Solo practice with celebrity client

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CelebLawyer

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Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby CelebLawyer » Fri Feb 15, 2019 9:02 am

I wanted to post knowing my experience has been atypical, but sharing the path I've taken and answering any questions. My intention is to keep myself and my clients anonymous, so if you know who I/they are, I ask that spots not be blown.

I was one of the people who went to law school because I wanted to be in business for myself. I posted on TLS during the admissions process and never really understood the obsession with getting hired (by then I was in my mid-20s and already had experience in the "real world"). Same thing in law school...but I got it, even if you did your own thing eventually, you wanted experience working under someone else first.

Went to what would be considered a T2 school, had decent/average grades. Got involved in local politics because I had a personal interest in it. Worked on some campaigns. When I passed the bar, a state senator I helped elect took me to lunch and was asking me about law school because he was interested in taking night classes.

We stayed in touch (in the meantime I got my feet wet working at a small firm for admittedly little money for some months) and one night over Facebook messenger I told the senator I was interested in doing legislation. Didn't realize he was trying to fill that position and he hired me on the spot to be his counsel and legislative director.

Lesson #1: The senator couldn't care less what school I'd attended. He was just impressed with me personally and admired that he'd seen me become a lawyer.

That was my dream job, in terms of the work I was doing, even though I never really wanted to work for anyone. As for the money, you know how government salaries are...Not tremendous, but still almost double what the small firm paid. Definitely comfortable.

I did that for a year, ran his entire legislative operation. Had my own office at the state Capitol with interns, wrote bills that are now state law. Loved it, though I never quite acclimated to the workplace culture and had problems in that area.

The whole time I was gaining tons of political connects and getting my face/name out there - it was the job. Ended up running for office. Did very well in some districts, won the Democratic nomination in a crowded primary, gained the senator's and other endorsements, but lost the general election.

By now I was well known in my area and people consistently called me for legal help. When you're a "public figure," people do expect you to do a lot of pro bono work, but paying clients can also fall into your lap. A political connect called and asked me to be the election lawyer for a celebrity running for office. The "machine" tried knocking my client off the ballot and the case went up to the highest court in the state. I won, arguing against Hillary Clinton's chief counsel and some other powerful lawyers.

Between the case and the appeals I made tens of thousands in a few months and was suddenly in high demand. Without doing any advertising, I had an unintentional booming solo practice. On top of that, my celebrity client was so impressed they ended up hiring me to do ALL their legal work, including negotiate and take a cut of their multi million dollar contracts.

Today I'm making over 3K a day, on good days. Doing this well is new to me and I'm trying to save what I can because I'm still in the mindset that everything can stop tomorrow. I'm completely solo (not even an assistant) and working from home, which has its benefits - you keep more money - but I'm getting to the point that may not be feasible.

It's been only a few years since law school. Again, I don't think my experience is the norm, and I've undoubtedly been blessed with some good luck. But I found networking and not being afraid to pay some dues pay dividends in the long run.

Would be happy to take questions, but forgive me if I don't go into personal details to preserve anonymity.

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Sinatra

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby Sinatra » Fri Feb 15, 2019 10:00 am

Congrats? Seems like a weird flex, bro

ughbugchugplug

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby ughbugchugplug » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:42 am

CelebLawyer wrote:I wanted to post knowing my experience has been atypical, but sharing the path I've taken and answering any questions. My intention is to keep myself and my clients anonymous, so if you know who I/they are, I ask that spots not be blown.

I was one of the people who went to law school because I wanted to be in business for myself. I posted on TLS during the admissions process and never really understood the obsession with getting hired (by then I was in my mid-20s and already had experience in the "real world"). Same thing in law school...but I got it, even if you did your own thing eventually, you wanted experience working under someone else first.

Went to what would be considered a T2 school, had decent/average grades. Got involved in local politics because I had a personal interest in it. Worked on some campaigns. When I passed the bar, a state senator I helped elect took me to lunch and was asking me about law school because he was interested in taking night classes.

