The fluctuations of solo practice mean that some weeks you may have time to take off early on Friday or finally schedule that dentist appointment; but other weeks all of your cases explode at once and you find yourself having to sit through a 6-hour mediation the day before a major brief is due in another case. Admit it: at times like those, you find yourself wishing they would hurry up and commercialize human cloning so you might have a chance to get it all done and be home in time for dinner.
But it doesn't make sense to hire an entire new associate just for those occasional crazy times, does it? Well, how about half of an associate? Or even 1/365th of one? That's where I come in. Think of me as your "on-call" associate: someone you can call when the going gets tough, but don't have to pay to sit there twiddling her thumbs during slow times.
Small / Midsize Firm Attorney
Generally speaking, lawyers start law firms to avoid the fluctuations of solo practice, but as anyone who's ever practiced in a firm setting can attest, it certainly doesn't immunize you against chaos. When Murphy and his trusty law conspire to create mayhem, do you stay late at the office doing all of the research and writing that needs to get done and miss your kid's school play? Of course not; you call me and I stay up late doing it for you!
Even when your practice is going smoothly, though, there's always that stack of special projects sitting in the corner of your office, waiting for that mythical moment when you "get the time" to get them done. Perhaps you have a great idea for an article, and you just need the background research done (or even an initial draft written). Maybe your firm would like to publish a newsletter or an informational piece for your clients, but no one can seem to find the time to write all of the content. Or maybe you've been asked to speak at a conference or CLE, and you'd like some help putting together your presentation. I've done all that and more, and I'm happy to help out on whatever special project is collecting dust in the corner of your office.
The lives of in-house attorneys are often envied. Easy hours, low stress, and plenty of resources...right? Well, you and I know better. We know that in-house attorneys manage what amount to tiny law firms with (proportionally) enormous client bases. In-house departments with only a handful of attorneys often support large companies that not only make high-dollar business deals on a daily basis, but employ hundreds, or even thousands, of employees. You're often so busy handling the day-to-day matters that when an unexpected issue comes up, there simply aren't enough hours in the day---or lawyers in your office---to handle it.
Think of me as "reserve brainpower" for those odd projects that come up from time to time: a business dispute that requires some keen legal analysis, or a last-minute litigation matter that needs some unforeseen research. Better yet, think of me as a more cost-effective alternative to the big law firm that often serves as your outside counsel. Big law firms are great for enormous litigation matters, but a little pricey when it comes to good old-fashioned legal research and writing. Think of me as a way to get the high-quality work that you need, while reassuring your CFO that the legal department knows how to control costs.
Working to make the world a better place takes commitment, fortitude, and good lawyering. But even in a good economy nonprofit budgets are tight, and hiring a new staff attorney is often an impossible dream. That doesn't keep the workload from piling up, though, and even the most well-organized nonprofits often find themselves having to say "no" to worthy legal projects because they simply don't have the staff to accomplish the task. But for those projects you simply must say "yes" to, allow me to be your temporary Staff Attorney---allowing you to say "yes" without breaking your budget.
Maybe there's an unexpected twist in a current litigation project that requires some quick research or drafting. Perhaps someone has introduced a new piece of legislation that may be disastrous to your cause, but you don't even have time to untangle the language to understand what it says. Or maybe you need help putting together some informational material that requires some careful translating from "legalese" to English.
Any time you find yourself with a special legal project, and your current staff is already stretched too thin to handle it, give me a call, and let me give you the little extra breathing space you need to keep creating a better world.