Money&Lawyer 3

When a lawyer becomes involved your problem becomes an issue. Also remember I am a paralegal not a lawyer.

Okay, picking up from the last lawyer post. As I said your lawyer is tremendously in debt when s/he starts their career. Now begins the task of paying that debt.  Unlike the movie ‘The Firm’, I doubt very much that your lawyer will have found law firms that will help your lawyer pay off that debt.

More likely if a new lawyer manages to connect up with a law firm s/he is looking at 80 plus hours per week, for the next 2 to 3 years. More often than not your lawyer will have to pull an extra 6 or 7 hours on Saturdays. Then they’ll spend Sundays reading and or writing legal briefs, or legal memos. This is often referred to as Lawyer’s boot camp.

Side-note: A lot of very happy marriages came to an end during those boot camp years.

Now unless your lawyer has graduated from a high and I do mean high-ranking law school.  Plus s/he was in the top 5% of that graduating class. Your lawyer’s salary for the next 2-3 years is going to be $30,000 per year. Just so you know in most law firms for your lawyer to get a sick day during boot camp, s/he or their spouse, or her/his child had better be in intensive care with the mortuary staff standing just outside the room.

Side-note: Being a salaried employee means no matter how many hours you put in you do not get any more money. There is no overtime, no time and a half, no holiday pay, no sick pay, and forget about paid vacations. Your lawyer’s agreed salary is all s/he is going to get until boot camp is over.

The next worry, these new lawyers have are uniforms.   These are specific types of cloths s/he will have to have once the start work at a law firm. I am talking about very nice cloths. You see for lawyers in law firms packaging is everything. Even independent’s worry about packaging but they can break a few more dress codes rules then an attorney working for a law firm.

Side-note: Packaging is how a lawyer presents themselves to the world Let’s be honest the average person is more likely to trust and higher a well dressed, successful appearing lawyer and their paralegal than ones that look like they have been on the street for the last 3 months.

Most of the smaller firms will let their lawyers get away with a style that is called business casual. However, going to court still takes a formal suit and those cost.

Next week I will continue with more start up costs your lawyer faces.

Veteran’s

Forgive me as I go off topic this week. After last week’s post on Captain Ed, I have seen a few political shows commenting briefly, very briefly, on the number of veterans that have wound up in jail.

Side-Note: Check out the Rachel Maddox show she seems willing to take on subjects one else wants to touch. Like American debtors prisons in 2013.

These veterans were charged with everything from simple robbery, sex crimes to out and out, rage murders. No one can seem to understand how or why these men and women are now in jail.

I don’t understand the confusion. After all we’re are talking about men and women who spent the last 10 years in a world where the time to think and evaluate a possible threat simply doesn’t exist. Combat is a world where ‘threats eliminate threats or somebody dies’ is 1st rule of survival.  Combat is a world where every Stranger either a new friend or somebody who wants to kill you, no shades of gray. The shades gray that’s a part of the mundane world is exceptionally rare in combat.  Imagine standing in line to buy groceries and the person ahead of gets mad at the cashier. Three or four things are gonna happen, anything from a few angry words, to a cop arresting the unhappy customer.  Now in combat world you’re at a local shop were you just brought something than somebody walks in and starts screaming. A bomb goes off.

In the movie ‘My Cousin Vinnie’ staring Joe Pesci. There is a sub-plot to the story, Joe Pesci’s search for a good night’s sleep. It took a full-blown prison riot for him sleep peacefully. Funny huh?   Not if this is your normal world.

Now you come home after 10 years of living in combat world.  You get a day maybe two out processing and then you are back in the mundane world where every skill you’ve learned, every instinct you’ve developed staying alive is now bad.  Plus you are told those benefits, especially the medical benefits, we promised you for your service, don’t worry you’ll get them when we get around to it. No worries.  In the mean time you are on your own.

Oh yeah, thank you for your service to our country, you are a hero.

