Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

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Hikikomorist

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Hikikomorist » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:14 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:This is disturbing. Besides, the cast majority of lawyers, even at large law firms, aren't actually rich.


This. It will take the average biglaw associate 7 years to make 300k base and a whole lot of billable hours, stress, and missed vacation and family time.

That amount of money is made as a bonus by some 23 year old on Wall Street.

The only sure way to wealth is to become the captain of your own ship. Can't do this by being an employee (or having an employee mindset).

While living in an expensive city and paying down student loans.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Npret » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:17 am

Hikikomorist wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:This is disturbing. Besides, the cast majority of lawyers, even at large law firms, aren't actually rich.


This. It will take the average biglaw associate 7 years to make 300k base and a whole lot of billable hours, stress, and missed vacation and family time.

That amount of money is made as a bonus by some 23 year old on Wall Street.

The only sure way to wealth is to become the captain of your own ship. Can't do this by being an employee (or having an employee mindset).

While living in an expensive city and paying down student loans.

People forget that most lawyers work in small firms or solo practice even in New York. The whole mindset that lawyers get rich or that law is a path to wealth is vastly outdated, even if it was ever correct.

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OutCold

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby OutCold » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:26 am

I get how you might arrive at the conclusion that lawyers don't get wealthy if you live/work in Manhattan or maybe the Bay Area, but that is not a proxy for the rest of the country.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby 1styearlateral » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:41 am

nealric wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:The percentage of attorneys that are wealthy and megawealthy is very small. And I would be interested to see the numbers of those megawealthy attorneys that didn't come from money or already have money.

Anyone who says otherwise watches too much TV.


So much of this depends on your personal definition of wealthy and "mega wealthy. If "wealthy" means financially independent, most retired lawyers probably fit the definition. If "mega wealthy" means billionaire, keep in mind there's only about 2,000 billionaires in the entire world- many of whom come from dynasties of of one sort or another.

I don't define "wealthy" as being financially independent. I"m financially independent (despite student loans) and I am nowhere near what would qualify as wealthy.

It's all pretty relative.

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nealric

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby nealric » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:47 am

1styearlateral wrote:
nealric wrote:
1styearlateral wrote:The percentage of attorneys that are wealthy and megawealthy is very small. And I would be interested to see the numbers of those megawealthy attorneys that didn't come from money or already have money.

Anyone who says otherwise watches too much TV.


So much of this depends on your personal definition of wealthy and "mega wealthy. If "wealthy" means financially independent, most retired lawyers probably fit the definition. If "mega wealthy" means billionaire, keep in mind there's only about 2,000 billionaires in the entire world- many of whom come from dynasties of of one sort or another.

I don't define "wealthy" as being financially independent. I"m financially independent (despite student loans) and I am nowhere near what would qualify as wealthy.

It's all pretty relative.


For this purpose, "financially independent" means never having to work again if you don't want to (i.e. retire now). You are not financially independent.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby MKC » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:48 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Who cares? Law schools scam lawyers, lawyers scam corporations, and corporations, with the help of lawyers, scam everyone. Just be happy that the economy is structured in a way that moving commas counts as a "skill."


A class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers hinged entirely on a debate that has bitterly divided friends, families and foes: The dreaded — or totally necessary — Oxford comma, perhaps the most polarizing of punctuation marks.

What ensued in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and in a 29-page court decision handed down on Monday, was an exercise in high-stakes grammar pedantry that could cost a dairy company in Portland, Me., an estimated $10 million.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/us/o ... wsuit.html

Don't knock moving around commas.
Last edited by MKC on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nealric

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby nealric » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:51 am

MarkinKansasCity wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:Who cares? Law schools scam lawyers, lawyers scam corporations, and corporations, with the help of lawyers, scam everyone. Just be happy that the economy is structured in a way that moving commas counts as a "skill."


A class-action lawsuit about overtime pay for truck drivers hinged entirely on a debate that has bitterly divided friends, families and foes: The dreaded — or totally necessary — Oxford comma, perhaps the most polarizing of punctuation marks.

What ensued in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and in a 29-page court decision handed down on Monday, was an exercise in high-stakes grammar pedantry that could cost a dairy company in Portland, Me., an estimated $10 million.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/16/us/o ... wsuit.html

Don't knock moving around commas.


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los blancos

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby los blancos » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:18 am

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Clients believe that lawyers add value, and they pay for even some of the most deliberately inefficient things we do.


Nah. Most of the time it's CYA. Most biglaw partners aren't worth 1/3 of their billing rates.

Clients routinely throw money in the garbage.


