Going Solo

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Veyron
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Veyron » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:27 am

Anonymous User wrote:Because criminal work is hard. Not everyone is going to be good at it, and it's plain hard to stand up there and try and defend some of these people. To try and defend some guy who beat a kid half to death with his buddies and then ran over his body and head in a parking lot, and you've got to defend him while the kid's mother is staring at you and crying. It's hard to do.

Aside from that, I didn't say everyone is going to make money at it. We here on TLS take a lot of things for granted as far as hard work and the desire to be good at our jobs, but there are a lot of lawyers who are just plain shitty at their jobs and don't care. They're scraping by on appointment scraps and $30,000 a year. No one wants to appoint them to anything, and there are far more than you'd think like that.

The guys making good money are the ones that are organized and do things right. They meet with clients in a timely manner, and try and do the best they can by them. Make the best deal, or go to trial if they have to. They are organized (I know I hit that point a lot, but when you've got 35-40 pending cases at any given time, it's damn important), and the court staff respect and like them and want to work with them.

It's like anything else in life...just because it's doable doesn't mean everyone will put in the effort and time necessary to do it. Like I said, there are a lot of shitty lawyers who know they are and don't care.


You keep talking about organizations and deadlines, is there a lot of paperwork that goes along with criminal work?

Anonymous User
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:46 am

There's a lot of stuff to keep track of. You have a lot of clients, and you have to know generally at what point their cases are at. You have to set and re-set trial dates a lot, and work with DA's on getting a good rec. There's paperwork, but it's mostly the same old stuff. Suppression motions, motions to get your client mentally evaluated, plea agreements. But it's like everything else in law, there are deadlines and certain times you have to meet.

The organization part comes in mainly with remembering trial dates and appearances and remembering to visit guys in lockup. And the closer it gets to a trial date for a guy, the more work you have to do. Some stuff only takes a couple hours, some takes months. It's a lot to keep track of. Now imagine trying to keep track of 50, 60, or even 100+ of those at any given time.

Those shitty attorneys don't. They miss settings, they fail to meet with clients and keep them informed, they don't meet with DA's to try and move cases along. The most prized attorneys are the one that are diligent about moving cases and helping a court keep its jail chain as low as possible.

Veyron, it's hard to fathom, but some people just not only suck as lawyers, they have no desire to get better. Since you mentioned a firm wih blue-chip clients, I'm assuming you're pretty driven to do well? Same with the guys that are successful at this. They stay on top of stuff, they talk to their clients, they keep the court coordinator informed about what's going on. All the little stuff on a day-to-day basis that makes them successful. It's hard for people that take pride in their work to fathom not doing that sort of thing, but sadly, a lot don't. It's even more sad that they end up in criminal work because there, you're not just talking about losing some money for a client, they could lose the rest of their life, their freedom.

I've seen guys so bad that the judge openly questions their competency on the record in court, or a guy who was on vacation when a trial was set and thought it would be OK to send a paralegal in his place.

But if you're good at it, there's decent money to be made, and the hours are a lot better than Biglaw. You won't be models and bottles, but you'll make a comfortable living, and you'll have way, way more fun at work. Criminal attorneys have the best stories, easily.

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Veyron
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Veyron » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:22 am

Anonymous User wrote:There's a lot of stuff to keep track of. You have a lot of clients, and you have to know generally at what point their cases are at. You have to set and re-set trial dates a lot, and work with DA's on getting a good rec. There's paperwork, but it's mostly the same old stuff. Suppression motions, motions to get your client mentally evaluated, plea agreements. But it's like everything else in law, there are deadlines and certain times you have to meet.

The organization part comes in mainly with remembering trial dates and appearances and remembering to visit guys in lockup. And the closer it gets to a trial date for a guy, the more work you have to do. Some stuff only takes a couple hours, some takes months. It's a lot to keep track of. Now imagine trying to keep track of 50, 60, or even 100+ of those at any given time.

Those shitty attorneys don't. They miss settings, they fail to meet with clients and keep them informed, they don't meet with DA's to try and move cases along. The most prized attorneys are the one that are diligent about moving cases and helping a court keep its jail chain as low as possible.

Veyron, it's hard to fathom, but some people just not only suck as lawyers, they have no desire to get better. Since you mentioned a firm wih blue-chip clients, I'm assuming you're pretty driven to do well? Same with the guys that are successful at this. They stay on top of stuff, they talk to their clients, they keep the court coordinator informed about what's going on. All the little stuff on a day-to-day basis that makes them successful. It's hard for people that take pride in their work to fathom not doing that sort of thing, but sadly, a lot don't. It's even more sad that they end up in criminal work because there, you're not just talking about losing some money for a client, they could lose the rest of their life, their freedom.

