It’s really freaking expensive. Let’s look at the tuition for the top 5 law schools:
These were their tuitions last year, most have gone up since then, and will continue to rise. So remember, when you start law school, that’s going to be your cheapest year. You have no protection against rising costs.
Now, most people aren’t even looking at the top five, so let’s compare those numbers to some other schools:
#15, UCLA: $41,624 (out of state), $31,103 (in state)
#30, Fordham: $42,067
#100, Gonzaga: $30,263
TTT, Loyola: $32,226
TTT, Howard: $23,370
I think you get the picture. Law school is really God damn expensive. If you’re going to a decent law school, expect it to cost you between $100,000 and $130,000 in tuition. That of course doesn’t cover books, fees, and the couple extra grand you’ll need to spend on a bar review course to learn the stuff law school didn’t teach you.
But, the cost of tuition doesn’t stop there. The vast majority of law students take out loans to pay for school. So, let’s imagine you graduated with only $100,000 of debt, you’ll probably end up actually paying closer to $150,000-$200,000 because of interest. If you take out loans to cover living expenses and a bar loan to make rent between school ending and work starting, the number could go much higher. But, let’s be generous and just call it $150,000.
Then there’s this little thing called opportunity cost. You see, law school doesn’t just take money out of your pocket, but for three years it stops you from putting money into it. If you hadn’t of gone to law school, you’d have started working and earning money. So, let’s assume you have a worthless English degree and your job out of college would have paid just $33,000 a year. Law school just cost you $100,000 in lost income (I tossed in a $1000 bonus somewhere). Now the total cost of law school is about $250,000.
When most people talk about the true cost of law school, they then compare the price to the difference in earnings and start talking about how many years you’ll have to work as a lawyer for the investment to break even. I’m going to go a different route and talk about what you could have purchased instead.
You could have bought this lovely, 4 bed, 3 bath, 2277 sq. ft. house in Las Vegas.
And still had $50,000 left over.
That’s a lot of money still in your pocket, what to do with it? How about a 65 inch plasma TV, an XBox-360, PS3, and a Wii with a mountain of games for each? That’ll set you back about $6,500. Still a lot of money to blow through. How about ordering a Dominos 5-5-5 deal every single day of the year? With tax and a genous tip, it’s $20 a day, or another $7,300 for the year. Let’s throw in a handle of Jack Daniels every week and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue every month, that’s another $5,080. We’ve still got about $30,000 to blow through? Oh, I’ve got an idea!
Hookers! We’ve got a lot of money to blow, so let’s go high end. Eliot Spitzer reportedly paid $1000 an hour to have sex with Ashley Dupre.
Now, he probably was paying a bit of a premium because he was the governor and needed to keep things absolutely discrete. We’ll assume you don’t have that issue. Also, he was probably paying extra because he reportedly liked to do some weird shit. …But we’ll assume you do too.
I imagine you can get some sort of discount for buying in bulk. So, with your money left over from the house and the electronics and the food and the booze, I think it’s fair to say you’d still be able to afford to bang a hot ass hooker once a week. Make it your Sunday afternoon hobby. It’s a far better way to spend $250,000 than law school.
But the fun will soon be over you say? I only budgeted for one year you say? With a law degree you can earn money to have hookers in perpetuity?
Go back to where I bought you a four bedroom house. Rent out two or three of the rooms. And since you own the house and aren’t paying a mortgage, your living expenses are super low. You can probably live nicely off the rent, or get a part time job doing something you actually like and live like a freaking king. Try telling me doing 60 hours of mindless doc review and defending DUI cases for the next 10 years is a better life.