Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 82760 times)

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #100 on: February 07, 2015, 11:23:08 AM »
Update.... the department chair denied the partner's request to shift me to full time.  He said that after I've actually billed full time hours, then he'll reconsider.

In January, I billed 120 hours.  In February, I'll likely bill 180.  My boss says they will push again on March 1. 

Yesterday, one of the partners asked me to take the lead on a really huge project.  That's the bright side.... I'm getting great experience that will make me valuable, to SOMEONE.

These fucker pants are going to get as much work as they can at the biggest discount possible.  And, yes, I'm keeping the job hunt alive both with my network and also with a headhunter.  No, I do not have FU money.  Quite the opposite, I have $153k worth of student loans. 

« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 08:33:30 AM by TrulyStashin »
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

totoro

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #101 on: February 07, 2015, 12:16:37 PM »
Prepaying really depends on the facts.   

At 10% it would not be a mistake to pay down the loan if you could qualify for a 10% personal loan if need be and you are not earning much of a return on the cash as you don't want to invest it long-term. 

Cash in the bank does provide a sense of security.


mrshudson

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #102 on: February 07, 2015, 12:22:05 PM »
I am in patent law, but not a lawyer, so I avoided law school debt.  I am in-house and make $127K plus target of 11% bonus. I have no idea what the corporate or patent attorneys make.  Though I hear since patent law has the added requirement of technical background and patent bar admission to this specialty, that patent attorneys tend to get paid more.
I thought about going to law school, so glad that I didn't - since the attorney jobs appear to suck even more than mine.

I'm one also - in patent law, not a patent lawyer, no law school (or any college debt). Working for midlaw and hating the concept of the billable hours and tracking time in 6 minute intervals. Agree that attorney jobs suck more than mine, though. Contemplating fast track FIRE in 9 years with 60-70% savings rate of take home pay (which, admittedly is under $100k).

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #103 on: February 07, 2015, 12:26:30 PM »
Update.... the department chair denied the partner's request to shift me to full time.  He said that after I've actually billed full time hours, then he'll reconsider.

In January, I billed 120 hours.  In February, I'll likely bill 180.  My boss says they will push again on March 1. 

Yesterday, one of the partners asked me to prepare the land use permitting application for a $1.1 B gas co-gen facility being planned by our biggest anchor client.  It's a huge project straddling two counties so applications have to be prepared for both and have to permit not just the gas co-gen plant but also a solar array that's in the long-term plan.  That's the bright side.... I'm getting great experience that will make me valuable, to SOMEONE.

These fucker pants are going to get as much work as they can at the biggest discount possible.  And, yes, I'm keeping the job hunt alive both with my network and also with a headhunter.  No, I do not have FU money.  Quite the opposite, I have $153k worth of student loans.

So if you do bill full time hours on "part time," do you get compensated for that?  If not, what incentive do they think you have to do so?

Embok

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #104 on: February 07, 2015, 01:36:02 PM »
Another lawyer here. I have practiced commercial real estate law since graduating law school in the late 1980s.  Went to a top 15 State law school; did well; first job was with top 10 big law firm.  Worked in various big law and one well respected medium sized firm for 20 years, was partner at two large national law firms.  Had a lot of debt when I first got out of law school, but paid it off over about a 10 year period. 

Was wildly successful at bringing in clients at some parts of the business cycle and not successful at other parts of the cycle - fairly typical for a commercial real estate law practice. Was fairly consistently underpaid while in big law firms, probably in part because I am female and never seemed to be able to get into the "old boys club".  Worked like a dog for years, which had serious health implications from which I'm recovering. The stress was insane, and when busy with clients I generated, firm support was minimal as jealousy within the firm partnership prevailed.  Unfortunately this is typical due to internal incentives.  I am rather jaded about big law on quality, business management, and other grounds. I think the big long model fundamentally is unsustainable for many reasons and tends to favor a management "club" at the expense of non-members of the club, particularly less senior lawyers.

Left to form my own boutique firm with a (male) partner about four years ago.  Have generally enjoyed running my own firm.

Positives:  Was able to keep most clients and charge them less –  a win for them and me; financially doing well; no upper-level management meddling with my business development or how I staff projects; and can make my own decision about how much to work and whether to commute into the office on a given day or work from home. 

Negatives:  The administrative side of the practice takes huge amounts of time; I have to run a lot of my own errands (buy paper, send mail, etc.) as I only have part time administrative help;  filing;  all the risks are mine financially; payments come in irregularly; we miss some deals for some clients because our firm is small (some clients think a big firm is better because it's big, even though there are typically only two lawyers working on a given deal in my area); and if we get busy it can be difficult to keep our marketing going well we're also very busy closing deals for clients.

It was emotionally challenging in some ways to make the shift from BigLaw to a small firm.  I am not immune to the ego drivers of the Big Law practice, although I drove a small hybrid as a big firm partner ( which my peers thought was weird) and did not spend anything like the amount of money most lawyers do on clothes, shoes, etc.  (Basically, I worked a lot, did a lot of writing , speaking etc.). But I'm senior enough to know the value I can bring to clients, despite the somewhat disdainful looks I sometimes receive at conferences from current big law lawyers.  Over time I've realized that less of that value came from the firm and more of it came from me. 

The best part of my job is helping clients solve problems and closing deals for them. I love doing that.  Bottom line, smaller from practice has given me more opportunities to provide good client service at a reasonable price for the client and to do well myself.  About at FIRE, but like my work now so no short term plans to quit.

totoro

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #105 on: February 07, 2015, 04:29:25 PM »
Negatives:  The administrative side of the practice takes huge amounts of time; I have to run a lot of my own errands (buy paper, send mail, etc.) as I only have part time administrative help;  filing;  all the risks are mine financially; payments come in irregularly;

Not sure if you have already implemented this but a paperless practice and excellent software keeps our book-keeping to five hours per month and our admin support to max 40 hours a month for three lawyers.  We use clio which has cloud backup/storage, qbonline, personal scanners and smart phones with the clio app. 

It may not make sense for you to run a lot of your own errands and with paperless practice and e-billing maybe you shouldn't have to?  I combine work with personal shopping and keep a running list.  I have to spend a significant amount of time setting up a new lawyer, but past that it is not all that much.

Embok

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #106 on: February 07, 2015, 08:03:22 PM »
Totoro: 

Thanks for the suggestion.  We are getting closer and closer to paperless, but will probably never get completely there:  doing real estate law requires very precise proofing and a lot of cross-checking, and I'm old fashioned enough to want to proof my docs on paper.  (I think it yield better accuracy more quickly.).

