Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

How to learn a new practice area?

I've been practicing employment law since I first got licens theasianguy01/05/17
Yeah. There's this thing. What's it called? Oh, right. L mtobeinf01/05/17
Chillax theasianguy01/05/17
We only pwn in the dome (and OT), so be easy mto. OP, you isthisit01/05/17
Fair enough. mtobeinf01/05/17
Do a cle first to have some idea of what the area is about. trollfeeder01/05/17
Pretty much this. Talk to some of the folks in your local b sjlawyer01/05/17
He's a licensed, practicing attorney. Don't hold his hand. mtobeinf01/05/17
that's why a lawyer's office is called a "practice" dingbat01/05/17
Thanks guys. Yeah I guess my real question was how to practi theasianguy01/05/17
Fair enough. It's good that you considered the real possibi mtobeinf01/05/17
CYA is perhaps the single best advice I've learned so far XD theasianguy01/05/17
Are attorney's able to avoid conflict of interest and practi jabberwocky01/05/17
I would look into CLEs geared to beginners in a field you ar junkwired01/05/17
Not to sound like a broken record, but the best way to learn thirdtierlaw01/05/17
Consider immigration law. There are some immigration practi porochi01/05/17
That's a good idea. mtobeinf01/05/17
mtobeinf what's your throwaway email? I need to pick your b dharamsala01/05/17
No problem. I got you. It is Broadstreetbully67@gmail.com. mtobeinf01/06/17
Just sent you a msg. dharamsala01/06/17
Replied. Depending upon which you read first, have an openi mtobeinf01/06/17
Don't dive into removal defense immediately though. Stick wi shithead01/06/17
Do you know of any reputable immigration practice "boot camp mitra0101/06/17
I don't, sorry. Never been to one. You can split immigrat shithead01/06/17
Thanks. Quite useful information. I am recent admitted attor mitra0101/06/17
AoS is easy. USCIS forms I-130, 485, and 864 (with past thre shithead01/06/17
Do you know of any reputable boot camp? Txs. mitra0101/06/17
Do you know of any immigration practice boot camps porochi? mitra0101/06/17
Porochi, Do you have any specific info. in the boot camps? P mitra0101/06/17
Catholic Legal Immigration Network has some. Those are usual porochi01/06/17
I learned immigration law by doing pro bono work under mento shithead01/06/17
Shead, Can we chat in Private Message in order to discuss mitra0104/25/17
Shead, please send me an email address where I can contact y mitra0104/28/17
I learned with practice guides, usually not too expensive fr adamb01/06/17
CUNY has an inexpensive immigration law certificate program. neclasslawyer04/26/17

theasianguy (Jan 5, 2017 - 10:53 am)

I've been practicing employment law since I first got licensed 2 years ago. The firm only does employment law, so I think I am getting a hang of it. I am also not planning on leaving the firm anytime soon.

It makes me wonder what I can do to learn some other practice areas. Just because I'm a lawyer, my family and friends think I have an answer to all of their legal questions and ask all kinds of stuff, albeit relatively simple (like car wreck, immigration visas, DUI, drafting a will, etc.). Is there a way I can learn some of the basic stuff on my own? Perhaps some CLEs cover basic legal knowledge 101?

Reply Like (1)
mtobeinf (Jan 5, 2017 - 10:58 am)

Yeah. There's this thing. What's it called? Oh, right. Legal Research. I assume you took a class on this and, you know, utilize it every day in practice. Come on mannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Weak sauce. No rebuttals!

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theasianguy (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:33 am)

Chillax

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isthisit (Jan 5, 2017 - 8:04 pm)

We only pwn in the dome (and OT), so be easy mto.

OP, you could purchase the ICLE book set for your state for reference. You could actually read the entire book set to get a general sense of the law. The easiest way to consume 101 law is via CLEs.

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mtobeinf (Jan 5, 2017 - 8:18 pm)

Fair enough.

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trollfeeder (Jan 5, 2017 - 10:58 am)

Do a cle first to have some idea of what the area is about. Look for forms, whether they are commercial (West) or from a bar association to get an idea of specifics. Reaching out to attorneys that do the work is helpful once you start taking cases.

The hard part is you will have to start practicing before you completely get a hang of it.

Reply Like (2)
sjlawyer (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:12 am)

Pretty much this. Talk to some of the folks in your local bar and/or section of the bar who practice in that area and see if you can get a good treatise of desk book. I find those are much more helpful for the rudimentary parts of a practice area than "legal research."

also, just google haha.

