Skip to comments.What is my generation supposed to do?
Posted on 07/14/2011 1:45:59 PM PDT by wrhssaxensemble
So I recently graduated from law school and passed the bar exam in 2 New England states. I went to a public high school because it was all that my family could afford. Luckily my school was one of those rare public schools that offered exemplary education, often even better than the private schools in the area. During high school non-stop up until now I have worked at jobs, usually full time, in addition to school. Still broke, I went to my state's best public university. It was all that I could afford. I graduated summa and near the top of my class. I then went to law school and despite going to a lower ranked school because they offered me a substantial scholarship, I owe $100,000 in student loan debt. Other than that I have no debt. I paid off my credit cards before the bills became due and earned every penny beyond my student loans from working at numerous jobs.
I graduated near the top of my class from both the JD and an MBA program that I tacked on for only an extra semester of school. I kept costs low while in law school by living with family. In part it was great because it helped me financially but more so because it let me keep an eye on my elderly grandparents who had health difficulties. Now I am officially sworn into the bar and make $11.89 an hour with absolutely no benefits (no health insurance, etc.)beyond a very small amount I can afford to put into my 401(k).
I have a job lined up for the fall- I am very grateful for it as most of my friends don't have any- but the pay isn't nearly what most people would expect for an attorney. It is not enough for me to move out into my own place and be able to afford heat, electricity, food, etc. It would be enough but with taxes- 7.5% FICA, 28% Fed income tax and 5% state income tax- I can't afford it. On the other hand I am tired of having to rely on my family to survive. I am a grown man and should be able to go live on my own now.
By all intents and measures I think I have thus far followed all the rules one is supposed to. I stayed away from drugs, alcohol, casual sex, etc. and just tried to work hard and be a good christian. Now there's no jobs anywhere that would be enough to meet all my bills. I want to move to TX but it would require paying another $5000 to take a bar exam and I am not sure the job prospects are any better there.
Now I'm not stupid. I know the current debate is not fully over social security for the current elderly. The real issue for spending is in part over the fact nothing will be left when my generation is old enough. But what are the people in my generation supposed to do? Anyone? We are not all self-centered sex-obssessed morons in my generation. Yes some are but that would be akin to saying that I can blame all of the problems of today on every baby boomer because there are many selfish people in their generation.
I guess my point is how can I and people my age in similar circumstances survive in light of the government's enjoyment of destroying our future? A recap:
-the government undervalued higher education by demanding that social justice requires a higher ed for everyone - the government made loans thus jacking up the price of such a degree -the government said there weren't enough lawyers to provide social justice so demanded more law schools and lawyers - the government said everyone deserves a home regardless of whether they work for it, thereby causing the current economic mess we are in -the government spent excessively to "fix" the problem but just made it worse
How can someone like me who despite trying to do things the right way, to avoid government handouts, to work hard, to try to be a good christian survive when the government has forced us into working poor status and is trying to force us into dependence?
Learn to work with your hands and you’ll never go wrong.
Dump the collectivist mindset. Thte question is, what are YOU prepared to do with the gifts and opportunities you've been given, and have earned?
There's a million stories in the big city, your is only one of them.
Make a plan, and do it. Examine the results, learn what you can, make a new plan, and do that.
Repeat forever, rain or shine. Welcome to human life.
Sorry for this but another lawyer in this country isn’t exactly a godsend.
Hotel and hospital work is international.
It is when 75-80% of them are leftists. You need people to hold them back from fullscale adopting progressive crap through the courts, legislatures and executive branch
Sign on for a three year enlistment in the United States Marine Corps. You’ll never regret it.
That's a question which has been wrestled with since the beginning.
Focus on optimizing your own life to mitigate the damage to it from events outside your control. What exactly this will mean for you will depend on the life you want.
Sounds like you are well on the way to this.
Be smart enough to be self reliant.
Also, read history. Perspective matters. Read about life for the average person in the Middle Ages or ancient times. You'll feel pretty darn happy to just have a roof and food in your stomach.
