Sole practitioner salary

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Geon
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Geon » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:11 am

Kronk wrote:
Geon wrote:-Yes I am an idiot that is why I want to go to a t-14 law school in the US.
-not in law school
-Yes because anyone who is in court must be an alcoholic or dead beat as opposed to a victim of a crime or unscrupulous business fraud


Getting into a T-14 is chump change. Wanting to get into a T-14 is even chumper change. Being a victim of business fraud is chump pennies. Representing yourself is different than representing other people, unless you want to charge yourself with malpractice.

O and where did u go to, u of cooley :D

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:23 am

Geon wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Out of curoisty. In Canada , poor people are given legal aid certificates if they cannot pay for a lawyer. These certificates are basically used at any lawyer's office and if the lawyer accept the client he can cash in the certificate for money. Does US have a similar system or is it something different?


Indignant clients are either assigned a public defender or the court will allow a private attorney to pick up the case for a court awarded fee. Depends on the jurisdiction or the caseload of the PD's office. If you don't like the lawyer you are initially assigned you can typically get assigned another. This only applies to criminal cases. There is no national right to a lawyer in civil cases although some jurisdictions do provide the poor with lawyers to handle some types of civil disputes.


No I was just wondering because a lawyer in Canada can still make decent money from taking legal aid clients. You won't get rich after all your expenses, but if you have the criminal clients you can make good $. Just wondering if America has this. What jurisidiction do not have a public defender and assign you a private lawyer for a court awarded fee, where can I find more info on the states that do it?


There's no way I could give you a comprehensive answer to this question cities/counties each handle things in their own way. I think people from other countries sometimes have problems getting their heads around the very de-centralized nature of the legal system in the United States - it makes us something of an oddity (although we wouldn't have it any other way!) Compensation also varies by jurisdiction. Where I live the court fees are pretty reasonable. I hear in NYC, lawyers who accept court awarded fees struggle to make ends meet (and that the city may do away with that program entirely and switch to full reliance on PD's). However, generally in order to take court appointed work you have to get on the list. That's difficult to do for the more serious and higher paying crimes until you have some experience.

Edit: Basically if you wanted to find out how X place dealt with the indignant you would first have to separately determine how its municipal courts handle paying for indignant representation, how its county courts handle it, and how its state appeals courts handle it. You could probably call and ask each one. Of course, in some cases there is a uniform procedure for the city/county and D.C., for instance, has the same procedures throughout its court system. Especially in criminal law, its best to think of the United States as 50 countries (made up of provinces and municipalities) + various semi-autonomous regions + an overarching federal government all of which play by a few of the same basic rules but otherwise do things their own way in their particular areas of authority.
Last edited by Veyron on Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Kronk
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Kronk » Sun Apr 08, 2012 4:37 am

Geon wrote:
Kronk wrote:
Geon wrote:-Yes I am an idiot that is why I want to go to a t-14 law school in the US.
-not in law school
-Yes because anyone who is in court must be an alcoholic or dead beat as opposed to a victim of a crime or unscrupulous business fraud


Getting into a T-14 is chump change. Wanting to get into a T-14 is even chumper change. Being a victim of business fraud is chump pennies. Representing yourself is different than representing other people, unless you want to charge yourself with malpractice.

O and where did u go to, u of cooley :D


u of cooley undergrad, brown for law school

Geon
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Geon » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:06 am

Veyron wrote:
Geon wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Out of curoisty. In Canada , poor people are given legal aid certificates if they cannot pay for a lawyer. These certificates are basically used at any lawyer's office and if the lawyer accept the client he can cash in the certificate for money. Does US have a similar system or is it something different?


Indignant clients are either assigned a public defender or the court will allow a private attorney to pick up the case for a court awarded fee. Depends on the jurisdiction or the caseload of the PD's office. If you don't like the lawyer you are initially assigned you can typically get assigned another. This only applies to criminal cases. There is no national right to a lawyer in civil cases although some jurisdictions do provide the poor with lawyers to handle some types of civil disputes.


No I was just wondering because a lawyer in Canada can still make decent money from taking legal aid clients. You won't get rich after all your expenses, but if you have the criminal clients you can make good $. Just wondering if America has this. What jurisidiction do not have a public defender and assign you a private lawyer for a court awarded fee, where can I find more info on the states that do it?


