Spring is in the air. With the blossoming and blooming of flora and fauna comes a new crop of recent law graduates. These are the graduates who decided to apply to and attend law school when very few others were as courageous. They are the ones who looked past doomsday reports and pleading loved ones. They truly wanted to be lawyers. And there was nothing that was going to stand in their way.
Suddenly, the reality of large amounts of debt and a better — but not great — job market is setting in. Not to worry, legal tenderfoots, Shannon Achimalbe, a big law attorney, has some advice for you. Achimalbe, straying from usual Above the Law sarcasm, provided three pertinent (and somewhat obvious) recommendations for bright-eyed grads.
First, find a loan forgiveness program. Specifically, if you have federal loans, apply to Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). Even if you have hit the jackpot with a high-paying job and do not qualify, it helps to get placed on a “fixed-term payment plan.” For those who do qualify, this is your ticket to lowering your student loan payments and having more control over when they are paid. Most importantly, it starts the countdown to loan forgiveness.
Next, pass the bar the first time. Again, obvious, but so important. Many graduates will have other things going on—full-time jobs, families, trying to regain a social life—but having to take the bar again can lead to a major setback in using a law degree for a job. Achimalbe also warns graduates not to rely on the school for preparedness. Instead, take matters into your own hands. After all, passage rates matter to schools but the consequences for not passing the first time are much greater for the individual than the collective school passage rates.
Finally, Achimalbe encourages graduates to continually look for better job opportunities…even if you have an ideal job secured. There are a lot of things that could happen outside of your control that could lead to searching for a new job. It could be downsizing or a new boss or something else completely unrelated. Regardless, it is always beneficial to have something up your sleeve.
Source: Above the Law
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