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Author Topic: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better  (Read 10433 times)

Ricephilx

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2009, 11:27:54 AM »
Stole,

Good comments.  I didn't expect to be getting into the economics of my company here, but you are a smart bunch.

1) a) We don't need firms to use us all the time as a safety valve.  Instead, we need a lot of firms, using us occasionally, perhaps an hour or two a month.  This obviously requires a lot of firms, and a lot of salesmanship -- that's our job. 

b) I see how there could be confusion here, but it actually does fit with my description.  My previous employer could have paid for me to be in his office for only half the time, and used a service like ours on the rare occasions he needed something fast, when I wasn't there.  This obviously will not work with all small firms, but we do not need the business of all small firms. 

c) We are not offering only research.  Anything a lawyer could imagine a law student could be useful for, we can do.  It's up to the clients.  But in the event research is what's needed, our students will add value to the raw research, not just send them some printouts. 

d) Yes, you could put out your own shingle. But will your clients offer you total flexibility of time?  How much time and money do you want to spend attracting and retaining clients?  These obstacles are often prohibitive for a law student with a busy schedule. 

2) Exactly.  We are not doing mega cases for mega firms  -- we are filling in for small firms wherever they need an extra hand.  I made the point to illustrate that if a large US firm is willing to regularly trust an Indian lawyer with an important task, a small firm should be able to occasionally trust a top US law student with a less important task. 

3) I used Lexis and Westlaw all the time.  It is by far the most effective way to do legal research.

4) Many law students have a full slate.  This is why our entire system is based around flexibility for students. 


Please let me address any further questions and concerns you have. 

Best,

Will


Stole Your Nose!

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2009, 11:58:10 AM »
Actually, usually the tasks assigned to Indian lawyers could hardly be classified as "important."  It's mainly doc review work.

Quote
But in the event research is what's needed, our students will add value to the raw research, not just send them some printouts. 
Yes. We all understand the concept of writing legal research memos.  However, in order for a student to do this effectively, they will need Lexis or Westlaw.  And they will need to do so more than an attorney who is familiar with the field.  For example, if I got a criminal case in Missouri I may have to 1) familiarize myself with the facts of the case, 2) familiarize myself with Missouri sources, 3) probably pull up a Missouri treatise for an overview, 4) look up the annotated statutes, 5) review recent cases interpreting the statutes, and 6) run a few searches looking for cases with similar fact patterns and issues. THEN you write it up. Honestly, I feel bad for the poor schmuck in Missouri whose lawyer did him the grave disservice of outsourcing the work to a law student who couldn't use Lexis or Westlaw. Any research project of this kind, even for small matters, would require the use of Lexis or Westlaw. 

The point of my comments is that 1) you know that research of any value would require Lexis/Westlaw, 2) you are not providing those research services, 3) you know your "independent" contractors will have to use Lexis/Westlaw to fulfill their project assignments effectively, and 4) you are covering your ass with statements on the message board, but are giving the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" and you just clearly could care less. 

FWIW, any business plan that involves posting on the Law School Discussion board is going to get trashed by me. But I would have a lot less of a problem with your crappy business plan if it wasn't inherently unethical.  Get some capital and purchase a flat rate Lexis or Westlaw package for use by your contractors.  Or bill your clients for westlaw or lexis time that your contractors spend on the projects. Either way, building stealing into your business plan and exposing your contractors (and clients) to unnecessary risks is pretty dirty. 

Bob Loblaw Esq.

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2009, 12:26:19 PM »

  For example, if I got a criminal case in Missouri I may have to 1) familiarize myself with the facts of the case, 2) familiarize myself with Missouri sources, 3) probably pull up a Missouri treatise for an overview, 4) look up the annotated statutes, 5) review recent cases interpreting the statutes, and 6) run a few searches looking for cases with similar fact patterns and issues. THEN you write it up. Honestly, I feel bad for the poor schmuck in Missouri whose lawyer did him the grave disservice of outsourcing the work to a law student who couldn't use Lexis or Westlaw. Any research project of this kind, even for small matters, would require the use of Lexis or Westlaw. 


Not only that, even in the most ideal situation (if you had all of the legitimate resources at your disposal), you're still going to have to stick your client with an absurdly inflated bill because it took your 167 lsat law student 10 hrs to do a job that a seasoned criminal atty could do in 2.  A traditional student intern at a firm likely has the majority of his billable hours written off by senior attys who know they can only bill the client for a fraction of the time.  Hell, this happens with newbie associate attys.

look dude, if this isnt a flame, at least recognize that you have a boatload of issues to consider.  if this is a flame, please don't tell me, I'm wicked bored.

Stole Your Nose!

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2009, 12:30:55 PM »
Quote
if this is a flame, please don't tell me, I'm wicked bored.

Exactly. It's great when I have enough fuel to work not just one, but two(!) lists into a post.

