Why BigLaw Associates Should Listen to Me


At conferences throughout the year, I’m often pigeonholed by attendees, who look at my name and ask me this question: “Who the fuck are you?”  After I explain who I am and I buy a few rounds of drinks, people start talking to me. After a few more drinks, I tell them why my advice for solo attorneys should be followed by all BigLaw associates.

At absolutely no charge, here’s my liquor-free version of why BigLaw should listen to me, now.

  1. Trickle Up: It’s the New Trickle Down. Since at least Moses, the general pattern in law practice is that BigLaw leads, all the other flunkies follow. Thus, when large law firms bought a Xerox 914 in the late 1960’s, small town lawyers across the country followed suit, including me. I had a Xerox 914 and a Xerox 685 Star and they bankrupted me. I’m still paying installments on them. That was so totally wrong. So in 1978 I pledged to unleash small-firm advice on BigLaw until I brought BigLaw to its knees. With this blog post and a new column, I’m about there. Trickle up? More like turn on the fire hose, baby, because here it comes.
  2. I Don’t Care. Honestly, I don’t care what you think. I have forty years of experience as a real lawyer and was one of the first attorneys in the world to lick an entire roll of stamps in order to get class action notices out the door. I’ve been milking that ever since, to greater and greater renown. I don’t need you. Let me say that again. I don’t need you. I did fine with OCI in nineteen seventy fucking three. Just motherfucking dandy fine. Yeah.
  3. Inside Every BigLaw Associate is a MicroLawyer Wanting to Get Out. BigLaw associates long for the day when dog drool on their suits is acceptably cool. It’s as simple as that. And a few other things.  Like, BigLaw attorneys want to fire clients, take their shoes off and trim their toenails on their own desks, install an office bar, send a fax, even have an office vending machine offering Pabst Blue Ribbon and pretzel sticks—for a quarter. No BigLaw associate can do that—and they know it. And they cry about it under their desks.
  4. The Technology. When most BigLaw associates look wistfully out of their sixtieth floor office windows and ponder their future solo boutique practices, they think “I could be configuring my blog’s RSS feed right now.” Indeed, solo trends now dominate BigLaw management. Or should. My predictions? Skadden Arps will be using Dropbox for its file management within a year. White & Case will be backing stuff up with Mozy, if they aren’t already. Latham? It will go under because it failed to recognize the efficiencies of using YouSendit.com. Plus they are about to adopt TypePad for their new site, not WordPress. It’s that simple. As I like to say: BigLaw, meet Shpoonkle.

There. It had to be said. And just by saying it here today, there is a shift in the profession. And, better yet, I’ll be back with more advice for you BigLaw schmucks later on. I say, bring it on.

C. Hank Peters ("Chank") is an attorney whose background includes a rural, small-town, solo practice in Minnesota. He uses his practice experience from the late 1970s to advise attorneys who want to establish a lean and client-focused legal practice. He is one of a few legal marketing attorneys online and remains the inspiration for the website Big Legal Brain.

8 Comments

  1. MagicCircleJerk

    May 11, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Ok, some good stuff here. But why exactly should I listen to you if you “don’t care”? How does licking stamps even relate to the practice of law?

    • C. Hank Peters

      May 11, 2011 at 12:28 pm

      Licking stamps is an integral part of the solo practice of law. That’s like asking a BigLaw associate what sitting in a warehouse full of boxes has anything to do with the law.

      Why should you listen to me? By sure dint of my powerful personality.

  2. Ellen

    May 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    What makes this guy think he is so smart? I am a JD and do NOT have an attitute like this guy! I also have been asked to manage a parlegal at the office because of my experence, so I can also be important, but I am NOT. I say not to take this macho talk with a grain of salt. Fooey!

  3. dt

    May 11, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    What is “experence”?

  4. AngelaEsq

    May 11, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I pink puffy heart you!

  5. Guano Dubango

    May 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    This guy is my man! He rock’s the house down. If he has been practising law for 40 years as an attorney at law and still looks like this, the practise experience has done him well. I think he also has an in with the ladies if he has been at it since the 1970′s. My Aunt Ooona told me that in the 1970′s, the USA was all “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” This is in part why I came to the USA, although I do not do drugs and do not like rock and roll either. Perhaps he can give us younger lawyers tips on how to woo the female lawyers?

    • C. Hank Peters

      May 12, 2011 at 6:57 am

      Thanks for the compliments. I’m single. And I drive a Plymouth Duster. Maybe we can go cruising some day.

  6. Omar

    May 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    I’m sure you meant to say “buttonholed” not “pigeonholed”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>