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LegalGround >> What Does "I'm a Lawyer" really mean?


7/22/08 2:04 PM
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cycklops
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 Help me understand what it means to be a lwyer. I understand you guys are gonna throw the jokes out there and stuff but this is a serious question so please....

If you decide you want to go to law school, what have you decided? What does a lawyer do on a daily basis? At what point during law school do you start to narrow down what field you want to specialize in? How does that work. I know there are a million different aspects of law but how do you narrow down what you want to do? Does this mean you HAVE to do time in court? Can you get your JD, pass the bar, and never see the inside of a courtroom?

I'm clueless when it comes to this subject obviously so I was looking for insight. Why did you become a layer?
7/23/08 8:26 AM
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cycklops
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Care to elaborate? Not on the ass raping aspect of a law degree, but perhaps what troubles you about it.

If it is such a brutal profession, why stay? Surely if it were really that bad there'd be another profession that would be more fulfilling. So why become a lawyer and why stick with it? Do you actually feel that you are helping people and that is part of the allure? Is it strictly the salary that's appealing?

What type of work and what type of pay does a person make that gets a law degree from a small unknown school and only graduates at the low end of the 50th percentile? They are still a lawyer so what separates them from another?

7/23/08 12:25 PM
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Steve72
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cycklops -  Can you get your JD, pass the bar, and never see the inside of a courtroom?


 I've got my J.D.  I passed two bars.  I've been in practice for nearly ten years. 

I haven't set foot inside a courtroom since my trial advocacy final in my third year of law school.
7/23/08 5:29 PM
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bflex
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If you decide you want to go to law school, what have you decided? To torture yourself for three painful years and, if you are slightly better than the average lawyer, make a good fucking living after those three years.

What does a lawyer do on a daily basis? I'm in court everyday fighting for Truth! Justice! And the American Way! Which usually involves mass quantities of alcohol and cocaine possession.

At what point during law school do you start to narrow down what field you want to specialize in? I knew from the first day that I wanted to to criminal defense.

How does that work. I know there are a million different aspects of law but how do you narrow down what you want to do? Personal preference.

Does this mean you HAVE to do time in court? As a criminal attorney, yes, you have to go to court.

Can you get your JD, pass the bar, and never see the inside of a courtroom? Absolutely, I think most lawyers hardly ever go to court.

If it is such a brutal profession, why stay? Surely if it were really that bad there'd be another profession that would be more fulfilling. It can be brutal, but it helped me get my MBA. Mega Bank Account. I actually like what I do and I get paid well for it.

So why become a lawyer and why stick with it? I'm pretty passionate about it. I like it. Oh yeah, I make a lot of money.

Do you actually feel that you are helping people and that is part of the allure? It started out that way. Sometimes it is part of the allure. Most of the time I just like to screw the State.

Is it strictly the salary that's appealing? No, but it is very important.

What type of work and what type of pay does a person make that gets a law degree from a small unknown school and only graduates at the low end of the 50th percentile? Those people are called State Attorneys and/or District Attorneys. They don't get paid very well.

They are still a lawyer so what separates them from another? Tallent and ability.
7/23/08 9:39 PM
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Hiza Geri
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bflex = my kind of lawyer.

It's easy to screw the state when it involves certain law enforcement departments/agencies!
7/23/08 10:41 PM
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cycklops
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 That was actually informative.

Can you practice law as a suplement to a law enforcement career?
7/23/08 11:12 PM
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Hiza Geri
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I know a couple of those types, too. Sure you can. I, personally, don't know why you would, though. I can promise I do as much investigation as any officer of any type.
7/24/08 1:39 AM
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Shaz
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bflex -
What type of work and what type of pay does a person make that gets a law degree from a small unknown school and only graduates at the low end of the 50th percentile? Those people are called State Attorneys and/or District Attorneys. They don't get paid very well.

Hey!

-Shaz!
7/24/08 5:36 PM
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Dojosensei
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bflex...

I know this is a stupid question but...

Have you ever defending someone you damn well knew was guilty as fuck? If so, doesn't that make you just as slimy as they are?

