Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 88062 times)

PtboEliz

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #400 on: February 11, 2016, 11:30:39 AM »
I don't doubt at all that I'd be happier in another job.  I even think I could potentially make more in another job, eventually.  But the start-up cost of time and earnings from switching careers makes me hesitate.  I have seen other people say they planned to switch at $300K.  That's not too close for me.  Just wondering if anybody has actually done it.

Hi TX - I left law practice about 12 years ago, switching to government and broader public sector for several years before pulling the plug on full-time work a few years ago at age 37. Now, I do workplace investigations and some mediation work as an independent consultant. I did have the benefit of mediation training from my old employer. My start-up costs and business expenses are next to nothing (I work from home on my laptop, with worksite visits), I bill a good hourly rate, and I don't have to pay practicing fees or insurance (just modest professional liability insurance; I'm clear that I don't give legal advice). I've found so far that I can work as much as I like which isn't too much as I don't like to have more than 2 files at a time. If I flat-out hustled for work I think it would be a breeze to make $150K+/yr. My clients are happy to have someone with legal training who can get started on their matter right away. I get to use my skills and I enjoy that there's a beginning, middle and end to each file. I think ADR and workplace investigations are an overlooked area for recovering lawyers (or those who want to recover :). Good luck with your career decisions!

TXScout2

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #401 on: February 11, 2016, 02:30:09 PM »
Lexaholic- What is the logic behind the 3x annual expenses figure?  It sounds good, but I am just wondering how you came to that conclusion.  If that's the figure I could probably quit in a year. 

The Anonlawyer story is sort of frustrating- good for him though.  He took the plunge to quit but he has a large amount of assets.  Not quite a "leap of faith;" more like a meticulously calculated move that has extremely low risk of failure even if he never gets another job again.

PtboEliz - Thanks for your story.  I hadn't heard of workplace investigations as a post-law option.  What kind of law were you practicing before you got into that? 




Lexaholik

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #402 on: February 11, 2016, 05:51:19 PM »
Lexaholic- What is the logic behind the 3x annual expenses figure?  It sounds good, but I am just wondering how you came to that conclusion.  If that's the figure I could probably quit in a year. 

The Anonlawyer story is sort of frustrating- good for him though.  He took the plunge to quit but he has a large amount of assets.  Not quite a "leap of faith;" more like a meticulously calculated move that has extremely low risk of failure even if he never gets another job again.

PtboEliz - Thanks for your story.  I hadn't heard of workplace investigations as a post-law option.  What kind of law were you practicing before you got into that?

It's more art than science really. Once I was debt free, I thought about what kind of job I'd be able to find once my sabbatical was over. I figured I'd be able to find a job that earned more than enough to cover living expenses + savings. So the next question was--how long would be long enough for me to feel OK about not being able to find a job. For me that number came out to 2-3 years of runway. So once I had that much money I was able to free myself of the obligation of a job I didn't like.

3 years is not a lot of slack, and a lot can go wrong. But I saw risk on the other side. What if you waited until you saved 20 years worth of savings? What if that takes you 10 years? And what happens if you die before then, or if you die shortly after? Risk comes in many forms--not having enough money is just one of them.

Of course even I didn't follow my own plan. I didn't leave until I got to 6 years runway. So it really comes down to your personal comfort level. I suspect lawyers want more margin of safety--for others it could be as little as 12 months of runway.

PtboEliz

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #403 on: February 11, 2016, 07:05:02 PM »
I only practiced for 3 years - civil litigation (including a bit of employment). I started to get investigation experience when I worked in broader public sector as a human rights advisor (another great alternative to practice). Honestly, I think any lawyer could do two days' reading about how to conduct a workplace investigation and be better than most - it's easy and low pressure compared with legal practice, yet interesting. And you get to be a mini-judge assessing credibility and making findings of fact in light of legal principles which is fun. I also enjoy writing reports in my PJ's and riding my bike to meetings :)

I'm grateful for my law school education, it was the right area for me - but I wasn't cut out for the pressures of practice. I think a legal education and some practice experience sets a person up for all kinds of career possibilities.

I do agree with what some others expressed that it's hard to step away. For a while I worked to keep doors open (e.g., maintaining practicing status, etc.) but then someone gave me the best advice.. that you don't need to worry about a door closing if its a door you never want to walk through again...

CloserToFree

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #404 on: February 12, 2016, 06:26:01 PM »
Just found this thread yesterday and read it straight through-- mostly to follow TrulyStashin's story.  You go, TrulyStashin!!  After reading through all the ups and downs, I have to agree with everyone else-- your old firm was pulling a bunch of BS and obviously not recognizing your contributions -- or worse, knowingly taking advantage and milking every penny they could make off you.  Thrilled that you took the plunge to hang your own shingle -- sounds like it's been an amazing ride so far!! Best of luck!

I'm a senior associate (litigation) at a top Biglaw firm in a major East Coast city. Standard market pay. I actually do love my job about 80% of the time (which is why I've stayed there so long- my initial plan was to stay only one year!). The other 20% I'm super frustrated with certain partners I work with and/or the high pressure demands coming from clients.  All in all, though, I have it pretty awesome.

Glad to be part of this thread now!


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TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #405 on: February 18, 2016, 08:06:58 AM »
I guess it's time for an update while I wait for this effing printer to churn out the complaint I need to file today.

By far the most frustrating part of being solo is not having the support I used to have.  Printer doesn't work?  I have to figure it out -- there's no IT guy to call.  Argghhh.

But that's pretty much the only thing that sucks.  Otherwise, I am LOVING this and I am super busy right now.

The wills-estates case is cranking along.  I had an evidentiary hearing for a preliminary injunction to freeze the D's assets scheduled and the judge continued it, which was fine and actually good for my client.  That's rescheduled for early March.  If I get the injunction, then I'm pretty sure the case will settle -- the D has already made several comments to that effect.  After I get some discovery and subpoena responses I'll have a better idea but right now the potential settlement range is $500,000 - $750,000.  My take is 30% of that which will almost totally pay off my student loans.  Mind you, this case has been a bit of a nightmare -- estates cases among family members are akin to nasty divorce cases.  High drama.  Plus the D's attorney is a total asshole, prone to nasty comments and unnecessarily petty and aggressive posturing.  I'm earning that money, to be sure.

