Author Topic: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?  (Read 44564 times)

Dicey

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #200 on: October 30, 2018, 07:36:12 AM »
Yeah, yeah, work is great, so happy for you...but what about the gender reveal date? Are you going to keep us in suspense?

Just kidding - funny how a whopping success makes everything in life look better. Congratulations on all counts!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #201 on: October 30, 2018, 07:47:08 AM »
Yeah, yeah, work is great, so happy for you...but what about the gender reveal date? Are you going to keep us in suspense?

Just kidding - funny how a whopping success makes everything in life look better. Congratulations on all counts!

Itís a boy!!!

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #202 on: October 30, 2018, 12:24:08 PM »
Yeah, yeah, work is great, so happy for you...but what about the gender reveal date? Are you going to keep us in suspense?

Just kidding - funny how a whopping success makes everything in life look better. Congratulations on all counts!

Itís a boy!!!

Yay for little boys! 

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #203 on: October 30, 2018, 07:03:52 PM »
For the record, I totally forgot about the pregnancy. But, that makes the entire thing even more amazing. I remember winning my first "big" fee (smaller than 42k!) after my son was born and I'd been practicing for all of 6 months. That was a great feeling.

Enjoy it RSM. Enjoy it.

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #204 on: November 02, 2018, 12:43:29 PM »
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.

Mine is similar situation...When I requested FMLA and then ADA they had me jump through hoops and get various medical exams.  In the end their doctor had the same recommendation as my doctor.  Suing for Rehab Act., Harassment, Hostile Work Environment.

I wish my former employer would even sit down for mediation.  I was basically told by my lawyer that since the government entity that I worked for is self insured that they rarely if ever settle even with a slam dunk case.  They use their own lawyers who are salary so their expenses do not really matter.  This all happened in 2015-16.  Filed suit a year ago last month.  We are still in discovery.  Both sides having well over 2500 pages of discovery.  My depo has been cancelled 3 times. 

I hope mine works out as well as yours in the end.

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ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #206 on: November 08, 2018, 05:20:29 PM »
Settled another employment case today.  Girl worked part time and made $12.75 an hour and I got her a $28,000 settlement without pursuing litigation.  My cut is 27.5% ($7,700). Another very, very good day.

That 27.5% number comes from a graduated fee agreement, which I generally like -- 27.5% for pre-litigation settlement, 33.33% if I have to file suit, and 40% if I have to try the case.

I think everyone expects the 33.33%, so I'm thinking that pre-litigation number should either be deleted or come up to at least 30%.  In this case, 30% would have been another $700, and 33.33% would have been another $1,633.

I'm happy, but I think I'm cutting myself short.  But at the same time, this gives plaintiffs a dog in the fight, and this now makes two clients who have settled pre-litigation, perhaps in part because they got to keep a higher percent.  And that's a lot less work for me, so maybe that carrot is worth it.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #207 on: January 17, 2019, 11:08:51 AM »
2018 Year-End Update

It took me a bit, but I just wanted to come here and provide a year-end update to my first year of practice.  In doing so, I scrolled through this thread and saw my post from early October:

Quote
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.

I'm happy to say I accomplished every one of these goals and more.

2018 Yearly Totals

2018 Solo Income: $65,940 (first invoices sent 06/01/2018, so basically seven months)

2018 Solo Expenses: $9,100 (most of it being startup expenses)

2018 Solo Profit: $56,840

2018 Source of Revenues

Hearing Coverage: $10,389.76

Settlements (Employment Law): $28,533.33

Criminal Defense Court Appointments: $1,633 (just got started in October)

Other Civil Litigation Work: $24,933.91

Again, all of this was done over about seven months.

Client Notes

When I sent out my first invoices on 06/01/2018, I sent 9 invoices.

For my January 2019 spreadsheet, I have 42 clients to bill, and I seem to be adding more and more every week.

2019 Goals/Thoughts

Income: My goal for this year is to make $150,000.  I am getting the second half of an employment law settlement ($20,833) by the end of this month, and I also expect to bill a good paying client $9,000 this month.  Those plus the referral relationship below, plus my normal course of work, leads me to believe I'm on a good track for 2019.

Office Space: With more and more work coming in, my office is feeling smaller and smaller.  I find myself going more and more to Panera or Dunkin Donuts to feel like I'm not in too small of a space.

I'm not sure if this is a long term solution, but for now, I can't pass up only paying $400 per month here. 

That said, I have discussed opening an office much closer to my house with a couple people, and that would involve paying similar rent. 

Referral Relationship: In addition to the referral relationship I've already established, I have actually established one more, and this one looks to be great.

Basically, I beat another attorney in an arbitration, and it was the first case he lost in 20 years.  He recommended me to an attorney who has had a solo practice for 45 years, and this guy has an absolutely impeccable reputation.  We had lunch yesterday and he needs me to help on 5-10 litigation matters a year while he winds down.  He said I can expect $5,000-$10,000 in billings per case, easy.  This is going to be great.

Staff Help (Would Love to Hear Your Thoughts): Whether I move or stay here, I am getting pretty close to hiring someone to provide about 9 hours of help per week.  I now find myself putting off billable work to organize, calendar, double check everything, print dockets, draft form letters that I can't bill for, etc. 

My rough calculations are: 9 hours per week (x) $15/hour (probably higher than market rate around here) (x) 50 weeks = $6,750.  In speaking to another lawyer, we can "value bill" public defender work, and I think a staff would probably pay for him or herself in doing all the standard criminal motions that must be filed.

This seems well worth it to me, but I'm not sure when the right time to do this might be.  Any thoughts?

Family First: Most importantly, my wife and I have a little boy on the way in March.  We're crazy excited.  I'm hauling ass in January and February so I can take March a little easy and see how things go from there. I'm glad that my practice gives me the flexibility to take a step back if necessary. I've also revamped the home office so I can be home and available more. Hopefully this goes smoothly.

***

I'm bludgeoning a dead horse at this point, but thanks all for the advice and support. Cheers to 2019.

« Last Edit: January 17, 2019, 11:14:33 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

Proud Foot

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #208 on: January 17, 2019, 11:33:31 AM »
I have been following your thread since the beginning and I think this is my first time commenting.  You really rocked it with your first 7 months! Awesome with setting your goals when you went out on your own and really hustling to build your practice.

