Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Plan "B" - Scrounging For Solo Work

"Tom--

I've got a good one for you--mandatory pro bono assignments. I just got off the phone with some bureaucratic drone who's about to stick me with one, so I'm fit to be tied.

I've been temping for almost nine years, but in order to keep my head above water, I also handle real estate closings, municipal court work and anything else I can scare up. In New Jersey this means I've got to have an office--not just a mail drop and a telephone answering machine. So like a lot of other attorneys I have a home office.

Here's the catch--if you practice law in New Jersey and you maintain an office, you're subject to being screwed by the legal establishment yet again by being assigned a pro bono matter, usually from the Family Part of Superior Court. Like a lot of attorneys in my position, I haven't been able to afford malpractice insurance for years. Plus, I haven't handled a family law matter in least 15 years. Not to mention the time I've got to take off from an assignment to meet with my client in this shotgun marriage and represent them in court.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the legal establishment is incredibly hypocritical about this. Law is the only profession with this type of imposed slavery, and the Big Law partners and corporate counsels never do their own pro bono assignments--they just buck them down the line to the junior guy on the totem pole. I know this for a fact because I used to work in a corporate legal department, and we juniors had to handle not only own pro bono assignments, but the Big Guy's, too."

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get ready to be owned by some welfare chick who will be calling you 24/7.

beerguzzlingtemp said...

Temp work is nearly pro bono to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Not intending to be the ethics police here, but for all you New Jersey attorneys out there who do doc review and have a side solo practice, you're engaging in UPL, because you can't have a bona fide office unless you're in the office, and you're not in the office when your doing 12 hour a day doc reviews in NYC.

Having a full time para or secretary would probably be ok, but most of you can't afford that.

Just trying to save a few bar licenses here.

So guys please, pick one or the other, or get barred in NY where this scenario is perfectly allowed.

Anonymous said...

Pro bono...oh, yes. The opportunity and obligation to give something back to this society from which we have taken so very much.

beerguzzlingtemp said...

I was saddened by Ted Kennedy's passing. He lived the life of a 1000 men. He ate a ton, banged countless women and drank like hell. There are few great men like this.

Helga said...

Ted's appetites were larger than life. If he'd been Joe the Plumber, who woulda noticed (aside from that pesky matter re Mary Jo K)?

Mary Joe Kopechne's Ghost said...

Ted Kennedy was a worthless deceitful scumbag...who negligently murdered a young woman in his family's employ, lied about it, and finally bought his way out of it.

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Anonymous said...

"Pro bono" itself is the biggest fucking scam.

The Bar invented this itself so that it could avoid being regulated by the government and to say lawyers can be self-regulating.

But we would be much better off with a government licensing scheme than these self-dealers.

At law firms I was a summer associate and all they gave us was pro bono. Because the firm could earn the hours and therefore not be economically impacted the way a home lawyer would be. Another example of the firm bias of the Bar.

The case I did was a stupid prison civil rights petition for more postage, and was thrown out by the judge because the client was a jailhouse lawyer who had 27 other pro bono cases pending.

If you give a service away for free people will overuse and abuse it.

That's Economics 101!


Fuck you Bar!

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10:36 is a RETARD said...

10:36,

what a f'ing reatrded comment/analysis.

in your world, NJ ethics might as well disbar any firm with a satellite (probably nothing more than a virtual) NJ office.

what a JAIG off.

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We were screwed, man.

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Anonymous said...

10:52 addressing 10:36

I'm not 10:36 but our firm has a small satellite NJ office and our NJ admitted attorneys have to take turns spending face time there to meet NJ Bar requirements for maintaining the office even though none of them want to go there and all the real work is done from our NY office. It is a requirement and you can get in trouble with the NJ Bar if you don't comply but I wouldn't expect some infantile, mouth breathing pseudo attorney loser like yourself to appreciate that fact. Get back on your meds, seriously.

Jonathan said...

I can promise you this much.

I wil NEVER work for FREE. That's what Pro Bono is.

Have you ever dared to ask your car mechanic to fix you car for free or asked for a free meal at Burgen King? Didn't work did it. Maybe when it does I will reconsider.

Anonymous said...

