Author Topic: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?  (Read 44493 times)

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #150 on: June 08, 2018, 07:02:56 AM »
RSM - I was just reading your post to my wife about your malpractice insurance and how much it cost, she said, "Oh man, that's a lot." Check out Minnesota Lawyers Mutual for your insurance. According to my wife (who is a CPA and does all our books) we get at least one million in coverage for two attorneys for about the price you are paying. Just check it out. It might save you some cash.

Also, on the legal research thing, I have found that google gives you most decisions if you find it cited in a brief or something and then, if it is federal, you can pull up the case docket on Pacer and get all the original documents, including briefs filed by both parties in the case. My biggest problem is copying and pasting from PDF's of others great arguments. You can even get transcripts of hearings to really know what is going to happen - usually for a couple dollars! If you do that, opposing counsel is usually not as well prepared and you have the advantage. Our state system is electronic and allows you to see all the filings online as well. So, I do the same thing. I have a statute book that has the criminal statutes, criminal procedure statutes and civil procedure statutes, jury instruction book, evidence book, and a book that is titled [State] Trials and includes all the relevant statutes and cases for each phase of trial. The circuit Court and our state Court put annotated model jury instructions online as well and once you have the case citation, you have it all. Anyway, with all that readily available for no subscription and often for free I rarely need additional research tools. Those books probably cost $500 total. If I do need more, I get a law clerk for the project - which is cheaper than a contract with Westlaw or Nexis which they bring with them as current law student who get it for free. Not to mention the law library if you really need it.

The point is, Westlaw and Nexis are dinosaurs and certainly not needed to run a profitable and aggressive litigation firm.

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #151 on: June 08, 2018, 09:26:35 AM »
My biggest problem is copying and pasting from PDF's of others great arguments.

@FIREby35 This may help with the copying and pasting... https://pdfcandy.com/


DealingWithDreams

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #152 on: June 08, 2018, 07:15:38 PM »
ReadySetMillionaire,

I've read your post with interest because a few years ago, I did the exact same thing that you did. I am glad that you negotiated to keep  a percentage of cases you originate, because I didn't (I just get a straight salary) and now I'm kicking myself! Good job!

I would try and renegotiate that, but the dynamics of the firm have changed and it would not be well received.



FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #153 on: June 09, 2018, 08:10:52 AM »
My biggest problem is copying and pasting from PDF's of others great arguments.

@FIREby35 This may help with the copying and pasting... https://pdfcandy.com/

OMG! Thanks!

LeRainDrop

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #154 on: June 09, 2018, 08:22:41 AM »
My biggest problem is copying and pasting from PDF's of others great arguments.

@FIREby35 This may help with the copying and pasting... https://pdfcandy.com/

OMG! Thanks!

Ditto! Seriously, I am in the middle of a project right now that involves lots of quoting from pdf-ed letters, and this program is going to be a huge time saver. Thank you!

Edit: Oh, and this is flat fee legal work :-)
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 10:26:43 PM by LeRainDrop »

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #155 on: June 09, 2018, 04:14:27 PM »
Just an FYI...There are numerous pdf editors online for free.  Some you can download others that you can use online.  So if you ever need to manipulate a pdf in someway just Google what you want and usually you can find what you need.  Sometimes the size of the file may be limited or the number of uses in a month is limited.  The other thing you need to watch for is some will watermark the document.

cutepdf - This one is a great pdf driver you can download to print docs to pdf.
pdf escape - This one is good to fill out forms.
pdf995 - This is a downloadable software.  It has annoying ads, but works well.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #156 on: June 10, 2018, 08:07:33 AM »
RSM - If you get a big case, co-counsel it.

By "big case" I mean something where you can see there is a big recovery. A big contract dispute, major injuries on a med mal, major injuries in a truck accident or something like that. Med mal cases are a great example. They can take tens of thousands or a hundred thousand dollars and years of floating it to effectively prosecute. I've been practicing for 8 years, I manage 100+ PI cases (and another 100+ immigration and criminal) and I've been dutifully mustachian - but I don't have that kind of money to invest in a single case. I max out at about 10k which, in my neck of the woods, can buy a life-care plan, loss of earning capacity report and economist report. Anything over that, I call specific attorneys I researched and interviewed (although, informally and they didn't know they were getting interviewed!) and I believe maximize the recovery potential for me and the client (aligned incentives for clients and counsel on that one!).

Anyway, it depends on the co-counsel attorney but the best deal I have gotten is 50/50 split, they pay costs and do the work. If you think about it, its an offer you can't refuse. That attorney is a former president of our trial attorney association and has won so many cases worth so much money he doesn't sweat the expenses and he doesn't have to negotiate for a good percentage split - he just gets calls from all the other Plaintiff attorneys to work their best cases. If you are plaintiff trial attorney, that is as good as it gets.

On that, I'm sure your office mates are great and you definitely want to reciprocate with people who send referrals. But, if you get "the big one" make sure you take the time to pick your co-counsel partner carefully. Just like the tax strategy and your billing philosophy you want to have a really good reason for why you chose a particular person as you co-counsel partner on a game changer case.

PS RSM - I just got a call yesterday that a case I referred a year ago to this attorney settled for 135k and I'll be getting a 22k check in the mail this week (50/50 on 44k fee). After I signed up the client and brought in the co-counsel, I did basically nothing. I went to a couple meetings but had no responsibility for interacting with opposing counsel, filings or anything like that. That is the best way to make money as a lawyer!

Take a minute to think about it from the client perspective. How would they have known to find the most well-regarded Plaintiff attorney in their state for their issue? The person who just spoke at a national AAJ event on exactly that issue? This involved extremely sensitive issues that not just anybody could successfully deal with. It didn't cost them anything extra. Anyway, I think helping non-lawyers navigate the entire system, including finding the right specialist, is a service and you can get paid for it.

Dicey

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #157 on: June 10, 2018, 11:45:24 AM »
Wow, great advice and great progress!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #158 on: June 14, 2018, 08:10:04 AM »
I have received enough checks that it is time for me to go to the bank.  Two of these checks are retainers.  These obviously go into the IOLTA account. 

But what about clients who paid my bill hourly?  I've already earned these fees, meaning they can be deposited straight into the operating account, correct?

