Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 116446 times)

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #500 on: September 27, 2016, 12:30:01 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?

Please use the proper Bluebook format.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #501 on: September 27, 2016, 02:01:54 AM »
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.

Ahh, but you missed the point where we are lawyers.  Which is another reason not to become a lawyer.

OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #502 on: September 29, 2016, 12:00:10 PM »
Hey guys, I could use some advice.  I'm a second year, going into my third year, associate that does plaintiffs side foreclosure and creditor's rights defense.  I like my firm, money is ok, but work is slowing down overall and I don't think foreclosure is great for my development as there isn't a lot of room to grow.  I have an offer from a small firm, 5-10 lawyers, that does construction law litigation and other work related to construction law, like labor & employment and business litigation. I had the interview earlier in the week and go t the offer today.  As expected, it pays less than my current but I think it provides greater room for growth.  He encourages associates to bring in business after a few years and gives them a cut of what they bring in.  Nothing is expected in terms of bringing in business for 3-5 years.  It pays about 10k less per year, factoring in base salary plus benefits, that what I currently make doing foreclosures (75,000) and would add about 10 miles to my daily commute.  I'm strongly considering it since it sounds like construction law is more interesting and leads to more growth than foreclosure.  The decrease in pay is a negative but I'm mustachians and could make it on 65-70k.  Any advice?
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chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #503 on: September 29, 2016, 02:27:51 PM »
Go bigger not smaller unless you have a stable book of business (the difference probably approaches nil once you go over 200 attorneys for your office). Easier to coast, easier to get cover if you need to take vacation/MMM-style sabbatical and easier to get work if you absolutely need the hour. Busy, not busy, it's all part of the cycle, no need to worry. The American style of business cycle almost guarantees boom and bust on a periodic basis (you practice probably flourishes during the bust cycle :)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 02:33:10 PM by chesebert »

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #504 on: September 30, 2016, 08:36:17 AM »
Hey guys, I could use some advice.  I'm a second year, going into my third year, associate that does plaintiffs side foreclosure and creditor's rights defense.  I like my firm, money is ok, but work is slowing down overall and I don't think foreclosure is great for my development as there isn't a lot of room to grow.  I have an offer from a small firm, 5-10 lawyers, that does construction law litigation and other work related to construction law, like labor & employment and business litigation. I had the interview earlier in the week and go t the offer today.  As expected, it pays less than my current but I think it provides greater room for growth.  He encourages associates to bring in business after a few years and gives them a cut of what they bring in.  Nothing is expected in terms of bringing in business for 3-5 years.  It pays about 10k less per year, factoring in base salary plus benefits, that what I currently make doing foreclosures (75,000) and would add about 10 miles to my daily commute.  I'm strongly considering it since it sounds like construction law is more interesting and leads to more growth than foreclosure.  The decrease in pay is a negative but I'm mustachians and could make it on 65-70k.  Any advice?

I'd take it. If you do the foreclosure work for a few more years, you're going to get pigeon-holed and you'll have an incredibly difficult time leaving that area of practice unless you go out on your own. If I were you, I'd try to focus on the L&E or business lit if you want to eventually end up in-house or at a larger firm. Work at the new firm for two years and start applying to even bigger firms if you have the law school credentials to be a viable candidate. You may be able to lateral to a lower mid-level firm and make low to mid 100's.

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #505 on: September 30, 2016, 09:58:34 AM »
Any advice?

I'd take if you feel that the opportunity for growth is better (which it sounds like you do). Ultimately, the question of whether you could fly higher there is really only one you can make, but it's better to take these kinds of risks earlier in your career (you can always go back to foreclosure if construction law / L&E isn't what you think it will be.

The $10K drop in your pay shouldn't be a deciding factor. Careers are for the long haul, so give yourself a runway to take off.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #506 on: September 30, 2016, 01:57:46 PM »
Any advice?

I'd take if you feel that the opportunity for growth is better (which it sounds like you do). Ultimately, the question of whether you could fly higher there is really only one you can make, but it's better to take these kinds of risks earlier in your career (you can always go back to foreclosure if construction law / L&E isn't what you think it will be.

The $10K drop in your pay shouldn't be a deciding factor. Careers are for the long haul, so give yourself a runway to take off.

+1   In general, it's good policy to choose growth and new learning over an unsatisfactory status quo.
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 #507 on: September 30, 2016, 02:31:13 PM »
Any advice?

I'd take if you feel that the opportunity for growth is better (which it sounds like you do). Ultimately, the question of whether you could fly higher there is really only one you can make, but it's better to take these kinds of risks earlier in your career (you can always go back to foreclosure if construction law / L&E isn't what you think it will be.

The $10K drop in your pay shouldn't be a deciding factor. Careers are for the long haul, so give yourself a runway to take off.

+1   In general, it's good policy to choose growth and new learning over an unsatisfactory status quo.
Really? We are talking about tiny law here with 5-10 lawyers. *I don't even know why there is a range? Are we talking about 5 lawyers and 5 contractors?

5 lawyers means there are 1-2 partners, that's it! No offense to all those working for small law, but OP would be better off from a stability perspective to stay with the larger firm. Slow and steady is the secret to FIRE, unless that's not OP's goal.

Also, leaving 10k on the table means OP is giving up ~60k in 5yrs assuming 7% ROE or ~140k in 10yrs.

I would keep looking. 
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 02:35:46 PM by chesebert »

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #508 on: September 30, 2016, 02:37:21 PM »
Any advice?

I'd take if you feel that the opportunity for growth is better (which it sounds like you do). Ultimately, the question of whether you could fly higher there is really only one you can make, but it's better to take these kinds of risks earlier in your career (you can always go back to foreclosure if construction law / L&E isn't what you think it will be.

The $10K drop in your pay shouldn't be a deciding factor. Careers are for the long haul, so give yourself a runway to take off.

+1   In general, it's good policy to choose growth and new learning over an unsatisfactory status quo.
Really? We are talking about tiny law here with 5-10 lawyers. *I don't even know why there is a range? Are we talking about 5 lawyers and 5 contractors?

5 lawyers means there are 1-2 partners, that's it! No offense to all those working for small law, but OP would be better off from a stability perspective to stay with the larger firm. Slow and steady is the secret to FIRE, unless that's not OP's goal.

Also, leaving 10k on the table means OP is giving up ~60k in 5yrs assuming 7% ROE or ~140k in 10yrs.

