Thursday’s TPS Report: Faux Wrap Jersey Dress (Plus)

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Faux Wrap Jersey Dress (Plus)We’ve covered the regular-sized version of this ruched faux wrap dress (now available in 7 colors in sizes 2-16) but I was intrigued when reader V wrote in to vouch for the plus-size version, as well as to note just how many variations of it there are, including prints, short sleeves, and three-quarter sleeves.  As she notes, “The dress is basically perfect: the cap sleeves are long enough to be safe even for conservative offices (although the v-neck is pretty low; I tend to pin mine), the ruching skims over my hips, and the fabric drapes wonderfully.”  Lovely!  The dress pictured is on sale for $45 in limited sizes; more are available at the full price of $108, all at Nordstrom. Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Ruched Faux Wrap Dress

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Comments

  1. momentsofabsurdity :

    That color is just gorgeous. I love jewel tones – so universally flattering. Not going to lie, the cap sleeves featured at the non-plus link would make my broad shoulders look even broader, though. Love the ruching though!

  2. Great colour.

  3. Early threadjack, because this dress reminds me of the Ann Taylor Miracle dress I bought a few days ago — link to follow.

    I got it in “Ocean Dive” — bright blue, and I’m not sure if the dress is work appropriate. (business casual) and what shoes and other accescories to wear with it. I love color, just usually not in that quantity or intensity, but the black was boring and in a flimsier fabric.

  4. Wearing the non-plus version of this dress today!

    • Bizarrely, I have discovered there is some sort of sticker trapped between the layers of jersey on the bodice. I have been able to peel it off and move it into the ruching at the V neck, but I can’t get it out. The dress appears to be too well made for me to find a simple seam to open, remove the sticker and re-sew.

    • Good for you! :

      Important to point out that yours isn’t plus-sized?

      • The non-plus sized one that was previously featured has cap sleeves, so it does look quite different.

      • Nope, I originally wrote I was wearing this dress today, but realized that was not accurate so I put “non-plus”. I can comment on how that version fits, but not the version in this post.

        • I have this dress in two colors (non-plus in a size 16 FWIW), and I have to say they fit very differently. The navy fits like a glove and the purple one needs to be pinned to keep from showing too much chest. Hopefully the purple one is the odd ball.

          I wish the plus style was universal though. I like the sleeves much better. Unfortunately, the waist didn’t fit me right (plus size rarely works for me because of that—alas, my big shoulders and hips aren’t proportional to waist or something so I’m often caught in this weird too big for a 14 but too small for anything plus).

          I’d say it’s pretty TTS though. And definitely recommend for travel. I usually pop one in my carry-on so I’ll have something to wear to meetings and a dinner out should my suitcase get lost. (And no need to iron!)

          • I’m that weird size too. I find lots of pluses are cut for larger-chested apple shapes and they don’t work for me at all. I sometimes buy plus skirts, then head to misses for tops. However, I’m almost impossible to fit in a dress.

      • Benefit of the doubt :

        We’re all friends here, ladies.

  5. Oh.so.tired :

    Thanks to everyone about the workout advice in yesterday’s post. Since my gym does not offer personal trainers (it’s a $10/mo gym) I’ll be on the hunt for another gym that does. Also, I went to bikram yoga last night and I felt like I was going to DIE!

    On a different note, I am graduating in a few weeks and I don’t know what to get myself as a graduation present. My husband wants to buy me a something memorable and luxurious but still wearable everyday, a Cartier watch. I just can’t imagine spending that kind of money eventhough we’ll both be making a lot. Any other grad gift suggestions? Should I go with the watch?

    • Do you currently go to Planet Fitness? I used to go there. Spending some more $/month is worth it. The atmosphere is more friendly and the services are worth the extra $.

      I got a David Yurman ring for my graduation and wear it all the time. It is purple, my school’s colors.

    • There are Cartier watches in the 2k – 3k range. But if you are really balking at the price, there are cheaper everyday watches that are also nice. Or get something that is fun but hard to justify otherwise (for me, it’s an iPad… I don’t need the thing but I want it).

    • Go with the watch. It will never go out of style and you can pass it down to your children.

    • Go with the watch. You’ll have a classic watch like that for years. Remember to add a rider to your home owner’s policy to cover it.

    • I’d rather have diamond earrings or a really lovely bracelet than a watch, personally. I can’t see much of a difference between a $100 Fossil watch and a fancy watch, but I definitely can see the difference between costume jewelry and “real” jewelry.

      • I was also going to suggest diamond studs as an “occasion” gift. I got mine for my 30th bday, and I love them. But then again, I am not a watch person. However, intuiting from your short post, it sounds like maybe you’re not sure you are either. :)

      • Thirding diamond earrings. I feel like many of the fancy watches are just too glitzy for everyday use – I would wear diamonds in my ears, but not on my watch, apparently. Plus I hardly ever wear a watch, I look at my computer all day and there’s a clock right on the screen. I am actually trying to psyche myself up to buy some diamond studs – if I would just stop randomly shopping for a couple of months, I could probably easily afford a decent pair.

        Discuss: Do watches make people look old? I have read that kids these days depend on their cellphones for timekeeping, and that wearing a watch can mark one as out-of-date and behind the times.

        • I think they make people look classy. I’m 26 and rock a watch daily. I love it.

        • I wear a watch every day. I think it’s rude to pull out your cellphone in a meeting or at the table, and it’s also inconvenient to have to dig through your bag every time you wonder what time it is.

          • I guess for most of the meetings I go to, there’s a clock in the room and/or it’s perfectly acceptable to be checking your Blackberry (which I hate and do not do, but I think I am in the minority).

            I just never got into wearing watches, bracelets, or rings, because they got in the way when I was still working in the lab.

            And I don’t really feel strongly about it one way or another, just thought it was, perhaps, a somewhat interesting generational difference.

        • Totes McGotes :

          I have actually read that not wearing one can make you look young-in-a-bad-way, NGDGTCO style. Using your cell to check the time is not only rude in certain circumstances, but also marks you as a “millennial” to people from other generations.

        • I like watches. I don’t think it ages you; the idea that it would seems silly to me.
          Also, you can have a fancy watch that is not glitzy.

        • I’m young (25) and I wear a plain little silver Skagen. I’m a graduate student, and I think that using the cell to keep time while teaching is highly unprofessional. It looks like you’re checking your texts while teaching—not to mention that if someone has texted you while teaching, you need to mash buttons so you can get to the time.

          I would also think this if I were in a meeting with someone. If you pull out your phone, I don’t assume that you’re checking the time.

    • Diamond earrings are a good idea. I’ve worn my studs almost every day since I got them 3 years ago.

    • Go with the watch! I got one as a gift and I absolutely love it. It’s classy and lovely, but works well on a daily basis.

    • MaggieLizer :

      I got myself a set of Tiffany’s beads for my graduation gift. The price point is low enough to not feel too guilty – even though I got the necklace, bracelet, and earrings – and they’re the kind of classic pieces that I’ll wear forever. You might also consider a really good set of pearls.

    • I would LOVE some expensive gold and dimond Carteir Watch, but alot of them are way to trendy for me, at least. I want a watch that is classeic in it’s color and I want the REAL gold.

      They also showed me a $4600 gold braclet that looked alot like copper. I said NO, I want REAL GOLD, especialy b/c it cost’s the same money!

      Also, the braclet was permenent, which mean’s it has to be bolted onto you and does NOT come off without haveing the guy unbolt it! FOOEY!

    • I wear the Tank watch (I got it as a gift, so not sure of the exact price, but the one I have, which is absolutely no frills, is probably one of the “cheaper” things at Cartier). I have worn it every single day since I received it — work, cocktails, nice dinners, laid back weekends, etc., etc. . . you get the point. Definitely worth it — it’s truly timeless, discreet (nobody knows where it’s from unless they’re aware of the type of watch), and I can’t imagine not just getting another one in the unlikely scenario this one craps out soon. So generous and thoughtful of your husband!

    • Ugh, in moderation. What I was going to say was . . .

      I wear the Tank watch (I got it as a gift, so not sure of the exact price, but the one I have, which is absolutely no frills, is probably one of the “cheaper” things at Cartier). I have worn it every single day since I received it — work, drinks, nice dinners, laid back weekends, etc., etc. . . you get the point. Definitely worth it — it’s truly timeless, discreet (nobody knows where it’s from unless they’re aware of the type of watch), and I can’t imagine not just getting another one in the unlikely scenario this one craps out soon. So generous and thoughtful of your husband!

    • Go with the watch! My mom gave hers to me when I turned 21 and I have worn it every single day since (except when it needs a new battery)–or, for about a decade. And I never take it off–I shower in it, run in it, swim laps in it, wear it in the ocean when I’m at the beach and sleep in it. My friends joke about my Cartier running watch. It is one of the very few items I own (maybe the only one other than my phone and my car) that I could say if I lost it today, I would replace it tomorrow.

      Congrats on graduation!

      • Same! my mom got a gold and silver rolex from her parents when she turned 21 and gave it to me for my 21st birthday. with the exception of my wedding and other really formal events, i’ve worn it every day- it’s amazing how much we both have worn it! and it’s fun to have something that i so distinctly remember her wearing every day while i was growing up!

    • I would definitely pick the watch. I have been drooling over the Tank watch for a couple years, but I haven’t had occasion to justify the expense yet… maybe for my 30th birthday. That will give me time to savee up for it, too. :) Diamond studs and a quality pearl neckace are also on my jewelery-I-will-splurge-on list, though. I think you can’t go wrong with either of those.

    • If you’re a watch-wearer, go for the watch. Me, I’d go for a gorgeous strand of 8mm akoya pearls, or larger tahitians. But I am a pearl girl.

