Solo Practice vs. Government Job

(Issue areas, International Law, International Public Interest, Public Service in the private sector, Non-Profits, Public Interest Organizations, Government/ government agencies, employment settings)

What would you do?

Take government job
2
67%
Stick with solo practice
1
33%
 
Total votes: 3

Anonymous User
Posts: 341031
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Solo Practice vs. Government Job

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:37 am

I am about 5-6 years post-graduation and started my own solo practice last year. Generally very happy doing this.

I was not hunting for a job or anything, but a Common Pleas Magistrate called me and asked if I'd be interested in working in the City Law Department. One thing led to another and now I've been offered a pretty good gig at the City Law Department. Wondering what people think.

Solo Practice

-Net income was $94,000 last year (not including taxes)
-Zero benefits (current healthcare is through wife and sucks)
-Pretty much unlimited autonomy
-Do a lot of low fee work (flat fee appearance work, criminal court appointment list) that I don't particularly enjoy but do because I have the time
-Generally enjoy doing this and being on my own

Government Job

-Starting salary of $68,000
-Retirement contributions of 24% of salary after six months ($17,000 per year by my math)
-Basically best you can imagine healthcare
-Hours would be 8:00 - 4:00 with an hour paid lunch
-Job would include managing city litigation, personnel issues, legislation issues, land/real estate issues (takings, sewer, streets, etc.)
-Most seem to think this would establish great connections

Perhaps most importantly, this is a "serve at the pleasure of mayor" job, not a lifetime gig. So theoretically, a new administration could come in and fire everyone. That never happens but it's a possibility.

But, in my interview, I turned this on its head and said, "That's exactly why I can't completely shut my practice down. I need to keep that up and running in case I get canned." The city law director was totally on board with it. I could do my private practice during lunch, after 4:00, and on weekends; and if I need to attend hearings, then I make up for that via "flex time" (i.e., attend hearing for an hour, but work through lunch or stay until 5:00).

My thoughts are to take the government job and try to make my law practice work on the side. I can get rid of all my low fee work and, after reviewing my active matter list, I'd like to keep maybe 8-10 clients. I think that's manageable and would be 10-15 hours per week on the side. I think I can make about $3,000 - $4,000/month in my practice doing this, maybe more.

Worst case scenario -- if the government job is a bad fit, then I can just return to solo practice. It basically stays there as an insurance policy. I can get back on the flat fee and appointment list almost immediately.

I'm leaning towards taking it but wondering what those here think.

Anonymous User
Posts: 341031
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Solo Practice vs. Government Job

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:32 am

I mean, seems like a pretty good offer. You could always do it for a year and try to grow your connections and referral network. Making 94k as a solo in your first year is really great. Good job there!

User avatar
Lacepiece23

Silver
Posts: 1088
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:10 pm

Re: Solo Practice vs. Government Job

Postby Lacepiece23 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am about 5-6 years post-graduation and started my own solo practice last year. Generally very happy doing this.

I was not hunting for a job or anything, but a Common Pleas Magistrate called me and asked if I'd be interested in working in the City Law Department. One thing led to another and now I've been offered a pretty good gig at the City Law Department. Wondering what people think.

Solo Practice

-Net income was $94,000 last year (not including taxes)
-Zero benefits (current healthcare is through wife and sucks)
-Pretty much unlimited autonomy
-Do a lot of low fee work (flat fee appearance work, criminal court appointment list) that I don't particularly enjoy but do because I have the time
-Generally enjoy doing this and being on my own

Government Job

-Starting salary of $68,000
-Retirement contributions of 24% of salary after six months ($17,000 per year by my math)
-Basically best you can imagine healthcare
-Hours would be 8:00 - 4:00 with an hour paid lunch
-Job would include managing city litigation, personnel issues, legislation issues, land/real estate issues (takings, sewer, streets, etc.)
-Most seem to think this would establish great connections

Perhaps most importantly, this is a "serve at the pleasure of mayor" job, not a lifetime gig. So theoretically, a new administration could come in and fire everyone. That never happens but it's a possibility.

But, in my interview, I turned this on its head and said, "That's exactly why I can't completely shut my practice down. I need to keep that up and running in case I get canned." The city law director was totally on board with it. I could do my private practice during lunch, after 4:00, and on weekends; and if I need to attend hearings, then I make up for that via "flex time" (i.e., attend hearing for an hour, but work through lunch or stay until 5:00).

My thoughts are to take the government job and try to make my law practice work on the side. I can get rid of all my low fee work and, after reviewing my active matter list, I'd like to keep maybe 8-10 clients. I think that's manageable and would be 10-15 hours per week on the side. I think I can make about $3,000 - $4,000/month in my practice doing this, maybe more.

Worst case scenario -- if the government job is a bad fit, then I can just return to solo practice. It basically stays there as an insurance policy. I can get back on the flat fee and appointment list almost immediately.

I'm leaning towards taking it but wondering what those here think.


Any chance you can PM me? I'm interested in hearing about your criminal appointment work.



Return to “Public Interest & Government�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.