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Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:16 pm
by Anonymous User
I figure I can be helpful for the vast majority of law school applicants, many of whom will never sniff a big firm or federal clerkship.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:23 pm
by 3|ink
What practice? BK? Insurance defense?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:26 pm
by Mr. T6
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.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:27 pm
by Mr. T6
3|ink wrote:What practice? BK? Insurance defense?


Personal injury and other contingency-fee based civil litigation.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:30 pm
by 3|ink
Edit: NM. What state?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:33 pm
by Mr. T6
3|ink wrote:Edit: NM. What state?


Providing this information comes closer to "outing" me, if I haven't already by posting with the wrong button. And it doesn't matter. This area of law is actually fairly consistent across states -- you can practice immigration, bankruptcy, and some employment law with a license from any state.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:34 pm
by deadpanic
What's the average day like? Are you normally working about a 40 hour work week?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:36 pm
by 3|ink
Well I'm going to guess just for shits and giggles. I'll bet you work for either Motley Rice or Baron & Budd.

Anyway, moving on to serious questions, how did you perform in law school? Were you at median? Above? Were you on a journal?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:38 pm
by Mr. T6
deadpanic wrote:What's the average day like? Are you normally working about a 40 hour work week?


40-50 hours is normal. I work from 9-7, usually, and a few hours on Saturday night or Sunday.

An average day can involve a variety of the following:

1) probably going to court (usually for a routine matter like a status, but often for evidentiary hearings, MTDs, and MSJs);
2) speaking with clients, adjusters, or defense counsel;
3) investigating a case by speaking with witnesses and then writing declarations;
4) writing correspondence like demand letters or letters to clients;
5) drafting motions, responses, and replies;
6) performing case intake, including researching causes of action and drafting complaints;
7) responding to and serving discovery;
and trial or arbitration prep, taking depositions.

It is a very hectic practice, with lots of sudden phone calls, deadlines, and issues.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:40 pm
by Mr. T6
3|ink wrote:Well I'm going to guess just for shits and giggles. I'll bet you work for either Motley Rice or Baron & Budd.

Anyway, moving on to serious questions, how did you perform in law school? Were you at median? Above? Were you on a journal?


Those are huge national plaintiff's-side firms that specialize in mass torts. That is the "biglaw" of PI, along with a few large ID firms like Wilson Elsner. I don't work for a firm that's nearly that big.

If you think $hitlaw is Motley Rice or Baron & Budd, you are sorely mistaken. 99% of PI lawyers don't sniff cases that big, which Motley Rice/B&B often file in federal court to be consolidated into MDLs.

I was a median student in law school. No journal.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:43 pm
by brotherdarkness
.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sat Aug 24, 2013 5:45 pm
by Mr. T6
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.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:31 am
by LeninLunchbox
Can I ask you a bit more about how you wound up in your job? So you're median a (T25?)...then what? You strike out at OCI, then were you just desperate for anything come 3L? Did you have any interest in the that area of the law before, even if that just means civil litigation in general? How did pick this firm? Did you apply like mad and this is what came through? Did you know someone at the firm through friends and family? Networking? Is the job at home or where you went to LS?

Reading through the above it sounds a snobby and I didn't mean to be. I just would like to know not how you didn't wind up a dreamjob X (which is a familiar story to most of us) but how and why you wound up at this firm doing PI in that market.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:13 am
by Anonymous User
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?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:44 am
by sublime
..

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:02 pm
by Mr. T6
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.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:05 pm
by Mr. T6
LeninLunchbox wrote:Can I ask you a bit more about how you wound up in your job? So you're median a (T25?)...then what? You strike out at OCI, then were you just desperate for anything come 3L? Did you have any interest in the that area of the law before, even if that just means civil litigation in general? How did pick this firm? Did you apply like mad and this is what came through? Did you know someone at the firm through friends and family? Networking? Is the job at home or where you went to LS?

Reading through the above it sounds a snobby and I didn't mean to be. I just would like to know not how you didn't wind up a dreamjob X (which is a familiar story to most of us) but how and why you wound up at this firm doing PI in that market.


No, I went to a T6. I did not strike out at OCI; I had a summer position that didn't pan out. As a 3L, I interned for a solo and thought I'd enjoy his line of work, so I applied to a lot of small firms. I did not pick this firm; it picked me. But I have had other offers since joining my firm that I've declined, like from an immigration firm. I have no interest in immigration, which some people love but which strikes me as kind of bland.

The job is where I went to LS. I am stuck here because of a SO.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:07 pm
by Mr. T6
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?


That is completely insane, and absolutely will get you disbarred and/or an unfair competition and tortuous interference with business suit. At least in my state, the bar takes this sort of behavior seriously.

My competition is fairly civil, but I am a small fish. If I grow bigger, the piranhas may start biting.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:12 pm
by Mr. T6
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 forgot to add that you are correct: many people flame out of law altogether. This is one of the better arguments for why TTTs are bad ideas for some applicants, as they end up with 200k of debt and a career path that isn't financially rewarding. Add the salary of a teacher to the stress of dealing with the state bar, CLEs, running a small business, competition, difficult cases, ornery clients and opposing counsel, et cetera, and you can see why the burn-out rate is so high.

A good friend of mine left the field to become an IT technician. He makes considerably more money doing that. I have more passion for law, so I've stayed.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:38 pm
by Anonymous User
How much of your practice involves: negotiation, logic, perception, and/or commmon sense?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:22 pm
by deadpanic
Regarding criminal defense, how much do they let you get involved in the process? Is it mainly learning on the job?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:31 pm
by Mr. T6
Anonymous User wrote:How much of your practice involves: negotiation, logic, perception, and/or commmon sense?


This question is a little vague, but a lot of it is common sense. You need to be good at screening clients and calling out b.s. when you see it. Some people will lie to you.

I don't really negotiate cases. General rule is special damages times three. Anything less or more and there has to be a reason.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:32 pm
by Mr. T6
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.

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:56 pm
by MoonDreamer
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?

Re: Real Life $hitLawyer Taking ?s

Posted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:59 pm
by manofjustice
How much money do you make (if you don't mind.)