making sh&%$ law pay you well

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Bobnoxious
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby Bobnoxious » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:30 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
You do need to learn the science behind the breathalyzer, but that is not hard.

DUI's will easily make you well off. The challenge is making the right connections with the demographic who can pay that money. It's not hard to find them. The hard part is making those connections.

But basically, it's an incredibly easy way to make $5000. That's why criminal law absent murder and other high level felonies that require complicated science is a great practice area.


And learn the specifics of the different models of breathalyzers as well as their programming. Also learn the specifics regarding the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, and in cases of collisions you'll want to have a basic understanding of crash reconstruction science and the tools of that trade, such as the drag sled. At least that's what I think, but I'm a lowly 0L. UTLaw will correct me if I'm wrong, and you don't need to know or understand any of that stuff.

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:29 pm

Bobnoxious wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
You do need to learn the science behind the breathalyzer, but that is not hard.

DUI's will easily make you well off. The challenge is making the right connections with the demographic who can pay that money. It's not hard to find them. The hard part is making those connections.

But basically, it's an incredibly easy way to make $5000. That's why criminal law absent murder and other high level felonies that require complicated science is a great practice area.


And learn the specifics of the different models of breathalyzers as well as their programming. Also learn the specifics regarding the Standardized Field Sobriety Test, and in cases of collisions you'll want to have a basic understanding of crash reconstruction science and the tools of that trade, such as the drag sled. At least that's what I think, but I'm a lowly 0L. UTLaw will correct me if I'm wrong, and you don't need to know or understand any of that stuff.


Really, all you need to know to take a DUI case is the breathalyzer science and the Field Sobriety Test, as the above poster mentioned. But that other stuff is not necessary.

To beat a DUI, you don't have to prove your guy was not at fault for a collision, you just have to prove he/she wasn't drunk. Actually, you don't even have to prove anything. You just have to insert enough reasonable doubt pertaining to one of the DUI elements that the state has to prove to win.

ksllaw
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby ksllaw » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:20 pm

Great thread, utlaw! *waves* :D

Here's a question (with more to come perhaps as I think about what you've written):

Have you met any new law grads who went solo and failed? And if so, could you give some of the characteristics about them that you believe led to their failure?

Thanks in advance! And thanks for always been so open and willing to share on these threads!!!

Bobnoxious
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby Bobnoxious » Tue Jun 18, 2013 7:42 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
Bobnoxious wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote: Actually, you don't even have to prove anything. You just have to insert enough reasonable doubt pertaining to one of the DUI elements that the state has to prove to win.



This, in a nutshell, is sorta the whole idea behind criminal defense regardless of the charge, isn't it, UTLaw?

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:00 pm

Bobnoxious wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
Bobnoxious wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote: Actually, you don't even have to prove anything. You just have to insert enough reasonable doubt pertaining to one of the DUI elements that the state has to prove to win.



This, in a nutshell, is sorta the whole idea behind criminal defense regardless of the charge, isn't it, UTLaw?


Yes. You're just concerned with preventing the state from proving its case beyond a reasonable doubt. That is an incredibly high standard.

Civil cases just require that you prove your case by a preponderance, more likely than not. Sometimes, there may be elements of your case that require you to prove them by clear and convincing evidence, whatever that is exactly. It's higher than a preponderance but not as high as reasonable doubt.

As you can see, there is lots of ambiguity in trial work, whether criminal or civil. And more ambiguity allows room for the individual lawyer to set the stage by presenting his/her own unique argument. What you say goes if your argument is superior to that of your opponent and your facts are not fantastically bad. That's why I love trial work. There is so much power and influence with it.

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:58 pm

rouser wrote:this may have already answered (i read this thread a couple weeks ago) but did you start out in personal injury or grind up some cash first by doing things like divorce? you talked about how your family connections helped you get started (as well as putting yourself around successful people generally), but did you also take out ads in yellow pages and such? what might be some marketting strategies you would recommend for someone who doesn't have the hook ups yet? it seems to me that a clever ad geared towards a particular niche could be helpful...maybe something emphasizing that paying more would be silly when the case will end the same regardless...so it would be pointless to pay more for an older, more experienced att'y. did you do that kind of thing at all?


Interesting question.

Traditional advertising in publications.

