Saturday, June 15, 2013

How to be a Scamblogger

Wake up in the morning feeling the anxiety of the unknown.  Lie in your bed, a too-short twin from your husband’s grandmother’s apartment from when she died of a heart attack during your third year of law school.  Let your husband sleep a little while longer.  Other than your anxious dreams, sleep is the one reprieve that you always look forward to.  Let your husband appreciate another few moments of unconsciousness so that he won’t wake up to a world where your unemployment and debt make you a burden. 

You will never know what exactly you’re going to do at the beginning of the day unless your side-job starts in the dark of the morning, in which case you might be bussing tables during the breakfast rush at the local diner or staggering off to a doc review gig in a windowless basement.  If you work at the diner, you will hide from all of your co-workers any details from the last four years of your life.  This is important, otherwise the mark of shame—your law degree—will cause everyone to question your place in the world.  You will become a suspect—Did you get disbarred? Did you even pass the bar?  Are you just dumb?—and you may get fired for being someone other than who they thought you were. 

If you head off to a doc review gig, stop by the Starbucks for your fuel.  You will point and click for eight or ten hours straight while a taskmaster monitors the speed of your progress.  At least the stomach-churning 24-ounce coffee will provide you with a good excuse for a bathroom run.  You will have to run.

Debt collectors will call.  Let the programmed message go to your voice mail.  Fill out your deferment forms, as you do every six months, and watch your debt continue to increase like one of those national debt counters you see in Times Square.  Think back to your signing of these rather simple forms four years earlier.  Think about how everyone else did the same thing—singing documents for impossibly huge amounts of money that they will never earn—and think about your naïve assumption that the government would only make it so simple to do such a crazy thing without any hurdles whatsoever because there was a realistic probability that you would pay it back.  Think back to your financial aid officers telling you that it is not a matter of if you can pay it back, it is a matter of when.  Will you pay it off quickly with your six-figure law firm gig?  Or will you have the slate cleared when you become a star prosecutor and spend ten years locking up the bad guys and receiving the gift of government forgiveness?

When you finish your side gig, don’t rest.  Come home and sit in a room by yourself.  No, this is not rest.  Think about a way out.  Think.  Think.  You know that a ten-dollar-an-hour job 40-hours a week will do nothing but trigger your full student loan payments, and it will cause the state to drop you from Medicaid.  Well, maybe you don’t need to take your medication.  After all, you have been told the truth about death.  You know that death is the only way out of this life sentence.  But you know that your husband would find a way to summon you back from the dead and beat your ass for leaving him alone to face all of this—so death is not a real option. 

Find jobs on the internet.  Read the crime blotter.  Feel free to laugh at the story about the police busting into a card came where four men in their 70s were smoking crack and one guy told the cops, “I’m just playin’ Gin Rummy!”  It will be the most entertaining part of your day.  Find people in the white pages, send out some advertisements that no one will ever respond to.  You may receive an angry call from an old person wondering why “your office” sent an advertisement for domestic abuse defense to his “personal property.”  Calm him down, use the matter-of-fact tone you use to tell people to pay you money, tell him it was sent by mistake and that the mail must have been sent to the wrong Daniel Torres.  In the future, make sure to only read the blotters with street names or approximate addresses.  Search out these addresses on Google Earth to see if these people live in the projects or if they seem to rent or own a Condo, Co-Op, or town house.  The browstoners never call—they only hire the most expensive lawyers with skyscraper offices.

After wasting an hour that you don’t have, apply to more jobs.  Even though you have been so ineffective at getting work that you don’t even receive rejection letters, keep sending applications and resumes into the black hole of cyberspace.  Dutifully send them out each week the way some poor people compulsively buy scratch-off tickets with the last few dollars in their pocket.  On occasion, you may get a perfunctory screening interview, as these agencies usually hire internally and put on show interviews.  You might even try to volunteer from some of these agencies only to be rejected from volunteering.

