How Student Debt Impacts Career and Life Choices of New Women Attorneys

A new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Ryerson University in Toronto finds that high levels of debt coupled with stagnant starting salaries for attorneys can have a negative impact on the career choices and partnership prospects of new women lawyers.

Holger Sieg, the J.M. Cohen Term Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that “most male graduates from law school are fairly career-oriented, and whether they have debt to pay back is not going to change whether they will pursue a career in the private sector. For women we found it’s a lot more problematic.”

Professor Sieg notes that the data collected shows that “women with more student debt stay longer in private-sector jobs, postpone marriage, marry men with lower earnings and delay childbearing.”

The full 61-page study, “The Impact of Student Debt on Education, Career, and Marriage Choices of Female Lawyers,” was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It may be downloaded by clicking here.

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