NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 13, 2012 9:50 pm

RM:

I'm 3L, top 40% at a NYC TT, journal e-board, 2 clinics, and I've been working at the same place (paid) for over a year. I just found from my boss that they're not hiring anyone until next year at the earliest. Thoughts on what my best course of action is? It seems like a little late in the game to be going for a new internship, but who the hell is going to hire me off the street at this point?

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:15 pm

Skiing today. Will jump back in here next week.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:47 am

Anonymous User wrote:RM:

I'm 3L, top 40% at a NYC TT, journal e-board, 2 clinics, and I've been working at the same place (paid) for over a year. I just found from my boss that they're not hiring anyone until next year at the earliest. Thoughts on what my best course of action is? It seems like a little late in the game to be going for a new internship, but who the hell is going to hire me off the street at this point?


That is a tough situation (and is absolutely one of the down sides about interning with a small firm while in LS). I would probably ride out the internship (assuming you are getting good work experience), and start focusing on searching for permanent placements after LS. What are your goals? What type of law do you hope to practice?

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NoleinNY
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby NoleinNY » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:50 pm

What kind of benefits does your firm pay for?

You said you were "a worker" and held non-stop legal jobs. Did you work the same one 1L Summer ->2L Fall ->2L Spring ->2L Summer -> 3L, or did you have multiple positions during LS?

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:16 pm

NoleinNY wrote:What kind of benefits does your firm pay for?

You said you were "a worker" and held non-stop legal jobs. Did you work the same one 1L Summer ->2L Fall ->2L Spring ->2L Summer -> 3L, or did you have multiple positions during LS?



My firm pays for medical with zero contribution to the policy from all employees. They also cover co-pays and the like. They also pay for technology expenses (laptop purchase, home laser printer, etc), and obviously client entertainment / parking/travel when necessary, etc.

I worked for the same firm my 1L summer, 2L summer, 3L during the year part time and worked for them after graduation as an attorney until I left to come to my current firm. I also worked at a small firm during my 1L and 2L years part-time, until the solo that owned the place retired (he was in his 70s). I also had an internship/legal assistant job part time in law school as well.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Grizz » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:20 pm

Didn't you used to do transactions? Or did you always do lit?

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:22 pm

Grizz wrote:Didn't you used to do transactions? Or did you always do lit?



Always litigation. I have some of my own personal clients that I represent as their general corporate attorney and I'll represent them on transactions. My firm also represents some of its clients in transactional work. But I'd say that since I graduated in 2008, transactional accounts for probably less than 5% of my practice.

And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Grizz » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:27 pm

What should I do to make writing 8 more pages of my note today less shitty?

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Grizz » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:29 pm

reasonable_man wrote:And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..

Could you tell us law school schmoes a story of a funny thing you did recently while drunk?

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:55 pm

Grizz wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..

Could you tell us law school schmoes a story of a funny thing you did recently while drunk?




Best story I have from the last few weeks (which should give hope to you as you toil through the final bits of your education). I took a client out and between the four of us spent $1,000 on drinks and some appetizer type food at a nice spot downtown. Ordered wine and scotch mostly. And then expensed every cent of it, as it was a "business function." Drinking on your own time and expensing it makes drinking that much more fun. Afterward, I went back to my office at about 7pm (took the client out for “lunch”)... Took a nice little nap and then went home around midnight. Clearly, I worked from home the next day. Nothing exciting, but certainly encouraging.

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:56 pm

Grizz wrote:What should I do to make writing 8 more pages of my note today less shitty?


Think of the amount of hours it took you and then think about the fact that someday, someone will pay you multiple hundreds of dollars per hour for you to write something for them...

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Grizz
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Grizz » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:57 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
Grizz wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..

Could you tell us law school schmoes a story of a funny thing you did recently while drunk?




Best story I have from the last few weeks (which should give hope to you as you toil through the final bits of your education). I took a client out and between the four of us spent $1,000 on drinks and some appetizer type food at a nice spot downtown. Ordered wine and scotch mostly. And then expensed every cent of it, as it was a "business function." Drinking on your own time and expensing it makes drinking that much more fun. Afterward, I went back to my office at about 7pm (took the client out for “lunch”)... Took a nice little nap and then went home around midnight. Clearly, I worked from home the next day. Nothing exciting, but certainly encouraging.

Noice. Glad that one can still be a rad bro and work at a respectable firm. And glad that practice can actually be fun.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:08 pm

Grizz wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
Grizz wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..