Post a website, advertise yourself as a solo practitioner, pretend you are something of value.  Then take it down.  You might realize that you only ever represented someone as second chair during an internship.  You might realize that you have never taken a case from initial consultation to final resolution.  What if you lose?  What if a client accuses you of malpractice?  What if you make a mistake?  If this happens, remember the overweight boomer lawyers that you have seen at the calendar calls.  You cannot be a bigger buffoon than most of them.  Remember too that anyone hiring a 29-year-old solo practitioner knows that they are saving themselves some money by hiring someone with less (or no) experience.

After you put the website back online, you’ll get the occasional caller.  You will get the hagglers who sound pissed off that they do not qualify for Legal Aid.  You will spend time counseling them at first, but learn from this.  Learn to hang up on people.  Later in the evening, you will get the drunk person with an unwinnable case or with charges pending in a county six hours away.  Make up an astronomical price.  This person may try to keep talking to you and to tell you about how his sex offense has caused his girlfriend to break up with him as if you are supposed to care.  He may try to tell you that his parole was revoked even though he did not violate it—“the drug test was broken!”  Tell him that you cannot understand him because he is slurring his words.  Hang up.

Try a lead generation service.  The salesmen will tell you about the dozens of potential clients that you will receive.  Although you are not stupid, you will try anything at this point because, at this point, you will probably only have grocery money for another two weeks.  Hang up on all of the salesmen trying to get you to sign contracts.  Find a company that charges $50 per lead and requires no commitment.  Start receiving a lead a day.  Realize quickly that all of them lead to dead ends because the people that give out their phone numbers or addresses to random webpage forms are usually ignorant and broke.  Learn from this.  Cancel the service.

Finally, you will receive a real call from a real client who is employed.  As farfetched as it sounds, lighting sometimes strikes.  Take it.  Stand tall and proud.  Attract all of the electricity in the sky and channel it. 

Show up to the calendar call.  When the client tries to pay you only part of the flat fee, threaten to walk.  Make up something about having very little time and other cases to attend to.  Tell him to find some pliers and to pull the gold caps off of his teeth and to sell them down the street at the Cash for Gold place.  Of course, he will come up with the rest of the money in the five minutes prior to you signing in for the calendar call.

Do not be afraid of standing before the judge with your client.  You must trick these people.  You must look confident so that the judge merely thinks that you are a talented criminal attorney working on misdemeanors for one of the small criminal defense firms that boomer ex-prosecutors started in the previous decades.  Whatever you do, hide the fact that you really are just some random 29-year-old with no idea about most of what is going on.  Nod your head when the judge talks to the prosecutor about unfamiliar motions or procedural stuff.

The $3,000 that the client gave you in a white envelop will be the highlight of your week.  The fact that the government cannot garnish this cash will make this food and rent money extra sweet.  Fan yourself with the money if you want to.  Feel the security for a moment, knowing that you will not be homeless for at least another month.

When you find yourself alone before another free consultation, trying to hold you nose from the thick smell of the courthouse bathroom, look at yourself.  Adjust your Hugo Boss suit, which you got for 60% off at the outlet mall, and see that your charming youth is starting to fade.  You probably will be dropping weight.  Your husband may be nagging you again about the pounds that seem to melt off during the running around to various courthouses.  You may drop down to 119 pounds.  If you are not completely alone, your loved ones will force you to get a blood test from the doctor.  The doctor will tell you that your 20-pound weight loss for a five foot ten inch male is still within the acceptable range, and it is not caused by any illness or medical condition. 

When you look in the mirror, do not think about your husband trying to force feed you.  Do not look at how your suit is starting to hang off of your increasingly skeletal figure.  Do not think about how you simply forget to eat until dinner each day because you literally move non-stop between attempts at clients and meetings at courts and Starbucks for coffee-fueled legal research to understand motions that you’ve never written before.  When you think about gaining weight, you may draw comparisons between the gunner in your first year law school section who was 50 pounds overweight even though he chain-smoked during the breaks and the Skadden Arps associate who was your adversary in some personal injury case where you were paid $125 to show up and set a hearing date.  The Skadden fatty will have been easily 100 pounds overweight.  Six figures must buy a lot of food.  At the very least, it buys time.

