Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

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ggocat
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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby ggocat » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:36 pm

I don't have stats other than what Google provides, but I suspect much doom and gloom about starting a solo operation is caused by the fact that going solo is the default option for many new lawyers. They might not have thought about it seriously, they might not have planned ahead, and they may have been forced into it because they wanted to be lawyers but couldn't find something else. The failure of a new law firm by a recent grad probably has more to do with lack of business sense rather than incompetence as an attorney (i.e., malpractice). All good attorneys can become competent enough to represent a client (although they will have to discount their bill to the client--can't charge the client because you had to do a bunch of extra preparation that a more experienced attorney wouldn't need to do), yet not all good attorneys will be able to run a law office.

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Scallywaggums
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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:40 pm

ggocat wrote:
In many jurisdictions, you will work your way up as a prosecutor; sometimes starting in traffic court (i.e., relatively trivial matters). It depends, though. Some recent graduates are doing misdemeanors or felonies very soon after graduating.

Many prosecutor offices also have specialized sections; sometimes rotating, sometimes not. So you may be in one section that handles only drugs, one that handles only domestic violence, etc.


This is sounding better every minute. I could definitely handle enforcing trivial laws I disagree with if I could be done with it in a couple years.

I would be a happy man to be prosecuting violent criminals or financial/environmental/health safety big-player criminals.

If moving past the trivial stuff is very do-able, this may be the best solution.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby ggocat » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:40 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:Holy cats! This actually seems to be a reasonably realistic route, straight out of graduation. "They do not prosecute people they think are innocent" was the clincher.

How much $ can public prosecutors make after, say, 10 years experience?

How much flexibility to PD's have in deciding who they defend?

Again, it depends. The best person to ask would be someone in the office you want to work in. Many offices (DA and PD) are run on a local level, so answers to your questions about PDs and DAs could vary from county to county (or judicial circuit to judicial circuit).

But generally speaking, I'm not aware of PDs having much flexibility (if any, other than for conflict reasons). I interned in PD and DA offices, but I didn't really pay attention to how cases were assigned. It pretty much seemed like you got what you got.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:45 pm

mikeh915 wrote:By the way I was 3.54, 172.
I got multiple 1/2 to full scholarship offers at T30s and T14 acceptance. I didn't take my PS seriously and I have no softs of consequence. If you break the 170 mark with a 3.55 you won't only have the option of t-11 to t-14 sticker or TTT debt free. You will have many options in between for little to no debt.

also 2 offers had no conditions what so ever; 2 had like maintain median or something like that I believe


This is the second amazingly positive anecdote for me. Thank you so much.

At this point it is unnecessary for others to offer anecdotes with similar numbers to mine. My incorrectly pessimistic assumptions about the need for both hards to be above median in order to qualify for substantial schollys has been corrected, so let's focus on more widely applicable info from here on out.

Original Post has again been revised substantially if you're new to this thread.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:50 pm

ggocat wrote:I don't have stats other than what Google provides, but I suspect much doom and gloom about starting a solo operation is caused by the fact that going solo is the default option for many new lawyers. They might not have thought about it seriously, they might not have planned ahead, and they may have been forced into it because they wanted to be lawyers but couldn't find something else. The failure of a new law firm by a recent grad probably has more to do with lack of business sense rather than incompetence as an attorney (i.e., malpractice). All good attorneys can become competent enough to represent a client (although they will have to discount their bill to the client--can't charge the client because you had to do a bunch of extra preparation that a more experienced attorney wouldn't need to do), yet not all good attorneys will be able to run a law office.


This is a great point. I suppose you'd still have the major issue of ensuring a client base. As discussed above briefly, the best way is to wait until someone's thinkin' bout retiring. I just can't fathom how you could do it low-risk otherwise, unless you had a client portfolio that would stay with you.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:00 pm

ggocat wrote:But generally speaking, I'm not aware of PDs having much flexibility (if any, other than for conflict reasons). I interned in PD and DA offices, but I didn't really pay attention to how cases were assigned. It pretty much seemed like you got what you got.


Anyone with experience as a PD or know anyone who is? As of now it seems like prosecutors have a better job, hands-down.

