Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 88235 times)

YTProphet

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Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« on: January 21, 2015, 02:08:25 PM »
I saw the pharmacy thread and couldn't help but wonder how many lawyer mustachians there are on here. If so, what kind of law do you practice? BigLaw, MidLaw, SmallLaw, or InHouse? Approximate salaries? Any debt left from law school?

I'll start: I'm a mid-law associate. I'm on the transactional side (no litigation for me) and mainly do general commercial contracts and corporate governance related work. Salary is pretty good, mid-to-low 100's, depending on bonus. Law school debt was just paid off last week!

You?

Check2400

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2015, 04:04:32 PM »
Lawyer here.  I fall into the 'disgruntled, probably shouldn't have been a lawyer' lawyer.  I do litigation, Small law coming from 2 years in midlaw.  Not at 100K (I'm never sure if people here mean gross, net, or net after 401k withholdings when they give salary numbers) but close enough net.  I won't complainypants the career choice-a whole other topic, but have basically come to the realization that if I had not had my LSAT study year, 3 years of law school, and 5 years of all monies going to paying off 125K in debt, and had followed the principals in this blog, I probably would be looking pretty good 9 years in.  Obviously the intansubjective  factors come into play here-I didn't have a tangible career like engineering to start me at a salary where I am now, and likely would have had a grass is greener view if I hadn't gone, but still...

That being said, 100 of 125 debt is paid off, with a condo purchase in the interim.  Most of that comes from a remarkably sustainable side business I have going on (adding to the law regret).  That 25K is still at 6.25%, but I'm far enough into the debt that the declining interest is worth just paying off the loan over time now, and putting that 25K in an investment-real estate, ETF., what have you.  I hate debt, but at this point the money is best invested for 5 years down the road instead of 1 year of no more law debt. 

That being said, Jan. 1 was the date that my mint.com liquid assets v. student debts finally went green, into the positive.  Its nice knowing that I could, if need be, pay off all debts and only have the mortgage to take care of.  I'd love to get a rental to try that out, but I live in a high property tax city, and have major expenses coming up-SO is getting more "S" and my truck, while lovingly maintained, has at best a 3 year life cycle on it.

Would love to get out-I have two great business ideas, but currently I am doing well enough to where 4-5 more years of lawyering and successful side business should set me up nicely by age 40 moving forward.  Plus, it isn't that bad, if I can get away from the crazy clients!

Shade00

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2015, 04:30:33 PM »
Biglaw firm in a small market; salary + bonuses + 401k contributions puts my comp somewhere around $140k total. About 5 years in now. I'm a litigator. I generally enjoy what I do and do not have unreasonable hours. Most days I'm here from about 9-5:30. Wife and I are just trying to figure out where we want to be. Looking at moving in the near future.

Don't regret my decision to go to law school, but I do regret my poor financial decisions during law school. Younger me screwed present/future me, but I'm hoping to have my loans paid off in the next 3ish years.

TN_Steve

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2015, 05:02:55 PM »
I float about this forum and try to give some good pointers/answers, but by comparison to others here, I am far from mustachian even though we save more than we spend post-taxes.  (DW is doc)

Old guy who chose free law school over ivy league; still doing commercial lit.  9 years mega law, many years adjunct/SAHD, now in tiny firm.  Make a bit more than NYC big-law starting base, and in a much cheaper location.  Typical big firm hours still though--0630-1900 most week days, unless busy.  Usually have a weekend day off, and some holidays.  DW and I are counting down to retirement, just adding on for comfort at this point, now that all kids finished with undergrad.

A son in law school now (transactional focus), luckily with free tuition, so he'll avoid the loan mess that puts so many behind the eight ball to start off.

All and all, not a bad job for me, lots of periodic good stress, and still learning new things.  But for me, unlike for some people I know in the profession, it is just a job and I'll likely not look back when we pull the trigger.

cynthia1848

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2015, 05:07:04 PM »
Here too, was in biglaw for 6 yrs, now in small law for 8.  I work PT and barely scrape 6 figures gross, but my schedule is AWESOME, 9-430 or so and 4 days, so I don't complain.  :)

I didn't have any debt from college or law school.

Amesenator

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2015, 08:09:20 PM »
Big law partner, went to a public school and graduated without debt (thanks to DH's salary covering tuition), live overseas and have high comp, have now paid off all mortgages and contemplating the next phase of life!

innerscorecard

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2015, 01:00:17 AM »
Soon we'll have "real" lawyers in here deprecating others for not going to a "T6," not getting a Biglaw (has to be "V10" or higher) summer associateship, and not having at least a 3.8 GPA (or whatever the GPA of those lawyers was).

