23 September 2011

Mentorship? From my law office? It's more likely than I think

Number of paid hours worked this week: 0.8

Number of pro bono hours worked this week: 5.0

Number of suits worn this week: 3.0


Two of these pro bono hours included an "informational interview" -- right out of What Color is Your Parachute? -- with a couple of 2L's from a local law school. I guess I'm flattered that the career office (I presume) sent them my way, but I didn't have much encouragement for them. My two main points were, one, if you want to open up your own law office, do you have experience running a business? Do you really understand that you have to make enough money to meet your monthly overhead before you can cut yourself a check? Do you know what's included in "overhead"? [1] Do you know that every three months you'll have to drop everything and do your taxes? And two, why are you still in law school? Why haven't you dropped out, cut your losses, and stopped the hemorrhaging by getting some kind of work instead? 'Cause, man, when I think of the opportunity cost of not working for the three years I was in law school, and the underemployment I'm dealing with now, the hit to my personal retirement funds and Social Security is kind of staggering.

[1] At the very least, Internet, phone, professional malpractice insurance, business cards, professional clothing, CLEs and licensure, bar membership(s), and some kind of access to LEXIS/Westlaw. (Some of these items are yearly costs. They're still monthly overhead. Divide by 12.) Add rent if you don't want to work at home, CPA fees if you don't want to do your own taxes (and arguably you shouldn't), and the cost of advertising and attending networking opportunities for marketing purposes. Never mind hiring a secretary to push paper for you.

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