BUSINESS LEADER PROFILE
Michael A. Salorio, Law Office of Michael A. Salorio
Michael Salorio says researching the market to find out what services are lacking where one plans on opening a business is key. (JOSELITO VILLERO PHOTO / January 12, 2012)
1501 Ocotillo Dr., Suite E, El Centro, CA 92243
Tell us how you ended up in this line of work.
I was an I.V. Press reporter from 2002-2006, and I was initially assigned to cover the crime and courts beat, which allowed me to befriend members of the local bar and bench.
After I left journalism, I was hired by attorney Pedro S. Bonilla to help him rebuild his practice after his office on the corner of 8th and State streets burned down. Benjamin Salorio, my older brother, is an attorney, and he and Pedro encouraged me to attend law school.
Describe what your business does.
I’m a general/solo practitioner who represents individuals and small businesses in the following legal areas: bankruptcy, business, civil, criminal, immigration, family, real property, and wills and trusts.
What are memories from your career that stick out with you the most?
The look on my prospective client’s faces when I quote them my retainer fee at the end of their consultations. I can charge much more less than other more established attorneys in town because I’m a one-man-band operation, and I don’t have staff to pay. For example, I quoted a woman $250 to prepare her advance health care directive, or living will, and her jaw dropped to the floor because she had consulted with another attorney in town who quoted her $1,400.
What do you most like and least like about your work?
What I like most about my business is being able to help my clients with their legal problems. My law school really stressed public service, and we were taught that we would never be happy as attorneys, if our only career goal was to make money. What I like least about my work is that I sometimes have to work late hours and on the weekends, but that’s normal for anyone who’s self-employed. However, I love being my own boss, so the stress and demands of the job are worth it.
What makes your business unique?
My clients can rest assured that a licensed attorney, who graduated with honors from law school, and who on his first try passed the California bar exam, the hardest bar exam in the United States, will be performing all the work on their cases. Their cases won’t be assigned to paralegals or secretaries. My clients can also rest assured that I will return their calls and emails. It’s only me in the office answering the phone and checking my voice mails and e-mails. There is no secretary screening phone calls or e-mails.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to open a business?
Research the market where you want to open a business , and find a service that is sorely needed.
One of the reasons that I committed to attending law school was because I noticed many members of the local bar and bench were approaching retirement age, and us younger attorneys will naturally have to replace them as they retire.
Also, you have to have a high risk-tolerance when you’re an entrepreneur—I had to commit all my life savings to open my own practice, and it was several weeks before my first two clients retained me on the same day. Those weeks were the longest in my life because I was just bleeding cash and bringing in no income, but things are looking much better for me now.