Could you tell us law school schmoes a story of a funny thing you did recently while drunk?




Best story I have from the last few weeks (which should give hope to you as you toil through the final bits of your education). I took a client out and between the four of us spent $1,000 on drinks and some appetizer type food at a nice spot downtown. Ordered wine and scotch mostly. And then expensed every cent of it, as it was a "business function." Drinking on your own time and expensing it makes drinking that much more fun. Afterward, I went back to my office at about 7pm (took the client out for “lunch”)... Took a nice little nap and then went home around midnight. Clearly, I worked from home the next day. Nothing exciting, but certainly encouraging.

Noice. Glad that one can still be a rad bro and work at a respectable firm. And glad that practice can actually be fun.


You will come to realize that Rad bros often excel in the profession. The occasional doucher makes his way into the partnership, but generally speaking, rad bros can obtain business, which is just as important as being a really good lawyer on so many levels. The truly great lawyer is a rad bro. He is liked by his clients, appreciated as an asset by his bosses and respected by his adversaries. He can bro out when need be and is serious as cancer when it is called for. He never does something douchie like denying reasonable requests for extensions and prefers in all cases to win on the merits with finality than to win temporarily on a technicality. He avoids boring his non-law friends with war stories from work. He is understated in his approach, knowing well that people will form their own opinions of him and that those opinions will be positive. He remembers where he came from and knows exactly where he is going. He loves the law, but he loves his life just as much.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby kalvano » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:15 pm

kalvano wrote:How much debt did you graduate with, and how has it affected your work?


Bump in case you missed it instead of don't want to answer it.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:23 pm

kalvano wrote:
kalvano wrote:How much debt did you graduate with, and how has it affected your work?


Bump in case you missed it instead of don't want to answer it.



My TTT was less pricey than some of the others, so I came out with about 100k in debt. Not great, but it hasn't impacted me greatly. If I REALLY wanted to live in Manhattan, it probably would kill me. But living outside the city in a nice area brooklyn or queens is doable with that debt load and income. I had an opportunity not too long ago to jump to a mid-sized firm that would have paid close to biglaw market. But I question my ability to make partner at a place like that and honestly, I like my lifestyle right now way too much to really consider it.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby NoleinNY » Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:59 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
Grizz wrote:Didn't you used to do transactions? Or did you always do lit?



Always litigation. I have some of my own personal clients that I represent as their general corporate attorney and I'll represent them on transactions. My firm also represents some of its clients in transactional work. But I'd say that since I graduated in 2008, transactional accounts for probably less than 5% of my practice.

And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..


Those personal clients, are they people you met/culled for business purposes or that you knew personally in some capacity? Mainly asking because I know a few people who are thinking of launching a company in a few years.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby cantabaout » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:07 pm

your resume does look impressive (so many law firm internships) despite your "TTT"

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:19 pm

NoleinNY wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
Grizz wrote:Didn't you used to do transactions? Or did you always do lit?



Always litigation. I have some of my own personal clients that I represent as their general corporate attorney and I'll represent them on transactions. My firm also represents some of its clients in transactional work. But I'd say that since I graduated in 2008, transactional accounts for probably less than 5% of my practice.

And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..


Those personal clients, are they people you met/culled for business purposes or that you knew personally in some capacity? Mainly asking because I know a few people who are thinking of launching a company in a few years.



I am in the process of developing a 1 large client through a personal connection. The rest are mostly small start ups that have approached me either through knowing me personally or by way of a close friend, etc. seeking legal advice and have since become regular clients. They are almost exclusively small and/or start ups, so they cannot afford to pay a ton, so I usually work out alternative arrangements in the hopes of developing a good client relation down the line (i.e. discounted billing, etc.). It seems to be working pretty well. One of the best parts about being at a small firm is the ability to go out and find smaller clients that larger firms would snub. If I were at my old firm, they would never allow me to "waste time" on such new ventures.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:20 pm

cantabaout wrote:your resume does look impressive (so many law firm internships) despite your "TTT"



Thank you. The TTT degree becomes less of a negative the further you get into your career (assuming you can get your first few big breaks and establish yourself as a real attorney). That is easier said than done and for every TTT grad that pulls it off; there are about 3 more that never do.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby NoleinNY » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:34 pm

reasonable_man wrote:
NoleinNY wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
Grizz wrote:Didn't you used to do transactions? Or did you always do lit?



