Monday, August 29, 2011

Business Plan: Mission Statement

As I am writing the business plan, the biggest thing that I am struggling with is the mission statement.  This should sum up your business neatly with what you are about and plan to do.  I spent the whole weekend fine tuning mine, running it by people, figuring out what core values I want my firm to hold.  I decided that my whole model will be based upon scripture in a round about way.  In Isaiah 1:17, the bible defines justice for us.  My model is going to paraphrase it to:  do right, seek justice, help the oppressed, defend the cause, and fight for rights.  All that  I do, all that I promise will be based upon those words.  If it doesn't fit in with that model, it's not me.

If you are thinking you might open your own practice, think carefully about this.  Think about what you will put out there for the world to think of your business.  Choose wisely, choose carefully. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

The kids....

My practice is going to focus on family law and disputes.  I know this is a hard area of the law, I don't pretend that it will not be.  The hardest part of this is that I am finding out how much parents use their children as weapons.  Over the last three years, I have had several friends that have gone through a divorce with children involved.  Here is what I have learned:

1.  Petty complaints abound.  That's right.  These complaints are numerous.  A few of my friends have new "legal" (what they think at least) complaints every few days.  They think that the court will intervene.  I use to play counselor to these (they psych kind, not legal kind) and entertain each of the complaints.  But that is NOT the way to deal with it.

2.  Ex wants to control morals.  Yep.  The big thing, more so with moms than dads, is that pesky new girlfriend around the kids.  And unfortunately, some ex's have a revolving door of new hookups and dates.

3.  "I just want him/her to stop being a selfish person and put the kids first."  What can I do to make the other parent, parent?  It is as if the parent believes that there is a motion to file in order to make someone stop being selfish.  Sorry, if your ex does not put your children first, (s)he is never, ever going to.  A court can do nothing about this -- and the truth is neither can you.

Bottom line:  I'm not an attorney yet.  I don't give legal advice to these friends.  I actually refer them to speak to their lawyer AFTER I ask this question:  What is your goal/objective in filing a new motion?  That is, what do you want the court to do?  Inevitably it comes down to something that I want to drive home emotionally and logically to them.......................  They will say things like:  I want him to be a dad, or, I want him to ______.  Then I say this:  No, that's not something a court likely enforce -- that's morality, it seems.  So what do you want the court to do?  The court can ordering parenting classes, or issue a noncompliance contempt order, or require supervised visitation in severe cases -- so what do you want that is within the power of the court??? When asked that they pause.  See the really GOOD parents realize quickly that the outcome means their ex being further alienated from the child's life and the child being hurt even more.  They stop and think about it.  Or, you get the truth:  I don't care, I just want him/her to hurt.

So I have learned quickly something I will apply in my practice:  What do you want the court to do?  What is your goal/objective? 

Yeah, no wonder attorney's are referred to as counselor's.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trust Accounts....

One thing that the bar is SUPER crazy strict about is definitely those pesky trust accounts.  And as a law student, this is not something that we think about too often.  We are told about the need for a trust accounts and taught a few little things about it.  For instance, in Oregon, any interest earned off the accounts is paid into a fund that goes to legal aid. 

For me, after the fiasco's I have had with my personal banking and customer service, I am definitely going with a local bank.  I want to go be able to go to a bank when I have an issue and deal with someone face to face.

I was able to call the bar today and find out which bank pays the best interest rate off the trusts.  I narrowed my choice down to two banks.  Then from there, I networked out to other solo practitioner's asking their good and bad experiences with the banks.  I think I have narrowed it down. 

I am nervous, unsettled, excited, itching to get going..... all the dominoes are falling into place.