Thursday, February 11, 2010

The "ShitFingers" Chronicles - Solo In Bankruptcy Law

The "ShitFingers" Chronicles is a new ongoing venture created by L4L's in which he deconstructs the lies put forth by Solo Practice University and the other after law school scammers, in which they try to use false hope and other after-scamming carpet bagger techniques to bilk an additional $500 out of starving, unsuspecting law graduates.

"ShitFingers" refers to certain characters that L4L came across in the bathroom vestibules of the Sullivan & Cromwell basement. "One particular guy nicknamed 'ShitFingers' liked to operate his side practice via cellphone while dropping heat in the restroom stall, giving 'toilet law' a literal dimension. Later, you’d go to wipe and find he’d captioned draft briefs on the Charmin and hidden a stapler under the toilet tank. I often wondered why he didn’t just tape his law degree up in there alongside the stall’s graffiti. No one would’ve cared. This was, of course, in the SullCrom basement, down amid the boxes."


Today, we talk about becoming a bankruptcy solo. For one easy payment of $495, Solo Practice University will teach you about the intricate ins an outs of bankruptcy practice, mystical knowledge which will ultimately redeem you from the cockroach infested boiler rooms of Paul Weiss hell.

"Professor" Fleischman will teach you about cutting edge developments in cut-and-paste Chapter 7 filings, will devote a whole subsection explaining the growth of consumer credit in the United States (no shit), and just in case you were comatose in law school (and throughout the first twenty-five years of your life) will explain to you what a judge, debtor, and attorney is.

Fascinating stuff, but L4L's will have none of it:

No area of law is 'complex.' The complex thing is getting enough steady clients to make a living, as opposed to drips & drabs.

Some BK attorneys buy mailing lists of folks in trouble and do direct-mail marketing (not allowed in all states, check your bar rules). Others do the phone book/newspaper ad method. Of course the big shops use TV & radio commercials.

All of these cost money. A lot of money. A 1/2 page ad in north NJ county yellow pages will set you back $12,500 a year. That's a shitload of 'simple 7s' just to break even on your ad budget. Direct-mail is 44 cents a clip postage plus the cost of the mailing lists, envelopes/stationary, and a 1-800# (which should bounce calls to your cell, b/c if you miss the call they'll move right on to the next bozo). And of course you ad will be buried amongst the 1000s of other clowns in the phone book and lost in the junk-mail shuffle.

Or you could "network" with CPAs and finance guys who might steer you a client who's in trouble, but most of these guys worth their salt already (i.e successful) already have lawyers/firms they deal with regularly and receive mutual referrals from in return. As a new solo you have nothing to offer them, and thus they won't recommend you unless they're a close family member of yours (like your dad, cough cough).

A guy I did doc review with did BK as a solo (hence his doc review gig LOL), and spent 5 K on google ad words in NJ. Didn't score one client out of it. Unless you wanna pay big $$$ per click with a high click limit, the big mills will pwn you. Remember, these are low-ticket cases with flat fees, so you can't go too wild wasting money on ads.

I saw a diner paper-placemat ad for a BK attorney recently at a diner in Green Brook NJ. Those ads are very cheap (i tried them back in 2007 for injury cases), but totally ineffective. I did 150 K placeats total spread among 7 different NJ diners for only $375 bucks. A run of 150 K lasts the diners like 3-4 months. I got no calls at all from these ads. Not one. You'd be surprised at how abysmal the response rate is for print attorney advertising. The big mills don't buy those TV ads for fun. They're the only thing that works and they know it.

I also tried a full-page 'penny-saver' ad, a 1/4 page ad in 4 different condo newsletters, and about 4 different church bulletins. Believe it or not, the church bulletins were by far the most effective (and the cheapest- only $10 a week). I got about 12-15 living will gigs from these Catholic nutjobs who want to stay 'plugged in' like Terry Schiavo even if their brains are a pile of mush. You'd think they'd be 'dying' to meet their buddy Jesus, but at $400 a pop I didn't ask questions. And sadly, it just wasn't enough $$$ to really make it worthwhile. You see, some shyster firm saw my ad in there and decided to buy the whole back cover of the bulletins for like $150 a week. Once that happened my calls dried up. Be aware that if you do find an 'overlooked' place to advertise, some shyster will soon find out and then come in and outspend you 10 to one to 'shout out' your ad. If I'd had a bit bigger 'war chest' I would've bought the back cover (they offered it to me first), but $600 a month is a lot of $$$ for a heavily indebted Seton Hall loser.

You could always spam-bomb craigslists 'legal services' section like 50 X a day and offer to do 7's in return for a cord of firewood or some Ramen noodles. Or better yet, drop out of law school and get into a trade that people will actually pay money for, like plumbing or auto repair."


Charlie said...

I've been doing doc review in NYC for the past three years. I just started up an advertising company. One of our services is bicycle advertising. Basically we carry around a 6x4 foot banner anywhere u want. If your doing bankruptcy we will be in front of the courthouse, social security, well be in front of the SSA & the shelters. You get the point, really direct advertising. Hits only ur market. Limits wasted impressions. Plus if ur a small business well give u a great deal. Enough to pay the rider and a bit of a margin for the co. If ur interested hit up the website -

Anonymous said...


