DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

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DCDeckard
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DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby DCDeckard » Thu May 07, 2009 9:58 am

I've been playing around with the fin. aid calculator (http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/ibr.cgi#help3) and am trying to figure out for students entering the DOJ Honors Program out of school whether it would be better to elect to pursue income base repayment or fixed payment, both under the CCRA 10 yr timetable.

Assuming you live in DC, and using the 2009 salary table, an honors attorney will start at the GS-11 level ($60,989) and within 4 years be at the GS-15 level ($120,830). Plugging these numbers into the calculator yields an initial IBR monthly payment of $567.36 jumping to $1,583.17 at the 4 year mark. Under the fixed payment option your monthly payments would be $1,388.14. Obviously at the 10 year mark you will have paid out much more under the fixed plan than the IBR plan but am curious if anyone thinks it would be better to pursue the fixed payment option. If nothing else, hopefully this post can yield a meaningful discussion about the CCRA/IBR.

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silenziatori
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby silenziatori » Thu May 07, 2009 11:23 am

What I say below is based on the figures provided by the CCRA calculator DCDeckard linked.

I think the attraction to the IBR is that you get to keep more of your income over time, with the downside that by the end of the 10 years your principal balance will have grown. Of course, this is only a downside if you don't end up qualifying to have your remaining balance discharged.

It appears that repayment with fixed monthly payments leaves you with a zero balance on your loans at the same time you would have had the remaining balance discharged anyways. What's the point then, right? Well, if you're averse to the risk of not qualifying for the discharge, and don't want to end up with a bigger loan than you started out with, it might make sense to repay this way. If your school offers a generous LRAP, it may not be so bad to do so, depending on the terms of the LRAP and your marital status. It would likely require much frugality during the first couple of years.

There are a lot of factors to consider here. Unfortunately, I think a major difficulty with this decision, as with many things, is a lack of foresight. I would personally opt for the IBR since I intend going the government/PI route.

articulably suspect
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby articulably suspect » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:32 pm

Thought I would bump this thread. For those of use interested in govt/pi and are concerned about debt repayment/COL, I figured a discussion on LRAP, IBR and the various Federal Govt. loan assistant programs would be helpful.

Anyone actually using their school's LRAP or IBR?

ArmyVet07
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby ArmyVet07 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:34 pm

As the OP pointed out, the salary figues given are for DC. Here's a link to the OPM, which includes the numbers for all localities as well as the 2010 salary table:

http://www.opm.gov/oca/09tables/index.asp

articulably suspect
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby articulably suspect » Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:25 am

ArmyVet07 wrote:As the OP pointed out, the salary figues given are for DC. Here's a link to the OPM, which includes the numbers for all localities as well as the 2010 salary table:

http://www.opm.gov/oca/09tables/index.asp


Thanks, but I wasn't really concerned with salaries for federal positions as much as I was hoping some peole on TLS, who are considering LRAP/IBR to pay back their loans and assist with COL, would share their insights on it. Mainly I was hoping there were some 3Ls who are planning on taking this route or even better, attorney's who are presently utilizing LRAPs/IBR.

panther45
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby panther45 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:01 pm

DCDeckard wrote:I've been playing around with the fin. aid calculator (http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/ibr.cgi#help3) and am trying to figure out for students entering the DOJ Honors Program out of school whether it would be better to elect to pursue income base repayment or fixed payment, both under the CCRA 10 yr timetable.

Assuming you live in DC, and using the 2009 salary table, an honors attorney will start at the GS-11 level ($60,989) and within 4 years be at the GS-15 level ($120,830). Plugging these numbers into the calculator yields an initial IBR monthly payment of $567.36 jumping to $1,583.17 at the 4 year mark. Under the fixed payment option your monthly payments would be $1,388.14. Obviously at the 10 year mark you will have paid out much more under the fixed plan than the IBR plan but am curious if anyone thinks it would be better to pursue the fixed payment option. If nothing else, hopefully this post can yield a meaningful discussion about the CCRA/IBR.

Why would you be at GS-15 in 4 years, wouldn't you be at a GS-11 step 4, unless you were promoted?

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reasonable_man
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby reasonable_man » Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:11 pm

Does anyone know how overly-insanely difficult it is to get into the DOJ honors program in a good economy?

Op, in addition to moving up 4 full grades in like 3 years once hired by the DOJ honors program, will you also be graduating from a t6 in the top 10% of your class and on law review?

Anonymous Loser
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby Anonymous Loser » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:10 pm

DCDeckard wrote:I've been playing around with the fin. aid calculator (http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/ibr.cgi#help3) and am trying to figure out for students entering the DOJ Honors Program out of school whether it would be better to elect to pursue income base repayment or fixed payment, both under the CCRA 10 yr timetable.

