Author Topic: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?  (Read 105230 times)

MiserlyMiser

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #650 on: June 09, 2017, 08:48:11 AM »
Update--the city did not make me an offer.  I'm considering reaching out and asking them to keep me in mind if additional opportunities arise . . . but I'm also thinking of just pushing through until the December bonus in my current job and then retiring.  It's only another 5 1/2 months at this point. 

Stone11

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #651 on: June 10, 2017, 09:21:04 AM »
I've been practicing in insurance defense for the past six years and am looking to make the jump from litigation to transaction work.  I am currently trying to put my resume together.  The only resume I've created was out of law school and I have no experience in putting together a resume with actual attorney experience. 

Does anyone know of any resources or resume examples to work from for lateral attorneys or litigation-to-transaction attorneys?

shawndoggy

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #652 on: June 10, 2017, 10:12:51 AM »
I've been practicing in insurance defense for the past six years and am looking to make the jump from litigation to transaction work.  I am currently trying to put my resume together.  The only resume I've created was out of law school and I have no experience in putting together a resume with actual attorney experience. 

Does anyone know of any resources or resume examples to work from for lateral attorneys or litigation-to-transaction attorneys?

A resume is going to list your actual experience.  The problem (I'm guessing) is that you don't actually have any transactional experience to put on your "I want to be a transactional lawyer" resume?

If you are looking for ways to get some experience when your day-to-day job doesn't afford it, I'd suggest getting involved with the ABA Buisness Law section (and especially attending the section's annual meeting, which usually has a "boot camp" for new lawyers), and also getting involved with your state bar's business law/corporate/real property section(s).

CloserToFree

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #653 on: June 10, 2017, 02:43:45 PM »
Does anyone know of any resources or resume examples to work from for lateral attorneys or litigation-to-transaction attorneys?

Try this Stanford Law School website:
https://law.stanford.edu/careers/alumni-career-resources/sample-lateral-application-materials/#slsnav-resumes

TVRodriguez

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #654 on: June 12, 2017, 12:26:40 PM »
I've been practicing in insurance defense for the past six years and am looking to make the jump from litigation to transaction work.  I am currently trying to put my resume together.  The only resume I've created was out of law school and I have no experience in putting together a resume with actual attorney experience. 

Does anyone know of any resources or resume examples to work from for lateral attorneys or litigation-to-transaction attorneys?

I don't have a resume example but can share my experience in switching practice areas.  I moved from commercial litigation to transactional work early in my career.  I definitely think it helped to list on my resume anything I could think of that related to the area I wanted to practice.  I had been going to many CLEs in my desired practice area for a year, so I listed all of them on my resume to show that I had been learning and studying.  I also listed the law school classes I took that related to the practice area.  I listed my work for a professor during law school who taught classes in that practice area.  I was only a couple of years out of school, so I felt that was relevant.  And I managed to get assigned to a couple of matters in my chosen area at the firm I was leaving, so I described those matters in my resume, too.  I don't still have that resume (it's been about 16 years since I made the switch and I did the Marie Kondo cleanout last year), so I can't share it.  Good luck.

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #655 on: August 07, 2017, 04:33:38 PM »
Goodness gracious, I haven't posted here in almost 8 months and I'm so happy to see this thread is still chugging along.

RSM, take the new job.  It sounds like a solid opportunity and the compensation with % of revenue is outstanding if you get out there and hustle up some new clients.  Learn PI.  If you don't like it, you can always switch and learn something else.  It's not like it will be engraved on your tombstone.

I'm glad to see FIREby35 is still on here evangelizing on the badassity of well-run solo/ small firms.  FIRE, I just tried to call you but missed your closing time by about 10 minutes.  I'll try again tomorrow as I have a PI case to co-counsel with you on.

My firm is closing in on its second anniversary and holy shit it has been an awesome year.  My average monthly gross revenue is just under $10k.  I have one client on a monthly retainer of $3k and boy howdy is it nice to know that the check is showing up every month like clockwork.  My actual v. goal graph is attached. 