This is obviously a red-flag area so I'm trying to be super cautious.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #159 on: June 14, 2018, 11:23:27 AM »
I actually know each state has its own rules on this question. In one of my states EVERYTHING has to go to trust first. In the other state you can deposit earned fees directly into the business account.

The attitude I take is that I ALWAYS want to be able to justify anything I do with money. Rather than be fearful, be prepared to always explain the the "who, what, where, when, why" for any movement. It's actually really easy. Wells Fargo give the opportunity to input a description on their online transfer. So, I put it there. Scan a copy of your bill into your electronic file, write an email to yourself with a certain heading that goes automatically into an outlook folder. Whatever, just keep notes and reconcile your books regularly (or have a bookkeeper do it, eventually).

One idea is to go look at some disciplinary decisions from your state and then do the opposite of what got people in trouble! If you read a couple that involved money, you'll get a feel for what gets people in trouble. You can even call the counsel for discipline and ask what decisions they think a new practitioner should read and then read them. It'll take an hour and save you years of worry.


TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #160 on: June 18, 2018, 10:39:35 AM »
Ditto FIREby35:  check your state rules.  Lots of bars offer free CLEs on trust accounting to make it easier to comply.  Check yours.

In my state, earned fees go in the operating account.  Those checks do not represent client money, which is what goes into the trust account.  Here, flat fees can be considered earned and immediately deposited into an operating account as well.

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #161 on: June 18, 2018, 12:17:43 PM »
Ditto FIREby35:  check your state rules.  Lots of bars offer free CLEs on trust accounting to make it easier to comply.  Check yours.

In my state, earned fees go in the operating account.  Those checks do not represent client money, which is what goes into the trust account.  Here, flat fees can be considered earned and immediately deposited into an operating account as well.

And my state is different on flat fees.  You have to do something to earn it and if it is a large matter, you need to take the flat fee in chunks throughout, not all at the beginning.  So you can take the flat fee as a retainer and pay yourself from it throughout at your discretion but you do not "earn" the whole fee until you have substantially completed the work.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #162 on: June 19, 2018, 07:13:41 AM »
Ditto FIREby35:  check your state rules.  Lots of bars offer free CLEs on trust accounting to make it easier to comply.  Check yours.

In my state, earned fees go in the operating account.  Those checks do not represent client money, which is what goes into the trust account.  Here, flat fees can be considered earned and immediately deposited into an operating account as well.

And my state is different on flat fees.  You have to do something to earn it and if it is a large matter, you need to take the flat fee in chunks throughout, not all at the beginning.  So you can take the flat fee as a retainer and pay yourself from it throughout at your discretion but you do not "earn" the whole fee until you have substantially completed the work.

This is exactly the issue. I am licensed in one state that does it each way. Personally, I think the idea that a flat fee is not earned upon being retained is dumb. For example, if I take a 15k fee on a criminal conspiracy case I am immediately conflicted out of representing co-conspirators and even future people who might be connected to that person. So, I think I should be able to consider it earned upon making my Entry of Appearance. But, whatever. It's not that big a deal either way.

I actually have a sneaking suspicion it is more about the state bar getting more interest from the trust accounts! More money in trust accounts equals more interest payments to legal aid. But, I'm not against that either.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #163 on: June 19, 2018, 02:32:55 PM »
Thanks all for the advice.  I deposited everything yesterday and it all went well.

FYI if any other Ohio attorneys are reading: flat fees are not earned upon receipt unless specifically noted in the fee agreement.  This wording is complicated, so it's better to just deposit flat fees into IOLTA until the work is completed.



Also, and this is probably the only thing I procrastinated on, but I am sending out my law firm announcement to family and friends.  I couldn't find any templates of these online, so I'll let you guys pick this apart and let me know what you'd change.

I'm eventually going to delete this, so please try to comment/critique without quoting.

06/22/2018

Name
Address Line One
Address Line Two

   Re:   Opening of The Law Office of ReadySetMillionaire

Dear Family Friend:

I hope this letter finds you well, and I hope you enjoyed your recent trip to New York City to see Springsteen on Broadway [personal anecdote of which I was aware, will personalize with each client].

I am writing to let you know that I recently opened my own law practice here at home in City.  The opening of my own solo practice comes after practicing for other firms in the area for approximately four years, but I have ultimately decided to carve my own path so that I can concentrate all of my energy and expertise towards providing clients with straightforward and goal-oriented legal counsel.

My practice largely focuses on real estate litigation (boundary disputes, construction litigation, landlord/tenant, etc.), civil litigation (business law and litigation, employment law, personal injury, etc.), and estate planning.  You can learn more about my firm and its practice areas at www.readysetmillionare.com.

At this early stage, my marketing budget consists of the cost of the stamp on this letter and word-of-mouth referrals.  Thus, if you or anyone you know are in need of professional legal services, I would greatly appreciate if you contacted me or provided my contact information to a prospective client.

Thank you for your time and attention to this letter, and please tell [her friends and relatives, personalized with each client] I said hello.
                  
Respectfully yours,
                  

Adam
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 02:34:41 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #164 on: June 19, 2018, 03:05:09 PM »
Good letter.

Keep an excel spreadsheet with every personal and professional contact. You can send mailed postcards to the same people every quarter or six months. Christmas cards from the firm are good too. Anyway, you are collecting the addresses now so keep them organized for future use.

Another thing you can do is to have a "grand opening." We cut a ribbon with the chamber of commerce and everything. I had mine 6 months after opening the firm. So, there is no hurry. You can wait until things calm down. But, I think it helped people to be like, "Oh, wow, this is real. He has an office any everything." It's just another way to spread the word that you are open for business.

BTW, good job on getting paid and getting the money IN THE BANK! That is a big win.

Dicey

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #165 on: June 20, 2018, 10:15:12 AM »
Thanks all for the advice.  I deposited everything yesterday and it all went well.

FYI if any other Ohio attorneys are reading: flat fees are not earned upon receipt unless specifically noted in the fee agreement.  This wording is complicated, so it's better to just deposit flat fees into IOLTA until the work is completed.



