Archive for the 'Loans' Category

Doing Document Review Out of Financial Necessity

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

With the near fraudulent way law schools have been shamelessly advertising their misleading employment statistics, the last few years has seen an increase in the number of students choosing to attend law school with the expectation that they will all be rewarded with lucrative six figure attorney salaries upon graduation. I think the sad reality is that many of these hapless students will be in for quite a shock and won’t fully understand the saturated state of the legal employment market until they’ve graduated. Saddled with huge burgeoning student loans, many law school graduates will ultimately enter into a form of financial servitude as they struggle to find a way out.

My own law school loans are comparatively tame and I managed to consolidate them at a time when interest rates were extraordinarily low. But I know many who are struggling with the realities of being debt ridden. There are those who end up spending months or years submitting resumes for attorney positions they may never get. Others transition into another non-legal field altogether, while others choose to perform contract attorney work until they get their employment life together.

Working As a Contract Attorney Because Of Student Loans

Talking to some of the other contract attorneys at work, I get the sense that many chose to perform document review work out of financial necessity to pay off crushing student loans. Contract attorneys get paid pretty well, albeit for relatively short stints at a time. But during those periods of available employment, they have the potential to earn quite a bit depending on the overtime hours available. When you are indebted with a sizable amount of student loans, sometimes your realistic employment options are limited.

I know a few contract attorneys who left law school with dreams of working in the non-profit sector or working in areas that would allow them to help low income people. Eventually financial reality set in and they ultimately could no longer afford to work in those relatively low paying areas of law. Some of these people did not willingly choose to work as contract attorneys but their financial realities ultimately did not give them much choice.

Instead of being bitter, I would hope that they would see contract attorney work as an honest and sensible alternative that can help them stabilize their financial lives and help them tackle their student loan payments. Everyone eventually has to find his or her own path and we are fortunate to have this type of work available as a stop gap solution.

Recent Observation

I’ve noticed something recently that disturbs me. It seems a few staffing agencies are vehemently against hiring contract attorneys who also work as solo practitioners on the side. At least one staffing agency has indicated in its job posting that one qualification criteria is that the applicant is not a solo practitioner. What is the deal with that? Do they want only lifers or something?