I've found that sooner or later all gatherings of US lawyers turn into ego contests. I've seen literally the first question out of people's mouths after "What's your name" to be "What law school did you go to?" It's one of the least Mustachian professions I've ever had the misfortune of meeting people in.
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Rosbif

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2015, 01:48:30 AM »
I'm a barrister. Started with about 40kGBP of debt, and income of 18k (many in criminal law actually run a loss the first couple of years, so that was ok). I got two years in, and ditched prosecuting for international arbitration. Still not US money, but much better. Hours obscene, did 397 hours in one month, averaged 275 a month for a year. Which is total madness. I saw the light, and walked away. I do occasional freelance stuff, but I'm mainly running my own business from home. Work-life balance immeasurably improved, income only slightly lower. 

innerscorecard

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2015, 02:43:10 AM »
I won't complainypants the career choice-a whole other topic, but have basically come to the realization that if I had not had my LSAT study year, 3 years of law school, and 5 years of all monies going to paying off 125K in debt, and had followed the principals in this blog, ...

An entire year dedicated to studying for the LAST sounds excessive. I spent about 3 hours in total preparing for the LSAT, consisting of reading about the format of the test and completing a single practice one. Then I showed up to the exam and got 173. It's a very easy test. The hardest part is avoiding using the washroom. If you have to use the washroom, you're pretty much screwed.

As an aside -- law school was my biggest financial mistake to date. I really love law, but it's not a good career for early retirement (so I did not pursue it). After I'm retired, I might become a lawyer and practice law on a purely charitable basis, only taking on files that I care about.

You do realize not everyone is academically as smart as you are, and that you can acknowledge that in a more respectful manner, right?

Law is one of the few professions where it's perfectly acceptable to denigrate others for being less talented at this one super-specific thing.

It wouldn't be hard to one-up your story of taking the LSAT basically cold and getting a top 1% result. There are always people smarter than you in this world, no matter how brilliant you are. Some people literally do not have the academic talent or brainpower, however you'd call it, to get a 173 no matter how hard they study. Doesn't mean you should look down on them by calling it an "easy test."

I won't say what I scored because I don't want to be part of the careerist measuring contest, but I will say that I also didn't study for anything near a year, and even used the bathroom for a few minutes too, and also got a comparable result. Doesn't mean I have a right to make fun of people who don't have that narrow skill of being good at standardized tests.

Cathy, I'm not attacking you as a poster or a person. I appreciate your unique contributions to this board. It was just a clear example of what I've seen very often in life - lawyers that, while decent and good people usually, turn into the most insanely condescending, credential-focused, and comparatively competitive people of any profession I have seen (except perhaps investment banking or private equity), when anything to do with prestige, law school, standardized tests, intelligence, or the like comes up. It's quite remarkable.

I thought this was a particularly egregious case because for the poster you quoted, taking the LSAT may have required the year for any number of life circumstances which you have no idea about, and yet you just scornfully said that it's a "very easy test." Since it's curved, it's by definition not a very easy test for almost everyone. It's amazing that you, as well as many other lawyers, are smart enough to do well on this one function of intelligence but have thought about what it means so little that you therefore assume it must be amazingly simple and easy for everyone else, when that's literally impossible due to it being a curved test. You do realize that the average score for Harvard undergraduates is something in the 160's, right?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 03:07:57 AM by innerscorecard »
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josstache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2015, 03:38:45 AM »
Fully agreeing with innerscorecard, I also feel compelled to mention that there are additional financial gains to be had from scoring higher than 173.  Studying for the LSAT is one of the most financially rewarding ways to spend your time, assuming you are actually set on going to law school.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2015, 04:21:45 AM by josstache »

innerscorecard

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2015, 04:20:13 AM »
Anyone going to law school should attempt to get the highest LSAT score possible. That doesn't mean that it's a "very easy test."
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island_guy

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2015, 04:31:36 AM »
Hi, yes another lawyer here.  Not US based but Biglaw (equivalent) 2 year qualified junior associate earning $180k (equivalent).

No student debt due to fortunately going to University in a country where university fees are free.

Unfortunately despite a very high salary for someone in their 20s I still managed to rack up $60k of debt at one point.  I would agree with the poster above who said this is one of the least mustachian professions in existence!

That said, since discovering this blog I've halved that down to $30k and it will hopefully be gone entirely in the next 6 months.  I'm just glad I discovered the blog when I did - if I keep this up I should be able to put away some serious capital in the next 10 years.  Unfortunately I see too many senior lawyers at the moment who have been at the game for a decade or more and whilst live a very flashy life have very little to show for it in terms of assets!

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2015, 06:33:55 AM »
Soon we'll have "real" lawyers in here deprecating others for not going to a "T6," not getting a Biglaw (has to be "V10" or higher) summer associateship, and not having at least a 3.8 GPA (or whatever the GPA of those lawyers was).

I've found that sooner or later all gatherings of US lawyers turn into ego contests. I've seen literally the first question out of people's mouths after "What's your name" to be "What law school did you go to?" It's one of the least Mustachian professions I've ever had the misfortune of meeting people in.

