Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 121678 times)

CloserToFree

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #600 on: December 27, 2016, 03:04:03 PM »
All things being equal, the market generally trends upwards. Therefore, you're better off investing a lump sum immediately, as opposed to DCA'ing it in over time. I believe there was a big thread on this in the investing forum, with backtesting that demonstrated this as true more often than not.

The counterpoint to this is, know thyself. If you're consumed with fear and trembling, then DCA it in and be OK with the fact that you didn't use the most mathematically optimal approach.

Yup I think DCAing it is best for us right now- feeling a little antsy about the inauguration and would rather not dump everything in before that, even though I know rationally that you can always point to some specific market anxiety and use it as an excuse that now "isn't the right time."  Thx, will try to find that thread anyway.

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #601 on: December 27, 2016, 03:51:27 PM »
All things being equal, the market generally trends upwards. Therefore, you're better off investing a lump sum immediately, as opposed to DCA'ing it in over time. I believe there was a big thread on this in the investing forum, with backtesting that demonstrated this as true more often than not.

The counterpoint to this is, know thyself. If you're consumed with fear and trembling, then DCA it in and be OK with the fact that you didn't use the most mathematically optimal approach.

Yup I think DCAing it is best for us right now- feeling a little antsy about the inauguration and would rather not dump everything in before that, even though I know rationally that you can always point to some specific market anxiety and use it as an excuse that now "isn't the right time."  Thx, will try to find that thread anyway.

It sounds like you want to DCA, so just DCA.  It's mathematically sub-optimal, but that doesn't mean it's certain to be a losing strategy, and I believe the historical differences are fairly small.  In other words, if it gives you peace of mind then it's worth it.  For me, I'd be kicking myself for following the non-optimal strategy even if I ended up coming out ahead.  So I lump sum invest.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2016, 03:53:15 PM by dragoncar »

bridget

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #602 on: December 29, 2016, 02:57:24 PM »
I'm going to lump-sum invest mine, but because I was only at my firm for 20% of the year, it's only $10k or so pretax.  That makes the lump sum plan easier to swallow psychologically.  Next year when it's $65k it might be a smidgen harder. 

crimwell

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #603 on: December 31, 2016, 11:44:01 AM »
I'm a government lawyer, class of 2008. I've been in the same job for 6 years now (only lawyer job I've had, it took me 2.5 years after graduation to get one). Mostly transactional/ contract review although I have a little administrative forum litigation experience.

I'm not nearly as mustachian as I could be, although I'm naturally/raised to be that way to an extent. I discovered this site last year through a co-worker. If I had been able to go the BigLaw route like I wanted I'm pretty sure I'd be FI or well on my way to it by now.  I'm NOT sure if my marriage would have survived or if I'd be as happy in my day-to-day life. Due to a family tragedy a few years ago I put a lot more value on spending time with my family than I would have before.




TrulyStashin's story is super inspirational! Wow! I read through the whole thread pretty much just to follow it. What a fearless go-getter.

Also I've never seen such an encouraging and supportive group of lawyers on an internet group. That made a big difference in my choosing to share that I'm a lawyer here.

RobinAZ

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #604 on: December 31, 2016, 12:20:28 PM »
I was BigLaw here in Phoenix. Combo of recession and having a special needs kid = went solo in Dec 2010.  Miss the money, no doubt. And the health insurance!  But being a SAHM that practices law in her free time has made the world of difference for my son, who is now mainstreamed for all his academic subjects, skipped 4th grade, and is moving into the gifted program next year.  With that, I can easily double my working hours and not turn so much work away!!

2017, I should be able to eliminate all debt except the student loans-- $214k.  After that, my plan is $5k/mo for 24 months to take out the first $115k that is at 7.99%. Then, saving for FI while knocking out the remaining $115k at 1.99%. I won't hit $5k every month but some months will be more. And even if it is 4 years instead of 17 more years... that loan at 7.99% needs to GO!

Lawyers who are mustachian aren't soulless money- and power-driven a$$holes :-) There really is a huge difference between the attorneys on this board and those IRL, lol

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #605 on: January 19, 2017, 05:33:41 PM »
With 2016 in the books, it seems like a good time to celebrate a significant improvement in my net worth.  Like many of us, I'm buried in student loans.  When this thread began in early 2015 (almost two year ago, really?) here's what it looked like:

Feb, 2015:

Total Assets - $107k
Total Debt -- $201,523
Net Worth -- NEGATIVE $94,066

Left BigLaw, went solo on 9/1/2015

Jan, 2015:

Total Assets -- $140k
Total Debt -- $205,438
Net Worth -- NEGATIVE $64,422

Jan, 2016:

Total assets -- $161,861
Total debt -- $178,391
Net Worth -- NEGATIVE $16,530

I project that sometime around April or May, I will cross over into positive net worth territory for the first time in my life.  Yeah, I mean EVER.

In its first full year, my baby firm grossed almost exactly what I grossed at BigLaw -- low 6-figures.  My net is about $65k.  Not bad! 

My goal this year is to focus and build a niche.  Last year, I took whatever came in the door and that's not a good strategy for the long run.  Thanks to some recent developments, I have some big opportunities in trademarks/ copyrights/ licensing.  I think this is a strong platform for future growth with aligned matters also welcome.  I need to refine this plan but the vision is coming together.

