Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

The phone has died.

I have noticed the volume of incoming phone calls has now di boomeresq02/05/18
For boomers the only thing that should be to come is retirem zuma02/05/18
Amazing it's held on so long sillydood02/10/18
Some of us, me included can not afford to retire. Spouse has boomeresq02/05/18
I would not pay for a demented parent's care. WHy doesn't yo dopesmokeresquire02/05/18
Well at least you've got Medicare Part D (either now or to l zuma02/05/18
Part D is terrible coverage. Look up donut hole and formular boomeresq02/06/18
Don't just assume your out-of-pocket medical costs will be t onehell02/06/18
Not sure about the dow crashing part - but if it makes you f uknownvalue02/05/18
Have you tried turning the sound up or using speakerphone? wutwutwut02/05/18
(Yes, just a silly joke... "volume") wutwutwut02/05/18
We live in a boom or bust economy. Money goes around and thi nighthawk02/05/18
Legal Zoom and Google have taken away a lot of the bread and boomeresq02/05/18
Perhaps the problem is that you are chasing hood clients. Jo nighthawk02/05/18
Can't you just bootstrap yourself to success or some such th triplesix02/05/18
areas of practice traditionally immune to economic factors a wolfman02/05/18
You suggest Family Law for a boomer who doesn't practice Fam cocolawyer02/28/18
It is obvious you know nothing about dealing with a person w boomeresq02/05/18
If your mother has limited income and wealth, she can get th mattbaileylawdotcom02/06/18
I do criminal defense and family law. I see more and more p boomeresq02/05/18
That's such a lousy area of practice, easily the most stress dopesmokeresquire02/05/18
Family law is the worst area of practice by far. It is lucra cocolawyer02/28/18
If you can afford $12k-15k for your mother's medical care as guyingorillasuit02/05/18
Not my experience. The contested cases go on for ages where boomeresq02/06/18
Let's backup a second. The contested cases are only fruitful cocolawyer02/28/18
Family and crim law always take a beating in January. The cr thirdtierlaw02/05/18
Another solo here. January was surprisingly slow for me too. cranky02/05/18
OP, how come you did not establish an estate planning / prob themapmaster02/05/18
If it really is a simple probate, there's a place in hell fo jeffm02/06/18
Simple Will and routine administration, but very large asset themapmaster02/06/18
That is pretty nuts. cocolawyer02/28/18
Taking a $20,000 or $30,000 fee is commonplace in my area of themapmaster02/28/18
I have done some probate. I seem to wind up with guardianshi boomeresq02/06/18
I started new advertising in the fall and also noticed that nyclawyer02/06/18
OP it sounds like you do not have an income or revenue probl khazaddum02/11/18
Expenses are gone. Mom passed away, kids graduated. That dep boomeresq02/11/18
OP have things improved since your last post? I've been get nyclawyer02/28/18
I'm somewhat amazed by anyone whose successful primarily pra anothernjlawyer02/28/18
My friend charges $6,500 for pre-trial on misdemeanors and $ guyingorillasuit02/28/18
The best tip I have is to get appointment/conflict work. The thirdtierlaw02/28/18
I did private crim. for about a year. While the clients can saulgoodmanwannabe03/01/18
Fire the secretary. Get a cellphone. You don't need her and orgdonor03/01/18
I can't imagine getting $6,500.00 for a disorderly persons o anothernjlawyer03/01/18
I've had people tell me that a $1,500.00 flat fee is too hig triplesix03/03/18
Thankfully, business picked up in February with more people cranky03/01/18
Still dead around here. I quoted $3000.00 for a major case. boomeresq03/02/18
Get your firm on page one of google and it'll ring. Get with superttthero03/03/18
It is there with 50 others. The competition is unreal. The p boomeresq03/03/18
By the way, I have always had a cell phone. You can not prac boomeresq03/03/18
Live chat operators aryanx27703/03/18
The market for our services are depressed. It makes attorney cocolawyer03/03/18
So true, cocolawyer. The undercutting has destroyed the prof boomeresq03/03/18
... themapmaster03/03/18
Unfortunately for the family law and criminal law lawyer, it themapmaster03/03/18

boomeresq (Feb 5, 2018 - 3:38 pm)

I have noticed the volume of incoming phone calls has now died to almost zero. A lot I attribute to emails replacing calls (and snail mail too.) The unnerving part is it has not rung since last Thursday. New business almost always starts with a phone call. Decent leads have dried up. A couple of bad referrals came through the door and could not come up with a retainer.

