Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 122271 times)

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #450 on: August 06, 2016, 09:22:01 AM »
Hi Chesebert.

Yes, I had an entirely transactional practice until I went solo Sept. 1, 2015. 

It was my first litigation case and this was my first trial.  I leaned pretty heavily on three litigator friends -- calling them frequently as issues arose.  But I also committed to learning rules of evidence and procedure.  I overprepared for everything.

In early March, we had our first hearing on my motion for a preliminary injunction and it was the first time I had ever appeared in Circuit Court.  I was so nervous I almost puked on my shoes.  I had prepped my client well and I got all our evidence in that day.  I did a good job cross-examining the defendant -- even impeached her!  I won the injunction and felt a little better after that.

I learned how to issue subpoenas duces tecum; how to depose witnesses; how to disclose expert opinions; how to undermine experts; how to talk with my witnesses and get them prepped; how to conduct voir dire; how to get facts into evidence; how to pretend I'm not terrified (LOL); and how to ignore defense counsel's interruptions and keep pressing a witness; and a thousand other things.  It has been a huge investment of money, time, and energy but the growth I've experienced has far outstripped the costs.

12 years of public school teaching was definitely a good foundation for connecting with a jury, feeling comfortable in front of an audience, and thinking on my feet.

One more nugget of good news.... Yesterday, while prepping to write my brief in opposition to the defense motion to set aside the verdict, I actually looked at the verdict forms for the first time since 7/22.  I haven't had the heart to make myself look... Lo and behold, of the five assets the jury gave us damages on, TWO OF THE FIVE ARE FOR COMPENSATORY DAMAGES!!   The aggregate compensatory damage award was for $160k and the aggregate punitive damage award was for $85k.  On the day of the trial, the jury read down their verdict for all twelve assets -- finding fraud on 5 of the 12 -- and in the blur and stress of that moment, it sounded to all of us like ALL damages were punitive. 

But, they're not!  Having read the case law on this, there is no authority for dis-aggregating the damage awards, asset by asset.  I am now very hopeful that the judge will deny the defense motion and the judgment will stand.  With $300k frozen by injunction, I can execute the judgment quickly and recover a nice bundle of $$$.  Fingers crossed.  Briefs due 8/12.
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FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #451 on: August 07, 2016, 07:08:37 AM »
There is nothing quite like cashing your first big settlement check when you work for yourself and you know you are actually going to keep all the money. I hope it works out for you!

OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #452 on: August 16, 2016, 06:21:12 PM »
Its been awhile since I last posted.  I haven't found the right firm/position to lateral into yet but at least i have successfully narrowed down the practice areas I'm interested in!  I have an interview next week for a position within a large labor & employment law firm that I'm excited for.  I come from a litigation background and don't have a background in L&E by any means and I have never interviewed for a L&E law firm so this is new territory for me.  I take it they are most interested in my litigation and academic background as I'm only a second year associate and am not so far as to make a transition into a new practice area too difficult.  Does anyone have a background in L&E?  Any tips for the interview?
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chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #453 on: August 16, 2016, 06:36:56 PM »
Don't know.... talk about how much you love the intricacies of ERISA? .... sorry I just puked a little in my mouth after typing that...

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #454 on: August 16, 2016, 07:24:50 PM »
OneCoolCat, I worked at biglaw firm well known for L&E work, and while I was in the general litigation department, not the L&E department, I did help out on a number of those cases over the years.  I imagine it's less likely to be ERISA work and more likely to focus on discrimination, harassment, wage & hour, and/or non-compete/trade secrets disputes.  Class actions are more common with big firms than single plaintiff cases, but you could see either.  Also, there's a huge amount of employer counseling on topics like hiring, testing, compliance, terminations, accommodations, and leave.  I'm friends with a lot of people in the L&E group who really love it, but there are so many factors that go into that that it's hard to tell you what you should expect.  At your level, I don't think they'd be requiring subject matter expertise so much as general litigation experience and a strong interest in growing into L&E/workplace matters.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #455 on: August 17, 2016, 06:42:10 AM »
TrulyStashin - Did they pay you yet? Did your old firm hear about it? On the old firm topic, I'd love to know how many of your peers (or even your ex-bosses) have a 250k judgement under their belt!

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #456 on: August 17, 2016, 08:39:34 AM »
TrulyStashin - Did they pay you yet? Did your old firm hear about it? On the old firm topic, I'd love to know how many of your peers (or even your ex-bosses) have a 250k judgement under their belt!

We submitted briefs last Friday and I had hoped that the judge would rule based on the briefs -- no delay.  But, naturally, defense counsel asked for a 45 minute spot on the docket to argue.  It's RIDICULOUS to ask for 45 minutes to argue one motion -- he did it solely to delay.  Sure enough, the soonest date is 9/23 with most dates falling in October.  I pushed back and said 30 minutes is sufficient.  The court has 8/26 and 9/2 available for 30 minute arguments.  If he won't go for that, and we end up with an October argument date then I'm filing an additional motion for prejudgment interest (which could cost his client about $53k).  I've let him know that and we'll see what he decides to do.