You are serious.

Sonia said...

Here is a tin cup. Get out there and solo.

Only in law is getting fired and being told you can be a solo supposed to be a good thing. In the good old days, having to solo was called being unemployed.

Anonymous said...

Oh my!

Charlie said...

Yea. Why wouldn't I be?

Anonymous said...

Charlie all that is great and shit, but please learn to spell "you're"... That is all.

Charlie said...

Really!!!!! Really. I'm on a gig writing on my iPhone bc theres no Internet access, and ur really gunna nit pick over an abbreviation, and then use rofl. Wow. I'm blown away. Is this blog that formal. Seriously come on. I would have almost rather u had been laughing at the concept.

Anonymous said...


The ship be sinking.

Mission Accomplished!

I inherited this mess!

Anonymous said...

"No area of law is 'complex.'"

What an idiot.

Oh, I believe him - no area of law he's ever come near is complex. But it doesn't follow from that that there are no complex areas of law.

Anonymous said...

what is rofl????

Anonymous said...

Where is everyone???? Whatzzzz going on????
Is everyone snowed under by SNOWMAGGEDON???
Whatzzz going on???? Where is everyone?????

Anonymous said...

Sonia, I propose we old goats get together - an old temps club - and discuss how to work with young tawts and cheap recruiters. I am sure like me you cannot stoamch either - but have to. What say you old girl???
Solo Shyster, Male, 65

Anonymous said...

DC doc review job wants to pay $35/hour to a barred attorney + Ph.D....

Our client, a large law firm, has an IMMEDIATE opening for an attorney to review documents related to patent litigation. This project is expected to start within the next week and continue for a week. Qualified candidates will be admitted to the bar of any US jurisdiction and have experience in patent law. A background in chemistry, biology, pharmacology or related discipline is a must, with an MS or Ph.D. greatly preferred. If you are an attorney who is qualified and available for this project, please apply now for immediate consideration.

Required Experience:
•Bar admission in any US jurisdiction
•Experience in patent law
•Background in chemistry, biology, pharmacology or related discipline
•Ph.D. or MS preferred, BS with lab experience at a minimum
•Immediate availability for one week

Project Details:
•Start Date: within the next week
•Schedule: Monday through Friday, 40 hours per week
•Duration: approximately one week
•Pay Rate: $35/hour

Available Benefits:
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•Direct Deposit
•Medical, Dental, Disability Insurance among others
•Holiday Pay
•Bonus Pay

About Hire Counsel:
At Hire Counsel we take great pride in the professional, courteous and congenial manner in which we deal with all of contract workers. We recognize our success is in no small part due to the efforts of our talented pool of hardworking temporary employees.

Hire Counsel is a national legal staffing organization dedicated to providing our clients with the finest candidates available. We keep this promise by offering our candidates an industry-leading benefits package and by hiring smart, experienced staff, all of whom are attorneys and paralegals committed to responsive, active service.

All resumes are held in strict confidence. We NEVER forward your resume anywhere without obtaining your authorization first.

Anonymous said...

Is Solo Practice U a joke? I feel like it's a bad April Fool's Prank. I can't believe that this is a real profile for one of it's "professors"

Victor Medina is the managing partner of a small law firm run entirely on Mac computers and Apple products. He will teach a course entitled “Macs In the Law Office” at Solo Practice University™.


Anonymous said...

How the fuck will this do me any good in life????

Paramjit Mahli is a public relations professional. She will teach a course called “Clash of the Titans: Can Lawyers and Journalists get Along?” at Solo Practice University™.

Anonymous said...

I better be getting CLE credits if I have to sit through this bullshit

Theresa M. Erickson is one of the few attorneys in the United States with a boutique practice exclusively in the area of Family Formation Law and will teach a course entitled “Creating a Niche Practice in Reproductive Law” at Solo Practice University™.

Anonymous said...

"No area of law is 'complex.'"

What an idiot.

I agree. Even the "simple" areas of law can get complicated very fast.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of "Toilet Lawyers" at temp jobs, talking to their clients while in the restroom.

If only their clients knew!

Anonymous said...

Some of the people working at Solo Practice University are total idiots. I was a journalist before JD and worked with some of their "PR people". Total morons - all fluff and "tactics" and no substance - if they are hiring those people to teach, good luck!!

Anonymous said...

I think the "Shitfinger Diaries" sounds better.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of L4L - [and Thomas Temp] even his depressing commentaries are fun to read. Good job .
Are they the one and the same????

Anonymous said...

Right on the money man. I have a solo BK practice too and reading that post felt like reading my own autobiography.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Real solos don't need some dickwad to show them how to do a case.

Bennie said...

Only in law is getting fired and being told you can be a solo supposed to be a good thing. In the good old days, having to solo was called being unemployed.

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Anonymous said...

Too much attitude. You shouldn't treat advertising - or legal practice - like a "hit and run" deal. The local, mass circulation, editorially serious, daily newspaper works. You will get calls. If you go in --- stay in-- at least for 2 years. Then you might not need it anymore. Most solos have way, way too many cases. There are plenty of clients to go around. Forget the placemats and the keychains.

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Mill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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