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Henry Ford

The Lawyer Thread Where We Stop Ruining Other Threads

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Really looking forward to paying my dues for about the next decade do that I can pay off the house, sock away a cushion, and then open up my own small practice out of my home. WIN

Can the folks who went out on their own chime in? I spoke to a guy recently who was working at a big firm in DC and finally had it. He joined one of those virtual firms and moved his family down to Palm beach. He said life is wonderful and he works when and where he wants and spends all the time he wants with his kids. Sounds like he is making pretty solid money too. I feel I am doing something wrong.

I never did BigLaw but I can give you some insight into the transition to working for myself.

Out of law school I worked for a solo and did a little bit of everything but mostly real estate and transactional stuff. Rarely went to court. For the most part I hated it but it paid the bills a little. I have a background in government and politics and when I got my law degree it was for that arena and not to be a trial attorney. But things changed and it was a good thing I had the law degree. A small firm local to my neighborhood started hiring for a replacement associate and I gave them a call because I knew one of the partners through real estate deals. It was pretty much a match almost instantly. The interview was more about picking my office then seeing if I was a fit for the job. Again, though, it was a small firm. My salary almost doubled but I still wasn't making 6 figures like many of the BigLaw associates seem to do.

The day I started the partners dropped dozens of files on my desk and pretty much told me to get them done. Much of the stuff I had really no clue about, but I pushed through and managed to get a few wins for the partners on summary judgment motions and settled a few PI cases with little out of pocket turmoil and I managed to make almost triple my salary without too much fanfare for them. All that did was have them drop basically the entire civil case load of the firm on my desk. So I was swamped constantly while they showed up late left early and played around in the office all day.

Now, small caveat there, one of the partners had a young son and he never, and I mean never, missed his kids games or school stuff. And because of that, he told me flat out that they will never expect me to be there if my kid had a game and as long as my work got done when it was supposed to and I was making the money I could go whenever I had to. So I am already in a different spot than most big law guys. I never missed a game or show. But after a few years of being the main business generator on the civil files and working my butt off I wasn't getting anywhere on partner track. I had to fight with them twice for a raise that both times still made me vastly underpaid for the norm in New Jersey, but I always was ok with that to an extent because I was still able to leave whenever I wanted to see a game or show. Vacations were tough and I had to give a crap ton of notice, but they let me have time so that we could do our Disney trips.

3 years ago it all came to boiling point. I was getting a lot of clients telling me, unprompted, that if I ever left the firm they would come with me (and these were clients that were with that firm for years before I got there). I also had almost universal respect from the local legal community and almost all of them were flabergasted that I hadn't gone out on my own given my reputation and what they knew I was making (it's a small community). This was the only point in my marriage where my wife and I couldn't stand each other. I was miserable, gained 40 pounds, smoked and drank like I was living the last days of my life and didn't care, and just generally a mess up and down. The stress of not moving ahead in the firm and knowing that there was at least one other firm that would hire me in a heart beat coupled with thinking maybe it was time to go out on my own was really too much to deal with. My marriage almost ended. I still remember a 3 day stretch where I literally did not sleep. I was researching opening a firm, dealing with a few cases going to trial, coming up with budget after budget on the house in case I did go out on my own and failed. Finally it was my wife who gave me the ultimatum - pick something or else.

And just as a really quick aside, my faith helped and I prayed a lot and I felt like every sign and signal and gut feeling was telling me to go out on my own. But that's another thread.

So, one night, I called a friend from church who owns a construction company and I asked him how much it would cost to retrofit a small office inside another firms office that offered me space. I took him over, he looked at what I needed and told me that he would do it for free if I bought breakfast. For whatever reason it was the sign I needed to know I should just do it. So I spent the next three days building an office inside an office and writing an exit memo that ended up being 50 pages long on every case I had active. I gave my notice and told them I would stay for a month so that I could train the new associate they would have to hire. They were pissed and after two days told me not to come back.

