I am excited to announce that after a dozen years of big-law practice, I am leaving DLA Piper to start my own law firm—Bona Law PC. I believe that through Bona Law I can offer clients the legal services of the best law firms, but in a much more efficient way. I am headquartered in the San Diego, California area, but expect to continue to practice nationally.
My family, friends, and former co-workers have commented lately that I seem very happy—maybe even giddy. It is true. I am as enthusiastic about the practice of law—and life—as I have ever been. I have a wonderful supportive family and am about to embark on a journey that marries my entrepreneurial spirit with a profession that I love. I feel like I am living the dream.
After years of analyzing other markets for antitrust matters, I finally sat down and analyzed my own. My conclusion is the legal market has structurally changed such that the largest law firms are concentrating more and more on their biggest clients and developing such diseconomies of scale that they are no longer competitive for most businesses. Unless a company can provide these law firms with a minimum volume of work, the firms are unlikely to offer a competitive price for their services.
First, matters with less volume could create conflict issues, which are a significant and costly issue for large law firms. Without sufficient volume, it just isn’t worth it for firms to discount their already high prices.
Second, large law firms have huge fixed overhead—leases, management, marketing departments, etc. Moreover, many (probably most) of them have excess capacity, which means that they are paying a lot of attorneys that aren’t billing as many hours as the firm would like. So volume is a big deal.
This is where I come in.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, and clerking on the Federal Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, I was extremely fortunate to have practiced law for a dozen years with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and DLA Piper. During that time, I learned the practice of law—which is different from learning the law itself—from many incredible attorneys. Much of what I learned is not something that you can find in a book. In a nutshell, I learned how to manage significant client matters the right way.
Ten years ago, I probably couldn’t do what I am doing now. I wouldn’t be able to offer my clients the resources that are now available to boutique firms thanks to technology and a burgeoning market of services for law firms. But now I can scale up quickly, efficiently, and effectively for a matter, but do not have to develop the enormous fixed overhead that would require me to charge all of my clients a lot more in both fees and costs.
In other words, I can offer clients the same quality services that I could at a larger firm, but can do so in a more efficient and effective manner. And since I am the boss, I can adjust to the market, new technology, and my client’s needs without suffering through layers of bureaucracy for an approval that might never arrive. It is liberating for me, and I expect it will also be so for my clients.
If you read the top of my blog, you can probably predict my areas of focus: Antitrust, Appellate, Business Litigation, and Challenges to Government Conduct.
Antitrust. The focus of this blog is also the area where I have the most experience. I suppose that is not a surprise. I can help you in everything from bet-the-company litigation to developing antitrust compliance policies to basic antitrust counseling. I now also have the flexibility to adjust my billing structure to the particular needs and scope of the engagement.
Appellate. I clerked on a federal appellate court, and began my career in Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s appellate group in Washington, DC. Since that time, I have consistently participated in appellate matters, and have argued in both state and federal court. I have also filed many amicus briefs, including to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Business Litigation. Besides antitrust and appellate litigation, basic business litigation has been a staple of my career. Sometimes these disputes are part of an antitrust case, sometimes not. After a dozen years learning how to manage significant complex litigation, I can offer great value to my clients with business disputes.
Challenges to Government Conduct. Okay, I’ll admit it. I have a bit of a libertarian streak in me, which is why starting my own business feels so right. I am personally outraged when the government bullies people and businesses. And it does. Every single day. And, as I often explain to my clients, the government is a different type of litigant because it often doesn’t act rationally. The game-theory calculus is different when the government is on the other side. I would like to develop a niche area in challenging government conduct. Many of my previous matters have involved such challenges. In fact, I am actively working toward developing the law—through both cases and writings—to open up antitrust challenges to state and local conduct.
I need your help.
I firmly believe that I can offer clients great value at a great price. But not as many people have heard of Bona Law PC as, for example, DLA Piper and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Not yet, anyway. As my readers, I would appreciate anything you could do to get the word out, whether through social media like Facebook and Linkedin, or good old-fashioned word of mouth. I will do my part to make sure that every client receives great value, and that every prospective client receives my attention.
My new law-firm website is in production, and should be ready within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I will utilize The Antitrust Attorney Blog as my business home-base. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 858-964-4589.
My address is below:
Bona Law PC
4275 Executive Square, Suite 200
La Jolla, CA 92037