It is not a good time to be starting your career in America. The unemployment rate sits at 8.4 percent . For those lucky enough to have a job at all, almost half aren’t particularly happy with it: one survey found that approximately 46 percent of Americans consider themselves underemployed (defined as having part-time work but wanting to work full-time, or holding a job that doesn’t require or utilize your education, experience, or training). In the legal profession in particular, the recent spate of layoffs doesn’t seem likely to slow anytime soon, and we’ve all been increasingly well-informed about the difficulties inherent in paying down six figures of student loan debt on relatively unimpressive starting salaries .

Given the significant headwinds that young people face in entering the workforce, the big news from the Pew Research Center that 52 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are now living with one or both parents might not be such big news after all. This is a new record: the previous recorded high was in 1940, toward the end of the Great Depression, when 48 percent of young adults lived with their parents (there is no data available for the worst years of the Great Depression, when higher proportions of young people certainly could have been moving back home).

There is nothing inherently wrong with moving back in with mom and dad. I’m sure some parents love having the company. But a trend this big isn’t just a mass pining for more family time. Young adults cannot afford a mortgage or rent payments without decent job prospects, not when many of them are already carrying around a mortgage-worth of student loan debt .

Which is why a recent ruling by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals might provide the slightest glimmer of hope for some educational borrowers. For decades, student loan debt of any kind has been thought to be sacrosanct in bankruptcy proceedings. Barring the undue hardship discharge — which I’ve heard described as having to prove not only that you can’t pay off your student loans now but that you have no chance of […]

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