The Dow is crashing. Is this a sign of what is to come?

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zuma (Feb 5, 2018 - 4:08 pm)

For boomers the only thing that should be to come is retirement and it should be coming soon.

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sillydood (Feb 10, 2018 - 6:37 pm)

Amazing it's held on so long

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boomeresq (Feb 5, 2018 - 4:18 pm)

Some of us, me included can not afford to retire. Spouse has major medical issues which health insurance does not cover. Last 2 prescriptions after insurance, $359.00 and 268.00 in just one week. Nothing exotic or fancy just basics for asthma suffered since childhood. I also paid for both of my kids'college and grad schools and my mother's care. That is why I can not afford to retire. Would you like to be me in 30 years and have someone like you say it is time for you to retire? How would you survive? Think about it. Then think about what you would not pay for, your kid's education, health care for loved ones, your mother's care for years of dementia at 12-15k a month?

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dopesmokeresquire (Feb 5, 2018 - 4:55 pm)

I would not pay for a demented parent's care. WHy doesn't your spouse take care of your parent?

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zuma (Feb 5, 2018 - 8:37 pm)

Well at least you've got Medicare Part D (either now or to look forward to) to help with those prescriptions. My generation likely won't.

And I'll add in general, sorry, not sorry. Paying for kids' grad schools (why?) is a luxury as is being able to pay 12k-15k a month for a relative's care. Those are options most people in my cohort will never have. And yet we have to survive too. Thanks boomers.

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boomeresq (Feb 6, 2018 - 4:28 pm)

Part D is terrible coverage. Look up donut hole and formulary and see huge uncovered costs. As far as paying for my kids and mother, I cashed in my retirement saved over many years, sold my house and moved into a crummy house in a high crime city.

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onehell (Feb 6, 2018 - 11:27 am)

Don't just assume your out-of-pocket medical costs will be the same or higher in retirement.

Are you on Medicare, or an employer's insurance, or both? I assume that if you're 65+ and have not retired, you probably have Medicare Part A/B but have foregone Part D in favor of the employer coverage. That's what most people do.

Upon retirement, if you lose employer coverage that's a "qualifying event" which allows you to enroll in Part D or Medicare Advantage (which combines all the parts in one plan).

You can shop around for Part D or Medicare Advantage plans, many of which may offer better coverage than what you have from an employer, and at lower premiums. Some medicare advantage plans offer $0 premium, meaning you just pay for Part B. The "catch" is that they tend to be HMOs (thus requiring a PCP referral to see a specialist) and the no-premium advantage plans tend to have narrower networks so you can't just go wherever you want and might have to switch docs, but people who are willing to give up some choice can often save a lot of $$$. Same is true for spouse, assuming she's 65+ too.

As to nursing home care, if your elderly parent ends up there, Medicaid will cover it once the person has spent down their own resources below $2,000. If they (and for your own old age, you too) sit down with a good lawyer and do Medicaid planning trusts well in advance (like 5+ years in advance) of when they need such care, they can also avoid the need to spend themselves into poverty first.

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uknownvalue (Feb 5, 2018 - 4:21 pm)

Not sure about the dow crashing part - but if it makes you feel any better, I am a solo and January was terrible for me too - still too soon to tell for February ....

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wutwutwut (Feb 5, 2018 - 4:36 pm)

Have you tried turning the sound up or using speakerphone?

Alternatively, you might need a hearing aid of some sort.

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wutwutwut (Feb 5, 2018 - 4:36 pm)

(Yes, just a silly joke... "volume")

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nighthawk (Feb 5, 2018 - 4:39 pm)

We live in a boom or bust economy. Money goes around and things get good, construction booms, the Dow is up, then it all takes a step back and things correct themselves. Too many apps, too much construction etc. See Austrian Business Cycle theory.

Throw in DIY legal functions (see LegalZoom) and less hiring at big firms, compelling more lawyers to go solo, you face stiffer competition.

You might want to reconsider your marketing strategies.

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boomeresq (Feb 5, 2018 - 5:01 pm)

Legal Zoom and Google have taken away a lot of the bread and butter. The easy stuff to make a buck is long gone. The form books for a simple contract or a bill of sale gathered dust long ago.

So I am not the only attorney who has had negative growth in January. The holidays thru January have always been slow with the exception of some criminal cases and domestics which come with holiday stress.

Online marketing has not been very good for getting hood client's. I seem to attract a lot of people looking for free advise. A lot of attorneys around here offer free consultations and the potential clients shop for free do it yourself info. Waste of time and advertising costs.