Matthies

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2009, 12:37:09 PM »
Vap,

We are not lawyers. Our firm is called Insourcelegal LLC.  Our website is launching in 90 days. 

We charge the clients $50-$60 an hour.  We are the ones paying the students.  

We run the website, write the project management software, market and advertise, screen students, and manage any client-student problems.  The students just log in, do projects, and get a check in the mail.

Best,

Will

 





Will, have you run this business idea by a real lawyer?

Because what you’re doing, sharing in legal fees as non lawyers, could be a violation of the ABA model rules of professional responsibility. I would seriously spend some $ talking with lawyer about this before you start your company and endanger it, and any law students working for you chances at being admitted to practice for ethics violations. Get a lawyer and have them explain explain the implications of rule 5.4 on your business plan.   http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mrpc/rule_5_4.html
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Bob Loblaw Esq.

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2009, 12:50:18 PM »
Vap,

We are not lawyers. Our firm is called Insourcelegal LLC.  Our website is launching in 90 days. 

We charge the clients $50-$60 an hour.  We are the ones paying the students.  

We run the website, write the project management software, market and advertise, screen students, and manage any client-student problems.  The students just log in, do projects, and get a check in the mail.

Best,

Will

 





Will, have you run this business idea by a real lawyer?

Because what you’re doing, sharing in legal fees as non lawyers, could be a violation of the ABA model rules of professional responsibility. I would seriously spend some $ talking with lawyer about this before you start your company and endanger it, and any law students working for you chances at being admitted to practice for ethics violations. Get a lawyer and have them explain explain the implications of rule 5.4 on your business plan.   http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mrpc/rule_5_4.html


as described, i don't think this proposal is unauthorized practice of law / sharing in legal fees etc..(in any event, the model rules dont bind non-lawyer OP)  The ABA has a write up on outsourcing  -  http://www.abanet.org/abanet/media/release/news_release.cfm?releaseid=435

vap

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2009, 01:00:21 PM »
Vap,

We are not lawyers. Our firm is called Insourcelegal LLC.  Our website is launching in 90 days.  

We charge the clients $50-$60 an hour.  We are the ones paying the students.  

We run the website, write the project management software, market and advertise, screen students, and manage any client-student problems.  The students just log in, do projects, and get a check in the mail.

Best,

Will

Will, have you run this business idea by a real lawyer?

Because what you’re doing, sharing in legal fees as non lawyers, could be a violation of the ABA model rules of professional responsibility. I would seriously spend some $ talking with lawyer about this before you start your company and endanger it, and any law students working for you chances at being admitted to practice for ethics violations. Get a lawyer and have them explain rule 5.4 to you, then start a different company. http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mrpc/rule_5_4.html

That's why I asked those questions, but upon further reflection I did not respond like you did, Matthies, because I doubt the OP or his independent contractors would get into any trouble.  I don't think the students are providing legal services to non-lawyers.  I don't think the OP would be providing legal services.

Further, the comments to the model rules and state-specific rules (I looked up Texas), indicate that the rule is to benefit the client.  Thus, so long as OP is not impairing the professional judgment of the lawyers, there should be no problem (and they apparently are not because they are being employed by the lawyers).

Also, the OP's business scheme is not revolutionary.  Legal temp agencies and contract lawyer agencies, which employ lawyers and non-lawyers to perform law-related tasks at law firms, including legal research and doc review, are sometimes run by non-lawyers.  I fail to see how OP's business scheme would be in danger when these other agencies have not run into problems.

I think OP could minimize problems for his clients (lawyers), of course, by not charging by the hour.  As Bob suggested, there is no way a small firm would pay $60/hour for a law student to perform research.  A law firm's fee to his/her client must be reasonable.  Even if a lawyer were to pass this fee off directly (charge the client $60/hour for the research), it's likely that the fee would be excessive/unreasonable under Rule 1.5.  This suggestion has nothing to do with Rule 5.4, though, which I guess some people might argue will pose problems for OP, OP's lawyer clients, and the law students.

Matthies

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #47 on: February 03, 2009, 01:12:42 PM »
Vap,

We are not lawyers. Our firm is called Insourcelegal LLC.  Our website is launching in 90 days.  

We charge the clients $50-$60 an hour.  We are the ones paying the students.  

We run the website, write the project management software, market and advertise, screen students, and manage any client-student problems.  The students just log in, do projects, and get a check in the mail.

Best,

Will

Will, have you run this business idea by a real lawyer?

Because what you’re doing, sharing in legal fees as non lawyers, could be a violation of the ABA model rules of professional responsibility. I would seriously spend some $ talking with lawyer about this before you start your company and endanger it, and any law students working for you chances at being admitted to practice for ethics violations. Get a lawyer and have them explain rule 5.4 to you, then start a different company. http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mrpc/rule_5_4.html

That's why I asked those questions, but upon further reflection I did not respond like you did, Matthies, because I doubt the OP or his independent contractors would get into any trouble.  I don't think the students are providing legal services to non-lawyers.  I don't think the OP would be providing legal services.