  6. Desperately seeking lily :

    Early TJ – sorry – I’m looking for a dress for an occassion and would love something like the Vivienne Westwood Lily dress (aka the short version of carrie’s wedding dress in *** and the city aka the one the redhead from girls aloud wore on a red carpet somewhere and looked fab in – link to follow).

    Now my budget doesn’t allow for Vivienne Westwood and even if it did I believe the dress in question is sold out – so, has anyone seen anything similar?

    TIA

  7. Heh! I’m the person who wrote in about the plus-size version of the dress. I didn’t realize it when I wrote in, but I probably discovered the dress when you covered the straight size version earlier!

    The cap sleeves are fairly long – more like a short sleeve than a cap sleeve (check out the non-plus image; the arm length is more accurate there). I also have huge shoulders and arms and it doesn’t make me feel too linebacker-y.

  8. Oh, and looks like there’s a three-quarter length sleeve version for straight sizes as well:

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/suzi-chin-for-maggy-boutique-faux-wrap-jersey-dress/3313733?origin=keywordsearch&resultback=6666

  9. ChocCityB&R :

    I own this dress and for some reason the sheen in the color reads more formal/evening than work day. Is it just me? Also it doesn’t fit my shoulders (nothing ever does, broad shoulders).

    • I own this dress too and haven’t worn it to work yet for the same reason. I don’t think it’s inherently work-inappropriate, I just feel like it needs a blazer, or very non-evening shoes to make it feel less “evening,” and I haven’t found quite the perfect complements. I do love the dress, though; it almost fits my broad shoulders, the v-neck is just fine on my smallish chest, and it drapes nicely without too much cling…

      • new york associate :

        I always wear the dress with a blazer or a sweater, but I generally wear most dresses to work with a blazer or sweater. I think that dresses standing alone often read too “evening” for work.

    • Huh! I have the dress in a few colors, and the sheen issue hasn’t felt like a problem. What color do you have?

  10. A few people posted their thoughts about a paralegal considering law school in an earlier thread but I was wondering would law school be worth it if:

    1. You are going to a T10 law school and
    2. You are paying the majority of the tuition/fees (not entire and not living expenses) with loans

    Let’s assume you are going to law school for the right reasons so this decision would be based on cost vs. job prospects. What is the point when it is “worth it”?

    • Associette :

      If you can get out of law school with relatively little debt, and have the feeling that you were meant to be a lawyer, then it is worth it. I had the “Im meant to be a lawyer” feeling from the time that I was about 15 years-old, but now regret going because I feel like a prisoner to the profession because of my obsene student loans. In retrospect, I think I may have been happier working 9 – 5 as a paralegal with no debt.

      • I absolutely 2nd what Associette said! I had always wanted to go to law school…but with the debt prision I feel like I would have been happier just teaching English/Government and playing in Mock Trial. Silly? Probably. But I only would have been 20K in debt instead of 180.

    • I’d go in your situation, but it’s a calculated risk. The market is picking up, and in three years there will probably be jobs for people graduating from T10s, although not necessarily as many top firm jobs as there used to be. But debt around 100K or so will be manageable on a lower salary or with income-based repayment and public interest loan forgiveness.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I’m not sure it’s just about the “right reasons” – what you want to do with your law degree can also be an important factor. If you want to be a public defender, for example, it’s hard to justify six figures of debt. If you want to work in BigLaw, on the other hand, the calculus looks very different. It also depends where you want to practice. I would not, for example, pay full price (or nearly full price) at Duke if I wanted to work in Chicago.

      • Thanks for your response. You actually hit on an interesting point – Chicago happens to be where I want to practice. Can you elaborate on why you don’t think Duke full price would be worth it? Is it because of the expected salary in Chicago?

        • No because of regional ties. If you want to practice in Chicago it will be a lot easier if you go to law school in Chicago.

          • Former MidLevel :

            This. And everything BB said.

          • I can’t +1 this enough. I went to a regional school that, while high on US News and promoting itself as a national school, remains a very very regional school. It was not in California and it has been a problem. Also, I get the question every single time I meet a new person “why did you go there instead of to one of the great schools in CA?” And knowing what I know now, I don’t have an answer.

            Go to a Chicago school or at least one close enough to drive in for interviews, intern during the summer, etc…

        • I’m from Chicago, and I agree – if you got into Duke you can probably get into Northwestern too and maybe UChicago, and you’ll have better options there. I’d actually choose Notre Dame over Duke as well if you want to practice in Chicago (plus you could probably get a hefty scholarship there). I don’t think I’ve ever met a Duke grad, and I don’t think Chicago lawyers are particularly aware of it being a top school.

          • Oh, also, the legal market is complete sh-t in Chicago right now. Fair warning. Who knows how it will be in 3 years.

          • I know the market is terrible in Chicago right now and that is a huge concern of mine. I am not really sure what to make of it – living in Chicago is pretty high on my list because of family. We would be trying to juggle my husband’s career through all of this and there would be more options for him in Chicago given it is a bigger city and his personal and professional connections there. They only places I know my husband would not consider are NYC and LA.

            This brings another question to mind…for the ladies that are working in law and are married how do you balance your career in terms of location? My husband has always had a larger salary so we have had to make decisions accordingly.

          • Former MidLevel :

            I wouldn’t let the current state of the Chicago market dissuade you if this is the right decision in all other respects. Things there are not great, but they are getting better. And if you go to Northwestern or can get a full-ride at DePaul, you would be in much better shape than most. One thing you need to do, though, is network. And don’t wait until you’re about to graduate. There are a million (slight hyperbole, but only slight) professional organizations in Chicago that you can get involved with. Take classes from adjuncts and get to know them.

            As to your question about balancing careers, that is a whole other thing (new thread time?). But if I were in your shoes, I would pick a school in a city where he has good opportunities–especially if it’s somewhere you can see yourself going after you graduate.

        • Also, Duke is generally horrible.
          -Maryland fan
          ;)

      • actually, if you want to be a public defender, it does make sense to take on the debt because of IBR and the public service loan forgiveness (if you spent 10 years in IBR at a qualifying public service organization, your entire debt is forgiven by the federal government). of course, this only applies if you take out federal loans (grad plus, stafford, perkins).

        • I have found that even with IBR, the loan payments are pretty onerous, especially in an expensive city, and I had to take private loans as well as federal in order to cover the school’s costs so I have 2 payments to make every month.

          Also, call me paranoid, but I’m not banking on my loans being forgiven in 10 years. The program is dependent on the government and, especially given the current anti-spending mood, who knows what could happen.

          • there’d be huge lawsuits if they didn’t forgive in 10 years. I took out full federal and it was 200k so enough to cover the full amount for law school.

            The key is to do IBR and a school that does LRAP. My friend is a state attorney and the school pays her full IBR payment. So she graduated with a little less debt than me but pays no money eachmonth.

          • I’m doing IBR and my school did LRAP but I have never heard of that. I 100% know that my school’s LRAP would not pay $0.01 of my payments.

            I’m doing IBR so I can pay off my other three loans (School, Sallie, and Bar Loan) and then banking the money that I would be putting towards the IBR loan (by far the largest loan) and using it for a disaster fund. That’s the only way I could justify it. Well, that and otherwise my “discretionary” spending (read: groceries) is only about $200/month.

          • What is LRAP then how does it help you? GULC pays the full LRAP amount if you are under some number like 80k

        • DC anonymous :

          The only problem with putting all your eggs in the IBR basket is that Congress controls the IBR program, so they could (theoretically) choose to modify or eliminate it. It would be unpopular, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility considering the budget cutting mentality that exists in some parts of the capitol right now. I think it is likely that IBR will be there for someone who starts school within the next 18 months or so, but if you would have NO conceivable way to repay your loans without IBR, I would think about coming up with a plan B.

        • Confessions :

          However, she said her husband’s salary is the larger income. IBR does take into account your spouse’s income. So, she may not even qualify for it. Additionally, public defender jobs are uber competitive. Don’t bank on IBR or public service student loan forgiveness.

    • What are the right reasons?

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I have learned from this blog that the wrong reasons are:

        1) You want prestige/esteem in your career.
        2) You think being a lawyer will make you rich.
        3) You like to argue or debate.
        4) You think you’ll definitely be employable.
        5) You got into a school (any school) so assume you can handle the coursework and will get a big law job.
        6) You are taking out a lot of loans for a non top-ranked/regionally esteemed program.

        So I assume the right reasons are:
        1) You have a good understanding of what a lawyer does in several different areas of law
        2) Understanding that, you very much want to BE a lawyer and do those things
        3) Even if you don’t make a lot of (or any) money and end up with a lot of debt, you still really believe your life would be better if you were a lawyer.

        • Cassandra 2012 :

          The #1 wrong reason: “‘It’s a prestige thing,’ he says. ‘I’m an attorney. All of my friends see me as a person they look up to. They understand I’m in a lot of debt, but I’ve done something they feel they could never do and the respect and admiration is important.”’ David Segal, “Is Law School a Losing Game?” New York Times, January 9, 2011 (quoting a2009 Thomas Jefferson School of Law grad)

        • I’d also add you think you’ll be in the top of your class at law school (can’t bank on it, everyone thinks they’ll be in the top of their class).

        • Guess I’m alone here, but I don’t think that #1-3 are automatically “wrong reasons.” They’re certainly three of the reasons I went to law school, and so far, they haven’t led me astray.

      • Masochism.

    • So a T10 school is great. I think your cost v. job prospects is significantly better at that point, and since you are graduating three years from now, it also gives you a few more years for the market to improve.

      The big question is what kind of law do you want to do? Biglaw? If you don’t get biglaw are you going to be 1. dissapointed 2. able to pay your loans.

