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Value is a subjective term, and the value of law school is no different. To some it may mean accomplishing a dream or a personal goal, for others it may mean making a difference or righting an injustice. To yet more, it may mean financial security.

We cannot address the value of personal goals, but we can discuss the projected monetary value of a legal education.

In their paper The Economic Value of a Law Degree, Michael Simkovic (Seton Hall Law School; Harvard Law School – John M. Olin Center for Law and Economics) and Frank McIntrye (Rutgers Business School Newark and New Brunswick) discuss their research regarding earnings.

“After controlling for observable ability sorting, we find that a law degree is associated with a 60 percent median increase in monthly earnings and 50 percent increase in median hourly wages. The mean annual earnings premium of a law degree is approximately $53,300 in 2012 dollars. The law degree earnings premium is cyclical and recent years are within historical norms.

We estimate the mean pre-tax lifetime value of a law degree as approximately $1,000,000.”

That monetary value may be reduced by the amount of student loan debt you incur, the interest rate of that loan, and the time required to repay it.

According to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, students at the William H. Bowen School of Law graduate with among the lowest amount of law school debt in the nation. Likewise, the National Jurist has consistently ranks Bowen as a Best Value Law School. In ranking schools, the magazine considers a number of academic and financial variables, including the law school’s price of tuition, student debt accumulation, employment success, bar passage rate, and cost of living.

Accruing less debt for a quality, experience-based legal education means being more valuable to employers, having less debt (and interest) to repay, and repaying it sooner – allowing you to pursue your dream career, achieve a work-life balance, and help provide access to justice for all.