Saturday, April 27, 2019

There've been a few small changes made

This is a picture of my new office.

Allow me to explain how I got here.

When, in 2005, for entirely good and sufficient reasons, Greg Friedman and his then-partner, Charlene Holtz, decided not to renew their lease on the top floor of a building at State and Adams, a number of attorneys who'd been subleasing from them had to scramble to find new quarters.

I was among the displaced. I joined a group of three others similarly situated and together we went in search of new accommodations.

We wound up in a generously-sized suite at 205 W. Randolph, four solo practitioners, pooling resources for common office expenses, like the rent on the suite and our leased copier, but keeping letterheads and phone and fax lines and internet access all separate, just like they teach at CLE seminars. The utility closet was an impenetrable tangle of boxes and wires.

None of us counted on one of our number dying, though one of us did die, within six months of our setting up shop. If he wasn't the actual leader of our group, he was at least primus inter pares. Building management helped us find a subtenant to replace our departed colleague -- and Mike stayed with us awhile, until he had a better opportunity. Meanwhile, another of our group decided that he would go to Florida and hang out his shingle.

Florida, you may have heard, is quite happy to welcome silver-haired transplants... but only as retirees. To acquire a Florida law license, our colleague had to not only take and pass the Florida bar exam (that was the easy part), he also had to pass muster with the Florida equivalent of our Character & Fitness Committee.

To begin with, Florida wanted a detailed accounting of every case Bob had handled over a 40 year career. How detailed? Six months or more into the process, Bob got a call from the Florida Supreme Court. They'd discovered that he'd been appointed counsel in a long-forgotten matter in the District Court in 1970-something -- and they wanted to know what else he was hiding from them. (He wasn't hiding anything; they were searching the docket of every court to verify his every action over a period of several decades.)

I had to fill out a remarkably long affidavit in support of Bob's application. It is possible that my recollection that the affidavit had to be signed in blood is merely an embellishment. But I do remember clearly that the affidavit "expired" a year or more after I'd signed the first one, and I was requested and required to do another one.

Eventually, though, about two years after passing the Florida bar, Bob got his Florida license.

Now our little Gang of Four had dwindled to two, and we were straining to keep up the rent.

Building management found us Pam Davis, who ran the Chicago office of Dwight & M.H. Jackson Corporate Records, and who had occupied various spaces in that building for many years -- and through several building owners. She was basically the mayor of the building -- and her consent to office with us elevated the status of me and my remaining partner in the building community.

Still... it was the three of us handling a space intended for four -- and intended for four rent contributions each month. So, in 2012, when our lease came up for renewal, we gave up our large space and moved up three floors (perhaps 35 or 40 feet) to a much smaller office.

Things went well enough for us for some time -- but then Pam's employer decided that it could use the Internet to sell all the corporate record forms it wanted, and a physical presence in Chicago was no longer necessary. Pam was gone, and so was her contribution to the common rent.

My remaining colleague and I soldiered on for a couple of years more, serving out our lease. But we had more overhead than we needed, or wanted, and something had to give. My colleague decided he did not need to keep a full-time downtown office, and I toyed with the notion of renting a desk somewhere. I had a kind offer from some former partners to join them in their new space -- but, after thinking about it, I realized I simply wasn't ready to make any new commitment.

In the impenetrable jargon of modern business, I am more nimble now, more able to pivot (or maybe it's pirouette -- I am a little fuzzy on the vocabulary). Regardless of the current term, I am more readily able now to respond to any opportunities that may arise. Plus, with e-filing, lawyers really can do most of our business anywhere, or we should be able to.

So I am in the virtual world now. This post has provided me with (I hope) sufficient justification to put my new address out into the Internet -- an experiment, really, to see how long it takes the Google 'spiders' to correct the business address that currently shows up online. My new business address is:

Leyhane & Associates, Ltd.
P.O. Box 31262
Chicago, Illinois 60631

And this seems like an apt place for me to quote from the disclaimer at the bottom of this page (scroll down to read the entire disclaimer): "Nothing in this blog is meant to create, nor should it be construed by you as creating, an attorney-client relationship. Sending an email to this blog [or sending any letter to the physical address shown above] or leaving a comment to a post does not create, nor should it be construed by you as creating, an attorney-client relationship.