Law School Discussion

taft law school

Re: taft law school
« Reply #100 on: August 14, 2015, 09:38:32 AM »
They have things called practice books that tell you what to do, step by step with forms for every specialty imaginable.  You should invest in them if you ever get a license to practice.  As for private fees, what a federal court might award is irrelevant.  Private fees are negotiated between the parties and unless unconscionable are usually much higher than federal court rates.  I dare say, a competent solo practioner can gross 200K these days their first full year out these days because technology would make them even more efficient.

http://myshingle.com/2011/06/articles/solo-out-of-law-school/is-160000-for-a-solo-out-of-law-school-realistic-or-rare/

I was in a good location, small town with only a few attorneys that was also the county seat with a giant prison just opening up there which provided as many PD, family law and civil rights cases as one could ever want from prisoners and correctional officers.  They were so short of lawyers, lawyers drove up 90 minutes from the next county down to take cases.  Now if I was opening up in LA which is crawling with lawyers, I doubt I would have done as well.

loki13

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Re: taft law school
« Reply #101 on: August 14, 2015, 10:00:14 AM »
LP-

I'm not sure you understand the basis for the criticism, and that article does not support you. You made specific claims (conflict PD and family law). When it was pointed out that those sorts of cases couldn't support your claims, your claims shifted to include SSD and SSDI. When specific evidence about the amounts spent on that was proffered, you then stated, wait for it... "Private fees are negotiated between the parties and unless unconscionable are usually much higher than federal court rates." But wait, SSD and SSDI cases are federal cases.

I have known precisely no attorneys that start out billing $350/hour. None. And this would be in major metro markets that might support higher billing rates- yet you know state you are in a rural market, which would have lower rates. Conflict PD cases are not, and have never been, lucrative (as you should know). You can scrape by a living with it, but not a six figure income. As for civil rights cases (1983 cases) from the prison... um.... in your first year of practice, you were winning 1983 cases, from prisoners, and getting the attorneys fees from those? You know those take a while, right?

As for getting it from the guards- they are represented by a union, and they already have representation (the union attorney and the county attorney). They aren't farming it out to a solo practitioner in their first year if they get hit with a 1983 suit.

I could believe that you worked as a solo practitioner, and that you made a go of it, but you are offering up details that just aren't adding up in my experience. And then you keep adding more details that would appear to contradict your prior details.

Re: taft law school
« Reply #102 on: August 14, 2015, 10:25:21 AM »
Go to a small town in California of which there are plenty and you can find lawyers billing $350 an hour. I am not sure where LP was located, but Butte County, Siskiyou County, Fresno County, Kern County, Calveras County, I could go on and on have almost no lawyers in them and often plenty of drug problems and therefore extensive criminal/family law cases.

People succeed not everyone goes the same route and if you have the aggressiveness to start a business I know plenty of people like LP that have succeed in Solo Practice. Doing criminal defense/family/foreclosure defense etc  is not rocket science, but you have to deal with people and relate with clients. Clients particularly criminal defense/family law etc clients do not care what your LSAT score was and are unlikely to know the difference between an ABA/Non-ABA school.

Those clients aren't attracted that nitpick every detail etc. Those are the kind of people that have been *&^%**ng  on criminal defendants, poor people in divorce or those being foreclosed on.

There are plenty of paths in the legal profession and LP took one. Not everybody goes to Federal Clerkship to law Firm nor do they want to.

I will make analogy I live in San Francisco so there are plenty of "boutique" barbers-hair salons etc that have charged me $60 for a haircut, but I don't need a $60 haircut so I go to Supercuts for $15.00. The barbers and boutiques probably went to some better cosmetology school or something, but I could care less my hair gets to long and I want to shorten it.

With a criminal defendant/family law case you don't need a Harvard guy to handle it. As LP says get a practice guide and fill out the forms and charge per hour and just because you also just because you bill these type of clients $350hr doesn't mean you will get full payment either. It is not representing a Bank or something where the money is guaranteed or working for a City, which I do now where payments and it is great. However, I have worked in small firms probably similar to LP where we spent 50 hours on a case only to have our client file bankruptcy and not collect a dime. Those are risks and why you should get a retainer lesson learned after that, but there are plenty of avenues in the legal field. However, none are easy and neither is anything else.

Again, if someone knows of a career that guaranteeing a million dollar salary, sitting in a cush office, offering court-side seats to the warriors and a private jet that is easy to get I really want to know. I will get out of this rat-race and do if that gig is easily obtainable.

 

loki13

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Re: taft law school
« Reply #103 on: August 14, 2015, 10:48:39 AM »
"Go to a small town in California of which there are plenty and you can find lawyers billing $350 an hour."

That's not the issue. I know of many small jurisdictions, in states less wealthy than California, that have attorneys billing $350/hour... or more. Do you know what I don't know about? Solo practitioners, who have just graduated from law school (even a Harvard), charging $350/hour for law that they just picked up from a practice manual.

