I read recently about a lawyer in Chicago who is doing amazing work.  He’s raised more than one million dollars for charity through his love of playing the piano.  He’s rather accomplished and puts on concerts all for the benefit of others.

This summer he’s playing 16 countries in 37 nights, all for the benefit of others.  It’s very noble and while I try to be a good person, it’s certainly more noble than anything I’ve done.

But what I do much better than him is be there for my clients. You can’t return calls very easily if you are half way around the world.

I’m all for attorneys having their own life and in my free time I coach youth sports and have run 10 marathons plus countless other races.  But it’s never interfered with my ability to help the people who reach out to me.  I travel, but when I do my cell phone is attached to my hip and I’ll always break away to call people unless I’m driving a car.

I’m not that unique and I know many other lawyers who do the same.  In fact, those are the ones who we recommend in our state wide network.

But I also know plenty of attorneys like this great piano player.  It’s clearly his passion and something he’s great at.  Good for him and good for anyone else who chases their dream.

Not good for you though if you are depending on an attorney to perform work for you.  They can’t be in court if they are in France.  They can’t meet with you either.  You can’t expect a lawyer to be at your beckon call 24/7, but you also shouldn’t expect that they’ll be gone for more than a month.

I imagine and hope that this attorney told potential new clients of his travel plans and worked it out with existing clients. Too many firms I know though have lawyers who take off for a winter or many weeks at a time.  I’m a soccer nut and would love to watch matches in England for a month.  But aside from not being acceptable to my wife, it would not be a good business decision as it’s no way to run a business.

So before you hire an attorney, don’t be afraid to ask about their plans and availability and who will cover for them when they are gone.  If it’s not a good answer go to the next person on your list until you get it right.