No, not joking. Just a few days after my two part series on the viability of a $99/hour firm, I came across this $75/hour business model, the Justice Cafe in Fulton County Georgia, offering a la carte family law service to walk in clients. Lawyers staffing the Justice Cafe will work on contract and collect half of the $75/hour fee with the other going to overhead – or a gross salary of $55,000 working 30 hours a week. That’s the rough equivalent of a GS-11 salary, which is what most new lawyers starting out at the federal government earn. Presumably, a contract position with Justice Cafe wouldn’t be long term, but rather a stepping stone to opening one’s own practice or joining a firm as an experienced attorney.
Michael Manely, one of the founders of Justice Cafe bills it as ” a way to serve people on Main Street,” and believes that the business model will attract new lawyers or those who don’t want to run their own shop. Moreover, because the operation will have a physical location, it’s easier for the Cafe’s owners to keep an eye on younger lawyers to ensure quality control and competence.