Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Non-lawyer Complex

I recently met a person who asked me what I do. I responded wallypancake10/25/18
I'll take "things that never happened" for $500 Alex. debtslave1510/25/18
Double trick. There are no $500 categories in Jeopardy! jd4hire10/25/18
Exactly. My humor is extremely nuanced - usually only Rick a debtslave1510/25/18
i'm squanching here mnjd10/26/18
What?? When did this happen? AND WHY WASN'T I NOTIFIED I wutwutwut10/25/18
Haha whether it happened or not, I got a great image of this dilemma201810/25/18
This poast has nighthawk written all over it. wutwutwut10/25/18
Yeah nighthawk, I am not sure what YOUR complex is but you s billcarson10/25/18
I've had this kind of thing happen too, and usually I'm just onehell10/26/18
I've been in such situations too. For example, I was at patenttrollnj10/26/18
As a fellow NJ attorney, you should've referred that doctor lolwutjobs10/27/18
As a group, one thing we suck at as lawyers is seeing other 2tierreality10/27/18
I feel you bro. I went to a great law school, felt totally d jmoney10/27/18
Hey Jmoney: bit off topic but was curious if you considered dilemma201811/01/18
Not at all. I interned at JAG in high school (was in a legal jmoney11/01/18
Really! Do you mind sharing what you didn't like about it? I dilemma201811/02/18
Mostly the same reasons I wouldn't want to be in the militar jmoney11/02/18
I spent 11+ years as a JAG with the Army Reserve. In the Re porochi11/03/18
Re: "Law school seemed easy to many of us, and it didn't see patenttrollnj11/02/18
The respect for lawyers and most white collar professions is wearyattorney11/04/18
Firstly, that salary your brother-in-law makes is above and patenttrollnj11/04/18
I agree with some of your points, however, here are some cou wearyattorney11/04/18
I respond just on your #8. I disagree that the legal prof jmoney11/14/18
Actually, depending on the Office/location DAs can make 100k dilemma201811/05/18
DAs make over $100,000 in my low cost of living state. Polic fettywap11/05/18
City and county attorneys have decent gigs, over $100k usual jmoney11/14/18

wallypancake (Oct 25, 2018 - 3:57 pm)

I recently met a person who asked me what I do. I responded that I am a lawyer. He then told me that he was supposed to go law school and was even offered a scholarship but did not go. He wanted me to know that. Sure, fine with me. He then went to explain that he only became a plumber because of circumstances. Sure, I am good with that. He then wanted me to know that he has high intelligence even though he is a plumber. I told him that being a plumber and being highly intelligent are not mutually exclusive; in fact, he may need high intelligence to deal with real serious problems.

Ok, guy seems to have a blue collar complex, not clear his issue.

He then starts telling me that he can out debate anyone, even lawyers. He has a few buddies that he debates politics regularly and he wins. I told him that this sounds good, keeping up on the news. He then told me that he is stressing how he can out debate lawyers and wanted to make sure that I heard that point. He could have been a great litigator and the plumber thing is just the way things worked out. He repeated himself.

It's not that he seems to have a blue collar complex; he definitely has a blue collar complex.

I told him that he would do better in life if he got over the not going to law school thing, as it was clearly an issue. He got all offended and ran off, saying lawyers are a bunch of cowards hiding behind their degrees. He was red in the face.

The guy created his own problems.

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debtslave15 (Oct 25, 2018 - 4:13 pm)

I'll take "things that never happened" for $500 Alex.

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jd4hire (Oct 25, 2018 - 4:23 pm)

Double trick. There are no $500 categories in Jeopardy!

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debtslave15 (Oct 25, 2018 - 4:31 pm)

Exactly. My humor is extremely nuanced - usually only Rick and Morty fans are able to understand it.

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mnjd (Oct 26, 2018 - 3:49 pm)

i'm squanching here

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wutwutwut (Oct 25, 2018 - 4:59 pm)

What?? When did this happen?

AND WHY WASN'T I NOTIFIED IN ADVANCE?

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dilemma2018 (Oct 25, 2018 - 4:35 pm)

Haha whether it happened or not, I got a great image of this whole event transpiring.
Actually, I've lost track the number of times someone will reply to me or a colleague/lawyer friend being an attorney:

"Ohhh you like to argue"

"Ohhh I should be a lawyer because I like to argue"

Then I tell them that even in my area of criminal law, a ton of cases are resolved without the type of arguing they are envisioning. I tell them that is called trial--most cases are resolved through plea bargaining so "arguing" with a lower case "a".

