Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

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ScurryRay

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Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby ScurryRay » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:26 pm

I graduated law school in December 2017 as part of an accelerated program with excellent grades and credentials. I'm struggling to find any meaningful work, though. Have been applying since December and have probably submitted 80 applications and have gotten maybe 5 interviews.

I am at the point now where I am considering my last resort/fallback option. Have been researching starting my own practice to try and pull in some minimal income to pay bills while I keep looking for other work.

My question is this - are there any types of work that a new, solo attorney could have a reasonable chance to get early on? I am thinking about stuff like criminal defense appointments (I know the pay is bad), document review, etc. Basically trying to figure out if there are enough types of work that are typically undesirable but which will pay money that I could use to keep myself afloat for a bit. Any other areas where consistent (albeit low paying) work can be found besides criminal defense appointments and document review?

Thanks for the help (as always).

Mobster1983

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby Mobster1983 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:08 pm

Simple wills and trusts are relatively easy to do. Start out with friends and family (although you probably can't charge them much). Friends could spread the word to people they know who need small things like this.

You can offer services for small criminal matters. It depends on the state, but where I am (a small state) you need to apply for the court-appointed list. Need a fair amount of experience before you are selected (although less for the misdemeanor list).

Real estate may be another thing to look into. Lots of people need real estate contracts drafted, especially if they are doing for sale by owner. They may be willing to pay an attorney a small fee to draft the contract rather than pay 2-3% to a realtor.

Just a few things that came immediately to mind. Getting started is the hard part. Once you get a few under your belt, word of mouth can bring in more clients. Your Bar Association may also have a solo practice group that could provide good advice and mentorship.

albanach

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby albanach » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:13 pm

Mobster1983 wrote:Just a few things that came immediately to mind. Getting started is the hard part. Once you get a few under your belt, word of mouth can bring in more clients. Your Bar Association may also have a solo practice group that could provide good advice and mentorship.


The bar association probably also has a lawyer referral service that might be helpful for getting small jobs.

Making sure you get paid will be important.

ScurryRay

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby ScurryRay » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:18 pm

Thank you both for the feedback and ideas.

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RCSOB657

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby RCSOB657 » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:38 pm

Silly question, but are you barred yet? I'm guessing you sat for the Feb 2018 bar? You should get more opportunities after you pass.

Welcome to the vale.

ScurryRay

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby ScurryRay » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:11 pm

RCSOB657 wrote:Silly question, but are you barred yet? I'm guessing you sat for the Feb 2018 bar? You should get more opportunities after you pass.

Welcome to the vale.


Not a silly question. I am not barred yet. I took the February 2018 NY bar and am waiting on results in a few weeks.

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:06 am

ScurryRay wrote:I graduated law school in December 2017 as part of an accelerated program with excellent grades and credentials. I'm struggling to find any meaningful work, though. Have been applying since December and have probably submitted 80 applications and have gotten maybe 5 interviews.

I am at the point now where I am considering my last resort/fallback option. Have been researching starting my own practice to try and pull in some minimal income to pay bills while I keep looking for other work.

My question is this - are there any types of work that a new, solo attorney could have a reasonable chance to get early on? I am thinking about stuff like criminal defense appointments (I know the pay is bad), document review, etc. Basically trying to figure out if there are enough types of work that are typically undesirable but which will pay money that I could use to keep myself afloat for a bit. Any other areas where consistent (albeit low paying) work can be found besides criminal defense appointments and document review?

Thanks for the help (as always).


First, congrats on being proactive! First step to success is not feeling sorry for yourself and doing nothing like the people in the Vale. If you ask most successful entrepreneurs I think they'll tell you how important a positive mindset, proactive is.

Someone mentioned small criminal matters in this thread. Doing criminal court appearances is a common way to create income . There are busy criminal defense attorneys that sometimes overload their schedule, and need other attorneys to fill in for them in court. If you do well for a firm, they'll use you more often, and maybe refer stuff out to you, and it's a good way to network. There are instances where some attorneys also get desperate if they can't find someone on short notice and will pay a large amount of money to solve this problem.

I've heard immigration law is a field that contracts work out a lot. They use solos for stuff like immigration hearing appearances. They tend to be a bit easier because you're going to fewer places, where if you cover for criminal law you may be driving around to many courthouses throughout the week.

Immigration law also contracts out visa processing. A lot of large tech companies hire many immigrants on work visas. They retain immigration law boutiques to do the paperwork on the hundreds of H1-B visas. These immigration law firms will typically hire staff attorneys/contract attorneys to do these. They may hire solos too if there's too much work. The advantage to this is it's a good way to get into those firms.

Government and tech companies will have jobs with titles like "contract analysis." For tech companies, the description and the work is very varied and are often on a contract basis so you might not need to be exclusive. The perks are usually superb though, free food, top notch office space, free gym etc.

ScurryRay

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby ScurryRay » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:09 pm

Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply.

Lawworld19

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby Lawworld19 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:31 pm

My friend had to hang a shingle. Is not doing great, but is getting by. Does criminal work, Wills/Trusts/Estates. His most steady work though has been unemployment, SSI/SSDI. SSI/SSDI you do not get paid upfront though. You get paid off the back pay owed (up to 25-33% can't remember). If you are in a low income area it isn't too hard of a sell to sign up the whole town on welfare.... :wink:

Civilservant

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby Civilservant » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:42 pm

In my salad days, I did crim defense, residential real estate (quit claims and closings), very simple uncontested divorce, and some administrative hearings. I took in basically anything that wasn't too technical. I'm assuming you are in NYC. Hang around 100 Centre, make small talk with the other guys waiting around for appearances, and make some friends. A lot of the old timers are super friendly. Don't be afraid to make mistakes.

minnbills

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby minnbills » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:44 pm

represent debtors in chapter 7 cases. They are quick - usually go for 1-3 months - and don't require a whole lot of work. Going rate is 2-5k flat fee per representation. The substance is easy to learn too. If you come across anything complicated you can refer it out to a bigger shop.

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RCSOB657

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby RCSOB657 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:29 pm

minnbills wrote:represent debtors in chapter 7 cases. They are quick - usually go for 1-3 months - and don't require a whole lot of work. Going rate is 2-5k flat fee per representation. The substance is easy to learn too. If you come across anything complicated you can refer it out to a bigger shop.


Think I paid less than 1 for mine back in 09.

ScurryRay

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby ScurryRay » Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:17 pm

Good stuff here. Thanks for the food for thought.

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Re: Any types of consistent work for new practice just to pay bills?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:46 pm

I'd also like to add that document review isn't low paying at all for what it is. It gets panned online a lot on internet forums, which is hilarious because it's the ultimate JD privileged job. So it gets panned by a lot of K-JDs that overrated their own value.

You sit there all day comfortably indoors, click "yes or no", listen to podcasts/music all day, and get paid $30+ an hour for this. You don't have to deal with customers, clients, strangers. You don't have to attend many meetings, speak on the phone, have long interactions with co-workers. Without the JD or if this wasn't considered legal work, it'd realistically pay $10-15 an hour.

I know document reviewers that make $80,000~ base with full health/dental insurance, some make more. They work maybe 45 hours a week. It's such a low pressure job. If they were to do similar type of work but it was non-legal, they'd be lucky to make $40,000 total comp, and they'd have a lot more competition for the job.

If you can get into a document review position that allows you to take your own legal work on the side and is flexible with your schedule, it's one of the easiest paychecks you're going to get in life.



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