Student Loans: Anyone else overwhelmed?


iwtlic

I'm slightly freaked out by the fact that if I go to one of the LL.M. programs in the U.S. that I've been accepted to, I'd be over $70,000 in debt.

Any else dealing with this? I'm starting to wonder if it's all worth it.

I'm slightly freaked out by the fact that if I go to one of the LL.M. programs in the U.S. that I've been accepted to, I'd be over $70,000 in debt.

Any else dealing with this? I'm starting to wonder if it's all worth it.
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Depends. Legal education is highly overpriced in the US. While the job market in the US is slightly getting better, there are still tons of American lawyers (with good credentials) unemployed. In other words, don't assume that you will easily find a job in a big law firm in the US that pays you a nice salary. I only know very few LL.M. graduates who found a job in the US. Your job prospects in your home country might, however, increase a lot after having received an LL.M. degree from a good US law school. Thus, you should do the maths... How long will it take you to pay off the loan? Is it worth it - only you can decide.

I did an LL.M. in the US and liked it a lot. However, I had two scholarships and eventually paid very little for the degree. I would have not paid more than US20,000 out of pocket in total

Solutions: 1) Apply for scholarships, 2) consider studying in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Hong Kong (UHK), Singapore (NUS)... For instance, the LL.M. program at NUS is very good and very cheap at the same time and certainly a great experience.

Depends. Legal education is highly overpriced in the US. While the job market in the US is slightly getting better, there are still tons of American lawyers (with good credentials) unemployed. In other words, don't assume that you will easily find a job in a big law firm in the US that pays you a nice salary. I only know very few LL.M. graduates who found a job in the US. Your job prospects in your home country might, however, increase a lot after having received an LL.M. degree from a good US law school. Thus, you should do the maths... How long will it take you to pay off the loan? Is it worth it - only you can decide.

I did an LL.M. in the US and liked it a lot. However, I had two scholarships and eventually paid very little for the degree. I would have not paid more than US20,000 out of pocket in total

Solutions: 1) Apply for scholarships, 2) consider studying in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Hong Kong (UHK), Singapore (NUS)... For instance, the LL.M. program at NUS is very good and very cheap at the same time and certainly a great experience.
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H.V. gives good advice. Let me put it this way: I personally know five people who graduated near the top of their law school classes in the USA, at good schools, who are clerking at one of the US Circuit Court of Appeals and looking for jobs. If they are having problems, an LLM grad is going to be in big trouble unless the market really really improves in the next year (which I doubt).

H.V. gives good advice. Let me put it this way: I personally know five people who graduated near the top of their law school classes in the USA, at good schools, who are clerking at one of the US Circuit Court of Appeals and looking for jobs. If they are having problems, an LLM grad is going to be in big trouble unless the market really really improves in the next year (which I doubt).
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sc82

I know a few people who did about average at tier 3 US law schools and all three are making decent money at firms and only one had significant extra curricular activities. Another thing to think about is what sector of law you want to get involved with. Look for the schools that specialize in that field. It's not just good for prospects in hunting for a job immediately upon graduation, it also provides you a very honed and detailed education about a specific topic you are interested in. If you are getting an LLM to qualify for the bar your electives will be rather limited, so the school that fits your desired sector as far as reputation and quality of education in that area of law is important. Having done my undergrad at an Ivy league school I feel your pain when it comes to student debt and feeling like your lenders own your soul is never fun, but balance the cost with both short term and long term objectives. Having the school that fits your interests will help you prepare well for your chosen field of law and likely will be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to networking within that field. Don't let someone scare you over talented students who have clerkships and can't be employed. Other things such as a deficient ability in the advocacy department and/or a lack of effort or correct focus in networking efforts can be just as detrimental to employment and long term objectives as a degree from a mediocre school can. Be very aware that it is a tough job market, but it is not impossible. Always remember you are your own brand, so when picking your program and presenting yourself always keep the mindset of making your brand as appealing as possible. Good luck to you.

I know a few people who did about average at tier 3 US law schools and all three are making decent money at firms and only one had significant extra curricular activities. Another thing to think about is what sector of law you want to get involved with. Look for the schools that specialize in that field. It's not just good for prospects in hunting for a job immediately upon graduation, it also provides you a very honed and detailed education about a specific topic you are interested in. If you are getting an LLM to qualify for the bar your electives will be rather limited, so the school that fits your desired sector as far as reputation and quality of education in that area of law is important. Having done my undergrad at an Ivy league school I feel your pain when it comes to student debt and feeling like your lenders own your soul is never fun, but balance the cost with both short term and long term objectives. Having the school that fits your interests will help you prepare well for your chosen field of law and likely will be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to networking within that field. Don't let someone scare you over talented students who have clerkships and can't be employed. Other things such as a deficient ability in the advocacy department and/or a lack of effort or correct focus in networking efforts can be just as detrimental to employment and long term objectives as a degree from a mediocre school can. Be very aware that it is a tough job market, but it is not impossible. Always remember you are your own brand, so when picking your program and presenting yourself always keep the mindset of making your brand as appealing as possible. Good luck to you.
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This is true on the whole. I will say for the record, however, that my five friends are not lacking in the networking department (remember who they work for!). I'm not sure what is meant by "a deficient ability in the advocacy department", but I will say they're all strong all-around lawyers.

My friends' experience is anecdotal, and please take it for what it's worth. It just means the job market is poor; ten years ago there would have been multiple firms after these folks even if they interviewed in a mediocre fashion. My general sense is that, if you don't have an offer from your 2L summer firm, you are going to have to work hard to find a job. Generally speaking, LLMs are going to have a very tough time.

This is true on the whole. I will say for the record, however, that my five friends are not lacking in the networking department (remember who they work for!). I'm not sure what is meant by "a deficient ability in the advocacy department", but I will say they're all strong all-around lawyers.

My friends' experience is anecdotal, and please take it for what it's worth. It just means the job market is poor; ten years ago there would have been multiple firms after these folks even if they interviewed in a mediocre fashion. My general sense is that, if you don't have an offer from your 2L summer firm, you are going to have to work hard to find a job. Generally speaking, LLMs are going to have a very tough time.
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Completely agree with Ok-Computer. I did my LL.M. at a very good law school. Most of the students were looking for jobs but couldn't find a job, even not an unpaid internship. It could have changed by now though. I am now working for a big law firm. Many of the lawyers who got laid off in 2009/10 are still looking for jobs. And they have good credentials + experience. I would never even consider studying at a tier 3 university. Check some statements at abovethelaw.com. Most of the graduates are simply miserable: suffering from a 200k debt (btw: in the US, you cannot get rid of your study loan by filing bankruptcy...), no job offers (certainly not at a big law firm).

Having said that, everything is possible - also a great career for a foreign lawyer in the US. But when thinking about entering into a huge debt (and USD70.000 is huge), one should be conservative and take into account other realistic possibilities, too.

Completely agree with Ok-Computer. I did my LL.M. at a very good law school. Most of the students were looking for jobs but couldn't find a job, even not an unpaid internship. It could have changed by now though. I am now working for a big law firm. Many of the lawyers who got laid off in 2009/10 are still looking for jobs. And they have good credentials + experience. I would never even consider studying at a tier 3 university. Check some statements at abovethelaw.com. Most of the graduates are simply miserable: suffering from a 200k debt (btw: in the US, you cannot get rid of your study loan by filing bankruptcy...), no job offers (certainly not at a big law firm).

Having said that, everything is possible - also a great career for a foreign lawyer in the US. But when thinking about entering into a huge debt (and USD70.000 is huge), one should be conservative and take into account other realistic possibilities, too.
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