I am a columnist, which, by happy alignment of the parameters of my position and the nature of my character, means I have a lot to say. I also really like podcasts. Thus, I am disinclined to turn down any invitation to be a guest on a podcast episode.
I’ve made appearances on a couple law-themed podcasts previously, and those episodes are still well worth a listen. However, if you want the very latest thoughts spilled from Jon Wolf’s brain into the unsuspecting ears of lawyers, law students, and the legally inclined nationwide, you better check out the new edition of the EdUp Legal podcast hosted by Patty Roberts, Dean of St. Mary’s University School of Law.
I have to admit, EdUp Legal flew below my radar before Dean Roberts (I think we’re familiar enough at this stage to go with “Patty” from here on out) reached out to me. But I hope I can be forgiven for being a little late to the party, since the first episode only came out at the end of August.
After listening to a few previous installments, and sitting down for my own interview, I can vigorously affirm that Patty is a prepared, thoughtful, and engaging interviewer. The podcast has a distinctive voice, and it covers timely topical areas. EdUp Legal is also fairly prolifically produced: mine is the 21st conversation of the podcast, which puts it at about seven episodes per month so far.
The general thrust of the topics we cover probably isn’t going to be a great surprise to anyone familiar with my commonly recurring professional annoyances concerning the legal industry. That being said, with a new report out showing that recent graduates of the University of Miami School of Law are coming out buried by a median $163,000 in federal student loan debt — and that half of them are only earning $59,000 or less on an annual basis two-and-a-half years out of law school — law school debt and whether so many people should be going into the law in the first place are pretty important perennial concerns.
We talk a bit about my book (affiliate link), of course, and the U.S. News law school rankings. There’s some discussion about Above the Law. We talk about finding a path into writing professionally, if that’s your thing. And, naturally, there’s an interlude about disastrous 19th century whaling expeditions (Nathaniel Philbrick, if you really do end up listening for some reason, hit me up).
I’m fairly confident I am not becoming a one-trick pony by pounding the drum so much on law school debt and the avoidance thereof. I try to get my “Range“ on when I have the chance. Last week I even wrote about the Packers’ fake stock sale and wound up on a northern Midwest radio station for my trouble, in addition to apparently pissing off a bunch of Cheeseheads.
Still, law school debt is one of the areas I know something about, and one of the areas people often want to speak to me about. Excessive student loan debt is a pretty widespread problem. A 2021 survey of the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division found that about nine in 10 young lawyers who had student debt said it “in some way disrupted the trajectory of their career or personal life, or negatively impacted their financial well-being.” Law students’ and lawyers’ troubles with crippling amounts of student loan debt aren’t going away anytime soon, and until they do, I’ll be out there using whatever platform I have to at least offer some advice and commentary on the subject.
So, go listen to my episode of the EdUp Legal podcast if you’re at all interested in law school debt issues, writing your way to success, or whale oil. There’s something for you there, and if it’s not in my episode, surely it’s in one of the others. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or that link I stuck in the second paragraph.
Jonathan Wolf is a civil litigator and author of Your Debt-Free JD (affiliate link). He has taught legal writing, written for a wide variety of publications, and made it both his business and his pleasure to be financially and scientifically literate. Any views he expresses are probably pure gold, but are nonetheless solely his own and should not be attributed to any organization with which he is affiliated. He wouldn’t want to share the credit anyway. He can be reached at email@example.com.