Business 5 in 5 with Joe Cerino

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5 Questions in 5 Minutes

An interview with Joe Cerino, an attorney in Fort Myers and owner of Law Office of Joseph Cerino, www.cerinolaw.com

What are the services of your company? What do you do?

Well, we provide representation for people dealing with family law matters, which includes dissolution of marriage, divorce, paternity, injunctions, and domestic violence. We also represent people who are involved in DCF cases who have had their children taken away by the state of Florida. That’s a small part of the practice. We also deal with folks who are going through a criminal problem, mostly misdemeanor DUIs, domestic violence, drugs, things like that.

What’s the brief history of your company?

I started my firm in September of 2012. Prior to that, I had been a public defender here in Lee County from 1996 until 2000. Then I formed my own firm with two other guys, Gary Bass and Jay Brazel. We were partners until 2009. Jay Brazel left and it was myself and Gary Bass. In 2012 I decided to go on my own, and I’ve never looked back.

What made you want to become a lawyer?

I always kind of had it in the back of my mind to be a lawyer. It’s something I felt that I was kind of geared towards. When I was young, I thought maybe I’d go into law enforcement, but I changed my mind about that. I went to law school and, after law school, I got the job in Lee County. And, I’ve been here ever since.

What do you feel are your competitive advantages?

One advantage is that I have a lot of experience. I’ve been doing this for a very long time. But, the biggest advantage is that I keep my overhead low, which then results in clients not paying as much for their representation.

You could make a 30,000 to $50,000 change in your bill depending on who you’re hiring. Now, some guys, some firms, bigger firms are worth that. But, I do a very good job for a very, very competitive price compared to other folks that are out there.

Where do you see your practice and your industry in five years?

I think that the business, the practice of law is getting more cutthroat. I think as younger attorneys are coming up, they don’t know how to handle themselves in court. They are a little less ethical than I think folks my age are. I’m a little concerned about where the practice of law is going. So in five years, I don’t know, I’m not big into expanding the firm at this point. I like what I’m doing. My stress level is very manageable. My caseload is very manageable, so I’m very comfortable where I’m at right now. I’m very happy with where I’m at. If I was sitting here in this same office five years from now, I would still be pretty happy.

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