Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

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

Posts Tagged ‘Recession Art Sale

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

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Total Black: -$199.61
Total Red: $269,947.74

This is the end.  My only friends.  The end.  Of my elaborate plans.  The end.  Can’t you picture what could’ve been?  So limitless and free.  Desperately in need . . . of some . . . stranger’s hand.  In my desperate land.  It hurts to set you free.  But you’ll never follow me.  This is, after all, the end.    Keep reading . . .

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

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Total Black: $679.34
Total Red: $236,651.39

Despite best efforts, I have not been able to keep up with this blog on a daily basis.  Recent comments reveal readers frustrations as well.  Trust me, I’m there with my readers.  But given the hours I’ve been working lately, and all-nighters, like yesterday in Over and Over and Over Again, it’s damn near impossible to work two jobs and keep this blog current.  So I’ve compromised a bit.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

May 19, 2010 at 22:40

Tax Day

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Total Black: $734.79
Total Red: $234,846.52

Yes.  It’s Tax Day.  At least in the United States.  I filed mine today.  Keep reading . . .

Cold Feet

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Total Black: $235.60
Total Red: $226,342.25

As I walked home tonight from the contract attorney position, I started thinking about the opportunities I may soon be presented with.  Well . . . resumed thinking about them might be more accurate as I’ve not really been able to stop masticating over them.  But tonight a few coincidences occurred that caused me to think about things a bit differently. Keep reading . . .

State of My Union

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Total Black: $83.69
Total Red: $229,225.06

I couldn’t help but co-opt the title for today’s entry from the main feature in the American press: President Obama’s first State of the Union address.  This morning as I was in the dentist’s chair, MSNBC turned on in the background, I couldn’t help but notice an odd similarity of mine to President Obama.  Not that I’m in any way comparable to a man of his caliber and accomplishments, but in a small way, I noticed that we share one similarity: seems that nothing either of us do can appease any of our critics.  He’s taken the fall for the bank bailouts, whether a wise move or not, when it was actually President Bush and Congress who approved it.  His efforts on health care were sabotaged, and even though everyone in the country wanted something done to improve the current system, no one will give him credit for getting something done.  Likewise the economy hasn’t recovered as quickly or as fully as we all would have liked; ask anyone and it is single-handedly all his fault.  Every bemoans the Stimulus Plan as having had no effect.  I can personally say that without it, I wouldn’t have been in that dentist’s chair this morning.  It also got me an additional $25 a week in unemployment benefits back when I was still on the dole.  Sadly, that little bit extra did make a difference.  I could go on with additional examples, but the few I’ve cited suffice.  I suppose unless you’ve achieved something just short of herculean or heroic, people will only go on about your short-comings or missteps.  So, how is the state of my union?  Keep reading . . .

Craigslist Addict

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Total Black: $751.20
Total Red: $230,772.32

It’s a Friday night and I’ve got nowhere to go.  And in Manhattan either you’re making money or you’re spending money.  And if neither, you’re nobody.

The contract attorney position I’m currently working wants us to work between ten to twelve hours a day.  The earliest we can start is 8am.  The latest 9am.  That is, once the project takes off; we were again at the firm today because the temp agency didn’t have the IT aspect ready yet.  But I digress.   That means, working the least number of hours and starting at the earliest possible, I’d be free by 6:30pm each night (allotting 30 minutes for lunch).  Or I can earn another seventy dollars and get out at 8:30pm.  But either way I gotta find a later night gig.  But first I may need to break my addiction to Craigslist. Keep reading . . .

Consulting My Paycheck

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Total Black: $66.71
Total Red: $230,428.77

Another contract attorney and I got to talking today about legal consulting work.  He told me about a friend of his who suggested he help out a third person who had been having difficulty collecting on a promissory note.  This third person had loaned ten thousand dollars to another person, who also happened to be an attorney, and he was not paying and now wasn’t even returning her calls.  Upon hearing from his friend about this woman’s matter, he didn’t feel particularly adept in handling it so he passed along the name of another attorney she might call, also a friend of his.  Sometime later he met up with that friend and asked about the outcome of the woman’s debt collection efforts.  His attorney friend told him that there was nothing he could do to help the woman because the promissory note she had was usurious.  She put in a 10% interest rate.  And if a lawyer had tried to collect on the note, my co-worker’s attorney friend informed him, that lawyer would have been subject to sanction by the court for attempting to collect on a usurious debt—akin to loan-sharking.  What makes this story so noteworthy?  My co-worker and I would have never thought to even consider the interest rate.  Ten percent didn’t seem all that high to me given that credit cards can legally charge up to 30% on your purchases.  His story represented to me the dangers accompanying legal consulting work. Keep reading . . .