Same goes for more Prosecutor stories. Right now, the main thrust of this thread is the difference between the two:
1) Difficulty to land either?
2) Do Prosecutors generally work less hours?
3) Do PD's have flexibility comparable to Prosecutors?
4) Salary differences? (I'm not commited to a specific location, so any anecdotes are welcome)
5) Upward mobility differences? How long, assuming solid performance, before one could find themselves pitted against Big Oil's environmental rapage & The Health Insurance Industry's indirect slaughter, or conversely, how long until one could find themselves defending whistleblowers in major cases? It seems like the prosecutor totem pole has more rungs than the PD's.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:10 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:
ggocat wrote:But generally speaking, I'm not aware of PDs having much flexibility (if any, other than for conflict reasons). I interned in PD and DA offices, but I didn't really pay attention to how cases were assigned. It pretty much seemed like you got what you got.


Anyone with experience as a PD or know anyone who is? As of now it seems like prosecutors have a better job, hands-down.

Same goes for more Prosecutor stories. Right now, the main thrust of this thread is the difference between the two:
1) Difficulty to land either?
2) Do Prosecutors generally work less hours?
3) Do PD's have flexibility comparable to Prosecutors?
4) Salary differences? (I'm not commited to a specific location, so any anecdotes are welcome)
5) Upward mobility differences? How long, assuming solid performance, before one could find themselves pitted against Big Oil's environmental rapage & The Health Insurance Industry's indirect slaughter, or conversely, how long until one could find themselves defending whistleblowers in major cases? It seems like the prosecutor totem pole has more rungs than the PD's.


One of my family members was a PD

1) Where I'm from (large metro area in FL), PD tends to go to people on the lower end of the class, but ITE, it's probably more competitive, combined with very much decreased hiring. There are no safe jobs.
2) Not sure, but probably about the same.
3) Not really; you pretty much have to defend anyone that comes your way. "Defend" can be as little as taking 30 minutes to plea someone out. No joke. In my area PDs have way too many cases to deal with adequately, and corners get cut.
4) ASA (Assistant State Atty., our version of ADA) > PD. By how much, I'm not sure.
5) Most PDs defend people who are too poor/crazy to afford their own counsel (or no one wants to defend them), so there will be minimal work in stuff like "defending whistleblowers," etc.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby ggocat » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:10 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:This is a great point. I suppose you'd still have the major issue of ensuring a client base. As discussed above briefly, the best way is to wait until someone's thinkin' bout retiring. I just can't fathom how you could do it low-risk otherwise, unless you had a client portfolio that would stay with you.

Generally, I think the types of clients most attorneys have when they are about to retire will not be the types of clients you are ready for as a new lawyer. So I wouldn't count on a retiring attorney to hand over his or her book of business. (That being said, I know a lawyer who recently hired three associates over the past few years with the intention that her firm will go to them at some point.)

Many lawyers will refer clients to other lawyers for a variety of reasons. Primarily, most experienced lawyers develop a niche. Thus, when a former client of the personal injury lawyer calls the lawyer to ask about a simple uncontested divorce, many times the personal injury lawyer will refer the client to someone else. Not only does the PI lawyer not specialize in divorce, but it might just not be worth his/her time. During law school you can cultivate relationships with attorneys in your market, and you can continue to do this after law school. But you will even get some decent and low-end work without referrals if you do the basic marketing stuff. Many states also do not have PDs or will supplement the PD system with court appointments.

EDIT: I'm not saying hanging a shingle is "low risk," though. It's always risky. It seems to become less risky as you progress in your career because you are more knowledgeable about the system and the law, and you have developed more relationships with attorneys and clients.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:19 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:Besides, there's no way I'd have a shot at 99th percentile on any standardized test other than the LSAT, and the LSAT is weighted heavily, so this also has to do with my odds at success.


Is this the reason you are assuming you'll place near the top of your class?

Seems kind of shaky to me. While there is a correlation between LSAT scores and 1L performance, it's not guaranteed. I think there is something like a 16% correlation?

Seems like a weak reason to think you'll do spectacularly well.

It seems in general, like you want to be a lawyer as some kind of a hobby. This professor requires dedication and not someone that just wants to coast through. Perhaps another field might suit your interests/lifestyle?

Also, not to be rude, but it seems you know shockingly little about the field of law. How are you so certain that this is what you want to do when you know nothing about it? Just because you like logical reasoning and are scoring well on practice LSAT's are not reasons to go to law school. Law school is a professional school. You also keep asking questions to which you can easily research yourself. It sounds like you really want to go to law school, but not necessarily be a lawyer.
Last edited by phoenix323 on Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:41 pm

phoenix323 wrote:
Scallywaggums wrote:Besides, there's no way I'd have a shot at 99th percentile on any standardized test other than the LSAT, and the LSAT is weighted heavily, so this also has to do with my odds at success.


