Reboot Your Law Practice with Oscar Michelen


In this week’s episode of the Attorney Talk, Ken Thayer interviews Oscar Michelen. Oscar has been the senior trial specialist for the Corporation Councel’s Office for New York City, there he helped defend the city from high exposure, multi million dollar lawsuits. He is currently the managing partner of Cuomo, LLC, a Manhattan law firm. His practice represents small businesses and municipalities as well as artists, entertainers, and designers in intellectual property litigation.


  • What are some legal issues that small business owners could encounter?
  • Is there a common problem most small businesses seem to run into?
  • Why do you think people don’t want to talk to an attorney before they have a problem?
  • What do you find to be the biggest hurdle for a lawyer trying to transition out of a big law firm?


Small Business Clients

  • Common reasons a small business owner may need legal help could be disputes involving the name of the business, sexual harassment cases, or hour and wage disputes.
  • Most small businesses come to a law firm in a time of crisis. You need to manage their concerns and help them navigate the situation and avoid getting into the same issue again.
  • Small business owners often need small services like forms and employee manuals created for them, things that are often overlooked at the creation of the business.
  • A lack of planning at the beginning is the most common issue, many owners don’t realize what regulations they may need to work under when getting started.
  • Ask your potential client what their business plan is, how is it structured, how many employees they’re going to have, how does their partnership work, etc.
  • Doing a great job protecting your client’s interests can often lead to being referred and finding new clients.

Lawyers and Public Perception

  • Lawyers are a part of doing business.
  • One of the issues with people seeking out a lawyer is hiring one appears to be a sunk cost, the transaction seems to be a net loss rather than a net gain.
  • The trouble is that when a business owner has to employ a lawyer, it’s not typically a good situation for them. That experience plus the general perception of lawyers trying to exploit their clients can make people unhappy about contacting them.
  • You can offer legal services that don’t involve a negative situation like a lawsuit that can improve the perception your law firm has with your potential clients.
  • To be an effective attorney, you have to be proactive with your client and look out for their future needs.

Oscar’s Podcast Reboot Your Law Practice

  • The podcast is focused on small or solo practitioners that are looking to go it alone and start their own practice.
  • It covers topics like case studies, how to get ready for networking events, getting your website or blog online, how to book speaking engagements, among others.
  • Reboot Your Law Practice is a learning tool you can use to build a practice similar to Oscar’s.

Starting a Law Practice

  • Getting started is the most difficult part.
  • You have to think things through before taking the leap. What is your website going to look like? What about branding?
  • You should tailor your practice’s branding to what kind of clients you want to attract.
  • Being a great lawyer is not enough. If no one hires you no one will ever know you’re a great lawyer. Having a varied practice can help you find clients.
  • If you focus on one area of law the work you get will often be feast or famine, but if your firm tries to do everything you may not attract anyone in particular. You have to find the sweet spot of specialization.

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5-star rating and review in iTunes!


Give Cuomo, LLC a call: 212-448-9933

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