I left BigLaw for a solo practice so, yes, I'm biased toward growth and new learning over stability.  All this is just my 2 cents.   One of the values of a law degree is that our practice of law can morph/ grow/ change many times over our careers and we're not stuck plugging away at a practice area we hate (unless we choose to be).  Plus L & E works nicely in a solo practice, if need be.  So a L & E/ business litigation focus is a pretty strong platform that would take OP in many directions.  Having options is also a form of wealth.

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

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #509 on: September 30, 2016, 02:41:14 PM »
I agree with chesebert regarding OneCoolCat's dilemma.  I was in biglaw and did a ton of construction litigation and also some transactional construction work.  I would be shocked if a firm in the 5-10 attorney range were getting much in the way of interesting/high-stakes construction litigation.  My guess is that it would be small-time residential cases or more likely the transactional side, which I thought was typically pretty boring, easy, and formulaic (just like foreclosure).  If it's the latter, that's also a pigeon-hole specialty that doesn't do much to translate elsewhere.  Plus, it is very unlikely to be a stepping stone into a larger firm, unless you are in major city where they have the boutique construction firms in the 20-50 attorney range.

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #510 on: September 30, 2016, 02:44:44 PM »
Any advice?

I'd take if you feel that the opportunity for growth is better (which it sounds like you do). Ultimately, the question of whether you could fly higher there is really only one you can make, but it's better to take these kinds of risks earlier in your career (you can always go back to foreclosure if construction law / L&E isn't what you think it will be.

The $10K drop in your pay shouldn't be a deciding factor. Careers are for the long haul, so give yourself a runway to take off.

+1   In general, it's good policy to choose growth and new learning over an unsatisfactory status quo.
Really? We are talking about tiny law here with 5-10 lawyers. *I don't even know why there is a range? Are we talking about 5 lawyers and 5 contractors?

5 lawyers means there are 1-2 partners, that's it! No offense to all those working for small law, but OP would be better off from a stability perspective to stay with the larger firm. Slow and steady is the secret to FIRE, unless that's not OP's goal.

Also, leaving 10k on the table means OP is giving up ~60k in 5yrs assuming 7% ROE or ~140k in 10yrs.

I left BigLaw for a solo practice so, yes, I'm biased toward growth and new learning over stability.  All this is just my 2 cents.   One of the values of a law degree is that our practice of law can morph/ grow/ change many times over our careers and we're not stuck plugging away at a practice area we hate (unless we choose to be).  Plus L & E works nicely in a solo practice, if need be.  So a L & E/ business litigation focus is a pretty strong platform that would take OP in many directions.  Having options is also a form of wealth.
Not saying OneCoolCat should not lateral at all, just not to a firm with 5-10 lawyers. There must be better firms for LE/Lit in the area.

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #511 on: September 30, 2016, 02:53:02 PM »
I think we all admire you for your courage, TrulyStashin. But if looking at your career path solely in term of FIRE, I think it's probably not the best decision you could have made. You are missing out on $200-300k a year in salary and another $50-100k a year in bonus. You could be FIREd before you hit the partnership ceiling had you stayed with your old firm. You can always start your solo practice during your "retirement".


TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #512 on: September 30, 2016, 03:07:33 PM »
I think we all admire you for your courage, TrulyStashin. But if looking at your career path solely in term of FIRE, I think it's probably not the best decision you could have made. You are missing out on $200-300k a year in salary and another $50-100k a year in bonus. You could be FIREd before you hit the partnership ceiling had you stayed with your old firm. You can always start your solo practice during your "retirement".

Nah.  These numbers are WAY off because I was a staff attorney (doing associate work -- they even called me an "associate" to clients) and thus pigeon holed, plus working for a partner with a weak book and no political pull in the firm.  It was a dead end.  I'll make as much or more this year -- first year solo -- than I did in my third and last year at that firm.  Even if I had pulled off a shift to associate, the starting pay was $145k with a 5% bonus only if I billed over 2100 hours.  Bleh. 

Once my firm is established, I can bill half that much time and far outearn what BigLaw would have paid.  All without the asshole factor.  Total win in my book.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #513 on: September 30, 2016, 03:09:47 PM »
I made my decision and will taking the new job.

Pros of foreclosure
  • Make more now
  • Familiar with it
  • I like my boss, my firm and pretty much every co-worker
  • I've got a sick office to myself

Cons of foreclosure
  • The field has a bad reputation among lawyers which makes it extremely hard to lateral into any other field.
  • Small window to lateral out.  I feel like you have to lateral out as a junior or you get stuck in foreclosure which is exceptionally bad because...
  • Work is drying up.
  • Personally unsatisfied with my career.
  • Very little room for growth -- no encouragement to build a book of business (senior attorneys do the same work as juniors and never meet with clients.
  • Salary is not expected to grow much at all.  Would probably get paid less at any other foreclosure firm.

I feel that the construction law firm offers much more room for growth in commercial construction law and I liked the partners when I met them.  I think after 1 year I might be making as much as I would had I stayed in foreclosure and will expect to make more after 2 years for sure.
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OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #514 on: September 30, 2016, 03:13:37 PM »
I agree with chesebert regarding OneCoolCat's dilemma.  I was in biglaw and did a ton of construction litigation and also some transactional construction work.  I would be shocked if a firm in the 5-10 attorney range were getting much in the way of interesting/high-stakes construction litigation.  My guess is that it would be small-time residential cases or more likely the transactional side, which I thought was typically pretty boring, easy, and formulaic (just like foreclosure).  If it's the latter, that's also a pigeon-hole specialty that doesn't do much to translate elsewhere.  Plus, it is very unlikely to be a stepping stone into a larger firm, unless you are in major city where they have the boutique construction firms in the 20-50 attorney range.

It is mostly commercial construction litigation if that matters.  2 of the 3 former associates I found on linkedin wound up in mid/biglaw.
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chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #515 on: September 30, 2016, 03:15:27 PM »
I think we all admire you for your courage, TrulyStashin. But if looking at your career path solely in term of FIRE, I think it's probably not the best decision you could have made. You are missing out on $200-300k a year in salary and another $50-100k a year in bonus. You could be FIREd before you hit the partnership ceiling had you stayed with your old firm. You can always start your solo practice during your "retirement".

Nah.  These numbers are WAY off because I was a staff attorney (doing associate work -- they even called me an "associate" to clients) and thus pigeon holed, plus working for a partner with a weak book and no political pull in the firm.  It was a dead end.  I'll make as much or more this year -- first year solo -- than I did in my third and last year at that firm.  Even if I had pulled off a shift to associate, the starting pay was $145k with a 5% bonus only if I billed over 2100 hours.  Bleh. 

