Strategist - FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


It's Friday! You've worked all day and most of the nights for the past few weeks. You've come into the office on Saturday and worked through to Sunday morning. It's time for a break. Your sanity, or your marriage, may depend on it.

So what do you do when your much needed respite is interrupted by clients? Model Professional Conduct Rule 1.4 requires that attorneys provide prompt and reasonable communication with clients, but there's plenty of room for interpretation what constitutes a prompt or reasonable response. How can you get around responding to a client for the weekend?

Most lawyers have had clients who complained when they were billed for a phone call, or who were shocked when their call wasn't answered at 11pm on a Saturday. Yes, some clients are clueless, but that's not just their fault.

We often underestimate how little our clients understand of the legal profession. Recognizing that clients don't know many of the things we take for granted is the first step to avoiding unhappy, or even just annoying, clients in the future. So, here are three things we think are obvious that our clients may not:

It's supremely frustrating when potential clients (or worse, current clients) think they know more about the law than you do. Usually it's because a friend of a friend (not a lawyer) gave them legal advice, and hey, why aren't you doing this thing for me?

You don't want to condescend, obviously. But you do want to make clear that your client isn't going to gain your years of knowledge and experience through a quick Internet search. How do you convince your client that you can't get a degree from the Google School of Law?

So you know that you need some marketing, right? Web sites, business cards, maybe a TV commercial or a radio jingle. That much is clear. What isn't so clear is how much you should spend on marketing. You want to spend enough that you get a quality product, but you're a lawyer, not an ad agency.

It can be tough to figure out what the sweet spot is so that you don't overspend on marketing. So how do you come up with a marketing budget?

If you're looking to hire a new employee, be aware that salary is just the start of the costs. There are plenty of associated, non-wage costs to bringing someone new to your firm. From taxes and insurance, to simply finding a new location to put someone, the costs of hiring a new employee can vary wildly.

If you're not anticipating them, these costs can be unexpected. But they're certainly not indeterminable and should be included in any plans to hire. Here are some factors to take into account when looking at the real cost of a new employee.

Here's some schadenfreude for tax day: Former IRS ethics lawyer Takisha Brown has been disbarred by the D.C. Court of Appeals (not the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals) for ethics violations and misappropriating client funds.

Brown withdrew money from a settlement payment meant to go towards a client's medical bills following an automobile accident. Of course, it wasn't just the crime, it was the cover up that landed Brown in hot water.

Big Orange is the winner! Earlier this month, The National Law Journal published its fourth annual readers' best of rankings. Westlaw, one of our sister companies under the Thomson Reuters umbrella, took home the top "Legal Research Provider" designation, while FindLaw earned honors for "social media consultancy for law firms."

That's not all, though: Several products in the TR family also won awards.

Cease-and-desists letters, demands for personal injury payments, claims of defamation, slander and libel -- these are the bread and butter of the demand letter. And boy are they demanding, always full of requests that must be met "immediately" and clients who will defend their rights "vigorously."

How you respond to a demand letter can help shape the tone and path of your following interactions, so make sure you do it well. To help, avoid these three common mistakes lawyers make when responding:

No one likes clients who lie -- at least, not one the ones who lie to their lawyer. When clients lie or fail to disclose necessary information, they make it hard for lawyers to do their job.

When a client's lie is discovered, it can raise messy ethical, profession and practical issues for the lawyer. Here's what to do, and what not to do, when your client's pants catch on fire.

Kids these days -- try as you might, there's no escaping them. In the U.S., there's more than 70 million Millenials, people born from the early eighties through to the new millennium. They're the largest generation outside of baby boomers and becoming a major part of the workforce, including your workforce.

The generation gap can lead to difficulties, particularly in interviews, where you have to get to know a candidate in a short amount of time. That means your tried and true methods might need to be updated when interviewing these youngsters. But don't worry, you don't have to ask them what their favorite emoji is just yet.

When interviewing Millennials, here are three areas to focus on: