Often saddled with huge debts taken on to pay for their legal educations, more and more law school graduates are finding it hard to work in low-paying positions as public defenders, legal aid lawyers and prosecutors, says the New York Times.
Even more than tuition at other schools, the cost of legal education has been soaring in recent years. Experts say the trend threatens a segment of the legal profession that has long depended on lawyers who are willing to give up big salaries for moral satisfaction.
The problem has prompted a debate over programs to forgive loans, to make it easier for law school graduates to take jobs serving clients with limited means who may otherwise not have access to legal representation.
Law students, an American Bar Association study found, are leaving school with an average debt of $77,300, more than twice the sum they borrowed 10 years ago. Since 1985, tuition at law schools has tripled and in some cases quadrupled. In the same period, public interest salaries have not even doubled.