Companies frequently pay millions and billions for the sole purpose of reducing risk. CYA *is* value. And to preempt the automation/changing business model discussion, it will be value until whenever clients decide that it isn't.


(Assumes clients have any meaningful idea what "risk" is)

And just lol @ "I hired a $1200/hr guy, don't blame me if shit hits the fan!" having *value*.


The fact that clients suffer from (a) principal/agent issues and (b) idiocy is not our problem. We sell, they buy. Sometimes it's legit, sometimes it's just milking a name.

Who cares? Law schools scam lawyers, lawyers scam corporations, and corporations, with the help of lawyers, scam everyone. Just be happy that the economy is structured in a way that moving commas counts as a "skill."


The q posed in the OP was basically "are [big]lawyers and law firms worth the gargantuan sums of $$$ that are spent on them," my answer was "lolno", and it sounds like you mostly agree.

Lawyers (generally) do not create wealth or anything of value. They're a necessary but overly expensive transaction cost. The overly expensive part is largely because clients are dumb.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Mullens » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:21 am

SemiReverseSplinter wrote:Anyone else have this sentiment? I'm curious if firms/partners you know practice this mentality. Obviously, most do not.

The insane billing, the bottom line, it all seems so backwards from how things are supposed to operate. Lawyers shouldn't be millionaires.

I don't even really have a specific question. Please don't take this as rants of a fading associate or a self-righteous blurb. I just want to know if people actually practice with this mindset.


Out of curiosity, why do you feel this way? Like what is the underlying justification that lawyers should not be rich? I understand that the billable hour is bad, but why generally should lawyers not be rich?

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Abbie Doobie » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:34 am

SemiReverseSplinter wrote:Anyone else have this sentiment? I'm curious if firms/partners you know practice this mentality. Obviously, most do not.

The insane billing, the bottom line, it all seems so backwards from how things are supposed to operate. Lawyers shouldn't be millionaires.

I don't even really have a specific question. Please don't take this as rants of a fading associate or a self-righteous blurb. I just want to know if people actually practice with this mindset.



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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:44 am

los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Clients believe that lawyers add value, and they pay for even some of the most deliberately inefficient things we do.


Nah. Most of the time it's CYA. Most biglaw partners aren't worth 1/3 of their billing rates.

Clients routinely throw money in the garbage.


Companies frequently pay millions and billions for the sole purpose of reducing risk. CYA *is* value. And to preempt the automation/changing business model discussion, it will be value until whenever clients decide that it isn't.


(Assumes clients have any meaningful idea what "risk" is)

And just lol @ "I hired a $1200/hr guy, don't blame me if shit hits the fan!" having *value*.


The fact that clients suffer from (a) principal/agent issues and (b) idiocy is not our problem. We sell, they buy. Sometimes it's legit, sometimes it's just milking a name.

Who cares? Law schools scam lawyers, lawyers scam corporations, and corporations, with the help of lawyers, scam everyone. Just be happy that the economy is structured in a way that moving commas counts as a "skill."


The q posed in the OP was basically "are [big]lawyers and law firms worth the gargantuan sums of $$$ that are spent on them," my answer was "lolno", and it sounds like you mostly agree.

Lawyers (generally) do not create wealth or anything of value. They're a necessary but overly expensive transaction cost. The overly expensive part is largely because clients are dumb.

Why don't clients realize this and stop paying so much? Companies (public and private) are always looking to cut corners to improve their earnings, so why do they continually let themselves get scammed?

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
los blancos wrote:
Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
Clients believe that lawyers add value, and they pay for even some of the most deliberately inefficient things we do.


Nah. Most of the time it's CYA. Most biglaw partners aren't worth 1/3 of their billing rates.

Clients routinely throw money in the garbage.


Companies frequently pay millions and billions for the sole purpose of reducing risk. CYA *is* value. And to preempt the automation/changing business model discussion, it will be value until whenever clients decide that it isn't.


(Assumes clients have any meaningful idea what "risk" is)

And just lol @ "I hired a $1200/hr guy, don't blame me if shit hits the fan!" having *value*.


The fact that clients suffer from (a) principal/agent issues and (b) idiocy is not our problem. We sell, they buy. Sometimes it's legit, sometimes it's just milking a name.

Who cares? Law schools scam lawyers, lawyers scam corporations, and corporations, with the help of lawyers, scam everyone. Just be happy that the economy is structured in a way that moving commas counts as a "skill."


The q posed in the OP was basically "are [big]lawyers and law firms worth the gargantuan sums of $$$ that are spent on them," my answer was "lolno", and it sounds like you mostly agree.

Lawyers (generally) do not create wealth or anything of value. They're a necessary but overly expensive transaction cost. The overly expensive part is largely because clients are dumb.