Further, the comments to the model rules and state-specific rules (I looked up Texas), indicate that the rule is to benefit the client.  Thus, so long as OP is not impairing the professional judgment of the lawyers, there should be no problem (and they apparently are not because they are being employed by the lawyers).

Also, the OP's business scheme is not revolutionary.  Legal temp agencies and contract lawyer agencies, which employ lawyers and non-lawyers to perform law-related tasks at law firms, including legal research and doc review, are sometimes run by non-lawyers.  I fail to see how OP's business scheme would be in danger when these other agencies have not run into problems.


The way it appears to me is that the company would be billing clients $50-60 an hour, then paying the students. If not for legal work the students were doing then what?  That $50-60 is for legal fees, that will be passed on the client no? I mean someone is getting billed for the research right? Non-lawyers are charging law firms more money than the lawyers are getting paid, thus pocketing legal fees that eventually get passed on to the client by the firm employing the outsourced lawyers. This is fine if a lawyer runs the company, but as I understand rule 5.4 not if non lawyers run the company. It does not matter if the client is a non lawyer, it matters who is getting part of the legal fees, in this case non lawyers.

As I read the rule there are only four cases in which a lawyer (the firm employing the students here) could share fees with a non-lawyer (the guys running the temp business who are not licensed but are getting a cut of the fees paid to the students, and billed to the clients, as legal fees):

(a) A lawyer or law firm shall not share legal fees with a nonlawyer, except that:

(1) an agreement by a lawyer with the lawyer's firm, partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a reasonable period of time after the lawyer's death, to the lawyer's estate or to one or more specified persons;
(2) a lawyer who purchases the practice of a deceased, disabled, or disappeared lawyer may, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 1.17, pay to the estate or other representative of that lawyer the agreed-upon purchase price;
(3) a lawyer or law firm may include nonlawyer employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even though the plan is based in whole or in part on a profit-sharing arrangement; and
(4) a lawyer may share court-awarded legal fees with a nonprofit organization that employed, retained or recommended employment of the lawyer in the matter.
*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Matthies

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #48 on: February 03, 2009, 01:18:49 PM »
Vap,

We are not lawyers. Our firm is called Insourcelegal LLC.  Our website is launching in 90 days. 

We charge the clients $50-$60 an hour.  We are the ones paying the students.  

We run the website, write the project management software, market and advertise, screen students, and manage any client-student problems.  The students just log in, do projects, and get a check in the mail.

Best,

Will

 





Will, have you run this business idea by a real lawyer?

Because what you’re doing, sharing in legal fees as non lawyers, could be a violation of the ABA model rules of professional responsibility. I would seriously spend some $ talking with lawyer about this before you start your company and endanger it, and any law students working for you chances at being admitted to practice for ethics violations. Get a lawyer and have them explain explain the implications of rule 5.4 on your business plan.   http://www.abanet.org/cpr/mrpc/rule_5_4.html


as described, i don't think this proposal is unauthorized practice of law / sharing in legal fees etc..(in any event, the model rules dont bind non-lawyer OP)  The ABA has a write up on outsourcing  -  http://www.abanet.org/abanet/media/release/news_release.cfm?releaseid=435


There are two key parts to the opinion that you posted:

U.S. lawyers are free to outsource legal work, including to lawyers or nonlawyers outside the country, if they adhere to ethics rules requiring competence, supervision, protection of confidential information, reasonable fees and not assisting unauthorized practice of law.

Regarding fees, the opinion says outsourcing lawyers may pass along to the client the costs of using the service provider, including a reasonable allocation of associated overhead expenses, but “no markup is permitted.”  The committee also acknowledges it lacks authority to express an opinion about whether any particular service provider is engaging in unauthorized practice of law, but cautions that if the service provider is found to be not authorized to practice law, and the outsourcing lawyer facilitated that violation, the outsourcing lawyer will have violated ethical rules.


As far as the OP is concerned unless he is offshoring his biz, (the LLC part points to on shore) and not marking up his $50-60 (which what would be the point if he's not) then this opinion does not apply, no?


*In clinical studies, Matthies was well tolerated, but women who are pregnant, nursing or might become pregnant should not take or handle Matthies due to a rare, but serious side effect called him having to make child support payments.

Bob Loblaw Esq.

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Re: Top Law Students Needed to Fill PT Positions -- 167 LSAT or Better
« Reply #49 on: February 03, 2009, 01:31:02 PM »
the write up was just an example of legal outsourcing and how it may be done ethically.

i dont think the write up, or model rules for that matter,  applies to OP at all because he is not a lawyer.  A state's adoption of the rules are only binding on lawyers.  The lawyers in which OP consults with might have concerns with sharing legal fees/unauthorized practice etc... which may ultimately determine whether they work with OP.  Someone else can respond to this, its been a while since PR.