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VOL. 124 | NO. 148 | Thursday, July 30, 2009

Divorce, Bankruptcy Attorney Finds Joy in Solo Practice

By Rebekah Hearn

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()
DAVID M. SANDY
Position: Attorney
Firm: The Law Office of David Sandy
Basics: In addition to practicing primarily in family law, bankruptcy and small business, Sandy also is a real estate agent.
“The practice of law is entertaining, but I really love the practice development and marketing side.”
– David M. Sandy

David M. Sandy is a solo practitioner at The Law Office of David Sandy. He practices primarily in family law, bankruptcy and small business. He also does some work in personal injury, appellate law and employment, and is a real estate agent.

Sandy received his undergraduate degree in economics in 2000 from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2005. He interned for a summer with federal magistrate John Roper in Biloxi, Miss. Before attending law school, Sandy worked as an equity trader, during which time he held a securities license.

He is a member of the Memphis and Tennessee bar associations. His Web site is available at www.mymemphislawyer.com and he writes a blog at www.mymemphisattorney.com.

Q: In what area do you do the majority of your work?

A: My practice initially focused on divorce and family law. I had a stellar first year in 2007 focusing on divorce with a fair amount of small-business work and general litigation. The Great Recession of 2008 led to a precipitous drop in the type of lower price divorce work performed by newer solos and also the small-business practice. I expanded my offerings with a new focus on developing a bankruptcy business. I also took Family Law Rule 31 mediator training, was approved as a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitrator, and received a real estate license. I am a real estate agent with First National Realty.

Q: What led you to focus your practice in those areas?

A: It’s all (Memphis attorney) Larry Rice’s fault. I was planning to become a tax professional after law school, and during my fifth tax class, realized it would be incredibly boring. Looking for alternatives, I was reading the introduction to Larry’s form book (“The Complete Guide to Divorce Practice”) and thought the practice of divorce law as a solo practitioner in Memphis seemed like it would be stimulating. I have a friend from law school practicing in Nashville who does mainly bankruptcy and loves it. This led me to attempting the switch to bankruptcy.

Q: As a bankruptcy lawyer, under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, you are now required to identify yourself as a “debt relief agency.” How do you feel about the law’s requirement to identify yourself as such?

A: I think it’s a nuisance but doesn’t really hurt in any substantive manner. The major downside: making it more difficult to produce smaller advertising layouts.

Q: About how many of your divorce cases also involve a bankruptcy, or vice versa?

A: Due to people foolishly signing Marital Dissolution agreements with “hold harmless” provisions for debt (making it arguably at least functionally non-dischargeable alimony/property settlement) that both spouses really should be bankrupting, I feel bankruptcy is not nearly used enough by (divorcing) spouses who both should really be getting fresh starts.

Q: What challenges do you face as you practice law and simultaneously run your own law firm from a business side?

A: The practice of law is entertaining, but I really love the practice development and marketing side. If you enter “Memphis lawyer” in Google, I come up No. 1 for the organic search results, which I’m proud of having done myself. I really have to fight sometimes to get away from the practice development and marketing and back to the law.

Q: You say on your Web site that it is “fun” to be a Memphis lawyer. What do you find most enjoyable about the job?

A: The stories I can tell. I’ve encountered factual scenarios involving bat cars, dwarfs and World of WarCraft addiction. Honestly, I worry that my sense of humor is now permanently shot from overuse. Additionally, I love being on my feet in court. I did a commercial jury trial, and I can say that when you know the facts and are really rolling carrying on a discourse with the court and jury, there’s nothing like it.

Q: Some of the hobbies you mention are weightlifting, photography and cooking. Which of these do you find best helps you relax and take your mind off work when you need a break?

A: Weightlifting for about twenty minutes in a circuit training followed by thirty minutes on the elliptical is the greatest. My love of cooking turned into my restaurant review and general variety blog, www.mymemphisattorney.com, so eating out is now work since I use it as a marketing tool. I also take photos of the food for the blog. Grueling.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 56 295 6,392
MORTGAGES 26 180 4,035
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 2 27 694
BUILDING PERMITS 128 840 15,361
BANKRUPTCIES 31 153 3,270
BUSINESS LICENSES 7 43 1,302
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0