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Henry Ford

The Lawyer Thread Where We Stop Ruining Other Threads

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2 hours ago, El Floppo said:

Nick can attest that clients take it as a given that they're going to complain about architect/designer bills. Like at a flea market- they'd be doing it wrong if they paid in full.

Why pay for an architect?  They don't come over and build the damn house.  

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5 minutes ago, Nick Vermeil said:

I've been dealing with some crazy expensive attorneys for 25 years now and have complained about the billing maybe twice.  But this last bill was nuts where I was getting 30 minute entries for the junior attorney to send me emails that read "Did you have a chance to review the document?  Let me know!"  And my new boss is tight as drum.  

So I kicked it back to the partner and asked him to review the invoice as it seemed excessive.  I'll see what he says.  

 

 

If it's a junior associate the partner should be going through the bill and hacking his hours before you see it anyway.   

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12 minutes ago, Nick Vermeil said:

Why pay for an architect?  They don't come over and build the damn house.  

I've always wondered about this, but dammit- you're right. I'll stop billing posthaste

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2 hours ago, Nick Vermeil said:

Why pay for an architect?  They don't come over and build the damn house.  

 

He should design the house for free, for the exposure. 

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On 10/17/2018 at 2:49 PM, L5UT1ger said:

Hello Everyone, My name is L5UT1ger and I am a lawyer.

Well, not really. Really im a lazy mofo who has a joke of a job being an appellate judge's "research attorney." Ok, yall got me. Im a ####### law clerk. I practiced PI for a whopping 4 years in the big city and hated it.  I moved home for this job and its paying me fine. No where near like successful lawyers here, but better than the crappy ones.  Like you would imagine, everyone says to stay at this job since its so easy and stress free.  Because of the time job #1 allows, I have a second job. My second job is developing low income housing in my poor, rural community. It makes a few fun pay days every year or so, but, much like clerking, it also is light duty.

I recently took up a third job and am regretting it right away. The mayor selected me to run a youth athletics facility.  It pays 20K a year and is part time. I took the job because i love coaching my kids and the facility was run terribly for years.  I have run a couple youth leagues and they took up more time than my two jobs combined.  I figured i will fix the place up nice and have it run well, plus i will actually get paid for my time unlike when I was running the local leagues.

I can do it. I have begun the process.  Here is what i am regretting: this third job is taking 10x more effort than the other two combined.  I am having to deal with "bosses" that are not intelligent people.  When running the leagues, I had very little interaction with these people in a setting where one is telling the other what to do.  They were collegues. Now, its different. I am hopeful that i hate this job because its new, and like all new things for me, I have to adjust and get my footing before feeling comfortable. Until then, im miserable.  I feel like i cant just quit this third job. I got the job over 15+ local people that applied. I will be a failure if I do quit it. I felt like quitting other times at other things when they were new, but eventually grew to enjoy them. I am hopeful this happens here.

Ignore the above for this tidbit that applies to lawyers, generally.  You cant have a conversation with anyone about anything wherein you are correct about anything. If you are, you get hit with "I should have know better than disagreeing with a ####### lawyer." The people im dealing with cannot have a conversation where ideas are exchanged. I watch them and the winner of debates is who screams loudest. They all have this transparent agenda. None listen to try and understand and find a solution to an issue. Instead they listen to wait their turn to reply louder and call the other person an idiot. Its infuriating.

I needed to vent and didnt quite know where to go. I hope this thread is an ok place to do it. Glllll peas!

 

Oh, any time you're complaining about how non-lawyers speak to lawyers this is definitely the right thread. 

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I've been working on a case on a contingent fee for the last 2 1/2 years.  It's been a nightmare that included our client's board of directors being removed (which nearly resulted in us getting fired), our "expert" being eviscerated at his deposition,  a document database with well over 2 million documents, and one of the dumbest mediations I've ever participated in, which resulted in the defense walking out without making a meaningful offer.

As I prepared to oppose yet another summary judgment motion on Friday morning, we got an email from the mediator confirming that the defense will agree to a settlement based on certain terms, but it needed to be framed as an offer that they could accept.   He said if we could confirm the demand that morning, he'd get us confirmation of a settlement that afternoon.  We scrambled to put together a conference call with the client, got authority and made the demand.   

Crickets.   Mediator has ignored multiple phone calls and emails.   Defense counsel has gone radio silent.   Client is asking for an update twice a day, and I have to write this opposition.  

