Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2016 reflections

Another day, another blog post.

I am in a reflective mood as I graduated from law school five years ago this month. I reviewed some of the early posts on this blog. Man, I was angry back in 2011.

I don't even know that guy anymore. Angry Crux. Bitter Crux. Salty Crux.

It is good to have all of that in my rear view mirror. I guess I just needed to work through it. Time heals all wounds? Something like that.

It is apparent that I do not update this blog regularly. In fact, I hardly know what to do with this thing. I don't have much to share. I went to law school, I passed the bar exam, and I have been employed in a couple of offices doing different kinds of work for different kinds of clients. I am older, my car is older, and my kids are older. I am paying down debt and saving for the future. I am not doing anything different than the rest of you are.

I'll keep moving forward in life. What else can I do, right?

Best of luck to all of you.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Another page in the life of Crux

Hello all.

2016 brought a new opportunity for Crux (that's another way to say I decided to leave the firm I was with). Two years ticked by and it was time to find something new. I felt like I was going nowhere in that office. It was not going to change if I stayed on another year or ten. I'm not one to sit still. I am always hungry.

I have been lucky. I was approached by my new employer out of the blue. In fact, I was also approached by my last employer. Neither had listed an open position or solicited applications. Someone reached out to me in both instances. Apparently I'm building a name for myself.

Or, these guys are totally desperate.

New gig. Same as the old gig. Sort of. A different area of law. Again. Steep learning curve. Again. Seriously lowered my income with the switch. Again. Good times.

This is a familiar pattern for me. Do something for awhile, learn all about it, make a few bucks, find something new that looks like a good fit, put in notice to employer and clients, tie up the loose ends, pack up the books off shelf and move into a new office on a Saturday afternoon.

I've really nothing to add to this blog other than to say I'm still out there hustling. It's the only thing I know how to do.

I speak to a few of my classmates now and again. We graduated five years ago this month. I seem to be doing better than a lot of them.

I don't know what that says about me or about them.

Well, actually, I do. We all do. I'm not on IBR.

I looked over some records I kept regarding finances, debts and budgeting. I've made huge strides in the past five years. Things are actually pretty damn good at the moment, all things considered. It feels very good to look back over the last five years and see something positive.

Am I glad I went to law school and became an attorney? Yes. Most days, yes. Do I regret it? No, not really. I did like a lot of the clients, opposing parties, and counsel I dealt at my last job. Others I did not like so much. I expect this area of law to be, well, at least tolerable if not rewarding. It seems too optimistic, perhaps naive, to believe any area of law is rewarding. We'll see how it goes.

Best of luck to you all.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Income based repayment

It's been so long since I've checked this website that I had forgotten the login information. Go figure.

Income based repayment, or IBR, is everywhere these days. For example, this:

I am not on IBR. However, several individuals I graduated law school with in 2011 have told me they are. I suspect a larger percentage of my graduating class is on IBR, honestly.

I have met a few younger attorneys in the local area who are. Some with staggering amounts of debt.

I recently found out a legal secretary I work with is on IBR. She does not have a law degree, but she cannot obtain adequate income in the legal field to cover her student loan debt. I honestly do not know what her total debt is, her monthly payments, nor her annual income at the firm. I could ask, I suppose, but I'd prefer not to. It was not something she seemed particularly happy about.

Shocking is the word that comes to mind. Just shocking. I had not realized that even the support staff in this idiotic rat race were barely making it. That was a first for me.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

2015 at the halfway point

Seems I recall this blog exists and become motivated to post an update around July. No idea why.

I hit in the $70k range last year. On track to do it again, if I can hold it together for the rest of the year. I've been at a small firm for a year and half. It's been pretty limited, actually. Not much room to grow, learn new things, etc.  All the usual complaints we've all heard before. If you want to improve your situation, you must do so yourself.

I'm looking at new things, keeping an eye on the job postings, speaking with attorneys about short-term contacts and small projects. Anything to turn a buck. I've got two kids and a house payment. That's all the motivation I need to stay in the grind.

Am I making it? Yes, Crux is making it. For now.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I make an effort to check the other scamblogs and news to see if any law schools have closed, particularly the one I attended. I think that speaks volumes.

Best of luck to all of you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 at the halfway point

I can now see my year-to-date earnings for 2014 with some clarity. It appears I may bring in $70k this year.

That's where I'm at.

Is it good? That depends, right? The famous law school answer. What is "good"? Let me say I'm not sure what "good" is or should be, but whatever this is, it could be far worse.

For some folks, it is far worse.

I'm making it. That's good enough.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Still here

Short update time. Just banging away. Nothing important to share.

I try to read the scamblogs every few weeks. I'm too busy to do so daily or even weekly. The news is as one would expect, I suppose. Change takes time.

