Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Nillian K Arminus Button Front Jacket

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Theory Jacket - Nillian K Arminus Button FrontI know what you’re thinking: wait, is it Wednesday? Is it Suit of the Week time already? Because that’s a totally cute suit! Except… well, wait, it isn’t. It’s a totally cute jacket. Love the wool herringbone, the perfect charcoal, and the schoolboy fit. And the rest of it… well, let’s just snicker and move on. The jacket is $395 at Bloomingdale’s. Theory Jacket – Nillian K Arminus Button Front

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  1. Constance Justice :

    Beautiful jacket! Also, thanks for starting off my Monday with a chuckle! That skirt is something else. Business on top, party on the bottom?

    • It’s definitely a mullet skirt. Or a scroll down [email protected] And they’re not doing it any favors by pairing it with knee high socks. Made me teehee out loud for sure.

    • baby weight :

      Agreed! Thanks for the laugh!

    • Bahahaha! That skirt is hilarious.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yikes! I know it’s wrong, but I kind of love that skirt!

      • Constance Justice :

        Honestly, I kinda do, too. Maybe with tights and boots? But not with the jacket.

      • You’re not alone. I kind of love it, too. Not as a suit, obviously. But with a cute tank and high heels for going out on a Friday night? Yes ma’am!

      • I don’t love it but it’s a pretty skirt.
        Totally screws up the suit though. I wish they’d also made a plain A-line or pencil skirt for work.

      • I actually love that skirt, too. Would totally wear that on date night with the husband with tights and boots. Or with strappy heels.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I do love that jacket. And the giggle over someone wearing the outfit to work.

      Agree that the skirt would be cute for off-time.

  2. Wow, the skirt looked normal in this picture – until you click on the link. Otherwise, really pretty jacket. I love charcoal. Can’t wait for fall.

  3. lawsuited :

    Kat, could you show us more pant suits? I’m going to be working at a firm with a “no skirts” dress code and could use some help!

    TJ – I have a job offer from a firm, and have given my current firm the opportunity to make me an offer for a permanent position (I’m currently working on contract). I have a meeting with them today to talk about it. I think I’d prefer to stay on at my current firm, but the new firm is offering a considerable salary increase.

    Suggestions of gracious ways to ask “Can you match X salary”?

    • Anita (formerly S) :

      No skirts??? What a strange dress code.

      • lawsuited :

        Agreed. But I’d rather be employed in pants than unemployed in a skirt, ya know?

        (And I ought to have said “may be working” rather than “going to be”. Freudian slip?)

        • VERY interesting re the no skirts dress code. (In California, a basis for employment discrimination can be the denial of a woman’s right to wear pants… but hadn’t heard the other way around…)

          Fingers crossed for the job!

        • Well, if men can’t wear their kilts to work then women shouldn’t be able to wear skirts. Totally fair–because men normally wear kilts in business settings.

      • Maybe they’re trying to avoid battles over skirt-length.

    • Very pretty suit. I love it. At my firm, the manageing partner INSIST’S that I NEVER wear any kind of pant’s suit. The only execption is when I ran in the 5K, he then was happy that I wore the firm’s logoed shirt and short’s.

      I spent all weekend reading about HART-Scott-Rodino–there is alot of numbers that I have to get from Jim and then I have to fill out a VERY complecated form, and it cover’s both his company and the target company, which he does NOT tell me the name yet, but I am going to have to get the manageing partner to get the accoutenent to help with the math.

      I do NOT know why they call this legal work b/c there is mostely accounteing involved. My ex, Alan, probabely knows all about this, but he is no longer in the picture, thank you very much.

    • Could you just say, “Firm X offered me a salary of $__ and would like an answer by [date].” I think they’ll get the picture.

    • “as you know, I’m eager to work in a permanent role. I have interviewed a few other places in case a position was not available with Current Firm, although my preference is to stay here as I really enjoy the experience I’m getting and the people I’m working with. I’ve been offered a salary of X. Can Current Firm match that?”

      • meant to add – Ask A Manager usually advises against trying to get a raise by telling your current employer you have a counteroffer (#1 it raises loyalty issues, and #2 money usually isn’t the only reason you’re looking to leave a job, and the raise won’t help that). You’re less at risk for #1 under the circumstances, I think, but tossing in what you like about Current Firm can only help IMO.

        • Definitely agree. I’ve been interviewing, etc. because my contract ends soon, so I don’t think current firm takes that personally. In my first conversation with my boss, I played up that I love the people here, fit well with the team, etc. and would prefer to stay here but need a permanent position. Today, they may offer me a permanent position (or they may not) and then I’ll have to have the awkward salary talk. Yikes.

          • In this case, I don’t think the standard advice that one not use a new offer to increase salary/perks at a current employer applies to lawsuited, as her current employment is a temporary position. For regular employees, that advice is the smart way to go.

    • I saw you mention this no-skirt policy the other day, and I’m wondering whether you found out the reason behind it? I’m just really confused how that policy could possibly be necessary for a job that’s not in a lab or a warehouse.

      • lawsuited :

        Herbie – my understanding is that the “no skirts” policy is to avoid having to police a “skirt with length requirement” policy necessary to prevent unprofessionally short skirts. It’s hardly “necessary” for the job, I assume it’s to keep up appearances for clients that visit the office. (Interestingly, there are also acceptable colours and fabrics for pants, so I think the dress code starts to approach uniform program territory.)

    • Blonde lawyer :

      I think all my pant suits are from BR outlet , Jones NY, Express (editor) and Calvin Klein from Marshalls. Jones NY has great sales, like $99 on a whole suit, on their website from time to time. Sign up for the e-alerts. Although you can’t buy the pieces separate, I find the tops much more forgiving in the chest than other brands. Hope that gives you some starting points.

    • Just say what you said! “I’d prefer to continue working here because I like the people and the work. However, firm y has offered me $x and it’s hard to walk away from that. Can anything be done to close the gap here?”

    • I know that Tiger Asset Management doesn’t allow PANTS. Never, ever heard of the opposite though.

  4. Praise the Gods for the cooler weather here in DC, giving me my first chance to wear the linen Tippi sweater I snagged on sale earlier this summer. The verdict: perhaps a little on the slouchy side for work, but I think it’s OK for a casual day. Beware that the cut is definitely more generous than the regular Tippi and plan accordingly.

    • It’s the first day I didn’t think I was going to melt on my walk to work! If only it could stay like this…

    • It kind of makes me sad to see all the leaves on the ground already. Although it was nice to get to work without sweating.

  5. Ladies, I can’t brag about this in real life, but I’m bursting with it so apologies for bragging here… I paid off my student loans!!! I started with about $175K in 2008, made monthly payments that were 1.5x our mortgage, and threw every single dollar of bonus money at them (except allowing myself a $500 splurge each time so I got to see *some* interim enjoyment). and now they are GONE. It feels like life can re-start (huh, maybe we can actually afford kids and a house after all…).

    /back to work now, but no longer for Citi

    • SugarMagnolia :



      I can’t even imagine paying mine off at this stage, so I am in awe!

    • Congratulations!!!

    • Congrats!!! That’s an amazing accomplishment. I remember how overjoyed I was when I paid off one of my loans – I can’t imagine all of them being gone!

    • Congratulations! That’s a huge amount to have paid off in such a short time. You have remarkable fiscal discipline. Just think of the huge pay raise you just gave yourself!

    • Constance Justice :

      So happy for you!! Also, thanks for inspiring me to take a second look at my budget and see if I can squeeze a few more dollars out for loan payments. :)

    • Congrats! That’s fantastic, so enjoy your freedom from student loans!

    • Diana Barry :


    • Wow! I am also a 2008 grad with a similar debt, but I am years (decades? centuries? eons?) away from paying them off. Good for you! Enjoy your new found freedom and give Citibank the finger for me, will you?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Congratulations!!! What an accomplishment!!! I bought myself some simple white gold studs (<$50) when I paid mine off. I am so happy every time I wear them because I am reminded I don't work for Citi anymore :).

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Holy… Oh my goodness…. Wow!!! Major congratulations!!

    • K...in transition :

      congrats! even if your blue nail polish chips or the hair tie on your wrist breaks, you’ve got a room full of folks who wish we were you today :)

    • Blonde lawyer :

      That is awesome! I dream of the day.

    • Wow. That is awesome. Congratulations!

    • YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!! Well done! I hope to be in your position only 4 years out!

    • omg, I’m so jealous! Congratulations! That is amazing!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Wow, this is huge! Congratulations!! I have had ginormous debt in my life so I totally know how great you must be feeling!! Congratulations on being officially In The Black!!

    • wow – just checked back and am full of warm fuzzies from you all! Thanks for the kind words!

      SF Bay, that’s a cute idea to commemorate with something small and pretty. A little lunch break browsing may be in order :)

    • Congratulations – I, too, am going to look at my budget to see how I can get there – this is really inspiring. And I definitely agree that a little something-something of the shiny variety is in order. You deserve it!!!!!!

    • Congratulations!

    • lucy stone :

      Also a 2008 grad – congratulations! You must feel so free!

    • Congrats! Your financial self-discipline is an example for us all.

    • just Karen :

      Congratulations! That is an amazing achievement.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Congratulations on your F-R-E-E-D-O-M (imagine Mel Gibson, pre anti-Semitic drunk rage, charging in front of the Scottish troops on his horse before the battle as you read this!).

      And, may I say, it is so great that we are a community that provides support for both fashion and financial accomplishments.

    • Research, Not Law :


    • Woohoo!! That’s some rockin’ discipline right there! High fives and self-gifting are well in order! I, too, am inspired. Look what short-term self-denial can do!

    • SoCalAtty :

      Congrats! I’m a 2006 grad with a similar amount of debt, but I’ve only been paying the minimums so I’m not making any headway. You’re an inspiration! I’m going to try to start throwing more money at getting the balances paid down, and I will keep your accomplishment in mind.

    • CONGRATS. =)

  6. Fashion Police :

    What are your thoughts on when/how to give someone a heads up about a wardrobe malfunction? This question was inspired by when I(YET AGAIN) saw a woman on my train who had not cut the basting stitch holding the slit in her skirt together. Of course, it was a black skirt with white thread.

