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Terrible job market: Is this true?

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2 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Oh, got it. I thought you were saying something really stupid, instead you were just submitting your entry for Uninteresting Observations Monthly

My bad. 

Gooood one

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Back on topic, I actually do think that people in Canada, particularly in Ontario, should give more thought to going to law school than many do. But I agree that OP's questions are based on faulty premises. 

If you're good at law school or good at legal practice, law school tends to be a good investment. The top of the market pays quite well. And even if you don't do well enough in law school to get the high-end jobs, its a profession that lends itself well to entrepreneurship and will allow you to earn a good income if you're able to successfully run a practice. 

But for a lot of people, law school really isn't a good investment. There's a clear bimodal salary distribution coming out of law school, and I'm of the opinion that the main reason it isn't as discussed as it is in the American context isn't that it doesn't exist, but rather that the gap is smaller due to lower big law salaries (and that's changing).

A lot of people struggle out of law school. They find it hard to get a job. When they get a job, it isn't well paying. They earn less or similar to what they could have earned had they entered the workforce when they went to law school. If they went to an Ontario law school and used credit to pay for it, they're paying off a six-figure loan with a mid-five-figure salary. That's stressful. The economics of the profession often force those people into small practices, sometimes making them small business owners when they'd really rather be an employee. 

So while it's all well and good to plan to be in the 90th percentile of law school or legal practice (and pro-tip, you probably won't be), it's worth asking what you would do if you were guaranteed to be in the 25th percentile. Would you still go to law school, or would you pursue another profession? A lot of things will go into that equation: what are your other options, do you want to run a business or would you rather be an employee, what kind of environment do you want to work in, what type of work-life balance are you hoping to achieve, etc? 

So OP, I think you're asking the right overarching question, but you're going about it the wrong way. Don't stress out about the horror stories you hear out of the American legal market. But do give some serious thought to whether you'd want to attend law school if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre student, and further if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre lawyer. 

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32 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Back on topic, I actually do think that people in Canada, particularly in Ontario, should give more thought to going to law school than many do. But I agree that OP's questions are based on faulty premises. 

If you're good at law school or good at legal practice, law school tends to be a good investment. The top of the market pays quite well. And even if you don't do well enough in law school to get the high-end jobs, its a profession that lends itself well to entrepreneurship and will allow you to earn a good income if you're able to successfully run a practice. 

But for a lot of people, law school really isn't a good investment. There's a clear bimodal salary distribution coming out of law school, and I'm of the opinion that the main reason it isn't as discussed as it is in the American context isn't that it doesn't exist, but rather that the gap is smaller due to lower big law salaries (and that's changing).

A lot of people struggle out of law school. They find it hard to get a job. When they get a job, it isn't well paying. They earn less or similar to what they could have earned had they entered the workforce when they went to law school. If they went to an Ontario law school and used credit to pay for it, they're paying off a six-figure loan with a mid-five-figure salary. That's stressful. The economics of the profession often force those people into small practices, sometimes making them small business owners when they'd really rather be an employee. 

So while it's all well and good to plan to be in the 90th percentile of law school or legal practice (and pro-tip, you probably won't be), it's worth asking what you would do if you were guaranteed to be in the 25th percentile. Would you still go to law school, or would you pursue another profession? A lot of things will go into that equation: what are your other options, do you want to run a business or would you rather be an employee, what kind of environment do you want to work in, what type of work-life balance are you hoping to achieve, etc? 

So OP, I think you're asking the right overarching question, but you're going about it the wrong way. Don't stress out about the horror stories you hear out of the American legal market. But do give some serious thought to whether you'd want to attend law school if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre student, and further if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre lawyer. 