I am SO ready to get paid!  My cashflow is treacherous right now.  I have enough cash to cover September and October.  After that...??

One of the partners at my old firm knows about the judgment and I'm meeting with a second one next week.  I'll definitely be promoting this win once I have the final order in hand! 
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TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #457 on: August 17, 2016, 08:41:04 AM »
Its been awhile since I last posted.  I haven't found the right firm/position to lateral into yet but at least i have successfully narrowed down the practice areas I'm interested in!  I have an interview next week for a position within a large labor & employment law firm that I'm excited for.  I come from a litigation background and don't have a background in L&E by any means and I have never interviewed for a L&E law firm so this is new territory for me.  I take it they are most interested in my litigation and academic background as I'm only a second year associate and am not so far as to make a transition into a new practice area too difficult.  Does anyone have a background in L&E?  Any tips for the interview?

Good luck!!!  Keep us posted.

chesebert, you crack me up.
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ryanht13

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #458 on: August 18, 2016, 10:56:26 AM »
What would some of you more seasoned guys on here say to someone who is considering going to law school?
Would be non-traditional student (25 years old with great work experience- business/sales). Could probably only get into a state school.

Would be interested in anything under the umbrella of business (possibly m&a?)

What about getting a law degree and not being a lawyer? I.e. going into business, management, etc.

Salary is $110k before bonus. No debt other than on rental property. Low six fig net worth.

DCKatie09

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #459 on: August 18, 2016, 11:10:09 AM »
What would some of you more seasoned guys on here say to someone who is considering going to law school?
Would be non-traditional student (25 years old with great work experience- business/sales). Could probably only get into a state school.

Would be interested in anything under the umbrella of business (possibly m&a?)

What about getting a law degree and not being a lawyer? I.e. going into business, management, etc.

Salary is $110k before bonus. No debt other than on rental property. Low six fig net worth.
Don't do it. Not worth it. The job market still basically sucks, particularly for schools outside of the top 20. You make more money now than 75% of new law school grads, with no student debt.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #460 on: August 18, 2016, 12:05:00 PM »
Don't do it. Not worth it. The job market still basically sucks, particularly for schools outside of the top 20. You make more money now than 75% of new law school grads, with no student debt.

Short answer is that I agree with DCKatie.  Especially if you'd plan to get the law degree and then not even be a lawyer, that's completely not worth it these days.  Hiring attorneys fresh out of law school is still down, and you see more of lateral hires only.  You're already in a good place in your career, and if you want to FIRE, I probably wouldn't go off your current track (at least, not based on the information you provided).

Cycling Stache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #461 on: August 18, 2016, 12:06:28 PM »
What would some of you more seasoned guys on here say to someone who is considering going to law school?
Would be non-traditional student (25 years old with great work experience- business/sales). Could probably only get into a state school.

Would be interested in anything under the umbrella of business (possibly m&a?)

What about getting a law degree and not being a lawyer? I.e. going into business, management, etc.

Salary is $110k before bonus. No debt other than on rental property. Low six fig net worth.
Don't do it. Not worth it. The job market still basically sucks, particularly for schools outside of the top 20. You make more money now than 75% of new law school grads, with no student debt.

+1

Don't do it unless you have a burning desire to do law, and you probably don't, because almost nobody does.  Being a lawyer is--for most people--not very pleasant.  And this is coming from someone who went to one of those top 2 or 3 schools and probably has one of the best law jobs in the country. 

I've also never heard that having a law degree but not practicing adds any meaningful value to a resume or to your value in the work world.  Certainly not enough to offset the 3 years lost to law school.  When I was coming out and it was the dot com boom, banks and consulting firms would hire a few people directly from law school on the theory that a smart, young kid could be taught whatever they needed to know about finance, business, etc.  But I doubt that has continued.

If you are seriously considering it, reach out to lawyers in the specific field that you think you would consider who have been there 5-10 years.  Chat with them about their daily experience, what they enjoy, and what parts they would change if they could or what other areas of law they would consider.  But really listen between the lines for how happy they sound about it.  I suggest that experience level because young attorneys are still occasionally excited about the paycheck or the sense that "they're working on something important," and significantly more senior attorneys often have had work become so much a part of their identity that they can't imagine not doing it.

Criminal law is completely different.  But there's nothing in your post that seems to suggest that's where you're looking.  It's much more exciting, but low pay on the prosecution side (outside a few jobs), and a lot of hustling for business on the defense side (or low pay, if you go the public defender route).

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #462 on: August 18, 2016, 12:58:01 PM »
What would some of you more seasoned guys on here say to someone who is considering going to law school?
Would be non-traditional student (25 years old with great work experience- business/sales). Could probably only get into a state school.