I absolutely hate people that will not return a call or email when they know you are waiting for a response.  

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1 hour ago, -fish- said:

I've been working on a case on a contingent fee for the last 2 1/2 years.  It's been a nightmare that included our client's board of directors being removed (which nearly resulted in us getting fired), our "expert" being eviscerated at his deposition,  a document database with well over 2 million documents, and one of the dumbest mediations I've ever participated in, which resulted in the defense walking out without making a meaningful offer.

As I prepared to oppose yet another summary judgment motion on Friday morning, we got an email from the mediator confirming that the defense will agree to a settlement based on certain terms, but it needed to be framed as an offer that they could accept.   He said if we could confirm the demand that morning, he'd get us confirmation of a settlement that afternoon.  We scrambled to put together a conference call with the client, got authority and made the demand.   

Crickets.   Mediator has ignored multiple phone calls and emails.   Defense counsel has gone radio silent.   Client is asking for an update twice a day, and I have to write this opposition.  

I absolutely hate people that will not return a call or email when they know you are waiting for a response.  

ugh.

I'm not used to such lawyerly stuff, but IME people go radio silent like that as they're deliberating the response and getting all their ducks in a row in advance of a response. why they can't just say- we're deliberating our response and getting our ducks in a row, will get back to you soon- I dunno.

 

good luck- sounds like 2 1/2 years of contingent effort could be wrapping up soon? and hopefully worth your while?

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17 minutes ago, El Floppo said:

ugh.

I'm not used to such lawyerly stuff, but IME people go radio silent like that as they're deliberating the response and getting all their ducks in a row in advance of a response. why they can't just say- we're deliberating our response and getting our ducks in a row, will get back to you soon- I dunno.

 

good luck- sounds like 2 1/2 years of contingent effort could be wrapping up soon? and hopefully worth your while?

Got an update from the mediator.   The insurance-appointed defense counsel and in-house counsel for the defendant are arguing over settlement language that they asked for, and which is standard in our industry because there are some state law requirements that limit the scope of what they want.   These are essentially non-negotiable terms.

This settlement will allow me to pay the IRS for both 2017 and 2018 taxes.  Considering I haven't been caught up on my taxes since 2008, that makes it worth my while.

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Any elder law attorneys in here?   I am working with an attorney to sort my father's financial mess and qualify and apply for veteran's Aid and Attendance benefits as well as for Medicaid.  She has been guiding me through the process...the documentation of assets, creating a trust, changing some policy ownership issues and such as well as filing all the paperwork for the benefits.   She is charging a flat rate of $8200 for her services.  Am I getting hosed or is this a typical/reasonable rate for this type of work?   Suburban Cleveland, OH area if that matters.

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38 minutes ago, bostonfred said:

I don't see why that's controversial.  I would expect reviewing/transactional attorneys to be replaced at some point.  Trial lawyers won't be.

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7 minutes ago, Galileo said:

Any elder law attorneys in here?   I am working with an attorney to sort my father's financial mess and qualify and apply for veteran's Aid and Attendance benefits as well as for Medicaid.  She has been guiding me through the process...the documentation of assets, creating a trust, changing some policy ownership issues and such as well as filing all the paperwork for the benefits.   She is charging a flat rate of $8200 for her services.  Am I getting hosed or is this a typical/reasonable rate for this type of work?   Suburban Cleveland, OH area if that matters.

How much are the benefits worth?

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12 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

How much are the benefits worth?

Remains to be seen... VA benefits could bring up to $2200 per month, but I am not sure what will determine the actual benefit awarded, assuming the application is approved.  I think it based on my parents' actual regular medical and care expenses per month.  The Medicaid benefits would kick in if/when my father needs to go into a long term care facility (he is an Alzheimer's patient).  The actual value there will depend on the facility and how long he lives, I guess.  

Edited by Galileo

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2 minutes ago, Galileo said:

Remains to be seen... VA benefits could bring up to $2200 per month, but I am not sure what will determine the actual benefit awarded, assuming the application is approved.  I think it based on my parents' actual regular medical and care expenses per month.  The Medicaid benefits would kick in if/when my father needs to go into a long term care facility (he is an Alzheimer's patient).  The actual value there will depend on the facility and how long he lives, I guess.  

Can we safely assume that the potential value of these benefits runs into the mid-to-high six figures?

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1 hour ago, Henry Ford said:

I don't see why that's controversial.  I would expect reviewing/transactional attorneys to be replaced at some point.  Trial lawyers won't be.

