Jump to content
lawyor

Am I making a huge mistake?

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone! I’ve been accepted into a law school this year and I’ve paid my deposit and started to secure financing. I’ve applied for Student Loans and a Professional Student Line of Credit. Today I was approved for a $135,000 PSLOC. I haven’t been awarded any scholarships or bursaries and my personal savings are minimal.

I’m really excited to go back to school and I strongly believe law is a career I can see myself excelling in, but I can’t help but worry about the massive amount of debt I’m about to take on. I created a budget and anticipate to spend approx. $25,000 per academic year, which could mean $75,000 of debt when I graduate. 

Is this a manageable amount of debt, or am I about to make a huge mistake by taking on this much?

Thank you  

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, lawyor said:

Hey everyone! I’ve been accepted into a law school this year and I’ve paid my deposit and started to secure financing. I’ve applied for Student Loans and a Professional Student Line of Credit. Today I was approved for a $135,000 PSLOC. I haven’t been awarded any scholarships or bursaries and my personal savings are minimal.

I’m really excited to go back to school and I strongly believe law is a career I can see myself excelling in, but I can’t help but worry about the massive amount of debt I’m about to take on. I created a budget and anticipate to spend approx. $25,000 per academic year, which could mean $75,000 of debt when I graduate. 

Is this a manageable amount of debt, or am I about to make a huge mistake by taking on this much?

Thank you  

 

 

 

$75,000 is a manageable amount of debt, in my opinion. But it's also still a lot of debt. Figure out what the monthly payments will be, what kind of job you are aspiring to, and the starting salary for said job. That should give you at least an idea of what's reasonable for you. Of course, things change. You could end up in big law, where your debt load will feel pretty insignificant compared to your future earnings. Or you could end up articling for free with no prospect of a hire back, in which case the debt load could be crushing until you establish yourself. If it makes you feel any better, I was in similar position as you and law school turned out to be very good investment for me. 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're asking whether you're making a huge mistake to go into law school because of the future debt that's a cost benefit analysis you'll have to do for yourself - but is that your question?  It sounds like you're asking whether $75K is a manageable amount of debt and I guess my answer would be if you have an option to make it lower why aren't you taking it?  I mean if you're going to go to law school regardless, and you have no other options, then $75K is manageable by default.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, cwfromwc said:

If you're asking whether you're making a huge mistake to go into law school because of the future debt that's a cost benefit analysis you'll have to do for yourself - but is that your question?  It sounds like you're asking whether $75K is a manageable amount of debt and I guess my answer would be if you have an option to make it lower why aren't you taking it?  I mean if you're going to go to law school regardless, and you have no other options, then $75K is manageable by default.

I guess my question is whether the amount of debt will be overwhelming after I graduate, or if it will be less significant in comparison to what I’ll be making. I’ve heard of large variations in starting salaries, as @conge mentioned. Yeah, I would like to go to law school regardless, but other options could be working and saving up, or reapplying and trying to secure financial aid. I would rather start sooner than later, but I’m wondering if I’m being naive thinking $75,000 is a manageable amount of debt to take on.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess this is an opinion thing, but 75,000 dollars is a crushing amount of debt. Good luck buying a house until that's paid off. It's just really limiting, I think, having that much debt to contend with early on in life. All the young lawyers I know that I would say are making average amounts complain about their debt all the time (between 50-100k), don't own homes, and I think feel huge amounts of stress. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$75k is a lot of money. However, what's "manageable" isn't really something we can answer for you. It depends on many things, like your salary as a student/jr. lawyer, your risk tolerance, the type of lifestyle you're willing to maintain while paying off debt, parental or spousal support, etc.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The truth is you have few other options. $75k debt is your cost of entry into the profession you want to be in. Mine was higher, but hey. It's ridiculous imo that so many new lawyers now start out so far behind the eight ball because of rising tuition costs, but the alternative is foregoing practicing law altogether, or spending years working to save and hoping tuition doesn't keep increasing. And that's assuming you have a job that pays you enough to make a dent in the total cost of schooling after a year or so.

It's also true that so much debt brings your other life goals to a stand still.  However, if you can minimize your costs while maximizing your income, (think living at home with parents rent free while working a Bay Street gig) you'll be able to make short work of that much debt in no time. Suffice to say, that isn't most of us. We don't all work on Bay Street, and most of us have to pay rent or  have a mortgage and some of us have more obligations than that. 

