President's Page, 0320 ALBJ, 81 The Alabama Lawyer 112 (2020)

PositionVol. 81 2 Pg. 112


No. Vol. 81 No. 2 Pg. 112

Alabama Bar Lawyer

March, 2020

Christina D. Crow ccrow

Lawyers Helping Lawyers

Every Alabama attorney understands their ethical duty to represent their clients. This obligation is the cornerstone of what we do as lawyers. As professionals, however, we have an obligation to our fellow members of the bar. The Alabama State Bar's wellness efforts continue and will blossom into a celebration of wellness in May with our Lawyer Wellness Month activities, thanks to the efforts of Susan Han, Emily Hornsby, and Brannon Buck. However, there are economic struggles that many members of our profession have that we cannot ignore.

Law school graduates finish school with an average student loan debt of $145,500 according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. While that total includes student loans that law students took out for their undergraduate degrees, the average law school loan payment for that amount of debt would be $1,656 per month.

Under the leadership of President-elect Bob Methvin and Legislative Counsel Suzi Huffaker, the bar is in the process of implementing an economic impact study for the profession. While the new study will be more inclusive than one the bar conducted in 2014, the older study had some interesting statistics.1

In 2014, the largest single group of attorneys who responded (15.5 percent) indicated that they made between $50,001 and $75,000 in 2014.The next largest group (14 percent) stated that they made between $75,001 and $100,000. Less than half of respondents reported income of more than $ 100,000 per year. The median salary range for all respondents was between $75,001 and $100,000. This is consistent with's current median salary for attorneys in Alabama of $89,414 and its estimated range between $77,662 and $ 102,698. While these seem like healthy salaries, consider that 75 percent of the 2018 law school graduates had student loans, and that 17 percent of households nationwide making over $100,000 said they would have trouble coming up with $400 for unexpected bills. Higher earners are contending with mortgages, installment loans, and student loans. The fact that lawyers struggle with this economic reality is something we can no longer ignore in our profession.

Compassion for our fellow lawyers and our members is important, not just f or the obvious and compelling reasons of humanity...

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