How would you feel? Think about it, you’ve just spent the last 10 years risking your life, watching friends and co-workers killed. Your home-coming is a pat on the head and being told now go be normal. Just like a 9-year-old being told to go out and play.

Is it any wonder these veteran’s have a hard time adjusting to the mundane normal world. We learned nothing from Vietnam War, except to sound nicer to our veterans.

Well that is my vent.  As a veteran, this is something that really matters to me.

Next week, I’ll continue with money& lawyers I’m will be getting into the costs of practicing law.

Least They be forgotten.

A family member made me aware of this true story. As a veteran myself I felt the need to share this with you.

You’re a 19, critically wounded, dying in the jungle somewhere far, so very far, from home.

It’s November 11,1967; Vietnam. Your LZ (landing zone) is X-ray in the Ia Drang Valley.

Your unit is pined, outnumbered 8-1. Somewhere in the bush maybe 100 or so yards away the enemy lies hidden. The enemy fire is so intense, your CO (commanding officer) has ordered the MedEvac helicopters to stop coming in the gunfire is much to deadly.

You’re lying there, listening to the machine guns, knowing you’re not getting out.

Everyone you have known or loved half a world away. Over 12,000 miles away. You’ll never will see or touch them again. You can almost hear your mother crying.

The world starts to fade in and out, this is your last day.
Then – almost despite the deafening gun fire – a faint noise, as if it’s coming from some other world, the sound of a helicopter. Looking up you see a dark Huey thundering in. But, It doesn’t seem real, it can’t be real because there are no MedEvac markings are on it.

Captain Ed Freeman is coming in for you in his unarmed Huey.

He’s not a MedEvac pilot so saving your life it’s not his job, not his problem, He heard the radio call warning him and the others pilots away and he came anyway. Flying his Huey down into the devastating gun fire anyway.

Even after the MedEvacs were ordered to safety he came. After being told the enemy fire made the extraction impossible, He still came.

He lands and waits despite the  gun fire, as they load 3 of you into his Huey.

Then he fly’s you up and out through heavy gunfire to  waiting doctors and nurses. To safety.

Then he goes back!! 13 more times he knowingly risks all!!
Not until all the wounded were safe. Only when the wounded were safely extracted did  Captain Ed let it be known he had been struck 4 times. He was shot in both legs and his left arm.
You and 29 of your buddies survived because of him. Many made it home because of Captain Ed Freeman and his Huey.

Medal of Honor Recipient, Captain Ed Freeman , United States Air Force, died
last Wednesday at the age of 70, in Boise , Idaho
May God Bless and Rest His Soul.

I bet you didn’t hear about this hero’s passing, but we’ve sure seen a whole bunch about Lindsay Lohan, Tiger Woods and the bickering of congress over Health Reform.