I definitely wouldn't hire that plumber though---

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wutwutwut (Oct 25, 2018 - 5:00 pm)

This poast has nighthawk written all over it.

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billcarson (Oct 25, 2018 - 7:16 pm)

Yeah nighthawk, I am not sure what YOUR complex is but you show up to restate the same essence of fact in a vain attempt to shop for validation.

No way this is how it played out. I don’t doubt that it is how you PERCEIVED the exchange.

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onehell (Oct 26, 2018 - 2:10 pm)

I've had this kind of thing happen too, and usually I'm just brutally honest with them.

I'm like dude, law school isn't hard. Anyone who can finish a BA in anything, from anywhere, can get a JD from somewhere if they want to. The government will happily lend you the cost and if they can perform just average on the LSAT they'll probably pass the bar. The catch is the 200k price tag (which even with IBR puts a monkey on your back for at least 20 years barring PSLF) and lack of jobs.

The average lawyer is no genius. Maybe just slightly smarter than the average college grad. Nowadays that isn't saying all that much, although the fact that only about a third of working age adults can manage to finish even today's watered-down BA (despite the majority of such people at least attempting it) says more.

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patenttrollnj (Oct 26, 2018 - 10:39 pm)

I've been in such situations too.

For example, I was at a funeral a few months ago--how appropriate! Anyway, I was talking with this one nice older lady who was a teacher, and once she realized I was a lawyer she began with the "Oh, I could have gone to law school" and "I wish I had done so, but at the time I had young children" .... yadah, yadah, yadah !

Another time, I was at a dinner party and an elderly doctor began telling me about how much admiration he has for attorneys, and how fascinating the legal profession is to him. Nice man, but I wanted to throw-up!

Maybe, once upon a time (when that doctor and the nice teacher were young), being a lawyer actually required some amount of brain-power. Sadly, that's just not the case anymore. These days, law school is a bloody joke, and it really depends WHERE you go.

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lolwutjobs (Oct 27, 2018 - 12:30 am)

As a fellow NJ attorney, you should've referred that doctor my way

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2tierreality (Oct 27, 2018 - 10:31 am)

As a group, one thing we suck at as lawyers is seeing other people's perspective. In part, that's because we're trained to issue spot and do cold analysis, but I digress.

Law school seemed easy to many of us, and it didn't seem like a hard path, or even a hard life choice, we just fell into it.

Note that a lot of people went right from being a senior in high school, to working full-time on the plant floor, or the farm, or as an apprentice in a trade. Parents were different in the old days. For a lot of kids there was no summer of bliss after high school, or 4-5 years of "finding yourself" B.S. during undergrad. A lot of kids moved out and started working full-time immediately after graduating. Frankly, a lot of us have been spoiled and take our education for granted.

For someone (like this plumber) who couldn't obtain a formal education for whatever reason, but always wanted to, they will always hold educated people and members of the learned professions in high regard.

Blue collar people and lawyers do live in different worlds for the most part, so it's hard for them to mingle and mix.

My experience is that the majority of blue collar people tend to be very respectful of me and my opinions, mainly due to my education and membership in the profession.

Also my experience is that the majority of white collar people are insufferable money hungry d**ks, and respect isn't about education or ideas, but about who makes the most $$$. They all talk about their stupid expensive hobbies, or the stupid expensive private traveling sports team their kids participate in, or traveling for work overseas, or ask the question "what builder built your house?", or golf at "the club", just so they can try to win the who makes more money d**k measuring contest.

If I have to put up with a little bit of educational insecurity from a blue collar Joe, I still prefer conversing with him over most white collar folks.

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jmoney (Oct 27, 2018 - 3:26 pm)

I feel you bro. I went to a great law school, felt totally different from 90% of them. My parents were enlisted navy. I grew up with misfits and poor folks. Law school, and the profession, is so out of whack with the average person. I made it, and my clients are normal folks. Lucky for me, I'm in a rural area, I'm the best game in town, and we can help these normal folks out. The big city lawyers, that's a different story.

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dilemma2018 (Nov 1, 2018 - 6:30 pm)

Hey Jmoney: bit off topic but was curious if you considered going into JAG after law school given your family military background?

