shitlaw salaries?

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AssociateX
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby AssociateX » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:32 pm

In NYC, small firms start out at $40-60k. I just talked to a Touro grad (top 8% and in Moot court) and she just got a job offer for a no fault auto defense firm in Long Island that pays 50K.

Oh some of the assumptions made in this thread are just wild. Hmmm.. most solos who are starting out struggle. Especially in competitive markets like NY, CA, FL where the big plaintiffs firms can take on the case with little to no retainer from the client. For every successful classmate who became a solo from my graduating class (2001)' I can count 10 who weren't so fortunate..

Also, there are many big firm attorneys who get canned every year (they have to weed out those who aren't partnership material somehow).. so all this nonsense talk about "lockstep" salaries for the rest of your life is a sham...you never know when you get canned and finding another similar job once you got fired is pretty difficult (other large firms don't want fired lawyers either).

rose711
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby rose711 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:38 pm

There is a blog about shitlaw jobs - by which they mean extremely low paying work, rather than just focusing on personal injury or anything else. I don't have the link but it might actually be called shitlaw jobs. Saw a post on there for a lawyer in Colorado to be paid $12 an hour plus must have car.

So my definition of shitlaw is what the pay is for the work you are doing. I'm not sure if the people on this forum have much idea of how terribly low paying some of these jobs can be.

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AssociateX
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby AssociateX » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:07 pm

rose711 wrote:There is a blog about shitlaw jobs - by which they mean extremely low paying work, rather than just focusing on personal injury or anything else. I don't have the link but it might actually be called shitlaw jobs. Saw a post on there for a lawyer in Colorado to be paid $12 an hour plus must have car.

So my definition of shitlaw is what the pay is for the work you are doing. I'm not sure if the people on this forum have much idea of how terribly low paying some of these jobs can be.


Yes, JDU. My first law law job paid 37k. :shock:

jujujohn
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby jujujohn » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:46 am

rad law wrote:
seriousstudenttt wrote:small law firm (1-10 attorneys), personal injury, etc


Depends. I worked for a solo criminal defense atty. who was having million-dollar years at the time. Small firm doesn't necessarily mean shitlaw. PI can also be lucrative, though the field is crowded.


i want to know where does the criminal lawyer gets his business from. Working for the mob maybe??? I am kidding.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:10 pm

Image

And who said a career in shitlaw can't be lucrative?

TigerBeer
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby TigerBeer » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:28 pm

Seriously, when the going gets tough, you don't want a "criminal lawyer"

you want a "criminal" lawyer, know what im sayin?

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Naked Dude
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby Naked Dude » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:06 pm

My goal in life is to be able to make a living doing what I'm interested in. If that doesn't pan out, I just want to be successful. If I have to be a Saul Goodman, so be it.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:21 pm

In legal trouble? Tell your law-breaking friends, they better call Saul!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiLvZJb7jcg

Professor Saul Goodman Money Laundering 101 (anyone else go to the University of American Somoa for law school here?)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2Q9ctwHfDc

MRNG
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby MRNG » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:21 am

"Shitlaw"? Get off your high horse. Small firm does not mean low quality and big firm does not mean high quality representation. In fact, many successful and talented attorneys quit their firm jobs to start their own solo/boutique firms. These small firms provide excellent legal representation that's more accessible and affordable than big firms. Given their size, these small firms provide personalized representation while making large profits. I live in las Vegas and the best trial attorney in the entire state is Bob Eglet. His firm has a total of 10 attorneys and he won the largest verdict in the history of the state: $550 million. This was until last month when a three-lawyer firm won a larger verdict of $1.2 Billion.

As far as salaries, your starting salary at a small firm will not be as much as a starting salary at a big firm. However, your life quality will be much better. There are no billable hours at small firms and you will most likely work Mon-Fri 9-6. At a big firm, you will be working 60-80 hours/week. What's the point of making six figures if you don't have the time to enjoy that money? Also, once you divide the big-firm-six-figure-salary over the the hours worked, you will be making just as much, if not less than, a small firm attorney. Finally, once you've been at a small firm for a few years, you will have built clientele and your salary will exceed that of a big firm attorney.

