Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

Recently started law firm in NJ. Have some questions

I started my own firm in New Jersey approximate 7 weeks ago. wtretire06/26/17
I do higher end L&T in NYC going on ten years (in addition t nycatt06/26/17
Thanks nycatt. I have spent some time in Housing Court in NY wtretire06/26/17
I've never understood LT in NJ, wheter commercial or residen lolwutjobs06/26/17
If you have experience dealing with LT in NJ, would love to wtretire06/26/17
If you're looking to save money why not go to law library an lolasaurusrex06/26/17
The money is not a major issue. I really want to know if the wtretire06/26/17
To be honest with 7 weeks of being in business who knows wha retard06/26/17
My firm has been open for a short while, however, I have exp wtretire06/26/17
My firm had a lexus contract that was something like 80 buck sjlawyer06/26/17
I don't know where your law school is located, but, assuming dingbat06/27/17
Residential LT isn't too complicated. You essentially need a isthisit06/27/17
wtretire (Jun 26, 2017 - 6:00 pm)

I started my own firm in New Jersey approximate 7 weeks ago. Business has been just about as expected. I am making ends meet, but I have plenty of room to grow/free time. I would really appreciate some feedback on some decisions I need to make.

Currently, most of my work is transactional in nature. I am contemplating broadening the scope of the work I do, at least initially.

I was contacted by one of the established legal research providers, and was able to negotiate a three year contract at $50 monthly for year one, and $135 monthly for years two and three. I believe I can get by without legal research access using online freebies, but I would be more comfortable in general having access, and at this price point, it will not be too much of a drain on my finances. Should I bite?


I have gotten multiple requests to handle evictions. My impression is they are relatively simple, but the fees are pretty low. Not more than a couple of hundred dollars. Correct?
I think that I would be able to get volume eventually, just unsure if it is worth the effort to get an eviction practice off the ground. Again, I am not starving, but I do have free time.

Thoughts. Thanks.

Reply Like (0)
nycatt (Jun 26, 2017 - 6:37 pm)

I do higher end L&T in NYC going on ten years (in addition to other real estate lit). At least in NYC, this work is not "easy." It took me a few years to be extremely competent where I knew all of the outcomes that could happen and more less predict the likelihood of each one and not make technical mistakes. So as to manage the client's expectations soup to nuts. A crafty tenant could hold out for a dozen appearances or so in some cases. People that do volume work can do it because they are in L&T court everyday and they are generally very competent as well, although they don't spend as much time on each individual case as I would. Even the mills charge don't charge a few hundred; they charge a few thousand, with maybe a thousand to start. These cases can last a long time and require many appearances and eventually a trial. If you are interested in this, you need to do some very serious self study at the least.

Maybe New Jersey is different, but I doubt it. if you want easy, there are probably easier areas to dabble in.

Reply Like (0)
wtretire (Jun 26, 2017 - 6:54 pm)

Thanks nycatt. I have spent some time in Housing Court in NYC. First major difference between NYC and NJ is that in NJ I would not be dealing with a designated housing court. Rather, (at least in many counties) the special civil judge handles housing matters. I would mostly be representing slumlords that constantly cycle through tenants. The landlords claim that in most instances the tenants do not bother showing up to court, and the tenants simply move on to the next apartment.

As I understand from my experience in NYC Housing Court, all cases are required to go to the settlement part (or whatever the proper name is), and the way to evict is to enter into a settlement/payment plan with tenant, and stipulate that if tenant breaches the settlement, they are gone. Basically, most judges refused to simply evict for nonpayment (as opposed to a holdover), and would require landlords to give tenant a second chance through the settlement part.

My understanding is that in NJ, if you don't pay, you are out.

Reply Like (0)
lolwutjobs (Jun 26, 2017 - 7:19 pm)

I've never understood LT in NJ, wheter commercial or residential, to be terribly complex. However, I've had a couple transferred to the Law Div.

