New Inductee - "Passed the Bar - Hung a Shingle" - Anthony M. Wright
(UPDATE: 7/4/07 Attorney Wright has made the news for his court appointed work in a high profile criminal case. Congratulations, Anthony!)
My name is Anthony Wright and I am a lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sin City is my home town and I have seen it grow from a population of 200,000 to a metropolis of 2,000,000. Essentially, I grew up with the city.
In 2004, I graduated from the William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas which is Nevada’s new and only law school. It became accredited in unprecedented time thanks to Dean Richard Morgan and good students who gambled on a Las Vegas law school by enrolling even before it had provisional accreditation.
I became a solo-practitioner in 2006 within months of passing the bar exam. My entrepreneurial nature required me to control my own schedule, have full accountability over my cases, and determine whom I represented. For a year before hanging my own, I worked as a clerk and then as a lawyer for other attorneys.
Bosses breathing down my neck about minimum weekly billable hours made me want to give up the ghost every day. I would drive the freeway to work in my 1982 Toyota Carolla half wishing one of those Semi-trucks that barreled down on me from behind would run me over. In short, I hated life while working at other firms. I felt like my employers were psychic vampires draining me of my enthusiasm for life. I was not about to throw a way all my years of hard work by dwelling on such negativity, so I exited that environment and began my own practice on a shoestring budget.
The weekly billables employers required made them rich and I could easily have become wealthy on half of what I earned for them. I could not rationalize making another lawyer $7,000 per week while only earning $5,000 per month.
My boss would give me a three-foot thick file and tell me to prepare a trial brief. I would spend ten or twenty hours getting up to speed but my employer would only give me credit for maybe two hours and then complain that I was not meeting my weekly quota and that I had neglected other cases. I was putting in a good seventy hours a week but often found that I was short in my quota after hours were cut.
Since going solo, I dedicate full attention to my clients and am not distracted by an employer’s need for greed or the sadistic pleasure an employer gets from torturing a rookie. I may work even more than the sixty or seventy hours a week I used to put in, but it does not feel like work now, it feels like living.
Furthermore, the risks of opening a business and the pressures involved paled in comparison to the feelings that a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde boss could put me through. Imagine a “superior” praising you one minute for doing a good job and cursing you out the next for making mistakes that any greenhorn attorney would make. I am a person who is eager to please others and I take mean-spirited criticism very hard. Now I answer to myself and my clients alone—and sometimes the court.
I’m an employer now myself and would never treat my greatest assets the way I had been treated. I also cannot imagine treating my clients the way my former bosses wanted me to treat their clients.
In the last 18 months of business, I have had experiences that I would never have had working for other attorneys. I have met with innumerable clients, something that was denied me elsewhere. I have seen cases from beginning to end, instead of being thrown in medias res. I have gone to trial twice, winning both times. Oh, and the greatest joy is being able to get up at 8:00 AM instead of 6:00 AM and taking days off when I feel like it. Hah!
I must thank my ever-loving and patient wife for standing by me through it all and helping me to recognize my potential. She is the most wonderful person I have had the pleasure to know personally.