Originally Posted by stapletonj
I hung out my own shingle from day one.
In my town (less than 75,000) the lawyers were prety collegial (unlike today virtually everywhere I am sad to say).
One guy down the street even gave me a key to his office so I could go in at night and read his law books, etc.)
The murder of a police officer case was assigned to me by the Judge. IF I recall correctly, I got about $3000.00 gross from the State for the whole shooting match. Multiple eyewitnesses, etc., he even sort of confessed, but was claiming that he was not the triggerman and didn't know the guy with the loaded shotgun next to him was actually going to shot the policeman, even tho he admitted the guy had said so. Got him mercy tho', at least that was something.
AS far as me though, I brought my younger brother into the firm about 5 years in, his son is a 3L and will propbably join the firm. Of course, like all law students, he thinks it would be cool to live and work in manhatten or miami or LA and get a $350,000 a year starting salary advising sports, movie, and rock stars about their image and the legal ramifications. We've got 3 lawyers and 7 support staff now.
Goign solo is tough. You eat what you kill. December is a stone B*TCH. Everybody wants to come in and ask you to do stuff, but nobody wants to pay a dime b/c they are spending every dime they have and maxing out their credit cards on Chirstmas gifts.
BUT if you LOVE the pressure and stress, are soemwhat gladatorial in nature, and can handle losing cases you didn't think you could lose (and getting wins you ddin't think you could get) there is no life like it.
Thanks for sharing this. “You eat what you kill” sounds like a sound principle, unless the practice is getting paid with someone else’s money, such as taxpayers or shareholders.
I only have a theoretical notion of how things work in a small town, but your explanation makes sense. You had registered with the court as potentially available for public defense and when a high-profile case got assigned, you had some time on your calendar and agreed to take it because of its high profile?
It sounds like your nephew does not quite appreciate his unique position. True, many students here in the city are eyeing the generous starting packages with the top firms. In their defense, it seems that for those who graduate burdened with loans, it can be a rational choice – they do get to kill the debt very quickly and then they are free to do whatever they want. Foregoing an opportunity to join an established practice of a trustworthy relative to compete in urban jungles does sound rather adventurous though.
I have a question about your collegial experienced friend and your decision to go solo from day one. As an experienced solo practitioner nears retirement, he would typically have substantial practical experience/knowledge, a vast/growing book of business, and an ever-improving reputation/publicity, on the one hand, and decreasing availability (time with family, deteriorating health, etc.), on the other hand. A guy who just got his license, on the contrary, has all the time and energy in the world, while lacking things like a client base or practical experience. Would it not make sense for these two to seek each other out and join forces to avoid waste? Easier said than done?