In this four-page document, the ABA squeals:
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.
Yes, and this has NOTHING to do with law school marketing materials that claim 96.4% placement rates within 9 months of graduation, does it?! The law schools are also NOT to blame for putting out (self-reported) starting salary statistics that purportedly show median salaries of $85K, isn’t that correct?! And of course, the ABA, as the accrediting body, is blameless for NOT requiring its member schools to submit their figures to an independent, outside audit - as part of the schools’ accreditation.
Furthermore, the NALP plays NO role in raising law students’ expectations; they simply publish and disseminate the law schools’ self-reported (incomplete and misleading) figures as if they were gospel. These actions are NOT designed to entice more students to take the leap. Oh, heavens no! (Just like pay-day, predatory lenders are actually helping people get back on their feet, right?!)
Later on, in the same document, the ABA snorts:
The combination of the rising cost of a legal education and the realities of the legal job market mean that going to law school may not pay off for a large number of law students. Dean David Van Zandt of Northwestern Law School estimates that to make a positive return on the investment of going to law school, given the current costs, the average law student must earn an average annual salary of at least $65,315. As the data above show, however, over 40% of law school graduates have starting salaries below this threshold. Thus, many students start out in a position from which it may be difficult to recoup their investment in legal education. Even students who do ultimately prosper over the course of a career face difficulties from high debt loads during the beginning of their career. High debt can limit career choices, prevent employment in the public service sector, or delay home ownership or marriage. In short, going to law school can bring more financial difficulty than many law students expect. [Emphasis added]
How many third tier commodes list the average or median starting salaries of their recent graduates at a figure higher than $65,315? Plus, Van Zandt’s figure is not the number you need to look at. Online student loan calculators tell you that your total student loan debt SHOULD be less than your expected starting salary.
If you are making $65K but owe $130K, you will have a very difficult time paying back your student loans – as your debt is twice as high as your salary. But law schools don’t tell you these things. In fact, these pigs think MORE student loan debt is the answer.
For proof of this, let’s look at this letter-writing campaign on the part of the ABA:
Here is how the template starts:
Senator Full Name
Washington, DC 20510
If you think otherwise, ask yourself the following questions: (1) if the job market for lawyers is over-saturated, why does the ABA want to make sure more people can “afford” a legal education?; and (2) if students are graduating with more non-dischargeable educational debt, the solution is to RAISE the Stafford Loan limits?! (Remember, both private student loans and those backed/subsidized by the federal government, are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy proceedings.)