It's a worst case scenario from one point of view- the lawyer whose bankruptcy petition - is linked to an essay by a widely read reporter/commentator. But it is the illustrative quality, not scandal that got Owens in the paper. Fortunes can be made as partners in law firms but they can also be lost. When business "heads south" and you are on the hook for a lease, and other debt incurred by a high-flying law firm the crash can be deep. For Owens it meant a job as a non-equity partner at White & Case. lets get non-equity partner straight. It's not a partnership - you don't own anything. Nor owe anything! - GWC
Gregory Owens, former Dewey LeBoeuf Partner, files for bankruptcy relief - NY Times
by James B. Stewart
Mr. Owens has been well paid by most standards, but not compared with top partners at major firms, who make in the millions. (Mr. Pierce was guaranteed $8 million a year at Dewey & LeBoeuf.) When Mr. Owens first became a partner at Dewey, Ballantine, he made about $250,000, in line with other new partners. At Dewey & LeBoeuf, his income peaked at over $500,000 during the flush years before the financial crisis. In 2012, he made $351,000, and last year, while at White & Case, he made $356,500. He listed his current monthly income as $31,500, or $375,000 a year. And he has just over $1 million in retirement accounts that are protected from creditors in bankruptcy.
How far does $375,000 a year go in New York City? Strip out estimated income taxes ($7,500 a month), domestic support ($10,517), insurance ($2,311), a mandatory contribution to his retirement plan ($5,900), and routine expenses for rent ($2,460 a month) transportation ($550) and food ($650) and Mr. Owens estimated that he was running a small monthly deficit of $52, according to his bankruptcy petition. He has gone back to court to get some relief from his divorce settlement, so far without any success.
In his petition, Mr. Owens said he didn’t expect things to get any better in 2014.