But when I think about it, I probably spend less than 10 hours per month doing the admin tasks I do -- and the minor irritation of doing them still beats the pants off the major irritations of BigLaw firms, such as micromanagement from other cities, stupid business models, inefficient staffing (example:  having to use the available - for a reason - labor litigator for a real estate litigation rather than bring in a better qualified lawyer from outside the firm, or get in trouble with firm management) and "partners" who'd rather try to steal your clients than develop their own. 

Nothing will ever make me like record keeping or accounting, but finally got transitioned to QB this year and hired help to do the inputs -- so that part is getting much better.

The more time I can spend solving clients' problems and closing clients' deals, the happier I am.  I've been blessed to have some great clients who are joys to work with/for.

Wish I'd discovered MMM earlier:  this forum has lots of great ideas for building wealth, being frugal and still having fun.  I'd probably be farther ahead financially, as I was not the most financially sophisticated person around, and made plenty of financial mistakes in earlier years. 

The MMM site has helped me realize I'm not the only person who wants to achieve things but does not want to buy in to the "golden handcuffs" lifestyle typical of BigLaw or to use (or abuse) other folks at work to get ahead.  It's great to know there are others out there with similar values.  They seem, at least in my limited experience, to be unusual in AmLaw100 firms.  I make a bit less money than I did in my higher-earning years at BigLaw, but not much -- and having control over my professional decisions is well worth it.  I work fewer hours, can work out during the week, can spend what makes sense to market our practice without going through endless committee approvals, can bring in qualified lawyers when we need help and pay them market, have exactly the tech tools I want, and most important can turn my back (metaphorically) on my colleagues and not find a knife in it.

totoro

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #107 on: February 07, 2015, 08:30:14 PM »
Totoro: 

Thanks for the suggestion.  We are getting closer and closer to paperless, but will probably never get completely there:  doing real estate law requires very precise proofing and a lot of cross-checking, and I'm old fashioned enough to want to proof my docs on paper.  (I think it yield better accuracy more quickly.).

Using Adobe converter and dual screens has worked better for us.  We have mandatory e-filing for all lands docs and have to have a registered e-signature - you might want to look into some different tech - not sure

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #108 on: February 07, 2015, 08:39:23 PM »
Update.... the department chair denied the partner's request to shift me to full time.  He said that after I've actually billed full time hours, then he'll reconsider.

In January, I billed 120 hours.  In February, I'll likely bill 180.  My boss says they will push again on March 1. 

Yesterday, one of the partners asked me to prepare the land use permitting application for a $1.1 B gas co-gen facility being planned by our biggest anchor client.  It's a huge project straddling two counties so applications have to be prepared for both and have to permit not just the gas co-gen plant but also a solar array that's in the long-term plan.  That's the bright side.... I'm getting great experience that will make me valuable, to SOMEONE.

These fucker pants are going to get as much work as they can at the biggest discount possible.  And, yes, I'm keeping the job hunt alive both with my network and also with a headhunter.  No, I do not have FU money.  Quite the opposite, I have $153k worth of student loans.

So if you do bill full time hours on "part time," do you get compensated for that?  If not, what incentive do they think you have to do so?

Their argument is "when you didn't make your PT hours in 2013 and 2014, we didn't cut your pay, so now we expect you to show that you can do the work before we make you full time."   I have never turned down a project and make a habit out of checking with partners and asking for work.  Not sure why lack of hours is my fault, but that's how they're framing it.  I guess they think the incentive for me is actually getting what they've been promising.

Cathy, thanks for your post.  That's given me a lot to think about.  I've been aggressively paying my loans - in fact I just scheduled an optional payment of $1450 for next Friday.  Maybe I should put that in my savings account instead.

Though, I don't think I'd quit this job until/ unless I had a new one lined up.  It's harder to find a job when you don't have one.  Especially as a young lawyer.  If I left my firm and had a gap on my resume, it would appear that I was let go.   I'm going to gut this out. Somehow, I'm doing a great job of having a positive attitude at work -- I actually am loving what I"m working on right now.  So I'll bill the hours, learn as much as I can, and job hunt.  If they don't fulfill their promises, I'll find a firm that values me and leave.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

Embok

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #109 on: February 07, 2015, 09:08:24 PM »
Truly Stachin: 

If I were you I would do three things:

1.  Do all the work requested of you in the short term and try to bring your hours up to full time;

2. At the same time, look for another job – it's much easier to get hired if you're already employed; and

3.  Put your extra cash into savings in case something goes wrong, rather than into optional debt payments in the short-term.

In my rather jaundiced opinion, law firms do what they have to do, but most law firm management sees its obligation as being to return as much profit as possible to the small control group of partners. That means that the average law firm will pay as little as possible to the people actually doing much of  the work. As a practical matter, that means you're much more likely to get the job you want at a different law firm, or when you get an offer from a different law firm that you can use to get your current law firm to renegotiate.  YMMV.

bwall

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #110 on: February 07, 2015, 10:52:26 PM »
What are the occupational hazards of being a lawyer? By this, I mean, what are the hazards that are specific to the work done as a lawyer, not necessarily the job itself.

Embok

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #111 on: February 07, 2015, 11:20:55 PM »
Hazards of being a lawyer: 

liability to clients if anything goes wrong;

angry or whiny clients (can be violent sometimes, particularly to family law lawyers, criminal lawyers; even if not that bad, they often are in a mess they made and ready to blame you if you can't fix it fast enough or cheaply enough),

irritating opponents, some of whom make threats or seek sanctions (against litigators) without reason, and

if you are in a firm, massive irritation by managing lawyers who don't know how to run a business. 

You spend lots of hours sitting at a desk working on stressful problems (no one pays a lawyer to do something they can do themselves), which is tough on your health after several years.

totoro

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #112 on: February 08, 2015, 09:28:13 AM »
Lawyers have much higher rates of depression, alcoholism and anxiety than average.  Likely correlated to stress, level of responsibility and liability, and overwork.   

The average lawyer works 8.9 hours per day many work more.  There is no overtime. 

The nature of the work creates a largely sedentary lifestyle during working hours.

Rosbif

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #113 on: February 08, 2015, 02:14:56 PM »
Divorce. And that in turn makes you more likely to die early/kill yourself. It's usually a complete financial disaster as well. Lifestyle is atrocious too, sedentary and full of booze and eating. No time to exercise. Go to any conference and look at the 50-somethings. They look like 60-somethings.

totoro

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #114 on: February 08, 2015, 02:36:41 PM »
That all said, I'm happy with my career choice.  I make a lot of money and get a great deal of job satisfaction.

bwall

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #115 on: February 08, 2015, 09:13:14 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.

Alcoholism, depression, anxiety, divorce and sedentary lifestyle health concerns seem to be a pretty good list.

One friend of mine (CPA) commented once that all lawyers that he knew hated law. I asked why and he couldn't answer, but he stated clearly that they all hated it..... I just wondered why. Perhaps those are reasons?

Tick-Tock

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #116 on: February 08, 2015, 09:34:29 PM »
What are the occupational hazards of being a lawyer? By this, I mean, what are the hazards that are specific to the work done as a lawyer, not necessarily the job itself.

Law school is supposed to make you think like a lawyer.  But then, you think like a lawyer:  you consider the worst of what could happen, rather than the best, and you spot every risk and worry it to death (and then worry about what risks you didn't spot).  I think I was a much more optimistic person before I went to law school.

former player

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #117 on: February 09, 2015, 01:53:29 AM »
Thanks for the feedback.

Alcoholism, depression, anxiety, divorce and sedentary lifestyle health concerns seem to be a pretty good list.

One friend of mine (CPA) commented once that all lawyers that he knew hated law. I asked why and he couldn't answer, but he stated clearly that they all hated it..... I just wondered why. Perhaps those are reasons?
As far as I can see there are three main reasons -

1.  They never did like law, but went into it because money/prestige/didn't know what else to do.
2.  Private practice is more about doing business/entrepreneurship than doing law and they don't like doing business/entrepreneurship.
3.  They are litigators but don't like confrontation or win/lose situations.

I really, really liked law but knew 2 and 3 would be a problem for me so stayed as far away as I could from private practice and litigation and went into government advisory work instead.  Result: a lot of good times and satisfying work to look back on from FIRE.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

chasesfish

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #118 on: February 09, 2015, 06:01:42 AM »
Soon we'll have "real" lawyers in here deprecating others for not going to a "T6," not getting a Biglaw (has to be "V10" or higher) summer associateship, and not having at least a 3.8 GPA (or whatever the GPA of those lawyers was).

I've found that sooner or later all gatherings of US lawyers turn into ego contests. I've seen literally the first question out of people's mouths after "What's your name" to be "What law school did you go to?" It's one of the least Mustachian professions I've ever had the misfortune of meeting people in.

I don't think I agree that being a lawyer is one of the least Mustachian professions. If you can avoid taking out loans for law school (that's a huge IF), I think it can be one of the most mustachian professions. Take a job in BigLaw in a major city and make $160k+bonus  (or MidLaw and make $110k+bonus) right out of law school in your mid 20's, do that grind for 5 years or so to get good experience, then find a cushy in-house job paying a little less. You'll be in your early 30's making a ton of money and you should have been able to bank a ton as well. You'll also have the equivalent of a mid-level executive job, and probably be one of the youngest people in management at Company X. If you played your cards right, you could retire at 40 pretty handily.

I had a friend from law school whose parents paid for his undergrad and law school. He started undergrad young, finished in 4 years, then went to law school right away. He graduated at 24, landed a job with a major firm in a secondary city, and was making phenomenal money right away. Plus, he was still able to have fun and enjoy himself. He's a frugal guy to begin with, so I'm sure he's already well on his way to early retirement (although he's not the type to retire early).

I have to agree with this post as well.

Lawyers sell their time and depending on the type of law, have the ability to ramp up or ramp down their earnings and can do a significant amount of work remotely later in their career.

The other point made in here is key, get your 5-7 years of experience in BigLaw between ages 25 and 32, then get a nice in-house counsel job somewhere until FI.  I'm in finance and have worked with may layers that have gone from BigLaw, to In-House counsel, to semi-retired with their own firm.  He would take months off at a time and occasionally do a conference call or respond to an email or two while off work.

oldfierm

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #119 on: February 09, 2015, 09:56:09 AM »
Chiming in for a bit of a different perspective.  I'm in the military - and a lawyer.  JAG Corps, baby! 

I LOVE IT. 

What is the upper age limit for this?  I wish my DH had gone this route, but he's currently in commercial litigation. He thought about JAG Corps after law school, but got a lucrative job offer.  The rest is history. 

I think there was a maximum age limit though (35)? He's early 40's.....However, now from a college perspective for our kids, I'm thinking it would be the time for him to switch to a lower paid gig with good Pension benefits.  We've got well funded 401(k)'s and low expenses.  We could live on less income with a deferred retirement benefit to maximize college aid.

You are right about the age limit.  I actually don't know off the top of my head, but for most Officer Corps it is around 35.  These are waivable - I saw a dentist come in during his late 40s.  It's all about supply and demand, though, and right as far as I know none of the services are hurting for JAGs. 

dad_of_four

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #120 on: February 09, 2015, 10:52:31 AM »
Jesus, is no one here right out of law school and not making six figures? I mean, great for you, more power to you.

But I recently graduated, working inhouse for same employer that I worked for while attending law school at night. Making $60K.  Pretty sure I can bump that up to 70-80 in a few years, but I don't know if I'll hit six figures.  Zero debt, though, paid as I went! I have frieds who work for public defenders office, making in the $40K range.

Reading this just surprised me. Everyone here is making a ton!

I have mixed feelings about the law. Litigation seems fun, but I'm not going to see much of that in house. And I'm not someone who wants to go drum up business to bill a ton, firm life never appealed to me.  If I could afford swing it, I'd love to do some work for a non-profit. Something meaningful. Just watching the company's ass isn't too fun.

Your employer is underpaying you by a decent bit. If you get 3 or so years of experience there, you should be able to lateral somewhere and double that assuming you're not in rural Tennessee or something.


Thanks, I suspect that too. Working in a medium size city.  My work is a mix betwen legal and nonlegal stuff. I work with outside counsel pretty often.

I'm a little concerned that, not having any legal experience outside of what I  do now,  (no firm work, never clerked bc I was working while attending school at night) it will be tough to find a better gig. But, I think I'll just need to have broad search. Step outside of what I do, and outside of the typical law firm jobs.  I plan to jump ship for a much better offer but it'll take some work.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #121 on: February 14, 2015, 01:21:02 PM »
I've slowly come to realize that I have more leverage than I thought.  They need me just as much as I need them.

