Should I take this government gig?

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Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Should I take this government gig?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:57 am

Hi everyone. Hoping the TLS hive mind can help me out, just like it did when I was picking my law school and my firm.

My situation: 5th year litigation associate in my mildly expensive home secondary market. Slated to make roughly 230 plus bonus this year at a well regarded but not NYC-market paying firm. I'm well liked here, so my job isn't in any jeopardy for the foreseeable future, but I have no desire to try and gun for partner. I dislike my job, but am not miserable. Goal has always been to work in government, specifically something at the intersection of law and public policy.

Job offer: I've recently been offered a supervisory position at the local city attorney's office. Pay would be roughly $120,000 with small raises each year. Good benefits and an excellent pension plan. Work would be a combination of litigation and advising government bodies. Hours from what I can tell are 8:30 to 5, with a possibility after a year to go to an 80/9 schedule and have every other Friday off. Clicked with the other folks in the office who I'd be working with. Seems like there's a good opportunity for advancement in this office or other government positions.

Financials: I still have about $100,000 in debt from law school, and pay about $800 a month after refinancing. No other debt. Spouse makes $50,000 a year. No kids or plan to have kids in the near future. We've really been stocking away money the last couple of years, so have enough for a down payment saved up. Our combined salary would let us live quite comfortably.

My gut is telling me this is a good opportunity doing the kind of work I want to do and making a solid living, and I'm inclined to take it.

Thoughts? Anything I should be considering that I might not be at the moment?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327246
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Should I take this government gig?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:12 pm

I work at a similar type of office and would kill to make $120k here (it's about double my current salary, though I'm likely in a city with a lower COL; I started here right out of law school, for reference), so I think you'd be very dumb not to take it. The benefits are a great monetary and non-monetary bonus, as you pointed out (you'll save hundreds on healthcare alone compared to biglaw), and the type of people these offices tend to attract are much better to work with and be around than the people I've encountered in other law offices (biglaw, DAO/PD, small firms, etc.), which I suspect is a function of the lower salaries leading to more 'dedicated' people (but not PD low which just causes heavy turnover).

Seriously, if you can afford the financial haircut, take the job and never look back. If you really hate it (which I think is unlikely), you may not be able to get back to biglaw super easily, but I think you'd find plenty of great exit options, particularly in other government and quasi-government agencies.

Oh, and having a defined benefit pension plan is AWESOME (especially at an >$100k salary... do the math for 5, 10, 15 years of service and you'll see).

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