Below is an interview with Jason Jansma, of Kortes, Lykins, Hunting & Jansma, PLLC about entrepreneurship in the field of law.
What does your firm do/What are your primary practice fields?
Our primary areas of practice are criminal law and family law.
What made you want to start your own practice?
The partners of West Michigan Defense Team realized that most attorneys who practice criminal and family law are solo practitioners so we decided to form a partnership that would allow for a broader and more improved client representation throughout West Michigan when it comes to criminal defense.
Why did you choose criminal defense law?
We chose criminal law because three of us, including myself, have experience as prosecutors, and all of us feel that experience helps us better represent those who face criminal charges.
How long have you been practicing?
Our firm has over 50 years of experience practicing in West Michigan courts.
What prepared you for entrepreneurship?
All the partners at West Michigan Defense Team have had experience operating businesses so a transition into a partnership came naturally for all of us.
What did you do before you started West Michigan Defense Team?
Prior to starting WMDT three of us had our own law practices and the other partner was a member of a local firm.
What do you think is unique about the Grand Rapids market?
The Grand Rapids market is unique in the fact that it is a larger market but the criminal defense community is quite close to one another.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
Branching off on my own and starting my own practice.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being able to help other people.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?
The biggest challenge being an entrepreneur is staying ahead of the competition and realizing industry changes before they actually occur.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
Nothing of any significance.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs?
Take time to plan things out and pay attention to every detail. Minimizing overhead is typically the key to the success of any new business.
Tell us about the rest of your team. What are their backgrounds and why did you choose to come together?
We all have similar backgrounds and chose to come together because we are like minded and all hard working individuals who are focused on meeting our client’s needs.
Describe the types of clients that you typically represent. Give some examples.
We don’t have typical clients. Criminal matters are not limited to one specific segment of society. We have professional clients who have been charged with DUI’s as well as people accused of committing serious felony offenses.
What trends are we likely to see with criminal defense in the future? Is there anything specific to the Grand Rapids or Michigan legal environment that is shifting or changing?
I think local courts are trying to do everything in their power to make the process more efficient and in turn less costly. My main complaint with how the State of Michigan does things is their continued dedication to financially penalizing the poorest segment of our society. Driver responsibility fees are duplicative costs that affect lower income individuals who typically can’t pay the fees. When they are unable to pay the fees they lose their privilege to drive and typically pick up more charges and incur more fees.
What are your goals for the future?
To grow our business and be able to help more people who need our assistance.