Why don't clients realize this and stop paying so much? Companies (public and private) are always looking to cut corners to improve their earnings, so why do they continually let themselves get scammed?


Biglaw client here: the short answer is that if there were a cheaper solution that was just as good, we would use it. But cutting cost can be a false economy. My company went with a cheap midlaw firm on a litigation issue once. Potential damages were high, but we thought our chances of losing were low. Guess what? We lost the case. Maybe a different firm would have done better, no way to know, but the savings really didn't look so hot afterwards. It's true that not every biglaw firm (or lawyer) justifies its fees, but it's my experience that the very best know they are the very best and charge accordingly.

Of course, most companies realize you don't always need the very best. And that's where the "second tier" firms run into trouble. There was a time when we had a single biglaw firm that advised on every single transaction of any size. Those days are gone. Now, there's a lot more done in house or by lower-cost providers for routine matters. Also, sometimes you just need manpower you can mobilize quickly and efficiently- that's going to be expensive no matter who you go with.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby JCougar » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:19 pm

Monochromatic Oeuvre wrote:
los blancos wrote:And just lol @ "I hired a $1200/hr guy, don't blame me if shit hits the fan!" having *value*.


The fact that clients suffer from (a) principal/agent issues and (b) idiocy is not our problem. We sell, they buy. Sometimes it's legit, sometimes it's just milking a name.

Who cares? Law schools scam lawyers, lawyers scam corporations, and corporations, with the help of lawyers, scam everyone. Just be happy that the economy is structured in a way that moving commas counts as a "skill."


This is sort of the conclusion I've come to as a plaintiffs lawyer. There's absolutely nobody in my area that does what I do, so I get my pick of cases, and I don't have to milk frivolous ones. So I'd like to think that I'm bringing legitimate cases for their justice value. But even the marginal ones, I don't really care, because most businesses make their money these days by scamming people, too. Do I have any qualms about suing AT&T? Hell no. Their business model is basically white collar crime. They started taking out these Facebook ads a few months ago, saying "what you see is what you get" regarding your bill, but basically 100% of people I know who use them for Internet have gotten repeatedly over-billed. The funny thing is that you can comment on the Facebook ads, and within an hour and a half, they are filled with about 500 comments about consumers who got fraudulently over-billed every single month.

I also have no qualms at all about suing hospitals. If they get to bill $25 for a Band-Aid and $15 for one Tylenol pill, and cause everyone's insurance rates to go up as a result, I get to extract capital from them and distribute it to the poor guilt-free. :)

The way I see it, lawyers (defense attorneys included) are just a private form of wealth redistribution. It's good, though, because it creates income for downtown landlords, jobs for secretaries and paralegals, creates income for the Post Office, and companies like Xerox and document shredding services, etc. But that's why I don't really hate defense attorneys, either. I'm fine with them submitting whatever frivolous motions they've talked their client into paying for. They gotta make their money, too.

I'd say at least 80% of who's going to eventually win or not is done by the plaintiff's attorney at the case screening stage (or at least should be). Paying crazy hourly rates to defend a case where you are definitely guilty no matter who represents you is on the client. So be it.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Bluem_11 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:50 pm

It would be nice if elementary teachers, nurses, social workers got 200,000+ a year while the evil lawyers billed 20 bucks an hour for that motion or research. The market however has dictated otherwise.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Tiago Splitter » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:23 pm

nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The only sure way to wealth is to become the captain of your own ship. Can't do this by being an employee (or having an employee mindset).


That's not a sure way to wealth either. Your business can fail. There is no sure way to wealth, period. However, the most reliable is probably the "millionaire next-door" strategy. Have a steady income, live below your means, invest. You won't ever be a zillionaire, but $5 million (2017 dollars) is very doable by the time you retire with a modestly successful legal career.

Actually according to this literally being the captain of your own ship may be the surest way to wealth.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:40 pm

FSK wrote:Private practice is overpayed, PI is underpayed, government is kinda mixed, and society as a whole incorrectly values the work we expend. #UBI

This guy gets it

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby TLSModBot » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:16 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The only sure way to wealth is to become the captain of your own ship. Can't do this by being an employee (or having an employee mindset).


That's not a sure way to wealth either. Your business can fail. There is no sure way to wealth, period. However, the most reliable is probably the "millionaire next-door" strategy. Have a steady income, live below your means, invest. You won't ever be a zillionaire, but $5 million (2017 dollars) is very doable by the time you retire with a modestly successful legal career.

Actually according to this literally being the captain of your own ship may be the surest way to wealth.

