Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I was consulting with a fellow today.  Of course, we were talking about his case, the strategy we would employ and the strategy that he could expect from his opposing counsel.  I told this fellow that we could probably settle this case tomorrow for very close to how it will settle in three to six months time, except for the opposing counsel, who won't let the case go that quietly, quickly or economically.

It is all about volume.

My firm handles around 200 cases each year.  In family law that's really big.  Some firms are not so fortunate.  They handle maybe 30 - 40 cases a year.  This means that they have to make more money off of each case just to keep their lights on, not to mention pay for their mortgages, cars and vacations. 

Family law is complex and full of subtleties, but it needn't be expensive.  As I have often written, cases could be settled quickly, accurately and affordably almost all of the time.  But there is more at play than just the facts of the case.  The opposing party might need time to adjust.  The children might need time to settle in.  Or opposing counsel might need to churn the file just to stay afloat. 

Please keep in mind that I am not writing about most family law lawyers.  As I have often written, most family law lawyers are not just good people, they are great people.  They are honest, compassionate, scrupulous and abundantly fair.  But, as I have also writtten, a minority of my peers are not so scrupulous, do not have the family in mind or at heart, and even work against their client's long term interests for the sake of short term gain. 

An attorney who handles few cases might decry my firm's volume.  They might say that they can dive deeply into a case, understand it forwards and backwards and give the case the case more attention that my firm can because we handle so many cases.  First of all, who is paying for that deep diving?  And our track record supports that we understand our cases backwards and forwards and provide just the right amount of affordable attention.

If you've studied my firm, you know that our talent runs deep.  Not only am I available to work on cases but so is my Senior Associate, my other Associates and my paralegals.  They are all supported by our excellent staff who keep our machine well oiled and running smoothly.  We do family law the way I think it should be done: affordably, honestly, ethically, accurately. 

I guess the bottom line is that some firms don't have enough business to keep themselves affordable.  And that's a pity for everyone involved.

Michael Manely

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