Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

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with 14 comments

Total Black: $512.12
Total Red: $229,634.11

Well . . . I finally heard back about one of the clerkship opportunities. 

Today while at the gym I received an email from the law clerk to the farther judge.  The clerkship is mine if I want it.  I’m still in shock and awe mode.  I’m also re-experiencing some of the anxiety and concerns expressed back in Cold Feet.  Taking this clerkship would mean leaving New York for a year.  Possibly two were I to extend for a second year.

And it is over 1,600 miles away so I’d have give up my apartment.  I couldn’t sublet it or get a roommate and keep it for weekends as I toyed around with for the closer opportunity.  That also means I’ll have to take my cats with me when I move; my sister is allergic to cats so I can’t ask my mother to watch her “grand kids” for the year.  So, packing up and moving out is the only option.  And when is another stressor.  The farther judge wanted someone to start as soon as possible.  Would he want me to start in a few weeks?  I already committed to the contract attorney position to stay on for six more weeks.  Not that I’d relinquish this opportunity for a temp job, but one glance at total black tells you I don’t have the funds—or the credit—to finance a move 100 feet away, let alone 1,600.

I haven’t responded to the email yet.  I need to first find out about the closer opportunity.  It’s only right.  I guess I’ll have to email the court and find out if they made a decision yet.  I wouldn’t want to be offered the position only to have to say that I took another offer.  That would look unprofessional.

Yeah . . . I’m nervous.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

April 6, 2010 at 23:27

14 Responses

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  1. Really???? You are going to leave us hanging?????? “I got the job but don’t know what I will do…” Knowing that there are incomplete updates means you most likely made a decision! 😉 Or have heard something….congratulations, by the way. SPILL!!


    April 9, 2010 at 09:55

  2. I respectfully submit that you cannot take either clerkship job. You haven’t mentioned salary (so I could be way off here) but I think clerkship jobs pay 50-60k a year.

    So yes your living expenses will be drastically lower but your income will also be lower. You might be able to land another theater job. . .but maybe not.

    With IRS debt hanging over your head (and the IRS will strike eventually) plus sizeable credit card bills and student loans (look into IBR tho.) I think it is near impossible to pay all of that on a clerk’s salary.

    PLUS – moving expenses. I moved across country from a modest one bedroom apartment and it cost me $1900. Once you lose the large salary your ability to make large $1000 payments to say a student loan will diminish quickly.

    At 50k you’re looking at around 3k a month after taxes.
    I don’t know how much your minimum on credit cards is but according to your last day of accounting you owe about 20k on your cards. I’ll estimate 400 minimum a month. Rent – 800 (include electricity, heat/ac). Student loans – 120k total, 500 a month? Groceries and eating out – 300? That leaves 1000 a month for everything else – transportation, repaying your mother, entertainment, cell phone, cable, netflix, etc.

    Big request – on your next Day of Accounting could you break out minimum payments?

    I’m really not trying to be a snarky dream killing commenter. I can see how you could stay even with your debts, but you won’t make any headway.


    April 9, 2010 at 14:00

  3. How’d you get so much IRS debt, anyhow?


    April 9, 2010 at 17:45

  4. He decreased his withholding to give him more spending money and listened to bad advice about deducting contributions to an IRA when he made too much to do so (I think).


    April 9, 2010 at 18:32

  5. I have to agree with Anon above who said it is not affordable at the current time, unfortunately.

    Of course, I said this back when you first mentioned the potential salary, but I understand it is a nice opportunity (but for someone without the debt-load)!



    April 9, 2010 at 21:25

  6. Congratulations on getting the offer!

    I hope you take this, or the other clerkship if offered.

    Yes, as folks point out, your gross income will go down. However, would this make you eligible for loan forgiveness in ten years? Could you do the income contingent thing and pay less on the loans than you are paying now? Does this position have health insurance and benefits? Even if this is really a pay cut and as someone pointed out, you won’t make any headway into the debt, I would think of it as a step in the right direction.

    You’re in this financial predicament because you wanted to be a lawyer – this is a chance to build your career. You did not get into all this mess to have unpredictable hours doing doc review.

    If you end up making this move, its a chance to start living really frugally (move into a ymca, dorm, or become someone’s roommate and budget, and you might make up for the lost income).

    I look forward to reading your next update!


    April 9, 2010 at 22:01

  7. This is killing me. I’m old. You can’t do this to an old person. I could die in my sleep. Please give us an update.


    April 10, 2010 at 00:05

  8. if this is federal you absolutely should take it. if it’s not, which state is it in?

    in response to anon at 1400, it might actually be worth it. if you can enroll in IBR (which should be easy since your adjusted payment would probably be much lower than what you’re paying now), you could afford it


    April 10, 2010 at 10:48

  9. 14:00 here.

    IBR might work out. I looked into it and I’d be paying ~600 a month for 10 years (in public interest) vs regular payments of ~400 a month for 25 years. (My debt to income was actually too favorable to qualify for lower payment. irony!) Substantial savings. Only works for govt loans (either direct loans or stafford sub/unsub thru private banks, not for private loans.)

    I think LOL should stay in NYC, get a roommate, get IBR, cut out anything non-essential, sell junk (broad definition – unread books etc), and aggressively pay down the debt.


    April 10, 2010 at 12:50

  10. Totally agree. You will have to do some seriously strict budgeting if you take this job and work out repayment plans with your credit cards to lower your payments without throwing away hundreds of dollars on interest. And find a ridiculously cheap apartment. But temping is not a long-term solution, not ever and definitely not in the current legal market. You need to find your way back to a good paying and permanent legal position, and a clerkship is an excellent way of starting.


    April 10, 2010 at 16:12

  11. He’s had a year to do all that and hasn’t done any of it.


    April 10, 2010 at 16:14

  12. Never too late to start. But yea that’s why the blog is frustrating to read sometimes.


    April 10, 2010 at 18:06

  13. Take the clerkship. It will be a 40 hour/week job, and you can bartend on the weekends and make extra cash to pay off your credit card debt. Unlike temp law, this will be a real legal job on your C.V.


    April 11, 2010 at 21:06

  14. Good point, especially if it is the Fed Clerkship.

    I hadn’t considered that it might be a 40 hour week. If that’s the case, I rescind my advice not to take it.



    April 12, 2010 at 11:06

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