Government Law? What am I missing?

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sparty99
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby sparty99 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:57 am

Ludovico Technique wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
I dunno... no question you can make more in private practice, but $150,000, even in a major metro area, is hardly roughing it.


Yes and no. If you have 2+ kids, before they are in school, $150k can evaporate pretty quickly. For example, assume three kids:

Mortgage: $2.5k
Child care: $3.5k (we'll say that two are in preschool (at $1500 a pop), and one is in regular school but needs after school care (at $500 a pop). This goes up to $4.5k in the summer.
Student loans: $1k (assuming both spouses paid down their loans to manageable levels)
Medical: $500 ($300 premium contribution, plus there's always about $200 worth of out of pocket stuff with that many kids)
Car: $400 (assuming one car, not paid off, plus insurance)
Phone/internet/energy/cable/water: $300

That's just the major stuff, and we're already at $8,200 -- leaving probably around a grand to pay for food, entertainment, clothes, gas, etc. And nothing in the summer.


Time to tell your wife to get a job bro


+1

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thesealocust
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:01 am

BruceWayne wrote:I'll say this,for those who do land Fed government and have sticker debt, it is a better choice than biglaw (especially NYC biglaw).


...better in what way?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:08 am

thesealocust wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:I'll say this,for those who do land Fed government and have sticker debt, it is a better choice than biglaw (especially NYC biglaw).


...better in what way?

Slightly better hours. Plus, if you get BigFed these days, you likely went to a T14, which means an LRAP that will pay your debt down for you. Fed salary + LRAP can actually mean higher effective wages than BigLaw.

maf70
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby maf70 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:27 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
anon168 wrote:Which agencies can you be 3 years out of law school and bring in 90k/year (with or without locality adjustments)?

Even DOJ attorneys, who are on the GS as opposed to the AD scale, generally do not make 90k/year 3 years after law school. I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that's the case for just about every Executive Branch agency out there.


According to http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/entry-salary.html, someone entering DOJ with 3 years of post-law school experience gets paid $89,033 in DC.


IRS starts at GS-11, step 8 rather than GS-11, step 1. You hit over 90k after 3 years.

sparty99
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby sparty99 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:42 am

maf70 wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
anon168 wrote:Which agencies can you be 3 years out of law school and bring in 90k/year (with or without locality adjustments)?

Even DOJ attorneys, who are on the GS as opposed to the AD scale, generally do not make 90k/year 3 years after law school. I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that's the case for just about every Executive Branch agency out there.


According to http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/entry-salary.html, someone entering DOJ with 3 years of post-law school experience gets paid $89,033 in DC.


IRS starts at GS-11, step 8 rather than GS-11, step 1. You hit over 90k after 3 years.


Not sure what anon is talking about....I also know other agencies that pay 90k 3 years out. The federal government does not take 10 years to make six figures.

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grossindiscretion
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby grossindiscretion » Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:48 am

JohnnyLaw wrote:Nah dude not really. That analogy would only apply if it was harder to buy a pinto than a lambo. If that was the case there'd be a lot less lawyers, and this conversation would be moot. Also this conversation wouldn't exist, because TLS wouldn't exist, because anyone could drive your proverbial pinto. You've now failed twice.

Still waiting for a worthwhile response.


I don't have any legal employment experience, but based on the criteria in your OP and my general conception of these two jobs, let me restate this analogy in different terms to make it easier to understand.

Government law is thought of by many people as akin to a nice Lexus. Biglaw might be considered more like a lower-end BMW. The Lexus is is more reliable, luxurious, and arguably prestigious in a sedate, suburbs way. It is more expensive. The Bimmer is less reliable, but is considered by many to be more glamorous (urban prestige and higher salary.) Many people, including more risk-conscious, conservative people, will prefer the Lexus. Some of these people, and others, will be unable to afford it.

Also, I don't fault you for not considering this, but posting this question in this forum is as unlikely to lead to substantive discussion as is posting a thread comparing a nice Lexus and a lower-end BMW. The thread will be (was) mostly like:

"I think nice Lexuses are better because they are more reliable, and I like the ethos associated with them. Why do people say lower-end BMWs are better? What am I missing?"

Responses: "Some of us like the BMW better or are less risk-averse. Some of us could not afford/do not anticipate being able to afford a nice Lexus. Some of us fall into both of these categories."

/thread

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:28 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:I'll say this,for those who do land Fed government and have sticker debt, it is a better choice than biglaw (especially NYC biglaw).


...better in what way?

Slightly better hours. Plus, if you get BigFed these days, you likely went to a T14, which means an LRAP that will pay your debt down for you. Fed salary + LRAP can actually mean higher effective wages than BigLaw.

Especially on an hourly basis. I did some rough math on this once, and even with debt payments BigLaw did still come out ahead... but by a small enough margin that it was basically a wash. Now, again, about actually getting that fed job straight out of school...

