Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

My life in the law

Graduated law school in 2011 in top third of class. Didn needajob06/27/18
Sorry to read this. You probably got some great experience a legalmessenger06/27/18
Sorry to hear that, what is your bachelor's degree in and wh ericcrapton06/27/18
Many third-tier grads are living in poverty, but many are no newyorkcity06/28/18
All u say is true. But being smart, hard-working and pretty cantimaginenocountry06/28/18
100% credited. For most posters on this board: your problem newyorkcity06/28/18
How long did you practice as a solo? I was in a similar sit hairypalms06/28/18
“He lectured me about the kind of life he provided his wif dupednontraditional06/27/18
I've been out around as long as you, had similar circumstanc trollfeeder06/27/18
This is indeed a sad tale; I hope any 0L's lurking on this s 6figuremistake06/27/18
It sounds like OP has an old-fashioned father-in-law-to-be w onehell06/27/18
As dark as it sounds, the fact your fiancee can find a job e loser1206/27/18
My man prolly lives in a high COL area. No shame in finding orgdonor06/27/18
This is really sad, but I can't help but wonder how this cou favorandgrace06/27/18
I'm wondering how you found a medical billing job that pays fettywap06/27/18
Apply to the police. mtbislife06/27/18
I'm too old and sick to be a police officer. I just want som fettywap06/27/18
Why do you think $39k your first year solo was a failure? Wa superttthero06/27/18
Sucks. Next time he calls to give you a lecture just hang up isthisit06/27/18
I feel you, OP. The popular perception that lawyers are all onehell06/27/18
That's no life, brah, you have my sympathies. I am not much wolfman06/27/18
I worked ft and have a pt 10 hour a week law practice that n cantimaginenocountry06/27/18
My sentiments, too. Not everyone can seem to find a way to jeffm06/27/18
Public sector employment in politically protected profession wearyattorney06/27/18
Respect the pension. Other than that, not. Punching a clock jeffm06/27/18
I’ll take punching a clock until I’m in my early 40s wit wearyattorney06/27/18
Can't argue with personal preferences, and I think it's an a jeffm06/27/18
Yeah as you said in your minibook, 2 hours per day, billed a onehell06/27/18
Every person you run into needs some kind of legal help of s cantimaginenocountry06/27/18
"Every person you run into needs some kind of legal help of jeffm06/27/18
You are definitely right that 2 hours per day sounds a lot e jeffm06/27/18
Keep a log of all that you did that day to drum up business. cantimaginenocountry06/27/18
Different strokes for different folks. I found it to be eas jeffm06/27/18
Exactly. cantimaginenocountry06/27/18
This whole chain is great advice! thirdtierlaw06/27/18
Its fine to dabble in trying to get your own clients on the mtbislife06/27/18
Those early struggles to pick up a $500 closing pay untold d jeffm06/27/18
This is very true. A lot of us start out hustling for small guyingorillasuit06/28/18
So, if you have a family client, they don't ask you to do th jeffm06/28/18
They don't. I refer estate planning out to estate planning s guyingorillasuit06/28/18
That's interesting that they don't even ask you. It goes to jeffm06/28/18
Well, they ask me who I can refer them to for these types of guyingorillasuit06/29/18
I’m not advocating for this, as it is both illegal and imm wearyattorney06/27/18
OP, you’re not alone. I went to a good law school, studie themapmaster06/28/18
Yes. This forum can be like a support group in this regard. onehell06/28/18
This thread is clearly the victim mentality thread. Posters dandydan06/28/18
There’s something to this. However... it just irks me the wearyattorney06/28/18
Yeah that's great, but when you send out hundreds of resumes fettywap06/28/18
To the contrary. Had you realized that this doesn't work and dandydan06/28/18
Of course we need to move on and get past it but I like how mtbislife06/28/18
The personal responsibility conversation is independent of t guyingorillasuit06/28/18
I’m going to copy this post and use it over and over. Ple wearyattorney06/28/18
No one said the law schools do not deserve blame. They, like dandydan06/29/18
Yeah I agree you cant complain 15 years later but why wont t mtbislife06/29/18
No, it isn't victim mentality. The law schools did exactly w onehell06/29/18
Good parallel. Law Schools made it that you can't ever do an dandydan06/29/18
OneHell has posted here for years. He went from successful s snowday7506/30/18
It worse. A few schools were found to have literally lied. wearyattorney06/29/18
100% credited. Law Schools made you stupid, ugly, and lazy. newyorkcity06/29/18
Do you know what a "strawman argument" is? guyingorillasuit06/30/18
You really think you know everything, don't you? People like snowday7506/30/18
Any lower level job is filled with victims. dakotalaw06/29/18
How’s your new hire working out? midlaw06/30/18
OP, you're trolling. Unoriginal at best too. gonetomorrow06/29/18
Even if OP is a troll the discussion here exemplifies the bi snowday7506/30/18
If u r entrepreneurial, some practice areas can lead to busi cantimaginenocountry06/30/18
While it is true that you need to stay in your lane, this no jeffm06/30/18
I think after four years, he would have figured out what wor snowday7506/30/18
I'm sure many make it work that way. It came rather natural jeffm06/30/18
You're so wrong, I did not start my career on the upper curv dandydan07/02/18
" I did not start my career on the upper curve." Yeah, wutwutwut07/02/18

