Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


This week is Thanksgiving, and you're going to be out of the office, but you're not really going to be out of the office, are you? Let's face it: Come Friday, you're going to be back on your computer, billing furiously.

Even so, you'll still be at home, trying desperately to overcome the meat sweats induced by the previous night's overindulgence. If you can't be in the office, here are some apps you can use to connect to your stuff remotely.

Moving stinks, no matter what your budget or occupation. But for us, the lawyers, it's an even bigger pain: everybody, from the courts to the bar to clients, all need to be notified, there is no room for downtime, and everything needs to go according to plan so that you can get back to work ASAP -- doubly so if you have important case deadlines pending.

The key to a successful move, then, is organization. Advance planning, a big checklist, a free weekend, and enough luck to avoid any lost boxes or damaged equipment are what you need to close up shop at one office on a Friday and open back up the following week, without missing a beat.

Here's one of those things -- the checklist:

Now that the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri has decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown, there were protests, and there will be more protests.

As a lawyer, you might be representing one of any number of groups affected by the protests, whether they're business owners in areas where people are gathering; crime victims; or the protestors themselves. Here's some basic and practical advice you can give to each of these clients.

Last Thursday, President Obama outlined his plan for dealing with the problem of undocumented immigrants. It involves selective enforcement of immigration laws, focusing more on criminals and less on families and children.

With the implementation of new immigration regulations come new opportunities, both for undocumented immigrants and for attorneys. Here's what you should know about the immigration order.

Americans don't really negotiate over things as much as people do in other countries. We're accustomed to just paying the sticker price and moving on with our lives. But there are a plethora of things you can acquire for a cheaper price by putting your fancy lawyerly negotiatin' skills to work.

Here are five examples:

Smooth or crunchy? Sean Connery or Roger Moore? Free consultations or no? These are the debates that characterize our times. Because this is a legal blog, we're going to have to save the first two for another blog (although, off the record, the answers are "crunchy" and "Roger Moore").

We're qualified to help you answer the third question, though. Many opinions abound about whether you should offer free consultations, where the potential client comes in to explain his or her problem. What should you do? Here are a few points to ponder:

I hope you've purchased your Costco-sized bottle of antacids: The holiday season means travel, and travel means stress via missed flights, delayed flights, poor weather, nasty people, and luggage that's in Boston instead of Albuquerque (but don't worry; you'll get a $25 voucher for your troubles).

So how can you get work done on the go? Thankfully, airports, airplanes, trains, and even buses are much friendlier to getting work done than they ever have been. (Downside: You're expected to be working all the time.) Here are a few tips that can help:

Black Friday will soon be upon us; or, more properly, the month-long holiday binge once called "Black Friday" is already here. That means you can get discounts on lawyer gifts for your lawyer friends as early as today.

But what do lawyers want for Christmas? Law-related stuff, of course, which includes gifts that make them seem more important than they really are. Here are some gift ideas that should please any lawyer.

There is a lot of debate about what exactly a "virtual" law practice is: Is it someone who doesn't have a full-time office and primarily uses email? Or is it something more: online-only, using secure document portals for clients, perhaps using more than just e-mail (video chat, maybe)?

For now, we're going to go with the online-only lawyer. Think: someone who never meets clients in person and who could run his firm just as easily from North Dakota as he could from a motel in Amarillo, Texas. What are the pros and cons of such an unusual, "virtual" arrangement?

There's Google My Business, a local directory that also has Google reviews baked in. There's Apple Maps Connect, which is its own local directory with ratings and reviews. And you know you need to keep your eye on Yelp, the mother of all review sites.

Now Facebook wants to join the party too! Introducing Facebook Places, another local directory that you might use some time when your Yelp app won't load. The Web-based service (it hasn't yet been baked into the mobile app) simply prompts you to "Discover great places in every city." Enter a location and wham, bam, boom: You get cool stuff to do, all with reviews by real Facebookers.

Again, it screams "Yelp competitor," and really, it is. And you need to keep your eye on it.