Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

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Stick with it or leave?

Stick with it
9
45%
Leave
11
55%
 
Total votes: 20

Anonymous User
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Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:08 pm

Hi TLS. Hoping to get some thoughts on what to do in my predicament. I am a T2 grad at a v20 firm; graduated in 2015 so wrapping up my first year.

I was lucky enough to attend law school for free but have a bit of debt left from undergrad and living expenses. By January 2017, when bonuses are paid, I expect to have about 19k of zero interest debt left in my name with about 25k liquid (not including 401k). My monthly payment on that zero interest loan is 283 per month.

It has been a rough year. While I have enjoyed making money, I feel like it has come at a real personal cost. I feel isolated from friends and family. The summer has been slower but I feel anxious about falling behind on hours or somehow getting shunned. I have worked in office environments before and felt a lot more comfortable around colleagues; there's a certain severity among my colleagues that is hard to deal with day in and day out.

The bottom line is, given my financial situation, would you walk away or stick with it? The incentives to stay are purely financial. Another year of this would make a meaningful difference in terms of money. Walking away wouldn't give rise to a financial emergency, but I think it could mean walking away from the illusion of an UMC lifestyle that I've been able to construct this year. I might have to slum it a bit more.

For what it's worth, I'm corporate. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated!

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:10 pm

Walk away to what? What do you want to do in the future?

Fwiw, I did something similar, but was more senior to you and had more savings and a larger safety net (I'm married and we have a family financial safety net). I knew that this wasn't what I wanted to do long term though, so that made the decision easier. It was more a question of when do I start figuring out what I want to do with my life...I didn't want to keep wasting away my youth doing something that I knew I didn't want to do long term.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:12 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Walk away to what? What do you want to do in the future?


I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.

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thesealocust

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby thesealocust » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:12 pm

Nothing in life is more important than your health and happiness (or at least pursuit of happiness?). 19k isn't much in the grand scheme of things, and programs like IBR can help if there are times when your income is very low or zero.

Hang in there, but don't let the profession damage you past the point where you think it's a fair trade.

bk1

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby bk1 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:15 pm

thesealocust wrote:Nothing in life is more important than your health and happiness (or at least pursuit of happiness?). 19k isn't much in the grand scheme of things, and programs like IBR can help if there are times when your income is very low or zero.

Hang in there, but don't let the profession damage you past the point where you think it's a fair trade.

Agreed, though I'm not sure OP has government loans (considering the 0% rate).

In any event, even if OP got a low paying job, I think the 19k debt would be manageable.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:16 pm

bk1 wrote:
thesealocust wrote:Nothing in life is more important than your health and happiness (or at least pursuit of happiness?). 19k isn't much in the grand scheme of things, and programs like IBR can help if there are times when your income is very low or zero.

Hang in there, but don't let the profession damage you past the point where you think it's a fair trade.

Agreed, though I'm not sure OP has government loans (considering the 0% rate).

In any event, even if OP got a low paying job, I think the 19k debt would be manageable.


Correct. Non government institutional loans.

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TheSpanishMain

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby TheSpanishMain » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Walk away to what? What do you want to do in the future?


I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.


Personally, I'd hang on to the job while you fire off resumes. Don't jump until you have somewhere to land, basically.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:20 pm

TheSpanishMain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Walk away to what? What do you want to do in the future?


I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.


Personally, I'd hang on to the job while you fire off resumes. Don't jump until you have somewhere to land, basically.


Wouldn't quit without something lined up.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:30 pm

For all of those who say "leave," can you articulate a reason? Just spitballing / crowdsourcing ideas.

1styearlateral

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Jul 05, 2016 12:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.

Look at real estate management in-house. That's the life right there.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:37 pm

1styearlateral wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.

Look at real estate management in-house. That's the life right there.


What's good about it?

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:58 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.

Look at real estate management in-house. That's the life right there.


What's good about it?

Can be very lucrative. Less work, no billables. If you know real estate law well, you pretty much just supervise outside counsel. I have a buddy who is a property manager and his office closes every Friday at 1 during the summer. The attorneys there make a killing and spend most of their time in Florida, but you still get to do interesting work real estate-wise.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:For all of those who say "leave," can you articulate a reason? Just spitballing / crowdsourcing ideas.


No point in doing something you don't want to do in the future - you only have one life and one youth

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Walk away to what? What do you want to do in the future?


I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.


Personally, I'd hang on to the job while you fire off resumes. Don't jump until you have somewhere to land, basically.


Wouldn't quit without something lined up.


You should start looking now...going from biglaw to public interest is tough unless you have a strong public interest background already. Since you mention "reentering" maybe you'll be fine, but the search could take awhile.

I quit without a job lined up - but I was also more senior than you and had more money saved up....I had a few callbacks in public interest, but no offers and didn't feel like burning another year in a job I didn't want to do in the long term

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:31 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Walk away to what? What do you want to do in the future?


I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.


Personally, I'd hang on to the job while you fire off resumes. Don't jump until you have somewhere to land, basically.


Wouldn't quit without something lined up.


You should start looking now...going from biglaw to public interest is tough unless you have a strong public interest background already. Since you mention "reentering" maybe you'll be fine, but the search could take awhile.

I quit without a job lined up - but I was also more senior than you and had more money saved up....I had a few callbacks in public interest, but no offers and didn't feel like burning another year in a job I didn't want to do in the long term


Did you land in public interest after all?