Next month, I go to trial in the fire case (plaintiff's attorney -- the Ds started an open burn of timber debris, lost control, burned 1/3 of my client's forest).   It is shaping up very nicely with depositions starting next week.  I have admissions from the Ds that cinch their liability for nuisance and trespass and some solid evidence in support of not only negligence but willful and wanton negligence that will help our punitive damage claim.  It's been super fun and I can't wait for trial (though settlement will be fine too but they have to pay me to go away at this point).

As I close out my second year, I am having a ball.  It's good to be back with you guys again.
I refinanced my student loans with SoFi and dropped my interest rate from over 7% to 3.9%.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #656 on: August 10, 2017, 11:54:25 AM »
What a great update Truly Stachin! How are your expenses looking?

TrulyStashin

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #657 on: August 10, 2017, 06:10:36 PM »
What a great update Truly Stachin! How are your expenses looking?

I waiting on an updated P&L from my bookkeeper, but as of May 31, 2017:

Total Income - $49,249
Total Expenses - $17,095

My monthly overhead runs around $1,200.00 (home office) so the $17,095 includes some travel (e.g. ABA conference) and business development stuff (e.g. local bar assn. dues/ events).

Not bad.  I'm starting to think about hiring.  Maybe Q1 or 2 or 2018.
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 #658 on: August 10, 2017, 07:00:00 PM »
For the record, I think TrulyStashin's story is pretty cool and I can't help but chuckle at the difference in tone from her original posts to her current ones. I'll always evangelize for a well run solo because I see myself and people like TS having a blast and making cash. The law can be fun.

Spiffsome

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #659 on: August 10, 2017, 07:35:30 PM »
Question for FIREby35, TrulyStashin  - what skill set is required for a 'well run solo'? I'm contemplating quitting a dead-end govt job and the idea that sole practice can be fun is pretty foreign to me. All of the sole practitioners that I've met have been high-strung and slightly insane.

I've already got the Mustachian grip on my budget, so what other skills would you say are critical? I'd appreciate any answers.

LeRainDrop

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #660 on: August 10, 2017, 08:32:39 PM »
For the record, I think TrulyStashin's story is pretty cool and I can't help but chuckle at the difference in tone from her original posts to her current ones.

I totally agree! It seems like just yesterday when she was contemplating leaving her firm, where they didn't really appreciate her how they should have, and now already she is totally thriving as a solo!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #661 on: August 11, 2017, 07:32:32 AM »
Good to see some updates here, and especially glad to see TS doing well.  Also not surprised to see FIRE still preaching the solo life.

To add my two cents, I've actually had a very positive year at my firm. I just got a raise and a partner with a substantial ERISA/workers' comp trial practice is retiring 12/31/17 and is transitioning almost his entire practice to me. The firm has basically insisted that nobody else give me work unless it's an emergency, so I have had a very nice work-life balance here the last few months and have been really able to specialize in these two areas, which has been great professionally and for my peace of mind.

Onto the new job opportunity, it is still hanging out there, but I've run the numbers over and over and I really don't think I'd make as much. I also am incredibly nervous about hitching my practice to one attorney rather than a firm of 20 attorneys.

Right now, the bottom line for me is that I believe I am just now becoming comfortable in my practice. I'm continuing to learn and gain confidence. I can see myself growing here, and I've had a meeting with shareholders and learned that the most junior partner here is pulling in a salary of $90k plus bonuses.