      For me, I never wanted to do biglaw, but went into law school thinking I would to pay off debt. I didn’t get a biglaw but went to government. I’m on IBR so my loans are really managable, and will be forgiven in 10 years. For me a small firm didn’t make sense, it made sense to either go Biglaw or public interest. What kind of law do you want to practice?

      • you got into a great school and if you really want to be a lawyer, then do it. if youre not sure, then dont do it.

        I would place less emphisis on what you want to do/where you want to work, even if you think you know for sure. I had no idea where (location-wise) i wanted to work after law school, but thought it would be one of the coasts. I knew i wanted to do public interest though. And I had mixed feelings about litigation. Now, 9 years out, I am in Chicago working as a litigator at a Big Firm, and I have been here almost 6 years. So my point is that you can change your mind, your circumstances can changes etc.

        • Former MidLevel :

          Fair enough. But a lot of people go to law school with firm ideas – e.g., “I will be a patent prosecutor and will never again leave California.” In that case, I think it’s fair to consider those things.

    • Considerations:
      1. What is your foregone income during law school? Do you already have a career started or are you going straight through?
      2. Do you really, really want to be a lawyer? As opposed to just thinking you’ll be good at it and it would likely suit you (because you’ve been good at everything else, and this sounds successful, etc.?)
      3. What is your tolerance for carrying debt around (and, related point, what is your interest rate looking like?) It sounds like you will end up with about $100K in loans?

      My main surprise regret w/r/t law school (although I’m generally satisfied with law as a career) is the mental weight of the debt. It feels easy to sign and take on. But, if you don’t anticipate pursuing/landing a job that enables you to pay them down quickly, think about how the debt may impact your “real” life – for example, I didn’t (don’t) want to start a family until they’re paid off, b/c I don’t want to be starting to save for baby’s college while still paying off my school. Similarly, it’s delaying my/hubby’s start of serious savings for a bigger house. From a career perspective, I would feel limited in taking a lower-paying in house position with that amount of debt on top of me. Obviously this is a personal issue (some people are quite content paying the minimum and investing the difference hoping to beat the loan interest rate – but I’m not one of them.)

      Fortunately I’ve been able to pour buckets of salary/bonus at them – it’s doable but not fun to pay off $175K in 4 years (knock wood – December should END THEM) – but given the Biglaw recruiting process, I’d carefully consider how you’ll feel paying off loans over 10-20 years before making the leap.

    • What do you want to do when you get done? Imagine yourself paying loan payments of $1,000 or $1,500 a month for the next 10 or 20 or 30 years. Will the job you imagine yourself doing be compatible with that? Is it compatible with other goals you have like owning a home or having kids? If your answer is yes, you have to consider what will happen if you aren’t able to do the job you would like to do because of grades or the economy or health problems or whatever. What then?

      Honestly, if I were doing it all over again, I would still go to law school because I like the profession and my job, but my options in life are far more limited now than before.

    • If you think being a lawyer would be a satisfying, intellectually challenging career for you, then do it and don’t worry about the loans. I had about $100k in law school debt and managed to pay it off in a about 5 years (working at BigLaw). It really wasn’t that bad. Every time I got a bonus, I treated that as “found money” and used a big chunk of it to pay down the loans. I don’t regret my decision for a second. Yes, this is sometimes a hard job, and there are days I’d rather just stay in bed. But that would be true of any job. I didn’t go to law school knowing what I’d do with my degree, I just figured it seemed like it might be a good path, and it turned out to be great. I get paid a ridiculous amount of money to do work that I find interesting and intellectually challenging pretty much every day, and to work with people I genuinely like and respect. Hard to beat that.

      • This post really resonated with me. I have known for a long time I wanted to be a lawyer but I took another job after college in hopes that I would find another career that I am as passionate about but without the debt. I have been working for a few years and while I have found things I am good at, I haven’t found anything I am as excited about. The few moments in my job where I do work with lawyers I really enjoy and look forward to.

        My biggest concern is that I want a big law job and I know how challenging those are to land, and keep. I used to think graduating from a T10 almost guaranteed you a biglaw job but a friend of mine graduated from a top 3 law school a year ago and wasn’t able to land a biglaw job in Chicago. She ended up at a midsized firm – which I think I would be happy with but my concern would be the salary vs. loans.

        I have come to the conclusion that I can either keep doing what I am doing and be debt free but not feeling like I am pursuing my dream job. Or I can take an educated risk and have some loans but at the end of the day not feel resentful. I feel a teeny bit envious of my friends (and you wonderful ladies!) who have the cojones to go for it!

        • Can I ask why Biglaw is your dream job?

          Also please note that in many cases with my classmates, it was not cojones but stupidity

          • Oy – you make a good point and this something I have heard a lot from people. I know I specified biglaw but I would be open to mid sized firms too. At the risk of sounding naive, the appeal to me would be:

            1. The opportunity to work with other smart, driven professionals (definitely not saying that this doesn’t exist in other places)
            2. The chance to develop a deep knowledge in one area of the law
            3. Ability to develop and refine my skills and knowledge in a setting where high quality work is demanded
            4. I prefer working in high pressue environments
            5. I prefer working in a competitive field
            6. I enjoy teaching/explaining/couseling client
            7. I enjoy problem solving within the confines of the law (I worked as a paralegal briefly and I mentioned I sometimes work with lawyers now so I have a little bit of an understanding of what this looks like)
            8. I really enjoy research

            Business planning and strategy are important parts of my current job that I really enjoy. I can see how this would fit in some practice areas but I suppose it wouldn’t fit in all. Also, I would say the money mainly from the aspect that it is a consideration because of the student loans. If I could do all these things without the debt but with a decent salary I would do it in a heartbeat.

            Thanks for making me write these out. This helps to me really consider what I am looking for. I’d love to hear everyone else’s feedback on if this sounds like something law could satisfy based on their experience.

          • If you really like the business planning/strategy aspect of your work, why would you choose a JD over an MBA? Being a lawyer is all about losing sight of the forest for the trees, at least in the early going.

        • I think it is likely that you will be able to get a biglaw job in Chicago in 3 or 4 years (not sure when you’re planning to start law school) with a degree from a top law school. The economy is improving, but the real problem here is that you’re trying to predict what the economy will be like in several years. But I think that, given all of your considerations, going to law school is probably going to be the best choice for you.

        • Well… it’s possible you will end up resenting your loans. Hard to say. You’re in a somewhat better position than I was in 2007 when I was deciding to go to law school because you actually know that a degree from a T10 school is no longer a guaranteed path to BigLaw. My main advice to someone contemplating law school would be to make sure you have a really strong sense of who you are before you go (because law school has a weird way of messing with you), and that it’s best if you also have a good idea of what you’d like to do with the degree, and a plan for how you’re going to get there. There’s actually not that much time to figure it out while you’re there. :) Good luck!

        • I think that what should be clear from the posters is that there is going to be a risk component to LS, no matter which law school you go to. This is clearly a huge change from what people felt like a decade ago, and against the very nature of the kind of people who choose to go into the law (e.g., those who are risk adverse) . No matter what happens to the economy over the next 3-5 years, we’re unlikely to see a repeat of the go-go 90’s and early 2000’s for decades if ever. As you pointed out with your example, even going to a T3 is no longer a guarantee of anything anymore. You may not have to be in the top quarter of your class but you probably can’t be in the bottom quarter if you want biglaw. And 1/4 of the students you start LS with will be in the bottom quarter. There is no good way for you to pre-determine where you will end up on the LS scale.

          I think the regional issue that was brought up above is also critical to keep in mind. Regional connections matter now like never before. I’m in Boston (and interviewing) and can tell you that my non-regional degree puts me at a real disadvantage compared to people who went to T2 and T3 schools here.

    • I think you are making a lot of assumptions about how you will feel about being a lawyer after you graduate. What if you have triplets and cannot bear to be away from them while you work 60 hours a week?

      What if you hate Biglaw?

      What if you realize that being a lawyer is not for you?

      I can assure you that as a former Senior Paralegal, practicing law is very different than being a paralegal. The main difference is that you can lose your license as a lawyer, but if a paralegal screws up, the worst that could happen is that you get fired.

      • “What if you have triplets and cannot bear to be away from them while you work 60 hours a week?”

        I wonder if men consider this before they decide to go into law school.

      • I’m sorry, but this is really terrible advice. Yes, they’re all possible scenarios that could happen, but they could happen with any decision one makes in one’s life. What if she doesn’t go to law school and she regrets it for the rest of her life? What if she has triplets and she hates being a stay at home mom? etc.

        Also, your worst case scenario is ridiculously far fetched.

        • I disagree that this is bad advice. Others have pointed out that w/ loans, you’re looking at 1000/1500 a month in repayments & while it’s possible that you’ll be comfortable with that burden initially, your life may change down the road and there may be other things you want to do.

    • starting to wish we could have a brochure or repository for the ‘why to not go to law school plus the very rare exceptions when it might be a decent thing to do’ info…. i can never help responding because i feel strongly about it and want to help others not go down the wrong road, but it is tiresome repeating it all the time.

      • This would be helpful! The problem is everyone thinks they are the exception. Except me -I think every horrible thing that can happen will happen to me! Sorry to bring up an issue that so many have talked about but I am trying to root out if it would be a risk worth taking given my circumstances and there are so many women on here who have more insight than me. I really appreciate everyone’s stories.

        • You don’t have to apologize – not everyone is “the exception,” but everyone has different circumstances. And those circumstances matter.

        • Go for it! :

          I rarely weigh in on the great “to go or not to go” debates, but something about this last comment you made just reminds me so much of myself… I think you know that you want to do this and you’re just feeling extremely risk averse right now. When I was trying to decide whether to go to law school, I was going through similar. Finally, I just decided that I’ve only got one life to live, and I don’t want to forever say “what if….”