RSM and OCC, how are things with you guys?  RSM are you working on mediation?  OCC, how's the new gig?

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

Laura33

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #606 on: January 20, 2017, 11:57:52 AM »
Hi guys -- been reading for a long time, just started posting, so figured I'd join in here.  Professionally:  chose a top-whatever public law school over private (at the time, $3K vs. $17K -- best decision ever).  Law Review, etc., yada yada; biglaw summer associate jobs and tight budgets allowed me to pay my own way after my first year, so I graduated with only $2K in additional debt (had $7500 from undergrad).  Graduated in early '90s; started at a big regional firm in my hometown, because I didn't know what I wanted to specialize in but knew I didn't want to do it for 2200 hrs/yr; got my loans/car paid off in @2 years.  Jumped ship to a smaller firm to do environmental after a few years for what was at the time a pretty awesome raise (from @$63K(?) to @$86K).  Went in-house for a few years when I married DH and he got caught in the tech crash (see the epic FU stories thread for more detail on that 2.5-years-of-hell), took a @1/3 paycut.  Ended up telecommuting back to my old firm for a few years (hourly/part time as we had our first kid), worked less than half-time for maybe $15K less than I had been making.  Moved back to my hometown and the office about 12-13 years ago, elected partner a year later, added another kid and stayed part-time for a few more years, went full-time a few years ago. 

My primary professional goals have been (i) not to be poor, and (ii) not to be bored, and I've generally done decently on both.  I don't get the big bucks like everyone expects from the "partner in a law firm" title (i.e., have never even gotten close to $500K), but, come on, it's all ridiculous in comparison to normal salaries, and I have a pretty awesome quality of life on a $/hr worked basis, and lots of freedom to do what I want (today, for ex., I am sitting in my recliner with my laptop, though I guess I should change out of my bathrobe before DD gets home from HS).  My favorite thing is all the extra perks -- the profit-sharing lets me add another @$35K/yr to the 401(k), my medical and dental are fully paid-for, we have a small gym and shower room at the office, my office is fantastic, my assistant totally spoils me by making sure they have the kind of tea I like, etc.  [To be clear, we are not a luxury/fancy office at all -- no marble and fancy paintings, small kitchen with no room for tables, etc. -- but the things we have I appreciate more than visible luxury.  E.g., adding the shower room has allowed me to go to Crossfit at 6, drive in early enough to beat traffic, and be ready to go by 8 -- to me, that is a huge, huge quality-of-life perk]. 

I am sort of at a point of boredom, though, and just tired of the up and down and marketing chase.  Last year, my months ranged from 200 hrs (billable only) to 65 hrs, and I still overall managed to bill 100 hrs more than I had in probably a decade (not counting the "creditable" hours I get for a firm management role).  And then it all fell off a cliff and I have had nothing to do since before Christmas, so I need to get off my ass and on airplanes again, and, just, ugh.  So now I am doing what I always do when I get in a rut:  reworking Quicken and evaluating options.  :-)  We are FI but we have no plans to RE for another 7-8 years for a variety of reasons, which unfortunately is a dangerous place to be, as it is tempting to say, you know, I don't need this any more. But realistically, I like the people I work with a *lot*, the work can be really interesting, DH and I can't implement our full RE plans until the kids are out anyway, and I've discovered I am fond of having a firehose of cash coming in. :-)  So I am more likely to tweak around the corners instead of making huge changes, because this is really pretty sweet when I think about it objectively, and I'm pretty sure the grass is not greener.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

Iplawyer

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #607 on: January 20, 2017, 01:41:55 PM »
I agree that law, especially BigLaw, is highly ego-driven.  It's probably a leading driver of why most people think lawyers are assholes.

Seriously, I've been in a room with dozens of BigLaw partners from "V10" and "V100" firms, and the first thing they do is quickly establish a pecking order amongst themselves. Socially, too. The ones from "top" firms will trip over themselves to denigrate the slightly lesser firms to each other. Of course the more marginal the top firm the lawyer is from the more they will denigrate the even lesser firms, when those people are out of earshot.

It was extremely sickening.

I just say "I won a bet-the-company SCOTUS case 9-0) and leave it at that - it stops all of that discussion dead.  I do have excellent credentials - but who cares about that given the former?

crimwell

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #608 on: January 20, 2017, 05:18:21 PM »
I agree that law, especially BigLaw, is highly ego-driven.  It's probably a leading driver of why most people think lawyers are assholes.

Seriously, I've been in a room with dozens of BigLaw partners from "V10" and "V100" firms, and the first thing they do is quickly establish a pecking order amongst themselves. Socially, too. The ones from "top" firms will trip over themselves to denigrate the slightly lesser firms to each other. Of course the more marginal the top firm the lawyer is from the more they will denigrate the even lesser firms, when those people are out of earshot.

It was extremely sickening.

I just say "I won a bet-the-company SCOTUS case 9-0) and leave it at that - it stops all of that discussion dead.  I do have excellent credentials - but who cares about that given the former?

Good tactic, I hadn't thought of saying that before but I'm definitely going to implement this myself

Iplawyer

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #609 on: January 21, 2017, 07:00:23 AM »
I agree that law, especially BigLaw, is highly ego-driven.  It's probably a leading driver of why most people think lawyers are assholes.

