Peace Corp. After Law School

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zyxwvut7
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Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby zyxwvut7 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:42 am

Hey guys help me out,

Here's my situation. I am either going to get off the waitlist at Texas (better school) likely for full price or I am going to go to SMU (worse school) on a full scholarship. If I go to SMU, then there's no problem with the scenario below. It's if I go to Texas with full sticker price that I'm not sure what happens.

Basically, I am considering joining the Peace Corp. for two years after law school. I know a lot of people will say "do it before law school" or "why now?", but I have my reasons. My question is two parts: 1) If I take out the likely 150K in Stafford/GradPLUS loans, is it possible to defer payments until I get back (2 years and 3 month program) and 2) How difficult would it be to find a job upon returning (without the whole OCI process and working for the company I worked for during my 2L summer)? Let me know.

Thanks y'all...

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Cleareyes
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Cleareyes » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:44 am

Are you planning on working as a lawyer for the Peace Corps in some capacity or just like...be a normal Peace Corps member?

zyxwvut7
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby zyxwvut7 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:45 am

Normal peace corp. member. Not a law related job at all, I just want to volunteer and go like everyone else.

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Cleareyes
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Cleareyes » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:48 am

I don't know for sure, but I think that you'd be in bad shape on both accounts. I don't think you can defer your loans to volunteer, just for future school, and not only do you miss the normal channels of school to employment but firms are going to ask why you decided, as a newly minted lawyer, to go build huts in Africa right away. It makes you look like you don't actually want to practice law, since if you did that's what you'd be doing (In a public interest venue most likely.)

This seems like a horrible plan.

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dextermorgan
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby dextermorgan » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:50 am

Cleareyes wrote:
This seems like a horrible plan.

+1 Don't do it with that kind of debt.

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Lizface killah
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Lizface killah » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:53 am

zyxwvut7 wrote:Normal peace corp. member. Not a law related job at all, I just want to volunteer and go like everyone else.


Doesn't the Peace Corps like to use the skills and training you have? I would think that they might want you to do legal work if you have a J.D. They can get any old philosophy B.A. to dig wells, write grant proposals and de-worm orphans.
Last edited by Lizface killah on Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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A'nold
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby A'nold » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:03 am

Don't know your story but it sounds like a crappy idea. It also seems that the reason you are not telling us "your secret plan" because you know we will all also think it is a bad idea. Why fight tradition? Go now, reapply before you get back, and I'm sure you will get into even better schools and possibly a few reaches with your new cool soft.

alveron
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby alveron » Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:22 am

This is copy pasted from the Department of Ed's Direct Loan servicing site for Peace Corps deferments:

Maximum Time Limit: 36 months

Requirements. The following conditions must be met in order to qualify:

1. At the time your Direct Loan was made, you must have had an outstanding balance on a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loan which was made prior to July 1, 1993. If you did not, please use the Economic Hardship deferment form to apply for your Peace Corps deferment.
Note: The FFEL Program includes Federal Stafford Loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized), Federal Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS), Federal PLUS Loans, and Federal Consolidation Loans.
2. You must have agreed to serve in the Peace Corps for a period of at least one year.
3. You must complete a Peace Corps deferment form and have it certified by a Peace Corps official.
* Complete, sign and date your form
* Include with your application the information described below:
o Certified by an Authorized Official of the Peace Corps (have the authorized official complete Section 4: "Authorized Official’s Certification" section of the deferment). NOTE: As an alternative to having an authorized Peace Corps official complete Section 4 of this form, you may provide the Direct Loan Servicing Center with documentation of the beginning and expected ending dates of your service in the Peace Corps. This documentation must be signed and dated by an authorized Peace Corps official.

Because of condition #1 the following are the requirements for an economic hardship deferment:

Maximum Time Limit: 36 months

Must Reapply: Every 12 months (unless you qualify under Condition #3 below)

Requirements. To qualify, you must meet one of the conditions listed below and provide the required documentation for only that condition.