This kind of thing can get costly if one takes out an ad that is able to be noticed. And an ad that will be noticed is an ad that takes up a quarter of the page or more. This advertising is pretty much obsolete nowadays because everyone one, or most everyone searches online. If you want to advertise in this fashion, you need to have a web presence. And if you want to have a web presence that is potent enough to give you a pipeline of business, you're going to need to make an investment. It's not that bad, but it will likely run you a few thousand dollars. You need to have a website from a reputable company that knows how to manipulate Search Engine Optimization so that you will appear on the first pages of internet searches, primarily Google and Yahoo. You can spend just a few hundred dollars on a website with search engine optimization included. But those companies can't put you on the first page or the first few pages for that matter. And there are so many lawyers that do what you do, superficially, that no prospective client is going to need to search past the first or second page of google. So it does you no good to be on the 5th page. And being on the 5th page is even a feat from what I hear. Those companies who are on the first page of a google search are paying a lot of money to be there. I'm not talking about the sponsered ads. I'm just referring to the regular search results on the first page. Those guys are paying their website builders a lot of money to manipulate the search engine optimization to be there. That's money that you are not going to have.

No lawyer I personally know gets a pipeline of business form having a web presence. The lawyers that do are already millionaires multiple times over.

Print advertising is not going to cut it, either, at least, in this day and age.

The only was you can effectively get business is from contacts with people who need you or who can refer you, contacts with businesses who need you, or contacts with other lawyers who don't practice those areas or think the cases are too small to take.

These are the most effective ways based on my experiences and the experiences of lawyers I have surveyed.

If you don't have those connections, you have to go out and make those connections. I had a few connections with which to start. But they helped me with substantive stuff. They didn't help me get business. I had to go out and make those connections. It can be done. It's not difficult. You just have to take initiative and get out in front of people. If you can't do this, you don't need to own a law firm.

When you sell services, you are selling much of yourself. Your personality is part of your competence that you are selling to potential clients. Sure, there are a$$hole lawyers out there who get business because they exude some sort of competence to their clients. But they have reps behind them. When you're new, you don't have a rep. A friendly competent lawyer beats an a$$hole competent lawyer for business, all other things being equal, any day of the week. You still want referrals. No lawyer should solely rely on referrals (word of mouth) as I discussed earlier, but referrals sure don't hurt. They can only help. And being an a$$hole will slam the door shut on referrals.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Fri Jun 21, 2013 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:27 pm

ksllaw wrote:Great thread, utlaw! *waves* :D

Here's a question (with more to come perhaps as I think about what you've written):

Have you met any new law grads who went solo and failed? And if so, could you give some of the characteristics about them that you believe led to their failure?

Thanks in advance! And thanks for always been so open and willing to share on these threads!!!


Your welcome and thanks for the kind words.

I have not met any new law grads that went solo and failed. Most of the law grads I know went to good law schools. As a result, they did the safest thing and got jobs, at least most of them.

What I do know are some lawyers who were at firms or government jobs and then went solo after 5+ years. And some of them have failed. Clearly, these guys did not fail because they couldn't adequately perform their craft. They all had sufficient practice experience and all had gone to good law schools. Some failed because their overhead was too much. Having the large overhead forced them to charge higher prices without discounts. Their prospective clients just couldn't afford them. It wasn't that they priced themselves out of the market. They were charging market. Sometimes, they would go just a tad bit below market. But most of their clients could not afford it. An established lawyer can afford to charge market because he/she already has a lot of business and money. They have more clients coming through and they have already acquired more money to make ends meet. When an established lawyer turns down a case, he/she will get another one the next day or week. When a new guy does so, he/she may have to wait a month or longer before getting another case. And while these guys all had savings, savings are no match for a continuous stream of revenue to make ends meet.

Now if these new law firm owners had kept overhead low, they would have been able to significantly discount those fees to make them affordable to their clients. With low overhead, you can do this and still afford your bills.

They were all guilty of ineffective marketing. Marketing is so important because you are fishing for business. And if your fishing sucks, you won't catch any fish.

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:21 pm

Please don't ever leave TLS UT :)

I'm curious what would you have done given good prospects out of law school and if you had not fallen ill after graduating. Say you finished at the very top of your class at UT, would you have pursued a clerkship? Or any other sort of employment, ie govt, BigLaw, trial lawyer boutique? For reasons of either experience or just building start-up capital...

