Remembering TCPaul, 2016-2019

Leave private sector for Feds

I am a handful of years out of school. I currently have a wtretire01/13/19
Stressed/overworked, can't take a day off, can't see your fa wutwutwut01/13/19
I have a family to support. Would be tight but probably doab wtretire01/13/19
What type of law do you practice and would your fed job be a thirdtierlaw01/13/19
I do transactional work. I would likely be able to keep a ha wtretire01/13/19
I don't know if it is across the board. All the litigators I thirdtierlaw01/13/19
"I cannot delegate and I am unorganized." Yeah, I can rel wutwutwut01/13/19
There are two types of people in private practice. Those wh hoosierdaddy01/13/19
I would not take the fed job. The work/life balance is nothi fettywap01/14/19
Your biggest problem is that $100k is too tight. You are wi jeffm01/14/19
IMO your biggest problem or potential problem is your wife fompliance201/15/19
Decided to stick it out in private practice for now. I am si wtretire01/31/19
Good luck, Let us know how the business consultant works out newyorkcity02/08/19
I think the government will give you what you want but beuro blergfergins02/07/19
wtretire (Jan 13, 2019 - 3:26 pm)

I am a handful of years out of school.

I currently have a solo practice. I held two jobs prior to going solo. Government for one year and then private sector for a year.

Really enjoyed the work life balance of the government job. Hated my private sector job although the pay was pretty good (just about six figures).

I left my job at the private practice and started my own firm due to crazy hours, commute, stress and belief that for the hours and stress I can do substantially better on my own.

I do substantially better on my own. The firm is still young, but it is doing better than I could have imagined. I likely netted as much as junior partners at my previous firm this past year.

The hours and stress however, are still there.

I have a young family and I would rather see my kids than become rich.

I was able to get my finances back in shape after leaving law school with a sub > $50,000 net worth.

Right now, I can pay off what is left on my student loans and put down a down payment on a decent suburban house.

To the question, I may have the oppurtunity to obtain a Fed Government job. The salary would be very decent. Just about six figures to start. Location is 25 minutes from my house (not major city. Suburban area).

I should be able to telework after a while and seems like a chill job.

I would be leaving a lucrative business behind - and ideally planned to put in another 5-10 years before going this route. If I can put in another 10 odd years in private practice and play my cards right I like to think I may have a shot at a State judgeshp.

Logically, I feel like I need to suck it up for the next 10 years and hopefully I will have the financial security to make a move in 10 years.

Emotionally, I am stressed/overworked and cannot take a day off to relax. I can probably make do on the Fed salary so why overwork?

What you guys think?

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wutwutwut (Jan 13, 2019 - 4:32 pm)

Stressed/overworked, can't take a day off, can't see your family/kids much... and can "probably" make do on the fed salary.


What's the uncertainty in that "probably"?


Is there some reason you think $100K in your suburban area (along with whatever your spouse makes, even if zero) won't work?


If you're not actually in doubt, you sound pretty miserable in your current practice, so I'd go for the lower stress, more work-life balance job.

But some other considerations - how long has this stress/overwork been plaguing you? Is there some way to alleviate it other than giving up your practice? Know any semi-retired oldsters who wouldn't mind handling a file or two, to take some pressure off? Or could hiring an experienced paralegal (assuming you don't have one) similarly take some of the weight?

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wtretire (Jan 13, 2019 - 5:15 pm)

I have a family to support. Would be tight but probably doable on 100k.

If I can figure out how to make my practice less stressful I should be able to consistantly bring in double that.

200k is kind of awesome. 100k would be tight. We would have to live on a tight budget. Mostly do not enjoy my work but really enjoy the flexibilty the money brings.

My strong points are, great in sales, more or less competant in law.

My week points, I cannot delegate and I am unorganized.

Spouse is really not happy that I am thinking of givong it all up to coast.

