About the Author

These "pointers and tips" books are not as valuable to the readers unless they know something about the author. Was the author born with a silver spoon? Is he some sort of genius? Did anyone pay his way? Maybe he was unusually lucky.

If you are in a state of despair over seeing your potential dream evaporate, I was you 20 years ago. I was in my third semester at the University of Texas, School of Law. I hated it. I was in despair. I was racking up student loans. I was in the bottom half. Everyone knew by then that students like me were not going to be employed when they graduated.

I had other talents. One was computer programming. I liked it and was good at it. I was doing it part-time for $12 an hour. I probably could have obtained higher pay as a programmer approximating $15 per hour. Over time, I could have probably earned substantially more; yet, the top law students were lucky to get $45k jobs upon graduation. Law did not look very good in comparison to computer programming, which I was enjoying.

I told everyone, "I'm done." I stopped going to classes. I did not go for six weeks. Exam time came. I told myself, "What the heck. Go take the exams. If you fail, you're not coming back anyway, so what's it matter? Why burn a bridge? The holiday break is coming."

I showed up. My classmates were shocked. "Wow, Jeff! What happened to you? Where have you been?" I told them I was done but explained why I showed up anyway.

I took the exams. I made C minuses, up to B's. "Holy cow! This, I can do! I'll just coast through and skip whenever I don't feel like going." So, I went. I did not skip as much, but I skipped regularly. I stopped taking notes altogether. I was the only one in the class who just sat back and listened. I would read as much as I wanted and no more. I stopped worrying about trying so hard like I used to do.

I graduated. I obtained my license. The rest is history. It has been a good life compared to all the suffering I see among so many lawyers. I suffered during some small episodes. But all and all, it has been an easier life than I ever could have hoped, with typical pay over $100k a year working an average of a few hours a day (2 or 3 hours). The rest is just time I burn on hobbies or piddling around. This was not handed to me. I had to go out and make it happen. It was not as hard as I had been thinking back in the days of despair. Had I known then what I know now, I would have not been so afraid to go solo.

I worked as an associate for six years. The final push to go solo was not of my own making. It took my getting laid-off with debt galore and $4,000 in the bank. Putting my desperation before my pride, I then learned, after calling Uncle Sam, that the maximum unemployment benefit back then was about $950 a month. I was forced to swim and learned how. By the way, I never took a dime of unemployment.

And to think... I was a hair's width from dropping out of law school because I did not think I would ever get that $50,000 job!


2015, Jeff M