There's no way I could give you a comprehensive answer to this question cities/counties each handle things in their own way. I think people from other countries sometimes have problems getting their heads around the very de-centralized nature of the legal system in the United States - it makes us something of an oddity (although we wouldn't have it any other way!) Compensation also varies by jurisdiction. Where I live the court fees are pretty reasonable. I hear in NYC, lawyers who accept court awarded fees struggle to make ends meet (and that the city may do away with that program entirely and switch to full reliance on PD's). However, generally in order to take court appointed work you have to get on the list. That's difficult to do for the more serious and higher paying crimes until you have some experience.

Edit: Basically if you wanted to find out how X place dealt with the indignant you would first have to separately determine how its municipal courts handle paying for indignant representation, how its county courts handle it, and how its state appeals courts handle it. You could probably call and ask each one. Of course, in some cases there is a uniform procedure for the city/county and D.C., for instance, has the same procedures throughout its court system. Especially in criminal law, its best to think of the United States as 50 countries (made up of provinces and municipalities) + various semi-autonomous regions + an overarching federal government all of which play by a few of the same basic rules but otherwise do things their own way in their particular areas of authority.


Ok, could you just show me like a link for one city showing what its called (prolly one you are already familar with that does judicare instead of PD) just so I can find the rest on my own.

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:47 am

Ok, could you just show me like a link for one city showing what its called (prolly one you are already familar with that does judicare instead of PD) just so I can find the rest on my own.


To my knowledge this information isn't readily available on the web for the jurisdictions I am familiar with. The absolute easiest way to find this out as I've previously stated is to call the municipal and state trial level courts in the jurisdiction you wish to practice and ask what their policies are. The phone number you want to look for is usually that of the clerk of the court. Sometimes picking up the phone will save you hours of research time in legal practice. Courts tend to be technologically backwards.

That being said, I did manage to find this link for L.A. County summarizing their policies:

When both the Alternate Public Defender and the Public Defender cannot represent a client because of a conflict of interest, the court then appoints a private attorney. Those attorneys, likewise, are not employees of the Public Defender's Office.


--LinkRemoved-- is-46331

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iShotFirst
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:00 pm

Veyron wrote:
Indignant clients are either assigned a public defender or the court will allow a private attorney to pick up the case for a court awarded fee. Depends on the jurisdiction or the caseload of the PD's office. If you don't like the lawyer you are initially assigned you can typically get assigned another. This only applies to criminal cases. There is no national right to a lawyer in civil cases although some jurisdictions do provide the poor with lawyers to handle some types of civil disputes.


Hehehe

Dead Parrot
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Dead Parrot » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:06 pm

Ok, could you just show me like a link for one city showing what its called (prolly one you are already familar with that does judicare instead of PD) just so I can find the rest on my own.[/quote]

Don't know if this helps but, I know in MD if the PD has a conflict, they will panel out their cases to private attorney(ies). They usually get $50/hour, but they can't bill more than 10 or so hours unless it is a major felony case like murder. Most of the attornies I know that take panel cases complain about how the state will argue over how many hours you actually worked on a case, and will take forever to pay you what you are owed.

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:09 pm

Dead Parrot wrote:Ok, could you just show me like a link for one city showing what its called (prolly one you are already familar with that does judicare instead of PD) just so I can find the rest on my own.


Don't know if this helps but, I know in MD if the PD has a conflict, they will panel out their cases to private attorney(ies). They usually get $50/hour, but they can't bill more than 10 or so hours unless it is a major felony case like murder. Most of the attornies I know that take panel cases complain about how the state will argue over how many hours you actually worked on a case, and will take forever to pay you what you are owed.[/quote]

Is that just state courts or also municipal courts?

Cinderella
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Cinderella » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:30 pm

I've never heard of a jurisdiction not having court appointed criminal defense attorneys. Even if there is a public defender's office and alternate public defenders, there will probably still be court appointed attorneys.

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:35 pm

Cinderella wrote:I've never heard of a jurisdiction not having court appointed criminal defense attorneys. Even if there is a public defender's office and alternate public defenders, there will probably still be court appointed attorneys.


NYC (or just Manhattan, I forget) is considering doing away with court appointed attorneys entirely. Can't imagine they'd be the only place in the country that has done so.

Cinderella
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Cinderella » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:51 pm

Veyron wrote:
Cinderella wrote:I've never heard of a jurisdiction not having court appointed criminal defense attorneys. Even if there is a public defender's office and alternate public defenders, there will probably still be court appointed attorneys.


