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New law school graduate debt figures



US News has just published data on class of 2013 law school graduate debt. Matt Leichter points out that an unusually large number of ABA schools — 14 out of 201 — chose not to reveal this figure to US News (Schools are required to report these numbers to the ABA Section of Legal Education, but as of now the Section only publishes aggregate debt figures. In a typical year around four schools don’t report to US News). Also Barry, a Florida bottom feeder, obviously only reported debt incurred by graduates during their third year. They made the same mistake in 2011, got called out for it, gave the correct figure for the class of 2012, and then misreported again in 2013.

The schools that didn’t report were mostly places that would be shut down instantly if the federal government could bestir itself to apply even the most minimal regulatory controls to the money it shovels into law school coffers in the form of student loans that aren’t going to be paid back (Cooley, one of the John Marshalls, Touro etc.). But the list also included Cornell, which happens to have the highest tuition of any law school in the country (And hopefully the universe: $59,550, including mandatory fees).

Anyway, the figures published by US News are seriously understated, for several reasons:

(1) They only represent the total sum of federal educational loans issued to students while in school. This omits the interest accrued on these loans, as well as origination fees, which are absurdly high (4% in the case of GRADPLUS, which applies to all loans beyond the first $20,500 taken out in any year). Interest accrued and origination fees can be calculated readily, so I’ve included them in the figures below.

(2) It also omits debt that doesn’t run through a school’s financial aid conduits, such as private loans — these are rare as of post-2010 among professional students, since they can borrow an unlimited amount from the feds, but they still exist.

(3) More significantly it omits family loans, such as when parents tap HELOCs to pay for their child’s Very Prestigious Symbol of Prestige.

(4) It also doesn’t include student credit card debt incurred to cover expenses during law school, or loans taken out after graduation and prior to the bar (usually taken three months after graduation) to cover living expenses and bar preparation and administration costs.

(5) It doesn’t include other educational debt. Average undergraduate debt among college graduates with debt (around two thirds) is now running at nearly $30,000 per year, apparently because Kids Today drive fancier cars than their professors and insist on squandering money on frivolous gadgets like cell phones and ipods that play so-called “rap” music.

I’ve calculated the average total owed on federal loans when the first payment came due, that is, in November 2013, for the graduates of the ten schools with the highest reported graduate debt. Note that the figures below only include (1) above, and that the actual educational debt carried by graduates of these schools is considerably higher (The list includes Arizona Summit, fka Phoenix School of Law, which didn’t report to US News but did put the relevant figures on its web site. It doesn’t include any of the other 13 schools that didn’t report, a few of which probably would have made it into the top ten).

The number after the debt figure is the number of 2012 graduates of these schools who got jobs with large law firms, or federal judicial clerkships (This number is a good proxy for the number of graduates who got jobs that hold out some reasonable prospect of careers which will allow graduates to service six-figure debt loads).

Arizona Summit: $225,321 (1 of 181)

Thomas Jefferson: $219,734 (1 of 260)

New York Law School: $200,046 (34 of 601)

American: $192,688 (58 of 463)

California Western: $191,347 (3 of 283)

Northwestern: $188,851 (164 of 295)

Whittier: $187,301 (1 of 170)

Chicago: $186,474 (152 of 215)

Florida Coastal: $182,266 (5 of 510)

St. Thomas (Miami): $182,057 (0 of 216)

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  • Lee Rudolph

    Northwestern and Chicago appear to be the only undeplorable cases. Shame about the climate in their part of the world, compared to Florida Coastal.

  • Nobdy

    The size of some of these schools is rathernshocking. 600 graduates from NYLS? 510 from Florida Coastal? These big schools should get more attention because one of them can ruin 3 times a many lives per year as a Whittier or Arizona Summit.

    The article on student spending is a hoot. Can you imagine all those students who think they need laptops just because every reputable school now requires it? I went to undergrad and law school in places with good public transit and few people had cars. They still managed to acquire student debt somehow. I guess the cost of living in an urban environment. Stupid spendthrift students wanting to live within commuting distance from campus!

    • Whiskers

      I’m not worried about the folks at NYLS. Its a top ten school and most of the graduates get jobs at big money firms.

