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Student Debt: The Holistic Impact on Today’s Young Lawyer

Aaron Sohaski, Chris Jennison, and Tiffane Cochran

In 2020, the ABA YLD and AccessLex released a Student Loan Survey Report provided critical insight into the impact of borrowing on the lives of recent law graduates and licensed attorneys. It also raised additional questions about the reasons for balance increases after graduation as well as the impact of loans on career decisions, job satisfaction, and well-being.

The 2020 survey left us with some new questions to explore, in addition to factoring in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we followed up the 2020 survey with an updated survey for 2021.

This 2021 report aims to answer those questions and provide more nuanced understanding of the impact of student loan borrowing on the career trajectory of young lawyers, their ability to reach major life milestones (e.g., marriage, purchasing a home), and overall financial and emotional well-being.

The 2021 ABA YLD Student Loan Debt Survey is a collaborative effort between the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the AccessLex Institute Center for Legal Education Excellence. See all our surveys on the YLD's Student Loan Survey page.