Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

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313D313
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Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:48 pm

I will be attending law school this fall. I have worked at a law firm for the past year and as of now, i believe i would like to have my own firm eventually. I am not talking directly after school, more like after 4-7 years of practice or longer if it takes. What are some practice areas that would allow one to start their own firm?

i am familiar with the usual: personal injury, immigration, divorce, traffic, bankruptcy, etc.

Is it possible in practice areas like commercial litigation or employment law. I would appreciate any information on practice areas that would be viable.

Thanks

hawkeye22
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby hawkeye22 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:57 pm

313D313 wrote:I will be attending law school this fall. I have worked at a law firm for the past year and as of now, i believe i would like to have my own firm eventually. I am not talking directly after school, more like after 4-7 years of practice or longer if it takes. What are some practice areas that would allow one to start their own firm?

i am familiar with the usual: personal injury, immigration, divorce, traffic, bankruptcy, etc.

Is it possible in practice areas like commercial litigation or employment law. I would appreciate any information on practice areas that would be viable.

Thanks


It isn't even worth thinking about at this point. You need to go to school, get a good job and practice for at least a decade before you'll have a reasonable chance of success at hanging a shingle.
Last edited by hawkeye22 on Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:57 pm

patent prosecution

313D313
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:05 pm

hawkeye22 wrote:
313D313 wrote:I will be attending law school this fall. I have worked at a law firm for the past year and as of now, i believe i would like to have my own firm eventually. I am not talking directly after school, more like after 4-7 years of practice or longer if it takes. What are some practice areas that would allow one to start their own firm?

i am familiar with the usual: personal injury, immigration, divorce, traffic, bankruptcy, etc.

Is it possible in practice areas like commercial litigation or employment law. I would appreciate any information on practice areas that would be viable.

Thanks


It isn't even worth thinking about at this point. You need to go to school, get a good job and practice for at least a decade before you'll have a reasonable chance of success at hanging a shingle.


I disagree with you. It is worth thinking about at this point because i do not want to get stuck in a practice area where i have to work for someone else for the rest of my life.

313D313
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:12 pm

Julio_El_Chavo wrote:patent prosecution


Care to elaborate?

I do not know anything about this practice area.

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Wholigan
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby Wholigan » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:15 pm

313D313 wrote:I disagree with you. It is worth thinking about at this point because i do not want to get stuck in a practice area where i have to work for someone else for the rest of my life.


Nothing you do for at least the next two years is going to get you "stuck" in any particular practice area.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:18 pm

313D313 wrote:
Julio_El_Chavo wrote:patent prosecution


Care to elaborate?

I do not know anything about this practice area.


-requires a technical background
-you get patents for inventors (companies) by representing them before the USPTO
-low margin
-high volume
-relatively high risk in terms of malpractice liability (especially in biotech)
-extremely predictable work schedule
-historically, it's pretty easy to move in house if you're a good patent prosecutor

313D313
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:20 pm

Wholigan wrote:
313D313 wrote:I disagree with you. It is worth thinking about at this point because i do not want to get stuck in a practice area where i have to work for someone else for the rest of my life.


Nothing you do for at least the next two years is going to get you "stuck" in any particular practice area.


I know. But i want to explore the different practice areas so i know what i am getting into. After working at a law firm for the past year and geting a lot of hands on experience (dep prepped, attended facilitations and settlement conferences, prepared interrogatories) i know that the nit and grit and daily work makes or breaks you. If you like it or can at least tolerate it, fine. If you hate it, you are in for a long miserable ride.

BenJ
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby BenJ » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:31 pm

Real estate, personal income tax, and plaintiff-side employment litigation also come to mind of the ones you didn't list. First two have high malpractice risk, though.

Oh, and criminal defense, I suppose.

313D313
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:37 pm

BenJ wrote:Real estate, personal income tax, and plaintiff-side employment litigation also come to mind of the ones you didn't list. First two have high malpractice risk, though.

Oh, and criminal defense, I suppose.


Thanks.

I have been told to stay away from criminal defense. Supposedly it is very very difficult to practice on your own.

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Heartford
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby Heartford » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:40 pm

313D313 wrote:
BenJ wrote:Real estate, personal income tax, and plaintiff-side employment litigation also come to mind of the ones you didn't list. First two have high malpractice risk, though.

