The Road Worrier, Part 6: In which the RW goes it alone
by Greg Rawlings
On Aug. 2, I opened my own criminal defense practice. Imagine a small office in a big old house within easy crack-deal distance of Colfax. Such is my new home away from home. Now imagine: invasive malpractice carriers, crafty website designers, surly furniture movers, new and confusing phone numbers, business cards (ecru, brilliant white, faux crayon?), financial services wunderkinds, ruthlessly invasive health benefits shysters, money going out without any coming in, the new laptop and printer, a credit card machine from hell. Imagine the Road Worrier worried indeed. Throw in a 15-year-old daughter in driver’s education, a sprinkler system with the mind of HAL from “2001: A Space Odyssey,” and a headache that doesn’t seem to ever go faraway.
So, starting a law office shouldn’t be rocket science, right? Wrong. Hence, I am now the reverse Werner Von Braun starting a law office. Or so it seems. Call me and I’ll explain, at length, what not to do. At length, I say.
First off, I am now a fervent advocate of so-called Obama-care. Really, I’m a fervent advocate of Any-care. Finding health insurance — much less affordable health insurance — when you are a middle-aged guy with a couple of annoying “pre-existing conditions” is not an easy thing in modern America. It took forever to find even basic coverage. And that with exclusions galore. In the same way that Dustin Hoffman’s character in “The Graduate” is advised to get into “plastics,” I wish someone had pulled my younger self aside and whispered deviously into my ear, “health insurance.” What a racket. Somehow, I can’t imagine a health insurance professional opening a small office in a big old house within the aforementioned easy crack-deal distance of Colfax.
Next, malpractice insurance…but no rant. To my surprise, I found reasonable rates and solid coverage. Then again, one of the “upsides” of being a criminal defense lawyer is that your clients don’t sue you as much as they grieve you. I’m half-convinced that there is a criminal collective unconscious in which dwells (in shimmering neon) the number for Attorney Regulation.
Now, the acronym from hell: SEO. Yes, dear readers — the Road Worrier has created a website and ventured into the murky world of Search Engine Optimization. These folks make promises that would make a hooker blush: 500 percent more hits! (maybe that one doubles as a discount medical marijuana dispensary) Dominate your Google rankings! Let our media consultant send you–yes, you–zooming into the spotlight! Even beyond the shared exclamation point fetish — and these guys use more than a tweener Miley Cyrus fan on Facebook — these people know no shame.
So, I found myself with an office, health and malpractice insurance, and a website. What I didn’t have were clients. My first step was to go on Facebook and ask all of my friends to come to Colorado, break the law, get arrested for something colorful, and hire me. I hope this isn’t a violation of some ancient legal taboo against creating a clientele, such as champerty or barretry. Nobody has complied with this request yet, anyway. I did have a former classmate, who is now a psychiatrist in D.C., say that I’d have to clear up all of his old warrants first. But, hey, I refuse to do pro bono work (if you can even call it that) for an East Coast shrink. A man has his pride. Then again, considering some of the stunts we pulled off in Colorado in the ’90s, maybe I should have my P.I. buddy Mike Stone run a check. (Ever crawled out of El Chapultepec and climbed into Coors Field at 2 a.m. and played catch and practiced The Great Slides of the Ages? I thought not.)
So, I have decided to expand my Facebook request to every lawyer in Colorado, or at least every lawyer in the Denver metro, and see what happens. I am hereby requesting the lawyers of Denver and beyond to indulge in a massive non-violent crime spree. If 10 percent of you get caught, and 10 percent of those caught hire me to defend them, I’ll both thrive and be able to send the darling daughter to CU-Boulder, unless even in-state tuition rises to obscene levels due to the anti-education nuts in our legislature.
Like Uncle Sam, I want you. And yes, I accept credit cards.
To speak with Rawlings further on starting your own practice, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.