New attorney needs advice - Posted by Aaron

Posted by Jimmy on May 17, 2007 at 07:44:58:

here are some things I did early on when I set up my own shop.

  1. I got on pre-paid legal’s list of referral attorneys. a couple small matters came from that. you will learn to hate them, because the clients are of the lowest quality, and your fees are capped at ridiculous levels. but when you’re hungry, you gotta eat.

  2. identify some attys in your area who have the kind of practices you want. copy them. follow them around. get close to them. figure out a way to be of assistance.

  3. LEARN, LEARN, LEARN. My education was not finished when I walked out of NYU with an LL.M in Tax. It was just starting. Ultimately, you want to be the guy that other attorneys call with big deals and complicated deals and tricky, twisty issues. You have to positionn yourself for these calls. It takes years and a lot of hard work. You can get there.

  4. Meet all the title officers in your area. They can throw a ton of small drafting projects at you (deeds, notes, deeds of trust). low-paying work, but it feeds you while you’re learning the biz.

  5. join the local bar associations, and get on their referral list.

  6. some lenders out there do not require title reports, and are satisfied with attorney title reviews. like my bank here in TX. if such lenders operate that was in your area, go meet them. again, its low paying work, but…

  7. join the real estate section of your state bar. read voraciously.

  8. if there are organizations which specialize in advanced real estate concepts, working big deals, etc. identify them and join. I did this with a group called Wealthcounsel, and it was the best money I ever invested in my education. [my specialty was estate planning].

  9. as your skills advance, so will the quality of the clients you can attract. start thiking about how to get in front of big-money clients. try to identify those professionals out there who work with big money real estate clients. those professionals can be a goldmine for you. because they can throw many clients your way. for me, it was downstream trust & estate attys (guys who did the basics, but could not handle tax-sensitive cases). and pension plan administrators (their clients, by definition, were business owners–exactly what I wanted). and CPA’s. you have to think about your particular niche to create your pipeline.

good luck.

New attorney needs advice - Posted by Aaron

Posted by Aaron on May 16, 2007 at 21:45:03:

I’m a newly minted attorney and thinking of starting my own firm practicing in real estate transactions. I intend to start off with closings and could use some advice on where/who to market my services. What has worked the best for you?

Re: New attorney needs advice - Posted by John Merchant

Posted by John Merchant on May 19, 2007 at 10:45:04:

With the advent of and easy access nowadays to the cell phone and laptop, you have an advantage my generation of law school grads sure did not have:
you can spend much of your time at the courthouse or at a title co. watching and learning from the pros in those arenas…and not miss a call or email from a prospective client.

It’s occurred to me quite often over the years how much it would have helped me if I could have afforded to spend my time that way when I got my JD degree, but in those years it would have been a real sacrifice and I just couldn’t afford it financially.

With a title/escrow co. you might cut a deal with their legal dept. where you’d do certain jobs for them in return for your getting to consult with and watch them at work in doing their title clearing and closings. They might even be willing to pay you for various jobs and projects and that would be a bonus.

Also a tip about RE T/E work and lawyers…do you realize that in many (most?) smaller towns and sparsely populated counties around the country that pvt lawyers, either solo practitioners or in law firms of all sizes do lots of title examinations and title opinions and title clearing ?

Particularly on rural tracts, farms and ranches, these can’t always be handled in every state by a quick title search as some of these tracts are hundreds or thousands of acres…so the title docs are bundled up and delivered to a local area lawyer who then goes through same, page by page and renders his title opinion…and does whatever legal work is necessary to clear title problems and issues.

Good luck to you in your learning and we wish you the best in your legal career.