Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Lawyering a money making or helping. I am confused?

Can be both. Don't you think? lawlaw212/14/17
Ideally you are helping your clients, however the main goal cocolawyer12/14/17
That's not really all that unique. In any profession, malpra onehell12/14/17
I think this is the sticking point that jades people on bein qdllc12/15/17
Its a winning strategy that gives you the opportunities to w adamdancy12/19/17
Depends on who you're helping. Are you helping Fortune 500 c ugly12/14/17
Yeah but if you are helping some douchebag family law client cocolawyer12/14/17
Yeah but if you are helping some douchebag family law client cocolawyer12/14/17
I think it can be both. guyingorillasuit12/14/17
It can be however it often isn't. We all know of cases which cocolawyer12/14/17
You're right. However, I generally will not take on a client guyingorillasuit12/14/17
I'm the same way and I love working with attorneys who feel thirdtierlaw12/15/17
I remember we took some pretty awful clients when I practice cocolawyer12/20/17
Helping or zealously advocating for my client? I'm paid to lilgub12/14/17
There is a old story about a father and son lawyer duo. The cheapbrass12/15/17
This story is always brought out before the prof leave the c lawlaw212/21/17
Lawyering is dealing with an aspect of life that most people bittersweet12/19/17
lawlaw2 (Dec 14, 2017 - 2:02 pm)

Can be both. Don't you think?

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cocolawyer (Dec 14, 2017 - 2:15 pm)

Ideally you are helping your clients, however the main goal is to get paid. Results are not our underlying priority. Its strange I know, but our job is to represent our clients the best of our capabilities not necessarily get a desired result.

If you paid a plumber 80 dollars an hour and after 8 hours the pipe he was supposed to fix may or may not be fixed, you would be livid. You would likely refuse to pay. How could you justify paying $640.00 when the guy had not actually fixed the issue. In law a lawyer can work 20 hours on a case and you could be in a worse position then when you started. $7,000.00 and you went backward.

We are in a unique field where being results (helpful) are not tied to our product. This brings be back to your main goal as an attorney. Your main goal as an attorney is to get that cheddar and not commit malpractice in the process. It sounds harsh. It sounds borderline unethical, but if we were all honest with ourselves that would be the real point on why we do what we do.

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onehell (Dec 14, 2017 - 7:40 pm)

That's not really all that unique. In any profession, malpractice must be distinguished from mal-outcome. Your oncologist might give you all the best treatments available and you might still die of cancer. You might bring in consultants to do a mock audit and get a clean bill of health only to have some OIG come in and slap you in cuffs. Your tax preparer might say you're entitled to X deduction but come to find out, IRS disagrees. Your architect might design your building in perfect accordance with code, only for code to change and you get stuck in grandfathered status, able to inhabit your building but unable to make any significant alterations to it. You might hire a consultant to help you draft a submission for a government procurement, but lose the RFP. Your mechanic replaces your battery only to find out that the alternator is busted.

You can always describe the work you're going to do. You can't always guarantee the result that work will achieve.

Heck, even your plumber might come out to deal with a pressure problem, only to find out that there's a problem at the mains for which the city has to come out. I've had that happen and still had to pay for the call. Not the full price since the originally-anticipated work wasn't done, but I respected the fact that he still needed to be paid for his time.

Acts of higher authority, whether that higher authority be God or government, can be unpredictable. And when the unpredictable happens, sometimes the people who are supposed to pay you try to worm out of their obligations. That risk is not unique to lawyers.

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qdllc (Dec 15, 2017 - 7:22 am)

I think this is the sticking point that jades people on being lawyers. Yes, we might all accept that it comes down to billable hours, but most want to help. The most helpful option often results in fewer billable hours...hence the conflict.

Lots of “bad” doctors, therapists, etc. will waste time doing things that pad their bills but at the detriment of the patient. As attorneys, the economics of practice pressure us to do likewise, and it doesn’t work when you want to “help” your client in the most effective way available.

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adamdancy (Dec 19, 2017 - 1:46 am)

Its a winning strategy that gives you the opportunities to win the case ultimately it will cater your career needs.

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ugly (Dec 14, 2017 - 2:12 pm)

Depends on who you're helping. Are you helping Fortune 500 clients? Yes, both money making and helping is easily achieved.