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nighthawk (Feb 5, 2018 - 5:55 pm)

Perhaps the problem is that you are chasing hood clients. Join legal aid or the like and deal with hood clients. You will get paid, though small, and can still deal with those clients. Sure, it means less freedom for you but it is a job and there is a paycheck. You will not have to live on the edge and be stressed all day. Once that is shored up, you can look to stuff on the side for another income stream.

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triplesix (Feb 5, 2018 - 5:02 pm)

Can't you just bootstrap yourself to success or some such thing that your generation is good at

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wolfman (Feb 5, 2018 - 5:12 pm)

areas of practice traditionally immune to economic factors are criminal and some family law... do you do any of that? I thought you did family... if not, why not try to expand into those areas? I know they suck but nothing sucks worse, no?

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cocolawyer (Feb 28, 2018 - 3:58 pm)

You suggest Family Law for a boomer who doesn't practice Family Law? Do you want the guy to have an early stroke. Even if you have to take crap criminal cases...its better then family law.

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boomeresq (Feb 5, 2018 - 5:13 pm)

It is obvious you know nothing about dealing with a person with dementia. They require 24 hour care, can be violent, set fires, paranoid, wander, fall cause accidents. I have had to deal with all of that. It requires multiple care givers working in shifts. Ultimately it takes 2 people to lift the person when they are no longer mobile. That care is extremely expensive and not covered by insurance other than short period of 90 days or less. I paid for 5 years of my parent's care.

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mattbaileylawdotcom (Feb 6, 2018 - 1:01 am)

If your mother has limited income and wealth, she can get the government to pay for nursing home care.

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boomeresq (Feb 5, 2018 - 5:26 pm)

I do criminal defense and family law. I see more and more pro se especially on the family law side. I have a divorce trial tomorrow. The other side is representing herself. It will be torture trying it. My client is none too happy paying me when the other side has no legal fees.

80+ percent of criminal cases have appointed counsel around here. Blue collar city with huge drug problem. Contracts for conflicted out cases do not pay well and next to impossible to get. People in the other state in which I am admitted jump thru hoops to get appointments and are forced to pay for training in the hundreds of dollars with no guarantee of getting appointments. I did that when i first was admitted. We were treated well and never had to pay for training. Years ago, I stopped taking appointments because the pay did not cover my overhead.

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dopesmokeresquire (Feb 5, 2018 - 6:21 pm)

That's such a lousy area of practice, easily the most stressful.

But if you can afford all that you pay for, you must be quite successful.

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cocolawyer (Feb 28, 2018 - 3:59 pm)

Family law is the worst area of practice by far. It is lucrative though...but god it is aweful.

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guyingorillasuit (Feb 5, 2018 - 6:41 pm)

If you can afford $12k-15k for your mother's medical care as a solo, on top of the other bills, you are fabulously successful. That is $144k-180k a year after tax. You are taking home at least $500,000 as a solo, which is is likely in the top 5-10% of solos.

I also do family law. A large percentage of my income comes not from new clients, but from ongoing litigation cases. Contested cases generally pay $4k-$5k per month per client. Having 4 or 5 such clients can make your entire practice, and you need relatively little new business to do ok. If you even bring in $10k per month in new business aside from cases like that, you are fine. Is your experience different?

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boomeresq (Feb 6, 2018 - 4:34 pm)

Not my experience. The contested cases go on for ages where I practice with months of zero activity due to long waits for hearings. I just got a June date for the hearing before pretrial which means another year to trial.

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cocolawyer (Feb 28, 2018 - 4:02 pm)

Let's backup a second. The contested cases are only fruitful if the client has a lot of money. To do it successfully you have to spend a lot. Generally these contested cases take over a year to finish. When I practiced in private practice I had some months where that would be 20k for one client and others where it was 100 dollars. There are waiting periods of non-activity. There is no case that consistently has 5-10k per month that lasts that long.

I see a lot of Family Law attorneys takeing these contested cases in hopes of getting a sizeable 2030 award just to be hit with a ton of negative billing.

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thirdtierlaw (Feb 5, 2018 - 7:50 pm)

Family and crim law always take a beating in January. The criminals all stay inside because it's cold. And family is a mix of two things, many people are on their best behavior in an attempt to not ruin the holidays for the children. So then they have a few good moments and think maybe this could still work. The other is that they just spent all their money on gifts and need to replenish their funds.