The SEC looks like they could use some help:

http://market-ticker.org/archives/1373-Here-Comes-ANOTHER-JUDGE!-BAC.html

How about putting pro bono lawyers to work holding banks accountable to the public and to their shareholders?

Anonymous said...

Go ahead 10:52 roll the dice and keep up your scam, its only your bar license and you can be hit with a criminal charge, the UPL in NJ is a fourth degree crime. And when they random audit you, you better be home that day asshole.

Ronald McDonald said...

Hey Jonathan, you never get anything for free? Are you kidding me? Never anything free at Burger King? I guess you probably never eat there. I always say, BK is in fact the king of burgers, at least fast food ones.

If you work in Manhattan, I'm willing to bet you get free crap ALL the time. Granted, it's negligible, but still. Walk around the streets sometime. You'll easily run into free drinks. Free Coke Zero giveaways, free SOBE "enhanced water." Free whatever. Just earlier this month, if you were walking near Madison Square Garden, you could've gotten a gift bag of J.C. Penney merchandise. Yea, I know, not up to your standards perhaps. But free is free.

As for burger king, you've got to be kidding me. They give away everything from free drinks and fries to free $10,000 prizes from their various peel-off contests. They have at least two a year.

Why do all these companies do this? Coke Zero, SoBe, JCP, BK? Because it's good for their image. And that's exactly what pro bono does for attorneys as a class. Granted, perhaps some lower income attorneys should be exempt from it. But the concept of pro bono is image control, so the govt won't want to regulate the bejeezus out of you. The govt could easily wind up forcing you to do 20% of your attorney time as pro bono. They don't seem to mind yanking a large percentage of your income in taxes.

4:41 and 10:36 are FUCKING retards said...

See 1:21-1 taken from NJ's judiciary site TODAY

http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/r1-21.htm#TopOfPage

write the fucking memo

and 4:41, your boss sends you to the NJ office because he can't stand your daily stupidity.

beerguzzlingtemp said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

To 1:44, the present rule in NJ is as follows:

"A bona fide office is a place where clients are met, files are kept, the telephone is answered, mail is received and the attorney or a responsible person acting on the attorney's behalf can be reached in person and by telephone during normal business hours to answer questions posed by the courts, clients or adversaries and to ensure that competent advice from the attorney can be obtained within a reasonable period of time."

"An attorney who practices law in this state and fails to maintain a bona fide office shall be deemed to be in violation of RPC 5.5(a)."

Notice how it says "can be reached IN PERSON DURING NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS."

Not possible if your doing doc review.

1:44: If you are a solo/doc reviewer in NJ, but I doubt you're even an attorney, you are clearly in violation and have criminal liability for the unauthorized practice of law. I believe 4th degree crimes in NJ carry potential prison time.

Have a nice day.

9:56am is STILL a moron said...

That memo was horrible. You are fired. Now go get your shinebox cause you just lost your 30 k per year job.

And as for your in person argument. How retarded are you. Virtual offices are perfectly acceptable and allow one who may be performing doc review to be accessed, as the rule requires, through the v offices staff. There are responsible people to handle requests and direct them to the attorney wihtin a reasonable time.

AND I am an attorney and I do have two virtual offices one in NY and one in NJ and I do perform document review on
given occasions AND you and I can discuss offline whether that's ethical or even close to upl (hahahahaahaha). I will
go to NJ jud. as well. To see them laugh in your face would be priceless.

So like I said, go get your shinebox before you keep
providing disservice to any more of your boss's clients.

Anonymous said...

10:26/9:56--Oh my, either a newly-hatched, uptight law grad or a holier-than-thou junior associate.

If you need to make a buck, you need to make a buck, and let the fuckwads try to catch you. Unlicensed practice of law because you're not home during the day and off clicking for some shithead like you? Haven't you heard, but there are such things as voice-mail and the ability to check messages.

If you live in the state and use your residence as your office, there's no way they're going to catch you. So Miss Priss, shove it where the sun don't shine.

Anonymous said...

8:23, enjoy your time in jail and the loss of your bar license, if you continue down this self-destructive path of denial.

Hint: go check out the yearly attorney disciplinary records in NJ (PDF) and do a search for "unauthorized practice of law".

Anonymous said...

You do not need a physical office in NJ, the Supreme Court threw that out years ago...

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