Assuming you live in DC, and using the 2009 salary table, an honors attorney will start at the GS-11 level ($60,989) and within 4 years be at the GS-15 level ($120,830). Plugging these numbers into the calculator yields an initial IBR monthly payment of $567.36 jumping to $1,583.17 at the 4 year mark. Under the fixed payment option your monthly payments would be $1,388.14. Obviously at the 10 year mark you will have paid out much more under the fixed plan than the IBR plan but am curious if anyone thinks it would be better to pursue the fixed payment option. If nothing else, hopefully this post can yield a meaningful discussion about the CCRA/IBR.


Why wouldn't a borrower elect the IBR repayment option and simply make additional payments to principal?

Is this hypothetical assuming that the borrower will not be taking advantage of loan forgiveness or something? I don't understand why anyone would want to make anything more than the absolute minimum in loan payments if they are in a qualifying public interest position and intend to remain for 10 years.

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kurama20
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby kurama20 » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:14 pm

reasonable_man wrote:Does anyone know how overly-insanely difficult it is to get into the DOJ honors program in a good economy?

Op, in addition to moving up 4 full grades in like 3 years once hired by the DOJ honors program, will you also be graduating from a t6 in the top 10% of your class and on law review?


Yeah I have to say it is pretty funny that the OP thinks that the government automatically promotes you like that. The government is like a regular job, compensation increases are not "lockstep" just by being there like it is in Biglaw. I bet it takes the average DOJ hire a decade before they reach the 120K GS-15 step 1 salary (if they ever do). If you are looking to be certain of making six figures then DOJ isn't the route to go, biglaw is what you are looking for.

articulably suspect
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby articulably suspect » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:04 pm

kurama20 wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:Does anyone know how overly-insanely difficult it is to get into the DOJ honors program in a good economy?

Op, in addition to moving up 4 full grades in like 3 years once hired by the DOJ honors program, will you also be graduating from a t6 in the top 10% of your class and on law review?


Yeah I have to say it is pretty funny that the OP thinks that the government automatically promotes you like that. The government is like a regular job, compensation increases are not "lockstep" just by being there like it is in Biglaw. I bet it takes the average DOJ hire a decade before they reach the 120K GS-15 step 1 salary (if they ever do). If you are looking to be certain of making six figures then DOJ isn't the route to go, biglaw is what you are looking for.



Many government agencies increase your salary in structured increments, generally this is done annually. This is all based on my own experience and research. Once the attorney reaches a certain level, moving up a level becomes very difficult and is no longer an annual automatic step up. When this happens, the attorney's(govt. employee) will just receive a percentage raise at whatever particular level they are at.

At the local DA's office I worked at, going from level 1-4 takes about four years, this seems to be the policy at other DA/PD offices. For example, an attorney that started at this office 5 years ago(Atty 1-mid 40K) now, 5 years later is a level 4 making low 100k. He hit 4 after four years and is now simply receiving annual percentage increases to his salary. There are few 5's, once you hit 4 you could be stuck there for a long time. The highest paid 4 is in the 120K range.

According to this US Attorney, re: salary "My starting salary was about 75k. At the agency I worked at, you went up every year and then at the end of the third year you hit 105k. I changed jobs before that so I've missed a year of a raise, and am looking forward to getting above six figures after january."
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reasonable_man
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:06 pm

Once more. Anyone have any idea how hard it is to get into the DOJ honors program? Because I'm pretty sure its a helluvalot harder than getting a biglaw job...

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YCrevolution
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby YCrevolution » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:27 pm

..

articulably suspect
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Re: DOJ Lawyer Salary & CCRA

Postby articulably suspect » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:41 pm

YCrevolution wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:Once more. Anyone have any idea how hard it is to get into the DOJ honors program? Because I'm pretty sure its a helluvalot harder than getting a biglaw job...

Apparently not.

The nice federal lawyer jobs are really hard to get in a good economy, particularly the ones through Honors programs. During a bad economy, I'm sure the competition is even more intense. Even during a good economy, plenty of lawyers with years of experience (and T14 degrees) get turned down from federal jobs.


Yes, the honors program is very, very competitive. Generally, PI/Govt employers care far less about school prestige than do Biglaw employers. I tend to think DOJ cares more about school prestige than other departments/levels of govt. However, if you look at the schools represented in last years honors program, JDs from the entire spectrum are represented, from Yale to Cooley. Unfortunately, we don't know which schools are heavily represented and which schools are not. DOJ doesn't give up that data. http://www.justice.gov/oarm/arm/hp/lawschools.htm




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