Starting a Law Firm – Local Counsel Work

When considering starting your own law firm, one often overlooked source of business for your fledgling business is local counsel work.

When I began my career as an attorney at a medium sized firm, I had an idea of what I would be working on. For instance, areas such as corporate law, family law, criminal law, estate law, real estate law, are all examples of practices areas that I, like all lawyers, am familiar with because those courses are taught in probably every law school in the United States. So, if you join a law firm in the private practice arena, you will probably work as a lawyer in one or more of these areas.

For example, the typical way to practice law is to have a client ask you to help them with their legal problem. A person or entity will come to you and hire you to help them with their business, family, or personal legal dilemma. That is the most common way to work as a lawyer.

However, one surprise that many lawyers find when they start practicing out of law school is that other lawyers and firms often hire attorneys outside their firm to be their lawyer for a local hearing. This concept is called local counsel.

There are two standard forms of local counsel work:

(1) a firm in the jurisdiction you work in, but which is a long ways away (like in a different city) hires you; or

(2) a firm outside of your jurisdiction and typically in another state hires you.

In these two situations, attorneys and/or law firms will hire out a lawyer to handle hearings in the courthouse or county where the original firm has filed its case. Hiring and outside attorney enables the hiring law firm to have an attorney present in a court-house that is far-far away from the hiring firm’s office. It would be much too expensive to have a $300.00-an-hour attorney drive from a far away city to attend a minor foreclosure hearing. So, the law firm that originated the lawsuit will often hire an attorney at a lower dollar amount to handle a simple hearing.

Examples of legal areas in which local counsel work is needed are: foreclosures, bankruptcy, and debt collection. Often the hired attorney will appear at a minor hearing, such as a status conference, and file an attorney appearance with the court. The attorney will inform the court that he or she has been hired only for the purpose of the local counsel work. A judge will often understand that the law firm who hired the local attorney will handle the actual procedural filing. However, the local counsel attorney will handle the minor matter before him or her. One thing to keep in mind is that the hired lawyer still owes a duty to both the court and his client to be diligent and prepared when he or she accepts the case – no matter how minor it is.

Why is local counsel work important for starting your own firm? In the foremost, it is usually relatively simple and it is a very effective way to generate cash flow for your firm. Without cash flow, your law firm will die.

Another great thing about local counsel work is that it helps the courts function efficiently. If an attorney can show up at minor hearing and guide the legal process along, the court can worry more about other, more important, cases on its docket.

In sum, local counsel work is an often unknown and overlooked aspect of starting and building a law practice. Attorneys who have been practicing for any amount of time often know about local counsel work. However, a person coming out of law school likely has never heard of it. If a person decides to start their own firm out of law school, they will not want to miss this great source of revenue-generating work.

Furthermore, another reason to do local counsel work is that lawyers tend not to stiff other lawyers. In other words, when you are hired, you know you are going to get paid. That may sound simple, but when you are staring out and trying to survive, getting paid for the work you do is of the utmost importance. Heck, it may be the only important thing to know when you are starting your own firm.

When considering starting a law firm, and whether your niche area is family law, criminal law, corporate law, or some other area of law, you need to remember local counsel work and focus some of your firm marketing towards this area. It is not always the most lucrative work, but, if you can get it, it is steady, it generates immediate cash flow, and it get your new law firm humming.

Serious Crimes Committed By a Minor

The unfortunate truth is that even minors can commit serious and harmful crimes. Young people are often involved in violent crimes, whether because of gang influence or other social pressures. In fact, a report published by the Bureau of Justice Statistics posted that in criminal courts juveniles were almost three times as likely to be charged with violent felonies if brought to court. This trend may be due to the shocking and harmful nature of these crimes.

In some states, there are several types of cases that can result in minors being placed in residential treatment facilities for extended periods of time. The nature of the crime and the intention of the convicted minor has a great deal to do with how the case is adjudicated, but there are certain crimes that will most certainly be pursued to the fullest extent of the law.

Many of these crimes are considered serious because of their intention, such as aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and aggravated child abuse. Others are considered serious crimes because of the devastating results like arson, kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder. In fact, some states will allow a minor to be tried as an adult if the nature, severity, and the maturity of the convicted party are deemed to be significant.

The results of these trials can have a lasting impact on the life of a minor. Especially if a violent crime committed by a minor is adjudicated as an adult case, the long-term affects can follow the person for their entire lives. Because of the long-lasting and detrimental results of such a conviction, it is crucial that the court acts responsibly in these types of cases.

A thorough and competent defense is crucial in any violent crime case, and a conviction of a minor is no exception. For more information on serious crimes committed by a minor, please visit the website of West Palm Beach juvenile defense lawyers at Klein & Associates.