From my understanding, the starting salaries in Ontario can be rather low relative to the debt one takes on. However, isn't there a strong trend upwards in terms of salary over the course of your legal career? I.e. are there any 10 year calls that are making less than six figures? Also, doesn't the choice of law school being worthwhile depend on your alternative? Like if you graduated with a degree in poli sci, and entered the workforce, would you be better off financially 10 years down the line compared to someone who went to law school right after UG adjusting for opportunity cost? 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, OnlyResident said:

From my understanding, the starting salaries in Ontario can be rather low relative to the debt one takes on. However, isn't there a strong trend upwards in terms of salary over the course of your legal career? I.e. are there any 10 year calls that are making less than six figures? Also, doesn't the choice of law school being worthwhile depend on your alternative? Like if you graduated with a degree in poli sci, and entered the workforce, would you be better off financially 10 years down the line compared to someone who went to law school right after UG adjusting for opportunity cost? 

Essentially every field has a strong upwards trend in salary. In 2018, average income for Ontarians aged 24-30 was $44,900, while average income for Ontarians aged 45-54 was $66,800. 

There are 10 year calls making less than six figures. There are also a lot of lawyers who earn right around that six figure mark. The last time I looked at the Crown Counsel CBA in Ontario, there were a lot of lawyers grouped around the 100k figure, 

I think there are a lot of people who would be better off having not gone to law school ten years out.

A quick, simplified case study:

  • Assume someone leaves law school with $100,000 in debt. 
  • Assume that person could have taken home $50,000/year in lieu of attending law school and invested 10% of that each year with a 7% return. At the end of law school, foregone savings would be $16,071. 
  • Assume the debt is at 3.5%, and they pay it off over ten years. Now, here's where the opportunity cost seriously kicks in – the cost of that debt is both the interest you pay (roughly $18,000) and the foregone compound interest. Assuming you would have invested that money monthly into the same account as your foregone savings, the total cost of that debt would be $86,600. 
  • Thus, someone who chooses to go to law school needs to earn $302,671 (the cost of the debt + foregone savings + the $100,000 cost of attending law school) more than their non-law-school counterpart over those ten years. That means they'll need to earn roughly $30,000 more per year. 

$30,000 per year is no problem if you do well in law school (and are interested in the "right" jobs). But if you struggle in law school, take minimum wage articles (roughly $30,000/year), then work for a few years in the $40-70,000 range, you're going to have a tough time averaging more than $30,000 more per year than your fictional alter ego. 

At the end of the day, it's a personal decision. I just think that people really should spend some time considering what possible outcomes they have coming out of law school. You should evaluate how sound your decision is if you're at the top of your class, working two summers and landing well-paid articles. You should evaluate what happens if you're an average student, working one summer and landing lower-paid articles. And you should evaluate what happens if you're a below average student, working for free during your summers and finding minimum wage articles.

ETA: for clarity, I also don’t think it’s just about money. Evaluate how happy you’ll be based on all the reasonable foreseeable factors – job satisfaction, work life balance, etc. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois
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22 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Essentially every field has a strong upwards trend in salary. In 2018, average income for Ontarians aged 24-30 was $44,900, while average income for Ontarians aged 45-54 was $66,800. 

There are 10 year calls making less than six figures. There are also a lot of lawyers who earn right around that six figure mark. The last time I looked at the Crown Counsel CBA in Ontario, there were a lot of lawyers grouped around the 100k figure, 

I think there are a lot of people who would be better off having not gone to law school ten years out.

A quick, simplified case study:

  • Assume someone leaves law school with $100,000 in debt. 
  • Assume that person could have taken home $50,000/year in lieu of attending law school and invested 10% of that each year with a 7% return. At the end of law school, foregone savings would be $16,071. 
  • Assume the debt is at 3.5%, and they pay it off over ten years. Now, here's where the opportunity cost seriously kicks in – the cost of that debt is both the interest you pay (roughly $18,000) and the foregone compound interest. Assuming you would have invested that money monthly into the same account as your foregone savings, the total cost of that debt would be $86,600. 
  • Thus, someone who chooses to go to law school needs to earn $302,671 (the cost of the debt + foregone savings + the $100,000 cost of attending law school) more than their non-law-school counterpart over those ten years. That means they'll need to earn roughly $30,000 more per year. 

