A Note from #MattTheLawyer

When I first set out to open my own firm, I had a vision of being a pro-active attorney and an advisor rather than just a reactive problem problem-solver. I wanted to be an advisor to small businesses to give them access to affordable, consistent legal services, and become part of their advisory team. As I was approaching the five-year anniversary of forming my law firm, I realized that I had become more or less a straight hourly billing attorney. In short, I had become what I least wanted to be as an attorney.

Hourly billing is a disincentive for business owners to proactively seek advice. Financially, it is good for lawyers, but very bad for small business owners working on a budget. For this reason, I’ve decided to move away as much as possible from hourly billing services. Hourly fees disincentivize the kinds of relationships that I want to have with clients.

Moving forward, I will focus on providing general counsel services on a subscription basis. To me, being a general counsel lawyer means I can be the kind of guy you not only call when you’re in a bind, but the guy you can feel comfortable to pick up the phone to call about a question, not just a problem.

As a small business owner myself (here is a link to my other business), I empathize with the struggle that small business owners go through. The truth is that we can’t do it all alone. On any given day we’ve got a dozen issues flying at us, and if we want to stay aloft, we need support. Having somebody whose sole job is to help you identify, avoid, and address those problems has value. I want to be a part of the support system for business owners. I love getting to know my clients, their businesses, and their operations, and building a relationship on a mutual interest in seeing them grow.

Many small business owners assume that they cannot afford regular legal services. I understand that and the hourly billing and the traditional law firm model does not help with affordability. I’m here to tell you that small business owners can afford legal services—if those services are delivered in a price transparent, understandable way.

I go against the mold and do not believe in the traditional law firm model. The purpose behind the general counsel plans that we offer is to help small business owners obtain the legal services and advice they need without having to fear a budget-busting use of legal services.

I believe in a proactive style of problem solving rather than a reactive legal practice. I believe in asking questions up front and tackling the issue before it comes to be a real problem. One of the fallouts of having a billable hour lawyer is that your quick questions quickly turn into a litany of five-minute phone calls costing $25-$30 each, and that is before you start with substantive work. I want you to save yourself time, money, and conflict by asking questions as they come up.

Many business owners avoid legal counsel because they have a fear of being judged or being forced into something they do not want to do. I get those fears, I’ve had those fears.

I don’t want people to be afraid of me as a lawyer.

As your advisor, I will be a person you can trust, a person you can speak openly with, and a person you can count on as part of your management team.

I am here to offer advice. Whether you take my advice or not is completely up to you.

I will never judge you. I will never say “I told you so.” I will never tell you how to run your business. I will never be offended if you don’t take my advice.

I will always make sure you understand my advice, even if I have to change the way I say it so you understand. I will always look for alternatives and present you with alternatives.

We offer options, not obstacles.

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