Following up on my previous post, Is Your Law School Worth It? Law School Debt-to-Income Ratios: Wall Street Journal, New Lawyers Are Swimming in Debt:
The vast majority of law-school graduates carry debt loads that exceed their initial earnings, new federal data shows, the latest sign a law degree isn’t a sure path to immediate financial success.
Median earnings a year after graduation topped the federal-loan figure for graduates from just 11 of about 200 law schools for which the U.S. Department of Education released data. The favorable ratios were largely for elite private institutions—including Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Northwestern University and Stanford University—that send many graduates into high-paying law firms. The list also included one public school, the University of Iowa.
For the rest of the law schools, graduates’ debt loads surpass earnings, in some cases by many multiples. ... Graduates of the six schools at the bottom of the ranking carried debt that was more than five times earnings. ...
The debt level exceeded $100,000 for graduates of more than half of the law schools on the Education Department list, with three dozen mostly private schools topping $150,000. Three schools had graduates with debt below $60,000. Annual tuition for three-year programs at the most selective law schools is nearing $70,000, not including living expenses. ...
Some law schools whose numbers look unfavorable say they view themselves as places of opportunity for first-generation law students and minorities who may have to rely more heavily on loans compared with better-off classmates “We borrow our asses off, there’s just really no other way,” said Hillary Kane, the chief communications and marketing officer at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, where she earned a degree.
Southwestern’s median debt was the fifth-highest nationwide at $193,653, compared with median income of $45,000. “We do care and are counseling students to not borrow so much,” Ms. Kane said, adding that most graduates don’t land a law job until after taking the bar exam.