    My general policy with strangers is that if it’s something they can correct immediately, I tell them. If they can’t fix it at the time I tell them, I’m not sure what to do. I feel guilty doing nothing, but I know that telling them will just make them worry about a problem they can’t fix.


    Easy fix: Tag/sticker still on shirt (happens to me all the time!), piece of fuzz/whatever on back of jacket, toilet paper on shoe, etc.

    Hard fix: Basting stitch is showing on a skirt, you’re walking out of a train car. Socks are a totally different color (and clearly wasn’t intentional). Underwear is totally 100% visible under outfit (not sure I’d ever be brave enough to correct a stranger on that one, but I’d want someone to tell me…)

    So…thoughts on when/if any of this is appropriate? I mean, I’d want to know in every case, but I have no idea how to tell a stranger.

    • I actually think the basting stitch is an easy fix. I mean, maybe not right that second, but she probably has scissors in her office and can deal with it as soon as she gets up there. So I’d put that in the “tell” category. (I generally agree with your categorization though.)

      • Yes, but so many people don’t cut that on purpose and then you’re getting into the potentially awkward “I didn’t know you are supposed to do that” territory. Obviously, it’s a bit easier with white thread on black, but still. Same thing with those “100% wool/cashmere” tags on winter coats. For me, it’s a total pet peeve, but I’m not sure if I would ever tell a stranger about it.

        • The tags on coats I think are a different category because there’s no possible way someone would leave that on by accident so if it’s there, it was definitely intentional. On the basting stitches, I think some people don’t know but lots of people just forget, so you can just assume they’re forgetting and point it out. If they don’t know better, they might be embarassed in the moment, but at least now they have some idea that maybe it’s not correct to leave them.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            People intentionally leave those coat labels on?? What, to brag about how their coat is 100% cashmere??

          • Yes.

          • Fashion Police :

            Yes- and it’s worse on men’s suit jackets, which generally list a brand. It is in my husband’s Top 5 Menswear pet peeves (along with men who do not button their jacket when standing).

          • @ Fashion Police: what are his other 3?!

          • Fashion Police :

            I don’t know that there is an official top 5. Ill-fitting (too big) suits are definitely #1. Ones I hear over and over are: otherwise well dressed men wearing cheap (and/or unpolished) shoes, “trendy” (ie not proper) tuxedos and/or anyone wearing a tuxedo to a daytime wedding, men that match their socks to their trousers and not their shoes, mismatched belt/shoes, Crocs, and the existence of short sleeved button down dress shirts.

        • Just curious – what is the purpose of leaving the basting stitch in?

          • There is no purpose! ;)
            Supposedly, when it’s dark and not-super obvious, some people like to leave it on because they think it makes the garmet lie more smoothly or something, or maybe so there’s no high slit, etc. But, of course, this is only true if you stand absolutely still because when you start to walk with that stitch uncut, there is all sorts of puckering and it just looks like the slit in your skirt is talking.

          • Fashion Police :

            No idea. Ignorance? If it isn’t contract colored (eg white on black), people may not notice/presume it’s part of the style?

          • I tried to tell someone once that their basting stitch was still in their skirt, thinking I was doing them a favor. I got a nasty look, and was informed that it’s supposed to be there, that’s why it’s in a different color (white) than the skirt (black) *huff!* I don’t believe this, but if this is true, then I’m horrible out-of-fashion.

    • kerrycontrary :

      The skirt stitching drives me crazy. I see this about 3 times a day on my commute and walking into a building. How do people not know this? And isn’t it difficult to walk without your slit released?

      • Fashion Police :

        I forget, but the instant I walk for more than 10 feet, I am painfully aware. (This very morning I was walking down my front steps and realized I hadn’t cut it off my new skirt. Then I saw a woman on the train with the same issue).

    • I’d comment on the easy fixes straight away because if it were me, I’d rather you tell me the “easy” fix on the subway than my boss telling me at work.

      As for socks and underwear – I would refrain from commenting to a stranger, because to me this constitutes “you can’t know whether it was intentional” territory. With the not removed stitching it is pretty clear that someone just forgot; with VPL and socks – not so much. You also don’t know what their office is like. I’d leave that for their office mates/trusted person at the office to comment on.

      • Ditto on the easy fixes. You’re potentially saving them from embarrassment by giving them a chance to correct problem before running into someone important. Harder fixes (VPL, panty line, etc.) that they may not be able to correct on the spot probably go unmentioned by me. If it’s a problem they’re stuck with for the rest of the work day, I figure it’s a mercy to let them tell themselves no one else noticed it once they do figure it out.

  7. Kat: There is a pop-up advertisement that I think is coming from the Savvy Sugar footer. When I clicked the X to try to close it, it said I was downloading something! Could you make sure intrusive advertising like this doesn’t appear on your site?

  8. I wanted to chime in on the weekend thread re: work vs. weekend clothes.

    I just recently revamped my entire wardrobe with “uniforms.”

    For work, I bought 10 Lauren by RL dresses (all on sale/clearance). I am going to rotate through them so each is worn about 2x a month. They fit me really well, they’re wash and wear, packable, and I just love them.

    Fridays are casual days, so I am going to wear my new “weekend uniform.” That consists of Merona pencil skirts in every available color, mix-matched with about 20 solid t-shirts, also from Target. The main difference between work and weekend will be heels vs. sandals.

    I also bought an after-work “uniform” of Soma cool nights sleepwear/loungewear.

    All of this started with my husband complaining (nicely) about the two pullover dresses I was using day in and day out for after work and weekends… I also managed to pick up a couple of amazing evening dresses, including a gown, from RLR.

    • Wow! That’s impressive. Keep us posted on how it works out.

    • Wont you get bored wearing the same thing all the time? Part of what I love about clothes is being able to mix things up. I totally have a number of “go to” outfits that I can put on and not have to think about things, but i love being able to wear something i’ve had for years in new and different ways.

      • Yes, but ... :

        Some of us find that process stressful and not intuitive at all. I would LOVE to figure out a uniform that works for me, so I don’t waste time in the morning wondering what to wear.

      • For me, a rotation of 2x a month is plenty, and I like to switch up my statement necklaces and shoes. Otherwise I tend to wear the same things more frequently, until they get worn out and don’t give me that confident feeling any more. Then it takes me ages to get to the store and figure out what separates to buy to replace them. And for every one piece I buy that I end up wearing to death, I’d buy at least one that languished in the back of my closet. This way I know I can always pick up a new dress or three at the end of each season when they hit clearance, and I know they’ll always fit the way I want them to. And no ironing, which might be the best part.

        As far as the skirts on the weekend (below), they’re just the merona doubleweave, so they’re not too tight or restrictive. I don’t see them much different than shorts when I’m out of the house. For in the house, that’s why I bought a really comfy, cozy but cute set of “loungewear.”

        Sticking to my new “rules” over the past couple of weeks hasn’t been too hard. Actually, I’ve really enjoyed it. Ask me again in six months when nothing is “new” anymore though! And my husband’s even stepped up his game by buying “loungewear” for the house that doesn’t consist of holey, stained t-shirts, etc. He’s even started hanging his dress shirts to dry to preserve them better!

    • You wear pencil skirts on the weekends? Do other people dress this nicely on the weekends? Maybe I am just a slob, but I am all about comfy jeans and shirts on the weekends. How can you lounge in a pencil skirt?!

      • Well, the skirts in question are knit, and I’ve read some comments to the effect that they’re like work PJs. With that said, I wouldn’t have pencil skirts as part of my weekend uniform. I definitely don’t schlump around, but I just find casual dresses or the jeans/top combo more appropriate for my life. Different strokes for different folks.

        • I wear my doubleweave, brightly colored Target pencil skirts on the weekend, though not every weekend, so I don’t think I’d classify them as part of my weekend uniform. However, I’m in court nearly daily in a very conservative part of the country, so I don’t get to wear my “fun” pencil skirts to work very often.

        • Makeup Junkie :

          I kind of love the animal print Merona skirt. How is the fit? Should I size up or down?

      • I have a weekend “uniform” of denim or twill pencil skirts. Bare legs in warm weather, tights and boots in cool weather. I find skirts more comfortable than jeans or panta.

      • Anonymous NYer :

        yeahhhh I wear sweats. If I need to leave the house for something other than some minor errands, I’ll throw on jeans. I have grand aspirations of trotting around town in a sun dress, but when it comes time to throw something on for errands, my cargo shorts or jeans win, almost everytime.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Sounds great! I hope you will update us on how it’s going, after you’ve been at it for a while!

    • lucy stone :

      I love that line from Soma and stalk their sale section for it regularly.

    • Can you post links (or other directions to see them) to the RL dresses, please?

      • If you look up the Lauren by Ralph Lauren dresses on the RL site, you’ll see a whole bunch of jersey sheath dresses with ruching on the sides and criss-cross bodices. They run about $134 each, but I’ve been buying them on sale for about $50-60. Most of the lawyerly types here wouldn’t wear them to the office, I’d bet, but I’m in digital/marketing, so I have more freedom of expression with my work wardrobe.

        The one I’m wearing now is a deep plum with camel polka dots. On the dressier side, there’s a sold black dress with 1/2 sleeves and a belt with a gold buckle that I wore last week for a presentation. I’m still stalking burgandy and navy.

        • Makeup Junkie :

          Those are gorgeous dresses, very classic and will last you a long time!

        • I’m a fan of the Lauren by RL line, too. Usually washable, comfy, and I find them flattering (I’m on the tall-ish, pencil-shaped side, fwiw). I’ve picked up a couple at TJ Maxx in that $50-60 range.

        • Migraine Sufferer :

          Where/ how are you getting sale prices? Just waiting and watching? Or any other hints for me?

          Thanks! I love your idea and plan to emulate it!

          • The RL site was doing 25% off plus free shipping. I bought some of the more dressy/classic dresses there. Plus I hit Macy’s and Dillard’s on the weekends during some of their big clearance sales for about half of my dresses. My first one was from TJM and has held up for years, so that’s what gave me the idea. And the plum/camel one was at TJM just last weekend. Now when I stop by a department store, I’ll just zip through the sale racks. I can pick out these dresses from 10 feet away at this point! I check out the non-sale dresses so I know what to look forward to closer to the end of the season. I even bought one a size up (for $40) in a floral that is super forgiving, for those water retention days, lol….

