Accelerating My Internship

My original plan was to work at my internship through the end of July.  I’ve changed my mind and hope to wrap up my internship in the next two weeks.  I just have to put in a total of a 120 hours to get full school credit for the internship. I should be able to work enough in the next week to get to that total.

I’ve changed my mind for several reasons.  One is the gas cost of of making the 3 hour trip twice a week. Another is the limited time I have left to earn income. Another big one is less time to spend with my girlfriend.  I knew of all these before I started my internship but thought by extending my internship I would gain exposure to more experiences.  It now looks like there wouldn’t be any significant new experiences in the extra couple of weeks so I might as well wrap it up so I can get back home and get my finances back on track.

Quitting Law School

I’m not actually quitting law school but the idea is somewhat tempting. I can’t say I’m enjoying law school at all. At this point I feel like I have too much time and money invested to quit though. I’m hoping that once I do some actual legal work this summer that I will like it. One more year of law school will be much more bearable if I feel that I have a legal job that I’ll like to look forward to once I finish. Several people have told me that they hated law school but love being a lawyer so I hope that is the case for me as well.

It is Finals Time

I have completed classes for the semester and am now in the final exam period. I might miss a couple days posting over the next couple weeks because I need to make preparing for my exams a priority. In law school 100% of your grade is based on your final exam. This makes it hard to know how well you’re doing in class until after you take the final. Sometimes you can’t even be sure then, you have to wait until you get your grade. This semester I feel ok about two of my classes and am worried about the other two classes. I’ve already taken one final which I think I did well on. My feelings about how I’ve done on finals have been wrong in the past though, usually the result is worse than I expected. I’ve already been given a second chance at law school so I have to do well now. There won’t be a third chance. Wish me luck.

I Got A Summer Legal Job!

Today I was offered an internship working for the Missouri State Public Defender’s office which I accepted. I’m looking forward to putting some of the knowledge I’ve acquired in 5 semesters of law school to practical use. Since I’m Missouri Rule 13 eligible I should get the opportunity to appear in court. I’ll be working in the town where my mother lives which is considered a rural jurisdiction. Since the state has a hard time placing attorneys in rural jurisdictions they have a program where they hire 3L students 3-4 months before the bar if the student wants to work in a rural office. After I finish working this summer I’ll know whether I want to continue to work in this field. If so then I plan on taking advantage of this program.

There are some drawbacks to the position though. The main one is that it is unpaid. I’ll have to find another job in the evening to make some money. I’ll be staying with my mom for the summer and my niece and nephew usually spend the summer with her as well. That will probably be a little too much family time for me since I’m used to living alone. My lease here doesn’t runs through the end of October though and I can’t justify paying rent on two apartments even if I could afford it. I’m sure it will work out okay and I’m looking forward to getting started.

The CCRAA and Law School Loan Forgiveness

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act offers a loan forgiveness program for those who work in public service.  As I am strongly considering a career in public service when I graduate from law school I decided to do more research on the loan forgiveness program.

The details of how the program works are somewhat complicated but this fact sheet from Brooklyn Law School and this one from NASFAA give a good overview of the program.  First, you need to consolidate your loans(private loans aren’t eligible) with a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.  Next you need to make payments for 10 years(120 payments) while employed in a public service job.  The remaining debt then will be forgiven.

In order for this to work you need to be on the income-based repayment plan.  Otherwise,under the standard repayment plan after 10 years the loan would be paid in full and there wouldn’t be any balance remaining to be forgiven.  The income-based repayment plan limits your annual debt repayment to 15% of your discretionary income-adjusted gross income minus 150% of the poverty level.  By my calculations this would result in $37,035.00 in payments for someone making $40,000 a year.  Since I expect to have around $70,000 total in loans I would have about half my debt forgiven.  Over the 10 years one’s income would most like rise though which would also increase the total of payments.

There are some drawbacks.  If you don’t stay in public service for 10 years than you won’t receive any loan forgiveness and any interest that remains unpaid because of IBR payments is capitalized when the borrower leaves the program. You don’t have to be in public service to use the IBR program though and it forgives any remaining debt after 25 years.  Another potential pitfall is that the amount of forgiven debt is treated as income in the year it is forgiven.  This could result in a huge tax bill.  They may address this issue but I’m not aware of any solutions yet.

All in all it is a good deal though and I’m worrying a little less about my huge student loan debt.  Make sure you get all the relevant information if you wish to take advantage of this program.