Couple your current degrees with technical certification in one of the sciences: engineering, pharma, medical etc. Take courses in areas that would lead to employment in the pharma field—in my area (RTP) clinical trial research is big — and LEGAL is a BIG component. Just a suggestion. Build a practical knowledge on the base of your law degree.
Follow a budget.
Get a roommate.
Invest your time in learning how to network and promoting your firm relentlessly and get the reputation as a rainmaker.
You’ll be fine.
“How can someone like me who despite trying to do things the right way, to avoid government handouts, to work hard, to try to be a good christian survive when the government has forced us into working poor status and is trying to force us into dependence?”
Work harder and better than everyone else. Works every time.
I think over time you will find that there is always a way for a good attorney who works hard, returns phone calls, is conscientious, and honest, to make a decent if not good living.
Just focus on doing a good job for your clients. The legal profession is not easy, but, few professions are. Hang in there, and you’ll be just fine.
This is a serious suggestion.
Consider a career as a JAG for the Navy/USMC.
Look up how you, as a JD can go through OCS and be a lawyer in the Navy.
You can keep your expenses low, have a truly honorable career, and perhaps make a shift in career to intelligence+law. The reasoning skills you have learned getting your JD just mught help you in Intel.
Also, a good friend of mine who had a lifelong career in corporate law has now become a doctor and entered private practice (well, in a small group).
But back to the core idea — the Navy won’t pay you much, but your cost of living can be pretty miniscule. AND you can get a lot of different experiences as counsel for the defense or prosecutor in the militray equivalent of both civil and criminal law, plus makea shift to contract and/or international law. Lastly if you do well in the NAvy they will pay you to keep advancing your education. You can become a skilled lawyer AND _____________.
I had a dream to be a marine biologist. I was going to be the next Jacques Cousteau.
I have been in technology and healthcare technology for 30+ years ;-)
Emigrate. If you are willing to travel overseas (most Americans are not, due to family obligations and/or serious misconceptions about the quality of life outside the USA), there are companies that may want to ex-pat you. It was a great leg up for me to go to Singapore for a few years straight out of school. Just don’t spit gum on the sidewalk and you’ll love it.
Lawyers and Unions: Responsible in large part for the decay of this country.
Get a job doing what you have been trained to do. Get real-world experience in your field. At this point, your resume is all scholastic, you need actual experience.
Eventually, the opportunities will avail. But you don’t start at the top. You’re a n00b ;)
I think the FIRST thing you need to recognize is that you won’t get everything you want immediately. Paying off debt, achieving success and building weatlth is a long, cumulative process that requires discipline. But, it sounds like its discipline that has gotten you where you are, so just apply it to this situation. Its also the little things, like starting off with a not-so-fancy car, eating lunch at your desk, and saving part of every paycheck.
Five years from now, you’ll probably be making good $$ with your college debts nearly paid off. In ten years, you’ll be living in a nice home and have basically everything you need. Twenty years from now, you’ll have more $$ then you know what to do with.
I had a tough time finding a job that I liked in California back in the 90s and I finally decided to interview for jobs in other regions of the country. I noticed much more interest and respect from employers right away in the less competitive job markets, and I found a good job in the Southeast within a few weeks. I had to move, of course, but I found I liked the Southeast more than CA anyway and financially I was way ahead. So I would keep an open mind about where you're willing to work and possible relocation.
How much government is involved in that 100,000 dollar edu loan? Boomers tax money in any way involved?
You’re fresh out in the world. You’re not supposed to be self sufficient yet. That’s what roommates or new spouses are for. You can’t run before you walk, no matter how many bar exams you pass.
I was in your situation back in the late 1970s.
I had no problem finding a job; it was just that the businesses were shrinking and laying employees off due to a spreading recession during the Carter Presidency. I was laidoff three times in two years and saw a third layoff rapidly approaching. (None of those companies existed after 1986.)