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jmoney (Nov 1, 2018 - 6:42 pm)

Not at all. I interned at JAG in high school (was in a legal studies academy program), it wasn't something I ever wanted to do.

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dilemma2018 (Nov 2, 2018 - 5:16 pm)

Really! Do you mind sharing what you didn't like about it? I was accepted into JAG reserves so would love to hear your experience.

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jmoney (Nov 2, 2018 - 5:31 pm)

Mostly the same reasons I wouldn't want to be in the military. Location can be changed by order, employer intrusive on personal life, saluting, uniforms, a million layers of bosses, working directly for the govt (not even a contractor).

Had nothing to do with job itself or pay or bennies. I just really like my freedom.

I rep local govts now as part of my practice, but I don't work in a govt building, am not subject to the bureaucratic sh*t as a part of my employment. And they can't tell me to move to X sh*thole based on the "needs of the navy" or whatever.

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porochi (Nov 3, 2018 - 10:10 pm)

I spent 11+ years as a JAG with the Army Reserve. In the Reserves you don't PCS (move) like active duty troops. I spent all 11 years with the same Reserve JAG unit. I did short stints of Active Duty at various posts around the country but never moved for any Reserve JAG position. But at the same time, all 11 years I pretty much did Legal Assistance type work. If you want to experience the full gamut of JAG life you'd have to go active. As a Reservist you have limited opportunities to do work such as courts martials, operational law, etc. But it's not hard for a Reserve JAG to mobilize and be attached to Active Army units and live the full-scale JAG life for awhile. I know several Reserve JAG's who pretty much jump from mobilization to mobilization, we call them "Guard Bums." They don't really have a full-time civilian legal career, so they just put in for any and all mobilizations they can find. I never did that because I had a decent full-time civilian legal job and was only interested in the part-time JAG work the Army Reserve provided me.

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patenttrollnj (Nov 2, 2018 - 5:23 pm)

Re: "Law school seemed easy to many of us, and it didn't seem like a hard path, or even a hard life choice, we just fell into it."

THAT right there is the problem with law school. It should be hard, as it supposedly used to be. Today, law school is a default for dummies who couldn't hack it in STEM or business/finance. They just go to law school because they can't figure anything else to do with themselves. And, sadly, law schools sell-out the profession by lowering the bar to accommodate this trend.

Certainly, if you went to Yale or (and I'll be generous) one of the top 50 or so top law schools, you got a modicum of intelligence going for you, but I certainly don't think that's the case with the lower ranked schools (for the most part).

Those plumbers I'm betting have far more intelligence.

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wearyattorney (Nov 4, 2018 - 3:24 am)

The respect for lawyers and most white collar professions is on the way out in some parts of the country. People are catching on, not everyone, but enough people are.

My brother in law is a lieutenant in a wealthy northeastern suburb and he knows he makes more than most lawyers, and given the progression of things, most doctors. He cleared north of 300k last year.

Despite a very nasty divorce that’s going to leave the guy hobbled, he told his kids to go to college only if they plan on going to an elite school and pursue finance or go to medical school. STEM is a fall back if they can’t do either of those things or get into unionized municipal service.

He finally admitted to me that I was right about law because he sees how badly DAs he knows over the past decade or so are doing and how badly his own divorce attorney is living.

It’s going to take some time for this info to trickle down throughout the whole country though.

I don’t expect the profession to heal. When the next recession hits and you are going to need a T10 law degree with law review and top grades to become an ada, and the news trickles down and people stop going (more so than now), they’ll just degrade standards even more. I expect the bar exam to get even more dumbed down over the next decade, and outright eliminated as well. The college requirement is going to go too. The only requirement that is going to remain is that you need the three years of law school with the 100k a year price tag courtesy of Uncle Sam.

It’s going to get really interesting when law schools start using US military recruiting tactics circa 2003-2004 during the second Gulf War. And if you try to protect the poor from the con, you know the charge of racist is going to be in the pipe line.

It’s going to be really interesting to see what happens when we get to that point. I bet we’ll have some real old school corruption become main stream too, as people that have literally nothing to lose start bribing judges, etc.

It will make for a good Hollywood movie at some point.

The blogs accomplished quite a bit in the mean time though, quite a few people have been saved from the law school trap with the info already out there. And that’s a good thing.

