I sit in Schafer’s office for almost three hours, listening to him work the phones, and peppering him with questions. For a busy lawyer, he’s exceedingly patient. He talks about the importance of relationship building with other lawyers, physicians, insurance companies.
Personal injury seems appealing on a number of fronts. For one, it means a big paycheck if you can successfully market yourself and find the right clients. It’s also the financial bread and butter of many law firms, even if reality doesn’t play out exactly like it does in, say, a John Grisham novel like the The Rainmaker. Schafer does admit that personal injury has a bad reputation, partly due to those ubiquitous television ads. But the image of the ambulance chaser isn’t justified, he says, and most people change their tune about personal injury after they get screwed by an insurance company. Schafer still does a lot of advertising and marketing, as you can see from the above video. He says the Internet is the “great equalizer in the law business” in terms of marketing, and a key way for a solo practitioner to get the word out.
I leave Schafer’s office with even more questions swirling in my head. How would I create a Web site about myself? Would I even want one? What kinds of personal injury cases would I take if I entered the field? Whatever the answers, I’m grateful for Schafer’s generous allotment of time during this second job shadow. As we gear up for the big summer job hunt in February (see the new summer job poll in the upper right corner of this page), it’s helped me get a much better sense of how I might be spending my days in the future.