Law Schools, Money, Student Loans

Law Student Solicits Donations on eBay

We talk a lot about how expensive legal education is and how prospective law students need to think rationally about their debt exposure before they try to finance a legal education.

I’m not sure if this law student did any of that thinking. But I am sure that her solution to the high cost of legal education is pretty ridiculous. After selling off most of her “excess” possessions on eBay, she decided to use the site to solicit direction donations for her legal education. She’s not taking on more debt, she’s not going out and getting a job — she’s asking for charity.

Welcome to legal education in the new decade…

Here’s the advertisement:

I am a young law student who is struggling to make ends meet. I worked hard my first semester and got really great grades (top 5% of my class) but I now fear that I may have to drop out because of my financial situation. I have been selling on eBay for about a year now to try to make extra money, but I am, at this point, out of excess items to sell. I am hoping that you will be kind enough to make a small donation to help me pay my rent, buy food, and afford to travel to class. I would be happy to answer any questions, just please send me a message. Thank you for taking your time to read this and thank you for your consideration.


There’s not a lot of other information from the solicitor. She’s listed on eBay as living in Groton, New York. Assuming that the picture above is of her and was taken in her law school library, I’m hoping some of our readers will recognize the surroundings.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, this appears to be a stock photo.

One could look at this ad in a number of ways. It’s a commentary on how the digital generation asks for help where other generations would ask for work. It’s more evidence that the cost of legal education has become totally disassociated from a student’s ability to pay for legal education.

And there’s this tipster’s take:

Same old, same old… clearly against ebay policies so probably going to get pulled. Includes a photo + grade bragging though, which makes it extra lulzy

Mainly, it’s sad. It’s sad that this person put herself in a situation where she can’t afford to cover her expenses. It’s sad that this person either can’t find work or can’t find work that pays well enough to allow her to work her way through law school. And it’s sad that given our system of legal education, her most reasonable option would be to beg lenders to give her more money, even though she has no real idea how she’ll ever pay it back.

But being in caught in a sad state of affairs is not sufficient to make you a charity case. Lots of students go to law school at night so they can work full-time during the day. Many more take on huge debt burdens. Hell, there are even students in her situation who will “get on the pole” before asking for charity. People do what they have to in order to make ends meet.

Martin Luther did it -- and so can you.

And she shouldn’t act like dropping out of law school is some kind of horrible nightmare. In almost every other aspect of life, not being able to afford something is a perfectly acceptable reason to not do something. At a basic level, why should law school be any different?

At some point, we’re going to need more students like this one to drop out. That’s the only way law schools will get the message that the tuition is too damn high. We need people to say that they’re not going to take on any more debt and that enough is enough.

So, think about who she’s actually asking charity for. It’s not just for herself. She’s also asking you to give her money so her law school can keep raking in the dollars.

I’m still struggling to pay the costs to my own law school; you better believe that I’m not going to be reaching into my pocket to help her law school make more money.

Donation to Help Struggling Student [eBay]

Earlier: Should You Drop Out of Law School: The Sequel. A 1L Wants Your Advice.
Cut Your Losses, or Finish Law School? An ATL Debate

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