Professor Victoria Vuletich teaches Professional Responsibility at Cooley Law School. She is chairperson of the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility Continuing Legal Education Committee. Before joining Cooley’s faculty in 2008, Professor Vuletich was Deputy Division Director of the State Bar of Michigan Professional Standard’s Division, where she advised attorneys regarding ethical dilemmas and practical issues they were facing. She also served as staff counsel to the State Bar of Michigan Client Protection and Unauthorized Practice of Law programs and developed and managed the Practice Management Resource Center.
True love, in the form of his wife, Elizabeth, is why Cooley graduate Hana Moefu, a sweet, football-playing Polynesian who was born and raised in Hawai’i, finds himself as an attorney in the small town of Lancaster in southwestern Wisconsin.
Ever the good community member, Hana volunteered to perform the Samoan Fireknife Dance as his contribution to the annual Lancaster town festival. At the festival, which was held in front of the courthouse, several women who work in the court’s offices recognized the fire twirling Hawaiian on stage as the new attorney in town.
Abuzz over his performance, the ladies took it from there. The women forwarded this picture of Hana to his firm’s office which posted it to a billboard with a caption that read: “Mess with this attorney…and he’ll bring the fire!” It was originally done in light-hearted fun by Hana’s new firm, but its uniqueness in exposing the area to a diverse culture got Hana’s “name out there” with the local attorneys, the community, and especially the clerks of court.
The best marketing can come serendipitously from the acts of others. And every attorney knows that if you have the court clerks on your side, well, you’re in darn good shape! They’ve given Hana their seal of approval – for all the world to see.
Building a practice from scratch is a long, slow road. And you rarely see big money in a small town practice. But there are benefits to a small town practice that can’t be quantified. The sense of community and acceptance is a powerful primordial dynamic, as this big-hearted Polynesian has discovered in the middle of Wisconsin farm country.