Once my firm is established, I can bill half that much time and far outearn what BigLaw would have paid.  All without the asshole factor.  Total win in my book.
I see, that makes more sense.

We are all cheering for you ;)

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #516 on: September 30, 2016, 03:17:05 PM »
I think we all admire you for your courage, TrulyStashin. But if looking at your career path solely in term of FIRE, I think it's probably not the best decision you could have made. You are missing out on $200-300k a year in salary and another $50-100k a year in bonus. You could be FIREd before you hit the partnership ceiling had you stayed with your old firm. You can always start your solo practice during your "retirement".

Nah.  These numbers are WAY off because I was a staff attorney (doing associate work -- they even called me an "associate" to clients) and thus pigeon holed, plus working for a partner with a weak book and no political pull in the firm.  It was a dead end.  I'll make as much or more this year -- first year solo -- than I did in my third and last year at that firm.  Even if I had pulled off a shift to associate, the starting pay was $145k with a 5% bonus only if I billed over 2100 hours.  Bleh. 

Once my firm is established, I can bill half that much time and far outearn what BigLaw would have paid.  All without the asshole factor.  Total win in my book.
I see, that makes more sense.

We are all cheering for you ;)

Thanks!  I can feel it.  It's true that my personality is not that of a typically cautious lawyer.  ;) 
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #517 on: September 30, 2016, 03:26:57 PM »
I made my decision and will taking the new job.

Pros of foreclosure
  • Make more now
  • Familiar with it
  • I like my boss, my firm and pretty much every co-worker
  • I've got a sick office to myself

Cons of foreclosure
  • The field has a bad reputation among lawyers which makes it extremely hard to lateral into any other field.
  • Small window to lateral out.  I feel like you have to lateral out as a junior or you get stuck in foreclosure which is exceptionally bad because...
  • Work is drying up.
  • Personally unsatisfied with my career.
  • Very little room for growth -- no encouragement to build a book of business (senior attorneys do the same work as juniors and never meet with clients.
  • Salary is not expected to grow much at all.  Would probably get paid less at any other foreclosure firm.

I feel that the construction law firm offers much more room for growth in commercial construction law and I liked the partners when I met them.  I think after 1 year I might be making as much as I would had I stayed in foreclosure and will expect to make more after 2 years for sure.

Good luck OCC!!   Knock 'em dead!
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #518 on: September 30, 2016, 04:08:55 PM »
I agree with chesebert regarding OneCoolCat's dilemma.  I was in biglaw and did a ton of construction litigation and also some transactional construction work.  I would be shocked if a firm in the 5-10 attorney range were getting much in the way of interesting/high-stakes construction litigation.  My guess is that it would be small-time residential cases or more likely the transactional side, which I thought was typically pretty boring, easy, and formulaic (just like foreclosure).  If it's the latter, that's also a pigeon-hole specialty that doesn't do much to translate elsewhere.  Plus, it is very unlikely to be a stepping stone into a larger firm, unless you are in major city where they have the boutique construction firms in the 20-50 attorney range.

It is mostly commercial construction litigation if that matters.  2 of the 3 former associates I found on linkedin wound up in mid/biglaw.

Oh, well, that's good news!  Commercial construction litigation can be pretty interesting, has lots of room for work with experts, and typically presents many, many factual issues.  You'll need to familiarize yourself with a lot of new lingo if you haven't been in the industry before, but it's certainly something you can handle, I'm sure.  Good luck!

lexde

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #519 on: October 01, 2016, 05:30:47 AM »
Brand-new lawyer, midlaw, workers comp. $65K + benefits.
$53K of $120K student loans remaining, put an inheritance toward loans and am now slowly grinding down the rest of it at 800-1000/mo. Refinancing soon.

The plan is to just grind experience for the first 2 years: lots of depositions, eventually trial work, and then try to move to a firm where I will want to make partner.

Starting at such a low salary (my area is very oversaturated), what can I expect in terms of increasing my salary over the next few years? Any anecdotal input would be greatly appreciated!

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #520 on: October 01, 2016, 05:44:24 AM »
Lexde, great job getting a huge head-start on repaying your student loans!  In light of the fact that came from an inheritance, I must say I am sorry for your loss.

Good plan to crank away at the work, learn, and get experience for at least 2 years.  When I started in litigation at biglaw, I was thinking I would do the grind for around 2 years, too, but once I got into it, I ended up climbing the ladder for 8 1/2 years.  I'm the kind of person that pretty much never leaves something, even when I know in my heart that I should, and it's a lot easier for me to just stay on the known path than to make a change.  This sort of mindset can be helpful for persevering and overcoming challenges, but it also means I stuck around later than was wise while my group began disintegrating around me.  In any event, I would just encourage you to periodically reevaluate where you're at and what your career goals are.

I'm sorry I can't speak to your salary questions since I worked in biglaw and we were on a very different compensation scale with known metrics for advancement.

lexde

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #521 on: October 01, 2016, 09:51:10 AM »
Lexde, great job getting a huge head-start on repaying your student loans!  In light of the fact that came from an inheritance, I must say I am sorry for your loss.

Good plan to crank away at the work, learn, and get experience for at least 2 years.  When I started in litigation at biglaw, I was thinking I would do the grind for around 2 years, too, but once I got into it, I ended up climbing the ladder for 8 1/2 years.  I'm the kind of person that pretty much never leaves something, even when I know in my heart that I should, and it's a lot easier for me to just stay on the known path than to make a change.  This sort of mindset can be helpful for persevering and overcoming challenges, but it also means I stuck around later than was wise while my group began disintegrating around me.  In any event, I would just encourage you to periodically reevaluate where you're at and what your career goals are.

I'm sorry I can't speak to your salary questions since I worked in biglaw and we were on a very different compensation scale with known metrics for advancement.

Thanks so much. I worked 2 paralegal jobs prior to passing the bar and found that after 6 months each I was just not thrilled with the work. I'm hoping it gets better as an attorney at this firm, but I think I have the opposite problem as you do in that I want to leave sooner than I should - bad for resumes and career. I'm still planning on 2 years with this firm though at a minimum.
Thanks for your response, it was really helpful!

