Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Almost There

with 13 comments

Total Black: $2,020.47
Total Red: $250,185.27

Total red and total black are both up.  But the numbers aren’t completely accurate, however.   

The funds referenced back in Oh, Mother! came through.  My mother texted me this afternoon to let me know.  She withdrew the funds from her account and then deposited them in mine.  About thirty minutes later I had sent about $2,300.00 to the American Express card.  After paying the bill, the credit was immediately available.  The day isn’t over yet and already that money has been extracted from my account.  That company has money processing down to a science.

The credit limit on my AmEx card, however, is only $2,400.00.  The balance remaining on the car is $3,500.00.  I opted to use the AmEx card tomorrow—at least for part of the payment—because I trust AmEx to not cut my limit as Bank of America did, mentioned back in Limits and Liens and Loans.  So I was left trying to figure out how to get another $1,500 or so—assuming I only charged $2,000 on the AmEx card—to the car dealership.  Without a debit card, as mentioned in Miami Is Not Nice, my only other option was to transfer the $1,500 to a Bank of America credit card and charge it back up the next day.  I’m not excited about putting any of these auto loan payments on a credit card because I’ll end up getting charged interest on this car by two banks: via the credit card and the auto loan.  But what other option?  I had stopped at the post office in the morning and my post office box was empty—no debit card.  No options.

I really dreaded transferring the money.  I just don’t trust Bank of America any longer.  And I couldn’t afford to “lose” another grand to the bank.  But again—what other choice?  So I logged into my Bank of America account and set up a $1,500 transfer.  Clicked “transfer.”  And waited.  Internet at work isn’t that fast.  No, it’s damn slow in fact—snails pace.  And just as the hourglass turned, the signal dropped and the page when out.  Unable to load.

Then I wondered if it was a sign: divine providence.  So I logged back in, and pondered the transfer once more.  Wavered between sending $1,500.00 and sending $4,500.00—to pay the card of entirely.  Fifteen hundred to the car dealership; three thousand to the IRS.  Wipe out the variable interest rates in the process.  But I just wasn’t sure.  This sinking feeling in my stomach weighed heavily.  But again the internet was so painfully slow that I finally logged off and walked outside to try for a third time via my iPhone.  And again, for a third time, I just couldn’t bring myself to transfer the money to the credit card.  Twice bitten; thrice shy.

Instead, I left work and drove downtown to check my post office box again.  And just as I turned the key, I resolved that the debit card would be there.

It was.


I don’t have a pin number yet.  That’s sent separately.  But, once activated, I can use the debit card.  Immediately upon returning home tonight, I paid-off the remaining balance on 2007 IRS taxes due.  First thing in the morning, I’m calling the IRS to let the m know.  Also by tomorrow I’ll have paid the full down-payment on the car.  On Tuesday, the remaining funds will be available.  I’m caught by the bank holiday this weekend.  My mother learned that she was approved for $25,000.00 in a line of credit—$10,000.o0 more than she requested that will be sent to a credit card.  That leaves $15,000.00 available for other purposes, including 2009 IRS taxes, part of 2008 taxes (totaling $7,100 for all three).  With that funds available, I think I’ll also ask to pull funds for the 2009 tax owed and perhaps a credit card as well.  I’d much rather send the money to my mother each month—with a loan at 3%, rather than a bank at a 27% APR.

I can’t wait to get this monkey off my back.

13 Responses

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  1. Will you adjust total red to reflect the $26,000 car loan? Debt is debt and you need to be realistic.


    July 2, 2010 at 07:23

  2. Of course. But I don’t have final paperwork nor an account number for the bank that will handle my loan, etc. Plus its not $26,000 if, after today, $8,000 has already been paid. And that’s already in total red.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 2, 2010 at 08:08

  3. Any guesses on what LoL’s high debt mark will be?

    I had previously thought 250k would be the number. New guesses?
    300k? 400k? 500k?

    A year living on 50k with so many outstanding debts plus the unexpected realities of life will be difficult.

    My guess is 325k will be the high water mark in another year or so.


    July 2, 2010 at 08:42

  4. I think LOL will max out at $260-$275K for his debt load. He’s experienced some relatively high short term expenses related to his move and new job. These are variable, not fixed expenses, so they are not likely to repeat. When LOL’s clerkship is over, he will be in an excellent to obtain an associate position with a top law firm. Most law clerks start sending out resumes within 8 months of the end of their clerkship. Once LOL has a higher paying position, the overall debt should diminish accordingly. Right now, he will have to struggle to survive financially. Unlike many others, though, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for him (and no, it’s not a train).


    July 2, 2010 at 09:19

  5. Should read: “he will be in an excellent position to obtain an associate position with a top law firm.” Brain isn’t awake yet 🙂


    July 2, 2010 at 09:22

  6. 50 bucks that he’s going to kill himself when the countdown timer runs out.