needajob (Jun 27, 2018 - 2:21 am)

Graduated law school in 2011 in top third of class.

Didn't get a job offer and went straight into doc review.

After 3 years of doc review I decided to go solo.

I was solo until this fall when I had to concede that I failed. As a solo practitioner I made roughly $39,000 a year.

My fiance who has only a bachelor's makes more than me. We live in a crappy studio and both of our families keep wondering why we still can't afford to get married and buy a house. My fiance's dad called me angry one night because he feels that I'm putting his daughter in danger because we both have to drive Uber several nights a week. He lectured me about the kind of life he provided his wife and kids while only being a fireman. He said that as a lawyer I should be doing twice as well as he is.

When I graduated law school I never imagined the kind of humiliation and pressure that awaited me.

I've been at my new job since the fall and it is outside of the law. I work in a medical billing office where it seems half the people are only high school graduates and the other half are only college graduates. At least I'll make more money here than I did as a solo.

I don't think I'll be going back into law.

My fiance and I are both considering getting our teaching licenses.

Oh and I still owe $115k.

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legalmessenger (Jun 27, 2018 - 3:40 am)

Sorry to read this. You probably got some great experience as a solo that you maybe can spin into something else. Keep grinding! Hope you find something.

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ericcrapton (Jun 27, 2018 - 5:26 am)

Sorry to hear that, what is your bachelor's degree in and what sort of work experience do you have?

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newyorkcity (Jun 28, 2018 - 1:05 pm)

Many third-tier grads are living in poverty, but many are not.
So OP should take ownership of at least some of his fate.
A third-tier degree will not help someone who is dumb, lazy, and ugly, but nothing (not even winning the lotto) will help these poor souls. But a third-tier degree can open doors for people who are willing to hustle, are smart, or are charming, e.g. the President's personal lawyer went to Cooley

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cantimaginenocountry (Jun 28, 2018 - 2:07 pm)

All u say is true. But being smart, hard-working and pretty will allow to succeed, get this, without a 3rd tier law degree. It seems if u succeed with a 3rd tier degree u did It in spite of your degree instead of because of it. Right? That is why these schools dont deserve any alumni money.

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newyorkcity (Jun 28, 2018 - 2:28 pm)

100% credited. For most posters on this board: your problem is not your law degree, it's that you are dumb / lazy / ugly. You would be a loser even absent your law degree. Although the law degree makes acceptance more painful and is an easy target, you should focus on those things that you can change, e.g. that you are almost certainly dumb / lazy / ugly.
At the same time, for most people who are hard-working, smart, and attractive, a third-tier degree will not add value and will be very expensive.

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hairypalms (Jun 28, 2018 - 10:44 pm)

How long did you practice as a solo? I was in a similar situation for a period of time. I attempted to launch a solo practice for about 6 months during a period of unemployment and ultimately gave up on the idea when I got a call from a recruiter for a document review project. Solo practice was a money pit and clients were crazy, tire kickers. I often wonder where I would be financially if I had stuck it out since it often takes at least 2-3 years to even become profitable.

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dupednontraditional (Jun 27, 2018 - 6:37 am)

“He lectured me about the kind of life he provided his wife and kids while only being a fireman.”

I have friends who are EMTs, so I have a lot of respect for emergency responders - firemen, police, EMTs, you name it.

