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Millennials Are Seeking Prenups—and It Might Just Be Worth Considering

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Here’s How Lawyers Really Tackled Their Law School Loans

If the most exciting part of finally graduating from law school is getting your bar card in the mail, the least exciting part may well be making the first payment on your student loans. The average young lawyer now carries well over $100,000 in student debt, and figuring out how to set up a loan repayment plan can be daunting. Finishing law school already comes with a lot of responsibility: you might be moving, starting a new job, or just adjusting to the new responsibility of giving legal advice. On top of that, starting to pay off your student loans can feel like a challenge—but it is a challenge you can rise to, especially with the help of lawyers who have been in your shoes.

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Fighting Law School Debt, Four Young Attorneys Define Their Own Success

Four Lawyers Get Candid About Life, Career Aspirations, and Law School Debt

After graduating from law school, every aspiring lawyer has a vision of what his or her ideal law career will look like. One thing most new attorneys will attest to, however, is that their substantial student loan debt will probably factor into their career decisions for years to come. Whether pursuing the coveted partnership in a law firm, choosing a slower pace to leave room for work-life balance, opting to practice law that helps champion causes close to the heart, or working for a private client, law school loans loom large.

Here’s a closer look at how four motivated young lawyers are navigating different career paths and discovering new passions, while trying to close the case on their student loan debt for good.

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How One Attorney Paid Off Six-Figure law school student loan debt

Five Years to Becoming a Debt-Free JD: How One Attorney Paid Off Six-Figure Law School Debt

Law careers are traditionally viewed as lucrative and enviable. Yet, many attorneys are saddled with mortgage-sized law school debt after graduation.

About five years ago, Harvard Law School left one law school grad and blogger, DebtFreeJD, with nearly $150,000 in student loan debt. After a few years of payments, she’d made a $25,000 dent in that total. Then, she and her husband made an ambitious vow to tackle her remaining law school debt in one year and two months—about the same amount of time it took to build the Empire State Building. Today, thanks to diligence and a refinance, she has earned her DebtFreeJD moniker.

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SoFi's 2017 law school rankings for return on education

SoFi’s 2017 Law School Rankings: What You’ll Earn (and What You’ll Owe)

When choosing a law school, your decision is most certainly based on the prestige of the faculty, the academic qualifications of the student body, and the institution’s success in placing graduates in satisfying careers. But what about the big money unknowns—the salary you’re likely to earn upon graduation and how much of your rookie attorney paycheck will go toward paying for your education?

To help take some of the guesswork out of your legal education strategy, we analyzed more than 60,000 student loan refinancing applications submitted to us from January 2014 to December 2016 to formulate SoFi’s Return on Education (ROED) Law School Rankings. After taking a long, hard look at the average salary and student debt load of law school graduates three years out of school, we compiled objective data that can’t be found anywhere else—verified income and debt, not just reported figures. The result: Rankings of how the top (and bottom) JD programs stack up when it comes to how your financial future will fare.

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