Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

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Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:54 am

I just put this in an old thread, but in case it's not reawakened, I'm creating a new one.

Until tonight, I had been planning living in the city, and hopefully finding a place within 15 minutes of my job for $2k-2.5k, but after looking up some places on StreetEasy, it has become pretty clear that unless I get ridiculously lucky, I will not find a place in that price change that's nice or really even decent. I'm referring to a 1 BR.

Currently, I commute from Midwood to NYU from the Q to B train and it takes about 45 minutes. My commute to BigLaw would be about the same since it's only the Q train to 6th Avenue in the 40s. My current place in Brooklyn would likely cost me $1,300 if I renew the lease for two years after I graduate in 2016, $1,350 tops. I assume that keeping my apartment stocked with food would be another $200 and utilities another $200. Then I assume $1k-1.5k/mo for misc expenses. I'll end up with about $170k in loans after the initial interest, and I figure that with those numbers, I could pay off close to $65k off the first year and $75k off the second year given BigLaw salaries and the cheap rent in Brooklyn. I'm guessing I'd be paying an extra $1.5k-$2k more per month if I lived somewhere within 15 minutes of my job. So basically, ~$25k more per year, which would lead to it take ~5 years to pay off loans as opposed to ~2.5 years to do so.

I'm going to want to sleep 6-7 hours a night, but can function on 5 randomly, as I did that for most of my first semester in law school during the week, and survived.

How valuable is an extra hour of non-commute free time a day during the first two years in BigLaw? Is it worth the extra ~$2k a month to have an apartment of equal "niceness" within 15 minutes of my job? Or is it possible to bite the bullet for the first ~2 years of BigLaw and then move into a gorgeous place near my job for year 3 with only ~$40k in loan left to pay of instead of having ~$100k left to pay off by year 3 if not more?

Any input would be really appreciated. Would looking into options in Jersey City be a good idea?

Other perks of my apartment in Brooklyn is that my girlfriend lives a 5 minute walk away and I know all the grocery stores in the area and where to find my food for cheap.

Oh, I left out a couple of things. First off, I would have an extra ~$1,100 for MetroCard for the year living in Brooklyn, but would likely also need one in the city, so those cancel each other out. And, I will likely make $2-3k a year in odd jobs, but I'm not sure if that would be really relevant to this discussion.

Edit: I will likely be working in Litigation, so more predictable hours. And I will have a chance to test out the commute this summer, but how different is first year from summer in terms of commute relevance?

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SFrost
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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby SFrost » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:13 am

Are you counting bonuses in your payoff scheme?

I'd rather skip cocktails than commute every single day. You're a lawyer, live like one. Service industry lives in Brooklyn, not lawyers.

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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 3:18 am

Yeah, counting standard bonuses.

And how does living in the city equal living like a lawyer if I'd likely be living in a much less comfortable apartment and skipping activities, like cocktails you gave as an example?

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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby beepboopbeep » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:09 am

Anon, that guy started this thread. Treat his post accordingly.

Nothing constructive to add here. Just thought you should be aware.

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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:21 am

beepboopbeep wrote:Anon, that guy started this thread. Treat his post accordingly.

Nothing constructive to add here. Just thought you should be aware.


haha, thanks for the heads up. I thought he sounded trollish, and then saw that thread a few minutes later, and was like, "yup."

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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:42 am

From my personal experience:

Every extra minute of sleep is hugely valuable during your busiest weeks. When you're "slow", on the other hand, it doesn't matter.

Mentally, it was important for me not to live right next door to the office. IMO the separation helps with maintaining sanity.

Solution: I lived in an area (yorkville) that had cheap rent relative to lower Manhattan/prime Brooklyn, was about 50 min door to door from my office in FiDi by subway, but also was a 25 minute cab ride down the FDR. If I used that cab ride 10 times a month (i.e. a little less than half the time), it was $300 per month which sucked but was still way less than the delta in rent.

