How To Start and Grow a Food and
Agriculture Law Practice
Lawline
September 26, 2013
By Cari B. Rincker, Esq.
Overview
• What is Food and Agriculture Law?
• Starting a Food & Agriculture Law
Practice:
– My Story
• Getting clients
– ...
My Background
• Grew up on a beef cattle
farm in Central Illinois
• Education
– A.S. in Agriculture from
Lake Land College...
My Background
• J.D. from Pace Law School
(2007)
– Certificates in Environmental
Law & International Law
• Associate at Bu...
My Background
Moved back to NYC in 2009 to
start my own law practice
– Wanted to do
food, agriculture &
environmental law ...
My Background
• Chair of the American Bar
Association, General
Practice, Solo & Small Firm
Division’s Agriculture Law
Comm...
What is Food and Agriculture Law?
• Food and agriculture law is an industry-based
practice area vs. subject-based practice...
What is Food and Agriculture Law?
Agriculture law is the “the study of
the network of laws and policies
that apply to the ...
Subject-Based Practice Areas
• Contract law
– Farming is a business too!
– Think of all the types of contracts that a busi...
Contract Law
• But it can also be very
specialized according to the
unique needs of the clients
– Agriculture production c...
Business Formations
• Food and agriculture
businesses can be high risk – it
is even more important for
food and agricultur...
Estate Planning
• The average American farmer
is around 65 years old
– Most have no succession or
estate plan
– Problem no...
Insurance Law
• Farms and food businesses have special
insurance concerns
– Home Owners/Renters Insurance won’t cover
comm...
Animal Law
• Livestock animal cruelty law
• Livestock transportation
laws
• Aquaculture
• Apiaries
• Farm dog law
• Horse ...
Intellectual Property Law
• Remember that food and farm businesses
have intellectual property concerns like any
other busi...
Environmental Regulations
• Concentrated Animal
Feeding Operations
– Clean Water Act
– Clean Air Act
• Wildlife protection...
Land Use & Zoning Law
• Divisibility Restrictions
• Density Restrictions
• Residential vs. Commercial
• Urban & Suburban
a...
Getting Paid!
• Liens
– Lien on Calf or Foal from
Service of a Bull or Stallion
– Stablemen’s Lien
– Landlord’s Lien on Cr...
Employment, Labor & Immigration Law
• Volunteer labor
– Internships
– Apprenticeships
– Community volunteers
• Employment/...
Miscellaneous Food Law Issues
• Food labeling (menu
labeling)
• Food safety
• Farm transportation law
• Agriculture financ...
Miscellaneous Food Law Issues
• Direct Farm Marketing
• Cottage Food Operations
• On-Farm Poultry Slaughter
• Criminal law...
… And the list goes on and on..
• Food truck permits
• Beverage law
• Federal nutrition programs
• Federal farm programs
•...
You Cannot Be an Expert in Everything
• I consider myself a general practitioner for the
food and agriculture industry
– I...
Suggestion to Food
and Agriculture Lawyers
• Know a little about most areas of
areas of law
• Know a lot about a few areas...
Starting a Food & Agriculture Law
Practice: My Story
This is My Story
• Initially, I used my home
address at my apartment on
the Upper East Side but
within my first year I
obt...
This is My Story
• One of the first things I did was get a website
and other basic marketing tools
– Name of practice
– Do...
This is My Story
• If you are using a Virtual Law Office, are there any
special ethical concerns?
– For example, New Jerse...
This is My Story
• I formed a Professional Limited Liability Company
immediately
– In hindsight, I would have waited to do...
This is My Story
• After forming my Professional Limited Liability
Company, the next thing I did was go to the
bank
– Fede...
This is My Story
• After my bank and business entity was in order, I needed
malpractice insurance
– Took recommendation fr...
This is My Story
Started my practice with:
– PC Laptop
– File Cabinet
– Ground Line
– Cell Phone
– Printer
– Microsoft Off...
This is My Story
• I now have a brick and
mortar office in
Midtown at 44th and
Fifth Avenue
• Use contract lawyers
and sec...
Getting Clients
Getting Clients
• Branding
• Networking
• Advertising v.
Marketing
What is a “Brand?”
• 2 Kinds of Brands
– Business Brand
– Personal Brand
• According to Entrepreneur.com, a brand:
– tells...