          I think you should take out the minimal amount of loans and try it out. Also, regarding your list of factors in favor of big law– if you really like managing businesses, then you might actually enjoy working at a smaller firm where you will participate in the operations of the firm as a business as well as doing your lawyer duties.

          Good luck to you, whatever you decide!

          Signed,
          Small Firm Lawyer

        • I can’t believe I’m saying this and I will guarantee you I never have before. I’ve even snarked at some people I know (friends who don’t take me seriously!) that clearly they were deaf dumb and blind before they started law school, as well as stupid, or they wouldn’t be there.

          But honestly, it seems to me that you’ve put in the time to think about it, you know what you want and what it takes to get it, your husband has a good job, and you’re going T-10…you should probably go for it.

          And don’t quit after the first semester. But if you HATE it, give yourself permission to quit after the first year. I have no idea if I would have ever been brave enough to pursue my dream job if I had been brave enough to quit after first year, but most days I wish I had. And I like my job, I’m good at it, and eventually I’ll make decent money.

          Finally, treat studying like a job. One of my roommates is 32 years old and was “brag-complaining” last night that it’s finals week (at Junior College) and he hasn’t slept or eaten a real meal in three days. I just looked at him and said, “well, if you’d been doing the work you were supposed to be doing all semester, you wouldn’t feel like cr*p right now.” Do the reading, understand the material, outline your own courses AND get a successful outline from an upperclassman, etc… Cramming is for amateurs and in law school you can’t afford it.

      • Former MidLevel :

        Admittedly, there are serious pathologies in the current system and, as currently structured, law school is probably not the right choice for the majority of people who are admitted each year. And the misrepresentations (by omission or otherwise) regarding employment statistics in recent years are deplorable. Worse, there is a great amount of distortion caused by U.S. News that makes us think that national rank matters in many cases where it does not.

        That being said, law can be a great profession. Frankly, I think we need more good lawyers and lawyers who are passionate about justice, especially for underserved populations. So I don’t think there are only rare times when law school is a “decent choice.” But I applaud everyone (like this OP) who is thinking long and hard about whether law school is the right choice for them and, if so, which one they should go to.

        I know this community is full of disgruntled lawyers and I’m sorry if this rubs you the wrong way. But I just felt that someone should acknowledge the positive side.

        • This is an excellent comment.

        • I agree, and I think it can also be a great profession even if you’re not public service minded. It’s challenging, you work with smart people, and, depending on the job, you can have a large degree of autonomy.

          • Former midlevel- but this ignores the threshold questions, which are at very real considerations for would-be lawyers today. It isn’t always about whether you would like being a lawyer and be for justice. It is about whether, after taking on the time and financials, you would have that option at all. Some do get jobs, others do not easily or in some cases ever as a lawyer. I personally went to ls to pursue public interest work and when I finished, there were zero jobs available to me- even at salaries around the poverty line. I’m in a great place now, but it took some depressing and difficult years to pull out of that slump- and I don’t practice law. So if you pursue ‘justice’ and don’t get a job, firms etc don’t want you, and you are truly in a hole. Unless you have some backup career/other options- which brings us back to ‘don’t go to law school.’ Of course there are exceptions, but as someone above said- everyone thinks it will be them. I did and was wrong, learned hard way. So, not to say it can’t be done, but looking at the threshold numbers game of ‘is this a field available to me circa now’ is prudent to do, moreso than ‘will I like it’ type musings. Like: if you admired a mansion in your city, but could not afford it- is pondering what color to paint it really that good a use of time? There is a serious overload of qualified attorneys already with experience clamoring for public interest jobs, so it is not a given that even with hard work and connections a new law student would get what they set out for.

          • Former MidLevel :

            Ruby, I actually don’t disagree with you at all. It’s a terrible market right now. There are too many law schools. And a lot of people make the wrong choice of where (and if) to go, largely as a result of U.S. News’ rankings. But I still don’t think that means the answer is “don’t go” – I think it means the calculus is more complicated.

  11. A friend asked me to be in her wedding and just chose her bridesmaids dresses and emailed the link to everyone. They are going to make me look like a cupcake.

    Of course, I’m going to grit my teeth and smile and wear it, because I love her and it’s her wedding. But I’m going to vent here. I am going to look like a cupcake or maybe Violet Beauregard when she turns into a damn blueberry.

    http://www.davidsbridal.com/Product_One-Shoulder-Organza-Dress-with-Black-Belt-VW360012_Bridal-Party-Bridesmaids-White-by-Vera-Wang-Bridesmaids

    • Um, wow. Unless the bridesmaids are very fashiony, and it sounds like you aren’t, that’s not a great choice. On the upside, everybody likes cupcakes!

    • That is horrible. Can you even sit down in that dress?

    • Goosebumpy :

      Oh, goodness. Isn’t that the dress from Gossip Girl? You poor dear.

    • Amelia Pond :

      Oh my! At least it’s short so “you can wear it again”. (J/K)

    • Definitely one of those “super pretty on the right person” dresses, so I can see why she’s drawn to it, but I agree with you that it will be quite difficult to wear in real life. I certainly couldn’t pull it off! What color? Please don’t say pink!

      (*Pats self on back for letting my bridesmaids pick their own dresses.*)

      • No, blue, thank goodness. If I looked like the model, I’m sure I could pull off just about anything but I don’t like how it looks on any of the reviewers’ pictures (and a lot of them are quite beautiful!). Oh well, I guess.

    • OMG. She must be a really good friend for you to be willing to wear that. Your “cupcake” description is exactly right.

    • anon in SF :

      Any chance you can talk her into the longer version of that dress? I agree the short one is unfortunate. The long one is much more attractive. I actually considered purchasing for a black tie event that I was going to recently.

    • MaggieLizer :

      That model needs a cookie, she looks like she’s about to pass out. Um, sorry about the dress. Maybe it’ll look nice on you?

    • a passion for fashion :

      I think its lovely. In fact, I would buy that dress for an event. what size are you? Maybe I can buy it from you when you are done with it.

    • I actually love it.

      • viclawstudent :

        I really like it, too, but I do think that it could be hard to wear for quite a wide range of body shapes – I’d like to see it on someone with hips before I’d ever consider unleashing it on a group of bridesmaids (and probably wouldn’t get it for myself for that reason).

    • Does your friend use drugs? That was my first thought when I saw the dress.

    • A friend of mine wore this in her sister’s wedding last weekend, actually. It is not nearly as cupcakey as it looks in that picture. Part of it is the angle – you might look like a cupcake to 4-year olds, but to people as tall as you, it has a different take altogether. In fact, she looked pretty smokin’ hot wearing it.

      So fear not. You’re a good friend, and it won’t be as bad as you’ve feared.

      • Thanks! You’re right, maybe it won’t be as bad as I fear, I haven’t tried it on yet and I do have a small waist, which it looks like it would emphasize.

        Maybe I’ll love it? Not going to lie, I’m excited for her wedding even if I’m in a potato sack, though I really do not see the appeal of this dress like… at all. But at least I’ll still get to see my friend marry an awesome guy wearing her awesome and not at all cupcake-y dress.

        • Sometimes, dresses with a bunch of structure on the bottom actually hide my pear shape, because you look at the dress and think “oh it’s the dress that’s wide, not her a$$”

          bright side?

    • Whatever happened to the “any dress you want in this color/color range” trend?

      • I did that. I told my bridesmaids that they had to wear a long dress (not knee-length or mid-calf length) in non-dark colors. They could choose whatever hairstyle, as long as they didn’t come in looking like one of those eraser-troll dolls with spiky neon green hair.

        I didn’t feel the need to put my very differently complexioned, differently shaped bridesmaids into the same dress. They’re all lovely people with unique looks and I wanted them to be able to choose something they already owned to keep costs down. Everybody looked lovely!

    • Oh my god, that’s a horrible dress! But here’s an idea for you to at least get some mileage out of the dress. One of the most fun parties I ever went to was a bridal shower where everyone was asked to wear the worst bridesmaid dress they’d ever had to wear. God, it was hilarious. (obviously, you have to be tactful and make sure that the bride who’s wedding it was for your dress isn’t also invited to the party!)

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Goodness. That dress will be deeply unflattering on all but the slim. Is the bride slim? I ask because my friend was in a wedding last year – the bride was tall and slim, and her bridesmaids were short/regular height and curvy. The bridesmaid dress she picked would have looked great on the bride, who likes ruffles and fabric to help fill in her slim figure (small b00bs, small bust), and didn’t realize how unflattering it would be on her bridesmaids. After seeing the wedding pictures, she belatedly realized what they were trying to hint at, and felt pretty badly about it. Do the other bridesmaids like the dress?

    • Ok, I was thinking, it *can’t* be that bad. But, wow, it is.

      Is she a friend or actually a frenemy? LOL

    • Associette :

      Oh man. That is a good one! I laughed out loud when I opened the link. That said, even with fab. bridesmaids dresses, I almost never wear them again (thanks to facebook – once the wedding pics are posted, everyone you know sees you in the dress and I find it hard to wear it again to other events). Just get in touch with your inner cupcake and rock it out.

    • The rear view of this dress is, um, priceless. The tulle swirls look like butt cheeks to me, esp since they’re in just the right spots. And if I put my size 16 self into this, OMG. Just OMG.

    • Carla AKA fluffy duck :

      This is the dress I mentioned yesterday! My sister wanted us to wear it in brown and I looked like the love child of a brown duck and Big Bird! Hated it. Wanted to attack it with hedge trimmers.

  12. How do you all list your experience in legal clinics on a resume? I did substantial enough work that I’d like to list it under “experience,” not just as an “activity.” I’m just not sure what to call my position – “member” doesn’t seem quite right, but I’m also not a clerk or an associate either. Thoughts?

    • At my law school we were called “Student Attorneys”, which was the official name given by our state’s bar. “Extern” might also be appropriate.