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BruceWayne
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:37 pm

vanwinkle wrote:Slightly better hours. Plus, if you get BigFed these days, you likely went to a T14, which means an LRAP that will pay your debt down for you. Fed salary + LRAP can actually mean higher effective wages than BigLaw.


dixiecupdrinking wrote:Especially on an hourly basis. I did some rough math on this once, and even with debt payments BigLaw did still come out ahead... but by a small enough margin that it was basically a wash. Now, again, about actually getting that fed job straight out of school...


You and vanwinkle are spot on--and you guys didn't even mention another major advantage. You will actually get to KEEP your bigfed job whereas your ass is probably getting up or outed from biglaw. This also means that you can count on LRAP and PLSF to wipe away your debt (a lot of bigfed jobs also have their own loan assistance programs--like HUD--that you can use on top of your school's LRAP and PLSF). Not to mention the absurd amount of paid holidays. They get President's Day off--I didn't get that in high school...

When you do the numbers with debt, as counter-intutive as it sounds, I think that biglaw is actually best for someone without a lot of student loans (losing your six figure job after 3 years isn't a big deal then because you don't have loans that have to be paid off and that also means that you could have accumulated a substantial savings during your biglaw time). Obviously a lot of people can't git fed government jobs. But for those who can and have sticker debt it seems like a better financial deal.

exitoptions
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby exitoptions » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:59 pm

.

Tullstone
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby Tullstone » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:03 pm

God I love this forum. Look how scared people are of not making six figures out of law school. F**cking terrified.

anon168
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby anon168 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:21 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
anon168 wrote:Which agencies can you be 3 years out of law school and bring in 90k/year (with or without locality adjustments)?

Even DOJ attorneys, who are on the GS as opposed to the AD scale, generally do not make 90k/year 3 years after law school. I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain that's the case for just about every Executive Branch agency out there.


According to http://www.justice.gov/careers/legal/entry-salary.html, someone entering DOJ with 3 years of post-law school experience gets paid $89,033 in DC.


You're right. I stand corrected. I'm curious what 3+ years post-law school salary ranges are for other agencies.

bdubs
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby bdubs » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:21 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
thesealocust wrote:
BruceWayne wrote:I'll say this,for those who do land Fed government and have sticker debt, it is a better choice than biglaw (especially NYC biglaw).


...better in what way?

Slightly better hours. Plus, if you get BigFed these days, you likely went to a T14, which means an LRAP that will pay your debt down for you. Fed salary + LRAP can actually mean higher effective wages than BigLaw.


The key adjective is "slightly". Young DOJ attorneys, particularly those with ambition, still work pretty long hours. I lol at the paid holiday comments. Pretty sure my DOJ friends still work those days, in addition to numerous weekends and late nights.

I would be interested in seeing an analysis that shows LRAP + GS > Biglaw - loan payments

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thesealocust
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby thesealocust » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:28 pm

BruceWayne wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:Slightly better hours. Plus, if you get BigFed these days, you likely went to a T14, which means an LRAP that will pay your debt down for you. Fed salary + LRAP can actually mean higher effective wages than BigLaw.


dixiecupdrinking wrote:Especially on an hourly basis. I did some rough math on this once, and even with debt payments BigLaw did still come out ahead... but by a small enough margin that it was basically a wash. Now, again, about actually getting that fed job straight out of school...


You and vanwinkle are spot on--and you guys didn't even mention another major advantage. You will actually get to KEEP your bigfed job whereas your ass is probably getting up or outed from biglaw. This also means that you can count on LRAP and PLSF to wipe away your debt (a lot of bigfed jobs also have their own loan assistance programs--like HUD--that you can use on top of your school's LRAP and PLSF). Not to mention the absurd amount of paid holidays. They get President's Day off--I didn't get that in high school...

When you do the numbers with debt, as counter-intutive as it sounds, I think that biglaw is actually best for someone without a lot of student loans (losing your six figure job after 3 years isn't a big deal then because you don't have loans that have to be paid off and that also means that you could have accumulated a substantial savings during your biglaw time). Obviously a lot of people can't git fed government jobs. But for those who can and have sticker debt it seems like a better financial deal.


Totally agree that without debt, the gap between biglaw and government work is the largest.

You often talk about "getting up or outed" from big firms, but that's only half the story. People don't go from big firm -> big homeless shelters. They lateral to other firms, 6-figure inhouse positions, or the very government/PI positions that you talk about being more desirable from the get-go. A short tenure at a big firm should be looked at instead as a short tenure at your first firm.

The LRAP question is thorny and involved, but crunching the numbers suggests LRAP is "worth" about $30,000 per year in additional after-tax income for somebody with a full debt load having it serviced by LRAP. That definitely narrows the gap substantially, and if you're looking at gov't + LRAP in a cheap cost of living places vs. big law in NYC, the finances are going to look quite close first year. After salary increases, bonuses, and benefits there's basically no scenario where it's actually financially better to do government/PI though.

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BruceWayne
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby BruceWayne » Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:33 pm

bdubs wrote:The key adjective is "slightly". Young DOJ attorneys, particularly those with ambition, still work pretty long hours. I lol at the paid holiday comments. Pretty sure my DOJ friends still work those days, in addition to numerous weekends and late nights.

