Friday, December 27, 2013
Wisconsin Bar Task Force Reports that More Than 40 Percent of Wisconsin Lawyers Would Not Attend Law School if They Had a Do-Over
The Task Force’s Findings: In November 2013, the Wisconsin State Bar issued a 25 page document labeled “Challenges Facing New Lawyers Task Force Report and Recommendations.” According to the introduction, the task force was appointed by the bar president in January 2012. Check out the following, from page 7 of the PDF:
“To provide background, more than 9 out of 10 respondents reported suffering tremendous burdens as a result of their debt. The median cost of a law school education for the respondents was $95,000, the mean was $94,822. The middle half of respondents ranged in law school costs from $68,000 to $120,000. About half of all respondents (53.8%) had educational debt before they entered law school with the median value of $20,000. Overall, respondents reported still owing a median of $90,000 on their law studies. The survey also confirmed that the overall amount of loans borrowed for law school from 2005 to 2008 had increased by approximately 36.8%.” [Emphasis mine]
On to page 8 of this report:
“While the data suggests that students were less surprised about their debt levels, a much larger percentage of the respondents (78.9%) indicated that their earnings were less than they expected during law school. These individuals had an average law practice compensation of $41,591...
Not only was income than expected for most law school graduates, but most (71.4%) said that they had benefits less than expected. Many attorneys were not covered by benefits. Fifteen to twenty percent of respondents had their benefits, including health, dental or vision, covered by a spouse or partner.” [Emphasis mine]
Yes, what a great return on investment, right?!?! This is one reason why I ripped Christopher Knorps a new rectum. The rodent - from a well-off family - constantly bitched about students “expecting six figure salaries.” In reality, these men and women removed themselves from the full-time work force for several years - and incurred substantial student debt in the process - with the intent to enter a decent profession.
Other Coverage: On December 20, 2013, the ABA Journal published a piece from Debra Cassens Weiss, which was entitled “Would you go to law school if you had a do-over? 40 percent of young lawyers in this survey said no.” Here is the opening:
“More than 40 percent of young lawyers in Wisconsin would not go to law school if they had it to do over again, given what they know now, a survey has found.
The survey, chronicled in a report (PDF) by a State Bar of Wisconsin task force, found that young lawyers in the state still owed a median of $90,000 for their law school studies. Said one respondent: “I think about my debt several times a day. Unfortunately there is no solution to it, so I just drag this debt around with me, like Jacob Marley was forced to drag his chains around for all eternity.”
About 600 lawyers in the bar’s Young Lawyer’s Division responded to the August 2013 survey. About 72 percent of the respondents had graduated from law school since 2008. Nearly 80 percent reported they were earning less than expected in law school; lawyers in this group had an average law practice compensation of about $41,000.” [Emphasis mine]
Good luck paying off $90K+ in NON-DISCHARGEABLE loans, while earning $41K per year. Plus, the latter figure is before payroll taxes, SSI and health insurance are deducted. Try supporting a family or purchasing a home on that income level.
By the way, imagine if the state bar swine had exclusively surveyed recent law graduates. Keep in mind that those who attend a Wisconsin law school, and intend to practice there, do not need to take the Wisconsin bar exam. This at least saves the JD the added stress and financial costs associated with the test.
OLSS contributing author Antiro wrote a December 20, 2013 entry entitled “Wisconsin Legal Task Force Comes Down on the Side of the Reformers.” Review the passage below:
“The CFNLTF also compiled a survey of 599 young lawyers (about 70% have graduated since 2008), most of which whom worked in smaller firms. The survey found that more than h,alf had found their loans to have majorly impacted their lives, while a quarter expected to not pay off the debt for 6-10 years, and about a third expected to be stuck with their loans for more than 20 years.
I'm not going to continue to summarize the survey results much longer; it's exactly what you would expect: most found their pay and benefits to be lower than they expected, most didn't learn about the difficulties facing lawyers until they were already enrolled in law school, and most who went to law school "wanted to help others or serve justice." It's encouraging that the State Bar of Wisconsin is paying attention to the future of the legal profession, and while many in the legal ed reform movement have been beating these particular drums for a few years, it is clear that the momentum is clearly in our favor.” [Emphasis mine]
Conclusion: Law school is a piss poor “investment” for those who are not wealthy or seriously connected, i.e. the vast majority of students. Head to the FinAid Loan Calculator, provided by Pussy Mark Kantrowitz. Enter the loan amount of $90,000 at an 8.25% interest rate. If you were to take 30 years to pay off the loan, you would have paid $243,410.31 in total. The monthly payment would be $676.14. In the event that you paid this amount off in 20 years - at the same interest rate - you still would have made $184,045.85 in cumulative payments.
Hell, you would be fortunate to make the monthly $676.14 monthly payment, on the longer schedule, if you are making roughly $40K per year. After taxes and insurance are taken out, you would be looking at around $28K-$30K in net salary. Your minimum annual loan payments - under the 30 year plan - would eat up $8,113.68 of that amount. That doesn’t leave much for food, shelter, or other bills. Of course, the law school pigs do very well under this arrangement. They are paid up front, in full - while you are left holding the bag for the next 20-30 years of your life. Their unjustified pay is in no way tied to the students’ job prospects or outcomes. Heed this warning, Lemmings.
Posted by Nando at 7:09 AM