A true Hero

A true Hero

Money & Lawyers 2

Once again, I am a paralegal not a lawyer, also when a lawyer gets involved your problem of concern becomes an issue.
Okay let’s pick up where I left off with the all important L.S.A.T. or national law school admission test. Like I said last week the better you lawyers score the better the school s/he can apply for. So a lot lawyer wanna bee’s spend any were from $300 to $2000 on study material just to get ready for L.S.A.T. Some have spent up to another $2000 on an out and out practice test. The people who set up these tests locate and rent the hall where the L.S.A.T. will be given. In addition they set things up, even going so far as hiring mock test takers trying to make their test virtually identical to the real L.S.A.T. All this is just getting ready for that test because like I said before, the better your lawyers score the better quality school your lawyer can apply too.
You see there are 5 levels of law schools. Level 1 is of course Harvard or Yale, level 5 is often the online law school no one has ever heard about.
Side-Note: Your life time G.P.A will also come into play as to which schools will look at your application. The online schools will get your lawyer qualified to take the Bar Exam barely, but h/his practice will be limited to one state. Usually the home state of the online school s/he attended. Moving to or opening a practice in another state may prove difficult.
The cost of attending a good law school could run anywhere from $30,000 to $300,000 by itself. This depends on level of school which accepted your lawyer. Your lawyer may have sidestepped some of that debt with grants and scholarships. That’s if s/he doesn’t eat too much during their time in law school.
Your lawyer has now graduated with anywhere from between $90,000 to $150,000 in student loan debt. Depending on which level of law school accepted h/him. So after law school your lawyer now has $1500 a month in student loan payments for the next 10 years. Please GOD! believe me student loan companies do not play when it come to collecting on that debt.
Now the Bar Exam. The Bar Exam is so blindingly important that many law school graduates go up another $10,000 into debt getting ready for it. To make it simple your lawyer doesn’t pass the Bar s/he doesn’t work period end of story. 18 states have limited how many times someone could take the Exam. The actual Exam itself can cost up to $600 depending on what state your lawyer took the Bar Exam. Like the L.S.A.T. the Bar Exam is only given a few times a year. Finely there is a $50 fee, (depending on the state) just to get a copy of the certificate to hang on the wall!
Now your lawyer is $170,000 in debt and s/he hasn’t even found a job or hung out a shingle yet.
To be continued

Money & Lawyers

As usual when a Lawyer becomes involved your problem or concern becomes an issue. Please remember I am not a lawyer at least not yet, I am a paralegal.
Side-note: Just so you know a presidential directive is a type of executive order, except a presidential directive is limited to national security issues. Everything from the deployment of our forces overseas, to the handling of our nuclear arms is included in the presidential directives. There are presidential directives that focus on the United States administration of occupied countries. Also how we send supplies and equipment to our allies in other countries. As I said before a presidential directive is subject to the same restrictions as a full presidential executive order.
Okay to work than. Why are lawyers so concerned about money, because it is bloody hinderingly expensive to get a license to practice law. Not to mention the expenses your lawyer has just to practice law. Getting things filed with the courts will cost you, in a civil issue getting a jury will cost you, serving a summons will cost you, a court reporter will cost you, Whooooaa Deeep Breath. Damn, I hate getting wound up.
Let’s start at the beginning shall we. You have just gotten a B.A or Baccarat Degree. Congratulations well done. However, if you went to a public college you just spent $7000; if you went to a private college you’ve spent $30,000. That is if you didn’t buy any books, supplies or eat, wore the exact same cloths for the 4 years and slept in a ditch during the 4 years.
Side-Note; just so you know where I got my A.A.S (associate of applied science) degree in paralegal studies there were 3 colleges sharing the same campus. The campus consisted of a private 4 year college, a public 4 year college and a 2 year community college. While I was there, I was talked into spending some time working in a homeless shelter kitchen; I met 20 fellow students who lived there. They were forced into living there because every single dime they could beg, borrow or steal had to go for tuition and books.
Now like I said, you’ve got you Baccalaureate yeah! Good for you! Well done! Next, the all important L.S.A.T. or The law school admission test. A test that is only given 4 times a year. Just to take the L.S.A.T is going to cost you roughly $200. How will you do on that test determines which schools will at least look at your application? Doesn’t mean the school you applied to will let you in only that they will look at your application. There is no getting around it, the better your L.S.A.T. score the higher level law school you can apply too.
There are 5 levels of law school or classes of law school. Level 1 would be Harvard or Yale.