    • Goosebumpy :

      Our Career Services office told us to put it under “Experience” as “XYZ Law School Legal Clinic,” and then I specified which clinic I was in (Civil Litigation Clinic). I called myself a legal intern.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I wasn’t in a clinic, but I think you could list it in a section called “Legal Experience.” As for title, I would check with your supervisor or career services office – they will likely know what other people at your clinic have done.

      • Former MidLevel :

        Oh, and with apologizes for jacking your threadjack, I think it’s worth noting that the use of the term “clerk” as a synonym for “intern” or “summer associate” is a regional thing. Just something to keep in mind if you apply to jobs in other regions.

    • Clinic student :

      We were called “law student interns” our first semester and “advanced clinicians” in our second. Find out what the terminology is at your school and go with that.

    • Probably depends on the particular clinic. For example, in a DV clinic or similar where you advocate in court you could put “Advocate” and then put the clinic name and the responsibilities. If not, you could put whatever term your clients thought of you as or you could put “Clinic clerk” or something like that.

    • I put it under experience as “student attorney”.

      • before working, i put them under experience. after starting real jobs, i list them under the JD section. I don’t like when i review mid-career resumes and have to distinguish jobs from short internships.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      If you are getting course credit, I don’t think it is typical to list the clinic on your resume at all, or at the very most, as an activity, as they will appear on your transcript. However, I seem to be in the minority with this view. Otherwise, intern should be fine.

    • I am a banana. :

      Clinical intern.

  13. MaggieLizer :

    Dear Opposing Counsel:

    I know you are a partner at your law firm. You are not, however, a partner at my firm. This means you do not get to give me assignments. You also do not get to override the wishes of the partners in my firm by telling me to do work that they do not want me to do. If you wish to follow up with the judge about issuing a ruling, we have no objection to YOU calling his honor.

    Sincerely,

    Junior Associate Who Is Not A Wilting Violet

  14. Ladies, I could use some shopping assistance (TCFKAG, I’m looking at you!). I’m going on vacation in a few weeks and would like to buy a maxi dress that I can wear a bra with (so no strapless or spaghetti straps). I had high hopes for this one (http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/agb-plus-size-dress-sleeveless-printed-twisted-front-maxi?ID=672381&CategoryID=37038&LinkType=#fn=DRESS_LENGTH%3DLong%26sp%3D2%26spc%3D118%26ruleId%3D2%26slotId%3D), but the fabric was really clingy and showed every lump, bump and jiggly bit. Even sizing up did not help.
    Speaking of size, I’m plus size (usually 1X or 18W) with an apple shape (big boobs and all-too-prominent tummy).
    Other info? My taste is pretty classic/conservative. I’m not looking for beading or bling. I have pale skin and dark hair. I can wear most colors, except for yellow and yellow-ish tones.
    I don’t want to spend more than $100, and if I can spend under $50 that would be even better!
    Thanks in advance!

  15. If you went to law school, how much debt did you come out with? I know what we read in the newspapers, but sometimes I can’t help but think that is skewed by the incredibly unfortunate. But maybe I’m wrong, and I’m incredibly fortunate – but nobody actually talks about how much debt they, personally, have.

    I was thinking about this in response to the thread above – before I went to law school, I knew where I wanted to practice, I knew that I wanted to work for a small firm in a less urban area, and while I was accepted at two Top 15 schools, I went to a lesser-ranked school on what was, my first year, an 80% scholarship. (Just goes to show how much tuition increased over two years!)

    I graduated from a top 30 school in 2010, planned to and do practice in the state of the school, graduated $35,500 in debt, and make $65,000 year + bonuses as a small firm litigator, in a region with a lower cost of living. I am aggressively paying debt and hope to have it paid off by the end of next year. From a financial perspective, I don’t regret it at all. Of course I would if I were $150,000 in debt. Yet, sometimes I feel as though I am the only person who doesn’t regret the financial rubric of law school.

    • Graduated a T14 in 2011 with $200,000. Very little undergrad debt making my total about 225,000. On IBR paying around 400/month, expecting to have it forgiven in 10 years.

      • I didn’t have paid summer jobs, so I used the all my loan money each year, stretching it over the summer. Also high cost of living area

      • Ditto, although I also have private loans. I pay around $400 on my IBR federal loans, expecting loan forgiveness, and $600 on my private ones.

        • Do you mind me asking what your salary is? Maybe I calculated this wrong/researched this incorrectly but IBR was going to make my monthly loan payments so high they would’ve been paid off in 10 years (I work for the federal government).

          • Forgot to mention that I make $115k.

          • Mine is 62000 (gs 11). Its 10% ish of your income, so even if I get to 100k it will be 1000 and since on standard plan by monthly was something like 2900, IBR will always work for me

          • Thank you. I think I need to re-research this!

          • I make a bit under 70K in my current job, but my AGI is around 55K. They calculate it as 15% of your AGI above 150% of the poverty line (it’s 10% of your income if you graduated in 2011 or later).

            I think the poverty line for a single person is about $11,000. 150% of that is 16,500. Let’s pretend that 115K is your AGI and not your actual salary.
            115,000 – 16,500 = 98,500.
            15% of 98,500 = $14,775
            $14,775 / 12 months = 1,231

            Keep in mind that your loans are accumulating interest. In my case, the interest is more than my monthly payment, so my loan balance never actually reduces. If you’re accumulating $400 per month in interest and only $800 is going to principal, you may not actually pay them off before the forgiveness hits.

      • Yeah I just called my lender again and confirmed. I knew I wasn’t missing out on this. I have $100k in federal loans, $75k in private loans. The $100k is technically eligible for forgiveness but I’m not because I make too much. To get the public student loan forgiveness you have to be on income based repayment or income contingent repayment. Our AGI last year was $121k. I don’t qualify for income based, and on income contingent my payments would be $800 a month, which would pay off the loan in 10 years, so there is nothing to forgive.

        Point is do not depend on IBR and forgiveness if you’re going to be a federal government attorney. You will likely make too much.

    • I graduated $120,000 in debt. I was very frugal in law school and had paid jobs both summers. Several of my friends had significantly more debt. $35,000 is nothing — you are well below average.

    • Former MidLevel :

      A lot of people do come out with 100-150k in debt. It’s hard not to if you pay full-ticket (or nearly full-ticket) tuition at a private school. It sounds like you took a smart route.

    • small towns are a different story :

      A friend did something similar to your story, if more extreme – he already was an established business owner in his community, and he sold his business and went back to law school in his late thirties. Although he was very smart, he instead went to a nearby fourth tier (could there be a fifth tier? it would be in that) law school on a full scholarship. I’m sure he alone raised their average incoming LSAT score 10 points. He knew he was going to stay in the area and could build relationships on the strength of his previous work, and so he graduated from this horrid school about four years ago and now is very successful, with no debt.

    • Clueless Summer :

      Oh wow, you are very lucky. Even in Canada (with lower school costs) the top range of debt is $100, 000 – $120, 000 (for people in joint programs or with existing undergrad debt) but I’d say average is around $60, 000 (just given the fact that the special lines of credit we all get generally max out at $60, 000) which would be ~3 years of tuition at my school, no living expenses. Keep in mind people are not making as much here – even in the biggest of biglaw, first years make around ~$105,000 I think, and most urban centres not even that.

      • I do not mean to be snarky, but graduating with this amount of debt is not just a matter a luck. It is also a matter of planning… People can choose to save up before they go to law school. Some people can also choose less expensive options (in-state, scholarships, etc.).

        I know that SOME of a person’s circumstance has to do with things outside of their control, but some of it has to do with choices they made as well.

        • springtime :

          Yes, I have to agree with this too.

          When I was applying to law school (2006-2007- so right in the midst of the boom), I thought about applying to US schools. But even though the market was so promising at the time, I couldn’t justify to myself paying that much for school, no matter how great the market was. Thank god I had this good sense of mind, because it all crashed in 2008.

          Very luckily for me, law school is much cheaper in Canada. I decided to go to school in Toronto, I lived at home, and in the summer before school I trained to be a waitress, eventually moving up to bartender since it pays more. Most of my friends thought it was ridiculous to live at home and spend a Friday or Sat working, but at the end of the day, it was SO MUCH of a difference in debt loads, I’m definitely the one laughing now (not literally…I still feel bad for my debt-ridden friends).

          In conclusion, I would seriously crunch the numbers and see what makes sense. How much you earn and save in your 20s makes a massive impact on your future savings.

        • But it all depends. If you had to take loans for undergrad because parents couldn’t/wouldn’t help out, saving for law school is a lot harder.

          • I agree. And for some people, I think the answer is…don’t go to law school. It isn’t fair, but the higher education system in this country (both undergrad and grad) is not fair. The feasiblity of going to undergrad as well as law school is different for people whose parents are able and willing to help out financially.

            As long as law school costs huge amounts of money, some people will not be able to save enough to make the financial risk of going manageable, due to circumstances out of their control.

        • Saving for law school would’ve taken me until retirement age, at which point a law degree wouldn’t have been very useful. I was making very little money in my previous career and thought law school would be a road to a rewarding career and financial security. I never expected to be rich, but I did expect to be able to pay my loans off – a reasonable expectation in 2007.

          • Yeah, exactly. Just accepting the status quo means that law remains the province of very privileged people, which is clearly a big problem. Obviously things are what they are, but debt load alone isn’t a reason not to go if someone is committed for all the right reasons. It’s not just about the individual person, it’s about the profession of law as a whole.

        • Clueless Summer :

          Some of it has to do with choices, yes, but the only people I know who are debt-free (or extremely low debt) have parents who contributed to both law school and undergrad. (Or spouses, in a few cases.) My example was even to say with $20, 000 a year tuition – which seems reasonable to me for law school, most people end up with great deal of debt. Yes, that’s a choice, but that’s the reality.