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cranky (Feb 5, 2018 - 8:35 pm)

Another solo here. January was surprisingly slow for me too. lots of typical cheapos who don't want to pay, but usually my earnings are better in January after people survived the holidays and want to take action.

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themapmaster (Feb 5, 2018 - 11:32 pm)

OP, how come you did not establish an estate planning / probate practice? Did you try to, but it never took off?

The boomer partner I work under is about to collect $30,000.00 in attorneys fees for probating a simple Will.

In my area, the boomer lawyers in small firms don't need to be real busy, as long as they get some good estates each year.

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jeffm (Feb 6, 2018 - 8:12 am)

If it really is a simple probate, there's a place in hell for people who overreach like that. Don't become them.

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themapmaster (Feb 6, 2018 - 9:15 am)

Simple Will and routine administration, but very large assets. Here, the attorney fees are capped at a certain percentage of the estate's value, and always require court approval before they can be received. Further the executor has to sign off on the fees. Under these circumstances, I see no ethical problem taking a $30,000 fee if the estate has, say, five million in assets. Also the liability factor helps justify the fee under these circumstances. It might be charging at a rate of $800/hour when it's all said and done, but that doesn't seem crazy to me. Biglaw charges at least that rate in big cities.

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cocolawyer (Feb 28, 2018 - 4:04 pm)

That is pretty nuts.

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themapmaster (Feb 28, 2018 - 9:57 pm)

Taking a $20,000 or $30,000 fee is commonplace in my area of the country when multi-million dollar estates come along, as they do from time to time. A lawyer with a good estate planning practice will get one or two of these large fee awards per year, at least. Again, the judges must (and do) sign off on these fee awards prior to the fees being deposited into the lawyer's bank account. I'm surprised this is controversial because among my local bar, it is not.

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boomeresq (Feb 6, 2018 - 5:00 am)

I have done some probate. I seem to wind up with guardianship and will contests. I get the stuff other attorneys are afraid to deal with. They are always contested and the client's are not wealthy.

The problem concerning not being able to retire was due to in part the real estate crash. I lost a bundle at the time I was paying for years of my mother's care. I have not been able to rebuild.

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nyclawyer (Feb 6, 2018 - 10:52 am)

I started new advertising in the fall and also noticed that my calls dropped to almost zero in January. It is also slow now in February. I also get a lot of calls from people looking for free advice.

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khazaddum (Feb 11, 2018 - 5:59 pm)

OP it sounds like you do not have an income or revenue problem, you have an expenses problem. Its time for the infirm relatives to go into a Medicare approved care facility. One day you will not be able to keep up with your files mentally. That is the day you want to be able to retire. If you continue to have your expense problem you are at grave risk of staying in the game too long and becoming subject to ethical investigations (missing hearings, not responding to motions, foggy-minded bookkeeping).

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boomeresq (Feb 11, 2018 - 9:22 pm)

Expenses are gone. Mom passed away, kids graduated. That depleted retirement savings. I am too young to retire by about 10 years. Too young for medicare and social security. Need the time to save for the future.Books are reviewed by cpa. Triple calendars, paper and electronic. I know attorneys 20 years older than me and never missing a court date. The only problem would be illness or disability. However, a secretary knows where I am always and I check in every day in person at the office or electronically if I am out of the office and keep in touch all day every day. Do you? That is called being responsible.

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nyclawyer (Feb 28, 2018 - 2:29 pm)

OP have things improved since your last post? I've been getting a couple of more calls, but not much more.

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anothernjlawyer (Feb 28, 2018 - 4:13 pm)

I'm somewhat amazed by anyone whose successful primarily practicing criminal law these days. This is anecdotal, but I seem to see far fewer lawyers in municipal court than I did 8 or 10 years ago.....the line of suits you used to see waiting to dicker over low-level traffic tickets has pretty much dried out, and 85% of people facing real consequences in municipal court (license suspension, jail time, high fines) are getting the public defender. Most people who can afford a lawyer (not all, but most) have their sh!t together to the extent that they don't need one for these things, and are worldly enough to realize that, for low level traffic tickets, a lawyer isn't really necessary. The rare but pleasant exception to this rule is when you get really rich people who don't care about the money and just want a lawyer to help them not have to sit around in court all day.

For more serious criminal charges, it still seems like you've got that 85%+ getting a public defender, which doesn't leave much for the rest of us. If anybody on here is keeping the lights on primarily via criminal work and wants to leave some tips, I'll certainly read them.

