WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

Lawyers per capita in West Virginia

Since it was mentioned in my last post that new law school graduates are probably having a tough time during these tough economic times given their annually increasing number, I thought it pertinent to comment on a post at Simple Justice regarding the number of lawyers per capita in New York.  I looked up West Virginia for a comparison.

Scott Greenfield writes that for every 21 people in Manhattan, there is one lawyer: 

For many lawyers, the “big fish in a small pond” aphorism applies.  Not for lawyers in Manhattan.  It’s not easy surviving, no less thriving, in an environment so lousy with lawyers.  Hesitate and some other lawyer has just jumped your potential new client.  Have your receptionist take a message and the next one (or 1000) will take the call.

According to the Avery Index, overall, the District of Columbia leads the states with 276.7 lawyers per 10,000 residents, with the State of New York trailing at 20.4 lawyers per 10,000 residents.  Given these numbers, and having worked in D.C. before, I would have to disagree with Greenfield that New York is the most lawyer-saturated and competitive legal market.  D.C. is absolutely riddled with lawyers, thanks in most part to the federal government.

West Virginia ranks number 25 on the list with 8.8 lawyers per 10,000 residents, just behind Maine.  North Dakota ranks last with just 4.4 lawyers per 10,000 residents.  What about individual West Virginia counties?  I did my own non-scientific (and most likely non-accurate) study across five different types of West Virginia counties (bear with my math here, I may have done something horribly wrong):

Kanawha County: approximately 1 lawyer for every 106.4 people (roughly 93.98 lawyers per 10,000 residents)

Raleigh County: approximately 1 lawyer for every 528 people (roughly 18.9 lawyers per 10,000 residents)

Mercer County: approximately 1 lawyer for every 450 people (roughly 22.2 lawyers per 10,000 residents)

Greenbrier County: approximately 1 lawyer for every 430.7 people (roughly 23.2 lawyers per 10,000 residents)

Summers County: approximately 1 lawyer for every 812.5 people (roughly 12.3 lawyers per 10,000 residents)

Monroe County: approximately (but slightly more accurate) 1 lawyer for every 2,430.5 people (roughly 4.1 lawyers per 10,000 residents)

Note: these numbers will be slightly overestimated because they also include judges and non-practicing attorneys who reside in the particular county (with the exception of Monroe County since I already took the time to ferret those out)

 – John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney

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December 15, 2008 Posted by | Law School, Lawyers, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Bailout for divorce lawyers?

There was an article yesterday in the Wall Street Journal jokingly wondering where the bailout was for the nation’s divorce lawyers.  They note that unlike bankruptcy or personal injury practice, divorce filings drop off steeply in a recession.  Apparently divorcing spouses are able to put financial planning ahead of their immediate differences.  

I have noticed as a regular pattern that the number of people calling about divorce situations drops off during the cold winter months – usually with the rest of the West Virginia economy.  Then, like clockwork, as soon as spring hits, and the birds and the bees return, so does the inclination to start looking for a divorce lawyer. Of course, there are those divorces that pop-up regardless of the economy and finances – and those are truly special cases, sure to give any attorney that personal gratification that comes with handling a very special divorce case.

The article also notes that: 

There are now some 1,162,124 attorneys in the U.S., and the law schools are spewing out graduates at a rate of 43,518 a year, all set adrift upon a public that increasingly doesn’t have money to pay for their services. There is no other profession more dependent on discretionary spending, except perhaps the oldest one.

People don’t realize that, unlike the medical, dental, or veterinary professions, there really is no limitation on the amount of students that can attend law school.  They are all over the place, and there are more popping up every year.  If you really want to get in one, you can somewhere.  But that doesn’t mean there is a job waiting for you when you get out (in debt).  

 – John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney

December 8, 2008 Posted by | Law School, Lawyers | Leave a comment

Don’t talk to the police

I came across a great video lecture from a law professor posted on the Georgia Criminal Law Blog that everyone should watch – attorneys and laypersons alike.

Don’t talk to the police, at any time, under any circumstances. Period.

The latter half of the video features a cop telling “the other side of the story,” and was the subject of a previous post by Scott Greenfield, titled “One Lecture By a Cop with Many, Many Lessons,” who commented that this displayed some revealing insight into the practice and procedure of police “interviewers.”

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney

October 15, 2008 Posted by | Law School, Lawyers, Statements | 3 Comments

Simple Justice on law school

Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice hit the nail on the head with his post regarding the important, and unimportant, aspects of a legal education. Most law schools do an amazingly poor job at preparing students for the actual practice of law, which much of the time includes dealing with abuse incoming from every direction. Scott stated that:

A well-conceived law school education serves one purpose only: to prepare you to confront the abuse of being a lawyer and prevail. How to prevail comes later. You’re not ready for that now. For now, you need to learn how to toughen up and take abuse without crying and whining. How to keep a smile on your face and deflect the humiliation that is designed to make even the most macho man shrivel. If your lawprof doesn’t abuse you, she hasn’t done her job. If your lawprof doesn’t toughen you up, then you’ve gained nothing.

Up to this point in your educational career, the system has been designed to make you feel good about yourself and build your self-esteem. If this isn’t changed, it will destroy you as a lawyer. There is nothing about the legal system that will make you feel good about yourself. It will challenge your dignity and humanity at every turn. Your mommy is wrong when she tells you to just go up to the judge after court and tell him that he wasn’t very nice to you and you don’t appreciate it. This is not a successful strategy.

How true that is. Perhaps the hardest thing to learn as a trial lawyer is to confront the realization that at least half of everyone you encounter in your profession are going to dislike, or even hate, you. It requires putting up with every kind of abuse and stress that has ever existed, while at the same time either deflecting it, or absorbing it in a way that motivates you rather than slows you down or stresses you out. Because in the real world of knitty-gritty trial practice, prevailing is the only thing that matters. Second place only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Attorney

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Law School | 2 Comments