Leave biglaw with 19k in zero interest debt?

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Stick with it or leave?

Stick with it
Total votes: 20

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

Postby nealric » Tue Jul 05, 2016 5:36 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, the two year mark is important for basically any job. Below that, potential employers are going to see "didn't work out" or "something went wrong"- it's not considered normal to hop before two years. After two years, it's accepted that things change and you may have other opportunities you want to explore.

That's not to say you won't find anything looking before, but the opportunities are less likely to be of high quality.

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

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote: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!

I'm basically you, except I have subsidized and unsubsidized fed loans, have more time in law. I've gotten used to the biglaw salary, but I'm working to get into public interest in an expensive city to live in.

From what I've learned so far, definitely wait for the two year mark; it'll suck, but the fact that you're working to something different will help. Boost your resume for the next job as much as possible (including getting as much experience, volunteer or otherwise, that will help with the next venture). Send out resumes, go back to your school to try to get alumni information or go to networking events for people in the industry, make coffee dates with people in the industry to get more information/show interest in the field, etc. Not only does it look better to spend at least two years at a job (and not only will many other jobs require multiple years of post-school experience), but this will allow you to develop proof that you're serious about making the switch--because you're making serious efforts to engage in public interest even with your demanding job, and are not just thinking public interest will save you from biglaw hours.

Would someone in this position maybe be able to ask HR to reduce their hourly schedule?

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

Postby reasonable troll » Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:56 pm

I didn't vote, just wanted to throw my own anecdote in here for your consideration.

Also a corporate associate, and approaching the end of my second year. I won't say this is a universal experience, but I think I am not the only one I know who HATED their first year. I mean I was looking at job postings on the daily, considering alternate careers, day dreaming about my "fuck y'all, i'm out" departure email.

I'm not saying this job is my most favorite thing ever now, but somewhere around 1.5 years it became significantly more tolerable. I think by that point (and of course ymmv depending on firm culture, coworkers, etc.) I had enough knowledge to be more independent, which I think is important because 1) you can do slightly more to manage your schedule and 2) you stop feeling incompetent 100% of the time over menial work. I think you also become a lot more dgaf about ornery partners/co-workers at that point out of sheer exasperation, if nothing else.

Idk how I would feel at your level of debt (mine is about 5x that) but I think it does make sense to stick it out long enough to get the two years under your belt if you can tolerate it. OTOH, 19k is not worth misery, so if that's what it's going to be, gtfo and don't look back.

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