I also have another litigation case which will be a slam dunk along the lines of res ipsa loquiter.  15 acres of my client's land was burned/ destroyed when an adjacent landowner set huge piles of logging debris on fire.  The fires burned for 2 months and then ran out of control onto my client's land.   The D was fined by the Dept. of Forestry as the "responsible party".   This will also almost certainly settle.  We're filing suit only because the SOL is about to run out.

I've also got a bunch of other small to medium projects -- the sale of a LLC, for instance.  So the cashflow is enough to let me sleep.  I've got about 3 months of $$ sitting in savings so whatever I'm earning now will cover the Q3.

And... great news on the consulting side.  I've landed a paid speaking gig at a major university.   The issue is one that the board of trustees is very involved in and I'm working now to get a contract to advise the board.  I'll take this experience and market it to other universities.  I also have a MOU with an accounting firm that works in an aligned specialty and thanks to that recently briefed one of the biggest privately-owned companies in the world.  I've been writing and publishing too.

I hope everyone is happy!  I sure am.

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 #406 on: February 18, 2016, 09:12:46 AM »
Great update, TS!  Glad that things are going so well for you.  It sounds like you are in your element and loving it.



LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #407 on: February 18, 2016, 07:41:54 PM »
Wow, TrulyStashin, you are thriving!  Great update and congrats!

TXScout2

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #408 on: February 19, 2016, 10:37:11 AM »
Congrats TS, that sounds exciting!

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #409 on: February 19, 2016, 12:51:58 PM »
Congrats! How many hours are you working?

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #410 on: February 22, 2016, 07:51:32 AM »
Congrats! How many hours are you working?

Lately, because I'm super busy, I'd say about 50-60 hours a week.  WAY less than I worked at the Big Firm.  I could crank it up more -- do more marketing -- but I'm pretty happy with my work-life balance right now.

Update on the update... the Chief Investment Officer of the Major University asked for a proposal on briefing the board of trustees.  Fingers crossed.  Trying to figure out how to price that.... somewhere in the range of $7500 to $10k, I think.  Anyone have any experience with that sort of thing?

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

emilypsf

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #411 on: February 22, 2016, 09:10:26 AM »
I'm a lawyer.  I worked for 9 years representing plaintiffs in catastrophic injury cases.  As far as legal jobs go, it was a good one, but it was all-consuming and really difficult to balance with a family.  When our second child turned 1, I quit and am now a SAHM.  I have been thinking about starting my own practice but won't be doing anything until our youngest is in school.  I don't miss the work, but I do miss effortlessly saving a lot of money.

MMM

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #412 on: March 07, 2016, 06:44:21 PM »
Greetings, Mustachian Attorneys!

I am not sure how many people will see this since we're on page 9 of the discussion, but I didn't want to miss this great collection of people for my request.

So my issue is as follows: This forum is under attack (third time) by a company over things that the forum members have been saying about it. I'm keeping it documented here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/rl360-insurance/

Are there any Arizona-licensed attorneys willing to work with me to help quash the subpoena in the Arizona court, and possibly go even further if possible?

There is no personal benefit to me, but I think we could save some forum readers a lot of worry and hassle, and possibly create some good social justice in a public setting as well. And I'm willing to pay you for your work!

please get in touch via the blog's contact form or directly via gmail with username mrmoneymustache.

thanks,
Pete




onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #413 on: March 07, 2016, 06:51:39 PM »
Wow, again?  That's wild.  I have a few Arizona lawyer friends I can reach out to, although they're not forum readers (to my knowledge). 

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #414 on: March 08, 2016, 11:46:49 AM »
Greetings, Mustachian Attorneys!

I am not sure how many people will see this since we're on page 9 of the discussion, but I didn't want to miss this great collection of people for my request.

So my issue is as follows: This forum is under attack (third time) by a company over things that the forum members have been saying about it. I'm keeping it documented here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/rl360-insurance/

Are there any Arizona-licensed attorneys willing to work with me to help quash the subpoena in the Arizona court, and possibly go even further if possible?

There is no personal benefit to me, but I think we could save some forum readers a lot of worry and hassle, and possibly create some good social justice in a public setting as well. And I'm willing to pay you for your work!

please get in touch via the blog's contact form or directly via gmail with username mrmoneymustache.

thanks,
Pete

I'd guess RobinAZ, who commented earlier in the thread, is an Arizona attorney.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #415 on: March 08, 2016, 11:53:07 AM »
I guess it's time for an update while I wait for this effing printer to churn out the complaint I need to file today.

By far the most frustrating part of being solo is not having the support I used to have.  Printer doesn't work?  I have to figure it out -- there's no IT guy to call.  Argghhh.

But that's pretty much the only thing that sucks.  Otherwise, I am LOVING this and I am super busy right now.

The wills-estates case is cranking along.  I had an evidentiary hearing for a preliminary injunction to freeze the D's assets scheduled and the judge continued it, which was fine and actually good for my client.  That's rescheduled for early March.  If I get the injunction, then I'm pretty sure the case will settle -- the D has already made several comments to that effect.  After I get some discovery and subpoena responses I'll have a better idea but right now the potential settlement range is $500,000 - $750,000.  My take is 30% of that which will almost totally pay off my student loans.  Mind you, this case has been a bit of a nightmare -- estates cases among family members are akin to nasty divorce cases.  High drama.  Plus the D's attorney is a total asshole, prone to nasty comments and unnecessarily petty and aggressive posturing.  I'm earning that money, to be sure.

I also have another litigation case which will be a slam dunk along the lines of res ipsa loquiter.  15 acres of my client's land was burned/ destroyed when an adjacent landowner set huge piles of logging debris on fire.  The fires burned for 2 months and then ran out of control onto my client's land.   The D was fined by the Dept. of Forestry as the "responsible party".   This will also almost certainly settle.  We're filing suit only because the SOL is about to run out.

