Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

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Drake014
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby Drake014 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 12:45 am

flcath wrote:FWIW, I know some ppl in the shittiest of shitlaw practices . . . we're talking faces on bus stop benches, "Se habla Espanol", the works.

It actually looks kind of fun (hell, it looks fun as fuck compared to BL), but the skills that get you ahead are clearly not legal skills. Given the aspieness of the average student at a good law school, see generally Top-Law-Schools.com, most of them would be terrible at it.

But I do know some young dudes (literal TTTT grads of the past 5 years) who are making good at it.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

Its funny because its so true.

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JCFindley
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby JCFindley » Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:04 am

I will have to come back and read all this when I am not spent. I will gouge my eyes out with a spork if I am forced to settle for biglaw.

utlaw2007
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:44 pm

Actually, utlaw2007, $150K in Houston would seem quite high. Adjusted for cost of living, it might very well be better than a NYC associate salary. ...But then again, I don't know what NYC associates make after their $160K starting salaries. I do recall, however, Houston having a low cost of living.


This is the main reason why I wonder why top law school grads don't consider Texas. The big law firms down here, adjust for prestige and size, still pay market rate of what big law pays in LA or New York. The firms aren't as prestigious nation wide. We still have quite a quite a few international Texas based firms like Fulbright & Jaworski, Vinson & Elkins, or Baker Botts to name a few. But we also have a lot of Texas based firms that only practice in Texas and Louisiana and a few more out of state locations that pay 160k to start. That's why most UT Law grads don't leave the state of Texas. So our big law firms pay the same 160k to start as they do in LA or New York. Given that our cost of living is so dirt cheap, it's like you are living very large on that kind of salary down here in Texas.

You're right. 150k is a whole lotta money down here in Texas. Our economy is super strong. Oil & Gas is the backbone of it along with our medical industry, but there is so much additional business that feeds off of that. There is just lots of money to be had, especially in Houston and Dallas.

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fatduck
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby fatduck » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:46 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
Actually, utlaw2007, $150K in Houston would seem quite high. Adjusted for cost of living, it might very well be better than a NYC associate salary. ...But then again, I don't know what NYC associates make after their $160K starting salaries. I do recall, however, Houston having a low cost of living.


This is the main reason why I wonder why top law school grads don't consider Texas.

dat red state

utlaw2007
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:51 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
The only exception that I have seen to needing volume is a plaintiff lawyer's trial practice. It depends on the type of cases that you get. But a plaintiff's lawyer can make a huge amount of money off of one case. Sure, there are those lawyers that make 50 million dollars off of one case. I'm not referencing those guys.

Masry & Vititoe of Erin Brockovich fame, correct? ...an amazing person, by the way!


I'm mainly referring to our own UT Law alum Joe Jamail, the richest lawyer in the country. He's called "The King of Torts." He's worth 1.5 billion dollars. He won 333 million off of one case back in the 80's. At that time it was the largest payday in history for a lawyer. It was a tortious interference with a contract involving two oil companies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Jamail

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:06 pm

Any suggestions on HOW to successfully market? I'm guessing those are your trade secrets, huh?

(Also, would you spend money to hire a marketing expert?)


You also mentioned work smartly and wanted clarification on the issue.

The key to working smartly is marketing. You have to market, well. I can't disclose too much of my plan because it is a trade secret that I think is very valuable. What I can tell you is that you should shake hands with as many people as possible. But don't do it indiscriminately, shake hands with those who can pay you or who are more likely to need your services.

Ah, so this is where some genuine confusion has set in...I was under the impression from your earlier comments that rape and murder (or other serious felony) cases did NOT do as well as lesser crimes? Perhaps I'm misreading/misunderstanding?


I'm answering your questions in a random order. No particular reason. Murder cases take more work. But you make so much more money off of one, assuming you get someone who can pay. We're talking about as low as 20k to more than 75k. So you work more, but you get your money's worth usually.

The one problem with criminal law is that you have to have clients who can pay. I will say that some lawyers seem to get a whole lotta money from seemingly broke clients. Maybe it's an art. I don't know.

Texas lawyers must be able to shake down criminal clients a lot better. Or maybe because our cost of living is so cheap, clients have more disposable income to use towards keeping themselves out of jail at all costs.

