May 8, 2009

Legal firm is also business

As I had posted the other day a bit on how my family already has it's first entrepreneur in my mother, which you can read here, this post is on the misconception of lawyers are always good at doing business. I mean, as all lawyers know the law, business comes second nature to them right? I mean, if people have any corporate matter to settle like how to incorporate a company or there are disputes between directors or shareholders, they will go to a lawyer and get his or her opinion on it.

Lawyers also know the law enough not to break them but this statement will be viewed very sarcastically by others as they know, since the day Mario Puzo wrote in the Godfather how lawyers play a part in ensuring organised crime thrive with the help of lawyers. That quiet Tom Hagen in the Godfather was considered one of the most important component of the whole gang. Even some murders were committed due to his suggestions (all these are in the book, not the 3 movies)

A legal firm are sometimes seen to be more than just a business. Legal firms are just a facade which is where lawyers congregate and strategise while the mundane stuff like running an office are not given the well deserved attention. Okay, maybe not all legal firm are like this. It may apply to legal firm which has between 2 to 20 partners which is considered small even by Malaysian standard. Well, between 2 and 5 actually by Malaysian standard as when we cross that 5 partners then they are considered big already. Even in mine where the partners are three and there is an associate, people will usually say mine is a big legal firm (which actually is just medium sized)

Rarely will you see in a small or even a medium legal firm, the lawyers sit around waiting for client to come and meet them at the office. Of course, it happens, but it will be through appointments and prior arrangements. Lawyers are supposed to be seen around town, meeting important people and closing deals or just sitting beside their clients (which can be in a jail or any one of the hotel lobbies). They will then gain more by being seen rather than by trying to really solve a problem. And rarely people give a thought of lawyers actually having to pay overhead, staffing, bills and other mundane office stuff. As if all this does not matter. 

That is why in 2007, when my firm started to spread it wings, one of the thing that we did was moved our office from a place where we didn't really want clients to come to a better office which has a proper meeting room, a pantry and even a kind of lobby for clients to wait and be impressed by our success. Just to make a point that we do have things to pay for. Maybe one day I can find some pictures of the old office in contrast with what we have now. Just to show that lawyers also need the money given for a proper office to serve clients better.


Ratty said...

Knowing the law gives a good idea of how far a person can actually go before they break it. That's where a lawyer would be useful to someone in The Godfather.

Having an impressive office is good for any business. And being good at socializing is also important for a lawyer. That may be the main reason I decided not to become one. I was too much of a loner at the time, and I probably still am.

kruel74 said...

Some lawyers are loners too Ratty

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