Andrew C. Laufer has been practicing at his firm for 18 years and has been in practice for 20 years. His primary focus is civil rights litigation, representing victims of police misconduct and police brutality. This includes false arrests, malicious prosecution, and excessive force, as well as prisoner rights, such as unhealthy living conditions or brutality and assault from other prisoners or guards. He covers state and federal cases all over New York State. He also trains other attorneys in these types of cases, has taught legal classes on this subject, and written numerous articles regarding police brutality cases.
He is an avid participant in Martial Arts, having practiced for many years. His family has become involved in Martial Arts as well. In his spare time, if he is not practicing Martial Arts, he is spending time with his family.
How did you get started in your practice? What inspired you to start this practice?
I began my practice in 2000. I graduated law school in 1997 and was admitted to the Bar in 1998 in New York State. I worked for other law firms and I felt that I could do a better job on my own. So, I parted ways and I opened up my own practice and I have not looked back since.
How do you make money?
I make money by working my tail off for my clients. I take an aggressive stance on my cases because I am so very passionate about what I do. If someone is stopped for no reason, for example, and not doing anything wrong, I find that to be offensive and a violation of their civil rights. People have a right to walk down the street without being harassed by a police officer. You have a right not to be beaten up if you are not resisting. I have seen broken noses and punches to the individual and they were not resisting. This was under the guise of probable cause. Law enforcement and correctional officers have a lot of power and it can be abused. It has been, I’ve seen it happen. Most of the law enforcement and correctional officers are good people, but, as with every industry, there are a few bad ones too. So, I defend my clients with all my might.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Luckily I was profitable the first year and have been profitable ever since. Naturally, some years are better than others, but we have always been profitable.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
The first six months of the practice I was nervous. I had never done this before. I was in my late twenties and at twenty nine, I was going against attorneys who are twice my age. I decided I was not going to let them see me bleed and push forward as hard as I can. It was easier, at that time, because I did not have a family to support. The pressure was not as great as it could have been, so I preserved and things have come together nicely.
How did you get your first client?
When I left the law firm I was working for to open my own practice, I brought a couple of clients with me. From there I just networked a lot. I spoke to a lot of different attorneys to see if they needed help with any files or if they had a case they needed to refer. Other attorneys would hire me to cover an appearance for them as a per diem attorney.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
I can speak for attorneys. You want to go to any Bar event in your local area, as well as continuing education classes. It is very important to network with other attorneys. Find attorneys who do what you are interested in or at least those which you can help them with a case. Initially, you have to do whatever business you can. Once you start making some money, you can focus on the areas that you wish to specialize in. Also, be sure to take advantage of social media to get your name out there as well. Get your card out everywhere! Talk to people, follow up, and promote your practice and services. This will get the phone ringing and help you grow your practice. Stay hungry and passionate.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
It comes down to choosing what cases to work on. How you triage is always a tough decision.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
My passion and my hard work! I am dedicated to helping my clients. I do not just want to settle, I want them to get a fair and reasonable recovery for their case. They can see that I care about them. I cannot take away the physical or mental suffering. But in our society, we are awarded money for being wronged. I am devoted to make their wrong a right.
What has been your most satisfying moment in practice?
Seeing my clients happy and thankful for what I have been able to help them with. Getting them justice. That is what makes me feel really good.
What does the future hold for your practice? What are you most excited about?
My business is growing exponentially. I am excited about some of the very interesting cases coming up. The future looks bright and I am very excited about continuing the process. I see myself practicing another 20 years.
What business books have inspired you?
I like books that make you think. Dune by Frank Herbert is my favorite book and it really makes me think outside of the box. I find that science fiction really make you think.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your practice?
Hiring the right experts to help my client’s case. For example, if my client was injured, I would want the best expert to review and opine for what was done to my client. Those are worthwhile purchases.