With his office about a block away from the federal court and two blocks from the state courthouse in Omaha, Neb., solo Duke Drouillard can be Johnny-on-the-spot if another lawyer or judge gives him call to let him know that a defendant needs a lawyer, and quick.Drouillard, who largely practices juvenile law and criminal defense, tells the SoloCorps crew that being seen on a daily basis around the court is the best marketing.
“There’s kind of a camaraderie among all the trial lawyers that spend a lot of time at the courthouse,” Drouillard says. “We all recognize each other, know each other. We joke. We talk. It makes for a very friendly, cordial experience when you go to the courthouse.”
But just showing up isn’t enough. Developing a solid reputation is what counts most. “Being a person of your word, not overstating something or understating something … if you develop that kind of reputation it’s gold,” says Drouillard, who started practicing law when he graduated law school at age 52. “It’ll make so much of what you do work better for your client, and for you, and it’ll get you referrals.”
SoloCorps, a video storytelling project aimed at chronicling anecdotes and perspectives of lawyers throughout the country, launched earlier this week in Minneapolis. SoloCorps founders Carolyn Elefant and Lisa Solomon are now near Omaha at the Nebraska State Bar Association Solo & Small Firm Conference. They’ll wrap up their first round of interviews today and tomorrow, but plan to continue their project as they travel to present at conferences throughout the country.