Oh, and criminal defense, I suppose.


Thanks.

I have been told to stay away from criminal defense. Supposedly it is very very difficult to practice on your own. get paid.


fixed that for you.

And OP, the "nitty gritty," including all of the processes you've participated in, is pretty much the same across most of the different civil practice areas, so your explanation doesn't make much sense. Don't you think you'd be working on discovery and negotiating settlements no matter what the practice area?

313D313
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:51 pm

Heartford wrote:
313D313 wrote:
BenJ wrote:Real estate, personal income tax, and plaintiff-side employment litigation also come to mind of the ones you didn't list. First two have high malpractice risk, though.

Oh, and criminal defense, I suppose.


Thanks.

I have been told to stay away from criminal defense. Supposedly it is very very difficult to practice on your own. get paid.


fixed that for you.

And OP, the "nitty gritty," including all of the processes you've participated in, is pretty much the same across most of the different civil practice areas, so your explanation doesn't make much sense. Don't you think you'd be working on discovery and negotiating settlements no matter what the practice area?


Working on discovery for personal injury is not going to be the same as working on discovery for commercial litigation.

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Heartford
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby Heartford » Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:56 pm

313D313 wrote:
Heartford wrote:
313D313 wrote:
BenJ wrote:Real estate, personal income tax, and plaintiff-side employment litigation also come to mind of the ones you didn't list. First two have high malpractice risk, though.

Oh, and criminal defense, I suppose.


Thanks.

I have been told to stay away from criminal defense. Supposedly it is very very difficult to practice on your own. get paid.


fixed that for you.

And OP, the "nitty gritty," including all of the processes you've participated in, is pretty much the same across most of the different civil practice areas, so your explanation doesn't make much sense. Don't you think you'd be working on discovery and negotiating settlements no matter what the practice area?


Working on discovery for personal injury is not going to be the same as working on discovery for commercial litigation.


Why not? The "nitty gritty" is pretty much the same.

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ggocat
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby ggocat » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:46 pm

You want advice from solos? I recommend you ask your question on jdu rather than tls. You might actually get responses from solos.

But IMO, you're probably thinking too far ahead. I think you need to be more opportunistic rather than limiting yourself to a particular practice area early. But you may want to stick to what you know. You listed some solo practice areas already. None of them interest you?

mebeSajid
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby mebeSajid » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:58 pm

What about tax after working in biglaw for 5-7 years? Is it possible to start your own boutique if you've developed client contacts in that time?

areyouinsane
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby areyouinsane » Thu Aug 04, 2011 10:01 pm

Working on discovery for personal injury is not going to be the same as working on discovery for commercial litigation.


How right you are! The "discovery" for personal injury is a farce. Usually the brokedick loser plaintiffs who instigate these cases have been in about 200 previous "accidents," and most of the "discovery" consists of boilerplate cut n' paste motions asking for HIPPA authorizations to see the records from the prior accidents. You see, the insurance company wants to blame as much of the injury as possible on "old" accidents and degenerative conditions, etc. The insurance defense mills make motion after cut n' paste motion which the P usually just ignores, or else it gets "stipped out" and then you never fork the shit over anyway. Eventually you can usually settle the case before trial since everyone gets fed up w/ all the bickering and nonsense.

What's really funny are the insurance defense "doctors" who lie thru their teeth. You could sent Plaintiff there with his head in a box and their doc will write a report saying "no problems here hoss." The P docs are just as bad if not worse, since they get paid a lot of $$$ to testify if the case ever goes to trial (which almost never happens since 99% of cases are fraud and/or frivilous garbage).

I handled a hilarious deposition not long ago as a favor to a buddy who still deals in this gutter. A morbidly obese woman was suing the NYC Housing Authority because a window fell on her finger at a homeless shelter where she resided. What a trip she was- she had sued every homeless shelter she'd ever lived in the past 20 years with some bogus "injury" or another. During the EBT (in NYC depositions are called EBT- Examination Before Trial), she ranted about how "da food be like burnt and shit" and the "a/c was blowing hot air so I's had to open da window," shit like that. Just 10 months ago she had filed another case for slipping on water where they stack the food trays in the soup kitchen cafeteria.