      • xiata

        NYLS isn’t NYU.

        • Whiskers

          Well sure, one’s the law school and one’s the entire university. So what?

          • jmauro

            I think you’re confusing NYU Law with NYLS. NYLS is a private school in Tribeca. NYLS’s last USNWR ranking was 140.

            • Whiskers

              Wow, that’s a huge drop. I thought it used to be right up there with Columbia.

              • Denverite
              • Francisco The Man

                No. New York School of Law (NYSL) is an entirely different school from NYU law school. NYU law school is fine, and was and is “right up there”, more or less, with Columbia. NYSL is an entirely different entitity – no affiliation with NYU.

                • Whiskers

                  Are you sure you aren’t just confusing the Greenwich village and Tribeca campuses of the same school?

                • Breadbaker

                  They are two different schools.

                  NYLS is unaffiliated with any university.

                  NYU Law School is, as the name implies, affiliated with New York University.

                • WCL

                  Ummm…you just got trolled.

      • Anonymous

        Looks like UPenn is all the way up to 51 this year. With this and the settlement, looks like they’re finally starting to move past the Sandusky thing.

        • Whiskers

          I thought they’d never recover from that. But that’s quite a good school, especially if you only pay the in-state tuition for UPenn. I’m speaking strictly of the Philly campus only.

          • Whiskers

            Well, this seems to have run its course. I guess it was fun.

            • Anonymous

              As NYLS is not NYU Law School, Penn State, where Sandusky worked, is not the University of Pennsylvania.

              • Whiskers

                Maybe it hasn’t run its course.

                Sandusky worked at the Happy Valley Campus and Paterno at the Philly campus.

            • Tybalt

              Your guess is incorrect.

  • Frank Somatra

    Doesn’t Chicago have 20 free-tuition students per year on top of their normal financial aid? How is it that they still have such high debt loads?

    • Yikes

      If you look at the USNWR table, it’s indebtedness for students who incurred debt.

      • Pushkin

        Which, at Chicago, was still 85% of the students incurring debt.

        • Pushkin

          $186,474 in loans is a small, small price to pay for being able to come into contact with the brilliant minds who teach at Chicago.

          • PhiloStudent

            Agreed; Chicago even has Leiter now.

            • Peter Aduren

              Proximity to a genius like Leiter is well worth the price of admission!

            • RoseTokyo

              How does it compare to programs at other schools like NYU?

              • Denverite

                Chicago tends to fare very slightly better in reputational scores. Biglaw placement is comparable. The main difference is that Chicago fares much better in terms of AIII clerkship placement, which tends to suggest that it’s placing its grads in more ultracompetitive federal jobs and super high end litigation boutiques a few years down the line (both of these types of employers generally require an AIII clerkship to be eligible for entry-level employment).

              • Very Famous Law and Philosophy Professor (Check out my Rankings!)

                Your insolence has been noted and will be punished in due time.

              • ichininosan

                Class of 2012:

                BigLaw / Fedclerk: 56% / 15%

                BigLaw / Fedclerk: 60% / 6%

                making Chicago the slightly better bet

                • Denverite

                  Yeah, they’re about the same if you want to work for a big law firm (though I suspect that Chicago probably places more of its grads in non-NYC cities, which probably gives them a marginally better lifestyle — 60 hours a week instead of 70).

                  Chicago’s big draw would be if you wanted a better chance at the really high end jobs (DOJ, SEC, Susman, Barlit, Keker, etc.) that require an AIII clerkship to get in the door.

  • aaron

    Whoa, that Burns sounds like a piece of work. With apologies to Dean Wormer, cranky, innumerate and out of touch is not where you want to wind up at the end of your life, son.

  • Yikes

    I went to one of the Chicago schools on here and graduated in the early 00s. You could lop off the first figure of the average debt upon graduation, and I’d still be lower than one of those schools today (not the other one though).

  • Hayden Arse

    So, Professor Cassandra… At this point there is ample evidence to suggest that the potential, (in my mind likelihood), exists for this to result in a financial crisis, not unlike the S&L Crisis or the more recent housing bubble in that imprudent lending creates a situation where a significant percentage of borrowers will be unable to repay their loans. As we all know, debts that cannot be repaid, won’t be repaid.