Also, and this is probably the only thing I procrastinated on, but I am sending out my law firm announcement to family and friends.  I couldn't find any templates of these online, so I'll let you guys pick this apart and let me know what you'd change.

I'm eventually going to delete this, so please try to comment/critique without quoting.

06/22/2018

Name
Address Line One
Address Line Two

   Re:   Opening of The Law Office of ReadySetMillionaire

Dear Family Friend:

I hope this letter finds you well, and I hope you enjoyed your recent trip to New York City to see Springsteen on Broadway [personal anecdote of which I was aware, will personalize with each client].

I am writing to let you know that I recently opened my own law practice here at home in City.  The opening of my own solo practice comes after practicing for other firms in the area for approximately four years, but I have ultimately decided to carve my own path so that I can concentrate all of my energy and expertise towards providing clients with straightforward and goal-oriented legal counsel.

My practice largely focuses on real estate litigation (boundary disputes, construction litigation, landlord/tenant, etc.), civil litigation (business law and litigation, employment law, personal injury, etc.), and estate planning.  You can learn more about my firm and its practice areas at www.readysetmillionare.com.

At this early stage, my marketing budget consists of the cost of the stamp on this letter and word-of-mouth referrals.  Thus, if you or anyone you know are in need of professional legal services, I would greatly appreciate if you contacted me or provided my contact information to a prospective client.

Thank you for your time and attention to this letter, and please tell [her friends and relatives, personalized with each client] I said hello.
                  
Respectfully yours,
                  

Adam
I just copied this and sent it to myself. I think your letter is a good start, but could be better. To begin with, I would avoid using the same word twice in your opening sentence.

How thick is your skin? know we have some badass writers and editors on the forum, so you might want to ping lhamo, Malkynn, and axecleaver, among others, for more help.

We all want to see you succeed!

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #166 on: June 20, 2018, 11:47:50 AM »
Nice letter.  A bit wordy.  Sorry to quote you, but it's necessary to edit. 

I don't love the 'small marketing budget' line, but I can see the potential chuckle, so keep it if you're attached to it.  I also wouldn't use "focus" twice.  I changed the second one to "mainly handles" and made other changes, too.  I presume your website will be in your letterhead, so I took that out of the body.  Take what you like.


06/22/2018

Name
Address Line One
Address Line Two

   Re:   Announcing the The Law Office of ReadySetMillionaire

Dear Family Friend:

I am excited to announce that I have opened my own law practice here in City.  After practicing at area firms for several years, I have decided to carve my own path.  I will be focusing on providing City area clients with straightforward, goal-oriented, and cost-efficient legal counsel.

My practice mainly handles real estate litigation (boundary disputes, construction litigation, landlord/tenant, etc.), civil litigation (business law and litigation, employment law, personal injury, etc.), and estate planning.  Please visit my website for more information.

At this early stage, my marketing budget consists of the cost of the stamp on this letter and word-of-mouth referrals.  If you or anyone you know needs legal services, I would appreciate it if you contact me or send my contact information to your friends or family.  Feel free to call on any legal matter, and I will let you know if I can help.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter, and please tell [her friends and relatives, personalized with each client] I said hello.
                 
Respectfully yours,
                 

Adam

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #167 on: June 20, 2018, 02:11:56 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions. Looking to send these out by Friday. And you guys arenít going to hurt my feelings, so comment away.  Per @Dicey 's comment above, pinging @lhamo  , @Malkynn , and @Axecleaver for some constructive critique.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 03:30:42 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #168 on: June 22, 2018, 08:37:35 AM »
I love "wordsmithing" as much as the next person, but don't forget that the act of sending that letter counts for 95% of its benefit.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #169 on: June 22, 2018, 09:38:38 AM »
I love "wordsmithing" as much as the next person, but don't forget that the act of sending that letter counts for 95% of its benefit.
Sent this morning.  Next step is sending to other local solo attorneys that I know regarding being available for contract work and hearing coverage.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #170 on: July 03, 2018, 08:48:05 AM »
Just a brief update:

-Invoices for work performed in June totaled $7,450, which is a little bit under my goal but consistent from May. This included $1,450 just from the appearance work.

-My biggest client didn't pay from May.  June invoice (with May being late) was almost $9,500.  It seemingly always takes them a while to pay, but I'm not sure if/when I should nudge them.  I'm going to dance like an animal when I get their check.

-I've taken a glance at July and I'm expecting worst case scenario to be invoicing about $6.5k.  Add a couple more referrals and it will be another good month. 

-I signed up for Quicken Self-Employed and couldn't recommend it highly enough to other solo practitioners out there. 

-I got on the municipal court appointment lists.  This includes only minor misdemeanors and friends have advised this should be anywhere from $15k-$20k per year.  Add that to my appearance work (should be around $12-15k per year) and I'm doing alright ($27k-35k) without very much effort.  Add doing a couple wills and traffic tickets a month, a couple pieces of litigation, and other miscellaneous matters, and this seems to be going as planned.

-All in all, don't regret my decision for a second and enjoying this so far.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #171 on: July 03, 2018, 03:11:17 PM »
I love it.

I hope you dance like an animal soon. One thought, which you can take or leave, is to call the people who owe you $9,500 and take the attitude that you know everything is all right and they have every intention of paying BUT you want to know who is the person specifically tasked with writing that check and what is the normal process of paying invoices so you can plan accordingly. I would also mention, in a friendly tone, how excited you are about starting your own firm and business and what a great experience it has been and how hopeful you are for the future. People have a way of wanting to help when they don't feel personally defensive. They ought to get the hint that you are patiently waiting to do a $9,500 happy dance :)

If you have to justify your inquiry, just tell them lawyers you know have told you not to let a balance get to big. If not for the repeated advice of more experienced business owners, you wouldn't have even mentioned it.

Glad to hear you are thriving.

BuffaloStache

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #172 on: July 04, 2018, 05:19:33 PM »
Glad to hear it RSM! Also, how did the "Law Firm Announcement" letters go? Did you get any new interest or potential clients from them?

Even though I'm not in the law profession at all, this thread is an amazing story of perseverance and turning around what could've been a terrible situation. Definitely inspiring to read/follow, so thanks for that!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #173 on: July 05, 2018, 07:16:35 AM »
Glad to hear it RSM! Also, how did the "Law Firm Announcement" letters go? Did you get any new interest or potential clients from them?

