Here’s a preview of some of this year’s findings as an infographic (Download the Student Loan Infographic as a PDF).
90% of early-career lawyers have student loans, averaging $130,000, according to a 2021 ABA and AccessLex survey.
Student loan debt makes it harder for recent law grads to …
Start a Family
45% of early-career lawyers with $100k-$200k in student debt, vs. 21% with no balance, postponed or decided not to have children.
Buy a House
Over 55% with $100k-200k in student loan debt postponed or decided not to buy a house compared to 40% with no balance.
Save for Retirement
Over 70% with $100k-200k reported they were unable to save for retirement. Around 50% of those with less than $100k reported the same.
About 1/2 with $100k-$200k reported feeling depressed or hopeless. Just 1/4 of those with no balance reported the same.
Have Peace of Mind
About 3 in 4 with $100k-$200k reported high anxiety or stress. Only 1 in 4 with no balance reported high anxiety or stress.
Make a Difference
1 in 3 with student loan debt, compared to just 1 in 5 without, took a job less focused on public service than they were intending prior to law school.
An Added Layer of Difficulty
Navigating life with law school debt is often harder on lawyers of color. Black young lawyers are far more likely to carry high levels of debt, and 44% saw their student debt increase since graduation compared to just 27% of all young lawyers.