I've seen guys so bad that the judge openly questions their competency on the record in court, or a guy who was on vacation when a trial was set and thought it would be OK to send a paralegal in his place.

But if you're good at it, there's decent money to be made, and the hours are a lot better than Biglaw. You won't be models and bottles, but you'll make a comfortable living, and you'll have way, way more fun at work. Criminal attorneys have the best stories, easily.


Its definitely a field I'm interested in so I thank you for all of this very good information.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Going Solo

Postby gwuorbust » Mon Dec 12, 2011 3:51 am

Of my peers in law school there are only a handful I can honestly say I would want representing me if they were a solo lawyer. The others are good people and will probably be good lawyers, but I can't see them being timely, keeping track of my records AND coming up with good arguments while also juggling 10-20 other clients. The ability to multitask operates on a bell curve. Some people are really good, some are really terrible and most are just average. If you can't multitask like a mo'fo' you will almost assuredly fail at being a solo lawyer.

Part of the problem is that a lot of law students have the mentality that they are entitled to make a lot of money as a lawyer right away. This is fueled by BigLaw 160k pay and by the media portrayal of lawyers and their pay. But really, in what business area can you start a business and immediately begins making models and bottles pay? Zero. In my opinion, things should be hard at the beginning. It separates those who can hack it from those who can't.

mmribail
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Re: Going Solo

Postby mmribail » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:23 am

Perhaps I should have described my situation a little prior to posting. I am a Texas Tech Law Student. Yes, it is a tier 3, but I am prior service. The military gives me a full ride to any public law school here in Texas and Baylor is a private school (the only school I got into in the top 100). Anyway, JAG is my first choice, biglaw was my second (only because of the loans I have which is about 70K when it is all said and done). The biglaw boat is long gone. So, I need to look at the possibility of not being selected to JAG (I will be applying to all three branches).

I have a strong interest in probate and elder Guardianship law (incapacitated persons). I worked with a well known probate attorney this past summer that focused in that area. There is only about 4 attorneys total that focus on Guardianship law in El Paso. There is likely even less in other places in west Texas. Perhaps, I should have taken the 45k a year he offered me, because he was just so damn good at what he does. However, it may have been a little unfair to him if I got accepted to JAG so I declined the offer after this past summer.

Lastly, I get it; it is tough. But I absolutely do not want to work for biglaw my entire life. I want to work with real people. I do not need to make half a million a year. It would be nice, but not at the expense of making the law my entire life. And yes, I rather sue allstate then defend them. You do the best with what you got. If it is a 15k claim then maybe you don't get to hire a medical expert. But you still get to put out your side of the argument. And you can always to the plaintiff up there at the very least. Remember the people that ultimately decide are real juries. That is what insurance companies are scared of. Tort reform is the natural result of this fear.

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Grizz
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Grizz » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:28 am

mmribail wrote:If it is a 15k claim then maybe you don't get to hire a medical expert.

LOL

Have fun with that. I can't think of a state that doesn't have some variation of FRE 702 brah

mmribail
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Re: Going Solo

Postby mmribail » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:55 am

Grizz wrote:
mmribail wrote:If it is a 15k claim then maybe you don't get to hire a medical expert.

LOL

Have fun with that. I can't think of a state that doesn't have some variation of FRE 702 brah


Yes, every state has expert testimony, but who said it is absolutely needed to prove up every case? I mean a medical examination is admissible in Guardianship cases when you want to prove a person is incapacitated. Having the doctor testify in that situation would not add anything really. They're areas of the law that you can still stake a claim to that don't have much competition depending on the area you live in.

However, I will bite. In a PI case where a person is injuried in a car wreck wouldn't a medical examination work just as well? A picture can say more then any expert witness can. Showing a picture of the plaintiff with multiple fractored bones would easily have an impact on any jury. And it is admissible as part of the damages element in a negligence claim.

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Notor
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Notor » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:52 am

Veyron wrote:I can vouch for the CM fees. However, I agree, it all sounds too good to be true - why isn't every freshly minted TTT grad doing this?