I personally would not live, particularly as a corporate associate (which is my personal experience, though I'd be wary of relying to heavily on litigation's "predictability"), in a place where you have an unavoidable 45 min commute. I've seen too many juniors run into issues with sleep / unavailability because of commuting constraints. Even if I know that you live out in the boonies and have no choice, work will still get funneled to the guy or gal or who doesn't respond "I'm on the train" to a request at least once a week. Put differently, on a night when work is incoming but hasn't arrived yet, it's much easier to sneak home and deal with the incoming from your couch if you only need to disappear for 20min to achieve said couch.

You also need to consider your firms car policy. Are you going to get a car whenever you work a longish day? Policies differ wildly between firms. Embarking on a lengthy subway commute home at 9PM is pretty soul crushing after 12 hours in the office. Hopping in a free black car to lounge in the backseat is so much better that it cannot be described. Pretty much everyone offers cars when it gets late enough, but I'm talking a typical week with nights till 8 or 9. The car can be the difference between getting home at 930, already winding down and chilled out, or getting home at 10 still wired from the shitty subway ride. One option gives you a couple of hours to have fun/ hang with your significant other, the other option basically means you regain your sanity just in time to crash. No fun, and not good for long term work stamina.

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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 4:53 am

I mean, my commute is 46 minutes door to door with the Q train, which I haven't found to be such a pain in my almost two years taking it. By cab, it would be 33 minutes. You said that your commute by subway was 50 minutes, and you seemed to say it was tolerable, so now I'm confused. Was your experience awful and you're saying based on that that the commute isn't worth it? You seemed to say that living where you lived was the solution. I'm very confused right now.

Also you said that work will be funneled to the person who doesn't respond that they are on a train at least once per week. Is not getting work in that situation a bad thing? Or did you mean to say that that person does get the work anyway?

Can you clarify, please?

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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:44 am

Anonymous User wrote:I mean, my commute is 46 minutes door to door with the Q train, which I haven't found to be such a pain in my almost two years taking it. By cab, it would be 33 minutes. You said that your commute by subway was 50 minutes, and you seemed to say it was tolerable, so now I'm confused. Was your experience awful and you're saying based on that that the commute isn't worth it? You seemed to say that living where you lived was the solution. I'm very confused right now.

Also you said that work will be funneled to the person who doesn't respond that they are on a train at least once per week. Is not getting work in that situation a bad thing? Or did you mean to say that that person does get the work anyway?

Can you clarify, please?


My commute was titrated to what it needed to be. Busy weeks, under 30 min. Slow weeks, 50 min. I would not have a required 50 min commute every day that you could not shorten when things were crazy.

Yes, you want to get work funnelled your way. Otherwise you get fired, eventually.

Unless you're shooting for a two-and-out approach to biglaw (which plenty of folks are, and is of course reasonable if you're just trying to pay down debt before getting out) your number one priority when you start working will be how to make yourself sane in the face of the demands of the job and how to develop the stamina to work 200hr months, month after month. Those two aspects of the job are way harder than the substantive work, and most folks never figure it out. Extrapolating from your law school experience is very dangerous indeed.

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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:40 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I mean, my commute is 46 minutes door to door with the Q train, which I haven't found to be such a pain in my almost two years taking it. By cab, it would be 33 minutes. You said that your commute by subway was 50 minutes, and you seemed to say it was tolerable, so now I'm confused. Was your experience awful and you're saying based on that that the commute isn't worth it? You seemed to say that living where you lived was the solution. I'm very confused right now.

Also you said that work will be funneled to the person who doesn't respond that they are on a train at least once per week. Is not getting work in that situation a bad thing? Or did you mean to say that that person does get the work anyway?

Can you clarify, please?


My commute was titrated to what it needed to be. Busy weeks, under 30 min. Slow weeks, 50 min. I would not have a required 50 min commute every day that you could not shorten when things were crazy.

Yes, you want to get work funnelled your way. Otherwise you get fired, eventually.