Which threw me and my plans a lot because I wasn't expecting that. I figured I had a month. But then, nothing. I wasn't ready logistically for the move, but they forced me so on a Thursday in August I didn't have a job and went to my new "office" with nothing to do but wonder what an awful thing I did to my family. That afternoon I got a call on my cell phone from a friend from church who said they had a friend who needed to talk to a lawyer immediately. I told them to come over to my new place. Client came in told me that they had a spouse who they just found out was cheating, hiding money, the whole most awful possible divorce scenario possible and said they wanted me to help. My first chance to name my own retainer, deal with my own client, intake it the way I want. I have to admit...... I was scared to death in that moment. I knew how much the case would cost in my firm. I knew how much they would take as a retainer. I figured there was no way that they would ever pay me that when it was obvious I was in gypsy mode office wise. For whatever reason I just figured what the hell and told the client that I would need a $10,000.00 retainer to take the case. Wrote me a check on the spot.

What happened after that is still amazing to me (and again, I will leave my faith part out of it). Within a week 70 clients from the old firm transfered their files to me. A handful of new clients found me. OVerall within a month I had more work then I could handle. And it just never stopped and hasn't to this day. There are peaks and valleys. I have had to deal with a 3 month stretch where no money came in at all. Some accounts have gone to collection and back at times. But every bill personal and business is paid up to date. I set my own rules, I screen my own clients, I answer to no one. I have fired clients that I just don't want to deal with, money or not, and I have taken cases pro bono that my firm never would have let me. I just left my office last Thursday with a tablet and a cell phone, bought a car (that thread is around somewhere.... I went with the Acadia by the way) and took the car to DC with the kids for a getaway. We still do our vacations. My marriage has never been better. The legal community I work in still holds me in high regard and it's now gotten where the titans of certain fields in my area actually refer me their overflow work now which is an amazing confirmation that they trust me to handle their clients in the stuff they specialize in. I have days in my office where I really just putz around on this website and do a few letters and keep everything running smoothly. I have days where I don't make it home until everyone is in bed because I'm swamped. But I still never miss a game or show. If not for the court appearance I have today I could just go play golf if I wanted to (although the snow kinda sucks). All in all I really wouldn't trade it for the world.

Our savings were destroyed in some of those valleys of no money coming in. It happens. But after three years I have blown away my salary at the firm working on my own terms. There is still stress. But it's a much different kind of stress. I've been approached by two very large firms who want me to come work for them on an accelerated partner track. At this moment they would have to pay me so much money to consider that that it would bankrupt them. I have it just way way too good. It's one of the many reasons why I am in awe of some of the guys and gals here that post that work in big firms or did, like you. I could never do that. I enjoy family time and down time just way too much to even consider doing that to myself. I could probably make a crap ton more money than I do now, but I'm not starving and the time I get with my family is worth more to me than a billable hour.

So that's my going out on my own story. I highly recommend it. It's liberating and scary as hell and good for all the right reasons if you have a head on your shoulders and do things the right way. It isn't easy, but nothing worth anything really is.

This is a great story. It does indeed sound like the grass is greenest right where you stand. As for the two large firms that want you to come work for them on an accelerated partner track? F that. You are profitable and have your own book of business. No reason for them not to bring you on as a full partner (not that you'd want to anyway).

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This is like hell on earth.

You just described the careers of all the posters in here.

If I could keep doing what I'm doing and getting paid what I get paid for the foreseeable future, that would suit me just fine. No need for me to work harder so I can earn more and more year over year. Pretty content with things as they are.

I'd prefer to make what I make as a bartender on a beach in the Keys to be honest. I could so pull off the beach bum with a heart of gold and hidden trust account life style.

Well I'd prefer to make what I make as a rock star. Everyone has their dreams. But as far as the practice of law goes, I'm pretty darn content where I'm at. The problem, however, is that it is unlikely that I can just keep doing what I'm doing and getting paid what I get paid for the balance of my career. There is increasing downward rate pressure from clients with respect to the area in which I practice, and increasing upward rate pressure from my firm as they seek to increase firm profitability. At some point, probably in the next 5 years or so, the numbers just won't work. So I'll need to specialize my practice in certain less rate-sensitive areas (something that I've already been doing), or I'll need to figure out a different model. So as much as I'd like things just to stay as they are for the rest of my career, that's probably as much a pipe dream as a profitable career as a rock star.

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Great story Y23. Its very inspiring to hear.

For sure it is, thanks for sharing it.

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I'm an IP attorney (biotech patents mostly) and did 10 years at one of the biggest big firms before taking an in-house gig at a little biotech company 2 years ago. I'm about 1000% happier here. I do all the stuff I like to do and none of the stuff I don't - if I never write another patent application it will be too soon - I send all that #### to outside counsel.