Gotta go for now, I'll try to finish answering some more questions over the weekend.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby ksllaw » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:10 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:Then I spent the next 4 months brainstorming and crafting potential practice areas, marketing strategies, predicted revenue streams and their amounts depending on the practice area. I went hardcore from a business perspective. I was obsessed. That was all I thought about and I planned day and night. My strategy is to aggressively pursue extremely large cases. Some are larger than others. But you have to supplement those large cases with smaller ones that pay immediately, unless you have a client that can pay a decent sized retainer. It just depends on the client.

The doc review stuff kept me afloat. But I hated it with a passion. But it's a necessary evil when starting your own practice, especially a practice that relies on contingency fee cases that are large.


utlaw2007,

To be clear of your timeline, after law school you went into practice with someone else and did document review is that correct (did you do these two at the same time)? And then after x amount of time you opened your own small practice (while still doing doc review on the side to keep afloat)?

Just hoping to double-check, because I read quite a lot of your posts and the time frame for things possibly got jumbled up a bit, heh heh. :lol:

But, I think I see your overall strategy/plan:

STEP 1: You first got legal experience, while also paying the bills with doc review and working for someone else's firm.

STEP 2: Then, you opened your own practice.

STEP 3: You initially did three things at your practice: a.) focused on good marketing (which included going out and meeting lots of people); b.) aggressively targeted "big" cases (such as, catastrophic injuries) and tended to avoid "smaller" cases (like fender bender accidents), except for "slow" periods where you did not have any big cases, in which case you took the smaller ones to "fill in the gap" for business; and c.) you found partners at larger or more financially secure firms, who you could team up with for those "big" cases you were able to obtain, but lacked the resources to take to trial on your own.

STEP 4: Once your firm became financially successful, then you looked to become a "partner"/teammate for smaller firms - looking to help with their "big" cases (the same way you sought others' help when you were a smaller business - now just in reverse).

Is that about right? :mrgreen:

I was curious about one thing. Did you actually reject smaller cases during the period that you said you were aggressively pursuing bigger cases? I know that you still took on smaller cases from time to time, but did you ever have to explicitly and purposely turn someone down with a smaller case during that time?

Thanks!! This is, by the way, very interesting. :)
Last edited by ksllaw on Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ksllaw
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby ksllaw » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:16 pm

^^^continued from post above^^^

One other question I have, utlaw2007. And this is only if you don't mind sharing. :lol:

Were your student loans from law school near or above the $100K range? I was ruminating over your career path and wondering whether it would be feasible with the very common $100K debt that many law graduates have nowadays. (Although, I know cost of living in Houston is relatively low, as we discussed in that other thread "Huffington Post..." ...)

Thanks so much again!

lawschoolbarbie
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby lawschoolbarbie » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:47 pm

Hi. Just wanted to jump in here as another lawyer who is pro NON-big-law. (How about using the word "regular law"???? When did "Big Law" become the norm?)

I am very close to my sixth year of practice (since being sworn into my state' bar.. I clerked at a law firm during law school and worked there as a new associate over the second summer, before officially being sworn in, so I have an additional six months or so of "practice"). I worked at several different firms including a BigLaw firm and I didn't like any of them. I would say my experience was different because I live in a smaller city, not NYC or LA or anything like that, so the BigLaw firm was at a regional office and I would say the type of work I was assigned was quite good compared to what I read on this forum-- I got to go to court, write appellate briefs, etc. So I enjoyed the experience but didn't like the clients, nor most of the partners/political shenanigans involved with being an associate at a firm.

So I left, in January, and started my own practice and am much happier. Granted making money was not (any longer) important to me... I was pretty miserable and I decided I would rather try my hand at helping real people with real legal problems, than stay stuck working for huge corporations or insurance companies or state entities etc. (my clients and types of firms ran the gamut, but it was mostly defense work for the "big guy" and I wanted to be on the "little guy"'s side). I think what helped me leave (other than being miserable) was being okay with not making a lot of money for awhile... I had saved some money and was more concerned about my quality of life/career.

Well, the results have been surprising-- I am already set to make more than I was making at my last firm, and that includes fronting some plaintiff's cases and paying expenses (granted I keep my overhead low-- I have a small windowless office, but is downtown!, and I have a couple assistants I'm training, which was more important to me than a fancy office). I credit my so-far success with a few different things--

1. Networking/connections from prior firms: I jumped around to a couple different firms and although I never found my "home," I never left on a bad note, I have good relationships with my former bosses and colleagues, who refer me conflicted-out work or work that is too "small"/low-paying for them (but pays me quite well, considering I don't have the expenses that they do), and I even had some clients follow me (which I wasn't expecting). So I would say definitely work somewhere for awhile if possible (it also helps to work in the same city where you went to law school) so that you build up a reputation and a network circle within the legal community.

