And no, there is no moral hazard with the federal loan forgiveness program:
He graduated from Ohio State’s law school in 2010—a particularly tough year for Ohio law grads, according to a study by a law professor at the school, Deborah Jones Merritt. And he had $328,000 in student debt, according to the New York Times. TaxProf Blog noted the story.
Times were good when Shirkey began law school. Then the recession hit. After graduation, Shirkey told the Times, “There was a glut of people in the job market, and the only job I could find did not require a law license.”
At first he ran a paralegal studies program part-time for a private college in Roanoke, Virginia. Then he got a job with the Roanoke Public Defender’s office. At the same time, he continued the job with the private college and worked a second part-time job as a server at Cracker Barrel.
Now he has a solo criminal defense practice and teaches contract law at a local community college. He hopes to build experience to get a job with the U.S. Attorney’s office. He likes the idea of working for the government or for a nonprofit job so he can take advantage of a federal program that allows those who work in such jobs to have unpaid loan balances forgiven after10 years.