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Messages - FalconJimmy

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Choosing the Right Law School / Re: Disability Law
« on: March 17, 2011, 04:04:33 PM »
California has a unique system with disability law that involves its own set of damages, etc.  Might be something you could figure out by taking a CE, but seems to me that you'd be foolish to go to a school outside California.

Just my barely-informed opinion.

Job Search / Re: Insurance Defense Work
« on: March 16, 2011, 10:19:30 AM »
At least at this firm - it's 2000 hr requirement for the firm, and hours get kicked back ALL the time!  It seems really stressful since the clients are pretty sophisticated.

Wow, I don't have direct experience in insurance defense, but this is so familiar it actually is giving me chills. 

I have heard that the upside of insurance defense work is that you're essentially guaranteed a nonstop stream of work. 

On the flip side, I've heard that they negotiate lower rates for the hourly billing rate (totally consistent with what I see insurance companies do every day.)

Then, to add the point you made: that they kick back on the billed hours is also absolutely consistent with what I've observed with the way they do business, everywhere. 

They're essentially negotiating thousands of transactions every day.  They know how far they can go when pushing a relationship and they're darned sure going to do it.

Now, in the final analysis, nobody is forced to work for them.  I know of one person in particular who specialized in insurance defense a long time ago and he's truly wealthy, now.  Works long hours, earns every penny, but never has to wonder where his next billable hour is going to come from.

However, I can see how this could be horribly frustrating work.  You're representing Goliath, trying to help him beat the snot out of David, and when you succeed, he quibbles about your bill after you already gave him a discount on the rate to begin with.

I'm really glad you guys brought this up.  It would never have occurred to me how unappealing this sort of work can be if you had not. 

Not saying I wouldn't do it, or that I'd rule it out, but just saying I'd examine any prospects in this line of work with my eyes wide open.

Job Search / Re: Insurance Defense Work
« on: March 15, 2011, 10:02:53 PM »
From what I've seen most ins companies are quite fair and do pay out when they should - most of the litigation ends up when someone wants a benefit they never paid for is is doing something shady like burning their own house down for the ins payout. Also there's a huge range of ins defense from auto liability to D&O to general commercial liability.

I work with property and casualty companies every day.  I can't divulge much given that I still make my living this way, but suffice to say that my impression of property and casualty insurers is 180 degrees different than yours. 

I also am a person who was against litigation most of my life until I was hit by a woman in an SUV who made a left turn while oncoming and knocked me from my bike.  The insurance company was so uncooperative and unwilling to offer a reasonable settlement, I ended up hiring a PI firm. 

I think a lot of people have good interactions with insurance companies that pay fairly and promptly.  However, there are enough cases that I've personally witnessed where nothing of the sort happened, that I absolutely don't look down at PI attorneys anymore.

Incoming 1Ls / Re: How do you get old exams?
« on: March 15, 2011, 09:49:07 PM »
It completely depends on the school and professor.  At HLS exams for most professors were available for download via the school's intranet.

Thanks, I will see if there are copies in the law library or whether I can download them somehow.  The school I'm going to is considerably less prestigious than HLS.

Incoming 1Ls / How do you get old exams?
« on: March 15, 2011, 08:51:05 AM »
Does anybody have advice on how to get old exams?

I take it you can't ask your prof for them.  Is the only way to get them to ask students if they still have theirs?

What about commercially available stuff?  I know there are E&Es and outlines you can buy.  Are there sample exam questions and answers, too?

Job Search / Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:36:56 AM »
By the way, that same poor dude who lowered himself to join the JAG Corps (of any branch) after about 10-12 years or so service:

O-5(Lt. Colonel/Commander) 10-12
Base Pay: $81,500
BAS/BAH: $30,000 (NON-taxable)
tax advantage: $10,000

TOTAL COMPENSATION:  $122,000/year


You could then resign your commission, join the Reserve (to keep earning points for retirement), and take
that opportunity to join your hometown firm as a partner.

To pick a nit, after 10 years of service, a person would likely be an O-4.  O-5 promotions typically happen around the 16 year mark.  Maybe 14 for a JAG since they are considered to have two years of constructive service.

Still good money, though.

As for leaving to go reserve, no, you don't resign your commission.  The day you resign your commission, you cease to be an officer.  The commission is what makes you an officer.  If you resign it, you're done.  Game over. 

Again, picky, but just trying to keep the discussion factual.

As for being an officer while establishing a law practice, that's a good idea and a path I may pursue.  At that point, your drill pay (for the one-weekend a month) is starting to get considerable.  An O-4 over 10 makes about $850 a month just from drill.  The main reason some might want to consider it is the inexpensive (currently $200 a month for full medical coverage) health insurance you can get.  Health insurance is a beeyotch if you're self-employed.  (Hell, it's a beeyotch no matter what, but at least when you work for somebody else, some poor employer is usually paying part of it.)  Also, as a drilling reservist, you can earn a military retirement.

Job Search / Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:28:32 AM »
I don't think going the officer route has as much to do with an "ego stroke" as it does with the fact that a 1st Lt. makes more in their first year than an E-4 makes after 30 years in service, and almost double what an E-4 makes in their first year. Big deal if they don't pay off as much of your debt, you'll make so much more money as an officer it won't be a problem to pay the difference. And if you join the military, I'm fairly certain you can get in on a federal loan forgiveness program. Not to mention the quality of life differences between officers and enlisted.

I'm only aware of one college loan repayment programs for officers outside of medical fields. 

It's this one:

Air Force?  Navy?  Army?  I'm not aware of any college loan repayment.

A new O-2 makes about 60% more than a new E-4.  I'm sure you were just exaggerating for effect, though.

And this comparison is only meaningful if a person is able to get a slot as a JAG.  They're very competitive.

Job Search / Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« on: March 15, 2011, 07:05:04 AM »
For those of you in the Silver Spoon crowd who look down your noses on JAG (military service) as a fallback: "Oh my GOD!"

The harsh awakening for them will come when they realize that the military doesn't just give these jobs to anybody.

Their selection rate is highly competitive. 

The reality is that an O-3 makes about $7,500 a month.  ($1,500 of which is non taxable because it comes in the form of allowances.) 

30 days off per year.  50% retirement after 20 years of service.  75% retirement after 30 years of service.

Job Search / Re: Studying for the BAR, huge DEBT, no JOB, WHAT DO DO?
« on: March 15, 2011, 06:58:56 AM »

You would have to be beyond retarded to go into the military as an E-4 with the level of education a law school grad has.

I'd say it's an unusual choice, but not necessarily a bad one.  It does help you get rid of debt.  If you've just hung out a shingle and are starving while trying to establish your own firm, it would give you a way to get health benefits. 

The other thing is that some people sincerely enjoy it.  I joined the reserves after 9/11 because I felt the need to do something to serve the country.  However, I am doing it today because I genuinely enjoy it so much. 

Granted, if you get that biglaw job at $160,000, they're not going to be very tolerant of you having a part-time job, regardless of what it is, but I don't think the OP is in that boat.

Also, let's be frank, here.  There are a lot of law schools out there and a lot of folks who attend will NOT be working in the law.  The military is a viable and relatively well-paying career.  It doesn't pay what biglaw pays, but frankly, your garden variety logistics officer probably has far greater earnings potential, a monumentally better retirement system, and considerably better benefits than a person who graduates in the bottom 3/4 of their class from a T2 school or worse.

Granted E-4 pay isn't that great, but an E-4 will still make about $3,000 a month, (1/3 of which is allowances, which are non-taxable) with excellent benefits and 30 days a year off.  Plus, he'll be getting a heck of a lot of his federal loans forgiven.

I would venture to guess that 1/4 to 1/3 of the brand-new attorneys graduating this year won't do much better.

Also, in my not so expert opinion, the one area of business that corresponds best to a law degree is human resources.  That area is full of regulatory compliance and labor law type issues.

That having been said, it's going to be sort of hard to frame your law degree that way.

Also, there are drawbacks to HR.  For one thing, most companies use it to advance URM and females to executive ranks so they can brag about more URM and female executives.

Also, starting pay is low, but frankly, I don't think the competition is that tough.  You can advance quickly in a big organization.

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