Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Whether you're hanging your own shingle straight out of law school or branching off on your own after years of practice, you'll want to make malpractice prevention a central part of your business plan. After all, legal ethics aren't something you want to pick up through trial and error and if you're starting your own practice, it can be easy to miss some of the malpractice safeguards larger firms have built in.

Thankfully, with a little planning, you can avoid some of the most common malpractice pitfalls facing new attorneys and solo practices.

4 Very Simple Ways to Boost Your Firm's Bottom Line

Every lawyer likes to cut costs and save time. Inefficiencies throughout the office harm productivity and eat into your bottom line.

Here are four tips that can have a positive impact on your efficiency -- and your wallet.

As a lawyer, you're a leader, whether you work in a solo practice, as a first year associate, or partner in a large firm. It's your job to take the lead with clients, support staff, and even the court.

But leadership doesn't always come naturally, even for the most brilliant lawyers. It's a skill that must be practiced, developed. Here are seven ways to switch from being just a good lawyer to becoming a great leader:

Need some new toys, architectural models, or maybe an undetectable gun? No need to take a trip to the store. For a few hundred dollars, you can pick up a consumer-grade 3-D printer and start printing out everything from Japanese flutes to Adidas sneakers.

For lawyers, 3D printers could also be pumping out new clients and extra billable hours, as consumer 3D printing leads to increased intellectual property disputes.

Salary Differences and Considerations: BigLaw vs Small Law

If you look into lawyer salaries, there's one number that appears consistently: $160,000. This is the number often cited as the starting salary of first year associates at BigLaw firms such as Latham Watkins, DLA Piper, and Jones Day.

This $160,000 figure has remained largely unchanged for years and is expected to basically carry over into 2016. It's easy for many attorneys to be dazzled by this number and to make their primary mission to get into one of the BigLaw firms without taking into full account some of the trade-offs.

7 Words Lawyers Misuse

If an act, say a conspiracy to misuse a word, is incomplete, it's inchoate. Is a completed act choate? Not if you're Antonin Scalia. The Supreme Court Justice hates the word so much that he's interrupted oral arguments (not rare) to chastise a lawyer (rarer) for using the phrase.

But when it comes to commonly misused phrases, Scalia might want to save his rage for more prolific offenders. (Plus, plenty of legal dictionaries allow choate, so Nino might be a little picky here.) Whether it's Latin abbreviations or simple adjectives, there are plenty of words lawyers repeatedly misuse. Here's our collection of common crimes against language.

Lawyer marketing ain't what it once was. You can't get away with just a listing in the Yellow Pages, an ad in the local paper, and word of mouth anymore. High speed Internet, mobile devices, and those dang Millennials have radically changed how people consume information today.

Here's how the media consumption landscape has changed -- and how you can adapt your marketing to it.

5 Reasons to Open a Second Office for Your Law Practice

Many lawyers wonder about opening second offices, sometimes known as "branch offices" or "satellite offices."

There are many factors to weigh before opening the doors to your second location, including whether business can justify the cost, and whether or not a second office would compromise the quality of the representation given to your current client base. Here are some of the most common reasons attorneys open secondary offices:

Many of us are perfectly happy to practice in a limited geographic area. But, given the increasingly interconnected nature of today's world (the Internet, cheap airfare, free trade), it's not uncommon for attorneys to be faced with cross-border issues. We're not talking state lines here. This is international.

Cross-border disputes can soon be followed by cross-border discovery. And despite the "flattening" of the world, there are major differences between American-style discovery and international systems, particularly when it comes to data protection and privacy. Thankfully, plenty of international adventurers, or just lawyers, have gone before you and left some tips behind to help guide your way.

Sometimes you aim for greatness and fail. Sometimes that failure itself can be a form of triumph, as in the lawyer commercial which begins "Are you thinking of choosing a lawyer based on his dogs?"

Attorney commercials aren't typically Oscar-worthy. Bad lawyer advertising has essentially become its own artistic genre. (We're pretty sure it's a major at Wesleyan.) But some bad lawyer ads are so bad they're brilliant. Here are seven that reach almost sublime-levels of terrible.