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Think Your Debt Is Bad? Talk to This Guy

By Kevin Fayle on July 02, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019
We all know what it's like to get out of law school with a mountain of debt looming over our heads.  For most new lawyers, it's simply a matter of working the loan payments into our monthly budgets and hoping that we remain employed the next thirty years or so.

For Robert Bowman, however, student loan debt presented an entirely new set of problems.

First of all, there was a lot of it.  Bowman came up through the foster care system, and he had to borrow heavily to pay for college, graduate school and then law school.  The loans, including penalties, totaled over $400,000.
That figure alone is cause for concern, but Bowman attributes much of the amount to penalties that Sallie Mae charged him unfairly.  He plans to challenge the fees in court.

What really burns Bowman is this, though: he wouldn't give up on his dream of becoming a lawyer, even though it required taking the New York State Bar four times before he finally passed. 

New York's Committee on Character and Fitness recommended that Bowman be admitted to the bar.  A panel of five state appellate judges thought otherwise, however, and ruled that Bowman's student loan debt precluded him from admission. 

According to the judges:

Applicant has not made any substantial payments on the loans. Applicant has not presently established the character and general fitness requisite for an attorney and counselor-at-law.
Bowman plans to challenge the ruling.

I say let the man in.  With the state of the legal job market what it is right now, it's obvious that this guy just really, really, really wants to be a lawyer.

Why let his debt burden crush his dreams?

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