Do not think about the way you look, the veins popping beneath your arms like a drug addict’s.  Wait for everyone to leave the restroom so that you can make eye contact with yourself in the mirror.  Start to talk to yourself the way actors portray go-getters in movies.  Think of Kevin Spacey portraying Jack Abramoff at the beginning of Casino Jack.  Think of E. Lee Ermey as the drill sergeant at the beginning of Full Metal Jacket.  You will get that client to sign a retainer agreement!  Sir, yes sir!

You may consider seeing a psychologist to get some kind of happy pills with the added benefit of having severe side effects—especially weight gain.  Fortunately, this thought will pass.  Your insurance won’t cover such frivolousness, and the medication’s side effects—impotence—would interfere with one of the few pleasures after coming home from pin-balling between courts and cheap clients.

You husband may complain about you spending the few free minutes at the end of the day on your computer, spending an hour or two researching and writing an article for a scamblog.  Tell him that it is important.  Tell him that you have dissuaded a handful of people from attending law school after they emailed you about which school to attend.  Point out that he spends the same amount of time on facebook bullshit.  It will shut him up.

Write more articles online.  If you receive personal criticism or you fail to inspire actual discussion, don’t sweat it.  People are mad.  You are mad.  You can relate.  Even if they are mad at you, it is better for them to have somewhere to vent.  It is better than you having nowhere to go.

Of course, you won’t actually be going anywhere.  Sometimes, you will see a few promising rabble-rousers suggest actual protests.  Warning labels.  Shanty-towns.  Independent surveys of graduates a few years out of school to show how bullshit the nine-month employment statistics really are.  Don’t get excited.  No one will follow through.  No one will break his or her anonymity.  You will never meet any of these people.  You will never even talk to them on the phone.  Most of them live double lives, perhaps raising families and working corporate jobs.  Most of them want no one to know their dirty secret—that they write for a scamblog. 

Let’s face it: you may use an abbreviated name to sign your writing and to keep clients away from knowing about the hardships that you protest against.  Clients want to think that they have an expert.  When they pay thousands of dollars, they want the illusion of being a high roller.  Some will admire that you have accelerated so fast and that your talent is so great that you have your own law firm at a relatively young age!  You want them to think this way.  You need them to think this way.  If they don’t believe, they don’t pay.  Don’t ever lie to them, but they will never ask you a direct question about your past, so don’t feel the need to offer anything except the one clause in your retainer agreement that states that the client is aware of counsel’s prior experience and good standing in the state bar.

You will come home to some of the few pleasures of life.  Sex and money.  Not the kind of get-out-of-debt money that you need, but food, clothing, and shelter money.  Your husband will play hard and fast with you because he wants to move on and to count through the wads of various bills and to find out if a client gypped out on $20 bucks here or $8 there.  Your husband will ask you why someone would gyp out on $8 from a $2,000 payment.  Who the hell knows?  Most of these people are not smart…

You will spend your increasingly small amount of free time—outside of writing about the bar association cartels, the scam deans, and the corrupt judges who want to cling to the bench into their 80s—teaching yourself to do your...job?  Other than your side gigs, do you have a job?  You will not have the first idea of what your motions are supposed to look like, how long they should be, and how you should frame your best arguments.  Don’t worry, you will learn quickly.  When you see how a judge will sit on the bench and skim through your 16-page Motion to Dismiss, you will know never to exceed 8 pages unless you have a class C felony or greater.  You will learn to stop judges before rulings and to recite a one-liner about the facts of a binding appellate case—this is the only way to not have them treat you like an annoying bug.  So you will have to research every night, even if you have only one case, to understand what you’re doing the next day.

Around midnight, you will still be awake in the dark of your studio apartment, your eyes straining to read case law in the glow of the computer screen.  Before going to bed, you might read the comments of your readers, your compatriots…your friends?  You will try to lie down and spoon the love of your life to rid yourself of the insomnia caused by total exhaustion.  You will want to protect him, to provide a future, to at least be useful.  If you actually fall asleep because your mind is finally as exhausted as your body, you will dread waking up the next day and not knowing how much more time you can buy.



