How I Practice-Anne LaBarbera

Anne LaBarberaAnne LaBarbera
Syracuse/New York City

What are your areas of practice?
I concentrate on Media and Entertainment in New York. That includes Trademark and Copyright and Business advice for artists. I do litigation and transactional work. I also have an office in Syracuse and have a more general practice upstate.
Describe a typical day for you?
I am not sure if there is a typical day for a small firm attorney. It all depends on what you are working on. At times, I can spend all day downtown in court or looking up files and, at times, I spend more time in front of my computer drafting court papers or transactional documents.
Where do you practice? Do you have a stand-alone office or home office?
My Syracuse office is a physical office in the State Tower Building. In New York, office space is very expensive. At the moment, I utilize services provided to small law firm members at the New York City Bar Association, using their virtual law firm address, and meeting spaces to meet with clients in midtown. I have phone numbers on mobile phones with area codes for New York, Syracuse, and the Finger Lakes region so my clients can call an area code that seems familiar and those who still have a land line won't have to worry about long distance charges. Work/life balance improves when you have a physical office, so I hope to have one in New York as soon as I can.
What is the most rewarding thing about having your own practice?
When you need to take some time off, you don't have to convince a boss. You make the calculation yourself as to whether you have the time and will get your work done. On the rare occasion that you don't have any work that needs to get done, you don't have to sit at your desk and look busy, you can just leave.
What are some of the challenges about having your own practice?
When something has to get done, it has to be you doing it. At times, you may have to stay up late or come in on the weekends. It is a luxury to be an employee and only do the lawyering. When you own your practice, you have to do practice management as well and it takes up some of your time that you don't get paid for.
What are your must-have tech tools/apps?
My case management software is indispensable. I use MyCase but I know other attorneys who use other software. I would not recommend going it without case management software. I also have a beast of a laser printer that does letter and legal sized printing and a robust shredder. 
How do you market your practice? How do you find new clients?
I use word of mouth and referral services at bar associations. I use the NYSBA LRIS and, in the past, I have used the Onondaga County Bar Association Legal Referral Service, which I recommend.
When and where do you interact with other attorneys?
I spend a lot of time at a number of bar associations including NYSBA. Bar associations are everything.
How do you stay informed with legal news/developments?
Twitter, various publications like Financial Times, Hollywood Reporter Esq., New York Times and the like, as well as networking and participation in NYSBA sections and committees. I am an active member of NYSBA's Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section and the Committee on Media Law.

If a fellow attorney decided they wanted to start their own practice, what is the one thing they should know?

Bar association participation is key. Bar participation will be how you grow as an attorney and how you will grow your practice. I also recommend full participation: be on committees, join sections, come to events, get your CLE credits in person and try to network before and after.