Would be interested in anything under the umbrella of business (possibly m&a?)

What about getting a law degree and not being a lawyer? I.e. going into business, management, etc.

Salary is $110k before bonus. No debt other than on rental property. Low six fig net worth.
Don't do it. Not worth it. The job market still basically sucks, particularly for schools outside of the top 20. You make more money now than 75% of new law school grads, with no student debt.

+1

Don't do it unless you have a burning desire to do law, and you probably don't, because almost nobody does.  Being a lawyer is--for most people--not very pleasant.  And this is coming from someone who went to one of those top 2 or 3 schools and probably has one of the best law jobs in the country. 

I've also never heard that having a law degree but not practicing adds any meaningful value to a resume or to your value in the work world.  Certainly not enough to offset the 3 years lost to law school.  When I was coming out and it was the dot com boom, banks and consulting firms would hire a few people directly from law school on the theory that a smart, young kid could be taught whatever they needed to know about finance, business, etc.  But I doubt that has continued.

If you are seriously considering it, reach out to lawyers in the specific field that you think you would consider who have been there 5-10 years.  Chat with them about their daily experience, what they enjoy, and what parts they would change if they could or what other areas of law they would consider.  But really listen between the lines for how happy they sound about it.  I suggest that experience level because young attorneys are still occasionally excited about the paycheck or the sense that "they're working on something important," and significantly more senior attorneys often have had work become so much a part of their identity that they can't imagine not doing it.

Criminal law is completely different.  But there's nothing in your post that seems to suggest that's where you're looking.  It's much more exciting, but low pay on the prosecution side (outside a few jobs), and a lot of hustling for business on the defense side (or low pay, if you go the public defender route).

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #463 on: August 18, 2016, 01:06:45 PM »
Oh, chesebert, I love it!

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #464 on: August 18, 2016, 01:56:51 PM »
^^^  chesebert for the win!!!
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ryanht13

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #465 on: August 18, 2016, 03:24:26 PM »
Very funny, and classic.
I'll play devil's advocate to the common response (current job market still sucks). Maybe it's because I work in the futures contract business... but WILL the legal profession job market STILL suck in 3-4 years (when I would be graduating)? I know FIRE is a big deal on this blog/thread, but suppose one wants to have even a 15-20 year career, let alone a 30-40 year career.

DCKatie09

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #466 on: August 18, 2016, 03:36:47 PM »
It's a fair question, but the answer is still basically yes, depending on what you want your starting salary to look like. http://www.nalp.org/salarydistrib - the legal profession has long had a bimodal salary curve, only exacerbated by the recession. And also, there are so many unhappy lawyers out there - if you don't actually know that you want to be a lawyer, it's a real risky bet right now in terms of mental health, not just finances.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #467 on: August 18, 2016, 09:36:33 PM »
Very funny, and classic.
I'll play devil's advocate to the common response (current job market still sucks). Maybe it's because I work in the futures contract business... but WILL the legal profession job market STILL suck in 3-4 years (when I would be graduating)? I know FIRE is a big deal on this blog/thread, but suppose one wants to have even a 15-20 year career, let alone a 30-40 year career.

It's not devil's advocate - you just are not listening. For some reason, that is a common reaction to being told law school is not a good idea for lots of people. If you leave a job making 110k a year for three years you immediately incur a 330k opportunity cost. If you pay for law school you can add that to the price tag. As shown by other posters, your salary is highly unlikely to be more than 110k after law school. Add that to your opportunity cost. Finally, add on that most lawyers do not like their job.

You could easily be making a 500k error by going to law school. It does not make sense for most people and definitely not a person with your salary and financial situation.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #468 on: August 18, 2016, 09:50:40 PM »
. . .  WILL the legal profession job market STILL suck in 3-4 years (when I would be graduating)?. . .

YES. Yes, it will.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #469 on: August 19, 2016, 07:34:39 AM »
Very funny, and classic.
I'll play devil's advocate to the common response (current job market still sucks). Maybe it's because I work in the futures contract business... but WILL the legal profession job market STILL suck in 3-4 years (when I would be graduating)? I know FIRE is a big deal on this blog/thread, but suppose one wants to have even a 15-20 year career, let alone a 30-40 year career.

It's not devil's advocate - you just are not listening. For some reason, that is a common reaction to being told law school is not a good idea for lots of people. If you leave a job making 110k a year for three years you immediately incur a 330k opportunity cost. If you pay for law school you can add that to the price tag. As shown by other posters, your salary is highly unlikely to be more than 110k after law school. Add that to your opportunity cost. Finally, add on that most lawyers do not like their job.

You could easily be making a 500k error by going to law school. It does not make sense for most people and definitely not a person with your salary and financial situation.