Another Update on Efforts

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Total Black: $1,316.20
Total Red: $230,870.71

I thought I’d take today, like I did back in September in Update on Efforts, to give another update on my various ventures, joint and several.  I had visit ten today for the medical experiment.  I believe there are a total of thirteen.  Two weeks separates most visits so that means another two months roughly until I earn the $540 or so.  The doctor today observed that I have “slight tremors” in my hands when I hold them out straight.  I wonder if its from stress or the drugs.  The only other complaint I have is just muscle aches and pains.  But that too can be a symptom of depression.  I’ve noticed my vision getting blurrier.  Not good, especially since I had LASIK done back in February 2008.  I wonder if the blurry vision comes from the experimental medication or doc reviewing.  Both seem hazardous for your health. Keep reading . . .

One Hundredth Post

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Total Black: $173.95
Total Red: $231,084.38

In addition to bringing this, the second installment of my Ordinal Posts, Fiftieth Post being the first, today also brings my first reference by another blog.  Bitter Lawyer sent some sinners over to the confessional here.  The site’s post discussed the efforts of attorneys to gain employment through Craigslist and had me in stitches a few times because I’ve trolled the depths of Craigslist myself, as I noted in I Need a New Gig for example, and I’ve definitely come across the types of posts Bitter Lawyer referenced. Although most of my digital wanderings were through the gigs section, I do browse the Legal/Paralegal page from time to time and also run some targeted searches for “lawyer” or “attorney” through the “All Jobs” or “All Gigs” databases.  In fact, I’m not sure I ever mentioned it—I didn’t in the initial post, If You Find Yourself in a Hole—that I found my way to the Recession Art Sale through searching for “lawyer” on Craigslist.  But no, I haven’t found any legal work that way, well . . . other than legal temp work, that is. Keep reading . . .

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 . . .

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

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Total Black: $889.52
Total Red: $230,285.21

As I left my apartment this morning, I decided to stop by the post office on my way to work.  The temp position has had me going for roughly twenty-seven days straight now without a day off.  It’s getting difficult to recall which day of the week it is especially without weekends to mark time by.  I received a few notices from the post office of letters and packages they couldn’t deliver.  So finally today I thought I’d stop and pick them up.  I’m glad I did. Keep reading . . .

I Need a New Gig

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Total Black: $1,247.29
Total Red: $230,131.21

The temporary contract attorney position is nearing its end.  There’s a chance it could be extended.  A slimmer chance that I’d be one of those selected to stay on.  The Recession Art Sale has already ended.  So, it’s time for a new gig.  But what? Keep reading . . .

Fourteen-Hour Days

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Total Black: $619.25
Total Red: $230,281.21

Now that the Recession Art Sale has ended, I’m left with only the contract attorney position.  And that will keep me very busy.  Today would have been my first day working straight through.  During the art sale I would leave the temp position for approximately four hours a day—generally during lunchtime hours.  Today I had to visit the doctor’s office for my two-week check-in for the medical experiment.  So, I was happy to have that interruption.  Testing the drug is coming along just fine.  No significant side-effects any longer.  Or at least none of the type described in Good News & BadKeep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 12, 2009 at 23:11

Same Story, Different Day

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Total Black: $785.02
Total Red: $230,311.86

I got paid today.  Reminds me how much I dislike taxes. My total pay was $2,770.00.  I took home $1,572.83. That’s $1,197.17 in taxes paid.  Insane!

As I walked into work this morning, my cellphone rang.  I didn’t recognize the number, but since today was the last day for the Recession Art Sale, I figured I should answer it.  Could have been a buyer.  No.  Instead it was Bank of America looking for money.  So instead of paying rent, I had to use my check to pay the utility bill, the cable/Internet bill, the cellphone bill, and then two credit cards.

Internet has been paid but it’s not yet been restored.  I guess I’ll have to stop by Starbucks tomorrow to use the Internet.  I don’t feel comfortable trying to update my blog at the contract attorney position.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 9, 2009 at 23:40

Antics of an Art Salesman

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Total Black: $128.71
Total Red: $230,272.86

Well, so far I’ve sold three pieces of art.  That’s roughly a thousand dollars in commission already.  And we still have two more days to go. Keep reading . . .

