Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Beverly Hills Lawyer

I recently received an emailed new client inquiry. She indicated that she was seeking a book contract to write on some new information regarding a celebrity trial, which would thus in her opinion (which I did not disagree with) be quite marketable. Specifically, she wanted to know if I had connections to get the book sold. I indicated to her that New York rather than Los Angeles was the locus of attorneys servicing book authors, because that is still where the vast majority of book publishers are located, but that with a book such as the one she had in mind, any ethical, honest, and hardworking attorney ought to be able to assist her in making the sale. (I also should have noted that book sales are usually and probably best done by book agents where one can be obtained, and that negotiating and documenting the finer points of the contract would best be done by an attorney regularly dealing with literary agreements, and working in conjunction with the author's agent, rather than by a Los Angeles film/TV entertainment attorney such as myself.)

Ignorning at least the portion of my email indicating to her that I was not well connected in the book publishing world, her reply email began by again asking whether I had the necessary connections to make the sale for her. But in the more interesting portion of her reply, she stated that she indeed already had a "Beverly Hills lawyer - right on Wilshire" that was not getting the job done for her due to his apparent lack of connections. The implication was that a Beverly Hills attorney would be a very good attorney, the best of the best in Los Angeles, and thus if a Beverly Hills attorney without connections was not going to get the job done for her, no connection-less attorney would. Putting aside the issue of whether Beverly Hills lawyers are all ethical, honest, and hardworking - I'm sure most are and some are not - the comment reminded me of something an attorney friend of mine who does indeed have a Beverly Hills office - right on Wilshire(!) - had told me:

He noted that clients seemed more willing to pay for his small law firm's services ever since the firm relocated from a Los Angeles to a Beverly Hills address. He was a bit amused and a bit perplexed by the phenomenon, shrugging his shoulders as he pointed out to me that he was the same lawyer, and his colleagues the same attorneys, that they were before they moved into their Beverly Hills office building; nonetheless, his clients were now willing to pay more for the same legal services (part of which was no doubt needed to cover the firm's increased rent, the balance representing extra profit for the firm).

Nothing against Beverly Hills lawyers, on Wilshire Boulevard or off, but the city or street of a prospective lawyer is, in my arguably biased opinion, at best one of many factors a client should consider when choosing an attorney, and perhaps one best disregarded altogether.

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