Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 79545 times)

YTProphet

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #550 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 »

LouLou

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #551 on: October 14, 2016, 04:46:43 PM »
RSM - Another way to prepare for your mediation practice is to do it on a volunteer basis.  I mediated small cases for my local Better Business Bureau during law school.  The service was free, so the consumers and businesses did not mind that I was not an attorney yet.  My BBB does not require any particular experience to be a mediator. Now, I can truthfully say that I've successfully mediated dozens of cases.  I also completed arbitrator training, and I plan to start acting as an arbitrator soon.

I would not formally ask permission.  Rather, I would go through the normal conflict checking process for my firm.  (If you act as a third party neutral, you would likely be conflicted out of representing either party in the future without a waiver.  You also need to make sure no one is a current client of your firm, or someone your firm is targeting).  If someone has a problem with it, they can tell you then.

You should also research requirements for mediator rosters in industries you are familiar with.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #552 on: October 18, 2016, 12:34:32 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 an awesome post. Thank you for your encouragement.

RSM - Another way to prepare for your mediation practice is to do it on a volunteer basis.  I mediated small cases for my local Better Business Bureau during law school.  The service was free, so the consumers and businesses did not mind that I was not an attorney yet.  My BBB does not require any particular experience to be a mediator. Now, I can truthfully say that I've successfully mediated dozens of cases.  I also completed arbitrator training, and I plan to start acting as an arbitrator soon.

I would not formally ask permission.  Rather, I would go through the normal conflict checking process for my firm.  (If you act as a third party neutral, you would likely be conflicted out of representing either party in the future without a waiver.  You also need to make sure no one is a current client of your firm, or someone your firm is targeting).  If someone has a problem with it, they can tell you then.

You should also research requirements for mediator rosters in industries you are familiar with.

This is a great idea as well. I actually work in the same building as the BBB and can't see why it would hurt to go down there and ask if they need any volunteers to conduct mediations.


Based on the advice in this thread, I scheduled a lunch with one of my corporate clients today. He also happens to be a very good family friend who was my little league baseball coach--we go back a long ways.

Anyway, I wanted to get a non-lawyer's perspective on the matter. And he said he would definitely follow me wherever I go, and that the mediation idea was a good one; however, he noted that it might be a little too soon to go out on my own. He said a lot of the things you guys have said when I initially found that internal corporate memo--start putting together a business plan, start getting a client base together, etc.

This meeting confirmed a lot of what you guys said, and the fact that it came from someone who I have known for more than half my life was reassuring.

My overall plan is this:

(1) Continue to do as good a job as possible here. This is a small town and even if I intend on going out on my own, I don't want to burn any bridges. My firm is well respected and I can't let any future hypotheticals get me distracted from doing a good job here.

(2) Start getting more aggressive with recruiting and developing relationships with clients.

(3) Attend mediation CLEs (which my current firm would pay for).

(4) Volunteer to be a mediator at the BBB. Also perhaps volunteer at small claims courts and give my information to the local bar association.

(5) Work towards my future on the weekends. Create a business plan for both solo firm and mediation firm.

Thanks again for all the feedback.
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ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #553 on: October 18, 2016, 12:38:55 PM »
And holy smokes. Literally seconds after posting that, one of the partners came in here and said "Do you have a minute?"

"Yes."

And she went on to say that I'm doing a fantastic job here and that they've noticed incredible improvement this year. She said I have a "swagger" and confidence about me that I didn't have last year. She said I'm more enthusiastic about doing new assignments. Finished it with, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because a lot of partners appreciate your effort."

Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Annnnnnd I want to go drink a beer.
No more zero days. Promise yourself that you will do one thing every day that takes you one step closer to your goal.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #554 on: October 18, 2016, 01:25:23 PM »
And holy smokes. Literally seconds after posting that, one of the partners came in here and said "Do you have a minute?"

"Yes."

And she went on to say that I'm doing a fantastic job here and that they've noticed incredible improvement this year. She said I have a "swagger" and confidence about me that I didn't have last year. She said I'm more enthusiastic about doing new assignments. Finished it with, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because a lot of partners appreciate your effort."

Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Annnnnnd I want to go drink a beer.

This is great news!  Congratulations! 

As an aside, IMHO, its common for new attorneys to struggle in the first couple of years of practice.  I sure did.  When I confided in a friend (partner, BigLaw) about all my shortcomings and failings she laughed and said "You're barely into your second year.  We don't expect much of anyone until the end of second year."

It sounds like you've got a strong plan mapped out.  Onward!
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bridget

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #555 on: October 19, 2016, 10:03:44 PM »
And holy smokes. Literally seconds after posting that, one of the partners came in here and said "Do you have a minute?"

"Yes."

And she went on to say that I'm doing a fantastic job here and that they've noticed incredible improvement this year. She said I have a "swagger" and confidence about me that I didn't have last year. She said I'm more enthusiastic about doing new assignments. Finished it with, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because a lot of partners appreciate your effort."

Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Annnnnnd I want to go drink a beer.

This is great news!  Congratulations! 

As an aside, IMHO, its common for new attorneys to struggle in the first couple of years of practice.  I sure did.  When I confided in a friend (partner, BigLaw) about all my shortcomings and failings she laughed and said "You're barely into your second year.  We don't expect much of anyone until the end of second year."

It sounds like you've got a strong plan mapped out.  Onward!

I just started a new BigLaw job on Monday - this story is mildly reassuring and also mildly terrifying, depending on how I interpret it - if it's second year at the firm, I'm golden. If it's second year out of law school, I'm screwed - due to clerkships/a gap year, I'm starting as a 3rd year/rising 4th year, and getting a leeeeeetle concerned that I'll soon find myself out of my depth. Oh well, I guess worst WORST case scenario, I get to keep the clerkship bonus and get paid for a couple months before they figure out I suck :)

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #556 on: October 19, 2016, 10:30:50 PM »
Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Awesome!  I am so happy to hear this, RSM.  Keep up the great work for the firm, but also, more importantly, for your own career -- whether that be continued advancement there or something else.  You're on a good trajectory now!

onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #557 on: October 20, 2016, 06:47:43 AM »
And holy smokes. Literally seconds after posting that, one of the partners came in here and said "Do you have a minute?"

