Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Solo Practice University

http://solopracticeuniversity.com/ Check this new webpage SUFFOLKLAWSCAM03/09/09
I saw 700.00 per year. Looks to me like another company try esq7703/24/12
sounds like BS. Each state, county and even courtroom is dif unperson03/09/09
It's kind of a genius idea, I think. Law school doesn't tra jobwhore03/09/09
http://solopracticeuniversity.com/2 009/03/09/tuition-at-solo jobwhore03/09/09
lol "We reserve the right to close the door to new st .exe03/09/09
I'm inclined to think it's a well meaning attempt that will SUFFOLKLAWSCAM03/09/09
FYI - I've been following them since before they opened. Th didit03/24/12
Dude, here is the thing, ask yourself this... Let's say y jordan03/24/12
One of Scott Bullock's best posts was about SPU. lolcat03/24/12
Yes, he called it "after scamming". http://lawschoolscam. digitalserf03/24/12
This is old old old news. She has been around for years p bostonlawyer.203/24/12
Has anyone actually been a subscriber to Solo Practice Unive frankythefly03/24/12
Do a little research on the "faculty." Many of them are form jordan03/24/12
Weird. "Martha Sperry, Esq. has been an attorney for more unfrozenlawyer03/25/12
What law firm is she currently with? Look, I might have h jordan03/25/12
An irresponsible website. They churn out young solos who kno jordan03/24/12
Oh, and let's look at SPU's biggest success story, Rachel Ro jordan03/24/12
Jordan, Are you already practicing? Have you been inside S didit03/25/12
Oh wow. Endorsed by DEANS! And law schools! That's a pretty jordan03/25/12
Have you missed the point completely of SPU? They teach the didit03/25/12
"They teach the whole enchilada, immigration, criminal law, bostonlawyer.203/25/12
Who cares? Just pay them your money and shut up. jordan03/25/12
Again, you still haven't provided anything concrete or of re didit03/25/12
Nope. I'm a young dude with my own law firm. Read about it h jordan03/25/12
First, congrats on your own firm. Second, if you haven't bee didit03/25/12
Didit, I look forward to reading your report. Can you comme frankythefly03/25/12
I had already inquired about the CLE. They don't offer CLE. didit03/25/12
Something to consider... When you've only been a lawyer f jordan03/25/12
But you can pay $800 dollars to lawline and get unlimited ac unfrozenlawyer03/25/12
Cool. I want to read a post by a baby lawyer who watched a t jordan03/25/12
Oh good. Feel free to shoot me an email once you've learned jordan03/25/12
Come on. A little common sense. You still have to do your du didit03/25/12
Well in a general sense. But for lit you need to know the li bostonlawyer.203/25/12
It's great that they are covering such in-demand sure-fire m shitlawjedi03/25/12
You can rep that guy that recently suffered a heart attack w digitalserf03/25/12
Motorcycle injury law seems like a practical subject. frankythefly03/25/12
My main problem with SPU is that they are selling something unfrozenlawyer03/25/12
On top of that, look at who is selling it... Are these la jordan03/25/12
I don't feel comfortable deriding people as "failed lawyers, unfrozenlawyer03/25/12
If you decide law isn't your thing, you probably aren't in a jordan03/25/12
http://temporaryattorney.blogspot.c om/2010/01/solo-cheerlead digitalserf03/25/12
Yeah, it's a great post from a few years ago, well written, didit03/25/12
If you really want advice from other baby lawyers who don't jordan03/25/12
Still totally applicable, nothing has changed. I get it digitalserf03/25/12
@digitalserf I'm not a shill for anyone. It's just another w didit03/25/12
Ok, say Hi to Susan Cartier Leibel at her beachfront villa. digitalserf03/25/12
Why not wait until you've been in practice for 5 years and h jordan03/25/12
They shouldn't and that's the point. Really good stuff in th jordan03/25/12
Heck...maybe when you are $150k in debt...what's another $70 bostonlawyer.203/25/12
Didit, here is my beef with you... You are looking at the jordan03/25/12
Jordan, I don't recall saying I'm a 'baby lawyer'? That see didit03/26/12
Why do you feel that taking these particular courses will he tranquiljd03/27/12
This should be titled, "So you want to start your own solo p lolcat03/26/12
I'm back after two months at Solo Practice University as pro didit06/01/12
Normally when I want that advice, I call my former boss or s jordan06/02/12
You know what's most curious about you, Jordan. You just wo didit06/06/12
Jonathan Ginsberg has one of the most extensive blogs and we tranquiljd06/02/12
I see. So, business is slow and your boss told you to go an esq7706/01/12
Right this guy didit with 15 posts isn't responding to a "go orgdonor06/06/12

SUFFOLKLAWSCAM (Mar 9, 2009 - 4:38 pm)


Check this new webpage out. 500 bucks a year in tuition. Legit business trying to help newbies who are forced to go solo or vulchers attempting to get one last feed of a dying carcass?? Not sure what to make of it.

Reply Like (0)
esq77 (Mar 24, 2012 - 9:30 am)

I saw 700.00 per year. Looks to me like another company trying to cash in on the legal profession scam.

We are paying for something that should have been taught by our law schools.

IMO, the best way to learn how to run a business is to start one. Paying clients are the key. I would not bother with these folks. Find a solo mentor. There are TONS of attorneys who are willing to help.

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unperson (Mar 9, 2009 - 4:40 pm)

sounds like BS. Each state, county and even courtroom is different.

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jobwhore (Mar 9, 2009 - 5:14 pm)

It's kind of a genius idea, I think. Law school doesn't train students to be lawyers. Niether do law firms anymore for that matter. With the explosion of law grads for fewer and fewer jobs, many more grads are going solo. Because they are dealing with grads, no need for ABA approval.

It's going to be a huge moneymaker, I wonder how long it will be before the ABA gets in on the action.

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jobwhore (Mar 9, 2009 - 5:22 pm)


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.exe (Mar 9, 2009 - 5:26 pm)


"We reserve the right to close the door to new students at any time we feel Solo Practice University™ needs to be ‘fixed’ so as to improve the students’ ultimate educational and professional networking experience. We’ll fix what needs fixing and then reopen to new students."

Why are they talking about their own institution in the third person? Is this a tool to avoid liability or something?

Reply Like (0)
SUFFOLKLAWSCAM (Mar 9, 2009 - 5:31 pm)

I'm inclined to think it's a well meaning attempt that will go nowhere and do nothing more than skim another 500 off people already destroyed and bankrupt. I mean at the end of the day a solo needs one thing and one thing only: PAYING CLIENTS. And unless this university is providing that it in all reality serves no real function.

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didit (Mar 24, 2012 - 9:00 am)

FYI - I've been following them since before they opened. They've been open now three years. If it was a scam I don't think they'd have almost 1000 students or be getting the faculty they are getting. People would be talking about -at least those who were students and didn't get what they need-not people who just talk smack without having been inside. But I did hear they're working with law schools http://solopracticeuniversity.com/bridges and the students DON'T pay; the law schools pay and provide the students scholarships to help them go solo or small firm. I may just try it myself because if they're teaching marketing, virtual law practice, and more, I could spend more money on a night out and have nothing to show for it. At least hear I'll get a month to learn something.

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jordan (Mar 24, 2012 - 9:53 pm)

Dude, here is the thing, ask yourself this...