I would be interested in seeing an analysis that shows LRAP + GS > Biglaw - loan payments


What type of young DOJ attorneys are you talking to? Most DOJ people don't work anywhere near as many hours as biglaw. It's not even close unless you're talking the type of people working as AUSAs in SDNY or DC. I've worked at a USAO and unless there was a trial coming up we're literally talking 9-5. Hell on Fridays not even that half the time. I also know someone working DOJ antitrust and they repeatedly tell me how laid back it is. It's part of the reason people who get those jobs often never leave even if they can get biglaw. The quality of life combined with the job security is so much higher than it is in biglaw it's ridiculous.

The problem with people's biglaw loan payment calculations is that they assume they will last beyond year 3--which is straight lol. Yes if you make partner in biglaw (lol) it's better for loan repayment than LRAP + fed gov job.That's rather obvious. But again lol at lasting that long in biglaw. If you get fed gov work you can basically stay there as long as you want. Also keep in mind that many fed gov jobs have loan assistance programs that you can use on top of your school's LRAP and PLSF/IBR.


Code: Select all

[b]You often talk about "getting up or outed" from big firms, but that's only half the story. People don't go from big firm -> big homeless shelters. They lateral to other firms, 6-figure inhouse positions, or the very government/PI positions that you talk about being more desirable from the get-go. A short tenure at a big firm should be looked at instead as a short tenure at your first firm.[/b]

The LRAP question is thorny and involved, but crunching the numbers suggests LRAP is "worth" about $30,000 per year in additional after-tax income for somebody with a full debt load having it serviced by LRAP. That definitely narrows the gap substantially, and if you're looking at gov't + LRAP in a cheap cost of living places vs. big law in NYC, the finances are going to look quite close first year. After salary increases, bonuses, and benefits there's basically no scenario where it's actually financially better to do government/PI though.


The days of counting on going from biglaw to cushy big salary in house conusel or smaller high paying firm are gone unless you worked at Covington DC, Skadden, Williams and Connolly, Davis Polk etc. Corporations aren't lining up to hire 3 year up or outed Milibank associates as in house counsel. And honestly, the scenario that you described as tongue in cheek--up or outed form big firm to homeless really isn't as far fetched as you made it seem. There have actually been several threads made by people who were up and outted from their biglaw jobs and struggled to find ANY sort of legal work for several years--let alone another firm or in house counsel.

And even if you do land inhouse counsel those salaries drop you down to big fed levels. But guess what? Unlike someone who went straight big fed and started that 10 year PLSF clock countdown (and who probably had LRAP making most of their payments anyway--allowing them to save) you've been chucking half yours salary to loans, and now still have a lot left to pay off. But you aren't on the PLSF clock and now you have to make those same huge loan payments but with a substantially lower salary.

timbs4339
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby timbs4339 » Sat Jan 12, 2013 4:07 pm

OCC pays over 100K to first-years.

Gorki
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Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

Postby Gorki » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:38 pm

Tullstone wrote:

    Oh and by the way, no one gives a damn about prestige on their death beds. They care about having meaningful people in their lives.


    Dying words: "I... copped... dat... presti..ggegeggeegggeee"

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    Ludo!
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    Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

    Postby Ludo! » Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:44 pm

    Tullstone wrote:God I love this forum. Look how scared people are of not making six figures out of law school. F**cking terrified.


    Congrats on being so much better than everyone here. And you even self censor yourself so you can be morally superior too

    Myself
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    .

    Postby Myself » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:31 am

    .
    Last edited by Myself on Wed Nov 27, 2013 2:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

    Anonymous User
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    Re: Government Law? What am I missing?

    Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:15 am

    I have a Summer 2013 Government Legal Honors position for a Federal agency that pretty much told me straight up that they were going to hire all of us post graduation.

    However, it is also relevant to note that out of more than 1000 applications they accepted 4-7 people as summer associates, so I really do consider myself lucky.

    So... yes... getting a government SA job that, like a firm gig, turns permanent post-graduation is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT and I have accepted that LUCK played a huge part.

    BUT

    Although I didn't have the best grades I worked a Government internship 1L summer that basically gave me all the relevant experience they were looking for. Also, I really focused on my 2 or 3 Government interviews and gave them everything I had.

    If you want a 2L SA / Legal Honors position with a major federal agency...

    (1) work FOR FREE over 1L summer at a Federal Department/Agency in a General Counsel / Chief Counsel office, take on as many assignments as you can (so you have lots of experience for the resume), and get to know everyone in the office; (2) Apply to every fed gov honors/SA position you can; and (3) focus on showing how much relevant work you did with a government agency, and that you are dedicated to government work!

    ***GRADES ARE FAR LESS IMPORTANT in interviewing with GOV AGENCIES... GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE IS KEY... This is a plus because gov. agencies will immediately give you substantive work (usually) so you'll have a lot of useful experience to bring to your interviews for Legal Honors/SA positions*****




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