"Yes."

And she went on to say that I'm doing a fantastic job here and that they've noticed incredible improvement this year. She said I have a "swagger" and confidence about me that I didn't have last year. She said I'm more enthusiastic about doing new assignments. Finished it with, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because a lot of partners appreciate your effort."

Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Annnnnnd I want to go drink a beer.

This is great news!  Congratulations! 

As an aside, IMHO, its common for new attorneys to struggle in the first couple of years of practice.  I sure did.  When I confided in a friend (partner, BigLaw) about all my shortcomings and failings she laughed and said "You're barely into your second year.  We don't expect much of anyone until the end of second year."

It sounds like you've got a strong plan mapped out.  Onward!

I just started a new BigLaw job on Monday - this story is mildly reassuring and also mildly terrifying, depending on how I interpret it - if it's second year at the firm, I'm golden. If it's second year out of law school, I'm screwed - due to clerkships/a gap year, I'm starting as a 3rd year/rising 4th year, and getting a leeeeeetle concerned that I'll soon find myself out of my depth. Oh well, I guess worst WORST case scenario, I get to keep the clerkship bonus and get paid for a couple months before they figure out I suck :)

I was in a sort of similar situation in that I lateraled in nearly a year ahead of my class (I did a MA so graduated from JD at a weird time) from a more general practice to the most elite and very focused group in the country.  My advice is: fake it to your clients, juniors and big bosses, and not to your immediate superiors.  For the first 3-6 months, always try to figure out problems on your own but don't be afraid to come back after some digging and say "I spent some time looking x, y and z but I haven't actually done ______ before, so I just wanted to confirm my approach with you." Big bosses who hired you actually know you don't have the experience and hired you for your intelligence, other skills and trainability.  Juniors need to think you're omniscient to avoid their own panic attacks. But senior associates/counsels/junior partners may need a reminder.

Obviously you can't use this forever, but I wouldn't be too terrified to gently remind people of your alternate training path in the beginning.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #558 on: October 20, 2016, 08:49:10 AM »
And holy smokes. Literally seconds after posting that, one of the partners came in here and said "Do you have a minute?"

"Yes."

And she went on to say that I'm doing a fantastic job here and that they've noticed incredible improvement this year. She said I have a "swagger" and confidence about me that I didn't have last year. She said I'm more enthusiastic about doing new assignments. Finished it with, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because a lot of partners appreciate your effort."

Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Annnnnnd I want to go drink a beer.

This is great news!  Congratulations! 

As an aside, IMHO, its common for new attorneys to struggle in the first couple of years of practice.  I sure did.  When I confided in a friend (partner, BigLaw) about all my shortcomings and failings she laughed and said "You're barely into your second year.  We don't expect much of anyone until the end of second year."

It sounds like you've got a strong plan mapped out.  Onward!

I just started a new BigLaw job on Monday - this story is mildly reassuring and also mildly terrifying, depending on how I interpret it - if it's second year at the firm, I'm golden. If it's second year out of law school, I'm screwed - due to clerkships/a gap year, I'm starting as a 3rd year/rising 4th year, and getting a leeeeeetle concerned that I'll soon find myself out of my depth. Oh well, I guess worst WORST case scenario, I get to keep the clerkship bonus and get paid for a couple months before they figure out I suck :)

I was in a sort of similar situation in that I lateraled in nearly a year ahead of my class (I did a MA so graduated from JD at a weird time) from a more general practice to the most elite and very focused group in the country.  My advice is: fake it to your clients, juniors and big bosses, and not to your immediate superiors.  For the first 3-6 months, always try to figure out problems on your own but don't be afraid to come back after some digging and say "I spent some time looking x, y and z but I haven't actually done ______ before, so I just wanted to confirm my approach with you." Big bosses who hired you actually know you don't have the experience and hired you for your intelligence, other skills and trainability.  Juniors need to think you're omniscient to avoid their own panic attacks. But senior associates/counsels/junior partners may need a reminder.

Obviously you can't use this forever, but I wouldn't be too terrified to gently remind people of your alternate training path in the beginning.

This is great advice.  Totally agree.  Also, assess the senior associates and/ or "counsel" at your firm for their Compassion Quotient.  Find one person who will listen when you're freaking out and help when you're stuck.  For me, it was a woman with 13 years at the firm.  She knew the ropes, the personalities, where the bodies were buried, and how to survive.  She told me who else to talk to on specific questions and who to avoid.  When the partners were assholes (routine event), she helped with perspective ("he's like that to everyone, it's not you.").  She was a Godsend.  Find someone like her, if you can.

Also, expect that you will fail from time to time.  It's inevitable and it's the only way we really learn.  If you're not failing, you're not learning or growing.   Reach.  Fail.  Cry (in private).  Get up.  Keep going.  You get stronger each time.
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LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #559 on: October 20, 2016, 05:40:06 PM »
Bridget, I add a +1 to the comments from onlykelsey and TrulyStachin.  (I worked in biglaw for 8.5 years out of law school and just left earlier this year.)

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #560 on: October 20, 2016, 07:50:34 PM »
And holy smokes. Literally seconds after posting that, one of the partners came in here and said "Do you have a minute?"

"Yes."

And she went on to say that I'm doing a fantastic job here and that they've noticed incredible improvement this year. She said I have a "swagger" and confidence about me that I didn't have last year. She said I'm more enthusiastic about doing new assignments. Finished it with, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because a lot of partners appreciate your effort."

Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Annnnnnd I want to go drink a beer.

This is great news!  Congratulations! 

As an aside, IMHO, its common for new attorneys to struggle in the first couple of years of practice.  I sure did.  When I confided in a friend (partner, BigLaw) about all my shortcomings and failings she laughed and said "You're barely into your second year.  We don't expect much of anyone until the end of second year."

It sounds like you've got a strong plan mapped out.  Onward!