40 comments:

  1. I apologize if deviating from the standard format turned out boring, but I wrote this during my insomnia the other night and thought I would take a risk. We rarely get personal here. Hopefully, this stringing together of incidents from a point in my past is relatable to some.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the love of god don't apologise - this post is so good I don't even know what to say. Other than that I hope you're doing better now.

      Delete
    2. Beautiful writing. We need more personal stories. They hit home real hard.

      Delete
    3. Sir Adam -

      No apologies. To second Anons 7:06 and 8:03, this *is* beautiful, if in a tragic way.

      It's also saddening, even beyond the individuals, because so few realize the truths behind all those faces. This is true for clients, who are often desperately unhappy, unlucky, and just unwise, and it's true for an entire generation of future law graduates.

      Charles added an excerpt in his first book, Later-in-Life Lawyers, which we then rolled into Con Law. The excerpt is a day in the life of a doc reviewer. It strikes a chord about just how awful this is, and I, who never faced this in such a context, was and am stunned. It's one of the reasons Later-in-Life Lawyers was published.

      Few outsiders understand, or even know about, this reality.

      This might be the biggest scam of all. There is barely a blip in the national consciousness about a system that eats its own, chewing up giant handfuls of bright, competent, but unprepared novices, and spitting out shells with wrecked finances and lives. Even the stories now about student debt focus on undergraduates, which while understandable is in many ways less of a story. I spoke recently with someone in Big Pharma, and what's going on in the medical profession (parsecs ahead of law in terms of better management) is damned scary. Children are being advised not to go into medicine, and this advice is getting more strident as we enter a new regulatory uncertainty.

      We need to get to solutions. That might be our real challenge.

      In the meantime, thank you.

      Thane.

      Delete
    4. I am sorry, but I found this to be terribly misleading. First, why are you complaining about working in a dark basement when many people, especially out of the US and EU work in much, much more horrible conditions? Is the darkness that bad for scambloggers? I was under the impression that most were used to the darkness as in they spend much of their time on the internet in their mother's basements.

      Second, you should be golden for IBR even if you work full time making $10 an hour.

      Third, don't default on your loans and debt collectors should not be calling.

      Also, you mentioned Starbucks. If you are trying to live frugally, you should not even consider stopping at a Starbucks every morning, or ever. Just sayin'

      Delete
  2. This was very moving.

    I wish you all the best.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And then, 18 months later, the story line will read:

    The days of insomnia are over. You're doing okay for the moment. You're not sure how long it will last. Where will the next retainer come from? But after all these months past, asking these same questions over and over again, you've finally come to realize this one important thing.... the next retainer always comes. You're at peace. "Uncertainty" is no longer uncertainty of survival.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The next retainer comes, until it doesn't. And even when it comes, you are paying catch up with it. Then the dentist tells you you need a root canal and you are in the hole farther. Or someone hits your car and you need to pay a large deductible and you are in the hole even farther. And your friends from college with the engineering and accounting degrees are living in nice houses and starting families and you know they all are saying you are a loser or not a good attorney behind your back. Yah, its all ugly.

      Great post. Enjoyed it.

      Delete
    2. So this is your future? Helpless? Doomed? No positive potential? Might as well not even try?

      Wow! You've answered a lot for most readers. The losers will line up beside you, and the the rest will move on. This is just the way the world works.

      In every trade, you have winners, spinners, and outright losers. The spinners are the ones who keep going but aren't really winning that big. The losers are helpless and want welfare plans and gimmees. Even the ones who are willing to work don't want to work to find work. They'll take it if it comes easy, though. They think 500 resumes ought to equal a job. What a rough life! The conservatives have been telling the liberals for years to make it easier for job creators to create jobs. It looks like you guys should have joined the conservative bandwagon and supported those efforts. Then, maybe someone would have a job for you.

      The winners.... well, we already know about them. Each category needs a voice.

      It's a pity they don't teach entrepreneurialism in grade school. As a result, the market is flooded with people who need jobs because they don't know how to hunt, catch and kill on their own.

      Delete
    3. Hey Jeffm:

      What the hell is your problem? Just when you start to make sense, you post garbage like this BS. I think deep down inside you mean well but you are either 1) not bright enough to consistently show it or 2) you post crap like this to get a reaction out of people. Fuck off.