In regards to PI, do not knock it down. PI is one of the most lucrative areas of law. As a partner, there is no ceiling to your profits (the sky is the limit). As an associate, you can make lots of money from the bonuses and percentages of cases you win. I have worked for several years at a small PI firm (shitlaw according to your standards). The partners make between $25-30 mil and they start their associates at $90K. However, once you add the percentages from closed cases, the percentage from referral cases, and the bonuses, first-year associates end up making $150K. In Las Vegas, $150K goes a VERY LONG WAY given the low cost of living. In essence, you make as much as a big firm associate without having to slave away like a big firm associate.

In sum, don't knock down small firms. Many of them provide excellent and personalized legal representation while turning large profits. Further, Your starting salary at a small firm will not be as much as a big firm. However, the quality of your life will be much better and you will eventually make more than a big firm associate. Finally, don't knock down PI. It is one of the most (if not the most) lucrative area of law. As a partner you can become a millionaire and as an associate you will make much more than a big firm associate.

cavalier1138
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby cavalier1138 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:24 am

Nice use of a necro, and...

MRNG wrote: Finally, don't knock down PI. It is one of the most (if not the most) lucrative area of law. As a partner you can become a millionaire and as an associate you will make much more than a big firm associate.


...bullshit.

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FullRamboLSGrad
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby FullRamboLSGrad » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:01 am

Wholigan wrote:
Rooney wrote:
Wholigan wrote:
Aberzombie1892 wrote:personal injury is far more profitable than most other areas of law. If you say to yourself, "I want to have as much money as possible saved in 5 years," then you would be foolhardy to go into any other area of law.


Yeah... I don't think so. While the field in general might be profitable, it is damn hard to make a lot of money in your first few years out of law school. It's all about marketing, and the clients are going to go to firms they or their friends have used in the past and ones which advertise heavily.

Might you get a job for one of those firms? Perhaps. However, they are going to pay you a modest salary and only give you a small portion of the firm's cut of your settlements, if any at all, at least until you prove you are really good at it or bring business in the door. Also, the profitability varies greatly state by state. Tort reform runs the gamut in this country, and will have a huge impact on whether personal injury law is profitable or not in a given area.


Tort reform should only worry firms that do medmal cases. Nothing in that affects punitive damages, bad faith or other parts of PI litigation dealing with MVAs, WC or premise liability cases.



Are you kidding?? No fault and limited tort statutes vary from state to state, as do the judicial interpretation of them. This is a HUGE factor in MVA cases, as in some areas it completely bars recovery for plaintiffs unless their injury falls into certain categories or is deemed sufficiently serious. Similarly, in some states, WC regulations heavily favor the insurers, making it very easy for the WC carriers to cut off treatment. Additionally, in some areas there is no recovery on WC claims for anything except for actual medical costs and wages, which makes it difficult for attorneys to take on the case. This is not to mention that very conservative juries in some areas will preclude lawyers from opening shop there. Premise liability is not the subject of much tort reform, but that is going to be a minority of most PI shops' work.


Part of my States Tort reform was reform to suing public entities. Every time you do so, you'll have to overcome an immediate MSJ or MTD premised on some qualified immunity like recreational use or notice of claims.

Anonymous User
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:04 am

"Shitlaw" can really be a mixed bag. I'll share my experience FWIW:

I graduated from a school ranked by USNWR consistently in the low 30s just outside of honors, and had a few biglaw screeners but just didn't interview quite well enough to overcome mediocre credentials. Didn't mass mail NYC enough, focused too much on the region of my school (South), where I had strong ties but was still not the best cultural fit.