I've also got a bunch of other small to medium projects -- the sale of a LLC, for instance.  So the cashflow is enough to let me sleep.  I've got about 3 months of $$ sitting in savings so whatever I'm earning now will cover the Q3.

And... great news on the consulting side.  I've landed a paid speaking gig at a major university.   The issue is one that the board of trustees is very involved in and I'm working now to get a contract to advise the board.  I'll take this experience and market it to other universities.  I also have a MOU with an accounting firm that works in an aligned specialty and thanks to that recently briefed one of the biggest privately-owned companies in the world.  I've been writing and publishing too.

I hope everyone is happy!  I sure am.
Wow!  I guess there was no need to worry about you.  You hit the ground running.  I made only $5000 my first year on my own . . . and it looks like your settlement of one case will be more than my annual income.

Good job!

Lexaholik

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #416 on: March 08, 2016, 05:59:12 PM »
Greetings, Mustachian Attorneys!

I am not sure how many people will see this since we're on page 9 of the discussion, but I didn't want to miss this great collection of people for my request.

So my issue is as follows: This forum is under attack (third time) by a company over things that the forum members have been saying about it. I'm keeping it documented here:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/rl360-insurance/

Are there any Arizona-licensed attorneys willing to work with me to help quash the subpoena in the Arizona court, and possibly go even further if possible?

There is no personal benefit to me, but I think we could save some forum readers a lot of worry and hassle, and possibly create some good social justice in a public setting as well. And I'm willing to pay you for your work!

please get in touch via the blog's contact form or directly via gmail with username mrmoneymustache.

thanks,
Pete

PMed you.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #417 on: March 09, 2016, 07:40:43 AM »
I won an injunction last Friday!!!  Woo hoo!!!!   

It was awesome!  The hearing went for almost three hours and I handled myself really well.  I don't think anyone could tell that I'd never done it before.  I even impeached the defendant on the stand:   "Your mother executed all of the documents to jointly re-title the assets?"  "Yes, all of them."  "Well, what about this one for the AT&T stock?  Is that your signature with the power of attorney?"   "Um, yes."

As the defendant's attorney started sputtering and talking -- trying to distract.  The judge actually said to him, "She gotcha."

The judge also denied five of his (bullshit) motions.  We have a trial set for the end of July but I bet it settles.  Fingers crossed.

Happy springtime, everyone!

Pete, I hope you kick ass!  I wish I was an AZ attorney so I could help.

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

onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #418 on: March 09, 2016, 07:42:06 AM »
Quote
The judge actually said to him, "She gotcha."

Awesome.

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #419 on: March 09, 2016, 08:33:01 AM »
Quote
The judge actually said to him, "She gotcha."

Awesome.

Omg that sounds SO satisfying. :)
Congrats

Lexaholik

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #420 on: March 09, 2016, 09:40:40 AM »
I won an injunction last Friday!!!  Woo hoo!!!!   

It was awesome!  The hearing went for almost three hours and I handled myself really well.  I don't think anyone could tell that I'd never done it before.  I even impeached the defendant on the stand:   "Your mother executed all of the documents to jointly re-title the assets?"  "Yes, all of them."  "Well, what about this one for the AT&T stock?  Is that your signature with the power of attorney?"   "Um, yes."

As the defendant's attorney started sputtering and talking -- trying to distract.  The judge actually said to him, "She gotcha."

The judge also denied five of his (bullshit) motions.  We have a trial set for the end of July but I bet it settles.  Fingers crossed.

Happy springtime, everyone!

Pete, I hope you kick ass!  I wish I was an AZ attorney so I could help.

This is really awesome. Congratulations--it must have felt amazing!

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #421 on: June 24, 2016, 08:34:40 AM »
What a great thread. I'm a biglaw associate on the M&A side (private equity). Salary is on the standard Biglaw structure (thanks Cravath for the recent raises!). Law school debt is still outstanding, but I've grown tired of it and am paying off the last $80K this year. Last payment will be December 25, 2016.

BFGirl

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #422 on: June 24, 2016, 08:48:51 AM »
Guess I haven't seen this thread before. J.D. 1993.  Small law part time for 9 years.  Government lawyer for last 13.  Maybe I'll hit six figures before I retire from the government.  Get my job done, but come and go pretty much as I please and telecommute at least 1 day a week.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2016, 08:50:55 AM by BFGirl »

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #423 on: July 11, 2016, 11:39:18 AM »
I won an injunction last Friday!!!  Woo hoo!!!!   

It was awesome!  The hearing went for almost three hours and I handled myself really well.  I don't think anyone could tell that I'd never done it before.  I even impeached the defendant on the stand:   "Your mother executed all of the documents to jointly re-title the assets?"  "Yes, all of them."  "Well, what about this one for the AT&T stock?  Is that your signature with the power of attorney?"   "Um, yes."

As the defendant's attorney started sputtering and talking -- trying to distract.  The judge actually said to him, "She gotcha."

The judge also denied five of his (bullshit) motions.  We have a trial set for the end of July but I bet it settles.  Fingers crossed.

Happy springtime, everyone!

Pete, I hope you kick ass!  I wish I was an AZ attorney so I could help.

This is really awesome. Congratulations--it must have felt amazing!

Jury trial starts July 19th -- three days.  This roller coaster has been one seriously wild ride.  I've racked up a nearly unbroken string of motions victories -- not so much because I'm brilliant ;) but because my case is that strong on facts and law.  We argue this Friday on motions in limine and I have a partial SJ motion.  I'm feeling good about it.  Will post an update after next week.

Never done a jury trial before.  If anyone has any tips, I'm all ears.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

Check2400

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #424 on: July 11, 2016, 02:34:36 PM »
If you don't have your Jury Questions/Charge done yet, do it now.  Everything you do, from winning them over at Voir Dire, to presenting evidence, to phrasing your questions, should be tailored to the language of the Pattern Jury Charge first, and then the proposed Jury Charge you're seeking to have the judge present (they aren't always the same, judge's will defer to Pattern Charges because of certainty unless you can wow em). 