NYC (or just Manhattan, I forget) is considering doing away with court appointed attorneys entirely. Can't imagine they'd be the only place in the country that has done so.


Not saying its not possible. Just that the vast majority of places have court appointed counsel, so there's not much point in trying to list every place that does.

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:54 pm

Cinderella wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Cinderella wrote:I've never heard of a jurisdiction not having court appointed criminal defense attorneys. Even if there is a public defender's office and alternate public defenders, there will probably still be court appointed attorneys.


NYC (or just Manhattan, I forget) is considering doing away with court appointed attorneys entirely. Can't imagine they'd be the only place in the country that has done so.


Not saying its not possible. Just that the vast majority of places have court appointed counsel, so there's not much point in trying to list every place that does.


Sure but the big distinction is when, how, and under what conditions a person gets access to court appointed counsel. In some places the vast majority of cases where the state picks up the check are handled by PD's, in others by private attorneys being paid by the court, and in yet others there is a balanced mix. Its sort of useless to lump the three together just because "technically" they all have provisions for private court appointed counsel. If I was a guy who wanted to make state appointed work a big part of my practice (as the originally questioner seems to be), I wouldn't work in NYC no matter what because, even though (as of now) they do sometimes use outside counsel, it is really, really hard to get any work from them because they heavily favor using government lawyers and go public whenever possible. What little work they do give out is distributed based on some seniority system which virtually guarantees the exclusion of new grads.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:21 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Geon wrote:
Desert Fox wrote:I want to know how going solo out of law isn't malpractice? There is no way you can be a competent lawyer with no experience. At the very tail end of 2L I'm hesitant to do pro se in a traffic court. Never mind charging someone.


REALLY, are you sure you are in law school? Maybe they haven't gotten to the practical part for you yet.
I have represented myself numerous times in court and won all of them, I have prosecuted my own case in superior court, so it makes me scratch my head when you make such a comment.

If you pass the bar you should be a competent lawyer.


There is no practical part. What school did you go to that had a practical part.

I don't even know how to plead a case in my own state court because my civ pro doesn't teach it. Isn't the bar pretty generic shit? Does studying for 2 months really qualify you to practice. Seems sketchy as fuck to me.


Fox you probably go to a T-14 where you would have to work really hard to get a practical education. Many lower tiered schools correctly figured out that providing a practical education was the best bet for their graduates. DU, Baylor, U of Tenn come to mind, but there are many others that focus on the practical side and while some (Baylor) actually require it. I don't go to one of those schools, but the practical side is here if I choose to take the courses that provide it. They are taught by adjuncts who actually know their shit, and the have clinics where you can focus on practical skills as a 2L and actually practice law when you are a 3L.

Just saying.

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Kronk
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Kronk » Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:23 pm

I didn't exactly read everything you guys said but A.) PDs are court-appointed attorneys, B.) they have to have alternative counsel option to be appointed by the court because indigent defendants obviously have the right to have an attorney and ethical rules prevent the PDs office from taking cases with conflicts, so there will always have to be private lawyers available.

A lot of law firms in Denver that I interviewed at did ADC (alternate defense counsel) as part of their pro bono hours.

Dead Parrot
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Dead Parrot » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:13 pm

Veyron wrote:
Dead Parrot wrote:Ok, could you just show me like a link for one city showing what its called (prolly one you are already familar with that does judicare instead of PD) just so I can find the rest on my own.


Don't know if this helps but, I know in MD if the PD has a conflict, they will panel out their cases to private attorney(ies). They usually get $50/hour, but they can't bill more than 10 or so hours unless it is a major felony case like murder. Most of the attornies I know that take panel cases complain about how the state will argue over how many hours you actually worked on a case, and will take forever to pay you what you are owed.


Is that just state courts or also municipal courts?[/quote]

Both. $50/hour no matter what you're handling. Only real difference is you might, and I stress might, be able to bill out more hours for a big felony if you kick, scream, and throw a huge fit.

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bjsesq
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby bjsesq » Sun Apr 08, 2012 6:20 pm

flcath wrote:Isn't there some kind of "trial advocacy" part coming up. I haven't taken it yet; I've always assumed that's the part where they tell you how to do lawyering.


lolno. Motions practice =/= trial ad.

