Can a Student Loan Lawyer Help Me?

A student loan lawyer can analyze your debt troubles and fight on your behalf if you’re being sued.
Eliza Haverstock
Anna Helhoski
By Anna Helhoski and  Eliza Haverstock 
Edited by Karen Gaudette Brewer

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If you’re facing student loan trouble — such as student loan default — you might consider several options, including legal recourse.

A qualified lawyer can help you if you’re being sued over your student loan, or if you have a tricky student loan issue you can’t resolve yourself.

But before you turn to a lawyer, bring questions to your federal student loan servicer, lender or a non-profit debt counseling organization first. There may be other solutions to your problem that are free and don’t require a consultation, such as income-driven repayment plans, deferment and forbearance, private loan refinancing or the temporary Fresh Start program for defaulted federal loans.

Whether or not you hire a lawyer, pay attention to costs and look for no-cost options and services first. Here’s more information on when to seek legal advice and how to find a student loan lawyer.

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When should I seek legal advice for student loans?

It’s a good idea to consult a student loan lawyer if you’re in default or collections, or if a private lender has sued you over your student loans. Even if you don’t hire a lawyer to represent you in court, a one-time legal consultation could help you learn your rights and what to expect in the litigation process.

A student loan lawyer may also assist with:

  • Loan repayment challenges you can’t navigate on your own.

  • Disputes with your servicer or lender.

  • Discharging student loans in bankruptcy.

  • Student loan fraud.

  • Predatory lending practices. 

If you’re dealing with misleading schools or errors made by your servicer or lender, calling a lawyer isn’t the best route. Instead, file a student loan complaint with the Federal Student Aid office, your state ombudsman group or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How can I find a student loan lawyer?

Attorneys are overseen by state licensing boards (called bar associations) and held to strict rules and standards. Your local bar association can connect you with a lawyer referral service.

You may also consider looking for a lawyer through the National Association of Consumer Advocates. This is a national association of 1,500 consumer rights attorneys, some of whom may handle student loan issues.

Keep in mind: there are not many lawyers focused squarely on student loans. Two prominent U.S. student loan attorneys are Adam Minsky and Stanley Tate.

Before hiring a lawyer, check that they are in good standing with their bar association. You can do this by searching their name on the relevant bar website.

How much does a student loan lawyer cost?

In general, student loan lawyers are pricey. Fee structures vary, but the cost of hiring a student loan lawyer can range from $500 to several thousand dollars.

If you need legal help but can’t afford a lawyer, you may qualify for free (or reduced) services from a legal aid group. You can search for your local legal aid organization on

Other ways to get student loan help

A lawyer may be able to help if you are in default, but before it comes to that, consider ways to take back control of your student loan payments.

If you’re struggling with your student loan debt, first speak with your student loan servicer or lender to:

  • Discuss repayment options, such as an income-driven repayment plan.

  • Take a temporary payment pause.

  • Temporarily reduce your monthly payments.

If your problem is with your lender or servicer or you’re not getting the help you need, consider filing a student loan complaint. Next, look for a legitimate student loan help organization that offers counseling. Consider these vetted resources for student loan help; they are established organizations with verified histories:

Student loan help resource

Best for

Advice on repayment plans, forgiveness programs and dispute resolution.

Comprehensive information on options for student loan borrowers.

Advocacy on behalf of all borrowers to influence policy.

Complete financial review for struggling borrowers, which can include advice on student loan options and plans for dealing with other debt.

Advice on repayment plans, help with paperwork and budget counseling.

Information for student loan borrowers and an attorney directory.

Many of these organizations offer advice for free. In some cases, you may need to pay a fee, as with a certified nonprofit credit counseling agency.

None of the organizations above call, text or email borrowers with offers of debt resolution.

Offers of help that you have not sought out are likely to be student loan scams. While it’s not illegal for companies to charge for services such as consolidation or enrollment in a payment plan, those are steps you can do yourself for free.

Avoid any debt relief companies that demand money upfront.

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