Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

A Nice Gesture

with 5 comments

Total Black: $1,247.35
Total Red: $235,215.12

I’ve become a bit jaded with lawyers these past few years.  My troubles with the Colleague and his refusal to pay me.  Then there’s the landlord’s lawyers and all of their shenanigans involving my apartment and the numerous rent demands and then proceeding initiated back in October or November; although I may have been late, I always paid.  No matter to them though.  And we can’t forget the ol’ pals at my former law firm and how they kicked twenty of us (and many more since) to the curb because of the Great Recession.  And last and least are many of the contract attorneys I’ve had to work around or even with in some cases.  Not many bright and shining stars of the profession there.  So today when I met with my future co-clerk here in Manhattan I was touchingly surprised.

She had told me about a week or so ago, back when we were emailing about the formal letter from the court, that she was going to be in New York for a conference and suggested that we meet up.  Of course, I said, “Of course.”  Last night while I was working at the theatre she texted, but I didn’t finish until late, so I only replied this morning.

We met for coffee.  Well, sort of.  We met at a Starbucks in Times Square.  I grabbed a coffee.  She didn’t.  Instead we left and then walked me back to the office.  She had suggested dinner, but to be honest—I lied and said I had to work late.  I wasn’t sure that a long, sit-down dinner was a good idea on our first meeting.  Certainly isn’t advisable on a first date.  While texting, C0-Clerk mentioned that she had something for me.  I couldn’t imagine what.  Everything right now should be headed in the other direction.  Shouldn’t really have things coming to me in New York, right?  What did she bring me?  A sizable collection of local newspapers, brochures, travel and tourism guides, a map—all from the new place I’ll be moving to.  I was really touched.  An attorney not out to get you?  That’s a novelty.  And one who, without being asked, takes the time and effort out of her day to help you out—without even being asked to?  Wow!

Co-Clerk and I got along well—even before she gave me the materials.  Dinner wouldn’t have been a bad idea after all.  Turned out though, my work late excuse wasn’t much of a lie.  I did end up working fairly late—until about 9:30pm, then rushed home to catch Lost via and an ABC channel streaming live from the west coast.  Thanks to social media though I learned that ABC aired a rerun and so I didn’t have to stay up until 9pm Pacific Time to watch it.

Meeting Co-Clerk today was good for a whole host of other reasons.  First, she cautioned me that I’d better be prepared to go about a month without a paycheck.  The court pays bi-weekly so it may take another pay cycle before I get paid.  She also explained that I definitely need a car; public transportation really isn’t an option.  But I suppose that depends on where I end up living.  If across the street from the court, I probably won’t need a car.  I told her that I’ll be in town on the 10th to check out a few places.

I’m getting excited about the new position but my anxiety is growing as I realize how much money it’s going to require.  I’m just going to have to ignore total red for now and focus on keeping total black in the black.  I already violated that rule by sending $100 to SallieMae for a student loan payment.  It’s like I can’t not pay bills.  I wish I could just ignore them, but I certainly do not want ol’ Sallie to start calling again.  Not since The Sound of Silence have I heard from her, and I like it.  Raymour & Flanagan stopped calling too.  Now it’s the debt collection agency they sold my debt to.  And they certainly don’t stop calling.  Cell phone and home phone.  From 8am until late.  Each night I return home to a message on home voice mail from the collection agency.  God, I can’t wait until my debts are gone and I no longer have to fear answering “unknown callers” or taking  “blocked” calls.

Co-clerk said that in hand, after taxes, pay will be about $1,300 every two weeks: about $2,600 a month.  If rent’s only about $800 or even $1,000, that leaves $1,600 a month for gas, cell phone, and student loans and credit cards.  I’m sure I’ll end up getting a part-time job as well once I get settled in.  It’s just this transition phase that will be hellish.

5 Responses

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  1. Okay, let’s look at this:

    $2600 per month to start with

    Let’s be really optimistic and say you find a suitable (for you) apartment with ALL utilities included for $800.

    Balance remaining: $1800

    The cell phone…I don’t recall exactly what you pay, but I’m probably low in saying $100 per month.

    Balance: $1700

    Your four credit cards, the minimum payments you listed last month are about a combined $750

    Balance: $950

    Transportation… since public transportation doesn’t seem a viable option, and since you are probably NOT going to live within walking distance, let’s low ball again and say $100 for gas, $100 for insurance, $200 for car payment on a cheap car, which is definitely an unrealistic low of $400 (gas is almost $3/gallon, so this means even if you get 30MPG you’ve gotta keep it under 1000 miles per month, so don’t live too far away).

    Balance $550

    A man’s gotta eat, right? Let’s be crazy low again and say $200 per month for all home and out food, coffee, etc.

    Balance $350

    Federal Student Loan ? Private Student Loan ? The countless other things that crop up ?

    Keep in mind, a decent paying part time job is going to be a lot harder (if it is possible) to find outside of NYC.

    Doesn’t look doable without increasing RED over time or unless you rent a ROOM somewhere instead of thinking about $800-$1000 per month for an apartment. It just isn’t going to work that way–you’ve got to go back to dorm room living and mac & cheese 5 days per week.

    Am I way off on my estimates (I mean on the high side…I think most of them will actually be more than I said, so you’re probably in a negative cash flow before you get to the student loans, but just guessing.)



    April 30, 2010 at 10:56

  2. Don’t forget, he also owes back taxes


    April 30, 2010 at 22:18

  3. The bottom line is that you’re going to have to do some serious budgeting, like it or not, so your head isn’t in the sand all the time.


    April 30, 2010 at 22:18

  4. You can use the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to get them to stop calling. Ask them to stop calling, and follow it up with a letter asking that they stop calling.


    April 30, 2010 at 23:37

  5. It’s not a lot of money but it’ll establish you as a serious lawyer again. Suck it up for a while and then you come back and land a serious job. The temping business will only make a piddly peon out of you. I did it for a few years because I was sick and tired of the legal grind and wanted to pursue creative interests. In the end, however, if you temp too much, offers start to dwindle – even temp ones. This is a good move. It’ll get you back where you belong. Good luck.


    May 1, 2010 at 11:50

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