JUST DO IT AND PRAY

MICHAEL SEAN QUINN*

Suppose you, the Aging Lawyer, have had a good practice until recently. But you got dropped from your firm, say, you were eased out, say, the firm broke up and you didn’t get carried along, or something of the sort. And what you’ve done all these years is no longer available. Perhaps, you were not the principal “rainmaker.” Perhaps your are now 70, or so, but you can’t and/or don’t want to retire. Perhaps you were or are–or someone you love or loved in the past was and/or still is–a big spender.  Or it might be, or have been, you. 

In other words, you’ve been “aged out.”

What are going to do? You know your good enough to practice reasonably well, but times have changed, and most of the people you knew well or with whom you had regular “jurisprudential dialogue” are “gone” in one way or another. Many “customers”–sources of law biz, potential clients, etc.–feel like they or “theirs” need younger lawyers.  

Business is thin. You get some referrals here and there. But nobody can help you find an “Of Counsel” position? What’s next, particularly if marketing has never been your gig, and you are not gifted or even very current in the cyber world, i.e.,, your a digital dork.  

Articles in popular places advising younger lawyers interested in creating new solo practices say that advertising doesn’t work well and that a main source of business is from people who know you.  Obviously,  that isn’t going to help much for someone your age.  

So what might one do? One problem is that most ad campaigns, e.g., on the “net” don’t work very well. More comes from friends and other lawyers than any where else. 

A half century ago, and earlier, unemployed lawyers used to stand around on the court house steps, as it were, and pick up small cases. But that’s now bureaucratized, and one has be be on appointment lists where counties, etc., pick lawyers in rotation, and all of them tend to be younger.

I have a couple of ideas. 

First, think about doing so called “elder law.” Lots of people do this. but old people often like old people to help them.  The fees may be lower than the your used to, but if you want the work, you have to settle. There are modes of marketing, but I don’t know what works. 

Second, go in house with a lesser company that needs help.  The fees will be low, probably, but it can be satisfying.  Consider start-ups if you have right sort of history. Think about helping adventuresome  old people who know something about business and who like risk. 

On this for sure, litigation as a branch of the law is not friendly to old people.  The processes simply take too long. There needs to be a separate branch of litigation law for senior citizens: smaller claims are resolved quickly, fairly, and in the interest of justice. Of course, that would take a whole new jurisprudence and political philosophy. Don’t bet on it. 

Michael Sean Quinn, Ph.D. J.D. C.P.C.U,. Etc. 
Austin, Texas
mquinn@msqlaw.com
Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc

Michael Sean Quinn, PhD, JD, CPCU, Etc. (530)

One of Texas's leading insurance scholars, Michael Sean Quinn is a past chair of the Insurance Section of the State Bar of Texas and has a broad legal practice.

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