I'm likely rationalizing my current situation, but I feel good professionally for the first time in a long time, and I'm not ready to rock that boat quite yet.
No more zero days. Promise yourself that you will do one thing every day that takes you one step closer to your goal.

crimwell

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #662 on: August 11, 2017, 08:29:23 AM »
the most junior partner here is pulling in a salary of $90k plus bonuses.

that's not bad anywhere but the expensive coastal areas, but keep in mind that a 3rd-4th year federal government lawyer in Cleveland or Pittsburgh is making about $90K working 40-50 hour weeks (no bonus, or tiny bonus though). The big downside for a government employee is no ownership of the firm, limited ability to advance, etc. I know you said you were near Youngstown or somewhere around there, and cost of living is probably lower than even in Cleveland or Pittsburgh, but do keep in mind that there are other options if you don't see the possibility of a big payoff, or of joining the partnership in the next 3-5 years, etc.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #663 on: August 11, 2017, 06:31:10 PM »
Question for FIREby35, TrulyStashin  - what skill set is required for a 'well run solo'? I'm contemplating quitting a dead-end govt job and the idea that sole practice can be fun is pretty foreign to me. All of the sole practitioners that I've met have been high-strung and slightly insane.

I've already got the Mustachian grip on my budget, so what other skills would you say are critical? I'd appreciate any answers.

I think the biggest skillset needed is a sense of adventure. I know that sounds crazy but I mean it. You will be thrust into all kinds of new situations and you'll need to meet them head on. Even if you mess it up, you need to take the lesson, move on and do it all again. You don't have to know it all when you begin, you have to commit to getting better every day.

Check out this article I wrote for a blog which is written by one of the people on this thread:

http://www.biglawinvestor.com/personal-freedom-open-a-solo-law-practice/

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #664 on: August 12, 2017, 08:03:49 AM »
the most junior partner here is pulling in a salary of $90k plus bonuses.

that's not bad anywhere but the expensive coastal areas, but keep in mind that a 3rd-4th year federal government lawyer in Cleveland or Pittsburgh is making about $90K working 40-50 hour weeks (no bonus, or tiny bonus though). The big downside for a government employee is no ownership of the firm, limited ability to advance, etc. I know you said you were near Youngstown or somewhere around there, and cost of living is probably lower than even in Cleveland or Pittsburgh, but do keep in mind that there are other options if you don't see the possibility of a big payoff, or of joining the partnership in the next 3-5 years, etc.

Ya, I actually looked at a table made by the OSBA and found that, with my current raise, I'm making a hair below what the average attorney with my experience makes in Youngstown.  But, my wife and I still have debts to pay off, we plan to have kids soon, on and on...I really value the stability that my firm provides at this juncture in my life.

For what it's worth, you're right, my potential salary goes a long way here in Youngstown. If I keep improving and become partner (and hopefully earn $90k/year), my wife and I would have a joint income of approximately $160,000.  According to a COL calculator on bankrate, that's equivalent to earning $200k in Cleveland.

All in all, I'd still say things are fluid, but doing a good job here for now is providing stability that I value quite highly at this point in my life.
No more zero days. Promise yourself that you will do one thing every day that takes you one step closer to your goal.

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #665 on: August 12, 2017, 10:23:36 AM »
What a great update Truly Stachin! How are your expenses looking?

I waiting on an updated P&L from my bookkeeper, but as of May 31, 2017:

Total Income - $49,249
Total Expenses - $17,095

My monthly overhead runs around $1,200.00 (home office) so the $17,095 includes some travel (e.g. ABA conference) and business development stuff (e.g. local bar assn. dues/ events).

Not bad.  I'm starting to think about hiring.  Maybe Q1 or 2 or 2018.
  Wait.  48-17 = 32. That's for five months?  So your profit is $6400 a month before self employment taxes?  And you are thinking about hiring?  Why?

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #666 on: August 12, 2017, 10:25:41 AM »
Check out this article I wrote for a blog which is written by one of the people on this thread:

http://www.biglawinvestor.com/personal-freedom-open-a-solo-law-practice/
  I read his blog - I did not realize he was here in the thread.  What's his username?

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #667 on: August 12, 2017, 10:28:23 AM »
If I keep improving and become partner (and hopefully earn $90k/year),
  Inheriting a book of business is great, but you need to focus on growing it and developing your own.  That $90k is not even close to the potential of what you can develop.  Not even close.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #668 on: August 12, 2017, 02:59:37 PM »
Check out this article I wrote for a blog which is written by one of the people on this thread:

http://www.biglawinvestor.com/personal-freedom-open-a-solo-law-practice/
  I read his blog - I did not realize he was here in the thread.  What's his username?