That said, try not to beat yourself up over this false comparison, though it is not easy. The dad lived off a government job with a pension financed by the taxpayer dime, not by being an entrepreneur. Also it’s 2018 not 1965, but try explaining that to any Boomer and see how far you get.

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trollfeeder (Jun 27, 2018 - 7:14 am)

I've been out around as long as you, had similar circumstances. What I dont understand is did you make the same amount for 7 years, never more or less? You never applied for law jobs while you hustled for clients?

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6figuremistake (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:20 am)

This is indeed a sad tale; I hope any 0L's lurking on this site are paying attention. If you miss the cutoff for the BigLaw world - and this is the likely outcome if you didn't get into one of the elite schools - it can be a long way down: Mid law jobs are rare, small firm jobs pay poorly, government jobs are hard to get, doc review is no life, and most solos struggle.

That said, OP, I'm curious - you said you made $39k a year but your SO makes more. If she makes $50k, you guys were/are right around $90k. I assume she gets benefits which could cover you if you're married. With Uber driving, you're probably getting close to six figures. I understand the loan payments stink, but it seems like you have enough to get married and maybe even get by with dropping the Uber gig (or just one of you driving). Do you live in a really expensive city?

Nonetheless, the idea that a guy can't get married and is better off doing medical billing after paying tens of thousands of dollars and finishing in the top 1/3 of his class really just underscores the scam. It's amazing that these law deans and profs can sleep at night.

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onehell (Jun 27, 2018 - 12:55 pm)

It sounds like OP has an old-fashioned father-in-law-to-be whose expectation is that his daughter will marry someone who will make enough for his daughter to be a SAHM.

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loser12 (Jun 27, 2018 - 2:57 pm)

As dark as it sounds, the fact your fiancee can find a job earning more than you without better credentials is why it's hard for you to make money. It was easier to get jobs when more than half the country was discriminated against.

Where'd you go to LS OP? If a normal woman is attracted enough to you to commit to marriage, you can't be that inept at job interviews so the reputation of the school is a critical factor here.

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orgdonor (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:34 am)

My man prolly lives in a high COL area. No shame in finding new opportunities. Sorry for your trouble.

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favorandgrace (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:41 am)

This is really sad, but I can't help but wonder how this could happen. Were you not applying to ANY jobs? Even right now, several federal government agencies are hiring, especially the SSA. Lots of people (including myself) who probably would have a hard time getting in to the Feds are using this as an opportunity. I don't understand how someone who has been actively applying for jobs and networking could still be unemployed or under employed after 7 years.

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fettywap (Jun 27, 2018 - 9:39 am)

I'm wondering how you found a medical billing job that pays more than $40,000 a year. They pay like nothing here.

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mtbislife (Jun 27, 2018 - 9:53 am)

Apply to the police.

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fettywap (Jun 27, 2018 - 10:21 am)

I'm too old and sick to be a police officer. I just want something that pays $50,000 a year, which I can't find around here.

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superttthero (Jun 27, 2018 - 10:56 am)

Why do you think $39k your first year solo was a failure? Was this net or gross?

That doesn't sound too bad either way, I would expect to make that kind of money for 1-3 solo before throwing in the towel. I would maybe do it sooner if I was just bleeding money, but if you're treading water, it does not seem like you were destined to fail.

Why did you stop? Was it difficult in other ways, stressful, anxiety inducing in ways you couldn't deal with?

The amount you earned seems your first year seems like a success to me.

EDIT - I misread. I see you made an average of $39k a year from ~2014 till now. Was it at least trending upwards?

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isthisit (Jun 27, 2018 - 11:42 am)

Sucks. Next time he calls to give you a lecture just hang up. That dude has no business interfering in your marriage.

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onehell (Jun 27, 2018 - 12:59 pm)

I feel you, OP. The popular perception that lawyers are all rich is very resistant to change, particularly among people who grew up in a time when that perception was largely accurate.

Point your FIL to lawschooltransparency.org. Show him that your plight is the rule, not the exception. If he can be convinced that this isn't your fault, maybe he can help you out. As a lifelong firefighter I'm sure he has all kinds of friends in the government, and there's still a lot of nepotism going on there. Despite all the efforts to make government job applications appear neutral, most of the postings in local/municipal gov are jobs for which they already have someone in mind. Good old boys get fed the answers and resume keywords needed to get a high score in the "neutral" evaluation done by the HR system/people. Since the hiring manager is free to select anyone who gets past that process to their desk, they've just got to get you past the HR screen and then they're free to hire family and friends like they always have.

