I grew up in a very small town, my father ran the drug store since 1953. I started working at age 8 and learned about business, customer service, and how to treat people from him. Unfortunately he died at age 64 unexpectedly and I had to return to run and close down his business. I learned from that what happens when fathers and business owners don’t plan. That the government does not help, but gets in the way.
Now I run my own business a corporation. What binds us together, what is the single item, like a talisman that I touch every day that brings me back to the story, and the history of his small town Rexall Drug Store. I sent my entire warehouse out to be shredded, who needs 20 years of paper files, but miraculously the negative of the photo of the old drug store survived. That framed print is prominently on one of my office walls next to dad’s pharmacy degree.
Every time I walk up to the front door of my law firm, and I put that Schlage Key in the lock, I think of my father walking up to the front door of his store and putting his Schlage Key in the lock. I sometimes wonder if it’s the same key, some how magically from his hand, to mind. I remember going with him when the alarm went off at the Rexall, whenever I’m going to my office to see why the alarm went off. I remember taking his deposits to the bank every day, like I take my deposits to the bank now. Its come full circle and I don’t want my family to not have a plan, and I don’t want any of my clients to not have a plan what to do when the head of the family or the business passes away.
The other talisman is that we both got up every day, when to our office and took care of the people that depended on us since 1953 and you can count on that today.
I started out working for other lawyers, and when I realized I was a smart as they were I became one. To see the panic and rush to track, count, and print out billable hours on giant main frame computer every month never made sense to me. But I wasn’t sure if they had a Schlage Key.
But years later I was doing the same thing on a personal computer, until I realized it was time to make a difference and change the way clients would pay for my services.
I decided to find a new way to charge for legal work and so that my client would buy the service, and would know exactly what it would cost just like my father would tell you how much a bottle of medicine would cost. And like my father I would followup regularly with my clients and solve their problems. Clients would get to choose their program and their cost.
Now when clients come in they know the cost for the services, and for the continued followup. I knew I was going to bring my office into the virtual age years ago when an attorney told me he had been to a conference and seen a Fujitsu Partner scanner that was affordable and would make going paperless possible for a small firm. I started my firm in 1992 and was soon after that paperless. (That mentor is now a Judge.) Now scanning paper is a way of life at my real and virtual offices all over the State and I rarely look at paper files any more.
Of course I have the credentials, public university, private law school, judicial clerkship. I’ve been admitted as an attorney in two States, and all the Federal courts all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, but thats not whats important. What I learned working behind the counter of the small drug store, and what I learned about that Schlage Key, thats whats important. Taking care of people, making them better.
Now my clients contact me by phone, skype or email (oh I’ll meet with them too). And I solve their problems when I can and they don’t have to get in the car and drive anywhere. I have experience with business going back to the age of 8, I worked for traditional lawyers and the court, and I have seen close up what happens when people do not plan. My office is now full of people to help the clients meet their planning objectives, and I’m there to talk to any clients that make an appointment to talk with me or see me, and you won’t get a bill everytime you call on the phone.
I spend every weekend training my little dog Spartie at least one hour on Saturday and Sunday. My practice is very interested in working with dog lovers to set up pet trusts, that will guarantee that your pets will be properly taken care of when you die, and that a person will be appointed to make sure your wishes are carried out.