Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 25

FEATURE
Kinner says this new reality has forced them to have more upfront conversations with clients about whether they can actually afford their services.
"I think we will have to be more conscious about payment when a client
asks us to do something during this time. We have to really think about
what's reasonable so there will be no surprises," she says.
Another setback to their practice was the postponement of many
industry-related activities. "April is always a big month for the cannabis
industry," explains McGowan, citing the National Cannabis Festival and
the National Cannabis Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., originally
scheduled for April 18. Both events have been rescheduled to September.
"Those were opportunities for us to promote our firm. But this year, nearly
everything has been canceled or postponed," McGowan adds.

McGowan and Kinner were also hoping to hire an associate this year,
but that plan is now on hold.
"Businesses our size are going to be more cautious about taking financial
risks in the near future because we want to make sure that we have cash
reserves," Kinner says.
McGowan foresees a Darwinian effect regarding the survival of small
firms and solo practitioners. "Like every industry, there will be small
firms closing," he says. "They might have expensive leases and a lot of
overhead. They will have to downsize significantly or go out of business.
I'm hoping that doesn't happen. But there will be a little bit of 'survival
of the fittest' as long as the pandemic continues."

************************************************
JUSTIN ZELIKOVITZ

Ensuring Business Sustainability

"We have to be
more careful
about the cases
that we take.
And we're
probably going
to focus on
industries that
aren't as hard
hit."

Getting clients was not a major concern for Justin Zelikovitz, founder and
managing attorney of DCWageLaw. In fact, he was seeing an uptick.
DCWageLaw represents clients who work for businesses like restaurants,
bars, construction companies, and janitorial services. Many of them are
low-wage employees involved in pay disputes with their employers. If
Zelikovitz wins the case, he receives a percentage of the recovery in lieu
of charging the client legal fees upfront. "A dishwasher who's not even
making minimum wage can't pay for a lawyer," Zelikovitz says.
"Before [the pandemic] became huge and the government started
putting restrictions on restaurants serving customers onsite, we were
getting calls from clients being fired," Zelikovitz says. "It really became
real when we started getting calls from clients saying, 'Hey, I've been
working at this restaurant for 10 years. They just fired me this morning
because of the coronavirus.' Once those stories started trickling in, it
became evident that we're not going to have a shortage of cases. This
year, I'll have more cases than I've ever had."

Because of technology barriers facing some of his clients, Zelikovitz
kept his Chinatown-based firm open during the lockdown so that
someone from his five-member staff can review client documents and
issue trust checks in person. But as a precautionary measure, he says
only a maximum of two people at a time are allowed to be physically
present in the office.
"We are fortunate enough that we have cloud-based practice management software," Zelikovitz says. "All of our work can get done from our
home computers. We were lucky in that we had shifted into Zingle,
which integrates text, WhatsApp, and Facebook messages. When people

DCWageLaw

The concern for DCWageLaw is the ability of the defendants - the
restaurants, cleaning services, bars, and others - to pay if they lose. "I
can have all the cases in the world, but it doesn't matter if the defendants can't pay me," Zelikovitz says. "We have to be more careful about
the cases that we take. And we're probably going to focus on industries
that aren't as hard hit. So, we will file a couple of cases against liquor
stores, which are doing just fine, and mechanic shops. We will probably
have to err on the side of taking fewer restaurant cases because a lot of
them are going to go under very shortly."

use those platforms to contact us, it doesn't matter where we are -
it's all integrated into one stream so that we can respond."
As of April, Zelikovitz was optimistic that he had a fair amount of financial
reserves to keep DCWageLaw afloat. "But in terms of long-term sustainability, a couple of months from now we may have to reduce pay by
about 25 percent just to guarantee that everybody will have a job," he
says. "This is a precarious time. I want the people who work for me to
realize that there are troubles down the road for the entire economy."

JULY/AUGUST 2020

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 25



Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Election Coverage
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Staying Afloat feature
Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Annual Report
Taking the Stand
The Learning Curve
On Further Review
Member Spotlight -
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Women's Suffrage special section
Speaking of Ethics
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Election Coverage
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 10
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - When Law Firms Go Remote feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disaster Preparedness for Lawyers feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Staying Afloat feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Privacy Rights During a Pandemic Feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Hamilton's Enduring Legacy feature
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Annual Report
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 38
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Member Spotlight -
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Women's Suffrage special section
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July/August 2020 - Cover4
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