Small Law Firms

Earlier this week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

On Tuesday, you voted on the finalists, and now it’s time to announce the winner of our caption contest….

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I see no problems here.

Apparently I’m the crazy one here. None of my co-editors think it’s that cool or surprising that a law firm would take a company trip to the shooting range. Maybe it’s because I live in the Bay Area, and the only guns near me are the ones with which gangsters shoot each other.

It’s not like we’ve never mentioned attorneys who know their way around firearms before. We’ve covered the judge who reported pulled his piece in court, and the Supreme Court justices who went hunting together. But this is the first instance we’ve seen of any sort of institutional embrace of fun times with weapons.

Regardless, this New York-based boutique firm is taking the coolest field trip ever. And they aren’t just going to any shooting range, or shooting wimpy little .22′s…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Firm That Shoots Together, Stays Together”

Last week I asked if small-firm associates are screwed. According to the two who wrote to me directly, the answer is no. They both enjoy their small firms and are learning a lot from their small-firm partners/mentors. Interestingly, neither of them mentioned their future at the small-firm (i.e. what their chances are of making partner?) but instead focused solely on the present.

Nevertheless, I did not hear from any small-firm associates who said they are screwed. In other words, last week’s column did not go far enough in crushing the hopes and dreams of small-firm attorneys. Thus, this week I ask a (hopefully) even more depressing question: are small firms a good place for women attorneys who want to have a family?

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These muggers messed with the wrong attorney.

On Friday, a San Francisco lawyer single-handedly defeated a group of teenagers who tried to steal his cellphone, using only his Rockport shoes, some Jedi mind tricks… and the phone they tried to steal.

You do not want to mess with this badass Lawyer of the Day….

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Last week, we asked readers to submit possible captions for this photo:

Let’s have a look at what our readers came up with, and then vote on the finalists….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Caption Contest Finalists: Successful Troll Is Successful?”

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good New York to 190 post. As we’ve discussed before, associate salaries at New York law firms are long overdue for a raise. Starting salaries have stagnated in New York.

What’s worse, total associate compensation has gone down this year from last year, thanks to Cravath’s low bonus and the absence of spring bonuses. The buying power of a New York associate is pathetic.

But one new firm in New York seems poised to change that. The firm isn’t nearly as big as our salary market leaders, but the firm is leaving the stagnated Cravath salary scale in the dust…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “New York to $180K. I’m Totally Serious.”

Lawyers often let themselves be abused by clients. After all, the clients pay the fees, and because they pay the fees, they are entitled to behave how they want. Part of being a lawyer is learning that you have to accept clients who treat you and your staff like garbage.

And I’ve never understood that.

Sure, lawyers have clients that are emotional, anxious, demanding, time consuming, or confused, but our job is to try and use the “counselor” part of “attorney and counselor at law,” and help them through the journey as best as possible. Why that has to mean we just take their crap to no end is a ridiculous notion.

Small-firm lawyers are more often the recipients of abusive clients. The fees are usually being paid by an individual or small company instead of by some insurance company in another state. Instead of dealing with a legal issue that affects a whole company, it’s often someone’s marriage, injury, arrest, or contract dispute — something personal. The client has more of a one-on-one relationship with a lawyer and sees that lawyer as the reason for success, and failure.

The reason lawyers think state bars go after small-firm lawyers more than Biglaw lawyers is simple — there are more of us, and Biglaw clients usually (but not always) don’t see the bar disciplinary process as a worthy forum for their issues.

So we get threatened more, asked for fees back more, and often feel under siege by bad clients….

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An actual greyhound wouldn't have been so destructive.

Hey, don’t look at me, I spent my weekend planting Mountain Fire andromedas in my garden.

A man in Nashville allegedly went on an epic rampage, and he used somebody’s desk at a local law office as a restroom.

Like a boss….

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There are a lot of different definitions of success. Especially in this economy. For instance, some people think I’m not “successful” because I’m a 33-year-old man with two Harvard degrees making a blogger’s salary with no savings or assets while being mired in debt. On the other hand, I’m judgment proof, bitches.

People value different things differently.

In this weekend’s caption contest, we see a lawyer who doesn’t value having eyes quite the way most people do, and he wants an entire interstate to know it….

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Jason Smiekel

When we last checked in with Illinois attorney, Jason W. Smiekel, the man accused of taking out a hit on a former client (who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s fiancée), he was busy trying to convince a judge to release him on bail. Apparently he didn’t think murder for hire was a “crime of violence.” Needless to say, that was an exercise in futility.

In August, Smiekel pleaded not guilty to seven counts of using interstate facilities in his alleged murder-for-hire scheme. At the time, readers who knew Smiekel assured us that we would “see in the end that he is the victim in this whole fiasco.” They believed that the divorce lawyer’s fiancée — otherwise known as the “hot hot hot blonde” (HHHB) — was to blame.

But based on the plea deal that Smiekel took yesterday, that doesn’t seem to be the case….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chicago-Area Lawyer Didn’t Make a ‘Rational Decision’ When He Hired a Contract Killer to Off a Former Client”

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