Things I Miss

A friend asked me today if I miss being at my former firm. I thought about it for a minute. There are some things I miss:

  • being busy all the time (or at least a lot of the time)
  • someone else shouldering responsibility for my work
  • someone else being responsible for bringing in new work
  • having a steady paycheck

However, I know that these are things I miss now. I know business will come in the door in waves, and I won’t always be busy (or always slow). I know I can build a network of people I trust to respond honestly to my work product or my questions, which is something I’m already building. I know I’m getting better all the time at bringing in new business. And I know that the paycheck will come, and it will vary, but it will hopefully pay off in the end.

In short, I miss having a safety net. But the freedom that comes with being my own boss is amazing. And that’s something I would miss tremendously at a firm.

Published in: on 4 June, 2012 (Monday) at 16:53  Leave a Comment  


A couple weeks ago, I spent the weekend at the KCMBA Conference down at Lake of the Ozarks. It was a great networking opportunity, and I enjoyed the sessions as well. I met lots of great people, including quite a few solos and small firm lawyers. I’m planning on going to another conference down there on DUI law. Very exciting stuff, I tell you. 

Published in: on 28 May, 2012 (Monday) at 12:44  Leave a Comment  

choosing a name

I’m sure at least some of you are wondering why I chose the name “Vesta Legal” for my firm. First, a lot of lawyers use their names as their firm names, something which I believe is rooted in ethical rules. The rules have changed though, and a law firm can choose different names. I thought my name was too complex and hard to remember to be effective as a branding technique.  And it would just be clumsy: “The Law Offices of Rachel Kibler-Melby” – ugh. I like my name generally, but as a brand, it’s not so great. So the next step was finding a phrase or name that I liked. I have always had an interest in mythology, so I thought that would be a good place to start. I searched for gods or goddesses with connections to wills, and I had a hard time finding anything. Then I thought having the goddess of the home would be a good bridge to estate planning, my primary area of practice. I’m more familiar with Greek mythology, so I first tossed around “Hestia,” protector of the hearth. But I didn’t like the sound of it. I went to Roman mythology, where “Vesta” is the goddess of hearth and home. I liked the sound of her name, and to my delight, I discovered that the Romans actually deposited their wills with the priestesses of Vesta, the Vestal Virgins. It seemed perfect. I searched the name and “law,” and a Swiss law firm came up, so “Vesta Law” was out. There also appears to be a town in West Virginia called “Vesta,” though strangely, no one had used it in their law firm name. So then it was just a matter of figuring out what I liked, and “Vesta Legal” won out among the various “law firm,” “law office,” “legal services,” and other variations.

If you’re thinking about a name for a law firm, I would encourage you to not use your own name. Having a brand name is frequently easier to remember, and a bonus is that it allows room for growth. If I take on a partner or hire an associate or whatever, I don’t have to worry about changing the name. It also gives no indication as to the size of my firm (thus breaking no ethical rules by stating it is bigger than it is), which can sometimes give more credibility.

So that’s how I came to name my firm what I did. I’m happy with it – I think it sounds elegant, and I like the background of it.

Published in: on 17 April, 2012 (Tuesday) at 08:52  Leave a Comment  

new firm!

As my dear husband pointed out, I haven’t updated this since I was studying for the Missouri bar. In the past three years, I have taken (and passed) three bar exams – Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas – worked for two different firms – one doing civil defense litigation (asbestos) and one doing data privacy and records management consulting – and have recently started my own firm! I’m doing estate planning, and I hope to do asylum work on a pro bono basis. I’ll write a few posts on what I did to start my own firm, but I wanted to get a post out. Hooray for a new firm!

Published in: on 15 April, 2012 (Sunday) at 18:10  Leave a Comment  

studying for the Bar Exam

I’ve been working on Wills and Trusts today.  I won’t have much time to read tomorrow, so I actually read ahead…  And I had a thought.  Trusts for animals (pets) are exempt from the Rule Against Perpetuities, at least in Missouri, and they last for the life of the animal, or the last surviving animal if the trust is for more than one animal.

