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Law and Business Association: Main Street Law

Joshua Allen (3L)

I am thoroughly biased but I think that Law and Business Association events offer a candid look at both “business and the law” and “the business of law.” I would encourage anyone who has any interest in business to consider attending our future events.

Our most recent meeting was a talk hosted by Frank DeAngelis and Patrick Cummins. Frank and Patrick are lawyers with Main Street LLP, a small firm with its headquarters in Spruce Grove. Main Street specializes in law for individuals; real estate, personal injury, wills and estates, family law and small business.

Frank originally articled with a large firm and stayed there for a few years before moving to Spruce Grove to join a small practice. He founded Main Street Law Offices in 2002.  Just this year, he formed Main Street Law LLP in a partnership with three other lawyers. Main Street has 4 associates and two planned articling students starting next year, of which I am one.

The substance of the talk was mostly about Frank’s experience as a business owner, including a discussion on lifestyle in a small firm, marketing strategy and earning potentials. Patrick is an associate at the firm, and he provided interesting insight into being an associate at a small firm and the transition to an “eat what you kill” business model.

One of the tips or techniques that Frank shared was the concept of every-day marketing. He argued that marketing should not be something you do one day a month, it is something you do every day and incorporate it into your practice. For example, Frank advocates taking someone, who is related to your practice, or desired practice, out to lunch each week. He suggests not using this to directly solicit work, but to get to know the person; the work will come organically.

Frank also challenged the assumption that many students harbour about making partner. He said that being a partner is not always better, particularly in smaller firms. He suggests that being a partner can entail a significant amount of extra work, as well as reduced flexibility because of the capital contribution. The real question is whether you want to be a business owner.

Frank also argued that on an hourly basis, small practice can also be very financially rewarding. One of the reasons for this is that an associate starts to get their own clients very early because of increased face time with clients. Main Street is also proud of the fact that, except for exceptional circumstances, there are no evenings or weekends required.

I spoke to Frank after the talk, during a trip to Hudson’s for wings and drinks, and he said he had a fantastic time. He even suggested he might be willing to give another talk next year. Hopefully next year some of his partners will provide their own perspectives.