An NDA is about the most basic and common document they could have picked.  When I worked in the legal dept for a small company ($200m), we probably got about 5 a week or so on average.  I would be interested in seeing the output from this AI program. A professional services firm is going to have totally different concerns than a health care company when it comes to an NDA.  A heavy industry company, tech company, food industry, etc. will all have significantly different issues and concerns they are looking for in an NDA.  What might be a major concern for one company might be a non-issue for another.  For my company, our risks and confidentiality concerns often also depended on the nature of the particular job we were doing as to what was important and what we could let slide in an NDA.  There were very few across-the-board rules.  And again, that is probably the most basic, routine document we regularly reviewed.  It was busy work, but there was an important component to it that required personal attention, knowledge of our company, its services, its clients, culture and risks, and often needed some negotiation.  When we're at the front end of an engagement, the last thing our biz dep guys needed was sending a client the wrong message before we'd even signed up an engagement contract.

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1 hour ago, CletiusMaximus said:

An NDA is about the most basic and common document they could have picked.  When I worked in the legal dept for a small company ($200m), we probably got about 5 a week or so on average.  I would be interested in seeing the output from this AI program. A professional services firm is going to have totally different concerns than a health care company when it comes to an NDA.  A heavy industry company, tech company, food industry, etc. will all have significantly different issues and concerns they are looking for in an NDA.  What might be a major concern for one company might be a non-issue for another.  For my company, our risks and confidentiality concerns often also depended on the nature of the particular job we were doing as to what was important and what we could let slide in an NDA.  There were very few across-the-board rules.  And again, that is probably the most basic, routine document we regularly reviewed.  It was busy work, but there was an important component to it that required personal attention, knowledge of our company, its services, its clients, culture and risks, and often needed some negotiation.  When we're at the front end of an engagement, the last thing our biz dep guys needed was sending a client the wrong message before we'd even signed up an engagement contract.

It made you sign up for their promo emails to see any of the study's methodology and ain't nobody got time for that.

It made sense to me though that they gave a document that was specifically designed for their software, with likely areas of difficulty not included.
That being said (and perhaps legal zoom has this available), the first company to get a program that will fill out a simple answer for debt collection suits is going to make a killing.

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5 hours ago, Galileo said:

Any elder law attorneys in here?   I am working with an attorney to sort my father's financial mess and qualify and apply for veteran's Aid and Attendance benefits as well as for Medicaid.  She has been guiding me through the process...the documentation of assets, creating a trust, changing some policy ownership issues and such as well as filing all the paperwork for the benefits.   She is charging a flat rate of $8200 for her services.  Am I getting hosed or is this a typical/reasonable rate for this type of work?   Suburban Cleveland, OH area if that matters.

Wouldn't be out of the range of normal for New Jersey depending on the facts of everything.  Medicaid planning can be complicated and time consuming.

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18 minutes ago, Yankee23Fan said:

Wouldn't be out of the range of normal for New Jersey depending on the facts of everything.  Medicaid planning can be complicated and time consuming.

Yeah, I didn't get an answer about dollar value, but as long as the benefits are potentially worth a good 25-30x what he's being charged I think it's reasonable.

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Parents are having some health issues and I'll be traveling next week to help sort things out for them with an attorney. Trying to keep some stress away from my father who is going through a lot. I have 2 things to discuss with the attorney.

1) Estate planning - making sure any t's are crossed and i's are dotted. So far, he doesn't have anything prepared in case he passes. He assumes that everything would automatically transfer to my Mom (other than an investment account, which has specific beneficiaries), is that generally true? This is in Virginia. Mainly talking about a few bank accounts and investments, but also...

2) My Dad is in an LLC/Partnership apartment management business with my uncle. The partnership agreement does not specifically cover transfer of ownership of his interest in the business upon passing. Is this something that automatically passes to my mother as well, or do we need documents to explicitly state that? I also want to discuss tax implications with the attorney, as I know things can get a little tricky when transferring business interests upon passing.

If possible, I'd like to get a general idea of what to expect on this visit so I can come prepared. Any info. is appreciated!

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1 minute ago, Warrior said:

Parents are having some health issues and I'll be traveling next week to help sort things out for them with an attorney. Trying to keep some stress away from my father who is going through a lot. I have 2 things to discuss with the attorney.

