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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Watch those loan balances--and make sure that you really want to go to law school!

Our buddy Jim Cossitt pointed out this article from the New York Times (here).  We want to make two points about this article and the concepts that it discusses:

1.  Don't go to law school (and amass a large student debt load) unless you really know why you're going.  Probably, you want to become a lawyer.  You might just want a legal education to help you in your own work.  (If you want to be a public interest lawyer, check this out.)  Those are both good reasons to go.  Not a good reason?  Your family thinks you would be a good lawyer (because you love to argue), and you don't want to tell your loved ones that you'd rather be anything else.  And don't go to law school before checking out things like the school's placement rate and bar passage rate.  Placement rate can be manipulated, but bar passage probably can't.  And if you're going to crank up those student loans, you darn well want to be able to pay them off with a j-o-b afterwards.

2.  Most student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy.  (You'd need to prove undue hardship, which is devilishly hard to prove, or have something very odd going on with that loan.)  So as that loan tab adds up, realize that you will be paying off every penny.

Law school isn't for everyone.  If it's for you, then go in with your eyes open.

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