For your question about employing someone have you thought about contacting a temp agency to see what one would cost? Your low hour requirements might make this a better option as you wouldn't have to think about all the extra costs of having an employee. Even paying a higher hourly rate you might have a hard time finding someone to work that few hours.  Another suggestion might be to reach out to a local college and see if any students would want to work those hours for you. This could be beneficial to someone who may be considering law school as well as the possibility of them getting to count the work as credits towards graduation. With expected birth in March now might be the time to get this all set up so they will be fully trained and used to your expectations and you can focus on billable work and being there with your wife and son.

And congratulations to you and your wife on the pregnancy! I am sure the flexibility of having your own practice will be very beneficial in the last few weeks pre and time post delivery.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #209 on: January 17, 2019, 12:22:43 PM »
Awesome!  I'm very happy to see this update.  Congrats on the great first (partial) year! 

I will second the suggestion to look for a college student.  I have employed college and law students part-time and it's been very good for me overall.  You may wish to contact a local college's career services office to post a listing on their online jobs board.

I would not suggest a temp.  You don't need to be re-training new people all the time, as that will defeat the purpose of freeing up your time.  In fact, even students will only last so long, and I finally found one who is an older student who will last longer with me (fingers crossed) than the others.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #210 on: January 17, 2019, 02:08:26 PM »
Man, I'm glad you are doing well. I think you will find opportunities keep presenting themselves as long as you are diligent and honest in your work and dealings.

I have hired part-time college students who are aspiring lawyers. I've taken it as an opportunity to mentor someone. I have now had two that worked for me part-time for at least three years each. One worked for me during undergrad and during law school and is now a lawyer serving underrepresented communities. The other just got admission and full-tuition scholarships to both of the local law schools. Anyway, it has been great for me and if you take a mentorship type role it can really help the aspiring lawyer as well. Even though you are young, you still know much more than an undergraduate student! You could contact your local university, find the pre-law club and find a couple people who would jump on the opportunity. Probably very smart, driven people - just lacking experience. You help them and they'll help you.


civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #211 on: January 17, 2019, 05:26:14 PM »
Congrats on the first year!

I wish my employment case was moving.  I am at a year and half and have expanded discovery 4 times.  Of course we are at almost 25000 documents.

I agree with the others with a college student.  I know you are in NEO I will throw out my alma mater U of A.  Great Law school.

I would suggest getting someone in place before the kid is born.

Dicey

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #212 on: January 18, 2019, 07:27:40 AM »
Such a great update! Congratulations on the bambino!!!l

BuffaloStache

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #213 on: January 18, 2019, 09:18:47 AM »
Echoing everyone else's thoughts here- congrats on a successful first (most of a) year of self employment! Keep up the good work and good luck on hitting your 2019 goals.

Two challenges that I think you have coming for you are not work-specific related:
  • Making sure to set time aside to be with your new family. This is something that isn't "normal" for a lot of men to do in US society, but I think it's important. I took way more time than my average co-worker off when my son was born, and wouldn't change that time for anything. This is what FU money and flexibility of being self employed is all about.
  • (maybe a little more long term) Controlling workload to ensure you have the work/life balance you want. This may mean saying 'no' to more things, especially during times when you'd like more time at home and not working (like after the birth of your child). You've mentioned from the get-go your goal is not to make the most money but to open up more balance, so here is your test to do so.

There'll always be the temptation to work more/make more money/provide more for your family. In my mind one of the key tenants of mustachianism is finding the balance between what is actually needed to be happy, healthy, and fulfilled -vs- making more for nothing but money's sake. Sounds like you are well aware of both of these challenges, but make sure not to forget about them as your business grows.

Laura33

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #214 on: January 18, 2019, 12:08:08 PM »
I am so, so happy for you -- congratulations!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #215 on: January 30, 2019, 06:24:48 AM »
Thanks all for the replies and encouragement.

An interesting development is taking place ó the co-counsel who referred me that case that settled for $250k moved right next door, leaving her suite unoccupied. She knows the owner and property manager really well and is likely to be a positive reference. Iím contemplating making the jump from my tiny office share to a legitimate office. Hereís the general comparison.

Rent (Includes Utilities): $450 (current = $400)

Location: about 4 miles closer to home, on same main strip as current office, but in the back of a commercial park type of setting (current = right in heart of commercial area)

Commute: 10 minutes shorter from home than current office, and new office is closer to highway and thus most courthouses

Office Space: about 700 square feet, including a kitchenette and bathroom (current = 81 square feet plus shared spaces)

Room for Files: way more space; my current 81 square foot office is getting extremely crammed and itís becoming stressful to make it work (just picked up 2,500 more pages of discovery yesterday)

Amenities: no receptionist or staff (current = receptionist that answers phones for me, which is nice) 

Furnishings: I would have to buy conference table, guest chairs, etc. (current = furnished, although itís about 35 years dated and several clients have commented on it)

Supplies: current office comes with phone line, copier, scanner, fax line; Iíd probably set up Google Voice and buy a solid $400-500 all in one.

Lease: I would have to sign a three year lease (current = no lease)

Logistics: I only have a very tiny office, so I don't think moving would be that difficult; the more laborious thing would be to notify courts/clients of the change in address, although that would seem easier to do now than later.

Lawyers: the biggest downside, I think, is losing proximity to five other good, respectable lawyers. Theyíve referred me a couple cases, but more importantly, they are there to answer questions I still inevitably have as a young lawyer.


As you can likely tell, Iím leaning towards taking this next step and moving. The monthly cost is only a slight increase, and I estimate that I can furnish the office for about $2,000-$2,500. I not only would love having my own space to decorate/furnish, but Iím getting to a point where I need the space and my current office just doesnít have any space available.

Most importantly, this place is one of the biggest steals in the area. Sure, itís in the back of a building, but my colleague works back there and she kills it. This is cheap, in a very safe area, still on the same main strip, closer to home, and would provide a lot of autonomy.