It's probably not as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of fields where you can make good money, but no one wants to touch because of difficulty/quality of life. Go to any Private Military Contractor's jobs page and you'll see literally hundreds of openings for positions that page elite $$$ for doing mundane stuff like truck driving or janitorial work because its all in Afghanistan. You could probably make six figures as a janitor as long as you were ok with potentially getting killed by the Taliban.

My cousin just spent 2 years in Afghanistan working as an accountant for the DoD, he made something like twice his usual salary plus bonuses or something insane. No one else from his office wanted to go.

auntjulia
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Re: Going Solo

Postby auntjulia » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:21 am

PushingButtons is clearly the alt of a poster who caused lots of waves a while back in this site, who was posting some hilarious and pretty fucking brilliant stuff, as far as internet forum writing goes. Yes, he is negative about the legal industry and its future but that sentiment is borne out by his experience, which is much real more much greater than that of the vast majority of posters. He's clearly a smart and capable dude, which is the part that scares me, as a future law student. A few turns of bad luck, it seems, is what got him to where he is.

So, Notor, you can question his motives all you want but take what the man says seriously. Between him and the anonymous poster there's a good bit of useful info in this thread.

So, PuttingButtons, glad to you have you back. Hope everything is going well for you and I'm looking forward to some more classic material.

Voodoo94
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Voodoo94 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:33 am

The biglaw boat is long gone. So, I need to look at the possibility of not being selected to JAG (I will be applying to all three branches).



Mmribail,

If you are looking for a "Plan B" for JAG, you need to take a good, hard look at the Presidential Managment Fellows Program (PMF).

With Veterans Preference, you have a better than even shot of getting selected and it will open many doors, albeit " non legal" ones.

http://www.pmf.opm.gov
Last edited by Voodoo94 on Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

buttonpusher
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Re: Going Solo

Postby buttonpusher » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:57 am

However, I will bite. In a PI case where a person is injuried in a car wreck wouldn't a medical examination work just as well? A picture can say more then any expert witness can. Showing a picture of the plaintiff with multiple fractored bones would easily have an impact on any jury. And it is admissible as part of the damages element in a negligence claim.


But you can't cross-examine a picture or a medical report.

Look, I worked at one of the biggest PI mills in NYC for nearly 2 years. You CANNOT- and I repeat- CANNOT try any case for personal injury w/out putting a doctor on the stand.

In PI cases, part of the discovery process is having the client attend an IME (Insurance Medical Exam). The insurance company has doctors (usually board certified orthapaedic surgeons) who do a quick exam of the plaintiff, make them go thru range of motion tests, etc. Then they write a report saying there is nothing wrong with the client and he has not suffered any premanent injury and is "faking" his pain. These docs are on retainer to the carrier and will appear at trial and are VERY, VERY slick. How can you put on a case without a doctor when the insurance company will produce one for every single case?

For example, I was cross-X that insurance doctor in the case and asked if he'd ever heard of my plaintiff MD, whose credentials were exchanged before trial. He said 'No, but he must be a fantastic doctor, because when I examined the P I found her totally healed." Of course you move to strike the non-responsive portion of the question, but the jury has still heard it. These guys are as slick as it comes and very, very good at what they do (after all, they get paid a shitload of $$$ from the carriers and can't afford to lose such an easy cash cow).

The plaintiff doctors are just as slick, but the problem is you can't always "control" them like puppets the way the insurance company can. That's because often the P is treating thru Medicaid and the doctor is employed by like a state hospital or whatever, and as such is pretty much impartial. That's why in big $$$ cases you have to find a doc to treat P on a lien against settlement so that they have an "incentive" to testify on your behalf so they can get paid when the verdict comes in.

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Unitas
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Unitas » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:26 am

Veyron wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:There's a lot of stuff to keep track of. You have a lot of clients, and you have to know generally at what point their cases are at. You have to set and re-set trial dates a lot, and work with DA's on getting a good rec. There's paperwork, but it's mostly the same old stuff. Suppression motions, motions to get your client mentally evaluated, plea agreements. But it's like everything else in law, there are deadlines and certain times you have to meet.

The organization part comes in mainly with remembering trial dates and appearances and remembering to visit guys in lockup. And the closer it gets to a trial date for a guy, the more work you have to do. Some stuff only takes a couple hours, some takes months. It's a lot to keep track of. Now imagine trying to keep track of 50, 60, or even 100+ of those at any given time.

Those shitty attorneys don't. They miss settings, they fail to meet with clients and keep them informed, they don't meet with DA's to try and move cases along. The most prized attorneys are the one that are diligent about moving cases and helping a court keep its jail chain as low as possible.

