Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:35 am

MoonDreamer wrote:
Mr. T6 wrote:
deadpanic wrote:Regarding criminal defense, how much do they let you get involved in the process? Is it mainly learning on the job?


I don't really do crim defense. I do civil litigation.

Most criminal defense lawyers are former PDs or DAs, so they learn their craft there. You won't be competitive in the private market unless you can point to these sort of qualifications.


can you go from PD/DA to civil private practice?


Sure, many PDs and DAs have very valuable trial experience, and they can learn civil.

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:36 am

manofjustice wrote:How much money do you make (if you don't mind.)


45k.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273385
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 26, 2013 3:58 pm

How many hours a week do you work? Do you consider yourself a good businessman? If not, then is that one of the major contributing salary factors? How do you differentiate yourself as an attorney? Do you market yourself (Google, print, etc.)?

NotMyRealName09
Posts: 1394
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 5:50 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby NotMyRealName09 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:26 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I worked for a succesful big city criminal defense attorney "x" whos business came from paying Google $20 a click. Attorney was on top of Google for over a year and then one day he wasn't. It was discovered that one of attorney x's Google competitors plastered attorney x's business info all over the comment sections on porn websites. When Google found out they ended their relationship with attorney x because they don't want to be associated with...
What's your competition like?


Wow, that's some good business sense right there....

Gorki
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Gorki » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:02 pm

Not sure if your still taking Qs, if so:

In your honest and real view, where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years? Just based on how things are going now. I would be happy to be in your place after graduation now and want to get a sense of your strategy/plan (if any) goin forward.

Thanks for doing this.

User avatar
Mroberts3
Posts: 300
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:10 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mroberts3 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:25 pm

Mr. T6 wrote:
sublime wrote:
Mr. T6 wrote:I guess it's not very helpful to applicants without more background: I graduated from a top school a few years ago. The economy was bad, so I joined a small plaintiff's side firm.

$hitlaw as a term is fairly broad and encompasses all sorts of small practices -- real estate, consumer bk (title 7 and 13), personal injury/insurance defense, criminal defense, et cetera. It is referred to by its derogatory name because it doesn't pay the salaries that attract many applicants to law. It's a very tough market and salaries are on par with teachers.


Why don't more people just say fuck it and become a teacher in that situation?


There's more salary potential, and $hitlaw can be a good gig if you like being a lawyer. Make no mistake: your legal work will have tangible effect on clients that you will get to personally know.


I think this last point is too often overlooked by people who are only focused on making $$$. Why not become a teacher? Maybe because you went to law school wanting to be a lawyer (shocker!). Not trying to pick on sublime, just observing that if the the hypothetical people he/she is referring to consider leaving law at the drop of a hat to make a little more money, then you probably have no business being a lawyer anyway (in that you will hate your life, not that you are unqualified).

I get that loans are a problem, but you will be unhappy with your life if you do not enjoy your work, regardless of how much you make.

User avatar
John Winger
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby John Winger » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:52 pm

Mr. T6 wrote:
brotherdarkness wrote:When did you graduate? Would you be willing to provide a salary range?


During the recession.

Yes, 40k to 60k entry level, and you can expect to go up by about 7.5k per year.

Of course, a huge part of $hitlaw is rainmaking, even as a first year associate. They are small businesses after all. I also get commission from cases I bring in.

I will go for a few hours, but leave questions and I'll respond this evening.


How many attorneys are approximately at your firm? Are there bonuses for settling more cases or winning bigger ones? Lastly, are you in court frequently?

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:How many hours a week do you work? Do you consider yourself a good businessman? If not, then is that one of the major contributing salary factors? How do you differentiate yourself as an attorney? Do you market yourself (Google, print, etc.)?


40-50.

Yes, business is everything. Small businesses need everyone to pitch in.

I do market myself, but as you can imagine, it is hard to bring in quality cases. And the big plaintiff's side firm tend to take the highest quality stuff, like mass torts, wrongful death, and consumer class actions. (Although I hear consumer class actions have been losing ground since Concepcion and the Roberts' court . . . .)

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:51 pm

John Winger wrote:
Mr. T6 wrote:
brotherdarkness wrote:When did you graduate? Would you be willing to provide a salary range?


During the recession.

Yes, 40k to 60k entry level, and you can expect to go up by about 7.5k per year.

Of course, a huge part of $hitlaw is rainmaking, even as a first year associate. They are small businesses after all. I also get commission from cases I bring in.

I will go for a few hours, but leave questions and I'll respond this evening.


How many attorneys are approximately at your firm? Are there bonuses for settling more cases or winning bigger ones? Lastly, are you in court frequently?