Maybe he knows a guy who knows a guy who can hook you up with some kind of desk job in the city manager's office or something.

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wolfman (Jun 27, 2018 - 2:11 pm)

That's no life, brah, you have my sympathies. I am not much better off and have been out even longer. At least I am pretty sure I never should have gone to LS in the first place.

Did you at least like being a lawyer? You were doing it long enough to know one way or another...Or was solo practice torture, and if so, was it the business aspect or the work itself? If it's the latter, I'd seriously consider never going back to law. If it's the former, you need to be applying for municipal, state and fed gov jobs, especially if you have litigation experience - which you should have given your solo practice, even if you made little money.

That is why LS is so much worse than other low-return degrees like a PH.D. in a humanities field or an MFA or even a Masters in English or a foreign language... no one expects these people to be rich, and you don't typically go into debt to get those, at least if you have any brains. If you luck out and get one of the few teaching jobs or get a career going in a different way, you are a hero, and if not, at least you studied what you liked and did not have debt... Law school eats your soul by setting you as some sort of a horrific loser due to the unrealistic expectations of lawyers making a lot of money and the debt - when in fact many make way less than a decently-paid teacher.

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cantimaginenocountry (Jun 27, 2018 - 4:42 pm)

I worked ft and have a pt 10 hour a week law practice that nets 50k a yr. I was laid off from my job and after sending out 100 resumes I got 2 preliminary interviews. It is amazing to me what these law firms want: work like a slave for 50-80k a yr. Why would I do that when I can make 50k working 10 hrs a week. These people are really insane.

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jeffm (Jun 27, 2018 - 4:52 pm)

My sentiments, too. Not everyone can seem to find a way to bill, on average, even one hour a day. However, I highly recommend to anyone that if they can find a way, it's 100 times better than working full time for the same money.

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wearyattorney (Jun 27, 2018 - 5:29 pm)

Public sector employment in politically protected professional is 100 times better than being a solo, which means its 10,000 times better than working in the private sector for the same salary.

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jeffm (Jun 27, 2018 - 5:37 pm)

Respect the pension. Other than that, not. Punching a clock for somebody else isn't as good as working your own schedule.

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wearyattorney (Jun 27, 2018 - 5:46 pm)

I’ll take punching a clock until I’m in my early 40s with total job security and then never having to work again in my life.

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jeffm (Jun 27, 2018 - 5:54 pm)

Can't argue with personal preferences, and I think it's an admirable course as well. I have friends my age with pensions. I envy that.

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onehell (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:07 pm)

Yeah as you said in your minibook, 2 hours per day, billed and collected, grosses 100k. That's great, especially with a law practice which can be very low overhead.

But getting to that 1-2 hours per day is harder than it sounds for a lot of people. Divorces, for example, are perhaps among the most common practice areas a solo can pick up. You need them to plunk down 5k retainers because it's hard to get out once you're in and because actually collecting the hours you spend, as Foonberg says, means you need to get the money up front. So getting to bill 2 hours per day means getting between 1-2 people per month who can come up with 5k down.

Now consider the data. About half of Americans couldn't come up with $400 in an emergency:

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/10/01/why-half-of-americans-cant-come-up-with-400-in-an.aspx

Given that stark reality, I think it's easy to see why it's harder than it sounds to actually bill and collect 1-2 hours per day consistently.

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cantimaginenocountry (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:14 pm)

Every person you run into needs some kind of legal help of some kind. Letters written, debts collected etc. Think creatively how to turn all that into affordable for the client billable work. I think that tops slaving away for another where you won't be appreciated or well paid either. 200k of experience required for a 70k a yr job. No thanks.

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jeffm (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:22 pm)

"Every person you run into needs some kind of legal help of some kind. Letters written, debts collected etc."

That's the spirit with which you must network if you want to build. "Everyone needs me." How can you go wrong with that?

It's one thing to be a low-earning family lawyer needing to rely on a series of $5k retainers. It's quite another to add to your family practice things such as will-drafting, contract review and drafting, incorporation, demand letters, etc. Those small matters of a few hundred bucks here and there add up. Plus, the more diverse your practice is, the wider your market and client base will be.