Is this the reason you are assuming you'll place near the top of your class?

Seems kind of shaky to me. While there is a correlation between LSAT scores and 1L performance, it's not guaranteed. I think there is something like a 16% correlation?

Seems like a weak reason to think you'll do spectacularly well.

It seems in general, like you want to be a lawyer as some kind of a hobby. This professor requires dedication and not someone that just wants to coast through. Perhaps another field might suit your interests/lifestyle?


By "success" I meant "getting into a good school, thus giving me a leg up", as the "so" leading to success was preceded by "the LSAT is weighted heavily". I said nothing about correlation with performance. The school on your resume has a significant impact on your odds of success.

I've already responded to your further reprimands earlier in the thread. If you'd like a response, please look back to find it.

This sort of thing was initially received with appreciation, but now it's just distracting. Please, no more of its kind.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby phoenix323 » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:44 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:
phoenix323 wrote:
Scallywaggums wrote:Besides, there's no way I'd have a shot at 99th percentile on any standardized test other than the LSAT, and the LSAT is weighted heavily, so this also has to do with my odds at success.


Is this the reason you are assuming you'll place near the top of your class?

Seems kind of shaky to me. While there is a correlation between LSAT scores and 1L performance, it's not guaranteed. I think there is something like a 16% correlation?

Seems like a weak reason to think you'll do spectacularly well.

It seems in general, like you want to be a lawyer as some kind of a hobby. This professor requires dedication and not someone that just wants to coast through. Perhaps another field might suit your interests/lifestyle?


By "success" I meant "getting into a good school, thus giving me a leg up", as the "so" leading to success was preceded by "the LSAT is weighted heavily". I said nothing about correlation with performance. The school on your resume has a significant impact on your odds of success.

I've already responded to your further reprimands earlier in the thread. If you'd like a response, please look back to find it.

This sort of thing was initially received with appreciation, but now it's just distracting. Please, no more of its kind.


I don't need a response. But I truly think you should do some substantial research on your own about what the career of law entails. You don't seem to know very much about it, and that lack of knowledge will become very problematic for you if it's not addressed.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:45 pm

rad law wrote:One of my family members was a PD

1) Where I'm from (large metro area in FL), PD tends to go to people on the lower end of the class, but ITE, it's probably more competitive, combined with very much decreased hiring. There are no safe jobs.
2) Not sure, but probably about the same.
3) Not really; you pretty much have to defend anyone that comes your way. "Defend" can be as little as taking 30 minutes to plea someone out. No joke. In my area PDs have way too many cases to deal with adequately, and corners get cut.
4) ASA (Assistant State Atty., our version of ADA) > PD. By how much, I'm not sure.
5) Most PDs defend people who are too poor/crazy to afford their own counsel (or no one wants to defend them), so there will be minimal work in stuff like "defending whistleblowers," etc.


Thank you. This is golden. Prosecutor seems juicier every minute.

Anyone else with anecdotals on the above five?

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:51 pm

phoenix323 wrote:
I don't need a response. But I truly think you should do some substantial research on your own about what the career of law entails. You don't seem to know very much about it, and that lack of knowledge will become very problematic for you if it's not addressed.


Please either read the rest of this thread (or at least the many times this topic has been addressed), or stop posting on it. Again, this was fruitful initially, but unless you have novel considerations on the matter this is merely a distraction.

If you read the rest of the thread and decide you still want to caution me (again, with something novel), you're most welcome to do so.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:59 pm

ggocat wrote:
Many lawyers will refer clients to other lawyers for a variety of reasons. Primarily, most experienced lawyers develop a niche. Thus, when a former client of the personal injury lawyer calls the lawyer to ask about a simple uncontested divorce, many times the personal injury lawyer will refer the client to someone else. Not only does the PI lawyer not specialize in divorce, but it might just not be worth his/her time. During law school you can cultivate relationships with attorneys in your market, and you can continue to do this after law school. But you will even get some decent and low-end work without referrals if you do the basic marketing stuff. Many states also do not have PDs or will supplement the PD system with court appointments.