Ended up starting out at a general practice firm doing what could be considered "shitlaw." Some domestic, workers' compensation, PI, criminal, and immigration. In an area with cheap cost of living but fortunately near interesting/diverse urban centers. I started out at $50k, got bumped up to $60k pretty quickly, and am around $80k three/four years in. Most of my days are 8:30 to 5 or 6 barring prep for something like a trial. The firm pays pretty well for what it does in the area but benefits are not good - small 401(k) program, small stipend for health insurance that does not cover the cost, and we put a lot of mileage on our cars because we go to cour in multiple counties. Some of our offices are in shopping centers, which I know looks like the height of sketchy.

I have taken more than a dozen depositions, including several expert witness depositions, first chaired a jury trial, and wrote the bulk of a brief that went all the way up to state Supreme Court and had my name on it. Bench trials are old hat. We've litigated one case that resulted above the million dollar range; most are much much smaller than that. We're both a "settlement mill" and do some relatively sexy litigation. Our criminal attorneys will take cases to trial and win them, often with ugly facts (sex offenses, etc.) and clients that the local population is very prejudiced against. So there's good lawyering going on. But we do some cheesy advertising and the marketing/sales focus of the firm is intense and pretty key to the model of success by volume.

Sometimes you'll be doing a little bit of work on a TON of cases and it can feel a bit assembly line.

Small firm life means some churn where when one person leaves your workload can dramatically change. Awhile back I was back in district criminal court covering traffic and misdemeanors for a few months due to staffing changes. That wasn't so fun. On the other hand, getting a couple misdemeanor cases dismissed on question of law grounds and learning something new was somewhat invigorating.

I work with people I consider my buddies, an irreverent bunch and we'll go get trashed together at a bar every few weeks. The boss takes us on international trips about once every year or two, or offers other cool things like that. I may be moving to another state and needing to work virtually and part-time in the near future due to shifting career interests, and my bosses are on board and want to make it work. I pretty much run my own cases. If I stay on full time, I've seen solid evidence that my compensation could continue to go up pretty steadily.

Cranky, irrational lay person clients can be exhausting.

My coworkers have been able to work a year or two at my firm and move on to an AmLaw 100 firm and state DOJ. I briefly considered leaving and was offered a job doing "prestigious" family law (small, respected firm repping very rich people with big marital estates). So if you get into a "shitlaw" firm and make yourself a good lawyer, there are pathways out. Not to a Vault firm, most likely, but to a good career.
On the other hand, our assistant-level staff are not there to act as paralegals to the attorneys, but to be front line for clients/translating/prepping immigration matters/etc. So I'm stuffing my own envelopes, prepping my own filings, and running to FedEx to serve shit pretty often. And I still get a little burn of envy for friends working at prestigious firms. A couple of my coworkers who are fine attorneys graduated from for profit law schools that aren't even ranked. They do good work but it bugs me that I landed the same place they did. I still have an inferiority complex.

Big caveat: I was in a situation where I paid off all my law school loans two years after graduating. The few months where I was servicing $175k in debt in IBR while making $50k really stank. So all the warnings on this forum about debt are warranted.

But overall it has felt like a good career. I really think the questions are a) will you get real skills on your resume b) do you like the people you'll be working with c) is there potential to grow with the firm.

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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:29 am

I know of a small bankruptcy firm in mid-market paying associates $46k

se7en
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby se7en » Wed Jun 28, 2017 1:59 pm

MRNG wrote:"Shitlaw"? Get off your high horse. Small firm does not mean low quality and big firm does not mean high quality representation. In fact, many successful and talented attorneys quit their firm jobs to start their own solo/boutique firms. These small firms provide excellent legal representation that's more accessible and affordable than big firms. Given their size, these small firms provide personalized representation while making large profits. I live in las Vegas and the best trial attorney in the entire state is Bob Eglet. His firm has a total of 10 attorneys and he won the largest verdict in the history of the state: $550 million. This was until last month when a three-lawyer firm won a larger verdict of $1.2 Billion.