      Delete
    4. "It's a pity they don't teach entrepreneurialism in grade school. As a result, the market is flooded with people who need jobs because they don't know how to hunt, catch and kill on their own."


      JeffM & All -

      We seem to talk past each other, which unfortunately becomes a circular firing squad of sorts.

      You are absolutely correct about entrepreneurship. But that is not really the point here. The profession has changed, and this change, coupled with the economic slump, has reduced the pie. There is simply less to go around . . . *much* less . . . even if one had a decent shot at a slice.

      Numerous resources beyond a regular lawyer are now options for clients. And those clients who actually pay their bills are no less aware of just how much more leverage they have. And you'd better believe they use it.

      I remember a dance of sorts. In a "real" firm, one didn't really deign to talk about money, retainers, and such. It was simply done. So, clients would wordlessly slide the checks over, or their people would, and that would be that. That world still exists, but it's now a relatively tiny slice that few will ever taste.

      I also remember getting checks from clients directly, and, as Adam writes, that is a different animal entirely.

      As it happens, I'm thinking that entrepreneurship is *the* answer . . . but not in law. I'm cogitating on this, but in the meantime, perhaps we might separate out the arguments ( . . . and vitriol).

      Yes, one can work hard, believe in oneself, keep it positive, work harder still . . . but at some point, pounding one's head against the wall starts to hurt. A headache now and again is hardly the same as a constant bludgeoning. This is the world new lawyers inhabit. To discount that is not just unhelpful, it's unfair and unkind.

      Thane.

      Delete
    5. Jeffsnarkm,

      How much was your law school tuition?

      How much did you borrow to finance your law school education? Were your loans non-dischargable?

      What percentage of your classmates are still practicing law? Of the ones who are, how many are just, to quote you, 'spinning'?

      I ask these questions because you persistently ignore the 3 factors which are the reason law schools have become such forces for destruction in the last 10-15 years:

      Tuition at least twice as expensive as it was 30 years ago (adjusted for inflation).

      Student loans are now non-dischargable.

      The initial job market for lawyers is somewhere between abysmal and hopeless for at least a majority of graduates, and the long term job market prospects are much worse. (See Up or Out)

      But you never discuss these factors - you just say in effect "those who lose deserve to".

      Enough already - the issues lawyers face go far far beyond their personalities.



      Delete
    6. What you folks aren't getting is that none of all that matters. Less demand. More supply. Bla, bla, bla. It is what it is. What are you going to do? Change it? LOL! Good luck with that.

      I stand behind what I said. It's a pity they don't teach people in grade school how to start their own businesses.

      Because Thane, et al. are right. There are not enough jobs. Given that there are not enough jobs, don't you NOW wish you had what it takes to make your own?

      Delete
    7. Here's a short and entertaining lesson on entrepreneurialism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rqkv1byHYRo

      Enjoy!

      Delete
    8. JeffM,

      Would still like to know how much, if any, non-dischargable debt you took on to pay for law school.

      And how many of your classmates are still practicing law.

      And I hope you understand that you're a scam dean's best friend.

      Delete
    9. Most people are simply not entrepreneurs. There aren't enough jobs to go around and there aren't enough paying clients even if every lawyer in the country had the makings to be an excellent solo attorney.

      What's the solution?

      Delete
    10. "What's the solution?"

      When I grew up, I mowed yards. I learned locksmithing. I learned accounting. I learned computer programming. I learned drums. We changed our own oil and did our own tune-ups. Put on brake pads ourselves. I worked counter sales at dad's small hardware store. Did inventory arrangement and purchasing. Collected accounts receivable, etc...

      Start to see a pattern here?

      Today's snot-nosed kids have 2 parents who go to their J-O-B's, while the kids become obedient, dull, book-smart panty-wastes who, the odds are, never used a lawnmower or weedeater in their lives. They followed a narrow, dull-assed track, because "that's the path to success." When that bubble pops, they are utterly talentless. Unmarketable. Can't even market themselves. Have no clue what to do because they've never done anything.

      The solution is to hone a talent and sell it.