I'm developing a new strategy...............   Sometime in early April, I'm going to get my performance appraisal and I'm quite sure it will be strong.  Also, just in the past few weeks, I've developed work flows with two new partners.  One of those has come to rely pretty heavily on me.  I'm going to add to that with a few more partners over the next month.  I'm also going to try and get included on a team that's developing a pitch -- that's what associates do and staff attorneys never do....

I'm going to build a case that I am, in fact, an associate despite the arbitrary label of "staff attorney."  I"m going to do all this with cheerfulness and joy -- even if I have to fake it.

I've been billing like a mad woman -- 93 hours for February.  I hope to end Feb with more than 200 hours.  I'll do the same in March.  At that pace, by 3/31, I should have 475 hours ytd and will have a number of partners who've come to rely on me.

At my performance review (typically in early April), I'm going to ask for a promotion to 2d year associate.  Right now.  I'll be very calm and simply state the facts in support.   I'll also say, "If that can't happen at this point, then I'm happy to drop back to the position I'm actually holding right now -- part time staff attorney."

That will mean that I won't be able to take all of the work they need me to do -- "Oh, I'd love to help, but I'm at capacity for this month."  And it flips the script on this situation..... it puts the pressure on them.   They would have to either push for me to be an associate; hire a second person to pick up the work (but they don't have THAT much work so the bean counters won't approve this); do more work themselves (yikes -- expensive and burdensome); or fire me and hire a new person... An associate?

Possible outcomes:

1) they make me an associate (not holding my breath)
2a) they tell me that the best they can do is FT/ Staff Attorney and I turn it down -- go back to PT SA
2b) they tell me that the best they can do is FT/ SA and I require a written commitment to promote me to assoc on Jan. 2016 subject to billing 1950 hours in 2015
3) they fire me from the PT position

As any smart lawyer would do, I'm consulting an employment law attorney.   I'm beginning to wonder if I have a cause of action against the firm for expecting -- demanding -- the same work from me that associates do but arbitrarily classifying me as a staff attorney in order to pay me substantially less.  I'm also wondering if the firm faces any possible liability if they fire me from my current PT job simply because I turn down their offer for another position, when there are no problems with my performance.  We'll see.

I'm also selling as much unwanted stuff as I can and sending all spare cash into an emergency fund.  If I play this card, I need to be ready for unemployment. 
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

CommonCents

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #122 on: February 27, 2015, 09:27:20 AM »
Also, just in the past few weeks, I've developed work flows with two new partners.  One of those has come to rely pretty heavily on me.  I'm going to add to that with a few more partners over the next month.  I'm also going to try and get included on a team that's developing a pitch -- that's what associates do and staff attorneys never do....

This is critical.  When you have partners backing you, that gives you leverage/credibility.  A friend at my old law firm was going to be let go for his low hours and other issues with work.  (Low hours due to recession+taking all of his vacation for the year in one month for his wedding in India, so it was artificially low in some respects.)  But, he had ONE partner that pulled hard for him, so he got a writing coach and managed to stick around when a lot of others were pushed out the door.  And he was still there years after most of the class had dwindled down.

So for your plan to work, be the person the partners rely on and can't imagine not having there.  Become critical, and you raise your leverage.  Forge strong relationships and they'll want to help you.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #123 on: February 27, 2015, 09:49:23 AM »
New to the forum and just saw this thread, so I guess I'll join.

I graduated in 2014 from Ohio State with about $150,000 in loans. Despite having pretty good grades (top 30%), I didn't have a job after passing the bar. However, I successfully obtained a grant from my school to work at a firm in my hometown (Youngstown). The grant only paid $2,000 to work there for three months, but since I was able to live with my mom, I made it work.

Lucky for me, this gig at a local firm turned into a full time associate position. I now make $47,500 per year and have great benefits (they pay 90% of healthcare costs, pay all my bar/CLE fees, and contribute 3% to my 401k, even if I don't match). I'm happy with the work/life balance here and can see myself being here for a long time.

Again though, I'm in Youngstown. It gets a bad rap, I know, but my family is here, my GF has a steady and well-paying job here, and a lot of my high school friends are here.

I'm enjoying being back home for the first time in almost a decade, but at the same time, part of living in such a low cost of living area is that wages are suppressed ($47,500 gets you a long, long way in Youngstown).

Other lawyers in another thread I started pretty much are unanimously telling me to work hard and then get to a bigger market/firm, and that this will double my salary. Cleveland and Pittsburgh are each about an hour and fifteen minutes away. Anybody have experience with these or similarly sized markets? What's the work-life balance?

Any other thoughts on my situation?
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ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #124 on: February 27, 2015, 11:43:10 AM »
Congratulations on your degree and that you are employed. The latter puts you ahead some of your peers, as I understand the current state of the legal market.

I'm a lawyer. Twenty-plus years in Big Law, now an equity partner in a boutique.

I don't profess to have any insights on small-/mid-firm markets. My Big Law experience, however, suggests that trying to trade up to larger and larger firms could be challenging for a variety of reasons, including hiring practices of larger firms (summer associates, the notion of a "class," etc.). But again, I could be wrong and don't let an anonymous comment influence you one way or another.

If I were you, I'd be happy to be employed and knuckle down to be the best lawyer I could be. Make yourself invaluable to your partners. Write articles. Get active in local/State Bar associations. Do interesting pro bono work (if your firm allows that). Attend Chamber of Commerce meetings. And on and on and on.

And when the time is right, try to generate your own business. Many young lawyers erroneously think that only seasoned lawyers can bring in business. Have your elevator speech down and always have business cards with you.

All of the above is by way of suggesting that you focus like a laser beam on building a successful legal practice in your current location in the years ahead. I would not worry about anything else, including your loans or trying to trade up to a larger firm.

If you build a successful legal practice, the other issues will take care of themselves. If you fail to build a successful legal practice by being distracted by ancillary matters, you will not be helping yourself.

Thanks for this post, as it's perfectly timed.

I've had a really slow February (lots of non-billable hours and some off-the-wall research projects). Moreover, I've been distracted at work by a lot of things, most notably my finances and my loans. My average day is coming into the office, browsing various sites, reading as much as I can, then finally starting to work by 9:30. Then I take another hour break, and then all my free time has been spent reading about how to maximize my earnings.

In a weird way, by focusing so much on my finances, I've forgotten how lucky I am to have a job and how much more effort I should be putting in here.

So now that I at least have my financial plan figured out (I think), I'm going to go into March with a fresh start.