2. As UTLaw mentioned, networking in social circles helps-- I've had cases referred to me through friends and family, which surprised me, but then I realized I could actually accept and work on these smaller types of cases, now that I wasn't a slave to the partners' decisions at a firm. It would have really helped to have been born and raised where I went to law school, and have an extended family etc. here, but I don't; however I have made some lasting relationships/friendships and social groups that also come in handy for getting cases, and my signficant other is from here so I end up getting cases from his high school reunions (completely accidentally ha ha).

3. As UTLaw mentioned, it helps to have the ability to work for other people while starting off, especially if you are having to fund your own cases. One of the firms I worked at was small (a boutique litigation firm that had been formed by former members of BigLaw/TT grads), and it so happened that I'm able to do contract work (not document review, but research and writing briefs) for one of my former bosses from that firm, for which I am very grateful! I also do some contract work for a solo practitioner who has overflow work-- this can vary from covering court appearances for him to drafting pleadings or doing discovery etc... whatever he needs. This work balances out my client work although right now I'm super busy and am trying to concentrate on my own work over their work so that I can continue to build up my own practice rather than relying on other attorneys. (On the other hand, working for them gives me a steady paycheck and the ability to work from anywherea nd travel home to see my family etc... so sometimes I entertain the idea of just being a contract-rate lawyer for other lawyers... I go back and forth about it but in the meantime continue to get new clients of my own).

4. For me it's been very useful to learn other practice areas-- for instance I am doing some family law work and I had almost no prior experience. I am also doing some other new areas of law and the hard part about this is making sure I am doing everything right and representing the clients well... I do not accept clients who can't pay (well, I have plaintiff's/contingency fee cases but for my billable hour clients, I get a retainer up front and tell them if they can't pay I stop work-- so far they have all continued to pay, and when they don't, I will stop work... but luckily I have not had any problems with payment thus far). Anyway since they are paying me good money I really learn how to do their cases and wouldn't feel comfortable just winging it... I consult with other attorneys in those practice areas and if it seems way to hard to learn I refer it out but honestly it is not very hard to do most civil litigation cases since that's where my background is, and even though I'm new to family law, or probate, etc., they are not hard to learn when I actually apply myself and ask other people.

5. It kind of contradicts with number 4 but I also think it helps to find a specialty niche that differentiates you from other solo lawyers. Like UTLaw I do employment law (for employees and small business employers) which in my area is not a popular field. I find that lawyers with the same amount of experience as I have are either have little to no knowledge or experience with employment law (many of them have family law or criminal law practices-- either having hung out a shingle right away or working as prosecutors or public defenders first), or, if they are good at employment law then they are at firms, and therefore cannot represent the smaller employees or plaintiff's attorneys who come to me.

It has worked for me and quite well at that-- perhaps I am just lucky? I don't understand why BigLaw attorneys look down at attorneys in the real world who practice real law. I mean my cases have a lot of variety and excitement and I feel I'm actually helping people. Before I was just helping a rich dude fight with some other rich dude about who gets to keep the most amount of money, or claim that the other rich dude defrauded him when actually he probably defrauded the other guy too. Or I was helping some huge corporation claim they didn't violate any laws when it was pretty obvious that they did. I just wasn't into the work or the clients and I think that is an awful way to live no matter how much you get paid. (I honestly don't think $160k is that great of a salary for the hours one has to work and the stress and sometimes abuse that can be heaped onto an associate. Granted I didn't make $160k, but I made the equivalent in my city with a much lower COL, and it wasn't worth it. As another disclaimer, I don't have HUGE student loans because I decided to go to a law school that was ranked pretty well and has a good reputation but is very affordable. However, I had what I consider to be a good deal of student loan debt, but it still wasn't worth it to me to slave away like that (especially when the interest rate is so low. ;)) To me it came down to what I thought was a choice between personal happiness and job satisfaction or stable and good money and benefits (I know that is not an easy choice to make -- I am lucky that I don't have dependents), and I chose the former. So far it's looking like I get both! :) But I had to be willing to walk away from the allure of the money to really experience what life could be like on the other side.

As an aside I will add that I was laid off from a BigLaw firm at the height of the craziness... which I took as a huge personal blow. Just last month, however, the former firm, having heard that I left my last firm and started my own practice, offered me my job back, saying that the financial situation is looking up and I was always a valued associate and they were looking for the first opportunity to ask me back. ?! I was flabber-gasted and seriously considered going back just for the prestige and money. Then I splashed some water on my face and remembered that I didn't like working there and am much happier right now and am close to making the kind of money I made there, so, why mess with a good thing?!