My take home went down by about 20%, but if we make it to exit the stock should more than make up for it, and I'm optimistic we'll make it to exit. Frankly, even if we don't, the improvement in my quality of life is more than worth it.

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So..... in court yesterday and a lawyer friend asked me a question. She worked for a firm. She left and went someplace else for more money. Not a bad break at all. Just a typical move. In her new place now. Client from the old firm comes to her and wants her to take the business so she does. She does some small things, nothing major. Client is happy. She tells me that the client came in last week furious. The old firm is suing for unpaid legal fees that client claims are not owed. Client wants her to represent him.

So, how underhanded is it to defend someone being sued by your old firm specifically for fees due to that old firm? I didn't have a good answer to that one. And it turns out that before she left that firm she actually did some work for this client and she is willing to be that the money claimed due would likely be from time she worked on the file.

It's an interesting question.

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So..... in court yesterday and a lawyer friend asked me a question. She worked for a firm. She left and went someplace else for more money. Not a bad break at all. Just a typical move. In her new place now. Client from the old firm comes to her and wants her to take the business so she does. She does some small things, nothing major. Client is happy. She tells me that the client came in last week furious. The old firm is suing for unpaid legal fees that client claims are not owed. Client wants her to represent him.

So, how underhanded is it to defend someone being sued by your old firm specifically for fees due to that old firm? I didn't have a good answer to that one. And it turns out that before she left that firm she actually did some work for this client and she is willing to be that the money claimed due would likely be from time she worked on the file.

It's an interesting question.

I don't think it's underhanded per se, but she's sure to have information she wouldn't have had if she hadn't worked there, and is almost certainly a witness in the case. Does your jurisdiction have an ethics hotline? I'd recommend calling it. She may be conflicted out under your rules.

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So..... in court yesterday and a lawyer friend asked me a question. She worked for a firm. She left and went someplace else for more money. Not a bad break at all. Just a typical move. In her new place now. Client from the old firm comes to her and wants her to take the business so she does. She does some small things, nothing major. Client is happy. She tells me that the client came in last week furious. The old firm is suing for unpaid legal fees that client claims are not owed. Client wants her to represent him.

So, how underhanded is it to defend someone being sued by your old firm specifically for fees due to that old firm? I didn't have a good answer to that one. And it turns out that before she left that firm she actually did some work for this client and she is willing to be that the money claimed due would likely be from time she worked on the file.

It's an interesting question.

I don't think it's underhanded per se, but she's sure to have information she wouldn't have had if she hadn't worked there, and is almost certainly a witness in the case. Does your jurisdiction have an ethics hotline? I'd recommend calling it. She may be conflicted out under your rules.

We do and she's not. We have an arbitration process for this specific kind of case. No witnesses. And our conflict rules changed a lot recently and many things you would think could be a conflict might not be any more. For example, if we can get information through normal discovery in a case, then just because we know that information already about the other side in a potential conflict question doesn't a conflict make. In other words, if we are going to find out anyway there is no conflict. Dumbed down of course. Obviously the more technical and difficult the case and question the harder the answer.

But, I can represent a couple when they buy a house and see and deal with all of their financials and then a few years down the line represent one of them in their divorce against the other. There is nothing I know from the real estate deal that isn't admissible and proper in normal discovery in a divorce. Now whether it's smart to do stuff like that is a whole other story.

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So..... in court yesterday and a lawyer friend asked me a question. She worked for a firm. She left and went someplace else for more money. Not a bad break at all. Just a typical move. In her new place now. Client from the old firm comes to her and wants her to take the business so she does. She does some small things, nothing major. Client is happy. She tells me that the client came in last week furious. The old firm is suing for unpaid legal fees that client claims are not owed. Client wants her to represent him.

So, how underhanded is it to defend someone being sued by your old firm specifically for fees due to that old firm? I didn't have a good answer to that one. And it turns out that before she left that firm she actually did some work for this client and she is willing to be that the money claimed due would likely be from time she worked on the file.

It's an interesting question.

I don't think it's underhanded per se, but she's sure to have information she wouldn't have had if she hadn't worked there, and is almost certainly a witness in the case. Does your jurisdiction have an ethics hotline? I'd recommend calling it. She may be conflicted out under your rules.