Let's say you were accused of a pretty serious crime. You could go to jail for a long time if you were locked up. How would you find yourself a lawyer.

Twitter? The Yellow Pages? Google?

I like to think you'd ask a bunch of other lawyers or someone who trust, "Who is a good lawyer that does this type of work?" You would want a good, experienced lawyer. I sure would.

Solo Practice University will teach you how to build a website, a virtual practice, how to design a cool logo, and all that other stuff.

Too bad it's all useless.

You're better off becoming a good lawyer. Doing stuff like CLEs, pro bono work, taking on small cases, and eventually working your way into becoming "the guy people call for that type of work."

That's my beef with Solo Practice University - they're more focused on marketing than true mentorship. If they wanted to teach stuff like "Common ethical pitfalls young solos can run into" or "How to manage a client trust fund account", that's great. There's a lot you don't learn in law school.

And mentoring is a process, it doesn't happen overnight. You don't just watch a video that says "this is how to...". Eventually you get a foot stuck up your butt enough times and you start to see things a little differently.

However, I don't like what SPU is doing. It's dangerous to encourage young lawyers with heavy debt loads, no start up capital, no credit, and no experience to start a law practice. It's even more dangerous to encourage these newly minted solos to give off the impression that they're well established in order to get clients that they're not really qualified to help.

Go find a few old lawyers who you trust. Ones with gray hairs on their heads who practice from a real law office. Call them and say "Hey, could we talk about something?" when you have questions.

And always consider who your advice is coming from. Some of the faculty at SPU doesn't even practice law anymore - they just sell "coaching" to other lawyers." That suggests, to me at least, "I couldn't hack it as a lawyer, but here, let me teach you..."

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lolcat (Mar 24, 2012 - 9:16 am)

One of Scott Bullock's best posts was about SPU.

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digitalserf (Mar 24, 2012 - 9:39 am)

Yes, he called it "after scamming".


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bostonlawyer.2 (Mar 24, 2012 - 9:36 am)

This is old old old news.

She has been around for years peddling this snake oil.

"There has never been a better time to start a solo practice"

She is the number 1 solo cheerleader!

She doesn't practice, is a SAHM and runs this on the side to make some sepnding money while her hubby brings home the bacon.

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frankythefly (Mar 24, 2012 - 6:04 pm)

Has anyone actually been a subscriber to Solo Practice University? Was it worthwhile? Did it teach you anything valuable about opening and maintaining a solo practice? Did it help you learn the nuts and bolts of an area of practice? Did it help you with administrative issues related to owning a solo practice? Was it worth the money?

I'd like to hear from some people who actually used SPU. We all know that going to law school is a bad decision and that the legal job market is God-awful, but that does not necessarily mean that SPU is itself a scam or completely devoid of merit.

I think that SPU is a good concept, but is the concept being implemented properly? That's what I would like to know.

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jordan (Mar 24, 2012 - 10:14 pm)

Do a little research on the "faculty." Many of them are former practicing lawyers who now primarily sell stuff like SEO, Apple products, and lawyer marketing. See, e.g.:



Funny note about Martha Sperry -- she actually paid Joseph Rakofsky a settlement. Which is laughable, because she's not in the state where Rakofsky filed suit. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't pay a lawyer who settled a lawsuit that she simply could have won by not doing anything.


But yes, you can buy advice from Martha Sperry on Solo Practice University. A lawyer who was bullied by Joseph Rakofsky.

Oh, and James Chartrand, author of some blog that no one reads, will teach you how to start a legal blog:


(Hint: here is how to start a legal blog - write about stuff you think is interesting or important. Hit 'publish'. The end.)

In any case, think about it. Hard. These people are selling advice. And who are these people? Many are former lawyers who are now in the business of marketing. They're saying, "I wasn't good at building a law practice, but here, let me teach you how to build a law practice. Oh, and your best clients will come from the internet!"

To put it in another context, when you want advice about fitness, do you go to the biggest badass in the gym? Or do you go to the guy who is behind the counter at GNC - the guy who gets a commission for selling you supplements?

Do a little research into the faculty and say to yourself, "Would I hire this person? What makes them worth listening to, let alone paying for their advice?"

Mentorship can't be bought. If you want a real mentor, go hang around the courthouse, call some older lawyers, or do a pro bono project. Don't pay money to let hacks sell you garbage about how to use Twitter. They have no idea how to start and grow a law practice.

Some of the faculty is legit, but you're way better off just taking CLEs in your jurisdiction. Then after it's over, go up to the person who presented the CLE and say "Can I buy you lunch? Could we discuss this more over email?"

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unfrozenlawyer (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:54 am)


"Martha Sperry, Esq. has been an attorney for more than twenty years, serving the domestic and foreign insurance industry in a variety of capacities."

"Martha graduated from the New England School of Law in 2000, summa cum laude, after serving as Executive Lead Articles editor for her school’s Law Review."

Have we jumped to the future recently? 'Cause I'm gonna be pissed if I'm suddenly 40 years old.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 1:16 am)

What law firm is she currently with?

Look, I might have her confused with someone else, but I thought she left active practice to focus on the SPU / writing stuff. I could be wrong. I know her more from Advocate's Studio.

However, in her case, it's besides the point. Sperry settled with Joseph Rakofsky. That dude who filed the most frivolous lawsuit in the world. Why would anyone buy advice from someone who did that? Martha's not even in New York. So all she had to do was nothing -- literally -- and she wins the case.

Instead, she went and did this:



You would think that with all the expertise and guidance SPU is selling, they could have given her a hand or something.

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jordan (Mar 24, 2012 - 9:44 pm)

An irresponsible website. They churn out young solos who know more about marketing than actual lawyer skills.

It's a total waste of your time and money. And I'm friends with some of the members of the faculty. (some of them are actually good lawyers).

Run from Solo Practice University. Very far. Use your money on better stuff.

If you want to pay money to learn more lawyering skills, take a CLE. In my state, the local pro bono organization runs very high quality "training seminars" for free, provided you take a pro bono case within 6 months. You're also covered on their malpractice insurance. They'll walk you through an area of law, start to finish, and then you get to see it in action. It's a very low risk way to learn lawyering skills, plus you get CLE credit.

Do that instead.

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jordan (Mar 24, 2012 - 11:03 pm)

Oh, and let's look at SPU's biggest success story, Rachel Rodgers. Rachel has a snazzy website. Great branding. And she's kind of cute, too.

Remember her?


Her biggest accomplishments?

Getting accused of unauthorized practice of law:


Giving legal advice over the internet:


Writing a blog post where she called clients "marks" and "leads":


If you want to pay Solo Practice University a bunch of money to become the next Rachel Rodgers... good for you. Because that's what they're selling.

Rachel is what happens when you try and replace true mentors with salesmen. And it's a shame because she has a talent for marketing and branding. If she were a Realtor, I'd probably working for her in 5 years...

Too bad furnishing legal services is different than selling houses.

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didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 8:42 am)

Jordan, Are you already practicing? Have you been inside SPU? Because all you're doing is highlighting blog posts with opinions not facts. You google SPU and its written up in Forbes, MSNBC, being used by law schools and endorsed by Deans. People will always pick on something but give me actual facts and personal experiences with the service and I'll listen.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 9:52 am)

Oh wow. Endorsed by DEANS! And law schools! That's a pretty big deal, man.

