Giving everyone a personal update.
I have been practicing law for the last 2 weeks on a part time basis. Am working on a contract basis for $25 per hour. My hours range from 28-35 hours per week. Any cases I bring in are split 50/50 with my boss.
The work is great. So far I have drafted several complaints, answers, motions to dismiss, demurrers, propounded and responded to discoveries. Basically law and motion. I will also be assisting in trials as second chair and will be preparing trial briefs. I have also defended depositions and will be participating in a mediation very soon.
In reality I couldnt survive on my own on this type of wage. 35 hours per week = $875 per week, excluding taxes. As a 1099 employee i will be paying hefty taxes but as i will be starting my own legal corp ill get to write off as much as i can. In addition, my student loan payment of $845 per month is killer. Im still on a 10yr plan as i plan to pay it off within 6-8 years and dont want to go on the 25 yr plan. Here is the moral of the story for all you prospective tier 3, tier 4 law students: DO NOT ATTEND LAW SCHOOL IF YOU HAVE TO FULLY FINANCE IT OR IF YOUR FAMILY DOESNT HAVE THE MEANS TO SUPPORT YOU FOR THE FIRST FEW YEARS. I would be dead broke but for my parents assistance. I still live at home at the age of 27 and wont be moving out at least for another 12-18 months. When the cases that I have brought on 50/50 settle my situation will begin to improve dramatically but consider the assistance that I have:
(1) car and insurance paid for by parents
(2) living rent free
(3) parents paying the student loan
(4) receive an additional $500 per week in cash from the family estate (food, gas, entertainment)
(5) Misc. assistance (mom buys me suits, ties, pays for dry cleaning)
All of the above and i still live at home. Take away the listed subsidies and here is what im looking at on my current hours and wage:
(1) $500 per month
(2) $750 per month (assuming roomate)
(3) $845 per month
(4) no assistance, would have to depend on 1099 ($300 per month)
(5) lets put this at $250 per month
The grand total of the "family subsidy" comes out to $2,645 per month.
In addition to my $3496 before taxes 1099 i recieve an addition $2,645 from the fam.
Without my family's help i would be at this level:
$2622 after taxes. Rent, car, student loan ($2095) would leave me with $527 per month. After food, gas, clothing, cleaning, misc, i would be left with 0 additional monies left over. Mind you im married and my wife works as well and she brings home $2200 per month. Shes on $13 per hr working fulltime with some overtime while im on $25 working part time, sometimes near full time. She gets benefits, my parents pay my insurance.
This is the life of a 2009 tier 4 grad in California. Granted I am gratefull and very LUCKY to even have a shot at practicing real legal work in this environment. A tier 4 grad with average grades being given the chance to draft motions and attend trials is VERY RARE in California today. I wish the hours would be more than they are but that can change. I see the experience as being golden. Nevertheless, Im broke and would be in a even worse situation but for my parents help. With the current money i am making i am permitted to save some money for the future and will have the damn student loan paid off within the decade. Also, with my parents help i will be able to start my own practice after several years of paid training.
The question i ask those who are thinking of attending law school is: do you have this type of support to get you by for the first several years? Because if you dont your situation will be fucking nasty for a long long time.