What Is a “Brand?”
Your Brand
• Everything you do should highlight your brand
– Your website
– Your business cards
– Your letterhead
– How yo...
Your Brand
• You are your brand
24/7, in everything
that you do
– Your employees are
your brand, in
everything that they
do
My Brand
• At the end of the day, I want others around me to
trust my work as a food and agriculture lawyer
– Attention to...
My Brand
• People also do business
with who they know and
like
– Takes time for people to
get to know you
– Good ol’ fashi...
Networking
• Networking is a long-term investment in your
food and agriculture law practice
– No instantaneous results
– B...
This Is My Story
• I joined email listserves
for lawyers
– Solosez
– New York State Bar
Association
• I joined professiona...
Food and Agriculture Law Organizations
• American Agriculture Law Association
• American Bar Association
– General Practic...
Networking
• Relationships should always be
mutual
• What can you give? What do
you bring to the table? It’s not
just abou...
Advertising vs. Marketing
• Advertising: The paid,
public, announcement
of an identified
sponsor; the non-
personal presen...
Advertising
• Get a website
– It’s your online brochure
• Think about social media
– Blogs (video vs. text)
– Facebook
– T...
Advertising
• Update online
attorney directories
– Justia.com
– Avvo.com
• Helps with backlinks
and SEO
Advertising v. Marketing
• Marketing: The systemic
planning, implementation
and control of a mix of
business activities in...
Marketing
About.com
Advertising
Market Research
Public Relations
Pricing
Community Development
Customer Service
Marketing ...
Marketing
• Writing articles in food and
agriculture publications
– Become a thought leader
• Speaking engagements
• Email...
Oh, P.S. – I Just Wrote a Book
Cari B. Rincker & Patrick B.
Dillon, “Field Manual: Legal
Guide for New York Farmers
& Food...
Survey Says
• I did a survey with
food and agriculture
people in preparation
of a speaking
engagement in Ohio in
June 2013
Survey: Use of Lawyers for Agriculture
Producers and Agri-Businesses
• June 8, 2013 - Survey
posted on
Facebook, Twitter &...
Which of the Following Best Describes
Your Business?
Survey Participants
Agriculture Production
Agri-Business
Food and Bev...
How Many Lawyers Have You Worked
With Over the Last 2 Years?
zero 1 2 to 3 4 or more
0
5
10
15
20
25
Comments
“Of the 5 *lawyers I used+
only 2 knew the law better
than myself.”
“Family owned farm that
had no succession pla...
If You Needed a Lawyer, Which of the Following
Search Mechanisms Would You Most Likely Utilize?
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Use ...
Comments
“I met one of the lawyers I
have worked with this year
because he made his
passion for food evident to
me while s...
Comments
• “Use a firm I have
personally met or have
heard speak.”
• “Combination. i.e., ask
someone I trust, ask a
food o...
Comments
• “Ask a professional
business person who
has [a] reason to refer
their clients to legal
advisors.”
• “Find a law...
What is the Most Important Factor When
Deciding on a Lawyer?
0 10 20 30 40 50
That it is somebody I trust to properly deal...
Comments
• “Trust would include a
least a basic
understanding of animal
agriculture.”
• “Reputation.”
• “Ability and
compe...
Comments
• “Combination. i.e., 1)
trust, 2) someone who
understands ag, and 3)
someone who is affordable
(overarching conc...
Comments
“All of these are very important
factors. 5 years ago I would have
said "someone I trust" as the
most important f...
What is Your Primary Legal Need?
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Comments
“Nearly all options listed here. I prefer working
with someone that is familiar with all my legal
needs or at lea...
Comments
• “The next generation has
taken over the farming
operation.”
• “1031 exchanges, fence
problems with neighbors.
M...
Comments
• “Labor and
immigration”
• “Family matters.”
• “Water issues.”
• “Could be all of the
above.”
Comments
• “Legislation.”
• “Pipeline right-of-way
issues”
• “Not-profit management
advice”
Which of the Following Payment Methods Would You
Prefer to Use With Your Ag Lawyer?
Billable Hour Flat Fee Subscription Se...
Comments
• “In my particular
circumstance, contingency
has been utilized.”
• “When you have been
ripped off by other
membe...
