We are so excited to kick off our Candid Q&A Series with Jennifer Dickquist of JD Law. As small business owners, we tend to share and share and share about our products and services and forget one of the main reasons people choose to purchase with us: our story. We wanted our members to be able to share their stories in an authentic way that would showcase the true “why” behind their business. So, without further ado, meet Jennifer!
Jennifer is the owner, attorney, and innovator at JD Law, LLC. Jennifer believes in providing quality representation to individuals from all walks of life within a budget they can afford. She strives to provide quality legal representation to middle-class families without asking them to put their entire life savings on the line. She uses a flat fee and income-based pricing to better serve the Pittsburgh community. Jennifer isn’t your average lawyer – she offers something completely different. Her style is described as an alternative style with traditional caring.⠀
I knew I didn’t want to be a doctor; I hate blood. For a long time, I wanted to be a therapist or a psychologist. My parents got divorced when I was 12 and it was always fascinating to be how the courts make these decisions. I always wanted to delve into what makes people work.
Well, I got fired. My dad always asks why I tell people I got fired. It’s my true story. There’s no reason to hide from it; people get fired all the time. The owner and I had very different ideas on how to practice law and how to interact with clients. I looked for another job and I wasn’t finding anything. When I was interviewing, nobody seemed flexible. Everyone wanted you in a seat from 8am-5pm. I thought to myself, ‘there has to be a better way.’ I had a big issue with work/life balance. So I decided to start a law firm. At least now, it’s mine and my time is based on what I want to do.
I had no clients. I had to take out a small loan to buy a new computer and buy liability insurance.
Every year so far, I’ve doubled our income and clients. We have 140 active clients right now. September will be our 5th anniversary and I finally hired someone. That really got me over the ‘is this going to work?’ thought process.
In family law, there’s not another firm that I’ve found that bases their retainers on ability to pay and does payment plans. There’s a gap between someone who is making 25k and 75k where if they go to a traditional firm where there’s a support staff, multiple people managing their account, they’ll have to put down a 3-5k+ retainer. For some people, it’s taking their entire savings or asking them to drain their retirement account which is a huge problem already. I really wanted to make it a human-focused concept. We do payment on sliding scales based on income. We are very flexible. We piecemeal cases so someone only pays for what they need and aren’t paying for services that could bankrupt them or that they might not actually need. We really just want to be able to help as much as possible and still give people the quality and caring nature that they would get going to a multimillion dollar law firm.
We’ve hit a sweet spot, I think. People are very responsive and excited to hear we’re trying to be flexible with our clients and families that come to us.
The other attorney I hired didn’t realize I do all of our social media. It ties in well with my website and everything and you can tell it’s all the same brand. I work in Canva and have taken a couple of social media seminars. I decided we could DIY it. I took a class and learned how to do WordPress so I could build my own website. I exchanged legal services for photo sessions to keep costs low, but to make sure we still get have high quality online presence.
I want you to feel like I’m a normal human. I want it to be refreshing when people sit down with me. I’m not your average lawyer. I know the picture everyone sees; I’m covered in tattoos and have blue hair. I just want it to be authentic. I want everyone to feel like they sat down with a friend to help them, rather than someone who is just seeing dollar signs. We don’t see everyone as a revolving door of money. Their family is just as important to us as our own.
We’re working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to make little mini legal hubs in neighborhoods that are underserved. We have set up office hours so people can sit down and talk to someone for half an hour and be able to engage and ask questions. We hope to do some seminars to teach people really simple ways and steps that people can take on their own. Some people don’t have access to transportation, or they have to work and don’t have time to track down a lawyer that can help them. It’s about providing, not only legal services, but also education to people who have never had contact with the legal system, but may be able to help someone just by knowing more about it.
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