Veyron, it's hard to fathom, but some people just not only suck as lawyers, they have no desire to get better. Since you mentioned a firm wih blue-chip clients, I'm assuming you're pretty driven to do well? Same with the guys that are successful at this. They stay on top of stuff, they talk to their clients, they keep the court coordinator informed about what's going on. All the little stuff on a day-to-day basis that makes them successful. It's hard for people that take pride in their work to fathom not doing that sort of thing, but sadly, a lot don't. It's even more sad that they end up in criminal work because there, you're not just talking about losing some money for a client, they could lose the rest of their life, their freedom.

I've seen guys so bad that the judge openly questions their competency on the record in court, or a guy who was on vacation when a trial was set and thought it would be OK to send a paralegal in his place.

But if you're good at it, there's decent money to be made, and the hours are a lot better than Biglaw. You won't be models and bottles, but you'll make a comfortable living, and you'll have way, way more fun at work. Criminal attorneys have the best stories, easily.


Its definitely a field I'm interested in so I thank you for all of this very good information.


I don't know if this has been mentioned but you also constantly get charged with ineffective assistance of counsel. Pretty much every case that involves significant jail time you have to defend everything you did. It's a very hard standard for prisoners to meet, the ineffective assistance of counsel, but I image it would get tiresome and would suspect malpractice insurance to be higher.

buttonpusher
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Re: Going Solo

Postby buttonpusher » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:53 am

Part of the problem is that a lot of law students have the mentality that they are entitled to make a lot of money as a lawyer right away.



Why shouldn't they feel this way, since even the TTTT lawschools feel "entitled" to charge over 40 K a year tuition? Bottom line is that a relatively high income is needed to service law school debt, yet such high incomes are only available in one place and one place only: Biglaw.

Also, the silence in response to the NY Times article I posted about the misery & very iffy prospect of court-appointed work is amazing. How can you guys stick your heads in the sand to such an extent?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/nyreg ... wanted=all


Bottom line is that if you truly believe getting court-appointed work will be "doable" and help you survive as a solo, you probably also believe in unicorns and Bigfoot. The lawyer in the article didn't even mention student loans, and from the photo appears to be about 50 yrs old. Yet you think that you'll be able to easily grab this work and make a go of it even with the severe handicap of loan payments on top of office overhead etc? Just to get appointed in NY requires 3 years of experience and letters from 3 judges who you've argued a substantive motion or trial in front of, as well as a letter from 3 other attorneys attesting to your competence and skills. Do you really believe in this terrible market that there's a "hole" here that needs filling with squads of newly licensed Biglaw/OCI strikeout victims?

What's esp. laughable is how convinced you all are that everyone already out of school and licensed, like the JDU crew, have never had any of the ideas you propose, such as getting court appointed work, etc. You assume that everyone who lays the cold truth on the line for you is a "loser" and that you will succeed where they failed because you have a "plan" and will "work hard." All the people who came before you and failed were obviously lazy, unmotivated slackers who never heard of court-appointed or asking other lawyers for referrals and so on.

Anonymous User
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:24 pm

Unitas wrote:I don't know if this has been mentioned but you also constantly get charged with ineffective assistance of counsel. Pretty much every case that involves significant jail time you have to defend everything you did. It's a very hard standard for prisoners to meet, the ineffective assistance of counsel, but I image it would get tiresome and would suspect malpractice insurance to be higher.


It happens a lot here, but most of the time it's a joke. The good attorneys will keep copies of their motions and notes, and it goes away in about 5 minutes. But man, did I pick the wrong career choice...I should have been a court-appointed psychiatrist. That guy sees everyone, because all the lawyers are covering their ass, and charges about $350 a pop. He's rolling in dough.

Anonymous User
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:27 pm

buttonpusher wrote:
Part of the problem is that a lot of law students have the mentality that they are entitled to make a lot of money as a lawyer right away.



Why shouldn't they feel this way, since even the TTTT lawschools feel "entitled" to charge over 40 K a year tuition? Bottom line is that a relatively high income is needed to service law school debt, yet such high incomes are only available in one place and one place only: Biglaw.

