Do the math: Students often ignore or are desensitized
to the impact of their student loan debt while they are
undergraduates because they are not yet living the reality
of servicing the debt (much less the additional law school
debt). Any good business plan will attempt to forecast
income and expenses to validate the assumptions of the
plan, and prospective law students should try to do the
Have a back-up plan: As I often say to both students
and clients, the only certainty about a business plan is
that it will not work out as expected almost all of the
time. Among the uncertainties are how far off the plan
will be and in which direction. A good business plan will
identify possible points of failure and establish a plan for
contingencies. I challenge students to identify their “Plan
B” if they do not gain admission to their school of choice,
if they do not perform as well as they expect, or if their
target job is not available to them.
MY CONVERSATIONS WITH STUDENTS these days focus on providing information and fostering an honest and open dialogue that I hope helps them make an informed ecision about their future. Encouraging
potential law students to do their due diligence and seek as
much information as possible, challenging their assumptions,
and advising them to make a business plan as well as
contingency plans are ways to both inform and encourage.
How do you talk about our profession
with the next generation? What
advice do you wish someone had
given to you when you were pre-law?
Start the conversation on Twitter
@ProfRalphPLU and @WAStateBar.
Tweet at us and use the hashtag
RALPH FLICK is an Assistant Professor of
management and business law at Pacific
Lutheran University and formerly was in-house
counsel for public companies. He can be reached
2. Pacific Lutheran University Center for Wild Hope. https://www.plu.edu/vocation/.
3. Daniel Waldman, Why Work Experience Matters for Law School
Applicants, U.S. News & World Report, May 21, 2018, available at
4. Hattenberg, S. J. & Steffy, K., Increasing reading compliance of
undergraduates: An evaluation of compliance methods. Teaching
Sociology, 41 ( 4), 346–352 (2013).
5. Illana Kawarski, See the Price, Payoff of Law School Before Enrolling,
U.S. News and World Report, March 21, 2018, available at: https://
8. Farran Powell, 10 Law Schools That Charge the Most, U.S. News &
World Report, April 4, 2017, available at: https://www.usnews.com/