Seriously, I've been in a room with dozens of BigLaw partners from "V10" and "V100" firms, and the first thing they do is quickly establish a pecking order amongst themselves. Socially, too. The ones from "top" firms will trip over themselves to denigrate the slightly lesser firms to each other. Of course the more marginal the top firm the lawyer is from the more they will denigrate the even lesser firms, when those people are out of earshot.

It was extremely sickening.

I just say "I won a bet-the-company SCOTUS case 9-0) and leave it at that - it stops all of that discussion dead.  I do have excellent credentials - but who cares about that given the former?

Good tactic, I hadn't thought of saying that before but I'm definitely going to implement this myself

I'm assuming you won one?  If so - welcome to that very small club.

dragoncar

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #610 on: January 21, 2017, 04:37:04 PM »
If we really have two lawyers here who can honestly say that, holy shit

I'd just say "oh yeah? Well I stayed at a holiday inn express last night"

Trifele

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #611 on: January 21, 2017, 05:10:09 PM »
If we really have two lawyers here who can honestly say that, holy shit

I'd just say "oh yeah? Well I stayed at a holiday inn express last night"

:)

crimwell

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #612 on: January 21, 2017, 05:45:48 PM »
Lol, def have not

crimwell

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #613 on: January 21, 2017, 05:48:20 PM »
Just seems like a different version of the same status seeking

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #614 on: January 21, 2017, 11:21:28 PM »
Is one of you two Chief Justice John Roberts?  ;-)

Iplawyer

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #615 on: January 22, 2017, 07:09:49 AM »
Just seems like a different version of the same status seeking

Nope - it is a way of snubbing those standing around talking about their top 10 school and top 10 law firm. 

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #616 on: January 22, 2017, 12:30:30 PM »
Just seems like a different version of the same status seeking

Nope - it is a way of snubbing those standing around talking about their top 10 school and top 10 law firm.

"Snubbing" is very obviously your own form of status seeking. A person truly secure in their qualifications and competence would respond with silence.

Iplawyer

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #617 on: January 23, 2017, 09:33:31 AM »
No - it is simply a way to insure that the rest of the evening isn't spent on the top 10 shit.  I simply get rather tired of it and so does my non-lawyer spouse.  So it puts an end to it and we can get on with meaningful discourse.  Staying silent means we have to listen to it ad nauseum. 

shawndoggy

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #618 on: January 23, 2017, 02:51:40 PM »
And then it all fell off a cliff and I have had nothing to do since before Christmas, so I need to get off my ass and on airplanes again, and, just, ugh.  So now I am doing what I always do when I get in a rut:  reworking Quicken and evaluating options.  :-)  We are FI but we have no plans to RE for another 7-8 years for a variety of reasons, which unfortunately is a dangerous place to be, as it is tempting to say, you know, I don't need this any more. But realistically, I like the people I work with a *lot*, the work can be really interesting, DH and I can't implement our full RE plans until the kids are out anyway, and I've discovered I am fond of having a firehose of cash coming in. :-)  So I am more likely to tweak around the corners instead of making huge changes, because this is really pretty sweet when I think about it objectively, and I'm pretty sure the grass is not greener.

So good to hear that others face this same challenge.  Nothing is worse than taking a vacation at your desk, staring at the phone and willing it to ring.  2010-11 were definitely scary for me in that regard.

Nice to see a partner's perspective on this thread as most of it is written from the perspective of the associate in the trenches.  Keeping the lights on from the partners' side of things isn't all friday afternoons at the golf course and three martini lunches. 

Stash padawan

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #619 on: February 10, 2017, 04:21:20 PM »
Hello my fellow lawyers,

I'm in need of some career advice. English is my second language so be gentle. So, without getting into much details to avoid raising any potential suspicion from coworkers, here's my story:

I started out as a lawyer in a regional law firm in Canada 7 years ago, having a lot of fun and autonomy, doing corporate/commercial law. After 3 years, although I was quite happy at my regional law firm and was promised a partnership in the future, I saw a job posting for an in-house position in a big international company with a somewhat developed legal department, and I applied as I knew right away at the beginning of my career that going in-house would be an interesting career path for me.

After a couple of interviews with the team (senior lawyers) and VP there, the job sounded quite interesting and varied, and they were looking for someone who would grow quickly in the role, taking more and more autonomy and eventually have his/her own responsibilities/spot on the team. So with all of this in front of me, I ended up taking the job.

Fast forward to today, 4 years later, of course none of what was promised in terms of role and autonomy ended up happening. I was micromanaged by 2 of the senior lawyers there for quite a while, being left out in the shadows, doing all the groundwork (top quality work, of course) and have them take credit for it, not gaining any exposure with internal clients. The only times I was able to shine is when I got to replace them over their vacations, and God did I get golden feedback from their internal clients...these clients would finally get concise, fast and business-oriented solutions to their problems.

All of this was discussed with the VP over the last year, with actual facts and examples, without much results. No structural changes, no work distribution modifications, nothing except conversations with senior lawyers on the fact that I should have more autonomy. Did anything change after these conversations? Nope. Internal clients would like to be able to work more with me and less with them and this was voiced to the VP (by the internal clients themselves), but in practice, nothing seems to be changing. I have a lot of respect for the VP and he's been giving me very good feedback, but man he does not seem to like confrontation...

