Biglaw + PSLF possible

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180kickflip
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Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby 180kickflip » Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:35 am

I realize that a biglaw position count require 80 hour work weeks at times and leave very little time or energy for additional work, but would it be possible/legal to have a biglaw position AND work full time in a PSLF eligible position?

For example, serving full time in a leadership position at a legitimate non-profit of your own creation.

Would you be able to file for PSLF forgiveness in this situation?

Any insight is appreciated.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:01 am

180kickflip wrote:I realize that a biglaw position count require 80 hour work weeks at times and leave very little time or energy for additional work, but would it be possible/legal to have a biglaw position AND work full time in a PSLF eligible position?

For example, serving full time in a leadership position at a legitimate non-profit of your own creation.

Would you be able to file for PSLF forgiveness in this situation?

Any insight is appreciated.

I don't know that anyone has ever tried this, nor have I seen any info addressing this situation, but I don't see how it would be possible. Mostly because I don't see how you could work in a full time PSLF eligible position while working full-time in biglaw. Frankly, I also think it goes against the purpose of PSLF, which is to encourage people to work in public service by addressing the financial barrier people face going into low-paying positions with educational debt; if you work biglaw, you don't face this barrier.

badaboom61
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby badaboom61 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:19 am

If you manage to work over 35 hours a week for a legitimate PSLF-eligible position while also working your 70-hour a week biglaw job and not getting fired from it, and potentially justify to an auditor that you in fact did this, then yes, you might be able to count it.

However, I can't imagine that this would be worth it financially even if you could make it work (which, realistically, you can't). Your payments, even if you qualified for IBR, would be very high based on your biglaw salary. And an extra year of debt forgiveness, even you have $250k of loans, would only be worth like $30k or so (I'm not running the numbers, just estimating), max.

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twenty
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby twenty » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:30 pm

For example, serving full time in a leadership position at a legitimate non-profit of your own creation.


This borders on fraud. If I were an IG auditor, I would maybe give you some wiggle room if you were able to demonstrate that you consistently worked full-time hours outside your biglaw job, that your non-profit was actually doing things, and it would help lots if you didn't create this non-profit right after you got offered a spot at a firm.

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prezidentv8
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby prezidentv8 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:33 pm

180kickflip wrote:I realize that a biglaw position count require 80 hour work weeks at times and leave very little time or energy for additional work, but would it be possible/legal to have a biglaw position AND work full time in a PSLF eligible position?

For example, serving full time in a leadership position at a legitimate non-profit of your own creation.

Would you be able to file for PSLF forgiveness in this situation?

Any insight is appreciated.


Stop.

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Teoeo
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby Teoeo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:36 pm

It is a moot question because even if you could, you would end up paying all your loan back before the 10 years. For example:

Let's say you make 160k at your big law job and 40k at your PSLF job.

200k - 30k (non-discretionary income) = 170k x .10 (assuming you are under PAYE, the best possible plan), = 17k for your first year of work. Assuming normal raises, you would pay back over 200k before the 10 years was up.

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Dingo Starr
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby Dingo Starr » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:41 pm

That was one of my first thoughts.

The other one was to go for it and let us all know what happens in 10 years.

Creative accounting is awesome!

philipthegreat
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby philipthegreat » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:49 pm

Looks like one of the former Enron accountants decided to try out the legal field.

But seriously, if you were a competent attorney and you put turned a some of those extra 40 hours/wk into billable hours for the firm I think the payout would probably be higher in the long run.

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SemperLegal
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby SemperLegal » Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:51 pm

Also, the non-profit would likely have to be completely non-legal. My impression is that you need to clear each and every legal relationship that you have with your firm, even if there is no possible conflict of interest.

badaboom61
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby badaboom61 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:09 pm

A much more interesting possibility would be doing this if you were working a shitlaw/doc review job, in which case there might actually be some profit potential in it. It would probably need to be a non-legal organization, and you would need a good way to prove that you were actually putting full-time hours into the organization, because otherwise it would be fraud.

I'm not sure what the language of the statute is, though; I could see it being worded so that if you work an 8-5 job that isn't in the public interest, you're out of luck. If it's not, it probably should be.

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180kickflip
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby 180kickflip » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:08 pm

twenty wrote:
For example, serving full time in a leadership position at a legitimate non-profit of your own creation.


This borders on fraud. If I were an IG auditor, I would maybe give you some wiggle room if you were able to demonstrate that you consistently worked full-time hours outside your biglaw job, that your non-profit was actually doing things, and it would help lots if you didn't create this non-profit right after you got offered a spot at a firm.



I can understand this concern, but the company has been an idea of mine for years and is a serious interest/possibility whether or not it becomes related to PSLF. At this point I’m just kicking around ideas in my head to get an idea of what is and isn’t possible/legal.

The scenario I see is not being in an office 40 hours on top of big law, but having a full time leadership/consultant position where I could essential set my own hours and availability.

Admittedly the potential savings may not amount to much (if anything) if I stayed in biglaw for 10 years, but I’m wondering if there would be any significant benefits if I was only in biglaw 3-4 years (far more realistic) and then moved on to something with a more modest pay level. At that point, maybe the 3-4 years in biglaw that I was still credited for PSLF would be significant getting me nearly halfway to full forgiveness while also allowing me to set myself up financially in the meantime.