Comments
“In my husband’s
estate, they bill by the hour
and extensions of tax filing
are killing me. It’s been
two years a...
What Is Your Biggest Concern With
Using an Attorney?
That my attorney won't fully understand
my food and agriculture busin...
Comments
“I seem to never be 100%
sure we go the issue at
hand resolved properly, so
it won’t be challenged in
the future....
Comments
• The estate planner and our
lawyers make decisions
based on what they think my
husband wants. “My lawyer
doesn’t...
Comments
“It takes a special type of
attorney to truly understand
what a farmer deals with on a
daily basis. It is too eas...
Comments
“Lawyers are
untrustworthy – which is
the typical view of most
farmers and ranchers.”
“No concerns really.”
How Can the Legal Community
Better Serve You?
• “Be more familiar with the
agriculture business.”
• “Be available when I n...
• “Keep it simple”
• “Listen and understand; if
you don’t, then ask
questions.”
• “Unwarranted motion
practice should be
e...
How Can the Legal Community
Better Serve You?
• “Have attorneys that
specialize in specific
aspects.”
• “Give value and
kn...
How Can the Legal Community
Better Serve You?
• “General assistance to
help me do it myself.”
• “Quit filing frivolous
law...
How Can the Legal Community
Better Serve You?
• “Help me learn local and state
law.”
• “Have more reasonable fee
structure...
Pivotal Questions
• How you become a
lawyer that is known
or referred by
someone who is
trusted?
• How do we get
farmers a...
Pivotal Questions
• How do we convince
farmers and ranchers
that hiring an attorney
is cost-effective?
– We add value.
– W...
Pivotal Questions
• How can food and
agriculture lawyers have
a more concerted voice
among agriculture
producers and agri-...
What are the Primary Legal Needs of
Food and Agriculture Clients
According to the Survey…
• … and in my experience
– Business Law
• Business formations
• Contracts
• Leases
• Trademarks
•...
Primary Legal Needs of the Food & Agriculture Industry
• After that, the food and agriculture community comes
across a myr...
More Questions
• Fridays with Cari
Skype Calls
– First Friday of the
month at 2pm ET
– RSVP to
cari@rinckerlaw.com
– No ch...
Please Stay in Touch
• Send Me Snail Mail: 535 Fifth Avenue, 4th
Floor, New York, NY 10017
• Call Me: (212) 427-2049 (offi...
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How to Start and Grow a Food and Agriculture Law Practice

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  • 45 people – farming and ranching 64.2%12/ 17.1% said agri-businesses2 said food and beverage industry10 or 14.2% said other - other was mostly not-for-profit organizations, government officials, and cooperative extensionDairy farmsVineyard and winery
  • 25% haven’t hired a lawyer – 18 responses32.8% have worked with one lawyer – 23 people31.4% have worked with 2-3 lawyers-22 responses8.5% have worked with 4 or more lawyers – 6 responses
  • 41.4% - use an attorney that I already know – 29 people44.2%- ask someone I trust for a referral – 31 peopleNearly 85% said use an attorney that they know or use a referral – very powerful I thought this was interesting because my #1 referral source is other lawyers. People may ask their lawyer for a suggestion on a certain specialist5.7% said to ask a food and agriculture organization – 4 responsesI have been thinking over the last near that I need to network more with agriculture organizations for referrals. – might not necessarily be the case2 responses- search Google1 response for using an attorney directory2 responses for OtherSurprised that nobody said they would use an attorney search website because I have received clients – both in family law and agriculture law- that found me on Avvo. Not highly used in agriculture. More with family law.The real question is this: how do you become the lawyer that somebody knows or is referred by someone they trust. That’s the million dollar question.
  • I am not the best about trying to pick-up clients at the farmers market- but some lawyers aren’t afraid to “always be selling.”
  • The secret to life is “one thing.”
  • 62.8% or 44 people said they are looking for a lawyer that they trust to properly deal with the legal issues. 27.1% or 19 people said someone who understands my food and agriculture business2 people – 2.8% said someone I like and want to work with 1 – near where I live1- affordable0 – available after business hours – nights and weekendsWas thinking about asking about virtual offices vs. brick and mortar office – don’t think this is a major factorNobody cared about the “cool kid” that was likeable – a little surprising actually
  • 33/ 47.1% said general business advice (corporate formation, contracts, leases, and trademarks)10/ 14.2% - succession and business planning6/ 8.5% said litigation3/ 4.2% said permits and licenses with government entites2/ 2.8% - land use and zoning1- environmental compliance, debt collection and insurance disputes0- food labeling10/ 14.2% marked Other
  • This is interesting. A dream of mine is having partners and associate who are specialists in certain areas so I can manage all areas of farm or agri-business. There is also a way for attorneys to do this with of counsel relationships and cooperativeness.