    • 60k, at a T25 school. That went to pay tution, and my living expenses were paid w/ help from my parents (totaling about 25k, which they don’t expect me to pay back), and savings and earnings I had in those 3 years.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I graduated with 70k from a top 40, using savings from between law school and college to pay rent and living expenses instead of taking out more loans. The DH has 100k from the same school because he needed loans for living expenses. Several more friends of ours have 100k from law schools, another has 140k from Fancy law school (and a fancy job to match), and two of our friends were carrying undergrad debt and so they graduated with about 200k. Then again, we all graduated years before the recent tuition hikes.

    • I did 3 years of private law school in T50. Then, I went and got an tax LL.M. at NYU (with a partial scholarship), and I graduated with $170,000 in loans in 2007. (I had no undergraduate debt.) I have worked only in AmLaw 100 firms, and now have about $65,000 in debt in private loans with a variable rate.

      (All of it would have been paid off had my husband and I not decided to buy a house where we put down about $300,000, and we have enough in savings now that I could pay it off if I wanted. However, with the current low rate on my student loans, it makes sense to make extra mortgage payments.)

    • I graduated from a T50 school with $170k in debt. I currently pay $350/month on my private loans and about $700 on IBR for my federal loans. At this rate they will be paid off…never.

    • Started law school in 1992 at age 26 and graduated in 1994 at age 29 with $105,000 and no other debt. Worked at AmLaw 200 firm until 2003. Paid off all loans by end of my 4th year.

      It helps that I do not collect expensive items: cars, planes, houses, financial dependents, bad investments, etc.

    • $8,500 from the first semester of school only. Top 20 school. I took it out before I found out I received a second scholarship on top of my full ride tuition that I could use for books/living expenses. I do not regret law school at all. I really like my job as a lawyer, but I could also walk away anytime.

    • Anon for This :

      2011 grad, Top 50 school, partial scholarship, but out-of-state tuition. I graduated with $130K. This was tuition and SOME living expenses, as I saved most of my law school earnings to have a post-graduate cushion, as I anticipated difficulty finding employment.

      My husband has approximately the same amount of law school debt. Together, we’ll make around $215K in a low cost of living area, and his loans are eligible for forgiveness in 10 years. We pay a lot each month, but it’s worked out for us, due in part to planning, and in part to dumb luck.

    • long time lurker :

      I had about $60,000 total. About 8-9K was undergrad. Went to state schools (top 50 or so for law school) with some parent assistance for undergrad and then scholarships/loans for law school. Had to borrow living expenses for both.

    • Will graduate with $125-150k, top 20 school. Le sigh. I’m a perfect example of someone who shouldn’t have gone to law school.

      • I am in a similar boat- will graduate with $100-$120k, but from a school whose only ranking is in the “most expensive” category (partly due to the fact that it was only fully ABA accredited in August). This is with a partial ls scholarship and no undergraduate debt. From the debt aspect, law school was probably not a good choice. Compared to the professional prospects I had prior to entering law school (dead end quasi-business job that did not even require a college degree, of which I have two, with honors), even if I only make $45k a year for the first 15 years after law school, I will be making more money than I would have otherwise.

    • punk rock tax lawyer :

      I graduated law school with $75k total debt from undergrad and law school. I was fortunate that I’m a Texas resident and I was able to attend The University of Texas — usually ranked around #15 but in-state tuition made it much more affordable for me than other similarly ranked schools.

    • My total law school and undergraduate loans are around $103,000. Of that, around $86,000 are my law school loans. I’ve calculated the monthly payments that will start in a few months, and the total amount is around $1200. I’m graduating from a T14 school but unfortunately (or fortunately – for lifestyle/personal reasons) won’t be working in a big firm; I’ll be working in a medium-sized firm in a small market and making less than half of what my big firm peers are making, around $70k + bonuses. But, I still consider myself lucky: if I hadn’t managed to keep my student loan burden to around $100,000, I don’t know what I’d do, financially. My parents were very, very generous in support — I think they provided about $40,000 to me during the course of law school — and I also worked through most of law school at a well-paid internship, which provided enough income for me to save for the start-up costs of living in a new city, bar review/exam and a small emergency fund while I await my starting stipend.

    • Just over $100k from T50 school. Mostly tuition. I took 10+ years off before going back to LS, so had paid off my ug loans. I also still had some savings (and a husband) to support my in-school expenses.

      Biggest mistake I’ve ever made.

    • I mentioned this above, but $175K, T10, class of 2008. My lesson: should have played schools against each other to get scholarships where I really wanted to go. My minimum payments were between $1000 and $1500/mo, but I HATE HATE HATE owing this money and have thrown lots of extra Biglaw $$$ at it. Will be debt free, knock on wood, this December.

    • I was fortunate to graduate with no debt from a T20 [full scholarship to a state school of which I was a resident, and my parents paid living expenses]. I am not sure I would have gone to law school if I had to incur debt….

      Worked at regional biglaw for 3 years, and am now much happier working at a large university. Every day I am thankful that I was able to leave my biglaw job without thinking twice since I didn’t have loan payments to consider.

    • Anonymouse for this :

      Graduated from top 30 school in 2009. Had two other post-high school degrees. Received small scholarship.

      Owe about $129,000 in Federal and $9,000 in private loans.

      Use IBR so payment is $200 for federal loans. Expect forgiveness of those in 8 years or so.
      Private loans are $50/month.

    • Quit a good job in nonprofit to attend the third-tier law school in my hometown, and graduated with just $60,000 thanks to scholarship money. Was #1 in my class and am still struggling to find a job for when my current clerkship ends. Husband graduated from the same school with $150,000+ (combined undergrad and law) because he started off part-time and was thus ineligible for scholarships. He graduated in the top 20 and just found his first legal job after three years of hunting. We’re both barely staying afloat. When we enrolled, our school touted statistics stating that 90%+ of its graduates were employed 9 months after graduation with average salaries of around $65K. It was really more like 30% with an average of $30K. We’ll be OK as long as we can keep finding public interest jobs and using IBR for the next 8 years, but I don’t think it was worth the financial insecurity and mental and emotional stress.

    • Graduated from T30 school in 2010 with $54k in debt. Had a full ride scholarship, but ended up maxing out my available federal student loans when it was clear that I wasn’t going to be employed at graduation. Going in I thought I’d get out with between 35-40k but because of the economy/personal reasons that didn’t happen.

    • T25 school. Public. In-state tuition. $100,000 in debt upon graduation (last May). I took out the minimum to cover tuition, and worked through law school for rent, etc. In the last year, I’ve gotten that figure below $75k, so chipping away slowly, but surely.

    • I had a pretty similar situation, partial scholarship, and graduated with about $25,000 from a lower tier school. Don’t regret it at all.

    • Only tangentially related — I graduated med school in 2005 with 198k in debt, combined undergrad (about 10K) and med school. Med schools rarely give scholarships, and I wasn’t that outstanding to get one. Fortunately for me, interest rates were at historic lows at that point, so I consolidated to a 2.875% interest loan (sorry to rub it in to those paying more like 6%). I would have paid about 800/month for 30 years (I think of it as mortgaging my self) but since I’m in a rural hospital that qualifies as community access, as part of my recruitment package my hospital is paying off my remaining principal over three years. I’ll still have about 30K in interest, but I feel very lucky. I also have to say that even if you’re in a “low” paying speciality in medicine, employment is much more secure and your still making good money. Fortunately, I’m not in a particularly low paying specialty and sometimes feel it’s ridiculous to be paid what I’m paid to do a job I love (less ridiculous when when I’m in the ER at 3 in the morning three mornings in a row).

      • I graduated from med school last spring with about $200k in loans ($4k undergrad, 3 years med school tuition + 4 years living expenses). Now living in NYC on a resident’s salary (first year is just under $60k) and SO has been under-/unemployed since we moved – had to put the loans into residency/internship forbearance because I can’t afford the IBR. I adore my specialty, but unfortunately psychiatry isn’t terribly well paid. I look at the debt as what I had to do in order to do what I love for the rest of my life, and hopefully will continue to qualify for IBR and loan forgiveness. Sometimes I really resent how much money I owe, though, and the fact that my base salary will be significantly <$100k for at least 3 more years until I finish residency. Sigh.

    • Graduated from a T10 in 2009 with $160k in debt. No undergrad debt because I had a full ride. Will pay off my law school debt next month! I love my job but I regret going to law school because of the psychological burden the debt has been for the past 3 years and the fact that I’ve spent guilty when I have channeled money towards anything other than loans. I pay $5k a month and make lump sum payments whenever my bank account gets above a certain balance.

    • Anon for this :

      I came out of law school and an LLM with just over $200k. It’s awful and stresses me out constantly. Luckily I’m making good money right now and am aggressively paying them down. I wish I didn’t have so much debt, but I don’t regret my degrees.

    • I went to a state school with a very strong regional reputation and ended up getting a scholarship that covered my tuition. I took out loans for living expenses and graduated about $55k in debt from law school, plus about $14k left from undergrad. I always knew Biglaw wasn’t for me, so I turned down admission to a much higher-ranked school where my debt load would have been close to $200k. My now-husband (we got married during my 3L year) makes too much for me to qualify for IBR, so it was good I kept my debt reasonable because I could see how a huge monthly loan payment could cause strain. We were just dating when I started law school, so that wasn’t really part of my thought process at that point, but in hindsight it was a good decision.

      • Oh, I should have mentioned that I started in 2007, before the legal market fell off a cliff, and graduated in 2010. I’m another who left a low-paying nonprofit job for law school, so my meager savings were pretty much swallowed up by the end of first semester. But, thanks to my scholarship, I escaped with only Stadford loans and not even the max amount of those. I feel very fortunate.