So here I am, trying to think about my next steps. I've been recently looking for similar/higher positions in-house and am not interested in going back to law firms (love it in-house), but I'm also reaching a point where the built-up frustration is having an effect on my personal life. You can also get from this post that the situation at work is a bit tensed, to say the least. I'm lucky enough to have some FU money on the side (enough to keep me going for a while), and I'm now considering giving the famous 2 weeks notice and go enjoy some time off while looking for another job (fishing season is coming up!).

So here lies my stress: should I make sure to have another job lined up before leaving this one (I'm a bit picky on the work I want to do)? Should I try to fight more (I hate office politics)? Or should I say "fuck it" right after I get my bonus, enjoy a little break from the corporate grinder, and mix job searching with some outdoor activities?

Any feedback would be much appreciated, fellow mustachians!

chesebert

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #620 on: February 10, 2017, 04:46:46 PM »
Keep calm and carry on :) Wait for the right position to open up and then jump ship.

meghan88

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #621 on: February 10, 2017, 04:51:26 PM »
Sounds like a stressful situation if you're being micromanaged and kept in the shadows.  I would look for another in-house posting before jumping, but that's just me.  Have you made a list of other companies in your industry and region?  How's your network in your industry?  In what way are you picky about the work you want to do - are you being too picky?  Feel free to PM me if you like.  I'm in-house in the tech sector in Ontario BTW.

Check2400

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #622 on: February 13, 2017, 09:56:22 AM »
The only times I was able to shine is when I got to replace them over their vacations, and God did I get golden feedback from their internal clients...these clients would finally get concise, fast and business-oriented solutions to their problems.

You say in house, but talk about these clients as if they are under different umbrellas or different businesses completely.  Is there any reason you can't set up a lunch with these clients?  It is amazing what can happen when you have the conversation about appreciating their feedback, enjoying working for them, wish you could do more, here is my direct email or, you know, have they ever considered having your own in house counsel?*   

Even better, if not lunch, take them out fishing.  There's an old Canadian proverb that you miss 100% of the business you don't expense. 

Older lawyers aren't in the positions of power they are in because of their astute and superior legal skills.  They are there because they played the games on top of proficiently serving their clients.  Get in the game yourself and see what comes from it. 

*depending on your employment agreement, you may need to add in a long sigh and a 'if only I could proactively discuss other employment opportunities with current clients, but, you know, they would have to initiate that conversation according to my non solicitation agreement.'  Then wink in a really exaggerated manner.  There is caselaw out there that says this is 100% acceptable.**

**there is not.

ringer707

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #623 on: February 13, 2017, 11:11:20 AM »
Joining in! Law school class of 2014. Clerked in local court for one year and then in state appellate court for nine months before taking a prosecutor position in my hometown. I can honestly say I absolutely love my job and enjoy coming to work here everyday. Salary is 62k, good matching through state retirement system, good benefits. Hours are 8-4:30 and I occasionally take some work home on the weekends. Can't say enough about how much I like it and my office!

Daleth

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #624 on: March 07, 2017, 02:12:29 PM »
depending on your employment agreement, you may need to add in a long sigh and a 'if only I could proactively discuss other employment opportunities with current clients, but, you know, they would have to initiate that conversation according to my non solicitation agreement.' 

Have you seen a law firm employment agreement that restricted such conversations? It would surprise me for two reasons:

(1) law firms typically love having their associates or even partners go in-house at clients, because they think it increases the chance of keeping that client (since the associate/partner knows and presumably likes the firm). And

(2) some states in which noncompetition agreements are enforceable--and of course in some states they're not even enforceable in the first place--have an exception in the statutes or case law for lawyers. (Amazing how that works: the lawyers who in effect write the law, created an exception for themselves. Nice!)

MiserlyMiser

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #625 on: March 20, 2017, 06:15:03 PM »
Hi all!  I've been lurking for a while and thought I'd introduce myself.  I'm a senior associate in BigLaw.  I've been hoarding my money with vague thoughts of "getting out" and "doing something else," but couldn't figure out what other career I wanted to pursue.  I definitely want to get out of private practice, so I've been applying for state/local government jobs, but that could be a step towards getting out of law altogether and retiring early.  Looking forward to following this thread as I figure out my life. 

onlykelsey

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #626 on: March 29, 2017, 06:14:05 AM »
Just seems like a different version of the same status seeking

Nope - it is a way of snubbing those standing around talking about their top 10 school and top 10 law firm.

"Snubbing" is very obviously your own form of status seeking. A person truly secure in their qualifications and competence would respond with silence.

Agreed.

BabyShark

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #627 on: March 29, 2017, 07:12:16 AM »
Jumping in here.  PI attorney at a midsized Plaintiff's firm in Virginia.  Class of 2015 and been here since graduation (did my 2L summer here too).

We've got a bunch of shareholders retiring in the next five or so years so the makeup of the firm is definitely going to change (along with, I hope, the potential for big cases for us younger folk).

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #628 on: March 29, 2017, 07:30:24 AM »
Babyshark - Pay attention to the business side of your firm. PI work can be extremely profitable. It has been for me.

BabyShark

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #629 on: March 29, 2017, 07:35:50 AM »
Babyshark - Pay attention to the business side of your firm. PI work can be extremely profitable. It has been for me.