      Delete
    11. "And I hope you understand that you're a scam dean's best friend."

      Not exactly. If you think I'd endorse law school these days, you clearly have not seen that part of my beliefs. You probably missed the places where I said even college is probably a bad idea. Plumbers and electricians do just as well or better than most college grads, including lawyers. It's not unusual at all for a plumber to make $80k a year.

      Delete
    12. I think these generalizations are weak. This probably describes one type of upper-middle class law grad but not the majority.

      Devoping skills is one important factor, luck is another.

      Delete
    13. Luck? There are circumstances. Some you find yourself in by birthright. Others, you create.

      If practicing law was outlawed tomorrow, I would still have a plethora of ways to make a living.

      It wasn't luck that I learned locksmithing, or accounting, or computer programming. I saw these as ways to make money, and I made money doing each of them. I can resort to them anytime I want.

      Is a plumber making $80k just "lucky?" I doubt it.

      If you want to emphasize luck, then we might as well conclude that not learning marketable trades is bad luck. Either way, it doesn't change anything. Use whatever labels you like. That's sort of the problem with "studiously" debating bullshit like this. "Why, it's oversupply. No, it's low demand. No, it's greed." Who gives a shit? Does anyone out there give a shit? Who's going to come save you because you determined the problem is supply or demand, or luck, or whatever the heck it is that gives you a sense of intellectual satisfaction?

      Bottom line: You're on your own. That's the chief complaint often masqueraded in so many different forms.

      Delete
    14. Did anyone else read Jeff M.'s posting at 6:08 P.M. in Douglas Niedermeyer's voice?

      "You're all worthless and weak!"

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9AbeALNVkk

      Delete
    15. LOL! That Twisted Sister brings back memories. There you go! Learn how to play guitar. Get a talent. Make money.

      That kid was pretty clear what he wanted to do with his life. "I want to rock!!!" At least he has a plan. Seeing him play air-guitar, I'd simply tell him, go buy some sheet music, learn some chords and find a band.

      Delete
  4. damn that shit was depressing. it should be posted on TLS.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A genuinely poignant entry. It may be small consolation but many of us know exactly how you feel, and have personal knowledge of your situation all too well. I hope you can draw strength for your personal relationship; all the rest is dreck. Keep faith in yourself and your marriage; those are the only things that matter.

    ReplyDelete
  6. To my fellow attys, read up on the FDCPA. Use the law to get back at debt collectors. We can all use easy money.

    -bigsal from JDU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a good suggestion. Once upon a time, a fellow a few doors down practiced in banking law. He kept coming in in disbelief at how easy class actions would be against our clients, and especially against our non-clients (as his job was to shore up the various disclosures to meet the law).

      Each year there are new laws, and thus new opportunities. No, this is not the way the world should be. But it is.

      Better still, while collecting on debt is an important function in theory, it's very easy to cross lines in practice. And that's where a resourceful attorney might come in.

      Thane.

      Delete
  7. One of the new interns asked to speak to me. Came in, shut office door, and said, "I hear you're also a lawyer. I've always wanted to go to law school, it's a dream of mine, and everyone in my family is a lawyer; except me..." I said, "don't go, waste of your time. Seriously. How do you think you got a summer job that pays decent?" Bright guy. One of ten interns. Out of over five thousand applicants (for SW developer positions). Had the brains to do some radical stuff with CS Dept, but wants to walk away to do law.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just buy them a copy of 'con law' and save your breath. They aren't listening to you anyway. All they hear is "law school law school law school" and stare into space dreamily. Tell them to read it and then come to you if they have any questions.

      Delete
    2. You know what's really sad? He probably won't take your advice. I've had several variations of this conversation with people and they all ignored my advice and went to Toilets.
      One did OK and is a clerk in a law frim, waiting to pass the bar. The others aren't doing so great.

      They have already swallowed the Koolaid. It's too late for them.

      That's why the "law school" brand needs to be destroyed. Thanks to the work of people like Nando, L4L and countless other people, the word is getting out. But is is a long, slow process.

      Delete
  8. Nothing to add...except that this is great writing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The day by day living with the whole situation has its ups and downs, but things never stay down and always look bettter by the light of a new day.

