Talking about Law Firms Part Two

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.

Talking about Law Firms.

Just a reminder, when dealing with lawyers your problem or concern becomes an issue.
The Firm has almost become the generic name for a lawyer working in an office. Even, if they are found working all by themselves in a rundown rented room, in the not so nice section of town.
First, of course are the Mega-Firms. These bad boys have an impossible number of lawyers and support staff working for them. Their clients are corporations and people with more money than God. The chances of finding help you can afford here is not very good.
Then there are the large firms. These are firms owned and operated by Partners. Partners are the lawyers ultimately in charge of the firm. There are 2 types of partners, ‘equity’ and ‘income’. The ‘equity’ partner are the ones who gets to have their name on the firm’s letter head and get a lion’s share of the firms ‘pure’ profit. The ‘income’ partners are essentially the salaried department heads of the firm. Each of these lawyers will be in charge of a particular area of law. For example, one partner would be in charge of all domestic issues. Now, these firms may have upwards of 200 additional lawyers working for them. These lawyers are referred to as associates. The associate lawyer will handle the sub-specialties. These firms will have a large support staff. Paralegals, computer engineers and investigators to name a few of the support personal types they have access too. Downside, you may meet and talk with your lawyer only once, maybe twice. Unless, you have to go to court, then you might visit with your lawyer a few more times. You see, your case may be only one many. If they do take you on, will probably have more dealings with the paralegal assigned to your issue. Don’t get me wrong, it’ll be a lot like going to your doctor’s office. You may see and talk to your doctor for a few minutes. However, the blood draws, vital checks, getting the diagnostic exams scheduled, billing your issuance are handled by the support staff but the staff will report every test result and action taken on your behalf back to your doctor. Again, these firms are rather expensive.
Next on the ladder, are the firms with only are with only 20 or 30 lawyers. They don’t have any associates but may have 2 or 3 young lawyer’s fresh out of law school. Each of the lawyers may specialize in one or two areas of law. Again, they will have a good supporting staff. Namely paralegals my favorite profession. Just not as many, which means the paralegals may be assisting two or more of the lawyers in the firm. Unlike the larger firms you will see a bit more of your lawyer.
In these last 2 types of firms, a partner or a couple of firm’s associates may become passionate about a particular issue. In this case these lawyers will help but with that issue. However, these lawyers will have set up their own rules and regulations to qualify for their help.
Next week I want to talk about the Independents and Firm specialties