All we can do is take it a step at a time, do our best each day and hope the future is kind to us.
Arkady Bukh is a top-tier criminal defense attorney in New York City. Mr. Bukh has successfully worked high-profile, international cases. He combines appropriately aggressive courtroom presence with an advanced knowledge of the law. Mr. Bukh works to ensure his clients get their cases resolved with reasonable expectations
After watching decades of injustice in his native Russia, Mr. Bukh became driven to stop injustices cold. After immigrating to America, and observing the American public and American judicial system, Mr. Bukh realized that few Americans are knowledgeable about social justice.
Mr. Bukh established his law practice on the foundation of guarding minority and immigrants’ rights. Today, his firm is considered the premier criminal law firm in New York City and he remained committed to inclusion, cultural diversity and equal justice.
Opened in 2003, Bukh Law Firm primarily serves New York City’s minority and immigrant community but is available to anyone. No accusation from petty theft to high profile, international cyber hacking is beyond the scope of the firm’s experience and Mr. Bukh’s knowledge.
Mr. Bukh purposely placed his firm in Manhattan and Brooklyn — the epicenters of his clients. Few law firms have gained Bukh Law Firm’s level of credibility as Mr. Bukh cobbled together a stellar reputation for “winning the unwinnable.”
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
I grew up watching Soviet-style “justice,” so I guess I became ‘inspirted’ at an early age. While I couldn’t explain what I saw — or even prove it — there seemed to be two “justice cookbooks.” One for the well-off and one for the rest of the people.
How do you make money?
That’s an unusual question. I’m a lawyer. I see clients. They pay me.
My answer sounds cliched and altruistic, but I didn’t become an attorney for the money. Yes, I’m lucky and enjoy a nice lifestyle, but being able to observe justice achieved on a daily basis is reward enough. I’m not prepared to provide the figures, but our firm’s pro bono in 2016 almost matched our revenues.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Our started generating revenue almost from the moment we finished hanging our shingle. Profitability came a few weeks later. As I’ve mentioned, my firm and I are focused on issues surrounding justice and not growing financial streams. However, this is the real world and economics does play a part. A big part.
We’ve been fortunate. Our firm has stayed in the black consistently since we opened. Of course, no one knows what the future holds, but at the moment our future is looking bright.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
Sure, there were some doubts — especially before we opened. That’s only natural. However, remember, we are a law firm, and no one has yet figured out how to create a robot that can adequately perform in a court room.
Some attorney feels there is now ‘online competition.’ I don’t believe that. Sure, there are legal websites offering help and support and do-it-yourself-guidance, but even those don’t cover the intricacies on American jurisprudence. Attorneys may, one day, be replaced by “artificial intelligence,” but I don’t see that happening in my lifetime.
How did you get your first customer?
By referral. A friend from academy connected me with the potential client. He and I went out for a beer, chatted about what his needs were, and we accepted him as a client.
Most of our clients come the same way, through referrals. It’s nice when a new client finds you through the website, a lawyer’s referral service, but it is particularly useful when one client appreciates and trusts the service they received they are prepared to stake their name on a referral.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works well to generate new business?
Website content. Fresh, current and accurate content on our site has raised our Google standings and increased our visibility. Without a strong, dynamic and enthusiastic writer, our marketing would suffer. We’re grateful to have found someone who can do research on arcane legal issues, digest them and then write in a ‘client friendly’ manner. It’s drawn clients which we otherwise may not have reached.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
To agree to give my blessings to an attorney who had been with our firm for ten years. We parted on great terms — and he’s free to return here today. He’s from Nevada and after a decade in New York City, he just wanted to go home. I understand.
We’ve worked close for a long time, and he’ll be missed.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Great question, but one that ‘s hard to answer as there are so many definitions of ‘success.’
At Bukh Law Firm we measure success by our clients’ satisfaction levels. If a client finds their legal issue resolved in an acceptable and reasonable manner, they’re satisfied. If a client is content — then we are as well.
Client & customer service attitudes almost seem archaic now in much of America. We may be ‘old school,’ but we believe the client is (almost) always right.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
When we established “Bukh and Associates Scholarship.” We realize education is the foundation of a productive life and not just a career. Our attorneys know things in the nation need to change so that everyone will be able to enjoy a life that makes everything a bit better for everybody.
As I’ve mentioned, relatively few Americans are knowledgeable about social justice issues in America. The scholarship was set-up to change that.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
No one knows what the future holds — for an individual or business. All we can do is take it a step at a time, do our best each day and hope the future is kind to us.
I’m excited as I start to see more people get involved in social justice issues. Rightly or wrongly, the administration in Washington today has raised the awareness of human rights and freedoms. That has triggered a growing tsunami of discussion where people are starting to understand that government business, as usual, won’t work anymore.
What business books have inspired you?
Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Successful People” is near the top, so is “The Art of War.” Anything by the late Wayne Dyer has to go on the list as well.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
This sounds strange, but The Male Choir of St. Petersburg is astounding, and I recently bought their latest CD. There’s something peaceful, calming and reassuring about have the choir in the background. I don’t want to get to esoterical, but the music resonates.
How does Russian justice compare to American justice?
There are many intersections of comparison — and not many are good. American justice, like Russian jurisprudence, seems to be involved in the pocketbook of the beholder. I can’t remember who said, “When one person is denied justice, everyone is denied justice.” Justice shouldn’t be sold like a commodity or bid out as at an auction. Justice should be available freely and equitably for each person who goes to court.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.