D.A.W.L. Scholarships

The need for financial assistance for our current and recently graduated law students has never been greater. Below are some sobering statistics on the current graduate and law school debt crisis. These statistics beg the question; "what will become of our future lawyers when they are buried in debt with no way to pay back what they borrowed?"

  • Forty-three percent of all 2013 law school graduates did not have long-term full-time legal jobs nine months after graduation, and the numbers are only getting worse. In 2012, the average law graduate's debt was $140,000, 59 percent higher than eight years earlier. [1]
  • Outstanding student loans topped 1.2 trillion as of the end of 2014. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, they now represent the fastest-growing category of all consumer debt. [2]
  • The national average full-time resident law school tuition was $35,000 per year in 2014. At the top 10 law schools, annual tuition averages $56,000. [3]
  • The national average debt of both public and private law school graduates was $116,084 in 2013 with 83% of graduates borrowing. (Note: 90% of U.S. law schools accounted for in this figure). The state average of both public and private law school graduates was $113,904 in 2013 with 86% of graduates borrowing. [4]
  • Graduate students now collectively owe as much as 40 percent of the estimated $1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt, according to the New America Foundation, even though they make up only 14 percent of all university enrollment. [5]
  • One in 10 college graduates has more than $40,000 in student loans. Two million Americans over the age of 60 are in debt from unpaid student loans. More than 140,000 elderly Americans have their social security checks garnished to pay for outstanding student loans. Seven million Americans are in default on student loans. [6]
  • The legal job market has declined significantly since the recession hit in 2008. According to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal services sector has lost some 54,000 jobs since May 2008. Not surprisingly, entry-level legal jobs have not been immune to this trend. As reported in the most recent annual survey from the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), only 85.6 percent of 2011 law graduates were employed by February 2012. This statistic is the lowest percentage since 1994 and represents a substantial decrease from a peak employment rate of 92 percent in 2007. According to Economic Modeling Specialists Int., a labor market analysis firm, nearly twice as many law students passed the bar (53,508) in 2009 as there were job openings (26,239). [7]

One option is to provide scholarships to our future and newly admitted lawyers. Both the Helen C. Kinney Scholarship Fund and the Ashley M. Haws Memorial Scholarship offer an opportunity to alleviate some of the enormous debt load these individuals find themselves under. Every contribution helps, no matter the amount so please consider donating to one of our scholarships.

Donations may be made directly via our Paypal link or sent to: DuPage Association of Women Lawyers, P.O. Box 338, Wheaton, IL 60187.

[1] - The Law School Debt Crisis
[2] CBS News
[3] - Student Loan Debt, Understanding the Crisis
[4] Law School Transparency, which sites its sources for the above information as the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and U.S. News and World Report who conducted their own questionnaire with law schools.
[5] - The Real Student Debt Problem No One is Talking About
[6] - Education Debt Crisis
[7] - Myth Upper Middle Class Lawyer