Criminal Defense

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Post_Alone
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2018 7:28 am

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Post_Alone » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:27 pm

kellyfrost wrote:
Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:24 pm
Post_Alone wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:38 am
Solo criminal defense here. AMA.
Could open a bail bond company as entity separate from your firm (and not run afoul of ethical rules)? If you could, have you considered it? Why or why not?

Do you work in any other practice areas or 100% criminal defense?

What is the most common charge you defend against?

Have you ever considered putting your firm name and contact information on drink coaster and then giving them to local bars to use as a form of marketing your DUI defense practice?
1. That would certainly run afoul of ethical rules. As a bondsman I would want higher surety bonds set but as their attorney I would want lower. That's the first problem that obviously comes to mind.

2. I only really like criminal work so I ask for ridiculous retainers in cases involving other practice areas. If they pay then sure I'll do it.

3. Domestic abuse and gun crimes are probably most common for my practice but this is only because I have a state public defender contract that gets me court appointed cases but the real high volume / low level crimes go to the actual state pd.

4. I'm overwhelmed by my current caseload so I don't need to advertise or market other than having a website. I find attorney advertising really distasteful and cringe.

Sorry for the late responses.

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Post_Alone
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Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Post_Alone » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:32 pm

Kümmel wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:12 am
Post_Alone wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:38 am
Solo criminal defense here. AMA.
PD here. The one thing I really don't get is how you come up with fee structure. Flat/hourly. How you decide what is worth what
I have them sign a fee agreement that has an initial retainer that I think will get them through the entire case but warn that depending on how their case develops I may end up asking for more. I send them periodic invoices so they can see how their retainer is being spent and then a letter describing why I need more money if they start to run out. If they refuse to pay more I just file a withdrawal motion but try to do so selectively and work with all my clients financially just to protect my own reputation re: fees.

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Saul Goodman
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Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Saul Goodman » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:25 pm

Haven’t seen a lot action in here recently. How is everyone ?

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Saul Goodman
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Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:25 am

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Saul Goodman » Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:28 pm

Kümmel wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 9:12 am
Post_Alone wrote:
Thu Dec 05, 2019 1:38 am
Solo criminal defense here. AMA.
PD here. The one thing I really don't get is how you come up with fee structure. Flat/hourly. How you decide what is worth what
Usually criminal is all flat. Some times “tier fee” where it’s flat up until trial and if client wants to go through with trial it’s the same fee as the initial

Story
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:56 pm

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Story » Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:37 pm

Generally speaking, How much do you make per year as a private solo or small firm crim defense attorney?

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bikeflip
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Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:45 am

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by bikeflip » Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:45 pm

Story wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:37 pm
Generally speaking, How much do you make per year as a private solo or small firm crim defense attorney?
Small firm here. Not nearly as much as my civil brethren. I know some solos that are clearing $200k after a few years. They also had to eat a ton of ramen the first year or so as a solo. And not every solo makes it.

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bikeflip
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Re: Criminal Defense

Post by bikeflip » Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:46 pm

Saul Goodman wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:25 pm
Haven’t seen a lot action in here recently. How is everyone ?
Phone not ringing as much b/c COVID slow but still getting annoyed at DAs. You?

Story
Posts: 64
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2019 3:56 pm

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Story » Wed Dec 02, 2020 8:54 pm

What types of prosectors do you meet during your time as a defense attorney? Such as the burnt-out one, the zealot, etc.

Which type do you love going against? What type do you like plea bargaining with?

Any stories of prosecutorial misconduct?

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Saul Goodman
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Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Saul Goodman » Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:59 am

Story wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:37 pm
Generally speaking, How much do you make per year as a private solo or small firm crim defense attorney?
Really depends on market and experience. I live in a large metro area so there is a lot of competition. The most experienced lawyers who practice only criminal defense can take on high level felonies can easily make over $250,000 annually. Someone like myself who has been out of school about 5 years, is usually practicing in another area to mix the pot. This year between criminal defense, auto accident, family law and some federal civil litigation stuff, I’m on pace to bring home roughly $165,000 this year.

