Sunday, March 17, 2013

I have ruined the financial future of my family

I once had a job, before law school, where I billed my hours. It wasn't legal work, it was consulting. Or, at least that's what we called it. It was good while it lasted. I made $35 an hour at that gig. I remember getting paychecks for $5k on occasion. Those were rare, to be honest. But, taking home something in the ballpark of $1,800 per pay check was common. $3k a month was easy. I averaged around $4k a month.

After a few years, the work dried up and I moved on. What I wouldn't give to have that job now. 

Fast forward past law school and now I’m doing contract work at the rate of $25 per hour. I have what amounts to two part-time jobs. I can’t seem to find full-time work under any of the rocks I’ve flipped over. And, trust me, I've looked under a lot of rocks.

I reviewed what I billed for one of those gigs in the month of February the other night. You know, to punish myself (joking, totes). Over the last two weeks of the month I billed only a total of 17 hours. Of course, President’s Day fell in the middle of that, so it was only really only nine working days. But, still. I went to law school to better my employment situation, not to look back at the pre-law glory days with envy. 

Seventeen hours is a fucking joke. I know people who bill that in two days! And, really, at most that should represent three days of work. Three easy days at that.

That’s what I managed to scratch up in two weeks.

I have ruined the financial future of my family. Just ruined it. I cannot pay my bills with this kind of income stream. 


  1.'re fucked

  2. I started Law School at age 27 and doubled down on a liberal arts degree. It could be called a last roll of the dice, which I lost, and with devastating financial results.

    It must be even harder with a family and I really feel for you.

  3. Bail on the family. Sounds bad, but it's in everyone's best interest.

  4. Did one of them co-sign on the loans or something? By "family," do you mean a spouse/kids, or your parents?

  5. By "family" I mean my wife, children and myself in the general sense. I thought going to law school would provide some measure of predictable, long-term employment. In short, something I could reasonable expect to do for the next twenty or so years until I retire.

    The truth of the matter is far different than what I have previously expected.

    Is that my fault? I suppose it is.

    Was I a "sophisticated consumer"? No. I was a fool.

    1. It probably won't make you feel any better, but what you are experiencing is pretty much the new normal in almost every field of work outside of medicine.

      Those people you worked with before law school are likely feeling the effects, too.

  6. Most law grads are all in the same boat. Only 50% of law grads end up as attorneys, and far less than 50% when you exclude the attorneys who are first-tier caliber. What a fake and a lie!

  7. Looking at your $25/hr, one might think, "well, that's not bad!" However, it's the amount of work, or lack thereof, that's the problem. The general public runs from lawyers at all costs. That's why its hard to get hours.

  8. what school did you attend?

  9. I just paid my maid $60 for one and a half hours of work. Do the math.

  10. I'm in the same boat crux of law. I walked away from a stable $80K/year job with good benefits to go to law school in '05. Now I'm barely making more than that and not even practicing law. The lost opportunity costs are what drive me crazy. That, and the probability that I will never be able to afford to retire anymore. If I were single it wouldn't be so bad, but I have to support a family too, and that's the worse part.