Date: April 20th, 2017 9:24 AM
i expect to get a govt or small firm job. so i am looking at a worst case scenario of $50,000. no debts except law school. no responsibilities (no kids etc). but my partner works an hourly wage job with no benefits so it will be me paying for our house, kids etc down the line.
all up i'll have about $90,000 in loan debt which includes my undergrad loans. i did not get biglaw jobs or get paid both summers. i went to some of the most expensive undergrad and law schools ever. how did i do this?
1) chose a school with a scholly over a slightly higher ranked school. and am so so glad i did.
2) the school i chose is in a city with an incredibly low cost of living.
3) i live cheaper than my peers: didn't choose $$$ apt, no car (only bike), limited social life, started growing my hair out because the salon was so $$$$, stopped my gilt groupe addiction, no spring break trips etc... don;t get me wrong, live well and comfortably, but there is no need in law school to, as many classmates do, go to mexico every spring break and some other exotic locale for each vacation and buy tickets to concerts and go out to dinner and buy new clothes. you can budget and figure out what your big ticket items are and eliminate them. those will likely be transport, travel and rent.
4) avoided those fed plus loans like the plague which i suggest people should do if possible.
5) i was lucky to get family to loan me $20,000 each year at 2% interest. the way i put it was that, if they felt like i had a good shot at being an employed attny, then they would get a better and more dependable return on that investment than letting it accrue interest (always less than 2%) in a savings acct or leaving it to vagaries of stock mkt. that $$$ is more useful to them when they retire and need an extra cash infusion if their investment accts go sour.
6) i also worked before law school and although i only made $50,000 living in nyc, i managed to save a couple hundred every month which ended up getting me around $20,000 to put towards my cost of living
7) i didn't take out loans during the summer. i chose jobs in places where i was already paying rent or could live for free with family.
i realize i was LUCKY to have low debt. and i know this is not the case for everyone. even so, i agonized about spending the $$$ for law school knowing i probs wanted to do PI and having lived in the firm world through the nightmare of 2009-2010 law firm layoffs. but i posted the above so that ppl going in can see that even with luck you still need to plan to keep your loans below six figures and those loans will still be high. i feel ok about my debt cuz i ran the number with an economist who specializes in this and at $50,000/yr and PI loan forgiveness i'd be ok if i stayed in a low cost of living area and held off on kids.
bottom line: if you don't think you can get a big law job or don't wanna do big law get that scholly and save however you can. take out the minimum loans you need. i have friends who worked law jobs every summer and they still had to take out loan from their parents for their first big city apt security deposit. that boggles my mind.