EDIT: I'm not saying hanging a shingle is "low risk," though. It's always risky. It seems to become less risky as you progress in your career because you are more knowledgeable about the system and the law, and you have developed more relationships with attorneys and clients.


This is really encouraging. Sounds like the answers to all these questions are arrived at, understood, and accounted for as one's experience/networking/bankroll grows, such that there's a point when one could realistically say to themselves "I'm ready, and there's a damn good chance this is going to pan out."

Anyone with stories of well-prepared flop stories? I just can't wrap my head around this being a totally rational long-term goal. I hope I've just been overly pessimistic in my assumptions.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby icydash » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:36 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:
ggocat wrote:
Many lawyers will refer clients to other lawyers for a variety of reasons. Primarily, most experienced lawyers develop a niche. Thus, when a former client of the personal injury lawyer calls the lawyer to ask about a simple uncontested divorce, many times the personal injury lawyer will refer the client to someone else. Not only does the PI lawyer not specialize in divorce, but it might just not be worth his/her time. During law school you can cultivate relationships with attorneys in your market, and you can continue to do this after law school. But you will even get some decent and low-end work without referrals if you do the basic marketing stuff. Many states also do not have PDs or will supplement the PD system with court appointments.

EDIT: I'm not saying hanging a shingle is "low risk," though. It's always risky. It seems to become less risky as you progress in your career because you are more knowledgeable about the system and the law, and you have developed more relationships with attorneys and clients.


This is really encouraging. Sounds like the answers to all these questions are arrived at, understood, and accounted for as one's experience/networking/bankroll grows, such that there's a point when one could realistically say to themselves "I'm ready, and there's a damn good chance this is going to pan out."

Anyone with stories of well-prepared flop stories? I just can't wrap my head around this being a totally rational long-term goal. I hope I've just been overly pessimistic in my assumptions.

As a side note, if you're thinking of going the route of starting your own firm at some point, perhaps a JD/MBA is for you? There's a lot in terms of running a business/being a good boss, accounting, marketing, attracting and keeping clients, etc that you may get more out of an MBA than a JD.

Another thing I wanted to reiterate that someone said is: when you're a PD, you're going to defend people who are too poor/crazy to afford their own counsel (or no one wants to defend them), so there will be minimal work in stuff like "defending whistleblowers," big oil, etc. Those people can hire their own attorneys from top firms. On the flip side, as a DA, you may get to prosecute these kinds of "big fish."

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:41 pm

icydash wrote:As a side note, if you're thinking of going the route of starting your own firm at some point, perhaps a JD/MBA is for you? There's a lot in terms of running a business/being a good boss, accounting, marketing, attracting and keeping clients, etc that you may get more out of an MBA than a JD.


Too perfect. I just saw this question at the end of the 'Going Solo' thread and then saw you posted here. Hyuckles.

Am I correct in assuming that this would be substantially more competitive than just JD at any given school? Would this impact the numbers needed for scholly X at school Y?

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Tue Jun 08, 2010 8:43 pm

icydash wrote:
Another thing I wanted to reiterate that someone said is: when you're a PD, you're going to defend people who are too poor/crazy to afford their own counsel (or no one wants to defend them), so there will be minimal work in stuff like "defending whistleblowers," big oil, etc. Those people can hire their own attorneys from top firms. On the flip side, as a DA, you may get to prosecute these kinds of "big fish."


So Prosecutor just seems to be a better job than PD, hands down.

Any anecdotals on salary, upward mobility etc. would be much appreciated.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Grizz » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:19 pm

Scallywaggums wrote:
icydash wrote:
Another thing I wanted to reiterate that someone said is: when you're a PD, you're going to defend people who are too poor/crazy to afford their own counsel (or no one wants to defend them), so there will be minimal work in stuff like "defending whistleblowers," big oil, etc. Those people can hire their own attorneys from top firms. On the flip side, as a DA, you may get to prosecute these kinds of "big fish."


So Prosecutor just seems to be a better job than PD, hands down.

Any anecdotals on salary, upward mobility etc. would be much appreciated.