    That alone is reason enough to merit congressional inquiry in an attempt to let some of the air out before the bubble bursts. However this situation seems far more dire in that the non-dischargeability of these loans will force the borrowers into their own debtor class rendering them unable to meaningfully participate in the economy as they endure what could be life-long indentured servitude for the benefit of thier creditors. Unfortunately, the reality is that Congress is ineffectual at best, and those who could exercise some degree of power over this situation have little or no incentive to do so. It would be difficult to design a more potent economic bomb. The numbers for law grads are still relatively small when compared to the nation overall, but when combined with student debt for all educational loans, I believe that this will not end well.

    • West of the Cascades

      Where IS Darrell Issa when you need him??

    • ChrisI

      I suspect many in congress actually believe the hype about how incredibly valuable, near priceless, college education is. Of course you should loan people $100k for an undergraduate degree, or $250k for a graduate degree. Without question, they will earn that back many times over. Right?

  • Bored Guy

    “as well as origination fees, which are absurdly high (4% in the case of GRADPLUS, which applies to all loans beyond the first $20,500 taken out in any year).”

    Normally aren’t origination fees charged ostensibly to cover the costs of underwriting (Generally Not done for graduate loans) or to pay mortgage brokers? If this was a home mortgage, and the person had horrible credit, I would anticipate the Mortgage Broker would try to score 2-4 points off the transaction. (Read $2-4,000) I wonder if it’s illegal for a law school and Grad Plus to split an origination fee, or if all that money goes straight to Gradplus.

  • Casual Observer

    This is very sad news. I really wish more law professors would see the light and try to improve things, and start to turn on the underperforming mills.

    The market won’t police the mills because Uncle Sam has no lending discipline.

    The glut of graduates compete for jobs, and clients, and it means that none of them do very well or develop into future leaders of the bar.

    If I were a W&L or Case Western administrator, I’d be looking to shut down the bottom feeders. They are starting to kill your once quality product.

    • Downpuppy

      If you were a CWRU administrator, you’d be relieved that Mitchell finally resigned, but still more concerned about getting him off the faculty & defending the school from Ku’s retaliation suit while enrollment was dropping…

      I’m saying you’d be more concerned with the problems the school brought on itself than with the competition.

  • thispaceforsale

    Fascinating list, what about Public Service Loan Forgiveness? Do you think that this makes some grads less invested in the the actual loan figure at the point of admission or graduation?

    • Unemployed Northeastern

      Did you not see the Obama administration’s proposal from about a week ago to limit PSLF forgiveness to the maximum one can take out in undergraduate loans as an independent student, or $57k and change?

  • kindasorta

    Incredible as these figures are, now think of these amounts amortized over 25 years at 6.41% or higher, with any remainder becoming a tax bill for the borrower. Also, sweet Jesus.

  • Nick Danger – Third Eye

    I am shocked….SHOCKED and dismayed that these students were coerced into signing their names to those loan documents. Maybe they were illiterate and didn’t understand that theses were loans and that they were expected to pay them back?

    What other explanation could there be other than they knew the terms of the loan(s) and willingly entered into the contract and now that they are graduated, decide that they don’t want to honor those same terms?

    I want to go buy a house and then decide I shouldn’t have to pay the loan I took out.

    • Hayden Arse

      How would you feel about that house if you found out it was built on a hazardous waste landfill, and you had no recourse against the seemingly trustworthy seller who misled you about its value? You would be saddled with debt on a property that you could not live in, sell, and could be forced to bear the cost of remediation.

      • Nick Danger – Third Eye

        I have insurance on my house.

        When buying an education, it’s caveat emptor.

        These people are not uneducated and they’re not stupid. They are responsible for doing their due diligence as to the value of that education.

        I don’t feel sorry for them They did this to themselves.

        They are not victims.

        • mc

          What if you couldn’t buy insurance on the house, idiot?

          • Orpho

            Couldn’t buy insurance on the education, couldn’t get out of your bad decision/investment with bankruptcy, couldn’t get an independent assessment of the value of the house/education, couldn’t inspect the house/education prior to buying it…

          • Tybalt

            No, no, hear him out, I’m sure he’s got a thousand more bullshit nostrums. Caveat emptor… it even retains a faint tang of law school! (Polo cologne and macchiato, if you’re wondering)

        • Grumpy

          Regardless of whether the students are victims or not, isn’t it a terrible idea for the government to be burning money like this?

