December 26, 2018 | Written By Timothy Parlatore
How did I come to create a law firm? The easiest way for me to explain is to tell you about my background and how I got to this point. I began my career as a Surface Warfare Officer in the United States Navy and went to law school after transferring from active duty to the reserves. After graduating law school, I became a criminal defense attorney in New York City. All my experience came from one to three attorney firms, handling all aspects of complex criminal, and often the related civil litigation matters. I built a successful solo practice, but soon realized that I was hitting the glass ceiling of what a criminal lawyer can do in a solo practice. The largest criminal cases, which were once the exclusive domain of boutique law firms began migrating to the larger firms, which had established white collar practice groups. As New York City’s world of criminal defendants transitioned from John Gotti to Bernie Madoff, so too did the legal needs of the market. In order to keep ahead of the curve, I began exploring opportunities at larger firms and ultimately joined a large nationwide cloud-based law firm. At the time, I had never heard of cloud-based law firms and was initially concerned about whether it was even a legitimate model. But, over the course of the next three years, I found it not only to be legitimate, but brilliant.
Cloud based lawyering truly is a better way to practice law for both attorneys and clients. Clients appreciate the high quality, cost effective solution without the unnecessary overhead. From my perspective as a lawyer, my quality of life improved, my compensation improved, and my capabilities were greatly expanded. It was a win-win, so why did I leave? I will be very upfront with the fact that while I loved the business model, I disagreed with the firm’s business strategy. They wanted to focus on representing large corporate clients, to the exclusion of smaller businesses and individual clients. If we represented a smaller business that became adverse to a larger corporation, even if there was no conflict, the firm would not accept that business. There is nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t for me. Their pitch to large companies is that by switching from a traditional white shoe firm to a cloud-based firm, they could potentially save millions of dollars a year in legal fees. That’s a great strategy, but I would prefer to provide that opportunity to smaller and growing businesses. If a Fortune 500 company can save a few million dollars a year in legal fees, how much effect will it really have? Will it move their stock price a fraction of a point? Increase executive bonuses? What if I took a small company with 100 employees and helped them cut their annual legal expenses in half? To that smaller company, the effect would be significant and the savings can be used to create new jobs and generate identifiable growth. Why should the benefits of a cloud-based law firm only be reserved for the large companies?
I researched the other large cloud-based law firms and found them to mostly follow a similar philosophy. Having identified a gap in the market, I decided that rather than try to fit my practice into an existing law firm model, I would rather start something new and innovative to serve this unmet need. And with that, Parlatore Law Group was born.
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