TBH, I'd much rather have a $1,000 estate-planning file than a $5,000 family law retainer. Guess which one will result in more unbillables and more difficult collections? (Obviously, that's not intended to suggest a $5k retainer in a family case is a bad thing. It all adds up.)

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jeffm (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:18 pm)

You are definitely right that 2 hours per day sounds a lot easier than it is. On the other hand, if you have an 8-hour day and can't find 2 to bill, then, you should have 6+ to network.

Some people just don't seem to do well in their attempts to network. I am not sure if it's lack of social skills, or what. For other people, networking seems to come more naturally. To them, the goal doesn't seem to be all that difficult.

OP talked of averaging $40k over several years of practicing. I wonder what he/she did for the 7+ hours a day he/she wasn't billing.

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cantimaginenocountry (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:31 pm)

Keep a log of all that you did that day to drum up business. This will let u know when ur slacking. Get to know the owner of the bar you frequent. Know your neighbors and what work they do. Make a couple of contacts on that 4 day doc review u picked up.

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jeffm (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:37 pm)

Different strokes for different folks. I found it to be easier to drum up business when I am with other attorneys. For whatever reason, the pitch is more fun, natural, relaxed and productive. I am buds with a family/criminal attorney who is a great source of referrals. When a couple of attorneys run around killing time and shooting the bull with different people as they run around doing chores, such as banking, buying office supplies, shopping of any kind, eating lunch, etc., there's a sort of synergy to getting others interested in talking to you about law. One small example - I did estate planning stuff for the owner couple of a Chinese food restaurant we eat at all the time. It just happens naturally.

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cantimaginenocountry (Jun 27, 2018 - 8:46 pm)

Exactly.

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thirdtierlaw (Jun 27, 2018 - 9:00 pm)

This whole chain is great advice!

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mtbislife (Jun 27, 2018 - 10:56 pm)

Its fine to dabble in trying to get your own clients on the side or after you’ve retired but its pretty damn depressing out there trying to “network” every second to pick up a $500 closing here or there, especially when you have a family and need insurance/benefits. You honestly have greater chances of success opening a convenience store.

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jeffm (Jun 27, 2018 - 11:32 pm)

Those early struggles to pick up a $500 closing pay untold dividends down the road. These clients have friends, and their friends have friends, etc. Word of mouth from clients is the best and cheapest marketing any lawyer can ever get.

Once you have established a diverse pipeline, it self-perpetuates. The more clients you have, the larger your network becomes. Business starts coming to you, rather than you having to work to go find it.

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guyingorillasuit (Jun 28, 2018 - 3:16 pm)

This is very true. A lot of us start out hustling for small cases, and eventually grow our network. Try BNI in your local community - it works for lots of people. I know a personal injury lawyer in town who made millions from his BNI referrals.

Also, in my area, you have to specialize. People won't refer to a generalist. There are so many of us here that in order to compete, you have to narrow your practice and become known for doing certain types of cases. This is probably different in many other places.

I found that while people will refer based on good results you obtained for them, even more people will refer based on how you made them feel. Even if they have a crap situation and unreasonable expectations, you can be sympathetic and listen, and share in their frustration. They appreciate that.

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jeffm (Jun 28, 2018 - 5:53 pm)

So, if you have a family client, they don't ask you to do their wills?

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guyingorillasuit (Jun 28, 2018 - 6:23 pm)

They don't. I refer estate planning out to estate planning specialists, and they refer me family law cases. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing a will. People should get an entire estate plan, including nominations of guardians, advanced medical directives, springing powers of attorney, possibly trusts, etc. I am not really qualified to advise on this stuff. The benefit of specialization is a wide cross-referral network, where we all share in the benefits.

I have seen how non-family lawyers can bungle up a divorce case, and it scares me. I can barely keep up with developments in my practice area, and I attend lots of MCLEs. I don't know how I could competently pick up another practice area.

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jeffm (Jun 28, 2018 - 6:49 pm)

That's interesting that they don't even ask you. It goes to show how different customs can be from one part of the country to the next.

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guyingorillasuit (Jun 29, 2018 - 12:03 am)

Well, they ask me who I can refer them to for these types of needs.

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wearyattorney (Jun 27, 2018 - 4:48 pm)

I’m not advocating for this, as it is both illegal and immoral, but in today’s day and age of mental instability and access to firearms, I’m really surprised a whole school of law professors hasn’t been done in. They have wrecked a lot of lives by having access to federally guaranteed funds. A lot of lives.

