What’s a Primary Care Lawyer?

A primary care lawyer has nothing to do with health care, unless you consider ‘peace of mind’ a healthy thing.

The primary care lawyer is like a primary care physician in that he is the go-to guy for all concerns. More like a first responder, actually, she answers the client’s first call. After that, it may require a specialist.

So now that we’ve got the terminology clear, do you want to be a primary care lawyer-person? Here are some considerations:

Primary Care

Like the primary care doctor, the primary care attorney is a general practitioner. She does not do litigation, patents, immigration, taxes … at least not much.

The general practitioner — these days more than ever — is a country lawyer in a big city. With the internet connecting virtually everything, the general practitioner has to know a little about it all.

It is not a traditional role, as lawyers tend to specialize. But in a way, it’s the most traditional role.

Melissa Hall is giving it a try. She is a “primary care” attorney who helps clients navigate the legal system by solving their legal problems or directing them to legal resources for solutions.

In a recent podcast hosted by the Lawyerist, Sam Glover and Aaron Street questioned Hall about how “primary care” work works. She said the idea has been around for generations.

General Care

“Well, basically the idea comes from my grandfather,” she said. “He had an attorney, it was just somebody he called up when he had a question, which seems to be something that has completely fallen out of culture.”

Hall said the general practitioner is a “a thing of the past,” because so many lawyers specialize. She is steering away from that, choosing not to represent clients on an ongoing basis.

Instead, she answers questions for a flat fee. Fifty dollars buys fifteen minutes. She says most of her calls last about that long.

“Basically a lot of people just want some reassurance and handholding,” she said.

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