Adventures of a Temp Attorney

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Total Black: $229.97
Total Red: $230,366.57

Someone needs to make a movie out of the temporary contract attorney experience.  Maybe if my own adventures in getting out of debt in a year are sufficiently compelling that some filmmaker takes interest, then he or she can at least weave some gems from the temp job into a scene or two.  I referenced a few of the loony tunes I’ve already heard about when I wrote Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom.  I’m starting to have some stories of my own.  I suppose I should first set the scene. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

October 5, 2009 at 23:58

Practice (of Law) Makes (Im)perfect

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Total Black: $429.45
Total Red: $230,417.50

A few days ago one of the artists with the Recession Art Sale forwarded me an email she had received from someone interested in buying art.  It had all the classic spam qualities: miscapitalized words, an undeliverable “reply to” address, and so on, but I thought, “who knows?” and figured I’d give it a try.  Well, I almost got defrauded out of nearly two thousand dollars.  Not sure how the scheme would have worked because the spammer wanted to send us a certified check in return for the work.  I suppose there would have been some scammer’s way to make money.  I started feeling a bit more unsure about the transaction as we went back and forth.  I was given an address in Connecticut that didn’t exactly exist.  Plus the address given in the email included “USA” in it.  Americans don’t put USA after their addresses.  So I did a bit of google searching and, thanks to the Art News Blog, I dodged that freight train. Keep reading . . .

Pussyfootin’ Around

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Total Black: $625.15
Total Red: $230,649.18

In Never Been Further Apart I referenced the anxiety I feel when the telephone rings.  Since no one calls me on my home telephone number, it’s bound to be one of the debtors trying to get hold of me.  This morning both my cellphone and home phone rang at the exact same moment: 8:20 a.m.  The home phone was a credit card company; the cellphone was my mother calling to tell me that SallieMae was now calling her.  She’s a co-signor on one of my student loans.  And wonderful mother that she is, she made a payment on my student loans last month and asked SallieMae to send her the bills until I get back on my feet.  Only downside is that SallieMae will only apply her payments towards that loan she’s tied to.  Without the contract attorney position I’d continue to fall behind on those payments despite my mother’s help. Keep reading . . .

B(l)ack in the Red Again

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Total Black: -$24.67
Total Red: $230,649.18

It was deja vu all over again today as I stood in CVS this afternoon, looking to buy food with the few dollars I had available. I have to confess—that is the point of this blog after all, isn’t it?—that I pulled from my blog PayPal account the money I received from my first (and only) donation. About two weeks ago, I purchased a flash drive to use for the Recession Art Sale. No one had one and we needed to get images over to my computer so I could get our catalog in order. The image files of the artwork were too large to send via email. I had no other money available and we were a day away from our Monday night opening. So, I caved and transferred the $48.25 (what remained after PayPal took its cut from the $50 donation I received) into my personal PayPal account and used that money to purchase the flash drive. But since my personal PayPal account is linked with a PayPal charge card, I’ve been using that card (and the money attached) over the past few days to buy food, something I swore I wouldn’t do. Sorry. I haven’t owned up to it yet because I’ve been embarrassed that I caved. I supposed I could have waited a day or two, or perhaps I could have walked back to my apartment to pick up some rewritable DVDs and burned the image files to those. But, in the moment, I didn’t think of that. Keep reading . . .

On and On and On

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Total Black: $333.44
Total Red: $228,252.66

Seems it never ends.  Pay came through today.  About $740.  Roughly $250 was taken in fees.  And today Bank of America tacked on another fee.  Now the bank is charging me for withdrawing money from the ATM.  It held that withdrawal until a larger transaction posted, which pulled my account under.  Obviously the cash was available otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to withdraw it.  If the bank does not return these charges, I swear I will drag it to small claims court for like $90 in insufficient funds fees.  Given the amount of money banks have taken from the taxpayers in bailouts it’s beyond hypocritical that they slam us for going into the red, in my case for less than twenty-four hours. Keep reading . . .

