Lawyers, Grad Students, and Money
In the past, law students could shoulder massive amounts of debt because they could be fairly confident of getting a job. Now they are facing a situation that should be eerily familiar to Post Academic readers: Firms aren’t hiring the way they used to, and that student loan debt isn’t going anywhere.
Above the Law sums up the anger at the situation: “But do you know what the real bitch of it is? If it turns out you made a terrible investment by going to law school, it’s impossible for you to get out from under your mistakes. You can’t discharge law school debt through bankruptcy absent a showing of undue hardship.”
You sure can’t. But, chin up, o lawyer friends. Post Academic can help you look on the bright side! You still have it better than grad students! Here’s how:
Going to a big-name school can still help you. In academia, there are so few jobs that an Ivy League PhD can only get you so far. In fact, it might not get you far at all. A JD from an Ivy or otherwise big-time school still means you’re hot stuff, however, or at least you’re well-connected.* Even if you don’t have a JD from a top-tier school, you have a better shot at a job than your peers in the humanities.
More reasons for lawyers to feel a little better after the jump! Image of The Illustrated London News – Tichborne Case (1874) from Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
People always need lawyers. You can always be one of those intense people on television who say they can help you get big money for little-known medical conditions. Sure, it’s a little awkward to have your face plastered on bus benches and late-night television, but you’ll still find clients.
You can still attend grad school! Grad school doesn’t pay much, but, if you can get in, you can get enough to live on, and you might be able to defer that pesky law school loan. Once you learn where the free food is and where you can find good part-time jobs, you’re set.
And of course …
You can sue the school! Why not? At least you know how to file the papers.
All this is funny now, but it hides a problem that academics have dealt with for a long time: It’s never a good idea to go deep into debt for education. Yet a lack of funds keeps some seriously talented people who could thrive as lawyers or academics from getting into the game, and that’s the ultimate loss.
(apologies to Lawyers, Guns, and Money and Warren Zevon for the rip-offy title, but I couldn’t resist)
*If you are that well connected, why are you reading this blog instead of conquering the world or something?