Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania bar exam

In Memoriam

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Total Black: $3,160.16
Total Red: $269,991.43

This time last year I was five days away from the Pennsylvania bar examination when my grandmother passed away.  She had lived a long, happy life, having traveled all over Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean.  When I was twelve years old, she took my sister and me on a cruise to Mexico.  She was the matriarch of our family and showed by example how one family cares for each other.  I am who I am in part because of who she was.  Keep reading . . .

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July 24, 2010 at 23:09

Gettin’ That Move On

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Total Black: $2,221.50
Total Red: $235,531.41

After the long night referenced in Talk Back, I had taken a cab back home and used that opportunity to bring a few boxes back with me from the temporary attorney staffing space.  This afternoon I started packing.  And cleaning.  So far I only packed a few boxes of books.  And I only mopped the bathroom floor.  But it’s a start.  See, a prospective tenant stopped by to view the apartment this evening.  That sort of brought everything home: it’s time to get a move on. Keep reading . . .

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May 4, 2010 at 23:03

Why?

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Total Black: $65.23
Total Red: $230,820.71

One word.  Probably one of the most frequently uttered.  In any language.  It’s also one of the most powerful, most demanding, and most accusatory words in human language.  Not to mention the most despairing.  It’s the word uttered in utter stupefaction when something unfair happens.  It’s the scream of a mother holding her lifeless child in her hands.  It’s the weeping plea of a jilted lover.  The demanding jab of an inquisitive student.  It’s also one question I haven’t yet asked myself.

Cue Seal, People Asking Why  Keep reading . . .

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December 7, 2009 at 23:55

Riding the Roller-Coaster

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Total Black: $76.36
Total Red: $231,096.13

It goes up and down and all around.

The temporary project I’m on ended today.  It’s so odd too because, as I plotted in More Shenanigans, I casually asked the paralegal about the expected duration of the project, noting my interest in finding holiday work.  He said he didn’t know but would find out for us.  Curiously, he only circled back around to talk with us after I met him in the lunch area a few hours later.  And just like that, the project was over.  Today.  The client, I suppose, wasn’t willing to invest further in contact attorneys.  One of the temp attorneys disappeared before we got this message though.  Desk wiped down and cleaned up as if he hadn’t been there.  No good-byes.  We don’t know if he was told to leave or had just happened to leave early for the day.  At any rate, we won’t see him again.  See, there’s good news too.  The firm is rolling us over onto another project.  Well, that is, all but one of us.  The departed attorney will not be brought back in—hence our wonder where he went and whether he was asked to leave.  The bad news though is that the associate who will supervise the new project—its only new for me and another temp attorney—is a real bitch, according to the two contract attorneys I sat with who had worked on this same matter two weeks ago before I arrived.  I don’t do well with moody, unprofessional women who make faces and sigh and expect people to read their minds.  (Just a few of the descriptions I’ve heard of her.) Keep reading . . .

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November 20, 2009 at 23:55

Should I Stay or Should I Go

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Total Black: $1,112.96
Total Red: $230,119.21

Total black today includes my earnings from the Recession Art Sale.  I am now an accomplished, and paid, art seller!  I had hoped that my gig money, like donation money received, could go straight towards my debts, but with the Rent Demand from the landlord, I might have to use that money to get current.  I get paid on Friday, so I might be able to “rescue” those funds from the landlord, but only if I net enough to cover September’s rent.  October’s might have to wait a week and November’s is just nine days away.  On second thought, maybe I need to dump all of my available income on rent. Keep reading . . .

Small Town Boy in the Big City

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Total Black: $22.71
Total Red: $230,281.21