I'm definitely trying to. We've got some weird politics going on here that I'm still learning to work through but my partner is super supportive of me and I've done my best to be known as passionate, ambitious and reliable.

Axecleaver

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #630 on: March 29, 2017, 04:06:42 PM »
Business development idea: market "addict recovery trusts" to parents with kids who have addiction problems. The trust provides for certain basic expenses, but the payment is direct to the provider, and no cash. You could charge a higher fee to manage the trust, or farm it out to a financial services firm and take a commission.

I don't think this is terribly different from any other restricted trust, you just put together some basic rules and market it aggressively.

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #631 on: May 03, 2017, 09:45:19 AM »
Hi all!  I've been lurking for a while and thought I'd introduce myself.  I'm a senior associate in BigLaw.  I've been hoarding my money with vague thoughts of "getting out" and "doing something else," but couldn't figure out what other career I wanted to pursue.  I definitely want to get out of private practice, so I've been applying for state/local government jobs, but that could be a step towards getting out of law altogether and retiring early.  Looking forward to following this thread as I figure out my life.

How is this going MiserlyMiser - Any closer to finding the right job to leave Biglaw?

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #632 on: May 03, 2017, 09:49:58 AM »
Curious if anyone has a guess as to the breakdown of lawyers pursuing early retirement across how those lawyers landed post-law school (i.e. what percentage seeking early retirement is solo, small firm, medium firm and biglaw). Obviously a higher salary makes it possible to do it faster but from reading this thread sounds like there are plenty of non-biglaw lawyers looking to retire early.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #633 on: May 03, 2017, 08:39:57 PM »
Curious if anyone has a guess as to the breakdown of lawyers pursuing early retirement across how those lawyers landed post-law school (i.e. what percentage seeking early retirement is solo, small firm, medium firm and biglaw). Obviously a higher salary makes it possible to do it faster but from reading this thread sounds like there are plenty of non-biglaw lawyers looking to retire early.

Big Law Investor -

I always have to point out that BigLaw is not the only place where money is found. I started solo. Now we are a small firm. I've had a higher salary than my regional BigLaw peers since the beginning. Sure, you could chalk it up to being an outlier - but it happens. I bet it happens more than you think.

I also read your link asking where are all the rich lawyers and comparing us to doctors. I, for one, started out working as a 1099 attorney and did save a lot of money in tax sheltered accounts. I saw the value of ownership and took ownership in my gross receipts from day one and now own my own firm. I also take an equity stake in my client's cases (contingency fees). I also work controlled hours and empower non-attorneys to serve clients in all tasks that are not "must have a license" situations. Just thought you might be interested to know :)

DCKatie09

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #634 on: May 04, 2017, 08:15:46 AM »
Curious if anyone has a guess as to the breakdown of lawyers pursuing early retirement across how those lawyers landed post-law school (i.e. what percentage seeking early retirement is solo, small firm, medium firm and biglaw). Obviously a higher salary makes it possible to do it faster but from reading this thread sounds like there are plenty of non-biglaw lawyers looking to retire early.

Big Law Investor -

I always have to point out that BigLaw is not the only place where money is found. I started solo. Now we are a small firm. I've had a higher salary than my regional BigLaw peers since the beginning. Sure, you could chalk it up to being an outlier - but it happens. I bet it happens more than you think.

I also read your link asking where are all the rich lawyers and comparing us to doctors. I, for one, started out working as a 1099 attorney and did save a lot of money in tax sheltered accounts. I saw the value of ownership and took ownership in my gross receipts from day one and now own my own firm. I also take an equity stake in my client's cases (contingency fees). I also work controlled hours and empower non-attorneys to serve clients in all tasks that are not "must have a license" situations. Just thought you might be interested to know :)

And a few of us are in public service and academia as well! It's a big profession. :)

MiserlyMiser

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #635 on: May 05, 2017, 11:13:35 AM »
Hi all!  I've been lurking for a while and thought I'd introduce myself.  I'm a senior associate in BigLaw.  I've been hoarding my money with vague thoughts of "getting out" and "doing something else," but couldn't figure out what other career I wanted to pursue.  I definitely want to get out of private practice, so I've been applying for state/local government jobs, but that could be a step towards getting out of law altogether and retiring early.  Looking forward to following this thread as I figure out my life.

How is this going MiserlyMiser - Any closer to finding the right job to leave Biglaw?

Thanks for checking in--on the same day you posted, I got an interview for a position with my (small) city for next Monday morning--this is my first interview after months of applying to other state/county government jobs and never hearing back.  The attorney who would be my boss if I'm hired was very complimentary about my qualifications and seemed excited about me.  He's hiring for several positions right now and was clear that he wants a team that collectively has the ability to handle four different areas.  The only one I'm really qualified for is litigation, and I got the sense that he had too many litigators apply, and not enough people with expertise in the other areas.  He asked if I have any experience in negotiating with real estate developers (big fat NO), but it's something I have an interest in and I'm a fast learner, so maybe that will cut it? 

A weird thing with this job that I've never seen before--after the deadline for applying, they sent me 5 huge, multipart essay questions.  For example, one subsection of one of the questions was: give 2-3 specific examples of instances in which you placed the interests of your organization ahead of your own interests.  . . . this is unusual, right? 