The same deans everyone is complaining about on this site for tricking them into going to law school say it's cool. The deans who overinfliated their LSAT numbers to the ABA like at Villanova.

I guess they've found another way to spend your money. Sweet!

And written up in Forbes, and MSNBC. It must be good!

Though I seem to recall that Bernie Madoff was also written up by Forbes and MSNBC... hmmmmm.

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didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 7:54 am)

Have you missed the point completely of SPU? They teach the whole enchilada, immigration, criminal law, appellate practice, special education law, personal injury law, ethics, business law, construction law, trusts accounting, and more. There is one course on marketing. It just fascinates me that it's always the ones who 'know it all' that know the least. There are faculty members who sit on ABA Commissions, win legal awards, teach CLE, speak at major legal conferences, and who are leaders in their practice areas. But let's just focus on the handful of lawyers who are also doing things in addition to practicing law as if somehow that's criminal. I find it rather inspiring, myself, because it's a tough field. But if you guys are up at midnight on a Saturday trolling a site to pick a few subjective nits, then I wish you lots of luck in this profession. It seems to me there is finally an affordable option out there to help people who DID get scammed by law school and ihaven't found anything negative about its founder other than the usual 'her hair is funny' at least not from someone who actually claims they've used the service. I'm actually signing up tonight and if I'm wrong and you're right I promise to report back here. If you don't hear from me it's because I'm spending my time actually learning instead of bitching!

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bostonlawyer.2 (Mar 25, 2012 - 9:08 am)

"They teach the whole enchilada, immigration, criminal law, appellate practice, special education law, personal injury law, ethics, business law, construction law, trusts accounting, and more."

Really? Given that practice is completely different from state to state ..how can they teach you that? (Apart from immigration law...although they may have different local rules). Even Federal Court has separate locale rules....I pracitce in MAss but wouldn't know how to practice in New Hampshire or Maine....to save my life.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 9:52 am)

Who cares? Just pay them your money and shut up.

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didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 10:12 am)

Again, you still haven't provided anything concrete or of real value. Just sarcastic (and rather ill-conceived) opinion. I hope others who actually want to accomplish something see through this because you just spend your time putting down everything. Either you're older, smug and happy, with a rich spouse typing in your mahogany walled den or you're doing document review afraid to try to make it on your own. Either way, you hold no sway because you can't deliver anything but anonymous (and rather pathetic) snark.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 10:26 am)

Nope. I'm a young dude with my own law firm. Read about it here:


Hint: I'm the "Jordan" guy. This isn't exactly a secret. (ZOMG my partner has been in the news a bunch of times!)

At my firm, we have this thing called an "office" and a "conference room", and chairs for people when they come to see us, and even a fridge with soda in it and a coffee machine.

And I write a blog where I discuss a lot of this stuff, too:


Here is a piece directly on point about why I think Solo Practice University is a crock of shit:


I don't blog much about "how to start a solo practice", because I don't know if my own is going to be viable in six months. I hope it is, and we're doing pretty well, but you never know. If you're interested, this is pretty much everything I have to say about solo practice right now:


That's what it's like.

And yes, I was up late last night. Cooking chili for a chili cookoff in my neighborhood. You know, I'm actually going to go outside and engage my neighbors today. I know this might shock you, but there are ways to interact with the public that don't involve stupid tweets, a blog that's mostly spam, and having a super awesome lawyer website with magic logos and "branding."

And even if I don't get any business, at least I'll have eaten a lot of chili and drank some beer. That's a good situation.

I don't know much, but I do know this - Solo Practice University is selling you snake oil.

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didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 11:32 am)

First, congrats on your own firm. Second, if you haven't been inside SPU then you're still not credible on the topic of what they offer. Third, anyone with half a brain cell knows that anything you learn, whether book, CLE, online classes, at the foot of a master, doesn't take the place of actually doing. All these things compliment your actual 'doing' and nothing can eliminate the sweat. But the constant harping that if all of these very complimentary things are presented in a way which is affordable and available to you somehow makes it snake oil is just illogical. Again, congrats on your efforts thus far and I'll be sure to follow your blog. And I'm still going to report back here with what it's like inside SPU. and here is someone who actually was inside SPU and wrote a three part review which I just found: http://www.paul-mcguire.com/blog/category/solo-practice-university/ for those who asked if anyone knows a 'student'

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frankythefly (Mar 25, 2012 - 11:51 am)

Didit, I look forward to reading your report. Can you comment on whether they are presenting standard CLE-grade material or whether they are discussing actual nuts-and-bolts issues (what forms to fill out, etc.)?

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didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:06 pm)

I had already inquired about the CLE. They don't offer CLE. They have a partnership with Lawline to provide CLE to their students who sign up for quarterly or annually. It's unlimited online cle for the time period you are enrolled in SPU. SPU provides the nuts and bolts training specific to solo practice and much more indepth with access to the faculty. CLE is gotten online through the partnership...which I find ironic. We accept online CLE without access to the faculty who teach it in one-off classes. But we criticize a creative environment that not only teaches multiple nuts and bolts classes geared towards sole practitioners on a given topic but also allows access to the teachers. I'll definitely post on my impressions of SPU once I'm in. You can best believe I don't throw money away and I do my homework.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:35 pm)

Something to consider...

When you've only been a lawyer for like, a minute, how can you really judge whether something is worthwhile? Or how worthwhile it is?

I've taken CLEs where I've said "that's a great idea!", only to find out it wasn't a good idea later in practice.

A baby lawyer review of Solo Practice University is, no offense, kind of worthless. You're not really in a position to judge whether the advice is worthwhile just yet.

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unfrozenlawyer (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:58 pm)

But you can pay $800 dollars to lawline and get unlimited access for your entire career vs. $700 per year at SPU for information you could get for free by doing some research and talking to other attorneys like those at solosez.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 5:33 pm)

Cool. I want to read a post by a baby lawyer who watched a trial and now feels qualified to write a treatise on evidence.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 9:56 am)

Oh good. Feel free to shoot me an email once you've learned how to Tweet.

I hear all the best clients come from Twitter nowadays.

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didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 9:16 am)

Come on. A little common sense. You still have to do your due diligence (even with CLE). But if you are taught principles of dealing with clients in a PI case or Family Law or even criminal the local practice might be different but you know what to look for. Isn't that the same with law school?

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bostonlawyer.2 (Mar 25, 2012 - 9:32 am)

Well in a general sense. But for lit you need to know the little details and nuts and bolts.

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shitlawjedi (Mar 25, 2012 - 10:14 am)

It's great that they are covering such in-demand sure-fire money makers for young solos like "Motorcycle Injury Law" and "International Sports Law."

If I had a dollar for every Irish soccer player who stumbles into my office seeking representation during contract re-negotiations...

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digitalserf (Mar 25, 2012 - 10:35 am)

You can rep that guy that recently suffered a heart attack while playing. I am sure he doesn't have a lawyer, who cares if he is England.

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frankythefly (Mar 25, 2012 - 11:52 am)

Motorcycle injury law seems like a practical subject.

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unfrozenlawyer (Mar 25, 2012 - 11:27 am)

My main problem with SPU is that they are selling something that any reasonably intelligent and resourceful person should be able to learn for free. I mean really? Introduction to Google? or Facebook? Or Twitter?