I just started a new BigLaw job on Monday - this story is mildly reassuring and also mildly terrifying, depending on how I interpret it - if it's second year at the firm, I'm golden. If it's second year out of law school, I'm screwed - due to clerkships/a gap year, I'm starting as a 3rd year/rising 4th year, and getting a leeeeeetle concerned that I'll soon find myself out of my depth. Oh well, I guess worst WORST case scenario, I get to keep the clerkship bonus and get paid for a couple months before they figure out I suck :)

I was in a sort of similar situation in that I lateraled in nearly a year ahead of my class (I did a MA so graduated from JD at a weird time) from a more general practice to the most elite and very focused group in the country.  My advice is: fake it to your clients, juniors and big bosses, and not to your immediate superiors.  For the first 3-6 months, always try to figure out problems on your own but don't be afraid to come back after some digging and say "I spent some time looking x, y and z but I haven't actually done ______ before, so I just wanted to confirm my approach with you." Big bosses who hired you actually know you don't have the experience and hired you for your intelligence, other skills and trainability.  Juniors need to think you're omniscient to avoid their own panic attacks. But senior associates/counsels/junior partners may need a reminder.

Obviously you can't use this forever, but I wouldn't be too terrified to gently remind people of your alternate training path in the beginning.
Why wouldn't you just ask for the preferred approach and get canned documents. Associates takes too much time recreating the wheel when perfect solutions and documents are just a question away. This is 2016 and not 1996 and clients will not pay for unnecessary billing.

You can spend your own time learning; just don't make your clients pay.

bridget

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #561 on: October 21, 2016, 06:00:57 PM »
And holy smokes. Literally seconds after posting that, one of the partners came in here and said "Do you have a minute?"

"Yes."

And she went on to say that I'm doing a fantastic job here and that they've noticed incredible improvement this year. She said I have a "swagger" and confidence about me that I didn't have last year. She said I'm more enthusiastic about doing new assignments. Finished it with, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it, because a lot of partners appreciate your effort."

Wow. I've gone from finding that corporate memo about three months ago to working my ass off, and here's the payoff. I can't believe I'm typing this.

With all that said...I still want to push forward. Where I'm at now is a great fallback plan and a great learning ground that will help me immeasurably in the future.

Annnnnnd I want to go drink a beer.

This is great news!  Congratulations! 

As an aside, IMHO, its common for new attorneys to struggle in the first couple of years of practice.  I sure did.  When I confided in a friend (partner, BigLaw) about all my shortcomings and failings she laughed and said "You're barely into your second year.  We don't expect much of anyone until the end of second year."

It sounds like you've got a strong plan mapped out.  Onward!

I just started a new BigLaw job on Monday - this story is mildly reassuring and also mildly terrifying, depending on how I interpret it - if it's second year at the firm, I'm golden. If it's second year out of law school, I'm screwed - due to clerkships/a gap year, I'm starting as a 3rd year/rising 4th year, and getting a leeeeeetle concerned that I'll soon find myself out of my depth. Oh well, I guess worst WORST case scenario, I get to keep the clerkship bonus and get paid for a couple months before they figure out I suck :)

I was in a sort of similar situation in that I lateraled in nearly a year ahead of my class (I did a MA so graduated from JD at a weird time) from a more general practice to the most elite and very focused group in the country.  My advice is: fake it to your clients, juniors and big bosses, and not to your immediate superiors.  For the first 3-6 months, always try to figure out problems on your own but don't be afraid to come back after some digging and say "I spent some time looking x, y and z but I haven't actually done ______ before, so I just wanted to confirm my approach with you." Big bosses who hired you actually know you don't have the experience and hired you for your intelligence, other skills and trainability.  Juniors need to think you're omniscient to avoid their own panic attacks. But senior associates/counsels/junior partners may need a reminder.

Obviously you can't use this forever, but I wouldn't be too terrified to gently remind people of your alternate training path in the beginning.

This is great advice.  Totally agree.  Also, assess the senior associates and/ or "counsel" at your firm for their Compassion Quotient.  Find one person who will listen when you're freaking out and help when you're stuck.  For me, it was a woman with 13 years at the firm.  She knew the ropes, the personalities, where the bodies were buried, and how to survive.  She told me who else to talk to on specific questions and who to avoid.  When the partners were assholes (routine event), she helped with perspective ("he's like that to everyone, it's not you.").  She was a Godsend.  Find someone like her, if you can.

Also, expect that you will fail from time to time.  It's inevitable and it's the only way we really learn.  If you're not failing, you're not learning or growing.   Reach.  Fail.  Cry (in private).  Get up.  Keep going.  You get stronger each time.


Thanks for the advice, everyone! I already see the dynamics you're talking about. There is a 5th year associate here who is two years ahead of me in terms of graduating class, but like, five in terms of firm/practice group experience. She's the intermediary between me and the partner. She's been super helpful in giving me clear direction and blunt feedback (sometimes a little blunter than I'd like, but I'm pretty sure it's just her personality to be a little brusque. It's fine, we don't have to be besties, and it doesn't seem like she actually hates me or anything). She's shielding me from looking dumb in front of the partner by catching my blunders before they're visible. Her Compassion Quotient seems to be low, but for that I'm pretty sure I have the ear of a fresh junior partner. Hopefully I don't need it in the immediate future.

Good news: there is plenty of work to do, so unlike when I practiced at my previous firm, I have no worries about hitting the billable target, which obviously translates into lots of $$ because we're on the cravath bonus scale. And since I'm new, I can busily grind away without the stress of worrying whether the fires were caused by my procrastination or incompetence - at this point, they can't have been!

OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #562 on: November 05, 2016, 01:13:01 AM »
I made the move from associate at a Plaintiff's side foreclosure firm to associate at a boutique construction law firm.  I like it a lot so far and am confident that I'm moving my career in the right direction despite taking an initial pay-cut.  The foreclosure firm was great but I had to leave it while I still could.  I did really well at the foreclosure firm and probably would have grown a bit there but I was never happy with the general practice area.  It felt like a job.