    Which is not to say that things are not very grim. But the main thing is to weather the storm and to not stay with negative or self destructive thinking for too long, and to realize that the scam will not continue forever, and that someday justice will be served.

    In the broadest of terms: Perhaps at the heart of it all is that the law became too detatched from the other two branches of the government over the last few decades (along with there being no checks and balances within the legal branch itself as a self regulating body)

    Until the consciousness of the scamblogs came along.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I am glad that some people seemed to relate to this post. It describes the beginning of post-graduation more than the present. Life can change...sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it can't. We're doomed. All doomed....

      Only a miracle or beating the overwhelming odds will let you escape the odds of perpetual doom.

      Delete
    2. ?????

      Adam, that describes life for most new solos after graduation. You passed it off as if this is your life now, years after graduation.

      Can you tell us what a day looks like for you now that you're settled and a few years past law school? Your 6:30 post seems to say that things are better.

      It was a great post, but is it accurate? It may have been true in the past, but like JeffM says, things do improve after you've paid your dues.

      Delete
  11. The post describes at least two kinds of angst-- money angst and inexperience (or lack thereof) angst.

    The "getting experience" part is bound to improve after you've ltierally 'paid' your dues. (i.e., after you've practiced law and incurred expenses --monetary and personal-- to handle peoples' problems). There are many ways to gain experience. Heck, you can even go into the courts and observe for a year or so for free and many sample pleadings/briefs are avaialable on line, as are recordings of some oral arguments.

    Experience angst is dispelled over time. But getting experience (which is very doable) isn't the same as getting clients, let alone paying ones.

    The angst about whether all your experience can net enough money to run a responsible practice (no downtown office, no assistants) and pay your bills (and I mean eating at the buffet, living in a small apartment, etc.) will always be there and is getting worse.

    All criminal law clients, most all family law clients, and the vast majority of solo-seeking civil clients have problems that could certainly use a lawyer if for nothing else than to be a hand to hold. But these problems chiefly arise from the fact they can't meet financial obligations and have ignored them. An attempt to get a retainer from them creates angst.... and the "replenishing" part is something akin to a sick joke or fantasy. Trying to have them to keep up with case expenses is doing good, and they may resent you for even this.

    And beware of cries of "do personal injury, med mal, or insurance bad faith." That will require postings and understanding of tort reform. Whatever your politics and whatever your views on that subject pro or con, you must agree that it was designed to reduce the number of civil suits and that it's largely succeeded in this goal.

    You see, this blog is about "law school" and whether people should enroll. The law school concept is that people plunk down money to attend, implying to most (admittedly, not all) that there's an ability to earn some (some, not all) money.
    Yes, can certainly donate your services or work for IOU's. Money angst will always be there for the self-employed lawyer and will never go away. Subsisting is better than starving and this may be acceptable. A realistic idea of self-employed earnings from law is essential for an informed choice.

    No the world's not all doom and gloom --it's actually a great place that always has opportunities. This blog discusses law school, however.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which admin let this comment through? Adam?

      This is the kind of comment that I've enjoyed NOT reading. If I need personal attacks on those with other opinions, I'll read TTR instead.

      Disappointing.

      Delete
    2. Hey Thought Police,

      JeffM rubs his Panglossian garbage in the face of someone suffering and we cant call him on it? JeffM's words and actions arein this thread those of a coward in need of self actualization at the expense of others. You want to tell people what to write and think? Go work for Oilbamas nsa.

      Delete
    3. I don't mind if you let the nasty comments in. That's up to you admins to determine what you want the blog to look like. I think they are cheap, but that's just me.

      As far as beliefs that I am trying to build myself up on the backs of the suffering, you need to follow a bit more of my posts. I am the first to say I am nobody special, nor do I really care to be lord over anything. All I do is tell it like it is. I don't always like the way it is, either, but I'm not going to be a fool and pretend we can form a quaint, little social club of disappointed citizens and bring about Utopia.

      The world works the way it does. I tell it like it is. If you find offense in that, write to your legislator.

      Delete
  13. This is the best post to date on OTLSS

    ReplyDelete