ABA Midyear

Counsel young lawyers about debt, ABA policymakers urge law schools and bar groups

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Debt chain

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The ABA House of Delegates unanimously adopted a resolution on Monday urging law schools and bar associations to counsel young attorneys on student loan debt.

Resolution 106 urges law schools to provide “comprehensive debt counseling and debt management education” to law students, and urges bar associations to provide the same services to their young and newly admitted lawyers.

Chris Rogers of Texas, speaking in favor of the resolution, pointed to the dismal employment statistics young lawyers have confronted in recent years. The Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar reported in 2013 that 56.2 percent of law graduates held full-time, long-term jobs requiring a law degree, excluding jobs created by law schools. The advocacy group Law School Transparency put that number at 55.1 percent.

The issue is complicated, Rogers said, by the difficulty of understanding one’s options. The options are “complicated and tricky,” and the industry has unscrupulous “debt relief” companies.

Since law schools and bar groups are “particularly suited” to reach new lawyers, Rogers said, the resolution should be adopted.

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