.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Solo In Chicago

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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Increased Order of Protection Remedies

Here's an overview regarding the new Cindy Bischof Law that allows courts to order GPS tracking for people accused of violating protection orders who are let out on bail and determined to be at high risk for violence. It also allows judges to put a convicted violator on a GPS ankle bracelet.

What I don't like about the new law is it seems to NOT apply in any way to civil orders of protection. Granted I'm just speaking from the perspective of one individual but I see many, many more civil orders of protection than I do criminal orders of protection.

Why not add a new remedy to the Domestic Violence Act?

Monday, August 18, 2008

The "Interesting" Reasons Why Clients Choose Attorneys

I witnessed an interesting/sad/eye-opening example of attorney selection last week at Daley that unfortunately probably speaks to the stupid reasons why client's choose lawyers and I suppose should emphasize the importance of client education as part of your marketing.

So here's what happened...

I have a case set for hearing and I'm defending my client in a sort of run-of-the-mill Petition for Rule to Show Cause (asking to find my client in contempt of court) regarding non-payment of child support. This is fairly severe stuff where my client can potentially be jailed for up to six months. Well, the opposing attorney doesn't think that she needs to have her client or any witnesses for that matter to put on the case. Her client's the petitioning party. The case gets called and the judge explains that of course you have to have your client here and the hearing got re-scheduled.

A few minutes later I'm out in the hallway speaking with my client and the other lawyer walks out of the courtroom and quickly followed by a gentleman who had been sitting in the courtroom gallery. He stops the lawyer, introduces himself, asks for a business card and seemingly was interested in possibly having this attorney represent him (granted I don't know if this guy has ended up becoming a client).

But I just found this turn of events fairly jaw-dropping. Here's a lawyer who doesn't even know that a client/witness has to be brought to a hearing to prove her case and then a potential client whom I think was in the courtroom while I and the other attorney were before the judge is actively seeking her out regarding potential representation.

I suppose there are many teaching points from this example...like more than you think client's choose attorneys for totally superficial reasons like physical appearance, but I would emphasize just the importance of client education as part of your marketing efforts. We can't solve consumer ignorance completely but your marketing efforts can educate clients and show potential clients what you know.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Thick Skin and Attorney Withdrawal

I think the fact of withdrawing from a case is one of the ways that attorney's are too non-businesslike. Name a service provider that you use that wouldn't stop service if their bill went unpaid for more than 2-3 months. And yet I see lawyers staying in cases way too long. Withdrawing from a case must be a pure business decision...work on pro bono cases in areas that you're passionate about don't let your pro bono work be involuntary.

I saw a good example of proper attorney withdrawal yesterday...sort of funny actually. I was up on the 30th Floor at Daley meeting with the opposing attorney and his client on a case. I was in court defending a motion the attorney had filed relating to various post-divorce things, primarily selling a former marital residence. Well, after speaking for a while the opposing client grew frustrated and said simply, I'm not signing a listing agreement to sell the home. That was the main purpose of being in court and then she's goes on about her interests "not being represented."

Well, we had our case called and the attorney was granted leave to withdraw on the spot. This happens to be in a 3-4 year divorce that went through a contested trial and this attorney got a good judgment for the client. And I know he has a nice sized lien on the marital residence so he'll get paid eventually.

Always fire clients when necessary.

I Always Miss All the Fun

Saw this little nugget today and heard about it on Chicago Public Radio:

Cook County Circuit Clerk's office evacuated at Daley Center after bomb threat.

I was at Daley until about 11:50am so I must have just missed the dramatics. The piece isn't too specific but it must have been room 802. And who doesn't love the practice of family law...

Police were investigating whether the incident was related to a bomb threat involving a pending domestic court case.