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douginamherst
08-11-2020, 03:13 PM
My son has 3 semesters of college remaining before starting law school. He is looking for guidance on what type(s) of law he should practice if he wants to live in small towns/cities in the US. The cost, congestion, and crime of big cities does not provide the lifestyle he prefers.


He is majoring in History and Political Science and minoring in French and Legal studies. He has a 4.0 GPA while working 20+ hours a week at Chick-fil-A for 2 years. Yes, I am very proud to call him my son!


Can you offer any suggestions or guidance on types of law that would be valuable in smaller localities? Or, suggestions on whom he should talk to?


Thanks,

Doug

LawDog
08-11-2020, 03:28 PM
That's broad, man. That's like asking what kind of a woman to marry. (The answer, of course, is a redhead.)

Most days, I like being a criminal lawyer, because I'm a criminal and a lawyer. But there are some days that I think tax law could actually be enjoyable. In tax, the rules actually mean something, rather than judges just making stuff up as they go along. Family law seems like the most miserable existence that I could possibly fathom. Before I graduated law school, a really smart and successful guy recommended that I pursue ERISA law (the regulatory law governing mandatory funding of retirement programs). I'm sure I would have made more money, but I doubt I would have had more fun.

I think this may be one of those areas where 'the wizard doesn't choose the wand; the wand chooses the wizard.'

Papa
08-11-2020, 05:32 PM
If I were to start actual practice again, I'd defend wrongfully accused and/or terminated peace officers, including the pursuit of civil damages and remedies available under federal law.

Dorkface
08-11-2020, 05:55 PM
Practice Breaking The. :finger:

Hasher
08-11-2020, 06:39 PM
None

we don’t need any more lawyers.

Mr. Anthony
08-11-2020, 08:02 PM
My standard response is that unless someone knows FOR SURE that they want to be an attorney, and CANNOT imagine doing anything else, they should absolutely not go to law school. Too many people go because "it seems like a good idea" or because they don't know what else to do. This is folly.

I have a huge number of people I graduated with who are no longer active (including myself) because they got burned out, didn't love it, found something else, etc. And typically you're saddled with debt afterwards.

All I do with my degree any more is write the contracts for the business I own.

Made lifelong friends, it was cool to practice for a while, glad I had so much courtroom experience, but...

Meh.

Just be positive it's what he wants.

Brent Yamamoto
08-11-2020, 08:20 PM
Not that I am recommending it, but an ERISA attorney will always be able to find a job.

Having worked in the retirement industry for nearly 20 years, like many topics there are parts that are dry, but there’s quite a bit of interesting stuff to do. The lawyers I’m sure had an easier time of it than I did.

WinstonSmith
08-11-2020, 08:33 PM
A good friend is a small town lawyer.

He deals with the scummiest of clients, everything from criminal defense to guardian ad lidem (representing minors in abuse/divorce cases), estate planning, divorce, small claims, civil suits, you name it. Basically, my take is he has to be a jack of all trades.

And he has literally had his life threatened by family members of little children he has been forced to represent. After some prodding from me, he now carries a firearm on home visits and to court.

I respect him, but I think we would both not choose his path (if he got to do it over again).

His career is simply to pay the bills, whereas I actually enjoy my work.

firebird6
08-11-2020, 09:12 PM
I have lived everything above for the last 32 years. Including people threatening my family and showing up at my house over debt collection cases, because some dimwit at a nearby bar association put my home address and phone number on the internet without permission.

Unless you have an existing practice, do something else. You can thank me later. The affordable care act killed my collections practice, and my last gig was with the NCAA cataloging their database for litigation and defending their concussion cases. No college sports right now so COVID killed that. I have a friend, a fellow attorney, who starts truck driving school next week - after 5 years of under employment.

I know top 10% attorneys with multiple state licenses, and LLMs doing document review for $23 an hour half the year and begging the rest of the time. Several of them are tax guys with ERISA experience. ( No Offense to Brent) I know ex corporate counsel selling mattresses at Macy's for commission. If you think you'll be lucky and get a job, you won't. If you think you're too smart, you aren't. If you think you will work harder, it won't matter.

What kind of law should you practice? The kind where you get a degree in medicine.

If you have the right demographics you might have a chance. But I know plenty of BLM liberals doing document review too.

jesselp
08-12-2020, 05:16 AM
My wife was miserable for all ten of her years in law. She want to a top ranked law school in her mid-20s ďso she would have a career by age 30Ē and came out with a job earning six figures at a Manhattan law firm. She loved law school, and hated practicing law.

The minute I started earning enough for her to do so, she quit. My life would certainly be easier with another couple of hundred grand coming in every year, but her misery was not worth it. Now the kids have their mom at home when they get off the school bus and not a nanny - and she has been able to manage their education through COVID which has been invaluable.

Her advice to anyone who will listen: donít go to law school. Seeing the lives of my friends who chose that path, I tend to agree.

Papa
08-12-2020, 06:43 AM
I told my kids I wouldn't pay for law school. And I told them to make their own mistakes, not to repeat mine.