There are only a few people from my law school class that I know anything about. Some are really struggling. Others are making it.

A few weeks ago I spoke with an individual with $200k in student loans. This individual did not attend my law school, the highest I had heard from my graduating class was in the $150 range. Bad news, to be sure, but $200k is a whole other level of crazy. I inquired if this individual was on IBR. The response was affirmative.

I honestly didn't know what to say. Offer condolences? Offer a hug? Run?

I keep meeting people that are just buried in debt. Buried.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Document Review Job Posting

I got an email from my proud alma mater this week. I'll give you the high points in bullet point form:
  • Document Review Attorney
  • If you are employed with us, you are considered a staff attorney so there are no benefits or paid time off. 
  • The hourly rate will be between $20 and $27 flat fee with no overtime depending on the project while most pay around $25. 
  • On average, individuals work Monday-Friday 45-55 hours per week. 
  • Weekends may be required but you will be told in advance or asked to volunteer. 
  • The facility is open from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM and we expect you to work your hours between that time frame.
That sounds like ten miles of bad road...

To be honest, I did some work last year for $25 an hour. Sometime you just gotta take what you can get. 

Best of luck to all of you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sun's out, guns out

Reflection time. Sorting out my 2013 taxes means I get to see, in hard numbers, all my income from the past year. All from being a "lawyer."

It looks like it totals just around $60k for the year (it was actually closer to $50k, see update below). I don't have it all in front of me as I really didn't plan on posting anything this morning. Instead, it just kinda occurred to me that it was time to check in on the 'ol Cruxy website as the day went on. If I'm way off, I'll correct the number later. It is likely very close to my total gross income for 2013. I had four different employers last year, three part time gigs and one that was kinda full time, but kinda varied on occasion. Basically, it was a shit show and totally unpredictable. Many of you reading this will know exactly what I'm talking about.

All in all, not too bad. Models and bottles, 24/7? Not hardly. But, I am covering my expenses, paying those things that must be paid, and generally just living my life. So, I've got that going for me. That's nice... (hat tip to Bill Murray).

I will have ticked off six months with my new employer in April, the "small firm" I mentioned back in November. I'll take a look at what I've billed, what I've been paid, what it looks like going forward, how many clients owe me money, etc., next month.

Yeah, people don't pay you in this business. Good times.

The gig seems OK so far. I get on with everyone well. The work is consistent, sometimes overwhelming, and challenging. I've actually turned down clients recently. I feel confident saying this the first stable job I've had since becoming a lawyer.

Honestly, I've meet some nice folks over the last year. About 15 - 20% are nice, honest, decent, and hardworking human beings. The remaining 80 - 85% are the bastards. Full stop.

Best of luck to all of you.

Update: I actually made about $50k in 2013, not the $60k I wrote above. That's a difference of about 16%, thus enough that I thought I should update the figures provided. Ouch.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Goodbye contract

I'll try to type a short update. I have let the contact position go and accepted a full-time position at a small firm. Yes, I am now learning a new area of law. No, you do not get paid to learn a new area of law. You get paid to produce. My production level will increase as I learn this new area of law. We've always been at war with Eastasia. And, so it goes.

Here's the kicker... The guy who offered me the position is someone I have known for over a decade. We were not the best of friends, of course. I had never been to his house, he had never been to mine. But, we were on a first name basis and ran in the same social circles for over ten years. Thus, I got this job because of a friendship fostered well before I attended law school.

It's not what you know, it's who you know.

I'd be laughing if that wasn't so damn sad.

Best of luck to all of you.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A six month extension is not stability

I was offered an extension on my current contract. Same terms as the one I signed in May (I'm not sure I could have modified any of the terms because I have no leverage). The upside: I have an income stream for another six months. The downside: I have an income stream for only the next six months.

This is unreal.

It is also strangely comforting, as well. Six months of something is better than six months of nothing. I know I can provide my children a better Christmas than I could a year ago. If nothing else, I have that going for me.

I only keep in touch with a few people from law school. A handful, really. Through them, I am aware of the situation of a few others. Thus, I hear about the lives of 15-20 people from my graduating class from time to time via phone calls, social media, and the like.

Of those, most are struggling. One or two landed gigs because of their family connections (father, uncle, etc.). A few are really fucked. I've been told one guy landed decent gig, but that appears to be the exception rather than the norm.

I don't want to come across as too grim. I am paying the bills, putting food on the table, and putting money into savings every month. I keep an ear to the ground. I am picking up short term contacts whenever I can. There is very little work offered to me that I have turned down - scheduling conflicts have been the only reason to decline an offer thus far.

There is a long term prospect that looks interesting. I have no idea, really, if it will pan out. But, it exists, there have been talks, and it may lead somewhere.

Best of luck to all of you.