1) Estate planning - making sure any t's are crossed and i's are dotted. So far, he doesn't have anything prepared in case he passes. He assumes that everything would automatically transfer to my Mom (other than an investment account, which has specific beneficiaries), is that generally true? This is in Virginia. Mainly talking about a few bank accounts and investments, but also...

2) My Dad is in an LLC/Partnership apartment management business with my uncle. The partnership agreement does not specifically cover transfer of ownership of his interest in the business upon passing. Is this something that automatically passes to my mother as well, or do we need documents to explicitly state that? I also want to discuss tax implications with the attorney, as I know things can get a little tricky when transferring business interests upon passing.

If possible, I'd like to get a general idea of what to expect on this visit so I can come prepared. Any info. is appreciated!

You need to discuss a durable power of attorney for both financial and health care issues.   

The attorney is going to want at least a summary of all of the assets and how any real property is titled.   There are mechanisms where the property will transfer automatically; others will have to go through probate.   Where possible, try to avoid probate.   

It can be a big difference if it's an LLC or a partnership.   If your uncle and dad get along, they should amend the operating agreement to address these issues.

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If you are going to choose to be an insurance defense lawyer for a career, for god's sake learn how to write a settlement agreement.  You can't cut and paste a release from a $10,000 personal injury case and present it as a settlement in a $3 million complex litigation involving 20 parties and three insurers.   And if you're going to do some stupid #### like that, you better not be 3 days past the deadline to have it written before you present it.   

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10 hours ago, Henry Ford said:

Can we safely assume that the potential value of these benefits runs into the mid-to-high six figures?

Maybe...Maybe not.  Dad is 87.  He could pass in 5 weeks or 5 years.  Who really knows?  So, it also has the potential to be zero, I suppose.

Edited by Galileo

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5 hours ago, Yankee23Fan said:

Wouldn't be out of the range of normal for New Jersey depending on the facts of everything.  Medicaid planning can be complicated and time consuming.

 

5 hours ago, Henry Ford said:

Yeah, I didn't get an answer about dollar value, but as long as the benefits are potentially worth a good 25-30x what he's being charged I think it's reasonable.

I was genuinely asking, because I have no idea.  This is all new to me and I never did any price comparison shopping.  My gut feel was that it seemed kind of high, but I was already knee deep and wasn't going to change course.  She could have told me $10k or $5k and I still wouldn't have known any different, so I thought I'd ask those with some insight.

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1 hour ago, Galileo said:

 

I was genuinely asking, because I have no idea.  This is all new to me and I never did any price comparison shopping.  My gut feel was that it seemed kind of high, but I was already knee deep and wasn't going to change course.  She could have told me $10k or $5k and I still wouldn't have known any different, so I thought I'd ask those with some insight.

I think you’re right to ask.  My question was because if we were talking about benefits of $250/$300 a month that wouldn’t necessarily be worth it, but for a potentially big amount of money worth of benefits, it seems reasonable. 

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13 hours ago, -fish- said:

You need to discuss a durable power of attorney for both financial and health care issues.   

The attorney is going to want at least a summary of all of the assets and how any real property is titled.   There are mechanisms where the property will transfer automatically; others will have to go through probate.   Where possible, try to avoid probate.   

It can be a big difference if it's an LLC or a partnership.   If your uncle and dad get along, they should amend the operating agreement to address these issues.

Thanks, we will prepare and bring a summary of the assets and how any property is titled. I've also been looking into irrevocable trusts as a way to to avoid probate. I'm trying to do as much research on my own as possible to help out my parents who have a lot on their minds. 

It looks like their apartment business is set up as a LLC (previously was a Partnership, changed about 10 years ago). I'll try to keep this short, but some things have transpired over the past 24 hours and the situation is getting messy. There have been some disagreements that escalated to the level of 'lawyer up'. These are the stereotypical crazy back-woods cousins that have descended upon my Uncle like vultures and seem determined to cause as much drama as possible. They want the agreement amended to include a number of ridiculous, one - sided clauses that directly benefit them and, for the lack of a better word, screw my parents. We made what seemed to be a very reasonable and well thought out suggestion to go our own ways and the #%&@ hit the fan, so to say. 

At this point, with the stress this is causing to my Dad, who is in serious medical condition, we are looking hard at options that can remove us from the business, ideally separating and continuing ownership apart from our extended family. Problem is - there is nothing in the agreement about dissolution by choice, only triggered by the death of my Dad or his brother. 