Until you know exactly what the question is, you can't start preparing how to present the answer. 

Lastly, win or lose, late night or early decision, stay afterwards to thank and discuss with the jurors who want to talk with you.  The seriousness in which most jurors end up taking their duty is a wonderfully refreshing conversation to have.  Plus you get feedback you can get no where else--ask for harsh criticisms and take notes. 

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #425 on: July 11, 2016, 03:18:00 PM »
Tons of tips about trial! I just finished one 10 days ago defending conspiracy charges. My biggest one ever, 6 days, federal court, jury trial, 40 witnesses. Verdict: Guilty.  Since I'm a loser (literally), do you want my advice?? :)

In all seriousness, I like the Trial Notebook for good trial advice. I read it before every trial:

 http://www.barnesandnoble.com/p/mcelhaneys-trial-notebook-james-w-mcelhaney/1100068087/2674454327884?st=PLA&sid=BNB_DRS_Marketplace+Shopping+Textbooks_00000000&2sid=Google_&sourceId=PLGoP20436&k_clickid=3x20436

Good luck.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #426 on: July 12, 2016, 07:21:11 AM »
Great to hear some success stories in here.

To share my biggest one to date, I handled a one-day arbitration in April. My client was a home construction contractor and this guy sued him, claiming that the only way to remedy minor problems was to demolish the house and start over. The liability exposure was about $65,000.

Not only did we win, but the arbitrator awarded us our attorneys' fees (which is currently being litigated in court). After the arbitration, opposing counsel (who has a very good local reputation) called and said that this case was the worst ass-kicking he'd ever had, ever.

Damn that felt good.
No more zero days. Promise yourself that you will do one thing every day that takes you one step closer to your goal.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #427 on: July 15, 2016, 09:41:10 AM »
So I have a huge transactional assignment and I could really use some input.

A nonprofit corporation was set up in a nearby city about 20 miles away. It is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation but I'm not sure of any 501(c)(3) paperwork. 

They now want to open a second location in my town and somebody else will be running it. But our client, who started the original corporation, wants to know how best to accomplish opening this second location.  The client is convinced he needs to create some sort of entity to do this, and he is leaning towards establishing a franchise. I don't do any transactional work so I don't understand why that makes any sense. I just don't understand why they don't set up another 501(c)(3), or hell, why they even need a new entity at all.

The client's main concerns are as follows:
(1) Wants control of the branding/website;
(2) Wants a ton of control over things (no alcohol, no religion, reporting requirements, grant approval, etc.).

And that's basically it. Again, I think franchising this is insane given that it's a 501(c)(3), and I hope I'm not off my rocker there. Any advice from more experienced folks would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
No more zero days. Promise yourself that you will do one thing every day that takes you one step closer to your goal.

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #428 on: July 15, 2016, 09:53:44 AM »
So I have a huge transactional assignment and I could really use some input.

A nonprofit corporation was set up in a nearby city about 20 miles away. It is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation but I'm not sure of any 501(c)(3) paperwork. 

They now want to open a second location in my town and somebody else will be running it. But our client, who started the original corporation, wants to know how best to accomplish opening this second location.  The client is convinced he needs to create some sort of entity to do this, and he is leaning towards establishing a franchise. I don't do any transactional work so I don't understand why that makes any sense. I just don't understand why they don't set up another 501(c)(3), or hell, why they even need a new entity at all.

The client's main concerns are as follows:
(1) Wants control of the branding/website;
(2) Wants a ton of control over things (no alcohol, no religion, reporting requirements, grant approval, etc.).

And that's basically it. Again, I think franchising this is insane given that it's a 501(c)(3), and I hope I'm not off my rocker there. Any advice from more experienced folks would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

A few links that might be of interest:

First, the basics of whether or not a nonprofit needs 501(c)(3) status (btw you say "it's a 501(c)(3)"--it's not unless you've seen the paperwork from the IRS granting that status):
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/long-can-nonprofit-operate-501c3-status-60923.html

Now, franchising:
http://jux.law/social-franchising-franchise-a-501c3-nonprofit-organization
"Using a social franchise model, an organization will encounter three main challenges: developing a repeatable operations model, identifying local leaders, and ensuring legal compliance....
The third challenge is legal compliance. Each state has its own requirements. At a minimum, states typically require registering the foreign nonprofit corporation [assuming the original nonprofit is from out of state, which it sounds like your client isn't] in the stateís corporate filing office (secretary of state, etc.). States also generally require registration (e.g. attorney generalís office) of any organization soliciting funds.

Instead of having a parent organization with a presence in the state, the organization can use a model where the local chapter is its own nonprofit corporation, with its own board of directors, connected to the parent by a contract. Whatever the structure, nonprofit organizations will need contracts to govern the relationships between the parent organization and local chapters."

http://www.franchise.org/sites/default/files/ek-pdfs/html_page/nonprofit_owned_1.pdf
(40-page article on this)

By the way, why does he want a second, independently operated location only 20 miles from the original? That's what seems nuts to me more than anything else (apart from the crazy control freakishness).

onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #429 on: July 15, 2016, 09:56:54 AM »
So I have a huge transactional assignment and I could really use some input.

A nonprofit corporation was set up in a nearby city about 20 miles away. It is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation but I'm not sure of any 501(c)(3) paperwork. 

They now want to open a second location in my town and somebody else will be running it. But our client, who started the original corporation, wants to know how best to accomplish opening this second location.  The client is convinced he needs to create some sort of entity to do this, and he is leaning towards establishing a franchise. I don't do any transactional work so I don't understand why that makes any sense. I just don't understand why they don't set up another 501(c)(3), or hell, why they even need a new entity at all.

The client's main concerns are as follows:
(1) Wants control of the branding/website;
(2) Wants a ton of control over things (no alcohol, no religion, reporting requirements, grant approval, etc.).