I don't think I agree that being a lawyer is one of the least Mustachian professions. If you can avoid taking out loans for law school (that's a huge IF), I think it can be one of the most mustachian professions. Take a job in BigLaw in a major city and make $160k+bonus  (or MidLaw and make $110k+bonus) right out of law school in your mid 20's, do that grind for 5 years or so to get good experience, then find a cushy in-house job paying a little less. You'll be in your early 30's making a ton of money and you should have been able to bank a ton as well. You'll also have the equivalent of a mid-level executive job, and probably be one of the youngest people in management at Company X. If you played your cards right, you could retire at 40 pretty handily.

I had a friend from law school whose parents paid for his undergrad and law school. He started undergrad young, finished in 4 years, then went to law school right away. He graduated at 24, landed a job with a major firm in a secondary city, and was making phenomenal money right away. Plus, he was still able to have fun and enjoy himself. He's a frugal guy to begin with, so I'm sure he's already well on his way to early retirement (although he's not the type to retire early).

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2015, 06:39:02 AM »
Also, do any lawyers love their job? I don't hate mine, but I don't love it. I'm more apathetic toward it although I want to do a good job. I've got to think that law is one of the most disappointing professions in regard to what people expect it to be and what it actually is.

To echo other points in this thread, law is DEFINITELY one of the most ego/credential driven professions out there. The line of questioning is always (1) where do you work then (2) where did you go to school, even if you're 25 years removed from it. Kind of obnoxious since the correlation between law school and quality of attorney isn't quite as strong as it's made out to be. In my opinion, the best measure is what partner/firm you were trained by/at.

Lyssa

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2015, 06:57:51 AM »
Four years into BigLaw. US firm, German office, 165 k (EUR, gross). Started with about 6 k in student debt (repayment of 'Bafoeg', a federal aid for students from low income families) which I repayed immediately after starting to work.

I do transactional work which I like but do not love. I loved studying law though. I love studying a lot of things. Which is one of my biggest reasons to aim for FI.


ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2015, 07:23:26 AM »
Another lawyer here.  In-house now for about 5 years at a Fortune 100 company after a long stint at Biglaw in a small market.  I do transactional work and really enjoy all aspects of it.  Mostly working 9-5 with no travel so it feels great after the insane hours (and travel) I worked in private practice.  I went to a state school and graduated with a small loan that I paid off within a couple of years.  Hoping to retire within the next 3 or so years :-)



PinkFrugalRunner

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2015, 07:23:41 AM »
3rd-year US law student here. Was fearful that I was signing away my life to this path of debt for a degree for an awful job to pay off the debt - but am hoping to use my big law job to pay off the debt quickly and start building a stash so I can be FI/RE. I have $130k in debt but at zero interest as my loan was from a benevolent relative. Will be working/living in NYC which is expensive but I'm hoping I've learned enough around here to avoid falling into the 'golden handcuffs' trap of NYC big law!

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2015, 07:29:04 AM »
3rd-year US law student here. Was fearful that I was signing away my life to this path of debt for a degree for an awful job to pay off the debt - but am hoping to use my big law job to pay off the debt quickly and start building a stash so I can be FI/RE. I have $130k in debt but at zero interest as my loan was from a benevolent relative. Will be working/living in NYC which is expensive but I'm hoping I've learned enough around here to avoid falling into the 'golden handcuffs' trap of NYC big law!

After seeing those NYC BigLaw bonuses on AboveTheLaw recently, you should be able to have that paid off in a few years. Good luck!

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2015, 07:31:21 AM »
Another lawyer here.  In-house now for about 5 years at a Fortune 100 company after a long stint at Biglaw in a small market.  I do transactional work and really enjoy all aspects of it.  Mostly working 9-5 with no travel so it feels great after the insane hours (and travel) I worked in private practice.  I went to a state school and graduated with a small loan that I paid off within a couple of years.  Hoping to retire within the next 3 or so years :-)

ZiziPB - question for you. I'm looking at going in-house in the near future. What type of salary should an attorney with 5 years experience expect at a F500 company (assuming midwest market that's not Chicago)? What type of bonus?

innerscorecard

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2015, 07:41:23 AM »
The cost of three years' law school tuition, if invested in the stock market instead, would get you a lot of the way there to FIRE. Instead you have to grind for several years to get back to square one (zero net worth). To me, that's the exact opposite of Mustachian. You mentioned someone who's parents paid all their undergraduate and law school tuition. Then you mentioned getting to be an executive and the status that comes with it. That again is the exact opposite of the Mustachian value system.

