Here is our existing business plan:
- Focus your legal practice on a statute that permits liability to be established using a tape measure and smart level. No sobbing witnesses who later turn out to be axe murderers. Just data.
- Establish the data incontrovertibly. Tape measures + photos. Occasionally add in a jointly-selected, court-appointed expert.
- Hear from even your most civil — even friendly — defendant that while you’re likely right and will likely prevail, it is economically preferable to the defendant to keep litigating for a few more years. Unless of course you’d like to cut your fees in half. (The defendant at the other end of the spectrum has kept this up for 8 years. Someday, it will be our annuity.)
Here is my Alternative Business Plan
- Find smart friends to write simple software connecting a database to document images.
- Print money.
- Buy bonbons & retire.
My alternative plan comes from our recent experience with document software. We’ve had one program — rhymes (almost) with Mummification — since we started our practice, dutifully shelling out $2,500 per year for a supremely annoying program that, for us, is basically a flat Excel file attached to a bunch of document images. We decided not to pay last year; this year we find ourselves needing the software again and have to pay a penalty to start up again: all fees in arrears plus one year going forward. That’s right, our reward for 15 years of faithful patronage is to be charged twice what we’d be charged if we were signing up for the first time.
Did I mention how annoying Mummification’s software is?
Their chief competitor wants $6,000 just to get started. Won’t name them either, but in the spirit of Talking Back to Westlaw, I’ll just say: nothing says cutting edge legal software like a middle aged white guy in a bowler hat apparently literally being put out to pasture.
And the supposedly small-firm-friendly upstart enthuses over the phone that the “software is free! it’s all web-based! you just pay for storage!” That’s right, $1,600 PER MONTH to store the documents in our biggest case on their servers when we just paid several thousand dollars for a two terabyte* server, not to mention the Citrix server that lets our beloved co-counsel have the privilege of
hating on Mummification as much as we do working on the case remotely.
So seriously, my computer-nerd friends — and you know who you are, especially the one I’m married to — this just can’t be that hard. Database + Images = Bonbons. Let’s get to work!
* We have terabytes right there in our office! Isn’t that cool!? I love that word!