We do and she's not. We have an arbitration process for this specific kind of case. No witnesses. And our conflict rules changed a lot recently and many things you would think could be a conflict might not be any more. For example, if we can get information through normal discovery in a case, then just because we know that information already about the other side in a potential conflict question doesn't a conflict make. In other words, if we are going to find out anyway there is no conflict. Dumbed down of course. Obviously the more technical and difficult the case and question the harder the answer.

But, I can represent a couple when they buy a house and see and deal with all of their financials and then a few years down the line represent one of them in their divorce against the other. There is nothing I know from the real estate deal that isn't admissible and proper in normal discovery in a divorce. Now whether it's smart to do stuff like that is a whole other story.

If she's at all involved in the billing, I'd recommend outside counsel.

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I would never want to represent and be paid by a client in a case where my testimony as a fact witness may be the reason that the client loses the case.

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So..... in court yesterday and a lawyer friend asked me a question. She worked for a firm. She left and went someplace else for more money. Not a bad break at all. Just a typical move. In her new place now. Client from the old firm comes to her and wants her to take the business so she does. She does some small things, nothing major. Client is happy. She tells me that the client came in last week furious. The old firm is suing for unpaid legal fees that client claims are not owed. Client wants her to represent him.

So, how underhanded is it to defend someone being sued by your old firm specifically for fees due to that old firm? I didn't have a good answer to that one. And it turns out that before she left that firm she actually did some work for this client and she is willing to be that the money claimed due would likely be from time she worked on the file.

It's an interesting question.

Wow - no question imo, no way she can do this.

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I don't know. My first reaction is always if you have to ask you already know the answer... but I'm not so sure on this one. Glad it's not me but it is an interesting question to me.

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I don't know. My first reaction is always if you have to ask you already know the answer... but I'm not so sure on this one. Glad it's not me but it is an interesting question to me.

If it helps, I'm extremely sure on this one. But of course, I'm in a different state with different rules.

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Yeah, a quick glance at the NJ Rules suggest the conflicts rules (R.P.C. 1.7-1.9) don't apply on their face, but the lawyer/witness rule (R.P.C. 3.7) does. So I suppose she could represent the client to the extent that she insists she isn't a necessary witness. But if she is, she would be disqualified, so a Chinese Wall seems appropriate.

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Interesting scenario- curious what the group thinks about this-

7 or 8 years ago I represented a law firm on an IP matter, really just a series of letters, nothing came of it. It was a one off thing, and I never heard from them again.

Cut to earlier this week, and I hear from a longstanding client who received a threat letter on an entirely unrelated matter from this same law firm acting on behalf of its client.

No conflict in representing my longstanding client here, right?

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Interesting scenario- curious what the group thinks about this-

7 or 8 years ago I represented a law firm on an IP matter, really just a series of letters, nothing came of it. It was a one off thing, and I never heard from them again.

Cut to earlier this week, and I hear from a longstanding client who received a threat letter on an entirely unrelated matter from this same law firm acting on behalf of its client.

No conflict in representing my longstanding client here, right?

So long as you don't reveal information related to the earlier matter, you're fine under Model R.P.C. 1.9

http://www.americanbar.org/groups/professional_responsibility/publications/model_rules_of_professional_conduct/rule_1_9_duties_of_former_clients.html

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Interesting scenario- curious what the group thinks about this-

7 or 8 years ago I represented a law firm on an IP matter, really just a series of letters, nothing came of it. It was a one off thing, and I never heard from them again.

Cut to earlier this week, and I hear from a longstanding client who received a threat letter on an entirely unrelated matter from this same law firm acting on behalf of its client.

No conflict in representing my longstanding client here, right?

The fact that you describe this as an "interesting scenario" is why people don't think much of lawyers.

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Interesting scenario- curious what the group thinks about this-

7 or 8 years ago I represented a law firm on an IP matter, really just a series of letters, nothing came of it. It was a one off thing, and I never heard from them again.

Cut to earlier this week, and I hear from a longstanding client who received a threat letter on an entirely unrelated matter from this same law firm acting on behalf of its client.

No conflict in representing my longstanding client here, right?

I wouldn't be terribly concerned, but I'd remind the law firm who I am with a phone call before writing any letters. Something like "Hey, Jim, it's me Ned. I represented your firm on an IP matter many years ago. Listen, I have this longstanding client who received a letter from your firm..."

