The Cost of A Legal Education is Crushing, But the Spirit of the Entrepreneur is Inspiring
The first week of my class, "How To Hang A Shingle Right Out Of Law School," the students get an assignment which kind of grounds them in their own reality. They have to (confidentially, of course) let me know where they will be financially, emotionally and technologically upon graduation. This provides a base to work with. Tonight I was reviewing the assignment and I was totally caught off guard.
For some reason I was unprepared for what one student wrote in stark terms. When he graduates he will have $165,000 in student loans. He, unfortunately, did not have wealthy parents nor was he poor enough or brilliant enough or a combination of the two to get some financial assistance or better yet, a free ride. This was just staggering to me.
When I went back to law school I did a cost/benefit analysis: tuition plus loss of income vs realistic earnings upon graduation. Back then it made sense as my student loans would be in the neighborhood of $60,000 total. It was easy to go to law school because if I couldn't earn that type of money fairly quickly out of the chute on my own, then why bother.
But even with that mind-blowing amount of debt, he continued to write:
"Do I really want a partnership at a big firm? Short answer, no! I want to be my own boss. My whole family has always been entrepreneurs and I see no reason why I should work to make others rich. More importantly, I want to teach my kids to ski and be there for them when they are sick. I couldn't imagine a life where I was totally and indiscriminately married to the firm, clinging to the life raft which is partnership. I will not become someone's slave."
This is the inextinguishable spirit of the solo practitioner. I can't wait to see his business plan.