After reading through this whole thread I am realizing that things probably work differently for firms, even "BigLaw firms" (aka regional offices) in the city where I live. If someone graduates from my law school with good grades and/or they are on Law Review, they will get hired by a local firm and will make decent money, and they might even get hired by one of the most prestigious firms or Biglaw satellite offices and make super good money. The opportunities seem better at big firms here than they do in big cities. Still, I don't think it's worth it and I personally think "sh!tlaw" or whatever you want to call it is the place to be. I hope I've helped encourage someone. I agree with UTLaw that if you have some good business/entrepreneurial sense, if you are smart and you work hard at both the law and business, then you will do fine as a solo practitioner!!!

utlaw2007
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:05 pm

ksllaw wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:Then I spent the next 4 months brainstorming and crafting potential practice areas, marketing strategies, predicted revenue streams and their amounts depending on the practice area. I went hardcore from a business perspective. I was obsessed. That was all I thought about and I planned day and night. My strategy is to aggressively pursue extremely large cases. Some are larger than others. But you have to supplement those large cases with smaller ones that pay immediately, unless you have a client that can pay a decent sized retainer. It just depends on the client.

The doc review stuff kept me afloat. But I hated it with a passion. But it's a necessary evil when starting your own practice, especially a practice that relies on contingency fee cases that are large.


utlaw2007,

To be clear of your timeline, after law school you went into practice with someone else and did document review is that correct (did you do these two at the same time)? And then after x amount of time you opened your own small practice (while still doing doc review on the side to keep afloat)?

Just hoping to double-check, because I read quite a lot of your posts and the time frame for things possibly got jumbled up a bit, heh heh. :lol:

But, I think I see your overall strategy/plan:

STEP 1: You first got legal experience, while also paying the bills with doc review and working for someone else's firm.

STEP 2: Then, you opened your own practice.

STEP 3: You initially did three things at your practice: a.) focused on good marketing (which included going out and meeting lots of people); b.) aggressively targeted "big" cases (such as, catastrophic injuries) and tended to avoid "smaller" cases (like fender bender accidents), except for "slow" periods where you did not have any big cases, in which case you took the smaller ones to "fill in the gap" for business; and c.) you found partners at larger or more financially secure firms, who you could team up with for those "big" cases you were able to obtain, but lacked the resources to take to trial on your own.

STEP 4: Once your firm became financially successful, then you looked to become a "partner"/teammate for smaller firms - looking to help with their "big" cases (the same way you sought others' help when you were a smaller business - now just in reverse).

Is that about right? :mrgreen:

I was curious about one thing. Did you actually reject smaller cases during the period that you said you were aggressively pursuing bigger cases? I know that you still took on smaller cases from time to time, but did you ever have to explicitly and purposely turn someone down with a smaller case during that time?

Thanks!! This is, by the way, very interesting. :)


I'd first like to say thank you to lawschoolbarbie for chiming in with her perspective. Hopefully, that will help someone.

As for my timeline, I was seriously ill for three years after I graduated law school. Once I became well enough to work, I worked for my best friends step dad for about 6 months. I didn't do much. At that point, I was like, I can do this by myself and started my own practice. I can't do it totally by myself. But I had enough resources in the form of more experienced colleagues and former law school classmates who I used to run my legal and factual theories by. I'm still growing as I fully recover from my illness. But I finally feel like an old pro. Again, I learn as I go. If you are going up against quality opposing counsel, you will learn a lot of what you need to know from reading their trial briefs. Other than that, I spend a lot of time researching things on my own. But to answer your question, I did doc review as I started my firm.

I never rejected a case when starting out. I kinda saw it like a game as to how could I obtain relief for this person. However, you quickly learn that you cannot work for free or at a heavily reduced discount. I'm much more selective now.

@ksllaw. Your estimation of my timeline is right. I still use bigger firms to finance my big cases, but I also play a lead role in litigation for the one smaller law firm. I'm the counsel-in-charge for the firm's trial and litigation needs.