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Can this double as the complaining lawyers thread??

I am being paid for full-time work yet haven't had any work to do since Wednesday and <10 hours this week in total. Pay your dues, grasshopper. ;)

Wtf?!

Really looking forward to paying my dues for about the next decade do that I can pay off the house, sock away a cushion, and then open up my own small practice out of my home. WIN

Can the folks who went out on their own chime in? I spoke to a guy recently who was working at a big firm in DC and finally had it. He joined one of those virtual firms and moved his family down to Palm beach. He said life is wonderful and he works when and where he wants and spends all the time he wants with his kids. Sounds like he is making pretty solid money too. I feel I am doing something wrong.

These two posts are related. The work I'm doing now is for "one of those virtual firms". I get paid more than I expected (about the same in salary, but no bonus, stock, etc. so still significantly less I did before I tried to retire), pick and choose the assignments I want and am right now on a long-term (at least a year) assignment where I work from wherever I want. I'm getting paid for what they call full-time, which is theoretically 50 hours per week, but no one has seemed to care that since October I've only reached 50 hours once. I call it to people's attention frequently and ask for more work, and I've volunteered for projects that are outside of what I'm hired to do, but still I don't work that much, do all my work from my couch, and have no stress.

It's an nice break after so many years of 80-100 hour weeks, but I'm not sure I can do it long-term. I miss having a team and having more responsibility.

Edited by krista4

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Can this double as the complaining lawyers thread??

I am being paid for full-time work yet haven't had any work to do since Wednesday and <10 hours this week in total. Pay your dues, grasshopper. ;)

Wtf?!

Really looking forward to paying my dues for about the next decade do that I can pay off the house, sock away a cushion, and then open up my own small practice out of my home. WIN

Can the folks who went out on their own chime in? I spoke to a guy recently who was working at a big firm in DC and finally had it. He joined one of those virtual firms and moved his family down to Palm beach. He said life is wonderful and he works when and where he wants and spends all the time he wants with his kids. Sounds like he is making pretty solid money too. I feel I am doing something wrong.

These two posts are related. The work I'm doing now is for "one of those virtual firms". I get paid more than I expected (though still significantly less I did before I tried to retire), pick and choose the assignments I want and am right now on a long-term (at least a year) assignment where I work from wherever I want. I'm getting paid for what they call full-time, which is theoretically 50 hours per week, but no one has seemed to care that since October I've only reached 50 hours once. I call it to people's attention frequently and ask for more work, and I've volunteered for projects that are outside of what I'm hired to do, but still I don't work that much, do all my work from my couch, and have no stress.

It's an nice break after so many hours of 80-100 hour weeks, but I'm not sure I can do it long-term. I miss having a team and having more responsibility.

You guys need anyone in Louisiana? Come on, everyone needs local counsel in Louisiana. Napoleonic Code, #####!

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Question for non-Louisiana lawyers:

How much does "consideration" actually play with your contractual issues? Is this something that's actually litigated on a regular basis? I never have to deal with this.

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Question for non-Louisiana lawyers:

How much does "consideration" actually play with your contractual issues? Is this something that's actually litigated on a regular basis? I never have to deal with this.

The only case where it's ever mattered for me wasn't a contract case. It was a gambling case concerning internet sweepstakes cafes.

The gambling statute required "valuable consideration." We argued that the cafes sold internet time and that the sweepstakes were just promotional vehicles like McDonald's Monopoly game. Because nobody could just buy sweepstakes points, there was no consideration. We were about to lose anyway, but it was all rendered moot when the legislature explicitly made sweepstakes cafes illegal.

I still think we were right under the statute, but it's definitely a situation where I was representing people I didn't particularly like (in fairness, I thought the State's Attorneys were bigger weasels than I've ever been adverse to in a civil case).

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I just hear lawyers talk about consideration a lot in other jurisdictions, and foam at the mouth a bit. It's nice to be able to say "oh, sorry, my client's suing under Louisiana law in this MDL. I don't have any idea what you're talking about."

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I just hear lawyers talk about consideration a lot in other jurisdictions, and foam at the mouth a bit. It's nice to be able to say "oh, sorry, my client's suing under Louisiana law in this MDL. I don't have any idea what you're talking about."

Weird. I guess I have been in K cases where it's mattered, but only in one specific context. The underlying contract almost always states that there's consideration, but I've been in cases where one side has claimed that a subsequent agreement modified the contract and the other side has claimed it didn't because the modification lacked additional consideration.

