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Cash Mobs Put the Hype in Hyper Local Lawyering

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This past summer, I twice spoke about how hyper-local lawyering can save solos from the demise-by-automation predicted by Richard Susskind in the End of Lawyers. The long arm of technology may be powerful but it lacks the dexterity to crack local markets as effectively as personal relationships. Plus, lawyers have traditionally acted as pillars of the community, so practicing as a neighborhood or community lawyer is a role that comes naturally.

But let’s face it. Even though hyperlocal law is one way for lawyers to beat the Legal Zooms and McLaw Firm franchises, it’s not exactly sexy. After all, much as we revere Abe Lincoln or even Atticus Finch, many young upstarts would rather not model a 21st Century Practice on these old white dudes – and who can blame them?

Still — for what it’s worth, hyperlocal can be cool and cutting edge as shown by 32-year old Cleveland, Ohio attorney Adam Samtoy. Samtoy is putting a little hype into hyperlocal, one business at a time, with a concept he devised called a cash mob which harnesses the power of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to get consumers to spend money at locally owned stores.

According to this recent Chicago Tribune story, Samtoy’s first Cash Mob took place in Cleveland last November and brought 40 shoppers to a book store on a shopping spree where each of them spent an average of $40 within an hour-and-a-half. The bookstore’s owner estimates that he earned eight times his normal take on that day.

Even though the concept of cash mob brings to mind its less orderly cousin, the flash mob , Samtoy does propose three rules: “You have to spend at least $20, meet three people you have never met and have fun.”

With the power of social media, cash mobs aren’t hard to organize, and they can draw needed revenue to local businesses, many of which are still struggling in a tough economy. But most importantly for lawyers, cash mobs are a way of giving back to the local communities that support their practices. And while doing well by doing good is quaint and noble rather than bold and daring, at least with a cash mob, you can enjoy a little fun and a little flash in the process.

  • Guest

    In my experience, each side should expect to pay legal fees of about 10% of the amount in controversy.  In contingency litigation, this increases to 30-40% because the risk transfers from the client to the lawyer. 

    Legal fees are set by 3 pressures: 1. The lawyer seeks to maximize the legal fee. 2. The client seeks to minimize the legal fee.   3. The client seeks to maximize its gain (and minimize its exposure) in litigation.  

    2 & 3 are in direct conflict. The client seeks the best lawyer and will pay a premium for him or her.  Finding a  second rate lawyer increases the risk of losing the litigation; and top rate lawyers will always demand a fee that ends up being a significant fraction of the amount in controversy.  

    It is said that you pay for a lawyer’s time.  That is not correct. You pay for a lawyer’s skill in manipulating the outcome in your favor.  Time is just a way to bill for non-contingency cases.  If new technology decreases time spent on cases, the best lawyers will then simply demand higher hourly rates; and they’ll get them.

    Offshoring, new technology, and legions of unemployed young lawyers do not change this basic formula.  It is also not big-law, small-law thing.  Some of the best, and richest lawyers, are in small firms.

    I don’t see the point in organizing flash mobs or other marketing gimmicks. If you want to make money, simply become the best lawyer that you can be, in the most lucrative practice area(s).

  • ANDREW Samtoy…:)

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