I spend a lot of time in Boston Housing Court, both as part of my practice and as a volunteer at the Attorney for the Day table nobly run by the Volunteer Lawyer’s Project. Through both of these roles I’ve had the opportunity to speak with innumerable landlords, and I’ve discovered that over and over again landlords as a group make the same two mistakes: they never learn the law, and they don’t operate like a business. Fortunately, there’s a single resource that can go a long way towards solving both these problems for a Massachusetts landlord.
It’s now been about 4 months since that fateful day I started this blog, and about 3 months since last I posted anything. Needless to say, I’m not off to a real good start.
Fortunately, what’s bad for my writing time is good for my practice and my personal life, as lo these many months I’ve actually found myself to be quite busy between new clients and wedding preparations. To recap some milestones: I’ve gotten my first paying clients (that I’m not related to), I’ve prepared for my first jury trial, I’ve negotiated a favorable settlement immediately before my first jury trial, I’ve helped a couple of clients exit abusive relationships, and I’ve ushered my first person into the wonderful world of being a landlord. I’ve topped it all off with a lot of wedding registry activity (professional waffle maker? check), coordinating the purchase of 10 suits by 10 guys who don’t know their sizes, and picking out a place to learn our first dance (Firebeat DanceSport Studios), though I’m still working on a honeymoon destination.
With all that said, my apologies to my devoted followers (I’m looking at you Aunt Susan), I’m still figuring out how to properly apportion my work-life-blog balance. While I can’t promise that I’ll be much better in the days and weeks and months to come, I’ll certainly try. Thanks for sticking with me.
On April 30th, the Boston Athletic Association, the non-profit that puts on the Boston Marathon®, filed suit against CafePress.com and Zazzle.com, as well as ten John Does, for a litany of offenses that basically boil down to trademark infringement and unfair competition. The BAA’s gripe is that CafePress and Zazzle allowed their users to create and upload designs that infringed on the BAA’s marks. Those infringing designs were then sold to other users on various items such as t-shirts, mugs, and stickers.
This suit has been met with some amount of populist outrage, outrage that I fully understand, and which was in fact my gut reaction as well. After all, the BAA and the Boston Marathon have been around forever, they’re seen as a big and strong corporate entity, and it looks like they’re trying to use their size to crush a few well-meaning individuals with a bogus lawsuit. Unfortunately, I think this is an open and shut case in favor of the BAA and, if I were their attorney, I would have filed it as well.
Prior to taking the leap and hanging my shingle, I was possessed of the notion that going solo required a tremendous capital investment. This vague notion, which I don’t think is uncommon, kept me from even seriously considering the possibility of striking out on my own for a number of months. Over time, however, the power of this idea was slowly eroded as I became aware of more and more resources that could be leveraged for little or no money.
Eventually, I came to the realization that it doesn’t take a huge investment in equipment, technology, or office space to be a successful solo attorney, and that’s a large part of what gave me confidence in my ability to be successful. So in the interest of breaking down barriers to entry, I’ve compiled this list of the various resources, techniques, and strategies that I use, as well as my comments on each of them. Use them in good health, and please suggest others you know of in the comments. [Read more…]
This past Friday I was fortunate enough to speak on a panel entitled “Pathways to Practice” at MCLE here in Boston. The program was aimed at third year law students and recent graduates with the goal of imparting some wisdom that would make it easier for those individuals to navigate the current economy and legal job market. Basically, it covered all the stuff that I’ve had to go about learning the hard way over the past two years (and some that was new to me), and I highly recommend that anyone looking for a legal job, establishing a solo practice, or thinking of doing either, go back and watch the free archived webcast here (you’ll have to register with MCLE to do so).
Unfortunately, my time ran a little short and I completely disregarded my outline as soon as I started talking, so there were some points that I had wanted to make and some advice that I had wanted to give that I wasn’t able to. So here’s my Pathways to Practice bonus material: [Read more…]