If my extreme doomsaying is right and Biglaw radically implodes on us, let's all just go do BigBoating

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Hikikomorist » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:16 pm

dixiecupdrinking wrote:
FSK wrote:Private practice is overpayed, PI is underpayed, government is kinda mixed, and society as a whole incorrectly values the work we expend. #UBI

This guy gets it

Sarcasm?

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:18 pm

Hikikomorist wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
Hikikomorist wrote:This is disturbing. Besides, the cast majority of lawyers, even at large law firms, aren't actually rich.


This. It will take the average biglaw associate 7 years to make 300k base and a whole lot of billable hours, stress, and missed vacation and family time.

That amount of money is made as a bonus by some 23 year old on Wall Street.

The only sure way to wealth is to become the captain of your own ship. Can't do this by being an employee (or having an employee mindset).

While living in an expensive city and paying down student loans.


I dunno tho, assuming you can stay in big law for 5 years or so and then go on to another lucrative position, I kind of like the gradual/guaranteed salary raises in biglaw versus the 23 year old who may be out of that job in 2 years. Also, I can't imagine there are more than a couple hundred 23 year olds making 300k bonuses in the entire country, so don't make it out to be standard or something. Assuming you are getting paid NYC biglaw market and have a situation that allows you to save and invest, over the course of 20 years (so lets say, by the time you are 45) if you plan accordingly and live smartly, you can definitely have 2m or more saved up, plus property, etc. Which, right, isn't like "go live on an island and never lift a finger again" money, but it's also more than probably 99% of Americans that age have, and more than 99.9% of people in the world have. Sure, it isn't 20m or 200m, but I think the returns are diminished at that point anyways. Once you have enough money so that you never have to worry about housing, food, health insurance, clothes, etc. again, and you can go on really nice vacations, give to charity, go out to really fancy meals and expensive shows and such, the rest is just "oh, i cant buy that yacht" or "oh, i can't buy that 30k rolex". Like, at that point, who really cares.

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grand inquisitor

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby grand inquisitor » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:21 pm

try picking a cheaper, less prestigious doctor when you are dying from a peculiar disease and you will understand why clients choose biglaw despite the cost

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby Abbie Doobie » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:30 pm

returning to the op, i'm pretty sure we've all been flamed since op hasn't responded itt

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nealric

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby nealric » Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:38 pm

Tiago Splitter wrote:
nealric wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:The only sure way to wealth is to become the captain of your own ship. Can't do this by being an employee (or having an employee mindset).


That's not a sure way to wealth either. Your business can fail. There is no sure way to wealth, period. However, the most reliable is probably the "millionaire next-door" strategy. Have a steady income, live below your means, invest. You won't ever be a zillionaire, but $5 million (2017 dollars) is very doable by the time you retire with a modestly successful legal career.

Actually according to this literally being the captain of your own ship may be the surest way to wealth.


Well, as long as you don't go down with it :lol:


Bluem_11 wrote: It would be nice if elementary teachers, nurses, social workers got 200,000+ a year while the evil lawyers billed 20 bucks an hour for that motion or research. The market however has dictated otherwise.


If that were the case, the "evil lawyers" would just go into teaching. As inane as some lawyering skills may seem, there's a supply and demand dynamic for certain types of it that greatly exceeds that of teachers.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:00 pm

Hikikomorist wrote:
dixiecupdrinking wrote:
FSK wrote:Private practice is overpayed, PI is underpayed, government is kinda mixed, and society as a whole incorrectly values the work we expend. #UBI

This guy gets it

Sarcasm?

No. There's no good value system that considers the work I do as a biglaw associate 4x as valuable as a public interest lawyer and yet I make 4x as much. I'll take it, but let's not pretend there's anything intrinsically correct about this arrangement.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby jingosaur » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:06 pm

Disappointed that we're on page 2 and this isn't a full blown UBI thread yet.

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Re: Lawyers aren't supposed to be rich

Postby favabeansoup » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:15 pm

This thread is pretty funny.

Lawyers absolutely can fall under the "supposed to be rich" category. "Rich" depends on where you are viewing it from. We get lumped in with doctors, higher level accountants, etc.

We are rich from the perspective of the middle/lower class. Most relatively successful lawyers will be able to comfortably afford a decent house and send a kid or two to school without drowning in debt, and retire comfortably without the need to work past 60-65. (sorry NYC costs too much there).

From the perspective of the people we work with most often, we aren't rich at all. When you are working with IB, executives, developers, whatever, people getting paid 5-10 million plus in one deal, people who could retire at 35, our salaries and fees are nothing. If people can put up with the fees IB charges for deals, they can put up with what Biglaw charges.

Please to god don't let this turn into another "Technology is changing and Biglaw will go out of business" thread.



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