I was denied my law license in Illinois for 7 years because I was unable to pay even the minimum payment for my student loans. I eventually enlisted the help (because I certainly couldn't pay his fees) of a solo practitioner who suggested I consistently make a payment to the loan holders and keep a record of those payments. Every six months or so I kept petitioning the Illinois Character and Fitness Committee to reconsider my application. I sat - alone - before a literal tribunal of attorneys, all physically seated higher than the chair reserved for the applicant, and was insultingly told I would never receive my license unless I could get some "rich relative" to pay my loans. What rich relative? My parents' home is valued at less than 1/2 what my student loans have risen to be. After 7 years of rejection, 7 years of falling behind on the compound interest, of being hounded by a rotating rogue's gallery of debt collectors, of watching my law school classmates pass me by, gaining experience while I languished in a legal editorship, I finally broke through to some sypathetic someone on the committee and got my license. Now 11 years later, I've worked my way up through the associate ranks of a mid-sized Chicago firm. I had been groomed for the last year as the next potential partner. My boss was telling me for a year how wonderful my prospects looked and to expect an invitation to sign on as a partner come the December 2010 reviews. Long story short: the partnership was pulled out from under me at the last possible second, not for the quality of my work, not for my aptitude, but because my long-fought troubles with student loans had somehow rendered me "financially unfit" to handle the Firm's multi-million dollar lawsuits. In other words, if I couldn't handle my own money, why should they trust me with the Firm finances? (Somehow the 6 years of killing myself to prove that I was worthy enough to consider for partnership wasn't enough.) Just weeks before the partnership determination was to be made, I received the second of 2 garnishments on my wages for my defaulted student loans. The default came to the attention of the Firm ironically through the collection counsel that the Firm uses to collect fees from delinquent clients. So, even though I had spent years dutifully paying at least something on my student loans, my career, such as it is, was once again derailed by the student loan anvil that I will apparently drag around after me for the rest of my life. I, once again, have little hope for the future. I work in "limbo" at the moment, never sure whether I will be bounced out on my ass as one of the partnership candidates who just didn't pan out. My Firm has a small army of such underlings who are all routinely treated with disdain and shoveled shit cases/files to discourage their continuing at the Firm. I want to leave, but honestly probably won't be able to secure another job anywhere nearby that might pay me the meager salary that I already do collect. Stupidly, I went trolling sites online that compared the salaries of 1st year associates in the Chicagoland area. Six years into my job at this Firm, I still don't make the 1st year salaries of most of the top-rated, top tier firms. I just don't know what to do.I am not sure what you're supposed to do at this point. In my opinion, if what you've told me is true, you've proven yourself to be a competent attorney--you may even be excellent. It's a great accomplishment to be offered partnership. I can't believe the partners at your firm reneged. It's a shame that they can't see past your financial woes. I wonder... What if one of the partners lost everything in a divorce because he was irresponsible and married his money-grubbing secretary without a pre-nuptual agreement. What if a lawyer had a garnishment for child support? Babies happen, yes--but isn't a child out of wedlock the epitome of irresponsibility? What if a lawyer were sued as a result of a simple car accident? Where is the line?
Apparently, it's with student loans.
The divine irony is that young people sign their lives away at about the same time they max out their first Discovery Card. But, unlike the credit card debt, they can't shake the student loans. Think long and hard before you pull out student loans. It's not something you worry about later. It's the gift that keeps giving, much like herpes. Just when you think the flare ups are done, it comes back at the most inopportune times.
Wait! I have an idea. Do your parents have any organs they can donate? Do you? Apparently, parents of an indebted college grad offered up their organs on craigslist for $200,000.00 (Thanks Tipster!) That's a real parental contribution that FAFSA doesn't take into account. I remember, when times were good, reading about Indian people that sold their organs to marry off their daughters. The concept was so alien to me. Not anymore. It's right up there with selling eggs to infertile rich people--or the use of your womb for 9 months. In other words, if there is a market for organs--American's will reconsider the utility of that other kidney in the very near future.
Anyone know where I can sign up for Cairo style protests? We're long overdue.