  • 17/ 24.2% - The billable hour41/ 58.5% - flat fee4/ 5.7% subscription service6/ 8.5% Other (mostly contingencyShould have listed contingency as an optionPerhaps subscription services aren’t easily understood
  • Surprised how diversified the answers are19/ 27.1% - that an attorney won’t add value/ he/she will overcomplicate things16/22.8% - attorney won’t fully understand my food and agriculture business15/21.4% - attorney won’t be worth the legal fees10/ 14.2% - a good lawyer will be too busy to give my food business the time and attention that I need2/ 2.8% - lawyer will just try to sell me more legal products that my business doesn’t need5/7.1% said other
  • 23 responses
  • How to Start and Grow a Food and Agriculture Law Practice

    1. 1. How To Start and Grow a Food and Agriculture Law Practice Lawline September 26, 2013 By Cari B. Rincker, Esq.
    2. 2. Overview • What is Food and Agriculture Law? • Starting a Food & Agriculture Law Practice: – My Story • Getting clients – Branding – Networking – Marketing • Survey Says: What do farmers, agri-businesses and food entrepreneurs want from an attorney? • What are some primary legal needs of the food and agriculture industry?
    3. 3. My Background • Grew up on a beef cattle farm in Central Illinois • Education – A.S. in Agriculture from Lake Land College – B.S. in Animal Science from Texas A & M – M.S. in Ruminant (Beef Cattle) Nutrition from University of Illinois
    4. 4. My Background • J.D. from Pace Law School (2007) – Certificates in Environmental Law & International Law • Associate at Budd-Falen Law Offices in Cheyenne, Wyoming (2008-2009) – Environmental Law, Property Law, Land Use & Federal Lands – Worked with “cowboys” Cattle branding in Casper, Wyoming
    5. 5. My Background Moved back to NYC in 2009 to start my own law practice – Wanted to do food, agriculture & environmental law & live in NYC – Appreciate the autonomy & freedom of having my own practice – Licensed in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut & Washington D.C.
    6. 6. My Background • Chair of the American Bar Association, General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division’s Agriculture Law Committee • My food and agriculture client base – Farmers to ranchers – Small to mid-size agri- business – Food entrepreneurs
    7. 7. What is Food and Agriculture Law? • Food and agriculture law is an industry-based practice area vs. subject-based practice area • Touches upon nearly every area of law – Geared toward the food and agriculture industry – This is why it is very difficult to practice food and agriculture law – This is why it is even harder to market!
    8. 8. What is Food and Agriculture Law? Agriculture law is the “the study of the network of laws and policies that apply to the production, marketing, and sale of agriculture products, i.e., the food we eat, the natural fibers we wear, and increasingly, the bio-fuels that run our vehicles." See Susan Schneider, “What Is Agriculture Law?”, Agriculture Law Update, Vol. 26, No. 1, Whole No. 302 (January 2009) at 1.
