Richard Barid (J.D. 1996)
Partner at Smith Barid, LLC
Mr. Barid is a founding partner of Smith Barid, LLC in Savannah, Georgia. The firm does estate planning, elder law, and special needs planning. Mr. Barid’s father got him interested in law in high school and after graduating from University of Georgia Law, Mr. Barid became a litigator. Smith Barid began in 2006 when a friend of Mr. Barid’s from law school, Michael Smith, proposed the two of them open an estate planning practice.
Smith Barid’s estate planning practice serves mostly married couples, aged 55 and older. The elder law practice serves mostly people aged 70 and older who need assistance finding funding for in-home, assisted living, and nursing home care, Medicaid eligibility, and VA benefits. The special needs practice is a version of estate planning and helps parents of special needs children and adults to set up trusts and other legal documents to ensure the continued care of their special needs child in the future. The firm doesn’t really advertise, relying instead on networking. Mr. Barid and Mr. Smith receive referrals from financial planners, insurance professionals, and CPAs, among others. They also are frequently invited to speak to civic groups, community organizations, private seminars of other professionals’ clients, and groups at various long-term care facilities. They have email newsletters, publish articles, and have discussed various elder law and estate planning topics on local television.
Mr. Barid suggests that current law students and recent graduates find an area in which you have an interest and a passion. The day to day practice of law can be difficult, so being in a field in which the work matters to you is important. Once you are in that field, find a mentor. A mentor is beneficial because he or she will prevent you from reinventing the wheel in your practice. Innovation is fine, but when someone has already done something, it’s not useful for you to start from scratch.
As far as interviewing goes, Mr. Barid recommends that you be yourself since your true personality will come out eventually. Part of the interviewing process is to see whether you will be a good fit for the office, so it’s best if that determination is made at the beginning. The best thing you can do for the interview is to prepare. Research both the firm and the person who’ll interview you so that you can speak intelligently about current issues in the field and the firm.
The key to networking is persistence. The process can be a little boring but it’s important to keep at it. There are books about networking that will help you. When speaking with contacts, do not talk too much about yourself. Ask questions to see how you can help them, and later, they’ll come back and help you.