$30,000 per year is no problem if you do well in law school (and are interested in the "right" jobs). But if you struggle in law school, take minimum wage articles (roughly $30,000/year), then work for a few years in the $40-70,000 range, you're going to have a tough time averaging more than $30,000 more per year than your fictional alter ego. 

At the end of the day, it's a personal decision. I just think that people really should spend some time considering what possible outcomes they have coming out of law school. You should evaluate how sound your decision is if you're at the top of your class, working two summers and landing well-paid articles. You should evaluate what happens if you're an average student, working one summer and landing lower-paid articles. And you should evaluate what happens if you're a below average student, working for free during your summers and finding minimum wage articles.

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110023901&pickMembers[0]=1.8&pickMembers[1]=2.3&pickMembers[2]=3.1&pickMembers[3]=4.1&cubeTimeFrame.startYear=2018&cubeTimeFrame.endYear=2018&referencePeriods=20180101%2C20180101

While there is an upward trend in salary in other fields, isn't there also a lower ceiling? In 2018, the median income in Ontario for individuals aged 45-54 was $48,600. Even the average income of $66,800 at that age range does not seem particularly high. 

https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/economy/demographics/census/cenhi16-7.html

The Ontario median household income in 2015 was 74k. 

Almost everyone I know with a Bachelor's degree is making between 40-60k, barring a few select professions that pay higher (finance, investment banking, software development, etc.), and the numbers from Stats Canada seems to reflect this as well. If you are graduating with an arts degree, I am not sure if there are many careers out there where you can pass six figures, other than law - which is why many arts graduates try to go to law school. At the time I entered law school, my friends who graduated with general arts and science degrees started working entry-level jobs making 30-50k and they have not moved up much since then. 

I don't know if most people have the ability to cross six figures in many other fields out there, particularly with just an undergraduate degree. Even the engineers I know are in the 60-70k range. Many engineers then go on to get expensive MBAs (which can cost as much as a JD) to help them make lateral movements into business and managerial positions. In law, there is the potential to make a lot more money, in general.

I'm not sure if there are many lawyers with 10 years of call experience that are making below six figures. Perhaps someone who has been working in the field longer than I can comment on this, but even if you start out as a new call making 40-50k, after 10 years, surely you would have passed 100k? Law is a field that has no ceiling like most other professions out there. As it is an entrepreneurial profession, the amount of money you make depends on the amount of business you bring in, and as a 10 year call, presumably you are at the Senior Associate, Partner, General Counsel, etc. level already. By then, it is expected that you would have learned the tools of the trade and are relatively good at your craft. I would be surprised to see very many lawyers with 10+ years of experience making below six figures. 

I don't know. I'm a junior in a government position, which pays less than private practice, and I make more money than most people. There are people who've worked 10+ years in their careers that makes less money than me. 

Most Canadian law students seem to land on their feet within the first two years out of law school, and after that, it comes down to your own hustle and mindset. There is money to be made in law, more than most other professions out there.

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My two cents:

The Canadian legal market is fine. UofT, Osgoode, Queens and Western all have articling rates over 90%. The remaining 10% or so typically either pursue a non-conventional career or further academic study. While all articling positions aren't made equal, the likelihood you being unemployed or even underemployed after graduating from one of these schools is low. Comparing the US market to the Canadian market is like comparing apples and oranges. First off, the school "prestige" factor is much more important in landing a job (any job) in the US than Canada. Secondly, I think the quality of education and the network you are exposed to at any Ontario law school is more than sufficient for getting a job here. There are a lot of private law schools (read cash cows) still operating in the US with dismal employment rates. As of now I don't think there are any true "cash cow" law degrees in Canada. I'm fairly optimistic about the legal market here. While factors like emerging AI and the preference for in-house attorneys (pressure for less lawyers to do more) may place some downward pressure on the market for law grads, I think things will be fine for the foreseeable future. 

