Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Oh How Things Have Changed!

I graduated from law school in the beginning of the millennium.   Although I am extremely resentful of my law school and every last penny that borrowed under the false assumption that it would be a cinch to pay back--I owe well under 100K.  Every check that I write to KHELC is written with my blood as ink and my heart is torn from my chest every time the check clears.  But, I realize I am lucky (relatively). I was cruising the blogs and I found one entitled "The Debt Chronicles."I nearly fell off my chair when I read this:

Student Loan Debt
Sallie Mae $141,891 -- Payments starting in Nov '10: $974.45/mo
Direct Loans $10,301 -- Payments starting in Nov '10: $63/mo
Student Loan Debt (to be added in the next 1.5 years)
Sallie Mae $25,566

I guess she wrote about it while she was incurring it.  So, that's $175K and bar loans and BARBRI and the debt one incurs while studying for the bar exam... whatever.  It's $185K and I'm trying to be conservative.

What really knocked me over was her subsequent comment:

It's a J.D... potentially very lucrative. :)

If by "potential," she means 1 in a 100 chance--then I may agree with her.  I'm happy I don't know this little kitten. If I did, I would shake her until I knocked her brain right.  The lottery is potentially lucrative, but you don't see me buying $185K worth of lottery tickets on the off chance that I'll win.

As it stands, being a lawyer is not lucrative.  Being a mechanic or an electrician is--but people that go to trade school aren't willing to pay $185K to learn their trade.


  1. My best friend in law school took out more than $120K in debt for a Drake Law School degree!!! She is now doing court-appointed work at $65 an hour. And she has told me that it was a good investment!!!!

    I know many people who have not one damn day of college education and still make more than I do (without the student loan debt). I went about $38K in debt for law school, on top of $32,000 for my undergrad degree. I wonder who came out on top.

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is important that people know what a JD does to people, i.e. how it limits people's job prospects - even a decade out of law school.

    I am getting ready to tell my story to the NYT or USA Today - I don't care if I have to give up my identity. I have had a few Drake grads get upset with me already. The scam needs to get out to a larger audience.

  2. You should totally tell your story. I don't know about revealing your id. But it is a story that needs to be said.
    About your friend... and at the risk of revealing my politics... her attitude is similar to many soldiers who fought/fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (may God Protect them and may they come home safely). Every day, the only thought that keeps them going is "This is for our freedom and to keep America safe." But at the end of the day, it probably isn't helping on either of those fronts. But, in order to fight the good fight, you have to think that you're doing this for something. Likewise, your friend has to believe it is a good investment because otherwise, she won't be able to keep going. It's fake. It's propaganda. I see through it--therefore, I have no satisfaction from my professional career.

  3. My debt includes student loans from undergrad. I believe the average student graduates with around 75k in law school debt. I'm an evening student at a private school (which means a 4 year program and more than average debt). I was working full-time my first two years; had I continued that rather than deciding to take it easy, the debt load would be reduced.

    Where do you live; what kind of school did you go to; did you work before (or during) your time in law school? I doubt our situations are the same. I worked for a big firm for awhile, and I eventually intend to work there again... and get my 140k/yr salary. :P I'm not under the illusion that it will be a "cinch" to pay back, but I'm not depressed over it either (admittedly, it helps to have a significant other who makes a salary of around my debt load per year - not that I'm planning to ask him for help, but it's reassuring to know that I could). I'm sorry you're unhappy with your career choice. But it's really ridiculous to say you want to "knock [my] brain right" - one needs a positive outlook when one is 7 months from graduating. So, my brain is perfectly "right."

  4. Like I said, Sunflower. You have to have this attitude to trek through life. But in 10 years, when you're me... I'm wondering how you'll feel. At my former job, a secretary was asked to go to law school. Partners promised her a job when she graduated. She came back as an attorney. She too was laid off a couple weeks ago. I hope your firm doesn't screw you in the same way.

  5. Revealing myself will cost me my job. But I'll support Nando in whatever he needs. I've been posting his links all over!

  6. AJ, don't reveal you ID then. No one needs to know who or where you are. Freedom of speech is definitely limited by employers... Wonderful Country we live in.

  7. She'd have had better odds taking that $185K to Vegas and entering a poker tournament.

  8. Funny story actually, one of the attorneys I worked with at Big Law left to become a professional poker player. I hear he is very happy. He would have been laid off if he stayed.

  9. ANGEL

    If you don't mind me asking how much debt did you have when you graduated law school?

  10. 65K. I had a partial scholarship. And because interest rates were high when I graduated and consolidated this debt, it's still about 65K. I just started making a little headway into the principal when I lost my job.



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