Vail Daily column: A law firm begins
This week is the first in the existence of my new law firm: Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC. This being a column that I take seriously and not a press release, I will not go on at length about how fabulous RKV Law is or is not. The market shall decide that for itself. Rather, as Open Bar is all about demystifying the legal profession, I wish to offer a voyeur’s view into the naissance of a law firm.
Like any business partnership, a law firm’s closest metaphorical analogue is a marriage. Since I have two partners, the most accurate comparison would be to a polyamorous marriage. Although I am not a bigamist or polygamist, I can venture a guess that those arrangements become increasingly complicated with the addition of more partners, just as having more partners may also bring certain not inconsiderable benefits. The same holds true for a law firm.
The first step towards marriage or partnership is identifying a potential mate or partner. As far as I am aware, there are no “dating sites” for locating law partners in the vein of eHarmony or Match.com or even Tinder. It is much more like “old-fashioned” dating in that serendipitous connections and gut instinct play a large role. You go out for coffee or a beer or lunch. You talk about your history, about funny things that have happened to you or cases that you have handled. You talk about your hopes and dreams. You strive to not monopolize the conversation, because you also want and need to listen.
After the first couple of dates or meetings, you start to really think about whether the fit is right. You talk to your mom and to your closest friends about what excites and concerns you. You try to vet reputations and figure out how and why their past relationships or partnerships ended. You know that the other partners are doing the same analysis and wonder what they believe are your pros and cons.
If all goes well with the initial stages of the relationship, then momentum starts to build. The big questions begin to arise: where will we live or have our offices? Instead of worrying about whether to keep the maiden name, the question becomes what to call the firm and what corporate form it should take. If you are lucky, as I was, then the firm name is informed by practicalities and not egos. It was a combination of pronunciation, website domain availability and tax planning that led us to Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC.
If you cannot arrive at a consensus on the big picture, the potential marriage and partnership is doomed from the start. At RKV Law, our visions were very much in alignment. Once you get to that step, a wedding or launch date is chosen. That is when the details start to swarm and a to-do list becomes necessary. Instead of poring over choices for wedding invitations, we discussed colors and fonts for our business cards, letterhead and website. Rather than selecting an officiant, a photographer, and a DJ, we researched banks, billing software companies and legal research tools, among other vendors.
A marriage does not just affect the couple, but their respective families as well. In our case, our impending partnership had an effect on employers, partners and clients. We had deep and sometimes intense communications with all of those parties to explain the decision and what the formation of RKV Law meant for our relationships with these people and corporations. With very limited exception, these were very amicable conversations and that is something for which we are truly thankful. Having an excellent rapport with clients and former partners is every bit as important to happiness as having a good connection with your in-laws.
The big day looms large and as the time ticks down, totally normal feelings of apprehension arise. Topics for worry range from the mundane (was Trade Gothic the right font?) to the critical (are these the guys for me? will we have any clients?). When the day finally comes, the qualms quiet and the happiness begins. Joining with Dan and Ryan in RKV Law certainly did not give me the same feeling as when I first saw my wife walk down the aisle (I wasn’t crying, for one difference), but the sense of joy and excitement was nonetheless extraordinary.
At RKV Law, we are still in the honeymoon phase, but we feel this will be a partnership built to last.
T.J. Voboril is a partner at Reynolds, Kalamaya & Voboril LLC, a local law firm and the owner/mediator at Voice Of Reason Dispute Resolution. For more information, contact Voboril at 970-306-6456 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.rkvlaw.com.