Should I take this job?

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Anonymous User
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Should I take this job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:04 pm

I am a 3L. Last summer, I worked in a legal department of a smallish (about 1000 employees) but publicly traded health care/insurance company in Chicago over the past summer. Going into it, they said they might hire me after graduation, they might not. I got an offer from them about 3 weeks ago. Pay is decent (~70k) and the hours are light compared to big law, but I get a weird vibe about the place over the summer (didn't seem to fit in well) and I am not sure if I want to work there long term. (I had several big law interviews (all lower ranked v100/v250 firms) and struck out last summer. I told the interviewers I wanted to do corporate/transactional law and they told me that there wasn't going to be much corporate law work that summer. So I ended up interviewing at the health insurance comp and they gave me a job for the summer.) I go to law school at the Uni. of Illinois, top 40% roughly, nothing else really special. It's rare for people to do in house straight out of LS so I feel somewhat fortunate especially ITE. The problem is that I always wanted to work at a firm out of LS, but ITE no firm seems to be hiring for corp/transc. law. So should I just take the job now and wait for the economy to get better? Does anyone know how hard it is to go from in-house to a law firm? Should I take this job? Thanks.

Titus
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby Titus » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:11 pm

I think you absolutely should, but network towards your next job. Frankly, you mentioned it yourself. The job you want isn't available to you right now. If you get unique experience, you may transfer into a big law gig. It's remote but possible. The only major concern I would have with accepting it is the fit. Yet, the firm may be aware of this as well. Just view it as a very financial pleasant (ITE) short-term gig to tide you over. Who knows, they may like you better or you may fit in better after you are "one of the team".

What do you have if you don't accept the job? Attempting to get into a niche field that doesn't have your job open to you anyway. You'd be networking to find a job to pay the bills. Take the job.

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reebtoor
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby reebtoor » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:14 pm

This is all hearsay, but I think the big firms do prefer new grads to those who have practiced before. They like their employees to work within their system, so they want the young, impressionable minds. But why are you so set on Biglaw? If it's the money, I understand. But if not, it seems like most people get out after a few years to practice where they want to end up. If that's your plan and 70k will pay the bills, then why not go with the sure thing with much better hours?

09042014
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am a 3L. Last summer, I worked in a legal department of a smallish (about 1000 employees) but publicly traded health care/insurance company in Chicago over the past summer. Going into it, they said they might hire me after graduation, they might not. I got an offer from them about 3 weeks ago. Pay is decent (~70k) and the hours are light compared to big law, but I get a weird vibe about the place over the summer (didn't seem to fit in well) and I am not sure if I want to work there long term. (I had several big law interviews (all lower ranked v100/v250 firms) and struck out last summer. I told the interviewers I wanted to do corporate/transactional law and they told me that there wasn't going to be much corporate law work that summer. So I ended up interviewing at the health insurance comp and they gave me a job for the summer.) I go to law school at the Uni. of Illinois, top 40% roughly, nothing else really special. It's rare for people to do in house straight out of LS so I feel somewhat fortunate especially ITE. The problem is that I always wanted to work at a firm out of LS, but ITE no firm seems to be hiring for corp/transc. law. So should I just take the job now and wait for the economy to get better? Does anyone know how hard it is to go from in-house to a law firm? Should I take this job? Thanks.


It seems like its this or nothing. Not really a choice is it? You'll be making 50K after loans. Not too bad.

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James Bond
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby James Bond » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:19 pm

Honestly, take the job. You can always look for a new/different/better job in your spare time. While you're doing that, you need to pay the bills, and $70,000 ITE is no joke. As someone said, if it pays the bills, go for it.

nycparalegal
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby nycparalegal » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:26 pm

What area of the country are you going to be living in for the job? 70,000 goes a long way in some parts of the country esp ITE.

Anonymous User
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:29 pm

This is OP from above. Thanks for the advice, all. I really don't have any other options after this one. I was REALLY depressed for a while last fall after getting rejected from all 6 of my firm callbacks. I seriously thought about just dropping out... or worse... I thought about some other options (small firm, government, PI, etc.) but they just don't appeal to me. I honestly can't really see myself as a litigator (perhaps except commercial lit), doing criminal law or god forbid public interest. As far as the fit, it might be just b/c I am new. Not sure.

Also the job is in Chicago, close to downtown. I have A LOT of loans all federal though (close to 150K) and so this means that after loans and COL of Chicago it's really not much. (Even with minimum 30 year I am looking at about 1000 per month in loan payments.)

reebtoor wrote:This is all hearsay, but I think the big firms do prefer new grads to those who have practiced before. They like their employees to work within their system, so they want the young, impressionable minds. But why are you so set on Biglaw? If it's the money, I understand. But if not, it seems like most people get out after a few years to practice where they want to end up. If that's your plan and 70k will pay the bills, then why not go with the sure thing with much better hours?


This is what REALLY worries me. I've heard the same thing from others, especially ppl at law firms. I am just a bit worried as to whether it will genuinely limit my options coming out the company. Also, I am not doing big law for the money. I have a real interest in corporate/transac. practices.

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SteelReserve
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby SteelReserve » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:14 pm

reebtoor wrote:
This is all hearsay, but I think the big firms do prefer new grads to those who have practiced before. They like their employees to work within their system, so they want the young, impressionable minds. But why are you so set on Biglaw? If it's the money, I understand. But if not, it seems like most people get out after a few years to practice where they want to end up. If that's your plan and 70k will pay the bills, then why not go with the sure thing with much better hours?


This is what REALLY worries me. I've heard the same thing from others, especially ppl at law firms. I am just a bit worried as to whether it will genuinely limit my options coming out the company. Also, I am not doing big law for the money. I have a real interest in corporate/transac. practices.


But what you need to consider is the fact that you are a 3L, only in the top 40%, and you struck out last year. Can you get a federal clerkship? If not, the reality is that the biglaw door is closed to you; not just because you missed 2L OCI, but also because hiring in biglaw will probably not increase for years.

Based solely on the information you have provided, I think it would be a grave error to forsake this opportunity, an opportunity which you earned through your own skill and hard work!

Also, consider why you think working in biglaw would be a better fit for you than the company you worked for. It is difficult to believe that biglaw firm culture would be better than in house (considering the fact that everyone I know left biglaw for government or in house at substantial pay cuts just to get away from the grind).

ziggysmarley
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby ziggysmarley » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:59 pm

Take the job. A job is better than no job, and chances are that you won't be getting another offer in the near future given the state of the economy and the number of no-offers, deferrals, and recently laid off associates. It used to be possible to move from in-house positions to law firms, though more so if you picked up specialization in a particular legal area. Who knows, maybe you'll learn to love health law/insurance.

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nealric
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby nealric » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:41 pm

The problem is that I always wanted to work at a firm out of LS, but ITE no firm seems to be hiring for corp/transc. law. So should I just take the job now and wait for the economy to get better? Does anyone know how hard it is to go from in-house to a law firm? Should I take this job? Thanks.


Sorry to say, but the firm ship has sailed. There are top 10% 3Ls at T14s who can't get biglaw jobs right now. Too late for clerkships. IMO you would be toys in the air bars in the window crazy to turn this one down.

It's possible to go from in-house to a firm, but don't count on it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:32 pm

The students who don't lower their expectations in this economy will be jobless at graduation. HTH.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:This is OP from above. Thanks for the advice, all. I really don't have any other options after this one. I was REALLY depressed for a while last fall after getting rejected from all 6 of my firm callbacks. I seriously thought about just dropping out... or worse... I thought about some other options (small firm, government, PI, etc.) but they just don't appeal to me. I honestly can't really see myself as a litigator (perhaps except commercial lit), doing criminal law or god forbid public interest. As far as the fit, it might be just b/c I am new. Not sure.

Also the job is in Chicago, close to downtown. I have A LOT of loans all federal though (close to 150K) and so this means that after loans and COL of Chicago it's really not much. (Even with minimum 30 year I am looking at about 1000 per month in loan payments.)


That's fuckin brutal (particularly with the zero tax breaks you get and the heinous 8% interest rapes on federal loans). Go become a police officer or a mailman and do IBR to have your loans forgiven in 10 years... Those jobs are around $60K /year and less hours then you will be working at this health insurance company (not to mention you get overtime, etc.). As it sits you are pretty much going to be dirt poor for a pretty long time after you figure taxes and paying back your loans. If you were to do a 10 year repayment as it is making $70K /year then you would probably be around $48K post tax, and then you pull off another ~$24K for your student loans and you are at $25K to live off in Chicago after working a good 50 hours a week or more. Not a very good situation to be in.

Anonymous Loser
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby Anonymous Loser » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:30 pm

OP is eligible for IBR in the job he's considering: the above poster doesn't seem to understand how this program works.

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underachiever
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby underachiever » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:42 pm

OP honestly, and i will probably be in this position soon enough, but you have to take a job when offered, esp. in this economy. Once you get the job you can start looking for your next one, but you need to take this one b/c u don't have any other options. Sorry OP, but alot of 3Ls would love to be where you are right now.

bahama
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby bahama » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:01 pm

You should qualify for IBR. Look up one of the calculators, but I think that will put your payments a little below 700/mo. Also, the student loan interest should be partially deductible in the first year since you'll only have a few months of income. Check out IBR to see if this is a good option for you and then check the IRS website to see if you'll qualify for the deductions.

