So you may be wondering if I can represent you in a legal matter since I’m a lawyer. Here’s the answer:
I am licensed in NY & CT so yes, under the law I can technically help you. This doesn’t speak to my abilities and willingness to help, however.
If you have a legal issue in the film world, probably. If the issue doesn’t involve me representing you in court, holding money in a trust account or securities, chances are I’ll be able to do it. I am not the sort of lawyer who hides away to work in solitude or thinks you are stupid.
At the same time, I will not represent people who think they know better than me or who demand me to violate state ethics rules. I insist on professional respect and have had ex-clients behave this way before. It was not appreciated & will not be tolerated.
I also DO NOT work for free. I expect to get paid just like anybody else & do charge within market rates for my years of experience/expertise. I also will not do the work if you do not provide me the funds to get it done. Lawyers can’t legally pay your court filing fees, your fax costs, none of that. Even if we are best buddies, a lawyer can get in serious trouble under ethics rules just for lending you money to get a cup of coffee.
Appearances/per diem for other law firms and attorneys is perfectly fine so long as you tell me what needs to be done, you treat me with human being respect and you pay me promptly with good checks. I've been doing that for over 2 years now; contact me privately for experience and rates.
You will also not move me with your sad, tragic poverty story. I have my own financial troubles and I bet you ARE NOT
paying six figure loan debts to practice your field. I do not have the means to get an office, a business phone line or anything associated with a law firm. I also do not wish to be a solo practitioner, which is why I consider myself a freelancing attorney. Considering the new lawyer job market, the time for sympathy from new attorneys is long gone.
That being said, if you can impress upon me that you are not a time waster, a freeloader or any number of things lawyers do not want in a client then we can talk. Just as creatives base their estimations of people on personality, I do the same with potential legal clients.
What I Will Do:
- Contracts/writing forms/drafting paperwork
- Translate legalese
- Write persuasive business correspondence
- Make phone calls
- Generally be your enforcer/pit bull
What I Will NOT Do:
- Represent you in a court of law (litigation can take a long time & doesn’t account for personal schedules)
- Hold money for you in a trust account (requires me to do something far out of the norm for what I typically do)
- Handle a matter I’m not competent to take &/or lie to you about my competency in an issue (if you hire me regardless of this, be ready to deal with it)
- Be treated with disrespect or ignored when I say things in the course of representation (this means no lawyer will ever be good enough)
- Pay out of pocket for your expenses, even if you say you’ll pay me back (I’ve been down that road before & I’m not running up a tab for you)
- Work on contingency or pro bono (try legal aid if you need this)
Hopefully, this will save you and me the time and headache associated with hiring legal counsel. Lawyers have to pay professional licensing fees/costs to practice and the field is heavily regulated. You will not make any friends by expecting freebies or acting like legal services should be dispensed by Wal-Mart employees.