Lawyers who have just passed the bar/courtroom experience

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letstalkaboutit
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:16 am

Lawyers who have just passed the bar/courtroom experience

Postby letstalkaboutit » Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:37 am

I am not asking for legal advice in this thread.

It occurred to me when considering looking for a lawyer that perhaps many lawyers who have just passed the bar may struggle to immediately find work at a law firm, or be doing grunt work as they earn their stripes, so to speak. In such a situation, being able to act as a lead attorney in a case, file documents, argue before a judge, and so on and so forth could be valuable or desirable experience as a resume builder.

Without going into too much into specifics, a zoning appeals board make a decision on a property near where I live that I feel would not legally stand up if appealed to circuit court (Which is the next step if we wish to pursue this). I've seen video of the hearing, and there seem to be several obvious potential legal issues with a variance that was granted, and issues dealing with veracity of some key testimony, and so on and so forth. I feel I may having standing to appeal to circuit court based on quality of life issues that a business entering a residential area may have in terms of noise, traffic, etc.. In addition, I rent from a relative who owns properties that may grant him standing based on potential future loss in property value, the level of rent he is able to ask for, and so on and so forth based on the the impact of the business on those things. There's a lot more to it than that, but that's a very thin outline.

I can't afford a lawyer because I'm below the poverty line income wise, and my relative says he also can't afford a lawyer (Although really it seems in his case more a matter of limited discretionary funds and him directing them to things he values more).

So, what is going to likely happen is simply that after the 30 day window to file an appeal lapses without an appeal, these folks will be able to go forward with their new zoning and establish this business. I can't afford an attorney to file, so I lose (Well, so to speak, I am actually not involved in the process currently).

My thought was, perhaps someone trying to gain experience would want to handle something like this pro bono to gain experience. They can be a lead attorney, and since I otherwise would be without consul and unable to appeal, if someone screws something up in inadvertently due to inexperience, I'm no worse off than if I had not appealed.

The reason I thought specifically of an inexperienced lawyer here is that I making an assumption that when and if experienced lawyers do pro bono work, it's more for people who are criminal defendants or litigants with a more pressing claim and wouldn't give me the time of day on this one if I approached them about doing it pro bono since they would want whatever pro bono work they might do to be something that they deem more important. Yet, a new lawyer might just want to get into a court room and think of it as a plus that he or she can gain experience in a situation where losing is not going to be the end of the world for the client. This is important to me, but it's not like I am facing a 20 year jail term or am suing to pay medical bills or something, so, relatively speaking...

What do you all think? Not about the case, about the idea of looking for a recent bar graduate to represent me? Does it seem plausible that someone would want to take on something like this pro bono to gain experience? Or am I living in a fantasy land here? If it seems realistic that I might be able to find someone meeting that description, how would I go about doing so?

I live in the state of Maryland, if that makes a difference.

letstalkaboutit
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Lawyers who have just passed the bar/courtroom experience

Postby letstalkaboutit » Wed Apr 01, 2015 7:46 pm

*bump*

If this is a crazy idea, feel free to tell me.

I am just trying to feel out if I have options.

In theory, it seems like someone who has passed the bar and isn't finding work or is just essentially acting as a paralegal would enjoy being able to be the lead attorney on something and argue before a court and file documents and gain that experience. However, I realize that people also don't like to do something for nothing unless the case is something where someone could go to jail or lose their home or whatever.

I'm just trying to get a feel for whether I have a shot at finding someone to take a case like this pro bono and, if so, how I'd go about finding such a person.

It bothers me that it seems like justice goes to the highest bidder on stuff like that. This business hired an attorney to represent them before the zoning appeals board, because they had the money do so. The community residents this is hurting can't afford attorneys. So we lose. Kind of sucks.

I took this place because it was a quiet non-commercial area. I gave up a lot of conveniences and have a higher cost of living here than I would some other places. Now it's going to be loud, heavily trafficked, and my dog is going to be exposed to exotic animals with diseases. I can't get variances to do things that would lower my energy bills and help the environment, but someone can just move in a 12 hour a day vet clinic that opens up early in the morning. Replacing doors and windows with modern stuff is ahistorical, but these jerks can just start bringing in out of town people and animals from an hour in every direction, a long established business from elsewhere, and do surgeries on horses and stuff. There are larger nearby towns with the appropriate zoning and they don't care.

Everything goes to the highest bidder. Typical. If they just lifted all restrictions, maybe we could make a trade off and I could pave my freaking parking spot so I didn't get stuck in mud and snow and ice constantly. I could not have $300 heating bills in the winter for an apartment because they want to keep things like it's 1775. And then maybe I'd get why they can move in a modern high traffic business. Or they could not move in the business and I could sort of understand the restrictions on me because at least everything would be consistent.

Stuff that would actually benefit us like a cell tower or a grocery or something never happens. It's just something for out of town people to come in and use and leave their trash and make their noise and pollute our town.

We don't vote on this board, it just makes decisions for us. And I think there is some clearcut perjury involved. But I don't have the money to challenge it in court, so they can get away with whatever they want to, and I live with the consequences. And the residents across town who won't have to deal with the downsides of this can favor it and push for their favored daughter to come home and do what she wants, because the people who suffer are the lower income residents near the facilitiy who didn't grow up around here. My relative has owned property for two decades here and can't get variances approved because he's not "from here".