So I joined the military. It was the smartest thing I ever did. By the fourth day in boot camp I knew what I truly wanted to do the rest of my life - and it wasn’t the Navy! But I received training and experience that helped me in my career and provided an income and those all important contacts which became important later on.
The military has need of lawyers. You might want to talk to them, see what they offer you.
Right now the State of Washington is looking for three attorneys. I would be willing to bet there are other states also looking to hire an attorney. Your career is out there, you just have to look beyond your present location.
If it is any consolation, after my honorable discharge from the Navy, I found a very good paying job just a 20 minute drive from my folks home.
Sometimes to reach your goal, life requires a detour first. Think of it as an “adventure”, and try to relax and enjoy it.
I have no idea what I would expect a lawyer fresh out of a second tier law school to earn. The problem seems to be more with your own expectations.
You have a job lined up for fall. Good start. Go to work and begin looking for your next job, while developing a marketable specialty. And be realistic. So far you haven't done anything that warrants a fancy salary.
I would add that I don’t think living with family is to be looked down upon for now.
There’s going to have to be lots of that in the future. That’s not all bad. Yes, we hate to be forced to take in the grandparents, but, families should stick together and be there for each other. We have relied on the “Government” for far too long.
Truly the best advise posted. I wasn't a Marine, but I got to know them up close a personal on a hot summer day at NAS Pensacola Fl when I showed up for Aviation Officer Candidate School.
I'm sure Paris Island is nice this time of the year.
I would try and find out where law is heading, so you can try and specialize. And since you’re not too deeply in debt, you can probably afford to take on a heavier debtload better than the peers who are in your situation, but choose to acquire their education relying on their student loans.
You’ll have the same education or better education than your peers and less of a student loan to deal with.
First mistake. There are no rules you are "supposed to follow". Just choices and freedom to choose and pursue happiness. No happiness guaranteed.
You chose to study a field in which there is a surplus of applicants. Too many. Enough to shingle all the rooftops in my city with attorneys and have enough left over to use as cobblestones.
Despite your choice of vocation, there remains opportunity here. I know of asians who immigrated here clearing more than $10k/month operating a donut place. Did they go to law school? Nope.
Now, you will begin to get an education about life. Go find what you can now - even outside your field - anything. Life owes you nothing. Go make something of yourself.
Godspeed and good luck.
If you're not going into a big firm and want to make good money, my advice is to concentrate in a field with high demand and which others aren't doing as often and market that. I'm only semi-practicing right now (own another business), but am looking more and more with the estate planning area. If I go pack into full time practice, I'll be putting up a shingle.
As soon as you figure out how incorrect this statement is, you will be well on your way to success.
“I owe $100,000 in student loan debt. “
and there is your major error. Even at the lower interest rate on these loans you will be along time paying that off.
I dunno. Maybe Dave Ramsey would have some helpful advice:
Pray. Fellowship with other Christians. Live frugally; forget “status” and trying to keep up with the Joneses, drive older cars, think for yourself. Urge Congress regularly to tweak your Social Security and Medicare and see that they take steps to fix the problem; elect people who will enact term limits. Eat healthy. Live healthy, and that doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive gym membership. Save money regularly. - Most of all, be rich toward the Lord. - Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over . .
Second, all the old rules still apply. You work at being successful and work your way up. You won't be getting your own office and secretary until you prove yourself and earn it.
Nothing has changed. Yes, there are fewer jobs. But few were ever handed a cushy job "just because". Talent still wins. But it has to be displayed first. It's called "work" for a reason.
Find a way to help people who really ARE at the end of their road- no family, no job, no education, no health, no prospects. Just pick up a paper and find some volunteer event that sounds interesting and GO.
Volunteer work, even pro bono legal work, adds to your resume but better, to your wisdom. You work well with elderly- volunteer with an agency that helps indigent seniors. Or any other agency.
Belong to a church with an active young adult program? Find one. Enjoy. Networking can be pleasure.
