Attorney: Scott Peterson
Firm: D’Orazio Peterson, LLP
Location: Saratoga Springs, NY
Practice Areas: Employment Law, Personal Injury, Malpractice & Negligence
“As a lawyer who has no experience with SEO and web design, it’s refreshing to know that there are companies out there that actually aren’t just going to try and sell you on services you actually don’t need.”
Attorney Scott Peterson in the Spotlight…
Scott Peterson knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a lawyer.
But, when he made that determination, he says he didn’t know at the time exactly what it was that a lawyer did.
“I thought it seemed like a good career and sort of an aspirational thing,” says Peterson, “and, as I got older, the idea never really left. It just sort of fit within my skill set of being analytical and enjoying an argument, so it was sort of a natural fit.”
Following law school, Peterson took a partner-track position with a mid-size defense litigation firm, where he stayed for a number of years. “The work was reasonably interesting and the people were very nice,” Peterson says, “but I would see the people on the other side of cases—the lawyers doing the plaintiff’s work—and I would see their personalities and what I perceived to be their lifestyles, and it drew me pretty significantly.”
He says it wasn’t long before he realized that he wanted to be working from the other side of the table, and that if he didn’t take a chance to set out toward that goal he “was going to regret it.”
Peterson then transitioned to a much larger firm where he could focus on plaintiff work, but says that he quickly realized that “the big, corporate mindset was just not for me.” Just before the birth of his second child, with the support of his wife, Giovanna D’Orazio (who is also an attorney), Peterson decided to set off on his own.
“I legitimately thought, I can make this work, and if I don’t do this now, it’s never going to get any easier,” he says.
A Family Affair
Fortunately for Peterson, D’Orazio held a position at what he calls a “very large, white-shoe kind of firm,” which allowed his family the security they needed while he labored to get his practice off the ground.
D’Orazio’s father, Marino D’Orazio, also served as an example that starting a private practice, even when well into an established career in law, was an accomplishable goal. “I saw the quality of life that he had, and his ability to make his own decisions about clients and cases and I thought, I have to do this,” Peterson says.
In the early stages of his practice, Peterson says that his father-in-law made himself available to help with the incoming caseload when necessary. But, as business started picking up, he realized that the time had come to bring another attorney into the fold on a permanent basis.
Rather than hiring another attorney from the outside, shortly after giving birth to the couple’s daughter, Giovanna decided to take a gamble. She left her comfortable, large-firm post and joined her husband in his private practice, thus forming what came to be known as D’Orazio Peterson.
Shortly thereafter, Marino D’Orazio joined the ranks and, as Peterson puts it, the firm “sort of became a family affair very quickly.”
Looking at Cases from the Plaintiff’s Side
Before starting his own practice, Peterson says he found himself representing “big companies, doctors, and insurance companies” while working on the defense side of employment, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases.
But, he says, “There’s a part of me that has always been, and hopefully will always be, very empathetic to people who are put in really bad situations often through no fault of their own.” It was that aspect of his personality that caused him to gravitate toward a career on the plaintiffs’ side of those same cases.
Peterson recalls a particular case that led to his decision to move away from defense to representing plaintiffs. He says he was “several years in” to his first job and was already questioning his involvement in those cases when he found himself defending a wrongful death case.
His firm was representing a municipality in a situation where a police pursuit led to the suspect striking and killing an uninvolved third-party. During his interview with the insurance company involved in the case, Peterson says he found himself struggling to relate to his own company’s side of the argument.
Says Peterson, “I found myself thinking, All they’re really concerned about here is saving money and, in reality, there’s a family here who lost a son who absolutely had nothing to do with any of it.”
It was then that Peterson says he realized he couldn’t continue to be on what he perceived to be “the wrong side of these cases.”
“I understand, intellectually, that there needs to be a balance,” he says, “but I didn’t want to be the one making that argument anymore.”
Making a Difference in the Community
In addition to running his practice, Peterson also tries to make time to give back to non-profit organizations in his hometown of Saratoga in upstate New York. He previously served on the Board of Directors for his local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters (for which he still sponsors regular fundraising events) and currently serves on the Board for the Saratoga Affordable Housing Group and the Saratoga County Bar Association.
He says that he enjoys his time working with these organizations because “You can actually see a very tangible result” from the work they do in the community.
“We live in a great community and we’re really lucky to live here,” Peterson says, but he enjoys doing what he can to also make the experience of living in his hometown more positive for those who might not have the same opportunities that he and his family do.
Finding the Right Tools to Succeed Online
Before switching to LawLytics, Peterson says his firm had “transitioned and shuffled over the years through various websites and various website providers.”
He says he built his first website on his own, then began outsourcing the work to a client. After that, he found himself working with a large web company before cycling back again to the private provider and finally landing at LawLytics, where he’s stayed for several years since.
Over the course of that discovery process, Peterson says he was never quite pleased with his site, either “aesthetically, practically, or performance-wise.” But when he found LawLytics, Peterson says he “liked what they had to say out-of-the-gate; they kind of cut through the nonsense, which is how I try to handle my practice and deal with clients.”
Since switching over, Peterson says his firm has seen a “very good and consistent uptick” in the performance of his law firm’s website.
He says that he appreciates how LawLytics makes it “clear what you need to do to get results” online. “As a lawyer who has no experience with SEO and web design, it’s refreshing to know that there are companies out there that actually aren’t just going to try and sell you on services you actually don’t need,” Peterson says.
He says that, with LawLytics, his firm feels confident that they aren’t being sold services that they don’t need, but that they’re also “being given the tools to build out a successful web presence organically,” leaving plenty of time and money in his firm’s budget to focus on more pressing things, like his clients, community activism, and family.