We stayed in touch (in the meantime I got my feet wet working at a small firm for admittedly little money for some months) and one night over Facebook messenger I told the senator I was interested in doing legislation. Didn't realize he was trying to fill that position and he hired me on the spot to be his counsel and legislative director.

Lesson #1: The senator couldn't care less what school I'd attended. He was just impressed with me personally and admired that he'd seen me become a lawyer.

That was my dream job, in terms of the work I was doing, even though I never really wanted to work for anyone. As for the money, you know how government salaries are...Not tremendous, but still almost double what the small firm paid. Definitely comfortable.

I did that for a year, ran his entire legislative operation. Had my own office at the state Capitol with interns, wrote bills that are now state law. Loved it, though I never quite acclimated to the workplace culture and had problems in that area.

The whole time I was gaining tons of political connects and getting my face/name out there - it was the job. Ended up running for office. Did very well in some districts, won the Democratic nomination in a crowded primary, gained the senator's and other endorsements, but lost the general election.

By now I was well known in my area and people consistently called me for legal help. When you're a "public figure," people do expect you to do a lot of pro bono work, but paying clients can also fall into your lap. A political connect called and asked me to be the election lawyer for a celebrity running for office. The "machine" tried knocking my client off the ballot and the case went up to the highest court in the state. I won, arguing against Hillary Clinton's chief counsel and some other powerful lawyers.

Between the case and the appeals I made tens of thousands in a few months and was suddenly in high demand. Without doing any advertising, I had an unintentional booming solo practice. On top of that, my celebrity client was so impressed they ended up hiring me to do ALL their legal work, including negotiate and take a cut of their multi million dollar contracts.

Today I'm making over 3K a day, on good days. Doing this well is new to me and I'm trying to save what I can because I'm still in the mindset that everything can stop tomorrow. I'm completely solo (not even an assistant) and working from home, which has its benefits - you keep more money - but I'm getting to the point that may not be feasible.

It's been only a few years since law school. Again, I don't think my experience is the norm, and I've undoubtedly been blessed with some good luck. But I found networking and not being afraid to pay some dues pay dividends in the long run.

Would be happy to take questions, but forgive me if I don't go into personal details to preserve anonymity.


Are you Michael Cohen and if so how are you posting from prison?

More seriously, how did you go about getting into local politics? I want to do the same but am not clear what the first steps are. I live in a heavily machine-run state

CelebLawyer

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby CelebLawyer » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:54 am

Sinatra wrote:Congrats? Seems like a weird flex, bro


Flex as in showing off or just weird career path in general? If the former, not my intention. If the latter, yes, I'm sure it isn't typical. But I think we all can carve a path that suits us.

CelebLawyer

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby CelebLawyer » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:03 am

ughbugchugplug wrote:More seriously, how did you go about getting into local politics? I want to do the same but am not clear what the first steps are. I live in a heavily machine-run state


I'd give myself away if I revealed everything I did, but: campaigns need election lawyers. You can volunteer to work under the main attorney, which basically means you do all the work for nothing and the main attorney comes in once a week to sign off on your work. You can also volunteer to work on policy/etc. for a campaign. Or show up to an elected official's office and offer to come in and give free legal advice once a week. Or if there's a big issue in your neighborhood and the residents want to sue (a slumlord or the city or whomever) offer to file a suit pro bono. There are a lot of ways to get creative, but people admire lawyers, especially ones willing to help. In local politics, I find most people with aspirations aren't attorneys, so you'll be treated as something of a hot shot immediately if you play your cards right. You can also do the standard campaign stuff - phone banking, door knocking. Go to your local club meetings and civics. Start a civic or non-profit of your own if there's a void you can fill. Ultimately you want to use your skillset and passions to make yourself stand out.

objctnyrhnr

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby objctnyrhnr » Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:20 pm

Who supports you while you do all this stuff for free?