        • Thanks. I have one that is similar that I wear as a “dinner dress,” and you’re right that I could not wear it at the office. But it is classic, well made, comfortable and was extremely reasonable.

          Wear them in good health.

        • I have the plum with polka dots dress too – I’m a lawyer and wear them to work. I actually think they are great dresses — long enough to be semi conservative, although I do usually have to safety pin or snap the top to create a higher neckline. Maybe it’s just my particular body type, but I find these dresses pretty flattering.

    • Can we get a link to the RL dresses?

  9. Hey ladies,

    Just wanted to update you on how the visit to my family went this weekend. Thanks so much for all the advice and support. Glad to report that the visit went great! No tears, no fighting, no sulking. I think a few things made the difference. First, staying in a hotel. Second, before we went, I told my husband several times that he could duck out any time he wanted. He never did, but I think knowing he could and that I’d support him made him feel more inclined to stick around and be friendly. Third, my parents just moved out of a frankly claustrophobic apartment into an airy, spacious house. This meant that we weren’t all jammed into a tiny kitchen together and if my husband needed a breather from my mom, he could drift out of the living room or dining room and into the kitchen on the pretext of getting a drink. Fourth, my step-sister is currently living with our parents and he was able to shift over to talking with her about her music or school or whatever. Finally, my parents themselves proposed that my step-dad take my husband out on Sunday to visit some historical sites so my mom and I could have some just us time. That meant my husband really just had Saturday to deal with my mom (and had more breathing space than usual during that time). Overall, it worked out great. I also think everyone is just getting used to each other (finally) and we’re getting to the point where we’ve figured out what everyone needs to make the visits work. Hooray!!

  10. Diana Barry :

    Love this jacket.

    I remembered today why I haven’t worn any button-down shirts since the baby was born. The one I am wearing now pulls across the chest if I breathe in deeply, and meanwhile the back is poofing out a bit around my shoulder blades. Sigh. I think I need to look through my boxes of clothes to see if I missed any larger floaty or knit tops for work!!!

    • Ugh, I remember that! I had just bought a bunch of new non-iron ones, too, and was so mad that I couldn’t wear them. I had never fully appreciated the clothing plight of the ample of front. If it’s any consolation, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to wear them again once baby’s weaned. Don’t toss them in the Goodwill pile just yet.

    • Seattleite :

      If it fits but just gapes between the buttons, you might try toupee tape on the placket. I’ve been using it for years and never had any damage to even fine fabrics.

  11. Sorry it this has been covered before, but I have been kicking around the idea of going to law school for awhile. It would complement my current work (government), but could also open up other areas which appeals to me.

    However, after reading this site and the millions of articles about the legal market and people drowning in debt, I’d like to ask for input. I’m trying to work this out from an “investment” perspective at the moment and was hoping you ladies would be willing to comment.

    If you were going to go to law school and acquire $100k in debt, you’d want to practice in X type of firm (Big, Mid, etc).

    To practice in X firm, you’d need to go to Y type of law school.

    To get into Y type of law school, you’d need Z on your LSATs. Does undergrad GPA even matter if I’ve been out and working for a number of years?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Don’t forget that that to practice in X firm you need be in the top N% of your class at Y type of law school. That’s a variable that you can’t predict until you are actually there, but it has a huge impact on your prospects.

      • cornellian :

        and everyone thinks they’re going to be in the top N%, which is obviously impossible. It’s not even your overall GPA that really matters, it’s your grades in the roulette that is 1L fall.

        Also think about lost opportunity. I never really thought of it this way when I was making these choices, but instead of just having the cost of attending and living calculated in (ie it will cost me 30K in tuition and 20K to live), you also need to add the 50K that you would have earned if you hadn’t gone to law school. What looks like an okay deal at 50K/year in costs may not be as attractive at 100K.

        • Yep, or as one of our deans used to say, “90 % of you will not be in the top 10 % of the class!”

        • Your second sentence deserves some emphasis. There is NO margin of error in law school. If you eff up your first year, that’s it for the BigLaw track. Even if you kick as** for the rest of law school, first year grades determine if you get on law review and if you get interviews for OCI.

          — Signed, got a D in Civ Pro first semester

          • Agreed.

            -Got a B in Contracts first semester

          • This is actually really helpful (and scary) info.

          • Agreed!

            Signed, Got a C+ in a 5 credit Property Class Second semester

          • Agreed as to all of this.

            EVERYONE thinks they will be in the top, be on law review, etc.

            Wrote-on to law review, graduated righttttt at 50% of my class.

          • Agreed.
            C- in civ pro, and overall terrible first semester grades.

          • Agreed.

            – Never acquired a blue vocabulary until seeing my marks after 1st year fall exams.

            PS It is possible to turn things around for yourself. It is not the end of the world to start off at a mid-size firm. If you play your cards right and make a couple of jumps, you can go from there right up to the biggest Biglaw firm you wish for. Been there, done that. Law school is not the practice of law.

          • Agreed. Got a C in criminal first semester and that tanked my GPA and, while I got summer associate positions, they weren’t at big name firms (and it was in 2003). The only way I got into TX Biglaw was I got on to law review, graduated at the tip top of my class (despite that C), and got a clerkship with a federal judge. Big firm hired me while I was clerking. First an only C in my life and it came close to changing my career path.

          • Agreed. Though, I did great first year, and I can see how after that my 2L and 3L barely mattered. I could have taken the legal implications of underwater basketweaving, as long as I got a B+ or above no one cared.

            Also, one of my friends used to say, “I’m in the half that makes the top half possible.”

            DO NOT got to law school unless being a lawyer is the ONLY thing that will make you happy or it is a fairly certain way to earn more at your current job. Consider a night program/ part time if it relates to your current job. I am glad I went because it was the ONLY thing I really wanted to do, but it seems like it is a terrible investment unless you actually want to be a lawyer. In fact, even then it is questionable these days.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      As someone who has a ridiculous amount of debt, my advice is to go into as little debt for law school as possible while still going to the best school you can that supports your goals and don’t count on getting a big law job with a big salary to pay off your loans, pretty much no matter what law school you go to. What I mean by that is if your goal is to work in big law, try to go to a top school, but if your goal is to work in a specific area of the country, a highly ranked re final school might be a better choice.

      But really, I wish I would have saved a significant amount of money before going or been able to get a full ride scholarship or have an employer pay for it instead of going into so much debt. It was pretty irresponsible of me to rack up the mount of debt that I have and I’m extremely lucky that my temporary document review gigs make me enough money to pay my loans, although certainly not what I need to be paying since I’m on IBR.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      My understand is that undergraduate GPA still matters, since law schools report it for ranking purposes. My friend showed me this website when she was applying – I have no idea if it’s accurate but she say law school apps are very numbers based and while soft factors like extracurriculars or letters of recommendation can help, it’s really more of a numbers game.


      • This is also school-specific to certain degree. My law school was very focused on public interest and international law, and a huge percentage of my classmates were former peace corps volunteers and had other non-profit/NGO-type experience, which I think probably helped them in the application process.

    • K...in transition :

      I’m not a lawyer, but have another thought… to do the work you truly want, have you interned or had other experience with that to be sure that’s what you want in reality (not just in theory)? Is there another way to do similar work without taking on the debt of law school? For example, if you’re interested in child custody law because you want to help kids to have a less traumatic childhood, maybe there is another type of work you can do that deals with childhood trauma or training parents in life skills. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reaching out to people who are in the area you wish to live who do the work you wish to do. Meet them for an informational interview and find out whether the reality of such a life is truly what you want.

      Hope this helps!

      • Agree completely with this. As an in-debt lawyer who graduated months before the bottom fell out of the legal market, I wouldn’t recommend law school to anyone that didn’t have a solid idea of exactly what they want to do when they graduate. It’s just not true that “you can do anything with a law degree!” anymore.

        Law schools will still consider your undergrad GPA. That and your LSAT score are the best predictors for your acceptance at each school. For reference, I’m a 2008 grad, in BigLaw at a specialized practice firm after lateralling over from my mid-size regional full-practice firm, went to a top 14 law school, and graduated top 50% in my class. If I had waited one year to go to law school, I probably would not have had a job when I graduated.

        I just typed a really long comment but then deleted it and will just say: accumulating law school debt without a crystal clear idea of what you want to do after graduation, and how you will achieve it, and how you will pay your corresponding student loans if you manage to get a job once you graduate (or, unfortunately, remain unemployed), isn’t a good idea.

        • Seriously, the people who tell you that you can do anything with a law degree are full of it. What? What else can I do with a law degree that will allow me to service my six-figure debt and keep Sallie Mae from breaking my knee caps?

        • I have nothing to add, but I want to boldface and underline JJ’s entire last paragraph. Don’t go if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to do with the degree, and definitely don’t take on significant debt if you don’t have a clear idea of how you’re going to repay it.

        • This. I hate to say it, but I think that anyone who tells me that they want to go to law school in the current environment without a crystal clear plan for what to do with the degree is very, very stupid. Not only do you need a crystal clear plan, but you need a contingency plan for when you are one of the 90% that don’t graduate in the top 10%.

          Have you calculated the monthly payments on your expected debt load? (Do it. Now. We’ll wait.). Take a long hard look at that number and keep in mind that many law graduates have not been able to improve their income potential from what they were earning before the J.D.

          And if your family thinks law school is a great idea, it is totally OK to ignore them. You’ve done your research, so you know the world is changing and that law is not the field it once was.

        • Anonymous NYer :

          Agree for the most part. I started law school just before/as the bottom fell out of the economy, had a crystal clear idea of what I wanted to do, graduated over a year ago, still haven’t had a full time legal job, and won’t be getting the chance to do what I initially wanted to do anyway because no one’s hiring (me, at least). I fully 100% regret my decision to go to law school, and would take it back and rewind the past 4 years in a heartbeat.

      • Along these lines… remember that practicing at X firm may not be the prize it is made out to be. One of those popular pre-law school books (or something else rather well known) described law school as a “pie-eating contest where the first prize is more pie.” In other words, the premise they sell people and the one you set forth above (path to biglaw) is designed so that you work your butt off at learning stuff that is often boring and tedious in order to get a job where you will work your butt off doing stuff that is boring and tedious. So, before you go, make sure the “prize” is something you actually want. Because if you can’t get a scholarship, you might have to do it a long time in order to pay off the debt.