Any thoughts? Any considerations I might be missing?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 07:00:19 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #216 on: January 30, 2019, 07:08:46 AM »
Rent (Includes Utilities): $450 (current = $400)
++
Location: about 4 miles closer to home, on same main strip as current office, but in the back of a commercial park type of setting (current = right in heart of commercial area)
+ Personally if I am looking for a lawyer I am not going to choose one office that I randomly drive by.  I am going to do my research online to find a few to contact and go from there.  Do you really get walk-ins?  Everyday that is 20 more minutes with family.  Also, efficiency of getting to courts easier.
Amenities: no receptionist or staff (current = receptionist that answers phones for me, which is nice) 
+ However in your update you were talking about getting a part time employee.  Maybe have a few more hours and you are getting a receptionist.  Plus isn't there the option of hiring remote receptionist.  I would say my current lawyer has 2 lines and answers them both personally, unless her part time employee is there.

Furnishings: I would have to buy conference table, guest chairs, etc. (current = furnished, although itís about 35 years dated and several clients have commented on it)
= So you may spend a bit on this.  You would if you were moving to a bigger place anyway.  Plus like you say further below it would give you the ability to give it your personal touch.  Plus you could take your time, since you have some furniture you can look for deals.

Supplies: current office comes with phone line, copier, scanner, fax line; Iíd probably set up Google Voice and buy a solid $400-500 all in one.

+ you would have to do this anywhere you move.  This allows you to set stuff up to your preferences.  Does the current lawyer have this infrastructure in place?
Lease: I would have to sign a three year lease (current = no lease)

Lawyers: the biggest downside, I think, is losing proximity to five other good, respectable lawyers. Theyíve referred me a couple cases, but more importantly, they are there to answer questions I still inevitably have as a young lawyer.

+ You have already made connections with them.  I doubt that would stop if you are not next door.  If anything you could make a small flyer for when they do make a referral that would show the client how to contact you and get to your office.

I estimate that I can furnish the office for about $2,000-$2,500. I not only would love having my own space to decorate/furnish.
+

Most importantly, this place is one of the biggest steals in the area.
+++

I think the negatives are minor and mostly small inconveniences.  Or even opportunities to grow. 

Only other items I can think of is there convenient parking.  Asking the other Lawyer if there are anythings she dislikes about the location or the owner/property manager.  What are her plans?  Have you discussed if she is planning to make upgrades to her equipment and whether she may be willing to sell some to you.

I say go for it.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #217 on: January 30, 2019, 08:25:27 AM »
RSM -

Being in the market for a better office is a good idea. I'd recommend taking a moment to think about how you picked your current space and why you are needing to move so quickly to try and avoid the same dilema repeating itself. It seems to me that you got your current space because it was cheap and allowed you access to other attorneys. Both of those considerations are based, at least in part, on your worry/belief that a) you wouldn't have enough business and b) that you needed mentorship to start your business.

I am suggesting to you that you will have enough business and that you don't need mentorship right around the corner. Still, choosing an economically advantageous place and maintaining and expanding your professional network are important. So, what does this mean for you when thinking of a new office?

I would look at what space is available to you should your practice continue to grow. I think moving is a pain in terms of changing letterhead, notifying courts, changing all of your entry of appearances, etcetera. Also, clients get confused and confused clients are not what you want. So, if you can get a place that meets your needs now but also has some room to grow, that would be good. Although, it might not be possible and it shouldn't be considered a requirement - just a positive factor if available.

I don't have "class A" office space. I have a decent office, I've painted it, put in floorboards and done other "under-the-radar" type stuff to spruce it up. I get my office furniture from the used warehouse at the local office supply store or from "At Home." All very affordable.

I did get lucky and find a cheap space where I was the only person on the entire floor when I rented my initial space for $500. Since then we have expanded to have the entire half of the floor for, now, seven people working in the office (Rent up to $2,100!). We've never had to move! Clients come to the same place. If you look, you might find something that gives you this growth opportunity at no/little cost.

Anyway, moving from the small office is a good idea. But, keep the long view in mind. When contemplating the long view, consider that you just might have more success than you are currently allowing yourself to believe and that you can maintain professional relationships without seeing a person physically every day.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 08:28:19 AM by FIREby35 »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #218 on: January 30, 2019, 08:52:06 AM »
I think the negatives are minor and mostly small inconveniences.  Or even opportunities to grow. 

Only other items I can think of is there convenient parking.  Asking the other Lawyer if there are anythings she dislikes about the location or the owner/property manager.  What are her plans?  Have you discussed if she is planning to make upgrades to her equipment and whether she may be willing to sell some to you.

I say go for it.

I generally agree with all your comments. Parking is good and plentiful here. The other lawyer loves the space -- she has had an amazing career and was contemplating buying her own building, but just elected to move suites.

I think it sounds like a great option.

Re:  phone answering ...

Some very good ideas here. I've been toying around with Google Voice for the past couple days and it seems like a good option. Although, it just rings straight through to my cell phone, so I'm not sure why I just wouldn't use my cell phone anyway.

RSM -

Being in the market for a better office is a good idea. I'd recommend taking a moment to think about how you picked your current space and why you are needing to move so quickly to try and avoid the same dilema repeating itself. It seems to me that you got your current space because it was cheap and allowed you access to other attorneys. Both of those considerations are based, at least in part, on your worry/belief that a) you wouldn't have enough business and b) that you needed mentorship to start your business.

I am suggesting to you that you will have enough business and that you don't need mentorship right around the corner. Still, choosing an economically advantageous place and maintaining and expanding your professional network are important. So, what does this mean for you when thinking of a new office?

Doing some reflecting here, I think I secured my space mostly because of the immediacy of how this all transpired, and because they did not make me commit to a lease.  If you recall, I gave a three week notice and was terminated two days later. I wanted to focus on other aspects of my business, and because this space had already been offered to me, I knew I could just secure this and move onto other areas that needed attention.

The other big reason was obviously cost -- finding an office share for that cheap is remarkable. They really did me a solid here. But now, with this new space, the cost increase is negligible -- I'm estimating maybe $100-150 in fixed monthly costs, and maybe a couple thousand on buying furniture.

