Megan Hottman runs a booming law firm and cycling team in Golden. TheCyclist-Lawyer.com Cycling team is devoted to starting men and women off right in their racing career. Being an avid racer herself, it is no doubt that the law practice that specializes in cyclist injury is thriving within the community. Hottman?s personal philosophy is on quality not quantity; she dedicates her time to make sure all her clients get individualized service. She sat down with BRAC's Maggie M for this interview.
Where did it all start?
It was an evolution to be honest; I wish I could say that I could say I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a cyclist lawyer. I actually didn?t even find the sport of cycling until my third year of law school. Coming out of law school I just intended to be a lawyer, I didn?t know what kind. You are trained in law school to expect long hours and low quality of life as a new associate. I knew somehow I needed to find a job that offered me balance. Quality of life has always been my top priority. A lawyer with an appropriate case load, with time to exercise and get some sleep and time for family and friends- that?s a lawyer who will absolutely crush it at their job and do an amazing job for their clients. I knew I wanted that. I explored civil, criminal, and domestic law. After my second judicial clerkship I decided I really wanted to try and make a go of full time racing so I took a year off working to race in 2008.
How did that go?
I really missed the law profession - I only made it 8 or so months of full time racing before I was searching job openings. I took a job with a small firm in Boulder and they did personal injury and consumer action cases. While I was there, a cyclist got hit, someone I raced with on the local circuit and she called me and asked if I was willing to help her on her case.
And did you?
Yes, we handled her case at the law firm and had a good outcome and she spoke very highly of how the case was handled.
And how did you feel about the case?
I definitely enjoyed working with her. Working with a cyclist, I obviously had that connection with her. It?s amazing how positive the dynamic with a client can be when you have commonalities.
With the first case down what was going through your mind?
It definitely piqued my interest, and I ultimately decided to leave the firm and start my own practice.
How long has the practice been opened?
I started in March of 2010 so a little over 3 years.
What happened once the doors opened?
Cyclists began calling. Some for cycling-related issues, some for other miscellaneous legal matters who just wanted to work with a lawyer they knew would understand them as a fellow-cyclist. Whatever the issue, I began receiving many calls from cyclists regarding legal inquiries. I knew I?d made the right move in hanging my own shingle and never looked back. My only regret is not going out on my own sooner.
Are you happy you did it?
Oh yeah, there are so many lawyers who don?t relate to their clients and it can result in low job satisfaction. I say all the time how blessed I am to work for people I care about, relate to, and identify with. It makes all the difference in the world.
Do you see the practice expanding ever?
My goal is not to grow into a 20 lawyer law firm. Smaller is better from a customer service standpoint. Instead of handing off a client?s file to paralegals and staff, and rarely setting eyes on it myself, I actually handle almost every aspect of my clients? cases from start to finish. It?s how I would want my file handled if I were the client hiring a lawyer. My approach has always been that my clients can contact me anytime and I will get right back to them.
What do you think is the general publics biggest misconception about cyclists?
I think that the public believes that we have a sense of entitlement when we?re riding on the road, and I don?t think that that?s true. I don?t think cyclists at a whole expect special treatment, or expect traffic to amend itself to what they are doing. Cyclists understand their rights and responsibilities for the most part. Just as there are bad drivers who give all drivers a bad name, there are also a few cyclists who give all cyclists a bad name. But I think public perceptions are improving as more and more cyclists make a serious effort to learn the laws and abide by them.
Thank you Maggie M. and Megan for making the time for this interview.