I’ve worked as a full time practicing attorney — but in various nonprofit, social work-y capacities — for more than 20 years. During that time, I’ve also represented debtors who were injured by predatory lenders though it’s not my primary area of work.
My own law school loan costs over $600 a month and that’s continued more or less for more than two decades. Could I have paid it off by doing transactional work or by working for an insurance defense firm? I have one or three friends who have. Without sharing stories, I feel I can assure you with confidence that you’re not alone.
So . . . we don’t know each other as well as we should for this sort of discussion. Talk to lots of different professionals and people and ask for their opinion and then please factor mine into the mix. Assign it whatever weight you will. I’m not competent to give “advice” under these circumstances — not that you were asking for advice instead of a discussion.
First, do not doubt that the people harassing you and your family will behave like evil robots. And do not doubt that the courts will fail to provide you with appropriate protections. So it’s a good idea to get ahead of the ball as much as you can instead of waiting to see how awfully they behave.
Second, if you have not already done so, please reach out to your more progressive elected representatives and the federal Dept. of Education to share your story and ask for options. If constituent staff can be assigned to help you, the chances of relief increase, esp. in an election year.
Set aside 90 minutes to reach out to them at least a few times a week. Outside of the 90 minutes, figure out how to put the whole mess out of your mind and concentrate on other things. At least on Friday, dayenu.
If we were related — and I do feel a perhaps irrational connection to you based on your writing here — I would also suggest you consider finding someone in HRC’s campaign who has their act together and share your story there.
Until the issue impacting so many of us is adequately politicized, the sane legal reforms and remedies cannot come. More light must shine on the life-stealing injustice and economic absurdity of negating the otherwise productive income of so many educated professionals (and their parents!) with short-sighted debt service.
I feel so angry when I think about it. I feel very sad that you and your parents have to think about this ridiculous but very painful problem.