        • And for context, I graduated in the top 5% of my class at a top tier (but not top 20) law school, with law review etc. I now work for local government w/ a 60-70k salary, because they only make me work 40 hrs a week and the nature of the work is at least mildly interesting. What I basically learned in law school is that while I’m very good at eating pie, I don’t actually like it that much and I certainly don’t want to spend 80 hrs a week eating it. Ever.

          I graduated w/ far less than 100k in debt. I was thisclose to going to a 50k/yr school because it was “top 20” and I thought that meant something. I am thankful every day that I changed my mind and backed out (after paying a seat deposit) because that would have been the biggest mistake of my life. It still terrifies me how close I was to making such an epic bad decision.

    • GPA matters because US News matters and US News counts GPA. When I was applying (in 2001), there was a book that had a matrix for most schools that plotted GPA against LSAT and gave you your chances of getting in (anyone remember what this book is called or if it’s still around? If not, your college pre-law advisor will know what it is. Contact your undergrad and ask to speak with this person even if you’ve been out for awhile.) Before you make your decision, get this book, and get a few real practice LSATs (not the ones out of a Kaplan book — order the real ones). Do a couple of LSATs under real conditions. That is, get up early, go someplace quiet and time yourself. Once you have a score, look at the book. If your GPA and LSAT combined don’t put you in the running for the level of school you want, then you will not get into those schools. Your non-law friends will tell you it doesn’t matter, or that you’re just a few points off, or that you’re such a great person and have so many accomplishments that you’re sure to have a shot. They’re wrong. Unless you literally won the Nobel Prize for something (or an equivalent achievement), your application will get tossed.

      If you’re in government and a JD would complement your work but is not required, I would seriously re-consider. What is it, exactly, you want to do? If you want to analyze statutes, regs, and case law and provide advice to a client about how to comply with that law, or you want to litigate (and please make sure you know what that really means), then you need law school (probably). If you want to do policy, consider an MPP or MPA instead. There are some affordable options out there.

      Bottom line, last year only about 50% of new law grads had a job that required a law degree. Most new lawyers make about $60,000 (that might be high these days and it’s much lower in government). Monthly payments on your student debt can cost more than your mortgage. If your college GPA was above 3.7, you can get over the 170 threshold on the LSAT, and you have the space in your life to really work for those grades so that you wind up in at least the top 20% in your class at a top ten (preferably top five) law school, it might be worth it to get a shot at those $160k BigLaw jobs.

      Frankly, I would never advise someone to start law school right now. The legal world is in the middle of a big shake-up. BigLaw as we know it will not exist in another few years (it already doesn’t exist as we knew it five years ago). More and more legal work is getting automated. Lots of it is getting off-shored. Unless you have a clear plan of what you want to do and you know it needs a law degree, I’d look at other paths.

    • To answer your last question, yes, your UGPA does go into it. There are websites with calculators where you put in your LSAT and UGPA and the site will show you where you fall in any school’s calculation.

      For your other questions, I don’t think that this type of decision can be distilled into those types of statements. I’ll share my experience as an example.

      The typical advice is to go to the highest ranked school you can or else you’ll never ever have a job in a good firm. This is too simplistic, and you really have to consider geography. My state has only a two law schools. One school is in the capital city and is ranked lower than the other school that is far away from the capital. I knew I wanted to stay in the capital city, and I decided to go to the lower-ranked school for a variety of reasons. I was able to get a job at a top firm in my city, even though my school was 3rd tier. This is because networking is VERY important in this market, and I was able to be a summer associate at local firms and get to know a lot of the local lawyers while I was in school. There are people from my class who got federal clerkships. I know I wouldn’t have been able to go to NYC and get a BigLaw job right after graduation, and I wouldn’t have been chosen as a clerk if I’d applied right out of school to a 1st Circuit judge or something. But my choice paid off for me.

      I haven’t experienced other markets, but I have a feeling the advice you’d get is much different if you want to work in NYC, Chicago, San Fran, etc. But if you’re in a smaller market, the calculus is a little different. Those are my thoughts.

      • As a follow up, I agree with the folks who say DO NOT go to law school if you don’t know that you want to be a lawyer. With the horrible market and high chances of lots of debt, it is a bad bad idea to do this if you are putting off a decision about what you want to do with your life or if you think that a law degree can’t hurt anything. It is not worth the debt and stress unless you are doing it for a specific reason.

    • This is really helpful information. A lot of the reasons I’ve held off to date are because what I am doing now, I don’t need a JD to do but I am interested in pursuing a different career path (and could fall back into this relatively easy). If I can ask a probably really dumb question, to K’s point, would it be worth doing some paralegal work in the particular area(s) that I’m interested in or would the work not necessarily be comparable?

      • Do you mean to see if you really want to do it? Depends. If it’s the kind of paralegal work where you work closely with an attorney, then yes. If it’s not (complex litigation, for example), then no. If you mean to ask if it will help you get a job in that field as a lawyer later on, I think that’s tricky. Oftentimes you get pigeon-holed and people have trouble thinking of you as equal to the attorneys once you’re out of school. I’d suggest informational interviews/shadowing (if you can deal with confidentiality issues) instead.

    • Just throwing out there that $100K in debt can be on the low end these days. I met a kid a few years ago who was taking out $75K/yr (that’s $225K! Criminal) to go to Georgetown. Tuition at my law school was about $35K/yr when I graduated. It’s now dangerously close to $50K.

      To service that kind of debt and without knowing more about your personal financial situation, you’ll need a BigLaw salary. The vast majority of lawyers never work in BigLaw, regardless of whether they want to. Getting a BigLaw job is mostly a crapshoot because law school is a crapshoot. Everybody in my law school class (well, let’s say 99%) was accomplished, driven, intelligent, and hard-working. Yet half of them were still in the bottom half of the class.

      All of this is to say that going into 6-figure debt because you’re banking on being able to service it is an incredibly risky bet.

      • Oh, I’ll also throw out there that the ABA reported this summer that only 50% of 2011 grads found full-time employment. 50%!! More than a year after graduation! And my guess is that number is falsely inflated in light of the tricks law schools pull to game the numbers. I also read an article suggesting that there is only 1 job opening for every 100 lawyers. 1. 100. Ugh, what a depressing way to start the day.

        • http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/legal_field_is_nations_worst_industry_for_job_placement_employment_website_/

          • Maybe I should go be a nurse instead. That is slightly traumatizing.

          • Dude. If you’re seriously thinking about being a nurse, you should do that.

            Here’s why: Job security, job portability, little/no debt, you can leave your work at work and never think about it at home, 4 days off per week (in many jobs).

            /signed sometimes jealous of DH who is a nurse

          • I went to law school, currently have a full-time quasi-legal job in the private sector. My sister just graduated and passed her boards, so now she’s an RN. She makes about 25% more than me, and will probably make more than me for the next couple years (at least).

        • cornellian :

          that’s my class! And I thought it was actualy 40%. Even at my t20 (t15?) school the employment rates are appalling.

        • True dat.

          My school is top 40 and regionally very well-respected and we have about 50% full time employment in a legal job (2011 grad). My own husband couldn’t find a job as a lawyer and is in sales right now.

      • “going into 6-figure debt because you’re banking on being able to service it is an incredibly risky bet”

        Amen. That is the thing that PETRIFIES me. I like the idea of doing some information interviews and maybe I’ll start attempting to study for the LSATs as a starting point and see how that all shakes out first. Ack!

        • Good idea. Law school debt is basically taking a mortgage out on your future. It will influence (or pre-determine) your lifestyle and career choices for YEARS. You wouldn’t buy a house without serious research and a commitment to paying your mortgage. Law school is the same thing.


          Your morning buzzkill

          • This makes me feel so much better. Most of the people in my life are of the “you can do anything” mindset and while that is lovely, I can’t take that to the bank and cash it. I appreciate the food for thought.

        • Anon for this :

          I think this is the best option, honestly. Right now, law school is an abstraction. If you’re interested, there’s no harm in talking to a ton of lawyers about their jobs, the market, etc, and studying for the LSAT to see what your options might be.

          But as others have said – there’s no guarantee once you get in (even on a scholarship) that you’ll be in the top X%. As a for instance, my now-husband had a fantastic LSAT score and got a pretty hefty scholarship to our law school. I was initially waitlisted. After the first year, he’d lost his scholarship and I was given a hefty tuition scholarship based on my performance. But even after that, nether of us is really all that keen on practicing law. He went back to his very lucrative pre-law school job. I’m opening my own practice, but hope to stop being a lawyer one day.

          I guess my take-home here is that unless you’re POSITIVE that you want to be a lawyer, law school is just not worth it.

          • Senior Attorney :

            And I would amend that to read, “Unless you’re POSITIVE that you want to be a lawyer, AND you know for sure what being a lawyer really entails, AND you have a specific and realistic career path in mind, law school is just not worth it.”

            Also, one thing I wish I had been told is this: If you go into the private practice of law, you are consenting to be a business person. Whether you are a sole practitioner or a partner in a BigLaw firm, you will have to develop clients, bill t hem, make sure they pay, deal with staff, keep the lights on, and everything else that owning a business entails.

        • Diana Barry :

          Yes. My parents paid for my school, thankfully, and then I got into biglaw after school (I went to a top 5, no idea where I was in my class bc they didn’t rank, but this was 10 years ago when everyone who wanted one could get a biglaw job). If I had had to go into debt for school, I would have gotten a job after college graduation.

          Also, I had no idea what to do with my life and so went to school, but thankfully fell into an area of law that I really like. People coming out of school these days don’t have that luxury…one reason why I will be trying to do more career counseling for my kids once they get to be older.

          • Anonymous :

            Senior Attorney took the words right out of my mouth on all counts.

            I’ve got three sons–two step- and one birth. The two older sons have three parents who are lawyers. They have seen us all practice in a variety of types of law, have had after-school care at the office, have seen law partnerships explode, have seen us work all night, and have listened to countless dinner-table conversations about our work. Not one of these brilliant, analytical, articulate boys (now men) has ever seriously considered law school. They had realistic pictures of what lives as lawyers would be.

            That’s not to say that we’re not happy we chose law school and our careers, it’s just that the reality is very different from our pre-law school visions.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Same here, Anonymous! My brilliant, analytical, articulate son (who has such a sharp legal mind that he was drafting liability releases and damage waivers when lending out his video games at age 13) wouldn’t go to law school if you paid him.