Always litigation. I have some of my own personal clients that I represent as their general corporate attorney and I'll represent them on transactions. My firm also represents some of its clients in transactional work. But I'd say that since I graduated in 2008, transactional accounts for probably less than 5% of my practice.

And to respond to your earlier question - I bro out on the reg brah..


Those personal clients, are they people you met/culled for business purposes or that you knew personally in some capacity? Mainly asking because I know a few people who are thinking of launching a company in a few years.



I am in the process of developing a 1 large client through a personal connection. The rest are mostly small start ups that have approached me either through knowing me personally or by way of a close friend, etc. seeking legal advice and have since become regular clients. They are almost exclusively small and/or start ups, so they cannot afford to pay a ton, so I usually work out alternative arrangements in the hopes of developing a good client relation down the line (i.e. discounted billing, etc.). It seems to be working pretty well. One of the best parts about being at a small firm is the ability to go out and find smaller clients that larger firms would snub. If I were at my old firm, they would never allow me to "waste time" on such new ventures.


Gotcha. Thanks.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:56 pm

in your opinion, why is it that decent firms - large and small - are a lot more reluctant to take on interns - be they paid or unpaid (this is the experience of the unemployed people from my class)

why does it hurt to house a few interns who can perform legal research for you for free or a small sum of money? they can even work withi their own laptops?

on the other hand, those who get their foot in the door tend to end up getting full time positions in the end ...

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reasonable_man
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby reasonable_man » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:in your opinion, why is it that decent firms - large and small - are a lot more reluctant to take on interns - be they paid or unpaid (this is the experience of the unemployed people from my class)

why does it hurt to house a few interns who can perform legal research for you for free or a small sum of money? they can even work withi their own laptops?

on the other hand, those who get their foot in the door tend to end up getting full time positions in the end ...


Good question. From my perspective, “good” i.e. reputable firms with strong business are reluctant to take on interns en mass (or even any number greater than what they actually need), because the time it takes to supervise each intern is time that is not spent working for your clients (i.e. money not earned for the firm). I have in the past and do at the moment supervise paid interns. It takes a good deal of time to review their work and to double check what they have done for you. Not all interns are created equal. Finding an intern that can be completely trusted to perform research as thoroughly as you might do yourself is not easy. Each project that is assigned must be heavily reviewed and in many instances reworked. And that assumes that you have a good intern on your hands. A bad intern is even worse and the work product you get from that intern will often create more work than if you simply did the work yourself in the first place. A good firm does not need (nor will it tolerate), a few “so-so” interns. It wants a smaller number of super star interns.

Another consideration is that interns cost money. Any good firm will not take on unpaid interns. They just don’t do it. It’s wrong to have LS students doing work for you for free and then charging your client for that work. It might not be technically wrong, but it’s morally wrong and it’s downright scumbagish. Some low-end firms will do it, but as I said before, good firms insist on paying their interns. I’m always put off when I hear about a firm hiring unpaid interns and I know other lawyers feel the same way. We even pay college interns that get coffee and copy stuff. It’s a dick headed move not to pay them.

As far as hiring an intern as an attorney. If you have a great intern, you certainly want to hire them when they graduate. The problem is, when you are in a small firm, it’s entirely possible that you may want to hire an intern, but simply do not have the work to support such a hire. It is painful (for the firm and the intern – more painful for the intern I’m sure). A good firm is very up front about this sort of thing and is up front about it early on in the relationship. As a rule of thumb, if the firm has less than about 25 to 30 lawyers, you have to assume that there is a possibility that you might be Scalia-reborn and still not get offered a position for no reason other than firm economics. The smaller the firm, the more of an undertaking it is to hire a new attorney. If you do not have the hours to support the lawyer, you are setting yourself (and the intern) up for failure by hiring them.

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:32 pm

wow you certainly are impressive - such a long answer.

my friend did intern for a firm (not a shitty firm by any means) for free - but only for a month or so, and only a day per week - before they took him on as a law clerk. The for-free period was not a trial period either. I heard my friend just wanted to start working earlier to fill the resume gap. when he's working for free the attorneys kept reminding him 'oh I want to make sure you like this project...." "don't stay after 5pm."

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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby 005618502 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:00 pm

Your awesome for posting on here. Thank you

keg411
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Re: NYC Small firm lawyer taking questions for a few hours

Postby keg411 » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:07 pm

Hey RM, just want to say that I'm glad you are happy with your job. :)

My question doesn't really apply to my current situation, but I'm wondering how you went about getting your internships during the semester. Was it through school, online (i.e craigslist), connections, etc.?




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