It was hilarious having her rant and rave while airing her list of grievances against the taxpayer-funded crib she called home. The poor geek lawyer from the city was "striking portion not responsive to the question" about every 20 seconds. The transcript will probably require a fork lift to deliver. Since I was per diem and had no horse in the race I just let 'er rip and read the NY Post and played with my phone. EBT's are generally very, very dull. It doesn't help that Diamond Recording has the shittiest rooms you've ever seen to do depositions in. Each room is painted acid green, smells like a urinal, and has no windows. They're also about 6 X 8 feet, and a big fatty like this plaintiff has trouble fitting in the joint.

This EBT was at the Bronx location of Diamond Reporting which is on Gerard Ave near Yankee Stadium. I liked doing EBT's there back when they were building the new stadium- when they drove the footings the room just fucking shook like an earthquake. I forgot to mention that Diamond is in the basement. When you do shitlaw for as long as I have, you get used to pretty much never seeing the sun.

Bottom line is that the city will settle this turd "case" for like 5 K or so, maybe 7500 if you force them to jury selection and call the bluff. If you're willing to scrounge and play ball with the runners and underworld characters who funnel this trash to the solos/shitlaw mills, you can do OK.

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Heartford
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby Heartford » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:53 pm

areyouinsane wrote:
Working on discovery for personal injury is not going to be the same as working on discovery for commercial litigation.


How right you are! The "discovery" for personal injury is a farce. Usually the brokedick loser plaintiffs who instigate these cases have been in about 200 previous "accidents," and most of the "discovery" consists of boilerplate cut n' paste motions asking for HIPPA authorizations to see the records from the prior accidents. You see, the insurance company wants to blame as much of the injury as possible on "old" accidents and degenerative conditions, etc. The insurance defense mills make motion after cut n' paste motion which the P usually just ignores, or else it gets "stipped out" and then you never fork the shit over anyway. Eventually you can usually settle the case before trial since everyone gets fed up w/ all the bickering and nonsense.

What's really funny are the insurance defense "doctors" who lie thru their teeth. You could sent Plaintiff there with his head in a box and their doc will write a report saying "no problems here hoss." The P docs are just as bad if not worse, since they get paid a lot of $$$ to testify if the case ever goes to trial (which almost never happens since 99% of cases are fraud and/or frivilous garbage).

I handled a hilarious deposition not long ago as a favor to a buddy who still deals in this gutter. A morbidly obese woman was suing the NYC Housing Authority because a window fell on her finger at a homeless shelter where she resided. What a trip she was- she had sued every homeless shelter she'd ever lived in the past 20 years with some bogus "injury" or another. During the EBT (in NYC depositions are called EBT- Examination Before Trial), she ranted about how "da food be like burnt and shit" and the "a/c was blowing hot air so I's had to open da window," shit like that. Just 10 months ago she had filed another case for slipping on water where they stack the food trays in the soup kitchen cafeteria.

It was hilarious having her rant and rave while airing her list of grievances against the taxpayer-funded crib she called home. The poor geek lawyer from the city was "striking portion not responsive to the question" about every 20 seconds. The transcript will probably require a fork lift to deliver. Since I was per diem and had no horse in the race I just let 'er rip and read the NY Post and played with my phone. EBT's are generally very, very dull. It doesn't help that Diamond Recording has the shittiest rooms you've ever seen to do depositions in. Each room is painted acid green, smells like a urinal, and has no windows. They're also about 6 X 8 feet, and a big fatty like this plaintiff has trouble fitting in the joint.

This EBT was at the Bronx location of Diamond Reporting which is on Gerard Ave near Yankee Stadium. I liked doing EBT's there back when they were building the new stadium- when they drove the footings the room just fucking shook like an earthquake. I forgot to mention that Diamond is in the basement. When you do shitlaw for as long as I have, you get used to pretty much never seeing the sun.

Bottom line is that the city will settle this turd "case" for like 5 K or so, maybe 7500 if you force them to jury selection and call the bluff. If you're willing to scrounge and play ball with the runners and underworld characters who funnel this trash to the solos/shitlaw mills, you can do OK.


[insert generic applause gif]

313D313
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:17 pm

Any body else?

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Garinold
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby Garinold » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:46 pm

You may also consider business formation (Incorporations/LLCs) for what it is worth. As far as criminal defense work, it depends on what kind of criminal defense work you are able to get yourself into.

