Category Archive: Law School Debt

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Advice on Advice: Where to Get Info on Law School Loans

I’ve previously discussed law school debt on the LSAT blog from the viewpoint of those who have already taken it out and are living with the consequences, in a vain attempt to convince a few of you that it’s not the best idea. So go back and read those, if you haven’t already.

Done? Good.

If you’re still set on financing law school with student loans (and I’m sure 99% of those who are reading this are in that boat), it’s important to be well-informed as to what you’re signing up for. The above links will show you what life’s like living under that much debt, but it doesn’t give you a lot of information about the nuts-and-bolts of the process.

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The Lowdown on LRAP: Magical Law School Debt Reliever?

Loan repayment assistance programs (LRAPs) are magic wands that make debt disappear for students who are good-hearted enough to enter public service. Sure, you’re earning a quarter of what your classmates are making, but you’re making the world a better place, and karma repays you for that. With your loan repayment, you get a unicorn to ride to work and a lifetime’s supply of free candy canes. Oh, and you officially get to celebrate your half-birthday, which means more presents!

There are many students who enter law school every year with dreams of entering public service after they graduate. The salaries aren’t nearly as high as those in the private sector; your loans, however, will be. So how do most students expect to cover the gap?

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Don’t Expect Law School Scholarships to Fall in Your Lap

Last week, we were reminded of the Sandy Cohen Public Defender Fellowship, rewarded to a Berkeley Law student working in the Orange County public defender’s office, and named after the eponymous character from The O.C. Really. This isn’t exactly breaking news, but given that the number of law school applicants has been plummeting, we wouldn’t be surprised to see even more of these. Law school tuition is bad enough, having nearly doubled in the last eleven years, leaving little money for room and board. So how about the Ally McBeal Nutritional Supplement Fund to help students stay fed? Or what about all the poor sorority girls who thought Legally Blonde was a documentary? The Elle Woods Expectations Management Grant will help to lessen the blow.

But in all seriousness, now more than ever you prospective law students should be on the lookout for scholarships.

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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.

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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.