Long before my days as a lawyer and even a law student, I worked for a boutique personal injury law firm located in a bustling suburb of Portland, Oregon. I distinctly remember a day when I was walking by the conference room in my oversized dress shirt and awkwardly knotted half Windsor necktie when the managing partner emerged into the hallway with a criminal client of ours. The client shook the partner’s hand and said “Ryan, it’s always so great to see you”. Ryan, a family man and well-regarded lawyer took a few steps before turning in his custom tailored blue steel suit and stated, “I’m a great person to know, but not someone you want to need to see”. The message was clear, “I’m here to help, but your life will be better if you can get it together”.
That moment has always stuck with me, and I believe it’s due to the fact that I had never seen that side of our managing partner. As a wannabe lawyer who had the job of collecting medical records, I only saw the business side of our law firm. The big settlement wins or the unexpected “Not Guilties”, the Christmas parties and the late night “bar reviews”. Truth be told however, the real victories for our firm came from our lawyer’s actions outside of the courtroom, rather than inside it. I found as time went by that our small firm was unique, we had the time and most importantly the caring attitude to go and visit our injured clients in their homes, to let people borrow our cars to help them get to work, to learn that little thing about our client that brings them joy and the time to attempt to ease their pain while we worked on their cases.
Choosing a small law firm can provide you with the assurance that you’re not just another case, you’re a real person with real emotional needs. In a small firm, the lawyers have the time to personally invest in each client they take on. Furthermore, I have found that smaller firms have lower overhead and as such, are usually willing and able to charge less and work on smaller cases, cases that would normally be turned away at other firms.
It’s been several years since I worked for Ryan, and have since opened my own practice. However, his caring mindset and principles will be found in my own practice. I’ve opened my law practice in Shelbyville, Kentucky because I believe this small town is the best kind of place to practice. I’m not in the business of suing people, I’m in the people business and I look forward to getting to know you and help you.