***

Overall, I think the risks are minimal. I need to see this space again to visualize everything, but I think this provides a great short and long term solution. I'm seeing the property today at 11:30.  I'll keep you posted.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2019, 08:57:57 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #219 on: February 04, 2019, 07:02:48 AM »
Small update -- I visited the space again and my wife agreed that it's perfect. Locked in the $475/month rent.  Still negotiating move-in date (hoping for April 1, but it might be May 1). I'm probably jumping the gun, but I've already ordered my conference room table, desks, chairs, printer, scanner, and TV. Oops.

A small dilemma -- does anybody have any experience with Ruby Receptionist? I'm in a middle ground of not wanting to take on too much overhead by hiring staff, but I still want someone else to answer the phones.  I did a small focus group with family/friends and all unanimously agreed that they would think it was odd that an attorney answered his/her calls directly.

So, Ruby seems like a great compromise. The plan I would need is about $300/month (or $3,600 for the year), which seems expensive, but is incredibly minimal compared to paying somebody full time ($20-25k per year, minimum.

Anybody have any experience with Ruby or a similar remote answering service?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #220 on: February 04, 2019, 07:14:26 AM »
Small update -- I visited the space again and my wife agreed that it's perfect. Locked in the $475/month rent.  Still negotiating move-in date (hoping for April 1, but it might be May 1). I'm probably jumping the gun, but I've already ordered my conference room table, desks, chairs, printer, scanner, and TV. Oops.

A small dilemma -- does anybody have any experience with Ruby Receptionist? I'm in a middle ground of not wanting to take on too much overhead by hiring staff, but I still want someone else to answer the phones.  I did a small focus group with family/friends and all unanimously agreed that they would think it was odd that an attorney answered his/her calls directly.

So, Ruby seems like a great compromise. The plan I would need is about $300/month (or $3,600 for the year), which seems expensive, but is incredibly minimal compared to paying somebody full time ($20-25k per year, minimum.

Anybody have any experience with Ruby or a similar remote answering service?

Congrats! Very exciting. So, how did the rent increase from $450 to $475? I agree with the family, you donít want to answer phones. I have no experience with that service, but I agree that virtual is great, especially in the beginning. That price seems reasonable to me. Do you use any case management software or document management software?

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #221 on: February 04, 2019, 07:50:10 AM »
Congrats! Very exciting. So, how did the rent increase from $450 to $475? I agree with the family, you donít want to answer phones. I have no experience with that service, but I agree that virtual is great, especially in the beginning. That price seems reasonable to me. Do you use any case management software or document management software?

I'm having them paint the entire office (it's very, very dark gray, almost close to charcoal right now; lightening that up to a light gray) and put in all new floors (dated carpet in exchange for commercial laminate flooring). So they basically amortized the cost of that over the five years. Certainly seems fair to me.

Also, @Lady SA , I'm super pumped to say that I am going to fully implement your Kanban Board idea near my desk. I've never had room for it, but now I have room for it in spades. I'd like to make a physical board but I'm not sure what to use. Might use a whiteboard, as that seems easy, cheap, and easily able to change. Post-Its with tape was another idea, although I'm not sure if that would look great. Also thought of just painting a grid on the wall and using post its as well. So much fun stuff to think about, so little time.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #222 on: February 04, 2019, 08:14:45 AM »
Wow! I just read this whole thread. I remember when you first posted but didnít follow it. What an adventure youíve had in a relatively short time. Congrats on all your bold moves and for the little one on the way. Youíre smashing it by taking control of your destiny. Youíre also a good writer.

Hereís an idea or two: after a couple of years you could set up a blog or have a consulting business helping other lawyers to go solo, and/or, look into teaching at a local law school. Youíve got quite a lot to offer and I think you could easily build a secondary or later in life career out of what youíve learned.

Just my 2 cents.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #223 on: February 04, 2019, 08:26:23 AM »
Hereís an idea or two: after a couple of years you could set up a blog or have a consulting business helping other lawyers to go solo, and/or, look into teaching at a local law school. Youíve got quite a lot to offer and I think you could easily build a secondary or later in life career out of what youíve learned.

Just my 2 cents.

Thanks for the kind words. 

I've definitely thought about dovetailing a second career. Writing an e-book, starting a blog on solo practice, doing conferences, etc. Seems right up my alley, but I wanted at least several years of success under my belt before spitting in the wind.

Lady SA

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #224 on: February 04, 2019, 12:28:33 PM »
Woo for kanban boards!
I prefer a giant whiteboard (I have this at work) because you can customize/change it much easier as you refine your working process. Add/subtract columns or swimlanes, change the "status" names to be more precise, etc. You can use painter's tape on the whiteboard if you don't want to draw the lines, and it comes off without too much fuss.
Otherwise, at home I used painters tape to put up a grid directly onto the wall, and then larger post-its for the column labels. It isn't pretty, but it is utterly functional. :)

I wouldn't paint the grid, that's too permanent. You will always discover things that aren't working quite right for you, and you would then be forced to either repaint or contort yourself to fit within the existing process.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #225 on: February 04, 2019, 01:48:24 PM »
RSM, congrats on the new space!  Although, grey walls?  Really?  Well, it's your space.  I would go with a bit more color or at least a happier neutral myself.

I use a magnetic whiteboard as a kanban board.  I use small magnet/labels and use dry erase markers to make my lists of items for the kanban board.  I don't like post-its myself.  I keep my kanban board on my desk to the left of my computer screen, leaning against the wall, to that I can see it while I work and so that I can take it down when I want to.

I have heard good things about Ruby Receptionists, although I haven't used them myself.

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #226 on: February 05, 2019, 06:32:32 AM »
My lawyer answers her phone personally the majority of the time.  She has a part time secretary.  I like it.  I feel it is more of a personal touch.  Although I know she is near the end of her career and does not carry a large case load and can be selective.

I would suggest a greyish blue.  Also maybe consider not using it on all ways.  Use it more as accent walls.  Then maybe a neutral light brown or cream to keep the place bright.  Or keep a few of her darker grey walls as accents.  Maybe one wall in a conference room.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #227 on: February 05, 2019, 11:01:32 AM »
Who knew this would turn into an interior design thread! Let's dance.