Hideous Hog

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #522 on: October 01, 2016, 08:10:16 PM »
Not a lawyer but married to one. My wife has 15 years as a criminal prosecutor, working for the State Attorney's office here. It doesn't pay as well as the silk-stocking firms, but she loves her work.  She started at 30K fresh out of school and now makes 90K.  Over her career, she has:

  • Caused opposing counsel to have a heart attack (in mid-trial)
  • Caused at least one defendant to have a non-fatal heart attack during her cross-examination.
  • Reduced more than one defendant to tears (during cross-examination).
  • Acquired the moniker of "Angel of Death" from members of the local criminal elements.

On a slightly more on-topic note, we borrowed the bare minimum necessary.  She graduated with about 80K in student loans, now paid off.  Many of her classmates graduated with 200K or more of debt.
Momentum is not your friend when trying to bring 200,000,000 pounds of starship to a halt.

OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #523 on: October 01, 2016, 09:39:09 PM »
Not a lawyer but married to one. My wife has 15 years as a criminal prosecutor, working for the State Attorney's office here. It doesn't pay as well as the silk-stocking firms, but she loves her work.  She started at 30K fresh out of school and now makes 90K.  Over her career, she has:

  • Caused opposing counsel to have a heart attack (in mid-trial)
  • Caused at least one defendant to have a non-fatal heart attack during her cross-examination.
  • Reduced more than one defendant to tears (during cross-examination).
  • Acquired the moniker of "Angel of Death" from members of the local criminal elements.

On a slightly more on-topic note, we borrowed the bare minimum necessary.  She graduated with about 80K in student loans, now paid off.  Many of her classmates graduated with 200K or more of debt.

Wow, I thought the 200k club was a newer phenomenon.
I refinanced my student loans with Sofi from 6.8% to 3.805%.  Use my referral URL for a $100 welcome bonus if you refinance with Sofi:  https://www.sofi.com/refer/234/11233

Chiron

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #524 on: October 03, 2016, 03:26:02 PM »
I think we all admire you for your courage, TrulyStashin. But if looking at your career path solely in term of FIRE, I think it's probably not the best decision you could have made. You are missing out on $200-300k a year in salary and another $50-100k a year in bonus. You could be FIREd before you hit the partnership ceiling had you stayed with your old firm. You can always start your solo practice during your "retirement".

Nah.  These numbers are WAY off because I was a staff attorney (doing associate work -- they even called me an "associate" to clients) and thus pigeon holed, plus working for a partner with a weak book and no political pull in the firm.  It was a dead end.  I'll make as much or more this year -- first year solo -- than I did in my third and last year at that firm.  Even if I had pulled off a shift to associate, the starting pay was $145k with a 5% bonus only if I billed over 2100 hours.  Bleh. 

Once my firm is established, I can bill half that much time and far outearn what BigLaw would have paid.  All without the asshole factor.  Total win in my book.

IF (this is the big variable) you can establish your own book, I think you are way better off in solo/small law practice than in Biglaw and it's much more conducive to a Mustachian lifestyle.  Biglaw firms spend over $200k/year per attorney on overhead (more in the more expensive markets).  Solo and boutique partners with their own books independent of biglaw firms capture most of that excess for themselves. 

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #525 on: October 03, 2016, 09:58:42 PM »
Yeah, I agree. I was solo and now own my own small practice with three total attorneys. No big law associate in my region has out earned me in the last five years. I also work far less. But, it is all about getting your own clients.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #526 on: October 04, 2016, 09:29:01 AM »
I made my decision and will taking the new job.

Pros of foreclosure
  • Make more now
  • Familiar with it
  • I like my boss, my firm and pretty much every co-worker
  • I've got a sick office to myself

Cons of foreclosure
  • The field has a bad reputation among lawyers which makes it extremely hard to lateral into any other field.
  • Small window to lateral out.  I feel like you have to lateral out as a junior or you get stuck in foreclosure which is exceptionally bad because...
  • Work is drying up.
  • Personally unsatisfied with my career.
  • Very little room for growth -- no encouragement to build a book of business (senior attorneys do the same work as juniors and never meet with clients.
  • Salary is not expected to grow much at all.  Would probably get paid less at any other foreclosure firm.

I feel that the construction law firm offers much more room for growth in commercial construction law and I liked the partners when I met them.  I think after 1 year I might be making as much as I would had I stayed in foreclosure and will expect to make more after 2 years for sure.

I think this is a very smart move. Foreclosure work will continue to dry up as it's particularly susceptible to automation. It's already prone to error when people touch it (legal descriptions, addresses, chain of title, etc) and automating it would save everyone money and decrease likelihood of error.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #527 on: October 11, 2016, 12:59:25 PM »
it is all about getting your own clients.
  Success in any firm of any size is all about getting your own clients.

JD Student

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #528 on: October 11, 2016, 01:13:06 PM »
I am 2L at a top ranked public university. I worked last summer for a V100 firm and am splitting next summer with a V50 and V100 firm. I am interested in financial services litigation and have a strong banking background prior to law school. Also regretfully on Law Review and proudly in the top 10% of my class.

I saved prior to law school and with scholarships will finish without any debt. Can't wait to start saving that $155k salary!

Great to see so many lawyer mustachians.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 01:25:24 PM by JD Student »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #529 on: October 12, 2016, 08:34:11 AM »
Not to be dramatic, but as previously indicated, might get fired at end of year, so please read.

I posted about having a "graduated" or "progressive" retirement in another thread. And that flowery idea at the firm I'm currently at is a little silly considering all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about previously), and the fact that I might get fired at the end of this year.

Anyway, a big idea has kind of popped in my head lately (in part due to the entrepreneurial spirit in this thread): if I get fired, what about starting a mediation company while also trying to launch a solo firm, and see which one takes off?

I ask because my market, even though it's small, seems to be completely under-saturated with mediators. A google search for "city mediator" leads to basically nothing except two mediators who are from bigger cities out of town.

I'm 99% sure this is because there is a full time mediator at the court of common pleas and local rule requires all civil cases to proceed to mediation. This mediation is basically free for the parties (aside from attorney's fees and the increased court costs of front).

This mediator, however, is beginning to be overburdened. He's mediating eight cases per day, sometimes three at once. Based on my limited experience, he's not very effective and the mediation has become a dog and pony show for lawyers to bill 3-4 hours to their clients while showing how terrible the opposing side is.

I think there's a market for a full-time mediation company, but I'm a little scared to dip my toe in that water. I can't imagine I'm the first person in the area with the idea, or maybe I am, but it just seems risky.

