What is a Boutique Law Practice?

“Boutique.” Just pronounce the word out loud and you may experience that mildly queasy feeling that is the aromatic equivalent of being in an elevator with a person wearing too much perfume. The sound of the word, “boutique,” taps into a cultural prejudice that associates all things French sounding with both aristocratic refinement and decadence. Nonetheless, I can find no better way to encapsulate what a boutique law practice is than the word “boutique.” The term fits like a glove because it simultaneously combines the ideas of specialization, individualized treatment, and sophistication.

A boutique law practice is generally defined as a smaller firm with experienced practitioners who advocate in a particular area of law, such as tax or healthcare law. However, specialization is not the only thing that differentiates “boutique law” as a distinct style of practice. There is also a philosophy associated with boutique law that leads to superior legal results. The practice philosophy of the boutique law firm emphasizes specialized, one-of-a-kind legal representation, and seeks to build relationships with clients, not merely transact with them.

Boutique law does not advertise in a popular practice area, like personal injury, family law, or bankruptcy, and then train a staff of $15.00 per hour legal assistants to work in assembly line fashion. Many of the folks that practice law in this style are fine lawyers, they know their specialty well, and they get results, but they practice law differently than the boutique lawyer. This type of lawyer makes his living as a shrewd business manager, generating as many transactions as possible while keeping staffing costs low. The work this lawyer’s office produces generally meets minimum standards, and sometimes rises above that, especially where there is a well-trained and experienced legal staff. But this lawyer and his staff are not equipped to do the investigation, research, analysis and planning required to advise you about whether, for example, you should accept a low settlement offer on a lawsuit so that you can realize higher returns through the sale of your company to a prospective buyer.

Boutique law firms are not those giant national firms that hire an army of associates, paralegals and legal assistants to churn through mountains of files for banks or insurance companies, applying the same processes to each case. Again, many of the professionals that work in these areas are excellent practitioners. They know their practice area well, they are consummate professionals, and they get results. They tend to be relationship oriented and they seek to advance long-term client objectives. But they are not that Brandeisian lawyer who learns everything about how shoes are made, everything about the shoe-making industry, and every applicable law, regulatory practice, and legislative process, for sole the purpose of representing a few shoe manufacturers. (Read more about one of the greatest attorneys ever at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Brandeis).

Boutique law practitioners reach for that “Brandeisian ideal.” They do not pigeon-hole their legal outlook by learning one area of practice in-depth and then forgetting about all others. While boutique law specializes, it specializes in a manner that incorporates a broad-based and sophisticated understanding of substantive, procedural, and regulatory legal frameworks with personal, social, and economic realities. It aspires toward that ever elusive, ever alluring ideal of zealous advocacy. Boutique law practitioners are constantly curious, constantly stretching their boundaries, constantly researching, constantly learning, and constantly improving as lawyers. Boutique law practitioners focus on solving particular problems, and they understand that every problem is unique. There is no one type of solution or one type of process that can be relied on to fix every legal problem. But there is a legal methodology that allows diligent practitioners to craft unique solutions to each client’s problem. That is what boutique law practitioners aspire to.

Hutchings Law Group aspires to incorporate a boutique law philosophy into its mission of assisting people to solve their legal challenges. Hutchings Law Group helps small healthcare practices, small businesses, local property investors, homeowners, and working people by crafting one-of-a-kind solutions to their legal difficulties. We represent employees in employment claims and litigation, both individually and in class action cases; we make first-party insurance claims and bring litigation on behalf of policy holders; we provide outside general counsel and commercial litigation services to business owners; we represent business and property owners in property disputes; and we represent people that have been injured by the fault of another in personal injury claims and litigation. We represent our clients by diligently investigating the facts underlying and surrounding each situation. We then research applicable substantive and procedural law and craft strategies that are designed to address each client’s circumstances. We coordinate these strategies and solutions with marketplace realities to give clients sound, common sense advice.

If you’re looking for excellent, tailor-made legal representation, sans the French perfume and aristocratic decadence, contact Hutchings Law Group today, we can help.

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