Again...Just kicking around ideas. At the level of debt some people are looking at, I think throwing around some ideas that don’t go anywhere is still preferable to just going with the flow with crossed fingers.

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby TheSpanishMain » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:15 pm

I don't get how you can both "set your own hours" and be full time.

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midwest17
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby midwest17 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:18 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't get how you can both "set your own hours" and be full time.

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patogordo
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby patogordo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:26 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't get how you can both "set your own hours" and be full time.

maybe he should also define his "salary" as "investment income" and cut his taxes in half

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180kickflip
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby 180kickflip » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:33 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't get how you can both "set your own hours" and be full time.


I'm not 100% sure anyone could for PSLF, but I imagine there are quite a few executives that have a "full time" position but have complete control of their hours.

If that were the case and someone had a position that was labelled and paid by their company as "full time", would this scenario have savings potential?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:34 pm

PSLF requires documentation of 35 hours a week in the public sector position to be eligible for the program, regardless of what the company calls your position. I don't know how "setting your own hours" is going to make this any more feasible on top of biglaw.

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midwest17
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby midwest17 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:35 pm

180kickflip wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't get how you can both "set your own hours" and be full time.


I'm not 100% sure anyone could for PSLF, but I imagine there are quite a few executives that have a "full time" position but have complete control of their hours.

If that were the case and someone had a position that was labelled and paid by their company as "full time", would this scenario have savings potential?


"Full time" for PSLF is not an arbitrary label that employers can choose to assign to jobs. It's a number of hours per week.

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180kickflip
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby 180kickflip » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:37 pm

patogordo wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't get how you can both "set your own hours" and be full time.

maybe he should also define his "salary" as "investment income" and cut his taxes in half


Not sure if this was a real suggestion or joke, but if the income from the company isn't earned income from wages I think it's excluded from PSLF eligibility. I could be wrong.

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180kickflip
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby 180kickflip » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:43 pm

midwest17 wrote:
180kickflip wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:I don't get how you can both "set your own hours" and be full time.


I'm not 100% sure anyone could for PSLF, but I imagine there are quite a few executives that have a "full time" position but have complete control of their hours.

If that were the case and someone had a position that was labelled and paid by their company as "full time", would this scenario have savings potential?


"Full time" for PSLF is not an arbitrary label that employers can choose to assign to jobs. It's a number of hours per week.



Agreed. My understanding is that it's 30 hours+. I'm not sure if that would necessarily change the equation for someone in a leadership/consulting role though. Being available online or phone 31 hours per week might work. Maybe not. That's why I'm asking.

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patogordo
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby patogordo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:44 pm

wow, reality imitates art ITT

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TheSpanishMain
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby TheSpanishMain » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:44 pm

Let this one go, I think. "Full Time" generally means you're devoting a set, predictable number of hours during the week, and usually implies that the job is your primary professional responsibility. Squeezing in 35 hours a week where you, in a state of pure exhaustion and delirium after working a Big Law job, send out a few random 3 AM emails definitely violates the spirit of the program if nothing else.

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midwest17
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby midwest17 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:48 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Let this one go, I think. "Full Time" generally means you're devoting a set, predictable number of hours during the week, and usually implies that the job is your primary professional responsibility. Squeezing in 35 hours a week where you, in a state of pure exhaustion and delirium after working a Big Law job, send out a few random 3 AM emails definitely violates the spirit of the program if nothing else.


This.

It won't work. And if by some chance it did work, you'd be an asshole and rightly scorned by people who are actually working in PI.

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180kickflip
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby 180kickflip » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:09 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:Let this one go, I think. "Full Time" generally means you're devoting a set, predictable number of hours during the week, and usually implies that the job is your primary professional responsibility. Squeezing in 35 hours a week where you, in a state of pure exhaustion and delirium after working a Big Law job, send out a few random 3 AM emails definitely violates the spirit of the program if nothing else.



I totally appreciate your responses, but I'm not really trying to question the "spirit of the program" or what is generally assumed. People far more informed than I am have already debated the spirit of PSLF, IBR, etc., and come to both positive and negative conclusions. I'm really just trying to find out about the legality of the scenario.

If it's technically impossible/illegal under the program, I won't give it a second thought. I have absolutely zero intention of breaking any rules. I just really want to understand the boundaries of the program better and know why this could/couldn't work.

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patogordo
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby patogordo » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:15 pm

why don't you consult the legislative history for guidance

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180kickflip
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Re: Biglaw + PSLF possible

Postby 180kickflip » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:42 pm

patogordo wrote:why don't you consult the legislative history for guidance


I don't expect TLS to be the only (or maybe even best) resource, but I do think a lot of the people on here are knowledgeable about financial aid and PSLF, so I'm trying to see if anyone here can come up with reasons it would either be technically impossible, unlawful, or financially useless first.

Plus I'm somewhat lazy and posting here is easier and less time consuming than any research I'd do otherwise.

Do you know of any specific reasons why it wouldn't be beneficial or legal?




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