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:40 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
TheSpanishMain wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Walk away to what? What do you want to do in the future?


I have thought about re entering a public interest field of law or doing non-law real estate.


Personally, I'd hang on to the job while you fire off resumes. Don't jump until you have somewhere to land, basically.


Wouldn't quit without something lined up.


You should start looking now...going from biglaw to public interest is tough unless you have a strong public interest background already. Since you mention "reentering" maybe you'll be fine, but the search could take awhile.

I quit without a job lined up - but I was also more senior than you and had more money saved up....I had a few callbacks in public interest, but no offers and didn't feel like burning another year in a job I didn't want to do in the long term


Did you land in public interest after all?


I quit recently and haven't looked again since I sent out apps previously, so no. But I'm also at the point where I am seriously thinking about switching careers (back to quant work or whatever)....so I don't really mind if I never get a law job again. I have a couple to a few years of savings though.

I know people who have quit biglaw, then volunteered in non profit and landed a paying job a year later...so it's possible. But yeah you need more savings than that if you're planning on doing that (or bum off your parents or whatever).

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reasonable_man

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:44 pm

thesealocust wrote:Nothing in life is more important than your health and happiness (or at least pursuit of happiness?). 19k isn't much in the grand scheme of things, and programs like IBR can help if there are times when your income is very low or zero.

Hang in there, but don't let the profession damage you past the point where you think it's a fair trade.


This is good advice. I would just add one point. Your maximum marketability is between 2 and 5 years. Sticking it out for an additional 365 days would not only allow you to pay off the rest of your debt (and probably increase your savings), but it may also afford you a few other professional opportunities down the road.

I jumped ship at the 2 year mark from a midlaw firm. I absolutely hated what I was doing by the time I left and my boss at the time was toxic. I probably started to want to leave before I even made it to my first year. I think the decision to stay was a good one.

A coping strategy during the second year (should you choose to stay) is to start to plan your exit a bit. It makes it a little easier to deal.

Good luck.

Nebby

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Nebby » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For all of those who say "leave," can you articulate a reason? Just spitballing / crowdsourcing ideas.


No point in doing something you don't want to do in the future - you only have one life and one youth

But what about PRESTIGE????????????????????????????

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:46 pm

Nebby wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For all of those who say "leave," can you articulate a reason? Just spitballing / crowdsourcing ideas.


No point in doing something you don't want to do in the future - you only have one life and one youth

But what about PRESTIGE????????????????????????????


I'd rather be a 9 to 5 unionized janitor than do biglaw again...if you're at this point, you might as well just jump ship because the possibilities are endless (unionized construction worker, unionized teacher, unionized janitor, police officer, security guard, etc.).

Nebby

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Nebby » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Nebby wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For all of those who say "leave," can you articulate a reason? Just spitballing / crowdsourcing ideas.


No point in doing something you don't want to do in the future - you only have one life and one youth

But what about PRESTIGE????????????????????????????


I'd rather be a 9 to 5 unionized janitor than do biglaw again...if you're at this point, you might as well just jump ship because the possibilities are endless

:D I was joking

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:48 pm

Nebby wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Nebby wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:For all of those who say "leave," can you articulate a reason? Just spitballing / crowdsourcing ideas.


No point in doing something you don't want to do in the future - you only have one life and one youth

But what about PRESTIGE????????????????????????????


I'd rather be a 9 to 5 unionized janitor than do biglaw again...if you're at this point, you might as well just jump ship because the possibilities are endless

:D I was joking

Well, one of us was...

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nealric

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby nealric » Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:44 pm

Your opportunities will likely open up considerably if you can stick it out until the 2-year mark. Once you do that, start sending out resumes.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:51 pm

nealric wrote:Your opportunities will likely open up considerably if you can stick it out until the 2-year mark. Once you do that, start sending out resumes.


Doesn't it just open up mainly for other firm work though? If OP doesn't want to do firm work, I don't see how sticking it out is going to help much (aside from the money).

dixiecupdrinking

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:00 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:Your opportunities will likely open up considerably if you can stick it out until the 2-year mark. Once you do that, start sending out resumes.


Doesn't it just open up mainly for other firm work though? If OP doesn't want to do firm work, I don't see how sticking it out is going to help much (aside from the money).

No... Take a cruise through some state/local/fed government jobs, for instance, and you will quickly see there are basically no postings for someone with a year of experience. It's either entry level hiring or min 2-3 years post grad experience.

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Re: Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:19 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:Your opportunities will likely open up considerably if you can stick it out until the 2-year mark. Once you do that, start sending out resumes.


Doesn't it just open up mainly for other firm work though? If OP doesn't want to do firm work, I don't see how sticking it out is going to help much (aside from the money).

No... Take a cruise through some state/local/fed government jobs, for instance, and you will quickly see there are basically no postings for someone with a year of experience. It's either entry level hiring or min 2-3 years post grad experience.


Yeah, much harder to land gov out of corporate/transactional though.....they prob mean 2 to 3 years of lit experience

Anyway, I did some interviews for gov with more experience than OP and didn't land those jobs...people who got the "entry" or 1 year of experience level gov jobs are like 7+ years out...now "entry" level gov jobs in competitive markets are going to people with 7 years of experience and more...lol. If you didn't start out in gov, I feel like it's a billion times harder to lateral from biglaw. I'm also a top third grad out of a top-14 law school...

In other words, OP, don't stay in a competitive market, apply broadly starting now....but also don't expect much since the legal market is still shit.



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