How One Young Attorney Is Trying to Overcome $347,000 In Student Loan Debt
September 26, 2022
Ben Franklin famously said nothing can be said about Loan Debt certain, except death and taxes. Unfortunately, he forgot one thing: the massive amount of student loan debt that most recent law school graduates face
. The class of 2015 had an average student loan debt load of $140,000—and that’s not including undergraduate loans!
While this young attorney has been able to reduce his monthly payment to $500 by deferring payments and making extra payments on the interest as well as consolidating his loans through IBR, he’s still struggling to pay off more than $347,000 in total debt.
In the fall of 2012, I started my final year of law school. At the time, I had well over two hundred thousand dollars in student loan debt. If that wasn’t bad enough,
I had been out of work for almost a year and I was living off welfare. The prospect of being saddled with hundreds of thousands more in debt and being unemployed on top of it seemed impossible.
Strategies for finding a full-time job with large student loan debt
Find a legal employer that offers loan repayment assistance.
The federal government currently offers up to $10,000 in student Loan Debt repayment assistance per year for up to five years with certain employers.
Some law firms may offer similar arrangements.
Be open-minded and put yourself out there as much as possible by considering every opportunity you’re offered.
You never know where it could lead.
Work on special projects in law school
I also worked on a special project during my second year of law school. The law school library has rare books and documents, but they were deteriorating and turning into dust.
I spent the semester scanning all of these books to preserve them for generations. I have learned so much about the history of America just by spending some time at the library scanning books.
It is fascinating to learn about how different eras have impacted our country’s laws and culture. There are entire sections dedicated to slavery that are eye-opening in terms of understanding how horrible it was for so many African Americans when they were still enslaved.
Hire service to help you find a job fast
Reach out to a service that connects graduates with organizations. For instance, ROAR Match Service offers an expedited process for applicants with connections or organizations in need of new employees.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for on this service, try using your school’s alumni network as well. These resources may help law student Loan Debt overcome their crippling debt and jumpstart their career.
Use your network
Jessica Keener got an offer to work as a public defender after graduation and hesitated at first because she felt guilty. A little while later she came across the opportunity to take a position as counsel in the White House Counsel’s Office.
I was offered this phenomenal opportunity that would pay much more than what I might have made as a public defender or other role and allow me to serve my country and President Obama in a meaningful way.
I had always wanted to do something for my country, and this was just such an incredible opportunity. Jessica accepted the offer and worked on various assignments within the office until December of 2016 when her contract ended.
Start a side business
I began freelancing with a photographer and taking professional headshots. My day job is okay, but it’s a lot of stress and my creativity starts dying away. I’m just not happy there. Plus the hours are long and the pay isn’t great for what I put in. When I do get paid overtime though,
I feel great about myself because it’s extra money for me that is entirely made from my skill-set as an attorney – not school debt!
I’ve always been in love with photography too so this has given me an outlet for that as well and helped feed my creative side.
Don’t wait too long before settling into a career
As an attorney in Michigan who graduated with debt and was unable to find work after graduating from law school, I know the frustration of not being able to find a job in your field.
The best way that I found relief from my student loan debt and caught up on my bills was by settling into a career that wasn’t the right fit. Now I’m in a job where
I can take care of myself and my family in the long term. Hopefully, this will help others make better decisions about their careers before it’s too late.
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