Also, the silence in response to the NY Times article I posted about the misery & very iffy prospect of court-appointed work is amazing. How can you guys stick your heads in the sand to such an extent?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/nyreg ... wanted=all


Bottom line is that if you truly believe getting court-appointed work will be "doable" and help you survive as a solo, you probably also believe in unicorns and Bigfoot. The lawyer in the article didn't even mention student loans, and from the photo appears to be about 50 yrs old. Yet you think that you'll be able to easily grab this work and make a go of it even with the severe handicap of loan payments on top of office overhead etc? Just to get appointed in NY requires 3 years of experience and letters from 3 judges who you've argued a substantive motion or trial in front of, as well as a letter from 3 other attorneys attesting to your competence and skills. Do you really believe in this terrible market that there's a "hole" here that needs filling with squads of newly licensed Biglaw/OCI strikeout victims?

What's esp. laughable is how convinced you all are that everyone already out of school and licensed, like the JDU crew, have never had any of the ideas you propose, such as getting court appointed work, etc. You assume that everyone who lays the cold truth on the line for you is a "loser" and that you will succeed where they failed because you have a "plan" and will "work hard." All the people who came before you and failed were obviously lazy, unmotivated slackers who never heard of court-appointed or asking other lawyers for referrals and so on.




What's even more laughable is that you assume every place operates the same. You're talking about NYC, one of the most desirable and expensive places to live in the world. Not every place works the same.

Further, yes, oooh, scary article...it's a newspaper that makes it money selling stories...ever consider they might just have framed the story in a way that's a wee bit dramatic so it garners some more attention?

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gwuorbust
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Re: Going Solo

Postby gwuorbust » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:09 pm

buttonpusher wrote:
Part of the problem is that a lot of law students have the mentality that they are entitled to make a lot of money as a lawyer right away.



Why shouldn't they feel this way, since even the TTTT lawschools feel "entitled" to charge over 40 K a year tuition? Bottom line is that a relatively high income is needed to service law school debt, yet such high incomes are only available in one place and one place only: Biglaw.

Also, the silence in response to the NY Times article I posted about the misery & very iffy prospect of court-appointed work is amazing. How can you guys stick your heads in the sand to such an extent?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/nyreg ... wanted=all


Bottom line is that if you truly believe getting court-appointed work will be "doable" and help you survive as a solo, you probably also believe in unicorns and Bigfoot. The lawyer in the article didn't even mention student loans, and from the photo appears to be about 50 yrs old. Yet you think that you'll be able to easily grab this work and make a go of it even with the severe handicap of loan payments on top of office overhead etc? Just to get appointed in NY requires 3 years of experience and letters from 3 judges who you've argued a substantive motion or trial in front of, as well as a letter from 3 other attorneys attesting to your competence and skills. Do you really believe in this terrible market that there's a "hole" here that needs filling with squads of newly licensed Biglaw/OCI strikeout victims?

What's esp. laughable is how convinced you all are that everyone already out of school and licensed, like the JDU crew, have never had any of the ideas you propose, such as getting court appointed work, etc. You assume that everyone who lays the cold truth on the line for you is a "loser" and that you will succeed where they failed because you have a "plan" and will "work hard." All the people who came before you and failed were obviously lazy, unmotivated slackers who never heard of court-appointed or asking other lawyers for referrals and so on.


I presume I will not be getting court appointed work. There are other options for getting clients, which I have discussed. I can survive on 20k/year. I have a part time job that can support my monthly bills. So anything extra I bring in if I were to go solo will basically be extra cash to increase my SOL. Thus I will be able to take on the clients I want. But thanks for trying.

Yeah, shit sucks for a lot of solos. But I am not them. It sucks if you don't have marketable skills, but that is your issue, not mine.

kams
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Joined: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:10 pm

Re: Going Solo

Postby kams » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:27 pm

gwuorbust wrote:
buttonpusher wrote:
Part of the problem is that a lot of law students have the mentality that they are entitled to make a lot of money as a lawyer right away.



Why shouldn't they feel this way, since even the TTTT lawschools feel "entitled" to charge over 40 K a year tuition? Bottom line is that a relatively high income is needed to service law school debt, yet such high incomes are only available in one place and one place only: Biglaw.

Also, the silence in response to the NY Times article I posted about the misery & very iffy prospect of court-appointed work is amazing. How can you guys stick your heads in the sand to such an extent?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/nyreg ... wanted=all


Bottom line is that if you truly believe getting court-appointed work will be "doable" and help you survive as a solo, you probably also believe in unicorns and Bigfoot. The lawyer in the article didn't even mention student loans, and from the photo appears to be about 50 yrs old. Yet you think that you'll be able to easily grab this work and make a go of it even with the severe handicap of loan payments on top of office overhead etc? Just to get appointed in NY requires 3 years of experience and letters from 3 judges who you've argued a substantive motion or trial in front of, as well as a letter from 3 other attorneys attesting to your competence and skills. Do you really believe in this terrible market that there's a "hole" here that needs filling with squads of newly licensed Biglaw/OCI strikeout victims?

