Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Federal Government - Early Retiree June 6
Old 04-25-2008, 10:38 AM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Federal Government - Early Retiree June 6

Yeeha! I have been planning this for 5 years. At 55 I am taking early retirement from a job as a Federal prosecutor in the DC area, and moving to Wilmington NC where I will open up a solo practice doing wills, trusts and estate planning.

Some here will say that's not really retirement. To each his own. For me it means making my own schedule and no boss. No more airplanes, TSA, hotel rooms and Federal judges. More time to spend with my 14 year old son. And an opportunity to create my own practice instead of being an apparatchik. My plan is to keep it going until I can't do it any more, or till it stops being fun, whichever comes first.

I will have a pension, savings in a 401K type plan (700K) and will pull equity out of the house. Speaking of which, I got 3 offers in 9 days at good prices, which I attribute to being in a good school system in a close-in neighborhood in Northern Virginia. The buyers are a couple of PhD economists who work for the Federal Reserve Bank, who have been transferred to DC to work on their regulatory programs. Isn't that ironic? I feel like the luckiest man on earth given the gloom and doom surrounding real estate generally. Knock on wood.

Besides starting up a new career, I intend to get involved in the community and to spend time kayaking with my son. And I want to try fishing. From a kayak.

I have posted here before, but am re-introducing myself because it has been a while. I don't really have any questions at this time, but I have learned a lot lurking here over the last 5 years or so. Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to make thoughtful and informative posts. I will probably spend some more time here in coming months.

rapoole
__________________

__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 04-25-2008, 10:48 AM   #2
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Long time no see! Congratulations on the retirement and on the house sale. So no more trial excitement and stress. I certainly do not miss litigation and my litigation experience was all business related. No one was going to jail.

So what are you doing to prep to do wills and thrills?
__________________

__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Preparing for solo practice
Old 04-25-2008, 11:19 AM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Preparing for solo practice

Hi Martha!

Well, besides having cards made, I have been taking all the CLE's I can for the last four years. I have been through the basic estate planning series in DC twice, and took the NC series once. I joined the NC Bar Estate Planning section and have been to a couple of annual meetings. I have also taken more advanced classes as they became available here in DC, and a lot of reading. I intend to stick to the basic time tested techniques till I feel well grounded (no FLP's for me!).

I am planning to purchase one of the estate planning software systems. Initially I was interested in Cowles Legal Systems, but since they were swallowed up by West (the evil empire) I am skeptical that they offer the same level of service. So now, I am looking at Wealth counsel. Also a less expensive alternative, ForeTrust. Tabs3 for accounting/billing. Perhaps you have suggestions?

rapoole
__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2008, 11:36 AM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
I am blessed with never having to do my own billing, but I have heard good things about Tabs. No idea on the estate planning software.

Don't talk bad about the evil empire. It is a big employer in my state.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Evil Empire
Old 04-25-2008, 12:18 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Evil Empire

Sorry, didn't mean to step on any toes. However they seem kinda unresponsive, and the folks I talk to are unfamiliar with the products they are selling. Which is unfortunate.

R
__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2008, 01:27 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
oma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Tampa/St Petersburg, FLA
Posts: 314
Apparatchik (Russian: аппара́тчик, Russian pronunciation: [ɐpɐˈratɕɪk] plural apparatchiki) is a Russian colloquial term for a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party or government; i.e., an agent of the governmental or party "apparat" (apparatus) that held any position of bureaucratic or political responsibility, with the exception of the higher ranks of management.


Good word. New one for me.

Welcome and congrats.
__________________
oma is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2008, 01:30 PM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapoole View Post
Sorry, didn't mean to step on any toes. However they seem kinda unresponsive, and the folks I talk to are unfamiliar with the products they are selling. Which is unfortunate.

R

Eh, just kidding. I know they are a big unwieldy behemoth.

Enjoy your kayaking and fishing.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2008, 07:28 PM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 50
Rapoole, I am curious. What was life like as a federal prosecutor? I have the option of taking an AUSA job now, at a 90% salary cut. Is it worth giving up the big bucks in a law firm to take this job?
__________________
hoping is offline   Reply With Quote
Hoping
Old 04-28-2008, 07:47 AM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Hoping

Hi hoping-

I have had a great career as a Federal prosecutor. I have handled interesting, challenging cases. I have tried cases against some of the best white collar defense lawyers. As a prosecutor, one has a fair degree of autonomy in trying cases. There is plenty of second guessing on indictment decisions and guilty pleas, but I made most of the strategic decisions in the cases I handled. There's a lot of accountability - when you rise to deliver the opening statement in a jury trial, every eye in the courtroom is on you. Your screwups are all yours, so you had better be prepared. I found it very motivating.

Should you leave a law firm to be a prosecutor? Depends on you. Are you really happy at the big firm? I mean really? How important are those big bucks? Does quality of life matter to you? I had a conversation last week with a partner at the biggest firm in Salt Lake City, who is my adversary in a case I'm handling there. I told him about my taking retirement at 55 to move to the beach and hang out my shingle. He told me he envied me, and would do the same thing if he could, but can't afford to. So which of us do you think is better off? If you really would like to retire early some day, a big law firm is an unlikely place to do it. Once you get on that treadmill of mortgage, Lexus payments, college tuition, etc., escaping into early retirement is very unlikely.