We plan on speaking directly with the other party in person to attempt to de-escalate, since it would be beneficial to everyone to settle this out of court, especially to my Dad who is in bad health. With that said, we will try everything but I don't see this going well. I'm hoping we have some leverage when it comes to dissolution, since that may be the only way out of this drama for my parents. 

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20 hours ago, bostonfred said:

My other half negotiates and drafts NDAs, among other things, for a large professional  services firm. She says their AI group is working to replace her with a computer but they're currently so far off the mark she's not concerned at all. My company is developing a legal drafting assistant but nothing that could replace lawyers.

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13 minutes ago, Warrior said:

I'm hoping we have some leverage when it comes to dissolution, since that may be the only way out of this drama for my parents. 

Upon re-read number 12 of the agreement, there does seem to be a clause that allows either of them to dissolve. There are many parts of the contract that are very concerning and worrisome, essentially giving complete authority to both of them to do anything under the sun they please, and if things don't go well in the coming days, it might serve us best to formally dissolve, as they are essentially in full control of the business at the moment with my Dad laid up. It's hard to tell what they will do with the check book. 

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Apologies if this is a dumb question or obvious to everyone except  me...

If the Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal, does that basically affirm the original ruling just as strongly as if the SC heard the appeal and upheld the original ruling?

Not sure context matters here, but this is what made me wonder: Supreme Court rejects industry challenge of 2015 net neutrality rules

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On 11/7/2018 at 8:43 AM, VandyMan said:

Apologies if this is a dumb question or obvious to everyone except  me...

If the Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal, does that basically affirm the original ruling just as strongly as if the SC heard the appeal and upheld the original ruling?

Not sure context matters here, but this is what made me wonder: Supreme Court rejects industry challenge of 2015 net neutrality rules

No, not at all. 

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On 10/22/2018 at 1:13 PM, El Floppo said:

and congrats? otis.

Thx gb.  I think.  

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Has anyone dealt with a copyright troll?  My favorite client, a small business owner, was using an image on his website that it seems was copyrighted.  He found it innocently on Flikr, using the Google filter "labeled for reuse" and it does not have a (c) or any other warning. Lawyer is demanding $10k.  We took it down and he was able to replace it with a more useful image for his business, for a one-time fee of about $10.  This lawyer has written two of the most ridiculously pretentious letters I've seen in 20+ years of practice - absolute pompous douchenozzle.  TIA

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2 minutes ago, CletiusMaximus said:

Has anyone dealt with a copyright troll?  My favorite client, a small business owner, was using an image on his website that it seems was copyrighted.  He found it innocently on Flikr, using the Google filter "labeled for reuse" and it does not have a (c) or any other warning. Lawyer is demanding $10k.  We took it down and he was able to replace it with a more useful image for his business, for a one-time fee of about $10.  This lawyer has written two of the most ridiculously pretentious letters I've seen in 20+ years of practice - absolute pompous douchenozzle.  TIA

Doesn't Oat do IP?

My brother is a trademark/copyright/patent guy if you have a specific question.

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On 11/1/2018 at 1:13 PM, CletiusMaximus said:

An NDA is about the most basic and common document they could have picked.  When I worked in the legal dept for a small company ($200m), we probably got about 5 a week or so on average.  I would be interested in seeing the output from this AI program. A professional services firm is going to have totally different concerns than a health care company when it comes to an NDA.  A heavy industry company, tech company, food industry, etc. will all have significantly different issues and concerns they are looking for in an NDA.  What might be a major concern for one company might be a non-issue for another.  For my company, our risks and confidentiality concerns often also depended on the nature of the particular job we were doing as to what was important and what we could let slide in an NDA.  There were very few across-the-board rules.  And again, that is probably the most basic, routine document we regularly reviewed.  It was busy work, but there was an important component to it that required personal attention, knowledge of our company, its services, its clients, culture and risks, and often needed some negotiation.  When we're at the front end of an engagement, the last thing our biz dep guys needed was sending a client the wrong message before we'd even signed up an engagement contract.

In the end, an NDA is really pretty simple.  I could write one in two words. 