Its one thing to start out defending clients and hope that your name goes through the underworld and after time criminals are calling you for help. This summer I talked to a public defender that started out in private practice and really railed against it. He talked about how you need to keep your phone ready 24/7 and if you don't answer your clients calls they'll usually run off to a different lawyer, which can cause all sorts of problems, to say nothing about getting paid. I talked to a defense attorney in private practice that expressed the same problems, however, he pointed to "pool work" as a reliable source of income. In my jurisdiction "pool work" is where the court or the public defender's office assigns a case or series of cases to an attorney in the private sector and pays a fixed rate depending on the kind of work that needs to be done. This particular attorney said that he has had pool work assigned that required him to try cases and the rate was anywhere between $175 - $250 per hour. He also said that there is really easy money if you go for specific procedures like PCRs (post conviction relief - this is where the defendant has been convicted, has lost his/her appeal, and it is his/her last ditch effort to get the trial court's decision overturned on some sort of technicality that the appellate court didn't hear or consider).

I have been told, and believe, that PCR work only takes a few hours for some of the pool attorneys. The attorney I had talked to completed his assigned PCR work in a half hour. The rate for a PCR in my jurisdiction is $1,500. So in certain instances the pool work can pay very well, while it pays poorly in other instances. One of the issues with pool work is networking and reputation. The hire-ups in the public defender's office won't had out the more difficult and better paying pool work to an attorney unless they know that attorney can handle it. The easy money pool work like PCRs doesn't get handed out unless you "earn your keep", or from what I understand, "make friends with the right people".

Hope it helps

areyouinsane
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby areyouinsane » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:10 pm

You may also consider business formation (Incorporations/LLCs) for what it is worth



Sorry, but the Internet has rendered that obsolete:

https://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/treasur ... /page1.cgi

Almost no one uses lawyers for LLC or S. Corp formations anymore. All it takes is a credit card & a few mouse clicks, like shopping on Amazon or whatever.

Also I'd love to know what state/area is paying 175 an hour for pool work. Here in NJ the lawyers who take on the PD's "overflow" work get $35 an hour for misdemeanors and $50 an hour for felonies. But it's a "good old boys" club and as a newbie you'll never get anything but the lowest of the garbage cases that no one else wants.

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MartianManhunter
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby MartianManhunter » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:16 pm

You can start your own firm in any practice are where you've 1) built a book of business in a particular practice area 2) developed the type of expertise/recognition that attracts new clients. It's silly to narrow yourself based on some notion that you have to have the "right" practice.

313D313 wrote: I disagree with you. It is worth thinking about at this point because i do not want to get stuck in a practice area where i have to work for someone else for the rest of my life.


This is nonsensical. You will always be working for someone else for the rest of your career, law is a service profession.

areyouinsane
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby areyouinsane » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:37 pm

This is nonsensical. You will always be working for someone else for the rest of your career, law is a service lousy, overrated, low-paying, tedious, boring, stressful, unfufilling, despised, all-around-miserable profession industry.


Fixed that for you :)

313D313
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby 313D313 » Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:04 pm

Garinold wrote:You may also consider business formation (Incorporations/LLCs) for what it is worth. As far as criminal defense work, it depends on what kind of criminal defense work you are able to get yourself into.

Its one thing to start out defending clients and hope that your name goes through the underworld and after time criminals are calling you for help. This summer I talked to a public defender that started out in private practice and really railed against it. He talked about how you need to keep your phone ready 24/7 and if you don't answer your clients calls they'll usually run off to a different lawyer, which can cause all sorts of problems, to say nothing about getting paid. I talked to a defense attorney in private practice that expressed the same problems, however, he pointed to "pool work" as a reliable source of income. In my jurisdiction "pool work" is where the court or the public defender's office assigns a case or series of cases to an attorney in the private sector and pays a fixed rate depending on the kind of work that needs to be done. This particular attorney said that he has had pool work assigned that required him to try cases and the rate was anywhere between $175 - $250 per hour. He also said that there is really easy money if you go for specific procedures like PCRs (post conviction relief - this is where the defendant has been convicted, has lost his/her appeal, and it is his/her last ditch effort to get the trial court's decision overturned on some sort of technicality that the appellate court didn't hear or consider).

