Some lawyers might shy away from associating themselves with the word hustle.
Patrice Perkins is not one of them. Her Chicago solo practice focuses on contracts and intellectual property work for creative entrepreneurs. With a firm called Creative Genius Law and a clientele composed of event planners, graphic artists and food truck vendors, traditional networking events don’t work for her. So in 2011, Perkins created what is likely the Second City’s first food truck festival, StreetFood Artistry.
“Patrice is trying to meet the need of a very specific clientele, so why not use the terminology her prospective clients may use in an effort to connect with them?” says Tiffanie B. Powell, a suburban Chicago estate planning and probate lawyer and one of Perkins’ mentors. “That’s what made Patrice so interesting to me.”
“My passion was always working with creative people. I felt that there was a lack of business savvy there, and no one had attorneys,” says Perkins, a 2008 graduate of DePaul University College of Law whose website touts helping clients use legal strategies to “promote your business from side hustle to main squeeze.”
When discussing retention with a potential client, instead of offering a free or low-cost initial consultation, Perkins charges $250 for what she calls a “legal strategy session.” That screens out people who aren’t serious about their business. If the person decides to hire Perkins, she charges a flat fee and gives a $250 credit.
They talk about things Perkins thinks the individual should have for a business, like contracts, intellectual property protection and brand positioning. Everyone who purchases a session gets a one-year subscription to Entrepreneur magazine, regardless of whether they retain Perkins.
“Most attorneys will talk to you about how you have to fix a problem,” says Perkins. “My focus is how can we maximize and use legal strategies to develop your business goals.”
—Stephanie Francis Ward
• Read an extended profile of Patrice Perkins
• Read more about our 2014 Legal Rebels