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.
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.
So where can you find more information? Check out the following links:
And my personal favorite, ABA’s Getting a Grip on Your Student Debt
What’s the common thread running through all of them? Law school is expensive, and you need to take that into account when deciding on where to go and how much money to take out in loans. Many of you are starting in the red with undergrad loans, and that just compounds the issue.
So take a realistic view at the salary you’re likely to earn after law school. Factor in the opportunity costs of forgoing a job right out of undergrad (if that’s an option; unfortunately, for many it’s not). Apply to a wider range of law schools, including a few that are ranked lower than you’re qualified for, even if just to have additional scholarship offers to negotiate with other schools. Take a scholarship offer instead of a “better” school at sticker price. And have an honest discussion with someone you trust who has been in the work force and supported themselves (a parent, aunt/uncle, mentor, etc.) to see what they think life would be like coming out of their education with as much debt as you’re planning to.
Then, if you still think you can make law school work for you, pay that seat deposit and take the plunge.