When I practiced I learned a lot just by watching others for free and by subscribing to my state's CLE library. Also by doing pro bono. Since law is "practicing" it means you don't just become an expert by watching some video. I dunno, I can't see paying $700 for this stuff.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:28 pm)

On top of that, look at who is selling it...

Are these lawyers who have made money hands over fist by using Google, Facebook, or Twitter? Or have won many trials with an iPad? No. Many of them are failed lawyers who find it much easier to sell obvious crap to idiots.

And yes, you're absolutely right. I'm a technological neophyte. But my entire practice is run off Google apps. It took like a day to setup all that stuff. I'll even give away the information for free if someone emails me. "Buy a domain name, create a Google apps account, follow the directions, now you have an email account and a functional calendar. Ta da!"

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unfrozenlawyer (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:56 pm)

I don't feel comfortable deriding people as "failed lawyers," because I'm one myself. I don't think deciding that law is not your thing is necessarily a bad thing.

However, I do agree that selling something this information is really shady. There is a market for it though. Just like selling real estate investment information or selling other get rich quick schemes.

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jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 5:10 pm)

If you decide law isn't your thing, you probably aren't in a position to sell it to other people. Especially in the context of "I decided law isn't my thing, but if you pay me, I'll teach you how to become super successful as it!"

No thanks.

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digitalserf (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:14 pm)



And here is the bigdebtsmalllaw post on the subject:

"Solo Practice U. is a scam, scam scam. Read the excellent essay below from the old blog "Big Debt, Small Law" for the real dope on this comical waste of time:

New shingle-hangers get hung out to dry

From Wikipedia’s “Frauds” article:
Scammers recognize that the victim who has just been scammed is more likely to fall for scamming attempts than a random person. Often after a scam, the victim is contacted again by the scammer, representing himself as a law enforcement officer. The victim is informed that a group of criminals has been arrested and that they have recovered his money. To get the money back, the victim must pay a fee for processing or insurance purposes. Even after the victim has realized that he has been scammed, this follow up scam can be successful as the scammer represents himself as a totally different party yet knows details about the transactions. The realization that he has lost a large sum of money and the chance he might get it back often leads to the victim transferring even more money to the same scammer.
Brilliant, no? After all, each orchard of morons always has a few low-hanging fruit just ripe for the picking. The “perennial” suckers, if you will. As our former president George W. Bush so eloquently put it: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice- uh, well, uh, uh- it’s not nice to fool people again!”

Consider the typical, hapless TTT law school grad: First she invested 100 K in a worthless undergrad degree like English Lit or Poli-Sci, then compounded this initial mistake by piling on 120 K or more in non-dischargeable law school loans, bought hook, line and sinker the materially fraudulent salary stats of her law school, endured the BarBri blather-thons, walked the hot coal hazing ritual of the bar’zam, and now finds herself coping with $1500 a month loan payments and a total lack of job opportunities. It’s a familar disaster. Like the Mountain Climber game on The Price is Right, she yodeled her way up the debt mountain and has now fallen off the cliff. Yo-da-le-hee-hoo! Thanks for playing! Even document review, the perennial “parting gift” of the law school also-ran, has now been shipped off to India like those factory jobs of yore. As Springsteen sang in “My Hometown”:

They’re closing down the textile mill ‘cross the railroad track
Foreman says these jobs are going, boys
And they ain’t a comin back

That said, we recently learned here at Big Debt that a new genus of parasite has mutated within the infectious Petri-dish of the law. This nascent strain of law school “after-scammers” are breeding like salmonella in lukewarm mayonnaise. Our friend & fellow blogger Tom the Temp dubs this new (and apparently, now viral) bug the “Solo Practice Cheerleader Crew” (see Tom’s thoughts on these pathogens here):
http://temporaryattorney.blogspot.com/2 ... sters.html

The solo practice pipedream is nothing new to us here at Big Debt, having wreaked its way through our document review projects for the better part of this decade. All us old time coders remember the so-called “solos” on project who were “just having a slow month” and ended up in the doc review gulag “for a short while.” Curiously, those “slow months” stretched into years as these folks popped up again and again on projects like those old character actors from the 1940s gangster movies. Like bad pennies, they were always back in Biglaw’s pocket sooner rather than later. It wasn’t by choice, either.

Armed with a flimsy stack of Vista-Print business cards and a “prestigious” midtown Manhattan mail-drop address, these usual suspects were always “open for business,” such as it were. You’d sometimes hear them on the phone in the vestibules, bickering over some rinky-dink traffic ticket or small-claims case. One particular guy nicknamed “ShitFingers” liked to operate his side practice via cellphone while dropping heat in the restroom stall, giving “toilet law” a literal dimension. His clients must have thought one of those Civil War re-enactments was going on while he discussed the retainer.

Later, you’d go to wipe and find he’d captioned draft briefs on the Charmin and hidden a stapler under the toilet tank. I often wondered why he didn’t just tape his law degree up in there alongside the stall’s graffiti. No one would’ve cared. This was, of course, in the SullCrom basement, down amid the boxes. Those were the days, young grasshoppers.
As mentioned supra, these “solos” had little more to show for their 7 year education than those pathetic Vista-Print cards. They were curious spectacles in themselves, these cards, featuring the obligatory “Esq” after the last name, coupled with the redundant “Attorney & Counsellor at Law” directly beneath in bold font. Sometimes they’d even slug it “The Law Office of Mr. Loser Solo, Esq, Attorney & Counsellor at Law, JD, LLM” and other such nonsense, as if listing every permutation of their “title” would somehow confer respect.

It didn’t. When the bowel movement was over and the business cards put away, he went back to being Temp. Coder #670934, like Superman doffing his cape and becoming Clark Kent. On payday, he drew the same $21 an hour as the rest of the losers.

But again, we think there really was something to these business cards, something quite profound. A fire within, perhaps? Like the tiny American flag that John McCain & his cellmates stitched while inside the “Hanoi Hilton”, the cards represented pride and honor and-dare we write-loyalty to a system. A system that (like McCain & his cellmates) had ruthlessly screwed and exploited them, but a system for which they harbored latent pride nonetheless. We often wondered what pleasure was drawn from seeing one’s own name followed by “Esq.” as opposed to Temp. Coder #670934, or prison inmate, or midget porn director? Of what did these coders dream? Did they stare into the alkalide glow of the monitor and see not a Global Broker Dealer Sub-Agreement but instead a plush corner office, complete with mahogany desk, silk drapes, and Cartier fountain pens? The law school sheepskins proudly framed on the walls? Were the images real and concrete, or lacy and vague at the edges like a sitcom’s dream sequence?

We’d rather not know. Here at Big Debt, we find these “solo law practice” pipedreams rather comical, and somewhat akin to delusions. To paraphrase Nietzsche, “if you stare too deeply into the monitor, the monitor will stare into you.” So it goes. As the SullCrom partner once told a peskily querying coder “We’re not paying you guys to think. Just click, and click fast. There’s too much fucking around down here.” Right after that, some old coder farted.
But we digress. Our first snowfall in NYC was just last week, yet shitlaw firms have been reporting severe, isolated blizzards since the 4th of July. This often culminates in the phenomenon known as a “white-out.” A white-out occurs when the quantity of incoming resumes exceeds the toner capacity of the fax machine.

