A Matter of Life and Debt

Susan Doktor
Struggles with law school debt may persist for years and, for that reason, debt has a profound impact on new lawyers’ life decisions.

Struggles with law school debt may persist for years and, for that reason, debt has a profound impact on new lawyers’ life decisions.

Nattakorn Maneerat via iStock

The 2020 ABA YLD Law School Student Loan Debt Survey Report examines the issues at the heart of the student loan crisis and offers recommendations. Read the report.

You can have strong reasoning skills, a gift for argument, and a passion for justice, but that’s not all you need to get through law school. You also need a bunch of money. And most law students borrow it—about 70 percent nationwide. On average, they rack up about $160,000 in cumulative debt, confident that they will command high salaries once they graduate. Statistics support that assumption. Lawyers earn an average salary of about $145,000 in the United States. But many start out earning less, particularly those who accept positions in the public sector. Struggles with law school debt may persist for years and, for that reason, debt has a profound impact on new lawyers’ life decisions

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