          • Nick Danger – Third Eye

            …isn’t it a terrible idea for the government to be burning money like this?

            Fuck yeah, it is!

            Would you loan money to them? No? Maybe because you think they can’t pay back the money you loaned them?

            Then why are you less of a good steward with the ‘people’s money’ than with your own?

        • Katya

          The source of the information you need to do due diligence is the law school itself–and the law schools have shown themselves willing to juke the stats or even outright lie about their graduates’ employment prospects. With a house, you can hire an independent home inspector to try to ensure that you don’t buy a home with mold in the basement or crumbling foundations. No such options for law school.

          • BamBam

            Rather than rely solely on the school’s own representations, there’s no reason a prospective law student couldn’t contact a representative sample of a school’s graduates from the last 1-2 years and ask them about their jobs, if they would do it over again, etc. Even if some are not completely forthcoming, you can tell a lot about their situation from state bar websites and Google searches.

            • stickler

              How in hell would you do that? Ask for a mailing list of recent alumni? Institutions have difficulty keeping in touch with graduates; how does some 24 year old schmoe do it? “Hi! I’d like to talk to a bunch of your recent graduates. Could you give me their phone numbers and e-mail addresses please?”

              Good grief.

              • BamBam

                Sure, just ask for a list of names of all of those who got JD’s in say 2012 or 2013. If it is a state school that is probably required to be divulged under that state’s open records act. If a school won’t give you that list would you really seriously consider going there??

                Since state bars all have websites, go there and search for each name. If they are licensed in the state their employer, work address etc should be listed. Residential addresses and PO boxes are particularly bad signs. Of course this isn’t perfect but will give one some idea of how many grads from a school get good jobs.

                • BoredJD

                  I’m curious, how many 21 year olds have you ever met in your life. Did you skip that stage of your life?

            • LA Lawyer

              BamBam: Law Schools are not required to provide alumni lists. The lists they do provide will be a skewed lists of of the “winners.” The winners list will be a list of 10-15 people per class who have something to brag about. The sample that the school provides will will be “massaged” to include only the alumni who have something to brag about–law firm partners, politicians–in effect the top 1%. The unsuccessful alumni will not return phone calls, as a rule, and will not have a strong social media presence. Those that do exist on google searches will skew towards the successful.

              • BamBam

                See above–may come under open records law if a public school, and at any rate, if they refuse then you can cross them off the list. Of course one would need a complete list, rather than a few cherry picked grads.

                Also if you Google an attorney’s name and nothing comes up, doesn’t that tell you something, in and of itself, about their situation?

              • BamBam

                Similarly, if a graduate refuses to return any phone calls inquiring about his/her alma mater then again, I would say there is your answer.

                • ChrisTS

                  Sorry. As an alum, I might be wiling to talk tot he first kid who called me (at home? at work?) or emailed, but that would be about it.

            • BoredJD

              Yeah the law schools don’t even do this. I’m not exactly sure why you think that prospective law students should be doing it. The burden of providing that information in full and even if it is damaging should be on the non-profit institution receiving government money to educate young people.

              • BamBam

                I agree the schools should provide information that is both correct and comprehensive, but the fact is they do not, and they will fight tooth and nail to avoid doing so. I’m not saying most prospective students actually would do this kind of digging, or that they “should.” (yes I know most 22 year olds are not objective and skeptical enough to do so.) My point is that the information is out there and available from sources other than the law schools themselves.

    • Anonymous

      There is something in the law called fraudulent inducement for a reason.

  • BoredJD

    Try to imagine paying this off at a rate of around 7.3% and on a 40-55K salary, if you are lucky enough to get any legal job at all. Sure, you can go on PAYE (and hope the republicans don’t control the government at any point in the next 20-25 years), but if that’s considered a good outcome then the law schools have lost the marketing battle.

