college

7 ways to figure if going to law school is worth it

Is law school worth the cost?
Is law school worth the cost? © zimmytws/Shutterstock.com

As a new class of future lawyers heads to law school, they do so in the face of statistics that question whether it's a smart financial move. Despite a recent controversial study that estimates the lifetime payoff for a law degree at $1 million, critics say the reality is more grim.

The average student who earns a Juris Doctor from a public law school graduates with nearly $76,000 in debt, reports the American Bar Association. At private schools, that figure rises to $125,000. With only one full-time, long-term, J.D.-required law job available for every two graduates, there's an equally perilous scarcity of work.

Perhaps the biggest problem students face is figuring out whether their gamble will pay off. Since debt, employment and payoff numbers are national averages, they say little about future prospects for an individual student or whether the law profession is right for you. Before turning the tassel, it's crucial to look at where the jobs are, who's in debt and what you can do to stay in the black. Here are seven metrics for figuring out if law school will be worth it.

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