Again Bank of America has walloped me with insufficient funds fees.  This time I don’t even know for sure just how.  A few days ago I received an email notice from Barnes & Noble alerting me to some difficulty processing a check card transaction.  A few months ago I purchased some items on Barnes & Noble and it slipped my mind that one of them wouldn’t be available until the Fall.  I didn’t have enough money in my checking account to cover the transaction, so I figured I’d just let the order be canceled as Barnes & Noble suggested might happen if I didn’t update my order information.  Besides, I’m in savings mode now and those items were purchased before I began this project.  A day passed and another email alert arrived reminding me once more of the inability to complete the transaction.  And again I passed on it (not that I would have had money from anywhere to pull to cover the approximately forty dollar transaction).  The next day a new alert arrives thanking me for my purchase and providing me with the tracking number.  Huh?  I checked my checking account but no pending transaction was listed.  I figured that perhaps it was some other credit card I had used that suddenly became available.  I didn’t really care to go investigating.  Today I got alerted of insufficient funds fees and saw that somehow Barnes & Noble force through the order or Bank of America authorized it despite the lack of funds in the account.  This time, I will get my money back.  I’ve printed out all of the insufficient funds fee notices for the past month and I’m walking into the branch office near my job.  As Ron Lieber of the New York Times reported that “[b]eginning Oct. 19, Bank of America will stop charging any fees for customers who overdraw their accounts by less than $10 in a single day.  It will also limit the number of overdraft fees it charges to four a day, although the bank will continue to charge a fee of $35 per overdraft.”  Unfortunately, it looks like the bank is trying to garner as much money as it can before its new policy goes into effect. Keep reading . . .

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. Keep reading . . .

Debt Most Physical

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Total Black: $115.56
Total Red: $228,013.71

CNN’s Jennie Brag ran a story today called “Digging Out From $80,000 in Debt” about a woman, Dawn Warfield, in Saratoga Springs, New York who has been crippled by her debt from seventeen credit cards.  And I thought four credit cards and $27,000 in debt is a lot.  Warfield observed that “when you have a lot of debt, it’s not just financial, but it’s emotional, you know, even physical . . . .  You think about it all the time.”  It’s true.  In prior posts like Positive Energy, Feelings and Finances, and An Emotional Enema I touched on the emotional and social strains caused by my debt, but for some reason I’ve been reluctant to address the physical aspects of it.  I danced around it in Getting Out of the Quicksand but didn’t really dive right in.  I guess it’s time. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 22, 2009 at 22:20

A Day in the Life

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Total Black: $33.16
Total Red: $227,972.40

We’re back.  And we’re live.  Well . . . at least in the internet sense.  Daily posts now show up in google searches.

When I was first laid-off in mid-October, I was in the middle of moving apartments.  That move took me long into November, partly because I inherited a very troubling and irksome problem with the new apartment that had to be dealt with immediately. A bit of background, and further to yesterday’s post, throughout much of 2008, a sense of foreboding slowly started rising within me.  We just were not busy at the firm.  And people started to “go missing” without explanation. One day while at the gym, at Silver Sneakers no less (an aerobics class for older people), my mother just happened to start chatting with another lady all about my job security concerns.  By random (or not?) chance, that lady had a daughter who worked at one of the local DA’s offices in the New York area.  Naturally, I was unbelievably irritated at my mother’s loose lips.  But she insisted that I had to meet this woman lest I make a fool of out of her. So around August 2008, I reached out to that contact.  Turned out, the daughter is an important person at the office and just happens to be the person who coordinates pro bono attorneys. Keep reading . . .

Hang a Shingle

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Total Black: $28.61
Total Red: $227,952.40
 

No windfall just yet, but getting there.  In my efforts to think outside the box and come up with different sources of income, I offered to help a colleague with the consulting work he does on the side.  Soon after getting laid-off in October 2008, I started working pro bono for one of the local prosecutor’s offices.  Another attorney started soon after me also as a pro bono attorney.  I bowed out in June so I could study for the Pennsylvania bar exam.  Getting licensed in Pennsylvania, assuming I passed, would be a safety-net in the hopefully unlikely event I had to move back in with my mother; can’t practice law without being licensed.  Anyway, this colleague and I kinda got to know each other since we had a few things in common: both working for free, both lived in Europe for a few years, both a bit older than most of the other attorneys we worked with.  And we’ve kept in sporadic contact since I left.  Earlier this week he called to ask a question; we got to talking and he mentioned how overwhelmed he’s been lately with full-time pro bono work and all the consulting work he does on the side.  I’ve got job hunting to do, but I offered to help out, figuring he’d just want a proofreader, a fresh set of eyes.  He said if he did, he’d let me know.  Yesterday he called: he needs much more than a proofreader and will pay me $1,500 for the work.  That’s almost one month’s rent.  Pretty cool.  As we discussed the work he needed help with, we touched on his growing anxiety and frustration about not knowing what he’s doing, or whether he’s doing it correctly, or what will happen once these one-off tasks are completed.  (Two of his “clients” aren’t even paying him because they’re his friends’ companies.)  More on all this in a bit. Keep reading . . .