Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

592 Days

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Total Black: $2,425.73
Total Red: $241,855.21

Today I became a law clerk.  And after 592 days, I am no longer laid-off. 

592 days of anxiety and confusion.  One year, seven months, and fifteen days of uncertainty and worry.  14,208 hours spread over sleep-deprived night and stressed-out days.

I went from $160,000 annually to the unemployment line, subsisting on $405.00 a week, before taxes, and whatever my mother could let me borrow.  At first I worked for free, and then when that failed to materialize into a full-time position, for a measly hourly wage as a contract attorney temping myself out with three different agencies.  And then one day, out of the blue, an offer to clerk for a judge fell into my lap.  And a few months later—here I am.  A law clerk.

I don’t think it’s settled in just yet.

Not sure just when it will, frankly.

I arrived today at the court fairly smoothly.  I was nervous that I’d get lost on the way to work.  I’d never been there before.  I walked up to the security check point for 8:58am.  And right as I was about to go through, I looked up and spotted my C0-Clerk.  She reported that they’d been worried about me.  I hadn’t really been in touch; didn’t have anything to say.  I just showed up at the day and time given.  C0-Clerk took me to human resources where I spent nearly three hours going over paperwork and learning work protocol.  Clerks don’t have to ware the uniform.  The hours will be 8 to 5.  I don’t get overtime but for any hours worked past 40 clerks get comp time.  Work five hours more than required and you get those five hours back.  I’d rather overtime but that’s a pretty nice trade-off.  Plus, the Virgin Islands has approximately twenty public holidays.  Nice.  Paperwork won’t be processed for weeks; possibly upwards of two months—meaning no paycheck till then.  But once it comes through, it’ll all come through at once: one big flood of pay.  Not sure why it works that way, but that’s how the system works.

Once I finished paperwork—and being paraded around the court—I was dropped off at chambers.  And introduced to my caseload.

Looks like I’m going to be working long hours once more—and for free.  In a manner of speaking.  But it’ll be a different kind of free.

Total Black is up because Sublettor deposited the rent for June into my bank account—as mentioned in Stressful But Smooth.  And then the check arrived in the mail, though the post office had labeled the package undeliverable.  He said I could deposit both checks so he’ll have paid rent through the end of July.  And by then there’s only two more months until October, when I get my security deposit back.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

June 1, 2010 at 23:49

One Response

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  1. Oh my… I just realized something. If this “island time” rubs off on you, we’ll likely have to go about a MONTH between updates rather than a week.

    I’m not kidding…it can be ridiculous. My wife and I were in line at a Pizza Hut in Charlotte Amalie and it honestly took a half hour for the cashier to get through two people in front of us, and there were about 8 people in front of us, so we figured we’d better leave before we collapse from hunger. It was like that almost everywhere, but not quite THAT extreme.

    I’m so curious to hear how you adjust, coming from NYC!



    June 2, 2010 at 14:47

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