Here's the general space which, of course, I've measured exactly and then mapped out in Google Sheets (each square  = 6x6 inches) because I'm insane:



Note that all the red lines are my own furnishings. Blue are chairs. Not sure why I picked a different color.

So, I really like the flow of the office. The only thing is that there are only two small windows, one to the right of the entrance, and another behind my desk, so natural light is limited.

The receptionist area is a little half wall. It's nice. I'm putting a sign/logo and probably my degrees in this room. There will be a "please ring this bell sign if the receptionist is not here," which will be the majority of the time.

I love the flow of the main working room. There will obviously be some considerations for attorney-client privilege, but I will make that a huge priority.

I'm very excited to use a TV with the conference area. I plan to make civil and criminal litigation powerpoints so I can walk clients through the process. I also plan to pull up dockets, maps, documents, etc.

As for color scheme, with the lack of natural light, I am looking to lighten up the space. I do not like the look of traditional law offices. I want the client to feel welcome.  I agree with @civil4life that a blue-ish gray would be nice. I still need to pick that out. Trim is all white. For the floors, I had limited options, so I am going for a medium/dark gray floor (other options were woods that were all either too light or too dark).

The furniture I've ordered is beech wood. In sum, my office will somewhat have this color scheme, but with lighter walls, composite hardwood floors, and less modern looking furniture:



I'll also point out that my colors for all my marketing materials are red, black, gray, and white. It's my high school and college alma mater colors. People who know me love it because they know it's personal. All this matches with the above (I think).

I'm now not going to be able to move in until May 1, but that leaves me with a nice little mental distraction when I'm up at 4:00 AM taking care of a newborn.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #228 on: February 05, 2019, 02:57:13 PM »
This all sounds really cool. That looks like a great space for $475. Good find.


civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #229 on: February 05, 2019, 05:36:32 PM »
Ok, now you have my interior design side too.  When ever I want to rearrange a room I draw it on graph paper to scale.  Then cut out pieces for all of my furniture and move the pieces around to see how I like the fit.

If you are sticking with your Red, Black, White, and grey. (Is it scarlet for OSU).  I would use a deeper/darker red for some accents like pillows in the lobby, window coverings, red for some bathroom accessories, and possibly your logo.

I would put a dark grey on the tv wall and the wall behind your desk.  Then consider a neutral brown with a red hint in it.  Then either the black or white for trim.  Had you not ordered the furniture I would do furniture in black and trim white.

I would say use the dark grey for either the furniture/lobby wall or the one next to the bathroom.

Here is a pallette



Look at the make over here http://salarmynwa.us/tag/office/

Also you have talked about the Kanban chart.  Maybe consider one of the dark greys as chalk paint?


ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #230 on: February 05, 2019, 06:30:25 PM »
...

As probably the biggest OSU fan on this forum (the mods would ban me if they knew how much I've spent on the Michigan game every year since 2002), being corrected about "scarlet" is pretty embarrassing for me.

To get more detailed, this is the furniture I've bought -- https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/286330/Bush-Business-Furniture-82-W-x/

It was crazy, crazy on sale (due to rewards points and 20% off entire order for rewards members this past weekend), and I'm always partial to lighter working areas.  I wanted a smaller conference table so it was more intimate, and further, I thought it being a little irregular would provide a home field advantage for depositions. Perhaps another lawyer won't be such an ass in such close quarters.

Anyway, your color palate is almost exactly what was in there, and it is very, very dark. Maybe that beige would lighten it up, but I'm always partial to gray. It goes with everything else I have (both Ohio State degrees, OSU memorabilia, ha).

Where I'm open for plenty of comment is the flooring and accent pieces. I'm starting to think brown floors might look good and bring some earth tones in so this doesn't look like an HGTV special. And are fake plants a thing? How else do I bring some color in here? I want it to be "me" but I also don't want it to look like a dorm room.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 06:32:15 PM by ReadySetMillionaire »

grantmeaname

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #231 on: February 05, 2019, 06:57:27 PM »


As probably the biggest OSU fan on this forum
Go Bucks! I won't tell the mods if you don't tell them I went to the Rose Bowl this year (didn't even ride my bike there...)


ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #232 on: February 05, 2019, 07:37:54 PM »


As probably the biggest OSU fan on this forum
Go Bucks! I won't tell the mods if you don't tell them I went to the Rose Bowl this year (didn't even ride my bike there...)

I was there as well! Section 14. First Rose Bowl for me. It was great.

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #233 on: February 05, 2019, 07:58:36 PM »
Well I am horrible at watering plants.  I would either do real or not at all.  Maybe a fish tank or a fountain.

To get the OSU in without it looking like a dorm or pub.  Maybe a portrait Horseshoe but have it framed very nicely as you would a diploma. An OSU themed clock. 

Some sort of Ohio "heart of it all" type of wall art/craft.



Another could be through rugs.

I did a google search for red office accessories.


ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #234 on: February 05, 2019, 08:14:00 PM »
Oh trust me, I have plenty of well framed and nice OSU stuff. Several panoramics of the same game for crying out loud.

@civil4life whatís your thought on flooring?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2019, 06:39:36 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

Suit

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #235 on: February 06, 2019, 08:00:30 AM »
Go Buckeyes!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #236 on: March 04, 2019, 10:07:33 AM »
New inquiry, as I make this transition to my new office -- anybody have any experience with case management software? Any recommendations? @TVRodriguez @Lady SA @FIREby35 @Fuzz @Finances_With_Purpose

I've looked and Clio and Practice Panther seem like pretty good options. I like the idea have having everything seamlessly integrated and having all of my client's stuff in one, convenient portal. I also like the idea of being able to batch invoice.

However, I loathe the idea of adding another fixed expense, and especially one that will continue in perpetuity.  Each of these services is about $65/month, or $780 annually.  With my move ahead, I'm already increasing overhead from about $800/month to $1,200/month, and I'm weary of adding another expense at this time.

I currently use Google App Suites and think I have it pretty well mastered.  My Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Tasks, Google Drive, etc. are all linked pretty well. I should add that everything I have is on Google -- Forms, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Google My Business, Analytics, etc.  It's all favorited on my bookmarks bar so it's like a dashboard of sorts.