I didn't say no one can strive for it, but it's undoubtedly un-Mustachian.
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hoodedfalcon

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2015, 07:45:48 AM »
8 years out, work at a very small non-profit in a low COL area, still paying off ridiculous sums of debt (50K private, 90K federal). 6 more years until PSLF on the federal loans. I like my job okay, but law school was a mistake for me personally. Biglaw was never on my radar. I would bolt from this career in a heartbeat....

PinkFrugalRunner

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2015, 07:49:46 AM »
3rd-year US law student here. Was fearful that I was signing away my life to this path of debt for a degree for an awful job to pay off the debt - but am hoping to use my big law job to pay off the debt quickly and start building a stash so I can be FI/RE. I have $130k in debt but at zero interest as my loan was from a benevolent relative. Will be working/living in NYC which is expensive but I'm hoping I've learned enough around here to avoid falling into the 'golden handcuffs' trap of NYC big law!

After seeing those NYC BigLaw bonuses on AboveTheLaw recently, you should be able to have that paid off in a few years. Good luck!

I had not checked until just now - thanks for the tip. Here's hoping! I'm being an optimist and viewing the past few years as an investment in a Mustachian future, where FI allows me to give legal help to non-profits down the line...

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2015, 07:56:23 AM »
Class of 2011 at age 43 (after 12 years as a public school teacher).  Now three years into a part-time staff attorney position in BigLaw in a smaller city. 

I do transactional work that I find mostly very interesting.  I make low six-figures.  An associate position is opening up in a group that I often do work for and I'm being considered.  I'd shift over as a 2d year associate which should put me around $175k.  I'm also job hunting and will move firms if necessary -- my current position is a dead end but I'll use it as a launching pad to something better.

I have a mortgage-worth of student loans.  Seriously, I owe almost as much on my mind as I do on my house and have a negative net worth of about $95k which is a damn sight better than where I was in 2013 (neg net worth of $130k).  I am pretty hard-core mustachian -- about 60% of my take home pay goes to debt.   On my current course, I'll be SL-debt free in about 5 years (before my 51st birthday, as God is my witness).  If I get the associate position, I'll be debt free, including my house-mortgage by then and will have about $300k in retirement assets.

I agree that law, especially BigLaw, is highly ego-driven.  It's probably a leading driver of why most people think lawyers are assholes.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2015, 08:10:14 AM »
Another lawyer here.  In-house now for about 5 years at a Fortune 100 company after a long stint at Biglaw in a small market.  I do transactional work and really enjoy all aspects of it.  Mostly working 9-5 with no travel so it feels great after the insane hours (and travel) I worked in private practice.  I went to a state school and graduated with a small loan that I paid off within a couple of years.  Hoping to retire within the next 3 or so years :-)

ZiziPB - question for you. I'm looking at going in-house in the near future. What type of salary should an attorney with 5 years experience expect at a F500 company (assuming midwest market that's not Chicago)? What type of bonus?

Really hard to say because compensation structures vary so much from company to company.  I'd say low to mid $100K with some bonus (15-20%) would be reasonable to expect.  But again, things vary significantly from one place to another and it will mostly depend what the overall compensation structure is at the company.  Where I work, the base salaries tend to be lower than the market with the bonus and stock awards having stated targets and being a significant portion of the overall compensation.



innerscorecard

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2015, 08:12:34 AM »
I agree that law, especially BigLaw, is highly ego-driven.  It's probably a leading driver of why most people think lawyers are assholes.

Seriously, I've been in a room with dozens of BigLaw partners from "V10" and "V100" firms, and the first thing they do is quickly establish a pecking order amongst themselves. Socially, too. The ones from "top" firms will trip over themselves to denigrate the slightly lesser firms to each other. Of course the more marginal the top firm the lawyer is from the more they will denigrate the even lesser firms, when those people are out of earshot.

It was extremely sickening.
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CommonCents

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #25 on: January 22, 2015, 08:41:27 AM »
I'm state government lawyer, practicing health law.  Work 9-5.  Earn mid-80s gross.  Retirement benefits kick in starting at 10 years: http://www.mass.gov/treasury/docs/retirement/retirementchart.pdf, but the trade off is no social security.  I sometimes contemplate moving in house for the pay increase, bc DH is always going on about how he thinks we're poor and can't afford things, but then I remember that while I dislike the actual office perks (I bring my own supplies, I don't have a real office, I have no kitchen...) and could get a lot more, I do like my coworkers and boss a lot, people actually appreciate what I do here, my hours are good, and DH will complain about money no matter how much we have.

Out of law school I worked biglaw for a little over 2 years, before the economy caught up.  I did adjunct for 1.5 years then before landing this job.  I went positive net worth during this time, although I haven't actually paid off my loans as they're at 2.5% and 2.75%.