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Julio_El_Chavo
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Julio_El_Chavo » Sun Apr 08, 2012 7:49 pm

Veyron wrote:Geon is a 0L ... from Canada.


Oh wow. Double ding.

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:32 pm

Dead Parrot wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Dead Parrot wrote:Ok, could you just show me like a link for one city showing what its called (prolly one you are already familar with that does judicare instead of PD) just so I can find the rest on my own.


Don't know if this helps but, I know in MD if the PD has a conflict, they will panel out their cases to private attorney(ies). They usually get $50/hour, but they can't bill more than 10 or so hours unless it is a major felony case like murder. Most of the attornies I know that take panel cases complain about how the state will argue over how many hours you actually worked on a case, and will take forever to pay you what you are owed.


Is that just state courts or also municipal courts?


Both. $50/hour no matter what you're handling. Only real difference is you might, and I stress might, be able to bill out more hours for a big felony if you kick, scream, and throw a huge fit.[/quote]

The fuck ... how do they get anyone to take the heavy shit like murder one with those low rates?

09042014
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby 09042014 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:35 pm

Veyron wrote:
Dead Parrot wrote:
Both. $50/hour no matter what you're handling. Only real difference is you might, and I stress might, be able to bill out more hours for a big felony if you kick, scream, and throw a huge fit.


The fuck ... how do they get anyone to take the heavy shit like murder one with those low rates?


Without huge support staff that is more than enough to survive off of. And the state will pay for sure. If you bill 2000 hours that is 100K in revenue.

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:02 pm

Desert Fox wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Dead Parrot wrote:
Both. $50/hour no matter what you're handling. Only real difference is you might, and I stress might, be able to bill out more hours for a big felony if you kick, scream, and throw a huge fit.


The fuck ... how do they get anyone to take the heavy shit like murder one with those low rates?


Without huge support staff that is more than enough to survive off of. And the state will pay for sure. If you bill 2000 hours that is 100K in revenue.


Yah, but murder 1 (non-cap) goes for a buck fifty - seventy five. Besides you need support staff to handle stuff like that. 2000 hours would also assume you work on little to nothing else that year which doesn't describe anyone's practice. Even murder 1 doesn't usually consume that many hours to try.

Dead Parrot
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Dead Parrot » Sun Apr 08, 2012 10:50 pm

Veyron wrote:
Dead Parrot wrote:
Veyron wrote:
Dead Parrot wrote:Both. $50/hour no matter what you're handling. Only real difference is you might, and I stress might, be able to bill out more hours for a big felony if you kick, scream, and throw a huge fit.


The fuck ... how do they get anyone to take the heavy shit like murder one with those low rates?



In this economy you don't have much choice if you're not getting paying clients. People have to eat.

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Veyron
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Veyron » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:00 pm

In this economy you don't have much choice if you're not getting paying clients. People have to eat.


Yes, but I'm surprised that they can even break even doing the most serious felonies at 50 an hour.

kams
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby kams » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:24 pm

I've worked for a couple solo practitioners and both made around $40k/year. Right out of law school, I think it would be naive to think that even working in a so-called rich neighborhood, a lawyer would be making decent bank. If you think that law school will teach you how to run your own solo law practice, then talk to us at the end of your 3rd year. While I'm sure it's not impossible, it will be extremely risky considering you'll need to learn how to adequately practice law while also trying to lure in randoms who have plenty of other solo practitioners to choose from.

If you have other options, I'd definitely look into those.

09042014
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby 09042014 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:48 pm

I think you'd do worse in a rich neighborhood. Rich people aren't stupid enough to pay a novice for legal issues.

Anonymous User
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Re: Sole practitioner salary

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:53 pm

As a guy who wants to go solo after a few years at a firm, here's why it's important to get at least a few years of experience first: Law school teaches you substantive law (and lots of bullshit theory) but doesn't help with the nuts and bolts.

Do you know what a return date is, and how to set them?
Do you know what interrogatories to ask, how to serve them, and how to respond when the other party jerks you around?
Do you know what types of service are required for each step in litigation?
Do you know how to notice a depo?
Do you know how to actually respond to and object to discovery from the other party?
Do you know all the deadlines for timely pleadings, motions, and responsive motions in your state court?

You can start learning a lot of this in school by interning or working, but I think it would take a couple of years, at a minimum, to really know how to do everything well enough to handle the entirety of a case.




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