I do not have expensive taste and I am good at sales. I feel like if money gets tight I can easily get side gigs for a couple of grand a month.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 13, 2019 - 5:23 pm)

What type of law do you practice and would your fed job be a legal position? What I'm getting at will the fed job bar you from doing legal work?

If you're in a transactional practice area, you could probably keep one or two clients you can do work for in the evenings. So you'll be working a bit more than a 9 to 5, but nothing compared to what you're doing now. What makes it tricky is that most government attorney positions ban you from practicing any law on the side.

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wtretire (Jan 13, 2019 - 5:27 pm)

I do transactional work. I would likely be able to keep a handful of clients should I so choose. Is there a rule across the board that a Fed attorney cannnot take on private clients?

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 13, 2019 - 5:36 pm)

I don't know if it is across the board. All the litigators I know are not allowed to take on any private clients even in different practice areas. They are allowed to do non legal work though. So definitely figure that out before deciding on the job.

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wutwutwut (Jan 13, 2019 - 5:51 pm)

"I cannot delegate and I am unorganized."

Yeah, I can relate. So you're going to have a tough time picking up some part time/of counsel help. Still, it might be worth thinking about.



"Spouse is really not happy that I am thinking of giving it all up to coast."

I hope you don't think of taking a different FT job as "coasting", and hope your spouse doesn't either.

That said, I can't imagine making a significant transition like you're considering without my wife being fully on board with the decision. Maybe your marriage is different, but we've always made big decisions together, especially where a large amount of money is concerned, even though I make many times what she makes.


In your shoes I think I'd ride the current wave another 2 years (seems like forever, maybe, right now) but live as close to that 100K budget as you can reasonably do starting today. Use the savings as float for balancing things out once you do step down to something like the fed job you're considering. And I'd use the extra time to turn my wife around.

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hoosierdaddy (Jan 13, 2019 - 11:57 pm)

There are two types of people in private practice. Those who would NEVER take a fed job and enjoy seeing the $$$ roll in from private practice, and those that would take a fed job or get old in private practice wishing they took the fed job when they had the chance. You sound like the second guy. Take the job so that you have this in your 60s if you need it.

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fettywap (Jan 14, 2019 - 10:42 am)

I would not take the fed job. The work/life balance is nothing compared to working for yourself. You just have to force yourself to take time off. The office will still be there when you get back.

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jeffm (Jan 14, 2019 - 12:10 pm)

Your biggest problem is that $100k is too tight. You are willing to stress yourself out because you need more than that. So, either stay stressed; find something else which will pay enough, or accept the fact that you have to live on less money if you want a less stressful life.

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fompliance2 (Jan 15, 2019 - 6:55 am)

IMO your biggest problem or potential problem is your wife

Last thing you want is her bi tching at you for not making enough money and being home too much (indirect bitc hing ).
I would sit her down and basically say I can either make good money and do very little at home or half as much and be home more, set the expectation early

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wtretire (Jan 31, 2019 - 11:34 pm)

Decided to stick it out in private practice for now. I am simply not ready to give up the money. It is also too hard for me to walk away from the business that I built from the ground up. Had a brutal month, but made really great money. I have upped my fees and I am trying to get rid of some of the less profitable parts of the business. Curiously, there has been minimal push back from clients so far on fees going up.

I still need to figure this thing out and I found a business consultant that I would like to hire for a couple of hours to see if they can help.

I seem to be missing some part of the sauce required to run my business, but there are too many good parts for me to just walk away.

Hoping consulting guy can help me figure things out.

Thanks and good luck to you all.

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newyorkcity (Feb 8, 2019 - 11:50 am)

Good luck, Let us know how the business consultant works out and what you actually plan on him doing please.

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blergfergins (Feb 7, 2019 - 3:03 pm)

I think the government will give you what you want but beurocrasy is kind of mind warping and creates its own kind of stress in a Kafka-Esque sort of way. Probably still worth it.

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