Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

1st year statistics from moonlighting

I am currently employed as a consultant. I decided to moonl tttnoregrets11/28/12
How many hours per week did you put in? Was the extra 7k vanity11/28/12
If you dont have a book of business when you start your prac mississippilawyer11/28/12
I agree and I know I was fortunate to land a job right out o tttnoregrets11/28/12
How do you go about finding work like this? shikes11/28/12
My first case was taken pro bono for family. After research tttnoregrets11/28/12
Averaging out the entire year would be right around 2.8 hour tttnoregrets11/28/12
What kind of cases? How'd you find the clients? Did you ever ti8311/28/12
Added question on ti's list. How did you figure out what yo shouldalearnedmath11/28/12
I was never really worried about figuring out what I was doi tttnoregrets11/28/12
Domestic Relations (breaching the terms of a dissolution agr tttnoregrets11/28/12
I am glad things are working out for you....I am in the same razzi11/28/12
Yes, I have malpractice insurance. I received complimentary tttnoregrets11/28/12
how muxch you declaring in income? feic11/28/12
I will claim it all. I haven't gone through every line item tttnoregrets11/28/12
do you mind if I ask how much the malpractice insurance is? razzi11/28/12
Just under $400 for the year if my memory serves me correctl tttnoregrets11/28/12
I also moonlight as a real estate refinance closing agent/no associatex11/29/12
Year 4 update Collected - $5,300 on 5 clients Client 1 - tttnoregrets12/18/15
You mentioned your expenses are malpractice and case managem tigers152612/18/15
Those are my only true expenses. I use LexisNexis, BNA, and tttnoregrets12/18/15
I applaud your willingness to do the moonlighting. I'm conf hairypalms12/18/15
I completely agree. I am very selective in cases that I tak tttnoregrets12/18/15
Year 5 - Moonlighting really paid off! I will post the deta tttnoregrets12/21/16
Year 5 Update: Collected - $28,271 Accounts Receivable - tttnoregrets12/22/16
Congratulations, what would you attribute the jump in revenu logician12/23/16
My Consulting firm clients insisting that I handle their leg tttnoregrets12/23/16
That's great, sounds like it could become a great source of logician12/23/16
Yes to both. The consulting work is quasi legal. There is tttnoregrets12/26/16
Year 6 Update: Back to reality..... Collected - $12,45 tttnoregrets01/17/18
Thank you for the update. It's always interesting to see fi brassica701/17/18
I wouldn't say that I feel more financially secure because t tttnoregrets01/17/18
Year 7 Update - estimate Collected - $18,361.00 Accounts tttnoregrets01/07/19
You moonlight as a legal consultant? Would you mind emailin isthisit01/08/19
Isthisit- No, I moonlight as an attorney. My full-time job tttnoregrets01/08/19
What do "consultants" do? It's a serious question. I often newyorkcity01/10/19
Ahh OK. Would you mind emailing me a copy of your agreement isthisit01/11/19
I don't have an agreement. I am an employee of the consulti tttnoregrets01/11/19
And yes I carry malpractice insurance...680 annually. tttnoregrets01/09/19
Double post tttnoregrets01/09/19
Thanks for the continued updates. It makes for a very inter wutwutwut01/08/19

tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 11:57 am)

I am currently employed as a consultant. I decided to moonlight as soon as I was sworn in. Here is the basic info of my experience for this first year if anyone else is considering moonlighting.

To Date:

Paid Invoice: $11,004.25
Fee Splits: $3,266.66
Expenses: $778
Unpaid Invoices: $2,635.75 (one client and he passed away)
Closed Cases: 11
Open Cases: 5
Net Revenue: $6,959,59

Region: Midwest, low cost of living

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vanity (Nov 28, 2012 - 11:59 am)

How many hours per week did you put in?

Was the extra 7k worth it for you?

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mississippilawyer (Nov 28, 2012 - 1:25 pm)

If you dont have a book of business when you start your practice as a solo, I think the average gross is going to be between $20k and $30k. I have heard of more and sometimes less, but I think this is the average (at least where I am).

If you hang a shingle out of school, you will be working for free ... most of the time. This is why getting a job (any lawyer job) is important when you get out of school. Even if you arent making any money, you need to be investing in yourself by learning the trade so you can break away and do your own thing at some point.

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 1:58 pm)

I agree and I know I was fortunate to land a job right out of school. Even though it isn't with a law firm, it is very closely related to the law and our main competitors are law firms. The few peers that I have that have attempted to go on their own full-time will be lucky to gross 25K. If I had operated full-time, I don't know how much more money I could have made, but I don't believe it would have been a significant amount more and certainly would not replace my salary.

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shikes (Nov 28, 2012 - 12:12 pm)

How do you go about finding work like this?

