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Surprise! Law Schools Don’t Teach Students How To Be Lawyers

The secret is out. From their first day of legal practice, most lawyers realize that their theoretical legal education is of marginal value when it comes to helping clients solve real-world legal problems. Our clients now know this secret as well — thanks to a comprehensive front page article earlier this month in New York Times. The article is What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering” and subtitled “Schools Leave Practical Training to Firms by David Segal. There were a few points made in the article that surprised me as an experienced lawyer, and might surprise you as well. Things You May Not Have Known I am well-aware that many law professors have little practice experience, but I didn’t realize that nearly half of the nati… ... Read More
Categories: Legal Careers

Networking Can Be An Ethical Landmine. Be Careful.

Done right, networking is essential for growth; Done wrong, networking can be unethical For solo lawyers in almost all practice areas, success depends on the relationships you develop through personal networking. Many of you already know that and are actively networking. What you may not know is that a lawyer’s networking activities are governed by ethics rules. While my goal is clearly not to inhibit your networking efforts or put a damper on your enthusiasm for interaction with potential clients or referrers of clients, I do want to point out some of the ethics rules so you will be more aware of these tripwires that land unsuspecting lawyers in hot water. Continue reading this post on solopracticeuniversity.com ... Read More

Thinking About a New Solo Practice Area?

When selecting the practice area that will determine how you spend the rest of your career, you can “go deep” or “go shallow.” It is almost always better to “go deep.” “Going deep” means that you select a practice focus that you enjoy, in a healthy market for legal services, and in which you can reasonably obtain the needed skills and experience. How do you proceed? Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

Say "Thank You" to Stand Out

I always emphasize the importance of remaining optimistic when coaching lawyers on the topic of job hunting. And, lawyers being lawyers, I always need to provide some reason why they should remain upbeat. I have a simple answer: The job market is actually much less competitive than you think when you consider that so many other job-seekers make fundamental mistakes. Continue reading this post on attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

ABA rules: No major ethics overhaul needed To address web marketing

In a draft proposal issued last month, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 recommended no new restrictions relating to online marketing. The Commission did offer some useful guidance on how to interpret some web-based marketing tools within the context of existing ethics rules – guidance that I intend to pass along to the solo and small-firm lawyers that I coach. Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

The Cost of Switching Law Firms

If you are a partner considering a move to another firm, you probably have two main reasons. The first almost always involves money. The second usually concerns personality factors or firm culture. That’s shorthand for “I’m working with a bunch of jerks.” Continue reading this post on attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

Buying a Law Practice

Even with the best of marketing tactics, the time needed to build a successful law practice is usually measured in years. There is one tactic that—if properly executed—can help you attain an established practice practically overnight. That tactic is buying rather than building a practice. Continue reading this post at www.lawyerist.com ... Read More

Lawyer Advertising: Louisiana State Regulations and the First Amendment

In the famous 1977 Bates decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that lawyers have First Amendment rights, too; legal advertising is constitutionally protected commercial speech. Prior to that, state’s ethics rules prohibited all advertising — and we never saw any of those amusing (and not so amusing) lawyer commercials on television. Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

Marketing of Legal Services to an Immigrant Population: A Lawyer Coach Answers the Question, "Does It Work?"

Whenever asked by attendees at one of my marketing CLEs or by my lawyer coaching clients whether they should market their services differently because of what they perceive as “unique circumstances,” I am always somewhat amused. Continue reading this post on minncle.org ... Read More

Working with an Attorney Coach

This summer, I had the privilege of meeting lawyer coach Roy Ginsburg at the Minnesota Solo & Small Firm Conference, then seeing him a few days later at the Nebraska Solo & Small Firm Conference. Roy is well known on the CLE speaking circuit; he is a lawyer himself and in as a former in-house counsel, he also has great insights on what corporate clients look for in hiring lawyers. But Roy also coaches lawyers and that is the subject of his guest post below. Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

The Hourly Rate is Dead - Long Live the Hourly Rate

I always wondered what the phrase, “The King is dead. Long live the King” means. If the King is dead, why are the next words, “long live?” According to Wikipedia, the phrase is a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch. I am reminded of this phrase every time I read about the death of the hourly rate and presumably the “accession” of the alternative fee arrangement (AFA). Well, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “the reports of the death of the hourly rate have been greatly exaggerated.” Continue reading this post on Ezinearticles.com ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Smart Lawyers Have Smart Phones

In my CLE on client service, I reveal a very simple formula for satisfying clients. Know what they expect and then manage those expectations. The formula is certainly a simple one, but we all know that it is lot easier said than done. Continue reading this post on Ezinearticles.com ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Lawyer Rankings: What's the Ranting Now?

