Law School Discussion

Need some advice


Need some advice
« on: May 14, 2004, 04:02:04 PM »
I can't seem to find a board to bounce my situation off of, so I am hoping someone here might be able to provide some advice. We all know the pressure of being a law student, but I never really felt like I was in over my head until recently.

I just finished my third year of law school (I'm part-time, so I have one more to go) in Califorbia. I was recently offered, and accepted, a summer internship in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill. It's in the constitutional law field, which I very much want to practice when I pass the bar. I feel like this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that if I didn't take it, I would regret it for the rest of my life.

Well, my husband has waffled back and forth on his level of supportiveness. He's a brilliant man...he's got a degree in political science, and even though he's not a lawyer or law student, he understands completely (and even better than most lawyers and law students, I feel) what is involved in becoming a lawyer.

We got married during my second year of law school. We agreed that I would quit my job as an accoutant once we got married, so that he could support both of us while I concentrated on school. It's worked out pretty's allowed me to volunteer in several government offices locally and get great experience. We have had to make some financial sacrifices, but they haven't been what I would consider extreme.

Well, he's always been fiscally responsible...and it seems as though it's TOO responsible. He is adamantly against us being in any consumer debt (believe me, my loans freak him out enough as is). I try to explain to him that it is ok for us to carry a small amount of debt until I graduate next year, but it seems like we're always fighting about money.

I've offered to go back to work in a gainful position. He thinks that's a terrible idea because he thinks I should consider school to be a full time job. But if having more money and less debt would mean we wouldn't be constantly fighting over money, it's almost worth it to me to deal with the effects of working full time on top of law school (heck, I did it for a year and a half, and I survived).

Well, this summer internship is the most exciting thing to happen to me yet in law school. The only catch? It's unpaid, and I have to foot the bill for all of it...transporation, room and board, incidentals...etc. I'm happy to do it...and I had planned to suck it up, ask for donations from anyone I could think of, and put the balance on my credit card. can see where this is headed. My husband is of course, petrified at this additional expense. But I refuse to give up this opportunity just because it will put us a little farger behind in debt (and this is on MY credit card...not even a joint card). I've tried to explain to him what this chance means to me, and to tell him that it's hard for me to deal with not feeling like I'm getting any support from him. That helped for a little while, until our next money argument.

Last night he told me he didn't think we could afford to have him fly out there and visit me this summer (I'll be gone for ten weeks). His idea of not being able to afford something is not being able to pay cash for it on the spot. I'm so frustrated...I feel like he should be willing to compromise somewhat with this.

I don't know if he's being selfish or what...and I don't know how to deal with it. Part of me wants to say forget it...if you don't want to support my career decisions, maybe we shouldn't stay married. Part of me wants to go ahead and do this and let him deal with his own problems on his own time...and hope that he'll come around and see me this summer anyhow when he decideshe's over it. Part of me wants to give up this opportunity out of spite.

Do any fellow law students have any suggestions on how to deal with this? I would appreciate any advice...


Re: Need some advice
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2004, 03:08:34 AM »
Your husband makes a short-term point that you need to keep your budget balanced and under control. When you're intereviewing for positions, though, and you haven't worked in any non-profits related to constitutional law, you won't have a demonstrable direction. You're likely to have a harder time getting a job in the long-term. Is your husband aware of the long-term complications of saving money? If you're seriously overbudgeted, though, don't keep spending.  :)


Re: Need some advice
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2004, 10:38:29 AM »
Sounds like you are in a pretty tough situation.  I think you are right in that the position in DC affords you an incredibly opportunity.  However, you also need to think seriously about what you are asking of your husband.  He has taken on a significant amount of debt and financial limitations in order to be able to afford you the opportunity to concentrate solely on law school.  Now, this is either incredibly controlling or incredibly supportive- you would know better than any of us.  I would suggest that you take a minute to look at it from his perspective and try and see that as much as he wants to support you, his ideals regarding where he would be financially at this point in his life, and his notions regarding debt are all probably completely in disarray at this point.  Consumer debt comes at an incredibly expensive interest rate, so his hesitation here is somewhat understandable.  And, a summer in DC won't come cheap- and so the amount of consumer debt will be substantial. And, not the least of which, you are asking him to live without his wife for the next 2 1/2 months- not something any husband would be crazy about. I would suggest you remind him how important he is to you, and then how important this is to you, and then to try and find some sort of compromise.  Do you have relatives that could loan you the money at an affordable rate that would allow to to take advantage of this opportunity while still keeping you out of consumer debt?  Can you look at your options in DC and try and find the cheapest way of living?  Choose a location to sublet that is either close to a metro and farther out of town, or within walking distance to your job.  Capitol hill isn't a great area, so sometimes you can find some good deals on some not so fabulous places.  Also, consider taking on a parttime job here in DC if possible to help defray expenses.  Lots of small shops on Capitol hill need nighttime or weekend help.
Good luck- and if it comes down to some sort of impossible choice, look 10 years down the road and try and see what you think your life will be more empty without- this job, or this man?