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 12:32 pm)

My first case was taken pro bono for family. After researching a little I discovered that attorneys fees were a possibility.

Three cases from people looking for lawyers on Craig's List. Both were small claims cases that I handled for flat fees. During one of the cases I had to go to court to request a continuance, while at court another guy approached me and hired me.

I have been contacted 5 times through my website, but only one resulted in a paying client.

I have received 3 referrals from past clients that were happy.

Two clients as a result of participation on AVVO.

Two clients through dumb luck. A guy cold called me because he was investigating a plumber that had done work on his house. He pulled the work permits and found out that I also had work done by the same company and was actually just investigating. He had no idea I was an attorney. It ended up turning into a CSPA case and I represented him and another individual.

Basically a mixed bag - family, internet, referrals, and being personable.

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 12:20 pm)

Averaging out the entire year would be right around 2.8 hours per week. I couldn't bill for all that time because I am not going to bill people for my learning curve, but I still tracked it all. In total, I had 145.25 hours put in.

It was absolutely worth it. Every case I handled I actually enjoyed with the exception of one (where the client passed away). The case was actually against one of his children for abusing a power of attorney. Turns out that child was also the executor of the Will. So when he passed, things got really messy and way out of my comfort zone.

Plus, if I look at the 7K in relation to my salary it is a respectable percentage.

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ti83 (Nov 28, 2012 - 12:26 pm)

What kind of cases? How'd you find the clients? Did you ever need to take business hours off from your primary job for court appearances?

Thank you.

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shouldalearnedmath (Nov 28, 2012 - 12:40 pm)

Added question on ti's list. How did you figure out what you were doing?

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 12:49 pm)

I was never really worried about figuring out what I was doing. I worked full-time during law school (first two years for a firm of 180 attorneys and second two years for a firm of 25 attorneys). The second firm was really hands on. I probably drafted every type of pleading available and I was able to observe about 25 trials. With that base, I was confident I could handle a most of the cases that I would be looking to take on.

Landlord/Tenant and CSPA is fairly easy law, at least in my jurisdiction.

I will say, I was clueless on the domestic relations case. That was the first time I had ever been in that court. However, it was just a breach of contract that happened to fall within the jurisdiction of the domestic relations division.

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 12:41 pm)

Domestic Relations (breaching the terms of a dissolution agreement), Consumer Sales Practice Act, Landlord/Tenant, General Civil Litigation (e.g. breach of contract, negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent supervision, conversion, unjust enrichment, etc.)

No criminal and no probate. I was lucky to get a lot of civil litigation experience in law school, but I know absolutely nothing about criminal and probate. I almost took a DUI case because I heard they are easy, but I decided to let it go because the guy wanted to fight the charges.

Yes, I have taken time off from my primary job. However, very minimal (not more than 8 hours total) and they know about the moonlighting. My company is about 70% attorneys, so they are probably more understanding than others.

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razzi (Nov 28, 2012 - 1:09 pm)

I am glad things are working out for you....I am in the same boat...work full time and trying to get things going on the side...just got my cards...dont have a website yet but will soon. Do you have a malpractice insurance? I am trying to buy one and dont even know where to call yet. Can anyone here recommend where they get their insurance from? Thanks

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 1:20 pm)

Yes, I have malpractice insurance. I received complimentary memberships to my state and local bar associations. I don't think it was required to be member, but I found my insurer through my local bar website. ProAssurance is my provider, I don't know if they are a national company.

It was really cheap for a moonlighting attorney, so it was a no brainer for me.

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feic (Nov 28, 2012 - 3:41 pm)

how muxch you declaring in income?

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 5:04 pm)

I will claim it all. I haven't gone through every line item deduction yet, but besides the expenses I already accounted for (practice management software and malpractice insurance) I don't foresee any large deductions. Overall, I expect my taxable income to be between $6,000 and $6,500.

I don't use any part of home exclusively for an office so I am not going to mess around with that deduction.

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razzi (Nov 28, 2012 - 4:01 pm)

do you mind if I ask how much the malpractice insurance is? I was quoted over 1200 dollars for the entire year from multiple places. Thanks

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tttnoregrets (Nov 28, 2012 - 5:06 pm)

Just under $400 for the year if my memory serves me correctly.

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associatex (Nov 29, 2012 - 11:42 pm)

I also moonlight as a real estate refinance closing agent/notary. I work as a 1099 so must save for taxes. On track to earn $11K by Dec 31st. I don't do anything except drive to people's houses and notarize their mortgage paperwork, then drop it off at UPS afterward. It varies but I would say on average I would be at a house by 6:30pm, then be home for dinner by 8pm. Sometimes later if I have 2 closings back to back in different towns.

