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GOOD LAWYERING // A Lawyer's Highest Function
When I was an associate at an hourly billing firm, I was told "Mr. Crayon, the highest function of an attorney is NOT to be a good lawyer, but to bring in revenue." A few days later, I resigned. Not because I wasn't bringing in the revenue... far from it. In fact, the boss was very happy. Every email, every phone call, everything had to be billed, billed, billed. Because I worked diligently, nights, days, and weekends, he was happy with my billing. My clients were happy with my work and attention on their cases.
I walked away from a cushy job as lead, managing attorney and went full time with my own practice because I believe the highest function of a lawyer is... being a good lawyer.
This was years in the making. Previously, I worked full time in law offices by day, attended law school at night, and graduated top 2 of my class, all while dreaming of being an instrument of positive change in people's lives. Since 2006, I worked nonstop in the legal field, full time, day and night because I care about being a good lawyer.
When I became a lawyer, I already had years of legal training both in and out of the office and I was already equipped to take on complicated matters. Sorry old boss, my "highest function" is not to be a billing machine.
I've worked at big and small firms, and two main disadvantages at both types: (1) inattention; and (2) turnover. My heart would go out to clients who had 3 or 4 attorneys over the life of their case. After a new attorney would "catch up to speed," he or she would be replaced by another attorney. At bigger firms, the main complaint I would hear is "everytime I come in or call I talk to someone new." Or clients would have to re-explain their situation over and over again to multiple people.
While time management is certainly important, each client's case deserves quality attention, or you shouldn't take the case to begin with. If I'm going to take the case, I'm going to do a good job.
While my fees are not the lowest, I don't gouge people either. What firms fail to realize is that happy clients lead to more happy clients. It's the best form of advertising, and most of Crayon Law Firm's clients are referrals.
No lawyer can or should gurarantee results, and I'm no exception. Like all things, legal representation for certain matters carries with it a risk. Clients know this. But we often win because of passion and competency. And while every case isn't the "trial of the century," I can find an aspect of the case to get passionate about. Oftentimes, that passion carries the day and we prevail (winning often certainly doesn't hurt). More importantly, clients know that I am an ally for their cause, big or small. That's being a good advocate.
-- Kevin C. Crayon II, Esq.