QI’m a 2007 grad from a top 50 law school, live in Boston, and am licensed in New York and Massachusetts. I’m also unemployed. Or barely employed, actually, because most of the time I exist by slogging through miserable hell-hole document reviews or taking the T to downtown Boston to work in a back room as some Dockers-wearing no-name temp at a big name law firm. I graduated with a little more than $120,000 in debt and have managed to knock it down to just under $118K. Woo Hoo. Now I just want to say fuck it all, default, and move to Greece. Why the hell not? I didn’t go to law school to spend my days in a warehouse tapping away at a computer screen as I look over documents. Or being a fly on the wall somewhere else. What gives? Any advice?
AWhy did you go to law school? Seriously. I’d answer that first. Look up, see if you can fulfill your initial promise and, if you can’t, then say fuck it all and consider getting out of the law. If you haven’t already, start looking at what else you can do with your JD besides practicing or reviewing documents.
That’s my touchy-feely answer. Here’s my brutally honest answer: you’re screwed. You had the misfortune of going to law school at the wrong time, maybe in the wrong city. And, despite my generally bitter veneer, I honestly feel sorry for many recent law school grads. Not wholly and completely sorry, as I cannot get rid of a nasty Ayn Rand streak of mine that occasionally wants to yell “why the fuck did you take out so much debt?” But then I look back and consider why thousands of my own comrades went to law school: the promise, the prestige, the BMW 5 Series. The whole living the dream thing.
So, while I do feel for you, I ultimately don’t have a good solution. Other than this: don’t default, as it makes things much worse and you become enslaved to the debt collectors as well as to the loans. Slog through your temp work, keep networking with as many people as you can, ask for advice or leads, and pay what you can on the student loans. Hell, hang out with the Occupy Wall St. crowd, which has taken on student loans as an issue. Go political, just don’t go postal, and maybe your loan will be forgiven or knocked down or made dischargeable in bankruptcy. But my guess is that, anything offered to people like you will only be offered if you are not already in default.
But Greece? Seriously? Is that where the hip loan defaulters go now, sort of like the draft dodgers going to Canada in the sixties and seventies? I mean, I’m all for life on the Greek Isles, but maybe you should get look up from the travel magazines you are reading from the early 1990′s. What would you do in Greece? Join the Occupy Parthenon protests? Live off the land? Raise sheep?