Another lawyer here.  In-house now for about 5 years at a Fortune 100 company after a long stint at Biglaw in a small market.  I do transactional work and really enjoy all aspects of it.  Mostly working 9-5 with no travel so it feels great after the insane hours (and travel) I worked in private practice.  I went to a state school and graduated with a small loan that I paid off within a couple of years.  Hoping to retire within the next 3 or so years :-)

ZiziPB - question for you. I'm looking at going in-house in the near future. What type of salary should an attorney with 5 years experience expect at a F500 company (assuming midwest market that's not Chicago)? What type of bonus?

Really hard to say because compensation structures vary so much from company to company.  I'd say low to mid $100K with some bonus (15-20%) would be reasonable to expect.  But again, things vary significantly from one place to another and it will mostly depend what the overall compensation structure is at the company.  Where I work, the base salaries tend to be lower than the market with the bonus and stock awards having stated targets and being a significant portion of the overall compensation.

I interviewed a lot before taking this job (3rd rounds and even told I was second pick, but always the bridesmaid, sigh).  For 2-3 years of exp, it was $125k-$135k in Boston a few years ago.

Agree with innerscorecard on pecking amongst lawyers.  There's definitely a lot of prejudice and social
I can tell people at a bar event that I work for the state govt and get one reaction - or a vastly different one if I tell them the firm for which I initially worked here (or the name of my law school).  It's basically: biglaw > in house > govt/non-profit > not practicing.  Unless you're prosecutor in which case it might be different.  Not sure where small law firms fit on the "hierarchy".

Do people really remember LSAT scores though?  I know mine within a few points, but I honestly can't remember it.  I even tried finding paperwork on it a few years back so I'd know, but gave up when I realized I'd need to pay or ask my law school if they would tell me.

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #26 on: January 22, 2015, 09:14:33 AM »
Question for those of you who are law firm partners:

In our divorce agreement, my ex is supposed to pay a percentage of his year-end partnership lump sum (K1?) as child support.  Suddenly, this year, that amount is zero.  Would a law firm allow him to restructure his compensation so that it all comes in his regular check instead of at year's end?  In other words, did they really have a bad year or is he finagling?   


totoro

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #27 on: January 22, 2015, 10:08:41 AM »
Well, I've worked in the profession for over ten years now.  I graduated with not too much debt because I had savings and got some scholarships and prices are a bit lower in Canada.  I believe my debt was repaid within the first year.  I know that some US lawyers have a much bigger burden when they graduate and I'm not sure I would have gone to law school had I been in the states.

I started at $65,000 per year working in a firm.  Left after two years and started my own practice working pt from home to be with my kids.  Last summer I  went ft.  I made over $300,000 last year.

I would highly recommend law if you are entrepreneurial.  Many lawyers are not so those that are can position themselves well using technology to lower overhead.  As for biglaw, it can be a good place to learn a niche skill set but I was never interested in it.  It always seemed like too much of a sacrifice of life energy to me.  I think having children brought that home early.

As for the LSAT, I do remember that I did some practice tests and my scores improved.  I'd say it was worth it to practice.

TN_Steve

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2015, 10:52:08 AM »
Question for those of you who are law firm partners:

In our divorce agreement, my ex is supposed to pay a percentage of his year-end partnership lump sum (K1?) as child support.  Suddenly, this year, that amount is zero.  Would a law firm allow him to restructure his compensation so that it all comes in his regular check instead of at year's end?  In other words, did they really have a bad year or is he finagling?

Like any other business, it all depends.  On balance, I'd say:  A firm is unlikely to do that; and, generally speaking, the bigger the firm (or, more accurately, the more business-like in its operations), the less likely something like that would happen.  The firm "Jim &  Bob, LLC, as seen on TV," might be questionable, particularly if Jim and Bob are twin brothers.

CommonCents

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2015, 11:18:20 AM »
Question for those of you who are law firm partners:

In our divorce agreement, my ex is supposed to pay a percentage of his year-end partnership lump sum (K1?) as child support.  Suddenly, this year, that amount is zero.  Would a law firm allow him to restructure his compensation so that it all comes in his regular check instead of at year's end?  In other words, did they really have a bad year or is he finagling?

Like any other business, it all depends.  On balance, I'd say:  A firm is unlikely to do that; and, generally speaking, the bigger the firm (or, more accurately, the more business-like in its operations), the less likely something like that would happen.  The firm "Jim &  Bob, LLC, as seen on TV," might be questionable, particularly if Jim and Bob are twin brothers.

May I ask why you structured it this way rather than a % of all compensation - regular check and partnership lump sum?  Have you thought about having your child support agreement modified?  Most states wouldn't want your ex paying no support (because you might need to go onto state support).

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2015, 11:23:40 AM »
Question for those of you who are law firm partners:

In our divorce agreement, my ex is supposed to pay a percentage of his year-end partnership lump sum (K1?) as child support.  Suddenly, this year, that amount is zero.  Would a law firm allow him to restructure his compensation so that it all comes in his regular check instead of at year's end?  In other words, did they really have a bad year or is he finagling?