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tttnoregrets (Dec 18, 2015 - 12:08 pm)

Year 4 update

Collected - $5,300 on 5 clients
Client 1 - $3,300
Client 2 - $1,200
Client 3 - $800
Client 4 - $18,000 (uncollectable judgment)
Client 5 - pending partial contingency case

Expenses - around $800
Net Revenue - $4,500

Hours worked 42.75

Worth it? Yes. I am limiting my clients because my full-time job has been keeping me extremely busy and 2 out of my 5 clients are also clients of mine at my Consulting firm.

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tigers1526 (Dec 18, 2015 - 12:40 pm)

You mentioned your expenses are malpractice and case management software. What do you use for research resources? Do you have access at your job? Same question for office supplies, printer etc.?

Congrats by the way.

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tttnoregrets (Dec 18, 2015 - 12:49 pm)

Those are my only true expenses. I use LexisNexis, BNA, and sometimes PracticalLaw through my job. My Consulting firm is about 70% attorneys and our consulting work requires us to have access. I use my own all-in one printer. If I have any major scanning jobs I just use my office one. Most courts have e-filing so there isn't much paper, ink, or postage costs.

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hairypalms (Dec 18, 2015 - 12:30 pm)

I applaud your willingness to do the moonlighting. I'm confident many of us have thought about it at one time or another. The issue for me is that while it may be $7,000 at 145 hours, all the administrative BS doesn't make up for this sum, particularly when you have to get malpractice insurance, and reconcile bank accounts (plural) on a monthly basis, etc., etc. IMO, it's just not worth the administrative aggravation unless this is something you are committed to doing full-time. Just one man's opinion... FWIW.

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tttnoregrets (Dec 18, 2015 - 1:02 pm)

I completely agree. I am very selective in cases that I take on, meaning I basically never deal with my Trust Account. Most of my clients are either going to flat fee or contingency. If it is flat fee I just deposit it in the trust account and forget about it until the case closes. There is the option to structure my fee agreement as "earned upon receipt", but that is a little more tricky and I don't think i want to go that route. Contingency fees, obviously no concern there.

My only bills are malpractice insurance (paid twice a year) and my practice management software. Honestly, the practice management software is unnecessary for the low number of cases I take, but I just like it. I only have two bank accounts for moonlighting - business checking and my IOLTA. It is very straightforward.

I would say, if I was making above six figures at my full-time, then I may stop - although now that there is a shared client pool with my full-time job that may be more difficult.

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tttnoregrets (Dec 21, 2016 - 9:48 pm)

Year 5 - Moonlighting really paid off! I will post the details when I get to a laptop. This is the first time I am really not looking forward to taxes because I am going to owe a decent chunk of change.

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tttnoregrets (Dec 22, 2016 - 12:43 am)

Year 5 Update:

Collected - $28,271
Accounts Receivable - $3,221.25

Uncollectable - one roughly $16,000 judgment (this was contingency so i am missing out on another $5,000)

Something new this year. I modeled a new retainer after how my consulting firm works. Essentially it is a guaranteed monthly income of $200.00. I signed up one client about 3/4 of the way through the year with this model. I really like it and would like to have a total of 5 of these to bring my moonlighting up to $1,000 per month regardless of what happens.

Reimbursed Expenses - $1,383.71
Non-reimbursed Expenses - around $800
Net Revenue - $27,471

Hours worked 171.80

Worth it? Yes.

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logician (Dec 23, 2016 - 7:56 am)

Congratulations, what would you attribute the jump in revenue to?

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tttnoregrets (Dec 23, 2016 - 11:29 am)

My Consulting firm clients insisting that I handle their legal matters. Specifically, two cases. I handled one eminent domain case which was around 10,000-11,000. The second case was an appeal from an administrative appeal to court that resulted in a 2 1/2 day trial - total 12,000 - 13,000.

I have posted before about my Consulting Firm and how there is a significant cross over with the legal field so it is a unique situation for moonlighting.

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logician (Dec 23, 2016 - 6:40 pm)

That's great, sounds like it could become a great source of income and book of business. Is this a field likely to provide return clients or strong referrals ?

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tttnoregrets (Dec 26, 2016 - 9:50 pm)

Yes to both. The consulting work is quasi legal. There is a good amount of work that ends crossing over into the purely legal world. In those situations our clients typically turn it over to their insurance carrier, but there are enough clients that insist that we take the case personally (if the consultant is an attorney) because their is a working relationship. In those scenarios, all money earned goes straight into your pocket because there can't be any fee splitting with the consulting company.

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tttnoregrets (Jan 17, 2018 - 11:33 am)

Year 6 Update:

Back to reality.....

