Len Heath is quoted in the January – February 2021 issue of the ABA Bar Leader, which is published nationwide by the American Bar Association Bar Services Division. The publication covers news and issues of interest to elected officers and staff members at state, local, and special focus bar associations.
The article is entitled “A Constant Burden: Law School Debt Affects Well-Being, Life Plans, and Access to Justice” and was written by Robert J. Derocher. Mr. Heath was interviewed because, when he was President of the Virginia State Bar, he commissioned a widely read bar study on lawyer wellness that listed large student loan debt as a negative contributor to attorney well-being. The article further discusses the fact that this student loan debt crisis also impacts access to justice, particularly in rural areas, because young lawyers are forced to move to urban areas to generate more income in order to pay off their debt.
Among other things, the article quotes Heath as follows: Ultimately, Heath says, the widespread issue of student debt will likely require greater involvement from the ABA and other organizations. “There needs to be some calling together of the stakeholders in the profession about what to do about this problem,” he says. “The business model seems to be broken. It is not broken for [law schools], but I think it’s broken for society and I’m afraid it’s broken for our profession. We need more reports, like ours and the ABA, to gather not just anecdotal evidence, but to get more people talking.”