My Approach…Client Centered Representation
I realized very early on in my career that there is no such thing as a legal “cookie-cutter” I can apply to every case. Every person that comes into my office has different needs, expectations, and desires surrounding the representation. I do not feel like I am doing my job, unless I clearly explain, up front, how I intend the matter to progress. It is likewise important that I give the client an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns, express their preferences – and make them feel like they are being heard.
The focus is on you, the client
From the first time that I meet with a new client, I make it my business to find out how you want to receive communications (secure web portal? email? fax?); how you prefer to ‘talk’ (Face-to-face in my office? Phone or video conference? Chat feature in a document sharing app? Text message?); what billing frequency works for you; what payment options you want to use; how much time you think we need to spend developing strategy before moving forward; how we approach settlement. These are just a few examples of things that should simply be a ‘must’ for all lawyers in today’s legal marketplace.
I am not saying that we need to start from scratch on everything. There are certain similarities among cases that can be used to capture efficiency in the process. However, I do not believe in cutting the client out of the process in the name of efficiency. It is important that the representation is about you.
Clients need to be part of the process
I believe that clients should be active participants in their matter, and not be made to feel like they are children in a room where the “adults are talking.”
As an advocate, my job often requires confrontation. While I reserve acrimony for the opposing parties, sometimes I must have difficult or unpleasant conversations with clients. At those times, I focus on the fact that advocacy, is only part of my job. I am also a counselor. That means, it is my duty to explain the ‘lay and break’ of each matter and what the next steps might be in a given situation. My goal as a lawyer is to ensure that you have all of the information you need to make the best decisions for your business.
I went to law school, graduated, took the bar exam, started practice, and now here I am, seventeen (17) years later. While that is intended somewhat tongue-in-cheek, there is not much more to it. Some lawyers like to dress it up, but at the end of the day, their story is the same. If you want to know where I went to law school, Rutgers-Camden, the jewel of South Jersey. I graduated in 2001 and started litigating cases in D.C. Superior Court and before agencies of the D.C. Government right away.
As a young lawyer, I worked at a tiny law office, which gave me the opportunity to spend every possible moment in court, learning cases from the ground-up. Additionally, for several years, I was a court-appointed panel attorney for Child Abuse and Neglect cases. While the subject matter was emotionally difficult, Abuse/Neglect cases were an excellent way to get courtroom experience that I would not have gotten at an established firm.
Public service and higher education
Additionally, the time I spent as a panel attorney led to my appointment on the D.C. Social Work Licensure Board. (See DC Council Richard Bianco Reappointment Resolution 10/8/05). There I confronted regulatory problems, proposed laws and regulations governing the practice, and adjudicated ethical complaints against social workers. Thereafter, I taught ethics and legal aspects of counseling to masters students and Doctoral candidates.
Experienced in litigation & appeals
Thereafter, the work that I did in the courtroom grew and shifted from court-appointed matters to the real estate, small business and ABC Board cases that I presently specialize in. Twice, I’ve succeeded in having decisions of the ABC Board overturned, resulting in a change in the law. (See 2461 Corp. t/a Madam’s Organ Restaurant & Bar v. ABC Board, 950 A.2d 50 (D.C. 2008)(Richard Bianco for the Petitioner); and Asefu Alemayhu t/a Yegna v. ABC Board, 109 A.3d 1095 (D.C. 2014)(Richard Bianco for the Petitioner)).
In 2014, I opened a solo practice, which I called the Richard Bianco Law Office. Now, I’ve evolved my practice, made the trade name more concise (RJB Law), and I am growing a small business. I face many of the same challenges as you are on a day-to-day basis.
If you want to learn more about me, my experience, or my practice, give me a call or schedule an appointment online, I would love to hear from you.