Similarly, say you had a BigLaw offer (again no sickness etc,) in an outside market. ie Dallas, LA, Atlanta, whatever. Given what you know now, would you take the BigLaw job just to pay off your debt quickly and build capital, knowing that the experience there probably would not be practical experience for a solo trial shop.

thanks in advance

ksllaw
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby ksllaw » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:51 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:When an established lawyer turns down a case, he/she will get another one the next day or week. When a new guy does so, he/she may have to wait a month or longer before getting another case. And while these guys all had savings, savings are no match for a continuous stream of revenue to make ends meet.


That makes sense.

I'm curious what was the longest period of time you went without a case?

Also, what is the most amount of clients a person can take on by themselves at once when you're at your busiest?

Thanks so much again!

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KD35
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby KD35 » Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:45 pm

ksllaw wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:When an established lawyer turns down a case, he/she will get another one the next day or week. When a new guy does so, he/she may have to wait a month or longer before getting another case. And while these guys all had savings, savings are no match for a continuous stream of revenue to make ends meet.


That makes sense.

I'm curious what was the longest period of time you went without a case?

Also, what is the most amount of clients a person can take on by themselves at once when you're at your busiest?

Thanks so much again!


Preliminary guess to your last question would be: it depends based on your practice area and the status of the various client cases.

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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:43 pm

ksllaw wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:When an established lawyer turns down a case, he/she will get another one the next day or week. When a new guy does so, he/she may have to wait a month or longer before getting another case. And while these guys all had savings, savings are no match for a continuous stream of revenue to make ends meet.


That makes sense.

I'm curious what was the longest period of time you went without a case?

Also, what is the most amount of clients a person can take on by themselves at once when you're at your busiest?

Thanks so much again!



I went months without a case. Hence, my having to do document review. If I knew back then what I know now, things would have been a bit easier for me, in terms of knowing what to charge clients, knowing when to charge them and knowing how to find clients. And I am still learning in terms of small details of business implementation. I'm learning to be more efficient with both my time and my money in terms of marketing. Marketing is always a work in progress because you have to keep the cases coming in. Until you get to the point to where people are calling you to take their case because of your rep, you have to actively look for cases. And that involves constant modification of your marketing plan. That's why it so important to be diligent when looking for cases. That diligence sometimes leads to things that you just did not plan for because you could not plan for them. It leads to ideas. It leads to actual case leads.

Also, developing practice areas is also a work in progress, at least at the beginning. You have to dive into areas of the law that need to be serviced. You don't have to be all over the map like a general practitioner. But you have to be open to practicing a variety of a few areas or related aspects of the demographic you serve. You start by practicing a group of core practice areas. And then you just branch out practicing related aspects of those areas. You should also practice in some areas related to your demographic since they need these services. You pretty much find out what needs to be serviced at the very beginning based on the needs of people you run into. But you will find yourself adapting to new demand that you have discovered to continue getting business.

It took me a very long time to develop the knowledge that I am telling you guys. There was constant brainstorming and modification based on what was and was not feasible at the time.

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rouser
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby rouser » Tue Jun 25, 2013 11:20 pm

utlaw2007 wrote:
rouser wrote:this may have already answered (i read this thread a couple weeks ago) but did you start out in personal injury or grind up some cash first by doing things like divorce? you talked about how your family connections helped you get started (as well as putting yourself around successful people generally), but did you also take out ads in yellow pages and such? what might be some marketting strategies you would recommend for someone who doesn't have the hook ups yet? it seems to me that a clever ad geared towards a particular niche could be helpful...maybe something emphasizing that paying more would be silly when the case will end the same regardless...so it would be pointless to pay more for an older, more experienced att'y. did you do that kind of thing at all?


Interesting question.

Traditional advertising in publications.