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themapmaster (Jun 28, 2018 - 12:31 am)

OP, you’re not alone. I went to a good law school, studied quite diligently, and ended up four years out of law school graduation living, more or less, pay check to pay check in an apartment where meth addicts lived directly below me. I have hard working friends from law school who go through similar trials.

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onehell (Jun 28, 2018 - 2:28 pm)

Yes. This forum can be like a support group in this regard.

Needajob, if you're still here: For your own mental health, if you take away one thing from this thread, remember this: No matter what your father in law may think, this is not your fault. That's not a reason to give up, but blaming yourself won't help and it wouldn't even be accurate factually.

The data is abundant. There are simply too many lawyers for too few lawyer jobs, and too few nonlegal employers who see the JD as relevant to anything else. Few people are natural-born salesmen apt to succeed hanging a shingle and drumming up business, and few lawyers these days go into it with that as their plan or goal. Law school is marketed to risk-averse people who want a steady paycheck despite being liberal artists, not budding entrepreneurs who are generally the polar opposite of risk-averse.

You, like many JDUers, were sold a bill of goods. Now, you have to find a way to succeed despite the JD rather than because of it. But the one thing you shouldn't do is blame yourself.

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dandydan (Jun 28, 2018 - 2:59 pm)

This thread is clearly the victim mentality thread. Posters use their law school experience as the reason why they failed, not taking responsibility for their own failures. When you realize that you are responsible, then you can take ownership and make things happen. When you go the victim route, you make yourself a victim to the world. Granted, the law schools got away with a scam. However, you are equally pathetic to let it control your entire life. Be responsible and make something of your life. But you'll probably just take the easy route of blaming the law school and continue being a click monkey in SullCrom's dingy basement.

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wearyattorney (Jun 28, 2018 - 3:05 pm)

There’s something to this. However... it just irks me they got away with it.

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fettywap (Jun 28, 2018 - 3:37 pm)

Yeah that's great, but when you send out hundreds of resumes and go on interview after interview without getting a job offer, it's not helpful. Life doesn't work that way. We're not in crap jobs because we were irresponsible.

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dandydan (Jun 28, 2018 - 3:50 pm)

To the contrary. Had you realized that this doesn't work and you must find an alternative then things would likely be different. But instead of picking yourself up and making things happen, you crybaby about the law schools. You utilize the law school scam as an excuse for your doc review life. There is more to life then being a click monkey; there is more to life than being a lawyer. You will never know that until you take responsibility for yourself. Life should be about what you make it. For JDU posters, life is what the law schools set you up for.

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mtbislife (Jun 28, 2018 - 3:43 pm)

Of course we need to move on and get past it but I like how its always the individuals fault while the powers that be laugh all the way to the bank. Should have networked more bro! Haha! Most people were not failures before law school but now they face the real uphill battle of starting something new in their late 20s or 30s.

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guyingorillasuit (Jun 28, 2018 - 4:00 pm)

The personal responsibility conversation is independent of the culpability conversation. If someone is violently attacked and maimed as a result of that attack, it is the victim's responsibility to lead the best possible life after the attack and with their new limitations. However, that does not detract from the culpability of the attacker, who must still face the consequences. Glossing over the culpability of the attacker is, essentially, telling the victim "Just get over it already".

The majority of law schools in the period of roughly 2001 - 2010 lied to their incoming students, to the families of these students, and to society as a whole by presenting demonstrably misleading employment statistics. Their students were not getting jobs, and they lied to cover it up. They knew they were lying. They had specific employees whose job was to generate these misrepresentations. All of these facts are uncontested. The schools' defense is that the cover-up was not technically illegal, since it constituted a combination of omissions and statistical manipulation, and that their students should have seen through these lies. Courts across the country bought this defense. That does not make it right.

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wearyattorney (Jun 28, 2018 - 4:03 pm)

I’m going to copy this post and use it over and over. Please do the same, excellent reply.

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dandydan (Jun 29, 2018 - 8:03 am)

No one said the law schools do not deserve blame. They, like anyone else, are responsible for what they do. To moan and groan about the law schools fifteen years later is for losers who do not take responsibility for themselves. People who were abused and take drugs are responsible for being drug addicts. The abusers should be locked up but so should the drug pusher selling drugs to the kids, even though he was abused.