    • this is fascinating. You are right- hardly anyone talks about this. Certainly I didn’t discuss this with my classmates in law school- only once I graduated did people start volunteering and only very occasionally. I graduated from a top 20 school with about 115K in debt, all from law school, none from undergrad. Husband worked full time all three years, and I had a well paying internship, so we paid for books and expenses in a high cost of living. One of my colleagues graduated from the same school and recently told me that she has about $240K in debt- took out living expenses as well. My parents also gave me about 8K to pay for health insurance, which was greatly appreciated.

    • Undergrad was public school (a UC) so escaped with only 20K. Law School was a T60 school, and while I was in the top half I didn’t “figure it out” until halfway through 2L year, so my first 3 semester’s grades weren’t great, but my last 3 were top 10%. Unfortunatley, that doesn’t do it for BigLaw, and I ended up with 180K in debt at MidLaw, which lasted 2 years when a ton of us were laid off in 2008-2009. Nice. Now at SmallLaw making the same MidLaw salary, and I hope to pay off my loans…well, probably never. Since we did a very good job at purchasing our house at the bottom of the market, I have some dreams of putting the private loans (90k) into a refinance and paying them that way, so at least it is tax deductible.

    • In House Counsel :

      2007 grad from T25 with about $60k in debt. I only took out federal loans, managing to use savings I had from working for the 3 yrs prior to law school plus the money I made working at my mid and Big Law firms from 1L and 2L summers. Feel grateful that I didn’t have over six figure debt which allowed me the freedom to walk away and go in-house after 3 yrs in Big Law.

    • $20k in debt. T14 law school. Graduated in 2 1/2 years in 2002. Scholarships helped, but I worked 3 jobs for approx. 30-50 hrs a week all through law school, only took out loans for help during my 1L year. Paid off within a year of graduation. Was able to take a job at a mid-sized firm with lower pay to get tons more experience straight out of law school, without having to worry about loan payments.

      • That is interesting to me. I wanted to graduate after 2.5 years but was told it wasn’t possible. Neither the law school nor the State Bar would allow it. I ended up taking the minimum credits (since I already had more than enough) and working a 2nd job as well as interning at the place I had an offer. Also, at my school we were not allowed to work for 1L and had to sign a contract that we would not work and if we did we would lost our financial aid.

        Even with working 1 job for 1.5 years and 2 jobs for .5 years I had $200k debt including both LS and UG (UG only $14k, thanks UC!)

        Of course my b*st*rd LS also “discontinued” my scholarship program ($16k/year/3 years turned into $16k/year/1 year) AND raised rates 50% my first year and 25% my second year.

        Yeah, I’m not bitter.

    • I have $160k in debt. I started law school with $35k debt from undergrad, and that was after partial scholarships and working when I could during school. My parents were not in a position to help financially.

      I now make $82,000 and can manage my payments, but I am married and my husband makes more than me and doesn’t have student loan debt anymore. I throw whatever money I can at them, but I can’t contribute to saving for a down payment or anything much extra. I have consolidated them, but am on a 10 year repayment (hopefully sooner).

      I don’t love my job, or the profession, though I generally like the people I work with. My husband and I have the agreement that the minute my loans are paid off, I can walk away from work until I find something I love to do. They definitely weigh on me and I feel guilty when I spend money. At this point, I wish I hadn’t gone, though I love the friends I made through law school.

      • Can someone who went to business school weigh in here as well? I am one year into my part-time program, paying entirely with loans and working at a nonprofit that does not offer education assistance. I’m starting to get terrified of the debt prison I’ll find myself in when I waltz out of here in two more years with $100K in loans. (Yay for my first post!)

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          FWIW I am going to attend an H/S/W school and expect to have a minimum of $100K in loans. If you are in nonprofit work, are you eligible for loan forgiveness?

    • financeanon :

      I graduated from a top 10 law school in 2010 with no debt, thanks to a full tuition scholarship, personal savings (from jobs prior to and during law school) and parental assistance. I also have no undergrad debt due to parental assistance and scholarships. I currently work in-house, which is exactly what I wanted to do. However, I started out making $40k and although I’ve had decent raises in the past 2 years, I still make less than I did before I went to law school.
      Despite being debt free, I still don’t know if I regret going to law school because of the opportunity cost of the 3 years of lost earnings, the significant savings that I spent on living expenses and my low salary.

    • Anon in ATX :

      In my case it was lucky for me that I got turned down by my #1 choice- which was also my undergrad & a high ranking school After I got over the crushing blow, I accepted a partial scholarship at a “TTT” school, worked my butt off 1L and got a full scholarship for 2L & 3L and had about $38K debt @ graduation. Granted, I also had my DH’s salary, which made it much easier, but we still lived very frugally.

      Flash forward after graduating in 2009 to a tanking economy & 2 years of unemployment/underemployment before finally getting a steady job & I am grateful that my #1 school rejected me b/c otherwise I would have had $100+K debt & would never have gotten another night’s sleep again. Moral of the story is that my mother was right & things do happen for a reason :)

    • I want to thank my 20ish year old self for declining to go to a T10 school and choosing one that was T25. Because of this decision I came out of law school owing 70K instead of 150K. This gave me the freedom to choose where I wanted to work rather than having to work in Big Law.

    • Broke Anon :

      I graduate in 2003 with a JD and MSEL and $135,000 in loans. I am on a 30 year payment plan of $909 a month. Argh.

    • MissJackson :

      My husband and I both graduated from a T20 school in 2007 with about $150k in student loans apiece (all from law school), which at the time paid for tuition and living expenses for both of us. We are both very fortunate that our families and scholarships financed our undergraduate degrees, so no additional debt. We’ve been paying off (very aggressively for the last two years), and we’re down to $125k total — great progress, but sometimes I feel like we’ll never be completely out of this godforsaken hole.

      When we graduated, our total minimum loan payment (on a balanced — and not extended — repayment plan) was slightly over 3k a month.

      I just looked — for next year, the total cost of attendance per year at my law school is more than $77k (this number is the maximum that you can borrow for the year, and includes cost of living). $77k a year for 3 years = 231k (which does not account for tuition increases). If you have no scholarship, no parental help, and no spousal help, you’re in for $200k even if you work over the summer and live as frugally as possible.

    • Graduating next week with no debt. Had a ~ 2/3 scholarship to a T25 private school and a wonderful DH who worked so that we were able to pay the remaining tuition and living expenses without having to take out loans. It also helped that we are extremely frugal and live in a fairly low cost of living area.

    • $25,500, top 30 school. I had a scholarship that paid about 80% of my tuition. I paid the rest of my tuition and living expenses through summer earnings and the $8,500 a year Stafford loan and a little bit of parental support. I know how lucky I am and I am thankful every single day I had that scholarship, even though I have a well-paying job that I love. Back when I started I would have thought nothing of taking on $150K but now that I know how hard paying off even $25K is, I’m so so glad I didn’t.

    • T14 in 2010 with around $60,000 in debt. Have $45,000 left. Currently pay about $500/month, with low interest rates.

    • Hubby and I both graduated from T40 school with $105K debt total in 2007. He went big firm ($160k), I worked at the court ($70k). We paid off the entire debt by 2009. We then switched up the jobs – I went small firm ($90K) and he went clerkship ($50k). It’s the big firm income that make loans less scary, but getting the big firm job is harder now then it used to be.

    • lucy stone :

      I went to a third tier on a full scholarship after going to a strong regional undergrad on a half scholarship. I graduated in 2008 with $78,000 in debt. I made $62,000 a year before our current governor, now I make $55,000. I’m on IBR right now and can afford my loan payments, and I’ll qualify for PSLF, but I’m worried because I’m getting married next month and my payments will change. Payments are currently $481 a month.

      Mr. Lucy Stone went to a T30 school on a full scholarship after going to a state school for UG on Pell Grants and Perkins loans. He graduated in 2004 with $33,000 and is a solo making about $70,000. His payments are $150/month but he’s been paying extra.

      According to the IBR formula, we’re somehow going to be fabulously rich after we get married because my payments will go up to $700/month, plus we still have to pay his.

    • Top five school, with $150k. No undergrad debt, though. I’m in Biglaw, and my interest rates are low, so repayment has not been onerous for me.

  16. Joan Holloway :

    Threadjack but work wardrobe-related. CoCo’s asking if her Ann Taylor Miracle dress was work-appropriate reminded of today’s WSJ article about “The New Elements of Boss Style”. Hoping this link doesn’t relegate me to moderation: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304451104577392652319112084.html

    I agree that we don’t always have to go with the traditional dark suit anymore, and a powerful woman who dresses with femininity is a joy to behold, but the women who do this successfully are still very rare, and Christina Kirchner in a big floral print is NOT an example of this.

    Perhaps the WSJ feels it has to push the envelope to make a point, but I feel it continues to miss what real women are experiencing with work wardrobes.

    • None of the ensembles pictured would fly at my office (mid law). Wow.

    • Can’t see the images (not a WSJ subscriber), but don’t forget that WSJ is a very conservative publication written for white men and by white men. They write articles like this because in the 21st Century you have to look as if you care about diversity, but if all women showed up for work in florals and ended up losing any credibility in the workforce, WSJ stalwarts would be OK with that.

      • Copy and paste the first couple sentences into google, click on the link, and you will eb able to read the whole article.

      • Or because their job is producing an aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching, and visually and financially gratifying product. (Not scheming on behalf of the Patriarchy.)

        • I don’t know if this is a diabolical plot by the Scheming Patriarchy (which will be my band’s name, I think) but those are some seriously ugly outfits. Wow. I bet if they stepped outside their offices (I am assuming the WSJ operates in NYC or some other major city), they could easily find several women who are appropriately and interestingly dressed and don’t look like they put their outfits together by closing their eyes and picking at from the Kohl’s clearance racks (and I say this as someone who is quite fond of Kohl’s).

