On the Road

ABA Midyear Meeting 2017: Fighting the Tide of Student Debt

If you want to be a successful lawyer, law school is a given. With the hike in student loans, however, it may be a while before you actually make any money. In this report On the Road, Sharon Nelson and Sandy Gallant-Jones interview Crystal Araujo, Jennifer Nicholls, Michael Dumas, and Whitney Barkley about rising student loans and what this means for new lawyers. A couple programs are in place to help students with their debt, like income-driven payment plans and loan repayment assistance programs, but different borrowers need different solutions. For example, recent graduates aren’t the only ones concerned about their debt. Older graduates and those who paid for their children to attend college are also experiencing this burden and potential solutions may look different for them. The group discusses this as well as the way law schools are reacting to the concerns of their students. Some schools are marketing affordability, but is this enough to encourage the attendance of potential students wary of the expense?

Jennifer Nicholls joined Brophy Schmor LLP in 2011 after graduating from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2011. Upon graduation, she was elected into the prestigious Order of the Coif chapter at Oregon.

Crystal Araujo is currently the Vice Chair of Student Bar Associations on the Law Student Division Executive Board within the American Bar Association, where she represents the collective voice of law school’s student governing bodies.

Whitney Barkley-Denney is legislative policy counsel, based in Durham, NC, where she works with state legislators, attorneys general, and governors to fight predatory lending, exploitative student loan practices, and unscrupulous debt collectors.

Michael Dumas is an assistant District Attorney at Androscoggin County District Attorney. He is a 2016 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law in Portland, Maine.