Even though I'm not in the law profession at all, this thread is an amazing story of perseverance and turning around what could've been a terrible situation. Definitely inspiring to read/follow, so thanks for that!

Haven't per se received any new business, but I certainly raised a lot of awareness that I started my own practice.  I guess I got caught in my own bubble and assumed people knew I went out on my own, but there were a lot of people who texted me and congratulated me, or called my parents and brought up receiving my letter.

This has certainly been eye opening and is nudging me very strongly towards sending out even more letters to both colleagues and "second tier" relationship type of people I know.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #174 on: July 05, 2018, 07:55:30 AM »
RSM - I send out a mailer once a quarter. Even having been out in business for 8 years, I find it is very helpful to give people gentle reminders. If you find a friend or small business person graphic designer then you can have little postcards created and send those. Those have the advantage of being cheaper than paper and an envelope in terms of materials and postage. Also, if they are designed "nice" people start thinking you are running a "real business."

As for second tier contacts, I keep a list of every person I meet. A consult, a business card, everyone. Those people receive my postcards quarterly. That is the most important advertising I do and it is also the cheapest. The next best is Facebook, btw. At least for me. It's the same principle, "once-in-a-while" posts about your business to remind people you are in practice and keeping you "top of mind." You can set up a professional page and pay $15 or $20 to promote your post and it is pretty effective.

It's amazing all the conversations those cards will start and all the minds that will be thinking of you and your business. They will conspire to send you business and it will be awesome!

https://www.google.com/search?q=mailer+postcard+sizes&oq=mailer+post&aqs=chrome.0.0j69i57j0l4.2335j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #175 on: July 26, 2018, 12:51:04 PM »
I'm going to echo FIREby35 on entity formation over sole proprietorship (although I went with an S-Corp over an LLC).  As a sole proprietorship, I could deduct business expenses, sure, but I would owe payroll tax (Medicare & Social Security) on all of the net income.  As an S-Corp employee, I pay myself a salary and then take a distribution of the excess profit.  The salary is subject to payroll tax, but the distribution is not.  Additionally, starting this year under the Tax Cut & Jobs Act, if my income is below the threshold, then I can take an additional 20% deduction on the distribution.  The biggest caveat is that your salary has to be reasonable--if your net income would be $100,000, you can't pay yourself a salary of $10,000 and take a distribution of $90,000 and avoid payroll tax on 90% of your income that way.  But you could probably pay yourself $70,000 and take a distribution of $30,000, and save the payroll tax on the $30,000, PLUS get 20% of the $30,000 as an additional deduction on your 2018 taxes.

DISCLAIMER:  This is all off the top of my head, so look into it to see if I have the deduction part right from the new law.

So I still haven't paid myself, largely because I still haven't decided how I want to be taxed.  To reiterate, I formed an LLC, which gives me the option to either be taxed as a sole proprietor or s-corp.

The sole proprietorship accounting just seems so straightforward.  Want to contribute to an HSA? Just transfer funds.  Want to pay myself? Just take money out.  Want to contribute to a 401(k)? Just write a check.

The S-Corp accounting just feels so complicated.  I apparently need to sign up for a payroll company just to pay myself a salary.  I also apparently need to go through an accountant for seemingly every last thing I want to do financially.  It's very annoying just thinking about.

Numbers wise, I just feel like the tax difference won't be that great.  I plan on contributing as much as humanly possible to tax deductible accounts -- 401k, HSA, etc. Then I can deduct business and professional expenses.  By the time all that's done, I just don't think the potential savings is worth the hassle.

So I'm honestly leaning toward just doing sole proprietorship.  Might cost me more in taxes but I'm thinking it will be worth the convenience.  I invite @TVRodriguez and @FIREby35 to talk me off my rocker.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #176 on: July 26, 2018, 03:45:30 PM »
I have an advantage of being married to my CFO who is an auditor/accountant. So, keep that in mind.

All I can say is to take the time to make the calculations. If you would save 5k in taxes but pay 5k in accountants and book keepers and still have the hassle - not worth it. But, if you are talking about saving tens of thousands of dollars and comparing it to a "hassle" or "inconvenience" then its not different than not taking the time to find the economically efficient car, house, insurance, phone, etcetera. There will be some hassle involved in setting up systems and learning about the most efficient tax strategy. But, it'll save you money in the long run. For what it's worth, it has saved me big money.

What might not be economically viable today, could become economically necessary tomorrow.

What feels like a hassle "one more thing to do" today, might be an interesting project tomorrow.

So, if you decide not to do it now, I'd leave the door open for the future. You actually are doing A LOT of new things right now. Forming a CPA, Book keeper team might be a good task for early 2019 or later. I didn't get to it until 18 months after opening my firm.

How is the rest of it going? Are people paying? Did you get your 10k?

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #177 on: July 27, 2018, 06:26:57 AM »
You've basically summarized my gut feeling thoughts.  Certainly doesn't seem worth it this year, but if my practice gets rolling, then doing things the smart way is probably the best way.  It just seems that I have control over literally everything other than this, so it's been drawing my ire lately.

As for updates:

-I still don't have my $10k--and they are actually the only client that hasn't paid.  I emailed the CFO directly about nine days ago.  I'd be shocked if they didn't pay but it's getting frustrating. 

-But, I basically didn't do any work for them this month, and it's looking like another $7-8k type of month, which means I wasn't entirely reliant on their case.  I will move to withdraw if they don't pay by mid-August.

-Business is good.  I had 9 invoices for April/May billing, and now I have 20 for my July invoices. 

-I'm doing good flat fee, cash-up-front work like license suspensions, traffic tickets, and estate planning.  The license suspension stuff is comically easy but takes time, and people will find a way to pay you to get their license back.  It's easy paying work.

-I got on the criminal appointment list and already got assigned two cases.  I entered into a great plea yesterday arguing an illegal search.  Easy $200-250 there.

-Appearance work this month totaled $1,490, and there's still a couple days to go.  I actually found another great appearance site, so I'm hoping to get this up to $2k in August.


