The Gig | Being A Small Maine Town Lawyer.
Like the farmers in this country, in Maine, the small Maine town lawyers are getting older.
More grey around the thinning temples. If the hair does decide to stick around. Greater numbers of lawyers, attorneys are being cranked out daily but like a lot of professions. There is the notion that you can not meet your “salary, income goal objective” in small Maine towns. So those passing the bar flock to cities to starve. When small town attorneys in Maine do quite nicely from all life needs perspectives.
I talked with one local Maine lawyer after a real estate closing recently who was not brought up in my small Maine town.
And he became an attorney because he was not so sure his Dad, a farmer was ever going to let go of the reins to the big patch of dirt, buildings, all that equipment.
So off he went to law school, worked part time at UPS and his wife was a teacher to round out the check book obligations.
And when he relocated, entered practice in a brand new Maine town, he quickly figured out you were inside or outside the circle.
Of how things shaked, baked, rocked, rolled. There was a pecking order, a groove that everyone was suppose to follow. He said no one did him any favors and it was time to roll up the sleeves like during potato harvest.
Deciding early on if he was going to pull down a greater market share of being a legal beagle, outworking the rest was the marathon to begin four decades ago. To beat them to the punch when not just surrendering. Folding up, getting in line and simply joining them for his piece of the pie.
Time to lace up the Chuck Taylor’s for the full court press. Harder practices, investing in more technology and the best staffing money could buy. He ended up setting the tone for the local law office standards for others to reach for in professionalism.
Plowing the profits back into the legal operation to make the Maine law firm successful.
Staying out of small town social circle gossip spotlight. Avoiding being in those conversations that lead to any negative public relation spillage. When the firewater has a way of lubricating the tongue. Things go downhill. When people get a little curled lip, snarky. Instead just minding his “P”‘s and “Q”‘s. Raising a family, working very hard to serve the local community’s legal needs.
Putting in longer hours like he already knew how to do from his practice on the Maine farm tractor during spring planting.
Summer cultivating and hoeing. Fall harvest stress dodging rain drops and frost temperatures. Standing in front of a potato house grader putting up loads to ship south winters. Farming in Maine. Where hourly wages don’t happen and heck, breaking even means you had a good year. Get to climb on the planter and harvester one more time at least.
Small town Maine lawyers, attorneys. There is a shortage of new recruits to replace the older esteemed group of esquires, counselor. Like the general MD, you are not specialized in just one circuit shade of the law in a small Maine town. No no, your garden variety of title searching, deed preparation, estate settling, will making and divorce splits mending the broken hearts and families.
All part of the daily chores in a Maine legal office.
Trial work for OUI’s, high emotion protection orders for hotly contested divorces or stalkers. Fighting neighbors over barking dogs, property line markers that get pulled and argued over daily. The custody battle tug of wars when no one owns or wins the kids.
Assistance when the game warden nabs your Jane or Jimmy on a four wheeler where he should not have been.
Speeding tickets that somehow the procedure was flawed in the due process when a magnifying glass is applied. The looking for a technicality to get the charge dismissed. By hook or by crook. Or pleading the case your honor that this is a first time offense. Would the court please find leniency in the application of the law statute’s consequences for due process punishment? What is called for in metering out the justice’s parameters in the law statutes. Taking depositions, negotiating, plea bargaining to ease the sentencing harshness. All in the day in the life of a small town Maine lawyer.
Optical readers in the Maine sixteen county registry of deeds. Along with standardization of the legal paperwork put on microfiche is all changing the legal landscape too.
The forty year title search done in the racks of stacks of shelved bound musty books. The hanging mylar plats and town tax maps. Like banking, legal gypsies infiltrate and try to pilfer the local small Maine town economy if they can in the hit and run.
Soon it won’t need to be a local title abstracter making copies and taking very detailed notes on the home town court house registry of deeds level. Those index searches for liens, easements and anything else effecting the title already happening through the copper, fiber or thin air information pathways.
Accessed by title companies far away. That can hone in on the signal to see if the title is squeaky clean, free and clear. Or encumbered, flawed to the point of title insurance affirmative coverage being a possible fix option or not. For a fee of course and the billable hours that follow.
To lift the hood and figure out the what do we have here messed up in a deed description that does not close. Or chain of title that may require a call to the bull pen.
To summons a relief surveyor to help in the metes and bounds legal description compass calls and footage amounts. From walking the Earth holding a GPS talking to a satellite over head the Maine land.
Or in the case of any type of dispute, the parties may need an appraiser arranged to come on board. To determine property value. Or liquidated damages for an eminent domain proceedings. Who gets a forfeited real estate deposit that is sizable enough to fight over.
To hammer out an equitable resolution in an out of court law suit self made decision. Where a compromise means neither party is hand stand happy. To avoid the lop sided conclusion that the loser takes red hot resentment with them to the cold dark grave.
One resolution you are involved in as the plaintiff or defendant with able bodied attorneys, lawyers rather than the judge doing all the work. That is as close to a fair decision handed down as can be expected. With the help of the blindfolded lady of justice. Holding the scales up over the courthouse outdoor antique clock.
Overseeing the process with a mediate, don’t litigate. For a work it out make it a lasting solution attitude of fairness. When both sides of the conference room table can only see red. In the emotional anger swirling around the issue that festers, does not heal easy and prone to boiling over.
To Open Sesame for the Abracadabra in unlocking the legal history of transfer mysteries.
Locked inside heavy bound books that smell of history. Divided into grantee, grantor. In what lurks in the dark bowels of the inner recesses of the registry of deeds, probate and throughout the court system record archives.
But despite technological advances, people still need legal services in small Maine towns. To set up trusts, wrestle with the families more concerned often about the bank account and CD funds, the assets from an estate than the loss of the dearly departed.
To help with refinancing the homestead in Maine for the lower bank mortgage interest rate.
To get the sticks and bricks of the Maine home paid off. Just in time for the here they come. College education expenses one by one in the boom boom boom. In step with the ages of when the stork flew over. Bomb bay doors creaked open slowly. For the let loose of the next bundle of joy wrapped in pink or blue.
Younger, local Maine lawyers in a small community are needed to pass the bar. To step up and serve the populations that live, work and play in the small Maine towns. Ever thought of being an attorney in Maine, a lawyer in one of the many small communities in Vacationland. Where you love where you practice law in Maine and feel needed?