    9. 9. Subject-Based Practice Areas • Contract law – Farming is a business too! – Think of all the types of contracts that a business might need- food and agriculture clients need those too • Buy-sell agreements • Partnership agreements • Purchase agreements • Non-disclosure agreements • Real estate contracts • Non-compete agreement • Employment contracts • Wind energy leases
    10. 10. Contract Law • But it can also be very specialized according to the unique needs of the clients – Agriculture production contracts – Custom Feeding arrangements – Bull/stallion leases – Purchase agreements for food products – Embryo Transfer Contracts – Farm Machinery Contracts – Farm/ ranch leases
    11. 11. Business Formations • Food and agriculture businesses can be high risk – it is even more important for food and agriculture businesses to think about liability protection – However, food and agriculture lawyers should consider federal farm program planning and succession planning
    12. 12. Estate Planning • The average American farmer is around 65 years old – Most have no succession or estate plan – Problem now with heirs getting off-farm job • Management/ training becomes an issue – Estate tax concerns • Federal $5.25 mil • New York $1 mil – Federal farm programs can be stalled while estate is in probate
    13. 13. Insurance Law • Farms and food businesses have special insurance concerns – Home Owners/Renters Insurance won’t cover commercial activity from home – Commercial insurance – Products liability insurance – Crop insurance – Livestock/equine insurance – Environmental insurance – Cyber Insurance
    14. 14. Animal Law • Livestock animal cruelty law • Livestock transportation laws • Aquaculture • Apiaries • Farm dog law • Horse trusts
    15. 15. Intellectual Property Law • Remember that food and farm businesses have intellectual property concerns like any other business – Copyrights – Trademarks • Design and word marks – Patents
    16. 16. Environmental Regulations • Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – Clean Water Act – Clean Air Act • Wildlife protection • Natural Resource Conservation Programs
    17. 17. Land Use & Zoning Law • Divisibility Restrictions • Density Restrictions • Residential vs. Commercial • Urban & Suburban agriculture – Backyard Chickens – Apiaries – Rooftop farming • Agriculture Districts – Right-to-Farm Law
    18. 18. Getting Paid! • Liens – Lien on Calf or Foal from Service of a Bull or Stallion – Stablemen’s Lien – Landlord’s Lien on Crops • Pre & Post-Judgment Debt Collection
    19. 19. Employment, Labor & Immigration Law • Volunteer labor – Internships – Apprenticeships – Community volunteers • Employment/ Independent Contractor Agreements • Employment handbooks • Migrant farm workers • I9 Compliance • H2A Applications
    20. 20. Miscellaneous Food Law Issues • Food labeling (menu labeling) • Food safety • Farm transportation law • Agriculture finance and sales • Farm Bankruptcy
    21. 21. Miscellaneous Food Law Issues • Direct Farm Marketing • Cottage Food Operations • On-Farm Poultry Slaughter • Criminal law • Personal injury law
    22. 22. … And the list goes on and on.. • Food truck permits • Beverage law • Federal nutrition programs • Federal farm programs • Renewable energy law • Water law • Tax law • Family and divorce law – Farmers get divorced too!
    23. 23. You Cannot Be an Expert in Everything • I consider myself a general practitioner for the food and agriculture industry – I get asked questions that I don’t know the answer to and that’s okay – I either figure it out, or bring in someone with more experience in that area • There are some areas that I know better than others – For example, I’m trying to get more education right now on farm estate planning and agriculture tax
    24. 24. Suggestion to Food and Agriculture Lawyers • Know a little about most areas of areas of law • Know a lot about a few areas of law – Farm estate planning – Food and agriculture business planning – International food trade • Know professionals to bring in when appropriate – Referral relationships?
    25. 25. Starting a Food & Agriculture Law Practice: My Story
    26. 26. This is My Story • Initially, I used my home address at my apartment on the Upper East Side but within my first year I obtained a virtual law office downtown by Wall Street – Professionalism – Meeting with Clients – Safety – Consistency (moving residences)
    27. 27. This is My Story • One of the first things I did was get a website and other basic marketing tools – Name of practice – Domain name – Email – Business cards – Letterhead
    28. 28. This is My Story • If you are using a Virtual Law Office, are there any special ethical concerns? – For example, New Jersey used to have a requirement that letterhead and business cards state “By Appointment Only” – New Jersey also used to require that clients know where my “bona fide office” was located – New Jersey has since changed these rules
    29. 29. This is My Story • I formed a Professional Limited Liability Company immediately – In hindsight, I would have waited to do this this but I’m glad I have it done – New York has a publication requirement (cost me $1400 to comply in New York County in addition to filing fees) – When I started my practice, I didn’t have a lot of personal assets to protect – Corporate formalities / additional administrative overhead – What choice of entity is right for you?
    30. 30. This is My Story • After forming my Professional Limited Liability Company, the next thing I did was go to the bank – Federal Employer Identification Number – Operating Account – IOLTA Account • Take information about what your state requires- not all business bankers understand IOLTA/IOLA – Business Credit Card
    31. 31. This is My Story • After my bank and business entity was in order, I needed malpractice insurance – Took recommendation from New York State Bar Association – Best guestimate on practice area percentages – be conservative on higher risk areas • Environmental law • Oil & Gas • Mineral Rights • Hazardous Materials • Intellectual Property • Real Estate – Needed a “back-up lawyer” – Some malpractice insurance companies will allow financing – pay over 9 mos.