To be continued

Side Note: part 2

As I said before, please remember when a lawyer becomes involved your problem becomes an issue and that I am a paralegal not a lawyer.
The P.T.F.A. was signed into law May 21, 2009. Prior to P.T.F.A. a tenant could be evicted from a property with as little as 24 hour notice if the property owner was forced into foreclosure. Even if the tenant had a lease and was paying the rent on time every month, the eviction could happen. Under P.T.F.A. if a property is forced into foreclosure, the Bankruptcy Trustee or new owner is required to maintain the property as is for the remaining duration of the longest current lease term.
For example, in a multi-tenant property where renter 1 has a 6 month lease and another renter has a 2 year lease, the property must be maintained for the 2 years. However, the tenant with the 6 month lease could still be forced to move when their 6 month lease expired. All amenities promised in the lease, like utilities being included in the rent must be maintained duration of the lease.
Month to month tenants were also included in the order. Under the P.T.F.A a month to month tenant will have 90 days if they are ordered to vacate the property.
Just so you know under executive order section 8 and H.U.D. subsidies where to be considered as leases under the P.T.F.A.
Of course, you have to prove that you have maintained your end of the lease with rent receipts and a hardcopy of your lease.
Now P.T.F.A. was original set to expire December 2012. P.T.F.A. was renewed in April 2013 under Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act H.R. 4173. Extending the termination date to midnight December 2014. So as you can see, an executive order might very well be a great quick but very temporary fix to a problem. A permanent lasting fix still has to go through the usual channels. At least while we are still pretending to live in a democratic country not a plutocracy.
Side-Note: Barnett “Barney” Frank (born March 31, 1940) United States House of Representatives Massachusetts from 1981 to 2013. I believe he was instrumental in getting this added to the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. I would very much like to see him in the senate I think he would create a lot of problems for the idiots in the senate.
I know there has been a lot of hoopla over the number of executive orders President Obama has made. Just so you know, I would like to point out, according to the federal register President Obama has only made 151 executive orders compared to President G.W. Bush’s 300.
Excuse me for getting a little political but I am human after all.

Next week we will pick up with why lawyers are so interested in money.

Talking Firms part 3, & Types of Lawyers

As before when a lawyer becomes involved your problem or concern becomes an issue. Also please remember that I am paralegal not a lawyer.
Returning to the firm categories. There are many different categories of firms. There are firms that only devote themselves to Medicare or Social Security issues. There are firms that center on family law issues. There are firms that limit themselves to intellectual property issues. Firms that will only handle real estate issues. Firms limit themselves to surgical errors. Another firm will focus on bad medications. Usually these highly specialized law firms are very expensive or run by an independent. Unfortunately you may have to expand to a nationwide search if you want to find a law firm solely dedicated to your particular issue.
Now let’s talk about what I call the “combo firms”. Combo firms focus on 2 or 3 separate issues. Usually these issues are somewhat related. For example there may be a firm primarily focused on Bankruptcy which will also handle Tax Law issues. Also there are firms that handle domestic and criminal issues.
Plus there are firms that manage to focus on 2 or 3 very different issues. For example a Personal Injury Firm may also deal with Social Security and or Medicare issues.
Just like doctors there are law firms that take care of legal malpractice issues. Yes, these are the fabled lawyers’ lawyer. These law firms focus on the mistakes and errors that lawyers make. Let’s be honest there are a few lawyers who should have never gotten their license. Plus Lawyer’s whose support staff is not of the ‘best quality’. Clients who despite how weak their case is or how much they hamstring their lawyers and feel it must be the lawyers fault when they lose.
Moving on to types of lawyers. Generally speaking and setting the need for money aside, there are 4 types of lawyers in the world. 35% of the lawyers out there are what I would call “White Knights”. These are lawyers like to ride in on their white charger and save the world because they are just so special. Next is what I call “Dark Knights”. About 40 to 45% of the lawyers out there are Dark Knights. These Knights had something bad happen to them or someone the dearly cared about and they decided if they became a lawyer they could prevent that bad thing from happening again or to someone else. Almost the same reasons Bruce Wayne gave for becoming Batman. There are the know-it all’s, these lawyers will do their very best just so they look you in the face and tell you ‘Aren’t you glad I am way smarter than you?’ Last and very least are the last 1-3% of the lawyers, these idiots make life extremely difficult for the rest. These lawyers are more concerned with the dollar and really don’t care how they make it. You most often hear about them in the news. They’re the ones caught ‘stepping around’ rules and regulations. Who shaft their clients or get themselves killed by their crime lord clients.
Next week we will talk about why lawyers want so much money.

