Irene got a book contract last summer and her hunt for an intellectual property attorney is as follow .. hilarious.
Where do you start to look for a lawyer when you need one? Personally I don’t know. The IP guys would never advertise the way the personal injury law guys do, on radio and in print.
So I told the publisher give me a few more day to find a guy/gal .. as a second thought, I wondered out loud if I really need one?
June 27 – the publisher replied:
I would never tell you not to get a lawyer….so definitely get someone to look over it.
I mobilized my network, asking for help. Within few hours, I got replies. But unfortunately all are real estate and immigration attorneys, who knew contracts. .. they’re not the one.
More days passed.
I suddenly thought of a school fellow who’s actually an IP attorney. Overly joyed, I e-mailed him, and asked what’s his rate.
July 2 my friend replied ..
I would like to offer help based on friendship, certainly no fee issue at all. What is your time frame requirement?
This didn’t go very far. My friend’s idea is .. pretty much do-it-my-self.
July 7, I called my neighbor, a partner in a large law firm out of Long Island.
If Irene could have her pick .. it would be a small firm or even one-man-company in New York City; with a Noo Yawk publisher .. I just have a thing or two with New York, or Beijing.
.. But time’s running out.
July 9 – the neighbor referred me to his partner who’s the head of their IP department. During the conference call, they said that the work won’t exceed $2500 or 8 hours. .. .. compare to the city slickers, they’re cheap. Then the partner went on to say books in general don’t really sell
“oh unless you’re not celebrity .. ” then caught himself, he corrected “maybe you’re celebrity in your neighborhood. ..”
The thing that ticked me off was his tone and voice. Believe me I could take joke as well as dishing it.
Uncle Jimmy wrote back,
Congratulations! Go ahead and email it to me. I will check with the IP lawyers in my suite re their recommendations.
July 22 – someone from my network referred me to David Jacobs, who charges $550 an hour, 10-hr up front as retainer. We spoke on the phone, he explained that his fee is bare bone, rock bottom already. Too expensive, even I loved his dictation and manner, very calm and seasoned. He said no worry,
“I can refer you to my former colleague in New York. His rate is probably more manageable and you both are in the same city.”
July 29 – The referral John Rosenberg called back. He spent 15 minutes chatting, about what I write, about China, .. then gently told me I might not be able to afford him. He used to work with David at the same law firm in Boston. He now commands $600 hourly rate, retainer starts $10k to $15k, with clientele like Jessica Simpson. He then suggested that I call New York Bar Association. He’s very articulate, has nice voice and .. .. is one of New York super lawyers.
Sigh .. Irene does have connections, just doesn’t know how to capitalize it. Lawyers, foremost, are orators and professional writers too.
Diane Krause never returned my call. David Fuller‘s fee to review is $300. But after reviewing my contract, he got agitated (it’s 5:30pm; too many martinis? Don Draper in Mad Man came to mind..), refusing to take the job. Another attorney happens to located in my town, but I’m not crazy about his voice. .. I’m acting as if I have many candidates to choose from.
Finding a lawyer proves to be difficult than writing the book. Geeeeeee
Aug 11 – Referred to Jason Sanders. We spoke for 12 minutes; he has nice voice and is confident. His fee is $400 an hour. If just review contract, there needn’t be a retainer; he’ll make a flat fee for it, like 3 hours. This case even if it goes over, he won’t charge me anymore. So Irene finally found her man. After reviewing the contract (without charging me .. I forgot why he didn’t bill me ..), he said it is a crap, even after negotiation, it won’t be a good contract for me.
“You’re basically give them all your right and they have the right not to do anything, to published it. .. You can even put that online yourself .. ”
So the contract is a no go.
10/30 – I visited Jason. He suggested that I polish my book and query letter, send to him and he’ll look for contact for me.
In the meantime, the publisher sent few e-mails to say they’re still very interested. It has been the case ever since.
12/18 – Met the publisher in her office
2/24/2009 Jason the lawyer left the law firm, joining a gaming company. No, he couldn’t and wouldn’t do me.
8/19/2009 A friend of mine through tennis volunteered to look at my contract .. and even spoke with the publisher. Still a no go.