Solo Practitioners

Reema N. Bajaj

Remember Reema Bajaj? Well, how could you forget her? This highly attractive Illinois solo practitioner was hit with prostitution charges back in June — and the legal world hasn’t been the same ever since.

In August, word on the street was that Bajaj and DeKalb County prosecutors were nearing a plea agreement. But it seems that those discussions have broken down like a cheap condom.

Yes, that’s right: Reema Bajaj isn’t going down without $100 a fight….

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I recently came across an article about an Atlanta solo-practitioner who has found a niche practice area. He has become the go-to guy for dog bite lawsuits. The article was interesting to me for two reasons. First, I love me a niche practice. Second, in the article, the attorney, Evan Kaine, discussed a problem common for many small-firm attorneys. That problem is the difficulty of collecting on judgments and getting one’s fees paid.

Kaine explained the reason for the difficulty as follows:

In June, Kaine’s clients were awarded $60,000 in one case and $700,000 in another, but he questions how much, if anything, they’ll ultimately collect. The problem, said Kaine, is that in these and many other dog bite cases the animals’ owners are renters who have no insurance and whose landlords’ homeowners policies cannot be tapped under Georgia law. Despite having clients who are in some cases grievously injured, Kaine’s recovery prospects are dim at best and constitute “small victories,” he said.

As sad as it is when a client does not get the award he is due, it is much worse when the lawyer does not obtain her fees for the work done to obtain that award, right?

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'At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought.'

It’s not every day that attorneys repeatedly file “unintelligible” complaints that are “riddled with errors.” (Okay, maybe it is every day.)

But it’s really not every day that Drew Peterson’s attorney — yes, that Drew Peterson — attempts to file the same complaint three times, appeals to the Seventh Circuit only to get smacked down, and is then ordered to show cause as to why his federal license to practice shouldn’t be tossed out.

Let’s take a look at what Walter Maksym attempted to file, and why he faced the wrath of the Seventh Circuit earlier this week….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Benchslap of the Day: A Billy Madison Style Rambling, Incoherent Complaint”

Last week, I thought my life had ended. No, it was not the announcement that All My Children is ending this week. That tragedy I learned to live with once I found out that online episodes will start airing this winter. It was because my iPhone broke, or at least I thought it had.

I panicked. I, like those fax machine loving small-firm attorneys, am not tech savvy. So, I went straight to the Apple website and set up an appointment at the Genius Bar. As I was waiting for my appointment, I emailed a friend to ask her if she had any idea on how to fix my phone. She responded, “Did you Google it?” No, I had not. And, within thirty seconds of web-searching, I had found the solution to my problem.

I realized from our email exchange that there are two types of people in this world: people who are helpless, and those who help themselves. Since learning that I had yet another issue to work on, I set out to find a small-firm lawyer who practices self-help.

Meet Jessica Fairchild of Fairchild Law Offices, LLC. Fairchild, a University of Chicago graduate and former Sidley Austin attorney, started her own firm in May 2010. Fairchild’s path to solo success was the result of this lady making things happen. While I would unlikely be able to follow suit unless there is a way to use the Genius Bar to find small firm success (niche alert!), you can try for yourself by following these steps….

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It’s no secret that the legal market is still in the tank. Unemployed associates have grown accustomed to scrounging the Internet for any and all job openings that might materialize – even sketchy postings offering $35,000 salaries to sharp dressers.

Just how bad has the economy gotten? Bad enough that Craigslist isn’t just for associates anymore. That’s right, now even partners are lowering themselves to the point of hawking their wares on this oh-so-prestigious platform. In the last week, we’ve seen not one, but two ads on Craigslist aimed at the upper echelon of law firm life.

One poster is an aspiring partner seeking the right law firm to take on his or her amazing legal talent. The other is a solo lawyer seeking a partner to start a law practice.

Are these two a match made in Craigslist heaven? Keep reading to see if either of our contestants has the goods to succeed in the partner matchmaking game.

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There is some bitterness in the Potato State.

Can you withdraw from a criminal case simply because you think the court is “lazy” and “incompetent”? I’d think “no,” otherwise defense lawyers would have a legitimate out well over 50% of the time. But one lawyer in Idaho is making the case that he should be let out of his obligations because he can’t stand the court.

There are positives with the test attorney Eric J. Scott would like to apply. Would that we could drop out of anything simply because the people we work with are lazy. But at the end of the day, it’s hard to tell if Scott is reasonably concerned that the court is too stupid to be respected, or if he’s just bummed that he’s losing….

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Luz Herrera

The economy had to tank and a lot of people had to become unemployed for law schools to ask: ‘How can we help people hang out their shingle?’

Luz Herrera, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, commenting on the need for law schools to establish solo practice incubators. In 2007, CUNY School of Law was the first school to introduce such an innovative program for its graduates.

The legal profession isn’t known for its sense of humor. On the contrary, most attorneys take themselves way too seriously. As a result, we see some pretty ridiculous attorney advertising that ends up being unintentionally funny. And while we’re happy to poke gentle fun at these websites and ads, our commentary isn’t always well received. Because another thing that lawyers aren’t known for is the ability to accept criticism.

Knoxville attorney Stephen A. Burroughs, a personal injury and auto accident lawyer and my new favorite person, is an exception to these rules. Anyone from the Knoxville area is likely familiar with Burroughs, having seen his serious, bearded face on billboards all over town.

The ads were so ubiquitous, and Burroughs’s gaze so smoldering and intense, that someone created a Facebook page devoted to Stephen A. Burroughs Memes, transforming Burroughs into Knoxville’s answer to The Most Interesting Man in the World. As the Facebook page gained popularity, the funny memes started pouring in.

Even better than the jokes, though, was Burroughs’s unexpectedly awesome response….

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We have the makings of a trend: inappropriate contacts between participants in jury trials. These contacts can be problematic because a jury trial constitutes a delicate ecosystem, in which contacts and communications between actors are regulated strictly to ensure the fairness of the proceedings.

We recently mentioned a case where a juror got sentenced to community service after trying to friend the defendant on Facebook. Well, at least he didn’t try to “poke” her (although perhaps a desire to poke her is what prompted the problematic friend request).

Now we bring you news of, er, more intimate contact between a witness and a lawyer — which culminated in a mistrial….

UPDATE (11:00 AM): Photo of massage therapist Liudmyla Ksenych, a petite and pretty brunette, added after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Mistrial in Massage Parlor Prosecution After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer — as a Client….”

Every time we do a post about a crazy attorney website, our readers send in even more tips about the seemingly endless supply of wacky websites that are out there (which we appreciate, so keep ‘em comin’). Rarely, however, do we get a tipster begging us to place a fellow attorney in Above the Law’s crosshairs. Until now: “Can you please, please profile this guy, Mark Davis from Toledo, Ohio?” Well, since you asked so nicely….

As far as we can tell from his many, many websites, Mark A. Davis, a solo practitioner in Ohio and Michigan, is a sort of jack-of-all trades who aims to corner the market in all ways possible. In his own words: “Attorney Mark Davis, founder of The Davis Law Office has always lived his life to accomplish nothing less than excellence.”

Here, excellence means, among other things, being able to break bricks with his bare hands (sadly, the video links to these feats are “private” and can’t be viewed). In his opinion, your attorney should not only excel in the courtroom, but “should be mentally tough and a gentleman warrior.”

This gentleman warrior has taken to fighting the good fight on almost all possible legal fronts. Really, it seems that there is nothing that his guy hasn’t tried to do, both in the courtroom and out. From martial arts to starving horses, keep reading to uncover the many talents of Mark Davis….

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