Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog


How to Minimize Risk of Malpractice as a Solo Lawyer

One of the hallmarks of good advocacy is to see a case from both sides.

Like being the devil's advocate, it helps to see the strengths and weaknesses of a situation. This is especially appropriate when it comes to assessing the malpractice liability of your law practice.

So consider your liability from an insurer's point of view because virtually every carrier will ask these questions to assess your risk of malpractice:

Tips for Drafting Equity Partner Agreements

Non-equity partnership agreements, once a rarity in law firms, transformed the traditional partnership model.

Since the beginning, law firms have had single-tier partnerships where all have equity in firm growth. Only a handful of major firms, like Cravath Swain & Moore, hang on to that business model today.

While economics can change everything, non-equity partnership agreements are in vogue at most large law firms. For many firms, however, the traditional equity partnership is a standard. Here are some tips to consider in two key areas:

Even though paying for it is painful, advertising can be a lot of fun. Thinking up catchy campaigns that will capture the attention of potential clients is a creative process that can pay off big time. Using pop culture references in advertising can often appeal to certain audiences, and if your ad is good, you might get lucky and it will go viral.

While intellectual property laws do allow for some fair use of others' creations, or even when there are no intellectual property laws at issue, going too far with pop culture can result in a public relations disaster.

Just about every lawyer, at some point in their career, will be faced with a client that either doesn't want to pay a bill, or won't approve a budget or "not-to-exceed" estimate.

When it's a regular client, pursuing the regular dispute resolution procedures, or maybe letting the client slide on small portion of the bill, might be financially tenable. But, when it's your biggest client, or a client that accounts for a significant portion of your firm's book of business, the regular course of action might not be the best course of action.

In your entire legal career, you've probably never started a client meeting by saying: "I have an idea so crazy it just might work." Perhaps if you have a flare for the dramatic, you've probably used that line with a drinking buddy, or even pulled it out during a meeting with a colleague or partner, but never in front of a client.

So ... what do you say when you need to get a client to go along with a novel litigation strategy? Generally, to get a client to loosen the purse-strings for any reason, you need to explain the risks of failing to do so, along with the potential benefits. Below, you'll find three tips to help convince your client that your novel strategy is worth pursuing, and no, none of them involve crowdfunding.

When it comes to online marketing for lawyers and law firms, one of the hottest areas that lawyers are investing in is social media. However, those "promoted" posts and advertisements on social media might not help as much as naturally good content that's consistent with your branding.

For the most part, users of social media tend to skip over promoted posts and advertisements. However, if the promoted post contains high quality content, rather than a traditional or direct advertisement, it is more likely that the consumer will engage with the content. For attorneys, being seen as a real person on social media, rather than a lawyer whose time is too important for the average consumer, can actually help get the phone to ring.

Millions of PACER Documents Made Free

PACER, your favorite tool for getting federal court documents, may not be your favorite for long.

CourtListener, a service of the Free Law Project, now offers every free written order and opinion that is available on PACER. And unlike the court's preferred provider, CourtListener does not require a user account with the typical conditions.

The service does not replace PACER, but it makes research a lot easier and cheaper. The Free Law Project also threw in a bonus: a legal scraping toolkit.

Common Mistakes When Starting a Law Practice

What's the most common mistake an attorney makes when starting a law practice -- besides choosing to become a lawyer?

Just kidding. Starting a law business may be the best thing about entering the practice of law. It's the great American dream -- now that home ownership is just a dream -- to own your business.

There are common mistakes that almost every new lawtrepreneur makes. Here are the common mistakes you should avoid when starting your law practice:

A London law firm is in hot water after an Indeed.com job ad that was purportedly posted by the firm offered a junior associate salary of just $12,885.00 per year. The salary is more than a few dollars below the minimum wage. This translates to roughly $7 per hour, assuming a 40 hour work week (which we all know, only working 40 hours a week for a junior associate is the pipe-iest of pipe dreams).

The firm denied ever posting the ad, but regardless, it has caused, and will continue to cause, needless headache and loss of reputation. Now, when prospective clients search the law firm by name, they are likely to turn up an article about the questionable job posting. Making your firm stand out from the crowd is important, but standing out for the wrong reasons can be terminal.

In the Robert Murray v. John Oliver case, the recent decision to remand the case back to state court is making headlines. However, those headlines and articles tend to focus on what's happening, and all the comedic language, rather than the strategy behind it all.

Despite the careful analysis of the court's decision to remand, there is very little about why HBO's attorneys tried to remove the case to federal court.

When it comes to defamation claims, is it better to be in state or federal court?