I’ve heard of some lawyers in more rural parts of my state wi the similar experience to me able to practice only criminal law and make about $80,000-$95,000 annually because they’re likely the only game in town. Or at least one of the few.

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Saul Goodman
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Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Saul Goodman » Sat Dec 05, 2020 6:01 am

bikeflip wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 6:46 pm
Saul Goodman wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:25 pm
Haven’t seen a lot action in here recently. How is everyone ?
Phone not ringing as much b/c COVID slow but still getting annoyed at DAs. You?
Little bit of the same I’ve had to start taking on auto accidents to supplement my revenue while the criminal stuff bounces back. Unfortunately the no jury trials thing is a killer

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Kümmel
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Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:07 pm

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Kümmel » Sat Dec 05, 2020 2:13 pm

Saul Goodman wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 5:59 am
Story wrote:
Wed Dec 02, 2020 3:37 pm
Generally speaking, How much do you make per year as a private solo or small firm crim defense attorney?
Really depends on market and experience. I live in a large metro area so there is a lot of competition. The most experienced lawyers who practice only criminal defense can take on high level felonies can easily make over $250,000 annually. Someone like myself who has been out of school about 5 years, is usually practicing in another area to mix the pot. This year between criminal defense, auto accident, family law and some federal civil litigation stuff, I’m on pace to bring home roughly $165,000 this year.

I’ve heard of some lawyers in more rural parts of my state wi the similar experience to me able to practice only criminal law and make about $80,000-$95,000 annually because they’re likely the only game in town. Or at least one of the few.
165k purely in accounts receivable? or are you factoring in any expenses? office/legal software/court filing fees, etc?

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Easy-E
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Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:57 pm

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Easy-E » Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:19 pm

Saul Goodman wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:25 pm
Haven’t seen a lot action in here recently. How is everyone ?
I'm getting the solo practice itch again. How much did you have saved before you took the plunge? Or did you know you work have the work to cover overhead right off the bat? Wife works and has our health insurance covered but she doesn't make much (teacher).

I know I'd have some active PI cases I would bring with me but contingency work don't keep the lights on. Have a couple referral sources who I think could get me steady flat fee work (closings, traffic stuff). I'd probably take any litigation work that I can get paid for, some collections work for my parents business, other BS.

I'm at the point where it's now or never.

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Saul Goodman
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:25 am

Re: Criminal Defense

Post by Saul Goodman » Sat Dec 12, 2020 11:33 am

Easy-E wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:19 pm
Saul Goodman wrote:
Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:25 pm
Haven’t seen a lot action in here recently. How is everyone ?
I'm getting the solo practice itch again. How much did you have saved before you took the plunge? Or did you know you work have the work to cover overhead right off the bat? Wife works and has our health insurance covered but she doesn't make much (teacher).

I know I'd have some active PI cases I would bring with me but contingency work don't keep the lights on. Have a couple referral sources who I think could get me steady flat fee work (closings, traffic stuff). I'd probably take any litigation work that I can get paid for, some collections work for my parents business, other BS.

I'm at the point where it's now or never.
My wife is a teacher too. The benefits help a lot. I had about $15,000 saved specifically to put towards living expenses during the first few months while I got my practice off the ground. The first 6 months were tough but things started getting better and now my practice is almost self sustaining almost 3 years later. Take whatever you can get your hands on the first few months but of course, exercise diligence. Your goal needs to be bringing in as much business as possible to start. I also limited overhead as much as possible at first. Literally started my firm with a cell phone and a laptop. There are plenty of virtual office options out there that will give you a good look in the form of live receptionist, business address and fax number (I like Davinci or Opus) for a low flat fee monthly. With the covid situation, now more than ever clients appreciate virtual options instead of the traditional walk into a law office to speak with their lawyer. Take advantage of that. There’s no time like the present and honestly, I can’t imagine working for anyone else ever again. Best professional decision I ever made was to start my own shop!!

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