More lawyers are needed for poor

Aaron Loudenslager

There is a bleak job market for many law school graduates; becoming a lawyer doesn’t look so good now.

With the average law school graduate borrowing approximately $90,000 to finance their law degree, many students are rethinking their decision to enter law school.

Yet, there is actually a shortage of lawyers in America. Contrary to market conditions, this country needs more people to attend law school to help those who are without legal aid, even given the obstacles of high legal education debt.

When I received my acceptance letter from UW-Madison Law School, I couldn’t have been happier. I had been dreaming of this moment since I was 10 years old. Then the reality of my future law debt started to hit me. Even with in-state tuition at UW-Madison Law School, I will probably be at least $70,000 in debt after graduation.

This debt could possibly force me to take a position at a private law firm after graduating law school in order to pay off my debt. Hopefully after a few years, I can go into public interest law or look at becoming a judicial clerk.

Our system of financing law school needs to be reformed. Many law students are burdened with high debt. Many times this makes graduates choose between a job they love and a job that will pay off their student loan. This isn’t right.

Most people think we have too many lawyers in this country. That is why it’s so hard for law school graduates to find jobs. That’s only partially correct. There are too many lawyers for corporations and those who can afford an attorney. For those who truly need legal aid and can’t afford it, they probably won’t be able to get the services they need.

The top 35 legal markets in the United States receive 75 percent of all lawyers’ earnings, according to the “ABA Journal.” Outside those top legal markets, lawyers don’t earn much and people who need legal representation go without it.

According to Legal Services Corporation, there is one private lawyer per 429 people in the general population. Yet, there is only one legal aid lawyer per 6,415 in poverty.

Financing any education can be difficult, especially graduate school. I know I will find a way to pay off my student loans in the future. For others, it’s not fiscally possible.

There is a shortage of lawyers in this country for those who truly need it. Law school graduates should be able to choose a job that makes them happy and helps people. They shouldn’t be coerced by student loans into a job they dislike simply to pay off their debt.