    32. 32. This is My Story Started my practice with: – PC Laptop – File Cabinet – Ground Line – Cell Phone – Printer – Microsoft Office Suite – Westlaw – In hindsight, I should have invested in an accounting program immediately
    33. 33. This is My Story • I now have a brick and mortar office in Midtown at 44th and Fifth Avenue • Use contract lawyers and secretaries – No full time employees • Have also developed a mediation niche
    34. 34. Getting Clients
    35. 35. Getting Clients • Branding • Networking • Advertising v. Marketing
    36. 36. What is a “Brand?” • 2 Kinds of Brands – Business Brand – Personal Brand • According to Entrepreneur.com, a brand: – tells your customers “what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’.” – Is “derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.”
    37. 37. What Is a “Brand?”
    38. 38. Your Brand • Everything you do should highlight your brand – Your website – Your business cards – Your letterhead – How you present yourself publically – Articles you write – Speeches you give – Emails you write – How you act in professional/networking organizations that you belong to – Your presence in social media – Your volunteer efforts – Your court pleadings – How you dress
    39. 39. Your Brand • You are your brand 24/7, in everything that you do – Your employees are your brand, in everything that they do
    40. 40. My Brand • At the end of the day, I want others around me to trust my work as a food and agriculture lawyer – Attention to detail – Background growing up in production agriculture – Legal education in food and agriculture law – My morals and values – My understanding of the legal issues that affect the food and agriculture industry – My professional reputation – My work ethic
    41. 41. My Brand • People also do business with who they know and like – Takes time for people to get to know you – Good ol’ fashioned networking – Attending food and agriculture conferences – Showing up at the county/state fair – Let me know my personality through social media
    42. 42. Networking • Networking is a long-term investment in your food and agriculture law practice – No instantaneous results – But overtime, you will build a solid foundation for your business • Network smart – It’s about quality vs. quantity – Who are the people that can help build your business – Look at it as part of your business, even when you’re busy
    43. 43. This Is My Story • I joined email listserves for lawyers – Solosez – New York State Bar Association • I joined professional organizations – Bar associations – Trade associations • I got “out there”.
    44. 44. Food and Agriculture Law Organizations • American Agriculture Law Association • American Bar Association – General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Agriculture Law Committee – Section on the Environment, Energy & Natural Resource’s Agriculture Management Committee – Section of Business Law Agriculture Finance Committee – Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law • New York State Bar Association – Agriculture & Rural Issues Committee
    45. 45. Networking • Relationships should always be mutual • What can you give? What do you bring to the table? It’s not just about how that person can help you. – “Giver’s Gain” mentality • Social capital – I don’t have enough business to refer out to every financial advisor or accountant that I meet; however, I can make them a great introduction – Don’t overuse your capital – it can be unwisely spent
    46. 46. Advertising vs. Marketing • Advertising: The paid, public, announcement of an identified sponsor; the non- personal presentation or promotion of products or services – Magazine ads – Radio ads – Direct mail – Internet About.com
    47. 47. Advertising • Get a website – It’s your online brochure • Think about social media – Blogs (video vs. text) – Facebook – Twitter • Should you pay for advertising with selected food and agriculture organizations? – Becoming a business sponsor
    48. 48. Advertising • Update online attorney directories – Justia.com – Avvo.com • Helps with backlinks and SEO
    49. 49. Advertising v. Marketing • Marketing: The systemic planning, implementation and control of a mix of business activities intended to bring together buyers and sellers for mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products – Put simply, marketing is about “who you want your next client to be” About.com
    50. 50. Marketing About.com Advertising Market Research Public Relations Pricing Community Development Customer Service Marketing is a mixture of a lot of things- Find the mix that works for your food & Agriculture law practice
    51. 51. Marketing • Writing articles in food and agriculture publications – Become a thought leader • Speaking engagements • Email marketing • Leadership positions in food and agriculture organizations – Legal and non-legal orgs • Press/ interviews • Attended food and agriculture law conferences
    52. 52. Oh, P.S. – I Just Wrote a Book Cari B. Rincker & Patrick B. Dillon, “Field Manual: Legal Guide for New York Farmers & Food Entrepreneurs” (2013) Available at http://www.amazon.com/Fi eld-Manual-Legal-Farmers- Entrepreneurs/dp/1484965 191 …and that’s marketing.