Reply Like (0)
wtretire (Jun 26, 2017 - 8:08 pm)

If you have experience dealing with LT in NJ, would love to pick your brain.

Can you run me through a basic residential nonpayment in, say, Mercer County? As I understand, notice is required only if the landlord accepted rent past the due date in the past. Assuming the landlord has done so, once the due date passes without payment of rent, I would send a notice, and three days later file in Court. For the record, I clerked in the Law Div. and I am most comfortable there. The only time I dealt with Special Civil is while clerking in the Law Div. when the clerks were required to mediate cases. Otherwise, during my clerkship I came across some complex commercial LT cases. Not something I want to touch at the moment (I am mostly dealing with transactional law, and can easily get LT business. Not interested in real litigation at the moment).

Also, any idea what the fee range is for a residential LT case?

Much appreciated.

Reply Like (0)
lolasaurusrex (Jun 26, 2017 - 7:26 pm)

If you're looking to save money why not go to law library and use their lexis or West law for free?

Reply Like (0)
wtretire (Jun 26, 2017 - 8:09 pm)

The money is not a major issue. I really want to know if the rate is competitive, and if as a firm that mostly does transactional work, it would be helpful at all. I would rather spend the funds than make one or two trips a month to the law library.

Reply Like (0)
retard (Jun 26, 2017 - 8:22 pm)

To be honest with 7 weeks of being in business who knows what most of your work is going to be. You've already had several requests to delve into litigation.

Reply Like (0)
wtretire (Jun 26, 2017 - 8:38 pm)

My firm has been open for a short while, however, I have experience with transactional work, and I was able to take several (transactinal) clients with me from my previous employer. I have a pretty decent network in place to bring me transactional work, and prefer not to get to involved in the stresses of serious litigation. Simply put, I am not interested in going up against another litigator and I have no interest in litigation that will be time and labor intensive. In LT work, there is no serious opposition. It is either another solo, small shop person, or a pro se and the matter is typically not drawn out. It is win or lose within a couple of hours.

Reply Like (0)
sjlawyer (Jun 26, 2017 - 9:07 pm)

My firm had a lexus contract that was something like 80 bucks a month (not sure if this was for all 3 lawyers). So, not terrible relative to what you bring in. It was full NJ state and fed.

LT court in NJ seems to have a few big players (a few county guys that rep all the apartment complexes, etc). If you go to LT court, you'll see them - in my county, they had their own lists. Pick their brains. In terms of easiness, it is pretty simple, pay and stay or don't and leave. Just be prepared for the crazy tenants, which will be a time suck. Otherwise, absent a big commercial landlord (and important client), it won't be intensive, only possibly annoying

My advice is to find a mentor and pick up municipal criminal practice. It's easy, relatively low-stakes (there are high stakes issues, like 3rd DUIs, mandatory-sentence habitual offenders, etc) and you can make decent cash for limited work. Plus it'll get you out and about. There are guys who do 100s of cases and never try one (I don't suggest this). However, you can also get some easy trial experience with trials being a couple hours at most. Orange9 (i think) on here is much more experienced than me in that practice area (and criminal law as a whole) and if you're up north, ask him.

Reply Like (0)
dingbat (Jun 27, 2017 - 8:45 am)

I don't know where your law school is located, but, assuming it's nearby, if you need to do research you can always go to the law library.

Reply Like (0)
isthisit (Jun 27, 2017 - 9:20 am)

Residential LT isn't too complicated. You essentially need a draft Notice to Cease, Notice to Vacate, Notice to Quit/Demand for Possession, Mututal Termination of Lease, and a Residential Lease. If you hit the statutory clocks and Notice is adequate, you're golden. Those are pretty much the barebones docs for residential LT.

NJSBA has some cheap practice guides for LT. Plus there's a pro-se guide put out by LSNJLAW that's a decent primer. Print it out at Staples and review.

My experience is with lower end LT as a slumlord/property manager in North Jersey. So YMMV.

Generally: if you pay you stay, if you don't you go.

Reply Like (0)
Post a message in this thread