Costs of Hiring the Business Law Attorney

Everyone who has already hired a business law attorney will tell you that legal services are not cheap. So, before hiring a lawyer, you should ask yourself how much you are willing to pay for the services. When you are searching for legal services, you should always ask potential attorneys to explain their fees and billing practice fully. Do not hesitate to ask detailed questions and never feel embarrassed. A lawyer’s readiness to discuss the fees is an important indicator of how he or she treats the clients. If you have a basic knowledge about how lawyers generally charge for their services, it may help you to negotiate the best deal when you need to hire one.

A best business attorney may suggest hourly fees, flat fees or even contingency fees. But the exact price of these fees structures is determined by several factors. The cost of a lawyer is influenced by the amount of effort and time required for your case, whether you live in an urban or rural area, by the outcome of the case, by the experience of the lawyer and by the processing costs. All these elements will impact the total cost of a lawyer.

  • The hourly rates are the most common arrangement. On an hourly fee basis, a business law attorney gets paid an agreed-upon hourly sum for the hours that he puts in a client’s case until it is resolved. The hourly rate depends on the lawyer’s experience, operating expenses and the location of the practice. When it comes to your business’ protection, you should keep in mind that it is more effective to hire a lawyer with a lot of experience and expertise.
  • When dealing with the business law matters such as wills and simple bankruptcy filings, most attorneys typically charge a flat fee. However, the flat fee might not include other legal expenses such as the filing fees.
  • You can be charged on a contingency fee basis in certain types of cases. It means that the business law attorney will take any fee from you, but will get a percentage of the settlement money.
  • As for the expenses and court costs, there are no averages and it is hardly possible to give an accurate estimation. You should carefully discuss everything with your business litigation attorney and anticipate any miscellaneous costs so that you can estimate those costs up front and avoid further confusions. Be prepared to check court costs, filing costs, delivery charges etc.

    Regardless of the type of your payment agreement with your attorney, you should get a fee agreement in writing. If a business law attorney is unwilling to offer a fee agreement in writing, do not choose that lawyer.

    Do You Know Qualities of the Best Law Firms?

    How do you know that your attorney will provide you with confident legal representation? A responsible legal attorney will ensure that he will do the best for you.

    Here’s a look at the Qualities of the Best Law Firms:

    Effective Leadership

    An effective leader is one of the key factors in determining a successful law practice. A good leader will have a commitment to serving its clients, and a vision for the firm’s direction. He will have a desire to find the best people, believing both in the clients and the brand of the firm. Effective leaders have a good understanding of the legal work, an awareness of the employees’ total job satisfaction, and overall satisfaction of its clients. Good leaders always remain cognizant of the factors such as success and growth associated with the firm.

    Compassion for its Clients

    The best law firms have qualified attorneys that listen to the clients concerns, and show empathy towards their situation. They are also concerned towards their overall goal through representation by the firm. Some attorneys look at their clients and see the opportunity to bill the total fee they will earn for a huge settlement. These attorneys lack the basic ethical consideration and compassion for its clients. The attorneys of the best law firms always act in the best interest of the clients and take good care of them. Some law firms even recruit brand new attorneys and start the legal process afresh with them.

    Focus on a Specific Area

    It is the quality of the best law firms to focus on a particular area of law. Laws are complex these days and these can change depending on the new case handed down by superior courts. The best law firms are aware of recent changes in their area of specialization. They can change strategy and become the power to their clients by exhibiting their knowledge in a particular area of law. A lawyer who claims to practice in all areas is not the right choice. With a narrow focus, a lawyer can represent your case instantly.

    Organizational and Transaction Skills

    Any attorney firm who wishes to be successful must possess skilled lawyers. The possession of exceptional organizational and transaction skills will enable the law firm to distinguish themselves from the other firms. These skills may vary with the different fields of law. The technical knowledge of lawyers will enable them to succeed. Moreover, this will assist them in retaining clients and winning cases. The practicing attorneys should have a mastery over the rules of evidence, which is an essential part of litigation. A client wants an attorney with a firm and confident determination. With confidence in their law firm, a client’s trust will increase and finally the potential of repeat business is huge.

    Honesty and Persuasiveness

    The best law firms never misguide their clients with an incorrect answer. Appeasing a client with false statements will cost the firm at the end. Honesty is totally important in maintaining client relations and should be of extreme importance. A lawyer must possess the skills to persuade a judge and the client, and in this situation, the power of persuasion is important. The idea of persuasiveness is the ability to understand and identify the concerns of the audience. It is the attorneys who can interpret the law in order to remain successful.

    Clearly Defined Fee System

    To avoid any future complications, good law firms always put in writing and explain to the client the method of billing. Many billing disputes arise only due to discrepancy in the understanding of the client regarding the fee matter. A clearly explained fee agreement in the first intake helps to avoid many of the post case disputes.

    There a lot of law firms available to select from, however when picking out the best of the lot, it is important you verify the qualities of a professional one. The qualities of the best law firms have been discussed above to enable you to choose the right one.