The construction work is definitely more stimulating and personally satisfying.  We represent mostly contractors and subcontractors on commercial construction projects.  I can definitely see it as my niche area in which I stay in long term which is awesome.  I have A LOT to learn but there are absolutely no regrets right now.
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LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #563 on: November 05, 2016, 07:49:24 AM »
OCC, that is great to hear!  I did a ton of litigation work on commercial construction projects, mostly representing general contractors or owners, sometimes design teams.  It really can be quite interesting.  I loved learning about the different building systems and construction methods to such a detailed level that I could intelligently explain it back to others.  It has actually come quite in handy for me even apart from my work since I serve on my condo board of directors.  I have a much more intelligent understanding when we have building problems that need repairs and a better ability to manage contractor vendors, make them give sufficiently detailed plans and quantities in their estimates, hold them to their schedule, etc.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #564 on: November 09, 2016, 08:54:34 AM »
I made the move from associate at a Plaintiff's side foreclosure firm to associate at a boutique construction law firm.  I like it a lot so far and am confident that I'm moving my career in the right direction despite taking an initial pay-cut.  The foreclosure firm was great but I had to leave it while I still could.  I did really well at the foreclosure firm and probably would have grown a bit there but I was never happy with the general practice area.  It felt like a job.

The construction work is definitely more stimulating and personally satisfying.  We represent mostly contractors and subcontractors on commercial construction projects.  I can definitely see it as my niche area in which I stay in long term which is awesome.  I have A LOT to learn but there are absolutely no regrets right now.
I do construction, and I like the work.

IllusionNW

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #565 on: December 06, 2016, 03:10:04 PM »
Eeek!  I just found out that I made partner!  Or I guess that the partnership voted me through and I will be a partner starting January 1!  As one of my colleagues told me, I've just one the pie eating contest and the prize is more pie!

And now I'm terrified because I'm going from a nice stable salary with a bonus to being compensated based on my fees.  While I don't think any of my existing clients are going anywhere, it still gives me a bit of heartburn.  I'll also have a similar compensation structure to the one mentioned by RDUSTT with a monthly payout and then a quarterly draw.  The quarterly draws are low at first and then increase toward the end of the year.  All our finances have been on auto pilot for a while now, so I'm going to have to spend some time tweaking things over the next couple of weeks. 

Suit

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #566 on: December 06, 2016, 07:15:00 PM »
Congratulations on making partner IllusionNW!

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #567 on: December 07, 2016, 08:56:30 AM »
Congratulations.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #568 on: December 07, 2016, 09:34:39 AM »
Eeek!  I just found out that I made partner!  Or I guess that the partnership voted me through and I will be a partner starting January 1!  As one of my colleagues told me, I've just one the pie eating contest and the prize is more pie!

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

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #569 on: December 07, 2016, 06:32:29 PM »
Eeek!  I just found out that I made partner!  Or I guess that the partnership voted me through and I will be a partner starting January 1!  As one of my colleagues told me, I've just one the pie eating contest and the prize is more pie!

Congratulations!!!

Yo, TrulyStashin' did you get paid on that case?

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #570 on: December 07, 2016, 07:17:11 PM »
I made the move from associate at a Plaintiff's side foreclosure firm to associate at a boutique construction law firm.

Congratulations OCC! Thanks for updating the thread. Happy to hear that you made the move and are trying something new out. The money will come in time.

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #571 on: December 07, 2016, 07:18:53 PM »
All our finances have been on auto pilot for a while now, so I'm going to have to spend some time tweaking things over the next couple of weeks.

No doubt, but then it's a good (financial) problem to have. How are you going to handle the partnership equity contribution?

Nick_Miller

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #572 on: December 08, 2016, 12:01:44 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?








TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #573 on: December 08, 2016, 12:02:52 PM »
Eeek!  I just found out that I made partner!  Or I guess that the partnership voted me through and I will be a partner starting January 1!  As one of my colleagues told me, I've just one the pie eating contest and the prize is more pie!

Congratulations!!!

Yo, TrulyStashin' did you get paid on that case?

Damn skippy I did.  Made $83k on the constructive fraud case.  Still working on the case where adjacent landowner negligently burned 15 acres of my client's hardwood forest.

Also just landed several new clients/ projects:  (1) new client (a regional bank) -- they have a curriculum for women entrepreneurs.  I'm going to handle their copyright registration and then help them license its use nationwide.  (2) existing client needs employee handbook revised aligned to state/ fed law.  (3) new client (wealthy nonprofit) -- needs help fixing issues with corporate filings.  And.... soon to close, a gig with a sustainability firm that needs my expertise on corporate sustainability disclosures to grow their practice.  That will be my first monthly fee arrangement.

It's been a hell of a year!
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 #574 on: December 08, 2016, 12:04:17 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #575 on: December 08, 2016, 12:17:33 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.

I would like to get to that point, but none of the staff here have any litigation experience. I'm in the process of putting together some pleading templates, and I know how to litigate, BUT not having the correct support staff would result in a disaster if I tried to put much into litigation right now. My staff folks don't know the correct way to do pleadings, motions, answer discovery, etc. I would have to train them, starting at the very beginning, so it would be a process.

Currently, I'm just keeping 2 or 3 files in litigation at a time, very (very) slowly exposing them to the process.

Of course there is always the option of bringing in a paralegal or secretary with lit experience, but that would mean we'd have to let someone go.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #576 on: December 08, 2016, 12:37:00 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.

I would like to get to that point, but none of the staff here have any litigation experience. I'm in the process of putting together some pleading templates, and I know how to litigate, BUT not having the correct support staff would result in a disaster if I tried to put much into litigation right now. My staff folks don't know the correct way to do pleadings, motions, answer discovery, etc. I would have to train them, starting at the very beginning, so it would be a process.

Currently, I'm just keeping 2 or 3 files in litigation at a time, very (very) slowly exposing them to the process.

Of course there is always the option of bringing in a paralegal or secretary with lit experience, but that would mean we'd have to let someone go.

I have to push back on this at least a little.  You're working 35-40 hours a week.  Is there a reason you can't work 50-60 (or more) and handle the litigation chores yourself?  After you're built a revenue stream from litigation, you can justify adding another assistant.  Though I agree litigation is best done as a team sport, you don't have to have a trained assistant to litigate.   How much revenue are you foregoing by referring out these cases?

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

Shade00

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #577 on: December 08, 2016, 12:53:03 PM »
Glad to see others are still alive and kicking. I need to vent a bit.