1. You have been granted an Economic Hardship Deferment on a loan made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) or the Federal Perkins Loan Program for the period of time for which you are now requesting an Economic Hardship Deferment for your Direct Loan(s). If you have already been granted an Economic Hardship Deferment on a loan made under the FFEL Program or the Federal Perkins Loan Program, please contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center.
2. You are receiving payment under a federal or state public assistance program, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, or state general public assistance.
3. You are serving as a Peace Corps volunteer.
4. You are working full-time and your total monthly gross income from employment must be less than or equal to the larger of (A) the monthly minimum wage rate or (B) 150% of the Poverty Guideline amount for your family size and state, as shown in the charts below.
(A) Federal Minimum Wage
Hourly Rate
$6.55 Monthly Rate
$1,135.33 Annual Rate
$13,624.00

(B) 150 % of Monthly Poverty Guidelines
Family Size 48 Contiguous States and D.C. Alaska Hawaii
1 $1,300.00 $1,625.00 $1,495.00
2 1,750.00 2,187.50 2,012.50
3 2,200.00 2,750.00 2,530.00
4 2,650.00 3,312.50 3,047.50
5 3,100.00 3,875.00 3,565.00
6 3,550.00 4,437.50 4,082.50
7 4,000.00 5,000.00 4,600.00
8 4,450.00 5,562.50 5,117.50
For each additional person, add 450.00 562.50 517.50
5. You are not working full-time. You also meet other income and Federal Student Loan debt requirements.
6. You are working full-time. You also meet other income and Federal Student Loan debt requirements.


You can use the interactive download button on the top of this page to pre-qualify online or Click here to view and download the worksheet that is used in calculating your eligibility under conditions #5 and #6.

* Complete, sign and date your form
* Include with your application the information described below:
o Condition #1: No additional documentation is required. We will confirm that you have been granted an Economic Hardship Deferment on a loan made under the FFEL Program or the Federal Perkins Loan Program.
o Condition #2: Evidence of federal or state public assistance program payments.
o Condition #3: Evidence to certify your period of service in the Peace Corps.
o Condition #4: Evidence of your income. If you are reporting monthly income from employment and other sources, you must provide documentation such as pay stubs. If you are reporting one-twelfth of your adjusted gross income, you must provide a copy of your most recently filed Federal Income Tax Return.
o Conditions #5 and #6: Evidence of your total monthly gross income from all sources. If you are reporting monthly income from employment and other sources, you must provide documentation such as pay stubs. If you are reporting one-twelfth of your adjusted gross income, you must provide a copy of your most recently filed Federal Income Tax Return. In addition, you must provide documentation of the total amount you borrowed for all non-defaulted education loans, or eligible defaulted loans, that are now in repayment and were obtained through a federal program. If your total federal education loan debt includes defaulted loans, you must provide documentation that you have made repayment arrangements satisfactory to the holder(s) of the defaulted loans.



---------

I checked my Sallie Mae Loans to see if it was available and it was also an option. However, it would not let me see what the requirements were. I would suggest you call lenders used by Texas and SMU to make sure that the deferments are all granted on the same conditions regardless of the lender since you would be taking out Stafford and Grad PLUS loans.

If you have your reasons, do what you feel would make you happiest. However, take note that over the 27 months you would have the deferment that interest will be accumulating on your loans (a lot of $ for 150k).

That said, in three years a lot of things can happen and you might change your mind but at least you would have all of the information available. Also I would suggest calling the career planning offices at the schools you are considering to double check that you can use their resources after you return from the Peace Corps.

Good Luck :)

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Ipsa Dixit
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Ipsa Dixit » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:09 am

IDK that much about PeaceCorps, but don't you receive some stipend for living? You could consider entering income based repayment, which could make your payments really really low, and then make qualifying payments toward the debt. If you are planning to stay in govt or go into a non-profit after your service, this could have you on the path to loan forgiveness.

You'd have to research the requirements for loan forgiveness and income based repayment, but more info here: http://www.equaljusticeworks.org/node/215

spondee
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby spondee » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:13 am

Cleareyes wrote:I don't know for sure, but I think that you'd be in bad shape on both accounts. I don't think you can defer your loans to volunteer, just for future school, and not only do you miss the normal channels of school to employment but firms are going to ask why you decided, as a newly minted lawyer, to go build huts in Africa right away. It makes you look like you don't actually want to practice law, since if you did that's what you'd be doing (In a public interest venue most likely.)

This seems like a horrible plan.


This.

If you really want to do the Peace Corp., do it before law school.

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jacktripper
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby jacktripper » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:21 am

A'nold wrote:Don't know your story but it sounds like a crappy idea. It also seems that the reason you are not telling us "your secret plan" because you know we will all also think it is a bad idea. Why fight tradition? Go now, reapply before you get back, and I'm sure you will get into even better schools and possibly a few reaches with your new cool soft.


+1. Also agree with cleareyes that this is just going to make it appear to lawyers like you are not interested in being a lawyer. Unless you are planning on utilizing your J.D. in some capacity during peacecorps, then I suggest you should volunteer before going to law school. You will have peacecorp as a soft for law school apps.

thisguy456
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby thisguy456 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:34 am

As a former PCV, I can say it is an excellent choice regardless of when you want to go (of course I may be biased here). One of the Volunteers I served with was prosecutor doing murder cases. She decided her career was moving too fast, so she paused it for the PC. She was extremely happy with her decision, although I know her situation is different from yours. Certain countries and assignments may even have work available for you where you can use your legal background (there was a position available to the person above where she could use her legal background working with internally displaced people).