Gunstore Commando
08-12-2020, 07:11 AM
we donít need any more lawyers.

No, *we* need more lawyers.

*They* have plenty of lawyers already.

But ask yourself, "is this really a calling?".

Sgt398
08-12-2020, 08:01 AM
For what it's worth, here is my input. I was a cop in a large city for twenty-five years before I obtain my law degree and passed the Bar. In the beginning, I worked for a couple of different law firms and started at the bottom in each office. The bottom was Domestic Relations (divorce, custody, child support, protection from abuse petitions, etc). Suddenly, I was dealing with threats on an almost daily basis. You might think it no big deal; I was a cop, so just go back to carrying. However, in this State, it is unlawful for anyone, other than a law enforcement officer, to enter a courtroom with a firearm. That significantly limited my ability to carry. In addition, family law matters are normally drawn out and lengthy. Rather than things calming down with a little time, sometimes the situation can become even more emotional and inflamed with time. After trying my hand at criminal law, I eventually took a boring desk job as an attorney with the federal government. My advice, stay away from domestic relations and criminal law.

M_P_E
08-12-2020, 08:33 AM
You need to know more about you before you can answer this question. We can't answer it for you. But here are some general thoughts:

You need to get out and see what various types of practice entail on a day in, day out basis. What does that life look like - set hours, 24/7 on-call, impossible deadlines, work you can pace and manage in a logical way, or ????. Different types of practice necessarily involve different sorts of work/life balance and work pace metrics. Know what you're looking at and what you want before you jump into it.

By pure happenstance I ended up in the family law arena. It was supposed to be a temporary gig. After years of litigation in the family courts, specifically in representing domestic violence victims, I moved to the other side of the room and was appointed to hear those cases. On balance, it is an improvement - I work set hours, I do not work evenings or weekends, I actually have way fewer threats/stalkers/etc. than I did when in practice, I don't have to talk to anyone I don't want to talk to, and other attorneys have to be respectful toward me whether they want to or not. But I miss the flexibility that practice afforded me - if I wanted to take an afternoon off to mow the grass or go for a hike, who cares, I can always finish trial prep after the sun goes down - and I dislike some of the restrictions that the judicial ethics codes place on me - disallowing most outside income generation, political activity, involvement in city government, etc.. But most of all I really miss winning: granted that I no longer win or lose, since I instead get to decide whether someone else wins or loses, but I can assure you that that is far less exhilarating to me than a courtroom win was. I realized after about six months of presiding over these cases that even though I did not miss the stress and the 24/7 that the litigation practice involved, I did miss the excitement of a trial and of a victory, and I missed it a lot.

I have friends who do transactional work and patent work. They make a ton of money but their work seems mind-numbing to me. I have friends who do plaintiff's side personal injury, that seems to be a nice balance between human interaction, writing, negotiation, and courtroom work, actually. I have friends who are in-house counsel, or who are small-town jack-of-all-trades, or who are big firm partners. All of us have different experiences in our profession. For someone considering law school and a legal career, you need to at least see, HANDS ON, what some of these roles look like because they are NOT all the same. Not in the least.

My wife had a law practice of her own for a number of years, working as a solo practitioner with two offices and staff. She hated it, partly because of the work but mostly due to the business ownership/operation side of things. She found other non-lawyer work, shuttered her practice, and is now much happier and consistently brings home more than she did in most of her lawyer years, has retirement, benefits, etc.. She often remarks to people who are interested in law school that people need to know going in that law school and being a lawyer are not the same. Lots of people who love law school end up profoundly disappointed that practice looks nothing like law school. Practice is just a high-stakes, high-stress customer service job most of the time, not an intellectual pursuit unto itself or an opportunity for genteel cerebral sparring between fellow member of the bar. Keep that in mind, too.

There's nothing wrong with going into law. Just make sure you know what you're actually getting into and that it is a good fit for you. Make sure you seek out a corner of the profession where you can make a living; being a small town lawyer doing divorces for $2,500 and wills for $300 is not going to get you far in life. And make sure you figure out how to pay for your legal education without going into debt, because it is not worth it; just listen to the Dave Ramsey calls from broke lawyers with $200k in debt and $40k in income if you don't believe me.

Knowing what I know now, I would not do it again.

Herbert West
08-12-2020, 09:31 AM
What kind of law should you practice? The kind where you get a degree in medicine.

A medical degree is quite limiting in actuality. A surgeon cannot practice family medicine, a Radiologist can only practice their specialty, likewise for the various specialties of medicine, an internist cn do telemedicine, an anesthesiologist cannot, merely simple examples. An attorney, though limited to his legal area of expertise can use his legal training applied to various aspects of different businesses/corporations, administrative /management positions, and the like. So his options are greater. I also find it curious to be asking this on gun forum.

WinstonSmith
08-12-2020, 10:10 AM
I also find it curious to be asking this on gun forum.

Let's be real about this. WT is more of a lifestyle forum. Guns are just part of it.

