Swamped

Posted by T. Greg Doucette on May 21, 2013 in The After-3L Life | Subscribe

Good morning y’all! :)

No, your eyes don’t deceive you: not only is this the first bona fide entry on law:/dev/null in two months, but it’s also being written before 11pm :D

I know, I know. It’s been awhile since I wrote anything here. I kept meaning to get around to it, I just didn’t realize how long it had been until I went to update the .htaccess file for my law firm’s website, opened my .htaccess file for the blawg to use as a template… and noticed the last-modified date was exactly three months ago :crack:

As you can probably guess, the solo practice life has left me even less time for writing than 3L year of law school. The good news is that I’m swamped. The bad news is that… I’m swamped :beatup:

I hit the point a couple months ago where I probably need some support staff to keep things moving upward, but my revenue stream isn’t consistent enough to actually hire someone. Things had been going swimmingly from the day I opened my doors but then my hubris led me to make a classic rookie mistake — I started taking on more high-risk clients,1 didn’t insist on getting paid up front, then in April a good chunk of them skipped out on the bills.

So April became “Make-a-reluctant-phone-call-to-Nan-sheepishly-asking-for-a-loan-to-cover-May-bills” Month, May is now “Desperately-scramble-to-figure-out-what-to-do-for-June” Month, and as a result my long-flailing efforts to resume blogging with anything even vaguely resembling a degree of regularity has fallen short again :(

The only upside is that May is shaping up to be the best month financially since I started :surprised:

Aside from the money issues, on the lawyer-side of being a lawyer I’m still undefeated with my cases — extending the 6-0 record in November out to 19-0 today. I’ve had some pretty cool wins too: hitting a shady property management company with a $45K judgment (including treble damages) after an elderly lady’s apartment burned down from faulty wiring,2 getting a downright absurd settlement in a breach of contract case by letting the other side think something that was trivial to my client was actually vitally important, and saving a church from bankruptcy by having a $303K judgment against it vacated.3

Even the pre-verdict pleadings have gone well: I’ve only lost one solitary motion, and even that was part of a 1-and-1 (ours denied + theirs denied) that led to a favorable settlement. :crack:

I’ve gotten into some more-challenging litigation since then — including a case before the North Carolina Business Court against two of the largest law firms in the State — so we’ll see how long the win streak lasts. My long-term goal is to reach Harvey Specter-like proficiency before I hit 40 :)

In NC SPICE-related news, we’re still waiting on the IRS to get around to ruling on our nonprofit application. We’ve had a number of offices open up in the building I’m in, so I’ve been trying to find young lawyers to fill those spots and basically turn this building into our first SPICE Center. More developments to come on that hopefully.

On the extracurricular side of life, I was invited to spend some time at ECU’s LeaderShape program last week, as one of their “guest leaders” for a panel on leadership. It was both cool and weird at the same time — cool because I love mentoring / trying to help others (especially college students), weird because I haven’t really considered myself a “leader” outside of a Student Government-esque realm in… well… ever. It was definitely a fun experience though, and I got to meet several students potentially interested in legal careers.

I also accepted a spot on the Editorial Board of the ABA YLD’s The Young Lawyer newsletter :D ┬áNot entirely sure what it’s going to entail yet, but hopefully it will involve creating something more than the chintzy 2-3 page newspaper-style “newsletter” we get every other month :beatup: I was supposed to be contacted by someone in mid-May about orientation / what’s going to happen when / etc etc etc but still haven’t heard from anyone — I guess technically “mid-May” is any day before May 31st, so we’ll see what happens.4

And Samson is still healthy and boisterous :spin:

I think that’s pretty much it for now. I won’t lie to you and claim there will be more on law:/dev/null this week, since it’s pretty obvious my efforts at blogging have now fallen somewhere between “grow a beard just because” and “get a root canal” on my List of Things To Do In Life. But hopefully I’ll be able to post again soon :) Hope all of you are well, and have a great Tuesday! :D

  1. Translation: folks with no money but good cases []
  2. They initially refused to compensate her for losing everything by claiming a liability disclaimer in the lease agreement would protect them and therefore “it’s not our problem” :roll: []
  3. The highlight of my career so far: my whole argument initially was focused on improper service of process, then as I was preparing bench books the night before I noticed a date discrepancy in two different verified pleadings filed by the Plaintiff some time apart — and as I dug, discovered the Plaintiff had basically fabricated the whole thing :crack: []
  4. And if I don’t get contacted at all, I’ll know going in that I’ve got more than one problem with the ABA YLD… []

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