Talking about Law Firms Part Two

Just a reminder, when dealing with lawyers your problem or concern becomes an issue. Also, please remember I am a paralegal not a lawyer.
Let’s move on to the small firms now, in most cases these firm’s are made up of 2 maybe 3 lawyers. Lawyers, who have joined forces to create their own firm, more often than not, are started by lawyers fresh out of law school, eager to take on the world. Sometimes these lawyers come from 2 or 3 of the larger firms. Unhappy with the treatment they received, or with the treatment of one or two clients, these “Knights” decided to give it a go on their own. Unfortunately, they have a lot less operating capital than larger firms. The supporting staff at a small firm is going to be a lot smaller. Which means their paralegals may even have to double as a receptionist from time to time.
Now let’s start with the Independent Lawyers. Even an Independent is often referred to as a law firm. These law firms consist of 1 lawyer and no support staffs. These troopers even have to take out the trash themselves. The Independent lawyer has to rely on their own skills, ingenuity, knowledge and cleverness. Occasionally, these Independents do get lucky and connect up with a skilled paralegal. It works like this, 2 or 3 independents will share the expertise of a paralegal. The Independent will call and or email the ‘shared’ paralegal with an assignment. When the paralegal completes the assignment h/she will email, fax or hand deliver the results back to the assigning lawyer. Unlike the larger firms, you will probably see more personal involvement from an Independent lawyer.
There are a few Independents that will dedicate themselves to try and help you. If the independent truly believes your issue has grown beyond his skill, a few independents will swallow their pride and help you find the help you need.
For some Independents, especially those fresh out of law school, where they live is the most important. However, these independents do try to connect with a local law firm. These local firms are usually fully staffed. Depending on the reputation earned as an Independent, these Independent lawyers usually get snapped up by a local law firm as soon as there is an opening available. Sometimes, and only sometimes openings are made available for them.
Next, let’s talk about the law firm categories. Law firm categories can be just as complex and confusing as lawyer specialties. There are firms that only deal with one issue, plus sub-issues as related to the main issue . I want to start with a Personal Injury Firm (the PI firm). There are PI firms operated by an Independent exclusively handles auto accidents. Another PI firm with more than one lawyer may handle auto accidents, and truck accidents. There are firms that only deal with medical malpractice exclusively. Medical malpractice firms only deal with surgical errors. Yet still other medical firms that will solely take on surgical and drug issues.

Next week we’ll talk more about specialized law firms and the types of lawyers out there.

Talking about Law Firms.

