Lawyerist Insider Profile: Sebastian Ellefson


Name and law firm

Sebastian Ellefson of Sebastian Ellefson Attorney at Law

Describe your law practice

I started my solo law practice in the Spring of 2009, with a focus on small business law, landlord tenant law, and traffic violations. But mine is a young and therefore general practice firm in that I am open to any type of case that is referred to me or walks in my door.

Describe your ideal client

My ideal client is a new start-up or expanding small business in the Chicago area who needs legal assistance in multiple areas. Such assistance might include a meeting to discuss the different limited liability options available; filing forms for an S-Corp, LLC, LLP, or DBA; drafting bylaws, articles, etc.; drafting vendor, employee, and customer contracts; and reviewing commercial leases.

How do you attract your clients? If you use multiple methods, which have proven most effective?

I attract clients in the following manners, listed from highest to lowest number of clients generated: 1) referrals from friends, 2) Craigslist ads, 3) referrals from former clients, 4) referrals from other lawyers, 5) handing my business card out to almost everyone I meet.

How have you integrated blogging and/or online social networking into your marketing plan? If you have not, why not?

I have a LinkedIn account, and I am member of several groups on LinkedIn such as the Chicago Bar Association group and the Chicago solo practitioners group. I have plans to start a Facebook page but do not intend to blog.

If you use online social networks, which do you prefer?

LinkedIn, by default.

What blogs or websites do you visit most?

You mean while wearing my lawyer hat? I am on the Illinois Bar Assocation listserv for transactional, litigation, and traffic/DUI information. I find these to be very entertaining and sometimes educational. If I visit a website as a lawyer it is for research, to advertise on Craigslist, to find mentors at the ISBA mentor center or my college and law school alumni networks, or to look into CLEs and networking events at the Chicago and Illinois Bar Associations.

What hardware and software do you use to the following aspects of your practice: e-mail, contacts, calendar, tasks, timekeeping & billing, phone, word processing & document creation, and PDF creation & editing

Email: Thunderbird (GMail)
Contacts: My contacts are currently horribly disorganized. Sometimes if I have to call a client I look in three different places before I find it.
Calendar: Pocket Moleskine. I never go anywhere without it.
Tasks: A series of electronic folders, Word documents, and Excel spreadsheets.
Timekeeping and billing: Freshbooks.
Phone: Cell.
Word processing: Word.
PDF: Adobe.

What do you anticipate will change in the practice of law–or your practice, specifically–over the next five years?

I expect to increasingly enjoy the current transition towards online access to most everything law-related. Cook County is putting more and more forms up online, as well as accepting more filings and payments online. As for my practice, I feel that as I develop more experience and a client base, I will focus more and more on specific areas of law until I can no longer correctly be called a general practitioner.

Tell us something interesting about yourself

I am a partner in another small business, called Finders Keepers LLC. Finders Keepers is a custom scavenger hunt company. Things have started out slow but September was a big month as we hosted a public scavenger hunt with 130 participants for Chicago Public Radio. My work as a solo practitioner allows me the flexibility to take time off for Finders Keepers without ever having to get permission from my boss.

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