I walked into Boulevard Bikes in Logan Square several years ago. I had been writing this blog about bicycling and the law for a few months and wanted to get the word out about it. I made some bike themed stickers with the The Chicago Bicycle Advocate's web address printed on them along with my phone number. I figured I would leave stacks of them in Chicago bike shops in hopes that fellow cyclists would pick them up, stick 'em on their bikes and helmets and perhaps wonder over to the blog to check out my writing. Maybe some would remember me if they got hit by a car.
Boulevard is a quaint shop. It is small, tucked into a corner of Logan Square next to Lula Cafe and steps from the Monument that is the heart of the newly thriving, bicycle centric neighborhood. The shop is traditional as bike shops go. It does not make custom frames, serve coffee or specialize in the latest carbon fiber uber-bikes. It primarily sells bikes comfortable in the urban setting: Surly, Torker, Soma and steel Bianchis. The owner of the shop, a tall, lean guy who looks like a cyclist named Kevin Womac, greeted me as I wondered deeper into the store. Could he help me, he inquired earnestly.
"Hi, I'm Brendan. I'm a personal injury lawyer and I represent bicyclists."
He didn't throw me out.
"I also write a blog about biking and the law. I was wondering if I could drop off some stickers for your customers."
"That sounds like a great idea," he said. "Absolutely."
"Hey," he continued. "You must know Lawyer Jim."
And so it was that I first learned the identity of the guy who, many years later, would become my law partner.
I have represented a lot of bicyclists since then. I have been humbled by how well this blog has been received. Over the years Jim Freeman and I met and got to know each other a little bit. We both loved bikes and had law practices focused on representing injured cyclists. We knew a lot of the same people in the community. And we were competitors each feeling that he had the best to offer to bicyclists in need of legal representation. We pushed each other to do more for the community, fighting to prove who had the greatest dedication. Jim would don a yellow safety vest and stand on street corners handing out free bicycle lights to people riding by. I would spent nights and weekends teaching adults how to ride safely in the city. For neither of us was the "bike thing" a marketing campaign. The bicycle community was something we were dedicating ourselves to.
And then it dawned on us. . .
Let's join our resources and form one awesome bicycle law firm. On June 1st that is what we did creating the Freeman Kevenides Law Firm, FK Law. I am excitedly about what we are doing here. Jim and I have a kick-ass group of lawyers and paralegals who are all cyclists working to help injured cyclists. This is quite honestly the best job in the world. We hope that through our efforts we can not only help individual bicyclists, but promote safer cycling in our city and throughout Illinois.
I recently told a good friend of mine about the new partnership. When I told him that we were calling ourselves FK Law he enthusiastically responded,
"I love it. And your slogan could practically write itself...
... Been hit by a car? FK 'em!"