And this is in 2015. 1992 was 23 years ago. The rates weren't the same. An equivalent rate of $350, based on CPI, was $160 then (($206.50 based only on inflation).

Put another way, his claimed rate of $350, then, is the equivalent of someone today charging $600/hr. You tell me- does this make sense?

I know that you're all, "Anyone can do it, man." But at some point, Citylaw, you have to pay a little bit of attention to what's going on.

Re: taft law school
« Reply #104 on: August 14, 2015, 11:01:34 AM »
There's no way you'd get more than $4000 approved in fee agreements, especially if the cases were as little work as you claim. Furthermore, the fee agreements would have to be approved by a U.S. ALJ, a fact you failed to mention and your post suggests you were not aware.

Finally, I'm not sure who the barb about getting a license to practice is aimed at, but everyone here has held themselves out to be a licensed attorney.

Re: taft law school
« Reply #105 on: August 14, 2015, 11:18:54 AM »
I think Citylaw knows their stuff, the others, LOL.

Re: taft law school
« Reply #106 on: August 14, 2015, 11:31:48 AM »
The Barber Shop, Dentist, Doctor all of them need licenses and I don't care where they went as long as they are reasonable and get the job done.

My dentist is two blocks away I truly have no idea where they went to Dental School, but I like them. They are licensed and I am not going to seek out another Dentist the Barber is the same thing I don't care where they went to cosmetology school I need a haircut. This is how people feel about lawyers believe it or not they have other things to worry about than what school you went to, what you got in contracts, etc. Some people do, but for the most part they want legal work done end of story.

As for the U.S. ALJ cases I assume you are referring to LP's SSI cases, but in California for normal representation such as Family Law/Criminal Defense etc work there is no $4,000 requirement. http://www.calbar.ca.gov/portals/0/documents/mfa/Sample-Fee-Agreement-Forms.pdf  see the forms provided by Cal-Bar.

Again, as I have said court is not an ivory tower. Not everything is done perfectly in fact far from it particularly in busy-state courts. Federal Court is a different animal, but California State Courts particularly Criminal/Family law ones are a zoo.

Re: taft law school
« Reply #107 on: August 14, 2015, 11:36:23 AM »
There's no way you'd get more than $4000 approved in fee agreements, especially if the cases were as little work as you claim. Furthermore, the fee agreements would have to be approved by a U.S. ALJ, a fact you failed to mention and your post suggests you were not aware.

Finally, I'm not sure who the barb about getting a license to practice is aimed at, but everyone here has held themselves out to be a licensed attorney.

I am sure you are right, 4K seems OK for a SSD case to me but I really haven't done any for a long time.  But these are great cases for a beginner, attorneys turn their noses up at them and the clients really do need help.  I always went the extra mile too and helped my clients get aid while they sweated out the long wait for a reconsideration or hearing.

No offense intended GH but I would not assume everyone here is an attorney otherwise they would know new lawyers don't know crap and need to get smart real fast about how to practice by attending court and hitting the practice books.

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Re: taft law school
« Reply #108 on: August 14, 2015, 11:43:54 AM »
"I think Citylaw knows their stuff, the others, LOL."

Citylaw has a record of being overly optimistic, without a firm basis in what actually happens outside of his experience. I'll leave it at that.

I find some of your claims more interesting. You seem to have changed your claims regarding what you did during your first year as a solo practitioner.
Originally, you claimed that you worked as Conflict PD and in family law cases that other practitioners did not want.
When it was pointed out that these cases were unlikely to support your claimed income, you stated that you worked SSI cases.
When it was pointed out that these cases were unlikely to support your claimed income, you stated that you worked civil rights cases involving prisoners and prison guards.
You've also stated that federal rates (that's the lodestar I've referred to) don't apply to you because, "As for private fees, what a federal court might award is irrelevant."

Except that you've now claimed that also you made your money working SSI and 1983 cases, which are federal cases. Leaving aside the recovery time and difficulty of prisoner 1983 claims, and the fact that correctional officers would be represented by the government or by union attorneys first (not a solo practitioner), *any recovery would be in federal court.*

Look, I understand that this was a long time ago. Maybe you had a little bit of hyperbole. Maybe you meant to say something like, "I worked my behind off, and within the first few years, I was netting six figures." I don't know. Maybe the $350 was inflation adjusted, or you're just extrapolating backwards. But to quote Kagan, have you ever considered just confessing error? You've had a bunch of time to think about it.

Re: taft law school
« Reply #109 on: August 14, 2015, 11:53:32 AM »
First full year in practice (1993) I netted over 100K and had to pay about 50K in taxes and penalties which taught me a lesson that hard work does not necessarily get rewarded.  FYI, the first six months (1992), I lost money while I waited for payments to come through.  But 100K pretax was not big money in 1993 and even less so now.  Solos also don't have benefits and have to pay self employment tax.  So why on earth are you implying me a liar and/or senile? Also, there is more to be a lawyer than just arguing.   Point is, a DL grad can be successful and make a living but most likely as a solo.