Blame the law schools for your pathetic life is victim mentality. Being busy blaming the schools only keeps you in the same position you are now, a click monkey for doc review overlords. Sure, the law schools fleeced everyone. I was in a difficult position when I graduated in 2010. You keep yourself in that position because you can point to how horrible the law schools are as an excuse. The click monkey room is a cesspool for the victim mentality.

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mtbislife (Jun 29, 2018 - 12:52 pm)

Yeah I agree you cant complain 15 years later but why wont the law schools and other educational scam fronts be held accountable for what they did? This is one of the few countries on earth where evil and predatory practices are rewarded and the victims are told they shouldve been more careful and to pick themselves up by the bootstraps.

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onehell (Jun 29, 2018 - 1:53 pm)

No, it isn't victim mentality. The law schools did exactly what GIGS said. The average of 2 people, one making 200k and the other making 0, is 100k. That average isn't false in the narrowest and most literal sense, but it is highly misleading. That's basically how the schools won in court.

So, you graduate and try to practice for some years, which the real data would've told them is more likely than not an effort doomed to failure. But by the time they finally give up, they've basically lost their 20s to the law and will lose their 30s and 40s to debt. The goal now isn't to have a family, put the kids through college, enjoy retirement, and leave something behind when you go. Instead, the goal is now to get to 0 net worth before you die.

That's a lot like the guy in the wheelchair. He can and must do a lot of things to live the best life he can, but he cannot pretend that some drunk driver who hit him did not irreversibly change the course of his entire life for the worse.

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dandydan (Jun 29, 2018 - 2:12 pm)

Good parallel. Law Schools made it that you can't ever do anything else. Law Schools made you paralyzed. You cannot do anything else in life other than click responsive and wait for the "hot" document. The Law Schools programmed your brain that it cannot escape. Similar to a cult that uses mind control techniques. No, you don't have victim mentality.

Onehell, you are seriously pathetic.

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snowday75 (Jun 30, 2018 - 10:46 am)

OneHell has posted here for years. He went from successful solo practice to being high up in the GC office of a national healthcare services company. He wrote the ACA and IRS compliance strategy for a multi-state hospital system.

What exactly have you done? Please, enlighten us.

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wearyattorney (Jun 29, 2018 - 2:13 pm)

It worse. A few schools were found to have literally lied. The judges said you can’t rely on those representations justifiably because you are college educated people.

I can link to the decisions if you don’t believe me.

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newyorkcity (Jun 29, 2018 - 4:43 pm)

100% credited. Law Schools made you stupid, ugly, and lazy. It's all their fault and will be all their fault until you pass from this earth still being stupid, ugly, and lazy.

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guyingorillasuit (Jun 30, 2018 - 12:10 am)

Do you know what a "strawman argument" is?

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snowday75 (Jun 30, 2018 - 10:38 am)

You really think you know everything, don't you? People like you are always putting your boot on the face of the genteel proletariat. Just remember that as petite bourgeoisie you too are expendable. Do you actually own or stand as heir apparent to a sizable property of Note? I doubt it.

You are and always will be one string of bad luck away from being these fat ugly losers you pick on.

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dakotalaw (Jun 29, 2018 - 6:42 pm)

Any lower level job is filled with victims.

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midlaw (Jun 30, 2018 - 11:32 am)

How’s your new hire working out?

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gonetomorrow (Jun 29, 2018 - 2:40 pm)

OP, you're trolling. Unoriginal at best too.

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snowday75 (Jun 30, 2018 - 1:09 pm)

Even if OP is a troll the discussion here exemplifies the bimodal salary gap. Half the posters here, like dandydan and newyorkcity, started their career on the upper curve. To these guys everyone is a loser. These guys invented the tax inversion, the legal strategy used to destroy unions, the schematics that drained out public sector pensions for Wall Street (managers), and the guys who defended and swatted down 9/11 survivors pleas for relief. These are the guys who defend international war criminals in SCOTUS cases on procedural grounds. These are not men any of our esteemed readers ought to aspire to be.

The other half started on the lower half, and the market dictates that some win and some lose, so among them you have people like JeffM who have made it work in their area and guys like FEIC who started a niche solo practice during a Bull Market and are riding a high tide. FEIC is in Manhattan, so $50,000.00 side job during the best days of the market sounds a lot like selling condos in Sarasota in 2005. Not ragging on him, but our esteemed readers need that context.