His username is "biglawinvestor"! :)

MiserlyMiser

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #669 on: August 17, 2017, 10:03:50 AM »
What a great update Truly Stachin! How are your expenses looking?

I waiting on an updated P&L from my bookkeeper, but as of May 31, 2017:

Total Income - $49,249
Total Expenses - $17,095

My monthly overhead runs around $1,200.00 (home office) so the $17,095 includes some travel (e.g. ABA conference) and business development stuff (e.g. local bar assn. dues/ events).

Not bad.  I'm starting to think about hiring.  Maybe Q1 or 2 or 2018.
  Wait.  48-17 = 32. That's for five months?  So your profit is $6400 a month before self employment taxes?  And you are thinking about hiring?  Why?

I'm interested to TrulyStashin's response, but the tone of the question indicates you think it's a bad idea to hire on these numbers, and I don't think that's necessarily true, especially given TrulyStashin's pretty awesome entrepreneurial spirit.  TrulyStashin doesn't seem to have any trouble attracting business.  As long as the associate bills more than his/her salary & other expenses, it seems like a pretty good idea.  (But what do I know, I'm in BigLaw and solo life is a foreign country to me.)

taxedatty

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #670 on: August 17, 2017, 08:56:06 PM »
A little late to the party, I suppose, but after reading 2.5 years worth of people's ups and downs, I just wanted to say what a positive thread this turned out to be!!

I myself am somewhat "non-traditional" by all of your standards.  I worked as a data analyst before law school.  I had always wanted to go to law school and finally did three years after I started working.  Because of my analyst background, I'm also fairly good with numbers and ended up loving tax.  While you don't necessarily need to be good at numbers to do tax law, if you have good numbers skills it opens up your prospects a bit especially in tax since so many lawyers are numbers-averse.  So after my JD, I immediately did my LLM in tax.  I ended up in Big4, in a specialty group comprised of mostly lawyers and few CPAs.  While as a technical matter I'm not "practicing" (as I'm told because I don't work at a law firm), I do maintain my atty licenses.  The money is pretty good (I make in the 110's + bonus 2.5 years in), although sometimes I do wish I had that biglaw $180. 

The good news is I generally work around 50 per week on average, and outside of the occasional compliance (aka tax return prep), I do what any other tax lawyer would be doing, legal research, writing, controversy, tax opinions, due diligence, restructuring work etc.  I think I probably also get to do other things that are interesting to me that law firm lawyers may not, for example modeling tax scenarios to accompany our other deliverables (do lawyers in law firms do that?!?! Serious question.)  I am also a very practical person, so doing something that actually results in a recognizable result to the bottom line is neat for me.  So it's interesting how much overlap there may be in types of work, but I have exactly 0 idea what it's like to work in a law firm.

I'd be curious to hear about other Big4 lawyers if there are any here.  My impression is its easier to make partner in Big4, especially if you are technical (which helps you sell work early on as manager/director).  Curious if anyone with Big4 experience agrees/disagrees.

FIREby35

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #671 on: August 18, 2017, 12:51:47 PM »
What a great update Truly Stachin! How are your expenses looking?

I waiting on an updated P&L from my bookkeeper, but as of May 31, 2017:

Total Income - $49,249
Total Expenses - $17,095

My monthly overhead runs around $1,200.00 (home office) so the $17,095 includes some travel (e.g. ABA conference) and business development stuff (e.g. local bar assn. dues/ events).

Not bad.  I'm starting to think about hiring.  Maybe Q1 or 2 or 2018.
  Wait.  48-17 = 32. That's for five months?  So your profit is $6400 a month before self employment taxes?  And you are thinking about hiring?  Why?

