Wednesday, June 27, 2012

New law grad who started blog to document going solo calls it quits

Back in April, we told you about a new blog - Hang Shingles/I Just Want to Practice Law - started by an unnamed recent law grad in the midwest who, after months of fruitlessly searching for a job, decided to hang a shingle - in his apartment bedroom.  His rent was dirt cheap - $250/month - and $3500 in savings helped him buy the basic office essentials. As he documented his efforts to make a go of it, we occasionally checked in to see how he was doing.

By May, he'd picked up a few court appointed cases and with the help of a mentor, was starting to learn how to do title abstracts. Not much income yet but he was hopeful. It takes time to nurture and grow any new business.

At the 90 day mark, this is what "I Just Want to Practice Law" had to show for his efforts:

Total Cases: 24

Currently Open Cases: 16

Completed Cases: 8

Types of Cases: Criminal defense, juvenile delinquency, CINA, termination of parental rights, mental commitment, employment, post-conviction relief.

Total hours billed: 93.8.  At $60/hr, that’s $5,628.

Total other expenses (miles, photocopies, stamps, etc.) billed: $450

Total money ACTUALLY received in payments: $404.10.  (Yup, you read that right.  I’ve got some on the horizon, but I’m just about out of money).

Total car expenses: 2 oil changes, 1 free battery.  Really have been lucky on this one.

Thirteen days later, he called it quits - taking a job at the local DA's office instead. Here's the epitaph he wrote for his solo career:

After 100 days, around 100 billed hours, and a roller coaster of a ride, I’m ending this.

Jeez, that sounded like a suicide note.

But seriously, I am taking a job as a prosecutor.  I found a community and group of people worth being a part of, and there are no regrets.  For all those who found inspiration in this chapter of my life, I’m humbled.  For all those who supported me during it, thank you.

So, can it be done?  Yes, it can be.

What a chapter worth living.  A time that truly will shape who I am in legal practice, and who I am as a person.  I think back to 100 days ago, and remember that moment when I could have just kept doing the same thing, or taken a risk.  I am so happy I took the risk.  No regrets.

On to the next chapter.

Godspeed, anonymous shingle-hanging blogging buddy.


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