My large metro area - mid $30k-$40k ish, not a lot of room for advancement.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby yabbadabbado » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:31 pm

For DA jobs, advancement really depends on the office. There is more room for advancement in a larger office, usually. Most DA offices start off around $50K. Some office pay less or little more, it really depends on the specific county you're talking about. Again, salaries are usually on their websites because it's public information. At most offices, you will start off doing misdemeanor and/or juvenile cases. Within a few years you get assigned to a felony trial division. Among the different divisions, there are varying levels of desirability/prestige. Usually people that stick around for awhile move through different divisions to get more marketable/desirable experience. That can take awhile though. Depending on the office, it could take 5 years or more to move to another division. With several years of DA experience under your belt (assuming you were good at your job and got good experience) it is possible to move to the federal govt. or a reputable law firm with a substantially higher salary. Raises at DA offices are tied to state budgets, and budgetary constraints can prevent you from getting raises. One DA I know said no one at his offices has gotten raises for 3 years due to budget issues.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby yabbadabbado » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:46 pm

A dual degree would be a bad idea if you want to open a solo practice. Law schools generally don't give schollys for dual degrees, so you'd be on your own there, racking up needless debt. If you want to figure out how to be a solo, get to know some solos and learn what you need to know from them. Ideally, find a retiring solo with a successful practice who will train you then let you take it over. I actually know someone who did this.

A lot of things you need to know for running a solo shop are very specific, and the generic kind of biz knowledge you'd get at some random MBA program. It may be beneficial to take a couple of biz classes if your law school will allow you to get credit towards your JD for them.

Scallywaggums wrote:
icydash wrote:As a side note, if you're thinking of going the route of starting your own firm at some point, perhaps a JD/MBA is for you? There's a lot in terms of running a business/being a good boss, accounting, marketing, attracting and keeping clients, etc that you may get more out of an MBA than a JD.


Too perfect. I just saw this question at the end of the 'Going Solo' thread and then saw you posted here. Hyuckles.

Am I correct in assuming that this would be substantially more competitive than just JD at any given school? Would this impact the numbers needed for scholly X at school Y?

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:47 pm

I'm a prosecutor at a a DA's office in a big city. It's a great job. It's interesting, exciting and just very fulfilling. We start at a bit over 60k and work a standard work week with a few late-night and weekend arraignment shifts.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby Scallywaggums » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:03 am

Prosecutor seems like the way to go. Saving would be much harder than in a large firm, but I could live frugally for 10 years, at which point student loans are forgiven. Maybe save for a few more years if I wasn't able to put enough away during loan repayment, then take the solo practice plunge.

Some questions:

***1) Is there a stigma in being a prosecutor, in the eyes of the non-legal world (read: potential clients)?
Would it be harder to start a business in an area where many people have been - or know someone who has been - on the receiving end of your work?

2) What might someone be making in their 5th-10th years, assuming they've done well? (let's say mid-size city)

3) Does it come with perks? Like having one of those get-out-of-speeding-ticket passes?

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby icydash » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:46 am

Scallywaggums wrote:Prosecutor seems like the way to go. Saving would be much harder than in a large firm, but I could live frugally for 10 years, at which point student loans are forgiven. Maybe save for a few more years if I wasn't able to put enough away during loan repayment, then take the solo practice plunge.

Some questions:

***1) Is there a stigma in being a prosecutor, in the eyes of the non-legal world (read: potential clients)?
Would it be harder to start a business in an area where many people have been - or know someone who has been - on the receiving end of your work?

2) What might someone be making in their 5th-10th years, assuming they've done well? (let's say mid-size city)

3) Does it come with perks? Like having one of those get-out-of-speeding-ticket passes?


(1) I don't get the question -- Are you asking if it'd be hard to start a business when half your potential clients you put in jail?

(2) no idea but I'm sure it's not much -- that's the life of a public servant.

(3) I would imagine you become very close with the police in your area, and since you're always on "their side of the case" (ie the state's side), I'd imagine you do get some limited perks...but I have no anecdotal evidence to back that up.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:53 am

OP,

You should be able to look up the salaries for prosecutors (ie I, II, etc) in the area(s) you're interested in, it's public record. In the area in which I live, it's around 60K for PD/DA, starting. Former prosecutor turned private defense is not uncommon, in fact, based on my anecdotal evidence, it's a selling point.

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Re: Non-menial work, 8-5, ~$60K start: possible?

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:58 am

To points 2 and 3:

2-Where I am at, about five years in, a prosecutor who began his legal career(right out of law school) at this particular local goverment office was making over 100K. That's a fact. I don't know if that is the case everywhere though.

3-It has happened. The main perks seem to be the flexible hours(seeing your family, leaving in the middle of the day to get your kids, etc.)




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