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The Upside of Solo/Small Firm Practice

By Elissa Hecker, guest blogger

The beauty of being a solo practitioner or part of a small firm is that one has more freedom to work with clients on a personal basis, and foster relationships. Unfortunately when working in a large firm, many attorneys do work for clients who they never meet.

An attorney’s job is to zealously advocate for her client. However, in addition, it is the solo or small firm attorney who can add the personal touch, both as lawyer and counselor.

It is important to know how to listen to clients, and what to listen for; ask the right questions, probe, and counsel through frustrations, ambivalence, anger, hopes and dreams.

It is crucial to listen and be a guide of sorts to help clients find their inner strengths. In effect, our legal guidance and experience should be able to help our clients become better advocates in their business dealings, while we help with legal and business strategies. What many people don’t realize is that the mere act of listening can help alleviate pressures that exist in our clients’ worlds, which will then lead to clearer heads and better decision making. Often clients may be afraid or concerned to challenge an agreement, potential dealmaker or an adversary. It is our job to use our legal problem solving skills, so that clients can maintain their good, and avoid the bad, relationships. We do our jobs so that our clients can do theirs. At the end of the day, we are a significant part of their support systems.

I believe in always trying to negotiate well so that every party walks away with something, obviously with favorable results for my clients. Rarely will there be an exchange where, though terse some discussions may be, both sides (and their attorneys) continue to respect and appreciate each other. That leads to continued business relationships, which benefits everyone.

Elissa D. Hecker of the Law Office of Elissa D. Hecker, practices in the fields of copyright, trademark and business law. Her clients encompass a large spectrum of the entertainment world. In addition to her private practice, Elissa is Past Chair of the Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law (EASL) Section of the NYSBA, Editor of the EASL Journal, member of the Board of Editors for the NYSBA Bar Journal and Co-Chair and creator of the EASL Pro Bono Committee. She is also a frequent author, lecturer and panelist, a member of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. (CSUSA) and a member of the Board of Editors for the Journal of the CSUSA. Elissa is the recipient of the New York State Bar Association’s 2005 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. She can be reached at (914) 478-0457 or via email at: EHeckerEsq@yahoo.com.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 21, 2009 2:46 PM.

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