3-5 attorneys.

Yes, bonuses.

I am in court at least once a week -- often two or three times. As you'll learn, if you haven't already, being in court is not always trying a case before a jury. The vast majority of court appearances are pointless statuses, boring motions (e.g., to compel, protective orders, extensions), and CMCs. I do argue quite a few MTDs and MSJs, though.

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:53 pm

Gorki wrote:Not sure if your still taking Qs, if so:

In your honest and real view, where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years? Just based on how things are going now. I would be happy to be in your place after graduation now and want to get a sense of your strategy/plan (if any) goin forward.

Thanks for doing this.


I see myself in PI as a trial attorney. Hopefully, I can develop a reputation, settle/try a few good cases, and feel more financially secure.

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Mon Aug 26, 2013 10:57 pm

Mroberts3 wrote:
Mr. T6 wrote:
sublime wrote:
Mr. T6 wrote:I guess it's not very helpful to applicants without more background: I graduated from a top school a few years ago. The economy was bad, so I joined a small plaintiff's side firm.

$hitlaw as a term is fairly broad and encompasses all sorts of small practices -- real estate, consumer bk (title 7 and 13), personal injury/insurance defense, criminal defense, et cetera. It is referred to by its derogatory name because it doesn't pay the salaries that attract many applicants to law. It's a very tough market and salaries are on par with teachers.


Why don't more people just say fuck it and become a teacher in that situation?


There's more salary potential, and $hitlaw can be a good gig if you like being a lawyer. Make no mistake: your legal work will have tangible effect on clients that you will get to personally know.


I think this last point is too often overlooked by people who are only focused on making $$$. Why not become a teacher? Maybe because you went to law school wanting to be a lawyer (shocker!). Not trying to pick on sublime, just observing that if the the hypothetical people he/she is referring to consider leaving law at the drop of a hat to make a little more money, then you probably have no business being a lawyer anyway (in that you will hate your life, not that you are unqualified).

I get that loans are a problem, but you will be unhappy with your life if you do not enjoy your work, regardless of how much you make.


Right, some people enjoy this job. If you like logical argumentation, writing, investigation, and public speaking, then law could be a good fit.

That said, going to a bad school with 100k+ in loans is financially crippling, and not really necessary. You can desire to be a lawyer while making smart financial decisions.

User avatar
USAO-vet
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 6:52 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby USAO-vet » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:13 pm

How large is the city you live/practice in? The reason I ask is that I'd heard from some other PI attorneys that smaller markets can sometimes be more profitable, being that you may have less competition and a better chance at making a name for yourself.

Any desire to hang your own shingle yet?

How large is your share on cases you bring in?

Do you get a trail bonus when you take cases to verdict?

Thanks!

User avatar
ManoftheHour
Posts: 3402
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:03 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby ManoftheHour » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:38 pm

Mroberts3 wrote:
I think this last point is too often overlooked by people who are only focused on making $$$. Why not become a teacher? Maybe because you went to law school wanting to be a lawyer (shocker!). Not trying to pick on sublime, just observing that if the the hypothetical people he/she is referring to consider leaving law at the drop of a hat to make a little more money, then you probably have no business being a lawyer anyway (in that you will hate your life, not that you are unqualified).

I get that loans are a problem, but you will be unhappy with your life if you do not enjoy your work, regardless of how much you make.


180 post.

Wanting to become an attorney should be the ONLY reason to go to law school. That needs to be emphasized so much. If you want $$$, there are so many less risky, easier, and faster ways. It's amazing that kids smart enough to complete college are so clueless about that. Hell, don't even become a doctor or go to any professional school if $$$ is all you want.

Seriously, how do kids not know that accounting, finance, computer science, and engineering are hot careers? I knew that shit in high school.
Last edited by ManoftheHour on Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273385
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:40 pm

What were your career plans going into law school (U of Chicago right?)? Did they change? How? Why?

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:52 am

Anonymous User wrote:What were your career plans going into law school (U of Chicago right?)? Did they change? How? Why?


Career plans were nothing special. I wanted to do well academically, make LR, clerk, and then evaluate my options. They changed because of the economy and my okay, but not stellar, grades.

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:54 am

USAO-vet wrote:How large is the city you live/practice in? The reason I ask is that I'd heard from some other PI attorneys that smaller markets can sometimes be more profitable, being that you may have less competition and a better chance at making a name for yourself.

Any desire to hang your own shingle yet?

How large is your share on cases you bring in?

Do you get a trail bonus when you take cases to verdict?

Thanks!


Very large. I completely agree with the other PI attorneys. I would be doing much better in a smaller market.