This kind of thing can get costly if one takes out an ad that is able to be noticed. And an ad that will be noticed is an ad that takes up a quarter of the page or more. This advertising is pretty much obsolete nowadays because everyone one, or most everyone searches online. If you want to advertise in this fashion, you need to have a web presence. And if you want to have a web presence that is potent enough to give you a pipeline of business, you're going to need to make an investment. It's not that bad, but it will likely run you a few thousand dollars. You need to have a website from a reputable company that knows how to manipulate Search Engine Optimization so that you will appear on the first pages of internet searches, primarily Google and Yahoo. You can spend just a few hundred dollars on a website with search engine optimization included. But those companies can't put you on the first page or the first few pages for that matter. And there are so many lawyers that do what you do, superficially, that no prospective client is going to need to search past the first or second page of google. So it does you no good to be on the 5th page. And being on the 5th page is even a feat from what I hear. Those companies who are on the first page of a google search are paying a lot of money to be there. I'm not talking about the sponsered ads. I'm just referring to the regular search results on the first page. Those guys are paying their website builders a lot of money to manipulate the search engine optimization to be there. That's money that you are not going to have.

No lawyer I personally know gets a pipeline of business form having a web presence. The lawyers that do are already millionaires multiple times over.

Print advertising is not going to cut it, either, at least, in this day and age.

The only was you can effectively get business is from contacts with people who need you or who can refer you, contacts with businesses who need you, or contacts with other lawyers who don't practice those areas or think the cases are too small to take.

These are the most effective ways based on my experiences and the experiences of lawyers I have surveyed.

If you don't have those connections, you have to go out and make those connections. I had a few connections with which to start. But they helped me with substantive stuff. They didn't help me get business. I had to go out and make those connections. It can be done. It's not difficult. You just have to take initiative and get out in front of people. If you can't do this, you don't need to own a law firm.

When you sell services, you are selling much of yourself. Your personality is part of your competence that you are selling to potential clients. Sure, there are a$$hole lawyers out there who get business because they exude some sort of competence to their clients. But they have reps behind them. When you're new, you don't have a rep. A friendly competent lawyer beats an a$$hole competent lawyer for business, all other things being equal, any day of the week. You still want referrals. No lawyer should solely rely on referrals (word of mouth) as I discussed earlier, but referrals sure don't hurt. They can only help. And being an a$$hole will slam the door shut on referrals.

thanks for the response here. keep it up...one of the best threads I've read on here.

ksllaw
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby ksllaw » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:42 am

Another question for this great thread:

Have you found any effective, yet inexpensive means of advertising/marketing your practice? How much capital (as a percentage of income or in absolute terms) does a solo need oftentimes to do the job of bringing in business?

I understand if one becomes very successful and well-known that there'll be less advertising costs (if any?), as people who seek you out. But, until then, I'm curious how much a solo may need to spend in that area?

Also, did you ever seek professional help (e.g. producing a TV commercial, creating a professional website, etc.) in this arena or was it more of a DIY project from your own brainstorming?

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:52 pm

ksllaw wrote:Another question for this great thread:

Have you found any effective, yet inexpensive means of advertising/marketing your practice? How much capital (as a percentage of income or in absolute terms) does a solo need oftentimes to do the job of bringing in business?

I understand if one becomes very successful and well-known that there'll be less advertising costs (if any?), as people who seek you out. But, until then, I'm curious how much a solo may need to spend in that area?

Also, did you ever seek professional help (e.g. producing a TV commercial, creating a professional website, etc.) in this arena or was it more of a DIY project from your own brainstorming?


I really can't say what percentage of income should be directed towards marketing. All I can say is that you do have to drive to a lot of places. So you have to put gas in your tank. Some events you have to pay for. Once you get the hang of it, you will get better at finding similar events that don't cost anything for you to attend. Keep in mind, that I am coming from a business client marketing perspective. If you do criminal or personal injury, attending these events isn't nearly as effective. However, as for criminal or personal injury, one must learn how to do these things if one is going solo. These types of cases pop up from all sorts of connections you may have, including business connections. In the beginning. Money is money. And you'll need it from wherever you can get it.

I have never liked criminal defense, but it can pay the bills. Personal injury doesn't pay them as quickly, but it can pay the bills, too, but not like criminal unless you get catastrophic personal injury cases or even pretty serious personal injury cases.

I'm sure family law can, too. But I simply refuse to do family law. I just do not like it. And I never run into anyone who needs a divorce or child custody. If I did, perhaps, I would have included family law as a practice area.

Contingency fee cases are great. But you have to have something to pay the bills in a more immediate fashion.

Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I think all advertising plans should be devised by the attorney himself/herself. I did all my brainstorming. My brother helped me a bit, too. But it was mostly me. Only you know your situation. I'm not saying you should never get outside advice on how to attract business. You definitely want to do that. But you should weigh the effectiveness of that advice before using it. There is really no harm employing marketing advice obtained for free. But there is all kinds of harm in paying for services. If those services work, more power to you. But if they don't work for your particular situation, you now have wasted money that could have been better spent somewhere else. In the beginning, you just don't have money to burn.

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:27 pm

I just wanted to say something about a recent development with the former classmate whose firm that I am partnered with. I have no ill will against her. But we had a deal to split the proceeds of a case that she sought my guidance on. And I wrote a demand letter for it and I guided her through the preliminary steps to get the ball rolling on how to proceed. As a result, I was induced to enter into that contract agreement because of what was expected. Some things happened differently than expected and she has done a lot more work on the case than I have. But the question is one of the value that I brought to the case. She would not have proceeded forward with the case without my input. She wouldn't have known how. I told her how to do these types of cases. I am a man of my word. Even if I felt a person took advantage of me, I would uphold my end of the deal and give what the other party expected as a result of entering the agreement. And that is the law. I am obviously not going to sue her for breach of contract, although I could. And she might still pay me my fair percentage of the settlement. But I have sensed that she does not want to. I couldn't, in good conscience, do such a thing. But, I just refuse to raise a stink about it. But it brings me to my point...

Beware of who you partner with. Once you start to accumulate knowledge, people will attempt to ride your coattails, use you, and bleed you dry in the process. The safest thing you can do as you become more successful, is just do not enter into any agreements with anyone, including people who are your friends. The only agreements you should enter into are those that you just absolutely have to for the survival of your case.

I'm still new at this business and law game and I am still learning. I understand that I have more ability than most. That is an incredibly arrogant thing to say, but it is the truth. My track record speaks for itself. But my weakness is that I am far too trusting of people to do the right thing. You think you are helping someone to get something in return and all the while, the person is looking to screw you over. It may have not have been that way in the beginning. Because in the beginning, people need your knowledge if you have any. But once they feel they can spread their wings, they will drop you. It's unfortunate that this has happened. But at the same time, I chalk it up to a learning experience. If you get successful or even gain specialized knowledge, watch out for those that warm up to you, especially in the legal world. One thing is for certain about lawyers, our bad reputation among society is definitely well earned because we don't know how to honor gentlemen agreements with each other. Not all of us are bad, but enough of us are to give you pause. Don't let anyone, not clients or other lawyers use you or take advantage of you. That nice personality that you have that will get you lots of business is taken as a weakness to be taken advantage of by those who dare to do so. And that is awfully sad. The only thing that you can do is cut professional ties and call it a day. I'm very annoyed, but all I can do is press forward.

Many solos/small firm practitioners suck, ethically, regardless of how much money they have or where they went to school. Ask questions. Give advice even. But make sure the advice you give is measured and not valuable. In other words, NEVER give advice on how to proceed on a case. I have had a few people attempt to take advantage of me by using the advice they thought I would give them without compensating me. My advice on the case could render you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, but you see fit to cut me out. Screw that. I didn't incur all that law school debt so that I could render legal advice to lawyers for free. But I saw what they were doing. And I stopped myself. But my partner fooled me because she was a former law school classmate of mine. I just never saw this coming. To say I feel betrayed is an understatement. I'm pretty disappointed in her right now.

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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:50 pm

I am actually surprised that no haters have tried to troll on this thread, especially on this site. Just an observation.

WWAD
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby WWAD » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:29 am

I have been pleasantly surprised by that too. I think your advice has been too valuable or they were too busy trolling OCI posts. Thanks again for all this info.

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Kafkaesquire
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby Kafkaesquire » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:46 am

utlaw2007 wrote:I am actually surprised that no haters have tried to troll on this thread, especially on this site. Just an observation.


Quite honestly, from my perspective, it's because what you've given to this thread has garnered you respect. Not many people, even among aspiring attorneys (yeah), are going to stoop so low as to hit a noble man.

We are all very thankful.

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:12 pm

Kafkaesquire wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:I am actually surprised that no haters have tried to troll on this thread, especially on this site. Just an observation.