If not I guess I'll learn to code or something. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Assume the debt is at 3.5%, and they pay it off over ten years. Now, here's where the opportunity cost seriously kicks in – the cost of that debt is both the interest you pay (roughly $18,000) and the foregone compound interest. Assuming you would have invested that money monthly into the same account as your foregone savings, the total cost of that debt would be $86,600.

Can you explain opportunity cost to me? I understand how this calculation would work if you had say 100,000$ and chose to go to law school versus investing in the stock market. I am having trouble following opportunity cost of a student loan. Presumably a bank wouldn't lend me 100k to invest in the stock market but let's say they did, don't you need to account for the cost of borrowing? (if debt servicing cost you 3.5%  and you assume a rate of return of 7% your net return would be 3.5% or just over 40k in 10 years)

As I see it the opportunity cost would be the net amount you could save from full time employment during law school years + full cost of attendance ( including cost of living and interest) which in your example would be: 16,000 + 100,000 + 18000 = 134,000

Which would mean that even a measly 65k/year should make it worth it in 10 years.

Edited by NoContest
clarity

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1 hour ago, NoContest said:

Can you explain opportunity cost to me? I understand how this calculation would work if you had say 100,000$ and chose to go to law school versus investing in the stock market. I am having trouble following opportunity cost of a student loan. Presumably a bank wouldn't lend me 100k to invest in the stock market but let's say they did, don't you need to account for the cost of borrowing? (if debt servicing cost you 3.5%  and you assume a rate of return of 7% your net return would be 3.5% or just over 40k in 10 years)

As I see it the opportunity cost would be the net amount you could save from full time employment during law school years + full cost of attendance ( including cost of living and interest) which in your example would be: 16,000 + 100,000 + 18000 = 134,000

Which would mean that even a measly 65k/year should make it worth it in 10 years.

The opportunity cost of debt has two dimensions.

The first dimension is simply the interest you pay on it. 

The second dimension is foregone earnings on the money you pay towards the loan. In the example I provided, monthly payment is approximately $1000/month for ten years. If you didn’t have that debt, that would be money that could be earning you returns. So to figure out foregone earnings, we calculate the compound interest on an investment starting with $16,071 (the investment account established during the three years of working instead of law school) with monthly deposits of $1000. That yields an account balance of roughly $202,000, from which we subtract the $100,000 principal of the loan and the initial $16,071 (to avoid double counting).  

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6 hours ago, Deadpool said:

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1110023901&pickMembers[0]=1.8&pickMembers[1]=2.3&pickMembers[2]=3.1&pickMembers[3]=4.1&cubeTimeFrame.startYear=2018&cubeTimeFrame.endYear=2018&referencePeriods=20180101%2C20180101

While there is an upward trend in salary in other fields, isn't there also a lower ceiling? In 2018, the median income in Ontario for individuals aged 45-54 was $48,600. Even the average income of $66,800 at that age range does not seem particularly high. 

https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/economy/demographics/census/cenhi16-7.html

The Ontario median household income in 2015 was 74k. 

Almost everyone I know with a Bachelor's degree is making between 40-60k, barring a few select professions that pay higher (finance, investment banking, software development, etc.), and the numbers from Stats Canada seems to reflect this as well. If you are graduating with an arts degree, I am not sure if there are many careers out there where you can pass six figures, other than law - which is why many arts graduates try to go to law school. At the time I entered law school, my friends who graduated with general arts and science degrees started working entry-level jobs making 30-50k and they have not moved up much since then. 

I don't know if most people have the ability to cross six figures in many other fields out there, particularly with just an undergraduate degree. Even the engineers I know are in the 60-70k range. Many engineers then go on to get expensive MBAs (which can cost as much as a JD) to help them make lateral movements into business and managerial positions. In law, there is the potential to make a lot more money, in general.

I'm not sure if there are many lawyers with 10 years of call experience that are making below six figures. Perhaps someone who has been working in the field longer than I can comment on this, but even if you start out as a new call making 40-50k, after 10 years, surely you would have passed 100k? Law is a field that has no ceiling like most other professions out there. As it is an entrepreneurial profession, the amount of money you make depends on the amount of business you bring in, and as a 10 year call, presumably you are at the Senior Associate, Partner, General Counsel, etc. level already. By then, it is expected that you would have learned the tools of the trade and are relatively good at your craft. I would be surprised to see very many lawyers with 10+ years of experience making below six figures. 