Like hurricanes, scientists are studying the “life cycle” of the typical NYC whiteout. Its root causes, if you will. The “chain of events.” They tell us it all starts with a craigslist ad, calling for some no-fault/landlord tenant/personal injury/_________(insert shitlaw practice area here) associate, with 0-2 years experience. Usually the salary offered will be south of 40 K, but much “experience” is promised in lieu of monetary remuneration. Court appearances and depositions are often mentioned, as well as “motions.”

Upon pressing the “post” button and placing the ad online, the white-out phenomenon unfolds. Within seconds, the telltale ring of the fax machine sounds thru the office as the resumes start shooting in. Building slowly, like a dynamo whirring up to speed, the ring soon blares into a continuous, screeching din like a submarine’s “torpedo” alarms in those old WWII movies. Upwards of 75 resumes a minute have been reported, and often the hapless secretaries are dispatched to find milk crates, empty wastebaskets, and other vessels to absorb this incoming resume avalanche.
But there’s no taming this feral beast. As the toner bleeds dry, the print becomes fainter and fainter, until the boldfaced “Cardozo Sports Law Journal” and “Top 46%” boldfaced type dissolves from a scream to a faint whisper. By the ten-minute mark, the fax machine pages emerge blank and unblemished, the shitlaw credentials unprinted. The toner is empty. Yet onward the onslaught continues, page upon empty page pouring into a vortex of abject nothingness. This heart of darkness is pure white.

(A nostalgic digression: Our old NYC personal injury firm was notoriously cheap, and bought those knockoff Canal Street toners that left your motions looking like a charcoal briquette had been rubbed across them. A judge once charitably compared them to cave paintings, and asked if I’d scrubbed a chimney with them).
But let’s get back on track: Below is the website link to the new “Solo Practice University”, complete with ringing customer endorsements:
God, I haven’t laughed this hard since George Carlin kicked the bucket. Is Carlton Sheets this huckster’s uncle? Don’t laugh. I can easily see these solo-practice shysters taking to late night TV to hawk this useless drivel. You know, like those investment scam “informericals”…..

Imagine Susan Carter Liebel, CEO of Solo Practice University, reclined on a beachfront patio in Miami, the jade green waters over her shoulder and the shills facing west. Perhaps a dwarf or two, fanning her with palm fronds. Everyone sports a tan. Sunshine, smiles & sunglasses abound:

SCL: “Tell us about your experience with Solo Practice University, Shill #1”
Shill: “Susan, I can’t thank you enough for these wonderful Solo Practice Univesity materials. Two years ago I was sweating in the Paul Weiss cockroach basement coding documents for $21 an hour. That’s right Susan, a LICENSED NY ATTORNEY making $21 an hour.
“Dear God, surely you jest, Mister Shill?”
“I wish I was kidding, Susan, I really do. Sadly, that’s the going rate for doc review in NYC.”
“But at some point, that changed, didn’t it? Tell our audience here what happened?”
“Well Susan, after getting home from Paul Weiss at 2 am with my eyes weeping blood, I switched on my 13 inch TV to watch Gilligan’s Island when I caught the end of your program here.”
“You mean “Solo Practice University”?
“Yes, and it was a moment that changed my life. Like a revelation, a God coming down to Moses, it all fit suddenly together. Everything was made clear, the solutions to all my problems and the answer to all my prayers. The “Ten Commandments” of Solo Practice U” touched my soul!
“What happened next, pray tell, Mister Shill?”
“First, my neighbor started screaming about the extension cord I’d strung across the fire escape to steal his electricity, since mine had long since been cut off for non-payment. After he settled down, I had my roommate hold the rabbit ear antenna while I took down the toll-free number for Solo Practice University! After a few minutes I thought, “Gee whiz, why have I been reviewing those Global Bi-Lateral Broker-Dealer Sub Agreements for Paul Weiss at $21 an hour, when I can do it just as well myself for $950 an hour?
“And tell us, Mister Shill, how things have worked out since that call?”
“Susan, I’m just so happy I’m almost speechless. These tears are the tears of sheer ecstasy, by God. I swear I haven’t wept like this since chopping a bushel of onions at my old Gray’s Paypaya side job. Now, thanks to Solo Practice University, I have my own solo boutique doing Sarb-Ox compliance and multi-international securities work, and my biggest decision is choosing what color Ferrari I want next. Me and the Goldman Sachs gang, who are now clients of mine, are partying balls out with Derek Jeter & some hookers in a couple hours. And Susan, you see this watch? See it? This watch cost more than a year’s tuition at Seton Hall. That’s who I am, and these loser coders I worked with are still nothing.”
Cue the toll-free number. So it goes, beachcombers. You can almost smell the Coronas.

Note that none of the solo-practice cheerleaders actually practice law themselves, just as Carlton Sheets never sold real estate and Ron Popeil never ate a rotisserie chicken injected with chunks of raw garlic. Instead, they peddle the idea of solo practice as a kind of elixir, a “snake oil” or tonic if you will. Like the patent medicines of the 19th century, they’re palliative treatments for the JD pox, not cures. They make outrageous claims and far-out promises knowing full well they can’t deliver. And shit, why not? As we wrote in the intro, someone gullible enough to waste 100 K+ on a TTT law school surely won’t mind parting with another $595 to learn the “inside secrets” of Solo Practice U! The typical TTT grad blows more than that a semester on Rule Against Perpetuities study-aid puzzles and other accessories of the lawschool scam machine.
But the truth soon sets in. Like the Wizard of Oz, the curtain has long since been pulled back on the charade of solo shitlaw by consumer-friendly websites like Legalzoom. The public know full well what a worthless “product” most shitlawyers peddle, and the jig is now up. It sure don’t take 7 years of schoolin’ to cut n’ paste some janitor’s Last Will & Testament together or grovel before some lowlife traffic court judge for a point reduction. Anyone who can read can now pretty much solve their own legal problems by downloading a few boilerplate forms, doing some quick Googling, and pulling the old cut n’ paste. They surely couldn’t be any more incompetent than the typical recent law grad, unless of course their case involved a “fertile octagenarian” or other bar exam trivia. Opening a solo shitlaw office in 2010 is like opening a typewriter repair store in 1993- your product is already obsolete. And no, we don’t want to hear about your uncle/neighbor/dad’s college roommate who made millions in the 1980s on whiplash cases. That horse has long since limped off to the glue factory. Maybe Grandpa Kettle made a living shoeing horses, but that doesn’t mean my spiffy new blacksmith shop on the NJ Turnpike will become a going concern. Times have changed.

Funny too how the “solo university” hucksters have mimicked the TTT law school website template. It features all the lame, hackneyed buzzwords like “networking” and “professional connections,” the usual “success story” shills, and even a spiffy section of “faculty” bios (btw, the faculty member on the upper right corner looks of Solo U like he just swallowed a quart of bong water). Funniest of all is the “virtual law office” faculty chick- (she’s second from the right, bottom row). Does this virtual practice come with virtual clients and a virtual paycheck? To be fair, many lawyers do practice in a virtual way, but the problems is that these “lawyers” are located in Mumbai, Bangalore, and other Third World sweatshops and charge $25 a week to churn the same cut n’ paste shitpaper as Joe Schmoe Esq. down on Main Street USA. All with the American Biglaw Association (ABA’s) full blessing to boot. Let’s sing the “ABA Outsourcing Theme Song” to the old Gilligan’s Island tune:
“No dues, no exams, no background checks, not a single CLE, like Robison Crusoe, it’s primitive as can be.”
And like Quinnipiac Law School (Susan C. Liebel’s former employer) you’ll be pleased to know that Solo Practice University’s entrance standards are “virtually” nonexistent! She has indeed learned well. Just fork over your credit card number and $595 later you’re on your way to Solo Practice nirvana. And away we go!

