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Author Topic: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?  (Read 48144 times)

Morten Lund

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #100 on: September 29, 2010, 10:40:38 PM »
Well, this thread just depressed the heck out of me. 

I don't really have many useful suggestions other than to keep up the search effort, and try to find SOMETHING to do that will improve your resume in the meantime.  These days, not having worked as a lawyer right out of school does not carry stigma, but a year-long blank on your resume after graduation will do you no good.

Also, what Louie said.  Military (or gov't in general) is a very legitimate option, if you can get in, and should not be looked down on.  Of course, these days NOTHING should be looked down on. 

Either way, good luck to all of you.

bigs5068

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #101 on: September 29, 2010, 11:52:18 PM »
How is the OP doing? They wrote that 5 months ago so I wonder how it played out.

LSDSL

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #102 on: October 02, 2010, 03:02:31 PM »
Hey all,

Well, I know some of you were looking for an update so I figured I would provide one:)  I'm still working at the same place that I did between 2L and 3L, and I'm still there as a "Law Clerk," though I'm making $17/hr and I have full benefits.  It certainly could be a lot worse, and it certainly could be a lot better, too.  There was an attorney position that opened up in the firm, but I didn't express an interest in it, as we practice primarily Family Law and I can't stand that area of law.  I honestly would want to practice as a family law attorney for one day.  Not to put down that discipline, but it's just not for me. 

I've just kept continuing to apply to jobs thru various law school's career boards, craigslist, etc.  I've had a few more intereviews but nothing that's materialized yet.  They say the job market is supposed to be getting better, but I don't see it.

How are you all doing?  We should keep updating one another.

Cheers and good luck


-LSDSL

bigs5068

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #103 on: October 02, 2010, 08:13:39 PM »
At least you are making money and it could be worse. I noticed you passed up the family law attorney position and I was curious if lawyers who have been working for awhile think that is a wise move in general. Is it better to wait until something opens up in an area you would really like to work or is it better to just get some type of experience as an attorney?  As an example if someone really wanted to be in  real estate, but can't find anything would it be wise to work as a District Attorney and get unrelated litigation experience. Or would it better to wait until you found a real estate position?

john4040

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #104 on: October 14, 2010, 05:16:19 PM »
At least you are making money and it could be worse. I noticed you passed up the family law attorney position and I was curious if lawyers who have been working for awhile think that is a wise move in general. Is it better to wait until something opens up in an area you would really like to work or is it better to just get some type of experience as an attorney?  As an example if someone really wanted to be in  real estate, but can't find anything would it be wise to work as a District Attorney and get unrelated litigation experience. Or would it better to wait until you found a real estate position?

I think it really depends on the nature of the practice - whether it involves transactional work or litigation - and your desires.  If you want to litigate, a "family law" practice that focuses primarily on transactions (i.e., divorce, wills, etc.) would not be particularly helpful.  However, if the "family law" practice handled cases, that experience would be helpful to an aspiring litigator. 

In this market, beggars cannot be choosers; but I would not take transactional-heavy position if I wanted to litigate (and vice versa).  Nevertheless, I would speculate that - particularly during your first years where you're learning to draft motions, take depositions, etc. - if you wanted to litigate, any type of litigation skills (even if the subject matter of the litigation is completely unrelated to your desired field) are both valuable and transferable.

louiebstef

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #105 on: October 14, 2010, 11:39:23 PM »
I like the approach that John suggests.  Unfortunately, that is the reality that most of us are (or will be) facing.
Were I in the OP's shoes, I think I'd be too impatient not to grab at ANYTHING that faintly resembled
substantial practice.  I (seriously) am pulling for all you grads....

We had a saying in the military when things were completely jacked up:

  SEMPER GUMBY!   (Always FLEXIBLE!)  Oh NO, Mr. Bill!
"Why be a lawyer? I'm already an ass.  Might as well go professional!"

Thane Messinger

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #106 on: October 15, 2010, 08:46:28 PM »
There is a general antipathy towards military service by a fair percentage of the general population--and perhaps a greater percentage of folks who attend law school--yet this is often out of ignorance and prejudice rather than thought.  With the right attitude, the military is a tremendous choice.  It certainly provides numerous advantages for the new graduate, including a salary and benefits that are better than 85% of graduates in even a good market get.

