Dan and Emily
Image [cc] Sharyn Morrow

Jane: Dan, I’ve been going over some of the statistics from the Simkovic/McIntyre study, and have to say that most law students will be far better off by attending law school than they would by not obtaining the degree.

Dan: Jane, I see you’ve been playing music with your old college band, The Intelligentsia, and found that bag of weed your old boyfriend stashed in his guitar. A student would You’d be better off heading to Las Vegas and putting the $150K on Black. Wait a minute, isn’t your old boyfriend a Law School Professor now?

Jane: Well… yes, but he doesn’t play guitar any longer.

Dan: Jane, maybe he should take it back up, as it looks like his day job might be on shaky ground. However, it is nice of you to attempt to help him maintain his cushy lifestyle at the expense of some kid paying off student loans for the next 35 years.

Jane: Dan, as usual, you do not see past the bottom of your vodka tonic glass you have stashed under your desk. An advanced education opens up many opportunities for graduates that simply are not there for those without the advanced degree. The study shows that most students will be hundreds of thousands of dollars ahead over the lifespan of their careers. A little investment now will pay off over time.

Dan: Jane, I actually agree with you…

Jane: gasp…

Dan: Slow your roll there babe, I agree with you – to a point. And that point is when the advanced degree is a law degree. We pump out far too many lawyers as it is. The fact that we have 200 law schools in this country, most of them a far cry from the top tier schools, shows that we are throwing far too many students at a career that is shrinking every year. If they want an advanced degree, pick something useful like Computer Science or Engineering. The only thing that would help the legal profession would be if a third of law schools shut their doors today.

Jane: Dan, the study shows that law school graduates get a salary bump, on average, of $32,000 – $53,000 a year. Statistics alone would encourage a student with a History degree to think seriously about obtaining a law degree.

Dan: Okay Jane. Let me ask you this: Would you encourage your nephew to go to law school?

Jane: Yes.

Dan: Okay. In your typical, “nothing could every possibly go wrong mentality”, would you encourage him to do so on student loans?

Jane: Under the right circumstances, yes.

Dan: My guess is that the right cirumstances equates to “he qualified for any student loans.” Would you be so quick if you knew that he probably wouldn’t get into a top tier school, and he wouldn’t graduate in the top 10% of his class?

Jane: Well, I would encourage him to work hard and study to get in that top 10%.

Dan: Jane, you’re pretty big on statistics when it comes to the study, but you seem to be pretty ignorant of math when it comes to the reality that most students will rack up the same, or more, debt as those that finish in the top 10% of top tier schools. Add to that, the fact that most kids like your nephew would end up graduating from third and fourth tier schools, and would be lucky to land a job requiring a law degree and bar passage. More likely, your nephew would land on your doorstep looking for a place to live because your Sister told him to go live with the stupid Aunt that talked him into going to law school.

Jane: Dan, my nephew is smart, capable, and he will make it.

Dan: Well, he better hope so. Your career as a journalist probably won’t last until he graduates law school. Better hope that your next job at Amazon or with the Red Sox comes with some benefits.