As lawschoolbarbie pointed out, there is a huge advantage to going to a law school in the same city as your practice. In my case, the same state. But I attended the best law school in the state, and one of the best law schools in the country, so that gives me a lot of sway with more experienced lawyers down here. I have instant credibility even though I've been practicing for only two years. I would assume that this credibility would be available to any grad of a t-14 school + Vanderbilt in that school's respective region of the country. Only HYS are going to have incredible reputations in any region of the country with non BigLaw people. The state of Texas is so egocentric, it cares only for UT Law for the most part when you look at non biglaw attitudes.

utlaw2007
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:56 am

Remember, non biglaw people just aren't as familiar with t-14 school reps as insiders are. So any law school in a region that has a decent reputation in that region of where you want to practice will suffice. One of my colleagues went to a regional TTTT and he's making more than a million dollars a year. I'm not saying it's an easy alternative. It's incredibly hard, but it is doable with hard AND smart work. By smart work I mean, ascertain just what kind of legal demand is in your area. Then go out there and meet that demand. And when you market, do it intelligently. Market to those people who most likely need your services and market to those people who can likely PAY for your services. This, folks, is extremely valuable business advice. It's simple, but essential.

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:30 pm

Sigh, this thread is making me so anti-biglaw

It sounds like the BIG money is in trial/plaintiffs work... or at least income comparable to BigLaw with a little work, plus you get to see the real action.

Thank you all for posting here, but now I feel so torn!!!

I guess this is something you should decide in Law School, depending on how effective you are at trial advocacy...

What are the options in the middle? Not quite Biglaw, not quite opening your own practice?

I want to go to court and litigate, but still have a high ceiling for earnings based on performance... I don't quite have the balls to open my own practice right out of law school either...

Starting off with BigLaw and working my way down sounds like a terrible idea since you don't usually get trial experience at big firms. But I don't want to go to a top law school just to end up making 40k or doing doc review either. I want money AND trial experience. But ITE I don't know if this is possible straight out of law school...

Any thoughts?
Last edited by RickyDnwhyc on Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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flem
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby flem » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:39 pm

RickyDnwhyc wrote:Sigh, this thread is making me so anti-biglaw

It sounds like the BIG money is in trial/plaintiffs work... or at least income comparable to BigLaw with a little work, plus you get to see the real action.

Thank you all for posting here, but now I feel so torn!!!



Spoiler alert - you're not the next King of Torts, dooder. Mass tort litigation has tons of money in it, but only if you can 1) sell yourself to hundreds of people, 2) have the financial means to bomb TV with ads (1-800-BAD-DRUG type shit) and 3) actually have a case that will make a company settle quickly.

Asbestos litigation was the go-to forever, but that's dried up now.

Keep an eye on the pending cases RE: fast food restaurants and obesity.

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:43 pm

flem wrote:
RickyDnwhyc wrote:Sigh, this thread is making me so anti-biglaw

It sounds like the BIG money is in trial/plaintiffs work... or at least income comparable to BigLaw with a little work, plus you get to see the real action.

Thank you all for posting here, but now I feel so torn!!!



Spoiler alert - you're not the next King of Torts, dooder. Mass tort litigation has tons of money in it, but only if you can 1) sell yourself to hundreds of people, 2) have the financial means to bomb TV with ads (1-800-BAD-DRUG type shit) and 3) actually have a case that will make a company settle quickly.

Asbestos litigation was the go-to forever, but that's dried up now.

Keep an eye on the pending cases RE: fast food restaurants and obesity.



Haha I'm actually a paralegal at a mass tort asbestos firm right now. They're doing pretty well but they're an enormous firm. I wouldn't want to get into it either way. I don't really find it to be interesting work.


There was a lot of references to civil/criminal law ITT, but I think you can only see big $$ in those fields if you have your own practice...
Last edited by RickyDnwhyc on Wed Sep 12, 2012 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ksllaw
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby ksllaw » Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:11 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:I'd first like to say thank you to lawschoolbarbie for chiming in with her perspective. Hopefully, that will help someone.

As for my timeline, I was seriously ill for three years after I graduated law school. Once I became well enough to work, I worked for my best friends step dad for about 6 months. I didn't do much. At that point, I was like, I can do this by myself and started my own practice. I can't do it totally by myself. But I had enough resources in the form of more experienced colleagues and former law school classmates who I used to run my legal and factual theories by. I'm still growing as I fully recover from my illness. But I finally feel like an old pro. Again, I learn as I go. If you are going up against quality opposing counsel, you will learn a lot of what you need to know from reading their trial briefs. Other than that, I spend a lot of time researching things on my own. But to answer your question, I did doc review as I started my firm.

I never rejected a case when starting out. I kinda saw it like a game as to how could I obtain relief for this person. However, you quickly learn that you cannot work for free or at a heavily reduced discount. I'm much more selective now.

