Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 21

FEATURE
" When you're doing contingency cases, you most likely have an hourly
rate as well. You have got to figure out where that profit line is for you . . .
so that you are not spending these hours working on the case and not
getting paid. I can't get caught up with one client, " she adds.
When prospective clients first come to her, Rosario-Richardson makes
clear what her role is. " I am not a record label. I am not a PR person. I am
not a music publishing company, " she says. " I do not care who you are as
a client in the entertainment space. I am not evaluating how good you
look or how well I think you sing or rap. I tell clients that all the time. I do
not want to see your portfolio. "
Instead, Rosario-Richardson evaluates the likelihood that the prospective
client can pay for her services. " And if they do not have the ability to pay
my bill, I cannot represent them, " she says. Some of her clients are artists
who are very early in their professional careers, seeking legal advice
before they've even received any recording contract offers or hired a
manager. For those types of clients, Rosario-Richardson offers legal
consultation.
" Even for those who can afford to pay, I do another evaluation of how
likely is it that they are actually going to be able to earn money, " she says.
" Because I am not going to take $5,000 or $10,000 from a kid who wants
to be in the music industry and their parents are going to get a second
mortgage on their house. I am not taking that money because the odds of
being successful in the music business are the odds of hitting the lottery. "
Criminal defense and immigration lawyer Nabeel Kibria, co-founder of
Ervin Kibria PLLC, is also a strong advocate of being upfront with clients
about fees. " I am not a public defender. My door does not say 'public
defender,' " Kibria says. " When you come into this office, you understand
that there are fees to be paid. "
" I think people are very shy to talk about money, " Kibria adds. " There are
taboos regarding money - like you should never show up to a dinner
party and say, 'Hey, nice house. How much was this?' But I think in a lot
of cases, other people create their own taboos that do not need to be.
Money is a part of providing services. So, I have never been shy about it.
I am offering you a service. The service comes with fees, and these are
our fees. "
SHARPEN YOUR BUSINESS SKILLS
Why some private practices fold and others succeed comes down to
business acumen, Kibria says. " At the end of the day, it is a business you
are running. The lawyering kind of comes secondary, " says Kibria, who
holds triple bachelor's degrees in business administration, finance, and
business law and economics.
After graduating in 2003 from the University of Miami, Kibria worked
as an assistant director of finance for Corporate Executive Board (now
Gartner), as account director at Blackboard, and then as director of
business development for Bertelsmann. Those experiences sharpened
his skills in sales, operations, marketing, and logistics, which proved an
advantage when he launched his firm in 2014.
Wayne R. Cohen's long track record of entrepreneurship also gave him
an edge when he decided to leave his Big Law job to start his personal
injury firm, Cohen & Cohen, P.C., in 1993. " I had my first business, a ski
waxing company, when I was 11 years old, " Cohen says. " Then at 13, I had
a car cleaning company. I had a product company when I was in college
NABEEL KIBRIA
Ervin Kibria PLLC
and a bartending school when I was in law school. I'd done the entrepreneurial
thing quite a bit, but not as a lawyer. "
For Cohen, the learning curve was understanding the cash flow,
including how to use lines of credit and leverage loans. " Understanding,
simply, what was going to be coming in and what was going to be
coming out and being able to thread the needle between those two
variables was probably the most complicated part of running the
practice, " he explains.
Another important lesson for Cohen was creating the right portfolio of
cases, which involves balancing matters that are going to resolve more
quickly with those that require longer timelines. " If you do not have the
right portfolio of cases, then it can be very challenging at times to keep
the lights on, " he says. " You need to have an eye from 30,000 feet on
what that entire portfolio looks like. "
MARKET LIKE A PRO
Securing enough work is a concern for any solo practitioner, but it can
be especially daunting for freelance lawyers whose clients are other law
firms. Peter Butcher, an employment and civil litigation attorney who
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
* WASHINGTON LAWYER 21
Courtesy of Nabeel Kibria

Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022

From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Protecting the Integrity of the Profession: A Conversation on Legal Ethics
How Far Should You Go? Frivolous Claims & Litigation Ethics
The Solo/Small Firm Life: Lean, Mean Business Machine
Upping Your Game With Professional Coaching
The Founding of the D.C. Bar
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
ABA Delegate’s Corner
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Intro
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - A
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - B
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 4
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 5
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Protecting the Integrity of the Profession: A Conversation on Legal Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 12
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 14
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - How Far Should You Go? Frivolous Claims & Litigation Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 18
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Solo/Small Firm Life: Lean, Mean Business Machine
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 22
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Upping Your Game With Professional Coaching
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 26
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Founding of the D.C. Bar
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 32
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 39
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 43
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - ABA Delegate’s Corner
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 47
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover4
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