Doing That Hustle

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Total Black: $40.32
Total Red: $228,013.71

So today was my first day as a true contract attorney.  And now I know why the temp attorney world is seen the way it is.  We had an orientation yesterday at the firm and not more than ten seconds after the associate left the room were the temp attorneys chatting, talking, laughing, and doing everything but looking through the material we were asked to review.  I felt like I was back in fifth grade when the teacher would step out of the room.  I was practically expecting one of the associates to reach a hand in and flick the lights on and off to tell us to be quiet.  Even in grade school I was the one who wanted to sit quietly and do my work.  Of course, not everyone goofed off.  But many did.  Today we started reviewing the documents.  Let’s hope I don’t scar my tongue from biting it throughout the next two months or so.  Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 23, 2009 at 23:23

An Emotional Enema

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Total Black: $207.25
Total Red: $228,013.71

It’s true.

Tonight was the opening of the Recession Art Sale.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t promoted very well, so there wasn’t much turn out.  Of course, I think that’s because the “soft opening” (or preview—as I called it) was on Thursday night and no one really made two “openings” clear to everyone.  Nevertheless, turn-out isn’t wholly the focus, selling the art is.  And we’ve received some great reviews already on the exhibit.  The Artpoint‘s Philip Clark called the show “a wonderful new collection of intriguing and eye-stopping works in all media.”  On another blog, Karen 5.0, Karen Witczak found the event “very warm and inviting, with a distinct energy.”  Only better reviews to come. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 21, 2009 at 23:33

Giving to Give or Giving to Get?

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Total Black: $286.43
Total Red: $227,843.18

I passed a woman today who clearly was homeless.  I was walking over to the gallery for the Recession Art Sale.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything on me as I had given the four dollars in cash I had on me the day before as a donation to St. John the Divine while visiting the church with my mother and sister.  But what caught my attention was my attitude about wanting to give her money.  In past blog entries like A Minor Triumph and What is This, Sarcasm? I discussed my struggles and difficulties with homelessness and panhandlers generally.  So it surprised me today that I was so willing to dole out cash.  Then I caught myself.  I wasn’t interested in giving money to this woman because I knew she was in need.  Instead, it would have provided me an opportunity to feel better about myself because I was in a position to give. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 20, 2009 at 22:40

Updates on Efforts

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Total Black: $142.17
Total Red: $227,804.18

Quick status updates:  the Recession Art Sale opened today with a great preview event.  I suppose technically it’ll “open” on Monday once again.  Amazing work being exhibited.  I’ve often wondered where the Picassos and El Grecos of today are.  I met many of them tonight.  If you’re interested, ask for the only lawyer art seller in the show.  I can hook you up with some beautiful pieces that will only increase in value.

Temp job is winding down.  But another one might be starting up next week.  That one would go for roughly six weeks and pay $40 an hour for approximately ten to twelve hours a day for six days a week.  That could net roughly $17,000 if I worked the maximum amount.  That right there is two student loans paid off.  Or like three credit card bills.  Or tax bills (which the IRS would prefer).  Gotta get the position first though.  And it’ll be tough squeezing in time for the art sale. Keep reading . . .

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

September 17, 2009 at 23:40

Debt, By Any Other Name

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Total Black: $137.54
Total Red: $227,685.50

Today at the temp gig, I got to talking with another contract attorney about the life of solo practitioners.  I touched on that option in a prior post, Hang a Shingle.  Seems like a brave new world out there.  Nearly everyone I know is starting a firm.  I’ve been asked to join one myself.  Oddly enough, I might even have a client of my own soon since my old law firm reached out to me about a case I worked on while at the firm.  I might need to take over as counsel of record.  Details still need to be worked out though.  One area that my quasi-officemate suggested I consider is loan modification and debt collection.  Naturally, I held my tongue.  I wasn’t about to come clean to a stranger about my financial woes.  Well, at least not without the cloak of internet anonymity.  And I’m glad I did because what she had to say about former clients and their financial habits was less than flattering.  She chatted at length about irresponsible clients who had lived beyond their means, leasing cars they couldn’t afford, mortgaging houses they couldn’t pay for.  She even commented about one client’s $500 grocery bill and claimed—incredulously—that they needed to put their kids on a diet because there’s no way they could possible need to eat that much food in a week.  She even pulled out the dreaded “welfare mom” analogy, albeit only to debunk that myth as being at the root of all our financial troubles.  Instead, as she summed it up, it’s solidly middle class people just living beyond their means.  Maybe.  But, as always, it’s not that simple. Keep reading . . .