As far as salaries, your starting salary at a small firm will not be as much as a starting salary at a big firm. However, your life quality will be much better. There are no billable hours at small firms and you will most likely work Mon-Fri 9-6. At a big firm, you will be working 60-80 hours/week. What's the point of making six figures if you don't have the time to enjoy that money? Also, once you divide the big-firm-six-figure-salary over the the hours worked, you will be making just as much, if not less than, a small firm attorney. Finally, once you've been at a small firm for a few years, you will have built clientele and your salary will exceed that of a big firm attorney.


Is the above true? Can a small-firm partner, non-PI, doing general civil work or transactional/real-estate work make $300,000?

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FullRamboLSGrad
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby FullRamboLSGrad » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:18 pm

se7en wrote:
MRNG wrote:"Shitlaw"? Get off your high horse. Small firm does not mean low quality and big firm does not mean high quality representation. In fact, many successful and talented attorneys quit their firm jobs to start their own solo/boutique firms. These small firms provide excellent legal representation that's more accessible and affordable than big firms. Given their size, these small firms provide personalized representation while making large profits. I live in las Vegas and the best trial attorney in the entire state is Bob Eglet. His firm has a total of 10 attorneys and he won the largest verdict in the history of the state: $550 million. This was until last month when a three-lawyer firm won a larger verdict of $1.2 Billion.

As far as salaries, your starting salary at a small firm will not be as much as a starting salary at a big firm. However, your life quality will be much better. There are no billable hours at small firms and you will most likely work Mon-Fri 9-6. At a big firm, you will be working 60-80 hours/week. What's the point of making six figures if you don't have the time to enjoy that money? Also, once you divide the big-firm-six-figure-salary over the the hours worked, you will be making just as much, if not less than, a small firm attorney. Finally, once you've been at a small firm for a few years, you will have built clientele and your salary will exceed that of a big firm attorney.


Is the above true? Can a small-firm partner, non-PI, doing general civil work or transactional/real-estate work make $300,000?


I use to work for a 3 man EP firm where the partners each made more than 200k and one made 800k plus his investments. I worked for a solo corporate guy who made 400k plus investments. Its certainly possible.

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jchiles
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby jchiles » Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:45 pm

se7en wrote:
MRNG wrote:"Shitlaw"? Get off your high horse. Small firm does not mean low quality and big firm does not mean high quality representation. In fact, many successful and talented attorneys quit their firm jobs to start their own solo/boutique firms. These small firms provide excellent legal representation that's more accessible and affordable than big firms. Given their size, these small firms provide personalized representation while making large profits. I live in las Vegas and the best trial attorney in the entire state is Bob Eglet. His firm has a total of 10 attorneys and he won the largest verdict in the history of the state: $550 million. This was until last month when a three-lawyer firm won a larger verdict of $1.2 Billion.

As far as salaries, your starting salary at a small firm will not be as much as a starting salary at a big firm. However, your life quality will be much better. There are no billable hours at small firms and you will most likely work Mon-Fri 9-6. At a big firm, you will be working 60-80 hours/week. What's the point of making six figures if you don't have the time to enjoy that money? Also, once you divide the big-firm-six-figure-salary over the the hours worked, you will be making just as much, if not less than, a small firm attorney. Finally, once you've been at a small firm for a few years, you will have built clientele and your salary will exceed that of a big firm attorney.


Is the above true? Can a small-firm partner, non-PI, doing general civil work or transactional/real-estate work make $300,000?


Yes but I doubt it would happen until you were at least 15 years into your career and it's not an outcome anyone should be banking on if they go the small firm route. You need to actually be good at business development, work somewhere where there is enough work to keep you busy, preferably be at an established firm with some connections to the area, and also be a good attorney.