Unless you're shooting for a two-and-out approach to biglaw (which plenty of folks are, and is of course reasonable if you're just trying to pay down debt before getting out) your number one priority when you start working will be how to make yourself sane in the face of the demands of the job and how to develop the stamina to work 200hr months, month after month. Those two aspects of the job are way harder than the substantive work, and most folks never figure it out. Extrapolating from your law school experience is very dangerous indeed.


Right, you're saying that it worked for you because you were able to cut down the commute to 30 minutes by taking a cab busy weeks. I have that option, too. 33 minutes by cab. What's the difference between our situations? My normal commute is 46 minutes, and cab commute is 33 minutes. Yours was 50 and 25? Or are you saying that you made a mistake dealing with such a commute?

Anonymous User
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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I mean, my commute is 46 minutes door to door with the Q train, which I haven't found to be such a pain in my almost two years taking it. By cab, it would be 33 minutes. You said that your commute by subway was 50 minutes, and you seemed to say it was tolerable, so now I'm confused. Was your experience awful and you're saying based on that that the commute isn't worth it? You seemed to say that living where you lived was the solution. I'm very confused right now.

Also you said that work will be funneled to the person who doesn't respond that they are on a train at least once per week. Is not getting work in that situation a bad thing? Or did you mean to say that that person does get the work anyway?

Can you clarify, please?


My commute was titrated to what it needed to be. Busy weeks, under 30 min. Slow weeks, 50 min. I would not have a required 50 min commute every day that you could not shorten when things were crazy.

Yes, you want to get work funnelled your way. Otherwise you get fired, eventually.

Unless you're shooting for a two-and-out approach to biglaw (which plenty of folks are, and is of course reasonable if you're just trying to pay down debt before getting out) your number one priority when you start working will be how to make yourself sane in the face of the demands of the job and how to develop the stamina to work 200hr months, month after month. Those two aspects of the job are way harder than the substantive work, and most folks never figure it out. Extrapolating from your law school experience is very dangerous indeed.


Right, you're saying that it worked for you because you were able to cut down the commute to 30 minutes by taking a cab busy weeks. I have that option, too. 33 minutes by cab. What's the difference between our situations? My normal commute is 46 minutes, and cab commute is 33 minutes. Yours was 50 and 25? Or are you saying that you made a mistake dealing with such a commute?


If you really think your commute in during rush hour is 33 minutes door to door, then I see no problem with that. As someone who has lived in NYC for many moons, I'm skeptical of that.

exitoptions
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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby exitoptions » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:18 am

I've always lived 40 -45 minutes away from my BigLaw office by train. I don't see the problem. First, it's not wasted time, I can read a book or the newspaper generally, and if I'm really swamped at work, I can review/respond to e-mails and start planning out my day. Second, it's often nice to not be able to get to your office very quickly, it gives you an excuse to work from home if something comes up at night or on a weekend. Third, when you're busy, you'll only be commuting by train one way, the return will be by car service / cab, so you're really only talking about 20 minutes extra over an associate who lives on the UWS or Tribeca. When you're not busy, the return train won't matter so much. I own a condo and still pay a third monthly for what people are paying to rent fewer sq/ft in Manhattan. I think it's worth the 20 - 40 minutes day commuting, but that's personal preference.

catinthewall
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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby catinthewall » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:46 pm

Do non-biglaw (think bigfed) attorneys who work in Manhattan generally see an even longer commute? I'll be working in Lower Manhattan, but I won't have a biglaw salary. Fortunately I have no debt on top of my bigfed salary, but it still looks like I'll have a long trip to and from work each day.

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Tiago Splitter
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Re: Living in Brooklyn as a 1st Year Associate (45 min commute)

Postby Tiago Splitter » Thu Mar 19, 2015 12:49 pm

catinthewall wrote:Do non-biglaw (think bigfed) attorneys who work in Manhattan generally see an even longer commute? I'll be working in Lower Manhattan, but I won't have a biglaw salary. Fortunately I have no debt on top of my bigfed salary, but it still looks like I'll have a long trip to and from work each day.

On the whole I'd says it's a little easier to live cheaply and keep a normal commute if you're in lower Manhattan rather than midtown.




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