Law school no 'magic bullet' against recession, but financial aid can help

If law school tuition can cost more than $150,000 and the legal services profession lost 17,200 jobs between July 2009 and 2010, is investing in a law degree still worth the expense? Actually, yes, according to three legal education experts who spoke to Money College about law school financial aid.

Since a law degree prepares graduates for a variety of careers, experts argue that law school is still a solid investment -- but urge recession-era students to be more judicious than ever in planning law school financial aid.

"With the downturn in the economy and changes in the legal profession, graduates should not assume that they will waltz into a job that pays six-figures," said Susan Saab Fortney, interim dean and a professor at the Texas Tech University School of Law. Rather, Saab Fortney said, "people should see legal education as a solid graduate education that gives you a number of different options, as your job opportunities aren't limited to traditional law practice."

Weigh tuition costs and financial aid for law school against markers like bar passage rates, Saab Fortney advises, since students with lighter student loan burdens after graduation may have more options open to them.