Figure out a goal of networking your way to Texas, consider a position as a researcher or clerk, maybe with a firm or small practice that will pay for your bar.
Seek out people who work for themselves, think about how you can make that happen.
My cousin is in a small town, in a 1-man law office with a secretary. He doesn't make much money and no one gives him benefits. But he enjoys life as a volunteer and travels a lot on bargain adventure stuff, like hiking and camping.
What is important to you? Meet someone who has less than a year to live, help them out, hear their perspectives, it may inspire you.
In your CV you mention repeatedly two elements: membership in the bar and your christian faith. Why not combine those two? Many of today’s social issues, e.g. abortion, homosexual marriage, homosexual incursions into the public schools, etc. are being litigated in the courts at both the State and Federal level. Why not offer your services to one of the groups or firms in your area engaged in these legal battles? I am sure your talents would be most welcome there.
If I had a law degree, I’d start a 501c3 and become a conservative version of the ACLU or Michael Newdow. I’d take donations and start filing lawsuits to try and subvert the leftist agenda in politics, academia, and the judiciary.
Bet I could even eke out a nice living doing that. And I’d be able to sleep soundly at night.
That $100,000 debt load? Pay that down as FAST as you possibly can. Whatever job you get, no matter how much you make, you live off pork and beans if you have to, but *get rid of that debt*.
Otherwise, it’ll be a monkey on your back forever.
Best of luck. You aren’t the only one in this situation, and I think when the history of this era is written, the universities are going to have a LOT of explaining to do as to why they crippled kids with this kind of debt right out of the box. It really is disgusting.
Ended up doing different things after the Army. Best thing that ever happened.
There is sage advice from other wiser than I. Good Luck!!
My nephew graduated in 2010 and has just gotten an "Intership" with a company through connections with friends.
Networking through friends and contacts is 90% of the work these days as businesses are flooded with resumes every day for every job.
What happened is that an all out assault on business is underway. Businesses are unsure of the new business regulations in the massive Obamacaren, environmental, and financial regulation bills. It would have been worse if the requirement to mail every financial transaction over $600 not been repealed, but the Trifecta against business continues.
Attempts to increase business taxation during these hard times is unabated. I need not say who is attempting to increase Business taxation - that is obvious.
All I can say, is to get into networking in a big way. Polish your skills and any anything that would make you stand out in the crowd. Take any volunteer or Internship possible.
Lastly (but I should have said firstly) get your family to pray and if they will not, learn to pray - specific targeted prayers of service. This may be more effectatious than one might expect.
I’ve considered it many times. Problem is I am just starting and have no reputation yet. I also don’t have any capital to start a group like that. Law firms and non-profit orgs are surprisingly capital heavy.
(BTW, I was Army)
I have prayed in good times and bad. Sometimes I would see God' s hand right away. Sometimes not until later stages in my life. You have the whole world ahead of you. Keep your faith by action -pray seek and live in Him with Him in the Unity of the Holy Spirit. Also ask others for prayers. You can get good decent Christian prayer sites to pray for you. You should pray for others too. Give and it will be given back. I wish and pray thee well!!
Considering your degree and education, I would recommend looking to the SEC which is always looking for good lawyers who have a business background to go after dishonest investment brokers.
I would not hire you. That said go start your own business. After a couple of failures you will be ready for someone to hire you.
Oh and if you text more than three times a day, own an iPhone and are constantly on Facebook and Twitter stop it!!!
Live at home with the parents and don’t pay over the minimum on the student loan until you have saved at least 6 months expenses. Put one third of that in dollars, the rest in gold and silver.
After you saved that cushion, if you are in a 28% tax bracket, you make at least 80K AGI, which should be plenty to live on even after knocking a grand a month or more off on the student loans. The balance of your income might not get you a 3500 sq ft mcmansion, but an apartment or decent starter home and used car should be well in reach.
Get into risk management or compliance in an investment firm. Both are hot right now. Companies need help with this stuff. With a J.D. you bring something to the table.
You're gonna need both.