Law Office of Judith Nolfo-McKenna
1. What are your areas of practice?
My law practice focus is in the areas of estate planning, elder law and trusts
2. Describe a typical day for you?
A typical day at my office starts early with returning phone calls and e-mails.
My goal is always to respond within one business day to any question or
request, if possible. Next, I review my list of files currently open to
determine my priorities for the day, taking into consideration scheduled client
consultations and other meetings or court appearances. I try to tackle a simple
task first thing in the morning, as it often motivates me to move on to more
challenging items. I usually meet with several clients each day.
3. Where do you practice? Do you have a
stand-alone office or home office?
I have an office in Albany and a satellite office in Malta.
4. What is the most rewarding thing
about having your own practice?
By far, the most rewarding aspect of having my own practice is the
understanding I have the power to make the most or least of every working day.
I have control to build my client base and to set the tone for the day’s
agenda. Each day brings the opportunity to inform and educate each person who
consults with me. I love watching a client breathe a sigh of relief when I can
answer their questions and address their concerns. I relish the possibility
that the client may be with me for decades, and we will forge an excellent
5. What are some of the challenges
about having your own practice?
The biggest challenge can be summed up with the old adage, “The Buck Stops
Here.” When I make a mistake or fail to complete work in time, there is no one
to blame but myself. Another challenge is consistently creating new business. I
have a monthly goal for the number of new clients, and when I fall short, it
can be challenging.
6. What are your must-have tech
LinkedIn has a been a great tool for my business. I have received calls from
other areas of the country looking for New York estate planning or probate
assistance from other professionals who found me via LinkedIn.
Another favorite app on my phone/tablet is Flipboard. It
gathers news and interesting articles from daily and weekly sources around the
world. I create my own “magazine” and “flip” articles of interest. For example,
one of my magazines is titled “Elder Law” and I save all sorts of articles to
read or use at a later time. Also, Flipboard gives me an option to follow
topics. Some of my topics include articles about retirement, case law, aging
and social justice.
I also rely on billing and legal software to keep track of my billable hours
and my client information organized.
7. How do you market your practice? How
do you find new clients?
I finally found the right marketing specialist, and he has
made a world of difference in how I market my practice. He understands and
respects my marketing goals and limits, as I envisioned a professional,
informative website to introduce myself and my practice, and provide
information to those site visitors. I also enjoy public speaking and am invited
to speak to small and large groups about my focus areas. At the risk of
sounding old-fashioned, the best marketing tool is still a direct referral from
a content former or current client.
8. When and where do you interact with
I have a wide network of friends and colleagues from Albany Law School and
from NYSBA and county bar associations. I find attending NYSBA Section
Meetings, Annual Meetings and CLE programs are essential to my practice
development. It is important to join committees through NYSBA and other
organizations. When you are in a small firm, you often have to reach out to
other attorneys with questions. Also, participating in pro bono clinics is a
wonderful way to meet other attorneys dedicated to the public good.
9. How do you stay informed with legal
I attend various CLE offerings, read legal publications and periodicals,
and enjoy countless discussions with other practitioners in similar areas of practice.
On holidays, I relish my alone time with my brother, Matt Nolfo, who practices
in the same areas and is a never-ending source of support and advice.
10. If a fellow attorney decided they
wanted to start their own practice, what is the one thing they should know?
There are so many large and small issues every day when you have your own
practice, but, if I had to share just one pearl of wisdom, I would say you must
believe in yourself. A healthy dose of confidence is key. Just remember you
will not know everything and you must be willing to step out of your comfort
zone and accept new challenges. You will not automatically receive a salary as
you are responsible for your own pay. Some months will financially bountiful,
and others lean. Just keep the faith and you will be successful.