Ultimately, I would say that $75k shouldn't stop you from going to law school if you can secure the funds to pay for it. For one thing, law students tend to be young and single - which translates into fewer financial obligations coming out of school. And even if this first part isn't true for you, the income potential over the course of the typical legal career tends to more than make up for the initial investment. It's not an absolute guarantee however, but it tends to work out more times than not.

Now, if you wanted to go into teaching ... 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, pinkfrostedcupcakes said:

I guess this is an opinion thing, but 75,000 dollars is a crushing amount of debt. Good luck buying a house until that's paid off. It's just really limiting, I think, having that much debt to contend with early on in life. All the young lawyers I know that I would say are making average amounts complain about their debt all the time (between 50-100k), don't own homes, and I think feel huge amounts of stress. 

You're definitely speaking the truth. I didn't feel comfortable buying a house until my debt was paid off (and it was in the range you quote). However, I did pay it off within about 5 years after graduating, and now I own a home and feel pretty financially stable.

It was a kind of a struggle for those five years (as in, I was struggling for a really privileged late twenties person): I didn't really take any big trips, I wasn't really saving anything (that's my new financial goal), I didn't buy anything nice, didn't have a car, rented small apartments...but it was worth it, and so was law school, IMO. (Especially since I didn't really have anything else planned in terms of a career.)

Obviously experiences will differ. Maybe I was one of the lucky ones. But most of my classmates seem to be doing OK, and many (I might even say most) had more debt than me.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

$75k doesn't seem outrageous or abnormal to me at all for something like law school. If anything I would suspect that most students end up with a higher debt figure than that.

Kinda just up to you to decide whether you wanna take that on.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No one can reassure you that your career prospects on the other end will make 75k a comfortable load. The answer is always “it depends”.

75k of debt is about the norm for a law student. 

Most students find employment after law school. There are outliers on either end - the ones who find nothing and the ones who get hired on Bay - most fall in between.

The most important thing is how you manage your money and how well you do in school. The goal is to maximize opportunity and limit debt. 

What you have going for you is the right mindset from the start. You aren’t going to mistake a LOC for “free money”, which is what a lot of your peers will be doing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

No one can reassure you that your career prospects on the other end will make 75k a comfortable load. The answer is always “it depends”.

75k of debt is about the norm for a law student. 

Most students find employment after law school. There are outliers on either end - the ones who find nothing and the ones who get hired on Bay - most fall in between.

The most important thing is how you manage your money and how well you do in school. The goal is to maximize opportunity and limit debt. 

What you have going for you is the right mindset from the start. You aren’t going to mistake a LOC for “free money”, which is what a lot of your peers will be doing.

This. I remember one of my classmates started 1L a few weeks later than us, and he was apparently on an expensive vacation that he took immediately upon receiving his LOC. 

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the alternative if you don't go to law school? Do you have a stable job with advancement prospects? Do you enjoy what you're doing now that you could forego law school and being a lawyer to stay on this path or a non-law school path for the rest of your career?

The alternative is to work for a few years and save up money so you minimize the debt to about half of $75,000. I think that becomes more manageable should you strike out and not earn a decent salary after law school. That's what I did but I also kind of regret not going at a younger age.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice! I'm going to go ahead with it! I'm looking at it more as an investment now, so I'm not as worried about the amount I'll be borrowing. I'm driven and I work hard, so I'm confident it'll pay off in the long-term, and as for living a lavish life on borrowed money - I'm definitely not the type to do that! Yesterday I received my notice of assessment , I have been offered a generous amount of student loans, which means I won't have to dip into my PSLOC nearly as much.

Really happy and excited for what's to come! :D

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/16/2019 at 3:06 PM, lawyor said:

Hey everyone! I’ve been accepted into a law school this year and I’ve paid my deposit and started to secure financing. I’ve applied for Student Loans and a Professional Student Line of Credit. Today I was approved for a $135,000 PSLOC. I haven’t been awarded any scholarships or bursaries and my personal savings are minimal.

I’m really excited to go back to school and I strongly believe law is a career I can see myself excelling in, but I can’t help but worry about the massive amount of debt I’m about to take on. I created a budget and anticipate to spend approx. $25,000 per academic year, which could mean $75,000 of debt when I graduate. 

Is this a manageable amount of debt, or am I about to make a huge mistake by taking on this much?

Thank you  

 

 

 

Christ that's not too bad at all. Ill have almost 200K of student debt when I graduate. Just the way she goes. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From what I gather I think this is very manageable. I’m not sure of your circumstances exactly but I will assume you’ll be eligible for OSAP and will be able to work during the summer months with little in the way of costs. If this isn’t true, well just substitute facts for my assumptions. (The osap assumption is likely not applicable since I’m uncertain whether you’re from Ontario and will be attending school in Ontario). 

