Of the significant decisions you may make over time, finding a lawyer may top the list. When the time comes that you need one, you certainly want to find a good fit.
One question you need to consider is whether you want to go with a large firm or a smaller one. A large firm, with its abundance of resources and variety of specialties, would seem to be the easy choice. However, consider a practice at the opposite end of the spectrum. A small firm, especially a single-proprietor firm that can truly focus on the client, offers many advantages.
Law school is geared toward the process of thinking like a professional – but not necessarily preparing for many of the nuts and bolts of surviving in the profession itself. This limitation makes the process of starting and growing a single-owner firm an incredible challenge, just as is the case with any small business startup. The owner of a successful single-owner firm has learned the art of perseverance. The lawyer who has had to overcome obstacles to get the firm off the ground and keep it afloat will apply the same measures to your case. The client should reap the benefits of this effort since the lawyer will devote full attention to the client.
Your Personal Captain
To exemplify this personal approach further, a large firm compared with a single proprietor law firm can be analogous to a cruise ship and its thousands of passengers compared with a cabin cruiser sporting a few guests. While the ship’s crew performs many functions in its operations – entertaining, feeding, offshore itineraries, navigating – it can seem to be trying to do everything for everyone. the individual parts can be somewhat disconnected; how much does the passenger feel personally attended to? The owner of a small boat drives, hands out refreshments, raises the canopy and steers the conversation. Everyone on board is on a first-name basis, and if one has an immediate need, such as a return to shore, the captain can respond immediately. A client finds the same ethos when calling into a small firm, where the personal lawyer, the owner himself or herself, will be readily accessible to speak on the phone.
A Shared Community
Single-proprietor, New York State lawyer Michael Tawil advocates community involvement as an important component of the profession. As the face of a small firm becomes recognizable in the town, that leader comes to know, love, and understand the community as a whole. That understanding can serve as the backbone for the client’s specialized needs if the lawyer and client share a love for the locale.
A Comfortable Environment
A good small firm will have created an office space that is clean, inviting, and hospitable – and hire one or two staffers presenting approachable demeanors – because a home away from home appearance emphasizes the personal touch; perception is key. If they are put off by office cost-cutting surroundings or rude staff, clients may see this is a sign to keep searching for a better match.
Within moments of meeting with the owner of a sole-proprietor, most clients will get a feel for whether or not it is a good fit. If the answer is yes, then they likely will feel great comfort sealing the deal.
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