Public sector attorney pay... Woefully pathetic or just what they deserve?
July 19, 2007 11:12 AM
Meet Adam Greenway, the public defender who delivers pizza by night to make ends meet:
"I never thought I would be 30 years old driving pizzas out after graduating from law school," said Greenway, whose second job is delivering pizza for Papa John's. "But you have got to make ends meet."
Greenway, who works for the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy, graduated in 2005 from Syracuse University College of Law in New York with a $130,000 student loan.
As unfortunate as it may be, a $130,000 student loan is not unheard of for law school graduates.
International human rights law was Greenways first path of choice for his profession, but a law professor turned him on to public defending.
"I loved it," the Pennsylvania native said. "I just loved being in the trenches and digging."
The same professor said Greenway should head to the South to become successful at public defending. And the South is where Greenway and his family headed, relocating to Kentucky in the summer of 2005 upon graduation.
Whoever this professor is, he should be taken out back and shot. Not giving out career advice to students. You do not need to relocate to rural Kentucky to become good at public defending. That advice makes zero sense. The cases in big cities will be much better and more important.
And, taking the lowest possible paying job is really stupid when you know this about to happen:
A few months later, the monstrous student loan reared its ugly head and it was time to pay up.
With a salary lingering right around $30,000 per year, a mortgage, three children and a $130,000 student law school loan to pay, Greenway picked up the second job in October 2006.
His student loan payment is $477 each month for the next 20 years.
I started out sympathic to him, and then, no. I did a two-year stint as an Assistant Attorney General before going into private practice, and yes, the pay was awful. But the only person I was supporting was myself. Granted, public defenders are weird as a whole, but I do not understand how this guy thinks he is being a responsible husband and father of three. Taking a job that pays $30,000 a year when you have a law degree and $130,000 in student loans is ridiculous.
His children are the ones that suffer the most, he said.
"My wife's pretty OK with it," he said. "She doesn't like it, but she understands that's what we have to do."
Actually, no. It's not what you have to do. You're doing it because you want to, not because you have to.