          Also, love the Google trick for reading subscriber-only articles!

          • Argh, picking at RANDOM from the Kohl’s clearance rack.

          • I think media spreads on ‘wear to work’ almost always fail because they’re written by the fashion reporters, who inhabit a pretty, colorful, but parallel, universe.

      • The WSJ now has a lifestyle section in order to compete with the New York Times and other newspapers. The editorial board is certainly conservative, but I think it’s a reach to suggest that they’re such accomplished schemers.

    • Besides not being appropriate for any professional workplace in the world (except advertising or something artsy), all of those outfits are just hideously ugly.

    • Yikes — my new dress now feels so much more sedate.

      I really don’t even like any of the outfits, maybe a few of the pieces individually (the floral skirt, but without three other colors, the black and white skirt, and the red pants), but the outfits as a whole are overstyled and seem very 80s Dynasty-esque.

      • That follows from it being a true fashion column (Dynasty is a great summation of the current notes from the runway she mentions: “variety and feminine tailoring—peplums, pleats, darts, draping and shawl collars”) and illustrates the need for and fun of a style forum like this one– style (real life) rather than pure fashion (a business around the making and marketing of new styles that trickle down to real life eventually). That’s why I love Corporette and the ‘rettes! This place is a valuable one.

    • Wow, those are 4 strange looking outfits. I agree with the “closing your eyes and picking” comment.

      Number 1 and 2 look like…well… that would put me in moderation. ;-)
      Number 3 is just strange for office-wear. She looks like a cowgirl.
      Number 4 -ummmm….. I got it – that’s a little girl playing dress-up!

    • Joan Holloway :

      I’m so relieved at your comments! I can see powerful bosses I’ve admired wearing the first skirt and jacket in separate combinations, or the second jacket, but nothing else.

      When you must have a label next to the drape-y orange pants that says “The muted orange hue reads as calm and confident,” then the muted orange hue obviously requires some translation to reach that meaning.

      • Modifying the outfits to make them actually work approriate is a great game! I actually think they all the tops could work with a plain black skirt or pair of trousers.

    • I can’t see wearing any of these outfits to work. I do agree that workwear has changed though and would incorporate certain elements from these outfits into my workwear.

    • I love the picture of the yellow, black and white snake-skin striped high heel with the caption “these pumps have a sturdy heel” — like that makes them so appropriate for the office. Hilarious!

    • I don’t like any of the featured outfits, but agree with the sentiment that we don’t have to wear boxy menswear-like suits anymore. I always think of the ensemble Sheryl Sanberg wore for her TED talk as a power look that’s still feminine. (It may have been a little low-cut for every day, but other than that I thought it was very well done.)

      Also, props to @Bluejay for the google trick.

  17. 360 Assessment :

    Reposting from late yesterday in hopes of more responses (thanks to IA_Eng and DC anon):

    Has anyone here ever had a 360 assessment done on them? Or performed one? Or commissioned one to be done on someone who reports to you?

    I am in-house counsel. We are doing succession planning and leadership training, and as part of that the head of our department has commissioned 360 assessments of my only attorney colleague and of me.

    I know “how the process works.” What I want to know is how to approach this. For example, I strongly suspect that what is learned in this process will be used in promotion decisions, even though that is not usually the case. Does that change how I answer the questions?

    For the several years I’ve been here, my clients inside the organization have consistently told me how highly they think of my work and my judgment/approach. At times, they have said that this contrasts with their assessment of my (much senior) boss and (slightly senior) colleague. The little frisson I have experienced at this workplace has been with boss and colleague, never with clients. Will this frisson come out in the process? If so, how honest should I be about it (keeping in mind that I believe most of it is caused by territoriality and insecurity — not on my part).

    Thanks for ANY insight you can share.

    • Ramon for this :

      I’m not sure exactly what you are asking. Are you considering changing how you answer questions about your own performance, or your evaluation(s) of colleague(s)?

      Annual performance reviews at my last company were always 360 and I think they have the potential to be a great tool. I really appreciated being able to receive feedback from so many groups – clients, peers, supervisors, supervisees. The only time I ran into trouble was during one review where I felt that the opinions of certain individuals were given undue “weight” and others were discounted – resulting in an inaccurate picture of my overall performance.

      If I could do my own self-evaluations over again, I would probably be more generous (it does not come naturally to me to brag, but I’ve come to realize that part of being a successful professional is being able to celebrate your accomplishments.) Additionally, I would probably be more forthright in my evaluations of others. My tendency was to give colleagues the benefit of the down and/or downplay shortcomings. In my case, the whole thing was anonymous, so I should have focused more on fixing problems vs. preventing hurt feelings.

      Finally, just a proofreading nitpick – I think you mean to refer to “friction” that you have felt, not “frisson.” From the French word for “shiver,” a frisson generally refers to a moment of excitement or a thrill.

    • I’ve been involved in 360’s – both providing input to them and receiving one – and what YOU say has very little to do with your assessment, it’s all about what those around you say. All of the ones I have been involved with have “anonomyzed” the input (other than your supervisor’s, of course) and chunked up the feedback into peers, subordinates and superiors… and in all those cases the feedback was kept confidential between the recipient and the third party administrator/coach. So in my experience the information was legitimately used for development and not for promotion/performance review/assessment purposes, but I guess this could depend on the organization.

    • I was asked to provide 360 feedback to a former boss of mine. All of the boss’s subordinates gathered together and whispered, “Can we really be honest?”

      Most of us ended up hedging our bets by only pointing out very minor problems, and heaping on the praise in the “good” department.

  18. Does anyone nurse in this dress? I read one review that mentioned a need for pinning the neckline, which is a once and future pet peeve of mine but for now, when I need washable work dresses with ‘access’ for the lactation room. Now the annoyance is a recommendation.

    Can anyone confirm the surplice pulls over enough? I’ve looked at it forever… might pull the trigger now at last.

  19. TJ: Can anyone recommend a a good vacation spot for families with young toddlers? We’d like to take a vacation this summer with out 19 month old. We live in a very hot climate and I am in my second trimester of pregnancy, so would prefer somewhere to get out of the heat. But we are concerned that cooler places will have nothing to do for our toddler. Any recommendations? Thanks!

    • Where do you live and are you looking to drive or fly?

      We vacationed in Quebec City once…nice city…lots of stuff to see just wandering around. Stuff the kids might be into as well…a chocolate factory and a sugar shack tours (making maple syrup).

      • I’m in south Texas. Probably looking to fly, as I can’t think of anywhere in a reasonable driving distance that would get us out of the heat. I’d prefer to keep the flying to 3-4 hours, given the young toddler and the pregnancy, but wouldn’t exclude longer flights. Thanks for the suggestion!

        • Go to Chicago! It’s lovely there in early summer (well, I’m biased – it’s much better than DC at least) and there are tons of museums, a zoo, the Sears/Willis Tower. Plus Millenium Park – a gorgeous place for kids to run around, plus there’s a sort of big wading/splashing pool thing (I can’t really describe it, try Googling). Just north of the Loop there are beaches with sand. The lake might be cold, but it would probably be warm enough to play in the sand but not too oppressive for you.

          There are tons of hotels in Chicago so I bet you could get a pretty good deal through hotels.com or something like that. You can easily get around most of the city on public transportation and the cabs aren’t too expensive. There are also hundreds of places to eat at all levels of fancy and price.

          Since you are in Texas – Southwest flies to Midway, and it is super-easy to hop on the El at Midway and get at least into the Loop without having to change trains.

    • Not sure where you are, but California’s Central Coast is nice in the summer. Monterey has an awesome aquarium.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Great idea.

        • if you like crowds. i went there last summer when around for a wedding and it was honestly like attack of the cruise ship crowd and their ten thousand children. it wasn’t enjoyable at all and we didn’t get our money’s worth. plus the underwater part that’s the main draw was shut- don’t know if that’s back yet. i was super disappointed as i’d always wanted to go there. would never, ever go on a summer weekend again.

      • new york associate :

        If you want to do the Central Coast without the crowds, then I recommend Cayucos, San Simeon, Cambria, or San Luis Obispo. That whole stretch of coast is so quiet.

    • Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. High altitude = cool temps and there is plenty for a toddler to do if said toddler enjoys playing in dirt.

      • Just be careful in high altitude as pregnancy continues. There are theoretical risks, but when I spend a week in Apsen (8000 ft) when I was six months pregnant I was really miserable. I couldn’t walk home after dinner without contracting, and I was miserably short of breath the whole time. Headachy, insomnia, etc. It was really tough.

        I always vote for Hawaii. Even though it’d be farther, and its warm its a totally different heat than Texas, and it is such a great place to take small children. Plus, laying on the beach, eating shave ice, etc sounds lovely at your stage of pregnancy. We love the Kona side of the big island, but are thinking of branching out to Maui next year.

      • Westsidebee :

        Second RMNP — great for kids, and great summer weather.

    • I think renting a beach or lake house is a good idea. At 19 months, our kids just wanted to go to the playground or in the sand, not walk around a city (mine were not stroller-nappers).

      Plus of a rental house – easier meals, easier naptime, not having to wait for restaurants with a cranky toddler.

    • What are looking for your toddler to do?..
      Bethany Beach and Cape Cod are nice vacation spots and there will be playgrounds and ice-cream parlors. I am not very familiar with the great Lakes region, but there are beaches/vacation spots there, too.

    • new york associate :

      Goose Rocks Beach or York Harbor, in Maine. Shaw’s Resort, in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Carpinteria, California (close to Santa Barbara — adorable small town with a perfect swimmable beach). I’ve done all of these either as a toddler or with a toddler and recommend them all. (Apparently, I specialize in Cold Vacations.) Have fun!

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