Not bashing attorneys, I'm just asking about morality with attorneys. If you know they are guilty do you still defend them or do you decline due to your own morals?
7/25/08 1:56 AM
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Xtina
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Edited: 07/25/08 1:56 AM
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If you're on the lower half of the spectrum, do you really think it's worth taking on 150k in debt? 
7/25/08 11:06 AM
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Hiza Geri
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Dojo-
I am a criminal defense lawyer, and I have represented guilty people. The overwhelming majority of convicts need representation, if for nothing else, than to act as a counterweight to the desires of the State and its elected officials (district attorney, attorneys general, etc.). Without going into a dissertation, sentences can vary widely for no other reason than the ability of someone to help mediate the situation. Not to mention the VERY LARGE NUMBER of constitutional violations committed by officers in the field (it's easy to do, not ripping the officers); I don't want a constitution ripping cop trying to send me to jail. In addition, even though many of my clients may be guilty of SOMETHING, that doesn't necessarily mean they are guilty of what the State is claiming they are guilty of.
7/25/08 9:26 PM
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bflex
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Have you ever defending someone you damn well knew was guilty as fuck? Everyday, but defending somebody who you know is guilty of DWI/DUI isn't as trying as defending somebody who raped a kid.

If so, doesn't that make you just as slimy as they are? Nope. I'm there to make sure that their rights are protected, I'm not condoning their behavior.

If you know they are guilty do you still defend them or do you decline due to your own morals? If they can pay me what I want, I'll defend them. DWI's aren't all that much. I haven't done any sex cases in a while, but if somebody walked into my office with $45,000, I wouldn't turn them away. Would I do it for much less, probably not. It isn't about my morality, I've never raped anybody.
7/25/08 10:38 PM
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Hiza Geri
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I have to come clean - I seriously doubt I would represent an animal abuser. Animals can't make false claims, can't be "trained" or coerced to say something that isn't true, and are, usually, the most trusting creatures there are- until they get brutalized.

F*#K Michael Vick; he got off lightly.
7/25/08 11:18 PM
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cycklops
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 xtina,

What's going on with that graph between 60k and 130k?
7/26/08 2:19 AM
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Shaz
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Dojosensei - bflex...

I know this is a stupid question but...

Have you ever defending someone you damn well knew was guilty as fuck? If so, doesn't that make you just as slimy as they are?

Not bashing attorneys, I'm just asking about morality with attorneys. If you know they are guilty do you still defend them or do you decline due to your own morals?
Dude, show me a defense attorney who refuses to represent guilty people and I'll show you an unemployed defense attorney.The vast majority of defendants are guilty, but that's not the issue.  99% of cases are resolved pre-trial, usually by plea, and the attorney is trying to get the best deal possible for their client.

-Shaz!
 
7/26/08 12:49 PM
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cycklops
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 Doesn't a part of you NOT want to get a better deal for your client? I understand you gotta make a living but do you feel you've lost part of your soul in the process? Not knocking, just wondering how you cope.
7/26/08 1:45 PM
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Shaz
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 I cope by being a prosecutor and putting these guys in jail :)

-Shaz!
7/26/08 2:43 PM
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Hiza Geri
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No coping required in many cases. The overwhelming majority are drug offenses and offenses that are related to having a drug addiction. When you start to hear the other side of the story, it takes on a different light.

Also, some crimes are just ridiculous. In my state, if you sell sex toys (yes, even a vibrator), you are guilty of a crime!!! Who wouldn't want to represent someone charged of that ridiculous "crime"?!

It is RARE to find a situation that is just "black and white". Well, except the Rodney King stuff...
7/26/08 2:45 PM
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cycklops
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 Where were you when Tommy Chong got 8 months?
7/26/08 5:37 PM
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Fake Pie
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"What's going on with that graph between 60k and 130k? "

The first big spike is the median for normal lawyers. It gets lower obviously as salaries rise.

The second spike is the median for Biglaw. It gets lower obviously as salaries rise.

Basically the graph is two completely different groups of lawyers on one graph. The first half is most lawyers, the second half is Biglaw lawyers.
7/26/08 7:37 PM
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Xtina
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 ^ yup.  it means that, for the graduating class of 2006,  there is a large number of lawyers who make about 40k to start, and a second group who makes 135k to start.  not as many people make starting salarties between those two figures. 

i haven't researched the starting salary figures for other industries, but it does seem like a weird distibution.  there have been studies and articles written about the salary tiers in the legal field.  the one i took that chart from is here:  http://www.elsblog.org/the_empirical_legal_studi/2007/09/distribution-of.html.  (not matbattle.  this time). 
7/26/08 10:20 PM
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Hiza Geri
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 Where were you when Tommy Chong got 8 months?

I would have represented him for FREE!
7/26/08 11:32 PM
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cycklops
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 Is that basically everyone's aspiration, get into biglaw?

When considering the graph, can I assume that both lawyers, the median lawyer and the biglaw lawyer, could have gone to the same school but the biglaw lawyer performed better? Or am I way off?
7/26/08 11:33 PM
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cycklops
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 Can you got a mediocre law school and get into the upper echelon?
7/26/08 11:34 PM
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Steve72
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cycklops -  Can you got a mediocre law school and get into the upper echelon?

 Absolutely.

...If your uncle is a senior partner.



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