Bar News - February 23, 2007
‘Financing the Future:’ Public Service Jobs and Law School Debt
Law school debt, according to a survey recently released by non-profit research organization Equal Justice Works, is harming the legal profession and the justice system. Public service is a calling for many law school graduates, but research on employment trends finds a shortage of public sector and social justice jobs that provide a reasonable standard of living for those with educational debt, which now stands between many law school graduates and their desire to pursue public service careers.
The mortgage–sized debt burdens of law school graduates have far-reaching effects according to, “Financing the Future: Responses to the Rising Debt of Law Students,” issued by Equal Justice Works. “A recent public law school graduate earning an average public interest salary will have about $1,500 monthly to pay for rent, groceries and all the other expenses of living after making a standard monthly payment on…law loans,” says Heather Wells Jarvis, author of the study. High debt and low salaries affect recruitment and retention in the government and nonprofit work force and threaten the future of full-time public service, says Jarvis.
“Financing the Future” provides detailed information on available debt relief programs, including public interest scholarships, loan repayment assistant programs and post-graduate public interest fellowships. This information is available at http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/.