@ksllaw. Your estimation of my timeline is right. I still use bigger firms to finance my big cases, but I also play a lead role in litigation for the one smaller law firm. I'm the counsel-in-charge for the firm's trial and litigation needs.

As lawschoolbarbie pointed out, there is a huge advantage to going to a law school in the same city as your practice. In my case, the same state. But I attended the best law school in the state, and one of the best law schools in the country, so that gives me a lot of sway with more experienced lawyers down here. I have instant credibility even though I've been practicing for only two years. I would assume that this credibility would be available to any grad of a t-14 school + Vanderbilt in that school's respective region of the country. Only HYS are going to have incredible reputations in any region of the country with non BigLaw people. The state of Texas is so egocentric, it cares only for UT Law for the most part when you look at non biglaw attitudes. ...

The champ is back....


Thanks, champ! :wink:

I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all appreciate your tips and insights into successfull "small law" practice. :D

It's been great learning from others on this thread.

utlaw2007 wrote:
This site is woefully uninformed when it comes to solo practice in general. Hell, I've nearly seen it all. I regularly go up against a DUI attorney who probably makes 300k+ a year and she wears jeans and tennis shoes to court. Even her peons seem to like their jobs and many of them are middle aged attorneys.


This site is totally clueless about everything regarding solo practice. I totally agree. All the PI lawyers I know personally do very well, as well. I know of bad ones who struggle mightily and resort to shady tactics. But I don't know those guys personally. When someone says you can make more than a million dollars off of one case, it doesn't seem to register with people on this site. They think that's some type of anomaly and then point to stats that don't bear that out because they fail to distinguish practice areas or the type of legal services rendered as if traffic ticket lawyers make as much as criminal lawyers who handle felonies or those PI attorneys who only do catastrophic personal injury as opposed to little car wrecks. I will say this, if you are a lawyer and you follow the lawyers who aren't adept business people down the same path , you will fail...


That's true. If we imitate and keep doing what has been known to fail, then we shouldn't expect much other than failure ourselves.

Although, learning from the mistakes of others (and our own) failures is equally important too. I think whether looking at a successful person or a "failed" person that we can always pick out some things to learn from (to either add to our own work strategies or avoid). :P

thomas7669
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby thomas7669 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:53 pm

fatduck wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
Actually, utlaw2007, $150K in Houston would seem quite high. Adjusted for cost of living, it might very well be better than a NYC associate salary. ...But then again, I don't know what NYC associates make after their $160K starting salaries. I do recall, however, Houston having a low cost of living.


This is the main reason why I wonder why top law school grads don't consider Texas.

snakes

fixed that

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Crowing
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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby Crowing » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:50 pm

Areyouinsane needs to write a memoir. I would buy it, true or not.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby jwinaz » Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:03 pm

utlaw2007 wrote: Remember, non biglaw people just aren't as familiar with t-14 school reps as insiders are. So any law school in a region that has a decent reputation in that region of where you want to practice will suffice. One of my colleagues went to a regional TTTT and he's making more than a million dollars a year. I'm not saying it's an easy alternative. It's incredibly hard, but it is doable with hard AND smart work. By smart work I mean, ascertain just what kind of legal demand is in your area. Then go out there and meet that demand. And when you market, do it intelligently. Market to those people who most likely need your services and market to those people who can likely PAY for your services. This, folks, is extremely valuable business advice. It's simple, but essential.

Hi.

Trying to learn more about jobs outside of biglaw. You mentioned that you can start a practice of your own without a degree from a big name school.

That got me thinking and wondering. Suppose a person knows in advance that they would prefer to work in a smaller market and a smaller firm. Would the law school even matter at all? What I mean is that if a person knows close to 100% that they would not desire to work in biglaw and they would be fine working family law or something of the sort that's smaller in nature, then would it simply make more sense to find the cheapest law school they could attend (that has a reputable name)?

I ask, because I've been looking at cheap schools: http://testprep.about.com/od/thelsat/tp ... chools.htm

This was one link and schools on this list actually have $10K/year tuition. As an example, there's CUNY:

9. CUNY – Queens College; Flushing, NY

In-state tuition and fees: $10,610
Out-of-state tuition and fees: $16,510

Fun Facts: Although it's relatively new as far as law schools go with a founding date of 1983, CUNY consistently ranks in the top 10 law schools in the country for clinical training. In fact, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg praised the college as "an institution of incomparable value." With its primary focus on producing attorneys to serve the underprivileged in their communities and a uniquely diverse student population, it stands out from its more established counterparts.