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only time I've ever had to worry about consideration was in the context of non-competes. Washington requires separate consideration beyond continued employment.

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Napoleonic Code, #####!

:lmao:

We do play this up more than is probably warranted.

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I can't recall a case where I had to get in depth on consideration as anything other than a dispute as to how much is owed or was agreed to be paid.

Now, Accord and Satisfaction? That came to bite me in a big way one time in a summary judgment motion where my adversary pulled that one out in oral arguments, not in his papers, and the judge allowed it because frankly he was entertained by the whole case. Fricken accord and satisfaction.

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I just hear lawyers talk about consideration a lot in other jurisdictions, and foam at the mouth a bit. It's nice to be able to say "oh, sorry, my client's suing under Louisiana law in this MDL. I don't have any idea what you're talking about."

Do you have to prove that actual cause stuff? That sounds ten times more abstract than consideration.

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If you can't prove consideration, you go for promissory estoppel instead of breach of contract.

I only have to deal with "cause."

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I just hear lawyers talk about consideration a lot in other jurisdictions, and foam at the mouth a bit. It's nice to be able to say "oh, sorry, my client's suing under Louisiana law in this MDL. I don't have any idea what you're talking about."

Do you have to prove that actual cause stuff? That sounds ten times more abstract than consideration.

It's pretty tough to even suggest that a contract doesn't have cause. Cause is most often litigated when trying to void a contract.

In order to say that the contract doesn't have cause, you'd pretty much have to be able to ask the party why they signed the thing and get the answer "I don't have any idea."

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Since we are doing questions / horror stories...

Anyone do anything before the federal tax court? I may have to get a case up there for a client. Guy got defrauded about 13 years ago by a family member and tricked into pulling all the money out of his retirement accounts to , he thought, help pay for his sick parent's care - but the money was stolen by evil sibling. County prosecutor was notified eventually and the sibling was prosectued, so it's clear there is a criminal case sitting there showing my guy was a victim - but the IRS just this year dropped a 100K tax bill on him for the withdrawal. Client thought this was taken care of when the criminal thing was done and has never been notified of money owed, there are no judgments, etc. But now I have two notices on my desk for a crap ton of money to the IRS - and we all know I would love nother better than to stick it to the IRS.

So...... whose got some solid info on fed tax court trials for me?

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Since we are doing questions / horror stories...

Anyone do anything before the federal tax court? I may have to get a case up there for a client. Guy got defrauded about 13 years ago by a family member and tricked into pulling all the money out of his retirement accounts to , he thought, help pay for his sick parent's care - but the money was stolen by evil sibling. County prosecutor was notified eventually and the sibling was prosectued, so it's clear there is a criminal case sitting there showing my guy was a victim - but the IRS just this year dropped a 100K tax bill on him for the withdrawal. Client thought this was taken care of when the criminal thing was done and has never been notified of money owed, there are no judgments, etc. But now I have two notices on my desk for a crap ton of money to the IRS - and we all know I would love nother better than to stick it to the IRS.

So...... whose got some solid info on fed tax court trials for me?

I refer all my tax stuff to a friend in Texas. I'd be happy to ask any questions you'd like, though. He owes me.

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Since we are doing questions / horror stories...

Anyone do anything before the federal tax court? I may have to get a case up there for a client. Guy got defrauded about 13 years ago by a family member and tricked into pulling all the money out of his retirement accounts to , he thought, help pay for his sick parent's care - but the money was stolen by evil sibling. County prosecutor was notified eventually and the sibling was prosectued, so it's clear there is a criminal case sitting there showing my guy was a victim - but the IRS just this year dropped a 100K tax bill on him for the withdrawal. Client thought this was taken care of when the criminal thing was done and has never been notified of money owed, there are no judgments, etc. But now I have two notices on my desk for a crap ton of money to the IRS - and we all know I would love nother better than to stick it to the IRS.

So...... whose got some solid info on fed tax court trials for me?

Don't forget to get admitted!

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Since we are doing questions / horror stories...