No desire to hang shingle.

The share is 40%.

Not a trial bonus per se. It's good to have money come in, though.

User avatar
Mr. T6
Posts: 243
Joined: Thu May 14, 2009 7:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Mr. T6 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:59 am

ManoftheHour wrote:
Mroberts3 wrote:
I think this last point is too often overlooked by people who are only focused on making $$$. Why not become a teacher? Maybe because you went to law school wanting to be a lawyer (shocker!). Not trying to pick on sublime, just observing that if the the hypothetical people he/she is referring to consider leaving law at the drop of a hat to make a little more money, then you probably have no business being a lawyer anyway (in that you will hate your life, not that you are unqualified).

I get that loans are a problem, but you will be unhappy with your life if you do not enjoy your work, regardless of how much you make.


180 post.

Wanting to become an attorney should be the ONLY reason to go to law school. That needs to be emphasized so much. If you want $$$, there are so many less risky, easier, and faster ways. It's amazing that kids smart enough to complete college are so clueless about that. Hell, don't even become a doctor or go to any professional school if $$$ is all you want.

Seriously, how do kids not know that accounting, finance, computer science, and engineering are hot careers? I knew that shit in high school.


Right . . . but if you are going to a school that's not one of the best in the country, you should still minimize your debt. Don't assume that you can get a job out of some T2. Even my job is competitive. Do you know how many resumes cross our principal's desk?

That said, there are two ways to go to a bad law school and do well:

1) Know somebody. Smalllaw is all about connections. Nobody has time to train, much less sift through resumes.
2) Go to a more rural part of the country. Lawyers are needed in rural areas, not NYC, DC, Chicago, Houston.

dissonance1848
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:42 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby dissonance1848 » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:23 am

Seriously, how do kids not know that accounting, finance, computer science, and engineering are hot careers? I knew that shit in high school.


Right.... the above does not compute.

Accounting - Unless its Big 4, even with CPA, your prospective income ceiling is low (around 100k), and software means that demand will be declining steadily in the future.

Finance - Again, it depends on where you work. Unless its Bulge Bracket firms (Goldman, Citi, etc.), you will make well under 100k, and work 60-70 hours a week for it. Even if doing CFA, unless at a big IB, your income potential will be canceled out by high COL in NYC, SF, etc. Also, forget that automated software can be applied even more readily to finance than accounting in many instances (look for increased trimming of the workforce in the Financial sector, its not just computers trading with each other).

CS - Yeah, sorry, but not everyone works for Google, Apple, or Facebook. So slash that starting salary by like 20-30% from what you were imagining. Also, rampant ageism. Ready to be shown the door by your late 30s? And transitioning to tech consulting will not make up for lost income. Also, project management is risky, unless you were a superstar, which means you probably aren't getting the boot in the first place. Also, H1B Visas anyone? Oh right, Congress just greatly expanded them.......

Engineering - you are aware that according to the overly optimistic projections of the BLS and current engineering school enrollment data, that there will be a surplus of roughly 300-400k engineers by 2020, right?..... And we are not counting H1B Visas here either, which have been greatly expanded for engineering as well....

One example here; in biomedical engineering, there are currently around 4-5k grads a year. Number of projected positions available through 2010-2020? Oh wait, only around 10k..... woops!

The harsh truth of the matter is having an undergrad degree will pan out only if you get lucky with contingent circumstances akin to winning the power ball lottery (being in a position to go to HYSPM, relative has buddies in target firm/industry, etc.)

Hence, people do "stupid" things as you see it, and gun for professional school, because generally that is the only way for mortals to make bank.

User avatar
John Winger
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:28 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby John Winger » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:26 am

What's your firms main way of bringing in business and case referrals? Do you have to be active in the surrounding community trying to put your name out there? Is there any chance of growth at your firm to possibly a junior partnership or something along those lines?

Anonymous User
Posts: 273385
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:29 am

Since ok grades from a top school didn't guarantee you a job, what does? Is it bad not to make LR? Advice for T14 LS applicant please. Btw, thanks for this Q&A.

User avatar
deadpanic
Posts: 1169
Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:09 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby deadpanic » Tue Aug 27, 2013 12:58 pm

Mr. T6 wrote:2) Go to a more rural part of the country. Lawyers are needed in rural areas, not NYC, DC, Chicago, Houston.


Not to sidetrack this thread too much, but where are the jobs in the rural parts? From my experience, these smaller markets don't just hire random people not from there.

User avatar
ManoftheHour
Posts: 3402
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:03 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby ManoftheHour » Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:55 pm

dissonance1848 wrote:
Seriously, how do kids not know that accounting, finance, computer science, and engineering are hot careers? I knew that shit in high school.


