We’re going to use the phrase ‘from this to that’ a lot because Criminal Defense attorney Lori Levin’s experience is expansive. She started as a prosecutor in the state’s attorney’s office and in 2009 decided to go private and open her own firm. Running a solo practice meant learning lessons about how to operate both as an attorney and a business owner.
Now Lori calls her criminal defense solo work the most fulfilling stage in her career to date, and she sees the positive changes the courts are making for her clients.
Lori’s amazing experiences in her career and insights from running a solo practice in Criminal Defense:
- From Prosecution to creating a new court in Illinois (03:49)
- Running a solo practice: From business acumen to mental health (20:53)
- State of the criminal system today (31:25)
- What Lori Levin wants to see changed in the business of law (38:33)
Learning your worth as a solo practice attorney...even when you're already an experienced lawyer.
“I was in the planning group to help start the first felony mental health court, diversion court, in Cook County, at 26th Street – it's now spread out throughout the county and throughout the state…. It was really amazing how, the help with drugs…the people who had co-occurring disorders wound up getting on the right path and how their lives were turned around. And these were folks to 30 years ago, might have gotten locked up or the criminal justice system might have thrown them away. And now they wind up getting jobs getting help. And it really was rewarding.”
“I was lucky that I was an experienced lawyer, [that] when I opened up my own practice that I knew how to practice law. So, then the issue was learning how to operate a business…. I had another experienced defense attorney pulled me aside and say ‘Lori, we're in a business and you need to bill,’ and the first time that I quoted somebody what I was worth and they said yes it was refreshing.”
“I've been doing this for a long time. And I think I’ve learned from that that I need to put a premium on my mental health. I think that when I was just prosecuting murder cases it got to me in a way that I didn't appreciate until I stopped prosecuting murder cases…. I try to make sure that I'm grounded, that I do things that will take me away from the law, at times, and I'm very lucky that I have a really good support network.”
LORI LEVIN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE SOLO PRACTICE ATTORNEY
Lori G. Levin is a forceful advocate for people facing charges in Criminal and Juvenile Court as well as those being investigated by the Department of Children and Family Services and/or appealing DCFS findings. After a long career in public service, Lori opened her private practice in 2009. She has successfully defended persons in Criminal and Juvenile Court as well as in DCFS administrative appeals, not only in the Circuit Court of Cook County but also in the collar counties.
Lori spent many years as a prosecutor and supervisor with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, positions that have given her substantial insight into the inner workings of the criminal justice system and valuable knowledge to shape her clients’ defense tactics. The Governor of Illinois appointed Lori to be the Executive Director of the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, an agency dedicated to improving the Illinois criminal justice system. Today, as a Chicago and North Shore criminal defense attorney, Lori Levin passionately fights to secure justice for her clients.
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"The 1958 Lawyer and his 1938 Dollar" still defines the business of law...
It's time for a change.
If you’re a lawyer, you’re familiar with the ABA article “The 1958 Lawyer and his 1938 Dollar” which gives our podcast its title, and its inspiration. That article was the start of the billable hour for law firms...And the last major change to the business of law, 70+ years ago now. Well, it’s past time for another change.
This podcast is all about bucking the status quo of the business of law. Your hosts Ron Bockstahler and Kirsten Mayfield run Amata Law Office Suites, providing law firms an alternative to the traditional fixed-cost business model that places unwanted stress on attorneys to work long hours that often-times lead to burn out, broken relationships and in many cases substance abuse. Each week they’ll discuss alternatives to the 12 hours days, endless rotation of clerks and paralegals, and the expensive offices leased to impress clients who rarely show up in person anymore. They’ll interview successful lawyers who are doing law differently, and finding a work-life balance while still running a successful firm.
Do you want to find a better way to run your law firm? It’s time for the next big change in the business of law, and you’ll get it here on The 1958 Lawyer.