I Should Have Been An Attorney

Let’s pretend you are a young, a 20-something who just passed the bar exam.  Because you are are new to the world of lawyering: in debt up to your earlobes and have no clients, you start out small.  By small, I mean you open up a small office in some obscure (and slightly scary) part of town, and you are the only employee.  That means you do your own marketing, answer the phones, set the appointments, greet clients at the door, create the contracts, make the copies, work accounts receivable, and even make the coffee.  Oh, you also play the role of the actual attorney when time allows.  Sounds like the beginning to a great John Grisham novel, but it is probably not too far from the truth for most new lawyers – just starting out – who choose to not work for a larger firm.

 

 


Fast forward 25 years.  How would most folks look at you and your law firm if you were still answering your own phones and taking out the garbage?  I think it is safe to say that most people expect an attorney, in the early years, to not have much help, but that would change over time as they became more and more successful.  On the other hand, they might be a bit skeptical of a lawyer who was still in that little cubbyhole office behind the nail salon a few decades later.  Right, Saul?

 

Imagine now for a moment that you are a respected attorney in a small town.  You are involved in a case and need to meet with a lawyer from the opposing side.  So, you make an appointment with the other attorney’s receptionist.  A paralegal emails you some paperwork that needs to be signed when you come in.  At the appointed time, you arrive at the law firm.  You are greeted by a secretary who takes you back to a conference room where an audio/visual guy is setting up the video feed to the defendant who is at the county jail.  At the appointed time, the other attorney finally meets with you for a few minutes for some real ‘lawyer stuff.’  Afterwards, the paperwork that was drawn up during the meeting is scanned and sent to the Philippines where a VA files them digitally for future recall.    

 

Let me ask you a question; as a respectable attorney, are you critical of the other lawyer for not taking care of everything by herself?  So, why are we so critical of other appraisers for the same, damn thing?

9 Comments on “I Should Have Been An Attorney”

  1. Pingback: I Should Have Been An Attorney - Appraisal Buzz

  2. I am actually a new attorney. ( I started my solo practice June of this year) I have been appraising since 1999 and started my “business” in 2006. I’ve always done everything myself but now because I need time to practice the Law , I’ve hired someone to help with administrative work and am training someone to do appraisal work. Because lenders are requiring the certified appraiser to inspect the property, I didn’t see the point in training someone. But, because I’ve been appraising too long to give it up and at this moment need the income, I’ve decided to market my appraisal services to fellow attorneys so that I can use my trainee. I don’t plan on being the new attorney you described, still doing everything 25 years into her practice. Thank you for writing this article!

  3. I am a 20 year veteran appraiser and started a real estate brokerage firm about 3 years ago. For years I tried to do it all myself. About 8 years ago I decided to hire my niece to help with preliminary work on the appraisal side. I haven’t looked back since. With the brokerage, now, I see an ever increasing need to delegate tasks that don’t require a license and hire licensees to handle work that I just can’t get to. I now have a person handling preliminary work and a licensed appraiser on the appraisal side and five agents in the real estate firm, with more on the way in the coming year. Thanks for writing this article. Delegation is something that every appraiser needs to learn to get comfortable with. It’s becoming more and more of a necessity in every profession.

  4. I was thinking this article was heading in a different direction addressing the career parallels in terms of education requirements and time and salary compensation . Maybe that can be Part II

  5. Well, I’ve traveled a different road and am happy to be where I am today, I started out in construction and then RE sales in the early 70’s, picked up a couple years in Accounting, and then RE investing, flipping houses for a couple years. Then is 1979 I became an appraiser trainee for a few months and full appraiser with a large appraisal firm for 23 years as an employee for the first 18 and an “Independant” Contractor for the next 5 years. I use “Independent” but was not truly because I could not work for other appraisal firms even when time were tough. After 23 years I jumped over to another large appraisal firm that offered a higher commission split and stayed for 10 years. But, fee splits with no company benefits was not cutting it for me so I took the big plunge and open my own shop with a home office and it has worked out great for me; I wish I’d had the gonads to do it 30 years ago but we had our first child and my wife became a homemaker as i did not think it was wise to take the leap of faith at that time. I am in a position now where I have some good, strong lending clients and can pick and choose what and where I do my next assignment and I almost have more orders coming in than I can or want to handle. I get by just fine but then again, I never have been one who was in it for the money; I actually enjoy the work most of the time and that is priceless. And, I was fortunate enough to set up an IRA-SEP account 30 sum years ago and I’m thinking I may just have enough set aside to make it to a ripe old age, Lord willing. There is a lot to be said about no having to worry about an office overhead and employee salaries during the down times and Lord know we’ve had a few that were a tough time to weather even without the overhead.

    1. M

      The reason you don’t get it is because the author is an idiot. Actually, it is probably more about information that I get on a regular basis that you may not be privy to. I get contacted on a regular basis from Appraisers who are very upset that I am telling other Appraisers that they should hire people to help them. For some reason, they think that they need to do it all by themselves. This blog post was an attempt to answer that question. Feeble as it maybe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *