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

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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.

#1 Way to Help Pay Off Law School Debt: Work as a tutor

Take this from someone with experience: tutoring pays very well. Whether you’re teaching Algebra and Geometry to high school students, analytical writing to college students, speed-reading to law students, the SAT, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE, or any other standardized test to any other type of student, tutoring pays the big bucks. Find your niche and either apply for a job or (better yet) start a private practice. This is a serious way to supplement your public interest income (or your unemployment) and start paying off that law school debt.

#2 Way to Help Pay Off Law School Debt: Work as a private consultant

What exactly is private consulting, anyway? Nobody can really define it, because private consulting has no bounds. Basically, people pay you to give them advice. That could be legal advice, it could be business advice, or it could also be child-rearing advice or interior-decorating advice. As with tutoring, find a consultant niche and market yourself accordingly. If you can make people believe that you are an authority on something (really, anything), then some of those people will be willing to pay you big bucks to show them the way.

#3 Way to Help Pay Off Law School Debt: Take advantage of your school’s LRAP program (duh!)

If you’re planning on pursuing a career in public interest, government, or some other low-paying legal field, and you don’t know what LRAP is, well, Google it. Here’s a list of law schools that offer LRAP programs. It’s a good idea (huge understatement) to make sure your law school is on this list if you’re planning to avoid Big Law.

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