Very little in life is clearly black and white. Often there’s a gray area to be dealt with, a piece that doesn’t exactly fit here but doesn’t completely fit there. Such is the case of law sectors. If you have a divorce but also a dispute over property, a will but also a restraining order, the term is ‘hybrid.’ It’s a mixture not to be separated but tackled as a whole.
For attorney Alex Verbeck, hybrid law is a robust medley. His firm, Verbeck Law, covers landlord/tenant cases, family, criminal, property, and more. This new form of law is rare and often very discouraged for lawyers who follow the traditional path.
“I find that a lot more people have hybrid cases than realize they have hybrid cases,” Alex said. His goal is to avoid a scenario where the client comes in, gives a lawyer a bunch of money, and then steps back until the lawyer needs more money. That is, if the client can even find a lawyer who will take their case.
When clients begin the legal process, it’s generally assumed they can walk up and pick out an attorney like a product at the grocery store. In reality, it’s more like Rush Week at a college campus. Clients undergo a number of interviews with multiple firms, simply seeking someone willing to work with them on their case. Alex’s trademark charm has enabled him to find and retain ‘weird’ cases, a natural ability that has endeared him to many clients.
“I wanted to provide something that made a little more sense for people who aren’t lawyers,” Alex said. “I’m pretty good at being a teacher, and I think that’s a lot of what you should look for in a lawyer. Not only for the lawyer tasks but someone who will tell the client where you are in the process and which parts of their case are really important.”
After studying law at Reed College, Alex initially worked for a public defender at a more traditional firm in Portland, OR. He moved down to the Bay Area a few years ago to found his current firm. By Alex’s estimation, only two or three non-traditional firms exist in the Bay. The main factor is money.
“The reason law turned into such an unpleasant creature is because the overhead is fixed and non-negotiable,” Alex said. “A lot of attorneys these days have retainer fees and consultation fees, and that’s because it’s very difficult for them to keep the lights on in their office.”
Why Sandbox Suites
Verbeck Law began at Sandbox needing only a mailbox and a space to meet clients. As he gathered more clients, Alex was able to spend more time in the office and meet with more people. The response to his untraditional approach has been overall very positive.
“For a lot of people, going to the lawyer is like going to the dentist,” Alex said. “The friendliness of Sandbox Suites and the other people in the space who are clearly not lawyers make people feel better.”
As there will ever be crime, there will ever be lawyers taking new cases. To potential clients, Alex says, “We’ll try to work out something that will work for you. My firm, and firms like mine, is trying to give people only the legal help they actually need. We’ll do our best to make you feel comfortable where you are and where any money you give us goes.”