Thanks for your advice and wisdom.
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InternationalStache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #125 on: March 01, 2015, 03:55:18 AM »

As any smart lawyer would do, I'm consulting an employment law attorney.   I'm beginning to wonder if I have a cause of action against the firm for expecting -- demanding -- the same work from me that associates do but arbitrarily classifying me as a staff attorney in order to pay me substantially less.  I'm also wondering if the firm faces any possible liability if they fire me from my current PT job simply because I turn down their offer for another position, when there are no problems with my performance.  We'll see.


My unsolicited two cents on this is that I'd steer very clear of even hinting about liability, suits, etc with your employer. In my experience, the legal world is smaller than it might first appear and this kind of talk could give you quite the black mark. Not to mention the challenge of winning claims against a firm for at will employment....

Best of luck on your other plans, sounds like you're on the right track.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #126 on: March 01, 2015, 11:06:17 AM »

As any smart lawyer would do, I'm consulting an employment law attorney.   I'm beginning to wonder if I have a cause of action against the firm for expecting -- demanding -- the same work from me that associates do but arbitrarily classifying me as a staff attorney in order to pay me substantially less.  I'm also wondering if the firm faces any possible liability if they fire me from my current PT job simply because I turn down their offer for another position, when there are no problems with my performance.  We'll see.


My unsolicited two cents on this is that I'd steer very clear of even hinting about liability, suits, etc with your employer. In my experience, the legal world is smaller than it might first appear and this kind of talk could give you quite the black mark. Not to mention the challenge of winning claims against a firm for at will employment....

Best of luck on your other plans, sounds like you're on the right track.
100% second this.

I worked as a summer associate last year at a mid-size firm in Ohio (75-100 attorneys). They paid us "hourly" at $25 per hour, but basically paid us $1,000 weekly salary (e.g., if we worked 50 hours, we still had to sign a sheet that said our hours were only 40 hours per week).

We knew it was dumb and illegal at the time, but we went along with it, thinking they would be our permanent employers.

Turns out they no offered the entire SA class (6 people). One of my fellow SAs asked me if I wanted to file suit for unpaid wages. I talked about it with a lot of people, including my dad (also an attorney), and he said it would be one of the worst career moves I would make.

Yes, I would win, but I'd also be blackballed. Everyone in the local legal community would know my name, my story, and that was baggage I didn't want to take when looking for a job.

So I didn't file suit. I ended up taking a grant opportunity at a smaller firm and that turned out to be my permanent employer.

Long story short: keep grinding. It will eventually pay off way more than any litigation might.
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MLKnits

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #127 on: March 01, 2015, 11:23:49 AM »
Family lawyer, own a growing practice with partners. Wouldn't say I love it but I work very reasonable hours (less than 40/week, generally) and earn about 100K gross (CDN), and I get to do a good chunk of poverty law, which is important to me. I also adore my partners, our associate, and our law clerk, and I love the actual office we work in (sort of a "find"--it's got a warehouse off the back and is in almost an industrial area, but close to our home court and gorgeously built out).

I could definitely be making more in other sectors or in a more aggressive family practice, but I'd have a boss to report to--no thanks--and much longer days, and I'd probably have to have my work email on my phone. That last is the real deal-breaker. Plus, I've been running trials almost since being called, and I think my law-school classmates are largely just now getting past the stage of "you can turn pages in the exhibit book at this trial."

The official/ideal dream is a few associates per partner, and the partners do more mentoring than lawyering (I love love love mentoring and teaching), but even if we stay pretty small, I've got a FIRE goal to fall back on, because I'm definitely not doing this for thirty years.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #128 on: March 01, 2015, 06:00:15 PM »

As any smart lawyer would do, I'm consulting an employment law attorney.   I'm beginning to wonder if I have a cause of action against the firm for expecting -- demanding -- the same work from me that associates do but arbitrarily classifying me as a staff attorney in order to pay me substantially less.  I'm also wondering if the firm faces any possible liability if they fire me from my current PT job simply because I turn down their offer for another position, when there are no problems with my performance.  We'll see.


My unsolicited two cents on this is that I'd steer very clear of even hinting about liability, suits, etc with your employer. In my experience, the legal world is smaller than it might first appear and this kind of talk could give you quite the black mark. Not to mention the challenge of winning claims against a firm for at will employment....

Best of luck on your other plans, sounds like you're on the right track.
100% second this.

I worked as a summer associate last year at a mid-size firm in Ohio (75-100 attorneys). They paid us "hourly" at $25 per hour, but basically paid us $1,000 weekly salary (e.g., if we worked 50 hours, we still had to sign a sheet that said our hours were only 40 hours per week).

We knew it was dumb and illegal at the time, but we went along with it, thinking they would be our permanent employers.

Turns out they no offered the entire SA class (6 people). One of my fellow SAs asked me if I wanted to file suit for unpaid wages. I talked about it with a lot of people, including my dad (also an attorney), and he said it would be one of the worst career moves I would make.

Yes, I would win, but I'd also be blackballed. Everyone in the local legal community would know my name, my story, and that was baggage I didn't want to take when looking for a job.

So I didn't file suit. I ended up taking a grant opportunity at a smaller firm and that turned out to be my permanent employer.

Long story short: keep grinding. It will eventually pay off way more than any litigation might.

Yes, I agree.   This has been a tremendous challenge in many ways -- not the least of which is to my ego.   I am gutting it out and have four applications in for other opportunities, one of which is with a rival Big Law firm just down the street.  I'm very qualified for that position and I'm hopeful of getting an interview. 
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ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #129 on: March 01, 2015, 06:50:31 PM »
Quote
Yes, I agree.   This has been a tremendous challenge in many ways -- not the least of which is to my ego.   I am gutting it out and have four applications in for other opportunities, one of which is with a rival Big Law firm just down the street.  I'm very qualified for that position and I'm hopeful of getting an interview.

TrulyStashin, keeping my fingers crossed for you.  Unfortunately, Biglaw is a tough environment.  If you don't conform to their "ideal", it's really hard to make progress.  But I think things are changing in Biglaw too - I think these firms are slowly recognizing that they have to make changes in order to respond to client demands and get closer to reality.  I really hope that you can break through and achieve your goals!



stuckinmn

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #130 on: March 01, 2015, 09:51:44 PM »
Graduated in 1997 and went biglaw.  I still remember my offer letter and thinking that the 66k starting salary was more money than I ever dreamed of making.  Within 2 years salaries were 6 figures due to the internet boom.  Great time to be getting in as most of the class of 2001 got no offers after the tech crash.

