Just a reminder, when dealing with lawyers your problem or concern becomes an issue. Also, please remember I am a paralegal not a lawyer.
Let’s move on to the small firms now, in most cases these firm’s are made up of 2 maybe 3 lawyers. Lawyers, who have joined forces to create their own firm, more often than not, are started by lawyers fresh out of law school, eager to take on the world. Sometimes these lawyers come from 2 or 3 of the larger firms. Unhappy with the treatment they received, or with the treatment of one or two clients, these “Knights” decided to give it a go on their own. Unfortunately, they have a lot less operating capital than larger firms. The supporting staff at a small firm is going to be a lot smaller. Which means their paralegals may even have to double as a receptionist from time to time.
Now let’s start with the Independent Lawyers. Even an Independent is often referred to as a law firm. These law firms consist of 1 lawyer and no support staffs. These troopers even have to take out the trash themselves. The Independent lawyer has to rely on their own skills, ingenuity, knowledge and cleverness. Occasionally, these Independents do get lucky and connect up with a skilled paralegal. It works like this, 2 or 3 independents will share the expertise of a paralegal. The Independent will call and or email the ‘shared’ paralegal with an assignment. When the paralegal completes the assignment h/she will email, fax or hand deliver the results back to the assigning lawyer. Unlike the larger firms, you will probably see more personal involvement from an Independent lawyer.
There are a few Independents that will dedicate themselves to try and help you. If the independent truly believes your issue has grown beyond his skill, a few independents will swallow their pride and help you find the help you need.
For some Independents, especially those fresh out of law school, where they live is the most important. However, these independents do try to connect with a local law firm. These local firms are usually fully staffed. Depending on the reputation earned as an Independent, these Independent lawyers usually get snapped up by a local law firm as soon as there is an opening available. Sometimes, and only sometimes openings are made available for them.
Next, let’s talk about the law firm categories. Law firm categories can be just as complex and confusing as lawyer specialties. There are firms that only deal with one issue, plus sub-issues as related to the main issue . I want to start with a Personal Injury Firm (the PI firm). There are PI firms operated by an Independent exclusively handles auto accidents. Another PI firm with more than one lawyer may handle auto accidents, and truck accidents. There are firms that only deal with medical malpractice exclusively. Medical malpractice firms only deal with surgical errors. Yet still other medical firms that will solely take on surgical and drug issues.
Next week we’ll talk more about specialized law firms and the types of lawyers out there.