  • Casual Observer

    One other thought:

    Why is it in public life do we give our political “leaders” a pass provided their intentions are “good.” This is true of those on the right and on the left. Are we that blinded by partisanship that we have no regard for consequences or anything other than the purported first-level purpose behind the policy rather than its horrible side effects?

    Student lending falls into this category. Politicos proclaim (while ringed by the educational complex) that X lending program will allow disadvantaged young people to pursue the dreams of higher education. Huzzah. No one scrutinizes the proposal nor catches hell when it blows up. And good luck trying to change the system to reform the unintended consequences as the politicos and rent seekers will merely dust off the purported first-level purpose and crucify you on it.

    So, too, does defense and law enforcement spending. Y program fights terrorism, helps the troops, makes America safer. Huzzah. No one scrutinizes the cost, the impracticality, the dangers or threats to liberty. Good luck opposing it you bleeding hearted hippy who hates America.

    This place is becoming more and more screwed up.

    • NewishLawyer

      This is a million dollar question.

      Okay it is more like a several trillion dollar question.

    • ChrisI

      Lets look at this way. Say the government cuts student loaning significantly. They immediately take massive flak from all sides. So many actors would step up to protest. Colleges. Prospective students and their students. Minority groups. Many more, all powerful and sympathetic groups.

      Now on the other say the government continues with the current situation of very generously giving out loans. There are relatively few complaints. A few academics. And of course the debt-laden graduates themselves, but society dismisses them as irresponsible slackers.

      And overall these student loans probably aren’t a major expense on the government books, not yet anyhow.

      So the government has every incentive to continue with the status quo.

  • Anonymous

    Does the amount of the debt given IBR really matter? My cousin graduated in 2013 and his debt right now, just from Law School and interest, is close to $275K (he graduated from an expensive school in Malibu). He laughs about the amount because he knows he is never going to be able to pay it back, and as Paul has noted, if it can’t be paid back it won’t be paid back. 100K, 300K, 500K in the end, you are on the 25 year payback bankruptcy plan.

    • Just Dropping By

      Isn’t there still the problem of the tax hit when the IBR payoff period ends?

      • Anonymous

        25 years from now? speculation on what the tax hit will be. Regardless, the IRS is simply another creditor who will often write off or write down accounts to clear the books.

    • BoredJD

      The politicos are already kicking around the program. Obama’s proposal for reform is targeting high income borrowers with high debt totals (which means law students) that they assume are getting an undeserved windfall. Remember, that’s Obama’s proposal. I can’t wait to see what the Republicans come up with.

      PAYE/IBR can still exist without law students being eligible for the program. You just exempt GRADPLUS loans. Your cousin is then screwed, to put it mildly.

      Retroactivity of any changes is still an open question, but I haven’t seen an airtight argument against it.

      • Unemployed Northeastern

        I haven’t seen (or looked for) statutory/regulatory proof of whether IBR and PAYE are considered contractual rights that are not retroactively changeable, but I did come across this last week:

        “Many commenters urged the Department [of Education] to incorporate the public service loan forgiveness program as a term and condition in the Department’s Direct Loan master promissory note (MPN). The commenters believed that making this change to the MPN would prevent Congress from repealing the forgiveness benefit after borrowers have spent years working to meet the eligibility requirements….

        With regard to incorporating a description of the public service loan forgiveness benefit in the MPN, the Department is already taking steps to refer to the program in the MPN and other program documents. However, the MPN will continue to state, as it currently does, that the terms and conditions of the loans are subject to the HEA as it is
        amended in accordance with the effective date of those amendments. Although there is no history in the program of Congress eliminating or reducing a borrower benefit, the Department does not believe that a reference to the public service loan forgiveness program in the MPN would provide the borrower with a contractual right to the benefit
        should Congress take action to eliminate that benefit from the HEA as of a particular effective date

        https://www2.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2008-4/102308a.html, pages 63241 through 63242.

        • Andrew

          Speaking as a taxpayer and heavy law school indebtee who made the incredibly lucky decision to take out loans after tuition had been hiked to unreasonable levels but before qualifying for IBR/PAYE, good.

      • Anonymous

        Those who do not qualify for PAYE because of the date their loans were taken out now are on the IBR version of PSLF. These proposed changes appear to only apply to the PAYE version of PSLF, not the IBR version of PSLF.

