Money & Lawyers 4

As before when a lawyer becomes involved your problem becomes an ISSUE. Also, I am a paralegal not a lawyer.

Side-note: A Casual Business dress style for men is usually a very nice, starched pair of blue jeans, (I am not talking about the $12 Wal-Mart specials) a sport coat and good shirt. (No t-shirts) For women it is a lot more complicated. We are talking about really good dresses, slacks, blouses make up, shoes and so on. Let’s face it is more expensive to be a woman then a man.

Let’s not forget everyday expenses like rent, food, non-work clothes, and even medical expenses. You know, unimportant silly things like that.

Oh yeah, let us not forget about those no big deal student loan payments. After all finance companies are certainly not going to wait until your lawyer finishes his/her boot camp years before student loan companies start collecting. Like I said before these people don’t play. After all the 8% interest your lawyer has to pay on thousands they owe means a lot more money, than the 0.5% interest on the government loans to corporations   have yet to pay on the millions they owe.

So after 5 years of busting ass your lawyer maybe making from between $65,000 to $130.000 per year. This depends on the size and location of the firm your lawyer is working for.  The larger the firm means a larger salary for the associates.

Side-Note:  Associates are the employee lawyers of a law firm, there are firms that have no Associates.  These firms only have 2 or 3 lawyers.

Now depending on the size of the firm there is support personal.  In a super small firm with 2 lawyers there is at least one receptionist/paralegal.  In other firms there will be file clerks keeping hard copies of all the written documents, paralegals, litigation assistants, data entry clerks, evidence clerks (They record and keep track of all evidence, discovery brought to the law firm and what case it relates to.)  All these employees need to be paid. Not to mention the contract employees like investigators. With the advent of the web something new has been added, the Virtual Law firms.

Side-Note: Discovery is almost exactly what it sounds like. It is the forms, documents and evidence opposing law firm submitted to the court or your lawyer. Sometimes your lawyer has to take your opponent to court and force them to grant access to records or material that could prove your case.

Side-note: Intake is the interview performed by a lawyer or more often a paralegal. The interview is an effort to define and gather information about your issue.

Virtual law firms are basically websites.  A lot of intake is now done on the website by filling out a form online which is then downloaded to a firm paralegal to be evaluated, then transferred to the firm lawyer best equipped to handle your issue.

Next week I will get into more of the support staff. Plus I will get into the costs independents face.

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.

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.