Admissions: Call 718-340-4210 or email admissions@mail.law.cuny.edu


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg praised it as "an institution of incomparable value."

If a person could leave CUNY, for example, with $50,000 or less in law debt and be able to start their own practice (maybe after working for another one), then that might make some financial sense.

Is it the case that law school name won't matter much for opening your own practice and getting clients? You're saying that clients for smaller practices won't judge you by your law school name the way biglaw employers would is that right? I wasn't sure, because you seemed to say in another post that UT's name did matter for you if I wasn't mistaken.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:09 pm

...
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:10 pm

RickyDnwhyc wrote:Sigh, this thread is making me so anti-biglaw

It sounds like the BIG money is in trial/plaintiffs work... or at least income comparable to BigLaw with a little work, plus you get to see the real action.

Thank you all for posting here, but now I feel so torn!!!

I guess this is something you should decide in Law School, depending on how effective you are at trial advocacy...

What are the options in the middle? Not quite Biglaw, not quite opening your own practice?

I want to go to court and litigate, but still have a high ceiling for earnings based on performance... I don't quite have the balls to open my own practice right out of law school either...

Starting off with BigLaw and working my way down sounds like a terrible idea since you don't usually get trial experience at big firms. But I don't want to go to a top law school just to end up making 40k or doing doc review either. I want money AND trial experience. But ITE I don't know if this is possible straight out of law school...

Any thoughts?


The middle options would be to come to Texas and try to get on with a medium sized firm or a big small firm. A big small firm is how I refer to firms with between 20 and 30 attorneys. Many times, these are much smaller litigation boutiques. As far as medium sized firms go, there are not that many, but the few I interviewed with said I would see courtroom action twice a year. That's actually not too far off from if you had your own practice. That's why it's so important to get trial experience from participating on one of the law school's mock trial teams. I do have a law school classmate who left Susman Godfrey to go work for a personal injury firm. Yes, he had prestige at Susman and left it to go work for a personal injury firm. But he also had like 8 trials in one year. He was almost on pace with assistant DA's. If you don't do that, you have to go small firm. But they seldom hire. They do hire, it's just not done on a routine basis.

Mass tort litigation is not the only way to make big time money as a plaintiff's attorney. There are a few ways. Catastrophic personal injury/wrongful death, medical malpractice, products liability to name a few.

And all of those practice areas allow you to obtain cases that together will allow for income that put's one biglaw partner annual revenue sharing amount to shame. Those cases won't fall in your lap. But they are out there. You just have to find them.

As far as catastrophic personal injury or products liability is concerned, those two practice areas make it possible to put a biglaw partner annual revenue sharing amount to shame just off of ONE CASE. Again, it's not likely, but if you work hard and smartly from a business perspective, it is possible. That is much easier said than done. But it can happen.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:30 pm

Is it the case that law school name won't matter much for opening your own practice and getting clients? You're saying that clients for smaller practices won't judge you by your law school name the way biglaw employers would is that right? I wasn't sure, because you seemed to say in another post that UT's name did matter for you if I wasn't mistaken.


That's a good question. UT's name matters a lot in Texas because I am in Texas. And Texas has a love affair with UT. It has a pretty good national reputation. We have grads all over the country. I have classmates all over the country. Our US Supreme Court Clerk Placement is better than a few schools in the T14. It's national reputation is not equal to most of the schools ranked ahead of it except for UCLA's. But it's still good. However, it's regional reputation is just off the charts here in Texas. I kid you not. From a marketing standpoint, lay people in Texas know about the quality of UT Law. They don't know about the quality of Duke, Cornell, or Northwestern Law. Many don't know about the quality of Michigan Law. That is Texas for you in terms of lay opinions. So having UT Law as part of your bio is a huge advantage down here. Likewise, the typical Texas lay person is not going to know if Berkeley, Michigan, or Penn is better than Houston Law Center or SMU, let alone UT Law. Nor are they going to care. The only law schools that lay people would just know are better are Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and perhaps Columbia. And that depends on whether the client is sophisticated or not. If they are, they know the difference for the most part. But UT Law carries almost as much weight with those schools down here with sophisticated lay people.

But aside from that, lay people don't care where you went to school for the most part. But that is assuming they don't research your school's quality. Sophisticated clients may do just that. That's why I advise that you go to a school with a decent rep in the region where you want to open up your practice. If it has a bad rep, it's going to be harder for you to gain traction with clients and lawyers alike.