        The beginning text reads:

        The Budget proposes additional changes to PAYE to include:

        • BoredJD

          Again, that’s the administration’s proposal. What a Republican Congress and President might do, within the next 20 years, when confronted with someone like your cousin is a completely different story. To them he’s just another welfare queen getting government cheese.

          • Anonymous

            Maybe so, but better to get something than nothing right? If you have the debt and they come after you for it rather than allowing you to pay a portion of it over 25 years . . why pay anything at all? Tell them to screw themselves and enter the cash driven underground economy . . or move abroad. I do practice law and there a huge number of people out there who deal only in Cash . . never even bother filing tax returns much of the time. And they tend to get along as well as anybody else, the only difference being they do not accumulate assets in their names.

            • BoredJD

              Yeah, it’s one thing for a client to do that. Quite another for a lawyer. They will pull your license.

              A person with no other options, like your cousin, can’t do much else unfortunately. My posts are more for (1) people on the fence about whether to make payments or bet on IBR, (2) anyone who is considering going to law school and believes the “just do PAYE, bro” scamspeak coming out of the law schools right now.

  • Anon

    New LSAT Numbers for February show year on year IINCREASE in Feb test takers.


    Is the law school scam is making a comeback?

    • jmauro

      It’s only 200 more people YoY. It’s likely just statistical noise.

      • George Hussein Clinton

        Some testing centers in December were closed due to weather.

  • NewishLawyer

    I went to an alumni-faculty happy hour last night.

    Most attendees were current students, some faculty, a handful of pre-crash attendees (mainly people in their 50s and 60s) and a few people from around my time.

    It was nice seeing old professors that I really liked but the whole thing felt like a joke. One very successful alum made a speech about they were here to help. I later heard him tell a 1L that his main advice was…wait for it….

    Hang up your own shingle.

    He gave an anecdote about how he helped two guys set up their own firm and those guys somehow got a big IP litigation case and brought him on and everyone did well.

    Said very successful alum also spent two decades in big law (including a decade or more as a partner) before heading out on his own. He also mentioned that he inherited part of a business from family that I imagine gives cash flow from profits and also in fees for running the business for the other involved families.

    I sort of wanted to scream then and there and am still considering sending a strongly worded e-mail to the new dean. It is perfectly rationale for a guy in the above circumstance to hang his own shingle. It is not rationale for a newly minted lawyer with a lot of debt (or even lucky ones with no debt) to do the same. I can’t be the only person who notices the cash-flow thing and wonders about how those two guys got the IP case. I am imagining a relative.

    America seems to be a nation of snake oil salespeople.

    • medrawt

      A guy in my dad’s law school class (1980), moved back home without a job offer. His mom’s best friend’s son was terribly injured in an industrial workplace accident, he took the pretty open-and-shut case, won a huge amount of money in court, became the 1980 equivalent of a hundred-thousandaire overnight, and opened up a successful personal injury practice on the coattails of his own freak success.

      It disturbs me to think that there are some out there who tell this story thinking the moral is “hey, you can do it if you try!”

      • NewishLawyer

        And cost of living and everything else was much lower back then as well. I know lawyers who were always on their own but even they have the grace to admit that they had very low rents during the 1980s when they were starting out.

        My friends have not been completely unsuccessful in starting their own practices but I imagine most if not all would take a job offer if they got one.

      • Denverite

        I remember when I was clerking we had a class action settlement in a hard-to-win type of case. There were three attorneys on the plaintiffs’ side. One was a “senior” partner type — maybe forty years old. The other two were associate-types with 3-5 years each. I was talking to them about their cut from the case. They said that the general rule was that half went to the firm to pay costs, overhead salaries, and draws; the senior partner on the case got a quarter; and the junior lawyers split the remaining quarter.

        The firm got about $4M in fees in the case.

        • Anonymous

          The only way the Juniors got a quarter of the 4 million is if they brought the case in. Lawyers simply do not give that much money away to their salaried employees. It just doesn’t happen.

          • Denverite

            Not each. The quarter is split among all of the junior lawyers (and probably legal assistants to a lesser degree) who were on the case.

            But maybe they were lying.