Like any other business, it all depends.  On balance, I'd say:  A firm is unlikely to do that; and, generally speaking, the bigger the firm (or, more accurately, the more business-like in its operations), the less likely something like that would happen.  The firm "Jim &  Bob, LLC, as seen on TV," might be questionable, particularly if Jim and Bob are twin brothers.

+ 1

This is very unlikely to happen if the partner is at a BigLaw firm -- or even a well-respected mid-sized firm.

This idea is a stretch and it depends on state professional ethics rules, but I wonder if restructuring compensation to avoid complying with a court order would violate attorney rules of professional conduct/ ethics?
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

Check2400

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #31 on: January 22, 2015, 12:26:42 PM »
Following up on my prior comment about an LSAT study year, the LSAT is only administered at certain points through the year, with the requisite gap on returning those test scores.  So for those individuals, myself included, who do not take the test in college, you cannot begin your academic career (minor exceptions) until the following August.  Hence the LSAT year. 

I unfortunately did well enough when I took the test to not actively look at other avenues of employment (darn my success!).  I did not do well enough, or reach a score easily enough, to view the test as easy when scoring in the 99th percentile, so super kudos to you Cathy! 

I do think the law is lucrative, just not in your first five or ten years.  Unfortunately, that doesn't have much bearing on this website or for its visitors...


spud1987

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2015, 01:51:14 PM »
Another lawyer here.

I'm an in-house tax lawyer at a F100 company. Job is pretty good, but I would rather spend my time doing other things (hence the MMM lifestyle!).

I don't regret law school because it was my clearest path to a 200k+ job. Thanks to a high-paying job, I should be able to FIRE in five years after a short ten-year career.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #33 on: January 22, 2015, 02:09:40 PM »
Another lawyer here.

I'm an in-house tax lawyer at a F100 company. Job is pretty good, but I would rather spend my time doing other things (hence the MMM lifestyle!).

I don't regret law school because it was my clearest path to a 200k+ job. Thanks to a high-paying job, I should be able to FIRE in five years after a short ten-year career.

That's amazing man. Were you a CPA prior to law school? I thought about going the tax route but ended up in a different practice area since I started during the economic downturn.

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #34 on: January 22, 2015, 02:30:23 PM »
I saw the pharmacy thread and couldn't help but wonder how many lawyer mustachians there are on here. If so, what kind of law do you practice? BigLaw, MidLaw, SmallLaw, or InHouse? Approximate salaries? Any debt left from law school?

I'll start: I'm a mid-law associate. I'm on the transactional side (no litigation for me) and mainly do general commercial contracts and corporate governance related work. Salary is pretty good, mid-to-low 100's, depending on bonus. Law school debt was just paid off last week!

You?

Lawyer, BigLaw. Salary awesome. Only went into debt for school to the tune of a little over $40k because I went to the place that offered me the best deal (tuition remission amounting to 60% of the tuition, which was public in-state so already on the lower side) and yet also the best prospects (near big firms, lots of state and federal courts, etc., so plenty of jobs nearby that routinely hired local public law school grads).

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #35 on: January 22, 2015, 02:44:22 PM »
Not only is the degree expensive in the US (although it's much cheaper in Canada), but the pay is not even very high. At a typical "big law" firm over an 8 year working career, your compensation might progress from 150 to 250k. Over the same eight years in software engineering, your total compensation might progress from 150 to 500k, or more, and you reach the high levels much faster. I'm assuming a top performer for both

But Cathy,  you have to remember that different people have different skill sets. I'm doing great in law (and by the way, I would not remotely describe the LSAT as an "easy test," although my brother and I both did better than you on it), but I would be incapable, absolutely incapable, of being a software engineer. I know this just from looking at my CS-student friend's computer science homework. I can't even understand the questions; in fact, for some of the statistics homework, I can't even read the questions because they are (allow me to use a layperson's language here, since I don't know what this is really called) "written in math." And I'm not a math idiot by any means, but that level of mathematics is completely beyond me.

So there isn't any one-size-fits-all "best career for early retirement," because no one (probably not even Leonardo Da Vinci) is capable of succeeding at every possible career. We all have to look at this question not only in terms of number crunching, but also in terms of what we're good at and what we can spend several hours a day doing without our eyes glazing over or our souls slowly disintegrating.

spud1987

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2015, 04:39:12 PM »
Another lawyer here.

I'm an in-house tax lawyer at a F100 company. Job is pretty good, but I would rather spend my time doing other things (hence the MMM lifestyle!).

I don't regret law school because it was my clearest path to a 200k+ job. Thanks to a high-paying job, I should be able to FIRE in five years after a short ten-year career.

That's amazing man. Were you a CPA prior to law school? I thought about going the tax route but ended up in a different practice area since I started during the economic downturn.

