Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Third Day of Accounting

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It’s the 10th and my third day of accounting.

Total Black: $673.47

Here’s the Breakdown:

Primary Checking: $43.21
Secondary Checking $507.02
Savings $1.73
PayPal Account (Personal): $0.52
PayPal Account (Blog): $48.25
Amazon Payments Account $10.14
Mutual Funds Account: $62.60

FICO Score 565 (unchanged from last month)

Total Red: $230,280.28

Here’s the breakdown:

Credit Card Debt

MasterCard $5,650.00
Visa $8,050.00
Visa $5,728.28
American Express $2,500.00
Raymour & Flanagan Credit Line $5,698.98

Student Loan Debt

Federal Stafford Loans: $96,810.17
Private Student Loans: $33,891.93

Back Taxes

IRS (2007): $1,231.72
IRS (2008): $27,792.93
NY State (2008): $2,926.27

Other Loans

My mother: $40,000.00

Just in time for my third day of accounting, my internet service has been restored. It cost $538.70 too. I guess I was quite a bit behind. It’s been a busy past few days.

October GraphThe chart shows a bit of progress. I’m unclear where the large drop from August to September came from. The slight increase from September to October makes sense as my federal student loans, back taxes, and Raymour & Flanagan balances owed all increased from interest. Credit card debt has come down though. As this project continues, I’ll make my charts a bit more sophisticated. Seeing your progress mapped out in front of you can help keep you determined to meet your goal.

Speaking of meeting goals, I learned on Thursday that I passed the Pennsylvania bar exam. The confirmation arrived in the mail today. In A Day in the Life and Mothers I mentioned that I had studied and sat for the Pennsylvania bar exam and wrote about my struggles with being laid-off, unemployed, and worried about the possibility that I might have to return to Pennsylvania to live with my mother. Sitting for the bar exam was necessary because I haven’t been practicing law long enough to waive into Pennsylvania. One must have practiced for five of the past seven years. I’ve only been admitted in New York since 2007. Not long enough. If I would have had to return to Pennsylvania, I would have had to be able to practice law. Thankfully, that requirement hasn’t materialized, but at least the safety net is securely in place now if that option is forced upon me. That I passed the bar exam really speaks to my abilities and has been a much needed shot in the arm of self-esteem.

I decided to take the exam on the last day possible to sign up for it. I had to borrow the money from my mother both for the exam itself and for the review course. It cost nearly four thousand dollars. At the time I was working full-time at at a local DA’s office as a pro bono prosecutor. I had to wrap up my cases before I could begin studying and didn’t begin studying for the exam until late in June, weeks after everyone else. Then, five days before the exam my grandmother passed away. I pretty much abandoned my studies at that point because my family needed me. I realized that I could always retake the exam; I couldn’t recapture the time with my family that was called for in those moments. So, it’s with that backdrop that I am really proud to say that I passed the exam.

As I begin the third month of the project, my debt is lower, I’m employed—albeit temporarily, and I’m better situated career-wise. I earned roughly a thousand dollars as an art seller and I still have about $1,500 to claim from the colleague I spent August working for. That amount right there would pay off one credit card. I’ve only received one donation, but I trust others out there might contribute throughout the remaining months, even if only a few dollars. Every bit helps. I’ve already started looking for a few new gigs. I like having a lot going on.

It’s been a good two months.

2 Responses

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  1. HJ here, from a few posts back. Thanks for your encouragement and well-wishes on the bar exam. And congratulations to you on passing the PA bar exam! 🙂

    Reading your blog (and those by other unemployed/laid-off lawyers and lawyers-to-be), I’ve decided to start my own. Here’s to spreading hope and kindness!


    October 12, 2009 at 02:03

  2. The hell with the rest of the debt. Good to pay off Internet. It’s become mother’s milk.

    Larry E

    October 12, 2009 at 11:16

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