Super Bowl Sunday, or How I Started a Law Firm.

  1. My wife (a bankruptcy attorney) and I were working for this law firm out of Sacramento that, hey...did bankruptcies! This was at the height of the housing crisis/recession in 2008.
  2. In November of 2008, the senior partner comes to us, and says: "Sorry, guys. I have to let you both go."
  3. Ironically, the bankruptcy law firm that we both worked for eventually went bankrupt. But, that's another tale.
  4. So...totally broke, no job prospects, unemployment not kicking in yet, we decide to do what two, young, naive kids would do - go into business for ourselves.
  5. We brought in our friend, "T", another attorney, and decide to open a law firm. We borrow money from family, and "hang our own shingle".
  6. In December 2008, we rented an office, bought furniture, got computers, and started a law firm in our hometown.
  7. Because we were new, no one heard of us. The phones never rang. There weren't any clients. We were concerned, but not worried.
  8. In January 2009, "T" got panicked and started to get more and more reclusive. He started to freak out about the lack of business.
  9. We had faith that the recession would hit Sonoma County, simply because housing prices were insanely over-inflated. T didn't see it that way.
  10. On February 7th, 2009, "Super Bowl Sunday", I went by the office before going to a friend's barbecue. I walked in and saw that T had taken all of his office furniture, and his computer. I called him. He wouldn't answer.
  11. I checked the office phone. It had been changed, along with the fax number. I checked our bank accounts online. T had liquidated the business account and closed it.
  12. Monday, we were furious. T had crippled us. We called a lawyer to see if we could do anything, but it turned out that T hadn't violated any of the terms of the partnership agreement. Further, T refused to explain why he left.
  13. We had no money, no clients, no phone number, and T left us with a lease whose rent was due at the end of the month.
  14. My wife and I got a new number, a new bank account, and we would come to work each day, depressed, pissed off, and highly stressed out.
  15. As there was nothing to do, we watched a lot of Netflix on the computer. We binge-watched: "The Office". It made us laugh so much.
  16. About a day or two before the rent was due, we were watching the episode: "The Michael Scott Paper Company". If you have never seen it, the main character Michael Scott leaves his old business, Dunder-Mifflin, to found his own company. They are broke, and have no business prospects.
  17. We hear a knock at the office door. My wife and I are wearing street clothes. At the door is a lady. She asks: "Excuse me? Is this the bankruptcy law firm?" I say: "Yes."
  18. She says: "Well, I saw your sign. I was wondering if you're taking new clients?"
  19. My wife and I looked at each other and said at the exact same time: "Yes. Yes, we are." This would be the first of many, many clients to come.
  20. Seven years later, we are still here, still in business.
  21. Honestly, there are days that I swear we won't pay our bills, feed our family, or keep a roof over our head. There are also days that I am so grateful we took a chance and got into business for ourselves. All the dizzying highs, and horrifying lows of self-employment. I love and hate them all.
  22. We never saw T again. He practices bankruptcy in town, but he doesn't have a lot of business. Yes, I check from time to time. Old habit.
  23. So...on Super Bowl Sunday, I drink many beers and think about the time we got fired on the same day, the day we had $10.52 in our bank account with a $1,740.00 rent bill due, the day our firm's first client walked in the door, the day we watched "The Michael Scott Paper Company", and the quote that makes me laugh to this day:
  24. "Who would've thought, that the thing that would save this company would be work. And pancakes." -- Michael Scott.
  25. Cheers to you all. Have a safe, fun day today. Thank you for reading and listening.