I don't know. I'm a junior in a government position, which pays less than private practice, and I make more money than most people. There are people who've worked 10+ years in their careers that makes less money than me. 

Most Canadian law students seem to land on their feet within the first two years out of law school, and after that, it comes down to your own hustle and mindset. There is money to be made in law, more than most other professions out there.

Median income for someone with a Bachelor's degree between the ages of 25 and 64 in Ontario was $70,832 in 2015 (and close to $90,000 for men). So while there is a ceiling, it's not like it's all that low. 

I'm not meaning to imply that going to law school is a poor financial choice. I think, generally speaking, you'll earn more having gone to law school than not, over the course of your career. 

I simply think people don't pause to consider whether they would still be happy to have attended law school if they're in the bottom quartile of their class and legal practice. Would they still want to attend law school if they knew that they only took home an additional $10,000 over the course of their first ten years of practice, after accounting for debt? Would they still want to attend law school if they knew they would be grinding away at undesirable jobs for years, earning only $20,000 more than if they took that cushy job with a 9-5 schedule and six weeks paid vacation? Is there perhaps a different degree or career path they would prefer, knowing those things?

There's no right answer here, and again, it's not just financial. There are people who would rather make $40,000 a year practicing law than $80,000 working as a teacher. But I really do think prospective students need to sit down and ask whether they would still enjoy the field if they finish in the bottom quartile of the class and deal with all the things that come with that. Particularly if they're Bay Street or bust, since your odds of getting a big law job are often lower than your odds of finishing in the bottom quartile. 

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Diplock said:

Wow, if ever there was a thread with a series of questions that didn't require answers to those questions at all but rather entirely different advice inspired by the questioner...

Look, if you're really attending law school this year (and I can't be bothered pawing through your history to figure it out) this is the advice you need. Become way less susceptible to the random, stupid thing you heard from someone somewhere, and far more reliant on good sources of information, common sense, and your own instincts. If you are watching stupid videos on Youtube posted by the least credible people imaginable, and then taking what they say seriously despite the fact that they are talking about an unrelated legal market, from a perspective of complete delusion, I'm very worried about what you'll believe in law school every time some fellow student repeats a rumor they heard. You're going to lose your mind.

Also, you need to calibrate your own ideas about what you want from a career and stop looking to others to tell you what success looks like. Unless you're able to do that, you're going to end up chasing what everyone else tells you to want. And that, more than any other factor, will contribute to derailing your career and leaving you as one of those bitter people railing on the Internet about how you were lied to.

Anyway, good luck. You obviously did well enough in academic terms to get yourself into law school. But now you really need to work on your attitudes towards life, success, opinions and information from other people, etc. Because if you don't get that sorted out (all of which falls broadly under the heading of "growing up") you can still fail at all the non-academic things that go into a legal career.

And you are absolutely right. I totally thought that since the person is an attorney with her own firm there is probably some truth to what she said. And I was wrong. Thank you for calling me out. 

Edited by lawlawlaw777

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10 hours ago, Baristachamp said:

Did I say I thought that? Lol read bro. I said if you were you’d get a job. What is wrong with you?

Something is definitely up with the dude. Posts like 40 times a day. 

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30 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

The opportunity cost of debt has two dimensions.

The first dimension is simply the interest you pay on it. 

The second dimension is foregone earnings on the money you pay towards the loan. In the example I provided, monthly payment is approximately $1000/month for ten years. If you didn’t have that debt, that would be money that could be earning you returns. So to figure out foregone earnings, we calculate the compound interest on an investment starting with $16,071 (the investment account established during the three years of working instead of law school) with monthly deposits of $1000. That yields an account balance of roughly $202,000, from which we subtract the $100,000 principal of the loan and the initial $16,071 (to avoid double counting).  