And that's basically it. Again, I think franchising this is insane given that it's a 501(c)(3), and I hope I'm not off my rocker there. Any advice from more experienced folks would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Not an expert, but I don't think you can franchise your 501(c)(3) status.  Depending on what sort of exemption they have, there are pretty complex asset, income and fundraising tests, and I don't think it works to aggregate across entities.  This is an exceedingly complex area of law, unfortunately.  You'll also need someone familiar with your state not for profit laws, if any.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #430 on: July 15, 2016, 10:29:43 AM »
New Mustachian/old attorney checking in. Well, I'm not that old.

Making about $120K with bonuses this year, but I work in a very small PI office with no benefits. But I have unfettered freedom. It's almost like having my own practice with none of the administrative problems. I am guaranteed a straight salary each week no matter what, and then I get bonuses each month based on settlement $.

I do question my decision, because of the expenses of law school (over 10 years after law school, I STILL have huge loans, but I am working to knock those out in the next 36 months).

So in 36 months, I plan to have: no student loan debt, no car debt, a VERY small mortgage left (maybe $50K), no childcare expenses (finally!), and hopefully $200K in the bank.

Not enough to retire on certainly, but enough to give me more freedom, especially since my wife also works (not an attorney).

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #431 on: July 15, 2016, 12:27:45 PM »
So I have a huge transactional assignment and I could really use some input.

A nonprofit corporation was set up in a nearby city about 20 miles away. It is incorporated as a nonprofit corporation but I'm not sure of any 501(c)(3) paperwork. . . .

. . .  First, the basics of whether or not a nonprofit needs 501(c)(3) status (btw you say "it's a 501(c)(3)"--it's not unless you've seen the paperwork from the IRS granting that status):
http://smallbusiness.chron.com/long-can-nonprofit-operate-501c3-status-60923.html . . . .

I'm not a transactional lawyer, and I'd highly recommend you consult with an attorney who's more familiar with your state's non-profit laws.  This is the only piece I can comfortably weigh in on -- not all non-profit corporations qualify for or are granted 501(c)(3) status, so you need to be sure whether you are really dealing with a 501(c)(3) or some other form of non-profit.

Aelias

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #432 on: July 15, 2016, 03:02:51 PM »

If you are FI, you could just hang out a shingle and take interesting cases. I kind of do that now. I take only certain defense cases (No DV, Sexual Assault, Child Porn, etc), look for interesting civil cases, fire any clients who are a pain, I have a brief writer on speed dial so I don't actually have to do writing and other perks. If you are FI, this sort of approach would give you lots of flexibility. I know its way different than BigLaw, but I've seen other attorneys who "drop out" of big law do that in my area and almost all have spoken positively about it.

First post!

Anyone else FI decide to do a small solo practice?  I do management-side L&E litigation at a boutique firm (practicing for eight years) and really enjoy it, especially given that I'm only at 80% time right now (meaning I work mostly 9-5).  But my husband and I are likely to be FI with $2M in ten years or less, and having a job is sort of a bummer.   I could totally see myself taking on a case here or there to keep up my skills and earn a couple bucks.  It seems like a rough way to earn a living (kudos to the folks who do it--including the incredible Truly Stashin!), but if you're already FI?  Why not?

I think there are also more project and freelance attorney gigs than there used to be.  If I retire in 10 years at the ripe old age of 43 (as is the plan!), I'm fairly certain there will be more paid work in my future.  But it will have to be flexible enough for all the extended travelling we plan to do.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #433 on: July 16, 2016, 08:03:19 AM »

If you are FI, you could just hang out a shingle and take interesting cases. I kind of do that now. I take only certain defense cases (No DV, Sexual Assault, Child Porn, etc), look for interesting civil cases, fire any clients who are a pain, I have a brief writer on speed dial so I don't actually have to do writing and other perks. If you are FI, this sort of approach would give you lots of flexibility. I know its way different than BigLaw, but I've seen other attorneys who "drop out" of big law do that in my area and almost all have spoken positively about it.

First post!

Anyone else FI decide to do a small solo practice?  I do management-side L&E litigation at a boutique firm (practicing for eight years) and really enjoy it, especially given that I'm only at 80% time right now (meaning I work mostly 9-5).  But my husband and I are likely to be FI with $2M in ten years or less, and having a job is sort of a bummer.   I could totally see myself taking on a case here or there to keep up my skills and earn a couple bucks.  It seems like a rough way to earn a living (kudos to the folks who do it--including the incredible Truly Stashin!), but if you're already FI?  Why not?

I think there are also more project and freelance attorney gigs than there used to be.  If I retire in 10 years at the ripe old age of 43 (as is the plan!), I'm fairly certain there will be more paid work in my future.  But it will have to be flexible enough for all the extended travelling we plan to do.

I was talking to a Big Law attorney the other day and he basically said he was FI and now he just worked as "Of Counsel" to a local Big Law firm. He gets an office and the association with the firm. The firm gets to trot him out as an expert in whatever field, his expertise if needed and all his referrals. He didn't say if he was getting paid anything or highly reduced or what but it was clear, whatever he was getting paid was inconsequential, he called the shots related to his time but he was glad to not be totally out of the game.

Just another possibility for staying somewhat connected after FI.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #434 on: July 16, 2016, 08:17:58 AM »

If you are FI, you could just hang out a shingle and take interesting cases. I kind of do that now. I take only certain defense cases (No DV, Sexual Assault, Child Porn, etc), look for interesting civil cases, fire any clients who are a pain, I have a brief writer on speed dial so I don't actually have to do writing and other perks. If you are FI, this sort of approach would give you lots of flexibility. I know its way different than BigLaw, but I've seen other attorneys who "drop out" of big law do that in my area and almost all have spoken positively about it.

First post!

Anyone else FI decide to do a small solo practice?  I do management-side L&E litigation at a boutique firm (practicing for eight years) and really enjoy it, especially given that I'm only at 80% time right now (meaning I work mostly 9-5).  But my husband and I are likely to be FI with $2M in ten years or less, and having a job is sort of a bummer.   I could totally see myself taking on a case here or there to keep up my skills and earn a couple bucks.  It seems like a rough way to earn a living (kudos to the folks who do it--including the incredible Truly Stashin!), but if you're already FI?  Why not?