My interview on Monday is with a panel.  It's been 6 years since I interviewed for a job, and back then I knew exactly what to expect because I was interviewing for a position in the specialty I was already working in (so I knew to expect questions like, "what are your thoughts on footnote 10 in the X v. Y. opinion issued last week?")  Given the essay questions and the fact that I'm interviewing for a position outside of my specialty, I'm not sure how to prepare.  Any suggestions would be appreciated. 

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #636 on: May 05, 2017, 12:34:49 PM »
A weird thing with this job that I've never seen before--after the deadline for applying, they sent me 5 huge, multipart essay questions.  For example, one subsection of one of the questions was: give 2-3 specific examples of instances in which you placed the interests of your organization ahead of your own interests.  . . . this is unusual, right? 

In my opinion, quite unusual.  I've never heard of essay questions for law firm applicants.  Asking for a writing sample, yes, but essay answers to questions that they could just ask you in a live interview, no.  Perhaps government lawyer jobs are different in this respect, but it strikes me as extremely rare.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 01:47:55 PM by LeRainDrop »

shawndoggy

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #637 on: May 05, 2017, 01:08:28 PM »
I'm not sure how to prepare.  Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I'd learn what you can about those other specialty areas that you don't have experience with.  Look at the statutes that govern, look at the state administrative regs, look at the ordinances. 

Sure, that's not going to turn you into an expert, but if you can at least identify the relevant governing law, it will show that you've taken the initiative to get yourself trained.

On the real estate developer issue, for instance, do what you can to familiarize yourself with the department of the local government that you'd be working with (planning dept?). Who's the head of the department? Structure?  Familarize yourself with their procedures for new developments.  Look at their website and go through their forms / applications / etc. 

I mean there's probably 4-6 months of doing that before you'd feel competent, but you have to start sometime, and BEFORE the interview is probably better unless you are a world class master bullshitter.

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #638 on: May 05, 2017, 03:33:17 PM »
I bet it happens more than you think.

Wait a second. What? I had to re-read my question again. Let's start over here, as clearly something got lost in translation.

What I'm curious about is the number of solo / small practitioners that are seeking financial independence, regardless of their income. As we know, it's not really a function of income anyway, since it's mainly based on your expenses (I was only trying to anticipate the argument that of course it's easier to save more money when you have a high income).

My hunch is that there are more solo / small practitioners seeking financial independence than big firm or government lawyers for two reasons: (1) they already have a great deal of control over their schedule and so are more likely to intuitively get the "early retirement" stuff and (2) they see a direct relationship between work effort and income, so they have a better understanding of the concept of "your money or your life".

Would you agree with this hypothesis? You have a lot more experience on this forum than I do, so am curious what you've seen here and elsewhere.

I also read your link asking where are all the rich lawyers and comparing us to doctors. I, for one, started out working as a 1099 attorney

Thanks for stopping by the site and YES, I'm fascinated. I'd love to know more how you pulled off the 1099 attorney relationship with things like conflicts, etc. Maybe we could have that conversation somewhere else (I'll send you a DM) as I could quite possibly be the only person that's interested in it but I would definitely love to know more!

biglawinvestor

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #639 on: May 05, 2017, 03:40:09 PM »
And a few of us are in public service and academia as well! It's a big profession. :)

Just left a reply for FireBby35! I think something was lost in translation.

MiserlyMiser

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #640 on: May 05, 2017, 03:58:01 PM »


I'd learn what you can about those other specialty areas that you don't have experience with.  Look at the statutes that govern, look at the state administrative regs, look at the ordinances. 

Sure, that's not going to turn you into an expert, but if you can at least identify the relevant governing law, it will show that you've taken the initiative to get yourself trained.

On the real estate developer issue, for instance, do what you can to familiarize yourself with the department of the local government that you'd be working with (planning dept?). Who's the head of the department? Structure?  Familarize yourself with their procedures for new developments.  Look at their website and go through their forms / applications / etc. 

I mean there's probably 4-6 months of doing that before you'd feel competent, but you have to start sometime, and BEFORE the interview is probably better unless you are a world class master bullshitter.
[/quote]

Good advice.  There's a lot of stuff on the city website re: economic development efforts that I can study over the weekend.  ETA: And, thanks!
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 03:59:55 PM by MiserlyMiser »

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #641 on: May 05, 2017, 10:01:14 PM »
My hunch is that there are more solo / small practitioners seeking financial independence than big firm or government lawyers for two reasons: (1) they already have a great deal of control over their schedule and so are more likely to intuitively get the "early retirement" stuff and (2) they see a direct relationship between work effort and income, so they have a better understanding of the concept of "your money or your life".

Would you agree with this hypothesis? You have a lot more experience on this forum than I do, so am curious what you've seen here and elsewhere.

Eh, that's not my impression from having participated in these forums, and the lawyer threads, pretty regularly over the last two years.  I think we have a really good mix of attorneys on here -- several in biglaw, mid-size law firms, small firms, in-house, government, public interest, and academia, including a strong number of solos or folks controlling their own practice.  Also, I would note that many of us have started in one category and successfully transitioned to another, often as a result of having achieved a satisfactory level of financial security and deciding to pursue true interest or better work/life balance.  You might be just looking at a snapshot of us as we exist in our jobs/sabbatical/retirement now, but you should take into account that many of us have experienced different practices in different phases of our adult life.

