Fresh out of law school and don’t know where to turn for practice advice? Thinking about cashing in on a solo boutique firm but have no clue what it takes for capital, equipment, or essential boutiqueness? No worries. There are thousands of lawyers-turned-practice advisors out there to choose from. Thing is, which one is best? And what style fits your style? Luckily, we’ve done the research and have our own free advice and guidance.
1. The Affiliamaniac
The Affiliamaniac provides free advice to whomever will listen, read, or—importantly—click on a link for more information and to purchase something. And every Affiliamaniac’s referral to, say, Freshbooks or GoDaddy or TimeMatters, has that nice sound of the kickback ka-ching. Need that Canvas Art Reproduction of Dogs Dressed as Lawyers or Barristers for your office walls, as recommended on the Affiliamanic’s website? There’s an Amazon affiliate link for that. If Dropbox affiliate referrals had cash value, the Affiliamaniac would be sitting pretty for retirement.
2. Matlock’s Ghost
Also known as the “Old-Timer,” “The Nam Vet,” and—inexplicably—”Roger Staubach,” the species known as Matlock’s Ghost provides advice in the “negative space” known as “that’s not the way it was done in my day.” Matlock’s Ghost stresses how hard the practice of law is and how you can be scarred and maimed if you don’t follow their advice. And you can be chewed up and spit out if you do it wrong, whatever “wrong” means. Though not exclusively a male lawyer, Matlock’s Ghost is almost always a former or current criminal defense lawyer. He will talk about all the battles he waged to keep clients from being immediately killed in the courtroom. Or, alternatively, how he could plead out a simple assault to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace.
3. The Coach
Coach is your friend, pal, the person who is behind you 175% and will even show up at your house for breakfast to make sure your nutritional intake is supporting your deep and unwavering desire to practice law. While Coach does not wear a red Adidas sweatsuit, he should, as it would complete the picture. That, and a whistle around his neck and a Nalgene bottle hooked to his fanny pack. Coach will excitedly outline a fifteen-point plan to follow step-by-step to realize your practice potential. He’ll check in everyday by text, post inspirational messages on your Facebook wall, and use phrases like “optimize,” “Grade A,” and “great-looking abs.” If you can complete P90X in thirty days, Coach is for you.
4. Nouveaux Guru
The Nouveauz Guru is a fresh-out-of-law-school twenty-something expert whose skill set relates solely to looking for a job and, failing that, setting up an estate planning practice in a basement apartment. Accordingly, Nouveaux Guru says she has all the advice you need for setting up your own law firm, complete with a list of $5,000 worth of office supplies, the best accessories to use for toting around an iPad, and how to build a killer WordPress web site. A subset of the Nouveaux Guru is the TechnoDroid, who has basically the same skill set and experience but adds in a vast knowledge of free and open-source software. Trouble is, the TechnoDroid will go hog wild in recommending the newest gadgets and software, abandoning them six months later once he runs into trouble or something else comes along. Unfortunately, if you fell for it, you’ve adopted his recommendations and already spent three months digging through online forums just trying to figure out how to use the damn things.
5. Zen Buddha Buddy
Zen Buddha doesn’t actually practice. He says something fudgy like he once did “state-based ERISA appeals” or that he is “still on retainer” for some lawyers who need help with drafting retainers. Zen Buddha has an awesome website and a warm and inviting office, each with warm colors that invite you in and beg you to sit down on the floor lotus-style without any clothes. Like Techno Droid or Nouveaux Guru, however, Zen Buddy doesn’t actually know much about practicing law. Everything Zen Buddha knows relates to the periphery of practicing law. Actually, it relates to the periphery of everything other than getting stuff done. But go with the flow. Do the downward dog. Namaste. And grab a few extra herbal tea bags on the way out.
6. The Lomappers
Lomappers are the folks at the various state bar associations who are part of a service known as LOMAP, or Law Office Management Assistance Program. Decent, hard-working folks who have unfortunately been portrayed by the Nouveaux Gurus and Techno Droids as brown-shoed short-sleeved button up bureaucrats who work for the state bar. That’s far from the truth. The Lomappers tend to know what they are talking about, are not in it for the affiliate income, and don’t buy the whole Namaste approach to practicing law. In other words, they’re real. And typically free. Huh. Go figure.
(Photo/Illustration from Shutterstock)