Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Monstrous Law Student Debt Figures, for the JD Class of 2011
Law Professors Finally Get Off Their Ass, and Mention This Problem:
On Saturday, March 24, 2012, Brian Tamanaha, professor at Washington University in St. Louis, wrote a piece on Balkinization, under the banner “The Quickly Exploding Law Graduate Debt Disaster.” Here is his opening paragraph:
“The average indebtedness figures for 2011 law graduates are stunning. Last year, 4 law schools had graduates with average debt exceeding $135,000. This year 17 law schools are above $135,000. Last year the highest average debt among graduates was $145,621 (Cal. Western); this year the highest average debt is $165,178 (John Marshall). Below are the 20 schools with the highest average law school debt among graduates (these figures do not include undergraduate debt).” [Emphasis mine]
This is truly troubling, for the law students and recent graduates. After all, the banksters and “institutions of higher education” bear NONE of the risk, in these transactions. Tamanaha continued:
“What's remarkable is that the majority of graduates from these law schools - with the exception of Northwestern - do not obtain jobs with salaries sufficient to make the monthly loan payments due on the average debt. At some of these schools 90% or more of graduates with debt do not earn enough to make the loan payments on this level of debt (not all indebted students will carry the average debt).
This refutes the view of one moronic, current Hofstra Law student, who told me that many will be able to repay such huge debt figures. Then again, this same tool stated that "Law is absolutely an honorable profession." Tamanaha concluded his article, in part:
“Thousands of 2011 law graduates across the country will not earn enough to manage the debt they incurred to obtain their law degree.
When will law schools decide that they cannot continue to inflict ever increasing levels of unmanageable debt on their students? At the very least, the admissions offices at law schools across the country should explicitly warn students that anyone who expects to incur law school debt above $100,000 will likely suffer financial distress upon graduation unless they land a NLJ 250 job or a public service job that qualifies for reduced loan payments--and admitted students should be told that relatively few graduates get these jobs. Unfortunately, we cannot count on law schools to provide this message--which, if effective, would result in some schools closing their doors for lack of enough paying students. [Emphasis mine]
If the law school swine had ANY integrity or moral compass, then they would provide such a warning to potential applicants and students. However, it is CLEAR that these academics simply do not care how many students and graduates they consign to a lifetime of debt servitude.
On his March 25, 2012 entry, “The blue pill,” professor Paul Campos notes the following, while citing to the 2013 edition of US “News” & World Report’s law student indebtedness rankings:
“[L]aw schools have become absurd and corrupt and simply crazy places, as illustrated nicely by the latest student debt figures. The median debt at the 191 law schools who reported data for the class of 2011 was $105,028, up 5.84% from 2010's figure of $99,236. This happens to be just about exactly the percentage by which tuition went up for the national class of 2011 relative to the class of 2010. At this point, law school tuition is so high that tuition increases will be close to 100% debt-financed by the nearly 90% of graduates who take on law school debt.
And keep in mind that these figures, as always, omit other educational debt.” [Emphasis mine]
At least, some legal academics are starting to look at the average law student indebtedness figures, published by US “News" and Vagina Bob Morse. I have been citing to these USN&WR numbers on my blog, since August 22, 2010.
Others Comment on This Recent Development:
On March 28, 2012, Matt Leichter wrote a piece labeled “ABA Journal Discovers US News’ Debt Rankings,” on his Law School Tuition Bubble blog. Here is an excerpt, where he cites to the March 28, 2012 ABA Journal piece, from Debra Cassens Weiss, entitled "Average Debt of Private Law School Grads Is $125K; It’s Highest at These Five Schools":
“Meanwhile, U.S. News & World Report has released its own figures on the “10 law schools that lead to the most debt.” At those 10 schools, average student debt was more than $147,000 in 2011.”
Take a look at Leichter’s closing:
“Again, this what the ABA says. It does not come out and say, “There aren’t enough lawyer jobs for everyone, many of these careers don’t need law degrees, and the people who don’t report their employment or salaries do so because they were hosed.” See for yourself; it’s a gold mine. Between U.S. News’ “5 Ways to Strengthen Your Law School Application” and the ABA’s whitewashing of legal education’s value, I wonder why there aren’t more scam blogs. Pravda has nothing on these contemporary American institutions.”
Conclusion: As psychotherapist, and former Biglaw associate, Will Meyerhofer wrote, on November 3, 2010: "Anything that leaves you two hundred grand in a hole is not increasing your “versatility” – it’s trapping you in hell." It is nice to see that others are starting to cite to the USN&WR law student indebtedness ratings. I have been doing so, for a while, while profiling these ABA-accredited dung pits. In the end, this is the most important ranking, in that entire fish wrap.
If you are considering law school, don't be a dumbass and simply think about the potential benefits. You also need to take a hard look at the likely downsides, of pursuing a "legal education." If you incur an additional $100K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE debt, this WILL affect your chances to own a home, get married, or have children. Good luck opening up a business line of credit, with such outstanding debt. The banks and mortgage companies are aware that student loans must be re-paid. Furthermore, THE U.S. LAWYER JOB MARKET IS SHRINKING. Lastly, non-legal employers view JDs and attorneys suspiciously, i.e. they are not too keen on hiring people they view as litigious. Do you get the picture, lemming?!
Posted by Nando at 7:24 AM