Personally, I was in biglaw for 8.5 years and have been pursuing FI because I wanted to get out from under control of extreme hours, pressure, office politics, toxic people, lack of a balanced life.  I stayed at the firm a lot longer than I had ever planned, but it enabled me to save money like crazy, while still living a very comfortable life.  At this point, I'm about 10 months into a sabbatical period for reconnecting with family, traveling, volunteering, etc.  With the market having performed as well as it did over that time, it's making it very hard for me to find the motivation to start looking for any new work.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 10:09:58 PM by LeRainDrop »

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #642 on: May 06, 2017, 07:24:05 AM »
Big Law Investor -

Sorry for answering a question that wasn't asked! That probably shows more about my own mindset than yours :)

With my small firm brothers and sisters, I see a mixed bag. Some of them are like me, running a tight ship, saving like crazy, making significant sums of money and happy to be basically anonymous in our own legal community. Then I see some solos/small firms that have me scratching my head because they can't grasp the basics of running a business. I just had a good friend (and former big law attorney) tell me about her 1) credit card debt, 2) IRS debt for back taxes 3) 100k+ law school loans still pending after 8 years of practice. She mentioned it like I was supposed to understand. I didn't correct her. I have another guy who once showed up to ask me for advice about whether he should hire a paralegal, I asked "What were your gross receipts in prior year," he answered "What does gross receipts mean?" My point is some of the small law attorneys are just as bad at business/finance as everyone else.

I'm beginning to see certain cues inside a small law office that would allow me to distinguish between the financially savvy and the other, but it is subtle.

So, I would tend to disagree with your hypothesis and probably side with LeRainDrop. I would hypothesize people with decent financial sense are hidden all over the legal profession in no particular concentration. How can you devise an experiment for your blog to find the answer?

PS - I once wrote my story of leaving a small law firm to create my own law firm on the FU money thread. It was basically one big example of an entire collection of small law attorneys who were totally ignorant about money - but great attorneys.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 07:33:08 AM by FIREby35 »

MiserlyMiser

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #643 on: May 08, 2017, 08:42:31 AM »
I had my interview this morning.  I think it went well, but it was an unusual interview (IME, anyway, for a legal job--I have engineering friends who say this is standard in their field): they asked me experiential questions, like, discuss an experience where you had to resolve an issue between two employees with conflicting points of view, give an example of what leadership means to you, etc.  I kind of expected something like that from the essay questions they had me answer, and I've been working long enough that every experience they asked me to describe is actually something that I've experienced and that I could speak to, and I think they liked me.  They said they expected to have a decision by the end of the month. 

I'm not 100% sure this is the job for me, but it would be good to have it as an option, anyway. 

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #644 on: May 17, 2017, 12:12:49 PM »
So I am on the cusp of having quite a job dilemma.  Basically, a very reputable attorney in my small town is looking to hire a second associate. The associate he has now does a lot of his criminal work, and he's looking for someone with civil experience to run his PI practice.

He and I met on Monday and had a very candid discussion, and all things are pointing to that this is probably going to happen if we can sort out the numbers.

Here's a summary of just the numbers between my current job and the potential new job:

Current Job
-Salary: $47,500
-Offers 401k and 3% match
-Offers pretty decent health insurance (HSA compatible, they deposit $2,500 per year in HSA; costs me about $325 per month)
-They pay for all CLEs and all bar dues up to $2,000 per year (which is basically all of them)
-No earnings on receipts
-No bonus
-Broad civil practice, but I'm the only associate and work is a drudge here a lot of the time. Overall this job is manageable, but I don't see a long term future here.

Potential New Job
-Salary negotiable, but likely between $45,000 and $50,000
-Would earn 10-12% of receipts (really no idea as to a guesstimate on these receipts)
-No health insurance (estimates I'm seeing for private health insurance are about $650 per month)
-Offers IRA (think it's a SIMPLE IRA, so maximum contribution is $12,500; would include mandatory 3% match of salary)
-Not sure if they pay CLEs/bar dues
-Would manage personal injury practice, and would have autonomy to bring in my own clients
-Would be working with an extremely reputable solo; might be a good landing spot before going out on my own.
-Even though it's PI, I'm envious of being able to specialize and niche down in something. Going from practice area to practice area is mentally exhausting.

Basically, it comes down to (1) having a job at a reputable firm with benefits and no earnings on receipts (current job) versus (2) having a job with much less benefits, but the opportunity to work upon receipts (potential new job).

I think it's obvious which way I'm leaning, but I'm just hoping to get some input and see if anyone has had any similar experiences.
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Laura33

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #645 on: May 17, 2017, 12:22:29 PM »
. . . .

Before you decide to specialize in something, make sure it is something that you're actually interested in.  The only thing I have heard you voice a real interest in is labor and employment work.  Personal injury work is about as far away from that as I can imagine!  IME, the people who enjoy and are good at PI work are not really the same people who enjoy/are good at regulatory/compliance/labor/employment work.  I am saying this from personal experience:  I also do regulatory/compliance work, and I got my ass handed to me by a local PI lawyer who is very street-smart and good at connecting with people in a way I am not.  I have a very different skill set that is more suited to the kind of work I do.