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guyingorillasuit (Feb 28, 2018 - 10:31 pm)

My friend charges $6,500 for pre-trial on misdemeanors and $13,000 for felonies. Trials are charged at $2,500 - $3,000 per day. She makes a good living, with almost zero overhead.

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thirdtierlaw (Feb 28, 2018 - 10:43 pm)

The best tip I have is to get appointment/conflict work. They don't typically pay well, but you'll get a steady stream of clients. The trick is that you need to find which clients have money that... maybe wouldn't appear on their public defender application. If you do a good job for them it is amazing how quickly they'll come up with a $5-10k retainer the next time they are charged with a low-mid level felony.

As for high fee clients it takes years of building up a reputation. My boss does solely criminal work but has been handling murders and such for close to 25 years. So when a well off person is accused of touching their daughter his name constantly makes the short list. I'm not sure their is a shortcut to get there.

The other, maybe more unsavory option is to get a retainer from someone who may get picked up at any second or is constantly being questioned by the police.

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saulgoodmanwannabe (Mar 1, 2018 - 9:09 am)

I did private crim. for about a year. While the clients can be f**k-ups, they often have family members able to pay higher fees.

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orgdonor (Mar 1, 2018 - 10:56 am)

Fire the secretary. Get a cellphone. You don't need her and your clients don't care that she's there.

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anothernjlawyer (Mar 1, 2018 - 12:39 pm)

I can't imagine getting $6,500.00 for a disorderly persons offense (equivalent of misdemeanor) here in NJ. Maybe it's because these cases rarely result in jail time here, so people aren't willing to empty the bank account to avoid ending up on probation (which probably isn't that strict anyway). I've had people tell me that a $1,500.00 flat fee is too high to handle simple marijuana possession or underage drinking, and that $1,000.00 is too much to handle non-DWI traffic offenses.

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triplesix (Mar 3, 2018 - 5:22 pm)

I've had people tell me that a $1,500.00 flat fee is too high to handle simple marijuana possession or underage drinking, and that $1,000.00 is too much to handle non-DWI traffic offenses.

---

those are obnoxious prices considering that most states have first time offender programs for booze and weed.

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cranky (Mar 1, 2018 - 2:06 pm)

Thankfully, business picked up in February with more people's family drama and problems mushrooming after the holidays. It's still a tough market where I am but the phone is ringing. Whew.

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boomeresq (Mar 2, 2018 - 7:01 pm)

Still dead around here. I quoted $3000.00 for a major case. The guy signed fee agreement. He said he would mail a check. 2 1/2 weeks, no check. Other attorneys around here are having the same problem. Too many lawyers, not enough clients. I am reverting to flipping my house. I have done this more than once. Bought it 2 years ago in a distress sale and hope 2 net what I earned practicing law over a year.

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superttthero (Mar 3, 2018 - 2:44 am)

Get your firm on page one of google and it'll ring. Get with the times!

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boomeresq (Mar 3, 2018 - 7:27 am)

It is there with 50 others. The competition is unreal. The price cutting is making fees lower than 20 years ago. The bar used to have fee guidelines years ago and banned them causing a never ending price war. Add too many lawyers to the mix and it's no win.

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boomeresq (Mar 3, 2018 - 7:34 am)

By the way, I have always had a cell phone. You can not practice criminal law without one. I have a shared receptionist, typist. That is it. No more secretary and paralegal like prior to the great recession.

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aryanx277 (Mar 3, 2018 - 9:15 am)

Live chat operators

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cocolawyer (Mar 3, 2018 - 2:12 pm)

The market for our services are depressed. It makes attorneys really sell themselves to clients promising them the stars. I often find solos in particular talk crap about their competition and generally take lower retainers. These attorneys have ruined the marketplace. I remember once I had a consult and the client said he consulted with x attorney and he said he murdered you in court. I had never even heard of that attorney before. In the same cinsult he said x attorney will take a 2500 retainer at 200 an hour. I just told them my prices were what they were and that she should feel confident in her attorney. She left called me up wanted me to match I said nope. This was not a one time occurence. People in our profession have single handedly destroyed the value of the profession.

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boomeresq (Mar 3, 2018 - 4:45 pm)

So true, cocolawyer. The undercutting has destroyed the profession's value.

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themapmaster (Mar 3, 2018 - 4:55 pm)

...

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themapmaster (Mar 3, 2018 - 5:03 pm)

Unfortunately for the family law and criminal law lawyer, it seems that family law and criminal law are areas where it is easy for solo competitors to enter the marketplace and ruin things. If this work itself isn’t sucky enough, there’s the competition too. Sad.

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