Early in this firm's history I published an article titled Why We Started Our Law Firm; Part 1. I did this to introduce ourselves to the greater public, but more importantly to cement the motivations we had for taking this on at all. With several successes under our belt, a proven concept, and no indication that we will be disappearing from the world - I felt it may be appropriate to provide a brief update on Miller Wilmers APC, a Southern California Plaintiff's Personal Injury and Employment Law Firm.
No Better Time Than the Present
Every industry has been completely shaken by the emergence of new technology and remote procedures force-implemented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legal industry changed drastically, and it appears there is no going back. While the Courts had closed their doors to most attorneys during that time, the cases had to continue, and the State scrambled for solutions. The biggest change was the widely adopted CourtCall and remote appearance system. This allowed Attorneys to effectively appear by 'zoom' to their hearings and communicate with opposing counsel and the judge remotely. A pleasant side effect of this change was reduced costs for transportation and commuting time. These are savings of course for the attorney but more importantly, to the client. Our firm operates on a contingency model, which means we take a percentage of any award or settlement we win for you. We pay everything else out of pocket. Those costs, even for contingency firms, will be recouped from the award. This reduction in costs means our clients ultimately receive more of their award in the end than they otherwise would have before the Courts implemented these new systems.
The need for large firms is primarily to have a large labor force to conduct advanced discovery and document review, and to bring many minds together to develop a legal strategy. This too is dying. Law firms have joined forces across the state and across the country to share information with partnered law firms to allow for the same collaboration between individual practices. This occurs more quickly, and with access to attorneys who have specifically specialized in the exact issue you are facing. Large Law Firms have a large overhead, that is why you will find yourself getting nickel and dimed by these firms by 4-5 attorneys on a single project. Their business model would collapse otherwise.
Discovery and mass-document review is largely handled by artificial intelligence, software and phone applications which are found to be just as accurate as the human behind the computer and done in significantly less time. These software and applications have allowed smaller shops to compete with Large national firms and produce equally (if not more) effective work product.
The Case Management software and virtual assistants available to firms in today's time eliminate a large portion of the labor costs, nearly all of the time required to complete complicated tasks, and even automates your systems and process to allow fewer attorneys to take on more cases. Justin and I recognized that with this new change in the field, and the new technology available to attorneys that was hardly being taken advantage of by big firms, a tech savy law firm was the only future.
The results now speak for themselves. There has never been a better time to start your own law firm than today, where your access to thousands and potentially millions of people is completely free with social media (+some creativity). The technology is there is compensate for any lack of labor you believe you may have, and you can essentially run the firm from your mother's basement (yes, we have a physical office; no, it isn't our mothers' basements).
A Network of Professionals
Alongside the easy reach to a large number of potential clients, social media has given attorneys large access to other attorneys in their field. Our law firm is built on partnerships with other law firms which allow us to pick the minds (and pleadings) of any number of attorneys in Southern California across all specialties. This old school model of refusing to partner with one another, is only hurting the client. We have taken another approach and welcomed the requests for information from other attorneys and have found that the kindness is always returned tenfold. Justin and I made it a point early in our careers to connect with some of the greatest minds in the State regarding Personal Injury and Employment Law. We now speak with them regularly for strategy, updates, and unique case scenarios that we work on collaboratively.
We started this firm as a means to further connect the legal field and provide top tier client representation, with heightened responsiveness and attention to our cases.
Responsiveness to the Client
One of our biggest pet peeves working at a large firm was the time it took between a client communicating with an attorney to ask a question, and the time it takes for that client to get a response. A little secret behind the closed doors of large law firms. You send a question to the attorney you believe you hired. That attorney assigns a first-year attorney or perhaps an assistant to search for the answer. Once that person develops a prolonged memorandum for the attorney you hired, another attorney is tasked with reviewing and revising that memorandum. Once it has been reviewed and revised, the attorney you hired may or may not give it a final look. You will then get the answer you are looking for, typically within 1-2 weeks.
This holdup largely came from scheduling conflicts between the attorneys. One attorney's free time does not mean another has the same free time to review. The next available time to review could be the following week. Justin and I wanted to change that. We wanted our clients to have real access to their attorneys. Phone, email, text or whatever means is easiest for you to get ahold of the attorney YOU hired. We make it a point to answer your questions as quickly as possible, conducting the same level of due diligence we did at big firms, but in a fraction of the time.
True Freedom = Availability to Work Anywhere You Want
Large firms come with large rulebooks. You must work at the firm, at least a certain number of days per week. You must bill 200 hours a month if you expect any respectable compensation and you never know when you will be called to duty. Miller Wilmers APC operates differently. Our attorneys can work anywhere in the world, any time that they want. While we have strict deadlines for task completion and responsiveness to clients; we have learned that allowing true flexibility results in better access to your attorney, a more focused work product and more particular selection of clients. We know our clients. Not just their case. As we are selective with our clients, we have been able to manage the workload to ensure that each client gets the maximum return on their (contingent) investment. We do not have to create "billable" hours out of thin air, which you will be shocked to learn is a very common practice in this industry. This firm was started to create familial relationships and humanize the lawyer-client relationship.
Where we Are Today
With a successful proven concept, our firm shows no signs of slowing down and has begun expansion. We started this law firm with the future in mind, and for the future it grows.
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