When I took Estates and Trusts (one class) in law school, my friend and I had talked about ways to get into the casebook, whether by naming our children C1, C2, C3, and so forth, or by creating an exceptionally complicated will with all sorts of procedural problems.  What I want to do is adopt some animal with a long lifespan, like a turtle or a lake sturgeon, then put a massive amount of money into a trust for said animal, and then watch from my cloud while the litigation ensues after I die.  I figure someone will make the Rule Against Perpetuities argument, especially since it’s for such a long time, and there will be an issue of what a pet actually is, and the trustee will be completely greedy and breach fiduciary duties.  It will be fun.

Is it bad that when I study, I think about ways to get around the law?  Don’t worry, I won’t be breaking any laws knowingly or willingly.

Published in: on 6 July, 2009 (Monday) at 18:42  Comments (1)  


SCOTUS granted cert on my issue.  No word on when arguments will be.

Darn.  I knew the risk, but I wanted to be cool and have something published before they looked at the issue, because then I would have been the only article out there on it.  Yeah.

Published in: on 22 October, 2008 (Wednesday) at 22:21  Leave a Comment  


Sometimes reading cases just makes me feel dirty when I see the academic dishonesty that goes on.  Courts will take things out of context (much like law students, ha), manipulate language, and pick and choose “binding cases.”  The best example of this is United States v. Mendoza-Gonzalez, 520 F.3d 912 (8th Cir. 2008).  The court basically says that, because a district court in another circuit (a lower court that is not bound by this court’s precedent) decided one thing, and this court cited that case for a sort of related proposition in another case, the district court case became very persuasive, if not binding, law.

It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Published in: on 29 September, 2008 (Monday) at 13:30  Leave a Comment  

searching for a job

We’ve entered the job-search phase, which is an immensely terrifying thing.  I alternate between a sense of optimism and hopelessness.  Legal areas that interest me include intellectual property, criminal law, immigration law (refugee/asylum), public international law, and litigation generally.  A clerkship would also be lovely.

If anyone actually reads this, and anyone has any sort of job opening, let me know.

I’m writing three papers this semester (yay!).  My topics are: enforcing immigration law using criminal law, specifically aggravated identity theft, where the mens rea requirement is disputed and conveniently massaged to include more immigrants in its scope; whether children with disabilities can sue under sec. 1983 when their rights are violated under the IDEA; and international copyrights (using international treaties and individual national laws) protecting composers and performers of folk songs and contemporarily composed music.  Fun, no?

Published in: on 22 September, 2008 (Monday) at 18:12  Leave a Comment  

Lawyering “Tips of the Day”

I’m a TA for Lawyering again this year, and my professor wants me to give a “tip of the day” when I’m in class (which is once a week).  And because I have not written anything on here for a while, I thought I would share my wisdom with the general public… or no one, as the case may be.

Week 1:

  • Maintain balance in your life – get to the gym, do things outside the law school, be involved in the community, etc. – balanced people are happier and I think they are better students because they learn to be efficient with their time.
  • Form relationships with each other – these will be your colleagues, so take care of each other.  Send people notes when they miss class, form study groups, get to know each other.

Week 2:

  • Believe it or not, professors do actually know a lot, probably more than your friends, so do not be afraid to ask questions during class or outside of class.
  • If you’re going to battle a library book, make sure you can win without damaging your wrist.  (This was a particularly dumb story that resulted in a lot of pain for my poor wrist.)

Week 3 (this week):

  • Try and categorize things in other ways when you read cases or compare cases.  For instance, even though you will not take Criminal Procedure until next semester, my favorite categorization is the animal-rule category.  This includes the raccoon rule (determining curtilage and trash cans), the eagle rule (determining observations during flyovers), the adolescent hippopotomus rule and the parakeet in a locket rule (determining reasonableness for a search gained by warrant).
  • An eagle may soar, but a weasel doesn’t get sucked into a jet engine.  (A friend suggested that one.)

I haven’t really been limiting myself to one tip each week, but I just have so much wisdom to pass on.  Ha.

Published in: on 10 September, 2008 (Wednesday) at 22:46  Leave a Comment  


This isn’t my own creative work, but it amused me.  It was posted on the Lawrence Journal-World website.  Here’s a haiku in response to the Heller decision.

Hand me my shotgun.
I need to go kill a bear,
then I’ll have bear arms.

Published in: on 27 June, 2008 (Friday) at 14:38  Leave a Comment