Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog Giveaway Winner and a Heartwarming Student Loan Story

Congrats to Susan Smoaks for winning the Dave Ramsey giveaway!  Be sure to look for my email asking for your delivery address.  Also, if you entered the giveaway, I'll be emailing you as well with a small token of my appreciation.

Look how happy Dave looks, Susan!  Well, he never really looks happy, but I know that's how he feels on the inside.  I hope you find the book motivational, like I did.

Also, here is a touching story I read regarding a single mother in Rhode Island whose student loans were

Friday, March 22, 2013

New Beginnings, a Podcast, and a Giveaway...

You may have noticed that I changed my blog name from Attorney to Temp to Legally Obligated.  I did this because I am no longer a temp, and I'm no longer just transitioning out of practicing law, but I still feel compelled to tell my story and to support other people who are deep in student loan debt.  So I thought Legally Obligated would be a more appropriate name.  Anyway, here is my first podcast!  (Scroll to the bottom to listen.)  Hopefully it will help me reach more people who are going through the same things I did.  I experienced some technical difficulties, but I think the next one will be smooth sailing.  So apologies for any volume level variations and such.

My first podcast includes my take on the U.S. News Law School rankings that were released last week, plus a story about an encounter I had with a woman who is considering going to law school, and some other

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Ides of March

I’ve heard that when you go on the Dave Ramsey plan (or any kind of plan for that matter), anything that can go wrong, will.  In terms of the baby steps, I think a lot of people experience Murphy’s Law in the first month of baby step two.  You get all excited about saving money to put toward your debt and then all of a sudden, boom!  Your water heater breaks, or the transmission on your car bites the dust.  It’s sort of the universe testing your resolve to get out of debt. 

We experienced a bit of that in the beginning of our debt snowball plan, but for the most part we didn’t have too much bad luck during baby step 2.  And then, a few days after we mailed our final payoff, I was driving home from work and heard a small crack! sound.  In the corner of my windshield was a little star-shaped chip, no more than a half inch in diameter.  It’s ok, I thought.  We can get that repaired.  No big deal.  And then, a couple minutes later, I heard a much louder crack! and saw that the star-shaped chip suddenly spread a foot across into my line of vision.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

"Don't Pee On My Leg and Tell Me It's Raining"

Can anyone say it better than Judge Judy?  More shenanigans by law schools desperate to inflate job statistics.  The George Washington School of Law is hiring graduates to work in temporary positions for up to 48 weeks.  Well, at least that'll help indebted law grads ride out the legal job market "slump" (which has been occurring for years).  Except that these lucky lawyers will be earning just $15 per hour (up to 35 hours per week).  A little quick math for you - that's $25,200, pre-tax, for the maximum 48-week period.  A graduate with $100K in student loans with a repayment period of 25 years and a 5% interest rate will be required to pay $584.59 per month. On a $25,000 salary, that's 28% of gross pay.  Which is totally doable.  Most people can swing student loan payments that are the equivalent of their housing costs, right? And I'm sure that by the end of the 48 weeks, most of these grads will be gainfully employed.

In other legal news, Northwestern has decided to cut its incoming class by 10% (while still raising tuition).  This is due in part to the declining number of law school applications (slow clap for the early scam bloggers).

The Lonely Lawyer

A law school friend of mine (we'll call him "John") called me tonight, in need of some support.  He was feeling bummed out about not having a girlfriend, about his job (as a bankruptcy lawyer), and about his law school debt.

"I can't believe how stupid I was to drop computer engineering for a history major.  And going to law school was such a huge mistake.  But what else was I going to do with my worthless BA?"

"It's ok.  We all did stupid stuff when we were younger.  Just 'cause you dropped engineering back in college doesn't mean you can't go back into that field now."

"Yeah, but I'm afraid if I leave my law job, I may never be able to go back."

"What are you talking about?  Are they going to take away your law license if you try to be happy?"

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Long and Winding Road

Our dog, on a post payoff walk
I haven’t updated on my job situation in a while, so I thought I’d put together a little timeline of events, from when I first got out of law to our recent debt freedom.  It’s kind of fun to look back at how far we've come.

Mid 2009:  Gee, this law thing really sucks.  I should find another job.  Shouldn’t take too long since I have a JD, which is truly a versatile degree (it must be true – they told me that at law school orientation)!  (Good grief, I was so na├»ve. I wish I could go back in time and punch myself in the head.)

January 2010:  As a backup plan, I applied to a healthcare program at my local community college a few months prior and was accepted.  I had to complete some prerequisites, though, so I began taking a chemistry course at night.  

March 2010:  Shit, no one wants me because of my JD.  I’m too ‘overqualified’ apparently.  Or maybe they think I’m nuts for leaving such a ‘lucrative’ and ‘prestigious’ field?  If they only knew how not lucrative it is.  I don’t make much more than someone with a BBA, but I have twice the student loan debt.  And there isn’t anything prestigious about answering discovery in a slip and fall case, or arguing a sentence for a DUI when the statutory guidelines dictate the outcome.  Maybe it’s time to take up drinking to get through it.  A lot of attorneys do that, don’t they?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Old School: The Outdated Law School Model

Photo courtesy of stockfreeimages.com
I came across this recent post in Outside the Law School Scam, a blog you should definitely check out.  The post was a call to action on the part of scambloggers - what are they/we looking for exactly?  I then remembered that I wrote a post about the flaws I see in the current law school model, as well as some changes I'd like to see (scroll to the bottom of my post if you want to cut to the chase) about a year and a half ago.  I think it's worth re-posting, since it could benefit anyone considering going to law school.  My ideas for change are simple, although probably difficult to implement.  So just to keep the message going about the potential financial and career pitfalls that await newly minted JD's, here you go: The Flawed Law School Model (October 2011).

What changes would you like to see implemented?  Shutting down all law schools?  Shutting down all for-profit law schools?  Caps on tuition?  Student loan reform?  I'd love to hear them!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Something Amazing Just Happened

I wrote a couple weeks ago about our progress in paying off the last of our debt, my federal student loan.  Well, since then, something really great has happened.  As of today, we are officially debt free.  How did this happen?  Well, we had saved up about $20,000 and we had $50,000 more to go.  When we moved across the country a couple years ago, we did so because my husband took a job with a start-up company.  His compensation package included stock options.  The company has since gone public, and in February, we were allowed to exercise the options.  After taxes, they were worth just over $50,000.  We took it as a sign from the heavens to cash out and be rid of the debt, so we did.  Today, we mailed the payoff.