The Cost of Law School May Not Be Worth It

The average student loan debt to get through law school is $163,000 at the University of Florida Law School; after two years half of graduates make less than $60-thousand a year.

For a profession that is seeing stagnant wage growth, that has some students wondering if law school is worth it.

Judge Ed Emmett says yes. The former Harris County Judge, not a lawyer, is now a fellow teaching energy and transportation policy at Rice University, and engages with aspiring students often. What would he say if a student asked, “Should I go to law school?”

“My first question would be, ‘why do you want to go to law school?’” he says. “What I’ve found over the years is a lot of people go to law school and they never practice law. They view it as a nice degree to have.” It’s good training for the mind. Emmett says professionals in business who never step foot inside a courtroom can benefit by the lessons learned in law school. And the advent of virtual offices makes it possible for someone to become the top lawyer in a small town without even living there.

Emmett was a UT grad, and was all set to go to move into law school. “I happened to walk across the street to the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, and the LBJ School said ‘we’ll pay your tuition, books and fees and give you $500 a month to come to school.’ I never looked back at law school.”

photo: Getty Images

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