Doc review will look like a night on the town once you get a few “rubber check retainers” for some serial drunkard’s 4th DWI, or sit in some kerosene-reeking trailer park signing up an SSI disability scammer with bulging spinal discs, or chew No-Doz until 4 am filling out the 84,578 pages of HUD-1 dreck and title work toilet paper for some $300 fee residential real estate closing.

We found especially amusing the personal injury practice “negotiation” video, because we here at Big Debt are old veterans of the NYC plaintiff sewer. Save your $595, because Professor Law is 4 Losers can tell you everything you need to know about personal injury work in about 12 sentences:

First off, w/out a 7 figure ad budget you aren’t going to have any decent cases, so class is dismissed. Go have a beer. Second, if you do get a fender-bender whiplash case, the “negotiation’ with Allstate or State Farm will go something like this:

Shitlaw Solo: “Hi, I represent Mister Brokedick with a bulging lumbar disc and want to settle the case.”
Allstate: “We have it marked no pay. We will force you to trial and make 12,459 motions a day to bury you in paperwork. If the client had chicken pox in 1st grade we will make discovery motions for the HIPPA authorization for that and also seek authorizations for every other sniffle, sneeze or fart this bastard has squeezed since 1965. If the facilities don’t provide them, we’ll just make the motion over and over and over again until you give up. We have a team of lawyers we pay $5 an hour just to do this from Touro Law School. We know damn well you’re a solo and can’t afford to pay the treating doctor 5 K to testify if it gets that far. And even if you do and you win the trial, it’s only a 25 K policy, so you’ll have made nothing after expenses. By the way, go fuck yourself mister attorney. I am a high-school dropout claims adjuster and make 65 K a year with health benefits and you are a scrounging solo ambulance chaser buried up to your ass in debt!”

Really kids, where are you going to get the $210 it costs to buy an index number, the $95 to buy an RJI (request for judicial intervention), the $500 in photocopying fees to get the medical reports,/MRI films/X-rays, the $200 for deposition fees/transcripts, the $45 for each motion and (if you go to trial) the $5,000 a Board Certified Orthopedist gets for a morning of testimony? Just a handful of fender-bender cases and you’re looking at thousands of dollars in “fronting” expenses just to churn the files. Remember, this is on top of your student loans.

Oh, you’ll have the client pay expenses upfront? Good luck. Most personal injury victims are clumsy, illterate basket cases that don’t have a pot to piss in, but what they lack in $$$ they make up for in street smarts. Ask them for money and they’ll be changing lawyers inside of 30 seconds, probably to a big mill that has the juice to get them a 1-800-Lawcash loan shark advance too.

Wake up. This is the real fucking world kids, not some Erin Brokovich fairy tale. We at Big Debt write of the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. We’re dead serious when we warn you away from the solo practice pipedream. Not only does solo practice shitlaw offer lower hourly wages than mowing lawns and less job satisfaction than stocking shelves at Wal-Mart, it also features another fun thing called the “order to show cause to withdraw.” In law, when clients don’t pay, judges don’t care. You need to formally get the court’s permission to part ways with the non-paying, bellicose, and obstinate scum that constitute the “clients” of most shitlaw offices In the words of one wag, “they have big problems and empty pockets.”
Solo practice university, as we here at Big Debt well know, is little more than a modern-day recycling of the old “snipe hunt” prank. These jokers send the newbies forth in search of non-existent “clients” and wax poetic on the notions of “justice” and “making a difference” while laughing hysterically behind the poor sucker’s backs. I’d bet a week’s worth of food stamps that half these “professors” of solo shitlaw U have an uncle who was claims manager of an insurance company or some other family connection that 99% of the incoming suckers could only dream of. It takes serious money to start a law practice, and don’t let the Solo U cheerleaders convince you otherwise. They’re just salesman out to score a quick buck.
Take this under advisement: A law practice isn’t a shoeshine stand, crack deal, or hot dog cart. You’ve gotta pay bar dues, CLE fees, malpractice insurance, court filing fees, your own health insurance, and a host of other expenses too numerous to list. Student loans are beyond crushing. It’s very easy to get in over your head, and a couple bounced retainer checks will have Access Group’s goons “accessing” your bank account. Short of dropping off $150,000 of seed money on your doorstep, there’s nothing Solo Practice U can do to help you. As the old saw goes, “wish in one hand and shit in the other, and see which one fills up first.”

Like all good salesman, the solo practice cheerleader’s purpose is not to teach you the “practice of law” or “how to network” or any other Oprah-esque, self esteem junkie nonsense. Our society’s nonstop doses of ”feel good” syrup and “you’re very special” candy canes have rotted our collective teeth out already. Most people graduating from law school aren’t special, and aren’t going to amount to a pint of cold piss in this devilish farce of a “profession.” Forty years go, no accredited law school would’ve even accepted the majority of the mouth-breathers enrolled today, and rightly so. Fact is, the ”solo cheerleaders” only want to make a sale, and the #1 key to making a sale is overcoming objections. Consider this snippet:

Solo U Website: “The common preconception among law students is that starting a solo practice is unwise, if not downright impossible. Conventional wisdom says you should work for someone else for a few years to learn the ropes.”
Law is 4 Losers Translation: The common perception is wrong. YOU can succeed where others failed. YOU can beat the odds, YOU can defy the convention wisdom, etc. All you need to do is fork over $595 and the secrets of Solo Practice U will have you minting so much money you’ll need a Brinks truck to escort it to the bank while you follow in your Bentley sniffing blow off the dashboard.
It’s no different than the law school scam itself. These hucksters are so slick it’s as though they were the Valvoline Dean’s own understudies. When kids (and their parents) object to paying a 2nd tier boiler room “school” like Seton Hall $44,000 a year in tuition, the old “Valvoline Dean” Pat Hobbs just grins and points to the “average starting salary” of $125,000 listed in the brochure and extends a shiny pen.
“Dear God”, say the kids, “that’s only the “starting salary!” “Just imagine how well I’ll do 5 years out!” Hobbs flashes his soulless, oil-can grin and in three years the kids aren’t lunching at Sardi’s but instead sucking glue off their food stamps. The snack bar’s been relocated to the shithouse.
Kids, the sad truth is that a JD/law license is nothing special. Any mouth-breathing moron can drool on the LSAT, get admitted to a TTT, sleep thru the so-called “classes,” take BarBri, and get admitted. If the standards for medicine were as low as for law, the typical US life expectancy would be about age 6. Cutting my Inspector Gadget Fan Club membership off the back of the Coco-Puffs box was more of an accomplishment than passing the NY/NJ bars. You might as well frame your driver’s license as hang a J.D. on the wall. It’s as watered-down a credential as there is and getting exponentially worse by the day. You don’t make tomato soup by squirting ketchup into a swimming pool, but that’s about as weak as this “profession’s” flavor is today, thanks to our pals at the ABA (American Biglaw Association), who just accredited 4 new law schools on Dec 5.