I think there are also more project and freelance attorney gigs than there used to be.  If I retire in 10 years at the ripe old age of 43 (as is the plan!), I'm fairly certain there will be more paid work in my future.  But it will have to be flexible enough for all the extended travelling we plan to do.

BTW, my small solo practice is a bit of a misnomer now. I have hired two additional attorneys. It is actually awesome (so far) because I do drastically less work. I have them handle all the behind the scenes stuff (pleadings, briefs, etc). I go to court and, when necessary, do the client hand holding. I also ensure quality control of legal work and strategies. I am also the "rainmaker" for the firm and bring in all the business. When it was just me, I was doing approx $350,000 of business but referring away a lot of cases. With additional attorneys, I can keep more business in house. So, I think we can easily get the gross receipts to $500,000 and maybe more.

My ultimate goal is to have a small firm where I sit at the top and choose the cases I want to work on or that are particularly profitable. The associate attorneys do the work for all the cases I don't want but have value. They cover the office overhead and I earn a percentage of their practice. Just to give you an idea, I pay them a percentage of their receipts NOT a salary. If I can hit my FI number (I'm over halfway there) and create passive income through the law firm that covers my annual costs (since I'm mustachian, that is about 40k for my family of 5) then I'll be able to let my stache compound for decades, stay active in the law/community but have lots of personal flexibility.

That is the hope anyway.... Has anyone else done something like that?

totoro

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #435 on: July 16, 2016, 02:22:16 PM »
Me.  I've transferred most of my work to an associate and assistant. 

I do very little legal work and have gone to PT practice - about ten hours a week.  Not exactly passive as the liability is still there, as is the requirement to manage. 

I may sell my practice if I can but have not had if valued yet. 

I'm focusing on RE investments now as I have quite a bit of retained earnings to put to work.  I don't miss practicing except for the massive accumulation of air miles as my work involved a lot of travel.

Axecleaver

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #436 on: July 17, 2016, 07:55:32 AM »
Quote
I pay them a percentage of their receipts NOT a salary... Has anyone else done something like that?
IANAL, but it sounds to me like the business model of most successful independent contractors who have grown their business to include other 1099 contractors. You're providing the sales and taking a cut of the action.  It's exactly how I've grown my healthcare reform policy consulting business, with some of the same benefits: I choose which work I do personally and pass off the less complex, less interesting work to trusted employees who I've hired and trained. In my case, they're salaried employees, but I do provide incentives to them to encourage revenue growth and make them less inclined to leave for another job.

I would not consider sales a "passive" activity. But once you get recurring relationships set up, it's definitely a lot less work than providing all the delivery personally.

rafiki

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #437 on: July 17, 2016, 10:00:24 AM »

If you are FI, you could just hang out a shingle and take interesting cases. I kind of do that now. I take only certain defense cases (No DV, Sexual Assault, Child Porn, etc), look for interesting civil cases, fire any clients who are a pain, I have a brief writer on speed dial so I don't actually have to do writing and other perks. If you are FI, this sort of approach would give you lots of flexibility. I know its way different than BigLaw, but I've seen other attorneys who "drop out" of big law do that in my area and almost all have spoken positively about it.

First post!

Anyone else FI decide to do a small solo practice?  I do management-side L&E litigation at a boutique firm (practicing for eight years) and really enjoy it, especially given that I'm only at 80% time right now (meaning I work mostly 9-5).  But my husband and I are likely to be FI with $2M in ten years or less, and having a job is sort of a bummer.   I could totally see myself taking on a case here or there to keep up my skills and earn a couple bucks.  It seems like a rough way to earn a living (kudos to the folks who do it--including the incredible Truly Stashin!), but if you're already FI?  Why not?

I think there are also more project and freelance attorney gigs than there used to be.  If I retire in 10 years at the ripe old age of 43 (as is the plan!), I'm fairly certain there will be more paid work in my future.  But it will have to be flexible enough for all the extended travelling we plan to do.

BTW, my small solo practice is a bit of a misnomer now. I have hired two additional attorneys. It is actually awesome (so far) because I do drastically less work. I have them handle all the behind the scenes stuff (pleadings, briefs, etc). I go to court and, when necessary, do the client hand holding. I also ensure quality control of legal work and strategies. I am also the "rainmaker" for the firm and bring in all the business. When it was just me, I was doing approx $350,000 of business but referring away a lot of cases. With additional attorneys, I can keep more business in house. So, I think we can easily get the gross receipts to $500,000 and maybe more.

My ultimate goal is to have a small firm where I sit at the top and choose the cases I want to work on or that are particularly profitable. The associate attorneys do the work for all the cases I don't want but have value. They cover the office overhead and I earn a percentage of their practice. Just to give you an idea, I pay them a percentage of their receipts NOT a salary. If I can hit my FI number (I'm over halfway there) and create passive income through the law firm that covers my annual costs (since I'm mustachian, that is about 40k for my family of 5) then I'll be able to let my stache compound for decades, stay active in the law/community but have lots of personal flexibility.

That is the hope anyway.... Has anyone else done something like that?

I just want to say that this is really cool. Congrats on building an actual business, rather than a job for yourself. Paying out a percentage of their production is the way to do it I think. It certainly incentivizes them. This is a tremendous inspiration for someone like myself.

I'm narrowing in on 4 years of private practice. I started my firm right out of school approximately 4 years ago. I could not have done this without finding a mentor and a building with other lawyers. I hired a part time assistant a couple years ago, but haven't been able to break out of that point.

I have had some personnel issues, and these are probably my greatest challenges to date. My first assistant was good, but had some personality issues with the other people in my building and left after 1.5 years. My second assistant was a train wreck and I had to cut her loose quickly. My new assistant has a great personality, and is learning the ropes, but had no litigation experience prior to signing on.

Each year I have been able to grow the practice (last year I grew it substantially). This year I feel like I am stalling out a little. The personnel issues haven't helped, and I think once I get my new assistant up to speed things will get better again. If I can maintain my income this year I would be OK with it (not ecstatic, but I did low 6 figures last year - that goes a long way in Florida, and it's certainly enough money to cover expenses and save a good %).

