at manning the counter of the local BP station.


    Well, as a liberal arts graduate, I work as a scientist, despite having an MBA. Strangely, my MBA turned out to be far more useless than my liberal arts degree (which I also consider pretty useless as I don't make much money).
     
  2. w.mj

    w.mj Senior member

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    That's the future value.

    If you took that $200,000 (which you won't actually have in cash) and invest it at a rate of 6% you'd get 2.75 million after 45 years. In reality, you'd determine how much you could save annually and work out the cash flows on a yearly basis to come up with a solid FV. It'd take you years to save $200k; probably almost as long as it would to pay down a $200k student loan. So that value won't really work here.


    You're right, it's the FV. That one's on me.

    But I don't understand the rest of your argument. The law school expects to be paid, in cash, at the time of graduation. So you are looking at $200,000 spent by the age of 24 that you otherwise would have in your pocket. The FV of that payment is north of $2m.

    If, as I point out as an aside, you have to go into what is effectively negative-amortizing, non-dischargeable student debt, the the future value of your $200k payment is much, much larger. How much larger depends obviously on how quickly you can actually pay down your student loan.
     
  3. BC2012

    BC2012 Senior member

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    You're right, it's the FV. That one's on me.

    But I don't understand the rest of your argument. The law school expects to be paid, in cash, at the time of graduation. So you are looking at $200,000 spent by the age of 24 that you otherwise would have in your pocket. The FV of that payment is north of $2m.

    If, as I point out as an aside, you have to go into what is effectively negative-amortizing, non-dischargeable student debt, the the future value of your $200k payment is much, much larger. How much larger depends obviously on how quickly you can actually pay down your student loan.


    I mean, if you're looking at the FV of the 200k, you won't have 200k to invest immediately (looking at it from the "chose against law school side"). If you want to FV the 200k paid to the law school, sure you can do that easily. But when you say you'd otherwise have 200k in your pocket, I think that's wrong. At the very least, it's wrong from a FV perspective. You wouldn't FV the entire 200k as you don't have 200k to invest immediately. You would do it by individual cash flows (in this case savings that you invested). The only way that is true is if you had 200,000 in cash before you went to law school and didn't take loans. In that case, yes, it's accurate.
     
  4. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    Difficulty and quality of education is irrelevant to the discussion. The point was that as a liberal arts major in good standing what (if any) are the legitimate options besides law school?

    And if there are none, then "rolling the dice on Law" is not that much of a gamble as the job statistics might make it appear.


    A shot a big law looks a hell of a lot better then a shot at manning the counter of the local BP station.


    The downside of your gamble is that, if you lose, you'll go from making $35k/year with undergrad debt to making 35k per year with $100-200k of debt.

    I know several T14 grads who are making less than they did before law school. Either because they quit decent jobs to go to law school (and went to a T14 school looking to upgrade), or because they are working as bartenders, doc review, or are unemployed.
     
  5. randomkoreandude

    randomkoreandude Senior member

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    I know several T14 grads who are making less than they did before law school. Either because they quit decent jobs to go to law school (and went to a T14 school looking to upgrade), or because they are working as bartenders, doc review, or are unemployed.

    sad but i believe it
     
  6. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    Also, a fundamental part of the NYTimes article was in error; one of those gentlemen graduated law school from Florida, not Columbia. Florida is a solid state school . . . but it's not a Top 5 law school (it does, however, have what's widely regarded as the third best Tax LLM).

    He had an undergrad or master's degree from Columbia (and debt from that/those degrees). There was a retraction published, but no one cares about that.
     
  7. randomkoreandude

    randomkoreandude Senior member

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    i know nyu =1, gtown =2 ... florida is really 3rd???

    not to bash florida since my bf goes there but no other t14 has a better tax llm program?
     
  8. nerdykarim

    nerdykarim Senior member

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    not to bash florida since my bf goes there but no other t14 has a better tax llm program?
    Tax is not in my area of expertise, but I believe that Northwestern's program is pretty good.
     
  9. BC2012

    BC2012 Senior member

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    J.D. TAX PROGRAMS
    . 1. NYU
    Tied for #2:
    . 2. Florida
    . 2. Georgetown
    . 4. Northwestern
    . 5. Harvard
    Tied for #6:
    . 6. Boston University
    . 6. Miami
    . 6. UCLA
    . 9. Michigan
    . 10. Stanford
    Tied for #11:
    . 11. San Diego
    . 11. Virginia
    Tied for #13:
    . 13. Columbia
    . 13. Texas
    . 15. Chicago
    . 16. Loyola-L.A.
     
  10. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    i know nyu =1, gtown =2 ... florida is really 3rd???

    not to bash florida since my bf goes there but no other t14 has a better tax llm program?


    It's very surprising to those who aren't familiar with the field.

    Florida put a lot of resources behind their Tax LLM program. In part, because it's a good way to differentiate yourself. In part, because they have lots of high-net worth people seeking shelter in Florida (note that Miami also has a Tax and Estate Planning LLM, but of lesser regard).

    Georgetown or Florida are typically ranked either 2 or 3 in Tax LLM; I've often heard that the education is similar but Georgetown has more snob appeal and Florida is cheaper. It's not uncommon to see positions seeking Tax LLMs that are either restricted to NYU, NYU and Georgetown, or the top 3.
     

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