It’s been a few years since lawyer rankings and ratings have been prominently featured in legal media circles. Four years ago, regulatory officials in New Jersey determined that it was “false and misleading” for lawyers in that state to advertise their selection by Best Lawyers or Super Lawyers. After a long legal battle over what was referred to as Opinion 39, (I helped defend Super Lawyers), the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the selection processes for both publications were bona fide and that lawyers have a First Amendment right to promote the accolade. Since then, things have been pretty quiet other than the usual debate among legal marketers about the degree to which any of the rating services matter from a marketer’… ... Read More

Take Care of Your Referral Sources

I recently had an experience with a professional service provider that reminded me that there are certain things that lawyers should never forget when receiving referral business. We all love to receive referrals; after all, you have a brand new client that took no time and effort to obtain. What can be better? In most instances, nothing. However, here are some basic guidelines for lawyers about referrals that at times they forget. How to Treat Your Referral Sources Very nicely. You would think that would be obvious, but for some, it is not. You should always promptly thank your referral sources. As a coach, there are times when I refer my clients to other service providers for expertise that I do not have. It never ceases to amaze me how m… ... Read More

Should You Make Resolutions for Next Year?

The new year is just around the corner. Are you going to make any resolutions for your practice? The good; they can keep you focused. The bad; they may discourage you if you cannot keep them. When I coach attorneys, I take a middle-of-the-road approach. I ask clients to think about two to four goals for the year. Keep them broad and forego a very detailed action plan. Also, be realistic. Keep them simple Goal setting in and of itself is always a good idea. It forces you to take a “time out” from the your daily routines. Think about some things you would like to change next year. I am not a big fan of spending lots of time writing down the nitty gritty for two reasons. First, it can be time consuming. Should you spend days to determine t… ... Read More

Holiday Cards: Bah Humbug!

It is now that time of the year when lawyers put together their list of who to send holiday greetings to. From a marketing standpoint, I have always thought that they were a waste of time and money. When I was an in-house attorney, I usually received about fifty. I simply tossed most and rarely read them. Occasionally, they were even insulting. Some sent cards with their names already pre-printed on the card. Couldn’t they spend a minute or two and write a few personal words or at least sign their name? Get Noticed If you insist on sending cards, do it at a time of the year when it will not be received with ten other cards on the same day. More importantly, make it memorable. Every year I receive a card from a lawyer I know who practices… ... Read More

Networking—It’s Not That Bad!

When coaching or speaking to lawyers about the importance of networking, the knee-jerk reaction of many is “you gotta be kidding me; I would rather take the bar exam again than network!” I was recently reminded of this mentality when one of my clients commented to me after two months of aggressively networking for a job, “it really doesn’t suck like I thought it would.” Why the change? Simply a misperception of what networking is and is not. Many attorneys assume that networking is outside of their comfort zone. They equate it with handing out business cards at receptions or cold calling complete strangers. I would not feel comfortable doing that and do not expect my clients to either. But when I think of networking as developing… ... Read More

Work the Room Comfortably at a Conference

Perhaps the most effective networking is a one-on-one setting over coffee or lunch. That is usually within most people’s comfort zone. But how comfortable are you when attending a conference with a room full of strangers. Can you “work the room” without breaking into a cold sweat? Here are a few simple tips to keep your palms dry. You do not have to meet everyone While hundreds of people may be in the room, if you meet 10-20 new people, you are doing great. Even if you only meet 5, that is 5 more people than you knew before. Look to meet someone new who is talking to someone you already know An easy way to meet a new person is when you see someone who you do not know, talking with someone who you do know. That should be in your comfor… ... Read More

Should I market differently in a down economy?

In this tough economy, perhaps the most frequently asked question I get from my business development coaching clients, as well as attendees at my marketing CLE’s is “Should I be doing anything differently now?” The answer is basically no. Now is the time you simply cannot afford not to market. You need to reconnect with former clients and jump start your networking efforts with acquaintances, both professional and personal, who could become potential clients or referral sources. With that said, there are two things that make this environment unique and are worth mentioning. You have the time; make the most of it First, for those of you in the past who complained that you simply did not have the time to network, unfortunate… ... Read More

Good News for Lawyers: Your Competition Stinks!

Lawyers must market because the competition for business can be brutal in virtually all practice areas and localities. That is the bad news. The good news is that the vast majority of the competition stinks. Here are two stories to illustrate my point; both of them told to me by attendees at one of my recent CLEs. Both are general counsel at mid sized corporations. Continue reading this post at www.lawyerist.com ... Read More
I liked Roy’s organized way of approaching my problems and coming quickly to the most important points. His friendly manner of speaking was very helpful. I felt as though Roy understood not only the dollars and cents of my practice, but also th…" Read the rest
– Solo practitioner, Chapel Hill, NC

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