I also just started going paperless via Google Drive, and I am creating secure folders for clients and sharing that link with them. The feedback so far is INCREDIBLY positive with that collaboration.

I also just started using Wave Accounting/Invoicing, and wow, for a free service, what a great job it does.  It has reduced my invoicing time from about 4-5 hours to about 1 hour. So that headache, I think, has been largely taken care of.

So this is a classic "fixed expense" type of debate. Perhaps case management software is essential to "grow" the business so that I am working "on the business, not in it," and so that I can eventually sell the business. However, I feel like Google is a great alternative option that *almost* does the same thing, and can scale as well.

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2019, 10:22:08 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

Dicey

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #237 on: March 04, 2019, 10:23:49 AM »
@civil4life whatís your thought on flooring?
I'm not civil (snirt), and this response may come too late, but Luxury Vinyl Flooring (LVP) is the bomb. Easy to install, impossible to kill, totally waterproof, a breeze  to clean, and not terribly expensive. Shaw US Floors* even makes a product with a cork backing. It dampens sound and is more comfortable underfoot. Full disclosure: the cork back type requires a saw. The regular stuff is just score and snap.

*Edited to update - It's not from Shaw, unless they own US Floors. Since retiring from the industry, I don't GAF. We're installing a houseful of it now. It is a breeze to work with and the cork backing is  delightful underfoot.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2019, 06:53:17 AM by Dicey »

Lady SA

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #238 on: March 04, 2019, 11:21:20 AM »
If google solutions are working for you right now, I'd stick with it until there is a compelling reason to switch.
A lot like how we tell people on the forums to not move houses until you *need* to. You say yourself that there isn't anything wrong with your current solution, but you are looking at other options to see if there is a "grass is greener" option. I would consider these systems on a "convenience (problem severity & frequency) -- price" scale. Do you currently have any issues with the convenience factor with google? If yes, how severe are the problems you are encountering? How often do these problems occur?
If each time you had to bill a client, you had to go through a 3 hour rigamarole, then your decision might look different than if things work pretty smoothly today, with maybe a few infrequent but short headaches to deal with.

I'd also try to minimize the amount of "change" you are experiencing with the new move. There will be plenty of that (new commute, new neighbors, new processes, etc) without voluntarily adding learning a whole new system of software onto your plate as well. I'd wait until you settle into your new rhythm and then revisit this question.

civil4life

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #239 on: March 04, 2019, 12:07:30 PM »
Oh trust me, I have plenty of well framed and nice OSU stuff. Several panoramics of the same game for crying out loud.

@civil4life whatís your thought on flooring?

Somehow I missed this. 

I will second Dicey on the LVP.

I recently replaced my kitchen flooring.  The previous owner had cork.  Total mess.  I actually went with cheap vynyl, but that is because I live in a low income area and most likely will not be in the house too many more years. 

The flooring people definitely pushed the LVP.  If it had been a forever home or higher end one I definitely would have went went with it.

Do you have color swatches?  I really like the more rustic looking floor styles and with OSU a grey hue would probably be interesting, but I do not think it would go with the color scheme.

I agree with sticking with Google.  You already seem to have a good system that works. 

I work in engineering.  My employer just switched to one of the project management softwares.  Overall it is ok.  It would not have been one of my picks.  It is probably more focused on the business/financial side than for me the project manager. 

Just Curious

Being in MMM there is the FIRE and also the work life balance.  What are your aspirations for your firm?  Do you want it to grow to a multi-lawyer office or stay a one man show?  If a one man show what do you think or want your capacity to be?  How does this fit in with your FIRE goals?

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #240 on: March 05, 2019, 10:16:31 AM »
I use Case Peer. It is cheaper than most case management programs, doesn't require any contracts and is pretty awesome. If I were you, I'd at least check it out.

As to whether you need a case management system or not, that is a more difficult question. I did not use a case management software for the first 6 years of running my own practice. I was able to use excel spreadsheets, good programs, outlook and other tools to keep track of all my things. In my experience, the case management software became essential as I built a team of people and wanted the team of people to have a common infrastructure to handle the cases as a team (rather than individuals handling cases inside a firm with no collective efforts).

If I had been using the case management software from the beginning it would have saved me a lot of work trying to convert all our files into the system and then have everyone in the office learn a new software at the same time. So, if you get a case management software now, it would make it easier to grow.

On the other hand, I didn't pay any subscription costs for 6+ years. So, I did save money.

https://www.casepeer.com


One last thought, I don't think selling a solo law practice is a likely outcome. It is not like other businesses and is more difficult to sell for many reasons.

TVRodriguez

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #241 on: March 05, 2019, 01:18:34 PM »
Confession:  I'm kind of a hodgepodge of systems, which I am guessing you'd like to avoid.  I'll come clean here and explain.

I've been using Clio since I started on my own, and it's gotten a lot more robust since then (almost 6 years ago), but honestly I'm not using it for all it's worth.  I have friends who use it for everything, including the client connect; I mainly use it for billing.  It works well for me for invoicing, which I generate on Clio and then download and either mail or email to clients.  I like that my assistant has her own login and can log her time at her rate, too.  I like the dashboard that has my targets right on the front page when I log in.  But I don't send bills out from Clio's website.  I tried with my very first client, and she didn't like it.  So I didn't bother trying again.  I'm told by other friends that they do routinely send out their bills from Clio with no problems.  But honestly, I have several clients who do not email at all, so they still prefer to receive an invoice in the mail and send me their checks in my SASE.  And for the EP matters, they pay me 50% at the first meeting and the balance at the last meeting, so there is no need to send an invoice.  I mark my time for my own edification and reports.

I think I get a discount for paying Clio annually.  I used to, and I haven't checked on that lately but I should.

I use Microsoft 365, and since Outlook what I use for email, I like that Clio has buttons in Outlook for me to access it that way, too.

I use Square to accept credit cards.  If you take credit cards through LawPay, Clio waives the monthly fee for you, so you only pay the percentage associated with that credit card.  LawPay has a low fee for "regular" credit cards (less than 2%).  But I tried LawPay before they hooked up with Clio, and I found that the rewards credit cards have a higher fee than the standard fee from Square.  So I switched to Square for accepting credit cards.  But that means that I send regular paper/mail or pdf/email bills, and if someone wants to pay by credit card, then I end up generating and sending a link from Square and attaching the pdf to that.  Not terribly efficient, but it's never really been a problem for me.  Also, my state just approved attorneys passing along credit card fees to clients, although I haven't done that and am not sure if I will.

