« October 2009 | Main | February 2010 »

January 2010 Archives

January 1, 2010

Reasonable Resolutions for a New Year and a New Practice

1. Don’t be afraid to take on a new challenge because you think you
won’t know what to do— because you will.
2. Never underestimate the importance of a good printer/copier/fax/scanner
3. No matter how busy or tiring it gets make time for the gym and the dog.

As I walked through the door of my new life — as a general solo, I felt not only an enormous amount of pride, excitement and of course fear, but I also felt a certain sense of inevitable grace—it is now as it was meant to be. Everything has fallen serenely into place— from the art on my office walls and the placement of my new handy dandy, marvelous all-in-one professional business machine to the just perfect place where my dog rests when she comes in to check on me.

Since my door opened in October 2009, my practice has undertaken cases in the areas of: name change, landlord/tenant, immigration, bankruptcy and contracts. And, I have an average of 4 new clients per month. In addition, I won my first immigration case— an amnesty petition. That was huge for me and of course my client was quite pleased as well. We got the decision right before the Solstice which made this holiday season the best my client and I have ever had.

So, I feel pretty confident about 2010. But my optimism is built not just on the fact that I continue to get referrals and I can convert to pdf like nobody’s business, but my potluck legal network is growing and the bonds with my colleagues are getting stronger. For every new case I have had, I have had someone to look to for guidance. Questions ranging from “how much do I charge for this,” to “what format do I use for that,” to “good grief, what do I do now!” — all have been answered with patience and with grace. And for that I am very grateful and will say a special thank you now to Tom and Debra who are only two of many that I have been fortunate to have as mentors and friends.

However, with all the commotion in the past few months, I have not been able to get to the gym as often as I had been, and it shows. My dog and I are not walking as long as we used to either, and she knows. Therefore, along with some new software, I will invest in those exercise walking shoes and the pup and I resolve to set out once again in our daily olfactory treasure hunt for urine and the other irresistible pleasures that makes my dog’s life, and therefore mine, so sweet.

Happy New Year to you all and thank you for coming back despite my absence. I look forward to hearing from you.

January 15, 2010

General Solos Do It Faster and Better.

Perhaps one of the most remarkable things I have discovered since I started my firm is— adobe acrobat. As a new attorney with a general solo practice, I endeavor to be more like the adobe acrobat professional— practical and intuitive with the power to transform and adapt to changing needs and programs.

In addition to the law, I love tools— especially power tools. I love that feeling I get when I am working on some new project and realize that I have just the right tool for the job— that will make it easier and get it done right the first time. That reminds me of something a good friend said the first time he came into my office, “this is a place where things get done. One way or another, they get done!” He was no doubt moved by the juxtaposition of my fabulous all-in-one copier and my equally fabulous craftsman Laser Trac miter saw. Yes, I can fax, pdf and frame out a door way in the same office!

The other day I found myself desperate for a certain immigration form that had to be completed and filed STAT. It also had to be signed by myself and my client. Enter my AAP. Using my adobe acrobat professional I was able to download, complete via type, sign & send the form to my client for him to sign and return to me via fax in less than 20 minutes! While I waited for him to send it back, I used my Dremel to change and refit the door nob and lock on my office door.

On another occasion I needed to format and print a litigation cover (blue back). Two months ago I spend what felt like days trying to figure out how to properly align Blumburg forms for printing. Those days are gone. Now I simply scan, convert, type and— voilá!

Being a general solo can be very nerve-racking, tiring, scary and overwhelming, but with the right tools, it can also be made simpler and even fun.

FYI, my Potluck Legal Network is still accepting new members for 2010, please feel free to contact me if you would like to join the group. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month to eat, drink, socialize and network. Thanks and happy new year.

January 31, 2010

May It Please the Court. Indeed It Does.

One of the best things for me about 2008 was graduating from law school and getting to shake hands with the most Honorable Judge Judith Kaye. To say she is a role model of mine is an understatement. Standing on the stage with her for those brief few seconds made that day even more remarkable and unforgettable for me.

During my career in the federal court in the Eastern District of New York, I observed, appeared before and got to know countless state and federal magistrates and judges. Regardless of the judicial decisions in the respective cases, sometimes my experience with some members of the bench was disappointing at best. I am sure you know what I mean and have all had similar or worst experiences at some point.

But the judges who have had the most impact on me and who I will never forget are not just the ones who I thought made the correct and just decisions, but the ones who were clearly seeking to administer Justice. I believe great judges are not the ones who make decisions or pronounce sentences based solely on some arbitrary or circumstantially irrelevant theory of crime and punishment, or worse, judges who have been socially segregated from society for decades who decide the rights of other’s based on what they believe “society is willing to accept.”

On the contrary, I have seen and worked with judges who overcame the inertia of our justice system and struggled with their own moral compass to arrive at a place where they could render decisions and pass judgments that although not always infallible, aimed to be righteous. Those judges, especially Judge Kaye, I believe are great and they will always inspire me.

This month I had the pleasure of attending two induction ceremonies for newly elected New York County civil court judges. When I received the first invitation I was very surprised and honored. I, especially as a new attorney, was delighted that another attorney, now judge, remembered meeting me, some two months earlier, looked up my address and sent me an invitation to her induction.

When I met both of these judicial candidates, I knew that they were remarkable women. I knew that they were the kind of attorneys I wanted to be like and the kind of judges I would want to appear before. They were both very “real” and grounded people who I believe appreciate the often ethereal relationship between the law and justice. I also sensed that no matter how long they sat on the bench, they would still “be a part of” the society they were judging. And my feelings and opinions were more than validated by the statements of the many family, friends and politicians who spoke at their respective ceremonies.

I have often thought of Judge Kaye and how sad I was when she retired last year. Whether there will be another like her remains to be seen. But after the second induction ceremony, I had only two thoughts, “The state of New York and especially New York County has some amazing judges” and “I am so proud to be a part of the New York State Bar.”

About January 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Reasonable Doubt in January 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2009 is the previous archive.

February 2010 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.