Overall things are going great, minus not getting that big check.  I'm moving ahead, providing a great service/product, and people seem to be noticing. 

BuffaloStache

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #178 on: July 27, 2018, 07:21:06 AM »
Congrats! Hopefully you get paid soon, but I'm glad to see you are moving on to other things to ensure you still get income.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #179 on: July 27, 2018, 09:59:24 AM »
Also, one other big update: I have formed a co-counseling relationship with another attorney who I've known for years.  She mostly handles domestic but those clients eventually get employment related claims. She has brought me on board for two BIG employment law contingency cases. These are her clients, but we are going to split the fee and the work 50-50.  I've known her for years (she represented my mom in her divorce) and I trust her a ton.

The first case involves a veteran who worked for our county's Veteran's Office.  He served in Iraq and has PTSD.  His employer put him through a bunch of tests, ignored his own doctor's reports, and then fired him for having PTSD.  I mean that's the headline -- "Local Veteran fired from Veteran's Office for Having PTSD."  He was making $78k/year.  Should be a great case if I can figure out all the public sector BS that comes with these claims.

Second case involves wrongful termination/age discrimination.  She was making about $30k/year, but she had been there for 16 years and planned to work there until she was 70 (six more years).  Evidence of a hostile work environment seems pretty clear.  Again, could be a big case if we can get a decent front pay award.

I myself have brought on a potential sexual harassment claim.  She began a consensual relationship with a supervisor, which then turned very ugly.  He then began texting her from his work phone calling her a prostitute, calling her a degenerate, etc.  The texts are flat out scary.  She reported him to management and they changed who my client reported to.  Insufficient as far as I'm concerned. The obvious issue here will be tying this to her employment, but I think it's not that far of a leap given that some of these texts do in fact discuss work.


So anyway, three potentially big contingency fee cases.  They probably won't come due this year, but I'm setting up a nice 2019 already.

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #180 on: July 27, 2018, 03:40:07 PM »
The first case involves a veteran who worked for our county's Veteran's Office.  He served in Iraq and has PTSD.  His employer put him through a bunch of tests, ignored his own doctor's reports, and then fired him for having PTSD.  I mean that's the headline -- "Local Veteran fired from Veteran's Office for Having PTSD."  He was making $78k/year.  Should be a great case if I can figure out all the public sector BS that comes with these claims.

I have a similar case except when I requested ADA Accommodations, I was put through a battery of tests.  I was not fired but faced retaliation and hostile work environment.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #181 on: July 29, 2018, 06:27:33 PM »
On the tax stuff, do what works for you.  I use Quickbooks online and find it very easy.  I like having direct deposit, payroll taxes paid as I go, and easy bookkeeping at my fingertips.  And it helped when I added employees b/c I pay them by direct deposit, too, and I use the same program.  But I have friends who found it too difficult or were just not interested in learning something else and signed up with a CPA.  You have to decide where to spend your energy and your time.

On the work stuff, it sounds like things are going well.  I'm happy for you.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #182 on: July 30, 2018, 06:51:13 AM »
On the tax stuff, do what works for you.  I use Quickbooks online and find it very easy.  I like having direct deposit, payroll taxes paid as I go, and easy bookkeeping at my fingertips.  And it helped when I added employees b/c I pay them by direct deposit, too, and I use the same program.  But I have friends who found it too difficult or were just not interested in learning something else and signed up with a CPA.  You have to decide where to spend your energy and your time.

On the work stuff, it sounds like things are going well.  I'm happy for you.

It's sad to admit this, but...I am currently running both Quickbooks Online and Quickbooks Self-Employed because I still haven't made the tax decision.  I mistakenly signed up for the QBSE, which is only good for being taxed as a sole proprietor.  So then I signed up for regular Quickbooks Online, which is a little more complicated but just as straightforward.

I am going to meet with a CPA this Wednesday for lunch to get everything set up and finally make the sole proprietor vs. S-Corp decision. 

I've been playing around with this calculator https://www.incfile.com/s-corporation-tax-calculator/, and the obvious conclusion is this: the lower your income, the more marginal the distinction (if any); the higher your income, then being an S-Corp is very, very advantageous.

***

I guess the strange feeling for me, and I think I've posted about this before, is that I have no intent on turning my firm into a huge multi-attorney firm or working like crazy.  I just want to gross anywhere from $80-120k per year, and that is basically my current trajectory. If I land a couple huge settlements in a year then I will probably just take it easy for the rest of the year and re-charge.

So I don't see myself earning more than $150k per year.  Take away the big 401k contributions you could do with that, HSA contributions, business expenses, etc., and the tax savings seem to be a couple thousand dollars, which I'm sure I'd be paying in accountant fees anyway.

So again, I'm sure you guys see which way I'm leaning, but maybe this CPA will beat me over the head with a frying pan this Wednesday.
« Last Edit: July 30, 2018, 10:17:46 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #183 on: August 01, 2018, 01:08:24 PM »
Met with the CPA for lunch today.  He advised sole proprietorship.  Ohio has no state income tax for sole proprietors up to $187,500.  We discussed possible numbers and he said the differences would be so small that the complications of an S-Corp wouldn't be worth it for a long while.

He also noted (correctly) that going from a sole proprietorship to an S Corp is very easy, but going from an S-Corp and dissolving it and all that and back to a sole proprietorship is more difficult.

Finally paying myself this Friday!

BuffaloStache

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #184 on: August 01, 2018, 10:20:13 PM »
...
I guess the strange feeling for me, and I think I've posted about this before, is that I have no intent on turning my firm into a huge multi-attorney firm or working like crazy.  I just want to gross anywhere from $80-120k per year, and that is basically my current trajectory. If I land a couple huge settlements in a year then I will probably just take it easy for the rest of the year and re-charge.
...

This my friend, is a great dream to have, and seems well within your reach. Good luck!

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #185 on: August 03, 2018, 08:30:43 AM »
RSM - On your desire to keep yourself solo at the 100k+ mark - I think that is pretty wise. I've got my firm going now where we have 6 total people working and our gross receipts (not my profit) is up at 450k-650k consistently for the last 6 years. I keep thinking, I'm really close to being "Fire by 35" but what am I going to do with this firm? I've got 230+ cases and it will take drastic action to reduce the size of my firm. Plus, if i do that, I'd have to let go of my employees (who now are counting on me for a good, stable job). Anyway, if you build a solo practice into a mini-firm then it becomes harder to walk away. Although, I also am redundant in my business so I do take multi-week vacations and lots of days off because I have people around to handle business while I'm away. Double edged sword, ya'know?