Another solo I know loves MyCase for herself, and I think she uses a lot of the Google App Suites, so I guess that works well together for her.

I use Quickbooks, partly for bookkeeping and partly for payroll.  I pay myself, my two assistants, and any contract attorneys through direct deposit.  It's easy for me, and I am used to it.  It generates the reports I need easily.

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #242 on: March 08, 2019, 09:21:33 AM »
Thanks for sharing about your systems.  I guess I'll share mine in more detail for those following along.

I use Google Apps for email, calendar, documents (Docs), spreadsheets (Sheets), online storage (Drive), slides, forms, tasks, notes (Keep), etc.  My website is also through Google (kind of) in that I also use Analytics, Google My Business, etc.  All of this for $6 is probably the best value any business could have.

Almost all of this Google stuff integrates.  Tasks speaks to Calendar; Gmail can speak to Calendar; and Drive speaks to everything. It creates a Google Dashboard of sorts, although it does not fully integrate like a case management software. More on this later.

I've used Quickbooks Self-Employed for about a year now, but per @FIREby35, and after getting hammered on taxes this past year, I am electing to be an S-Corp this year. So QBSE doesn't work with this type of accounting, which is sad, because I love this app.

Thus, for financials, I just converted to Wave.  They have an amazing free invoicing service that allows for incredibly customized invoices and they only charge 1% to pay online (everywhere else is 3%).  Multiple clients paid almost instantly this month and provided feedback that they really appreciated the ability to pay online. If those clients become "raving fans" then the 1% is well worth it.

Wave also provides payroll and basic accounting features. The accounting is free but is not very nuanced.  I don't think it needs to be because, unless I'm missing something, I just need to stay on top of my expenses, categorize them, and then give that to my accountant at the end of the year. Wave does a good job at this.  Wave's payroll service is $24/month; there are cheaper options but I think I want to do this so all my finances (invoicing, accounting, payroll) are in one place.

There's three things about the above described system.

1. There's no single place where EVERYTHING for a client is in one place. Sure, I have my calendar appointments and emails, and I have Google Contacts, and all of this is accessible, but case management software really seems to put everything in one place.  That seems convenient, although I'm not at the point where that is worth almost $1,000 per year.

2. Google does not really speak to Wave or anything accounting wise.  Again, this is not a huge deal, but it means there are separate ecosystems for legal work and finances.

3. Invoicing is still by biggest admin time sink.  I just did my first batch this month and it took a while. Granted, I did have to create a client for all of them this time, and maybe I'll get more familiar and quicker, but manually transferring from a Google Doc to invoices is quite a task that still takes at least half a day. While this is a time sink, I always follow up with clients, finish minute stuff that needs to get done while billing, and actually keep a list of "making money in [next month]," because my somewhat manual billing gives me a list of projects.  It's almost like a tickler system of sorts.

So, I'm always looking to improve. Some new tech for the new office:

1. As part of my push to become as paperless as possible, just bought an iPad, as the newest models are on sale for $250. No longer have to waste time printing stuff and carrying around huge files to court -- it will all be accessible via Google Drive.  I'm also using this as my Amazon Cloud Reader, and it's way bigger/better than a Kindle.

2. Bought a Google Home Assistant ($30).  Going to be able to say "Call Clerk of Courts" and have it dial right from there and use it as a speakerphone.  Will also be able to use it to remind me of tasks and set calendar appointments. This plus Ruby Receptionists seems like a great solution for now.

3. Got a 55" TV for the conference room. Going to link this up with my computer to give presentations to clients.

4. Updated my website. It's 99% done and holy moly is it an improvement. I'll probably share via PM with some of you when it's done.

5. Buddy of mine designed a logo. It's sharp.

That's all I can think of right now. Including that $21k from the settlement, almost $50k in invoices so far this year.  Things are continuing to move in the right direction.

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #243 on: March 09, 2019, 07:27:40 AM »
RSM - you are like me, it only took one year of getting hammered on taxes before I took the time to figure it out. Taxes are real! :)


Fuzz

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #244 on: March 26, 2019, 05:46:17 PM »
Case management software is not essential for a solo. It seems like you have a good thing going with google suite.

I would encourage you to use a text expander.

Whether case management software is useful depends on your practice area. If  you have a volume practice where you use a lot of the same forms and the cases follow the same workflows (immigration, trusts/estates, misdemeanor criminal defense), then purpose built case management software can really accelerate your practice (wealth counsel and a couple of immigration suites are especially impressive). If your cases are more one-off cases (and very few practice areas are like that imho), then don't bother with a case management system.

If you're doing the same tasks again and again, there is generally a way to automate it. Figure out how to automate it.

I have no idea how Wave gets around credit card fees (wholesale fees are more than 1%) and offers a free account. Is it a virtual check or debit card only service?

I think it is a huge mistake not to take credit cards. I think it is a huge mistake not to get paid up front. My advice is to build the cost of CC processing into your price. I do not organize my biz around clients that want to mail me a check. I will work with those folks, but it's not my preference or typical workflow. And that's okay. It's my vision/practice. I don't work without being paid so I make it easy to pay me. My experience is that most individuals do not write checks on a regular basis. So I don't make them go find their checkbook. If I served businesses that sent out a lot of checks, then I'd care more about taking checks.

My bias is to spend money to save time, and then use that time to do more valuable work for clients that can pay. Your vision may be different. If you keep your costs low, you can charge low prices and serve a different market. That business model works too.

With Clio, I send invoices from the software. I send dozens of invoices a month. It does not take anytime and my clients pay with a credit card. But where Clio is much more useful is integrating document automation/document management/tasks across a team. With Clio grow, it does intake too.