Sorry, this is starting to sound like a rant. I'll leave you with this thought. Making partner at a big law firm has been compared with winning a pie-eating contest where the prize is more pie. If being there makes you happy, fine. But for me, the choice would be easy. Take the AUSA job. At worst, it will burnish your credentials and give you trial experience which you can use to return to a law firm someday.

Good luck, and tell us what you decide.

rapoole

PS - I just read some of your other posts. Now that I know your situation a little better, I think it's a no-brainer. Take the new job.
__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2008, 09:18 AM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 116
Congrats rapoole. Did you ever do time at Super Court? I am in Fed LE and have a while to go before I can retire. I left DC almost two years ago for the sub-office life and just that is a dramatic change of pace. There are some aspects of DC life that I miss but not much. I'm slowly working my way towards retirement, this is just a downshift right now. Enjoy retirement, I can't wait. I keep maxing out that TSP.

To hoping: I don't know all the apsects of life as an AUSA but work with them quite a bit. The thing with the govt is life can change with each new political appointee that takes charge.
__________________
Gworker is offline   Reply With Quote
Gworker and Hoping
Old 04-28-2008, 11:32 AM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Gworker and Hoping

No, Gworker, I never worked in Super Ct. I tried one case in Federal Court in DC during the 90's, but everything else I've handled has been out of town. Life on the road has its rewards but cost me my marriage (or at least contributed to the split). I'm overdue for a change.

Hoping- Gworker is right that life in a US Attorney's office can be dependent on the on the US Attorney, who is a presidential appointee. And each new appointee brings his or her own priorities and approach to the job. Moreover, we've been through a bad patch with the politicization of those positions by the current administration. However, I think that situation has improved, and never did affect the vast majority of AUSA's, whose approach to the job is apolitical.

rapoole
__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2008, 02:55 PM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 50
Thanks, Rapoole. I won't have to deal with the travel (I think), but it will be a big change to move from defense to prosecution. Have you known people who did defense work at big firms for 10+ years and then became federal prosecutors?
__________________
hoping is offline   Reply With Quote
Hoping
Old 04-29-2008, 01:36 PM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Hoping

I can't say that I know of many examples of attorneys who moved to the government after more than a decade on the defense side. The ones I have known who moved in that direction from big firms were mostly early-career attorneys who made the move to get trial experience. The few I have met who made that change after 10 or more years of experience have been folks who I suspect were not that happy with firm life. And perhaps not very successful (though that's speculation).

I have met a fair number attorneys over the years who moved from government to firms, and were successful at the firm, but who said they would move back to the government if they could afford to. Maybe they were just being ingratiating, but I don't think so. It's the golden handcuffs.

Can you tell me where you have an offer?
__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2008, 10:00 PM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 50
Rapoole, Thanks for the response. I'd rather not identify the office. What's your impression of Federal Defenders?
__________________
hoping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2008, 04:36 AM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 5,072
Congrat rapoole.

It must be nice to turn the page. I am looking forward to it.
__________________
chinaco is offline   Reply With Quote
Hoping
Old 04-30-2008, 06:53 AM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Hoping

The public defenders I have dealt with have generally been professional and competent. I respect the fact that they do a difficult and necessary job. I think their burnout rate is higher because of the difficult clients they deal with. I've dealt with a few who were over the top, but not many.
__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2008, 09:01 AM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 50
Rapoole, thanks again. I think I am taking the leap for the AUSA position. One question -- how long does the clearance process take?
__________________
hoping is offline   Reply With Quote
Clearance
Old 05-06-2008, 09:33 AM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Clearance

It's been a long time since my last involvement in the clearance process. It can take a long time, but I don't have any recent info. There may be ways to accelerate the process - provisional hire contingent on subsequent clearance - but again, no recent info.
__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-06-2008, 06:16 PM   #19
Dryer sheet wannabe
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 11
Am I correct that you are a FERS retiree ? My wife is FERS and we have been looking at the retirement issues. IIRC there is a big pension hit to go at 55. Are federal attorneys exempt from the hit?

FWIW I'm a law prof who just was made Prof. Emeritus after 30 years. I'm in the old state system which is like CSRS
__________________
Vincent Brannigan is offline   Reply With Quote
Hi Vincent
Old 05-07-2008, 10:52 AM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 118
Hi Vincent

Yes, I'm a FERS retiree. I accepted an early-out offer which gave me essentially the same pension as I would have had if I had waited another 2 years to retire at 30 years of service. You are correct that my pension benefits would otherwise have been much reduced.
__________________

__________________
rapoole is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Early Retiree Here RetireeRobert Hi, I am... 4 10-08-2007 03:40 AM
An early retiree at 45 Life_is_Good Hi, I am... 16 03-26-2007 01:41 PM
New Pre-Early Retiree! HDMan Hi, I am... 2 05-15-2006 06:18 PM
Advice needed from early Federal retirees shanna Young Dreamers 32 11-19-2004 11:20 PM
Hello from another new early retiree! tpjs1 Hi, I am... 10 01-29-2004 08:51 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:24 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.