“stays here”

 

I can also give you the abbreviated version at half the price

 “$tfu”

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On 11/20/2018 at 6:32 PM, CletiusMaximus said:

Has anyone dealt with a copyright troll?  My favorite client, a small business owner, was using an image on his website that it seems was copyrighted.  He found it innocently on Flikr, using the Google filter "labeled for reuse" and it does not have a (c) or any other warning. Lawyer is demanding $10k.  We took it down and he was able to replace it with a more useful image for his business, for a one-time fee of about $10.  This lawyer has written two of the most ridiculously pretentious letters I've seen in 20+ years of practice - absolute pompous douchenozzle.  TIA

That’s a letter you shred. He gonna sue you on a questionable claim with a value of $10k?  How many hours of his time would it take to collect that?

Seriously though, even on patent troll claims demanding $500k or 1MM, I often suggest to clients to slow play a response, and sometimes don’t respond at all until a second or third letter. Chances are 100 other companies got the same letter, and he’ll pay more attention to whatever shiny object is responding. Eventually though it is a good idea to respond with a letter informing him we gave his claim serious consideration, his claim is garbage, and pound sand, good day sir. Just in case you end up in a trial, so you at least have a piece of paper that shows you didn’t ignore it completely. Juries hate especially when big companies ignore the little guys. 

But for $10k?  Eesh. 

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I have finally been authorized to take the oath for admission to the CA Bar. School lost transcript request somehow so had to get one re-sent, as well as me slacking and not taking MPRE until August of this year and not doing my moral character application until the summer began.

 

Planning to just go take oath in front of a notary, rather than go to one of the ceremonies or find time with a judge (none of whom do I know). Any regrets I may have doing this rather than going through ceremony? Not a big pomp and circumstance guy, and I'll be super pleased just to get the certificate of admission in the mail when it comes.

 

Any thoughts on going inactive immediately? I'm not practicing, and likely won't. I took a job as a consultant.

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2 hours ago, Instinctive said:

I have finally been authorized to take the oath for admission to the CA Bar. School lost transcript request somehow so had to get one re-sent, as well as me slacking and not taking MPRE until August of this year and not doing my moral character application until the summer began.

 

Planning to just go take oath in front of a notary, rather than go to one of the ceremonies or find time with a judge (none of whom do I know). Any regrets I may have doing this rather than going through ceremony? Not a big pomp and circumstance guy, and I'll be super pleased just to get the certificate of admission in the mail when it comes.

 

Any thoughts on going inactive immediately? I'm not practicing, and likely won't. I took a job as a consultant.

If you're not going to actively practice, just get sworn in by a notary.   The mass swearing-in ceremonies are stupid unless you're looking to go to a cocktail reception and try to hook up with a newly-admitted lawyer afterward.

If you choose a judge to swear you in, they'll remember you.   If you were practicing and intended to be in court a lot, it can help.   After I'd been practicing for a while, I got sworn in to Washington by a California judge who I appeared before regularly.   He was honored by the request and we had a nice conversation in his chambers.   A judge will give you a little more latitude if they know who you are.   

I'd go inactive immediately if you're not going to practice.  

Edited by -fish-
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Sometimes this is an incredibly difficult, strange profession where achievement can seem rather hollow. 

Today, consistent with an unexplainable pattern of achieving incredibly favorable results for clients charged with serious sex crimes (whether by way of an acquittal at trial or a favorable plea agreement), I obtained, after hundreds of hours of work and the combination of a well-crafted and argued motion to suppress as well as knowing the opposing counsel/prosecutor well enough to time a counter-offer offer at the precise moment in the case which significantly limited my client's exposure, an outcome so favorable that it would have seemed impossible at the case's inception. The case is high-profile, which means I'll be even more solicited as "the guy" in my jurisdiction for murders and very serious sex crimes, and the named partners at my firm couldn't be happier with me.

However, today, because of my work, a victim of sexual abuse suffered an emotional break down in court and had to be essentially carried out of the room after she mustered all the energy she could to tell her story - only to hear that my legal arguments overcame her emotional outcry. Her supporters and a few other onlookers shot me looks of pure hate as if I had committed the actions alleged in the indictment myself. While I know that I, of course, didn't commit those actions and I merely did my job well within the procedural and ethical rules of my jurisdiction, I can't help but wonder if I just silenced some other victim of abuse from coming forward.   And, if so, how can I not feel terrible about that?

But I can't really think about this empirical question because, at 10 PM after working since 6:30 AM, I still have to respond to few more emails as efficiently as possible so I can get to bed and wake up tomorrow to do the work necessary to repeat what I did today. 

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10 hours ago, Zow said:

Sometimes this is an incredibly difficult, strange profession where achievement can seem rather hollow. 