What's esp. laughable is how convinced you all are that everyone already out of school and licensed, like the JDU crew, have never had any of the ideas you propose, such as getting court appointed work, etc. You assume that everyone who lays the cold truth on the line for you is a "loser" and that you will succeed where they failed because you have a "plan" and will "work hard." All the people who came before you and failed were obviously lazy, unmotivated slackers who never heard of court-appointed or asking other lawyers for referrals and so on.


I presume I will not be getting court appointed work. There are other options for getting clients, which I have discussed. I can survive on 20k/year. I have a part time job that can support my monthly bills. So anything extra I bring in if I were to go solo will basically be extra cash to increase my SOL. Thus I will be able to take on the clients I want. But thanks for trying.

Yeah, shit sucks for a lot of solos. But I am not them. It sucks if you don't have marketable skills, but that is your issue, not mine.


Just wondering, how are you planning on getting clients? Being a likeable person won't necessarily translate into getting clients. After all, there are tons of really likeable lawyers out there.

buttonpusher
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:56 am

Re: Going Solo

Postby buttonpusher » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:37 pm

Yeah, shit sucks for a lot of solos. But I am not them. It sucks if you don't have marketable skills, but that is your issue, not mine.


You sure aren't. You're a typical, run-of-the mill lawschool lemming who went to law school because you're a "great public speaker" and "like to argue." You fail to realize that "marketable skills" mean very little, since EVERY lawyer on paper has "marketable skills": namely, a license to practice law and get paid to handle people's legal problems. But not every lawyer has a 6 or 7 digit ad budget to obtain clients.

You utterly fail to take into account just how expensive marketing those alleged "skills" is going to be, and once more marketing said skills to a client(s) who has the ability to pay. Your putative business plan of charging hourly for work that rest of the market performs at flat rate, based on your "legendary" speaking skills, is so comical as to not even warrant a comment. You're like the dealers on ebay who set "Buy it Now" prices at 10 X retail and wonder why their items languish unsold.

Go ahead and check out the prices Google Adwords gets for most legal advertising. You'll quickly find that even shitlaw terms command among the highest prices in the entire Adwords marketplace, and the big mills tend to hang on to the top positions come hell or high water. Also call your local Yellow Pages and inquire about their rates.

Or do you plan on getting up on a soapbox in the town square and giving a "stemwinder" speech a few times a day and then having the clients flock to retain you based on your verbiage?

BeenDidThat
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Re: Going Solo

Postby BeenDidThat » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:40 pm

buttonpusher wrote:
Yeah, shit sucks for a lot of solos. But I am not them. It sucks if you don't have marketable skills, but that is your issue, not mine.


You sure aren't. You're a typical, run-of-the mill lawschool lemming who went to law school because you're a "great public speaker" and "like to argue." You fail to realize that "marketable skills" mean very little, since EVERY lawyer on paper has "marketable skills": namely, a license to practice law and get paid to handle people's legal problems. But not every lawyer has a 6 or 7 digit ad budget to obtain clients.

You utterly fail to take into account just how expensive marketing those alleged "skills" is going to be, and once more marketing said skills to a client(s) who has the ability to pay. Your putative business plan of charging hourly for work that rest of the market performs at flat rate, based on your "legendary" speaking skills, is so comical as to not even warrant a comment. You're like the dealers on ebay who set "Buy it Now" prices at 10 X retail and wonder why their items languish unsold.

Go ahead and check out the prices Google Adwords gets for most legal advertising. You'll quickly find that even shitlaw terms command among the highest prices in the entire Adwords marketplace, and the big mills tend to hang on to the top positions come hell or high water. Also call your local Yellow Pages and inquire about their rates.

Or do you plan on getting up on a soapbox in the town square and giving a "stemwinder" speech a few times a day and then having the clients flock to retain you based on your verbiage?


You don't know what you're talking about.

That's coming from someone who has many family members who are solo practitioners. Maybe when you're an asshole who spends his time trolling internet forums, you have difficulty drumming up business. But that is not, at all, surprising.