Anyway, based on all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about before), it seems prudent to me to be thinking about these ideas. And what has come to mind is, if I get fired, (a) starting my own practice AND (b) starting a mediation practice, and see which one takes off.

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2016, 08:37:23 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »
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onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #530 on: October 12, 2016, 08:39:07 AM »
Not to be dramatic, but as previously indicated, might get fired at end of year, so please read.

I posted about having a "graduated" or "progressive" retirement in another thread. And that flowery idea at the firm I'm currently at is a little silly considering all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about previously), and the fact that I might get fired at the end of this year.

Anyway, a big idea has kind of popped in my head lately (in part due to the entrepreneurial spirit in this thread): if I get fired, what about starting a mediation company while also trying to launch a solo firm, and see which one takes off?

I ask because my market, even though it's small, seems to be completely under-saturated with mediators. A google search for "city mediator" leads to basically nothing except two mediators who are from bigger cities out of town.

I'm 99% sure this is because there is a full time mediator at the court of common pleas and local rule requires all civil cases to proceed to mediation. This mediation is basically free for the parties (aside from attorney's fees and the increased court costs of front).

This mediator, however, is beginning to be overburdened. He's mediating eight cases per day, sometimes three at once. Based on my limited experience, he's not very effective and the mediation has become a dog and pony show for lawyers to bill 3-4 hours to their clients while showing how terrible the opposing side is.

I think there's a market for a full-time mediation company, but I'm a little scared to dip my toe in that water. I can't imagine I'm the first person in the area with the idea, or maybe I am, but it just seems risky.

Anyway, based on all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about before), it seems prudent to me to be thinking about these ideas. And what has come to mind is, if I get fired, (a) starting my own practice AND (b) starting a mediation practice, and see which one takes off.

Any thoughts?

The first thing that comes to mind is malpractice insurance.  I assume it's required, and I'm sure it's well-advised to get anyway, but are there different requirements for mediators?  Could one policy cover both practice areas?

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #531 on: October 12, 2016, 10:13:01 AM »
The first thing that comes to mind is malpractice insurance.  I assume it's required, and I'm sure it's well-advised to get anyway, but are there different requirements for mediators?  Could one policy cover both practice areas?

Interesting question. I was intending on forming two separate LLCs (one for the mediation company, one for my solo practice). I don't think I'd need malpractice insurance as a mediator, but I'm sure there's some type of insurance out there.
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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #532 on: October 12, 2016, 11:47:52 AM »
Hey, everybody! I've been lurking around the site for some time and thought I'd finally jump in with a lawyer specific budgeting question. 

I'm an equity partner at a medium-sized law firm. I struggle with creating a budget because I am forever uncertain of my compensation. I am told a budgeted compensation number in the 1st quarter along with draw amount that is changed each year.  We usually hit our budgeted number and a little more but not always.  My comp number can vary significantly- the past 8 years have been particularly bumpy for those of us involved in real estate.  My comp this year is three times as much as my comp five years ago, for example.

I am paid a monthly draw, quarterly tax draws as available, and "true ups" based upon my percentage ownership of the firm in December and then a small percentage (about 10%) of held back comp in January and April of the following year. Essentially this means I draw about half my comp for the year through November and then get about 40% more in December, with about 10% coming in as January and April tax draws.  I am required to contribute % of my comp to a retirement plan, which is good, but the funds are only disbursed to me once a year in the following year, which is bad.  All of this lets the partnership with no debt and zero out at year end.  I like that but it makes my ride a little bumpier. 

My goal is to live on my draw less taxes and save the rest. I'm not there yet but I am making progress thanks to MMM and many of your interesting posts. I end up hitting the HELOC every year to make up the difference and paying it off at the end of the year. I'm curious what others who are similarly situated handle their finances.

Thanks!

RDUSTT


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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #533 on: October 12, 2016, 12:31:22 PM »
I'm curious what others who are similarly situated handle their finances.

Hey RDUSTT! Welcome. Curious to see what others post here in response to your question (which might actually be a good question to post in the general forum if you want to get thoughts from others that have uneven income).

I'm an associate in Biglaw, so don't have the "problem" of the uneven equity draw, but it seems like you're on the right track to see if you can minimize your lifestyle to living on the monthly draw. That would certainly be my goal and then I'd use the extra money to fund various savings/retirement goals. For instance, if you always know that the January "true-up" will be enough to cover two Backdoor Roth IRA contributions, then I'd get in the habit of doing those in January. I'd think pretty quickly you could get in the habit of earmarking certain things for the various times in the year when you get extra money.

You mentioned using a HELOC as a sort of short-term credit card to help smooth the ride but it sounds like you want to avoid paying interest going forward. What about setting aside in 2017 the amount of money you borrowed from your HELOC in 2016 so that you can fund the difference yourself and not worry about paying any interest in the HELOC?

If you're looking for tactical advice, I'd suggest checking out You Need A Budget. Despite it's goofy name, it's a great program that's really helped me fine tune budgeting and tracking expenses. No reason why you'd have to use it if you don't like budgeting, but the concepts embedded in the program are pretty good at helping you figure out how much you'll need to live through the year.

RDUSTT

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #534 on: October 12, 2016, 04:02:02 PM »
Thanks, biglawinvestor! YNAB sounds like great advice.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #535 on: October 12, 2016, 07:46:51 PM »
Not to be dramatic, but as previously indicated, might get fired at end of year, so please read.

I posted about having a "graduated" or "progressive" retirement in another thread. And that flowery idea at the firm I'm currently at is a little silly considering all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about previously), and the fact that I might get fired at the end of this year.

Anyway, a big idea has kind of popped in my head lately (in part due to the entrepreneurial spirit in this thread): if I get fired, what about starting a mediation company while also trying to launch a solo firm, and see which one takes off?

I ask because my market, even though it's small, seems to be completely under-saturated with mediators. A google search for "city mediator" leads to basically nothing except two mediators who are from bigger cities out of town.

I'm 99% sure this is because there is a full time mediator at the court of common pleas and local rule requires all civil cases to proceed to mediation. This mediation is basically free for the parties (aside from attorney's fees and the increased court costs of front).

This mediator, however, is beginning to be overburdened. He's mediating eight cases per day, sometimes three at once. Based on my limited experience, he's not very effective and the mediation has become a dog and pony show for lawyers to bill 3-4 hours to their clients while showing how terrible the opposing side is.

