Category Archive: Law School Debt

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Ways to Pay Off Law School Debt (Other than a 6-Figure Job)

Everyone knows that unless you have a big scholarship or very generous (rich) parents, you’re more or less bound to end up with some serious debt after law school. This sad truth pushes many idealistic law students, who would perhaps otherwise work in the public sector or in public interest, into high-paying corporate jobs.

While this may be upsetting to the bleeding hearts among us, it is actually a fairly positive outcome: We should be happy for those young idealists who, despite losing their values, actually get good jobs. For everybody also knows that job prospects for law school graduates are downright abysmal these days, and many students are ending up underemployed or without a job entirely.

I’ve listed a few ways for graduates to help pay off their law school debt, aside from landing a six-figure Big Law job.

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Debt it Out: The Politics of Law School Student Loans

The issue of student loans recently came up in Congress as they considered whether or not to delay (or possibly get rid of) a rate increase on student loans from 3.4% to 6.8%. Both sides acted with their trademark maturity.

A rate increase when so many students are already struggling to make their minimum payments seems cruel, and yet who knows what our Congressmen are going to do. As it stands, though, the student loan debt crisis is definitely weighing negatively on the economy, as recent grads are unable to enter the career-force (I think I just created a new term). Without a large income or job security (such as it is, these days), these young people will start making the large purchases that drive our economy later in their lives. It’s an albatross around a generation’s neck, and it is affecting the entire country.

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Handling Law School Debt II: A Conversation

Last week, I gave you some of my own advice about taking on large amounts of debt for law school.

This week, I interviewed some acquaintances who are currently working full time as lawyers at Big Law firms to see how the amount of debt they assumed to attend law school is affecting their lives, post-graduation. You should treat each of these stories as a best-case scenario; they were all employed at graduation in a large market, at firms that paid at the top of the salary band.

You should also view the responses through a lens of the selection bias finding these lawyers entailed – I posted a query on Facebook, so the responses I received were most likely from those who had strong feelings about the student loan situation.

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The Key to Handling Law School Debt: Make it Worth it

There are a lot of studies done in social psychology that analyze the way that we analyze risk. They’re pretty interesting if you’re into that kind of thing; if you’re not, I’ll cut through all the charts and control groups for you. One of the underlying discoveries is that people can’t legitimately conceive of the risk of things that are very likely to happen and very unlikely to happen, so we compress those things to be much closer to our average idea of ‘risk’ than they actually are. For instance, you’re very, very unlikely to die by being struck by a meteor; however, the chance is so astronomically (see what I did there?) small that almost everyone thinks it’s much more likely than the reality because we just don’t have a strong grasp of how uncommon it is.

The same goes for money, especially when you’re 21 years old and looking down a barrel at that $160K of law school debt. It’s a lot of money, but most people don’t realize exactly how much it is.


Is Law School Worth It? New York Times asks 4th Tier Debt-Dodger

I read the New York Times almost every morning. It is undoubtedly our country’s newspaper of record, and its articles are usually thorough in their ability to break down complex world events and developments clearly. Nevertheless, I was disappointed after reading David Segal’s article on the front page of last Sunday’s business section, titled Is Law School a Losing Game?

This certainly is not the first article to address the tight job market for newly minted lawyers.

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Law School Debt and the American Dream

I’m currently about 14k in the hole with student loans, which isn’t too bad, as far as such things go. It sucks to have to drop $200 every month, but I’m pretty sure there are about a billion people in China who don’t really give a crap, if you feel me. It’s like a really small albatross lightly gripping my neck.
If you go to law school, and you don’t get some financial aid, you can reasonably expect to graduate with about ten times that debt. It’s a scary thought, mildly assuaged by the idea that you’ll have access to a higher-salaried job market then the rest of us plebes. But still, I understand that it’s a little scary.
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Law School Loan Forgiveness Program Makes its Way to Berkeley

During the summer, we reported on new legislation regarding law school loan forgiveness that went into effect on July 1st, 2009. We’re happy to see that this rock has made ripples in the law school pond, including UC Berkeley School of Law. Boalt Hall reports that, beginning with the fall 2009/2010 class, it will be

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Law Firm Salaries

So I have been writing a series of blog entries in which I have been breaking down Logical Reasoning questions from the June 2009 LSAT. However, I am taking a bit of a break to share with you some interesting stats I just stumbled upon. You see, I was recently distracted by the one topic that seems to be able to distract anyone: the almighty dollar.

These days, it is easy to find various stories about the doom and gloom of the economy. Here is a great one if you want to read about everyone filing bankruptcy. Or how about a quick read from the WSJ that claims the recovery effort is not working?

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Too Much Law School Debt to be a Lawyer?

Okay, so I’m not the first to get to this. Or the second. In fact, it kind of feels like everyone I know or read on the internet has commented on the NYT piece about the guy who was denied admission to the New York bar because he had too much debt. But it’s very appropriate for MSS’s readers, and I have my own reasons for following this story with some interest, so here goes.

The apparent facts, such as they are:

Robert Bowman apparently didn’t have much money. He thus had to work and borrow for his education, from community college to Hastings Law School, accruing some $230,000 in student loan debt along the way. While this might sound like a large sum, it isn’t unimaginable when tuition alone for graduate schools is creeping towards $40,000 a year.