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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Learn from my mistakes...

Knock on wood, everything turned out okay (assuming the client pays us), but I made a foolish client decision recently that I regret. I took on a fairly simple criminal case over the last 6 months. It was a deceptive practices allegation down in Bridgeview. Yesterday the client entered into a plea agreement repaying the money and it's done.

It was foolish of me to take on a criminal case of any kind. As many of you know, I do a fair amount of litigation in the real estate, family and probate areas so I do know my way around a courtroom. But criminal law is just a different beast. I'm in that court room like it's my first day as a lawyer hearing the Court and State's Attorneys use these different acronyms...IBond, DBond, SOL, ect. Don't have a clue what they mean. The likelihood of me making a mistake in that setting was 10 times as high as some dissolution of marriage that I'm involved with multiple times each day.

My way...wrong way.

I must remember what The Practice told us about the right way to add a new practice area:

1. I obtained a mentor. My friend, classmate from law school, and all around good person, Margaret Broussard, is going to mentor me. She currently handles these cases exclusively.

2. I have decided to do limited marketing. I am going to sponsor a program that helps kids who qualify for special education services.

3. I have spoken with a few attorneys and asked for referrals. Since most attorneys do not handle these cases and it is not an area you can really handle unless you are going to devote some time to it, they were receptive to having someone to refer cases to.

4. I am reading, reading, and doing more reading. I am reading everything I can get my hands on to figure this out. It is a whole different world.

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