+1

Prior to law school (2008 - 2011), I was a social studies teacher with a MA in history and National Board Certification.  With 12 years in the classroom, my 2008 salary was $43,500 and I had 18 years to go before I could retire.  The law school math looks very different from that vantage point.

For you, I saw nothing in your post that conveys a burning curiosity about law and quite frankly M & A is one of the most dry and boring kinds of law practices you could have (and also highly subject to economic winds of fortune).  The actual practice of law is nothing like what the general public perceives it to be -- it is often nothing more than a grind.  And all that is aside from the financial cost.
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StacheyStache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #470 on: August 19, 2016, 07:56:07 AM »
What would some of you more seasoned guys on here say to someone who is considering going to law school?
Would be non-traditional student (25 years old with great work experience- business/sales). Could probably only get into a state school.

Would be interested in anything under the umbrella of business (possibly m&a?)

What about getting a law degree and not being a lawyer? I.e. going into business, management, etc.

Salary is $110k before bonus. No debt other than on rental property. Low six fig net worth.
Don't do it. Not worth it. The job market still basically sucks, particularly for schools outside of the top 20. You make more money now than 75% of new law school grads, with no student debt.

OP, this could be your story if you go to law school now:

I didn't get into a top tier school, but I went to the best school in my state where I got the most scholarship money.  I did reasonably well though not at the top of my class, won several somewhat prestigious awards while in school, great recommendations.  After applying for literally any job requiring a JD I could find anywhere in the country for a year I got a job in state government making UNDER 40k.  This job also required me to be willing to move anywhere in my state, at anytime, at a moment's notice, on my dime, NO expenses reimbursed.  During one of my yearly reviews (where I maintained excellent marks in all categories but still couldn't get a raise because budget) I tried to reason with management that the moving requirement was too much, that new attorneys couldn't afford to constantly move on such a small salary, that it impacted our ability to make connections within local bars, within our own offices and with opposing counsel and that something had to change or the position would continue to be the revolving door it had become since the new requirement was rolled out.  They responded with a sick grin that the job market was so bad they weren't worried at all about attracting and even retaining talent and could pretty much do anything they wanted and we would shut up and put up with it.  The only thing that conversation was missing was a 'nyah nyah nyah boo boo' and wiggling fingers in ears with an outstretched tongue.  And they were RIGHT.  I applied to new jobs constantly but it took me TWO YEARS to escape to a job where I'm now making about 10k more and don't have the moving around requirement.  I know several talented young attorneys that are still stuck there in that job on their second third or even fourth expensive relocation at that same stagnant salary because they can't find anything else.

Do I regret going to law school even after all that?  No but that's because I love what I do, I love being an attorney, there is nothing else that would have made me this happy and this is what I'm meant to do.  If you don't have that kind of passion or drive to do this, don't do it. 

DreamingOfFIRE

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #471 on: August 19, 2016, 08:02:30 AM »
+1

Prior to law school (2008 - 2011), I was a social studies teacher with a MA in history and National Board Certification.  With 12 years in the classroom, my 2008 salary was $43,500 and I had 18 years to go before I could retire.  The law school math looks very different from that vantage point.

For you, I saw nothing in your post that conveys a burning curiosity about law and quite frankly M & A is one of the most dry and boring kinds of law practices you could have (and also highly subject to economic winds of fortune).  The actual practice of law is nothing like what the general public perceives it to be -- it is often nothing more than a grind.  And all that is aside from the financial cost.

I would agree with almost all of this, and the posters above, and encourage you not to go to law school unless you are a rare one with a passion for the area of law you would be practicing. 

The one point I would disagree with, personally, is that M&A is one of the more dry and boring kinds of law practices.  I feel the opposite - it is the only practice area I have worked in that I regularly find interesting - but no strong passion for the law itself ahere.  M&A is more about deal process and drafting and less about legal research than other areas of corporate law.  During your junior years of practice, you may have to do a lot of diligence, which can be boring, but this is one part of M&A deals and tends to fall on the most junior associates. 

M&A does tend to have the most volatile hours out of the corporate practices I've experienced/witnessed.  You will not be working 8-5 in M&A law.  You may enjoy some slow months, but you'll inevitably have some very, very busy months too. 

Check2400

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #472 on: August 19, 2016, 08:39:34 AM »
If you're considering law school, read this: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/02/27/faq-should-i-go-to-law-school/.  Then consider if you meet the requirements.  This is one of the most objective answers to your question I have found. 

To your follow up point, the honest truth is that even if the job market for being a lawyer improves in 3-4 years, it is still the job market ... for being a lawyer. 

If you are serious on pulling the plug on your career, investing more money into your education, and dedicating your life (at least through loan repayment) to a profession you seem to have little intimate experience with, I strongly encourage you to go to the plausible law school of your choice, or a young lawyers association meet up in your area, or even better a BAR exam course in your area, and ask opinions from those on the front line and try to objectively listen to those opinions. 


TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #473 on: August 19, 2016, 03:03:09 PM »
Hey lawyers of MMM... just tossing it out there, does $30,000 for an attorney sound reasonable for a full civil case where the evidence may also help with the criminal court side of things? He has won similar cases before, albeit with possibly better evidence.

Frankly, that sounds like a bargain but may not be a good idea.  $30k at $300/ hour is 100 hours of work.  In the civil case I just finished I have at least double that amount of time, though that's partly because the opposing attorney filed every motion he could think of just to slow things down or throw sand in my gears.  Litigation is unpredictable so flat rate pricing is very unusual.  The risk for you here is that your attorney now has an incentive to work as little as possible.  That's not a good thing, IMHO, because successfully litigating a case requires a deep familiarity with the nitty-gritty facts of a case and that takes hours of reading, document review, witness interviews, and simply sitting and pondering all the facts so that some detail can surface.

Example:  In my recent case, I remembered one tiny fact that had been buried deep in the documentation -- the defendant's son is an attorney in the same town where she lives.  When she testified that she really, really didn't want to serve as her mother's power of attorney but woe be unto her she HAD to do it because no one else was available, I nailed her on cross exam.  Isn't your son (your mother's grandson) an attorney in town?  Couldn't HE have served as power of attorney?    Later, after the case, a juror told me that this tiny fact was very persuasive to them in finding that she committed fraud.   I only knew that fact because I spent HOURS combing through every document, more than once, taking notes and committing details to memory.  Your attorney won't have an incentive to do this.  Quite the opposite.

People tend to behave according to incentives.

Who is covering the COSTS of litigation?  If I were you, I'd expect to be paying this in addition to paying his fee.  And, brace yourself, litigation is expensive.  We have about $38k in costs incurred from the same recent case. 

I hope this helps.

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LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #474 on: August 19, 2016, 03:11:59 PM »
Hey lawyers of MMM... just tossing it out there, does $30,000 for an attorney sound reasonable for a full civil case where the evidence may also help with the criminal court side of things? He has won similar cases before, albeit with possibly better evidence.

There's not even close to enough information here to evaluate that.

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #475 on: August 21, 2016, 02:09:14 PM »
What would some of you more seasoned guys on here say to someone who is considering going to law school?
Would be non-traditional student (25 years old with great work experience- business/sales). Could probably only get into a state school.

Would be interested in anything under the umbrella of business (possibly m&a?)

What about getting a law degree and not being a lawyer? I.e. going into business, management, etc.

Salary is $110k before bonus. No debt other than on rental property. Low six fig net worth.

I'll second, third, fourth etc. everyone else here, and I'm speaking as someone who went to a state school, got enough scholarships that I only had to spend $17k on tuition, and got a BigLaw job paying $130k upon graduation (actually I got the offer at the end of my 2L summer, so almost a year before I graduated, as is traditional for BigLaw young associates). In other words I hit the law school jackpot and I will still tell you, in your situation, don't do it. I got my job a couple of years before the crash. The situation is far different for today's grads than it was for me. If you're already making $110k/year at 25, and you don't have a burning passion for a particular area of law that is so compelling you're willing to basically lose around $500k (including opportunity cost) to become a lawyer, DO NOT GO.

If you want to position yourself for higher-end business jobs, sign up for an executive MBA that you can get in 9 months, studying evenings and weekends so you can still do your job, for a tuition cost of $20k or $30k.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #476 on: September 07, 2016, 03:30:04 PM »
I saw the pharmacy thread and couldn't help but wonder how many lawyer mustachians there are on here. If so, what kind of law do you practice? BigLaw, MidLaw, SmallLaw, or InHouse? Approximate salaries? Any debt left from law school?

I'll start: I'm a mid-law associate. I'm on the transactional side (no litigation for me) and mainly do general commercial contracts and corporate governance related work. Salary is pretty good, mid-to-low 100's, depending on bonus. Law school debt was just paid off last week!

You?
  Still no six figure income, and my work has suddenly dropped off a cliff.  I got a burst of aggression and went after the cases on my desk with a vengeance.  I either got judgements and fully collected or the other side got scared and came begging to settle with high settlement offers.

Now I am sitting here twiddling my thumbs with little work to do.

I never thought doing a really good job for my clients could put my in danger of going out of business.

Stressed out right now.

I graduated from a top 20 school in the 90s, practiced at small/mid firms starting in the 50K range and worked my way up to $120K.  I spent every damn dime and then some. 

Now I am a solo, and I am trying to save money like crazy.  My income, however, was less than six figures last year, and will probably be less or barely break the six figure mark by the end of this year.

Amazingly, I still have some debt left from law school, but since it is at 3.38%, I am not in a big, giant rush to pay it off.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #477 on: September 07, 2016, 06:31:04 PM »
You know, I normally just mark this thread as "read" and move on, but I realized I kind of wanted to type "no" in response to the question.  I think FIRE is getting closer!