Take the job and be the best in house lawyer at this company that you can be. Play the hand you've been dealt instead of worrying about what could've been. A lot of 3Ls would love to be in your shoes. Even if you can't get to big law, if you do a good job you'll have options to move to another company in house, in to a corporate role, or possibly to a smaller firm that works in your industry.

You don't have to live downtown either. Especially with the more reasonable hours, there are certainly more affordable options with a commute.

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DavidYurman85
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby DavidYurman85 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:34 pm

Take the job! Maybe as an in house attorney you will end up networking with someone in BL and can make a lateral move.

09042014
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:42 am

bahama wrote:You should qualify for IBR. Look up one of the calculators, but I think that will put your payments a little below 700/mo. Also, the student loan interest should be partially deductible in the first year since you'll only have a few months of income. Check out IBR to see if this is a good option for you and then check the IRS website to see if you'll qualify for the deductions.

Take the job and be the best in house lawyer at this company that you can be. Play the hand you've been dealt instead of worrying about what could've been. A lot of 3Ls would love to be in your shoes. Even if you can't get to big law, if you do a good job you'll have options to move to another company in house, in to a corporate role, or possibly to a smaller firm that works in your industry.

You don't have to live downtown either. Especially with the more reasonable hours, there are certainly more affordable options with a commute.


Get an apartment near a train station in the suburbs. I work with plenty of people who survive on less than 50K and live inside Chicago.

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James Bond
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby James Bond » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:43 am

OP, what are you thinking? Have you decided yet?

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General Tso
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby General Tso » Tue Dec 15, 2009 1:59 am

XxSpyKEx wrote:
That's fuckin brutal (particularly with the zero tax breaks you get and the heinous 8% interest rapes on federal loans). Go become a police officer or a mailman and do IBR to have your loans forgiven in 10 years... Those jobs are around $60K /year and less hours then you will be working at this health insurance company (not to mention you get overtime, etc.). As it sits you are pretty much going to be dirt poor for a pretty long time after you figure taxes and paying back your loans. If you were to do a 10 year repayment as it is making $70K /year then you would probably be around $48K post tax, and then you pull off another ~$24K for your student loans and you are at $25K to live off in Chicago after working a good 50 hours a week or more. Not a very good situation to be in.


People don't go to law school to become policemen and mailmen. And you assume that those positions would be open to OP. A lot of times what they say is "overqualified" and move on to the next. The hiring guy at the Post Office will say "this guy has a law degree. This position is suitable for a high school grad. If I pass on the law guy, he will be fine b/c after all...lawyers are rich! This high school grad could use a break. He has 4 kids and a mortgage."

Also you are a flight risk. They will assume that you are just biding your time until a law position opens up. Do you want to spend time and money training someone just to let them leave in 3 months?

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:53 am

swheat wrote:
XxSpyKEx wrote:
That's fuckin brutal (particularly with the zero tax breaks you get and the heinous 8% interest rapes on federal loans). Go become a police officer or a mailman and do IBR to have your loans forgiven in 10 years... Those jobs are around $60K /year and less hours then you will be working at this health insurance company (not to mention you get overtime, etc.). As it sits you are pretty much going to be dirt poor for a pretty long time after you figure taxes and paying back your loans. If you were to do a 10 year repayment as it is making $70K /year then you would probably be around $48K post tax, and then you pull off another ~$24K for your student loans and you are at $25K to live off in Chicago after working a good 50 hours a week or more. Not a very good situation to be in.


People don't go to law school to become policemen and mailmen. And you assume that those positions would be open to OP. A lot of times what they say is "overqualified" and move on to the next. The hiring guy at the Post Office will say "this guy has a law degree. This position is suitable for a high school grad. If I pass on the law guy, he will be fine b/c after all...lawyers are rich! This high school grad could use a break. He has 4 kids and a mortgage."

Also you are a flight risk. They will assume that you are just biding your time until a law position opens up. Do you want to spend time and money training someone just to let them leave in 3 months?


I actually worked at the post office while I was in college, and having a degree or other qualifications aren't necessarily considered for getting into the position of being a mailman (it is a really mechanical formula of things they look at and they are really, really job specific -- like barebones stuff that you need for the job-- and they don't look at things like flight risk). Additionally, having a law degree is a good qualification since there are a lot of advancement opportunities that are only available to people with degrees. For example, if you wanted to be a postal inspector, having a couple years of experience working in the actual post office and a law degree are a huge plus, and those jobs pay around $90K and you are pretty guaranteed that you will never work more then 40 hours a week, get your two 15 minute jerk around breaks, a 30 minute lunch break, etc (in other words a easy ass job where productivity doesn't matter a whole lot). I think the post office has general counsel as well, but they probably aren't hiring right now but they probably would hire someone from within when things pick up. I don't know much about the police or other civil service jobs, but I would imagine it would be similar elsewhere.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:07 am

Anonymous Loser wrote:OP is eligible for IBR in the job he's considering: the above poster doesn't seem to understand how this program works.