I have been told, and believe, that PCR work only takes a few hours for some of the pool attorneys. The attorney I had talked to completed his assigned PCR work in a half hour. The rate for a PCR in my jurisdiction is $1,500. So in certain instances the pool work can pay very well, while it pays poorly in other instances. One of the issues with pool work is networking and reputation. The hire-ups in the public defender's office won't had out the more difficult and better paying pool work to an attorney unless they know that attorney can handle it. The easy money pool work like PCRs doesn't get handed out unless you "earn your keep", or from what I understand, "make friends with the right people".

Hope it helps


Thanks.

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pleasetryagain
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby pleasetryagain » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:41 am

Garinold wrote:You may also consider business formation (Incorporations/LLCs) for what it is worth. As far as criminal defense work, it depends on what kind of criminal defense work you are able to get yourself into.

Its one thing to start out defending clients and hope that your name goes through the underworld and after time criminals are calling you for help. This summer I talked to a public defender that started out in private practice and really railed against it. He talked about how you need to keep your phone ready 24/7 and if you don't answer your clients calls they'll usually run off to a different lawyer, which can cause all sorts of problems, to say nothing about getting paid. I talked to a defense attorney in private practice that expressed the same problems, however, he pointed to "pool work" as a reliable source of income. In my jurisdiction "pool work" is where the court or the public defender's office assigns a case or series of cases to an attorney in the private sector and pays a fixed rate depending on the kind of work that needs to be done. This particular attorney said that he has had pool work assigned that required him to try cases and the rate was anywhere between $175 - $250 per hour. He also said that there is really easy money if you go for specific procedures like PCRs (post conviction relief - this is where the defendant has been convicted, has lost his/her appeal, and it is his/her last ditch effort to get the trial court's decision overturned on some sort of technicality that the appellate court didn't hear or consider).

I have been told, and believe, that PCR work only takes a few hours for some of the pool attorneys. The attorney I had talked to completed his assigned PCR work in a half hour. The rate for a PCR in my jurisdiction is $1,500. So in certain instances the pool work can pay very well, while it pays poorly in other instances. One of the issues with pool work is networking and reputation. The hire-ups in the public defender's office won't had out the more difficult and better paying pool work to an attorney unless they know that attorney can handle it. The easy money pool work like PCRs doesn't get handed out unless you "earn your keep", or from what I understand, "make friends with the right people".

Hope it helps


This the most accurate description of what most shingle-hanging criminal attorneys do. Though I haven't yet heard of them getting any more than 75/hr which is usually cut by about 30% because they typically over-bill by that much. Also, usually it is not the public defenders office, but the court, that appoints the attorney. This usually only happens in high profile cases, cases in which conflicts between defendants require seperate representation, or when the PD just doesnt have room. Through these court appointments they start to develop a book of their own and can (hopefully) stop doing court appointments eventually.

If you are active in your local bar, are good, and have attorney friends you can also get clients fed to you when conflicts exist among defendants in their own practice or when they just don't handle the type of cases their client comes to them with. For exmaple, CEO of X-Corp (or his kid) gets a DUI. Calls his attorney at Cravath who says "Lulz dude, we dont really do this type of criminal work but we'lll find someone who can take care of you." Then they call the best/their favorite criminal attorney they know and say "Don't make us look bad."

It's really a networking game that I don't see being succesfull until at least a few years of practice.

areyouinsane
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Re: Practice areas for own law firm..EVENTUALLY!

Postby areyouinsane » Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:06 am

"Lulz dude, we dont really do this type of criminal work but we'lll find someone who can take care of you." Then they call the best/their favorite criminal attorney they know and say "Don't make us look bad."

It's really a networking game that I don't see being succesfull until at least a few years of practice



Sorry, that's wrong. What they usually do in those cases is have a 1st year associate run out and handle it. My friend had an almost identical thing happen when he was a 1st year at Weill Gotshall: a major client's kid got busted for possession of marijuana, and a partner rolled in and dumped it on his desk. So my friend called me since I was the only shitlaw bottom feeder he knew of, and I went to court in his place and handled it.

The partner was VERY happy that it got put to bed, and my friend (the associate) took me & my current GF to an amazing meal at PlataForma as a thank-you.

Pretty funny how biglaw paper pusher literally soil themselves when any type of "courtroom" is involved LOL.




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