    53. 53. Survey Says • I did a survey with food and agriculture people in preparation of a speaking engagement in Ohio in June 2013
    54. 54. Survey: Use of Lawyers for Agriculture Producers and Agri-Businesses • June 8, 2013 - Survey posted on Facebook, Twitter & Blog. Survey emailed to select New York agriculture producers and young cattle producers. – Data collected over 3 day period over a long weekend – 70 people completed the survey
    55. 55. Which of the Following Best Describes Your Business? Survey Participants Agriculture Production Agri-Business Food and Beverage Industry Other
    56. 56. How Many Lawyers Have You Worked With Over the Last 2 Years? zero 1 2 to 3 4 or more 0 5 10 15 20 25
    57. 57. Comments “Of the 5 *lawyers I used+ only 2 knew the law better than myself.” “Family owned farm that had no succession planning done. What a mess.” “I have only needed legal services about 3 times. I was represented only once.”
    58. 58. If You Needed a Lawyer, Which of the Following Search Mechanisms Would You Most Likely Utilize? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 Use an attorney that I already know Ask someone I trust for a referral Ask a food or agriculture organization Search Google Use an attorney search website Find someone via social media platform Other
    59. 59. Comments “I met one of the lawyers I have worked with this year because he made his passion for food evident to me while shopping in my farm stand store and the other because he and I share the same graphic designer who is also passionate about good, clean food.”
    60. 60. Comments • “Use a firm I have personally met or have heard speak.” • “Combination. i.e., ask someone I trust, ask a food or ag organization for a referral and search Google.”
    61. 61. Comments • “Ask a professional business person who has [a] reason to refer their clients to legal advisors.” • “Find a lawyer that’s a specialist in the matter in question.”
    62. 62. What is the Most Important Factor When Deciding on a Lawyer? 0 10 20 30 40 50 That it is somebody I trust to properly deal with my legal issues. That it is somebody that understands my food and agriculture business. That it is someone near where I live. That it is someone who is affordable That it is someone who is available to help me after business hours Other
    63. 63. Comments • “Trust would include a least a basic understanding of animal agriculture.” • “Reputation.” • “Ability and competence are critical [along with a] knowledge of the applicable statutes.”
    64. 64. Comments • “Combination. i.e., 1) trust, 2) someone who understands ag, and 3) someone who is affordable (overarching concern).” • “We must be able to communicate our thoughts to each other with efficiency.”
    65. 65. Comments “All of these are very important factors. 5 years ago I would have said "someone I trust" as the most important factor. But, how would I know if [I] really would "trust" someone when initially selecting my lawyer? After working with 2 different lawyers pretty frequently over the past few years, I feel like someone you like AND trust is the most important factor.”
    66. 66. What is Your Primary Legal Need? 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35
    67. 67. Comments “Nearly all options listed here. I prefer working with someone that is familiar with all my legal needs or at least has an associate in house that is more focused on particular areas.”
    68. 68. Comments • “The next generation has taken over the farming operation.” • “1031 exchanges, fence problems with neighbors. Making them aware of the ‘right hand’ rule.”
    69. 69. Comments • “Labor and immigration” • “Family matters.” • “Water issues.” • “Could be all of the above.”
    70. 70. Comments • “Legislation.” • “Pipeline right-of-way issues” • “Not-profit management advice”
    71. 71. Which of the Following Payment Methods Would You Prefer to Use With Your Ag Lawyer? Billable Hour Flat Fee Subscription Service Other 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
    72. 72. Comments • “In my particular circumstance, contingency has been utilized.” • “When you have been ripped off by other members of the business and just left with the bills and no money it’s impossible to hire a lawyer to try and get back what’s yours.”
    73. 73. Comments “In my husband’s estate, they bill by the hour and extensions of tax filing are killing me. It’s been two years and I am still getting $500 bills every month for one thing or another.”