Collected - $12,450
Accounts Receivable - $1,124.00

Another new development - two of my Consulting Client's requested that I handle their legal work. It will not be significant, but over the past 3 months it has been regularly between $550 - $800 per month.

Reimbursed Expenses - $314.34
Non-reimbursed Expenses - around $900
Net Revenue - $11,550

Hours worked 37.25

Worth it? Yes. While this year was lower than last year, which was expected (no serious litigation in 2017), this year was my highest effective hourly rate - $310.06.

I have developed a regular monthly revenue stream that will guarantee $6,900 in 2018. With the additional client I expect to be between $10,000 and $15,000 for 2018. Additionally, while annual bonuses were tight at my Consulting job, I did receive a salary increase of roughly $10,000.

There is no rational reason, but the idea that I can realistically expect to break six figures each year without needing that ONE case or a hefty bonus is a pretty good feeling.

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brassica7 (Jan 17, 2018 - 12:31 pm)

Thank you for the update. It's always interesting to see financial summaries for small law practices. I'm glad that this is working out well for you. Congrats!

One question: do you feel more financially secure because of this small side practice? As in, if you lost your job for some reason, do you think you could focus more on building your law practice and make enough to cover your bills? I realize that your side law practice relates to your main job, so perhaps it does not add much of a safety net. In any event, I'm sure the extra cash is nice.

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tttnoregrets (Jan 17, 2018 - 3:25 pm)

I wouldn't say that I feel more financially secure because the 80-90% of my total annual income (which includes FT Consulting, Rental Property, and Moonlighting)is from the Consulting gig. However, if I lost my job, I am confident that I could build a practice that would cover bills. And I could probably cover the full salary within 3 years. I have several consulting client's that would happily stay with me if I was ever to part ways and then I would really push into the legal realm more aggressively.

I don't do that now because one part of my Consulting pitch is that while I am a lawyer, we are a Consulting firm. We are not here to replace our clients current lawyers. This helps get the blessing from the lawyers who are obviously worried about losing business. Secondly, I am vested (shareholder) in the Consulting Co.'s success. And I can say that I really like having the bulk of my income coming from the non-law world from a company that is entering its 43rd year of operations.

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tttnoregrets (Jan 7, 2019 - 2:26 pm)

Year 7 Update - estimate

Collected - $18,361.00
Accounts Receivable - $875.00

The legal work that one of my consulting clients requested has been a extremely reliable and is responsible for 90% of the work done. For 2020 I don't anticipate any changes. I am not going to pursue additional moonlighting work. If I keep this one client happy and service them well it will be between $15k - 20K each year.

Reimbursed Expenses - $1,967.38
Non-reimbursed Expenses - around $900
Net Revenue - $17,461

Hours worked 90.50

Worth it? Yes. Lower effective hourly rate than last year, which was not surprising with the loss of a flat fee monthly retainer that I wasn't doing a lot of work on.

I estimated between 10K-15K last year and beat that projection by a few thousand. Consulting job got a decent raise (5%).

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isthisit (Jan 8, 2019 - 9:51 am)

You moonlight as a legal consultant?
Would you mind emailing me a copy of your consulting agreement? I may start doing this at a friend's small firm on the side but I'm hesitant to go of-counsel and want to take a quasi legal role instead. Did you purchase your own malpractice insurance?

[email protected]

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tttnoregrets (Jan 8, 2019 - 6:11 pm)

Isthisit- No, I moonlight as an attorney. My full-time job is as a Consultant. So I work for a consulting firm (about 30 consultants) and we are mix of attorneys, mbas, mpas, shrm professionals, etc.

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newyorkcity (Jan 10, 2019 - 10:54 pm)

What do "consultants" do? It's a serious question. I often hear the term, but I have never quite understood it.

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isthisit (Jan 11, 2019 - 8:12 am)

Ahh OK. Would you mind emailing me a copy of your agreement with the firm you moonlight with? Without your personal details of course.

[email protected]

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tttnoregrets (Jan 11, 2019 - 3:53 pm)

I don't have an agreement. I am an employee of the consulting firm and I moonlight as an attorney. The consulting firm doesn't require any type of agreement with me that permits me to moonlight.

Now, I have typical retainer agreements with my moonlighting clients. And my consulting firm has a different type of agreement with between the consulting firm and the client.

The consulting agreement I can't send because it is treated as a trade secret, even though it is not. It is unique though so we don't share it because it gives us a competitive advantage.

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tttnoregrets (Jan 9, 2019 - 7:55 pm)

And yes I carry malpractice insurance...680 annually.

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tttnoregrets (Jan 9, 2019 - 8:04 pm)

Double post

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wutwutwut (Jan 8, 2019 - 6:01 pm)

Thanks for the continued updates. It makes for a very interesting thread.

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