I'm interested to TrulyStashin's response, but the tone of the question indicates you think it's a bad idea to hire on these numbers, and I don't think that's necessarily true, especially given TrulyStashin's pretty awesome entrepreneurial spirit.  TrulyStashin doesn't seem to have any trouble attracting business.  As long as the associate bills more than his/her salary & other expenses, it seems like a pretty good idea.  (But what do I know, I'm in BigLaw and solo life is a foreign country to me.)

It's a legit question. The key is that solo/small civil litigation firms can have profits and cash come in in bursts. Last year TS won the big case where she got a 70k fee (or more, can't recall). I'd say that is normal. Our biggest month this year was over 200k. Smallest month was 14k. It just depends on the cases in the pipeline and how clearly you can forcast future payouts.

Also, it depends on what kind of staff. For a small solo one assistant making $15 an hour who is nice, answers the phone, can print letters, send mail, open mail, do your correspondence, schedule an appointment is a lifesaver. Even 20 hours a week of administrative time can be a huge lift. That's 20 hours a week at $15 and hours is only $1,200 per month.

Long story short, it's not as crazy as it might seem at first glance. Although, I do agree it's not something to be taken lightly. Payroll can easily get out of control and sink the ship.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2017, 12:53:52 PM by FIREby35 »

DCKatie09

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #672 on: August 18, 2017, 01:59:44 PM »
What a great update Truly Stachin! How are your expenses looking?

I waiting on an updated P&L from my bookkeeper, but as of May 31, 2017:

Total Income - $49,249
Total Expenses - $17,095

My monthly overhead runs around $1,200.00 (home office) so the $17,095 includes some travel (e.g. ABA conference) and business development stuff (e.g. local bar assn. dues/ events).

Not bad.  I'm starting to think about hiring.  Maybe Q1 or 2 or 2018.
  Wait.  48-17 = 32. That's for five months?  So your profit is $6400 a month before self employment taxes?  And you are thinking about hiring?  Why?

I'm interested to TrulyStashin's response, but the tone of the question indicates you think it's a bad idea to hire on these numbers, and I don't think that's necessarily true, especially given TrulyStashin's pretty awesome entrepreneurial spirit.  TrulyStashin doesn't seem to have any trouble attracting business.  As long as the associate bills more than his/her salary & other expenses, it seems like a pretty good idea.  (But what do I know, I'm in BigLaw and solo life is a foreign country to me.)

It's a legit question. The key is that solo/small civil litigation firms can have profits and cash come in in bursts. Last year TS won the big case where she got a 70k fee (or more, can't recall). I'd say that is normal. Our biggest month this year was over 200k. Smallest month was 14k. It just depends on the cases in the pipeline and how clearly you can forcast future payouts.

Also, it depends on what kind of staff. For a small solo one assistant making $15 an hour who is nice, answers the phone, can print letters, send mail, open mail, do your correspondence, schedule an appointment is a lifesaver. Even 20 hours a week of administrative time can be a huge lift. That's 20 hours a week at $15 and hours is only $1,200 per month.

Long story short, it's not as crazy as it might seem at first glance. Although, I do agree it's not something to be taken lightly. Payroll can easily get out of control and sink the ship.
One of my friends is a solo and he said hiring a legal assistant was the smartest and most profitable decision he made in his first two years.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Any Lawyer Mustachians on here?
« Reply #673 on: Today at 12:31:06 PM »
Solo here with a part-time assistant.  I've found that a part-time college student assistant is a great asset to me.  I only need 20-30 hours a week, and since I have a paper-heavy practice (Wills & Trusts tends that way), having those extra non-lawyer hands is a great help.  I know I CAN do it all myself because I did it all myself for the first year and a half.  I prefer not to.  I like having someone else here.  I start paying them $12/hour, with raises along the way as skills increase.

I have been more profitable with an assistant than without one.  There is a learning curve for them and me each time, since I don't hire experienced people.  (I want them to learn to do things MY way, not someone else's way, and I don't want to have to un-teach them what someone else taught them to do badly.)  But it's worth it for me.  Just training someone new now, actually, since my last assistant started law school last week (despite working for a lawyer for 2 years!).  So far, so good.