What to do for a year?

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Anonymous User
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What to do for a year?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:53 pm

I've locked up a job post-graduation: Federal public interest gig with great pay, great hours, and great work environment. The problem is, it doesn't start until a year after I graduate. I'd obviously not rather wait a year, but the job is such that the wait would be unquestionably worth it. I've been struggling to find something to do in this "gap" year. Had a couple one-year federal clerkship interviews but ultimately struck out. I'm continuing to search for one-year opportunities, but other avenues have proven equally unpromising. I feel like I'm running out of options, and so I've come to TLS for help.

I feel like my best options at this point are either:
1. Start a non-profit. Work 30 hours a week at said non-profit (or whatever the minimum is), get part-time job begin public service loan forgiveness-eligible loan repayments.
2. Get an LLM (non-tax). Would only take this route if admitted to a top school in hopes that I could publish and possibly boost chances at academica. Extra cost is a non-factor since I'm already committed to doing the 10-year IBR/PSLF program.

I feel like option 1 may be risky, and I'd have to be extremely careful to document the hours I work each week so as to avoid or withstand IRS scrutiny. Ideally I could establish it as a viable enterprise long-term and run it on the side, but I obviously could not rely on this for income initially. Option 2 is slightly less attractive-- I'm weary at the prospect of another year of school and I realize that LLMs are rarely good investments. But I figure that it, at least, beats having no legal employment whatsoever for that year.

I wonder what you all think of these options, or what other options I could/should be pursuing.

Anonymous User
Posts: 342741
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: What to do for a year?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:34 pm

Work at a non-profit - more fun and skills development. Worst case, volunteer and try to get work on a contract basis while you wait until your federal job starts, deferring your loans.

More relevant question for us TLSers is how you got the fed job.


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Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 3:26 pm

Re: What to do for a year?

Postby elpolitico » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:19 am

Congrats on the job! Please tell how you landed it, if you don't mind.

Doing LLM (unless you're truly interested in going academic) or starting a non-profit seem a little dicey for occupying what is actually a pretty short amount of time. Instead, I would suggest that you do something related to the area of law you will be practicing in, even if that means doing volunteer lawyering and taking on a part-time job on the side. From my understanding (hoping for Honors Attorney program myself), there are ways to quickly advance in the public sector, particularly if you are an exemplary entry-level attorney. By engaging in related work prior to starting your job, you can get a leg up and boost your chances of quicker advancement (and a quicker salary boost).

I'd also suggest working on the skills necessary to become a successful lawyer, especially in your field. Get in touch with relevant practitioners for advice, go to trainings, CLE, join relevant (or quasi-relevant) legal organizations, and take any opportunity to improve your research and writing. Gear everything toward being well-prepared for your first year so that you can climb up the ladder a bit faster. And remember that the more valuable you are to the agency, the less likely you'll be let go if, say, a new administration comes in and trims your budget.

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