Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: Government salaries even lower than I thought!  (Read 2062 times)

sarbinson1

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 47
    • View Profile
Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« on: February 24, 2007, 06:16:42 PM »
I was talking to someone about FTC entry level attorney jobs- sounded really interesting- starting salary is only 55K in DC!!!!!

holler21

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 102
    • View Profile
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2007, 01:12:40 PM »
Yeah that isn't very good money - especially for D.C.

Keep in mind, though, that benefits for federal employees are excellent.  Plus, you might not have all of the pressures of a firm job (with billable hours and such) - this is NOT to say that such a job would be easy, it's just not going to be the same as a firm job.

I think the federal government also helps you out a lot with your school loans, so I wouldn't immediately trash this potential job just because the bottom dollar isn't as enticing as firm employment would be.  Maybe gather some more information from your connection and go from there.

danger

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 22
    • View Profile
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2007, 02:19:53 PM »
I believe most fed. government positions (e.g. DOJ honors and other agencies) will pay back up to 6k of your loans a year.

Consideration

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 35
    • View Profile
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2007, 01:00:35 PM »
Doesn't the pay scale ramp up pretty quickly in 0-4 years time or at least have the potential too? I am looking to go into the Civil Division, Civil Rights, or Environmental Section of USDOJ.

shellrae007

  • Guest
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2007, 12:34:24 AM »
Yea all the gov't jobs i've seen start really low but after 2 years they go up by quite a bit.  I think it's because they're so worried about retaining attorneys that they've invested training into.  So many people take gov't jobs just to get some experience under their belt and move on to BIGlaw.  I was under the impression that if you seem committed to the position, they make it worth your while.

LawLady

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 172
    • View Profile
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2007, 12:27:14 PM »
Yeah that isn't very good money - especially for D.C.

Keep in mind, though, that benefits for federal employees are excellent.  Plus, you might not have all of the pressures of a firm job (with billable hours and such) - this is NOT to say that such a job would be easy, it's just not going to be the same as a firm job.

I think the federal government also helps you out a lot with your school loans, so I wouldn't immediately trash this potential job just because the bottom dollar isn't as enticing as firm employment would be.  Maybe gather some more information from your connection and go from there.

How does the gov't help you with your loans?  Link please!  I have never ever heard of this. 

If your school has an LRAP, it might cover government work, but I have never heard of a government program that will.

vaplaugh

  • Guest
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2007, 02:59:07 PM »
Here is the DOJ's.  Not sure about other agencies.

http://www.usdoj.gov/oarm/aslrp/poliy.htm

Oh, and this is important:
"4. ASLRP benefits are not automatic: there is a competitive selection process. The Attorney Student Loan Repayment Program (ASLRP) is an agency recruitment and retention incentive, not an entitlement."

PSUDSL08

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 408
    • View Profile
    • LS #'s
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2007, 08:38:01 PM »
When you factor in pension and the other govt benefits, a $55K salary is more like a $65-80K per year salary. That and you can work relatively normal hours and have a life. My father is an asst prosecutor...on the low end of the pay scale for lawyers overall...but will retire with something in the ball park of 70-75% of his highest salary as pension. If you start fresh out of school and stay at your govt job, it's possible to retire before 50...leaving you free to do other part time work so you can net "two incomes"

I'm not sure about the $6K per year towards your student loans, but if that's the case, that's not too bad. If you're $120K in debt, and you shell out $6K of your income (or even half or lower if your spouse is contributing), then you can essentially pay off your loans between 10-15 years...which beats the 30 year repayment plan

Phatmal

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 142
    • View Profile
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2007, 09:01:28 PM »
I believe the feds suspended their pensions for new employees quite a while ago.  They have a thrift savings program that will match contributions, but the day's of 75% salary in retirement are over.

As for other fed benefits, I've known people who worked for the feds and they say the benefits are not that great.  There is quite a high monthly premium for medical and dental. 

I currently work for a state government and I can say that you don't work for the government for the money or the benefits.  I'm not an attorney, but in many fields with a private sector equivalent, the work is much more interesting and you get to call the shots a lot quicker.  I would take govt over private sector any day of the week.

vaplaugh

  • Guest
Re: Government salaries even lower than I thought!
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2007, 11:41:18 AM »
I believe the feds suspended their pensions for new employees quite a while ago.  They have a thrift savings program that will match contributions, but the day's of 75% salary in retirement are over.

As for other fed benefits, I've known people who worked for the feds and they say the benefits are not that great.  There is quite a high monthly premium for medical and dental. 

TITCR.  http://www.opm.gov/forms/pdfimage/RI90-1.pdf

The pensions were available for employees hired under the old retirement plan (CSRS) prior to 1983.

In addition to social security, there are two benefits:  the "basic benefit" and the "thrift savings plan" (TSP).

Now the formula is (Average of highest three years of compensation) * .01 * (years of service).

Feds must also reach the minimum required age (MRA) to obtain full benefits unless the govt is downsizing or eliminating your job (whereby you can retire early).  The MRA for those born after 1970 is 57.

So, an attorney retiring now within middle-management probably makes about $140,000.  Lets say the person has worked their entire adult life for the feds except for 5 years (about 27 years).  The annuity (basic benefit) at age 57 would be $37,800, closer to 25% - 30% of your pay.

The TSP is similar to a 401(k).  1% of your salary automatically goes into your retirement account.  Additionally, the govt will match your own contributions (up to 3% of your pay check) by 100%, then match your own contributions by 50% for the next 2% of your pay check.  For example, if you contribute 7% of your pay to the TSP, the government will match 4% of your salary (3% matched $1 for $1, the next 2% matched $0.50 per $1).  In addition, you get the automatic 1% contribution.  So, total deposit to your TSP account: 12% (5% from the govt. 7% from you).

My understanding is that the other "benefits" are typically no better than most law firms, except that you actually get to USE your vacation time (and federal holidays).  Benefits are different in certain locals, as well.  For example, I live in DC and get a public transportation subsidy of about $100 a month.