I've missed the bright lights of the city, living as I do in the country. My main office is a couple short miles from where I live. The morning commute is usually a matter of dodging wildlife: I see more deer and turkeys than cars when I see anything at all. One stop sign separates my home from my office. If it takes all of five minutes to get to the office, I've been dawdling.
It was not always so. I used to be centered in New Haven. Sure, it's not much of a city by the standards of New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. But it is as close to urban as I can tolerate. I spent my youth in Chicago, Detroit and New York CIty. I've had enough smog and congestion for a lifetime.
I've missed New Haven. It's a funky kind of place that plays at having urban problems. Yes, there is poverty: its infant mortality rate is among the highest in the nation, rivalling third-world nations. But there are none of the looming sorts of housing projects typical of a big city: no gigantic cinderblock fortresses breeding nothing but despair. Trouble in New Haven comes in small bursts, bursts that can be as deadly as big-city violence, but the city nonetheless has a welcoming feel.
So this week, I reopened an office in the Elm City. I'm heading back into town a day or two a week to work my way back into the city's court system.
The move is driven in part by the economy. My practice has me running all over the place. I might have a case at one of the state on Monday, and then another at the state's other end the following day. That requires fees often in excess of what a lawyer tethered to but one courthouse will charge. Practicing criminal law means following chaos and courting fees from those in harm's way: few folks budget for, or plan on, needing the likes of me. Focusing on one city yields economies of scale that will help keep legal fees down.
New Haven is blessed with many good lawyers. So competition is fierce there. But the stars of the local bar are teetering on the cusp of seventy -- they've plenty of bark, to be sure. I can hold my own in the city.
My new office is located next to the federal courthouse at 129 Church Street, Room 606. I've not decided what days I will be there yet. And consultations are by appointment only. My office can be reached at 203.393.3017. I hope to see a few of you there soon.