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cron1834
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby cron1834 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:18 pm

Damn, that is one indignant (and defensive) necro.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby XxSpyKEx » Thu Jun 29, 2017 4:07 pm

MRNG wrote:"Shitlaw"? Get off your high horse. Small firm does not mean low quality and big firm does not mean high quality representation. In fact, many successful and talented attorneys quit their firm jobs to start their own solo/boutique firms. These small firms provide excellent legal representation that's more accessible and affordable than big firms. Given their size, these small firms provide personalized representation while making large profits. I live in las Vegas and the best trial attorney in the entire state is Bob Eglet. His firm has a total of 10 attorneys and he won the largest verdict in the history of the state: $550 million. This was until last month when a three-lawyer firm won a larger verdict of $1.2 Billion.

As far as salaries, your starting salary at a small firm will not be as much as a starting salary at a big firm. However, your life quality will be much better. There are no billable hours at small firms and you will most likely work Mon-Fri 9-6. At a big firm, you will be working 60-80 hours/week. What's the point of making six figures if you don't have the time to enjoy that money? Also, once you divide the big-firm-six-figure-salary over the the hours worked, you will be making just as much, if not less than, a small firm attorney. Finally, once you've been at a small firm for a few years, you will have built clientele and your salary will exceed that of a big firm attorney.

In regards to PI, do not knock it down. PI is one of the most lucrative areas of law. As a partner, there is no ceiling to your profits (the sky is the limit). As an associate, you can make lots of money from the bonuses and percentages of cases you win. I have worked for several years at a small PI firm (shitlaw according to your standards). The partners make between $25-30 mil and they start their associates at $90K. However, once you add the percentages from closed cases, the percentage from referral cases, and the bonuses, first-year associates end up making $150K. In Las Vegas, $150K goes a VERY LONG WAY given the low cost of living. In essence, you make as much as a big firm associate without having to slave away like a big firm associate.

In sum, don't knock down small firms. Many of them provide excellent and personalized legal representation while turning large profits. Further, Your starting salary at a small firm will not be as much as a big firm. However, the quality of your life will be much better and you will eventually make more than a big firm associate. Finally, don't knock down PI. It is one of the most (if not the most) lucrative area of law. As a partner you can become a millionaire and as an associate you will make much more than a big firm associate.


You bumped a six-year old thread to respond to a bunch of people who largely probably don't even use TLS anymore? :roll:

Anonymous User
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:36 pm

If the future Bill Gates turns out to be your client, you’ll do fantastic as a solo. Back to reality, many associates make partner at BL firms providing an annual ++2M PPP.

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jchiles
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby jchiles » Fri Jun 30, 2017 1:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If the future Bill Gates turns out to be your client, you’ll do fantastic as a solo. Back to reality, many associates make partner at BL firms providing an annual ++2M PPP.


Dude every thing about this is wrong

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deadpanic
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby deadpanic » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:22 pm

Anonymous User wrote:If the future Bill Gates turns out to be your client, you’ll do fantastic as a solo. Back to reality, many associates make partner at BL firms providing an annual ++2M PPP.


Uh, no. Dead wrong.

More likely than not, you will not be making partner at a big firm making $2m+ a year. The odds are so low of this happening.

It is true you can make a lot more eventually as a solo or small firm lawyer. There are just so many variables in same.

Anonymous User
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 01, 2017 11:57 am

deadpanic wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:If the future Bill Gates turns out to be your client, you’ll do fantastic as a solo. Back to reality, many associates make partner at BL firms providing an annual ++2M PPP.


Uh, no. Dead wrong.

More likely than not, you will not be making partner at a big firm making $2m+ a year. The odds are so low of this happening.

It is true you can make a lot more eventually as a solo or small firm lawyer. There are just so many variables in same.

Associates employed at the V50 (maybe V100) level are making partner where the $$ is at a nice seven figure level. True, some do washout but keep in mind that many (non-unicorns) make it through.

Lesion of Doom
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Re: shitlaw salaries?

Postby Lesion of Doom » Mon Jul 03, 2017 12:38 am

It's almost like the individual who necroed this thread searched for "shitlaw" specifically to pick a fight.




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