I'm a seventh-year associate in a regional BigLaw firm. About a year ago I moved into a larger office about 600 miles from my former office when my wife had an opportunity to take a new job in our new location. New location is great, but here's the problem. I'm a management-side labor and employment attorney, and my new office doesn't have the work to support me in L&E. I'm not excited about the prospect of completely retooling my practice to go to healthcare or construction lit or something, but right now I'm not seeing many other options. I'm having a hell of a time finding another full-time firm or in-house position in L&E. An L&E boutique posted a job here about three weeks ago, to which I applied, but I haven't heard anything yet. I suppose hiring may pick up after the new year, but I'm very frustrated with the whole ordeal.

I've considered taking a remote work (basically staff attorney) position, but that would be a 50% cut in pay. That'll really set back my FIRE goals. And I'm concerned about the long-term viability of those positions. As it stands, I can probably ride out my current job a while longer (and things may well change or pick up), but I don't know if I can realistically be promoted in my current firm, and I haven't had any encouraging news on the job search front.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #578 on: December 08, 2016, 01:10:50 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.

I would like to get to that point, but none of the staff here have any litigation experience. I'm in the process of putting together some pleading templates, and I know how to litigate, BUT not having the correct support staff would result in a disaster if I tried to put much into litigation right now. My staff folks don't know the correct way to do pleadings, motions, answer discovery, etc. I would have to train them, starting at the very beginning, so it would be a process.

Currently, I'm just keeping 2 or 3 files in litigation at a time, very (very) slowly exposing them to the process.

Of course there is always the option of bringing in a paralegal or secretary with lit experience, but that would mean we'd have to let someone go.

I have to push back on this at least a little.  You're working 35-40 hours a week.  Is there a reason you can't work 50-60 (or more) and handle the litigation chores yourself?  After you're built a revenue stream from litigation, you can justify adding another assistant.  Though I agree litigation is best done as a team sport, you don't have to have a trained assistant to litigate.   How much revenue are you foregoing by referring out these cases?

Or can you work with the lawyers who you refer out to?  You're collecting the co-counsel fee/referral and you have joint liability for the work (at least that is the rule in my state), so you could tell the attorney that you want to actually co-counsel.

Personally, I can't really understand the angst you describe.  I am happy never to see the inside of a courthouse if I can at all help it.  But to each her own!

TVRodriguez

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #579 on: December 08, 2016, 01:17:06 PM »
Glad to see others are still alive and kicking. I need to vent a bit.

I'm a seventh-year associate in a regional BigLaw firm. About a year ago I moved into a larger office about 600 miles from my former office when my wife had an opportunity to take a new job in our new location. New location is great, but here's the problem. I'm a management-side labor and employment attorney, and my new office doesn't have the work to support me in L&E. I'm not excited about the prospect of completely retooling my practice to go to healthcare or construction lit or something, but right now I'm not seeing many other options. I'm having a hell of a time finding another full-time firm or in-house position in L&E. An L&E boutique posted a job here about three weeks ago, to which I applied, but I haven't heard anything yet. I suppose hiring may pick up after the new year, but I'm very frustrated with the whole ordeal.

I've considered taking a remote work (basically staff attorney) position, but that would be a 50% cut in pay. That'll really set back my FIRE goals. And I'm concerned about the long-term viability of those positions. As it stands, I can probably ride out my current job a while longer (and things may well change or pick up), but I don't know if I can realistically be promoted in my current firm, and I haven't had any encouraging news on the job search front.

Do you know any way to network with someone at the L&E boutique?  Applying to a job posting is not really a great way to get a job, to be honest with you.  Networking in your new location is essential, imho, to finding a new job there.  Another option is working at your networking to find ways to bring L&E work to your current firm.  Become the rainmaker.  Easy to type; hard to do.  Either way, I think you need to expand your local network.

And staff attorney position at the 50% cut in pay will not necessarily bring you work that you like any more than the work you currently  have, so I don't see how that's a great option.  Unless you end up working less, which could be great.

Shade00

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #580 on: December 08, 2016, 01:29:15 PM »
Glad to see others are still alive and kicking. I need to vent a bit.

I'm a seventh-year associate in a regional BigLaw firm. About a year ago I moved into a larger office about 600 miles from my former office when my wife had an opportunity to take a new job in our new location. New location is great, but here's the problem. I'm a management-side labor and employment attorney, and my new office doesn't have the work to support me in L&E. I'm not excited about the prospect of completely retooling my practice to go to healthcare or construction lit or something, but right now I'm not seeing many other options. I'm having a hell of a time finding another full-time firm or in-house position in L&E. An L&E boutique posted a job here about three weeks ago, to which I applied, but I haven't heard anything yet. I suppose hiring may pick up after the new year, but I'm very frustrated with the whole ordeal.

I've considered taking a remote work (basically staff attorney) position, but that would be a 50% cut in pay. That'll really set back my FIRE goals. And I'm concerned about the long-term viability of those positions. As it stands, I can probably ride out my current job a while longer (and things may well change or pick up), but I don't know if I can realistically be promoted in my current firm, and I haven't had any encouraging news on the job search front.

Do you know any way to network with someone at the L&E boutique?  Applying to a job posting is not really a great way to get a job, to be honest with you.  Networking in your new location is essential, imho, to finding a new job there.  Another option is working at your networking to find ways to bring L&E work to your current firm.  Become the rainmaker.  Easy to type; hard to do.  Either way, I think you need to expand your local network.

And staff attorney position at the 50% cut in pay will not necessarily bring you work that you like any more than the work you currently  have, so I don't see how that's a great option.  Unless you end up working less, which could be great.

Actually the remote work job would be with an L&E boutique, so it would be 100% L&E.

Yeah, I know a blind application is a horrible way to try to get a job. I have approached just about everyone in my network to try to get an "in" on the boutique position here. So far no luck. Approached a partner discretely at my current firm (she had already called the boutique to recommend a mentee of hers), asked my former moot court partner to make a call for me (she wasn't comfortable doing that because she had turned them down several years ago - ugh). I agree on the networking, and I'm planning to get more aggressive with section memberships, SHRM memberships, etc. anyway. I do have some contacts with L&E folks at other firms around town, so it may just be a waiting game - but the problem is that I'm getting a bit senior for a lateral move without a book of business.

Nick_Miller

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #581 on: December 08, 2016, 01:29:49 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.