No tax background prior to law school. I did get my LLM part time while I was at a firm. Tax has been a very tolerable practice area that fits my personality. I don't think I could've made it as a litigator.

mm1970

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2015, 05:32:10 PM »
Not only is the degree expensive in the US (although it's much cheaper in Canada), but the pay is not even very high. At a typical "big law" firm over an 8 year working career, your compensation might progress from 150 to 250k. Over the same eight years in software engineering, your total compensation might progress from 150 to 500k, or more, and you reach the high levels much faster. I'm assuming a top performer for both

But Cathy,  you have to remember that different people have different skill sets. I'm doing great in law (and by the way, I would not remotely describe the LSAT as an "easy test," although my brother and I both did better than you on it), but I would be incapable, absolutely incapable, of being a software engineer. I know this just from looking at my CS-student friend's computer science homework. I can't even understand the questions; in fact, for some of the statistics homework, I can't even read the questions because they are (allow me to use a layperson's language here, since I don't know what this is really called) "written in math." And I'm not a math idiot by any means, but that level of mathematics is completely beyond me.

So there isn't any one-size-fits-all "best career for early retirement," because no one (probably not even Leonardo Da Vinci) is capable of succeeding at every possible career. We all have to look at this question not only in terms of number crunching, but also in terms of what we're good at and what we can spend several hours a day doing without our eyes glazing over or our souls slowly disintegrating.
yeah, I could probably do law.  I'm a great engineer.  But programming.  I try.  Really I do.  But I seriously suck at it.

Suit

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2015, 07:03:51 PM »
I'm a government attorney, typical hours are 8-5 but I'm on call with a work cell phone all the time and have off hours meetings in my current position. I'm 2 years out of school and I have $128k in debt and make $84k gross. I love my job!

overlord34

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #39 on: January 23, 2015, 06:37:50 AM »
Another government lawyer here.  I had always wanted to be a prosecutor but was very tempted by the BigLaw salaries in law school (I dreamed about retiring at 35 well before I discovered ERE or MMM).  I decided to go the prosecutor route and worked there for 9 years; now I'm working for a different government agency in a prosecution-type job.  85k salary and 40 hours that are flexible spread out over the week.  It's not as lucrative as BigLaw but when you factor in the public service loan forgiveness and the pension/health benefits I'll receive at age 57, FIRE is possible if you're time line is a bit longer.  I started working at 26, took a year off between jobs, and hope to be FI in about 3 years at age 39. 
I am thrilled to be alive at a time when humanity is pushing the limits of understanding. Even better, we may eventually discover that there are no limits.

Dee18

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #40 on: January 23, 2015, 12:22:12 PM »
Worked as a litigator 8 years before becoming a law prof.  Have loved both jobs.

jackiechiles2

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #41 on: January 23, 2015, 12:28:10 PM »
2011 graduate here.  Work in "midlaw" doing defense work ranging from med mal to construction to whatever.   It'd probably be considered small law for most states. 

Salary wise, I make mid 60s, will probably go up to 70s this year.  Generous bonus structure makes it somewhat easier to add another  20-30% on top of salary.

Have a mortgage sized debt from law school. Goal is to have it paid off in 15 years.


lizzie

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #42 on: January 23, 2015, 01:36:27 PM »
I graduated from law school in 1999 with no debt as I was lucky enough to get a scholarship. I did a judicial clerkship for two years, then was a stay-at-home mom for 5 years. I went back to clerking for a judge in 2006 and have been his "career clerk" since 2007.

resipsaloquitur

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #43 on: January 23, 2015, 03:16:49 PM »
Government lawyer here, making $70,000 gross, litigating major felony and capital appeals, post-conviction, and habeas corpus cases. I work for peanuts, but provide high quality service to the state.  I suppose I have sensed some superior attitudes coming from my biglaw opponents, and I don't deny that I envy their high salaries. But I love what I do, I do it at a very high level of excellence, I win most of the time, I don't have to fit the mold (shaggy hair, steampunk clothes), and I get to do whatever I think is right, not what a client or partner tells me to do.

SF Semi-Mustache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #44 on: January 23, 2015, 05:09:46 PM »
BigLaw, big city/high taxes, third year associate, market rate salary and bonus.

I still have a fair amount of student debt, but I'm either saving/giving away/paying down debt with 65%+ of my take-home pay.  Not including a maxed-out 401k.  I could certainly be more mustachian, but I'm doing better than most of my BigLaw friends.  One, for example, just mentioned to me that he's renting a $3800 one bedroom apartment in San Francisco (!!). 

Oh, and I like my job.  I don't think I'll be here forever, but I like it for now and I like my exit prospects a lot. 