Nonetheless, you project your total costs for law school will be $25,000 per year, for a total of $75,000 over three years. 

Should you be eligible for OSAP and were to receive the maximum amount then you’d get roughly $12,000 in bursaries and $27,000 in loans over three years. The loan portion is useful for reducing how much interest you are charged per year on LOC. The bursary portions brings you debt load down to roughly $63,000. 

Assuming you work in the summers, you likely will be able to make $5000+ each summer. This would mean, at minimum, you could earn $15,000 over three years. This would bring you debt down to $48,000. 

I think $48,000 is actually a fairly manageable debt. Now this of course is dependent on the above being true. If the above is true, I think you will be able to manage and your debt will not be as high as your project. 

That’s just my two cents....since we are talking about money. ;)

Edited by LeoandCharlie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked for some time before going back to school and was able to save up some money for school. Maybe delay law school until you have a nice chunk in the bank such that you won't have debt hanging over your head during your studies and early legal career.

Disclaimer: Ignore this advice if you know you're going to have an A average and want to work on Bay $t.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • Recent Posts

    • Look, there is only one wrong question to ask about academic misconduct - and it's been asked here many times in the past. Do you really need to disclosure it? The answer is yes. Any time you are asked a direct question about this, you need to answer truthfully. Note that you'll also be asked when you apply to be licensed as a lawyer, assuming you get that far. Now kudos for the fact that you haven't asked that question, because when people do ask it often reveals a mindset that's not entirely in line with legal culture. But beyond answering this question which you haven't asked, no one here can comment definitively at all. I'm mainly answering to provide this context. I'm a criminal defence lawyer. And I'm frequently asked some variation of this question by clients - "will my past mistake stop me from doing X?" Again, it isn't often I have a definitive answer. But I've observed that many people who aren't defence lawyers like to get self-righteous when addressing this topic. It's human nature (though not the best part of human nature) to enjoy seeing other people suffer from mistakes that we ourselves have avoided. The Greeks understood this. And so in answer to an unanswerable question - how much will schools, the law society, etc. choose to care about this - it's likely you are going to get a lot of extreme replies that suggest you've permanently fucked your life. That doesn't make it true. I will observe that law schools have admitted students in the past who have been convicted of serious crimes, and so have law societies. Your individual situation is unique and I won't presume to suggest what will happen. But be honest in reply to any direct question - that's your obligation. How you choose to frame your experiences, or if you choose to highlight them at all beyond this, is entirely your choice. Don't lie about the past, because when you do that it creates new offences of dishonesty. But you also have no obligation to inhabit the identity full-time, as though you are permanently defined by your past. You're entitled to move on. And don't let anyone else imply otherwise. Good luck.
    • Ask for a coffee or lunch instead. Reiterate your interest in them and they should understand.
    • No one would be able to answer whether you have any chances at Canadian law schools or not. If you really reflect on your issues of academic misconduct and you are indeed serous about going to law schools, I would like to say that your personal statements may need to talk about your academic misconduct in the past and discuss how you personally or academically have grown by dealing with these wrongdoings. Good luck!  
    • How do I deal with conflicting dinner invitations?  I will be accepting the dinner with my first choice but I don't want to burn the other firms so early in the process.
    • So..I'll just start from the top. I was enrolled in a 2 year diploma at NAIT (Technical institute) my first semester there I was found guilty of academic misconduct, basically submitted the same assignment as another student (not trying to deny I was guilty) in my last semester of the 2 year diploma I was found guilty for the same thing. The first time I just got a letter on my file and an F on the assignment but the second time I was suspended from the institution for a year and received all F's for that semester on my transcript. This happen in 2014. After that year I enrolled at UofA in a sociology diploma and worked really hard to get a 3.8 (in my last 2 yrs) my cgpa is around 3.2 and an lsat score of 166. I have really good extracurriculars/volunteer experience in the community as well as references -I'm wanting to apply to the university of calgary and university of alberta faculty of law.        I know in most law school apps it asks you about your history with academic dishonesty and i guess what i'm asking is all things considered do i have even the slightest chance? PS guys i'm asking for honest advice PLEASE don't make me feel bad i feel really shitty about what i've done and can honestly say i'm a different person since then and have worked really hard in my undergrad. I've overcome a lot of hardships and personal situations these past few years that have also contributed to that growth (gave birth to my son in my fourth year while attending full time classes and have learned a lot about responsibility!)
×
×
  • Create New...