I guess what I am really asking is:  are you running to this job because it interests you?  Or because you are desperate to get away from your current situation and this seems to be the best/only option available?
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ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #646 on: May 17, 2017, 12:37:52 PM »
. . . .

Before you decide to specialize in something, make sure it is something that you're actually interested in.  The only thing I have heard you voice a real interest in is labor and employment work.  Personal injury work is about as far away from that as I can imagine!  IME, the people who enjoy and are good at PI work are not really the same people who enjoy/are good at regulatory/compliance/labor/employment work.  I am saying this from personal experience:  I also do regulatory/compliance work, and I got my ass handed to me by a local PI lawyer who is very street-smart and good at connecting with people in a way I am not.  I have a very different skill set that is more suited to the kind of work I do.

I guess what I am really asking is:  are you running to this job because it interests you?  Or because you are desperate to get away from your current situation and this seems to be the best/only option available?

Job interests me for a variety of reasons, in no particular order:

(1) Love the opportunity to have skin in the game;
(2) Would love to work for one boss (who I get along with and know very well) instead of 23;
(3) Support staff would be a lot better than at current job, which would be a huge help;
(4) I'd still have the opportunity to bring on my own civil clients, which means I can bring my existing diverse civil practice, and attempt to grow a L&E practice while under the direction of a reputable attorney.  At my current job, as the only associate, I'm simply too damn busy to even attempt to recruit my own practice; and
(5) I genuinely enjoy tort law. PI gets narrowed down into accidents, but it also involves premises liability, workplace injuries outside the scope of workers' comp, etc. I usually enjoy working on this stuff.

In sum, I'm genuinely interested in the new job for a variety of reasons. My big holdup is the lack of benefits and just the unknown of changing jobs (haven't done it in my professional career).
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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #647 on: May 17, 2017, 01:59:18 PM »
. . . .

Before you decide to specialize in something, make sure it is something that you're actually interested in.  The only thing I have heard you voice a real interest in is labor and employment work.  Personal injury work is about as far away from that as I can imagine!  IME, the people who enjoy and are good at PI work are not really the same people who enjoy/are good at regulatory/compliance/labor/employment work.  I am saying this from personal experience:  I also do regulatory/compliance work, and I got my ass handed to me by a local PI lawyer who is very street-smart and good at connecting with people in a way I am not.  I have a very different skill set that is more suited to the kind of work I do.

I guess what I am really asking is:  are you running to this job because it interests you?  Or because you are desperate to get away from your current situation and this seems to be the best/only option available?

Job interests me for a variety of reasons, in no particular order:

(1) Love the opportunity to have skin in the game;
(2) Would love to work for one boss (who I get along with and know very well) instead of 23;
(3) Support staff would be a lot better than at current job, which would be a huge help;
(4) I'd still have the opportunity to bring on my own civil clients, which means I can bring my existing diverse civil practice, and attempt to grow a L&E practice while under the direction of a reputable attorney.  At my current job, as the only associate, I'm simply too damn busy to even attempt to recruit my own practice; and
(5) I genuinely enjoy tort law. PI gets narrowed down into accidents, but it also involves premises liability, workplace injuries outside the scope of workers' comp, etc. I usually enjoy working on this stuff.

In sum, I'm genuinely interested in the new job for a variety of reasons. My big holdup is the lack of benefits and just the unknown of changing jobs (haven't done it in my professional career).

The pay seems low to me.  How many years in are you? I do a ton of PI work.  PI takes a few years to get profitable as settlements tend to come on the eve of trial.  Insurance companies are stingy lately.  I get a salary (close to 6 figures, not quite) and after my receivables reach 3 times my salary, I get 1/3rd of the rest as a bonus.  No extra money for origination right now.  I also get a small $3k or so holiday bonus.  I get a health insurance stipend (about $2k/year I think) to be on my husband's insurance.  I've been here since 2011, practicing since 2009.  Haven't had a raise in a few years but that's because of my bonus structure.  I'm not sure I would want a much higher base.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #648 on: May 18, 2017, 08:13:31 AM »
The pay seems low to me.  How many years in are you? I do a ton of PI work.  PI takes a few years to get profitable as settlements tend to come on the eve of trial.  Insurance companies are stingy lately.  I get a salary (close to 6 figures, not quite) and after my receivables reach 3 times my salary, I get 1/3rd of the rest as a bonus.  No extra money for origination right now.  I also get a small $3k or so holiday bonus.  I get a health insurance stipend (about $2k/year I think) to be on my husband's insurance.  I've been here since 2011, practicing since 2009.  Haven't had a raise in a few years but that's because of my bonus structure.  I'm not sure I would want a much higher base.

You mean the pay for both jobs? It's most certainly because of my extremely low COL area than anything else. COL is lower, fees are lower, salaries for associates are lower. The biggest rainmaker in my firm probably brings in $330k in receipts per year.

My biggest dilemma in terms of finances is wondering what type of receipts I can expect. Seems like if he has a good PI practice going, this has a chance to be a substantial raise. Or am I dreaming of the grass being greener?
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FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #649 on: June 03, 2017, 07:29:39 AM »
Does anyone on this thread work in the Mass Torts arena on the Plaintiff or Defense side? If so, I'd love to speak/write with you. Would you please send me a personal message.

Thanks.