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Veyron
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Re: Going Solo

Postby Veyron » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:45 pm

Also, the silence in response to the NY Times article I posted about the misery & very iffy prospect of court-appointed work is amazing. How can you guys stick your heads in the sand to such an extent?:


Because most people don't want to work in New York, expectantly people who want to go solo. I can't imaginable handling the overhead of a solo practice for the first few years in New York fucking City let alone getting clients in such an over-saturated market. Talk about a worst case scenario.

Voodoo94
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Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:58 pm

Re: Going Solo

Postby Voodoo94 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:49 pm

You don't know what you're talking about.

That's coming from someone who has many family members who are solo practitioners. Maybe when you're an asshole who spends his time trolling internet forums, you have difficulty drumming up business. But that is not, at all, surprising.


The key question, is when did your many family members enter solo practice? Getting started as a solo in this economic environment is brutal. The market is flooded and potential middle/working class customers often don't have the money to spend anymore on what are essentially cut-and-paste legal "services". Factor in legalzoom and things like Suze Orman, and you are looking at a practice area that is rapidly shrinking. Go to a CLE or bar conference attended by general practice solos. The total available market share is shrinking while desperate grads and laid off lawyers are entering and competing for pieces of the shrinking overall pie.

In this and other forums, Buttonpusher has hit the proverbial nail on the head. Look at what a real estate closing is going for (if you can even get this work). I think a lawyer teaching at a CLE a few years ago said it best: In suburban NJ, a real estate closing would get a lawyer about $1,500 in 1985 (in 1985 dollars mind you). By 2007, the same lawyer would be lucky to get $850 closing for the buyer or $750 closing for the seller (in 2007 dollars!). Buttonpusher reports that desperation has driven the price point for lawyers that do closings even lower. A real estate closing is a lot of work and expense (e.g. filing and copies) for $800.

kams
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Re: Going Solo

Postby kams » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:54 pm

gwuorbust wrote:
buttonpusher wrote:
Part of the problem is that a lot of law students have the mentality that they are entitled to make a lot of money as a lawyer right away.



Why shouldn't they feel this way, since even the TTTT lawschools feel "entitled" to charge over 40 K a year tuition? Bottom line is that a relatively high income is needed to service law school debt, yet such high incomes are only available in one place and one place only: Biglaw.

Also, the silence in response to the NY Times article I posted about the misery & very iffy prospect of court-appointed work is amazing. How can you guys stick your heads in the sand to such an extent?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/nyreg ... wanted=all


Bottom line is that if you truly believe getting court-appointed work will be "doable" and help you survive as a solo, you probably also believe in unicorns and Bigfoot. The lawyer in the article didn't even mention student loans, and from the photo appears to be about 50 yrs old. Yet you think that you'll be able to easily grab this work and make a go of it even with the severe handicap of loan payments on top of office overhead etc? Just to get appointed in NY requires 3 years of experience and letters from 3 judges who you've argued a substantive motion or trial in front of, as well as a letter from 3 other attorneys attesting to your competence and skills. Do you really believe in this terrible market that there's a "hole" here that needs filling with squads of newly licensed Biglaw/OCI strikeout victims?

What's esp. laughable is how convinced you all are that everyone already out of school and licensed, like the JDU crew, have never had any of the ideas you propose, such as getting court appointed work, etc. You assume that everyone who lays the cold truth on the line for you is a "loser" and that you will succeed where they failed because you have a "plan" and will "work hard." All the people who came before you and failed were obviously lazy, unmotivated slackers who never heard of court-appointed or asking other lawyers for referrals and so on.


I presume I will not be getting court appointed work. There are other options for getting clients, which I have discussed. I can survive on 20k/year. I have a part time job that can support my monthly bills. So anything extra I bring in if I were to go solo will basically be extra cash to increase my SOL. Thus I will be able to take on the clients I want. But thanks for trying.

Yeah, shit sucks for a lot of solos. But I am not them. It sucks if you don't have marketable skills, but that is your issue,
not mine.


I have worked with several solo practitioners in an unsaturated market, who were each very likeable and marketable, and each one had to pay huge expenses for advertising, and even then it was so difficult to get clients in the door. Many of the phone calls were from people asking if we did free legal services. As soon as we said we didn't, we got hung up on. They were each raking in less than $40k a year. If going solo is your only resort because you've been dinged everywhere else, then go for it. But definitely don't pass up any other options. It's a pretty unappealing existence.

