Law School Debt by the Numbers





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Published on Apr 18, 2012

April 18 (Bloomberg Law) -- Just how onerous is the debt load for law students? Consider the graduates of San Diego's California Western School of Law. They have an average of more than $153,000 in loans, the biggest debt load of any law school in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

That's enough to buy this 41-foot yacht, complete with hydraulic Jet Ski lift, or stay on a private Caribbean island for more than 100 days, or dine at an Outback Steakhouse every night for more than 16 years. Even if they stretch out the loans over 25 years, graduates could be spending as much as 20 percent of their gross income just to pay off the debt.

While Cal Western tops the charts, it's hardly the only law school where graduates are saddled with massive debt. The average law student nationwide leaves school owing more than $100,000. And there are far more law school graduates than available legal jobs. This decade, U.S. law schools will produce four times as many new lawyers as there will be new lawyer jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. So it's no wonder that the number of people taking the L.S.A.T. has dropped 24 percent over the last two years. Law school isn't the ticket to riches it once was.

Produced by Josh Block
Follow: @JoshBlockNYC


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