I think there's a market for a full-time mediation company, but I'm a little scared to dip my toe in that water. I can't imagine I'm the first person in the area with the idea, or maybe I am, but it just seems risky.

Anyway, based on all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about before), it seems prudent to me to be thinking about these ideas. And what has come to mind is, if I get fired, (a) starting my own practice AND (b) starting a mediation practice, and see which one takes off.

Any thoughts?

The first thing that comes to mind is malpractice insurance.  I assume it's required, and I'm sure it's well-advised to get anyway, but are there different requirements for mediators?  Could one policy cover both practice areas?

First, insurance is a really easy problem to solve. You buy it and move on. With all due respect to my bigger law brothers and sisters, on the forum and in the real world, I'll never understand the fixation on insurance as an obstacle. I hear it all the time.

Why wait to get fired to start a mediation practice? As I stated above, success in the law is all about getting your own clients. One of the bigger law attorneys on the forum pointed out that is true at any firm of any size. I don't know much about big firm politics, but I can' t see how creating a new specialty and client base inside your firm can hurt you. Don't ask, just do.

In my area, a good mediator who is trusted by both sides of a dispute, is a rare breed, in demand and well compensated. I don't think a mediator who is doing 8 cases a day would fall into the prior description. For example, if I need to mediate a 500k lawsuit with an insurance company, I would never consider someone who had 7 other cases going on. You might start with divorces and small stuff (high volume) and work your way into bigger dollar disputes. The important part is to start. You will see step four, after you take step three - not earlier.

Btw, everyone who sees a business opportunity wonders why no one else has done it first. It seems so easy, to the person who sees it and has the skills needed to capitalize on it. Being an entrepreneur is a lot about trusting your own instinct when a market opportunity is hiding in plain view. I often tell other attorneys looking for a job, there might not be any jobs, but there is plenty of work. I see work everywhere. You see work. Go get it.

My opinion, which is admittedly entrepreneurial, is to start building a mediation practice immediately. Or, I guess you could just wait to get fired and continue to let other people control your fate....

onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #536 on: October 13, 2016, 07:51:13 AM »
Not to be dramatic, but as previously indicated, might get fired at end of year, so please read.

I posted about having a "graduated" or "progressive" retirement in another thread. And that flowery idea at the firm I'm currently at is a little silly considering all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about previously), and the fact that I might get fired at the end of this year.

Anyway, a big idea has kind of popped in my head lately (in part due to the entrepreneurial spirit in this thread): if I get fired, what about starting a mediation company while also trying to launch a solo firm, and see which one takes off?

I ask because my market, even though it's small, seems to be completely under-saturated with mediators. A google search for "city mediator" leads to basically nothing except two mediators who are from bigger cities out of town.

I'm 99% sure this is because there is a full time mediator at the court of common pleas and local rule requires all civil cases to proceed to mediation. This mediation is basically free for the parties (aside from attorney's fees and the increased court costs of front).

This mediator, however, is beginning to be overburdened. He's mediating eight cases per day, sometimes three at once. Based on my limited experience, he's not very effective and the mediation has become a dog and pony show for lawyers to bill 3-4 hours to their clients while showing how terrible the opposing side is.

I think there's a market for a full-time mediation company, but I'm a little scared to dip my toe in that water. I can't imagine I'm the first person in the area with the idea, or maybe I am, but it just seems risky.

Anyway, based on all the politics at my firm (which I've posted about before), it seems prudent to me to be thinking about these ideas. And what has come to mind is, if I get fired, (a) starting my own practice AND (b) starting a mediation practice, and see which one takes off.

Any thoughts?

The first thing that comes to mind is malpractice insurance.  I assume it's required, and I'm sure it's well-advised to get anyway, but are there different requirements for mediators?  Could one policy cover both practice areas?

First, insurance is a really easy problem to solve. You buy it and move on. With all due respect to my bigger law brothers and sisters, on the forum and in the real world, I'll never understand the fixation on insurance as an obstacle. I hear it all the time.

Why wait to get fired to start a mediation practice? As I stated above, success in the law is all about getting your own clients. One of the bigger law attorneys on the forum pointed out that is true at any firm of any size. I don't know much about big firm politics, but I can' t see how creating a new specialty and client base inside your firm can hurt you. Don't ask, just do.

In my area, a good mediator who is trusted by both sides of a dispute, is a rare breed, in demand and well compensated. I don't think a mediator who is doing 8 cases a day would fall into the prior description. For example, if I need to mediate a 500k lawsuit with an insurance company, I would never consider someone who had 7 other cases going on. You might start with divorces and small stuff (high volume) and work your way into bigger dollar disputes. The important part is to start. You will see step four, after you take step three - not earlier.

Btw, everyone who sees a business opportunity wonders why no one else has done it first. It seems so easy, to the person who sees it and has the skills needed to capitalize on it. Being an entrepreneur is a lot about trusting your own instinct when a market opportunity is hiding in plain view. I often tell other attorneys looking for a job, there might not be any jobs, but there is plenty of work. I see work everywhere. You see work. Go get it.

My opinion, which is admittedly entrepreneurial, is to start building a mediation practice immediately. Or, I guess you could just wait to get fired and continue to let other people control your fate....

I think a benefit of starting with the mediation practice is that it's less likely to be covered by any non-compete you have with your existing firm (although, full disclosure, I just checked my employment docs, and they purport to cover mediation practices that I would start, so I guess YMMV.  Not sure if the non-compete would be enforceable, etc).

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #537 on: October 13, 2016, 08:18:20 AM »
^^^  A non-compete clause barring a lawyer from practicing law (or mediation) for another employer??? 

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that.  I'm in a very employer-friendly Circuit and state and even here I've never heard of such a clause.  When I left BigLaw to go solo, last year, everyone in my BigLaw firm knew it because I walked around and told them.  The Managing Partner wished me well.  They even refer clients to me.
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ZiziPB

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #538 on: October 13, 2016, 08:22:33 AM »
^^^  A non-compete clause barring a lawyer from practicing law (or mediation) for another employer??? 

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that.  I'm in a very employer-friendly Circuit and state and even here I've never heard of such a clause.  When I left BigLaw to go solo, last year, everyone in my BigLaw firm knew it because I walked around and told them.  The Managing Partner wished me well.  They even refer clients to me.

As far as I know, there are no non-competes in the legal profession.  However, your present employer may (and is likely) to prohibit you from doing other legal work WHILE YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED BY THEM.  But you should not be subject to any restrictions once you leave your current employer.



TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #539 on: October 13, 2016, 08:42:06 AM »
^^^  A non-compete clause barring a lawyer from practicing law (or mediation) for another employer??? 

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that.  I'm in a very employer-friendly Circuit and state and even here I've never heard of such a clause.  When I left BigLaw to go solo, last year, everyone in my BigLaw firm knew it because I walked around and told them.  The Managing Partner wished me well.  They even refer clients to me.

As far as I know, there are no non-competes in the legal profession.  However, your present employer may (and is likely) to prohibit you from doing other legal work WHILE YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED BY THEM.  But you should not be subject to any restrictions once you leave your current employer.

That makes sense. 

RE: FireBy35's idea that RSM set up a mediation practice NOW is something RSM might be able to do at his current firm.  He could figure out what credentials he needs to offer the service (if any) and then start offering it under his employer's umbrella.  I did that at my firm and those clients followed me when I left.   Starting a new practice group is common -- see e.g. all the UAV/ Drone practice groups springing up at firms nationwide.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #540 on: October 13, 2016, 09:20:59 AM »
^^^  A non-compete clause barring a lawyer from practicing law (or mediation) for another employer??? 

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that.  I'm in a very employer-friendly Circuit and state and even here I've never heard of such a clause.  When I left BigLaw to go solo, last year, everyone in my BigLaw firm knew it because I walked around and told them.  The Managing Partner wished me well.  They even refer clients to me.

As far as I know, there are no non-competes in the legal profession.  However, your present employer may (and is likely) to prohibit you from doing other legal work WHILE YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED BY THEM.  But you should not be subject to any restrictions once you leave your current employer.

That makes sense. 

RE: FireBy35's idea that RSM set up a mediation practice NOW is something RSM might be able to do at his current firm.  He could figure out what credentials he needs to offer the service (if any) and then start offering it under his employer's umbrella.  I did that at my firm and those clients followed me when I left.   Starting a new practice group is common -- see e.g. all the UAV/ Drone practice groups springing up at firms nationwide.

Interesting discussion here. This is dumb, but when I first started I asked, "Do I have to do X file under the firm's umbrella? This is a family friend and I only want to charge him $500." And they said yes, even if you are basically taking a bath on something, you are employed by our firm and therefore our firm, and not you, represents them.

So if I was to do anything NOW, I think I'd have to do it under my firm's umbrella. Whether they would want me to offer such services is an interesting question that, quite frankly, I have no idea where to even begin to find an answer. I also pause to ask any of the partners here because it might light the match in their head that I'm thinking about alternatives. Or maybe it will show ambition? I don't know.

How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?
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onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #541 on: October 13, 2016, 09:37:57 AM »
How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?

I am only 5 years out, but I absolutely think the practices can help each other.  I worked for a solo practitioner in law school who did both, and I think it was beneficial for him and a selling point. 

I can't speak to the boss thing.  I've worked at a one/two-lawyer firm, a ten-lawyer plaintiffs firm, and in massive NYC big law, and only the tiny firm would have allowed that sort of side hustle.  But it seems worth pursuing, especially if your options are quite limited at that place going forward anyway.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #542 on: October 13, 2016, 09:42:57 AM »

Quote
How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?

In my area, most mediators seem to be at the tail end of their practice. They are seasoned trial attorneys with strong reputations. Now, I think it is perfectly reasonable to work your way up to that. I personally don't know any mediators who are early in their careers as lawyers, but that doesn't mean you can't do it. It just means you might have to work a little harder to build up a reputation and client base. I think simultaneously practicing could be very beneficial.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #543 on: October 13, 2016, 09:49:04 AM »
^^^  A non-compete clause barring a lawyer from practicing law (or mediation) for another employer??? 

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that.  I'm in a very employer-friendly Circuit and state and even here I've never heard of such a clause.  When I left BigLaw to go solo, last year, everyone in my BigLaw firm knew it because I walked around and told them.  The Managing Partner wished me well.  They even refer clients to me.

As far as I know, there are no non-competes in the legal profession.  However, your present employer may (and is likely) to prohibit you from doing other legal work WHILE YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED BY THEM.  But you should not be subject to any restrictions once you leave your current employer.

That makes sense. 

RE: FireBy35's idea that RSM set up a mediation practice NOW is something RSM might be able to do at his current firm.  He could figure out what credentials he needs to offer the service (if any) and then start offering it under his employer's umbrella.  I did that at my firm and those clients followed me when I left.   Starting a new practice group is common -- see e.g. all the UAV/ Drone practice groups springing up at firms nationwide.

Interesting discussion here. This is dumb, but when I first started I asked, "Do I have to do X file under the firm's umbrella? This is a family friend and I only want to charge him $500." And they said yes, even if you are basically taking a bath on something, you are employed by our firm and therefore our firm, and not you, represents them.

So if I was to do anything NOW, I think I'd have to do it under my firm's umbrella. Whether they would want me to offer such services is an interesting question that, quite frankly, I have no idea where to even begin to find an answer. I also pause to ask any of the partners here because it might light the match in their head that I'm thinking about alternatives. Or maybe it will show ambition? I don't know.

How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?

Do some research on the opportunity, the competition, and the necessary credentials.  Write a business plan.  You then have two options:  1) present the business plan to a partner whom you believe would be most open to it; or 2) use the business plan to go out on your own.

Doing the research and writing the plan will cost you nothing but time.  Actually, you will learn a lot from this exercise even if you never execute the plan.  You can always stick it in a drawer if you don't want to act on it.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #544 on: October 13, 2016, 01:25:42 PM »
How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?
  When I hire a mediator, I want a mediator with some experience in the type of case I am litigating.  He needs to be able to twist arms (my client included) and get a deal done.  Experience in the cost and outcomes of jury trial is absolutely necessary to calling bullshit on some of the client positions on both sides.

Not to be offensive, but I would never hire a young mediator just for that reason.

Cycling Stache

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #545 on: October 13, 2016, 02:56:21 PM »
How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?
  When I hire a mediator, I want a mediator with some experience in the type of case I am litigating.  He needs to be able to twist arms (my client included) and get a deal done.  Experience in the cost and outcomes of jury trial is absolutely necessary to calling bullshit on some of the client positions on both sides.

Not to be offensive, but I would never hire a young mediator just for that reason.

I agree that a mediator almost certainly needs a lot of experience.  It's the ability to tell the parties what is likely going to happen from a neutral perspective that is the key to breaking through the litigating positions. 

That said, it might be entirely possible to join a mediation firm as a young associate who does the research and helps the "senior" mediator get ready for the mediation.   I imagine that there's actually a fair amount of that work unless it's a very area-specific mediator because the mediator needs to understand the law in the area to value the likelihood of success and expected outcomes of the parties' positions.

Btw, I think mediation would be a fantastic thing to do in law.  If I didn't have my current job and had to take another law job, it's what I would try to do.

Good luck!

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #546 on: October 14, 2016, 07:54:41 AM »
Why not approach the current mediator in town and ask if you can team up somehow (i.e. you pay him a referral fee for each case he gives to you that you take off his plate, and he assists you when you're in over your head)?

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #547 on: October 14, 2016, 12:19:10 PM »
How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?
  When I hire a mediator, I want a mediator with some experience in the type of case I am litigating.  He needs to be able to twist arms (my client included) and get a deal done.  Experience in the cost and outcomes of jury trial is absolutely necessary to calling bullshit on some of the client positions on both sides.

Not to be offensive, but I would never hire a young mediator just for that reason.

This is the wrong question. Sure, lots of people will not hire RSM. The question is who will hire RSM. Probably small cases, family cases, cases where the parties are required to mediate and given a list of people and they happen to call RSM. That is how someone starts. After they have done enough of these types of cases then RSM will have experience and be able to take bigger, more complicated cases. This is how people build businesses and experience.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #548 on: October 14, 2016, 01:28:00 PM »
^^^  A non-compete clause barring a lawyer from practicing law (or mediation) for another employer??? 

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around that.  I'm in a very employer-friendly Circuit and state and even here I've never heard of such a clause.  When I left BigLaw to go solo, last year, everyone in my BigLaw firm knew it because I walked around and told them.  The Managing Partner wished me well.  They even refer clients to me.

As far as I know, there are no non-competes in the legal profession.  However, your present employer may (and is likely) to prohibit you from doing other legal work WHILE YOU ARE STILL EMPLOYED BY THEM.  But you should not be subject to any restrictions once you leave your current employer.

That makes sense. 

RE: FireBy35's idea that RSM set up a mediation practice NOW is something RSM might be able to do at his current firm.  He could figure out what credentials he needs to offer the service (if any) and then start offering it under his employer's umbrella.  I did that at my firm and those clients followed me when I left.   Starting a new practice group is common -- see e.g. all the UAV/ Drone practice groups springing up at firms nationwide.

Interesting discussion here. This is dumb, but when I first started I asked, "Do I have to do X file under the firm's umbrella? This is a family friend and I only want to charge him $500." And they said yes, even if you are basically taking a bath on something, you are employed by our firm and therefore our firm, and not you, represents them.

So if I was to do anything NOW, I think I'd have to do it under my firm's umbrella. Whether they would want me to offer such services is an interesting question that, quite frankly, I have no idea where to even begin to find an answer. I also pause to ask any of the partners here because it might light the match in their head that I'm thinking about alternatives. Or maybe it will show ambition? I don't know.

How much legal experience do you guys think is necessary to be a "respected" mediator? Because I'm only two years out of school at this point. I definitely have some experience but not that much at all. And this is why I think simultaneously practicing (whether it be here or as a solo) would be beneficial--hey, I'm a practicing lawyer, I'm up to date on these issues, etc. It just seems to me that the mediation practice could help my law practice and vise versa. Or am I loony?

RSM - Don't overthink it. I said, "Don't ask, just do." This is exactly what I meant. You do not need permission to do this. The reason you don't know where to ask is because there is no one to ask. You just start.

I would suggest the best time to tell you firm about you mediation "practice" is when you get paid for the first time. I would offer to give the firm the money earned from your new specialty. You know the old saying: show me the money. Are they really going to look at you and say: "stop bringing in unexpected legal fees." Don't overthink it. Move one step at a time. First credentials. Second, shadowing or introductions to mediators. Second prospecting. Third???? You might notice, there are lots of steps before you get your first client and you need tell your firm anything.

Also, don't go thinking you will be the first person to bring money to the firm. Other people do bring in actual cash (rather than just collect a check). They are usually called partners/rainmakers.

You'll be a respected mediator immediately, btw. The question is who will respect you. Big law attorneys on this board, are not going to hire you for your first case because they don't respect you. But there are people who are not lawyers (surprise) and don't know anything except that you ARE a lawyer. They will respect you when you mediate their small claims issue, divorce or whatever starter case you get. Fake it until you make it. You will become respected by people with bigger and better cases over time once you gain experience. You've heard it before: Rome wasn't built in a day.

I also agree it is a good idea to work with other mediators. Watch trials to witness outcomes for cases that you might want to mediate in the future. Just become very familiar with whatever area you aspire to be involved in.

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #549 on: October 14, 2016, 02:49:45 PM »
RSM - Don't overthink it. I said, "Don't ask, just do." This is exactly what I meant. You do not need permission to do this. The reason you don't know where to ask is because there is no one to ask. You just start.

I would suggest the best time to tell you firm about you mediation "practice" is when you get paid for the first time. I would offer to give the firm the money earned from your new specialty. You know the old saying: show me the money. Are they really going to look at you and say: "stop bringing in unexpected legal fees." Don't overthink it. Move one step at a time. First credentials. Second, shadowing or introductions to mediators. Second prospecting. Third???? You might notice, there are lots of steps before you get your first client and you need tell your firm anything.

Also, don't go thinking you will be the first person to bring money to the firm. Other people do bring in actual cash (rather than just collect a check). They are usually called partners/rainmakers.

You'll be a respected mediator immediately, btw. The question is who will respect you. Big law attorneys on this board, are not going to hire you for your first case because they don't respect you. But there are people who are not lawyers (surprise) and don't know anything except that you ARE a lawyer. They will respect you when you mediate their small claims issue, divorce or whatever starter case you get. Fake it until you make it. You will become respected by people with bigger and better cases over time once you gain experience. You've heard it before: Rome wasn't built in a day.

I also agree it is a good idea to work with other mediators. Watch trials to witness outcomes for cases that you might want to mediate in the future. Just become very familiar with whatever area you aspire to be involved in.

This is a fantastic piece of advice.

Also, non-compete's basically don't apply to lawyers who work at a law firm. If they ask you to sign one, they probably don't know what the hell they're doing.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 02:51:53 PM by YTProphet »