I would like to get to that point, but none of the staff here have any litigation experience. I'm in the process of putting together some pleading templates, and I know how to litigate, BUT not having the correct support staff would result in a disaster if I tried to put much into litigation right now. My staff folks don't know the correct way to do pleadings, motions, answer discovery, etc. I would have to train them, starting at the very beginning, so it would be a process.

Currently, I'm just keeping 2 or 3 files in litigation at a time, very (very) slowly exposing them to the process.

Of course there is always the option of bringing in a paralegal or secretary with lit experience, but that would mean we'd have to let someone go.

I have to push back on this at least a little.  You're working 35-40 hours a week.  Is there a reason you can't work 50-60 (or more) and handle the litigation chores yourself?  After you're built a revenue stream from litigation, you can justify adding another assistant.  Though I agree litigation is best done as a team sport, you don't have to have a trained assistant to litigate.   How much revenue are you foregoing by referring out these cases?

Some of it is that I'm anxious about getting in over my head on a case. Neither the owner nor the other associate litigate, so there's no help here. My job before this one was a non-litigation job, so yes I'm "rusty"when it comes to lit.  I always need to put the client's needs first, and if I really think that Firm XYZ is substantially better equipped to handle a lawsuit, I need to consider getting them involved. The firm I refer clients to is REALLY good with a TON of good support staff. They are like a little army.  Even though my fee is reduced in the process, they generally get the offer up so much that I almost get as much as I would have gotten if my client had taken the lower offer. And the client is getting more money!

My boss's fear is that we would likely lose $ keeping litigation in-house, and he would be right if I kept my current schedule. When you break down the numbers, spending 50-100 work hours litigating over the course of two years to get a $10,000 offer up to a $20,000 offer (my estimate for a standard "soft tissue" car accident case) only nets us $3,300 in increased fees. It makes no sense when you consider the $20,000-$30,000 I could earn for him settling pre-lit cases during those 50-100 hours instead of "wasting my time" on the litigation.

So the only way my boss wouldn't lose money would be if I did all the lit work ON TOP OF my current pre-lit work, as you suggested. Hmmm....I'll have to consider whether that makes sense for me though. It would really cut into family time and heck I probably wouldn't make much more money for my trouble. 

You gave me a lot to think about! Thanks!





Nick_Miller

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #582 on: December 08, 2016, 01:33:29 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.

I would like to get to that point, but none of the staff here have any litigation experience. I'm in the process of putting together some pleading templates, and I know how to litigate, BUT not having the correct support staff would result in a disaster if I tried to put much into litigation right now. My staff folks don't know the correct way to do pleadings, motions, answer discovery, etc. I would have to train them, starting at the very beginning, so it would be a process.

Currently, I'm just keeping 2 or 3 files in litigation at a time, very (very) slowly exposing them to the process.

Of course there is always the option of bringing in a paralegal or secretary with lit experience, but that would mean we'd have to let someone go.

I have to push back on this at least a little.  You're working 35-40 hours a week.  Is there a reason you can't work 50-60 (or more) and handle the litigation chores yourself?  After you're built a revenue stream from litigation, you can justify adding another assistant.  Though I agree litigation is best done as a team sport, you don't have to have a trained assistant to litigate.   How much revenue are you foregoing by referring out these cases?

Or can you work with the lawyers who you refer out to?  You're collecting the co-counsel fee/referral and you have joint liability for the work (at least that is the rule in my state), so you could tell the attorney that you want to actually co-counsel.

Personally, I can't really understand the angst you describe.  I am happy never to see the inside of a courthouse if I can at all help it.  But to each her own!

Yeah I'm considering working with a few buddies - basically having fun doing a few cases, splitting fees/costs 50%, etc., but not really relying on it to produce consistent revenue.

And I'm not really angsty about not ligating right now. My life is VERY easy and VERY stress free at the moment, and I LOVE it. Love it love it love it. I am mostly worried about declining skills making me less desirable if/when I leave here.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #583 on: December 08, 2016, 06:48:32 PM »
Eeek!  I just found out that I made partner!  Or I guess that the partnership voted me through and I will be a partner starting January 1!  As one of my colleagues told me, I've just one the pie eating contest and the prize is more pie!

Congratulations!!!

Yo, TrulyStashin' did you get paid on that case?

Damn skippy I did.  Made $83k on the constructive fraud case.  Still working on the case where adjacent landowner negligently burned 15 acres of my client's hardwood forest.

Also just landed several new clients/ projects:  (1) new client (a regional bank) -- they have a curriculum for women entrepreneurs.  I'm going to handle their copyright registration and then help them license its use nationwide.  (2) existing client needs employee handbook revised aligned to state/ fed law.  (3) new client (wealthy nonprofit) -- needs help fixing issues with corporate filings.  And.... soon to close, a gig with a sustainability firm that needs my expertise on corporate sustainability disclosures to grow their practice.  That will be my first monthly fee arrangement.

It's been a hell of a year!

HA! Don't you wish you had just hung around that last job hoping and wishing for some validation from the partners.....(Um, no). Congratulations on the case and the growth of your practice. You never needed anything but confidence in your own abilities!

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #584 on: December 08, 2016, 06:52:19 PM »
NICK MILLER:

Enjoy the ride. Watch how its done so you can create it on your own, if you ever have to.

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #585 on: December 09, 2016, 01:11:28 PM »

Damn skippy I did.  Made $83k on the constructive fraud case.  Still working on the case where adjacent landowner negligently burned 15 acres of my client's hardwood forest.

Also just landed several new clients/ projects:  (1) new client (a regional bank) -- they have a curriculum for women entrepreneurs.  I'm going to handle their copyright registration and then help them license its use nationwide.  (2) existing client needs employee handbook revised aligned to state/ fed law.  (3) new client (wealthy nonprofit) -- needs help fixing issues with corporate filings.  And.... soon to close, a gig with a sustainability firm that needs my expertise on corporate sustainability disclosures to grow their practice.  That will be my first monthly fee arrangement.

It's been a hell of a year!

TrulyStashin, I just love following your progress and success.  You freakin rock.  So happy that you're killing it in this venture.  I'm in awe of your ability to switch gears and take a broad view toward the kinds of cases and matters you'll work on.  For example, the employee handbook thing.  How are you going to approach that?  Ask around to friends/ look around for examples/ use other resources?  Can't remember if your background involves employment law.  As a big firm litigator, I'm equal parts intrigued and terrified by what you are doing and would love to hear more.  ;-) Never would have considered opening my own practice in the past but hearing your experience has made me put it on my list - probably more for down the road than now for a variety of reasons, but still. 