Today, consistent with an unexplainable pattern of achieving incredibly favorable results for clients charged with serious sex crimes (whether by way of an acquittal at trial or a favorable plea agreement), I obtained, after hundreds of hours of work and the combination of a well-crafted and argued motion to suppress as well as knowing the opposing counsel/prosecutor well enough to time a counter-offer offer at the precise moment in the case which significantly limited my client's exposure, an outcome so favorable that it would have seemed impossible at the case's inception. The case is high-profile, which means I'll be even more solicited as "the guy" in my jurisdiction for murders and very serious sex crimes, and the named partners at my firm couldn't be happier with me.

However, today, because of my work, a victim of sexual abuse suffered an emotional break down in court and had to be essentially carried out of the room after she mustered all the energy she could to tell her story - only to hear that my legal arguments overcame her emotional outcry. Her supporters and a few other onlookers shot me looks of pure hate as if I had committed the actions alleged in the indictment myself. While I know that I, of course, didn't commit those actions and I merely did my job well within the procedural and ethical rules of my jurisdiction, I can't help but wonder if I just silenced some other victim of abuse from coming forward.   And, if so, how can I not feel terrible about that?

But I can't really think about this empirical question because, at 10 PM after working since 6:30 AM, I still have to respond to few more emails as efficiently as possible so I can get to bed and wake up tomorrow to do the work necessary to repeat what I did today. 

I think I shared with you once the story of the Therapist/rapist I got off who them victimized another patient.  For me, I could not rationalize that I was merely representing one side in an adversarial process, a necessary cog in that process.  I had to switch sides.  Prosecution was not nearly as lucrative as defense work, but it was work I could be proud of, or so I hoped.  In the end know this, at least from my experience, there are decisions made from either side of that aisle that are at least partially imposed upon us as lawyers by clients, ethical precepts, and exigencies of individual cases that will leave one with moral quandaries and uncertainties. No side has a monopoly on doing the lord's work. Justice is the goal, the goal is unattainable, at least consistently, but the goal is worthy of our striving to reach it, each side of the equation.

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15 hours ago, Zow said:

Sometimes this is an incredibly difficult, strange profession where achievement can seem rather hollow. 

Today, consistent with an unexplainable pattern of achieving incredibly favorable results for clients charged with serious sex crimes (whether by way of an acquittal at trial or a favorable plea agreement), I obtained, after hundreds of hours of work and the combination of a well-crafted and argued motion to suppress as well as knowing the opposing counsel/prosecutor well enough to time a counter-offer offer at the precise moment in the case which significantly limited my client's exposure, an outcome so favorable that it would have seemed impossible at the case's inception. The case is high-profile, which means I'll be even more solicited as "the guy" in my jurisdiction for murders and very serious sex crimes, and the named partners at my firm couldn't be happier with me.

However, today, because of my work, a victim of sexual abuse suffered an emotional break down in court and had to be essentially carried out of the room after she mustered all the energy she could to tell her story - only to hear that my legal arguments overcame her emotional outcry. Her supporters and a few other onlookers shot me looks of pure hate as if I had committed the actions alleged in the indictment myself. While I know that I, of course, didn't commit those actions and I merely did my job well within the procedural and ethical rules of my jurisdiction, I can't help but wonder if I just silenced some other victim of abuse from coming forward.   And, if so, how can I not feel terrible about that?

But I can't really think about this empirical question because, at 10 PM after working since 6:30 AM, I still have to respond to few more emails as efficiently as possible so I can get to bed and wake up tomorrow to do the work necessary to repeat what I did today. 

I have respect for both prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys, but there's no way I could do that.   Give me taking my cut of money that is getting pushed from an insurance company I don't care about to a client I don't care about any day.

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I remember in law school finding criminal law fascinating.  We had a professor who was pretty invested in showing the human side of things, so he'd often assign contemporary news articles with our cases.  His bottom line for us one day was, "it is the most important law you can practice, but you've gotta have the stomach for it."

Admittedly, I do not.