Anyone do anything before the federal tax court? I may have to get a case up there for a client. Guy got defrauded about 13 years ago by a family member and tricked into pulling all the money out of his retirement accounts to , he thought, help pay for his sick parent's care - but the money was stolen by evil sibling. County prosecutor was notified eventually and the sibling was prosectued, so it's clear there is a criminal case sitting there showing my guy was a victim - but the IRS just this year dropped a 100K tax bill on him for the withdrawal. Client thought this was taken care of when the criminal thing was done and has never been notified of money owed, there are no judgments, etc. But now I have two notices on my desk for a crap ton of money to the IRS - and we all know I would love nother better than to stick it to the IRS.

So...... whose got some solid info on fed tax court trials for me?

Don't forget to get admitted!

Yeah I saw that. $35 bucks client costs to do so. Not so bad. The certificate from the New Jersey Supreme Court is going to be interesting though.

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I just received the strangest pleading from a defendant. I think opposing counsel forgot what we're suing his client for.

There are multiple defendants, and we alleged multiple causes of actions related to some industrial activity. We didn't know who did what until we got the contracts.

Opposing counsel just filed for MSJ and dismissal, and in arguing against one cause of action, actually admitted to all of the other causes of action.

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I just received the strangest pleading from a defendant. I think opposing counsel forgot what we're suing his client for.

There are multiple defendants, and we alleged multiple causes of actions related to some industrial activity. We didn't know who did what until we got the contracts.

Opposing counsel just filed for MSJ and dismissal, and in arguing against one cause of action, actually admitted to all of the other causes of action.

neat.

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I just received the strangest pleading from a defendant. I think opposing counsel forgot what we're suing his client for.

There are multiple defendants, and we alleged multiple causes of actions related to some industrial activity. We didn't know who did what until we got the contracts.

Opposing counsel just filed for MSJ and dismissal, and in arguing against one cause of action, actually admitted to all of the other causes of action.

neat.

I just don't know how to react. It's weird.

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Since we are doing questions / horror stories...

Anyone do anything before the federal tax court? I may have to get a case up there for a client. Guy got defrauded about 13 years ago by a family member and tricked into pulling all the money out of his retirement accounts to , he thought, help pay for his sick parent's care - but the money was stolen by evil sibling. County prosecutor was notified eventually and the sibling was prosectued, so it's clear there is a criminal case sitting there showing my guy was a victim - but the IRS just this year dropped a 100K tax bill on him for the withdrawal. Client thought this was taken care of when the criminal thing was done and has never been notified of money owed, there are no judgments, etc. But now I have two notices on my desk for a crap ton of money to the IRS - and we all know I would love nother better than to stick it to the IRS.

So...... whose got some solid info on fed tax court trials for me?

Has anyone contacted the IRS yet?

I used to work in the pension industry and got fines/penalties dismissed quite a few times for employers just by simply talking to someone at the IRS or by having letters sent.

I have all sorts of questions though.

The first is why a medical hardship distribution was even allowed. Unless the parent was somehow a legal dependent or beneficiary of you client, he didn't qualify for a hardship distribution. Medical hardship distributions are only allowed for the employee, the employees spouse, dependents or beneficiary.

So it seems like it's very possible that your client does actually owe the tax penalty on the distribution amount. But that begs the question of why the plan administrator allowed the distribution in the first place. If this is the case, your best outcome may be to plead for a reduction in interest and penalties for paying it on time, especially since it sounds like a long amount of time has passed before notice was given. (although it's certainly possible that your client did receive previous notices).

If your client's parent was a dependent or beneficiary for some reason, then it's a different ballgame and there are a lot more questions to be answered.

Either way, I'd certainly try contacting the IRS first before planning anything in tax court.

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Since we are doing questions / horror stories...

Anyone do anything before the federal tax court? I may have to get a case up there for a client. Guy got defrauded about 13 years ago by a family member and tricked into pulling all the money out of his retirement accounts to , he thought, help pay for his sick parent's care - but the money was stolen by evil sibling. County prosecutor was notified eventually and the sibling was prosectued, so it's clear there is a criminal case sitting there showing my guy was a victim - but the IRS just this year dropped a 100K tax bill on him for the withdrawal. Client thought this was taken care of when the criminal thing was done and has never been notified of money owed, there are no judgments, etc. But now I have two notices on my desk for a crap ton of money to the IRS - and we all know I would love nother better than to stick it to the IRS.

So...... whose got some solid info on fed tax court trials for me?

