Monday, April 20, 2009
Law Students Beware! Failure To Pay College Loans Prevents Law School Graduate From Being Admitted To New York Bar!
Matter of Anonymous, 2009 NY Slip Op 02883, ___A.D.3d____(3rd Dep't. April 16, 2009), is a decision that every law student and every law school should be aware of. After a student graduated from law school and passed the New York bar examination in Feb. 2008, he was required to go before the Character and Fitness Committee-just like every applicant. The law school graduate specially disclosed various student loans with balances now totaling about $430,000, that the loans are currently delinquent but professes good faith intentions to pay them. His excuse-the economy and the bad faith of some of his loan creditors.
In denying his application for admission to the NYS Bar, the court's entire reasoning was as follows:
My guess is that the $430,000 was comprised of college loan balances that accrued interest and penalties for non-payment. Moral of this case is that law students should expect to be required to pay back their student loans and, if they do not, very unpleasant circumstances will follow. Was this an extreme case? Of course it was. However, where is the line between this case and another case where a student has not repaid his or her loans? I do not know where that line is and would not want to be the person who is drawing it.
Additionally, law students will hopefully become lawyers one day. Your name means something. You would not want it to be documented that you have not repaid your loans. If this case is not enough motivation for you, I also can tell you that many employers would not want to hire someone who is not repaying their loans. Would you??
Mitchell H. Rubinstein