Also, being marketable and likeable may help in retaining clients. But it doesn't help in getting the initial client in the door, when there are SO MANY options for them to choose from.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Going Solo

Postby gwuorbust » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:05 pm

buttonpusher wrote:
Yeah, shit sucks for a lot of solos. But I am not them. It sucks if you don't have marketable skills, but that is your issue, not mine.


You sure aren't. You're a typical, run-of-the mill lawschool lemming who went to law school because you're a "great public speaker" and "like to argue." You fail to realize that "marketable skills" mean very little, since EVERY lawyer on paper has "marketable skills": namely, a license to practice law and get paid to handle people's legal problems. But not every lawyer has a 6 or 7 digit ad budget to obtain clients.

You utterly fail to take into account just how expensive marketing those alleged "skills" is going to be, and once more marketing said skills to a client(s) who has the ability to pay. Your putative business plan of charging hourly for work that rest of the market performs at flat rate, based on your "legendary" speaking skills, is so comical as to not even warrant a comment. You're like the dealers on ebay who set "Buy it Now" prices at 10 X retail and wonder why their items languish unsold.

Go ahead and check out the prices Google Adwords gets for most legal advertising. You'll quickly find that even shitlaw terms command among the highest prices in the entire Adwords marketplace, and the big mills tend to hang on to the top positions come hell or high water. Also call your local Yellow Pages and inquire about their rates.

Or do you plan on getting up on a soapbox in the town square and giving a "stemwinder" speech a few times a day and then having the clients flock to retain you based on your verbiage?


Please, for this sake of this online community's general intelligence level, STFU and GTFO.

Voodoo94
Posts: 66
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 11:58 pm

Re: Going Solo

Postby Voodoo94 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:12 pm

Please, for this sake of this online community's general intelligence level, STFU and GTFO.


Why are you so nasty?

You haven't made a single substantive rebuttal of anything that Buttonpusher has said. As someone who's followed this whole thread, I think you have some nerve telling him to "STFU" when he has made multiple posts of his own experiences. His posts, by the way, jive with just about everything I've heard about the state of solo and small law practice in 2011.

buttonpusher
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:56 am

Re: Going Solo

Postby buttonpusher » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:16 pm

The key question, is when did your many family members enter solo practice? Getting started as a solo in this economic environment is brutal. The market is flooded and potential middle/working class customers often don't have the money to spend anymore on what are essentially cut-and-paste legal "services". Factor in legalzoom and things like Suze Orman, and you are looking at a practice area that is rapidly shrinking. Go to a CLE or bar conference attended by general practice solos. The total available market share is shrinking while desperate grads and laid off lawyers are entering and competing for pieces of the shrinking overall pie.

In this and other forums, Buttonpusher has hit the proverbial nail on the head. Look at what a real estate closing is going for (if you can even get this work). I think a lawyer teaching at a CLE a few years ago said it best: In suburban NJ, a real estate closing would get a lawyer about $1,500 in 1985 (in 1985 dollars mind you). By 2007, the same lawyer would be lucky to get $850 closing for the buyer or $750 closing for the seller (in 2007 dollars!). Buttonpusher reports that desperation has driven the price point for lawyers that do closings even lower. A real estate closing is a lot of work and expense (e.g. filing and copies) for $800.



Exactly. Many solos in my town are down to charging like $500 for a seller and $650 for a buyer, flat fee. After the inevitable inspection problems pop up (bad wiring, lack of permits for certain remodeling projects, trouble getting a mortgage), and the cost of photocopying hundreds of pages of docs, all the phone calls from clients and realtor, and actually going to the closing, you're looking at very little $$$ per hour. And you're lucky in this market to get a handful of these a year.

Another example: My father was recently involved in a minor car accident while merging on to the NJ turnpike. Since it was a company car, he called police and obtained a police report for his company's file per their policy. The damage was so minor (a scratched bumper) that the company didn't even bother getting it fixed, since the car already had 60 K miles on it.

So a few days later, the mailbox at my dad's house began overflowing with lawyer solicitation letters asking if he wanted to file a personal injury claim, even though he of course had no injuries (it was a sub-5 mph accident). All told, the month after the accident he received 54 letters from attorneys trying to gin up a PI lawsuit. Many even enclosed refrigerator magnets, calendars, and other little "prizes" to try and lure you in.

That's the the reality of how difficult finding business truly is. These firms and solos are spending big $$$ to buy those car accident "leads" from DMV, mail out these letters, etc. It's brutal out there, kids.




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