CelebLawyer

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby CelebLawyer » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:32 am

objctnyrhnr wrote:Who supports you while you do all this stuff for free?


You have to work to earn money and also volunteer. You'll have little time for hobbies beyond public service.

cavalier1138

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby cavalier1138 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:33 am

CelebLawyer wrote:But I think we all can carve a path that suits us.


Lucky for you, the path that "suits you" apparently involves pulling in tons of cash by representing high-profile clients. How many lawyers that go down the solo practice road end up getting that result?

nixy

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby nixy » Fri Feb 22, 2019 9:40 am

I think it's helpful to see examples of career paths other than the typical big law --> in-house or government. As long as a poster isn't trying to claim anyone and everyone is going to have the same results, I think it's good for people to see that careers take all kinds of directions. I think it's pretty clear from the OP that there's quite a bit of luck/serendipity involved (e.g. calling up the contact just at the moment that contact wanted to hire a legislative director).

objctnyrhnr

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby objctnyrhnr » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:51 pm

CelebLawyer wrote:
objctnyrhnr wrote:Who supports you while you do all this stuff for free?


You have to work to earn money and also volunteer. You'll have little time for hobbies beyond public service.


So what types of work are you referring to? Like legal work? If so what type? Or do you mean like Uber

nixy

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby nixy » Fri Feb 22, 2019 10:19 pm

I thought it was pretty clear the volunteering was while he was doing the legal jobs he talked about (small firm, counsel for the senator).

Dunnkirk85

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby Dunnkirk85 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 11:17 am

What is the point to this post?

objctnyrhnr

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby objctnyrhnr » Sat Feb 23, 2019 12:45 pm

Dunnkirk85 wrote:What is the point to this post?


OP wanted to tell us about how he graduated from a mediocre law school then worked in shitlaw while doing a lot of volunteering and now he makes solid money working for state senator/s...I think.

objctnyrhnr

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby objctnyrhnr » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:24 pm

I guess my gripe with these types of humblebrag unicorn outcome from ttt posts is that they effectively insinuate that anybody just has a bit of hustle and social skills can achieve some unicorn-type outcome from a ttt...and therefore that common tls wisdom that you need to hit biglaw or have a really good system for loan repayment or have minimal loans is bad and elitist. (And yes I acknowledge that OP did not say this, him/herself)

Of course, the fact that this standard tls sentiment might sound a bit elitist does not make it wrong; in fact, when applied in the aggregate, it is of course correct...thereby rendering OPs outcome a complete anomaly and one that absolutely cannot be counted on.

In sum, my concern is that 0Ls will read this and take it as reason to disregard the common sentiment that I described above. I’m not saying OP (even if a little gratuitously braggy) was bad-intentioned, of course. I’m just saying that, to the extent that the purpose of TlS is to provide guidance for 0L’s and law students, I think that these anecdotes are counter-productive.

nixy

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Re: Solo practice with celebrity client

Postby nixy » Sat Feb 23, 2019 1:59 pm

I agree that they can be taken entirely the wrong way, but I also think one of the problems about going into law is that people/0Ls tend to view it as only following a few very standardized paths, and then they get freaked out/don't know how to deal if they don't end up one one of those paths. I think there's actually a lot more variety in legal work than sites like this tend to recognize, and so posts like the OP's can be helpful. I agree they run the risk of being taken as prescriptive rather than descriptive (and I absolutely think if someone came here as an 0L and said their goal was to do what the OP has done they should absolutely disabused of the idea that they can plan their career that way). But I think anecdotes about less common uses of the JD are still useful as reminders to think broadly about options and take advantage of connections.

I also think that even if an 0L took this kind of career path as their goal, the general wisdom about where to go to school/how to handle loans would still be totally applicable. Though I get that not all 0Ls will understand that. So I get that such posts have to be offered/discussed with caution, but I still think they're interesting. (Even though this one will probably fuel all the uninformed "I want a JD to GET INTO POLITICS" 0L posts.)



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