Hamlet, Act I, Scene III, William Shakespeare
I know, this is quite possibly the most over-quoted line from Shakespeare. There’s a reason for that: it’s a great line, and something everyone should aspire to do. It’s especially appropriate here on the Holmlaw Blog because it’s quite possibly Mission Statement Number One for the Law Office of Nancy L. Holm, LLC. It’s the reason I struck out on my own and started my own law firm, and it’s also my philosophy with clients, adversaries, the Court, and anyone else who does business with me or my law firm.
I’m the daughter of an attorney, niece of an attorney, and cousin of attorneys, and now I’m an attorney (God help the rest of our family). I’ve been support staff for two law firms, I’ve interned for a trial court judge, and I’ve been the law clerk to an Appellate Division judge. I’ve worked with attorneys in three different states, and I’ve gone to law school with some awesome up-and-coming attorneys. I’ve worked with and against other attorneys throughout the great State of New Jersey. Not to mention, I have been the client of an attorney. All of these experiences have shaped how I have designed my law firm and how I treat my clients.
(1) No Nonsense Billing. Where possible, I charge a flat fee. This usually comes into play for Real Estate Transactions, Property Tax Appeals, Estate Planning Documents, and other areas. Litigation and Estate Administration, on the other hand, require a reasonable, hourly rate. When it comes to hourly billing, I’m not someone who “looks at the file” when nothing is going on so that I make a few bucks. I’m also not into nickel-and-diming my clients for things like a per-fax fee. What you see is what you get. When I work on your file, you know that I am actually working on your file – not just generating billable hours.
(2) Flexible Time. I will meet clients when it is convenient for them – weekends, evenings, etc. People have to work. They can’t take off to come and visit me for a consultation many times.
(3) No Passing the Buck. Many times, you sign on with a lawyer in a firm, then you get passed along to an associate or a paralegal, and you never hear from the attorney you met with again. While it’s great that the associate charges a lower rate (as does the paralegal), what happened to the person who ultimately convinced you to sign on with them? Many times, they will only swoop in at the end for trial or for the real estate closing. Obviously at this moment in time, I’m a solo practitioner, so I can’t pass you on to anyone else, but that’s the beauty of hiring a solo – I’m your attorney from beginning to end. I will be fully familiar with your file, and we will get to know each other through the legal process.
(4) Empathy and Understanding. There are a lot of great lawyers out there, and many extremely talented litigators. However, what seems to happen over time is that many lawyers forget that no matter the circumstances of the lawsuit or other legal transaction, they are still dealing with human beings. Human beings who are stressed, upset, and/or concerned about what to do next. While much of litigation is strategy and calculation, I understand that many people take lawsuits extremely personally. I try my best to take as much of the emotional burden off of my clients, and I am sensitive to the toll that lawsuits and other transactions can have on a client.
There is an attorney out there for everyone, and one that fits every personality. You have to find the attorney that fits you, and I encourage you to stay true to yourself in the process. Don’t be afraid to shop around and find the best fit for you. I hope that you find my practice a good fit for your legal needs.