At the same time, I know those 230+ cases have a lot of value. So, if I just quit taking cases and closed down what I've got, I bet I could easily clear 500k in profit and easily cross my FIRE threshhold. So, should I sell, wind down, partner up or what? Anyway, the point is, "Mo' Money, Mo' problems!"

I like the idea you are floating. Keep it simple. Make 100k+ along with your wife earning and working. Take the court appearance biz, some court appointments, look for some premium contingency cases and co-counsel referral cases when you can. You won't work like crazy, you'll have lots of flexibility and you'll make more than enough over the long term. Couple that with some MMM financial badassity and you'll be golden.

crimwell

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #186 on: August 10, 2018, 10:23:16 PM »
Just finally finished reading through new posts in this thread. Extremely inspiring!

Awesome trajectory, RSM!

When/if I get tired of the government job thing, I might actually be able to do something like this

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #187 on: August 29, 2018, 11:47:42 AM »
Met with the CPA for lunch today.  He advised sole proprietorship.  Ohio has no state income tax for sole proprietors up to $187,500.  We discussed possible numbers and he said the differences would be so small that the complications of an S-Corp wouldn't be worth it for a long while.

He also noted (correctly) that going from a sole proprietorship to an S Corp is very easy, but going from an S-Corp and dissolving it and all that and back to a sole proprietorship is more difficult.

Finally paying myself this Friday!

Congrats!  This is a great example, btw, of turning to a professional in your local area who can give proper advice.  Nicely done. 

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #188 on: August 31, 2018, 02:22:09 PM »
Met with the CPA for lunch today.  He advised sole proprietorship.  Ohio has no state income tax for sole proprietors up to $187,500.  We discussed possible numbers and he said the differences would be so small that the complications of an S-Corp wouldn't be worth it for a long while.

He also noted (correctly) that going from a sole proprietorship to an S Corp is very easy, but going from an S-Corp and dissolving it and all that and back to a sole proprietorship is more difficult.

Finally paying myself this Friday!

Congrats!  This is a great example, btw, of turning to a professional in your local area who can give proper advice.  Nicely done.

100% agree.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #189 on: October 09, 2018, 11:49:11 AM »
**Five Month Update**

Work is a little slow this week, so I wanted to come here and provide an update for those who have been following. Next month will technically be six months, but I'm slammed in November, so I wanted to come here and give a five month update.

Amount Invoiced:
-May: $7,765.50
-June: $7,422.50
-July: $5,195.74
-August: $3,742.50
-September: $7,329.66
TOTAL: $31,455.90
Monthly Average: $6,291.18

Notes: August really slowed down because I got very, very involved in two contingency matters (employment law).  One case is on the verge of settling (probably in the range of $20-25k, so $4-5k for me), and the other is likely in the six figure range.

Amount Collected:
-May: $7,765.50 (100%)
-June: $3,732.50 (50.29%)
-July: $4,691.74 (90.30%)
-August: $3,742.50 (100%)
-September: $0.00 (Just mailed)
TOTAL: $19,931.74
Monthly Average: $4,982.94 (excluding September since those just went out)

Notes: One client is responsible for the non-100% months (the same one that didn't pay before).  Their trial is set for this January.  They have always paid, even though it takes some time.

Furthermore, I'm hoping for a big boost when these employment matters settle.

Another Note: I also have about $2,500 sitting in IOLTA.  These are active matters that I'm billing regularly.

Appearance Fee Work:
-May: $500.00
-June: $1,450.00
-July: $1,460.74
-August: $2,112.50
-September: $1,537.15
TOTAL: $7,060.40
Monthly Average: $1,412.08

Notes: This is just for appearing at hearings.  I basically do not turn these down under any circumstance.  It's leading to judges knowing me on a first name basis, which can't be a bad thing.

Monthly Business Expenses:

I can't seem to get a monthly breakdown at the current moment, but I've spent $7,862 so far this year.  The breakdown is as follows:

-Rent: $2,400 ($400/month)
-Materials and Supplies: $1,300
-Insurance: $1,200
-Taxes: $1,000
-Everything Else: $1,900

Notes: Most of my expenses were startup.  I'm averaging about $650/month since June. The "everything else" includes a lot of meals and entertainment that I would otherwise do anyway, but include in my business.

Other Notables:

Criminal Appointments: Per the suggestions here, I am on the criminal appointment list.  This is leading to a decent stream of work.  I've made about $1,300 thus far because I am only doing the area courts (misdemeanors).

Office Situation: I mostly like my office situation -- good location, good conference rooms, and a quiet place to work for the most part.  However, with things getting consistent and a little busier, I'm a little cramped in my 9x9 space.  I think I want to get consistently to about $8,000/month before upgrading.  I'm hoping to stay at the same location, but I'm keeping expenses low and playing this by ear.

Contemplating Home Office: Even with the above, I'm contemplating an entire home office setup and renting a space for conference rooms only.  This is something I'm kicking around in case I can't upgrade my office at my current location.

Taxes: As you might expect for someone on this forum, I'm very on top of taxes and making sure I get every deduction I can.  Because we can live on my wife's income alone, I'm transferring all my profit to an HSA and Solo 401(k).  My tax liability should be very, very low this year.

Paid Myself!: As referenced earlier, I paid myself $10,000 the other day.  That's enough to max our HSA and cover any slight overages we have on the household front.

Could Be Doing More?: I have this aching feeling that my numbers could be even higher.  I've had trouble focusing recently, so I'm hoping to get back into the groove.  Any productivity recommendations would be great.

I Should Have Done This Sooner: I want to end on some high notes -- this has been great.  If you're thinking about doing this and have the finances to ride things out for a bit, do it.  I am an average joe schmuck and I'm doing just fine.  The autonomy cannot be beaten.

