Friday, April 10, 2009

A Call to Arms! They're Taking Our Jobs.

A Call to Arms Time to take a stand. I’m an American and proud of it. I worked hard to get where I am today. I am sick and tired of hearing about these gibberish speaking people coming over the border and stealing jobs from hard working Americans. What about our rights. They should go back where they came from. I am, of course, talking about laid off corporate lawyers coming over the border from Boston and Manhattan to our neck of the woods. Speaking their crazy gibberish legalese language with their red suspenders, tassled shoes and mocha lattes. Oh, I hear the arguments for them. They only do the jobs other lawyers don’t want. The small claims cases and the evictions. The neighbor nuisance disputes. But I say nay! That’s how they start. Then they start doing a speeding ticket here and there. Then a no fault divorce. Next thing you know they are moving into your neighborhood and doing your daughter’s real estate closing. You really want a Big Law lawyer doing your daughter’s closing. Not in my neighborhood. So stand up with me my solo bretheren. Are we to let them take our clients? Did we give up at Valley Forge? Did we give up when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor? Did we give up when they cancelled L.A. Law. No. And we won't give up now. Say it loud. "Yo Adrian, I did it for you!!!" But I digress...

OK, so there’s been some talk lately about all these laid off lawyers going into solo practice . Is there cause for concern? Well, maybe for some niche practitioners, but others shouldn't be too concerned. Personally, I think it's much ado about nothing. Private practice is a different animal. Chances are many of the new laid off associates are attorneys with the least seniority at the firm. Not too many will have experience with any law firm management. They have a limited book of business and their skills are usually limited to a particular practice group. Am I worried that a guy who spent 10 years doing international transactional work with Yemen is going to jump in and start competing with me for DUI clients? Not really. Hanging a shingle isn't always that easy. You have to build a client base while juggling expenses. But this new "threat" that has so many riled up. To me the bigger threat is the attorney that plasters his face on billboards and buses or the unscrupulous hack who has a "runner" or a suspect relationship with a bondsmen or ambulance driver. Do a good job, charge a decent rate, remain ethical and the client will not only stay with you...they will refer clients to you. As a solo, there is no reason you can't level the playing field against any competitor. Websites are inexpensive. You can give seminars and write articles for local papers. There are a multitude of things you can do. Besides, many Big Law attorneys are used to astronomical hourly rates. See what happens when you tell your client he or she owes $600 an hour. Trust me, I tried it. They don’t like it. My opinion is, if you passed the bar you have just as much right to hang a shingle as anyone else.

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