Fettywap and many others live in parts of the country where $50,000.00 is the equivalent of $130,000.00 in Manhattan.


I do not recommend Door Law to anyone in a competitive market. No one refers cases to the guy who practices in everything using the generic state bar forms book. You refer to the family law attorney who argues appeals and has invested ten or twenty grand into proper, legitimate software to manage the files without screwing up easy to miss details.

If you cannot focus in and specialize in one area without becoming bored, you need to consider working for a corporation or the government. You will never beat out competition LONG TERM being a Door Lawyer.

Take a look at the websites for the more significant consumer-facing law firms you read about in the bar periodicals (not TV advertising). You will find they passed specializations in insurance law, family law, criminal law, or something else. The guy who is being retained on large volumes of even stuff as demeaning as lemon law, consumer debt relief / bankruptcy, debt collections, etc. is the guy who does JUST that and does it in large volumes with a large staff to handle it.


If you are a solo, you can manage this just as well by not accepting large volumes but keeping up to date on every thing you need to know. Today the deathknell of a small firm is Google Reviews. If you open a shop from your garbage-law associateship and take Door Law, get ready for the 1 star reviews when you biff a criminal or family case. When competing for clients, they absolutely Google you. If they see 1 star reviews, they are out of there.

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cantimaginenocountry (Jun 30, 2018 - 1:24 pm)

If u r entrepreneurial, some practice areas can lead to business opportunities. Real estate, bankruptcy and litigation for example can lead to investments in re, bankr claims or lit finance. Even if u have no money u can use other people's money.

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jeffm (Jun 30, 2018 - 1:38 pm)

While it is true that you need to stay in your lane, this notion that there are distinct cut-offs by practice area is too rigid.

There's nothing wrong with a criminal lawyer whipping out simple estate-planning, drafting simple deeds, etc. As long as he is competent to do those things, it's fine, and there is no rule anywhere to support any notion that he can't be competent in both.

If you don't feel competent, get competent or pass on the work. A lot of people are interested enough in the money to become competent.

Don't ask me to do environmental or immigration, but if you want a deed, a simple estate-planning package, review of a lease, an LLC operating agreement, civil appellate... game on. I'll do it. I might even take on some "matter of law" type litigation, depending on my mood and the case.

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snowday75 (Jun 30, 2018 - 1:51 pm)

I think after four years, he would have figured out what works and what does not. However, his claim that he is making more in medical billing (which pays $11.00/hr in my part of the Midwest) has my suspicious of the entire post.

A lot of it is market and experience dependent. You have been known in the community for many years. A guy with no website, baby face, and no experience at all is not going to have the local divorce or auto-crash mill referring him their clients' ancillary homeowner's insurance dispute.

The one guy I have seen make your model work of broad legal services is a guy who represents Minnesota's Somali community. He does most of their litigation. It doesn't matter if he screws up badly quite often (and he does) because he is the "white lawyer" within the community they think understands them best. He also knows how to barter with them to get paid. No one else will take most of their cases without a gigantic retainer, as they thereafter want to barter with goods/metals (I am not kidding).

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jeffm (Jun 30, 2018 - 1:59 pm)

I'm sure many make it work that way. It came rather naturally to me because I started in a small town in a rural area just outside of Houston. In those places, family and criminal are the big staples. Real estate and estate-planning and probate are middle staples. Litigation can pay well on the right cases, but those well-paying types of disputes don't come up in those locales all that often.

So, if you don't want to mess with family or criminal much, you become a GP, and when times are slow, you take on some of the simpler family and criminal as needed.

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dandydan (Jul 2, 2018 - 9:08 am)

You're so wrong, I did not start my career on the upper curve. I did everything possible to make things happen. I graduated without a job and spent a few short stints in doc review. However, unlike others, I never crybabed about the law schools and never let them dictate my life. And yes, if you let the law schools control how you act 5, 10, 15 years out, you are a victim. No, you are not paralyzed because some law school messed you up. If you think that you are, enjoy victimhood.

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wutwutwut (Jul 2, 2018 - 9:18 am)

" I did not start my career on the upper curve."


Yeah, not sure where he got that, given the clarity of your OP, unless he started the thread half-down and misunderstood something someone else said.

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