There seem to be four ways recent JDs are dealing with their school debt: paying, income based repayment (IBR),leaving the country, and becoming invisible (all cash) and staying in the US.
This is a tough decision, and everyone has to do what makes them happy; everyone has a different pain threshold. I could not deal with hiding out in the US, the fear of being found out would outweigh any joy of not paying my loans. However,if you have the stomach for it, there is an excellent book that will help you, How To Be Invisible by J.J. Luna, is full of useful tips for eluding just about everyone, sort of a guide to a modified witness protection program.
Leaving the country seems like a good idea, and I know a few of my former classmates that went that route; some went to Europe, others Israel. But what if 20 years from now, you want to come back? Hopefully, 20 years from now it won’t matter and there will be loan forgiveness for those who couldn’t find a job in the legal profession. Not likely to happen, but you never know.
That leaves paying and income based repayment (IBR). For those of us without a Big Law job or a winning lotto ticket, IBR is the way to go. IBR has calculator on their website which lets you plug in your salary, your debt amount, interest rate, etc.