I'm a tax guy, but I mostly do planning, so I'm not going to be of much help. I had a case that I worked on pro bono, which was filed with the Tax Court, but got dismissed at Appeals before trial date. Getting admitted to the Tax Court was pretty easy. I think it's probably similar to what you are used to, but (at least in my case) principally talking with Appeals agent to settle instead of opposing counsel beforehand.

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If you can't prove consideration, you go for promissory estoppel instead of breach of contract.

I only have to deal with "cause."

Obligations, #####!!

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This is like hell on earth.

You just described the careers of all the posters in here.

If I could keep doing what I'm doing and getting paid what I get paid for the foreseeable future, that would suit me just fine. No need for me to work harder so I can earn more and more year over year. Pretty content with things as they are.

I'd prefer to make what I make as a bartender on a beach in the Keys to be honest. I could so pull off the beach bum with a heart of gold and hidden trust account life style.

Well I'd prefer to make what I make as a rock star. Everyone has their dreams. But as far as the practice of law goes, I'm pretty darn content where I'm at. The problem, however, is that it is unlikely that I can just keep doing what I'm doing and getting paid what I get paid for the balance of my career. There is increasing downward rate pressure from clients with respect to the area in which I practice, and increasing upward rate pressure from my firm as they seek to increase firm profitability. At some point, probably in the next 5 years or so, the numbers just won't work. So I'll need to specialize my practice in certain less rate-sensitive areas (something that I've already been doing), or I'll need to figure out a different model. So as much as I'd like things just to stay as they are for the rest of my career, that's probably as much a pipe dream as a profitable career as a rock star.

Biggie, the bolded is so true for so many of us in big firms. Ultimately, we can't all get pushed out of practice by these economics...

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Can this double as the complaining lawyers thread??

I am being paid for full-time work yet haven't had any work to do since Wednesday and <10 hours this week in total. Pay your dues, grasshopper. ;)

Wtf?!

Really looking forward to paying my dues for about the next decade do that I can pay off the house, sock away a cushion, and then open up my own small practice out of my home. WIN

Can the folks who went out on their own chime in? I spoke to a guy recently who was working at a big firm in DC and finally had it. He joined one of those virtual firms and moved his family down to Palm beach. He said life is wonderful and he works when and where he wants and spends all the time he wants with his kids. Sounds like he is making pretty solid money too. I feel I am doing something wrong.

These two posts are related. The work I'm doing now is for "one of those virtual firms". I get paid more than I expected (about the same in salary, but no bonus, stock, etc. so still significantly less I did before I tried to retire), pick and choose the assignments I want and am right now on a long-term (at least a year) assignment where I work from wherever I want. I'm getting paid for what they call full-time, which is theoretically 50 hours per week, but no one has seemed to care that since October I've only reached 50 hours once. I call it to people's attention frequently and ask for more work, and I've volunteered for projects that are outside of what I'm hired to do, but still I don't work that much, do all my work from my couch, and have no stress.

It's an nice break after so many years of 80-100 hour weeks, but I'm not sure I can do it long-term. I miss having a team and having more responsibility.

Pretty cool freedom that gig brings. Awesome.

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Hooper, I am not a lawyer but I work closely with them and I can tell you straight out that most lawyers absolutely prefer to settle rather than go to court. That doesn't mean that either side will capitulate just to avoid trial but if there's a settlement to be had they'll take it with pleasure. Doesn't mean there aren't evil, money hungry, jackholes out there but most are out to help their client more than to aggrandize themselves

Most "litigators" rarely go to trial...mostly because it's hard, and it cuts into profits.

Well that's not true. Trial is profitable. And it's stressful but many litigators look forward to it. Usually you don't go to trial a whole lot because the cases in your particular practice area settle often.

sorry, I'm a plaintiff so I never think about that. trial is less profitable for contingent fee lawyers, since it cuts into your effective hourly rate.

for defense guys and people getting paid hourly, I guess it just piles on the billable hours.

Pretty much. Occasionally, however, there are cases that just need to be tried in order to get the full value of the case. Typically this is the proverbial "all-or-nothing" case where liability is hotly disputed and there are huge damages which aren't as much in dispute. You just have to suck it up and disappear into your trial submarine for two or four weeks or whatever and get it done.

But yeah, having done defense work, nothing beats trial and trial prep for piling on the billable hours. It's downright easy to hit 250 hours for a month when you're in trial.

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