Went in-house in 03 because biglaw sucks.  As someone stated it is an unmustachian profession as most things turn into a dick measuring contest.  I remember telling colleagues of my plan to retire at 40 and they just laughed at me asking how I'm going to make enough to do that.  We were all in our 20s making 100k and they could not conceive of saving enough to retire early.

I'm pulling the FIRE cord this May, 5 years behind schedule.  I was a little optimistic in my market projections and had a couple of kids and a SAHM along the way, but close enough.  I bet those former colleagues are pulling in 500k per year and still are no closer to retirement.

Mr. Boots

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #131 on: March 02, 2015, 08:12:54 PM »
Great to hear from so many mustachian attorneys. I'll add my situation. Would really appreciate any thoughts/advice on this...

Career: State government attorney in Pennsylvania. Salary is 70k. Awesome benefits and work-life balance (8:30-5, vested pension, low stress). Graduated in 2012 from Penn State Law (Tier 1 but ranked in the 50’s) and finished exactly one spot away from the top 1/3 of my class (really annoying for resume purposes as “Top 35%” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it).

Life: I’m 31, Worked through law school so loans were kept to “only” 60k, all federal. I’m banking on PSLF in eight years, keeping monthly payments down through tax-deferred retirement savings. Hate nursing that debt, but I see no other route given that my wife stays home with our 1.5-year-old. Second kid is on the way. Not ideal, but it's important to us and we make it work. Actually we both feel that we live quite luxuriously—I’ve been a devout mustachian since discovering MMM a few years ago (felt like I was reading my own conscience). Doing everything I can to keep costs down as a single-income family (commute by bike year-round, plow savings into IRAs and my 457b, DIY everything, buy nothing but essentials, etc.)

Issue: My wife and I are desperate to relocate to a warmer, happier place, and to retire early. To do this, I realize I am going to need a higher salary. And maybe...shudder...take another bar exam. The problem is my government experience has not generated any interest from the countless employers to which I’ve applied.

Bottom line is I am constantly torn between two conflicting sentiments: avoiding complacency vs. appreciating what we have. On the one hand I feel extremely lucky to have a decent job, a happy/healthy family, a nice little house, healthy food, etc., but on the other hand I feel the need to optimize everything—to find a more challenging, higher-paying job, to increase my savings rate by way of a higher income, to relocate to a better climate where my family can enjoy the outdoors year-round, and to find a community where we can plant our roots and get involved.

Is it possible for me to land a better-paying job, in a warmer, more mustachian area, with the above credentials? Has anyone here done so with a similar background? If so, please tell me there's hope. Or should I just be happy to be where I am and make the most of it by continuing to work hard, network a bit, and focus on my family?

My thanks to anyone who has read this far. I would be incredibly grateful for any words of wisdom you may have. (Or, if any of you are in a position of influence and your company is looking for a badass mustachian attorney, feel free to PM me!)
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Mr. Boots

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #132 on: March 02, 2015, 09:20:06 PM »
Hey G-dog - I'm interested in moving to federal. I put in for a few positions per month on usajobs but nothing ever comes of it. I'm guessing since the applicant pool is nationwide they must get inundated, so it's hard to stand out.

I do general in-house type work for the agency. Because of my assigned division, most of my time is spent writing opinions in support of the agency's regulatory action and in appellate cases coming from our administrative law judges. I also do briefs (which our litigators then argue). I get some other experience sporadically as the other units get swamped, e.g. handling a few employment matters (successfully), reviewing contracts, drafting regulations.

Good point about targeting the private sector folks I deal with. Some are outside PA, so perhaps I can develop those relationships a bit more. Thanks for the input.
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world." ― John le Carré

former player

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #133 on: March 03, 2015, 04:18:51 AM »
Hey G-dog - I'm interested in moving to federal. I put in for a few positions per month on usajobs but nothing ever comes of it. I'm guessing since the applicant pool is nationwide they must get inundated, so it's hard to stand out.

I do general in-house type work for the agency. Because of my assigned division, most of my time is spent writing opinions in support of the agency's regulatory action and in appellate cases coming from our administrative law judges. I also do briefs (which our litigators then argue). I get some other experience sporadically as the other units get swamped, e.g. handling a few employment matters (successfully), reviewing contracts, drafting regulations.

Good point about targeting the private sector folks I deal with. Some are outside PA, so perhaps I can develop those relationships a bit more. Thanks for the input.
I agree with G-dog, there are always people wanting to do business with government organisations who can make good use of someone with inside experience.  It sounds as though you might also be able to parlay your experience into a consulting-type job (helping other people do business with government organisations), so if you are interested in making a move from purely legal work you could look at applying to consulting firms.
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Dee18

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #134 on: March 03, 2015, 06:21:50 AM »
Dept. of Justice has recently been advertising for experienced lawyers.  Have you checked the federal govt jobs listings?  Some of those jobs are throughout the country. 

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #135 on: March 04, 2015, 11:21:35 AM »
Mr. Boots... have you checked to see which state's bar rules allow reciprocity.  Typically, reciprocity kicks in after 5 years of practice.  Note that some states, (e.g. Ore.) allow you to count time spent practicing with a third-year practice certificate even before you were admitted to the PA bar.  A little Google research will allow you to come up with a list of states that you could begin targeting once you've hit that magic 5-year mark.

Also, state capitals may be a good option because of all the gov't work there.  I'm in Richmond, VA and we have not only all of the state agencies, and the OAG, the general assembly, the executive branch .... but we also have city and state courts.   On the federal level, we have several agencies with branches here, and the Fed. Reserve (not gov't, but a nonprofit) and there the federal Dist. Court, the 4th Circuit, and bankruptcy court.  Add in the military bases nearby and the Defense Supply Center (a friend's husband is a lawyer there, sniffing out fraud in gov't contracting).   Basically, we're lousy with gov't agencies.   Lots of non-profits too, which often have lobbying arms busy at the General Assembly (e.g. Nature Conservancy).

Other state capitals may be similar.  RVA has a very high quality of life and low cost of living.  I highly recommend it. 
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Kashmani

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #136 on: March 10, 2015, 03:53:57 PM »
Graduated in 1997 and went biglaw.  I still remember my offer letter and thinking that the 66k starting salary was more money than I ever dreamed of making.  Within 2 years salaries were 6 figures due to the internet boom.  Great time to be getting in as most of the class of 2001 got no offers after the tech crash.

Went in-house in 03 because biglaw sucks.  As someone stated it is an unmustachian profession as most things turn into a dick measuring contest.  I remember telling colleagues of my plan to retire at 40 and they just laughed at me asking how I'm going to make enough to do that.  We were all in our 20s making 100k and they could not conceive of saving enough to retire early.