Personal News: Since going out on my own, I've lost 12 pounds and my cholesterol has lowered 16 points. I'm exercising every day, and I never, ever, ever did that when I was in a 9-5 job. The autonomy has relieved stress, had me eat a better diet, and allowed me to exercise more.

Even Bigger Personal News: My wife is pregnant! We find out the gender on 10/17/2018.  We are having the OBGYN put the news in an envelope, and then we are driving to Portland, Maine (where we went on our honeymoon).  We are going to go out to eat and learn the gender over a nice dinner.  We are very, very, very excited to be parents.

Year End Goals:

#1 - Have $50,000 in receipts by the end of the year (would mean I was on pace to average a $75,000 profit in year one)

#2 - Settle my employment law claim, which will go a long way in helping out the above

#3 - Continue building networks for referrals

#4 - Continue making myself available for court appointments and appearance work.  This is easy money.

Lastly, and I say this with almost all of my posts in this thread -- thanks to all of you for encouraging me to take the plunge and for giving me constant advice.  Aside from marrying my wife, this is the best decision I ever made.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2018, 12:00:12 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

crimwell

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #190 on: October 09, 2018, 02:13:56 PM »
Fantastic, what an inspiration!

Lady SA

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #191 on: October 09, 2018, 02:38:25 PM »
Congrats on the pregnancy, and I'm so glad everything is going so well!

A big thing that has boosted my working productivity is organizing my to-dos into a kanban board. Every time something occurs to me, I add it to a post-it and slap it under to-do. The To-do column is also in priority order, with the big important ones at the top and the less important ones further down, and I pick as many high-priority/high-impact items as I can before I get down into the smaller tasks. Then I limit what I can be actively working on at any one time (promoting focus), generally 2-3 items is the guideline. Then once you are completed with a task, you move it to "done" and get a nice dopamine hit.

I like this model because then I know tasks are logged, but I dont have to worry about them until I've actively chosen them to work on. And once they are chosen, I can focus exclusively on them until they are done. If you hit a roadblock, you can move it back into to-do and pick up something else.

You can also add any kinds of columns depending on your workflow, and you can even color-code your stickies. The trick is to have the board visible and front-of-mind and the items on post-its so you can move them from column to column.

So your to-do board might look like this:

To-Do    |  Doing  |   Done
[][][][][][] |     [][]     | [][][]

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #192 on: October 10, 2018, 06:05:10 AM »
Congrats on the pregnancy, and I'm so glad everything is going so well!

A big thing that has boosted my working productivity is organizing my to-dos into a kanban board. Every time something occurs to me, I add it to a post-it and slap it under to-do. The To-do column is also in priority order, with the big important ones at the top and the less important ones further down, and I pick as many high-priority/high-impact items as I can before I get down into the smaller tasks. Then I limit what I can be actively working on at any one time (promoting focus), generally 2-3 items is the guideline. Then once you are completed with a task, you move it to "done" and get a nice dopamine hit.

I like this model because then I know tasks are logged, but I dont have to worry about them until I've actively chosen them to work on. And once they are chosen, I can focus exclusively on them until they are done. If you hit a roadblock, you can move it back into to-do and pick up something else.

You can also add any kinds of columns depending on your workflow, and you can even color-code your stickies. The trick is to have the board visible and front-of-mind and the items on post-its so you can move them from column to column.

So your to-do board might look like this:

To-Do    |  Doing  |   Done
[][][][][][] |     [][]     | [][][]

Hmm.  You might be onto something with this board.  I don't know if would do exactly that, but perhaps a whiteboard in here would be a great idea.

I guess I get bogged down in the opposite -- I do a ton of small things, or work on small things related to my practice (e.g., logging miles, categorizing charges, sending emails, etc.); and before I know it, it's 4:00 PM, and it's too late to start something big.

Need to be able to just come in, work on 2-3 billable things, and then get to all that.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 06:07:47 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #193 on: October 10, 2018, 08:04:21 AM »
@Lady SA Hope you're proud.  Although this did have me procrastinate a little this morning.


FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #194 on: October 10, 2018, 08:18:05 AM »
RSM -

Awesome to see you are thriving. Believe it or not, the most likely path forward is that your income goes up year-over-year. These are the "hard times!" Wait till you hit those contingency cases and, if you keep at it, you develop your sense for the type of contingency case that leads to big paydays and you have many of them in your case load. Then it is literally crazy - but not really more work.

As for the organization convo, I make To-Do lists. The way I have done them has changed many times over the years as my firm and practice has grown. But, I have always kept a list of every case in my office/practice and reviewed it weekly/bi-weekly to make sure I don't forget about any case.

The most important thing I read is your appreciation for the absolute freedom associated with running your own law practice. I can tell you that after 8 years I am still discarding my self-imposed ideas of what "work" is. You mean I can write on a MMM forum to get my work day started? Sure. I can leave early? Take the last Friday of the month off? Yes, please! Hit a 5 week vacation every winter? Oh yeah!

Somehow, it doesn't slow my business. Actually, being in a clear, calm, relaxed mental state allows me to find solutions to cases that overworked, over stressed, less organized attorneys can not. Often they paint themselves into a corner by ignoring their cases until the last minute and it creates an opportunity for me. So, time off, vacations and general self-maintenance (physical and mental) are just part of being a good solo - I think.

Anyway, I can tell you the freedom and how much of it you have will reveal its full magnitude and unfold over years. Your child will benefit tremendously from a Dad who can drop them off at school, pick them up, coach their sports (or other activities), be at every conference, pick them up on sick days and still be wealthy. Think about it - that is an amazing deal.

Keep at it, there is so much promise in this path.


Lady SA

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #195 on: October 10, 2018, 10:51:31 AM »
Hmm.  You might be onto something with this board.  I don't know if would do exactly that, but perhaps a whiteboard in here would be a great idea.

I guess I get bogged down in the opposite -- I do a ton of small things, or work on small things related to my practice (e.g., logging miles, categorizing charges, sending emails, etc.); and before I know it, it's 4:00 PM, and it's too late to start something big.

Need to be able to just come in, work on 2-3 billable things, and then get to all that.
@Lady SA Hope you're proud.  Although this did have me procrastinate a little this morning.