So in that sense, I would attend the best school in the region where I want to live. If I couldn't get into one of those schools, I'd resign myself to living in a region that contains a better school of which I gained admission. This is safe because a school that has a questionable reputation in the region is going to have a questionable reputation with the lay people in that region. And that is not going to be good for business unless you have already acquired an incredible reputation. Back in the old days, that was possible. I don't think that is possible if you are just now starting out nowadays.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Sat Sep 22, 2012 2:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby utlaw2007 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:44 pm

.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby ksllaw » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:32 am

utlaw2007 wrote:I totally agree. I went to Texas. Most of my classmates and most of the people on this site would be bad at relating to a jury and be bad at marketing their own firm.


utlaw2007 - I'm very curious. Did you ever take any courses in marketing in undergraduate or in graduate school?

I can see how maybe a person with a humanities background, who graduates from law school, and decides to open their own firm may not have the best marketing knowledge or skills if they never took a marketing type of course and/or aren't naturally gifted at it.

Although, a humanities curriculum does often foster expressive skills (probably more so than the sciences)...but maybe not directly related to marketing. I don't know. :?: :P

And, lastly, did you ever take any public speaking courses that helped to develop that area in preparation for trial law work? If a person leans more towards the reticent side or may not be a naturally gifted speaker, do you believe that skill can be developed to a level of proficiency that would allow them to successfully handle trial work?

Thank you so much again, champ! :mrgreen:

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby nickb285 » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:38 am

No real comments or questions here, but I wanted to thank UTLaw and lawschoolbarbie for sharing. I've never really had any interest in Biglaw, and even less since joining TLS, so it's nice to hear from people with actual experience who aren't part of the "if you don't go T14 and get biglaw you will DIE IN A GUTTER" echo chamber that TLS occasionally turns into, and who can provide some useful tips for those of us who would rather not be on the Biglaw track.

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Re: Big Law vs "Shit" Law. I don't get it.

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Thu Sep 20, 2012 12:32 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
RickyDnwhyc wrote:Sigh, this thread is making me so anti-biglaw

It sounds like the BIG money is in trial/plaintiffs work... or at least income comparable to BigLaw with a little work, plus you get to see the real action.

Thank you all for posting here, but now I feel so torn!!!

I guess this is something you should decide in Law School, depending on how effective you are at trial advocacy...

What are the options in the middle? Not quite Biglaw, not quite opening your own practice?

I want to go to court and litigate, but still have a high ceiling for earnings based on performance... I don't quite have the balls to open my own practice right out of law school either...

Starting off with BigLaw and working my way down sounds like a terrible idea since you don't usually get trial experience at big firms. But I don't want to go to a top law school just to end up making 40k or doing doc review either. I want money AND trial experience. But ITE I don't know if this is possible straight out of law school...

Any thoughts?


The middle options would be to come to Texas and try to get on with a medium sized firm or a big small firm. A big small firm is how I refer to firms with between 20 and 30 attorneys. Many times, these are much smaller litigation boutiques. As far as medium sized firms go, there are not that many, but the few I interviewed with said I would see courtroom action twice a year. That's actually not too far off from if you had your own practice. That's why it's so important to get trial experience from participating on one of the law school's mock trial teams. I do have a law school classmate who left Susman Godfrey to go work for a personal injury firm. Yes, he had prestige at Susman and left it to go work for a personal injury firm. But he also had like 8 trials in one year. He was almost on pace with assistant DA's. If you don't do that, you have to go small firm. But they seldom hire. They do hire, it's just not done on a routine basis.

Mass tort litigation is not the only way to make big time money as a plaintiff's attorney. There are a few ways. Catastrophic personal injury/wrongful death, medical malpractice, products liability to name a few.

And all of those practice areas allow you to obtain cases that together will allow for income that put's one biglaw partner annual revenue sharing amount to shame. Those cases won't fall in your lap. But they are out there. You just have to find them.

As far as catastrophic personal injury or products liability is concerned, those two practice areas make it possible to put a biglaw partner annual revenue sharing amount to shame just off of ONE CASE. Again, it's not likely, but if you work hard and smartly from a business perspective, it is possible. That is much easier said than done. But it can happen.



I see. These same mid-size firms/litigation boutiques exist in LA/NYC etc as well, but I'm assuming you recommended Texas because of the reputation of southern firms to not impose ludicrious billable requirements? Or do they actually have a different culture that entails associates seeing trial earlier in their careers?




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