        • Constance Justice :

          Smartest thing I did in law school was switch to the night program, work full time during the day, live extremely frugally, and pay as much of my tuition out of pocket as possible.

          I’m still in quite a bit of debt, but I can’t imagine what it would be had I not made that decision. Granted, its not for everyone, but it worked for me.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Please do your research about nursing if you do decide to not go into law. I’m not assuming you’re one of these people…

          When I worked at a nursing school in an administrative position, part of my job was to gently give a reality check to some of the callers who were interested in nursing school for the following reasons:

          “Well, I was going to be a surgeon but then I decided to be a regular doctor and now I want to be a nurse.” (It turned out that the person could not pass anatomy and physiology.)

          “I’m in IT, but that really isn’t going well, so I decided to get into nursing, because I hear the job market is great for nurses!” (That’s why the person got into IT as well, apparently, rather than that they had skill in that area, and after I pointed out some of the things nurses *do*, the person was wondering whether they wanted to be a nurse.)

          I do not want to discourage anyone who is interested in nursing–we have a nursing shortage, and I value the work nurses do. Just make sure that it’s something you’re interested in :) .

      • GULC 2011: 225k in debt. (with 25k being undergrad, but still)

        It is growing way faster than I’ll ever pay with my 60k a year job.

  12. K...in transition :

    Just finished reading “The Defining Decade” and, for anyone here in their 20s (or who have kids or supervisees who are), this is a pretty spot-on book that’s easy to read. Although there was a section of the book based on being aware and planning for one’s biological clock (which doesn’t apply to me at all), the section on work was super helpful. I did a lot of nodding while I read and It really helped me to clarify my career goals and to understand that, though I’d love to find a job I love right now, I’ve created a new 2 yr plan for myself that’ll allow it to be a stepping stone toward something I’ll love, which takes some pressure off as I job hunt now!

    I was also reminded recently of what a great book “In the Meantime” is. Someone gave it to me just following a breakup and I read it bit by bit, stopping when the next part felt too tough and picking it back up when I felt ready to take the next baby step. There is some wording in there about g-d, but you can either substitute “The Universe” or whatever religious entity you believe in, or sub it with something/someone else you trust and depend on. It’s an older book but it really did help me to gain perspective and feel more in control of my life rather than as the victim of a breakup.

    Just thought I’d throw that out there! What else have y’all read that’s helped you professionally or personally?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I finished reading The Now Habit a few weeks ago. I haven’t put many things into practice yet, but when there is a task that I can’t seem to face, I try to reframe it by saying “I get to do x” instead of “I have to do x” and it does seem to help me approach the task form a more positive perspective.

      The other book I’ve found helpful recently is Secrets of a Former Fat Girl. It’s a really honest book written by someone who lost a significant amount of weight. I found myself agreeing with so many things that she said and got some new ideas for continuing to lose weight myself. It wasn’t really a diet or exercise book per se, but more like a realistic account of what it takes to make it work when your brain seems to work differently than others.

    • Anon For This :

      The Worry Cure – I don’t think of myself as a worrier, but it was recommended to me because I am pretty stressed and sometimes anxious, and I saw a lot of myself in the book. There’s way more suggested exercises than anyone could reasonably do, but just doing a couple and doing some journaling has been really helpful in getting ahold of some bad habits of mind that feed into stress.

    • The Now Habit
      Good Enough is the New Perfect (gave me some perspective on how to balance work/personal life/parenting)

    • So you guys already know that I’m a big fan of The No A$$hole Rule. But really, I’d recommend any of Bob Sutton’s books.

    • I’m in the middle of reading The No A**hole Rule (which others have mentioned on this site), and while I haven’t yet gotten to the section that addresses how to cope with these people, it’s been helpful to read about other stories and recognize some of the PTSD (for lack of a better word) that I’ve innately developed as a result of dealing with certain people.

    • Another Zumba Fan :

      Pitch Like a Girl by Ronna Lichtenberg taught me about negotiation.

    • I just realized that I need a five-year plan in order to avoid beings sucked into complacency. I am in my 30s, but only 2 years out of law school – do you think “The Defining Decade” book would still be helpful to me?

      • e_pontellier :

        I think so. I read it recently and would highly recommend it. I read it after 1L year, after getting married, and I kind of wish I had read it before getting married. Don’t get me wrong, I love my DH, but it gave really great perspective to most everything I was worried about.

        • K...in transition :

          I’ll be 30 in about 7 mos… it was totally helpful and I’m glad to have read it… am totally up to talk more about it if needed, feel free to email!

    • Diana Barry :

      NGDGTCO was helpful to me, since I do a lot of the ‘nice girl’ behaviors that aren’t helpful to me in the office.

      Also, Lauren Stiller Rikleen’s book on women and law, “Ending the Gauntlet”. It was helpful when I got fired.

      One book I really liked personally was “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely – it made me realize what behaviors (anchoring!) drive spending/pricing and also why it feels weird to pay my siblings for babysitting (mixing the social and monetary norms!!).

      I want to read “Quiet: The Power of Introverts” bc I am one!

    • lucy stone :

      Hope and Help for Your Anxious Nerves by Claire Weeks and The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. I was having multiple panic attacks a day two years ago. Thanks to CBT and these books, I have maybe one a month.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      So, I read the Defining Decade on the basis of this website, and found it largely unhelpful. It tells you things you already know–the difficult part is to actually be able to implement those so-called landmarks in your life.

      • I also found it largely unhelpful (although it was an easy read). Part of me wonders if I’m not necessarily the target audience – for reference – I’m in my mid-20s, a lawyer who really enjoys the area I’m practicing in and the firm I’m with, and in a fairly serious relationship now with someone that I could see spending the rest of my life with. Maybe the book is more targeted to people who have more question marks? (I really hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant or condescending, I don’t mean it to be – but given the above, I didn’t really find the advice on relationships and career all that pertinent.)

        However, the other part of me wonders if I should give it another shot because so many ladies on this website found it so helpful?

        • I don’t think you need to read it again. I’m in my late twenties and did find it helpful, but I’ve been struggling with a fair amount of uncertainty in my professional and personal life for the past few years. I would probably only recommend it to someone who needed help finding her way. I think the book’s real selling point is that it tells the stories of twentysomethings who were struggling with something but did eventually figure it out because it makes you feel like you can do it, too. Of course, the obvious counterpoint is that things often don’t work out so neatly or painlessly for people in the real world.

          • e_pontellier :

            I agree with above comments that The Defining Decade doesn’t add anything new if you already have work and love “figured out,” but I really appreciated the perspective it gave me on the amount of brain change that goes on in your 20s. I also recommended it to my 21 year old musician sister, and she found the whole thing “life changing,” so I always recommend it.

    • Haven’t read anything useful recently, but this inspired me to bite the bullet and put a hold on “The Defining Decade” at my local library. Since I could use some definition.

    • Jenna Rink :

      I recently read The Defining Decade and I really enjoyed it. The piece of advice that stuck with me the most was to pick something to pursue instead of floundering. I felt like I was going in all these different directions because people always said to knock on lots of doors and see which ones opened, but that’s not productive for me anymore. It was helpful to see that advice, because I wasn’t getting there on my own.

      Right now I’m reading Getting Things Done. I’m finding that I have a hard time getting throught it because I want to run off and implement everything right away! I feel like this book should be taught as part of a general college curriculum. I’m a pretty recent college grad and was starting to feel overwhelmed as my job grew out of entry level, but Getting Things Done is making me feel capable and organized again.

      • K...in transition :

        I’m with you… I feel like this sounds egotistical but I have so many passions and talents that I got caught up in trying to choose one… this helped me to narrow down and make choices.

    • Crucial conversations: tools for talking when the stakes are high, by Kerry Patterson and others. This book was eye opening for me as a new supervisor and helped me move into a leadership role. I highly recommend it!

  13. Limited Sizing? :

    It’s AEK, I posted last thread about having ordered a bunch of items from The Limited during the sale… I don’t have my order yet, but I’m already worried about sizing. I’m between sizes 6 and 8 in most pants and I ordered (several) Drew pants in size 8. I ordered up because I was really not feeling confident that picking the lower size would work out, and I HATE that feeling of having to return clothes for being too small (somehow it doesn’t bother me at all when things are small when trying them on in a b&m store ). Anyway, now I’m hearing that the sizes run big? Does anyone have any Limited insight to share? Because the size chart isn’t helping and for some reason waiting for the box to arrive is just not within my patience threshold right now.

    • I love the Limited, but, unfortunately, their sizing can be all over the map. I have everything from a 0 to a 6 in bottoms from there in my closet now, including 2 completely identical but the color pairs of suit pants in the same size, but one of which has been put away because it absolutely won’t work with my expanding belly under any circumstances, while the other one is still OK with the be band.

      • I also love Limited pants (the Drew fit specifically), but I totally agree that their sizing can be wacky. I have two of the exact same pairs of black Limited pants in my closet right now, both size 10, one fits perfectly and the other is nearly too snug to wear. Sigh.

    • I found they run fairly true to size, maybe a bit big, but for me, the next size down would be too small. Pants are often a bit too big in the waist for me, so I usually just fit them to my hips and thighs and then get the waist taken in. But I think with Limited, the pants I bought (Cassaday line) were fairly true to size and I didn’t need to have them taken in. One of the pairs is a tiny bit big in the waist now, but I think I can solve that by just moving the button over a little bit.

      I hate returning clothes whether they are too big or too small because it’s a PITA. But I can’t take women’s clothing sizes seriously, they are so all over the map that I only think in terms of “too big” or “too small” so I know what size to try next, not that it has any reflection on what size I “should” be. I have pants ranging in size from 2 to 8, and recently tried the Old Navy Rockstar skinny jeans/jeggings – had to go up to a 10 (I’m generally a 4 in their regular pants) and could still barely get them over my thighs or calves, while the waist gaped giantly. There’s some weird sizing going on out there and I’d hate for any woman to think that not fitting into a certain size is a judgement of her body.

      • I agree, and well said.
        One of my biggest pet peeves is the inconsistency in women’s clothing sizes… not just among brands but within them. And the size charts! I find them useless.
        I don’t care what number is on my pants because the numbers are pure fiction, anyway.
        (Even so, though, tight pants bum me out, if only because they are a concrete reminder that eating french fries and skipping my runs is not the best route to feeling good about myself!)