But then yeah, learn by doing. Because of the nature of some of the local government stuff I do, I learn a decent amount on the fly doing stuff I never knew or wanted to do. The nice part is, clients don't climb all over me like the individual clients do, but YMMV.

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mtobeinf (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:21 am)

He's a licensed, practicing attorney. Don't hold his hand. Of course, look at CLEs that's part of your research process for practice pointers. Of course, ask around to gather further research for practice pointers. It all comes down to learning. How does one learn by asking questions and researching answers then doing it. It's not rocket science. How do solos do it? Suppose the same exact way. There are no such things as stupid questions, just stating the obvious. How did I teach myself an entirely new industry to run my department within less than a year time frame. Pull it out of my ass? Read into a magic 8ball?

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dingbat (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:18 am)

that's why a lawyer's office is called a "practice"

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theasianguy (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:23 am)

Thanks guys. Yeah I guess my real question was how to practice in a new area without leaving my current firm. I can do legal research and stuff, but just don't wanna ruin someone's life simply because I haven't done something before (and no supervision to correct me when I'm wrong).

I will reach out to other folks in my bar and take some basic CLEs to begin with.

Reply Like (0)
mtobeinf (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:30 am)

Fair enough. It's good that you considered the real possibility that you would commit malpractice and ruin someone's life. Good luck. What I've learned over the years and what I say is that I can point you in the right direction, if able. This is how things generally go. This is what may be likely to happen. However, I am not your attorney and I will not be representing you. Risk aint worth the reward to me as I'm out of the game. Nevertheless, I can help one obtain a competent attorney hopefully at a reasonable price or assist with helping you find public interest organizations. I did the same thing when I practiced as well because I'm not handling your DUI while working on a 20MM coverage case. Busy enough as it is. Does this make me a jerk? Perhaps. But CYA is the name of my game.

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theasianguy (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:36 am)

CYA is perhaps the single best advice I've learned so far XD

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jabberwocky (Jan 5, 2017 - 4:51 pm)

Are attorney's able to avoid conflict of interest and practice solo in areas not related to their current employer's specific practice areas? I see this situation more as a side-gig, but given that attorneys could be sued for malpractice (due to their solo side-gig practice), I'm curious if law firms nip this in the bud in the employment contracts.

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junkwired (Jan 5, 2017 - 5:11 pm)

I would look into CLEs geared to beginners in a field you are interested in. These usually provide decent reference handouts too.

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thirdtierlaw (Jan 5, 2017 - 6:37 pm)

Not to sound like a broken record, but the best way to learn is to take on a seemingly simple matter and start doing it. Do it for a flat fee or heavily cut your hours when billing, but just jump in.

Treatises are a good starting place as well. The problem with the law is that there is rarely a good place to start. A new area is pretty much having a firehose turned on you and being told to drink.

You just need to use some discretion on the early cases because you have a full time job and can't afford to get buried in new work. You mentioned wills, there is a big difference between drafting a will for an old grandpa who wants his estate to go straight to his grandkids vs. A guy who owns 3 companies and needs his voting shares in other companies designated a certain way, all while avoiding any major losses due to taxes.

That's why even Treatises can occasionally be overwhelming if you just start reading from the beginning.

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porochi (Jan 5, 2017 - 8:32 pm)

Consider immigration law. There are some immigration practice "boot camps" out there that, for around $1500 - $2000 provide a week long crash course in immigration law and practice. You could then start handling basic immigration work, e.g. filing various applications and petitions for immigration benefits. Get a few clients, get some experience, and move up from there to more complex cases.

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mtobeinf (Jan 5, 2017 - 9:37 pm)

That's a good idea.

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dharamsala (Jan 5, 2017 - 11:06 pm)

mtobeinf what's your throwaway email? I need to pick your brain!

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mtobeinf (Jan 6, 2017 - 6:08 am)

No problem. I got you. It is Broadstreetbully67@gmail.com. If for whatever reason, I don't respond kindly remind me that I have a new email because I tend to be forgetful at times lol. Just shout out a hey yo mto, that'll do the trick.

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dharamsala (Jan 6, 2017 - 1:34 pm)

Just sent you a msg.

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mtobeinf (Jan 6, 2017 - 2:53 pm)

Replied. Depending upon which you read first, have an opening I just saw that's right up your alley.

Sending you the writing sample I used for my first legal job(s). An award winning sample I might add. And my resume as well to show you a) what you're going up against and b) my ex who is a senior manager at a global staffing firm set it up for me, and it took until that for me to get the amazing position I am fortunate to have. They shall serve as templates.

Also, if any one that's reading this is a 1L at my law school, you have the pleasure of seeing me as a judge for your first and only LRW Oral Arguments (which is determinative of your grade as well, so good luck and if you read any of my posts, then welcome to the jungle. Briefs better look good. I will provide more than ample feedback for your edification.

