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BOSTON � E. James Perullo realized that switching from an information technology career to the law would be daunting at age 42, so he’s keeping his day job while building an evening-hours law firm. Bay State Legal Services in Boston, which Perullo has branded and trademarked as After-Hours Law, is a collection of 14 lawyers and four paralegals who meet clients at their downtown Boston office Monday through Friday between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., and by appointment at other places and times. Bay State Legal’s practice areas run the gamut of small firm offerings, including bankruptcy, consumer protection, criminal defense, divorce and family law, immigration, intellectual property, real estate, and wills and trusts. Perullo, who is now 43, specializes in wills and trusts. He said the firm’s attorneys are targeting small business owners and working-class clients. Leaving work during standard business hours to see a lawyer is difficult for both types of clients, Perullo said. “The idea behind the business model is convenience for clients,” Perullo said. During the day, Perullo still does contract information technology work. The other attorneys hold a variety of jobs: Some have their own fledgling practices, some are employees at other law firms and some are information technology workers, he said. By leasing office space only during evening hours, Bay State Legal can afford prime Boston office space at 60 State Street. The office tower adjacent to Faneuil Hall is also the local home of one of the city’s megafirms, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr. The other lawyers at Bay State Legal view the firm’s fee-splitting arrangements as generous and a low-risk way to build clientele. Lawyers affiliated with Bay State Legal keep 60% of the fees from cases assigned to them after expenses and 90% from cases they originate when they serve as primary counsel. When an outside counsel refers a case to the firm to manage, he or she keeps 15% of the fees, minus expenses. For solo practitioners who want to keep control of their own cases, the 10% of fees they share with Bay State Legal pays for overhead such as office space, case-management software and staff, Perullo said. Perullo is the only principal right now, but he expects other attorneys to join the partnership when they bring in equity from contingency-fee cases currently in progress. The 10-month-old firm now has a couple dozen clients, he said. Locksmiths and lawyers The terms appeal to Yuri Levintoff, a civil litigator who is currently an outside counsel to Bay State Legal. Levintoff, who has brought in a few cases to the firm, hopes to become a partner at Bay State Legal. “I am interested in making this work,” Levintoff said. Like Perullo, Levintoff also has an information technology background and managerial experience. Since he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in 2006, Levintoff has worked as a solo practitioner and of counsel to another small firm. “This firm is unique in its marketing concept,” Levintoff said. “Everyone is offering 24-hour service: locksmiths, auto mechanics. In the legal world, I haven’t seen too many marketing efforts specifically pointing out [when] they’re available.” Nicholas Hurston, who became a lawyer in July 2007, is now an outside counsel to Bay State Legal while doing legal-document review and building his own civil law practice on the side, including litigation, consumer protection matters, landlord-tenant disputes, estate planning and appeals work. “If I’m a solo, I might come across a complex case,” Hurston said. “Having a place to take it feels like a great safety net.”

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