Also, FYI on invoicing. An invoice is also a marketing document, so make the invoice look good and explain what the hard work you did in detail :)

Final thought: I have a whole bunch of subscriptions, an associate and a paralegal. I am not making a ton more money than when I was a true solo doing everything myself. It would have been easier to keep a simple practice with one niche only, almost no expenses and no overhead. That would have been a really good way to go. I could work 3 days a week and take home 60% of what I am taking home now. However, my more complicated/expensive model is generating some great cases and I am doing neat work that I like. My expectation is that it will really pay off in the second half of 2019 and 2020. So discount my thoughts accordingly.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #245 on: March 26, 2019, 10:50:13 PM »
PTF. Iíve read from the beginning and love seeing how far youíve come. Quite impressive. Adding a comment because I only stumble across the thread every few months and have to get caught up. Now Iíll be able to keep current.

Best wishes on baby boy RSM!

FIREby35

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #246 on: March 28, 2019, 01:33:11 PM »
Case management software is not essential for a solo. It seems like you have a good thing going with google suite.

I would encourage you to use a text expander.

Whether case management software is useful depends on your practice area. If  you have a volume practice where you use a lot of the same forms and the cases follow the same workflows (immigration, trusts/estates, misdemeanor criminal defense), then purpose built case management software can really accelerate your practice (wealth counsel and a couple of immigration suites are especially impressive). If your cases are more one-off cases (and very few practice areas are like that imho), then don't bother with a case management system.

If you're doing the same tasks again and again, there is generally a way to automate it. Figure out how to automate it.

I have no idea how Wave gets around credit card fees (wholesale fees are more than 1%) and offers a free account. Is it a virtual check or debit card only service?

I think it is a huge mistake not to take credit cards. I think it is a huge mistake not to get paid up front. My advice is to build the cost of CC processing into your price. I do not organize my biz around clients that want to mail me a check. I will work with those folks, but it's not my preference or typical workflow. And that's okay. It's my vision/practice. I don't work without being paid so I make it easy to pay me. My experience is that most individuals do not write checks on a regular basis. So I don't make them go find their checkbook. If I served businesses that sent out a lot of checks, then I'd care more about taking checks.

My bias is to spend money to save time, and then use that time to do more valuable work for clients that can pay. Your vision may be different. If you keep your costs low, you can charge low prices and serve a different market. That business model works too.

With Clio, I send invoices from the software. I send dozens of invoices a month. It does not take anytime and my clients pay with a credit card. But where Clio is much more useful is integrating document automation/document management/tasks across a team. With Clio grow, it does intake too.

Also, FYI on invoicing. An invoice is also a marketing document, so make the invoice look good and explain what the hard work you did in detail :)

Final thought: I have a whole bunch of subscriptions, an associate and a paralegal. I am not making a ton more money than when I was a true solo doing everything myself. It would have been easier to keep a simple practice with one niche only, almost no expenses and no overhead. That would have been a really good way to go. I could work 3 days a week and take home 60% of what I am taking home now. However, my more complicated/expensive model is generating some great cases and I am doing neat work that I like. My expectation is that it will really pay off in the second half of 2019 and 2020. So discount my thoughts accordingly.

Fuzz, your advice was/is great. I bolded the parts that really struck me. I have the same type of deal with my practice. Was bigger really better? No way to know now and way to late to look back. Plus, there are some advantages and things to look forward to with a small firm, as you mentioned.

TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #247 on: April 17, 2019, 10:34:34 AM »
How did this fall to page 4?  I literally come to MMM to read this thread, as I think it's excellent (and I'm not even an attorney, or a business owner!).  I mean, I read a few other things while I'm here, but I'm a bit hooked on this thread, or was at least.

Any updates on it?

TheInsuranceMan

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #248 on: April 17, 2019, 02:04:22 PM »
RSM welcomed a baby to their family a few weeks ago -- I'm guessing the business is on the back burner for the time being!

Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that!  Babies add to the craziness, no doubt!

ReadySetMillionaire

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Re: Employment Dilemma--Take New Job?
« Reply #249 on: June 06, 2019, 10:51:15 AM »
How did this fall to page 4?  I literally come to MMM to read this thread, as I think it's excellent (and I'm not even an attorney, or a business owner!).  I mean, I read a few other things while I'm here, but I'm a bit hooked on this thread, or was at least.

Any updates on it?

@TheInsuranceMan ... so sorry for the delays.  As said, my son was born in early March.  He's doing great -- sleeping well, eating well, loves his mom, etc.

To add to that, I moved offices at end of March, which obviously took a ton of time. The new office, though, is amazing and is arguably the best decision I've made -- most especially because I also did a complete redesign of my logo, letterhead, website, etc.  I will post pictures of it some time soon, but it's been getting great compliments from other attorneys and clients. Also, as I alluded to in another post, coming here and basically being guaranteed to not be bother has been an almost surreal experience coming from multiple offices with a ton of lawyers and staff and the phone ringing off the hook.

Expense wise (since @Fuzz and @FIREby35 mentioned it), I'm still running very lean.  My rent did go up to $475/month and I now have a phone answering service for $276/month, but my overall budget is still less than $1,100 per month.

Business revenues are going really well. So well that I've hired my brother to come in about twice a month (or $100/month or so) to help out. Well worth the expense -- he does all the work I hate doing (printing envelopes, creating new folders, etc.).

Through end of May, I have $72,000 in earned receipts. My June invoices were $9,950 -- almost $5,000 of which were billed against retainers.  The invoice amount would have been higher, but I withheld invoices on a couple cases that are just about to wrap up. I'm hoping my July invoices (for June's work) total more than $12,000.

I feel pretty confident because I've diversified my revenue sources pretty well.  I have 4-5 big pieces of litigation into the foreseeable future.  I'm also still doing local counsel work and appointed work.  I also got added to the criminal appeals appointment list, so that's an entirely new thing to figure out.

Also in the pipeline is a co-counseling relationship with an attorney in another county.  We met in February and he followed up just this week and said he is going to get me involved in 3-4 of his biggest cases -- he said he was allowing me to enjoy time with my son before getting too involved.

Also in the pipeline is a co-counseling relationship with that family law attorney I've mentioned before.  We settled that $250,000 whopper and she's brought me on board for three other cases since.

Revenue goal for this year is $150,000.  I think I can get there if one of the contingency fee cases settle.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 10:55:05 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »