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Solo In Chicago

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

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Staffless Lawyers

Here's a duplicate posting from another one of my blogs...I was torn, sort of real estate and sort of law firm management...what's the ettiquette here?

Isn't it annoying to work with lawyers without any administrative support staff? Now this is more of a law firm management issue, but I post here because I find it most common with lawyers who work primarily in residential real estate. I've had a good number of transactions of late with these sort of offices and to be honest these people aren't giving good service to their client, real estate agents (if applicable) or their opposing counsel. Agree? And yet it seems like some of these people are getting tons of referrals from agents.

I would mention a couple things...first, at a broad level a lawyer is very much in a general customer service business. It's a service business of giving consultive advice to people. The basics of getting phone calls answered and returned, ect. are critical. Second, and more directly related to residential real estate transactions, obviously this varies by the transaction but a residential real estate deal is what, 50/50 legal work vs. "massaging logistics". The staffless lawyer can certainly handle the 50% of legal work, BUT, he/she does very poorly on the 50% "massaging logistics." I've had 2-3 deals over the last couple months where closings were threatened/delayed because of these types of laywers. Just my $.02 to be aware of and my very frank advice of lawyers you should be avoiding!!

4 Comments:

At 2:09 PM, Blogger David Stejkowski said...

Peter, I think your are spot on for residential real estate, which has a lot of demands on attorneys, especially in a high-volume practice. But for commercial real estate guys like me, I'm not so sure that is the case, where calling an assistant usually won't do much good.

My M.O., which is practical in my niche, is to be almost always accessible to my comparatively small client base, be it by cell phone, e-mail, Blackberry, or whatever. I also try my hardest (and almost always succeed) in making sure that if a deal closes, it is not because I dropped the ball.

 
At 8:07 AM, Blogger kimonchan said...

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At 4:55 PM, Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the note David. I agree with you...my experience is 90% non-commercial (other than commercial landlording). I just find too many residential real estate lawyers trying to do it all themselves and it's often not pretty.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger Chicago Deposit Law said...

I agree with Dave that there are exceptions to the rule, as I feel like my clients are getting sufficient contact by calling my cell or e-mailing me to keep up with their cases against their landlords. I guess I am in a different KIND of residential real estate practice.

 

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