Petition For Review

Monday, February 28, 2011

My salary

I saw a post today talking about median and average salary's for attorneys in my area. I knew my salary was low, I had no idea how low. I'm currently making 32% of the median salary and 28% of the average salary for my area. Sucks all the more since we have a pay freeze and lay offs are right around the corner. I'm honestly hitting the point were I'm ready to jump ship and join the private sector. If congress goes forward with the proposed budget cuts to LSC, we are doomed.

A common complaint among legal aid attorneys involves family law clients and their frequent phone calls. Because we are free they will call with the most mundane/obnoxious of issues. If each phone call cost them money, there is no way they would call with their questions and complaints. They no their is almost no consequence to call to deal with the "emergency" that has developed. If I were charging $150 an hour and my family law clients called with the same frequency, I'd only need 4 clients to make an excellent living. For $150 an hour I'd be happy to discuss with you what it means if your soon to be exhusband calls your child pre-school (hint it means he cares about your child) Hell for $150 an hour I'm happy to debate what it means that he has a new girlfriend (hint it means he's moved on, you should try it).

Also I'm announcing some new life rules.

1. If I get you a restraining order against your abuse spouse who harasses you and then file divorce paperwork on your behalf, you aren't allowed to reconcile. You are required to get divorced.

2. If you are on a dating website and you have kids, you must list that fact in your profile.

Lastly, good luck with your trial mellancollyeyes

Friday, January 28, 2011

Been far too long

Got an email asking me to allow a comment someone made on my post about being the rebound guy. Honestly before seeing that email I'd all but forgotten about this website. (Well actually that's a lie, I remembered every time I read notforthemonosyllabic) Here's an update on my life for the 94 of you who read my blog this past year.

I'm still in legal aid and can't say that I love it. I'm in a very small office and turnover has been very high. It is very frustrating seeing everyone around you leave. I understand why they are leaving, I envy them at times even, but it still disrupts office life for quite awhile.

I never realized as an intern how much the practice of law is just slogging through mundane crap day after day. It was all new and exciting as an intern. Writing a letter to a client letting them know that you will not accept their case no longer has any appeal to me. I also miss the good old days at the PD office when I didn't have to worry if I'd chosen the right person to help, I just helped whoever was assigned to me. Lastly, to end my rant sooner rather than later, I did not foresee how much I would dislike all the paperwork required for grants. Just give me money and tell me to help people. I'll help more people that way. Having me fill out 4 forms that no one every reads does not help anyone.

Onto my dating life. It's going about as well as my career. Dated a couple people over the last year. First one wasn't very serious. Second one got way too serious too quickly. Entirely my fault. Learned a valuable lesson. I thought I could get over any demons in someones past, I was wrong.

It has taken a long time to make friends and build a support system in a new community. I still have no idea how to meet people outside of school and the internet. My office is too small and my coworkers too married for anything to happen there. My social life consists of sitting alone at a bar having a couple beers and engaging in some idle chit chat with whoever sits next to me. You'd think that I'd meet someone this way sooner or later, but instead I swear I always sit next to a businessman from out of town. One guy was pretty cool, but he lived 3 states away.

Onto the positives. I was right about being a big fish in a small pond. I'm quickly getting a lot of experience, I'm well respected in the community and local bar, and I can afford to eat at any restaurant in town. I have a 4 minute commute to work. I almost never have to work weekends.

Maybe I'll start posting on here some more. Don't hold your breathe.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

E-Mail and I'm a winner

I won a case. Sure it was only a social security hearing, and sure I didn't even get to ask a single question, but it was my argument that the ALJ read and I'm the one who prepared my client for the ALJ's questions. It was an awesome feeling. When I got back to the office a different client yelled at me on the phone for 15 minutes. It was not an awesome feeling.

I almost never check the email associated with this website. Mostly because no one has ever emailed me, until now. Turns out in November my blog was ranked the 106th top blog in the field of criminal law by While I certainly don't think my blog should be ranked anywhere near that high, especially considering I'm only an honorary criminal law blogger, I'm honored nonetheless. Not that actually provided a link to my site, or any of the other 151 sites the mentioned. I was happy to see that the #1 spot went to Gideon.

In October I was offered a free copy of a book about law school in exchange for reviewing it on my blog. If that offer is still available you'll be seeing my review soon.

Lastly I was invited join the Bob Loblaw Attorney & Law student Web Ring. You should see a link to it down below now.

Friday, January 1, 2010


In four months I've come to realize how little I actually understood what it must be like to live in poverty. I always knew that being evicted would suck, but I just thought, well they'll just have to get a new place. Somehow it never occurred to me that if one is being evicted for not paying rent, they almost surely aren't going to have enough money to put down a security deposit on a new place. I also didn't fully appreciate how awful a money judgment can be for someone. Should our clients ever get a good paying job or come into some money it doesn't really help because they owe so many people money.

