I shall reply with advice to two of the kiddies here with "offers," if that's what you want to call these gigs lol:
Had another interview today. Small firm, plaintiff side, but in my desired specialty area. I asked him about hours, and he said 50 billable per week. I was a bit stunned, and I think I could have misheard him, because I actually said "how many hours per week would I be putting in?" Maybe he just misspoke and meant 50 hours total. Even Biglaw only requires you to put in 40 billables/week. 50 billables probably translates into at least 70 hours/week.
I also get the impression that this job will pay around 40K. It's in a very affordable city, but 40K for more billable hours than biglaw is horrendously shitty. He did talk about giving me a cut of any business I bring in, but said the caseload right away may not give me much time for that. At least I'll probably pay close to zero taxes since at least 25% of my income will be going to student loan interest alone. I've already decided I'm not doing IBR, no matter what I get. I'm just going to live like a college student until I get my debt to a manageable level. There's no way I want the albatross of my loans hanging around my neck for 30 years.
But these are the kind of jobs people should be prepared to look for graduating at median, writing on to a journal, and getting published, from a school ranked not too far below the T14 (and probably including the bottom half of the T14 as well), with really good prior work experience.
Hopefully, 0Ls are taking note. I hope that other job calls me back...
First, plaintiff's firms don't have "billable" hours. They work on contingency retainers: 1/3 of verdict or settlement, eat what you kill. His reference to "billable hours" is just a ploy to sound like he's running a "real" law firm, and probably to get you accustomed to long hours like your pals in Biglaw (albeit for 1/4 the pay). Kudos for at least warning the 0 L's that even getting an INTERVIEW at a boiler room like this is a huge accomplishment in this over-saturated, worthless, has-been sewer of an industry.
I'll also betcha anything this ambulance chaser prefaced the interview by saying "I don't handle garbage cases" or something to that effect. You'll learn the sad truth your first week there when Laneesha slips at the local Wal-Mart on snot, boogers, laundry detergent, semen, or some other "substance" on the floor and has a cervical sprain, and your boss races out the door with retainer in hand to sign her up before she leaves the walk-in clinic (where his ads/brochures are likely all over the waiting room and half the staff getting bribes from him to "refer" cases, wink wink).
Then he'll get back before the ink dries and have you cutting/pasting the complaint together, prolly call the process server that same night (or if he's really cheap he'll make you drive there and serve the manager yourself). LOL. A few months later when the security cam footage is produced in discovery and you see her trip over her own feet (after making sure no one was looking) you'll maybe settle that turd with wal-marts TPA in Bentonville for like 2500 bucks "nuisance value." Rinse, lather, and repeat, young barrister!
Next up, Mister 341 Hearing:
Hi. I'm the guy who talked about getting the 35k/yr offer from a solo bankruptcy guy. The negatives were the low pay, would have to drive alot, work 50-70 hr per week, and requiring a 2-year commitment. I just received a call from his secretary and he is officially offering me the job on Sunday. I spoke with one of my professors about it, and she thinks that it's a great opportunity to get experience. I spoke with my gf (and her business-savvy parents) and they think I should hold out for something better when bar results come out. I don't know what to do. Thoughts?
My advice to you would be this: do not do this if you cannot do this without signing an agreement re: the two-year commitment.
I have experience with older attorneys who seem similar to this one. From my perspective, the two-year commitment is a huge red flag. If he wants to retain his associates the right way, this should be done through kind treatment, bonuses, good benefits, etc. If he needs you to sign something to stick around - watch out.
Plus, two years is just long enough to get pigeonholed.
If he took a look at you, spoke with you, liked you and your resume enough to make an offer and even enough to want to force you to stick around for two years - someone else will too.
Unfortunately, ITE, someone will sign on with him because, yes, $35k is better than nothing. So if you have no other choice but to make this money and make it ASAP, and you can't hang on for another job six months down the road, then you do need to do what is economically best for you. Even if he ends up being an overbearing asshole or there are other negatives to the job that you didn't foresee, you should weigh that against not being able to make rent or eat.
And, really, if your gut says this job will be fine, except for the low pay/long hours combination, and this guy seems nice and like he will actually teach you things (disclaimer: attorneys that operate as or similar to solos do NOT have time to appropriately train, so you may have to teach yourself how to practice law if he's too busy for you) or be a decent mentor, or if you think you'll get some great experience - by all means. At the end of the two years, perhaps you could even go to clerk for a bankruptcy judge.
But if your gut says this is fishy, this guy could end up being a jerk, he could throw you under the bus or push ridiculous expectations onto you + you can hold out without a paycheck for a bit longer - skip it.
Just my two cents
Listen, I'm actually trying to be helpful here. All you're going to do is burn thru gas, tires, and timing belts running to 341 hearings. I strongly suggest you sit in on a couple of these ASAP. Each takes all of 3 minutes, you merely sit there whilst the trustee asked the broke deadbeat "client" "have you closed any bank accounts in the last 6 months, have you made any lump sum payments, did you receive gifts, etc." It is not in any way practicing law. Sounds like a Chapter 7 mill, where probably paralegals just churn out consumer petitions all day long, and your sole job is to cover them when they come up for 341 hearing. You could probably make more $$$ covering them for mymotioncalendar.com, which is a per diem website that emails me like 20,000 times a month asking me to cover them for 75 flat. They take forever to pay you and the few I did cover for them when I was slow I ended up having to file suit to get paid, but hey, if you cover like 10 a week it's more than the mill is offering, plus no chance of any office time.
As for going from covering 341 hearings to "clerking for a BK judge, all I have to say is ROTFL! And as for going on your own, the Ch 7 consumer BK market is saturated beyond belief- the big mills who spend 25 K a month on Google Adwords hog most all the business, and many are down to like 799 flat fee (out of which also comes the 300 filing fee), so its a low-dollar, high volume, super-shitlaw practice area that's already winding down since most brokedicks have already filed or fled the country.
Rather than "hold out for something better," everyone's best bet who missed Biglaw is to give up now, treat LS as a sunk cost, and simply move on.User has been banned for alting.