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Paralegal Position at U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Hawaii

Hi, I recently got a call for scheduling a job interview seanha02/08/18
I don’t know how far that pay goes in Hawaii, but when I f qdllc02/08/18
Take the job ! I had a classmate who after college and t greenhorn02/08/18
"pays 41,000 per month" I'd take that any month of the wutwutwut02/08/18
Having been in Hawaii, YEAH TAKE THE JOB! That's good pay f trijocker02/08/18
Oops. Sorry, I meant 41,000 per year, not a month. So, abo seanha02/10/18
seanha (Feb 8, 2018 - 8:21 am)

Hi,

I recently got a call for scheduling a job interview for a Paralegal position at Customs and Border Protection in Honolulu, Hawaii. I'm planning on taking the Hawaii bar at the end of February. I'm not sure I want to schedule this interview or not. Initially, I was very keen on getting into the federal government because of job security and benefits. However, this position only pays 41,000 per month, and I'm not sure I would like to work in the government job environment with all the bureaucracy and being deprived of work that feels actually rewarding when you're getting paid for your effort rather than just being on the pay grade scale.

I have close family who are going to be settling in Kauai next year, so my plans are to transition into Hawaii. The other alternatives I were thinking were remote work jobs, which have more appeal to me than government positions because I like work-at-home flexibility and being geographically open as to where I can live and work. Legal compliance is an area I'm interested in, as well as estate law or fiduciary administration.

So, my question is whether anyone can give me any insight to these job alternatives. I've decided I don't want to go into the traditional practice of law, but rather do something else with my J.D. and having the credential to practice, even though I might keep my license mainly inactive. Should I go mainly for remote positions and transition into Hawaii? Or should I try out this government job to get my foot in the door with the feds, despite the low pay but with prospects to rise up in the agency and have great job security and benefits?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

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qdllc (Feb 8, 2018 - 4:43 pm)

I don’t know how far that pay goes in Hawaii, but when I finished law school, $25k/year would have put me on track to pay off my student loans if I stuck to a modest budget.

Add in the prospect of PSLF, and you’d be foolish to not seriously consider it.

There’s nothing saying you can’t leave government work for something more financially rewarding if it comes up.

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greenhorn (Feb 8, 2018 - 6:00 pm)

Take the job !

I had a classmate who after college and throughout law school worked as a paralegal for the Feds. She ended up as a para in the US Attorneys office. She was making 70,000/year as a para.

After she graduated, she foolishly quit that job and moved to the private sector where she struggled to get a 45,000/yr attorney gig.

She has regretting leaving govt employment ever since.

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wutwutwut (Feb 8, 2018 - 6:05 pm)

"pays 41,000 per month"


I'd take that any month of the year!

But of course, I guess OP meant either 41K a year or 4,100 a month.

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trijocker (Feb 8, 2018 - 6:19 pm)

Having been in Hawaii, YEAH TAKE THE JOB!
That's good pay for the islands, and you are in the Govt system
That gives you a great shot at applying for other fed positions.
I'm not sure what remote jobs you are thinking about in estate law, perhaps some local estate planning firm in Hawaii would hire you as a paralegal, but you wouldn't be making 41000. Also, I see plenty of posters here saying they are going to get a "remote job" but it is not that easy, unless you have already worked some years to land a "remote job". I think one remote position I applied for in licensing had over 300 attorney applicants if that gives you an idea of chances.
Beautiful locations can be challenging for legal work, many attorneys might like to live in Hawaii.
Grab something with good pay while it is offered, and think about other roles while you already have a paying job. Good luck.

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seanha (Feb 10, 2018 - 1:26 pm)

Oops. Sorry, I meant 41,000 per year, not a month. So, about 3,416 per month in Hawaii. Considering the cost of living, what I'm asking is whether it would be more practical to land a remote job that pays me well enough to where I can transition into Hawaii. It is impossible to land a job in Hawaii as an out-of-state resident. So, my plan is to find a remote position that would enable me to live in Hawaii, and while I'm there, I can search for employment for potentially better work.

The reason I am so set on Hawaii is because I desire to live close to my parents in Kapaa, Kaua'i. My parents are building a home there, and will be moving there by the end of next year. I'm interested in a simple, low-key lifestyle in the countryside. And Kapaa is exactly that. So, I'm just trying to figure out what steps I should take to get me there.

Thanks for all the input!

P.S.: I don't really care what I do for work. Ideally, I would like to eventually make $60,000 per year. However, I don't mind starting off on a remote job with about $45,000 per year.

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