I did a lot of complaining about the job market and my struggles finding a job, but it really was nothing when compared against what my clients' go through on a regular basis. For one I had food and shelter during the time I was looking for a job. I had family I could live with for free if I couldn't find a job. And any job I found, no matter how much I complain about my low public interest salary, pays far beyond what my clients could hope to make.

I got all this because of my privileged upbringing. Sure I worked hard in school and I like to think I'm pretty smart, but without my family there is no way I'd be here. No way I would have worked multiple part time jobs to put myself through school. No way I would have been able to handle raising a child while going to school. I'm not only privileged, I'm weak.

As 2010 starts I'm trying to get a better understanding of what life must be like for my clients. I've decided to see if I can go an entire month without buying anything but food and necessities (i.e. toilet paper). Should be easy, but I love to shop, have a new house to decorate and have been reading books and magazines like crazy. Now I don't think this will give me any real insight into what my clients go through (after all I'm still going to be buying fresh local food and organic products whenever possible), but it will hopefully make me think more about the things I buy and the money I spend. Maybe make me appreciate how much I have.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let's see if I remember how to do this

The whole work/life balance thing has been kind of hard for me with the long ass commute. As that is now a thing of the past I will hopefully have more time for blogging (or more likely sleeping).

This is just awesome! I remain jealous as all hell.

I have been admitted to practice law finally. I also have business cards now. I've been handing those out to anyone and everyone who looks at me. Why yes it does say "Attorney" on there ma'am. Yes that is a reference to my position.

Moving along to the bread and butter of this blog (sadly), it's time to gripe about clients.

Dear Client,

I'm sorry if I have a little trouble caring about your case when you: 1. Don't care about custody or visitation if a DNA test proves the children you've been raising for 5 years are yours. 2. Do nothing after allegations that your child was raped.

(And to clarify, yes I was judging you during our interview.)


Dear Client,

No I don't think you are going to get Social Security. Your "condition" doesn't meet a listing. I agree that your condition is "severe" (I'm not sure how you ever managed to keep an appointment with our office) but that isn't going to fly with the ALJ.


Dear Client,

No I don't think you are going to get Social Security. You HAVEN'T EVEN APPLIED YET. Why are you bothering an attorney? The questions aren't exactly hard, they ask for information about you, no one other than you knows it.


Friday, October 23, 2009

I passed

In all honestly I was about 99% sure I passed the exam. I refused to admit this though as etiquette seems to require saying that you think you passed the exam. I was also afraid to admit it to myself for fear of jinxing it. Seeing my name on the list of those who passed was the biggest relief ever. If I can do that I can do anything.

In other news, I bought a house. I have a house, a pension and a career. Wife and kids still missing. Current prognosis for wife, not good.

Getting used to actually lawyering. Working for 8 hours straight is not as difficult anymore as I've become accustomed to it. I have one area of law down to the point where I can answer most questions that a client might have in a typical case. In other areas I know a lot less. Being better in one area is improving my confidence though. It just takes time to learn and time is not something that legal aid lawyers have an abundance of. At least I don't have to work on Saturday's or meet billable hour requirements. Firm life just sounds awful.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'm a horrible person

Date with the internet girl went pretty well. For various reasons I don't see a lot of long term potential with her, but we'll be able to have some fun for awhile. After dating law school girls for the past 3 years I forgot what normal people are like. In some ways this is nice as non law people are much nicer. In other ways it kind of sucks as non law people can be very stupid and care about inane things. I had some people I didn't like in law school and a couple people who's intelligence I genuinely questioned, but for the most part everyone was very smart, even if we disagreed on things. In the real world not everyone is smart enough to get over the 85 percentile on the LSAT. I forgot that.

I also forgot what a privileged life I've led. Despite having dirt poor clients at both my internships and now at my job, I somehow managed to miss that. I think in all my whining and complaining about my public interest salary I somehow remained oblivious to the fact that not everyone can afford gas to drive to work, or groceries to eat for an entire week, or to pay off all their bills every month. Yeah my salary sucks when compared to my friends working at firms, but compared to those working hourly jobs, my salary is awesome. And beyond that I have health insurance so getting sick doesn't financially ruin me. And if I don't make my loan payments it's not like they are going to turn off the power to my house, repo my car, or evict me from my house.

Now for why I'm a horrible person. Part of the reason why I don't think there is much of a future is that her financial situation made her one legal problem away from becoming a client. (And after drinks with dinner, her driving was one cop away from becoming a PD's client.) I defend myself by saying that 1. This wasn't a deal breaker, this was more a part of the totality of the circumstances and 2. I deal with these problems enough on a day to day basis with my clients, I don't need my relationships to have them as well.
Powered by WebRing.