My plan is to be able to walk away within 10 years if I want to. My strategy is to use real estate, stocks / bonds, and money producing websites to build up my net worth and also provide an income after I reach my "number". That said, I may choose to work part time, or get even more selective or something (do mediations?). Who really knows. The idea of hiring an associate to do most of the work sounds great in theory.
My FI blog / web journal - http://snappysix.com

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #438 on: July 17, 2016, 02:09:25 PM »
Alex Cleaver/Totoro : you are right that "passive" is not the right word. Compared to a truly passive index fund, there is a lot of work. But the ten hours a week Totoro mentioned sounds like a dream. For me, getting business is easy and fun. I like going to community stuff and being involved in community activities. I don't dread "networking." In fact, I enjoy hanging out with other business owners who are the best referral sources. I'm always kicking around, that I would want to do that stuff even when I am FI, so how can I "retire," still be active in the community but 100% on my terms (with long vacations), and keep monetizing the business opportunities. That is what I am trying to build.

Also, both of the attorneys I hired are long term relationships with people who became lawyers after I met them. I have specifically discussed MMM and Financial Independance with them and I'd like them to be able to earn based on my business opportunities. They are friends, maybe they will join me as FI and we will have truly badass law firm that can take on all kinds of cool cases regular firms pass on for money reasons.

Anyway, that is the idea. So, we will just see. I'm still not FI, but I'm halfway there and I have a major PI case that could supercharge my stash by approximately 500k in the next year. That's the "great white whale" I am angling for which will allow me to put even more of these plans into action.

Finally, a good assistant and team is key. I've fired and hired a few. I finally have a great three person non-attorney staff. Only one is full-time the other two are part time and have very specific functions on the team. I used to do the same $350,000 business with NO STAFF. Thinking back makes me feel huge sick.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #439 on: July 31, 2016, 02:24:04 PM »
Update on my fraud/ estate case:   I won a $246,000 judgment for my client.

The bad news?  Though the jury was diligent and intelligent, they were confused by the verdict form the judge drafted and put forward on the morning they began deliberations.  The form gave them the option of finding for the plaintiff and awarding compensatory damages OR finding for the plaintiff and awarding punitive damages OR finding for the defendant.

The entire judgment was for punitive damages.  No compensatory damages at all.  And in my state (as in many) you must have compensatory damages before awarding punitive damages.  The defense made a motion to set aside the verdict and they will likely succeed, given the case law.   We may have to try the case again, if I can't wrangle a settlement.  At first, I was pretty depressed about this until it hit me that I WON!  And, if I have to retry it, I will WIN AGAIN and this time may even win bigger:  compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, and fees/ costs.  The judge upheld an objection to my attorney's fees/ costs exhibit which kept it out of evidence -- he admitted later that he had forgotten that we had put attorney's fees in the complaint and he should have let it come in.  If we retry it, I'll get this in. 

The trial ran 3.5 days.  Overall, I am very, very pleased with my performance.  With two exceptions, everything that I needed to get into evidence, got in.  For one of those two, I thought fast and used another exhibit that was already in evidence to get the same facts before the jury.  For the other, attorney's fees, it was a small loss but not critical to the case.   I wish I had given the jury a very clear ask in my closing:  "The evidence shows there was fraud here.  Award my client ___ in compensatory damages, ___ in punitive damages, pre-judgment interest at 6%, and attorney's fees."

If the defense attorney is truly stupid enough to give me another bite at the apple, I'll win an even bigger judgment on the retrial. 
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #440 on: July 31, 2016, 03:58:23 PM »
Congratulations! I hope the set aside/new trial/appeal goes your way. Also, I hope your old firm catches wind of your exploits :)

bridget

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #441 on: August 01, 2016, 02:59:51 PM »
Update on my fraud/ estate case:   I won a $246,000 judgment for my client.

The bad news?  Though the jury was diligent and intelligent, they were confused by the verdict form the judge drafted and put forward on the morning they began deliberations.  The form gave them the option of finding for the plaintiff and awarding compensatory damages OR finding for the plaintiff and awarding punitive damages OR finding for the defendant.

The entire judgment was for punitive damages.  No compensatory damages at all.  And in my state (as in many) you must have compensatory damages before awarding punitive damages.   

Ugh, that jury form sucks. Of course they were confused. Who drafted it? Did you get a chance to object? If it's a court-standard one, somebody in the clerk's office is pretty bad at their job.

I think that rule is in all states - doesn't State Farm v. Campbell hold that punitives can't be more than a single-digit multiplier of compensatory damages, or else it's a federal due process violation? Stands to reason that if you have $0 compensatory damages you can't get any punitive damages.

aFrugalFather

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #442 on: August 01, 2016, 10:14:55 PM »
Update on my fraud/ estate case:   I won a $246,000 judgment for my client.

The bad news?  Though the jury was diligent and intelligent, they were confused by the verdict form the judge drafted and put forward on the morning they began deliberations.  The form gave them the option of finding for the plaintiff and awarding compensatory damages OR finding for the plaintiff and awarding punitive damages OR finding for the defendant.

The entire judgment was for punitive damages.  No compensatory damages at all.  And in my state (as in many) you must have compensatory damages before awarding punitive damages.  The defense made a motion to set aside the verdict and they will likely succeed, given the case law.   We may have to try the case again, if I can't wrangle a settlement.  At first, I was pretty depressed about this until it hit me that I WON!  And, if I have to retry it, I will WIN AGAIN and this time may even win bigger:  compensatory damages, prejudgment interest, and fees/ costs.  The judge upheld an objection to my attorney's fees/ costs exhibit which kept it out of evidence -- he admitted later that he had forgotten that we had put attorney's fees in the complaint and he should have let it come in.  If we retry it, I'll get this in. 

