The OPIA Blog

Cost of J.D.s is Depleting the Public Interest Ranks

Travis Altman writes in TheStreet.com that the rising cost of a law degree is harming grads’ abilities to go into public interest work. “Attorneys from the class of 2005 borrowed nearly $80,000 on average if they went to a private institution and just over $50,000 if they attended a public institution,” he writes. Altman cites Equal Justice Works as one way law grads can find assistance while doing public service work.

Harvard Law School’s Low Income Protection Plan (LIPP), the first law school program of its kind, is designed to ameliorate this post-graduate financial issue, preserving freedom of job choice for HLS grads. Lea Weems ’05, who receives financial help from both Equal Justice Works and Harvard, is cited in Altman’s article as one graduate who lives a relatively comfortable lifestyle while doing public interest work in Chicago. “‘I am in a very lucky position,’ she says.”