    July 2, 2010 at 11:25

  7. lol. sure I’ll take that bet. No way is he going to killself.


    July 2, 2010 at 12:08

  8. Will a 1-year clerkship at a low level district/territorial court really lead to an associate position at a top law firm?

    I mean, it has to be better than being on doc-review, but I just think that you might be selling it a bit strong. I hope you’re right, but I don’t know…



    July 2, 2010 at 14:14

  9. The Virgin Island courts are part of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which includes Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and the Virgin Islands. I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that he is working on a district court level. If so, then his chances of landing an associate position at a major law firm are excellent.


    July 2, 2010 at 16:01

  10. I forgot to sign in and it came up “anonymous.” Sorry.


    July 2, 2010 at 16:02

  11. T-Bag asked about: (1) a 1-year (2) clerkship at a (3) low level district/territorial court.

    Here’s my thoughts. As for #1: nearly all clerkships are one year. So that fact wouldn’t matter too much one way or the other. Staying on for a second year could be a bit more attractive, assuming more of the factors I mention below are in place. But otherwise the length doesn’t matter too much. There are a few two-year clerks and some career clerks. But those aren’t typical.

    As for #2: a clerkship is attractive to an employer for a few reasons: (A) having an “in” with a judge/the court, i.e., the assumption is that, if you appear before your judge, she may be more inclined to rule in your favor because she knows your work; (B) knowing the substantive and procedural law of your jurisdiction(s), e.g., federal court in Ohio will sometimes have to apply Ohio state law; if you later work for an Ohio firm you’re already familiar with the state’s substantive law; and (C) honing and polishing your writing skills. The ordering would probably be C, then B, then A. And I doubt anyone would vocalize A, but it’s assumed, for sure.

    (A) wouldn’t matter for me unless I stayed here to work after clerking. Aside: I’m told starting attorneys can expect around $90,000 or so. Craziness. Similarly, (B) can carry over in that I’m learning and applying federal procedural law and Third Circuit law. And substantively where no local law is on point, the Restatements govern. So that’s really good experience learning core legal principles. But all of it will only carry over so far, especially were I to leave the Third Circuit, say to return to New York. As for (C): I’m certainly going to get lot of writing experience. But not all clerkships do provide that opportunity.

    As for #3: trial level. Well, it can be lucrative, particularly when it involves a significant amount of writing. Appellate is generally assumed to be “better” but I’m not sure why. Trial level clerks certainly do much more writing. Every trial level judge must write her/his own opinions. Appellate judges sit in three-judge panels and only one of the three writes the opinion. If no dissent or concurrence, that is. Plus, you don’t see a trial happen at the appellate level. You don’t watch voir dire or find the facts to decide a motion to dismiss. The trial level sets the record that locks the appellate level in on appeal. But pay-off of a trial level clerkship also depends on the court, especially if its state. If it’s in probate court, for example, and your desire is to end up as a corporate transactional attorney—not so much carry over there. Doubt any employer would care much. And A, B, and C wouldn’t ever apply.

    As for location, “island” clerkships are sought after if only for their “island” experiences. And here the one perk is that “state” or federal, it’s all the same procedural rules, something inapplicable to Puerto Rican state court clerkships, for example. And here I get significant Third Circuit case law experience.

    But generally I’ve learned that much of the Law (note the capital L) presumes that you know what you want to do with your career. Clerk for a family court judge if you want to practice with a divorce law firm, for example. If you want to do corporate transactional work, then a clerkship won’t mean a lot—especially one here. Well, at least not in the sense of substantive knowledge. And if you still want a clerkship, shoot for the Court of International Trade, for example. Or the Federal Circuit perhaps. Catch for me is that I’m not sure where I want to move on to next. I would like to continue clerking: at the federal level in fact. I’d like to lateral this experience into a federal clerkship. But afterward—not sure I want to work for a “top law firm” again. I did that already; would feel like I’m backpedaling to return to being a partner’s bitch. I may have an opportunity with the contract attorney law firm I worked for just before moving here. The partner asked me to keep in touch and let him know when I move back to New York. I didn’t tell him I may never move back to New York. But that would be a smaller law firm and thus a different experience. Perhaps I’ll shoot for a federal government job in Philadelphia or DC.

    Lots to think about. But yes, this experience will payoff. That’s for sure. I just need to leverage it correctly!

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 2, 2010 at 16:21

  12. Cool–I’m glad it’s such a strong selling point then. Also, you seem like you’re (overly) dedicated to all of your jobs, so that’s sure to help also.



    July 2, 2010 at 20:16

  13. Yes, I never hear of a former clerk who is unemployed. Even the total morons, which LL is far above.


    July 2, 2010 at 20:20

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