If you complete your full two years of service, you receive a "non-competitive eligibility" status for government jobs. Ultimately this does not mean too much, only that if you are applying for a job, and someone really wants you, you don't have to go through many of the loopholes. This usually works if you have a connection who's hiring, and they want you for the job, they don't have to post it for the public. So, if you want to do government work with your law degree, Peace Corps could open some doors for you. Anyway, I don't see how it would drastically hurt you.

I served right out of college, and the people I served with did not seem to have any issues with deferring their student loans.

kbsenegal
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby kbsenegal » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:40 am

I'll chime in too. You won't have to pay your loans while you're there, unless you take out private loans. Interest will accrue on all loans however, and if you don't want that interest to capitalize (become like principal and start charging interest as well) when you're finished, you have to pay it off within three months of returning. I had a normal amount (for undergrad, considering my parents paid a lot of it) of student loan debt with 2005 interest rates, which were low. I had $600 of accrued interest when I returned, and paid it back. Therefore, given today's interest rates and the ginormous amount of debt Texas will cost you, that number of additional debt will be a lot higher for you.

I really don't know about going to PC after LS. Peace Corps doesn't have legal programs where you could use your skillz. I interviewed with someone from Gtown who said he did something similar to PC but for lawyers after he graduated -- I can email him for the name of the program if you're interested. You're still going to have the interest issue, but he said he deferred his loans at that time, and at least you'll be using your newly acquired skill set.

I don't know your reasoning for waiting until after LS to join the Peace Corps, but it seems better suited for people without professional degrees or experience because it is usually very basic stuff. Like "this is how you turn on a computer, this is a right click, this is a left click." Still, if the choice was do PC or something like it after law school or don't do it at all, I say do PC. Best of luck in your decision!

PS It's "Peace Corps"

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Cleareyes
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Cleareyes » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:49 am

I just want to clarify that I think that the Peace Corps are great. I have relatives who have had wonderful experiences there. It just doesn't make sense, to me, to go into a heap of debt to go to law school, then immediately go to the Peace Corps doing stuff unrelated to law. I think it only makes sense to go to law school if you want to be a lawyer. I also think for most Peace Corps legal type positions they'd want someone with some legal experience, not a freshly minted JD. That's the other thing. I know people who have done Peace Corps as a sort of mid-career break, and I think it makes more sense there. You do something for ten years, then you do Peace Corps, then you do something else.

OgmiosII
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby OgmiosII » Fri Mar 20, 2009 11:51 am

Have you checked the Instructions for Student Loans Section of the Peace Corps website:
(may answer your question)

--LinkRemoved--

and the Financial Benefits section:

--LinkRemoved--

Bankhead
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby Bankhead » Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:33 pm

This is a horrible idea.

zyxwvut7
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby zyxwvut7 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 1:59 pm

kbsenegal,

I'd really appreciate if you would email him and get the name of that program, that sounds like something I would be very interested in.

Also, thanks for the insight guys, a lot of good feedback/perspective.

snotrocket
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby snotrocket » Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:39 pm

thisguy456 wrote:As a former PCV, I can say it is an excellent choice regardless of when you want to go (of course I may be biased here). One of the Volunteers I served with was prosecutor doing murder cases. She decided her career was moving too fast, so she paused it for the PC. She was extremely happy with her decision, although I know her situation is different from yours.

This example is a good argument against OP's plan. The key thing here is that she had a career, and just took a couple years off. Going and doing something random for two years right after law school is a perfect way to make sure that you never work as a lawyer. OP should either do this before law school, or after he has five years in practice, in an area that he might have a prospect of returning to after two years off (or if he decides five years is enough lawyering and he never wants to come back). All the comments above are correct, but the most glaring problems are that it completely derails you from the crucial flow of school oriented recruiting (for all jobs, not just firms), and it makes you look like you have no real interest in working as a lawyer. Nobody is going to understand why you didn't get this out of your system before school. It would make a lot more sense to just go into the PC now and take two years to decide if you even want to go to law school (which I am wondering whether you have any good reasons for, given that you have this idea in the first place).

sophie316
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby sophie316 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:44 pm

Not to hijack the thread, but how easy is it to take a year or two out to volunteer/travel once you've started your career. I was meant to be doing this this year, but fate/my health intervened and it's just not going to be possible. I thought about defering but I'm honestly not sure I'll be up to backpacking next year either and I don't want to waste another year. I definitely want to do it at some point, although I accept I will have to wait a while after law school to do it. How badly does it look to take time off mid career and do something like this?

thisguy456
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby thisguy456 » Fri Mar 20, 2009 8:10 pm

snotrocket wrote:
thisguy456 wrote:As a former PCV, I can say it is an excellent choice regardless of when you want to go (of course I may be biased here). One of the Volunteers I served with was prosecutor doing murder cases. She decided her career was moving too fast, so she paused it for the PC. She was extremely happy with her decision, although I know her situation is different from yours.

