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Author Topic: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?  (Read 981 times)

MiamiLaw

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Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« on: September 10, 2007, 12:49:53 PM »
I have recently decided that corporate law does not sound like something I would enjoy doing (if I can even qualify for a job like that), and what I really have always wanted to do with my life was open my own firm up, either solo or with one partner.  I will be 24 when I graduate law school, so if I decide to work for a PI firm right out of law school for 4-5 years completely disregarding my salary at the time and doing it for the experience/contacts I would need to start my own shop, how good of a prospective plan does this sound?  Also, what are the chances of being able to live comfortably while running a PI firm?

xferlawstudent

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2007, 01:09:43 PM »
You can make a huge range of salaries.  If you do car accidents, you probably won't make much money at all.  If you do class action toxic torts (and you are good) you can be one of the most wealthy attorneys in the county.  Think about getting a 1/3 contingency fee on a class action tobacco suit.

MiamiLaw

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2007, 01:18:12 PM »
You can make a huge range of salaries.  If you do car accidents, you probably won't make much money at all.  If you do class action toxic torts (and you are good) you can be one of the most wealthy attorneys in the county.  Think about getting a 1/3 contingency fee on a class action tobacco suit.

I am not going to lie to myself and others on this board and say that I am only in law to help the community or do whatever. I am going into law to find a balance of monetary potential and job enjoyment. Corporate law seems like it would certainly meet the money side, but after being in law school for a few weeks now, I really do not see myself enjoying the business side of the law, and I am really finding enjoyment in my torts class.  I would love to do wrongful death or product liability claims, but I am not sure how tough it is to be succesful in that field? By succesful, I don't mean making millions, I just mean making a comfortable salary and feeling that I am getting a return on my "investment" to go to law school.

Eva Destruction

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2007, 02:08:32 PM »
Isn't it a bit early to narrowing your focus?
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MiamiLaw

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2007, 02:12:11 PM »
Isn't it a bit early to narrowing your focus?

I'm not committing to anything right now, just seeing how much of a future is in some of my options that I am considering. I was die hard corporate law when I started and never even thought about anything else, but that is quickly starting to seem like something that I would not enjoy. So I'm just exploring my options here and if opening a PI firm after several years does sound like a lucrative and enjoyable option, I will have to put more consideration into it.

brightline

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2007, 03:58:35 PM »
Contact some attorneys in your area over winter break (after exams), preferably alums of your school, and try to do informational interviews with them about what it is like to practice law in this field - the upsides and downsides, etc. That's probably your best bet for finding information.

xferlawstudent

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2007, 05:17:01 PM »
Contact some attorneys in your area over winter break (after exams), preferably alums of your school, and try to do informational interviews with them about what it is like to practice law in this field - the upsides and downsides, etc. That's probably your best bet for finding information.

And try to work at a PI firm of the size you are thinking about this summer.

MiamiLaw

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2007, 08:20:17 PM »
Do you guys have any ideas regarding how lucrative running your own PI firm would be though? That is the goal for me, not working at a PI firm. I am just going to work at a PI firm for a few years to figure out how the system works, and as soon as I have money built up and I feel I am ready, I am going to start it up.

starter

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2007, 09:54:28 PM »
Do you guys have any ideas regarding how lucrative running your own PI firm would be though? That is the goal for me, not working at a PI firm. I am just going to work at a PI firm for a few years to figure out how the system works, and as soon as I have money built up and I feel I am ready, I am going to start it up.

It totally depends on your situation.  In order to open your own firm you have to be business savvy as well.  You need to know how many staff members you need, what to pay them, how much advertising you want to do and at what cost, whether you will have your own office building or share office space, etc.  All of these considerations must be taken into account and proper decisions will have to be made in order to maximize your income. 

As far as the actual practice of law, it will probably be tough until you can get your practice up and running.  It will take a few years of results to get your name out there and have the referrals start to circulate.  Ultimately, the sky is the limit and you could take home several hundred thousand per year if you are truly the best of the best in your town. 

But that isn't may be difficult for a variety of reasons.  One very significant reason is the amount of television advertising done by large PI firms.  The general public tends to equate television advertising and silly acting with attorney competence.  As such, you will likely lose some good cases to the larger PI firms.  You will probably have to branch out your practice and do some criminal, domestic, or worker's comp. work to help pay the bills.

Having said all that, I see no reason why you couldn't clear six figures per year after you get established.  I worked for a solo attorney this summer at a PI/workers comp office and he made about 150K per year. 

Papa Bear

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Re: Information regarding going the solo firm, Personal Injury route?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2007, 11:19:05 PM »
If you want to make contacts in the PI industry then I would think about getting into insurance defense. You'll talk to a lot more PI attorneys doing that than you would as a PI attorney and you'll get valuable insight into how the litigation process works from the insurer's side. Of course, it would involve working for "the man" for a bit...
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