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #586 on: December 09, 2016, 01:38:31 PM »
We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.
  Odd.  In my state, the adjusters figure out pretty quickly who will sue and who will not, and offers to the ones who will not get lower and lower and lower over time.  I am shocked your firm's owner has been able to keep the doors open.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #587 on: December 09, 2016, 01:45:27 PM »
We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.
  Odd.  In my state, the adjusters figure out pretty quickly who will sue and who will not, and offers to the ones who will not get lower and lower and lower over time.  I am shocked your firm's owner has been able to keep the doors open.

Malum: I agree with you. Around here, PI work involves filing lawsuits and litigating your own cases. But, I think the owners' solution is kind of genius. "Settle with me, or those guys will sue your ass." If they really don't mind taking 1/3 of a fee and referring it out and the other firm will aggressively litigate then the insurance could rationally prefer to make a fair offer. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Shade00

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #588 on: December 09, 2016, 03:45:37 PM »
I got an email this afternoon setting up an interview next week with the L&E boutique! I'm pumped, but not getting my hopes up. Going to dedicate Sunday to interview prep.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #589 on: December 09, 2016, 07:15:45 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.

I would like to get to that point, but none of the staff here have any litigation experience. I'm in the process of putting together some pleading templates, and I know how to litigate, BUT not having the correct support staff would result in a disaster if I tried to put much into litigation right now. My staff folks don't know the correct way to do pleadings, motions, answer discovery, etc. I would have to train them, starting at the very beginning, so it would be a process.

Currently, I'm just keeping 2 or 3 files in litigation at a time, very (very) slowly exposing them to the process.

Of course there is always the option of bringing in a paralegal or secretary with lit experience, but that would mean we'd have to let someone go.

I have to push back on this at least a little.  You're working 35-40 hours a week.  Is there a reason you can't work 50-60 (or more) and handle the litigation chores yourself?  After you're built a revenue stream from litigation, you can justify adding another assistant.  Though I agree litigation is best done as a team sport, you don't have to have a trained assistant to litigate.   How much revenue are you foregoing by referring out these cases?

I don't understand what a personal injury firm that doesn't litigate is.  Like, you write demand letters and then negotiate settlements?  Something else?

TVRodriguez

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #590 on: December 09, 2016, 08:11:21 PM »
NICK_MILLER:   How about taking on some pro bono litigation cases?  And enjoying the cushy seat you've got.  Plus using those 2 hour lunches to network with others who may be able to assist you in moving to a different life if you ever wish to make that move (or if you're forced to).

Shade00:  Congrats on scoring the interview!  Time to google the hell out of the attorneys at that firm.

TrulyStashin:  $83,000 on that case--awesome!!  As someone who is content to stay in my little practice area, I am impressed by your willingness to branch out.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #591 on: December 09, 2016, 09:26:15 PM »
Anyone in my boat?

I'm nearing the start of my third year with a small personal injury firm. I'm 43, if that matters. The other two attorneys are the owner and one other associate.

Pros: Pretty decent money, at least for our L/M COL area. Around $100-$110K. VERY low pressure. I work maybe 35-40 hours per week max. I leave at 5PM every day. I take 2-hour lunches with friends. We hardly ever sue, so most of the time it's just me at my desk settling claims with adjusters.

Cons: The main con is that sometimes I don't feel like a "real" attorney, meaning that I rarely file suit or deal with attorneys outside our office. Same with court reporters, judges, other legal professionals. I feel like I'm "in hiding" or something. If we have to file suit, I generally refer it out and take 1/3 of the fee.

If I was 2 years from FIRE, I would just relax and enjoy the (pretty easy) ride. However, I'll likely need to practice for another 8-10 years, and I'm afraid of my litigation skills deteriorating and my networking drying up. Frankly, if I lost this job I'd probably have to do my own thing, as firms aren't chomping at the bit to hire a attorney in his mid 40s who hasn't really litigated much in years and who's used to setting his own schedule and enjoying tremendous flexibility.

What would you do in my situation?

Stop referring out the cases that need to be litigated and do it yourself.

I would like to get to that point, but none of the staff here have any litigation experience. I'm in the process of putting together some pleading templates, and I know how to litigate, BUT not having the correct support staff would result in a disaster if I tried to put much into litigation right now. My staff folks don't know the correct way to do pleadings, motions, answer discovery, etc. I would have to train them, starting at the very beginning, so it would be a process.

Currently, I'm just keeping 2 or 3 files in litigation at a time, very (very) slowly exposing them to the process.

Of course there is always the option of bringing in a paralegal or secretary with lit experience, but that would mean we'd have to let someone go.

I have to push back on this at least a little.  You're working 35-40 hours a week.  Is there a reason you can't work 50-60 (or more) and handle the litigation chores yourself?  After you're built a revenue stream from litigation, you can justify adding another assistant.  Though I agree litigation is best done as a team sport, you don't have to have a trained assistant to litigate.   How much revenue are you foregoing by referring out these cases?

I don't understand what a personal injury firm that doesn't litigate is.  Like, you write demand letters and then negotiate settlements?  Something else?

There is quite a lot of work in getting all the bills, records, lost wages, permanency opinions, future medicals (whatever). Sometimes you have to deal with proving liability, more often a simple police report. Then you negotiate the settlement. But after that, a PI attorney can add lots of value in negotiating reductions on medical subrogation interests. So, there is a lot of work that can be done pre-suit.

But yeah, I've never known a PI firm with that kind of arrangement. I still think it sounds awesome. I don't mind the actual trial work but litigating can get annoying.

OneCoolCat

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #592 on: December 10, 2016, 08:27:02 AM »
I got an email this afternoon setting up an interview next week with the L&E boutique! I'm pumped, but not getting my hopes up. Going to dedicate Sunday to interview prep.

Woot!  Best of luck!
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Shade00

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #593 on: December 10, 2016, 06:02:45 PM »
Shade00:  Congrats on scoring the interview!  Time to google the hell out of the attorneys at that firm.


Already begun! I will be more prepared for this interview than the last ten.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #594 on: December 13, 2016, 08:00:50 AM »

Damn skippy I did.  Made $83k on the constructive fraud case.  Still working on the case where adjacent landowner negligently burned 15 acres of my client's hardwood forest.

Also just landed several new clients/ projects:  (1) new client (a regional bank) -- they have a curriculum for women entrepreneurs.  I'm going to handle their copyright registration and then help them license its use nationwide.  (2) existing client needs employee handbook revised aligned to state/ fed law.  (3) new client (wealthy nonprofit) -- needs help fixing issues with corporate filings.  And.... soon to close, a gig with a sustainability firm that needs my expertise on corporate sustainability disclosures to grow their practice.  That will be my first monthly fee arrangement.

It's been a hell of a year!

TrulyStashin, I just love following your progress and success.  You freakin rock.  So happy that you're killing it in this venture.  I'm in awe of your ability to switch gears and take a broad view toward the kinds of cases and matters you'll work on.  For example, the employee handbook thing.  How are you going to approach that?  Ask around to friends/ look around for examples/ use other resources?  Can't remember if your background involves employment law.  As a big firm litigator, I'm equal parts intrigued and terrified by what you are doing and would love to hear more.  ;-) Never would have considered opening my own practice in the past but hearing your experience has made me put it on my list - probably more for down the road than now for a variety of reasons, but still.

Thanks!  So, on the topic of taking risks.....  I'm a career-switcher into law (law school at 40) and I do not have the inherently cautious personality that it seems a lot of lawyers have.  Maybe a cautious personality is drawn to the legal profession?  Dunno.  For whatever reason, my life experience forced me to take calculated risks to survive and I learned that there is very little I can't handle or learn and I can re-invent myself as necessary along the way.

 I also am an extrovert, an optimist, and have both deep, long-lasting, and wide relationships with many people.  I value these relationships very much and seek to give back as much help as I can, as often as I can.  I think that helps when I email or call my friend who does employment law and say "I have this employee handbook project to do.  How would you approach that?"  And she is happy to help me because she wants me to succeed.  And she knows I want her to succeed and that I'll refer cases to her that are too complex for me to handle (employment litigation/ ERISA).  And then we go out for wine.  ;)  I think my friends (professional and personal) also know and trust that I dig into EVERY PROJECT with gusto and I am going to give it my absolute best effort. 

As lawyers, we are all very skilled at learning. And that's why, with some obvious limitations (not doing patent law!), I will try most anything so long as I have a relationship that will help me navigate it OR it's closely enough associated to a body of knowledge that I already have.

Who knows if this approach will be successful, long term...  Maybe I'll screw something up.  I do my best to avoid that, every day.  If it happens, I'll deal with it at the time.  Meanwhile, I'm having so much fun!
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Shade00

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #595 on: December 15, 2016, 02:22:36 PM »
I had my interview this morning. It went very well. I really liked the people and the small office team vibe is exactly what I want, plus I'd get to focus on L&E. I'm typing up thank-you emails right now. Two negatives to a potential offer - I expect the money to be a fair bit less than I make now (all in my total comp right now is right about $160k, including 401k contributions). I don't know what it will be but I'd be surprised if the salary was above $120k. Number two is that I'll have to take a haircut on credit for years of practice, so I'll be way back on the partnership track. Still, I'll be in a much more supportive environment.

Still have to wait and see if I even get an offer, but it certainly looks positive.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #596 on: December 15, 2016, 07:19:35 PM »
Shade00, I'm glad to hear the interviews went so well!  Good luck!

TrulyStachin, I think attorneys, or perhaps the law firm types, are generally (though not all) very risk averse.  I totally admire your bravery in carving your own path and having the guts to start your own business and to stretch your comfort zone to learn and practice a wide variety of matters.  Seriously, kudos to you!

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #597 on: December 16, 2016, 05:43:46 AM »
I had my interview this morning. It went very well. I really liked the people and the small office team vibe is exactly what I want, plus I'd get to focus on L&E. I'm typing up thank-you emails right now. Two negatives to a potential offer - I expect the money to be a fair bit less than I make now (all in my total comp right now is right about $160k, including 401k contributions). I don't know what it will be but I'd be surprised if the salary was above $120k. Number two is that I'll have to take a haircut on credit for years of practice, so I'll be way back on the partnership track. Still, I'll be in a much more supportive environment.

Still have to wait and see if I even get an offer, but it certainly looks positive.
  A 25% pay cut?  Ouch.  What is that going to do to your savings rate?  As for the partnership track, all that really matters is business.  Can you bring in business?  Half a million or so in your own book, and you make partner.  Much less than that, and it does not matter what "track" you are on.  You are not making partner.

bridget

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #598 on: December 16, 2016, 10:01:03 AM »
I had my interview this morning. It went very well. I really liked the people and the small office team vibe is exactly what I want, plus I'd get to focus on L&E. I'm typing up thank-you emails right now. Two negatives to a potential offer - I expect the money to be a fair bit less than I make now (all in my total comp right now is right about $160k, including 401k contributions). I don't know what it will be but I'd be surprised if the salary was above $120k. Number two is that I'll have to take a haircut on credit for years of practice, so I'll be way back on the partnership track. Still, I'll be in a much more supportive environment.

Still have to wait and see if I even get an offer, but it certainly looks positive.
  A 25% pay cut?  Ouch.  What is that going to do to your savings rate?  As for the partnership track, all that really matters is business.  Can you bring in business?  Half a million or so in your own book, and you make partner.  Much less than that, and it does not matter what "track" you are on.  You are not making partner.

Or, you make partner, but because so much of your compensation is based on origination credit, you make way less than you did as an associate.

CloserToFree

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #599 on: December 26, 2016, 05:56:54 PM »
Biglaw folks- what are you doing with your bonuses?  Assume most of us will be planning to invest most or all of it, but with market bonuses topping out at above $100k (pretax) that's a sizable chunk of change to dump into the market all at once.  Think we're gonna take a gradual approach and add to our Vanguard index fund in $10k increments, maybe once a week or once every two weeks.  Arguments against that approach? Other ideas?