Lawyers & Money 7

One more time: I am a paralegal not a Lawyer. Also when a lawyer or a paralegal becomes involved your problem or concern becomes an issue.
Picking up from last week I told you, larger the Firm the more technology needed. So more money spent on it. That pretty much covers technology for Firms. I won’t have to go into the standard office costs will I? Such as legal pads and paperclips or file cabinets and desks? They all cost after all. Right then, moving on.
Now let’s talk about the Independents. Some Independents do try to rent an office. Usually their office is one of those holes in the walls. You know the ones were all the landlord rents out is a room and a bathroom for a couple $100 a month. Sometimes not even a bathroom. Most Independents’ however do take over a spare bedroom, a basement or even the laundry room to set up their office and save money. Sometimes an Independent will even use the kitchen table. While this does cut some of their expenses it does create a huge number of other problems. I am sure those of you with children can understand what I mean.
Seriously an Independents’ major problem comes back to image. It seems a lot of clients believe that these Independents’ are failures a 1/2 a step from bankruptcy or just too incompetent to get a job. While it may be somewhat true, you can find just as many these types of lawyers in the biggest, fanciest law Firm in town. In mid to large Law Firms incompetents are usually hidden with the boot camp lawyers doing research for the other lawyers. The Independents I have run into will literally bust ass meeting their clients’ needs but if they can’t help most independents will try to help their clients locate Law Firms that can help. Most Independents can give their clients more focused one on one time then Firm lawyers.
However, an Independent will still need the same technology as a regular Firm. Just not as much of it. An Independent needs at least one computer, telephone system, printer, copier and scanner. Like I said before technology costs. .
Unlike regular Firms most independents’ do not have the expense of a support staff. Simply put Independents’ don’t have paralegals, secretaries, or file clerks. Independents’ even have to take out their own trash unless they can browbeat their spouse, kid or significant other into doing it for them.
Let’s not forget the survival costs. Mortgage payments, food, cable bill and the huge student loan payments to say just a few. An Independent cannot spread these costs among several other lawyers. In Firms with 3 or more lawyers operating costs are much more spread out. Often the only person most Independents can share operating cost with is their spouse or significant other.
Next week I will be getting into actual court costs you and your lawyer may face when you get to the court house

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.

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