I'm pulling the FIRE cord this May, 5 years behind schedule.  I was a little optimistic in my market projections and had a couple of kids and a SAHM along the way, but close enough.  I bet those former colleagues are pulling in 500k per year and still are no closer to retirement.

Nice to meet you, ten-years-older-me.


dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #137 on: March 10, 2015, 05:17:24 PM »
Mr. Boots... have you checked to see which state's bar rules allow reciprocity.  Typically, reciprocity kicks in after 5 years of practice.  Note that some states, (e.g. Ore.) allow you to count time spent practicing with a third-year practice certificate even before you were admitted to the PA bar.  A little Google research will allow you to come up with a list of states that you could begin targeting once you've hit that magic 5-year mark.


Been considering a backdoor reciprocity from CA.  Basically CA doesn't have reciprocity.  DC, however, will let you waive in after 5 years from any state regardless of reciprocity.  Then you go from DC to one of the states that does have reciprocity.  Probably this is more work than just retaking the bar exam :-(  On the plus side, I can write and prosecute patents anywhere regardless of state licensing.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #138 on: March 11, 2015, 10:18:14 AM »
Update:

Wow, karma is kinda crazy..... Last week a rival law firm with a name that reminds me of fish posted an opening for an environmental law associate with 2 to 4 years of experience.  It is the same position that my firm is hiring for and for which my boss blocked me from consideration.

I filed my application the same day it posted.

Then I called a friend who is an associate there.   She is on the same floor as the hiring partner.  We're having lunch on Friday, after which she'll go find the hiring partner and tell him I'm great.

On Monday, I had lunch with a friend who is a partner at another BigLaw firm.  She's good buddies with the Top Dog at the Fish-firm.  I sent her my resume.  She sent it to Top Dog with a "I've known her for years.  She's great!" comment.  He wrote back and said "She looks like an outstanding candidate."   Top Dog is going to pass my resume down to the hiring partner.  Hiring partner used to be at my firm.  He will take one glance at my resume and know exactly which partners I work for and on which projects.

The Fish-firm and my firm are direct competitors with one particular anchor client for whom I do a lot of work.

In short, this is a great opportunity for Fish-firm to poach an "associate" from a rival firm.   Fish-firm requires 150-fewer billable hours than does my firm.  Pay for associates is the same. 

I am crossing every digit that I can possibly cross...............

I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #139 on: March 11, 2015, 10:38:19 AM »
TrulyStashin, this sounds like an outstanding opportunity.  Keeping my fingers crossed for you!



TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #140 on: March 17, 2015, 11:56:32 AM »
I just got the call ..... I have an interview at Fish-firm next Wednesday!!!   Excited!!

And, last week, one of the partners at my current firm said that if I keep up all the billable hours then in mid- to late-April he'd go to the environmental dept. chair and push for me to be an associate.  Though he then said "we need to look at your rate and see if that would need to be adjusted."  So, I went into our productivity reports and found five associates in my class.  My billable rate is higher than theirs (by 20 to 30%) and after adjusting it for write-off's etc.,  my effective rate is also higher.  My billable hours are comparable.

This firm is billing me out for much more but paying me much less -- Sheesh, what a profit they're making off me.

I'm focusing on the future... one way or another I'm going to get that associate title (and pay).  After a few years at that status, I'll be debt-free and can re-evaluate options.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #141 on: March 17, 2015, 12:07:34 PM »
Good luck TrulyStashin!!!



Chuck

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #142 on: March 17, 2015, 01:11:36 PM »
It amazes me how variable lawyer salaries are, depending on the class and type of law.


OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #143 on: March 17, 2015, 02:19:16 PM »
Hi guys, I've been an attorney for 7 months now at the firm I clerked with throughout law school.  I like the firm and all of my coworkers a lot but I dislike the nature of my caseload because I don't feel like it will lead to many opportunities when I decide to move on.  I get paid alright, nearly 70k but I work about 60 hours a week.  My firm exclusively represents lenders in foreclosures, bankruptcies, and the occasional defense file (FDCPA, TILA, tax lien litigation).  I get a lot of courtroom experience which is a positive but its foreclosure and the vast majority of my appearances are uncontested trials which can be mind-numbing, especially when you have to drive 6 hours roundtrip to the courthouse across the state for a 5 minute appearance.  Don't get me wrong, I've had some interesting contested hearings in state and bankruptcy courts but a lot of my time is just spent driving and making uncontested appearances.  I really appreciate my job and coworkers and do everything I can to keep the quality of my work to a high standard despite the large caseload, but I worry if I stick around doing foreclosures too long I will limit myself.  I also worry the quality of my work will diminish if I continue working my unnecessarily long hours.  I went to a lower T1 school and graduated in the top 1/3 of my class.  Anyone have advise for a young lawyer? 
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Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #144 on: March 22, 2015, 07:53:07 AM »
Hi guys, I've been an attorney for 7 months now at the firm I clerked with throughout law school.  I like the firm and all of my coworkers a lot but I dislike the nature of my caseload because I don't feel like it will lead to many opportunities when I decide to move on.  I get paid alright, nearly 70k but I work about 60 hours a week.  My firm exclusively represents lenders in foreclosures, bankruptcies, and the occasional defense file (FDCPA, TILA, tax lien litigation).  I get a lot of courtroom experience which is a positive but its foreclosure and the vast majority of my appearances are uncontested trials which can be mind-numbing, especially when you have to drive 6 hours roundtrip to the courthouse across the state for a 5 minute appearance.  Don't get me wrong, I've had some interesting contested hearings in state and bankruptcy courts but a lot of my time is just spent driving and making uncontested appearances.  I really appreciate my job and coworkers and do everything I can to keep the quality of my work to a high standard despite the large caseload, but I worry if I stick around doing foreclosures too long I will limit myself.  I also worry the quality of my work will diminish if I continue working my unnecessarily long hours.  I went to a lower T1 school and graduated in the top 1/3 of my class.  Anyone have advise for a young lawyer?

What happens when you tell higher-ups what you're interested in (not "I'm sick of XYZ" but "I'd really like to get more experience in ABC")?

17oclockshadow

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #145 on: March 22, 2015, 10:09:36 AM »
I won't complainypants the career choice-a whole other topic, but have basically come to the realization that if I had not had my LSAT study year, 3 years of law school, and 5 years of all monies going to paying off 125K in debt, and had followed the principals in this blog, ...