            • TribalistMeathead

              It could’ve been in bonuses (I’ve heard a similar, possibly-apocryphal story about Dickstein doing the same thing with a big tobacco settlement they received almost 10 years ago), but it could’ve also been that said associates just happened to receive a bonus that year equivalent to 1/X of that 1 million.

        • NewishLawyer

          500,000 isn’t bad.

      • NewishLawyer

        Another question is what is the best way to frame least bad options.

        The guy obviously couldn’t tell the young woman to cut her losses and drop out. Yet he could also not see the job market improving in three years. This would make the best option a rah rah for hanging your own shingle.

  • Sum Ting Wong

    Hey prof whatever happened to the Cooley rankings? They paid Cooley founder Thomas Brennan $400,000 to publish these fraudulent rankings. Did he get indicted or go to jail? Why aren’t they published anymore? Does anyone know? Someone should look into this and find out what happened to Brennan and his Cooley rankings. Remember they were the 2nd best law school in the USA.

  • Anonymous

    Hey prof whatever happened to the Cooley rankings? They paid Cooley founder Thomas Brennan $400,000 to publish these fraudulent rankings. Did he get indicted or go to jail? Why aren’t they published anymore? Does anyone know? Someone should look into this and find out what happened to Brennan and his Cooley rankings. Remember they were the 2nd best law school in the USA.

    • ChrisI

      Everyone knows those Cooley rankings were a joke. Even law school lemmings. If they aren’t published anymore this is why.

      There are a several rankings anyhow. Only the UNSWR ones are taken really seriously.

      I’m thinking that colleges aren’t going to care about these ratings as much from now on anyhow. Trying to outspend your competitors in a zero-sum game for rankings and prestige is a game you can only play in a growing market. In a contracting market, you only care about survival.

  • Jesse

    Average undergraduate debt among college graduates with debt (around two thirds) is now running at nearly $30,000 per year, apparently because Kids Today drive fancier cars than their professors and insist on squandering money on frivolous gadgets like cell phones and ipods that play so-called “rap” music.

    This type of thinking is amazingly commonplace. I had a relative who graduated in the 60’s that directed a conversation about the explosion in the cost of college toward how they had to use group shower rooms instead of having them in their own dorm rooms. The implication being that the reason that school is 300% more expensive (or whatever the % is) in real terms is because the students today have more luxuries. If I’d been thinking I’d have asked them why they had it so much better than the 1920’s classes who probably didn’t even have indoor plumbing.

    The reason for this form of self-delusion is obvious: The can’t handle the concept that things have gotten worse on their watch, so they’ll come up with any excuse to explain it away no matter how absurd.

    • mch

      unfair. in the 1920’s many students had valets and maids who made their beds each morning. get a grasp of history. there was, for a brief shining Camelot moment, such a thing as a middle class. if its children expected that middle class to be more secure than it really was, give them a break, move on. stop the generational blame-game.

  • Danny

    it’s not rap music, it’s hip-hop!!

  • Anonymous

    Plugging the figures into this calculator tells it all. 200K in loans. Interest at 6.8%. Payback over 25 years. You need a Salary of at least 208.221 to support repayment of that debt over that length of time.


    • ChrisI

      The current system is ridiculous. And its not even law school debt. All student debt is out of control. To have a chance at a modest middle class lifestyle, huge numbers of young people get themselves in massive debt which will probably take the rest of their working life to pay off. Non-dischargeable. Accruing interest at 7%. With maybe the option of IBR, if they are lucky.

      If you could go back in time to the 1960s and describe this, nobody would believe America could ever come to this. They’d think it was just a bad dystopian science fiction story. But this came about slowly, incrementally, with the best of intentions. And now its a disaster.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, I agree with this completely. I am a tale end millennial (early 30s) and I think my generation should be renamed generation debt with a concentration in law school.

        The student loan system must change. It is responsible for driving up costs and reducing quality. Furthermore, the over supply of every discipline has allowed academia to engage in some of its worst tendencies.

  • Anonymous


  • Patricia

    Prof. Campos, why don’t you quit your job and quit living off of student loans if you think the system is so deplorable?

    • George Hussein Clinton

      Professor Campos is looking to reform the system, not destroy it. God bless him for it.

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