NYCMustachian

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #478 on: September 08, 2016, 01:01:02 PM »
Hey everyone!

I'm a NYC based government lawyer (litigation). I'm two years out of law school. I chose a lower tier law school because they gave me a scholarship equal to 100% of tuition (that's why it's so important to do well on the LSAT). I graduated top of my class but still found it difficult to get the job I wanted. In hindsight, taking two years to get this job isn't that bad though.

I have a great job now. I make $60k but that will go up with regular raises and I'm not in the office more than 35 hours a week. For these reasons I think it's a very mustachian job. But I worked like hell to get here with $0 in debt.

DA

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #479 on: September 16, 2016, 02:06:18 PM »
Quote
What would some of you more seasoned guys on here say to someone who is considering going to law school?
Would be non-traditional student (25 years old with great work experience- business/sales). Could probably only get into a state school.

Would be interested in anything under the umbrella of business (possibly m&a?)

What about getting a law degree and not being a lawyer? I.e. going into business, management, etc.

Salary is $110k before bonus. No debt other than on rental property. Low six fig net worth.

For the love of God, please follow the advice that every other lawyer on this board has posted and DO NOT GO TO LAW SCHOOL!  I will share a bit of my legal horror story.  I went to a prestigious law school, did well, made law review, published articles, etc.  Well, it took me THREE AND HALF YEARS to find legal employment.  I swear that I applied for at least one thousand jobs during that time, and probably had 75 - 100 interviews.  I'm a good interviewer, I'm well-spoken, and I'm fairly attractive.  Do not start inventing reasons for my failure that won't apply to you.  I know plenty of others who had a similar experience, and most of them ended up never practicing law a single day in their life, but their law school debt will be around until they're 50 years old (after which IBR will get rid of it--and tax it). 

I'm not saying that no one ever finds a place in the legal profession that they enjoy.  As far as jobs go, my current gig is actually pretty good.  But I had to fight like hell and hemorrhage money to get it, and there's no guarantee I won't get laid off tomorrow.  Sure, there's a 1% chance you'll be extremely happy with your decision to join the legal profession.  Are those odds you want to bet on? 

TwoJays

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #480 on: September 17, 2016, 07:57:27 AM »
Hello!

Can any of you speak to what, if any, benefits are offered by mid-to-large private firms (though I assume this can vary dramatically) and on the government side? Some of you may have seen my post earlier about deciding whether or not to leave my current job for law school and I realized that including the value of benefits it may be hard for me to beat my current income as a young lawyer. While I want to practice law and have enough experience around it to be as sure as anyone can be before actually practicing, setting myself on a solid path to FIRE is more important to me in the long run.

(For those of you who didn't see my previous post, any information and suggestions are welcome! You can find it here - http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/law-degree-or-stay-put/msg1158673/#msg1158673)
 

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #481 on: September 20, 2016, 12:06:06 PM »
Not sure if this deserves a separate thread, but what do you guys think is the best way to leave a firm?  I'm already part time but I'm 90% sure I want to leave/retire/"take a year off" at the end of the year (we've been discussing/renewing my part time status in January for the last two years).  Except I'd like to stick around until FEB-March perhaps to max out my 401k.

So my options are:

Just tell them in January I'm leaving in March, but that risks them accelerating my notice (i.e., thanks for letting us know get out)

Try to negotiate/renew my part time agreement in January and then Give two weeks notice in March. Might cause a little ill will since I'll have to "pretend" I want to work another year.

Underperform from now until January and hope they lay me off in January (basically meet existing responsibilities but take no new work if I can avoid it).  Historically speaking, they might give me the "take three months to look for another job" speech and so I'd end up leaving in March anyways but wouldn't have to do anything.  Might get unemployment insurance on top of that but it's a separate topic. 

I don't want to straight up burn any bridges, but I also dont want to give up decent severance monies just to have the satisfaction of quitting myself.  Still working through the options but Any advice appreciated


FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #482 on: September 20, 2016, 07:43:53 PM »
Hey Dragoncar, can you refresh us on what kind of law firm/practice? My experience is in firms with less than 15 attorneys. I don't know if that is useful at all.

ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #483 on: September 20, 2016, 07:48:21 PM »
Option one would be my choice if you have a good relationship with the partners and they value your work.  If not, option two.  Option 3 is risky as you don't control your own destiny.



LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #484 on: September 20, 2016, 08:08:40 PM »
To dragoncar:  For context, I worked for close to 9 years in a non-headquarters office of a biglaw firm.  Based on how our local groups operated and my own personal approach to professionalism and forthright relationships with colleagues, I would go with option 1.  Essentially, say that you don't think you're able to renew the contract for another full year, but you really would like to continue working there through the end of March, and ask if that's something that could work for them.