The trial ran 3.5 days.  Overall, I am very, very pleased with my performance.  With two exceptions, everything that I needed to get into evidence, got in.  For one of those two, I thought fast and used another exhibit that was already in evidence to get the same facts before the jury.  For the other, attorney's fees, it was a small loss but not critical to the case.   I wish I had given the jury a very clear ask in my closing:  "The evidence shows there was fraud here.  Award my client ___ in compensatory damages, ___ in punitive damages, pre-judgment interest at 6%, and attorney's fees."

If the defense attorney is truly stupid enough to give me another bite at the apple, I'll win an even bigger judgment on the retrial.


This all sounds much more exciting and fast paced than the transactional work I do!  Ha.

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #443 on: August 02, 2016, 05:17:40 AM »
I am also the "rainmaker" for the firm and bring in all the business. When it was just me, I was doing approx $350,000 of business but referring away a lot of cases. With additional attorneys, I can keep more business in house. So, I think we can easily get the gross receipts to $500,000 and maybe more.

This is a great story. Echoing an early commentator who congratulated you for setting up a business and not a job, which seems to be very hard for some lawyers. It'd be great if you considered writing a longer post explaining how you built this practice. Did you start straight out of law school as a solo attorney? Or did you inherit some clients from another practice? Were there several lean years at first and how did you save money during those years? A lot of lawyers who are looking for more control over their lives would love to hear the specifics of your story so they can model their own behavior.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #444 on: August 02, 2016, 08:43:43 AM »
I am also the "rainmaker" for the firm and bring in all the business. When it was just me, I was doing approx $350,000 of business but referring away a lot of cases. With additional attorneys, I can keep more business in house. So, I think we can easily get the gross receipts to $500,000 and maybe more.

This is a great story. Echoing an early commentator who congratulated you for setting up a business and not a job, which seems to be very hard for some lawyers. It'd be great if you considered writing a longer post explaining how you built this practice. Did you start straight out of law school as a solo attorney? Or did you inherit some clients from another practice? Were there several lean years at first and how did you save money during those years? A lot of lawyers who are looking for more control over their lives would love to hear the specifics of your story so they can model their own behavior.

+1  My first anniversary as a solo is Sept. 1 and I definitely want to build a firm.  I'd love to hear more from you on how you did it, FIREby35. 
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #445 on: August 02, 2016, 09:05:57 AM »
Would mistake like this be considered malpractice?

ormaybemidgets

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #446 on: August 03, 2016, 11:54:07 AM »
Would mistake like this be considered malpractice?

It wasn't her mistake, it was the judge's. As a former clerk I can attest that that kind of illogical nonsense happens.

bridget

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #447 on: August 03, 2016, 05:03:04 PM »
Would mistake like this be considered malpractice?

It wasn't her mistake, it was the judge's. As a former clerk I can attest that that kind of illogical nonsense happens.

Well, if an attorney had the opportunity to object to an incorrect jury form and failed to do so, it could theoretically be malpractice. Such failures to object are the subject of ineffective assistance of counsel (in criminal contexts) and malpractice claims all the time. But whether it would be a viable claim depends on a whole host of circumstances we don't know about (and it's probably not helpful to TrulyStashin to speculate about it here). It sounds like she'll be able to get it fixed on appeal, which is what matters.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #448 on: August 05, 2016, 07:37:12 AM »
Would mistake like this be considered malpractice?

It wasn't her mistake, it was the judge's. As a former clerk I can attest that that kind of illogical nonsense happens.

Well, if an attorney had the opportunity to object to an incorrect jury form and failed to do so, it could theoretically be malpractice. Such failures to object are the subject of ineffective assistance of counsel (in criminal contexts) and malpractice claims all the time. But whether it would be a viable claim depends on a whole host of circumstances we don't know about (and it's probably not helpful to TrulyStashin to speculate about it here). It sounds like she'll be able to get it fixed on appeal, which is what matters.

Thanks Bridget and ormaybemidgets.  I did object, fortunately, and that's on the record.   Overall, the judge did a really good job but he sure hosed up the verdict form.  In January, he moved up from a lower court and I think this might have been his first jury trial too.   Based on the look on his face when the defense made the motion to set aside the verdict, he knows that he screwed up.  In talking about this with my peers, it is not uncommon for verdicts to be challenged for one reason or another. 

What I expect will happen is that the verdict will be set aside and we'll set it for a retrial and (hopefully) settle before we have to go through a retrial.  With any litigation, there are a million things that can go wrong at any point in the process.  That's one of the reason that really good trial attorneys make $$$$.  They can exploit opponents' minor mistakes to the maximum and prevent any errors on their team.
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bridget

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #449 on: August 05, 2016, 10:55:11 AM »
Would mistake like this be considered malpractice?

It wasn't her mistake, it was the judge's. As a former clerk I can attest that that kind of illogical nonsense happens.

Well, if an attorney had the opportunity to object to an incorrect jury form and failed to do so, it could theoretically be malpractice. Such failures to object are the subject of ineffective assistance of counsel (in criminal contexts) and malpractice claims all the time. But whether it would be a viable claim depends on a whole host of circumstances we don't know about (and it's probably not helpful to TrulyStashin to speculate about it here). It sounds like she'll be able to get it fixed on appeal, which is what matters.

Thanks Bridget and ormaybemidgets.  I did object, fortunately, and that's on the record.   Overall, the judge did a really good job but he sure hosed up the verdict form.  In January, he moved up from a lower court and I think this might have been his first jury trial too.   Based on the look on his face when the defense made the motion to set aside the verdict, he knows that he screwed up.  In talking about this with my peers, it is not uncommon for verdicts to be challenged for one reason or another. 

What I expect will happen is that the verdict will be set aside and we'll set it for a retrial and (hopefully) settle before we have to go through a retrial.  With any litigation, there are a million things that can go wrong at any point in the process.  That's one of the reason that really good trial attorneys make $$$$.  They can exploit opponents' minor mistakes to the maximum and prevent any errors on their team.

Perfect, you set yourself up well for appeal then and will very likely have a more lenient standard of review. :) That's my takeaway from being an appellate clerk twice - sometimes I want to take trial lawyers by the shoulders and shout WHY DIDN'T YOU PRESERVE THAT ARGUMENT BELOW?!?!