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Friday, January 07, 2011

American Bar Association: Think Twice About Law School

The American Bar Association has posted a warning about getting a law degree on their website.
Far too many law students expect that earning a law degree will solve their financial problems for life. In reality, however, attending law school can become a financial burden for law students who fail to consider carefully the financial implications of their decision.

Read more about why graduate school may not be the best choice.


Emily E. said...

This is 100% true. Don't go to law school. I tell anyone who asks me this. The only reason I am still working (and not staying home raising my family) is that I have those damn law school loans to pay off. The loans are entirely not worth it.

I loved law school- I'm glad for the education I got and the experiences I had. But I wouldn't do it over again.

Angela Risner said...

I loved law school, too, but was unable to finish due to family issues. So now I have $120k in student loans and no degree.

In fact, I'm turning against most college degrees right now, when I realize that the US is the only country that has to go into such debt for one.

Kate T. said...

I wish I had seen this before entering law school. I graduated in 2009 with over $100k in debt and was unable to find a job for over a year. My plan to work in public interest has completely evaporated because I simply cannot afford it. So I went to law school to help people and now I'm back in HR because there were no law jobs to be had. HR might end up being great for me, but I could have done this without the debt...

Anonymous said...

AMEN! Having $125,000 in debt and $950 a month in loan repayments some how does not make the degree feel worth it. If my household didn't have a second income I'd NEVER be able to work in the non-profit position I have now. I'm in a non-legal position here (although I use my legal knowledge daily) which did not require me to take the bar exam which thankfully saved me a few thousand dollars. I'm glad I have the J.D. but I would certainly NEVER do it again.

Unknown said...

Wow - I wish ALL grad schools had similar warnings on their websites!

Film Co. Lawyer said...

This has been true for a LONG time. I wouldn't applaud the ABA too much since this has been going on for a while & the ABA hasn't been trying to change the system or address the root causes of the problem (allowing foreign lawyers to do US legal work through outsourcing for one & accrediting MORE law schools for another).

On top of all this, I see a criminal lack of financial aid for law school. You're also forbidden from working at ALL during your first year & are generally discouraged from working full time during law school.

It's a bad idea to have all the attorneys be children of privilege since that's going to repel clients who feel those attorneys are patronizing them or don't care about their issues. I say this as someone who knows a lot about that issue & see this happening very soon. Enough people who need legal counsel can't get it without more lawyers with silver spoons in their mouths coming in to drive even more lower income people away from getting legal services.

What makes it worse is that you can't discharge the debt in bankruptcy like you can with credit cards, gambling, home mortgages, etc. Even being dead might not be enough considering I remember a story where student loan lenders still harassed a parent whose debtor child had died & ignored the death certificate the parent sent.

Library school is just as bad since the competition is fierce, no one's retiring & all the entry-level jobs required 2 years experience when my husband was looking over 4 years ago.

I'm one of the lucky ones since I've been able to get opportunities most people don't & had attorney licensing help me. Probably helps that I don't have the typical attorney personality, which is largely unsympathetic in the eyes of the average non-lawyer.

I've noticed most attorneys are too busy worrying about being blacklisted to try affecting any real change, which is sorely needed. Read some blogs on the issue like "Third Tier Reality", "But I Did Everything Right", etc. if you want true, non-media varnished insight on this whole situation in the legal field & how it affects real people.

If I had it to do again, I think I'd still go since I'd never be living where I want if I hadn't & having kids while living in a trailer park wouldn't be much of a life for me. That would have happened if I hadn't gone to college.

California Lemon Law said...

The very idea that a Doctorate was simply a step up the career ladder is hugely at odds with the way European and the Eastern US universities see the honour. A Batchelor's and a Master's are intented to be used in this way, but a Ph.D. was always meant to be a tool for those with a vocation in their chosen topic and who wished to dedicate themselves to the advance of knowledge in that field, generally to the detriment of the earning potential of the candidate. I guess everyone holding a Batchelor's and thinking of going on to study for a PH.D. should be advised to read Hesse's "Glass Bead Game" to understand what life is like at that level.

California Lemon Law