10 Tips for Solo Practitioners

January 9, 2016
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I’d rather be in the woods

This is my fourth year in practice for myself, and I finished a first year as a true solo. I wrote a post back in 2012 about how to start a solo practice. I wrote this post about what it’s like to be a solo practitioner. And I wrote this piece about a day in the life of a young lawyer.

These are 10 practical tips I’ve tried to assimilate into my own practice. If I’ve found one thing it’s this – you are either running your law practice, or it’s running you.

I’ve had good months, bad months, and in between months. Borrowing a line from my former boss, all you can do is keep plugging away.

Here are some musings and reflections…

1. Stop giving clients your cell phone number. I stopped putting mine in my email signature. When you give your clients your cell, expect to get text messages on holidays, weekends, early in the morning, and all hours of the night. Expect your clients to get angry when you don’t respond to a text in two seconds, and court “isn’t a good excuse.” People nowadays expect instant communication, which simply isn’t possible as a lawyer. A conversation with my Uncle Jim, a successful commercial litigation attorney:

Me: “Man, it’s Christmas and I’m getting text messages. I thought technology was supposed to make things great…”
Jim: “I don’t do text messaging. I’m upfront with clients about that. If they send me one, I won’t respond, and I won’t check it. They can call the office, and I’ll call them back when I’m available.”
Me: “Really? Don’t they fire you?”
Jim: “Never. I return all the calls by the end of the day. But text messaging? That’s a recipe for disaster.”

I’m with Jim. Don’t do text messaging. Don’t do Facebook messenger. Don’t do SnapChat and all those other wacky things.

Instead, give clients your office number, and let clients leave voicemails when you’re busy. Schedule phone calls in advance, rather than take them off the cuff. Personally, I have the voicemails transcribed into an audio file and sent to my email via Nextiva. The only clients who have my cell phone are ones who I’m personally friends with, and yes, they still tend to abuse it. “Dude, real quick, I just need to know this one thing…”

Ever since I’ve stopped giving my cell out to clients, life has been much easier. I’ve had time to blog again, return calls, and write briefs.

And if a client doesn’t want to hire you because you’re not always immediately available? They’re not a client you want.

2.  Make time for office hours. As a solo, one of the things you have to do is plan strategically. Make sure you have at least two or three days a week where you’re in the office, and not in court, a deposition, or with a new client. You need to find time to write briefs, return emails, send letters, etc. It’s too easy for a solo to book up their week with court appearances, meetings, and new client interviews.

While I hate doing this, the best time for office hours is early in the morning around 5am. I’ve started getting to the office around 7am, which creates a three hour barrier before the phone starts ringing and emails start piling up.  Read the rest of this entry »


Jordan Rushie joins Randazza Legal Group

September 1, 2014

When I was in law school, I used to read The Legal Satyricon. I remember thinking “This blog is awesome! But I could never do anything like that.” Marco has always been known for his high flyin’, foul mouthed, unique breed of legal representation. Something I always wanted to do but couldn’t. Because I was a nameless, faceless associate at a law firm billing hours and serving corporate clients.

One fateful day in April of 2011, I was checking my email before going to Whole Foods. Little did I know how much my life would change that fateful morning. As I was checking Solosez (a lawyer listserve where stupid people go to ask other stupid people stupid questions to get stupid answers), I learned that I had been named as a defendant in Rakofsky v. The Internet (hysterically and appropriately named by Scott Greenfield). Not sure what to do, I called Brian Tannebaum, a lawyer who used to write a good blog (two, actually), that I read regularly. When Brian got done yelling at me for interrupting his day, he put me in touch with Marc Randazza, who became my lawyer and proceeded to decimate the lawsuit.

Since then, I have started my own firm, wrote an ABA 100 Law Blog, and have had a career that I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams. Much of which involves protecting the First Amendment, intellectual property rights, and zoning. I went from working in a law job to having a practice that I feel excited and energized about every single day. Life is good. [Editor’s Note: Scott Greenfield nominated Philly Law Blog to the ABA 100. I love him forever.]

I blame Marc for most of it. 

Over the last few years, we’ve done a lot of work together, a lot of which was in the press. Just one of many examples, Me and Marc handled The Bellwether Trial, which was the first bittorrent case ever to see the inside of a courtroom. We are currently working on other interesting cases throughout the country, most of which I can’t blog about just yet. (stay tuned).

It’s been a wild ride.

So, in the interest of keeping things simple, I have decided to join Randazza Legal Group as Of Counsel. This actually happened awhile ago, but I was too busy to write about it.

It’s a great honor to be working with someone who I have idolized for many years, who defended me in my first lawsuit, and helped me get my own career off the ground.

And don’t worry. Fishtown Law won’t be changing one bit. Me and Leo continue to be your neighborhood Fishtown Lawyers, drinking all the craft beers and hanging around town. I will still be working out of 2424 Studios here in Fishtown and harassing Leo on an everyday basis (although I will be in Vegas from time to time, mostly to skirt open container laws).

 


Joseph Rakofsky in His Own Words: A Stunningly Sad Mix of Vanity, Hubris, Bad Judgment, and Irony

May 24, 2012

Alright, Joseph Rakofsky’s latest papers are out. I actually read them, so you owe me a beer. (They can be found in their entirety here).

If you don’t know the story, Joseph Rakofsky was admitted to practice on April 29, 2010 in New Jersey. On May 3, 2010, he claims he was approached by Dontrell Deaner’s family to defend him in a murder case. (say what? April 29, 2010 was a Friday Thursday. May 3, 2010 was a Monday. That means Rakofsky got licensed and somehow in four days was approached to handle a murder trial.)

Read the rest of this entry »


Very Few Things Leave Me Speechless… this did.

May 1, 2012

Я выиграл для меня! ДЛЯ МЕНЯ!

Most of you remember Crystal Cox from the “extortionists who pretend to be bloggers are not journalists” case, Obsidian Finance v. Cox. Yes, shockingly, if you Google-bomb someone’s reputation and then offer to clean it up for a fee, apparently that is not “journalism.”

Crystal Cox rose to a particular level of notariety after going after Marc Randazza‘s three year old daughter. As you might imagine, bringing a three year old child into the mix didn’t play well.

This week, Crystal Cox filed objections and a declaration in support of her objections to Obsidian’s request to place her domain names in receivership.

Very few things leave me speechless. This takes the cake. Or keylime pie or whatever.

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Crystal Cox: Is Philly Law Blog Part of a Big Awesome Media Conspiracy, Along With AbovetheLaw and Nickelback fans? I Sure Hope So!

April 5, 2012

Chickity China the Chinese chicken, you have a drumstick and your brain stops tickin', watchin' X-Files with no lights on, we're dans la maison, I hope the Smoking Man's in this one.

Growing up, my favorite show was the X-Files. You could never tell if Fox Mulder was off his rocker, or whether the whole thing was part of a big alien conspiracy. And the Smoking Man was pretty cool.

I still like shows on the History Channel about Nostradamus, the Mayan Calendar, and the Illuminati and that sort of thing. Hell, I’ve even read the DaVinci Code. The conspiracy theory stuff is always fun and interesting.

Today, as an unabashed Nickelback fan, I’m hoping to become part of the vast conspiracy.

Now, I know you’re saying “There’s no such thing as a Nickelback fan!”

But shouldn’t the question be asked?

Are Nickelback fans trying to silence Crystal Cox on behalf of big media?

Read the rest of this entry »


The Evolution of Crystal Cox: Anatomy of a Scammer

April 3, 2012

"Does anyone out there want me to write defamatory stuff about them and then buy my reputation management services to remove it? YOU CAN PAY ME IN STRAIGHT CASH HOMIE!"

Today I’m here to shine a little sunlight and tell you the entire story of Obsidian v. Cox, the matter touted as “bloggers aren’t journalists.”

Often, the truth is much stranger, and sicker, than fiction…

This is how Crystal Cox’s scam works generally: Cox calls herself an investigative blogger / journalist. She posts a bunch of negative stuff about you on the internet. Then she buys a bunch of domain names about you, your family, and your business to make sure all her posts are at the top of a Google search. But lucky for you, Cox also happens to be a “reputation management specialist.” Cox then offers to sell you “reputation management services” to clean it all up to the tune of $2500 a month.

As Carlos Miller aptly put it, Crystal Cox “is the cyber equivalent of the mob goons who firebomb your business, before demanding protection money.”

Not surprisingly, a court found this kind of behavior is not protected speech in Obsidian v. Cox.

You may remember that over the weekend I wrote a piece about Crystal Cox, when Cox went after Marc Randazza’s three year old daughter after offering to sell Randazza “reputation management” services which he declined.

Yes, you read that right – apparently Crystal Cox went after a three year old when Randazza wouldn’t buy reputation management services.

Read the rest of this entry »


Marc Randazza: Why I Went to Law School

March 15, 2012

I want to be this badass

“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.”
-Ernest Hemingway

This is an ode to someone I consider a mentor, a role model, and a friend. I’ve been criticized by my friends and family for being a little, shall we say, uncouth at times. Well, Marc Randazza, who is also known for being a little uncouth himself, is the lawyer I want to be. And I have no shame about admitting it.

Read the rest of this entry »


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