The issue I take with calculating the opportunity cost this way is you wouldn't otherwise have the extra $1000 /month if you kept your $50,000 year job. If you ended up in a law job that paid less than 50,000$/year then I would count how much less you are making with as part of the opportunity cost. 

As I calculate it, If I am lucky and get a biglaw job after graduating I will break even around 42 :(... If I end up in the bottom 25th percentile.. I might retire at 80. 

18 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I simply think people don't pause to consider whether they would still be happy to have attended law school if they're in the bottom quartile of their class and legal practice. Would they still want to attend law school if they knew that they only took home an additional $10,000 over the course of their first ten years of practice, after accounting for debt? Would they still want to attend law school if they knew they would be grinding away at undesirable jobs for years, earning only $20,000 more than if they took that cushy job with a 9-5 schedule and six weeks paid vacation? Is there perhaps a different degree or career path they would prefer, knowing those things?

I agree with the sentiment, but I feel the struggle of being an average lawyer is a little exaggerated.  The reality is there aren't so many "cushy" jobs with 6 weeks of vacation available to a 20 year old. Maybe in Europe, not in Canada.  Ask your friends that are stuck home schooling their kids right now if they would like to be stuck with 30 kids for 8 hours a day.  I feel like a lot of the people on the forums that talk about how boring law is, or how hard the hours are haven't worked a corporate job before. I can tell you that regardless of discipline, corporate jobs are generally soul sucking. 

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Back on topic, I actually do think that people in Canada, particularly in Ontario, should give more thought to going to law school than many do. But I agree that OP's questions are based on faulty premises. 

If you're good at law school or good at legal practice, law school tends to be a good investment. The top of the market pays quite well. And even if you don't do well enough in law school to get the high-end jobs, its a profession that lends itself well to entrepreneurship and will allow you to earn a good income if you're able to successfully run a practice. 

But for a lot of people, law school really isn't a good investment. There's a clear bimodal salary distribution coming out of law school, and I'm of the opinion that the main reason it isn't as discussed as it is in the American context isn't that it doesn't exist, but rather that the gap is smaller due to lower big law salaries (and that's changing).

A lot of people struggle out of law school. They find it hard to get a job. When they get a job, it isn't well paying. They earn less or similar to what they could have earned had they entered the workforce when they went to law school. If they went to an Ontario law school and used credit to pay for it, they're paying off a six-figure loan with a mid-five-figure salary. That's stressful. The economics of the profession often force those people into small practices, sometimes making them small business owners when they'd really rather be an employee. 

So while it's all well and good to plan to be in the 90th percentile of law school or legal practice (and pro-tip, you probably won't be), it's worth asking what you would do if you were guaranteed to be in the 25th percentile. Would you still go to law school, or would you pursue another profession? A lot of things will go into that equation: what are your other options, do you want to run a business or would you rather be an employee, what kind of environment do you want to work in, what type of work-life balance are you hoping to achieve, etc? 

So OP, I think you're asking the right overarching question, but you're going about it the wrong way. Don't stress out about the horror stories you hear out of the American legal market. But do give some serious thought to whether you'd want to attend law school if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre student, and further if you were guaranteed to be a mediocre lawyer. 

Thank you for the answer. After several people pointed out that the stories do not represent the legal market and the logic behind those stories are flawed, I realized that I should really stop reading on these horror stories. I think there are always people out there who spread rumours and I should work on differentiating them with the truth. 

Just curious, why is the Big law salaries changing?

Edited by lawlawlaw777

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4 minutes ago, NoContest said:

The issue I take with calculating the opportunity cost this way is you wouldn't otherwise have the extra $1000 /month if you kept your $50,000 year job. If you ended up in a law job that paid less than 50,000$/year then I would count how much less you are making with as part of the opportunity cost. 

 

It doesn’t matter. Failing to calculate it this way leads to double counting of income earned as a result of getting a law degree. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

Particularly if they're Bay Street or bust, since your odds of getting a big law job are often lower than your odds of finishing in the bottom quartile. 

