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Pro Bono fileA growing number of young lawyers today say they want to use their law degrees to take on the world’s challenges, which seem to grow knottier every day. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the “Millennial generation wants to create social impact with their skills and talent, and not just with their checkbooks or by spending a day in the soup kitchen.” The Pro Bono Institute likewise notes that many lawyers say they want to make a difference in the lives of others and the fate of the planet and “demand a sense of purpose” in their work.

At the same time, recent graduates can face some seriously scary debts, which often take years or even decades to pay off. Law School Transparency, a non-profit organization, found that 75% of 2018 law school graduates took students loans. These students on average borrowed about $115,000 to pay for law school. This amount may be on top of additional debt from their undergraduate studies, as the Pew Research Center reports that the percentage of young adult households with any student debt has doubled in the last 20 years. New lawyers going straight into public service can participate in law school loan-forgiveness programs, but even those require up to a 10-year commitment of work at a legal service provider or NGO. Once there, lawyers do incredibly important and rewarding work but just like lawyers in corporate practice can face long hours, frustration and burnout.

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