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #485 on: September 20, 2016, 08:24:43 PM »
To dragoncar:  For context, I worked for close to 9 years in a non-headquarters office of a biglaw firm.  Based on how our local groups operated and my own personal approach to professionalism and forthright relationships with colleagues, I would go with option 1.  Essentially, say that you don't think you're able to renew the contract for another full year, but you really would like to continue working there through the end of March, and ask if that's something that could work for them.

Ok, I'm also in a non-headquarters office of a big firm.  Sounds like everyone likes option 1, and I'd guess they would probably not accelerate termination if they can avoid it... I really don't know, though as the firm doesn't have the cohesive HR of corporation.  I've seen people stay on for a year while they looked for something else and I've also seen people escorted out immediately for trivial social slights.  Really depends on which partner is making the decision that day.

emilypsf

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #486 on: September 21, 2016, 07:49:58 AM »
I left a small firm (15 lawyers) after 9 years.  I gave notice as soon as my 401k was full (Feb or March).  They wanted me to stay as long as necessary to transition things.  Unless there is some policy of walking people out the door as soon as they give notice, I doubt they would do that.  There is too much stuff that you need to pass on as a lawyer.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #487 on: September 21, 2016, 07:54:59 AM »
To dragoncar:  For context, I worked for close to 9 years in a non-headquarters office of a biglaw firm.  Based on how our local groups operated and my own personal approach to professionalism and forthright relationships with colleagues, I would go with option 1.  Essentially, say that you don't think you're able to renew the contract for another full year, but you really would like to continue working there through the end of March, and ask if that's something that could work for them.

Ok, I'm also in a non-headquarters office of a big firm.  Sounds like everyone likes option 1, and I'd guess they would probably not accelerate termination if they can avoid it... I really don't know, though as the firm doesn't have the cohesive HR of corporation.  I've seen people stay on for a year while they looked for something else and I've also seen people escorted out immediately for trivial social slights.  Really depends on which partner is making the decision that day.

Definitely do NOT do option #3.  No No NO.  Option #2 I've seen work and I've seen backfire--you really risk burning bridges that way.  Someone may need to go to bat for you in your contract negotiation, and that person will hate you if you flee soon after s/he fights for your contract.

Option #1 is, to me, the most ethical route, and I've taken it myself (gave four months notice once when I planned to leave the state at a specific date, and it worked out great for all).  Perhaps consider modifying it to say you'd like to stay another year but you are thinking of other options, including taking a sabbatical from practice in the near future, which is also ethical and true.  This might be more palatable than just "I'm leaving in March." Leaving?  Where to?  Is this a salary negotiation?  Does dragoncar want more money?  Is dragoncar going to try to take clients from us?  Etc.

I'd say that what their response would be to straight out telling them you plan to leave in March will depend on a) the amount of work that exists at the firm/practice area, b) your work to date, c) how much they like you, d) how much they think they can make off of you in three more months, and (flipside of d) e) how much they think they could save by dropping you asap.

Good luck!

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #488 on: September 21, 2016, 11:32:35 AM »
Hey thanks again for the advice.  Should I discuss first with the partners who send me the most work?  They aren't really the ones making the final calls on the part time agreement as far as I know.  If you think they might be going to bat for me, it would likely happen before January, so I'd basically have to tell them in December. 

I'm sure they can make money off of me Jan-mar, but I suspect they'd rather ramp up new associates than give new work to someone with one foot out the door.  There are some matters where my institutional knowledge will be useful, but that won't apply to anything new. 

I guess it's not the end of the world if I don't max out my 401k... It just seems like missing out on an opportunity for a temporary 40%+ raise

ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #489 on: September 21, 2016, 11:40:46 AM »
How big is that office?  What kind of relationship you have with the partners?  If it was me, I would have the conversation with the partner(s) in your office that you have the best relationship with.  Is there someone at the firm who you consider your mentor?



Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #490 on: September 26, 2016, 07:56:26 AM »
I will share a bit of my legal horror story.  I went to a prestigious law school, did well, made law review, published articles, etc.  Well, it took me THREE AND HALF YEARS to find legal employment.  I swear that I applied for at least one thousand jobs during that time, and probably had 75 - 100 interviews.  I'm a good interviewer, I'm well-spoken, and I'm fairly attractive. 

What did you do during your 2L summer--did you summer with a firm, did they make you an offer? What part of the country and what type of place were you looking for work in (large city, college town etc.)? I'm curious because things should not have been that bad with your profile. Unless you were unsuccessfully looking for a summer position in 2008 and graduating in 2010, in the middle of the recession.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #491 on: September 26, 2016, 03:00:44 PM »
I will share a bit of my legal horror story.  I went to a prestigious law school, did well, made law review, published articles, etc.  Well, it took me THREE AND HALF YEARS to find legal employment.  I swear that I applied for at least one thousand jobs during that time, and probably had 75 - 100 interviews.  I'm a good interviewer, I'm well-spoken, and I'm fairly attractive. 