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I worked for the Limited many moons ago, and one thing I always remembered. If you like something, try to get the first run. You might not save as much money on it, but it will be truer to size, and better quality. Haven’t shopped there regularly in years, but I doubt that has changed.

    • I tried on the same size pants in the Cassidy and Drew fits. I find that Drew tends to be the slimmer fit and Cassidy is a little bit more relaxed. I was in the store yesterday and tried on one in each style, both the same size, and would have had to size up for the Drews to fit (but the Cassidys fit fine and those are the ones I went with).

  14. Can anyone recommend a drugstore pencil eyeliner? I use CG pencil (I think it’s called point plus, it has a little eraser on it). Its easy for me to use, but runs off easily and comes off in humid weather leaving me with dark circles under my eyes.

    • I have a really hard time with eyeliners (they always wind up creating a tiny little line below my eye that looks gross), but someone here recommended the Revlon ColorStay Pencil (it’s one of those soft pencil points that you twist up), and I’ve been really happy with it. (Here’s a link: http://www.makeupalley.com/product/showreview.asp/ItemId=9152/Colorstay-Eyeliner/Revlon/Eyeliner )

      I’m also liking the Revlon 24 hour gel liner, though the black that I got tends towards “a lot of look” territory, so it’s hard to make it work for everyday wear.

    • I know you said pencil, but I highly recommend Loreal Lineur Intense liquid eye-liner. I have been wearing it everyday in the damp inferno that has been DC this summer, and it doesn’t budge no matter how much I sweat. Liquid can be intimidating, but with the pen-style tip, it’s actually really easy – I apply mine in about 2 seconds per eye.

    • I know you said drugstore but IMO, the Urban Decay 24/7 pencil eyeliners are the best eyeliners out there (and I’ve tried a ton). They stay put, don’t smudge and go on smoothly. Plus I use the same one almost every day and rarely have to replace it (once every 6-8 months if that?)

    • Always a NYer :

      It sounds like you’re lining the waterline, are you? I do this every day and love Chanel’s Kohl pencils. They stay put and while I do retouch for a more defined look, you definitely don’t have to if you want a softer look. This is more $ than a drugstore brand but they last forever and are the best I’ve found, and I’ve tried every pencil out there looking for this one delivers.

      • I adore Chanel eyeliner. I bought my first one last June (I remember because it was for my best friend’s wedding), and I’m still using it, although I do think it’s getting near the end. I’ve used it every day for over a year, though, so I think it’s worth the extra cost. Plus, it’s awesome!

        • Chanel anything lasts forever…blush, eyeliner, mascara. Plus the products are really highly pigmented so a little goes a very long way.

    • Physicians Formula – I like the gel liner, it is easy to apply comes with a brush and doesn’t smudge. It isn’t pencil, but it is a great drug store eye liner

    • skip the drugstore and get the Urban Decay 24/7 pencil at Sephora or Ulta. It’s more expensive but it stays all day.

    • Clinique gel liner – excellent longevity at (almost) a drugstore price. Several colors are available besides harsh black.
      I am all thumbs but got the hang of it very quickly.
      There are also felt tip eyeliners at various price points, but I have no personal experience.

    • I use Almay kohl for lower and the regular pencil for upper. I used to use Prescriptives and it does not run at all, even in humidity, but when I couldn’t get it, I switched to the kohl.

    • If you are tightlining, I can recommend the following, both of which are available at Sephora (links to follow to avoid moderation):

      Tarte EmphasEYES™ High Definition Eye Pencil

      Sephora Brand Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner

    • Makeup Junkie :

      Milani Liquid Eye is a good brand that’s the drugstore equivalent of Urban Decay’s 24/7. Urban Decay smudges on me quite a bit, but I think it might be the shape of my eyes.

      If you want something that stays absolutely in place, Physicans Formula Eye Booster
      2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum is fantastic. I have very oily lids and also live with humidity and this does not smudge at all. I haven’t seen any lash-booting effects but I’m completely thrilled with the lasting power.

  15. Blonde lawyer :

    I didn’t get to read the weekend thread this weekend and wanted to chime in on two posts:

    1 – fighting a bad habit with hypnotherapy. I did it, had some good results, but it requires upkeep such as continuing to do self-hypnotherapy or more sessions with the pro. It worked until I stopped doing my “homework” and started not caring so much about doing my bad habit again. My gross bad habit is I pick at the dry skin on my scalp and frequently wind up w/ scabs that I then continue to pick. I do it anytime I’m stressed. If that was your too gross to say bad habit, you are not alone!

    2- sleep apnea. I have sleep apnea. I never fall asleep without my mask and never take it off. I was hypnotized before I first tried to sleep with it to believe I would find it comfortable and sleep peacefully with it. I think it really helped b/c I’m the type of person that would flip out having something on my face while I slept.

    My dad has some weird sleep disorder he picked up in the military. He basically wakes up fighting. I learned the hard way not to lean over him when I woke him up or else I could get accidentally punched.

    It sounds like your s/o is falling asleep on the couch b/c he/she is not getting good sleep at night since he/she is not wearing his/her mask properly. I would see if hypnotherapy was an option. If he/she likes sleeping with the mask and starts feeling better it might all resolve itself.

    • OMG. I have the same bad habit as you. My husband is constantly saying “stop picking” but i do it anyway.

    • Re: No. 1 – Are you sure you don’t have some kind of skin allergy? I had dry, itchy scalp for years, and picked at it and got scabs, just like you describe, until I finally figured out I’m allergic to most shampoos and conditioners. Most of them have wheat proteins, which cause my scalp to be itchy and get these round, flaky spots. I switched to Fructis, and haven’t had that problem since. You might want to check on that.

      • Blonde lawyer :

        I’m non-celiac gluten intolerant and also have a ton of allergies plus an autoimmune condition (crohns). Very interesting that your issue was wheat proteins. I’ve seen doctors and none thought it was a skin condition. I didn’t really trust their opinion much, however, considering one tried prescribing a shampoo that was bright red and I am allergic to red dye, and others don’t really subscribe to the “non-celiac gluten intolerance” theory.

        • Yep, add me to the group that gets skin bumps, scalp sores and mouth sores from topical products containing gluten. I use Fructis shampoo or Pantene. I am celiac but also get a rash after handling wheat bread etc.

      • A friend of mine who has a wheat/gluten intolerance (not sure if she’s been diagnosed with celiac) found that her eyelashes would fall out when she used mascara with wheat proteins. They’d grow back some when she stopped using it, then fell out again when she went back to it (friend from grad school, apparently we like to do experiments on ourselves).

        Just another bit of wheat proteins + weird skin/hair issues anecdata.

    • There is a chapter in the Happiness Project about this, about fighting right, and not picking on the little things. It was the most helpful thing I’ve ever read in terms of relationship dynamics.

      That book is actually awesome in terms of relationships in general, but that chapter in particular is great.

    • lucy stone :

      I talked to him about it twice this weekend and he’s considering hypnotherapy. He really wants to start a family and I just don’t think I can until he gets his sleep situation straightened out – I would be scared to leave him alone with a baby for fear he wouldn’t wake up if he/she was crying!

    • I have the same bad habit. My derm says I have a skin condition which I can’t remember the name of, but basically it’s an overgrowth of the natural yeasts on the skin. It’s exacerbated by moisture, so my scalp gets really yucky if I put my hair up while it’s still wet because the moisture gets trapped there and it doesn’t dry until I put my hair back down. Anyway, he recommended regular dandruff shampoos but I can’t use them because I’m very sensitive to perfumes and the scents make me feel nauseous all day long. So I basically just suffer and try to stop myself whenever I notice that I’m at it again. If anyone has suggestions for a good unscented or very lightly scented — I can usually handle citrus, rosemary, and tea tree — shampoo (possibly wheat-free? Never heard that before today but I’m up for experimenting) that helps with flakiness, please please let me know!

      • Blonde lawyer :

        I’ve been using Jason’s scalp calming tea tree oil shampoo. I was using Organix mint-teatree conditioner. Obviously it didn’t solve my problem but was better than regular shampoo and conditioner. No idea the wheat content. Will check that out tonight.

      • I’ve found the Davines anti-dandruff “purifying” shampoo , in combination with the “awakening” scrub shampoo, to be great. I’d use the scrub once a month, and the anti-dandruff once a week, and the other two or three times a week, shampoo with a really neutral shampoo & conditioner (Davines yogurt shampoo for me). They’re all available from Amazon if you can’t find them locally — ok, but I see the prices vary wildly, weird.

  16. horrible notetaker :

    I am an awful notetaker, especially at meetings that run longer than an hour/where people start discussing tangentially-related but off-topic things. Any tips from the hive on getting better at take notes?

    • I use symbols in the margins to convey things like take action, related project, follow up and also draw lines to connect the offshoots. For example, Person A – Summary and then later in my notes Person D – Summary which was sparked by the original comment, I would draw a line connecting the two on the opposite margin or my symbols that way I can follow the line of thinking later and figure out why/how/if those two things are related and how it would impact my work.

      • Research, Not Law :

        This. Sometimes I number or letter the points to reference further as as topics come back together, rather than following a bunch of lines.

        The frame of my notes are my action items, and the discussion is filled in as relevant.

        Agree on keeping the notes in a notebook. I periodically review and rewrite action items and reminders on one page, which catches forgotten items and keeps it fairly structured.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Biggest tip — Do not try to transcribe the conversation, just get down the important points.

      I will also often just scribble a word or two and then immediately fill in the holes when the meeting is over.

      • Yeah, try jotting down just a few words as things strike you as important, then sit down after the meeting and write out usable notes while everything is fresh in your head. Also, definitely try to develop a system for highlighting things that need action (stars, underline, whatever). If a side conversation pops up, and something is raised that needs to be written down (in my experience, this is not often the case), separate it from the main notes– put it in the margins, start another sheet of paper, whatever. Then file that note on its own as needed, so it’s not cluttering up your main notes.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      Google Cornell notes. Also, immediately after the meeting go back over your notes with colored pen or highlighter and/or write a summary with action items, etc. Finally, use a bound notebook so that you don’t ever lose your notes and they don’t end up in to-be-filed purgatory in piles on your desk.

