Law schools and would-be solicitors struggling with the implications of the new ‘super-exam’, which, among other things, promises to drive down qualification costs, should look across the Atlantic to put their problems in perspective. Much like food portion sizes, US tuition fees make ours look positively meagre.
In a wince-inducing set of figures, the American Bar Association revealed last week that more half of junior lawyers in the US have taken out more than $150,000 (£115,317) in student loans, while one-in-four are more than $200,000 (£153,757) in debt. More than three-quarters owed at least $100,000 in student loans upon graduation.
While almost 40% of junior lawyers in the US said they were forced to choose a better paying legal job ‘instead of a job I really wanted’ – a feeling which City trainees are perhaps familiar with – others reported postponing weddings, abandoning having children, and choosing a different career path altogether.
Here in the UK, legal consultancy Hook Tangaza estimates that a non-law graduate will spend £25,705 on a legal qualification, on top of their undergraduate degree. Hardly meagre, but a far cry from an American super-sized student loan.