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ROBERT MARION KERR JR., KERR LAW OFFICE, BLACKFOOT, IDAHO BONA FIDES: College of Law, University of Idaho. Admitted July 13, 1936. TYPE OF PRACTICE: Kerr is a general practitioner, doing “a little of most everything, like most attorneys in small towns in a rural area,” including real estate, litigation, family law, estate planning, probate work and criminal defense. His chief means of getting business are the yellow pages, newspaper articles, bar association referrals and social networking. GETTING STARTED: Back in the Great Depression when Kerr started practicing law, he “couldn’t find a place to start working, even for free.” He got his first break when a man looking for an attorney walked into a real estate office run by Kerr’s uncle. His uncle called him, and later rented him an office “with a borrowed set of Idaho Codes and a secondhand typewriter.” GROSS REVENUES: Between $50,000 to $70,000 in recent years. START-UP TIP: Kerr recommends working as a “law clerk for a judge, working in a law office, or as a deputy prosecutor or public defender or legal aid assistant,” where a young lawyer can watch other attorneys at work. He also says, “Become computer proficient in both word processing and research.” SUPPORT EMPLOYEES: An experienced legal secretary is “helpful, but has not always been available.” A solo needs “friends within the profession with whom ideas can be exchanged and problems discussed.” KEY RESEARCH TOOLS: State statutes, Pacific Reporter and Digest, AmJur2d, the Federal Code and other texts, form the backbone of Kerr’s research tools, along with Premise, KeyCite and the county and state libraries. He reads bar journals, Lawyers Weekly USA, local newspapers, Time and US News. MOST USEFUL LEGAL BOOK: Depending on the problem, it is usually essential to have the state statutes, after which he would “probably turn to AmJur2d, Premise and KeyCite.” MOST USED ONLINE SERVICE: KeyCite and Premise. SQUARE FOOTAGE OF OFFICE: 1,200. MONTHLY RENT: $800. HARDWARE/SOFTWARE: Photocopy machine, fax, three computers, two printers, billing program, word processing, Quicken and Premise. FAMILY PROFILE: Kerr and his first wife had five children. After he was widowed, he remarried to a woman with four children of her own. Together they now have more than 50 grandchildren and step-grandchildren, “some of whom are married and have blessed us with great-grandchildren.” Kerr and his wife “are both still working” and enjoy “visiting family and friends, traveling, music and church and community activities.” SHINING MOMENT: Looking back on more than five decades of practice, it is hard to select a single shining moment. But Kerr takes pride in a lifetime of “satisfaction from helping people.” He is also proud of having written briefs “which judges accepted and others have quoted,” although he modestly notes that he has not always been successful. He was honored at the state’s annual Bar meeting after 50 years of practice. “It is always a great day when I feel I have completed and mailed a good brief,” says Kerr. IF HE HAD IT TO DO OVER: As rewarding as the life of a sole practitioner has been for Kerr, if he had it to do over he probably would not have gone solo. “A lawyer does better work when ideas are shared and work is reviewed,” he says. With legal practice so complicated, “a solo is at a disadvantage unless he is located where he can develop a specialty.”

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