What did you do during your 2L summer--did you summer with a firm, did they make you an offer? What part of the country and what type of place were you looking for work in (large city, college town etc.)? I'm curious because things should not have been that bad with your profile. Unless you were unsuccessfully looking for a summer position in 2008 and graduating in 2010, in the middle of the recession.
Ten bucks says it wasn't a top-14 school (i.e. prestigious). With that profile at a top-14, you'd have no problem finding a job. Even if you graduated at the height of the Great Recession, you'd have found a job within a year with that kind of resume unless you were a painfully awkward person to interview. Anything outside of the top-14 (maybe even top-10) isn't prestigious if you let the data on legal hiring define prestige.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 03:03:09 PM by YTProphet »

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #492 on: September 26, 2016, 03:09:07 PM »
Lawyers are not prestigious and therefore no law school is prestigious. Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #493 on: September 26, 2016, 03:15:28 PM »
Lawyers are not prestigious and therefore no law school is prestigious. Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together.

This comment made me LOL because I tend to agree (even though I'm a lawyer). But tell the average person that you went to Harvard Law and I don't think the first thought they'll associate with that is "oh, he's just a service provider who bills by the hour".

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #494 on: September 26, 2016, 03:23:38 PM »
Lawyers are not prestigious and therefore no law school is prestigious. Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together.

Quarter hour?  hahaha!

.1 - reply to chesebert regarding legal billing requirements

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #495 on: September 26, 2016, 04:25:42 PM »
Lawyers are not prestigious and therefore no law school is prestigious. Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together.

Quarter hour?  hahaha!

.1 - reply to chesebert regarding legal billing requirements
10th hour are for third tier legal service providers. "Prestigious" providers all bill in quarter hours. Certain "traditional" service providers are definitely more prestigious than any lawyer as they get to bill by the hour/day.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 04:27:35 PM by chesebert »

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #496 on: September 26, 2016, 04:42:49 PM »
I will share a bit of my legal horror story.  I went to a prestigious law school, did well, made law review, published articles, etc.  Well, it took me THREE AND HALF YEARS to find legal employment.  I swear that I applied for at least one thousand jobs during that time, and probably had 75 - 100 interviews.  I'm a good interviewer, I'm well-spoken, and I'm fairly attractive. 

What did you do during your 2L summer--did you summer with a firm, did they make you an offer? What part of the country and what type of place were you looking for work in (large city, college town etc.)? I'm curious because things should not have been that bad with your profile. Unless you were unsuccessfully looking for a summer position in 2008 and graduating in 2010, in the middle of the recession.
Ten bucks says it wasn't a top-14 school (i.e. prestigious). With that profile at a top-14, you'd have no problem finding a job. Even if you graduated at the height of the Great Recession, you'd have found a job within a year with that kind of resume unless you were a painfully awkward person to interview. Anything outside of the top-14 (maybe even top-10) isn't prestigious if you let the data on legal hiring define prestige.

Guys, please don't be a jerk to DA!  He's a new forum member, and there's no need to alienate one of our own.  At least, not right off the bat . . . but maybe later ;-)

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #497 on: September 26, 2016, 09:56:42 PM »
Lawyers are not prestigious and therefore no law school is prestigious. Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together.

Quarter hour?  hahaha!

.1 - reply to chesebert regarding legal billing requirements
10th hour are for third tier legal service providers. "Prestigious" providers all bill in quarter hours. Certain "traditional" service providers are definitely more prestigious than any lawyer as they get to bill by the hour/day.

Hold up.  You already said:

"Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together."

and now you say:

"Prestigious" providers all bill in quarter hours."

Your testimony is not credible.

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #498 on: September 26, 2016, 10:24:32 PM »
Lawyers are not prestigious and therefore no law school is prestigious. Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together.

Quarter hour?  hahaha!

.1 - reply to chesebert regarding legal billing requirements
10th hour are for third tier legal service providers. "Prestigious" providers all bill in quarter hours. Certain "traditional" service providers are definitely more prestigious than any lawyer as they get to bill by the hour/day.

Hold up.  You already said:

"Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together."

and now you say:

"Prestigious" providers all bill in quarter hours."

Your testimony is not credible.
In quotes - attention to detail you need, yes yes...

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #499 on: September 27, 2016, 12:27:55 AM »
Lawyers are not prestigious and therefore no law school is prestigious. Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together.

Quarter hour?  hahaha!

.1 - reply to chesebert regarding legal billing requirements
10th hour are for third tier legal service providers. "Prestigious" providers all bill in quarter hours. Certain "traditional" service providers are definitely more prestigious than any lawyer as they get to bill by the hour/day.

Hold up.  You already said:

"Service providers billing by every quarter hour and the word prestige just don't go together."

and now you say:

"Prestigious" providers all bill in quarter hours."

Your testimony is not credible.
In quotes - attention to detail you need, yes yes...

And who are you quoting?  Do you have a citation?