If you are thinking of this and have little personal exposure to the military, there are books and blogs about the military experience, and chances are you can track down a nearby JAG office and talk with attorneys there.  Yes, they do actually have phones (and answer them).  Chances are you can earn an invite on base (or post) for a look-see.


For those of you in the Silver Spoon crowd who look down your noses on JAG (military service) as a fallback: "Oh my GOD!"

Here are the approximate numbers:

O-2 (beginning rank for those with only a J.D. and bar passage)/under 2 years service
Base Pay: $43,300 (taxable)
BAS/BAH allowances: $ 20,000 (approximate)
PLUS cost of living adjustments up to 25%

with tax advantage: $70,000/year

Why THAT is terrible!  Better to sit home and whine on the internet about being unemployed....watching the ticker on that
law school debt.

FYI, when I retired (after starting as a dirty, uneducated ENLISTED man) my final compensation:

Warrant Officer (CWO4) with 22 YRS service:
Base Pay: $76,000
BAS/BAH: $25,000

with tax advantage: $109,000/year

Now I have to make due with making only $35K or so in annual retirement pay (which started at age 42).
Oh yeah...forgot about that fully paid BA degree, along with fully paid 1L with $18,000 stipend.

Life is UNBEARABLE!

FalconJimmy

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #107 on: March 15, 2011, 08:58:56 AM »

You would have to be beyond retarded to go into the military as an E-4 with the level of education a law school grad has.

I'd say it's an unusual choice, but not necessarily a bad one.  It does help you get rid of debt.  If you've just hung out a shingle and are starving while trying to establish your own firm, it would give you a way to get health benefits. 

The other thing is that some people sincerely enjoy it.  I joined the reserves after 9/11 because I felt the need to do something to serve the country.  However, I am doing it today because I genuinely enjoy it so much. 

Granted, if you get that biglaw job at $160,000, they're not going to be very tolerant of you having a part-time job, regardless of what it is, but I don't think the OP is in that boat.

Also, let's be frank, here.  There are a lot of law schools out there and a lot of folks who attend will NOT be working in the law.  The military is a viable and relatively well-paying career.  It doesn't pay what biglaw pays, but frankly, your garden variety logistics officer probably has far greater earnings potential, a monumentally better retirement system, and considerably better benefits than a person who graduates in the bottom 3/4 of their class from a T2 school or worse.

Granted E-4 pay isn't that great, but an E-4 will still make about $3,000 a month, (1/3 of which is allowances, which are non-taxable) with excellent benefits and 30 days a year off.  Plus, he'll be getting a heck of a lot of his federal loans forgiven.

I would venture to guess that 1/4 to 1/3 of the brand-new attorneys graduating this year won't do much better.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #108 on: March 15, 2011, 09:05:04 AM »
For those of you in the Silver Spoon crowd who look down your noses on JAG (military service) as a fallback: "Oh my GOD!"

The harsh awakening for them will come when they realize that the military doesn't just give these jobs to anybody.

Their selection rate is highly competitive. 

The reality is that an O-3 makes about $7,500 a month.  ($1,500 of which is non taxable because it comes in the form of allowances.) 

30 days off per year.  50% retirement after 20 years of service.  75% retirement after 30 years of service.


FalconJimmy

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Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« Reply #109 on: March 15, 2011, 09:28:32 AM »
I don't think going the officer route has as much to do with an "ego stroke" as it does with the fact that a 1st Lt. makes more in their first year than an E-4 makes after 30 years in service, and almost double what an E-4 makes in their first year. Big deal if they don't pay off as much of your debt, you'll make so much more money as an officer it won't be a problem to pay the difference. And if you join the military, I'm fairly certain you can get in on a federal loan forgiveness program. Not to mention the quality of life differences between officers and enlisted.

I'm only aware of one college loan repayment programs for officers outside of medical fields. 

It's this one:

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2008/07/marine_officers_072008/

Air Force?  Navy?  Army?  I'm not aware of any college loan repayment.

A new O-2 makes about 60% more than a new E-4.  I'm sure you were just exaggerating for effect, though.

And this comparison is only meaningful if a person is able to get a slot as a JAG.  They're very competitive.