Monday, June 20, 2011

Look, Fred! Our Old Pal Stimpy is Back....

 This is an article extolling the imaginary benefits of starting your own practice fresh out of law school:
 Solo Practice U will tell you what to do!

 Before I say anything else, I would like to draw attention to a statistic located towards the bottom of the page:

About half of all practicing attorneys are sole practitioners.

Yes, because that's what all attorneys wanted.  They wanted to go through the expense of making themselves more desirable to employers only to end up in a position where they are their own employer.

Maybe after 5-10 years of practice a sane person may consider it because people in the community might recognize our faces from the back of the milk carton.  But let's face it:  the reason why so many attorneys are sole practitioners is because not even WE want to work with ourselves!  I wouldn't work with you, and almost all of you should not blame me for that.  Considering some of the half-baked stories some of you come up with in law school about your awesome full ride scholarship from your 178 LSAT and the $300,000 per year starting salary job that you somehow managed to get while going to a fourth tier school, one can sense--just a teeny tiny bit--that this behavior is going to spill over into your practice.

Oh yes, you just signed up some client with a stubbed toe that permanently landed that person in a wheel chair, and you expect to get a half a million dollar fee out of it.  Does anyone want to guess how long it will be before I look at the expense records and see that we are thousands in the hole because you blew the kitty on hookers?

That's why a lot of firms rely upon the army of drones approach.  They placate their victims with the chance that they will one day be allowed to use the executive wash room.

But let's get back to this "I loves me some food stamps!" mentality driving this article.  I could see where a person may be compelled to says "I loves me some sole practitioner work" just to get their name in the news somewhere.  And, indeed, there are some people crazy enough that they want to hang their own shingle.

It even sounds glamorous to all of you 0Ls who are partying down with the alumni this summer before you load up your U-Hauls and drive straight to purgatory.  You may have even cooked up the rationale that your life would be much better as a solo because you don't have a grubby old geezer running off with your money.

Yet, in this magical land of ice cream treats, you have a ready and waiting line of desperate clients who have been waiting for your services because:
A.  You are awesome
B.  There is a shortage of attorneys.

I'm not exactly sure how the person in this article is set to make $42,000 in their first year as a solo after expenses. Some might call it a tall tale.  Some might call it nepotism. All I know is that, if this story is true, it is highly unusual.  First year solos are notorious for starving.  They don't have a ready set client list and it takes much longer for them to do anything because they still don't know the basics.  Therefore, their volume of business is very small and they usually take cases nobody wants and have very low monetary value or receive misdemeanor court appointments. 

So, if this person didn't supplement their income through temp attorney work, then I would guess copper wire theft, or drug mule.  Considering how the article reads as an advertisement for Solo Practice University, they must have scrounged up an outlier to prove their point and shake down $700 for pointers that most of you could learn if you simply interned with a sole practitioner while in law school.

Yes, why not actually make a few dollars an hour while finding out where all of the offices in the courthouse are located instead of shelling out money to some service which is like the black letter law equivalent of legal practice?

Knowing the general rule against perpetuities may have helped you pass the bar, but it's no good for your locality.  Same thing here.  You would be much more successful at the end of the day if the judges saw your face while dragging rolling carts behind Lionel Hutz.  However, I don't think people want to accept that reality because it means facing the sad, cold fact that we all have to start out somewhere.  To me, a service like Solo Practice U allows the purchaser to maintain the illusion that they could simply skip all of that and go directly to being the bad ass who showed up and kicked ass on their first day in court.

If you think about it, it may very well be that $42,000 a year is being fed court appointments by a judge that he developed a special relationship with.  It's like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck when they made "Good Will Hunting."  The story is that they were a bunch of nobodies who realized their dream and won an Academy Award.  The truth is that, they got help.  Likewise, how a lot of people get their jobs in the legal industry is much more complex than simply purchasing Solo Practice U.  They may have a cousin who is feeding them work.  They may have done some grunt work for a friend on a large case as a favor and is paying them a flat fee if the case settles.  The point is, I wouldn't necessarily see what these people do as a success in the way that we were raised to define success. 


  1. OK, I read the article and most of these schools are cutting back only 10 to 30 students.

    "... At least three law schools -- Touro Law Center and Albany Law School in New York and Creighton University School of Law in Nebraska -- have announced plans to shrink the size of their incoming classes over the the next few years. Creighton will drop from 155 students in the fall 2010 class to 135 next year and stay there. Albany will go from 250 in the fall 2010 class to 240 next year and 230 the following year. Touro administrators are seeking approval to shrink the class by 10 students a year for the next three years..."

    Prior posts have stated, there is an attorney glut of 14000 graduates to attorney openings a year. If all factors remain constant and current class sizes were cut in half with no new law schools, then it would take ten years to reach a "tolerable" unemployment level.

    Three schools dropping a total of 100 students will not make a dent. It's not even a half-ass effort.

    ILLUMINATI - College Conspiracy

  3. Maybe some of these people are likeable & have friends. Most lawyers aren't the least bit likeable. Why would I or anyone else give a damn about them when they sit around with a "poor me" attitude & act like entitled princesses? Simple reality.