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shithead (Jan 6, 2017 - 1:50 pm)

Don't dive into removal defense immediately though. Stick with easy affirmative petitions, like marriage-based adjustment of status. Removal defense is insanely complex. I did it for three years until saying fcuk this, and for the first year was dressed down by immigration judges at appearances more often than not for being a clueless solo noob. I even had a bar complaint filed against me. (It went nowhere.)

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mitra01 (Jan 6, 2017 - 5:13 pm)

Do you know of any reputable immigration practice "boot camps"? I was looking through my state bar. They don't have it. Please let me know.

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shithead (Jan 6, 2017 - 5:34 pm)

I don't, sorry. Never been to one.

You can split immigration practice into removal defense (removal is the current statutory term for deportation -litigated in administrative proceedings in EOIR, part of DoJ, hence no right to a free attorney) and affirmative practice (mostly visa procurement). Visas are classified broadly as nonimmigrant (NIV) and immigrant (IV - green cards). Visas are issued by either USCIS (Homeland Security in the States) or State Department (abroad - called consular process). The Bible is Kurzban's, a massive tome published every two years. The professional advocacy group is AILA. You can practice federal immigration anywhere, but beware overlap with state criminal and family law in jurisdictions where you aren't licensed.

Immigration is mostly boutiques and solos, with a few large firms like Fragomen. Volume practice focuses on H-1Bs, petitions for which are due every April 1. The really good practice is EB-5s, which are investor IVs. Unless you speak Mandarin and have PRC connections, you won't get many of these.

Bread-and-butter practice, if you don't do removal defense, is marriage-based adjustment of status. Distinguish this (NIV to IV) from change of status. It's form-based practice, with client management really important. Regulations and institutional knowledge is really complex, but learnable, and it's such an esoteric area of law that once you're no longer dangerous to clients, you'll be extremely marketable globally. I've picked up on a lark and gone to Colombia and Mexico to run visas in wintertimes, and come back with much more than I left with.

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mitra01 (Jan 6, 2017 - 6:22 pm)

Thanks. Quite useful information. I am recent admitted attorney. I am also a Sanish native speaker. I would like to start my solo practice with immigration as one of my areas of practice. I will see if I can get my hands on Kurzban's.I really would like to learn marriage-based adjustment of status.

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shithead (Jan 6, 2017 - 7:02 pm)

AoS is easy. USCIS forms I-130, 485, and 864 (with past three years' tax returns). You'll probably want to file a 765 too for work authorization, and a 131 for a travel permit.

Even overstays can adjust via marriage. EWIs usually need waiver through consular process, which is tricky.

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mitra01 (Jan 6, 2017 - 5:15 pm)

Do you know of any reputable boot camp? Txs.

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mitra01 (Jan 6, 2017 - 6:23 pm)

Do you know of any immigration practice boot camps porochi?

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mitra01 (Jan 6, 2017 - 6:25 pm)

Porochi, Do you have any specific info. in the boot camps? Please let me know.

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porochi (Jan 6, 2017 - 10:06 pm)

Catholic Legal Immigration Network has some. Those are usually 2-day seminars. Check AILA, and also American Immigration Council has some good atty. resources. Finding a willing mentor is your best bet. Join the immigration practice section of your state/local bar association and network. And visit immigration court and watch some proceedings. Most are open to the public except asylum hearings. But like others on here have smartly advised, don't start with removal defense. Aim lower and if you like it and get some experience, then move into removal defense. Good luck!

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shithead (Jan 6, 2017 - 1:08 pm)

I learned immigration law by doing pro bono work under mentors at a legal-aid type organization, and then joining AILA, using their mentors, and splitting fees with them until I no longer needed them. I've had two well-connected mentees with great networks of potential clients do the same with me.

OP, if you have potential immigration clients (no removal defense), I'll walk you through the case if you can split the fee with me.

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mitra01 (Apr 25, 2017 - 6:52 pm)

Shead,

Can we chat in Private Message in order to discuss AoS cases that we can split the fee? Please let know.

Mitra01

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mitra01 (Apr 28, 2017 - 4:11 pm)

Shead, please send me an email address where I can contact you. Txs.

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adamb (Jan 6, 2017 - 1:13 pm)

I learned with practice guides, usually not too expensive from state bar or online. And ask others. And sit in court, particularly hearings and trial. Copy the strong litigators.

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neclasslawyer (Apr 26, 2017 - 9:04 pm)

CUNY has an inexpensive immigration law certificate program.

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