This example is a good argument against OP's plan. The key thing here is that she had a career, and just took a couple years off. Going and doing something random for two years right after law school is a perfect way to make sure that you never work as a lawyer. OP should either do this before law school, or after he has five years in practice, in an area that he might have a prospect of returning to after two years off (or if he decides five years is enough lawyering and he never wants to come back). All the comments above are correct, but the most glaring problems are that it completely derails you from the crucial flow of school oriented recruiting (for all jobs, not just firms), and it makes you look like you have no real interest in working as a lawyer. Nobody is going to understand why you didn't get this out of your system before school. It would make a lot more sense to just go into the PC now and take two years to decide if you even want to go to law school (which I am wondering whether you have any good reasons for, given that you have this idea in the first place).


I did mention that the above example was different from OP's situation. I guess my intention of that post was that careers are not always linear, and that sometimes there is an ebb or flow to them. I wouldn't say that choosing the PC after law school "completely derails," a law career, resulting in him or her "never work[ing] as a lawyer," again, nor would I say that "nobody is going to understand."

Granted, your decision could limit your abilities for working in specific situations, situations that seem to be common "lawyerly" paths on this forum, like working in Big Law right out of school. And, yes, a decision like PC right out of law school will severely limit the OCI process. While school is a great place for networking and connections, it is not the only place. PC is a great feeder program for certain government agencies, like USAID and the State Department. If OP wanted a government, public interest, or international job, PC could enhance those possibilities.

snotrocket
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby snotrocket » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:38 am

thisguy456 wrote:I did mention that the above example was different from OP's situation. I guess my intention of that post was that careers are not always linear, and that sometimes there is an ebb or flow to them. I wouldn't say that choosing the PC after law school "completely derails," a law career, resulting in him or her "never work[ing] as a lawyer," again, nor would I say that "nobody is going to understand."

Granted, your decision could limit your abilities for working in specific situations, situations that seem to be common "lawyerly" paths on this forum, like working in Big Law right out of school. And, yes, a decision like PC right out of law school will severely limit the OCI process. While school is a great place for networking and connections, it is not the only place. PC is a great feeder program for certain government agencies, like USAID and the State Department. If OP wanted a government, public interest, or international job, PC could enhance those possibilities

You are quite dangerously misinformed as to how the legal job market works, and as I noted above, I am referring to the market in general, including public interest and government (i.e. not just OCI). If OP just wants to go PC -> State Dept or something, and if PC service is a strong feeder for this, then, again, he should think twice about wasting three years in law school. A JD is certainly not required for the sort of positions you seem to be talking about.

efineman
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby efineman » Sat Mar 21, 2009 12:46 am

You can definitely defer student loans through Peace Corps. Also Americorps for that matter

billykelly76
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby billykelly76 » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:00 am

A really food friend of mine deferred at Harvard for two years to do the Peace Corps. Couldn't you do that at the schools you've been offered admission to? Once you're in law school you're going to be doing interesting work, forging connections and preparing for your career. What if you get offered a job with the ACLU or end up doing asylum cases for a non-profit in your spare time? If you plan on doing something unrelated to the law for two years after law school, you won't be able to take advantage of the connections you will form during law school. Potential employers will wonder about your commitment to the profession if you pursue this path, and getting your first job might not be particularly easy.

law_fun
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby law_fun » Sat Mar 21, 2009 1:20 am

This is a really stupid fucking question. Are you seriously listening to yourself? Massive Debt + Peace Corps = Dumb as Fuck.


you are pulling an Obama on the economy.

kbsenegal
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Re: Peace Corp. After Law School

Postby kbsenegal » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:36 am

OP - here's the info I got from Georgetown alum.

The group that I worked for in Sarajevo is called ABA/CEELI - at the time the acronym stood for "American Bar Association/Central and East European Law Initiative". While the acronym has stayed the same, the true name has changed to reflect a shift (expansion) in the geographical focus - I can't remember what the letters stand for now.

A quick google got me here: http://www.abanet.org/rol/europe_and_eurasia/

Good luck!




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