An entire year dedicated to studying for the LAST sounds excessive. I spent about 3 hours in total preparing for the LSAT, consisting of reading about the format of the test and completing a single practice one. Then I showed up to the exam and got 173. It's a very easy test. The hardest part is avoiding using the washroom. If you have to use the washroom, you're pretty much screwed.

As an aside -- law school was my biggest financial mistake to date. I really love law, but it's not a good career for early retirement (so I did not pursue it). After I'm retired, I might become a lawyer and practice law on a purely charitable basis, only taking on files that I care about.

You do realize not everyone is academically as smart as you are, and that you can acknowledge that in a more respectful manner, right?

Law is one of the few professions where it's perfectly acceptable to denigrate others for being less talented at this one super-specific thing.

It wouldn't be hard to one-up your story of taking the LSAT basically cold and getting a top 1% result. There are always people smarter than you in this world, no matter how brilliant you are. Some people literally do not have the academic talent or brainpower, however you'd call it, to get a 173 no matter how hard they study. Doesn't mean you should look down on them by calling it an "easy test."

I won't say what I scored because I don't want to be part of the careerist measuring contest, but I will say that I also didn't study for anything near a year, and even used the bathroom for a few minutes too, and also got a comparable result. Doesn't mean I have a right to make fun of people who don't have that narrow skill of being good at standardized tests.

Cathy, I'm not attacking you as a poster or a person. I appreciate your unique contributions to this board. It was just a clear example of what I've seen very often in life - lawyers that, while decent and good people usually, turn into the most insanely condescending, credential-focused, and comparatively competitive people of any profession I have seen (except perhaps investment banking or private equity), when anything to do with prestige, law school, standardized tests, intelligence, or the like comes up. It's quite remarkable.

I thought this was a particularly egregious case because for the poster you quoted, taking the LSAT may have required the year for any number of life circumstances which you have no idea about, and yet you just scornfully said that it's a "very easy test." Since it's curved, it's by definition not a very easy test for almost everyone. It's amazing that you, as well as many other lawyers, are smart enough to do well on this one function of intelligence but have thought about what it means so little that you therefore assume it must be amazingly simple and easy for everyone else, when that's literally impossible due to it being a curved test. You do realize that the average score for Harvard undergraduates is something in the 160's, right?

I will +1 to this; all the lawyers I know are complete assholes.  They are extremely good are arguing, but their arguments are ridiculous and most of their talent comes from what is essentially fooling people with a convincing way of saying things. 

Obviously this is not ALL lawyers, and probably the people on this forum are the better of the bunch... but man, the lawyers I know in real life at times absolutely disgust me in their morals.

LouLou

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #146 on: March 22, 2015, 11:13:19 AM »
Is it possible for me to land a better-paying job, in a warmer, more mustachian area, with the above credentials? Has anyone here done so with a similar background? If so, please tell me there's hope. Or should I just be happy to be where I am and make the most of it by continuing to work hard, network a bit, and focus on my family?

My thanks to anyone who has read this far. I would be incredibly grateful for any words of wisdom you may have. (Or, if any of you are in a position of influence and your company is looking for a badass mustachian attorney, feel free to PM me!)

I think so! Have you considered contacting a legal recruiter in the locations you would be interested in moving? You would be a good candidate for firms with any openings in the practice areas your work touches on now. Your resume could mention other practice areas, but emphasize what you've done in the applicable area. (Litigation opening? Describe all the briefs you've written. At big firms, you wouldn't have been in court much anyway). You are still relatively junior; larger firms would not expect you to have lots of knowledge coming in. When you hit year five and up, you will need to have more specialization though.

If I were you, I would work for a larger firm in your desired location for a year or two, bank $$$, then look for work life balance with more local experience and money under your belt.

use2betrix

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #147 on: March 22, 2015, 11:23:57 AM »
I won't complainypants the career choice-a whole other topic, but have basically come to the realization that if I had not had my LSAT study year, 3 years of law school, and 5 years of all monies going to paying off 125K in debt, and had followed the principals in this blog, ...

An entire year dedicated to studying for the LAST sounds excessive. I spent about 3 hours in total preparing for the LSAT, consisting of reading about the format of the test and completing a single practice one. Then I showed up to the exam and got 173. It's a very easy test. The hardest part is avoiding using the washroom. If you have to use the washroom, you're pretty much screwed.

As an aside -- law school was my biggest financial mistake to date. I really love law, but it's not a good career for early retirement (so I did not pursue it). After I'm retired, I might become a lawyer and practice law on a purely charitable basis, only taking on files that I care about.

Ah yes, the stereotypical lawyer chimed in lol.

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #148 on: March 22, 2015, 03:49:19 PM »
That post was intended to be more light-hearted than it was actually received. I honestly felt a lot of stress about having to use the washroom during the test; that was a sincere comment. I was decent enough at the test to complete it within the time allocated to each section, but not with more than a minute or so to spare (sometimes less), and having to use the washroom would have used more than that, and thus would have had a significant effect on my score. I actually took some specific steps to reduce the chance of that happening but it's probably not worth describing that.

The time controls of the LSAT are essentially what provide the difficulty of the test. With unlimited time, I feel almost anybody could get 100% on the test, but the time controls are quite tight. Keep in mind that the LSAT is not a knowledge test. The test is primarily about closely reading the questions and answers in a short period of time (which is obviously a very important skill for law, but the test itself does not require legal knowledge). Thus, bladder control becomes an important, if not essential, skill. No other test I've written in my life has been so dominated by time controls.

I'm not convinced it's really a well-designed test because the overriding importance of bladder control introduces an arbitrary variable that has no correlation with analytical reasoning, logical reasoning, reading comprehension, or anything else tested by the papers. People are penalised based on bladder volume, anatomical quirks and various medical conditions, and other arbitrary and irrational grounds.

Anyway, I apologise to anybody who was offended by my post.

The test is really hard on non-native speakers for the same reason.  Most real practices have no significant time constraints.  You can spend as many hours researching and writing that will as you need (particularly if you are flat fee -- hourly, you may have to reduce your rate).  I'm not sure the time constraint really makes sense, except that it's already a 3 day test so it would be terrible to make it longer.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #149 on: March 25, 2015, 09:36:41 AM »
I am so excited!   Absolutely great meeting  this morning.   What I do and want to build is aligned with their needs and strategic vision.  The personality mix was outstanding.   It was actually fun...

The recruiter says it will be a few weeks.  I think I was the first candidate interviewed.  I set the bar really high.   Fingers crossed....
« Last Edit: April 03, 2015, 08:18:13 AM by TrulyStashin »
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.