Keep overhead low! Keeping overhead low is key. Take calculated risks. And know when to quit, if it is time to quit, and move on.
Andrew C. Laufer attended State University in Albany where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. He graduated law school from Quinnipiac University and worked for several law firms before opening his law firm in 2000. Andrew focuses on personal injury and civil rights litigation with special regard for police misconduct litigation, representing victims of police brutality.
Mr. Laufer has lectured for attorneys about how to litigate police brutality cases, which are heard in both federal and state courts. He is on the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, a member of the Police Accountability Project, and has given numerous interviews in print, on the internet, an on TV on cases in relation to police brutality, as well. Andrew C. Laufer has extensive experience with these cases, having handled hundreds of police brutality cases with good results. He also represents prisoners who have beaten and abused in prison.
Where did the idea for Laufer Law Group come from?
I became interested in becoming an attorney because I see an attorney as someone who has power which can be used to represent another person. I am able to speak for someone else who may not be able to speak for themselves and this gives me great satisfaction. I like fighting for people, fighting for what is right. I like fighting for people who have been hurt by other people in the system. I find that people are hurt more by neglect, a failure to take proper action to ensure their safety, than intentional actions. Municipalities don’t generally oversee their police force, or vet the new hires, or even the prison staff are not overseen or well vetted. It is very satisfying representing those without a voice. People who may have a record or be in prison still have rights, including the right not to be beaten up, and the right to be treated like a human being. I knew that this is what I wanted to do and who I wanted to represent.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We are very busy, we have a lot of cases, so a lot of it is triage. I am productive by setting up a schedule, taking care of what needs to be taken care of in terms of priorities. I return clients phone calls and respond to inquiries. I may also be in court, it depends if I have a trial. Trials take precedence over everything, as they are all-encompassing. They can last one day to a month or months. I have other attorneys that work with me, as well as support staff which help keep things flowing while I am in court or at a trial or at a prison.
How do you bring ideas to life?
If I get a situation which may fall out of the norm, I find different ways to address what may have gone wrong, for example, someone who has been falsely accused of a crime. Focusing on out of the box solutions is a great way to keep ideas fresh. Within the scriptures of the law, one has to get creative.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Everyone waking up! Everyone waking up to the importance of their civil rights! Some people are so fused on the second amendment, which is fine and which I support. I support gun ownership, I have my own. The key is to be responsible as a gun owner. But we need to wake up to all of our rights. Under the fourth amendment, law enforcement has to have a warrant to enter your premises. You have the right to not incriminate yourself, you have the right to an attorney, and you have the right to access the courts. When you hear all of this stuff about tort reform, it really bothers me because our founding fathers gave us the ability to go to court, which is the seventh amendment, to address our grievances with one another. These things should be left to a jury of our peers, not legislators. Juries are democracy, and to take the power away from a jury bothers me. I would like to see people be aware of all of their rights. People should not be afraid of expressing themselves. The right to free speech has taken a turn and people claim defamation when it may have just been someone’s opinion.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
My passion for the law. No matter what your business is, you have to have passion for it and you have to want it. You have to be involved in your business. Your passion will lead to success, along with hard work.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Well, when I worked for other law firms, the lack of appreciation was apparent. I did not care for that. Here, my employees are taken care of before myself. Back then, I felt that I could run a better, more efficient practice. I learned that I wanted to branch out on my own, which I did, and I am very happy that I did.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would keep overhead low and not spread myself so thin. Overall, I think I did things right, but I do see a few areas that I could have done more efficiently. Of course, these areas have been tweaked and we are running smoothly now.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
It is important to have good client relationships. Since there are many people who can do what you do, you have to decide what makes you different. That is being effective and being good at what you do, being better than most and learning more. I find that if you really listen to what your client’s needs are, that goes a long way.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Taking calculated chances. Not being afraid to invest in growth. Not being afraid to spend the money to really flush out a case, and not being afraid to fight as hard as you can.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t think it is a failure, but in the past, I found that I could get to caught up with my clients’ issues. You have to separate yourself to some degree from that. Some clients have unrealistic expectations and when a good resolution is on the table, you have to look at the full picture and have your client look at the full picture.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Keep overhead low! Keeping overhead low is key. Take calculated risks. And know when to quit, if it is time to quit, and move on. Keep your passion and hunger for your business strong.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I took my daughter to see Hamilton. It was a phenomenal, inspirational play. Everyone should go see it.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Westlaw.com is a must, especially important to do research for your case, doing motions, and defending your client. I also use Microsoft Office and Outlook every day. It is important to be tech savvy.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Haha! I loved The Dune Collection by Frank Herbert. They make me think and dream.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Bruce Lee. He is such a great, disciplined person and his martial art skills were phenomenal. I also think that Alexander Hamilton is a genius and is a backbone of our republic.
The Laufer Law Group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-York-NY/The-Laufer-Law-Group/111900835523676
The Laufer Law Group on Twitter: http://twitter.com/lauferlaw
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