    74. 74. What Is Your Biggest Concern With Using an Attorney? That my attorney won't fully understand my food and agriculture business. That my attorney won't be worth the legal fees. That an attorney won't add value- he/she will overcomplicate things. That a good lawyer will be too busy to give my business the time and attention… That a lawyer will just try to sell me more legal products tha tmy business doesn't… Other 0 5 10 15 20
    75. 75. Comments “I seem to never be 100% sure we go the issue at hand resolved properly, so it won’t be challenged in the future. It seems very difficult to get a straight answer from a lawyer. Many times after asking a question, I am more confused than before I asked the question.”
    76. 76. Comments • The estate planner and our lawyers make decisions based on what they think my husband wants. “My lawyer doesn’t consult me as to what I would want.” • “That my case will not be properly managed and/or the services provided will be inadequate.”
    77. 77. Comments “It takes a special type of attorney to truly understand what a farmer deals with on a daily basis. It is too easy to forget to overlook the fact that the farm oftentimes is the farmer’s home. This is a bit of an issue sometimes. They also need to realize that most farmers can’t always just adjust their price to recover the cost of a good attorney.”
    78. 78. Comments “Lawyers are untrustworthy – which is the typical view of most farmers and ranchers.” “No concerns really.”
    79. 79. How Can the Legal Community Better Serve You? • “Be more familiar with the agriculture business.” • “Be available when I need a lawyer.” • “Keep up to date on agriculture/food issues.” • “Get out in the field and get their hands dirty.”
    80. 80. • “Keep it simple” • “Listen and understand; if you don’t, then ask questions.” • “Unwarranted motion practice should be eliminated.” • “Realize that a lot of farmers find the fees too high.” How Can the Legal Community Better Serve You?
    81. 81. How Can the Legal Community Better Serve You? • “Have attorneys that specialize in specific aspects.” • “Give value and knowledge.” • “Stay current/reasonable pricing.” • “Try to keep it cooperative.”
    82. 82. How Can the Legal Community Better Serve You? • “General assistance to help me do it myself.” • “Quit filing frivolous law suits just to get rich.” • “To better understand issues in agriculture.”
    83. 83. How Can the Legal Community Better Serve You? • “Help me learn local and state law.” • “Have more reasonable fee structures for farmers.” • “Be more open to answering my questions.” • “Learn and understand; if you don’t, ask questions.”
    84. 84. Pivotal Questions • How you become a lawyer that is known or referred by someone who is trusted? • How do we get farmers and agri- businesses to trust us with their legal issues?
    85. 85. Pivotal Questions • How do we convince farmers and ranchers that hiring an attorney is cost-effective? – We add value. – We are worth the expense. • How do we implement more flat fee billing structures?
    86. 86. Pivotal Questions • How can food and agriculture lawyers have a more concerted voice among agriculture producers and agri- business owners? – “California Wine” example • How can food and agriculture lawyers, especially those in solo or small firms, better work with one another?
    87. 87. What are the Primary Legal Needs of Food and Agriculture Clients
    88. 88. According to the Survey… • … and in my experience – Business Law • Business formations • Contracts • Leases • Trademarks • Buy-Sell Agreements • Partnership Agreements • Business/ succession planning – Cultural roadblock • Handshake culture
    89. 89. Primary Legal Needs of the Food & Agriculture Industry • After that, the food and agriculture community comes across a myriad of legal issues – Circling back to the first part of our presentation today: It is unrealistic that you will have a deep understanding in all of these issues – find your niche(s) – Know a little bit about a lot – Build relationships with those people who have that deep understanding • Employment lawyers • Real estate lawyers • Immigration lawyers • Crop insurance disputes • Trusts and estates • Bankruptcy lawyers • Criminal lawyers • Food labeling attorneys • Transportation lawyers
    90. 90. More Questions • Fridays with Cari Skype Calls – First Friday of the month at 2pm ET – RSVP to cari@rinckerlaw.com – No charge
    91. 91. Please Stay in Touch • Send Me Snail Mail: 535 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10017 • Call Me: (212) 427-2049 (office) • Email Me: cari@rinckerlaw.com • Visit My Website: www.rinckerlaw.com • Read My Food & Ag Law Blog: www.rinckerlaw.com/blog • Tweet Me: @CariRincker @RinckerLaw • Facebook Me: www.facebook.com/rinckerlaw • Link to Me: http://www.linkedin.com/in/caririncker • Skype Me: Cari.Rincker
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