      I find that I only really need to know or act on maybe 5 things per hour, and that it’s my priority to get those few things out of my notes and into my to-do list with necessary background or hints to approach the problem. If I really need to look at my full notes again, they’ll always be there.

      • cornellian :

        Glad someone else recommended cornell notes, as I didn’t feel I could :)

      • I use the Cornell method, too. Levenger sells pads that help with the annotation part, if you want to be all fancy. Plus, Levenger paper is the nicest paper, ever, ever, ever.

  17. To piggy back the grad school conversation above –

    I currently work in the public sector and have been thinking about going back to grad school to get a degree to help me advance in my chosen career path. I have been debating pull the trigger on attending for a while now because of the cost. It is likely that I would end up with $100k in loans.

    This leaves me in a bit of a catch 22 scenario: I don’t want to get a grad degree to help advance my public sector career only to have to leave the public sector to be able to pay off my loans. That said, to really have the type of dynamic public sector career i’d like, I think I need a grad degree and even the regional schools are so expensive that I would leave with a significant amount of debt.

    After spending more than a year running a ton of numbers, I think I have hit upon a good way of dealing with the costs. If I enroll in IBR and the public sector loan forgiveness program, it seems like my monthly loans payments will be capped at a reasonable amount and then be forgiven completely after working for 10 years in the public sector.

    Is anyone participating in both of these programs? Any insights to how they work or catches I should be aware of? It almost seems too good to be true. Thanks!

    • I don’t know that anyone can speak to the actual forgiveness part, as the program is so new that no one has worked for 10 years under it.

      That said, my husband is a public sector employee and is doing the IBR forgiveness thing. We are keeping records of all our payments in case there is ever a dispute over whether we have made 10 years of qualifying payments.

    • K...in transition :

      most social workers are working in non-profits and use IBR. It’s true that these make costs managable, but keep in mind that many who work in non-profit fields have trouble finding work. High burnout/turn over rate, plus jobs based on gov’t grants in a tough economy often means people take outside jobs (then no longer qualifying for the forgiveness program during that work time). Be certain you need this degree to do the work and then network your tailfeathers off while you’re in school to give yourself the best shot of working when you graduate.

    • Are you married or do you intend to become married any time before you finish servicing your debt? Some loan forgiveness programs will count your spouse’s income in calculating your total income and resulting loan payment.

      • Marriage is not in the cards so I don’t need to worry about this.

        Possibly the only upside to not having marriage equality!

        • Makeup Junkie :

          You need to move to another state. Just saying ;)

          • K...in transition :

            don’t move, advocate! If everyone who believes in equality moves, it lets the bigots take over the rest of the country hehe

    • No Problem :

      Can you go to grad school part time? You didn’t say what city you’re in, so I don’t know if any of your local schools offer part time programs, but remember that there are also online programs. Going part time will definitely make your life super busy for a couple years, but since you’ll be getting paid by your job the whole time, you won’t need to take out loans for living expenses and may even have some cash to pay for a couple classes on your own instead of getting loans for everything. This will significantly reduce your debt load and could let you stay in your government job.

      • Yes, sorry, I would definitely go to school part time while working full-time. Unfortunately, grad school prices in the field I am hoping to study are ridiculously expensive.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I am doing IBR, and should be getting loan forgiveness in approximately 7 years. There is a new form where you can have your employer sign off every year that you have worked in public service for 12 months, and the lender then has to verify that they received it. This really helps me feel a lot more secure that the forgiveness will actually come through.

      When you do IBR, you have to allow them to verify your income via the IRS each year. Your payment will go up if your salary does.

      Note that the Public Service Loan Forgiveness amount is no longer taxable.

      • Awesome, glad to hear that the process is actually working for someone and it isn’t impossible to navigate.

        • cornellian :

          I worry though, about how long it will be around. There’s no guarantee that it will continue to be on the books and not legislated out of existence, right? I would worry about going in to a program assuming you will have the option of loan forgiveness.

          • Blonde lawyer :

            If the forgiveness is part of the terms of the promissory note, wouldn’t those already in the program have to be grandfathered from legislative changes? I started law school before IBR but my understanding from those that rely on it is that the option is spelled out in the contract they signed.

          • I wonder about this as well. Blonde Lawyer- is the forgiveness now part of the terms of the promissory note? When I started school (2006), loan forgiveness wasn’t in effect yet, though it was by the time we graduated. A lot of people I graduated with are relying on it and I have the same concerns re a future administration just eliminating the program altogether.

          • I’m nervous about this, too. I can’t believe that it would be in the promissory notes (like others, my notes pre-date the program). I would imagine that even if the program was eliminated, there would have to be some kind of grandfathering, right? Seems like the definition of detrimental reliance to promise us forgiveness, have us pay less off and accumulate more interest on the loans than we might otherwise, and then yank the forgiveness. But who knows. :-/

  18. I know Kat always loves purple shoes, and I saw these great shoes on the White House/Black Market website:
    http://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/browse/product.jsp?maxRec=191&pageId=1&productId=570054166&viewAll=&prd=AMETHYST+SNAKEEMBOSSED+HEEL&subCatId=&color=&fromSearch=&inSeam=&posId=2&catId=cat210006&cat=New+Arrivals&onSale=&colorFamily=&maxPg=12&size=. I hope the link works!

  19. Yo, ladies, I’m home sick from work today and bored.

    Have a question you want to submit to my tumblr? DO IT.

    • Hey, I don’t know how to ask a question on your tumblr and don’t have the brains today to do it, but one of my colleagues is looking for hunter green shoes, preferably closed toe and either a heel that’s not too high or a wedge. Meant to go with a dress so not too clunky. Preferably under $100. I’m going to look but figured I’d put it out to you, too.

      • Hmm. I’ll post some ideas on the Tumblr (to avoid posting lots of posts here.)

        • Thanks! Awesome ideas. And they were all completely different from the links I sent her. She’ll have a lot to choose from!

      • I just saw some in Real Simple. I think they were H&M.

    • Same as NOLA but seeking lavender wraps for my bridesmaids. Preferably under $30, and classy enough to be worn to an evening wedding. Something like this would be perfect if it were more lavender than purple. http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/halogen-carryover-scarf/3219656?origin=category&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=ROYAL+LILAC&resultback=5878

      • There are actually a bunch of options on Amazon (just for example) that might work for you, but if you have a local Indian or Nepalese store, you should also check out there. That’s where we got the wraps when I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and needed matching lavender wraps.

        But if you want to order on-line, I like this one. http://www.amazon.com/Azuri-Lavender-Cotton-Scarf/dp/B004DLUU3Y/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1345483815&sr=8-7&keywords=lavender+scarf

      • It’s too bad they don’t make the carryover scarf in the right color because it would be perfect. I have it in the dark gray and the brown.

    • Mountain Girl :

      I’m looking for navy pumps – about 2 1/2 inch heel, round or oval toe, non frumpy to wear with a skirt, and under $60. ( I found a pair I like for $60 but if I can find a better pair for less than I’ll go with it instead.)

      • Well, if you happen to be a lucky size 5.5, 8, or 9 — these Vince Camutos are on sale for $50 (though shipping might undermine the discount).


        • Otherwise, here are these Mossimo from Target navy pumps for $30 (and some people here have said good things about the quality of their shoes).


          • Senior Attorney :

            I have these in nude and they are surprisingly comfortable and attractive.

    • I am confused by Tumblr. I have visited yours, TCFKAG, and a few others, but wonder if I am not getting the full experience. I have heard people mention that there are comments, but I have never seen any. Do you have to have an account/membership/whatever in order to see these?

      • Always a NYer :

        The comments don’t show unless you expand then. At the bottom of each post, you’ll see “Show notes.” Click on it and they’ll appear =)

      • Plus, when I first started reading tumblr, I was confused because there is a lot of activity that isn’t “comments” per se. Its just people “liking” a post or “reblogging” a post — which shows up. People will frequently do so with no comment whatsoever. So sometimes there’s no comments to read. But if you expand the notes below a post, you can see what people have done with a post, whether they liked it, reposted it, or made some comment on it.

  20. PharmaGirl :

    Opinions on this blazer? I bought it last week and love it but my husband, who never makes a peep about my wardrobe, made a comment that it belongs on a waiter at a fancy restaurant.


    • I’m waiting for my navy one that is on back order but in the meantime, I have to say husband = cray cray.

      • PharmaGirl :

        Thank you!

        Despite husband’s comment, I decided to order another one (in navy) and saw that it’s backordered to late September. Bummer but at least I feel justified!

    • I saw it in store and immediately thought that it was a non-work item because of the fabric, which seemed like a very thick, very stretchy knit. Others seem to like it though, so perhaps I was hasty in my judgment. Based on my first impression alone, I wouldn’t wear it to my office.

      • But I should add that my office veers toward the more formal.

        • I saw it in the store and thought that the cut is great, but it definitely looks like polyester, which it is. Not for a formal office, IMHO.

          • Yeah, the ones other than the gray looked really cheaply made. I thought the gray actually looked okay.

    • MissJackson :

      I tried this on in navy in-store, and didn’t expect it to look like much. It was amazing. Extremely flattering, and very comfortable. I wouldn’t wear it in super formal settings, but in places where a cardigan is perfectly appropriate, it would be fine. I am glad to see it restocked online because I had been kicking myself for not snapping it up. I only resisted because I have so many navy blazers already, and I already have a drawer full of ponte blazers (my latest obsession).

      The grey one is calling my name, now, though.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I can sort of see what he’s getting at, although I love the blazer. I think the key is to avoid wearing it in a waiter-like way–i.e., I wouldn’t pair it with black pants and a white shirt. Any other outfit and you’re fine.

    • I love this and am trying to convince myself I don’t need it in every color/at all. So yes, I’m on your side 100%

    • He’s crazy! I ordered the navy and am super bummed it’s backordered until September.

    • Jenna Rink :

      My husband hated it too! He saw me checking it out in the store and started laughing at me. I think maybe it’s a case of dressing for women vs. dressing for men? I still think it’s really cute, but I think it is so bright that I wouldn’t wear it frequently enough to justify the price.

