Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fun Reading for 0L's: What, Exactly, is a Personal Injury Mill?

Dear 0L:

I know you are currently investigating which kind of law you would "like to go into" once you graduate from law school.

If you go to a lower-tier school and don't end up in the top 5% and law journal, your best bet at employment is a mill.

And there are many kinds of mills. There aren't just the personal injury mills who run their ads on television during Jerry Springer. You also have divorce mills and real property mills (they will search title and sell you title insurance).

What they all have in common: Phone numbers you can spell out (1-800-AMPUTEE), television advertisements during Judge Judy, and a staff filled with new graduates who are being worked 10-12 hour days for little pay.

Read more about mill structures here if you think you still think you will be able to "practice law" when you graduate.


  1. If you handle big cases you'll have very few and they'll involve complex and novel issues. If you handle small cases, you'll have many and they'll be cookie cutter cases.

    So what's the big deal. You can make money doing either. Some people prefer making money doing mindless things over again. Why be negative and call them "mills". You can say bad things about the stress of big litigation as well.

  2. What she's saying is that lemming expectations are way too high. Many prelaws think that they'll be making key decisions and influencing policy, but it will just be glorified paper churning work with meager wages.

  3. That's right, JD Underdog. I posted this article I stumbled across because it's the equivalent of watching a National Geographic documentary about sex as opposed to watching a porno where bleach-blond ladies with DD cups are being done by guys with 10 inch long schlongs.

    You will have paid thousands of dollars and spent 3 years of your life for the opportunity to get to answer incoming phone calls, drive out to podunky areas to get clients to sign forms, and haggle with insurance companies.

    They should find it instructive that since some of these firms were busted for essentially letting their paralegal take on the role of an attorney in performing negotiations, that all these firms did was move one step up the food chain and fill those spots with TTT and TTTT grads.

  4. I remember in my 1L year people were cracking jokes about ambulance crashers. "They would never do that!" they would say. It was beneath them. A paralegal for a local Shitlaw firm was in our 1L class. She took the brunt of the jokes for 1.5 years. Later, 3Ls were asking/begging, "is your firm hiring?" She cracked a smile and said, "only the top 10%, sorry."

    Most people find out quick what Shitlaw is. It's the equivalent of "cookie cutter" medicine for physicians. It's the divorces, wills, bankruptcies, and DUIs etc... To add insult to injury, there is a lot of people doing it to. I don't necessarily mean Lawyers: paralegals, notary, online, and John and Jane home-business is trying to under cut you.

    Welcome to Shitlaw.