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8 hours ago, Ditkaless Wonders said:

I think I shared with you once the story of the Therapist/rapist I got off who them victimized another patient.  For me, I could not rationalize that I was merely representing one side in an adversarial process, a necessary cog in that process.  I had to switch sides.  Prosecution was not nearly as lucrative as defense work, but it was work I could be proud of, or so I hoped.  In the end know this, at least from my experience, there are decisions made from either side of that aisle that are at least partially imposed upon us as lawyers by clients, ethical precepts, and exigencies of individual cases that will leave one with moral quandaries and uncertainties. No side has a monopoly on doing the lord's work. Justice is the goal, the goal is unattainable, at least consistently, but the goal is worthy of our striving to reach it, each side of the equation.

really well said.

thanx

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In two and a half hours it’s official: my law firm goes live as a solo practitioner appellate (primarily) and plaintiff firm, while I continue “Of Counsel” at my current firm.  I managed to negotiate for my firm to keep paying me my full salary plus the amount they currently pay in payroll taxes and giving me a percentage of cases despite being an independent contractor who can work from home at will and take other cases. 

Finally again some measure of independence and recognition that I’m no one’s associate.  Can’t even explain how much lighter I feel. 

Happy New Year, everyone. 

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2 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

In two and a half hours it’s official: my law firm goes live as a solo practitioner appellate (primarily) and plaintiff firm, while I continue “Of Counsel” at my current firm.  I managed to negotiate for my firm to keep paying me my full salary plus the amount they currently pay in payroll taxes and giving me a percentage of cases despite being an independent contractor who can work from home at will and take other cases. 

Finally again some measure of independence and recognition that I’m no one’s associate.  Can’t even explain how much lighter I feel. 

Happy New Year, everyone. 

Congrats, Henry.

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1 minute ago, -fish- said:

Congrats, Henry.

Thanks, man.  Starting the solo work is awesome, but having an annual contract in place that keeps me afloat no matter what and reconducts if it isn’t cancelled in time is a big load off my mind. 

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21 minutes ago, Henry Ford said:

Thanks, man.  Starting the solo work is awesome, but having an annual contract in place that keeps me afloat no matter what and reconducts if it isn’t cancelled in time is a big load off my mind. 

Yeah, that's a great position.  You'll love being solo.

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3 minutes ago, -fish- said:

Yeah, that's a great position.  You'll love being solo.

Gave a CLE on appellate work for plaintiffs last week and forgot how much that’s needed here.  Had requests for my card from a dozen people who said they had work.  

Feels like it may work out. 

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If I could be 100% appellate work with $150-250 per hour plus 15-25% of the eventual attorney’s fees on the case if it got turned around I’d be happier than I’ve ever been in my life. 

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13 hours ago, Henry Ford said:

If I could be 100% appellate work with $150-250 per hour plus 15-25% of the eventual attorney’s fees on the case if it got turned around I’d be happier than I’ve ever been in my life. 

Awesome GB  Best of luck.

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Here's something I was pondering today regarding our profession:

Elon Musk is a guy who looks at the big, huge picture, years or decades out, and takes action now to literally change the world.  He started Tesla to help wean the world from fossil fuels and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (which by all accounts he has achieved rather successfully).  He started SpaceX because he believes colonizing Mars and other planets is crucial to the long-term survival of our species.  He claims that we could start colonizing Mars within 10 years.

And yet, in our professional, it all feels very old fashioned.  We're still writing on legal pads in depositions.  We're doing things more or less in the same ways.  Yes there are some vendors out there who are using AI to speed up doc review or to help write basic agreements, but by and large it feels like we are dinosaurs.

What is the next huge change on the horizon for us?  Are we going to become obsolete if we don't adapt? Is there major opportunity in offering legal services in some truly innovative ways? What's are some things that we in our profession can do in that same vein as Musk, things that are transformative? 

In part I ask this out of curiosity, and in part I ask this because I wonder what I might do as a "next step" in my career, beyond what I've been doing for 20 years and would continue to do for another 20 in a traditional law firm.

The best I can come up with is an area that I find super interesting and which clients are all freaking out about (which suggests there is true opportunity there) is big data/AI/data privacy/etc.  Lots of really interesting IP/privacy/cyber issues in there.  Obviously some big firms have these practices, but not many.  I wonder about starting up some new boutique that specializes in one-stop shopping across all these "data law" areas.  And then providing the services on some unique fee arrangements (fixed monthly fee, we handle all your needs, not at super cheap rates but cheaper than the biggest firms), and some new forward-thinking ways of delivering services.

But even this is just the most minor step forward.  It's not that interesting or unique.  It's opening a firm that is somewhat cutting edge and focusing on a cutting edge practice area where there, I am banking, will be some significant needs in the coming decades.

It ain't great, but it's the best I've got.  Other thoughts on all this?

 

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