For a real laugh to ring in the new year, feature this: Solo Practice U now offers gift certificates for that “special” loser in your life. I’m not making this up:
"We’ve had many requests from non-lawyer spouses, parents, girlfriends and boyfriends and even lawyers themselves who have wanted the option to purchase the ‘gift of education’ for the lawyer or law student in their life. Now you can do so and just in time for the holidays or even a ‘passed the bar exam’ present or simply because you want to help someone kick start their career in solo practice. They are good for any occasion and available year-round."

Wow. Talk about a lump of coal in the old Xmas stocking. Maybe a better gift would be a tighter-fitting garage door so the carbon monoxide doesn’t escape while your resident loser-lawyer does himself in. Hell, would you rather be dispatched with the quick choke of exhaust fumes or the slow strangulation of starting a shitlaw “practice” with Sallie Mae riding shotgun? And you really have to chuckle (or wretch) at the “requests from spouses, parents and girlfriends” pouring into good old Solo Practice U. Like Al-Anon families, these folks are collateral damage in the law school bloodbath. It’s hard for laypeople to comprehend just how utterly hopeless and abysmal this industry has lately become, especially with noxious drivel like Boston Legal flooding the airwaves 24-7. Let’s be perfectly clear: For most, a law degree confers nothing but a lifetime of non-dischargble debt, sporadic and miserable employment, stress, bitter disappointment, and wages well south (after loans are deducted) than that of a truck driver, garbage man, or bricklayer. These “loser” grads aren’t just statistics, lest we forget. They’re real people-our friends from law school, from projects, from practice.

Here’s a fact: law school salary numbers aren’t exaggerated or puffed or coiffed or stretched. They’re outright lies. I’ve been in this game 5 years and can’t name a single attorney I know making more than 60 K. Not one. This is in NY City. Almost everyone I know is either unemployed or working in some doc review boiler room for embarrassingly low wages and no health insurance. Most are already so jaded and ground-down by this perpetual misery that they just plain want out. Who can blame them? Only a true sociopath could take any satisfaction or pride from the mind-numbing boredom, vapid make-work, elitist pricks, gutter wages, crushing stress, and complete ethical cesspool that is the “practice of law” in our time. It’s nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme with a tiny handful of “winners” and rapidly growing hordes of very pissed-off “losers.”

Rather than piss $595 away on a worthless Solo U pipedream, I suggest that all shitlawyers send their families the link to our blog (as well as others in our blogroll at right). Encourage them to read the many horror stories and shattered dreams posted in the comments section and elsewhere. You are not alone. Unlike Solo Practice U, we charge no tuition and make no false promises. We’ve rubbed the law school lamp too, and no genie was released. Our only goal here is to kick the oinking snouts of the law school pigs who grow forever fatter at the federally-backed tuition loan trough. These swine squeal and bleat about pro-bono work while collecting their six-digit paychecks and jacking up tuition at 5 times the rate of inflation like the hypocritical limousine liberals that they are. We here at Big Debt would like to wish all the absolute worst on them, their families, and their health for 2010. It’s past time these shysters reap some of the misery they’ve sown.

The only surefire cure for the “disease” of a J.D. is to run fast and far from this swirling sewer of an industry before you are sucked down the toilet with the other “solo” rabbit turds. If you’re on unemployment in NJ, you qualify for free tuition at any of the community college tech schools. Our advice here at Big Debt is to roll up your sleeves and load up your toolbox. Thanks to a generation of propogandist “college for everyone” drivel, there’s an acute shortage of HVAC repair techs, plumbers, electricians, and other skilled tradesman. Don’t believe us? Call a plumber and a lawyer and see who can get there first. By the way, ask the plumber if he’s willing to install your faucets “pro bono” because you have no money. After all, running water is surely as important as your legal problems (and plumbers are VERY expensive), so just tell him he should do it for free in the public interest. Try the same thing with your auto mechanic, roofer, HVAC guy, and electrician. You’ll quickly find that only the “law” is so fixated on the merits of giving expensive professional services away to deadbeats for free. Here at Big Debt we’ve long argued against any and all pro bono work. Why? Because by so doing, one reinforces in the public’s mind that the service provided is worthless. This is especially true when rendering an “intangible” product like law, one that looks to a layperson like nothing more than a stack of very boring paperwork. (Imagine that!)

In summation, starting a “solo practice” in 2010 is like selling saltwater on a lifeboat: people are already surrounded by an infinite quantity of this worthless and unpalatable resource. Drinking that saline-soaked Kool Aid will kill you faster than thrist. Just open up your hometown Yellow Pages and count the 500 or so pages of desperate solo shitlawyers begging for DWI, real estate, personal injury, and other “common folk” law. When you’ve finished that assignment, we recommend a “bonus tour” of craigslist’s legal services section, where the truly desperate bottom feeders hang out. Like catfish, these barristers subsist on a steady diet of legal excrement, the carrion every other lawyer has already turned down. Some of these “craigslisters” will even shovel your snow or clean your gutters during your free 7-hour consultation. When you’ve completed this “lawyer-counting” assignment, ask yourselves how many lawyers you (and your family) have needed in your life and divide this by the number of lawyers you’ve counted in your area. Lawyers aren’t much for arithmetic, but this is what’s known as “doing the math.” And unlike Solo Practice U, these numbers don’t lie."

Reply Like (0)
didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:34 pm)

Yeah, it's a great post from a few years ago, well written, humorous and totally void of anything factual, practical or from someone who has used the services. Old news. Yawn! Next?

Reply Like (0)
jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:38 pm)

If you really want advice from other baby lawyers who don't know what they're talking about, Josh Camson's piece "The Shingle Life" is actually worth reading:


Anything of value is in the comments section. And Josh and Sam are good guys.

Reply Like (0)
digitalserf (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:44 pm)

Still totally applicable, nothing has changed.

I get it that didit is a shill for SolopracticeU, great.

@Jordan, why would anyone want advice "from other baby lawyers"? Sounds moronic.

Reply Like (0)
didit (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:55 pm)

@digitalserf I'm not a shill for anyone. It's just another way for you to denounce anyone who doesn't buy into your viewpoint. Nice try. But I'll give those who are reading this thread just a little bit more credit. I'll be back after I've enrolled IF SPU is not what it's purported to be (or maybe even if does deliver, because I know there are some who are reading this who genuinely want to know from someone who has actually used their service).

Reply Like (0)
digitalserf (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:58 pm)

Ok, say Hi to Susan Cartier Leibel at her beachfront villa.

Reply Like (0)
jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 4:55 pm)

Why not wait until you've been in practice for 5 years and have a jury trial under your belt?

After you enroll in SPU, watch a video, and say "This was sweet!"... meh. Don't care.

I'll care about your opinion once you have enough experience to make it meaningful.

Reply Like (0)
jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 4:48 pm)

They shouldn't and that's the point. Really good stuff in the threads.

Reply Like (0)
bostonlawyer.2 (Mar 25, 2012 - 12:24 pm)

Heck...maybe when you are $150k in debt...what's another $700?

Maybe they are gambling on that!

Reply Like (0)
jordan (Mar 25, 2012 - 4:54 pm)

Didit, here is my beef with you...

You are looking at the world in black and white terms. Very dangerous for lawyers. You believe people who actually subscribe to SPU are the only ones qualified to "judge it".

That's stupid.

