This article, which originally appeared in The National Law Journal, is noteworthy for a few reasons: (a) prospective law students report being somewhat aware of the changing legal market; (b) “law professors”, law school administrators and NALP Executive Shill James Leipold comment about the structural change in the industry; and yet (c) law school applications are on the rise.
At the end of the article, reporter Karen Sloan provides a profile of four soon-to-be law students. Here is the TTR breakdown of the rationales.
Lemming Number One: The first student profiled is Allisa Klatt, who will be attending Third Tier Drake!! However, Alissa does consider this school to be “vastly underrated”. Apparently, she has not stumbled onto this blog before - or talked to any recent Drake JDs.
“Although Klatt is confident that law school is the right choice for her, the price tag of a J.D. still leaves her a little queasy. Drake offered a scholarship that will cover half her tuition, but Klatt still expects to take out about $90,000 in loans. "The first time I looked at the grand total of what it would cost to get a law degree, I cried," she said. "And then I realized that this is what I want to do. I'll have debt for the rest of my life, and that's that." [Emphasis mine]
Guess what, Alissa? You DO NOT need to go $90K into the hole for a TTT law degree! You will NOT come out of Drake Law School earning $90K per year. In fact, all students should follow the following sound financial advice:
“A good rule of thumb is that your total education debt should be less than your expected starting salary. If you borrow more than twice your expected starting salary you will find it extremely difficult to repay the debt.” [Emphasis mine]
Lemming Number Two: The next student/victim featured is Liz Payne, who is planning on attending the Univer$iTTTy of BalTTTimore $chool of Law.
“Payne, 25, insists she's not looking at the legal world through rose-colored glasses. She has friends who have been laid off from paralegal and clerk jobs with law firms, and is well aware that the industry is unstable right now. Even so, she would like to land a job at a law firm and perhaps specialize in the legal issues surrounding social media -- an area she manages for a Washington nonprofit.
Payne was influenced by her father's positive law school experience, which he told her helped to prepare him for the corporate world. She's been announcing her intention to be a lawyer since elementary school.”
[Read: “I know the market is unstable, but I’m going to law school, anyway! I can speshulize (sic) in social media law.”] Also, how many years ago was it when your daddy went to law school, Liz? Did he happen to have a business background, prior to entering the law school doors?!
Lemming Number Three: Golf instructor Jeff Holt has heard encouraging news from recent law grads and young lawyers. Therefore, he “knows” that he is making the right decision. He will be attending the 60th most amazing, thrilling, phenomenal law school in the land, i.e. Georgia State University Commode of Law.
"It's time for me to try something new and face a new challenge," he said. "I can't wait to learn a new way to think." [Emphasis mine]
Yeah, and after I post this entry, I hope that Salma Hayek wraps her legs tight around my waist. Oh well, you just can’t wait to learn a new way to think, can you Jeff?! Honestly, what a tool. You do not need to go six-figures in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt – and give up an easy/enjoyable job – to learn “new ways” to think.
Lemming Number Four: We now reach my personal favorite of the group, Yazmin Wadia. I could slam her decision to attend WillameTTTe Univer$iTTTy Commode of Law in hilarious, biting fashion. However, I will let Yazmin tell her story instead:
"I'm now starting to look and see what my career options are with a law degree. I haven't been putting too much focus on that yet."
Here is the worse that can happen, Yazmin: you could end up with $150K in additional NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt and NO JOB PROSPECTS. You could then continue to defer your student loan repayment – and watch helplessly as more interest accumulates. If you default, you can count on enormous penalties, fees and surcharges being added onto your overall tab – as collection agencies take over your accounts. Your credit report will then alarm potential employers – much like this Harvard Law School graduate (except your law degree will say Willamette on it, not Harvard). Good luck in your future endeavors, Lemmings.