Don't more than 25% of students at most schools land a Big Law job? (Source that somewhat proves this point: http://ultravires.ca/2019/12/toronto-summer-2020-2l-recruit-numbers/)

Edited by Twenty

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Just now, Twenty said:

Don't more than 25% of students at most schools land a Big Law job? http://ultravires.ca/2019/12/toronto-summer-2020-2l-recruit-numbers/

I don’t consider all of those employers to be big law jobs. A good number of those positions don’t pay anywhere close to going rate on the street. Normally I lump all the OCI jobs together, but when talking finances it’s important to distinguish between big law positions and OCI positions more broadly 

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7 hours ago, Deadpool said:

I don't know if most people have the ability to cross six figures in many other fields out there, particularly with just an undergraduate degree. Even the engineers I know are in the 60-70k range. Many engineers then go on to get expensive MBAs (which can cost as much as a JD) to help them make lateral movements into business and managerial positions. In law, there is the potential to make a lot more money, in general.

Spot on. This has been my experience in the engineering field. Most ambitious individuals aspire to move out of technical work and towards business/management positions. Otherwise, your earnings potential is limited (this is also not counting software engineering, of course, which doesn't really work like traditional engineering fields).

9 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:
  • Thus, someone who chooses to go to law school needs to earn $302,671 (the cost of the debt + foregone savings + the $100,000 cost of attending law school) more than their non-law-school counterpart over those ten years. That means they'll need to earn roughly $30,000 more per year. 

$30,000 per year is no problem if you do well in law school (and are interested in the "right" jobs). But if you struggle in law school, take minimum wage articles (roughly $30,000/year), then work for a few years in the $40-70,000 range, you're going to have a tough time averaging more than $30,000 more per year than your fictional alter ego. 

How did you arrive at $302,671? Shouldn't it be 86,600 (cost of the debt) + 16071 (foregone savings) + 100000 (cost of school) = 202,671?

But even so, why stop the analysis at 10 years? Most of us have a 30 odd year career ahead of us. The differences between the two lifestyles diverge even more so after that point.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I don’t consider all of those employers to be big law jobs. A good number of those positions don’t pay anywhere close to going rate on the street. Normally I lump all the OCI jobs together, but when talking finances it’s important to distinguish between big law positions and OCI positions more broadly 

Fair enough. My point is still that while it's more likely than not that a person misses out on Big Law, I suspect that a fair number of students end up in Big Law nonetheless.

That being said, I agree with your overall message (just felt like it was important to clarify that one point) that people should do their due diligence before deciding if they want to practice law. 

Edited by Twenty

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Cheech said:

How did you arrive at $302,671? Shouldn't it be 86,600 (cost of the debt) + 16071 (foregone savings) + 100000 (cost of school) = 202,671?

But even so, why stop the analysis at 10 years? Most of us have a 30 odd year career ahead of us. The differences between the two lifestyles diverge even more so after that point.

Good catch, my mistake. I was doing the math late last night  

I stopped at ten years because that’s what the poster I was responding to asked about. It’s also semi-important to note it’s actually 13 years, because you need to count law school. 

It’s also, just practically speaking, hard to predict out much further into the future. Maybe the lawyer leaves practice. Maybe the non-lawyer’s company pays for him to get an MBA. Etc. Etc. 

Edited by BlockedQuebecois

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17 minutes ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I don’t consider all of those employers to be big law jobs. A good number of those positions don’t pay anywhere close to going rate on the street. Normally I lump all the OCI jobs together, but when talking finances it’s important to distinguish between big law positions and OCI positions more broadly 

I get that they all not big law as some are smaller boutiques, but the MAG numbers arent even included in that, I only see about 5 positions that are not private practice (Public Prosecution of Ontario and Office of the Ombudsman). Don't most of the boutiques on that list also pay the same as the national firms? So isn't top 25% rather conservative for the amount of people that get a competitive salary? Especially for UofT, Oz and Western? 

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