Quite honestly, from my perspective, it's because what you've given to this thread has garnered you respect. Not many people, even among aspiring attorneys (yeah), are going to stoop so low as to hit a noble man.

We are all very thankful.


I really appreciate this comment.

utlaw2007
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Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:02 pm

SaintsTheMetal wrote:Please don't ever leave TLS UT :)

I'm curious what would you have done given good prospects out of law school and if you had not fallen ill after graduating. Say you finished at the very top of your class at UT, would you have pursued a clerkship? Or any other sort of employment, ie govt, BigLaw, trial lawyer boutique? For reasons of either experience or just building start-up capital...

Similarly, say you had a BigLaw offer (again no sickness etc,) in an outside market. ie Dallas, LA, Atlanta, whatever. Given what you know now, would you take the BigLaw job just to pay off your debt quickly and build capital, knowing that the experience there probably would not be practical experience for a solo trial shop.

thanks in advance


I believe I had forgotten to answer this question. My apologies. I've been pretty busy.

My illness first manifested itself in spurts before law school. It really hit me hard while in law school for some time. It flared up and then went a way until it came back with a vengeance.

I have always been a lazy student that just did enough to get by. I did really like law school so I gave it a pretty good effort at first. Had I not gotten sick in law school, I probably would have been around top third or top quarter. My weakness is my processing speed. It's fast, but not that fast. It takes me awhile to digest complex new information. Once I master it, then I can do wonders with it, apparently. I excel at trial work and mediations because that new info is not complex. You already have acquired a great understanding of it through the litigation process. So my processing speed in regards to that level of new info is lightning fast. But new COMPLEX info? Not so much... Anyway, that rank would have been enough for me to go outside of Texas much easier back then. I would have stayed in my home state, though. That's why UT was my first choice. I did not want to leave Texas. The only schools that would have pulled me away from Texas were the T3. And that's only if I would have gotten significant scholarships. My cousin went to Harvard Law. He actually got into nearly every T6. If he didn't get in, it's because he didn't apply. He ultimately chose Harvard over Stanford because of the name. He didn't apply to Yale for some reason. If he had, he would have easily gotten in there, too. He got admitted into every law school he had applied to. It was crazy. I do remember being surprised that he did not get a full ride to Harvard. He got a full ride everywhere else. He didn't want to borrow any loans for the small amount he had to pay. But Harvard was his dream school so he had to go there over Stanford. He ended up getting his fiance's dad, now his wife, to pay the difference. It's not that I would have chosen against it because of price. It just would have been impossible for me to go based on price. So UT was my perfect choice because the price was right. The market was much better then. Had I not gotten sick, I would have had a stronger urge to go biglaw. I still wanted to be a trial lawyer, first and foremost, but I would have been willing to place it on hold for a biglaw salary for a few years. I've always been really risk averse. And it would have been too hard to turn down that type of automatic salary.

So, essentially, you could say that I was backed into owning my own firm. Based on the conditions at the time, I really had no choice. Once I got well enough to work, the economy had tanked and I couldn't find a job with a small firm or hiring government employer unless I had 2-5 years experience.

As for biglaw offers outside of Texas, I never even considered them. I wasn't leaving Texas no matter what.

Knowing me, I would not have pursued a clerkship unless it was for the US Supreme Court. That's the only clerkship prestigious enough to catch my attention. I'm not the kind of person who is drawn to a lot of prestige. I'm draw to some of it because usually prestige means quality. And I want quality. But other than that, I prefer practical benefit. I think UT offers a great legal education. So I wanted that. But I had no interest, at all, in going to a T14 unless it was T3.

But yes, I would take biglaw in a heartbeat because it makes starting a law firm so much easier. Knowing what I know now, unfortunately, it takes a little bit of money to market to businesses. So biglaw would make it easier to begin. True, you don't learn anything that would help you. But I essentially taught myself that stuff anyway. Nothing about biglaw would prevent you from doing that once you left.

jwinaz
Posts: 179
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:03 pm

Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby jwinaz » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:27 pm

In terms of finding a niche market that has high demand, is it as simple as looking in the phone book to see how many lawyers are in a particular market?