<snip>

Awesome! I think project management is a skill that can always be continually refined, and finding easier/better ways to organize your workflow can only make both your life easier and your clients happier with the speed and quality of your work.

I was curious to see if other lawyers also use a similar kanban system so I googled this morning and found this article that you might find interesting/inspirational! https://www.lawpracticetoday.org/article/dawn-agile-attorney/
« Last Edit: October 10, 2018, 12:05:52 PM by Lady SA »

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #196 on: October 10, 2018, 12:57:08 PM »
Kudos on the success so far.

I am a project manager and yet I have still not perfected the art of my to-do list and work load.  I think the best thing that has helped me are the following:

*Do NOT check your email first thing in the morning.  If you absolutely must, make it to only check for emergency issues that have to be done immediately.
*Setup specific times you will check your email. People will learn your habit and adjust
*Each day I have 2 to 3 tasks, typically ones that either are time consuming or require more mental focus.  I then figure anything I get done beyond those tasks as gravy for my day.
*It is best that before you leave for the day to decide on those 2 or 3 tasks.  When you arrive in the AM you are ready to go.

It sounds like you are getting a little bogged down on some of the minutia that is not billable.  There many programs out there that can help with these things.

One I can think of is there are several apps that track work mileage automatically for you.  I have used Everlance.  It tracks your miles and you can label them work, personal, volunteer, or whatever.  You can also make certain trips automatically define like your daily commute.  It will recognize work to home and automatically define it appropriately.  You can also track receipts and other business items.  It can all be downloaded to various softwares like excel.

Some good books that are not necessarily about time management, but have some interesting sections.

The 4 Hour Work Week - A lot of this books goes into how to get a work from home deal, but it does have some strategies about reducing work.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F.... - This one is more of a self help book, but again goes into all the things we waste time worrying about and wasting time on.  And it is a good book in general.

These are some other philosophies that I cannot recall what book I got them with.

Only deal with email once.  There are 3 Ds - Do it, Delegate it, Delete it.  This goes along with only checking the email at set times during the day.  Many times we look at our email so often we will save certain emails that take more time than we have at the moment.  If you only check email when you have set aside time you will not need to save things for later.

The 80/20 rule.  - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #197 on: October 17, 2018, 10:56:48 AM »
Woohoo!!  Great update!  Your expenses are amazing.  I'm super impressed.  Way to go! 

Congrats on your wife's pregnancy!  Very exciting.

I echo Fireby35's comments about "being there" for your kids.  I LOVE the flexibility that I have in running my own solo practice AND in working so close to home and school.

On the productivity front, I use a Bullet Journal.  I do well with the flexibility of the dotted blank pages.  I list out each week on one page, and I use the following pages to make daily to-dos or sometimes just use one weekly to-do list.  Some months I plot out the whole month--sometimes I don't.  I take this thing with me everywhere and use it to take notes at CLEs, for example.  I cannot express how much I love my bullet journal.  Writing it all out by hand works better for me than putting it in a spreadsheet.  I can make one list of current to-do items that includes work and personal stuff.  That is key for me to make sure that today's priorities will get accomplished, because some days the work priorities come after the personal.

I also use my online calendar (I use Microsoft 365, so I use Outlook), which syncs to my phone, for appointments.  I have one calendar that is personal and business--everything goes on there.

I also use a small white board at work on which I have a list of all current matters, divided by type (for me, that means Estate Planning in one column, Estate Administration in another, and a third Other down by the bottom).  I honestly hand write that list on a yellow legal sheet and stick it up on the white board with magnets.  The white board sits on my desk and leans against the wall, and I can take it down when I have clients in my office so they can't see it.  I revise it as necessary but definitely every two weeks at least.  It really helps for those cases that can get lost in the shuffle.

Thanks again for the update! 

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #198 on: October 30, 2018, 06:31:19 AM »
Also, one other big update: I have formed a co-counseling relationship with another attorney who I've known for years.  She mostly handles domestic but those clients eventually get employment related claims. She has brought me on board for two BIG employment law contingency cases. These are her clients, but we are going to split the fee and the work 50-50.  I've known her for years (she represented my mom in her divorce) and I trust her a ton.

The first case involves a veteran who worked for our county's Veteran's Office.  He served in Iraq and has PTSD.  His employer put him through a bunch of tests, ignored his own doctor's reports, and then fired him for having PTSD.  I mean that's the headline -- "Local Veteran fired from Veteran's Office for Having PTSD."  He was making $78k/year.  Should be a great case if I can figure out all the public sector BS that comes with these claims.

So, on this case, yesterday was probably my greatest day as a lawyer.

We had a mediation in the State Personnel Board of Review, which is just an agency that can offer the affected employee with back pay and reinstatement. But this case was exhausting me -- I've probably put in around 100 hours, so I was looking for a global settlement to resolve all the FMLA and ADA issues.

Leading up to the mediation, my demand letter was nine pages.  Then I made a state law FOIA request that required them to produce 1,200 pages, and they knew I wasn't done. I've been a major pain in their ass for three months.

Having been defense counsel for about 4 years, I called every bluff they made at yesterday's mediation.  They were at $100,000 and then took that off the table and just wanted to settle the agency issue.  After a couple hours they put it back on the table and eventually got up to their "top dollar" offer of $200,000.  Take it or leave it -- this was the most they would ever offer and it was off the table after yesterday.  I told the mediator I wanted to speak to their counsel directly.  Basically gave her the riot act -- that I was going to file suit on FMLA within the week, that we were going to file suit on the ADA when the EEOC investigation was complete, and that we were going to take this case to the press. 

Ten minutes later my client had a $250,000 settlement without me even needing to file suit.  For the record, his best case scenario in court, if literally everything broke his way, was probably $300,000.

So that's about $42,000 for me (had to split the 1/3 with my co-counsel, who was great and it was her client anyway).  So, so, so pumped.

As I said I would, taking it easy for the rest of this week.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 06:33:44 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #199 on: October 30, 2018, 07:16:38 AM »
Oh man, I love it. RSM, you are the man! Just take a moment and think about what it would have taken to get a 42k bonus working for someone else. (Silence) That's right, it would never happen!

But it happened to you because you took the risk to set up shop for yourself.

Keep your eyes open, it can happen again and again and again and again....

Great work!