New AccessLex program seeks to help law students stressed about finances

With more than two-thirds of law students stressed about personal finances, the AccessLex Institute is rolling out a new initiative to teach financial literacy in law schools.

MAX, as the new program is called, is designed to provide financial education during law school through workshops, online programming and one-on-one counseling with AccessLex’s Accredited Financial Advisors.

“[W]e created MAX to leverage the strengths and skill sets of law students, address their weaknesses, and acknowledge their pain points — those times they feel most beleaguered and overwhelmed by their finances on top of everything else that law school is throwing at them,” an AccessLex press release stated.

AccessLex initiated a pilot program of MAX to test specific program elements with more than 5,000 law school students and administrators at more than 40 law schools. Participants contributed to focus groups and surveys, providing insight on student financial knowledge and behaviors.

The feedback that AccessLex received highlighted that financial literacy is an issue that should be addressed in law schools.

Of the students surveyed, 25 percent do not track their own spending, 42 percent worry about being able to pay for monthly expenses, 70 percent are stressed about personal finances, 77 percent are worried about growing debt and 85 percent gave themselves a grade of B- or lower for personal finance knowledge.

Above all, 98 percent of respondents said there would be a benefit in a personal finance program, and they would be thankful if their law school provided one.

“Law students need an education in personal finance that lays the foundation for making informed financial decisions about student loans and so much more,” the AccessLex press release stated. “Because law school is an investment. An oftentimes tremendously expensive one. And students need to understand the short- and long-term implications of the decisions they are making.”

AccessLex will offer MAX at no cost to all AccessLex Institute member law schools. The program will be available to incoming first year students this fall. MAX for second and third year students will launch in Fall 2018 and Fall 2019 respectively.