Mustapha Mond
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:27 pm

Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby Mustapha Mond » Sat Jun 29, 2013 9:51 am

As a 2L, I'm thankful I stumbled across this thread. I stopped visiting this forum because there was little content by practicing lawyers doing 'traditional law' (before the structural changes in the legal industry in the late 70s). I dislike TLS having been in law school for over a year now. My actual experience, what I've learned talking to attorneys, and working with them is substantially different than this forum's groupthink.

According to TLS, everything revolves around Big Law and attending (close to) T-14. Those who attend less prestigious schools and those who practice in other areas are looked down on. There are too many posters on here that have little or no experience with law that still offer advice. The ones who do have experience are bitter and/or jaded. The OP's attitude and this thread are an exception.

I can't stand working for someone else like many of my friends at large firms. Although the odds are against me, running my own firm potentially will be more lucrative. I'm not risk averse. I come from a family of small business owners so it's in my blood. And, I love trial law after being in my school's mock trial program. Also, I study and live in a city with a healthy economy (Houston, TX) and cheap COA.

Thus, going solo eventually is a no brainer for me. This thread has been invaluable. I hope others who are in the same boat read it too.

utlaw2007
Posts: 783
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:49 pm

Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 12:54 pm

Mustapha Mond wrote:As a 2L, I'm thankful I stumbled across this thread. I stopped visiting this forum because there was little content by practicing lawyers doing 'traditional law' (before the structural changes in the legal industry in the late 70s). I dislike TLS having been in law school for over a year now. My actual experience, what I've learned talking to attorneys, and working with them is substantially different than this forum's groupthink.

According to TLS, everything revolves around Big Law and attending (close to) T-14. Those who attend less prestigious schools and those who practice in other areas are looked down on. There are too many posters on here that have little or no experience with law that still offer advice. The ones who do have experience are bitter and/or jaded. The OP's attitude and this thread are an exception.

I can't stand working for someone else like many of my friends at large firms. Although the odds are against me, running my own firm potentially will be more lucrative. I'm not risk averse. I come from a family of small business owners so it's in my blood. And, I love trial law after being in my school's mock trial program. Also, I study and live in a city with a healthy economy (Houston, TX) and cheap COA.

Thus, going solo eventually is a no brainer for me. This thread has been invaluable. I hope others who are in the same boat read it too.


If you live in Houston, as do I since it is my home town, you are in a great position to open up your own law firm if you choose.

I do agree that many people on this site look down upon those areas of law not practiced by biglaw. Aside from the potential of earning more money while simultaneously having more hours for non work related activities, the key thing to remember when you are practicing what is referred to as sh$&# law on this forum is that you are helping people.

By referring to this law practice as sh$@#, people are essentially saying that the needs of those individuals and small businesses are sh@$# as they are not worthy of importance. And that is just not cool nor right. Those people's needs are important, too, relative to them. All of law practice whether big or small, deals with the selling of services to those in need of them. I don't think it is wise to discriminate against those needs you feel are not important by dismissing them and insulting everyone related to those services, whether received or given, as a pile of sh$@#. If anyone who subscribes to that concept was not a popular person or is not socially adept, this condescending attitude is probably the reason.

I take great satisfaction in not only being able to make a significant amount of revenue in as little time as possible, I take satisfaction in being able to truly advocate for people who need a voice to right inequitable treatment they have received.

Yes, I am one of those lawyers that actually helps people.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:21 pm, edited 5 times in total.

utlaw2007
Posts: 783
Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:49 pm

Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby utlaw2007 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:04 pm

jwinaz wrote:In terms of finding a niche market that has high demand, is it as simple as looking in the phone book to see how many lawyers are in a particular market?


This is part of the equation. I didn't use a phone book. I used more credible sources such as Martindale Hubble listings or other official listings by your region's state bar.

Then the other part of that equation involves getting a feel for the needed legal services of the people you meet.

This will provide a good starting point for you. But the demand should continually be assessed in that it is not always readily ascertained.

If you want to provide some sort of business related legal services, this process is way more involving in that you will have to visit several business organizations. And you will have to research that much more.

6lehderjets
Posts: 226
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2011 11:01 pm

Re: making sh&%$ law pay you well

Postby 6lehderjets » Sat Jun 29, 2013 1:14 pm

Probably has already been said, but thanks for doing this. Awesome hustle.




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