Before you take on heavy student loan debt to go to law school, you've got to know what your prospects are when you finish, pass the bar, and go to look for a job.

People have been turning their backs on law school in big numbers recently. Enrollment numbers have declined by about 40% from just a couple years ago. In fact, The New York Times reports the number of enrollees is down to the lowest it's been since Jimmy Carter was in the White House.

Students had, of course, been going to law school in giant numbers for a long time. But it costs a fortune, often well over $100,000. How do you overcome that kind of student loan debt?

Meanwhile, the number of jobs in the field is down significantly. Well paying positions are so difficult to get, so what you pay for school is core and key to whether or not you'll become a slave to student loans for the rest of your life.

Traditional public college education can likely result in student loan debt of $50,000. That's probably manageable. But people going to a private law school? You're talking about an average debt of more than $125,000. That's not manageable.

Law school can give you enhanced viability in job markets outside of the legal field. Sometimes, thinking outside the box is your best option. Even the big firms now have lawyers that work for them at kind of like a junior grade making $40,000 or $50,000 with no benefits and no career track.

So again, before you sign up for a zillion dollars in student loans, you've got to know what your prospects are when you finish, pass the bar, and go to look for a job.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. View More Articles

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