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» Clients

Dumb Luck

Jordan Rushie, one of the Fishtown Lawyers who writes the Philly Law Blog, put up a post yesterday about bringing in clients. These were his thoughts about craigslist: Do you really think we would put up a free Craigslist ad? That’s for losers, and it will never ever happen. Period. Why? Because it’s undignified, that’s why. And yes, you are a total loser if you’re putting up free classified ads for legal services on Craigslist. I don’t care if it resulted in a client or two. Rather than hijack his post with a rambling comment, I figured I’d share my experience posting on craigslist. Let me tell you a story. The year was 2007. I had no money, so I was working one weekend and thought I would put up … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Marketing

Availability

In the process of calling out a lawyer named Christopher J. McCann who apparently felt the need to employ some scumbag marketing tactics by having someone else send out a request for a guest post, Brian Tannebaum wrote as follows: I just wonder why Chris has hired someone to go find lawyers and try to sell himself on their blogs. Can’t he send his own email, or “call directly?” Where’s the “personal service” Chris. Chris? That highlights a fascinating phenomenon that would probably be easiest to explain with some examples. I know a lawyer who sucks. Okay, I know a bunch of lawyers who suck. They never answer their phones. They never respond to emails. They can’t even be bothered to respond to a desperate text for a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, lawyers, Marketing

Rejection

If you haven’t experienced rejection, you are either delusional, or you haven’t been doing anything worthwhile. Rejection is an integral part of life well-lived. You can’t be everything to everyone, and someone is bound to be looking for something else. It’s just as true in your professional life as it is in your personal life. If you’re smart, you deal with it and learn from it. I got a little bit of rejection recently. It’s nothing special, really. I fought hard for a client, and despite the results I achieved, they ended up switching lawyers before the real battle started. Although it’s nothing new, it still stung. I thought I had built a relationship. I cared about the client and his family, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, lawyers

An Opportunity for Hassle

When a door closes, a window opens. There is no word for crisis in Chinese, just danger plus opportunity. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. One man’s [insert bad thing here] is another man’s opportunity. Screw this, I give up. The saying I’m actually going for is something to the effect of this: sometimes opportunities are better left un-seized. No good? Oh well, good thing I didn’t quit my day job to become an motivational speaker. I think I’ll just defer to Thomas Edison, who is rumored to have said something about how most people miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work. I’m writing this because after I wrote about a potential new client’s family asking a question that removed … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

The Numbers Game

Meeting prospective clients, I encounter varying degrees of knowledge about the process of hiring a criminal defense lawyer. Right now, most of my clients are referred to me by other lawyers. Referrals from previous clients come in a close second. Those two types of clients rarely ask a lot of questions for some reason. Occasionally, I get a referral with several degrees of separation. Those prospective clients tend to have questions. Lots of them. Often, the consultation feels a bit like a job interview. I try my best to be brutally honest. Whereas the majority of people only care that someone they trust told them to call me and that I have a nice office, suits that fit (more or less), and a bar number, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Bias-Logic

When people hold a certain belief, they tend to view almost anything even arguably relevant to that belief as proof the belief is true. In the context of being a criminal lawyer, that often comes up when I tell clients I am going to move to suppress problematic evidence. I encounter resistance from them based on a kind of logic (I use the term very, very loosely) born almost entirely from their bias. The typical situation in which I encounter such logic involves a client who believes a witness is a liar. His unshakable belief in the witness’s dishonesty has led him to believe that every other bad thing the witness might say about him is convincing proof that the witness is a liar. He fails to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Understanding the System

The criminal justice system excels at creating frustrating situations. It might be the only thing it does well. I recently ran up against a situation that was not only frustrating, but also a perfect example of a Catch-22. To get a client released from custody, I needed to get her accepted into an approved rehab facility. She could only get into the approved rehab facilities by doing an intake appointment. The facilities only set intake appointments for people who are out of custody. Initially, I would encounter similar situations and become angry. I assumed they were caused by incompetence and thought the people in charge would fix it if they knew what they’d done. Although my anger began to diminish as I encountered those situations over … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Government Rants, jail

Taking a Vacation

I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things after the longest vacation I’ve taken since I began practicing law. From planning the vacation, to preparing for it, to actually taking the time off and trying to enjoy myself, the experience taught me quite a bit. It drove home a lot of points about the nature of what I do. I should never view any non-work-related plans as concrete. As hard as that’s been for me to swallow, with my current practice, I know that it’s true. I represent a fair number of clients each year, and at any given time, many of their cases are at very different stages. I’m never at a point where I have no clients, so there’s always somebody who’s my … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General, Solo Practice

How to Explain Relapse (Or Not)

I can’t count how many times I’ve stood next to someone being sentenced for personal drug possession. Some are just unlucky, ocassional users, but many more are addicts. They’ve tried to stop using meth or heroine or whatever other drug has them in its grip, but they can’t. They have periods of sobriety. They get their lives together, only to relapse when the next big tragedy comes along. When they’re at their worst, they always seem to find themselves on the wrong side of the law. I’ve noticed recovering addicts like to stress the importance of living one day at a time, of not letting setbacks cause them to give up and ruin all of their progress. Tomorrow’s a new day. Learn from today’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts

Managing Caseload

Most lawyers plan for when times are bad. We tend to only joke about what we’d do with an enormous caseload if times got great. I’m certainly guilty of making off-handed comments about too much work being a good problem to have, but in reality, when too much work really does become a problem, it’s probably worse than the alternative. Before I had any real experience, I looked all over the place for guidance about caseload. I spoke with public defenders and met some who had 30 open felony cases. I met some with 60. Several public defenders who handled misdemeanors as well as felonies told me they typically had over 100 open cases at any given time. Relying to some extent on the stereotype … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General

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