Right.... the above does not compute.

Accounting - Unless its Big 4, even with CPA, your prospective income ceiling is low (around 100k), and software means that demand will be declining steadily in the future.

Finance - Again, it depends on where you work. Unless its Bulge Bracket firms (Goldman, Citi, etc.), you will make well under 100k, and work 60-70 hours a week for it. Even if doing CFA, unless at a big IB, your income potential will be canceled out by high COL in NYC, SF, etc. Also, forget that automated software can be applied even more readily to finance than accounting in many instances (look for increased trimming of the workforce in the Financial sector, its not just computers trading with each other).

CS - Yeah, sorry, but not everyone works for Google, Apple, or Facebook. So slash that starting salary by like 20-30% from what you were imagining. Also, rampant ageism. Ready to be shown the door by your late 30s? And transitioning to tech consulting will not make up for lost income. Also, project management is risky, unless you were a superstar, which means you probably aren't getting the boot in the first place. Also, H1B Visas anyone? Oh right, Congress just greatly expanded them.......

Engineering - you are aware that according to the overly optimistic projections of the BLS and current engineering school enrollment data, that there will be a surplus of roughly 300-400k engineers by 2020, right?..... And we are not counting H1B Visas here either, which have been greatly expanded for engineering as well....

One example here; in biomedical engineering, there are currently around 4-5k grads a year. Number of projected positions available through 2010-2020? Oh wait, only around 10k..... woops!

The harsh truth of the matter is having an undergrad degree will pan out only if you get lucky with contingent circumstances akin to winning the power ball lottery (being in a position to go to HYSPM, relative has buddies in target firm/industry, etc.)

Hence, people do "stupid" things as you see it, and gun for professional school, because generally that is the only way for mortals to make bank.


Not disagreeing with you because your points are solid. However, your argument hinges on what you mean by $$$. Why anyone needs more than 70k/yr is beyond my comprehension.

I have a few friends that graduated from not so great universities with engineering and accounting degrees. Not one of them are unemployed making less than 40k. One dude was on AP and he's raking in 60k right now. Tell me that's not better, faster, less risky than becoming an attorney, doctor, any other kind of long road professional field.

It's anecdotal, yes, but the odds are in favor of those who choose "useful" majors. Not saying they're guaranteed, but any one of those careers beats the hell out of law if all you are considering is the path to financial success. My main point was that you go into law primarily not to make money, but to practice law. Many souls could have been saved if this were the mainstream line of thinking.

ETA: The economy is shit and there's not sure way of financial stability. However, ANY of those mentioned above are a superior way (at least to law) if all you want to do is get money. If all I wanted was money, then I'd rather work a 45k/yr job as a teacher right out of UG than to take 100k+ in loans, 3 years of my life, for a shot at law.
Last edited by ManoftheHour on Tue Aug 27, 2013 7:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273385
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Aug 27, 2013 3:01 pm

deadpanic wrote:
Mr. T6 wrote:2) Go to a more rural part of the country. Lawyers are needed in rural areas, not NYC, DC, Chicago, Houston.


Not to sidetrack this thread too much, but where are the jobs in the rural parts? From my experience, these smaller markets don't just hire random people not from there.

Furthermore, rural markets already have established lawyers.

User avatar
los blancos
Posts: 7119
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:18 pm

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby los blancos » Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:54 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Since ok grades from a top school didn't guarantee you a job, what does? Is it bad not to make LR? Advice for T14 LS applicant please. Btw, thanks for this Q&A.


Anecdotally, being on a journal doesn't make or break. I wasn't on a journal at all (didn't even try) and the law school gamble pretty much worked out as well as it could have for me. There were apparently kids on LR at my school (one of MVPDNC) who were having trouble finding jobs.

But again, that's anecdotal.

User avatar
Tanicius
Posts: 2957
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:54 am

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Postby Tanicius » Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:01 am

Anonymous User wrote:
deadpanic wrote:
Mr. T6 wrote:2) Go to a more rural part of the country. Lawyers are needed in rural areas, not NYC, DC, Chicago, Houston.


Not to sidetrack this thread too much, but where are the jobs in the rural parts? From my experience, these smaller markets don't just hire random people not from there.

Furthermore, rural markets already have established lawyers.


Established, but not always skillful. Still, it's easier said than done to usurp the market niche of a 55-year-old incompetent asshole who is known around the entire town as the go-to guy for real estate, trusts, wills, DUIs and fender benders. Your face hasn't been on the back of the phone book for the last two decades.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.