I met with my first client on the couch of my old apartment. The apartment was cheap and gross. I was just out of law school. I had graduated law school during one of the worst legal markets in history. Jobs were scarce and the ones that were available were not very good and did not allow me to get into the courtroom.
I always wanted to represent people with real problems, not review paperwork for businesses trying to add to the bottom line. I decided to start my own firm…in my gross apartment.
That client I met with ended up retaining me as his attorney. He had a custody case and wanted to fight for the right to beinvolved in his son’s life. He didn’t have much money, but I didn’t have much experience. It seemed like a fair deal.
What I did have was motivation and fearlessness. I worked my butt off trying to figure out what I was doing. I worked late every night. I woke up early every morning. I researched the case law. I developed mentors. I called law school friends to ask questions. I attended continuing education conferences.
It was hard. Hard is actually an understatement. Starting a firm from scratch is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Many attorneys that take that road don’t last a year in business. I’m not ashamed to admit a few tears along the way, a lot of frustration, and more awkward, young attorney moments than I can count.
I signed more clients. I made a name for myself. I started trying a lot of cases. You don’t become a good trial attorney sitting on the sidelines watching others practice law. I became very good through “trial and error.” Pun intended. I picked up an award or two. My practice has been built one brick at a time. I don’t tolerate mistakes. I research my cases. I return my clients’ phone calls. I work really hard.
Oh, and that first case I retained….it turned into a three day trial. And we won. My client now has joint custody of his son.