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cocolawyer (Dec 14, 2017 - 2:16 pm)

Yeah but if you are helping some douchebag family law client then you are basically just taking there money to prevent them from being morons.

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cocolawyer (Dec 14, 2017 - 2:16 pm)

Yeah but if you are helping some douchebag family law client then you are basically just taking there money to prevent them from being morons.

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guyingorillasuit (Dec 14, 2017 - 5:55 pm)

I think it can be both.

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cocolawyer (Dec 14, 2017 - 6:38 pm)

It can be however it often isn't. We all know of cases which we litigated that the client gave us thousands and thousands of dollars for a less than desirable result. Did we give them back the money because the Judge/Witness/Client went sideways? Did we give them back the money because the 730, 3111, mediation recommendation was poor? Did we give them a refund because our argument was not persuasive enough to a particular Judge because they were half asleep and not really listening? The answer is no.

The main goal is to make money, ethically, competently, and let the chips fall where they may. Sometime we can get lucky and have the wealthy client that is also the reasonable one. That we can help them because their position isn't insane. That being the case you would not represent good guy/gal if they were not bringing the cold hard cash.

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guyingorillasuit (Dec 14, 2017 - 6:53 pm)

You're right. However, I generally will not take on a client who wants to be unreasonable, even if he brings in a retainer. Lots of attorneys will. They are much richer than me.

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thirdtierlaw (Dec 15, 2017 - 9:01 pm)

I'm the same way and I love working with attorneys who feel the same. However it's the opposing counsel that don't share that view who makes me want to stop doing family law all together.

Though it's worse for my pocketbook, I feel good about doing family law when I can help a person who comes to me thinking they'll never reach an agreement, but then a few phone calls with opposing counsel has us sending a stip to the court a month later, wrap it up so quickly that neither side spend more than $3-4k.

Whereas I'm in the middle of a case right now where the opposing party is begging my client to settle, my client wants it all to end, I reach out to opposing counsel and she is refusing to even tell me what her client is looking for and has told me to stop wasting her time with my proposal that follows the guidelines exactly.

In the last round of discovery I found out she has billed her client over $35k, I've billed mine $6k.

Makes me want to just go sell hot dogs or something like that.

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cocolawyer (Dec 20, 2017 - 12:15 pm)

I remember we took some pretty awful clients when I practiced in the private sector. Usually you find there is a spectrum of where you will find the awful clients.

1. The real poor poor clients. These go to attorneys who are bottom of the barrel. They take a $2500-$3500 retainer to take their case. It is all the money they owe in the world, or all the credit on their card. When they realize you went through the entire retainer in a few weeks they are livid. They scrutinize your bill. They scream at you. They post poor reviews about how much they get paid and get results and you blah blah blah. It's everything in the world to them. I would never take these clients....ever. You will burn through their money and be left unsatisfied.

2. The really rich clients. These are the ones who pay like a $20,000.00 retainer. We took these cases often. They are usually egotistical, narcissistic, and are used to getting their way. Everything is a fight. They can't let the other party win...even over a ping pong table. They are willing to sink $100k-$200k into a case just to make the other side miserable. They demand results, regardless of facts. They will belittle you and scream at you if they don't. The bright side is you will make money doing it.

I always tell individuals to take the rich clients because you at least get paid well. The best client is the rich, reasonable client...but good luck with that.

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lilgub (Dec 14, 2017 - 7:03 pm)

Helping or zealously advocating for my client? I'm paid to do their bidding; a hired gun.

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cheapbrass (Dec 15, 2017 - 2:32 pm)

There is a old story about a father and son lawyer duo. The father lawyer had been working on a case for the last 10 years. Upon graduating law school, the son starts helping his father on the same case. After just a week, he proudly informed his father that he just resolved the 10 year old case and asked his father why it took him 10 years?

The father responded..."how do you think i was able to pay for your education? You just killed the cash cow!"

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lawlaw2 (Dec 21, 2017 - 1:30 am)

This story is always brought out before the prof leave the class.

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bittersweet (Dec 19, 2017 - 3:36 pm)

Lawyering is dealing with an aspect of life that most people don't understand. You help them deal with their problems. You want to get paid for your efforts.

Some people have big problems they need you to deal with. Some have small problems. But they pay you to make their problems your problems. If they don't have money to make the problem your problem, it stays their problem.

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