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patenttrollnj (Nov 4, 2018 - 5:09 pm)

Firstly, that salary your brother-in-law makes is above and beyond what most professionals make (and we're talking all types of professionals). Thus, I'm not so sure it's representative of what most police officers or unionized employees make.

Further, there are plenty of successful lawyers out there. I'd go so far as to say that there are just as many (if not more) lawyers making over $150K than there are doctors (or dentists or engineers or financiers, etc) making over $150K in terms of raw numbers. The difference being that with lawyers this number comprises a smaller percent of the overall population of lawyers. Thus, the fact that the ADAs and that divorce lawyer your brother-in-law mentioned are broke does not mean that it's the case for a very large plurality of attorneys.

The issue here is "likelihood of success" ...... and with attorneys, it's very low given how saturated and dumbed-down the profession has become. Still, the number who are successful are probably a reasonably large number ..... hence, the flawed perception aspiring law students get when deciding to enroll.

Also, I'm not so sure any profession is guaranteed these days.

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wearyattorney (Nov 4, 2018 - 8:47 pm)

I agree with some of your points, however, here are some counter points:

1) 300k is high for any profession, true, but 150k is the norm for cops in wealth NE suburbs and cities (with OT and salary). Most lawyers in the same region or regions will not make anywhere near this.

2) Money generated by trading time for it is worth much less than money that flows in without a time exchange. All cops will get a 50-200k a year pension after 20-25 years on the job, and that pension will be at a reduced tax rate and will not involve the exchange of time to receive it, its residual income. No one gets that in the private sector anymore.

3) Normally, (although this is changing and is going to change), the competition for decent law jobs is much tougher than competition for decent law enforcement jobs, if you make an apples to apples comparison. If you look at just numbers, a different story is told.

4) When the recession happens, the cop is still going to have a job with a six figure income (even if reduced), whereas a substantial number of highly paid lawyers will find themselves out of work.

5) Cops are protected by politicians, which means no outsourcing, no insourcing, no automation, and no substantial pay or benefits reduction beyond OT being cut during recessions.

6) It doesn’t cost several hundred thousand dollars just to have the opportunity to compete to be a cop, as with law, medicine, and in some instances engineering. You study for a few months and spend a few hundred dollars to take a test. You don’t spend a few hundred thousand dollars and have your acadmeic performance be a permafactor throughout your career.

7) Because of the stability offered by the job, cops can take more financial risk in terms of mortgage size and investment strategy. Since we are becoming an increasingly speculative economy, the latter part is critical, as you can’t just save money anymore. Private sector minions can’t take those risks because unemployment is a virtual certainty nowadays.

8) The oligarchs aren’t going to mess with cops because they need the cops to keep the increasing desperate pool of peasants in line. In contrast, the oligarchs are spending vast sums of money to automate all private sector wage salves, whether we are about your “rich” 200k a year doctor, 100k a year lawyer, 120k a year engineer or your minimum wage worker.


It’s true there are probably more rich lawyers and doctors than cops, but if you take the boomers out of the mix (pre globalized workforce), and if you account for the years of unemployment many of those wage earners have faced (and will face), it isn’t going to be as big a difference as one might think.

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jmoney (Nov 14, 2018 - 12:32 am)

I respond just on your #8.

I disagree that the legal profession will be meaningfully automated. If your practice is title searches and simple contract writing, perhaps, but your practice is lame and stupid anyways.

For deals that will be litigated when, not if, or for litigation in general, humans will always do the work. A judge won't sit and listen to a robot give an opening statement or cross a witness, appeals justices won't hear assignments of error from HAL.

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dilemma2018 (Nov 5, 2018 - 7:19 pm)

Actually, depending on the Office/location DAs can make 100k+ espeically in a supervisory role. Also, a lot of fed govt legal gigs cross that threshold with nice retirement and benefits.

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fettywap (Nov 5, 2018 - 7:45 pm)

DAs make over $100,000 in my low cost of living state. Police officers don't. And you have to have a bachelor's degree to become a police officer. Also, cops get fired or demoted for some pretty dumb stuff. It's not a fun job. Lots of politics in the profession.

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jmoney (Nov 14, 2018 - 12:35 am)

City and county attorneys have decent gigs, over $100k usually, 9-5, full bennies, lots of low COL cities and counties to choose from. Just thought I ought to mention that.

I'll note: 6 figures in New England is a different animal than 6 figures in the most places. $300k/yr where I am and you're a king.

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