      • He’s crazy. The blazer is super flattering on and sooo comfy. Not exactly business formal but great for feeling a bit more dressy than a cardigan.
        Plus, Gap has a 30% off sale running today. I’m seriously considering buying it in another color. If only the vamp red wasn’t just for tall sizes…

  21. Anyone tried any of the tshirts, belts, or bags from Everlane? I tried searching previous threads, didn’t find anything, so thought I’d ask. Especially curious about sizing and how the tshirts feel post-washing.

    • just bought two t-shirts, cut is lovely & they are really soft & came overnight. I haven’t washed yet, so will have to get back to you on that.

  22. I got trapped in the children’s section of M&S today (definitely one of those mornings, I was trying to get to the 2nd floor and somehow ended up in the wrong building) and they had their school uniforms out and I picked up a plain, dark charcoal pullover for £10. No boys or ruffles, nice slouchy fit, good quality yarns. Might be a good resource if you’re looking for basics.

  23. Ugh! I got put in touch with a relatively senior person at a company I’m considering applying to. He emailed to sugest we talk on what I thought was lunchtime today. I asked if we could push back a few minutes due to a scheduling conflict, and he sent a one line email suggesting, or so I thought, the same time on Wednesday. I emailed back saying that Wednesday is fine, and that I no longer had a conflict today if that’s still better.

    Turns out, rereading his emails it was Wednesday all along!!! D’oh, I feel so dumb!! (In my defense, he only wrote the date, not day, so somewhat easier to confuse).

  24. Law School Loans :

    Law school loans have been the millstone around my neck. I have always had a marginal BIGLAW job (slow, so no bonuses or raises, but happy enough not be fired, yet). I lived in an expensive part of the country, so when it came time to try to save up to buy a place or pay off law school faster, I chose the former (and I was single, so I thought that BIGLAW raises funded the NY/DC housing price escalation, especially when a 2-income BIGLAW couple always seemed to win the bidding wars, waah). And bought a fixer, so that ate even more money. And then a move to a less expensive part of the country (so loans remain the same, but $ is smaller). Finally, finally, I see the light at the end of the tunnel. But I am kicking myself for not getting here sooner (and must get here before the marriage penalty comes back or I will truly have no $).

    Any thoughts on the whole saving-for-house v. having any savings at all v. being in a position to turbo pay loans to get rid of them sooner? Because getting rid of law school loans is the only way I’ve figured out how to save up for my children’s college.

    • Depending on the amount of your loans:

      I would put a fixed amount of extra $ towards any private loans you have every month. ($250-300, or as much as you can bear).

      Pay the minimum on the fed. loans, where you have a much more generous repayment term or a possibility of IBR if you get into a lurch. Put them on the most extended payment schedule.

      Contribute an additional fixed amount or percentage towards saving every month. I think that the savings bubble is *really* important.

      Frankly, I hope that the market will correct itself by the time your children enter college (i.e., the government will have left the freaking market, removed special status of loans, and let it function like a normal market). If not, you’ll be used to living on an amount that’s less than the amount that you have now, and can put those funds towards the kids’ college.

    • karenpadi :

      This is a delicate balance. I think it’s good to meet certain minimums and then do what feels right for you.

      1. Saving-for-house: Buy if it makes sense. I bought to escape rising rents in my area (10%+ each year and 20%+ in decent complexes). For example, I have a $2100 mortgage payment on a 15-yr plan. Rents in the newest complex in my area start at >$2100 for a 1-bedroom. If rents are cheap or stable, don’t buy.

      2. Savings at all. Have a goal of a 3-12 month cushion saved. Start with $5000 to cover emergency expenses and keep growing from there.

      3. Turbo pay-off school loans. Depends on your interest rate (which depends on when you graduated). My remaining loans are at >2% so I’ll pay those off after my kids graduate college, just paying the minimum now.

      Personally, the #1 priority is the $5000 cushion. #2, pay off high interest student loans (>5%) and grow cushion to 3 months. #3, grow cushion and save for house. For example, I did #1 with my first “real” paychecks, #2 in concert (splitting “extra” money between the two and using bonuses on the loans), and #3 by putting my old loan payment directly into savings. Then I drew my 1-year cushion down to a 3-month cushion for the house down payment. After buying the house, I used the same “loan payment” money to build back up the cushion. Now, I’ve decreased my savings but I’m putting more money towards fixing up the house and taking care of myself–six years out of law school and 40lbs heavier. I’m not prepaying the mortgage because I have a low rate and I’m not worried about being underwater.

    • I’m a big Dave Ramsey fan, so my suggestions are somewhat based off his teachings:

      -Saving: At a minimum you need 3-6 months living expenses set aside. Put it somewhere that’s accessible, but not too accessible (meaning you could have the cash in 24 hours, but not at the click of a button), so that you don’t “accidentally” spend it somewhere else. Personally, I keep mine at a completely different bank from where I do my regular banking. Also don’t forget to keep saving for retirement, even if its a fairly small amount (gotta love that compounding interest)
      -Buying a house: I agree with karenpadi that you should buy if it makes sense. I have a metric ton of student loans but want to buy because it makes more economic sense (this is one of the areas that I disagree with Dave Ramsey on). Even if I save a modest down payment for a modest home, I would still be doing way better with current rates and a 15 year mortgage than I would be with rent in my city.
      -Turbo-pay off loans: Assuming you don’t have any debts that are of a higher interest rate, I think this where you take any extra money you have at the end of the month and just throw that at the loans.

    • Law School Loans :

      Thanks, everyone! I am impressed with the idea of a 15-year mortgate. If it tells you how crazy house prices were / still are in places, I can’t see buying without the smallest of downpayments AND a 30-year mortgage (but with the goal of retiring it sooner). If it’s not one thing (escalating rents, even for crappy rentals), it’s for another (better school district, so not having to pay even more in tuition).

      The one thing I love about 401Ks is that it’s automatic once you sign up, so it eliminates this pesky thinking thing.

  25. CPA to be :

    My boss asks me how much things cost. For example, if she likes my bag, or top, or whatever, she asks where I got it and how much it cost. When my husband and I were looking for a house, she wanted to know our price range. When we bought a house, she asked how much it cost. It is very odd and makes me a little bit uncomfortable. Am I being the weird one here, or is she? Is it normal to ask people how much their stuff costs?

    • another ette :

      There are many words for her questions: boorish, rude, crass, nosy, and unprofessional come to mind. No, this is not normal, even if she were your own mother.

    • Not normal, this is rude. I have a co-worker with zero social savvy who asked me how much I put down on my condo, I replied ‘enough’, smiled, turned to someone else and changed the subject.
      If she pressed on your clothes, say you don’t remember.

    • karenpadi :

      No, it’s rude. Just say, “I don’t remember.” and keep repeating it. She’ll get the message.

    • Research, Not Law :

      The house price range when looking seems like a fairly normal question. Asking the exact price after purchase is definitely awkward.

      If I’m looking for something similar, I will sometimes ask how much someone’s bag, sweater, etc cost – but phrased as “I’m looking for something similar – would you mind telling me how much your was?” and am satisfied with whatever they give me, be it “I don’t remember,” “More than I would like to admit,” or “$43.67”. But it sounds like she’s just playing the price is right with your stuff, which is not cool.

    • PharmaGirl :

      It is definitely not normal to ask how much things cost.

      When I was in high school my girlfriends and I would always mention how much something cost if we got the item on sale. For example: “Hey I like your sweater.” “Thanks, I got it for 10 bucks from the Gap sale rack!”

      As a grown up, price/cost is only mentioned in discussions with close friends who have similar situations. For example, a friend was buying a home and we discussed % down and the implications of depleting savings vs no PMI.

      • Blonde lawyer :

        Ha! I’m still guilty of bragging about the sales I find. I can’t help it. If bargain hunting was an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal. I don’t think a single item in my closet was purchased at full price.

  26. Need some help from the business ladies out there…

    I’m an attorney who has been unsuccessfully trying to go gov’t or in house for a long time and meanwhile I’m stuck working at a tiny firm for a total jerk boss in a small town. A process improvement position recently opened up at one of the few corporate employers in the area. Ordinarily I wouldn’t bother applying but I do technically meet most of the requirements based on my college degree/coursework and I know they are probably not getting many qualified applicants in our tiny town. However, it does state that they “prefer” Six Sigma or Lean experience. I generally understand the concept of Six Sigma but have obviously never dealt with it in my legal work and I was wondering if that is the type of thing I could take an online course in to list on my resume or if that is something that you need to do via a specific organization or else it doesn’t count in the eyes of many employers.

    Any thoughts or information would be greatly appreciated!

    • Francie Nolan :

      Six sigma is certainly something you can take a course in online or a local school and add to your resume, the tough part is getting the experience using it, if you don’t in your current job.

      Villanova has an online program that is well regarded. You can check with http://www.iassc.org/ on the accreditation for any program you enroll.

    • Sorry, I know this is unhelpful, but I totally just thought Six Sigma was invented for 30 Rock; I didn’t realize it was a real thing.

      • Research, Not Law :


        OP – Ditto Francie. I also think coursera may have an online class.

    • LadyEnginerd :

      I think you should read up on it and be able to talk intelligently about the methodology without trying to get certified before you apply to this particular job.

      Can you demonstrate that you’re someone who thinks in this fashion through your cover letter, resume, and even the stuff you talk about in your interview? Can you find a way to relate one of the Six Sigma concepts to how you were taught to think analytically in law school? I think certification is absolutely something you can do online, but since you won’t have been applying it to your work as a lawyer it will mean less than the same certification for people who actually have used it in practice. At the end of the day, you need them to take a chance on you and your ‘stale’ non-law experience and I doubt a quick online certification will change that.

      • Agree with Lady Enginerd. Familiarize yourself with the general ideas but Six Sigma and lean are really things you have to learn by doing. I do some training in this area internally for my employer and we really emphasize that a class is just beginning – the real meat and potatoes is in applying it.

        Are there any process improvements or simplifications you could do at your current employer or for another organization you’re involved with such as a non-profit? Or heck, even around your house would work. Having actually done a project utilizing those concepts that you can talk about would be a huge boost in your interview. If you’re interested in talking more off-line my e-mail is ia dot engineer dot 205 at gmail dot com.

    • Six Sigma, Lean, Agile (Scrum/Kanban) are all closely related. Also, in my area my local chapter of PMI has a lot of lunch time meetings where process improvement techniques are regular topics of discussion.

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