How does working for a for-profit insurance company qualify under the public service 10 year loan forgiveness under IBR? ... OP would be eligible for the 25 year plan, but that is pretty much a bullshit plan where you repay 15% of your salary for 25 years while the total size of your loans increases (meaning not being able to buy things like a house or a car ever since you will probably have something like $250K in student loans after 15+ years). Additionally, you get with with a massive tax bill in 25 years since the discharge is considered income, pretty much meaning if you are broke as a joke and haven't saved up a ton of money to throw away at paying your taxes for that year you will be going bankrupt in 25 years and then probably just reorganizing that debt to continue paying it (or if you have assets such as a house that you will have to sell your house to pay your taxes on the loan forgiveness!). Also, 25 years is a really long time and it's completely possible that this thing changes or even goes away completely so then there is the possibiilty of having to start repaying $250K of the remaining loans (based on interest accrual after that period) after 15 or 20 years. IMO, the best bet is to just try to repay those loans quickly as possible or doing IBR through something that qualifies for public service (since you get complete forgiveness in 10 years w/ no tax bill). But what sucks for OP is that repaying the loans as quickly means living shittier then a high school grad that manages a McDonalds for a good 10 years or more..

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nealric
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby nealric » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:54 am

Additionally, you get with with a massive tax bill in 25 years since the discharge is considered income


I believe they have a provision to prevent that (though I'm not 100% sure).

You guys are talking like the OP will never get a raise. It may be a bit tight at the starting salary, but eventually things will get easier.

09042014
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby 09042014 » Tue Dec 15, 2009 11:17 am

nealric wrote:
Additionally, you get with with a massive tax bill in 25 years since the discharge is considered income


I believe they have a provision to prevent that (though I'm not 100% sure).

You guys are talking like the OP will never get a raise. It may be a bit tight at the starting salary, but eventually things will get easier.


Its not even that hard as it is. 70- 24(yearly payment on 150K/10years @ 8.25%) = 46K. You'll be taxed more than someone making 46, but you'll probably have as much purchasing power as someone making 40K. With no family that is decent enough. Just don't live in a rich neighborhood, don't buy a car (you won't need one), and don't waste a ton of money.

Factor in raises and promotions, and it isn't that bad.

But no job should frighten the shit out of the OP.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:26 pm

Desert Fox wrote:Its not even that hard as it is. 70- 24(yearly payment on 150K/10years @ 8.25%) = 46K. You'll be taxed more than someone making 46, but you'll probably have as much purchasing power as someone making 40K.


Not really. The government doesn't figure what you pay for loans and then tax you, they tax you on your gross income. So if you assume 30% goes to taxes (including FICA, etc) then post-tax that $70K is $49K. Take off another $24k from that for loans and you are at $25K /year to live off. A person who makes $40K /year getting taxes 30% post-tax would then make $28K /year. This analysis is a little bit ridiculous because realistically the person making $40K /year will be in a lower tax bracket and actually have a greater purchasing power then this, but I used 30% just to emphasize even if both those people were taxed the exact same percentage OP making $70K /year would be in a shittier situation.

Desert Fox wrote:With no family that is decent enough. Just don't live in a rich neighborhood, don't buy a car (you won't need one), and don't waste a ton of money.


I'm going to go out in a limb here and say odds are this insurance company is in Chicago. And it's not cheap to live in Chicago, even if you live in the ghetto. $70K in Chicago is probably worth less then $50K in the boonies somewhere. I'd imagine just paying rent is easily going to cost $15K /year if not more, so that leaves maybe $10K for food and everything else. Not a very good living at all ... The high school graduate that has been working at McDonalds since high school graduation (who was promoted to somewhere in McDonald's management) made out better after the 7 years that OP spent in college since the McDonald's manager makes more money and thus lives more comfortably (and it didn't take him 7 years of college and $150K in loans to do it).

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: Should I take this job?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:31 pm

nealric wrote:
Additionally, you get with with a massive tax bill in 25 years since the discharge is considered income


I believe they have a provision to prevent that (though I'm not 100% sure).


Yeah, I heard it's something about how the taxes can't exceed your total assets (I'm not exactly sure about this one). Even then that sucks because you are selling your house and car to pay your taxes on your student loans when you are well into your 50s. Possibly even using any retirement money that you set aside/invested in stocks to repay it.




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