Just a reminder, when dealing with lawyers your problem or concern becomes an issue.
The Firm has almost become the generic name for a lawyer working in an office. Even, if they are found working all by themselves in a rundown rented room, in the not so nice section of town.
First, of course are the Mega-Firms. These bad boys have an impossible number of lawyers and support staff working for them. Their clients are corporations and people with more money than God. The chances of finding help you can afford here is not very good.
Then there are the large firms. These are firms owned and operated by Partners. Partners are the lawyers ultimately in charge of the firm. There are 2 types of partners, ‘equity’ and ‘income’. The ‘equity’ partner are the ones who gets to have their name on the firm’s letter head and get a lion’s share of the firms ‘pure’ profit. The ‘income’ partners are essentially the salaried department heads of the firm. Each of these lawyers will be in charge of a particular area of law. For example, one partner would be in charge of all domestic issues. Now, these firms may have upwards of 200 additional lawyers working for them. These lawyers are referred to as associates. The associate lawyer will handle the sub-specialties. These firms will have a large support staff. Paralegals, computer engineers and investigators to name a few of the support personal types they have access too. Downside, you may meet and talk with your lawyer only once, maybe twice. Unless, you have to go to court, then you might visit with your lawyer a few more times. You see, your case may be only one many. If they do take you on, will probably have more dealings with the paralegal assigned to your issue. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be a lot like going to your doctor’s office. You may see and talk to your doctor for a few minutes. However, the blood draws, vital checks, getting the diagnostic exams scheduled, billing your issuance are handled by the support staff but the staff will report every test result and action taken on your behalf back to your doctor. Again, these firms are rather expensive.
Next on the ladder, are the firms with only are with only 20 or 30 lawyers. They don’t have any associates but may have 2 or 3 young lawyer’s fresh out of law school. Each of the lawyers may specialize in one or two areas of law. Again, they will have a good supporting staff. Namely paralegals my favorite profession. Just not as many, which means the paralegals may be assisting two or more of the lawyers in the firm. Unlike the larger firms you will see a bit more of your lawyer.
In these last 2 types of firms, a partner or a couple of firm’s associates may become passionate about a particular issue. In this case these lawyers will help but with that issue. However, these lawyers will have set up their own rules and regulations to qualify for their help.
Next week I want to talk about the Independents and Firm specialties

Finding a Lawyer???

If you are reading this because you think you might need a lawyer, you know what, you probably do.  The trick is in finding a lawyer with the skills and knowledge to meet your Issue needs.  It doesn’t matter what your problem or concern is, when your lawyer becomes involved your problem becomes an Issue.  So, like I said the trick is going to be finding a lawyer that can handle your Issue. A good example is the movie ‘The Firm’ starring Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise, do you remember the army of lawyers that invaded Tom Cruises’s office when he was studying for the Bar Exam. You see, each and every one of those lawyers specialized in a different area of law.   So you see there are a lot of different kinds out there. Some people say maybe too many. But you know what; these same braincases scream the loudest that there isn’t enough when they need a lawyer. First, let’s talk about the General Practioners.  Literally these lawyers are the jack of all trades and the master of none. Unfortunately, the General Practioners are becoming as scarce as hens-teeth. Who knows maybe Paralegals will evolve to take over that job like the R.N has evolved into the Nurse Practioner. Then there are Lawyers who specialize in different areas of Law. There are lawyers who only deal with tax law, and there are lawyers who only handle domestic Issues. There are lawyers that deal with real-estate and landlord, tenant Issues. There are lawyers who only deal with the sports and entertainment industry. There are those that only deal with intellectual property. Just so you know imtellalectual property is mostly about writers, computer program writers and inventors.  Next are Civil Law Lawyers who deal with rights and equality Issues.  Then there are Criminal Lawyers who handle everything from traffic tickets to murder. Let’s not forget Bankruptcy lawyers, much needed if you get behind the financial 8-Ball. Side-note, Bankruptcy is not cure all. There are some things you cannot bankrupt out of, like child support, student loans and back taxes. There is of course the almost infamous Personal Injury Lawyers.  Side-note here, most of personal injury lawyers are genuinely out to help. Then we get into the sub-specialties, like domestic lawyers that only deal with a child custody or support Issue. Side-note, you do not want to be on the wrong side of these lawyers. The ones I have met and dealt with will quite gleefully rip your financial throat out if you are shafting a child.  There are Tax Lawyers who only handle international tax laws. A new sub-specialty being added to Family Law. This is Elder Law. Elder Law is focused on the services and legal needs of our ever growing senior population.  Especially, your rights and responsibilities toward your Elder. Side-note, did you know if you accept guardianship and or conservatorship of your parent without prober legal preparation and your parent dies in debt you could be legally responsible for that debt.

Never ever, ever forget that few, very few Collection Agencies’ play fair.  Just ask the Illinois woman who went to jail for a medical bill that the hospital told her she did not owe.  She didn’t even know she was taken to court over this until her arrest.

Confused just wait until I start talking about Firms.