As a baby lawyer, you're in no position to "judge" anything. How do you know if it's good advice? Will you weigh it against your vast amounts of experience? Your ability to perceive SPU as a baby lawyer is very limited. Sorry, it just is. You haven't seen enough stuff unfold in order to say "That's a good idea" or "That's a bad idea." You don't even know about the legal profession to make a competent evaluation as to whether the person giving you advice is a credible source.

Who should you be listening to? For instance, how does one get selected to "SuperLawyers?" Is that important? What does it mean? How do you evaluate one lawyer from another? Based on what the ABA is telling you? MSNBC? CNN? Because that's what you suggested.

Normally, if you have a real mentor, you can discuss these issues. You can ask questions like "What about this?" and "Why this and that?"

When you watch a video on SPU... meh.

I'm sorry to make you ask some tough questions, but baby lawyers aren't in a position to evaluate how effective SPU is. It's too early. It's akin to evaluating a football team right after the draft.

Reply Like (0)
didit (Mar 26, 2012 - 3:22 pm)

Jordan, I don't recall saying I'm a 'baby lawyer'? That seems to be your assumption. I'm out six years and going to be opening up my own shop in the not too distant future. But while I'm working at a firm I'm doing my due diligence. So, I might be better qualified to judge SPU than you are...as you are a 'baby lawyer', right?

As I'm inside now, for SPU being for 'baby lawyers' based upon profiles there are lawyers in there (a significant number) who graduated in the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. So, this isn't a nursery for newbies. They might just be better qualified to judge the content than you.

Also, you can connect with the faculty, ask the questions. I think this is what separates SPU from straight CLE online.

As far as those I promised a report - I'm already taking Jonathan Ginsberg's Social Security Disability Practice course (one of my potential interests), Stephanie Kimbro's virtual practice course, Jennifer Laviano's Special Education course and planning to take Mike Brown's Employment Law course. There are literally hours of classes from each so it is substantive. Already joined the study groups for each course as each course has an 'official study group'. But there are also geographic groups and school-specific groups to join. I think I can even create my own group. The main point I'm finding for these groups is to enable you to hook up with faculty and other lawyers in your speciality and location to take the relationships offline. Clearly, a month isn't going to be enough to take all the classes but I'll cross that bridge when the time comes. But one thing I like is in the faculty videos (at least the ones I've watched so far) you are invited to connect with them as there is SPU private messaging. This may be the conduit for connection but some of them also give their office numbers and e-mails, too. I'll report more soon.

Reply Like (0)
tranquiljd (Mar 27, 2012 - 12:14 am)

Why do you feel that taking these particular courses will help you establish a solo practice? Why not take live CLE courses that would allow you to meet people who might just throw you a case or two when you're ready to set out on your own?

(FWIW, I would be very careful about relying exclusively on anything taught in a course on Social Security Disability. I worked in the legal department of the SSDI division of DHHS when I was in law school. There is an enormous disconnect between theory and actual practice when it comes to SSDI eligibility.)

Reply Like (0)
lolcat (Mar 26, 2012 - 12:10 pm)

This should be titled, "So you want to start your own solo practice?"


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didit (Jun 1, 2012 - 3:01 pm)

I'm back after two months at Solo Practice University as promised. Yes, I actually upgraded to quarterly because the information is that good. The lawyers teaching aren't newbies. The majority have long track records up to 25 and 30 years teaching what they know. What separates them from CLE? Basically they take you from the client walking in the door (at least the practice area courses) and walk you through what to expect and then weaving in the law which I find priceless. As for SSDI, it's not a theory course, it's actually what goes on and how to handle, why cases can be denied and how to look out for it and so much more. Jonathan Ginsberg is excellent and he keeps introducing new classes as well as practice tips. One or two courses the faculty are on sabbatical. Guessing a personal issue.

A lot of the conversation is between faculty and students but I found when I connect through private messaging I'm making a lot of valuable connections with faculty and other lawyers. Have already taken them offline and I really enjoy this. That's not to say this doesn't happen elsewhere, but knowing these lawyers have the same mindset as myself is really important. One of you mentioned networking in person and getting referrals. This happens here, too, just online to offline and referrals. It doesn't take the place of in person events. No one there claims it does. I just like the idea I can take a course at 1 in the morning if I want. The faculty are real pros and they guide you with written information and much more. I have to say I am very, very satisfied. They are living up to their claim. I also wanted to post this link to 8 scholarships if anyone on this list is a new graduate. http://solopracticeuniversity.com/2012/05/25/8-scholarships-to-solo-practice-university-now-available/ They should have a program like this in law school. This is probably the best endorsement I can give for Solo Practice University. If I signed up for a month and then just re-enrolled quarterly and I'm handing over my hard-earned dollars, you know I'm getting what I personally need.

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jordan (Jun 2, 2012 - 10:02 pm)

Normally when I want that advice, I call my former boss or someone with grey hair on their head. I say "Hey, can I bounce something off you?" And they say "...sure".

Then they usually don't say nice things to me. Normally their questions alarm me, and I start to question myself. "Did you think of this? Did you consider that? What if this happens?" No, I hadn't really thought of that. Shit.

And they don't pull any punches because I'm not paying them for advice. Some of my mentors are so mean that they tell me I made a mistake, or I should have done stuff differently. Often I end the phone call or lunch meeting feeling dejected, or thinking I should have gone about it in another manner. It's not exactly a self-esteem builder.

But go on and pay for mentorship. I hope they continue to pat you on the head and rub your belly, and tell you that you're doing a really great job. You're a rockstar.

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didit (Jun 6, 2012 - 9:16 pm)

You know what's most curious about you, Jordan. You just won't even consider the possibility that it might actually be a valuable resource in conjunction with other efforts. As they say, 'you doth protesteth too much.' What's even more interesting, is you feel compelled to respond to anything positive someone might have to say about a resource that has a cost associated with it to run. There isn't only one way to help other people. And not everyone has the time or the inclination to scour the internet for free morsels they might uncover. Not everything has to be nefarious or fraudulent. But I won't trouble anyone on this board anymore. Those who found it valuable will work with the information I've taken the time to share. Others won't. Such is the nature of this type of board. But don't assume because I don't agree with you that somehow you are superior in either intellect or professional skills, networking or practice building. There is no one right way to learn. I'll leave you to yours and I'll be appreciative of the time others have taken to put together valuable resources for me.

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tranquiljd (Jun 2, 2012 - 11:35 pm)

Jonathan Ginsberg has one of the most extensive blogs and websites I've seen. I just spent some time reading them and found them to be generally accurate (although he makes a few errors here and there) with interesting practice tips. However, I read them for FREE. They're available for anyone who knows how to do a good Google search. If you want to pay for something you can obtain for nothing, and if you really believe that you can substitute PMs for actual conversation, have at it. It's your money.

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esq77 (Jun 1, 2012 - 10:49 pm)

I see. So, business is slow and your boss told you to go and shill on websites you have previously shilled on so that you can entice/deceive/scam people into signing up for your services?

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orgdonor (Jun 6, 2012 - 9:38 pm)

Right this guy didit with 15 posts isn't responding to a "google alert" for SPU at the behest of the school.

Law is a competitive profession - if it really helped you, you wouldn't say anything about it, and certainly not here to give this "advantage" to people who have only mocked you. I'm not that stupid. Thanks.

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