Sunday, February 04, 2007

Hangin' Out My Shingle.....(or just hangin' out)

After 14+ years of practicing law, first as an employee in a private firm, then as an employee in a State agency, my entreprenurial urge has gotten the better of me and I'm going into business for myself and my clients on March 3, 2007. (That is most assuredly NOT me pictured at right.)

I have newfound respect for the small businessperson. Getting a business off the ground is like the Chinese Water Torture....one little thing after another. Business license, tax certificate, logo design, stationery, signage, website (watch for the launch, to be announced here), office space to be leased and remodeled, insurance, software and equipment to evaluate and purchase, phones, internet service.....every time I pick up my checklist to strike an item, I find myself adding two more. And I am doing this while maintaining my full client load at the Justice Mill. (My aforementioned murder trial resulted in a plea which had been in the works since before I decided to make the leap, so that has freed up a few hours, but the press of time is acute.)

When I open the doors, I'm expecting the sphincter-tightening realization that there is not another paycheck in the pipeline. Root hog, or die, as the saying goes. But there will be rewards of a less tangible nature. When my travels take me past a nice little stream, I can try to persuade a few trout onto my dinner plate, without thinking up some phoney-baloney excuse for my boss. I can take on meritorious cases that wouldn't have qualified for my previous agency's services, and I can reject those cases in which the defendant is just trying to game the system (or at least charge a fee commensurate with the insult to my self-respect.)

I can set my own schedule, which will make my wife happy when it's time to visit the kids at the Cape, or attend a dog show out of town. As Jan-Michael Vincent said to Darren McGavin in an obscure 70's army flick ("Tribes"), when asked why he didn't wear underwear, "Sir, I like the freedom, sir!"

If I want to put a sign that says "Worst President Ever" in my office window, I can do it. If I want to represent a draft resister, should it come to that, I can do it. If I want to be politically active without fear of recrimination, I can do it. Because, you see, I like the freedom, too.

49 Comments:

  • What an adventure -- and an act of courage and confidence. Best of luck to you as you brave the wilds of self-employment. You're an inspiration.

    Your observations about the freedom you'll have now to speak and act as you feel resonates, too (I hate that word, resonates, but it fits here). One of my first actions after being laid off by my newspaper was to open up my blog identity a bit; the second was to slap a "Bush's Last Day" bumper-sticker on my car. Felt GOOD, it did.

    By Blogger Blue Wren, at 10:48 AM  

  • Well, Wren, I daresay you inspired me more than vice versa. You started using that newfound freedom on Day One, as I recall. And by the way, rumor has it that Charlie Brown is getting the old campaign gang together again. Your blog is your portfolio.

    By Blogger roxtar, at 11:15 AM  

  • Congratulations-and good luck!

    By Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick, at 5:20 PM  

  • Good on yer, star. I think you'll do swimmingly in what is by all accounts a growth industry.

    By Blogger Bobby Lightfoot, at 6:34 PM  

  • Could you line "Worst President Ever" back to the official President Bush Bio on whitehouse.gov? It will help keep that page at the top of the google search for "worst president ever"

    By Blogger Grant Miller, at 1:21 PM  

  • Best of luck with your practice! I tried self-employment for a year or so. All in all, it was nice, but I kind of missed having someone else foot the bill as I surfed the web. That and health care (don't get me started).

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    Stewart plays a small-town lawyer by the name of Paul Biegler, who is the defense attorney for Lieutenant Frederic Manion (Gazzara). Lt. Manion is charged with first degree murder for shooting a barkeeper, Barney Quill, because Quill allegedly raped Lt. Manion’s wife, Laura (Remick). However, Lt. Manion is eventually acquitted under the defense of irresistible impulse. The bulk of the film's plot revolves around the drama as it unfolds in court
    The film highlights several of the law’s shortcomings that stem from the fallibility of the law’s human components. These components – the counsel for defense and prosecution, the defendant and his family, and the jury – have different positions on what is right or wrong, and varying regard for the values of integrity and justice. This variation allows the law to be manipulated in many ways. The most controversial legal issue in this film is the unethical witness coaching indulged in by Biegler as he spells out for Lt. Manion the only plausible defense Lt. Manion has – the insanity defense. Witness coaching is seen as the subornation of perjury to a lesser extent, and prompts the defendant to conceal the truth and manipulate his story in order to obtain the best possible verdict.

    By Blogger Will Divide, at 3:54 PM  

  • Knock 'em dead, dog! It's always great to see someone cool headin' out on their own, especially in your business.

    ... the press of time is acute.

    That's a sweet turn of phrase, but alas, that seems to be what it takes to motivate me half the time.

    Good speed and great luck to you. Since we generally make our own of both, I'm thinkin' you'll do quite well.

    Congrats!

    By Blogger MichaelBains, at 10:21 AM  

  • Best of luck. You may not need it because you seem like the type who has his shit together, but it surely can't hurt.

    I'm afraid my innate laziness and lack of organization prevent my joining the self-employed, at least for the foreseeable future.

    By Blogger Kevin Wolf, at 12:13 PM  

  • Hah. You'll starve. Maybe you can use some of the spam Viagra ads that show up on this blog on your ambulance chaser website. Hah.

    Good luck,
    The Comp

    By Blogger Hillbilly Dem, at 4:39 PM  

  • The WVSBDC can help with getting that shingle out and paper work completed... give them a call...
    www.wvsbdc.org...

    Good Luck!

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  • Good luck, roxtar! I started my own little biz in 1998. You'll really start to appreciate the litle things about your previous employer.

    Like office supplies! And, um, a copy machine *someone else* knew how to work/fix!

    Dealing with taxes is the worst part. And the freedom is truly indeed the best part.

    Lots of luck to you!

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    You mark my words this fourteenth day of March 07 and we will talk about a year hence. Hope your business is as successful as your fish conservation program.
    Best wishes.
    Oscar Wilde.

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