City or County Counsel

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City or County Counsel

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:22 pm

I'm curious if there is a general pathway into these jobs, and whether these are terminal jobs (where you can stay there through your career), or if there is normal turnover, and if so what a normal route out looks like.

I'm sure there is substantial difference between offices depending on the area, but this is an intriguing option for a career path from what I do know. Further, seems like a great way to practice for a decent salary, what I assume are not crazy hours (probably?), and live in a desirable area that may otherwise only offer small-firm or solo practice opportunities.

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romothesavior
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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby romothesavior » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:26 pm

At least in St. Louis, the turnover is next to zero... people generally go there and stay for their careers. Pay is probably similar to a prosecutor, so its not a path to riches. But the hours at the office were great and the pace far more laid back than a big law firm. Many of the people at the city counselor's office started in small firms or at government positions in little podunk towns (prosecution and town lawyers and the like).

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rinkrat19
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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:29 pm

I'm summering at a tri-county government, and from what I can see, everyone here had about 5-7 years in pretty big firms before moving to the public sector. There's very little turnover after they get here; someone went to a different local government and someone retired, and I think they're the only people who have left in recent years. Pay starts around 80k or something and peaks at 160 (except for the GC, who is appointed by the Council and maks more). They work really relaxed hours.

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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 4:56 pm

Would a city or county counsel position qualify for 10-year public service forgiveness?

Scenario I'm thinking about is this: start at a large firm with ultimate plan of working there, all else being equal whether it makes sense to move that way faster or slower (and what to do with excess income in between). If it does qualify, it would make sense to pay the minimum payments on a 25 year repayment plan while in biglaw, driving as much into retirement and savings as possible, and then make the switch sooner, rather than later, to city/county counsel where the 10 year period of forgiveness starts.

If it doesn't, then of course it would make most sense to try to get the loans paid off as quickly as possible (the default approach).

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rinkrat19
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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby rinkrat19 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would a city or county counsel position qualify for 10-year public service forgiveness?

Scenario I'm thinking about is this: start at a large firm with ultimate plan of working there, all else being equal whether it makes sense to move that way faster or slower (and what to do with excess income in between). If it does qualify, it would make sense to pay the minimum payments on a 25 year repayment plan while in biglaw, driving as much into retirement and savings as possible, and then make the switch sooner, rather than later, to city/county counsel where the 10 year period of forgiveness starts.

If it doesn't, then of course it would make most sense to try to get the loans paid off as quickly as possible (the default approach).

Pretty sure it would.

jml8756
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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby jml8756 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Would a city or county counsel position qualify for 10-year public service forgiveness?

Scenario I'm thinking about is this: start at a large firm with ultimate plan of working there, all else being equal whether it makes sense to move that way faster or slower (and what to do with excess income in between). If it does qualify, it would make sense to pay the minimum payments on a 25 year repayment plan while in biglaw, driving as much into retirement and savings as possible, and then make the switch sooner, rather than later, to city/county counsel where the 10 year period of forgiveness starts.

If it doesn't, then of course it would make most sense to try to get the loans paid off as quickly as possible (the default approach).


Those positions should qualify for PSLF. Does your school have LRAP? If so, you might want to check their terms. For some schools, you only qualify for LRAP if you do public interest straight out of law school. No Big Law in between.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:16 pm

I know a couple of people working in county/city legal departments out of law school; pretty sure they interned there during school. I don't know anything about the other routes to get there, but I agree people who get in those positions tend to stay there. And yes, local governments count for PSLF.

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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:42 pm

jml8756 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Would a city or county counsel position qualify for 10-year public service forgiveness?

Scenario I'm thinking about is this: start at a large firm with ultimate plan of working there, all else being equal whether it makes sense to move that way faster or slower (and what to do with excess income in between). If it does qualify, it would make sense to pay the minimum payments on a 25 year repayment plan while in biglaw, driving as much into retirement and savings as possible, and then make the switch sooner, rather than later, to city/county counsel where the 10 year period of forgiveness starts.

If it doesn't, then of course it would make most sense to try to get the loans paid off as quickly as possible (the default approach).


Those positions should qualify for PSLF. Does your school have LRAP? If so, you might want to check their terms. For some schools, you only qualify for LRAP if you do public interest straight out of law school. No Big Law in between.


We do have LRAP and I don't have to enter it right away.

This is going to be embarrassing, but I don't even really know how this stuff works (never really thought about public interest, or at least never thought of county/city counsel as public interest). So what I'd want to do is get on a 25 year repayment program and pay the minimum amount, and after 10 years (120 on-time payments), the balance is forgiven, right? The LRAP, from my school, would then cover my payments on the 25 year repayment up to a certain amount (calculated by my income/etc)?

I guess I'm going to have to see how the first year goes at the firm. If it looks like I enjoy it and can stick out another handful of years, I think I can pay down my debt pretty quickly. However, if it looks like I should head for greener pastures, then I should drive income to savings/retirement, change to the 25 year repayment and look for the county/city attorney positions where I'd apply for LRAP and only pay whatever percentage of the 25 year payment that LRAP wouldn't cover, 10 years later being debt free, right?

The PSLF stuff, the little I've thought about it in the past, concerns me because it seems like you're screwed if you take advantage of it and then lose it before the 10 years. So either try to stick it out and pay down the full loan as fast as possible to reduce interest and get out from under it, or pay as little as possible to gain the full benefit of forgiveness.

Or am I mistaken?

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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:46 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:I know a couple of people working in county/city legal departments out of law school; pretty sure they interned there during school. I don't know anything about the other routes to get there, but I agree people who get in those positions tend to stay there. And yes, local governments count for PSLF.


OP:

I actually interned at one office, but I wasn't sure how typical it was. I also had no idea that it qualified for debt forgiveness and LRAP.

I have thought about it as a later career step after paying down most loans in private practice, but it almost seems like something I could/should try to do early on if I know that private practice, at least then, wouldn't be for me.

I guess another concern is that by not building up the large firm resume and sticking with that, I would constrain my later career choices. Although I wonder whether it'd give me some experience analogous to a GC's office and might make me marketable there? Or maybe municipal work would be too far detached from for-profit companies GC's offices.

Any anecdotes on their experiences you might have would be great.

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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby JJ123 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:15 am

I know someone who went right into a job with a smaller city (suburb to a large city) right out of law school. I think the pay is in line with prosecutor/attorney general's office (not that high, but 40 hours a week). He said he spends half his time prosecuting minor crimes (county handles felonies) and half his time on general legal work for the city. He got into the job by interning over the summer.

hiima3L
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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby hiima3L » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:35 am

I know someone who got a 2L position through OCI that led to a one-year post-grad "clerkship." Hiring for a career was not an option because, as other people pointed out, there are few, if any, openings each year.

But I know of a dude who got a career position after interning there 3L year.

As with many gov't agencies, they all seem to like hiring former interns.

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Re: City or County Counsel

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:37 am

NYC does the 2L Summer to Perm Offer thing. Chicago is beefing up their law department and I know has hired a few recent grads/3Ls.




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