It's bullshit.

BearLaw
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: Lawyers who have just passed the bar/courtroom experience

Postby BearLaw » Wed Apr 01, 2015 10:18 pm

If there really is a claim, you should go talk to an attorney. Most will do a consult for free and take the case if there is merit. Even larger firms may take you on pro bono if the case is a good one.

Do not ask recent, unemployed grads to do this work. They need a job, not potentially months of work that will take up time they could be making money or looking for work. Pro bono works because either the attorney is already making money (firm), or the firm can take a write-off on the time and it looks like they care. A new grad has none of the resources to take a case like this, especially if it gets into appellate type things.

For the record, I doubt you have much of a chance anyway. I do not think a court is going to over turn a zoning board determination.

letstalkaboutit
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Lawyers who have just passed the bar/courtroom experience

Postby letstalkaboutit » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:38 pm

BearLaw wrote:If there really is a claim, you should go talk to an attorney. Most will do a consult for free and take the case if there is merit. Even larger firms may take you on pro bono if the case is a good one.

Do not ask recent, unemployed grads to do this work. They need a job, not potentially months of work that will take up time they could be making money or looking for work. Pro bono works because either the attorney is already making money (firm), or the firm can take a write-off on the time and it looks like they care. A new grad has none of the resources to take a case like this, especially if it gets into appellate type things.


Thanks. That's pretty much what I was asking about. I had the idea about recent law grads but didn't know what the reality was. Looks like my idea was off-base. This gives me a better idea of what options I have in terms of seeking legal representation.

For the record, I doubt you have much of a chance anyway. I do not think a court is going to over turn a zoning board determination.


In truth, this is what I suspect as well at this point. I don't think things should be that way, but I think they are. The rights of residents without significant monetary resources over things like this seem rather limited. The board has lawyers, the county commissioners have lawyers, the owner of the property has a lawyer. And they have financial resources and backing they can use to hire experts and get affidavits and expert testimony. The written ruling is significantly different from what was discussed in the hearing, it's clear that they looked at inquiries I was making to various people and trying to shore up their legal position. Their written ruling looks like a point by point rebuttal in some respects. It sucks, but I don't know that's there much I can do about it. If I had the resources, I would not have written to them giving them anything, I'd have hired a lawyer and kept my mouth shut, but even the idea that I wasn't likely to be able to get a lawyer shaped my interactions in such a way as to weaken my case, if indeed I had one. I still feel strongly that the outgoing owner lied under oath, but I need a lawyer who thinks he can make that case well enough that he'll do it against a team of lawyers, and feels strongly enough about wanting to do so, that he'll do it for no money.

Maybe I should schedule a consult somewhere anyhow just to see, though.

BearLaw
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:23 pm

Re: Lawyers who have just passed the bar/courtroom experience

Postby BearLaw » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:11 pm

letstalkaboutit wrote:
BearLaw wrote:If there really is a claim, you should go talk to an attorney. Most will do a consult for free and take the case if there is merit. Even larger firms may take you on pro bono if the case is a good one.

Do not ask recent, unemployed grads to do this work. They need a job, not potentially months of work that will take up time they could be making money or looking for work. Pro bono works because either the attorney is already making money (firm), or the firm can take a write-off on the time and it looks like they care. A new grad has none of the resources to take a case like this, especially if it gets into appellate type things.


Thanks. That's pretty much what I was asking about. I had the idea about recent law grads but didn't know what the reality was. Looks like my idea was off-base. This gives me a better idea of what options I have in terms of seeking legal representation.

For the record, I doubt you have much of a chance anyway. I do not think a court is going to over turn a zoning board determination.


In truth, this is what I suspect as well at this point. I don't think things should be that way, but I think they are. The rights of residents without significant monetary resources over things like this seem rather limited. The board has lawyers, the county commissioners have lawyers, the owner of the property has a lawyer. And they have financial resources and backing they can use to hire experts and get affidavits and expert testimony. The written ruling is significantly different from what was discussed in the hearing, it's clear that they looked at inquiries I was making to various people and trying to shore up their legal position. Their written ruling looks like a point by point rebuttal in some respects. It sucks, but I don't know that's there much I can do about it. If I had the resources, I would not have written to them giving them anything, I'd have hired a lawyer and kept my mouth shut, but even the idea that I wasn't likely to be able to get a lawyer shaped my interactions in such a way as to weaken my case, if indeed I had one. I still feel strongly that the outgoing owner lied under oath, but I need a lawyer who thinks he can make that case well enough that he'll do it against a team of lawyers, and feels strongly enough about wanting to do so, that he'll do it for no money.

Maybe I should schedule a consult somewhere anyhow just to see, though.


If you really feel strongly about it, go for s consult and see what they say. If there is a larger firm around, they may (and really, I mean there is the slightest chance) take you as a pro bono project. You lose nothing by asking.

My point about the courts has nothing to do with money really. The point is, courts are not going to jump up and down to over turn the decision of an administrative body like a zoning board. Especially where there have been hearings and a written report or ruling issued, as it seems there is here. Like it or not, there is a record, and courts will give that deference. As for suspecting perjury, that isn't easy to prove.

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banjo
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Re: Lawyers who have just passed the bar/courtroom experience

Postby banjo » Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:12 pm

In my hometown, you could sometimes create enough legal headache/delay that the people who wanted the variance would go away on their own.




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