Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


3 Reasons to Take Business Risks in Your Legal Practice

During times of relative stability, it's so tempting to grow complacent. Sure, there are those professional risks you've fantasized about taking to boost your practice. But the dreaded string of "what ifs" soon follows and puts those fledgling temptations to rest.

But here's the thing: Those "what ifs" are crippling and can actually hurt the longevity of your business. Risks are not only necessary to thrive, they're crucial to survive.

Here are three reasons why you should take calculated risks in your legal practice:

Want to spend more time practicing, and less time advertising? Leave the marketing to the experts.

Oh, beckoning weekend: what adventures do you have in store? Motorcycles? Prison? Binge watching mediocre television on Netflix? We can't wait!

But, if you're looking for something to keep you occupied for the last couple of hours before your weekend begins, we've got a list for you: understanding Millenials, asset forfeiture reform, and not making lazy assumptions about judges' leanings based on presidential party affiliations.

As always, if you have a suggestion for next week's roundup, tweet me @PeacockEsq.

The Fair Labor Standards Act's (FLSA) exemption for "learned" individuals -- it's a grey line sometimes. But other times, it's really, really not.

FLSA puts us lawyerly folk into the "exempt" category due to our advanced degrees. The same goes for engineers, doctors, and other individuals putting their graduate degrees to work. But what about paralegals -- they're almost lawyers. True, but no matter how valuable your paralegal is, Labor Department regulations clearly state that paralegals and legal assistants are not exempt from overtime rules, except in a few rare cases.

Pasricha & Patel handles FLSA cases. They're also now defending themselves in a FLSA case, against current and former paralegals who were allegedly not paid overtime when they worked at the firm, reports the ABA Journal.

If a prisoner talks to his lawyer in person, at the prison, the prosecutor typically can't eavesdrop.

If he writes his lawyer a letter, the same protections apply.

If they talk on the phone, again, the prosecutor is supposed to back off.

But if the prisoner sends an email to his attorney, the federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are going to read it, and possibly use it against him.

The end of summer is near, and the fall semester of law school is approaching. As your summer associate season comes to a close, there's one big question looming: will you extend the summer associates offers?

These days, having a summer associate job doesn't guarantee an offer, so summer associates may have lower expectations. That said, rather than taking advantage of cheap summer labor, you should really put some thought into whether you should extend offers to any of your summer associates.

Here are some things to consider.

Sorry folks: no porn or leather this week. Instead, our weekly shout-out to the best law-related things on the Internet is a bit more tame, and some might say pragmatic. 

It's office attire. And a guy kicked out of court for his attire, which mocked the judge's ongoing ethics scandal. Plus, law graduates that can't afford attire. And more!

As always, if you have a suggestion for next week's roundup, tweet me @PeacockEsq.

This is a wee bit ridiculous.

New Orleans Attorney Stuart Smith, a notable environmental lawyer, apparently hates noise, fun, and cabaret shows. Robert Watters owns Rick's Cabaret and opposes strict noise ordinances in the French Quarter. On its own, this dispute is unremarkable.

Except Smith allegedly sent a text message to Watters and is now being charged with cyberstalking.

We've been talking about firm culture a bit, but haven't really defined the term. Think of it as your law firm's personality. While you've probably heard the concept of "lifestyle firm" when it comes the occasional BigLaw or MidLaw firm, you're probably wondering what that has to do with small law firms. Well, we're here to tell you that it is definitely important to small law firms.

Let's look at some ways law firm culture will play a larger role in your firm's business.

One of the more creative ideas I've had for advertising a law firm was to put a DUI law firm's phone number on bottle openers and either leave them on the counter at a liquor store or toss 'em into cases of beer at nearby stores. I never tried this -- it probably violates some ethical rule that I was too lazy to look up, but it seemed like a good idea in theory.

It's also a good idea, in theory for a law firm to mock a brewery's logo for advertising purposes: in this case, Sessions Law imitating Session Brewery. The best part is, the logo was not only used online, but it was also used on brown paper bag covers for beer cans, reports the ABA Journal. The brewery, unsurprisingly, is suing for trademark infringement.

We've talked a lot on this blog about how to give feedback to employees, but as we said on Friday, communication is a two-way street. Just as we have feedback for our employees, they may have some feedback of their own for us, or the firm as a whole. Hearing out your employees will lead to a happier firm workforce because your associates and staff will feel that their opinions are valued. Not only that, but they may have some good ideas too.

Here are four tips for how to accept feedback from your employees.