How I Practice-David Louis Cohen

Cohen, David LouisDavid Louis Cohen
Law Office of David L. Cohen, Esq.
Kew Gardens

What are your areas of practice?

Criminal defense

Describe a typical day for you?
Either in the office or I’m in court or a combination of the two, depending on my calendar. All of my cases are in court. I meet with clients, do paperwork, or business work.

Where do you practice? Do you have a stand-alone office or home office?
I have a stand-alone office in Queens.

What is the most rewarding thing about having your own practice?

Being your own boss. You set your schedule; you can take the cases that you want to take. You don’t have to worry about cases that you don’t want to take. Simply put, the independence is most rewarding. 

What are some of the challenges about having your own practice?
The biggest challenge is doing everything by yourself. I have cases in different counties. You also are the lawyer and the business person. You have to ensure that all the bills are paid. You also have no one to rely on for business unlike a partnership. As a solo, if you are having a bad month, you are having a bad month. 

What are your must-have tech tools/apps?

An excellent word processing program and lots of storage. I rely on Dropbox so I, and my paralegal, can access documents anywhere. You also need legal research software to stay current and up to date.

How do you market your practice? How do you find new clients?

I have a unique practice. I have a nice website and belong to a lot of bar associations. I go to meetings/events and talk to people. Most, if not all, of my practice is based on referrals, old clients and word-of-mouth.

When and where do you interact with other attorneys?
I own my law firm suite so I interact with attorneys there. I see lawyers in court; I am part of a lunch group. It is very important to interact with lawyers; that is why I belong to NYSBA and a number of local bar associations. You get ideas how lawyers are doing different things. 

How do you stay informed with legal news/developments?
I get info from NYSBA publications, community emails, the Criminal Justice Section and the New York State Defenders Association, as well as word of mouth of colleagues. That’s how I stay informed with recent developments. 

If a fellow attorney decided they wanted to start their own practice, what is the one thing they should know?
Don’t take a bad case even though you may be broke. If business is bad but a prospective client walks in, the fee isn’t right and it’s complicated case, don’t do it. Cases like this eat your time and you won’t have time to devote to the cases that pay the bills. Lastly, it’s going to take a while; you don’t develop a practice overnight.