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #45 on: January 23, 2015, 07:35:05 PM »
Part-time big-law here -- sticking it out at the same firm mostly though sheer momentum (as opposed to seeking better hours, say, in-house).  I'm not entrepenurial like Totoro, and my best in-house opportunities are too far away to make sense.  Not sure how well it will work out in the end, but the beauty of being semi-FI is that it doesn't matter too much.

Over the same eight years in software engineering, your total compensation might progress from 150 to 500k, or more, and you reach the high levels much faster. I'm assuming a top performer for both

That's news to me, and I know a lot of software engineers.  I'm also a damn good programmer, so maybe I should go back into tech!

I showed up to the exam and got 173. It's a very easy test.

To add another data point, I think it's worth studying.  For me, it made the difference between scoring higher than Cathy and scoring way higher than Cathy.  Of course, you don't need to study for an entire year.   BTW, I'd wager my dick is also bigger than Cathy's.


dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #46 on: January 23, 2015, 08:19:32 PM »
To add another data point, I think it's worth studying.  For me, it made the difference between scoring higher than Cathy and scoring way higher than Cathy.  Of course, you don't need to study for an entire year.   BTW, I'd wager my dick is also bigger than Cathy's.

I never claimed my score was particularly high, although it's high enough that anything higher probably can't really be called "way higher". Looking at the historical data, on many of the tests, there are certain scores in the 170+ range that it's impossible to get on any given test (because of how they curved it). In other words, the difference between 173 and 180 (the top score) can be as little as a few questions.

If I spent time preparing, I probably would have got a higher score too. What I said in my post was that studying for a year was excessive, not that studying was pointless.

173 just isn't that high.  It's like a $100k salary in that regard :-P

BarkingSquirrel

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #47 on: January 23, 2015, 08:43:55 PM »
Quote
May I ask why you structured it this way rather than a % of all compensation - regular check and partnership lump sum?  Have you thought about having your child support agreement modified?  Most states wouldn't want your ex paying no support (because you might need to go onto state support).

I guess I got taken to the cleaner's because he is a lawyer . . .  and maybe my lawyer was just so-so.  And because the whole legal environment is sympathetic to lawyer culture.  He otherwise pays the maximum amount on the tables, even though the maximum salary listed corresponds to about a third of his income. 

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #48 on: January 23, 2015, 08:56:37 PM »
Quote
May I ask why you structured it this way rather than a % of all compensation - regular check and partnership lump sum?  Have you thought about having your child support agreement modified?  Most states wouldn't want your ex paying no support (because you might need to go onto state support).

I guess I got taken to the cleaner's because he is a lawyer . . .  and maybe my lawyer was just so-so.  And because the whole legal environment is sympathetic to lawyer culture.  He otherwise pays the maximum amount on the tables, even though the maximum salary listed corresponds to about a third of his income.

Is it a reasonable amount of support or do you just want to extract maximum value?

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #49 on: January 23, 2015, 11:33:50 PM »
As you can probably tell from my handle, I'm a lawyer.  Class of '09.  I went to state school so I benefited from in-state tuition but I financed everything (tuition and living expenses) on student loans.  I worked part time at a firm through law school too.  I worked at a mid-size firm first (mid for my state, small in the grand scheme) for two years.  Started at $75k.  I'm now at a small firm that I like so much better.  I do a mix of biz litigation and PI with a dash of family law.  I make $91k now plus I got a $2k xmas bonus.  I can also make more based on my receivables but I haven't been very successful at exceeding 3x my salary yet.  As much as I absolutely love my job, I realized that I need to start thinking about my long term plans because eventually my boss is going to retire.  I'm not sure if I want to run my own firm.  It just seems like a bit too much to me.  I'm considering potential in-house positions but I'd like to remain involved with litigation to the extent possible.

I graduated with $93,572 in loans.  $59,500 Federal and $34,072 private.  4 1/2 years into repayment, I still owed $31,283.90 on the private loans and $40,938 on the federal loans.  I hated my private lender and I had a high variable rate.  I ended up refinancing (see sig) the $72,222.  I've been under the new loan terms since April and my balance is now 61,727.14.  It is so nice to see it going down faster finally!  I still also have a very small loan from undergrad that my parents were essentially tricked into (led to believe it was tied into my scholarships).  I still owe $4500 on that but hope to have it wiped out by the end of the year.

Going to a school with in-state tuition was the best decision I made.  My brother did one semester at a private high priced big name school and dropped out.  His loans are almost as big as mine from the whole 3 years.

I'm also one of the rare breeds that loves practicing law.  A big part of that though is finding a place to work that treats me well and I have tons of autonomy.  A big part of that is just luck.  I'm certainly not 100% or even 75% mustachian but I'm trying to be.  Just following this blog makes me rethink every decision I make in a good way.  Helps me keep my eye on the prize!

ETA - I'm really excited to see other lawyers on here.  It's nice to see that not all lawyers are all about status. 
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 11:36:33 PM by Blonde Lawyer »