Brent Yamamoto
08-12-2020, 11:05 AM
Let's be real about this. WT is more of a lifestyle forum. Guns are just part of it.

This.

WT is about mindset. It’s about life and lifestyle. It’s about encouragement and inspiration. It’s about becoming and being dangerous towards the enemies of freedom and goodness. It’s about building a life worth living and building a stronger relationship with God, family and tribe. It’s about staying informed on issues big and small. In that sense, guns are just an accessory.

And it has to be said that it’s a marketing vehicle for training and equipment...but all of that supports becoming stronger, more capable and more dangerous.

It’s definitely not just a gun forum.

WinstonSmith
08-12-2020, 11:23 AM
100%.

And it's also a place for mental health improvement, compared to all of those who accept weakness, victimhood, failure, and pettiness. Or at least it is for me, which is why my participation is higher here when the world is more off axis than normal.

Mike OTDP
08-13-2020, 06:19 PM
I might take a look at patent law. Although my personal advice would be to major in some branch of Engineering...but that, too, is a Calling. If you don't have both the motivation and aptitude, you won't survive it.

douginamherst
08-13-2020, 06:47 PM
I want to thank all of you for helping my son on his journey. As a good father I’ve strived to give both kids the best guidance I could. Often that meant reaching out to trusted others who know more than me about the topic. The members here are both trusted and subject matter experts.

I posted this under Living Well because that is what the question is ultimately about.

As Brent stated:
“WT is about mindset. It’s about life and lifestyle. It’s about encouragement and inspiration. It’s about becoming and being dangerous towards the enemies of freedom and goodness. It’s about building a life worth living and building a stronger relationship with God, family and tribe. It’s about staying informed on issues big and small. In that sense, guns are just an accessory.”

This forum has made me a better man, husband, father, and in turn the next generation is better as a result.

Thank you.

Harborcat
08-13-2020, 07:12 PM
I started my career as a corporate transactional lawyer at a very large law firm doing M&A and corporate finance deals. After 7 years I transitioned into investment banking then into hedge funds. I now run a small. private equity firm. Working as a lawyer was great with respect to the skills I developed and the relationships I forged. The rest of it was a bunch of bullshit

Sam Spade
08-13-2020, 07:17 PM
IANAL, but I do consider myself a professional in the classic sense. In my opinion, the professions are lifestyles and as such they should be callings. (Yeah, Iím kind of a romantic.)

So based on that, Iíd say take the thoughts you get and go pray.

Huntindoc
08-13-2020, 07:41 PM
I have a good friend who practices in Houston. Whenever someone asks him what kind of lawyer he is he answers “An expensive one.”

Shooter Ready
08-16-2020, 11:45 AM
Working as a lawyer was great with respect to the skills I developed and the relationships I forged. The rest of it was a bunch of bullshit

Education is overrated. It is not the Golden Ticket to a successful life. Your values and motivation will be greater indicators of the likelihood you will meet your goals in life. Some of the most content people I have met have fairly modest goals, but they are better off than the doctor or lawyer who hates their job and can't wait to escape.

In our area, every third person is a lawyer or has one in their family. When we were on the interview tour for colleges a few years ago, law school types were indicating that they were taking kids they would have never considered because the job market is so bad.

Professional schools have become less financially worthwhile due to the debt burden and limited renumeration/compensation. Even our local public law school will run $60,000 yearly, so one has to wonder if the skills and relationships earned will justify the time and cost.

I'm astounded by how many lawyers I meet who work in nonprofits. They are frequently the ones who complain about my bill.

Here's an amusing anecdotal article about attorneys working in retail.

https://bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Magazine/July-August-2017/How-Many-Former-Lawyers-Work-at-Bethesdas-Williams-Sonoma/

LawDog
08-16-2020, 09:30 PM
Education is overrated. No. Diplomas are overrated. An education is essential. You donít have to get a sheepskin from an Ivy League school, but you do need an education.

One of the most educated and successful men I know is an 8th grade dropout. His childhood is a horror story. But heís smart and he works hard. He knew, though, that hard work alone would only get you so far. You donít have to look far to find some hard-working Mexican mowing lawns twelve hours a day, who barely gets by. Itís skills that make you rich. He reads constantly. He educated himself. Thatís a hard way to learn, but itíll work.

You need an education to succeed. But you donít have to get it at a university.

Puddle
08-17-2020, 01:05 PM
My standard response is that unless someone knows FOR SURE that they want to be an attorney, and CANNOT imagine doing anything else, they should absolutely not go to law school. Too many people go because "it seems like a good idea" or because they don't know what else to do. This is folly.

I have a huge number of people I graduated with who are no longer active (including myself) because they got burned out, didn't love it, found something else, etc. And typically you're saddled with debt afterwards.

All I do with my degree any more is write the contracts for the business I own.

Made lifelong friends, it was cool to practice for a while, glad I had so much courtroom experience, but...

Meh.

Just be positive it's what he wants.

+1