Every week we will feature a different attorney with the same set of questions about growing a successful law practice.
This week we have Matthew J. Kidd, an attorney in Boston. Kidd was recognized by Thompson Reuters, Super Lawyer, and Boston magazines as a 2018 “Rising Star”. Kidd was also awarded the “Silver Client Champion”.
What is your primary area of practice? Do you handle a variety of types of matters?
My main practice areas are bankruptcy, personal injury, and employment matters. However, I also handle consumer protection,insurance, and other civil matters, and occasionally act as mediator.
What do you think is the toughest challenge for a solo practitioner or a small law firm?
The toughest challenge for a solo practitioner or small law firm is to process cases in a timely, efficient, and cost-effective manner. Each case generates many deadlines, documents, and related administrative work. A solo practitioner must become a master at juggling multiple tasks under pressure.
How do you adapt to new legal technology?
I believe technology is important to facilitate the caseload in the office. I try to choose technology that is effective, but as simple as possible to learn and use. I usually try a free trial for a week or so before deciding to purchase and implement the new productivity tool.
How do you deal with changes in client volume?
I try to keep my client volume manageable so that I can properly represent and service their needs. When the case volume increases substantially, I bring in additional assistance from attorneys and administrative staff on a temporary basis to keep each matter moving toward a resolution.
How do you know it’s time to expand?
I know it’s time to expand when I can’t handle my case volume even with additional temporary help and I have the funds and resources to expand. As with any business, a solo practitioner should be cautious about expanding without the proper resources.
How do you collaborate with other lawyers? Is there a process for that?
Collaboration with other lawyers is the most important resource I have. I am constantly consulting with other attorneys for their opinions on my cases and for possible partnerships or referrals for new cases or new practice areas. I attend as many continuing education classes as possible to keep abreast of new developments in the law and to network with fellow attorneys with varied experience and expertise.
Would you or your firm look to hire new associates, or bring on contract attorneys if you could more flexibly manage their workloads?
I would definitely be more open to hiring new associates or contract attorneys if I could more flexibly manage their workloads. If there is a way to find contract attorneys quickly and have the administrative (payroll, tax, etc.) work done in the background, that would be extremely helpful to my practice.
Do you have any other suggestions or advice for solo practitioners or small firms ?
I suggest networking with as many lawyers as possible. Solo practitioners should keep operating costs and expenses to a minimum. However, marketing and advertising should always represent some portion the yearly budget, as without new clients you will not be able continue as a going concern. Keep an open mind, there are so many practice areas that you may find a niche opportunity you never previously imagined. Although it is important to proceed with caution before undertaking any legal matter, don’t be so cautious and conservative that you foreclose yourself from some great opportunities. Have confidence in yourself and your abilities and provide the best representation for each client, no matter how minor or important the matter may be. After you have resolved a client’s issue with exception results, ask the client to write a short review of your work so that others will understand and appreciate your work product.
Matthew J. Kidd is the Founder and Director of the Law Office of Matthew J. Kidd in Boston. Kidd was recognized by Thompson Reuters, Super Lawyer, and Boston magazines as a 2018 “Rising Star”. Kidd handles a variety of civil issues including bankruptcy, employment and personal injury issues in his practice. Attorney Kidd is also a certified mediator in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.