It is no secret that going to law school is an expensive experience. When you think of lawyers, your brain probably thinks of the version seen in film and other forms of media—brilliant young minds who get jobs at flashy and extravagant firms, who earn at the very least six figure salaries. With such colorful media out there, it is no wonder that so many people want to go to law school.
However, the reality of the situation is that law students face an unprecedented amount of student loans, and it is becoming harder and harder to pay them all off.
So just how bad is it? According to the American Bar Association, the average debt taken on by a law school graduate is simply staggering—$84,000 for those who attended public school, and a whopping $122,158 for those who attended a private school. These private schools are also home to some of the top schools in the country, and the prestige (and all the benefits that flow from this) is so coveted that most students will choose a private school, assuming they are accepted.
That’s a lot of debt.
This obsession with the best of the best in and of itself isn’t a problem. However, the graduate employment rates for recent law school graduates are the root of the issue. According to a report by the National Association for Law Placement, the overall employment rate of recent law graduates fell to 84.5%, the sixth year in a continuing trend of falling employment rates. While 84.5% doesn’t sound good itself, that means that the unemployment rate is 15.5%. This is quite high, especially when compared to many other disciplines and college degrees.
Ultimately, the fact that the nation’s lawyer count continues to climb and climb, despite an equal demand for lawyers, is what’s causing a lot of pain. Take this increasing amount of competition and add on top the debt that law school graduates must face, and becoming a lawyer doesn’t sound as the movies make it look.
Click here to learn more about the debt burden many law students face.