The legal community has largely focused on serving the needs of increasingly sophisticated clients by offering deep expertise in narrow practice areas.
Often the opposite of a good idea is also a good idea.
I serve everyday people who have general problems that need a broad approach by someone with general knowledge.
I offer legal primary care.
The idea of a personal attorney started in a courthouse. I was helping my wife do a legal name change, an important step in her transition. The form was confusing and I helped her sort out a few small questions. I was glad I was there but it made me wonder what happens to people who don't happen to have a lawyer in their life.
It became clear that as a profession, we did not have a good model anymore for delivering legal services to people unless they were in a special situation. The kind of general help I was offering was called "cocktail party law" and mostly featured in stories about the annoyances of being an attorney.
I had to look back in time to find a model for giving people general legal advice and still supporting yourself as an attoney.
I am inspired by the small town general practice attorney. The small town isn't for me, but what I really want is the commitment to a community of people and their understanding that I will be there for them when things are confusing or scary.
This is the heart of my practice and why I have chosen a community supported model. I want people to feel like they have back up in a world where lawyers are too often a tool used against them.
I offer legal primary care. I am mostly here to help diagnose legal problems, generally I recommend self care, but occasionally someone really does need the services of an expert, when that happens I try to find the right help.
Being a generalist is my specialty.
- I will do my best to keep myself up to date, but I will be as transparent as possible about what I know, what I need to research and when you really need an expert.
- I will never accept payment for referring my clients.
- I will respect my clients right to self-identification, to make their own choices and to disagree.
- I will always try to support and empower my clients. Sometimes that is by telling them that they have reached an end and need to stop fighting, but even when I have to do that I will respect their battle.
- I will respect my clients feelings. One of my roles is to not feel the problems of the people I work for as acutely as they do, but that is different from not understanding and respecting that a client might have all kinds of emotions. These are not something I want to exclude from our relationship because I can't adequately represent you if I don't understand the way you feel.
- Empowered people are in the best place to make good choices, I want to remove as much fear and confusion as possible to clear the way for clients to understand and make their own choices.
- I am my clients representative. I am successful when a client can comfortably and knowingly make their own choices, not when a client makes the choice I would.