Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

November 2016 Archives

Few people get excited about meetings. Why? Because they're typically felt to be a waste of time. Here you are, listening to someone drone on and on about something that could have been conveyed more quickly in an email. There goes another hour that could be spent on work, wasted before an endless deck of PowerPoint slides. There's a reason people often sneak in actual work -- checking their emails, updating their calendars -- while meetings are going on.

But your meetings don't have to be awful. They can be productive, even rewarding, if you follow these three tips.

You work late nights for your clients, take their calls on the weekend, lose your hair over their divorces and labor disputes and contract negotiations. You fight hard, obtain favorable outcomes, and even reduce their bills every once in a while.

Certainly, you have a client-centered practice, right? Maybe not. Here's why.

3 Things to Look for When Looking for Law Office Space

Location, location, location. If only it were so simple.

You could ask Siri or Google to find your new law office space. Unfortunately, your virtual assistant might lead you to an office supply or office furniture store or some other non-starter. Until artificial intelligence can read minds, you likely will need to keep some practical and legal things in mind when searching for the right office space.

Over the years, we've seen lawyers disciplined and suspended from practice for hundreds of different reasons: publishing allegedly false statements about local judges on their blogs, representing both parties in a personal injury suit, falsifying eDiscovery documents, even insulting colleagues. (Not to mention the many sex with clients scandals.)

But does a suspension mean that an attorney can't work at all for that period? Not necessarily.

Essential Soft Skills Lawyers Need to Succeed

Let's face it: law practice is a business. Sure, we may aspire to help the homeless, free the tempest-tossed, and breathe life into the standard of liberty and justice for all. But if lawyers can't bring in business, then they will be out of business.

Staying in business really comes down to finding clients and keeping them happy. This requires all the standard skills needed to thrive in the practice of law. But it also requires so-called "soft skills."

Here are a few soft skills to develop in your business that you may not have learned in law school.

Tips for Including Wikipedia in Your Marketing Plan

Wikipedia is the largest online encyclopedia in the world, according to Wikipedia.

It may not be entirely true, but it is true enough for some judges to take judicial notice of the information it contains. And if it's good enough for court, it is probably good enough to be part of your marketing plan.

Future Law Career: Privacy Law Specialist?

To think that a good privacy lawyer could possibly have saved the election for Hillary Clinton ...

After hackers got into her email, it was the beginning of the end for the presidential nominee. A few non-secure messages, an ill-timed FBI press release, a really bad connection to a guy named Weiner, and the rest is history.

We could what-if the Clinton situation all day, but the point is that people need privacy protection more than ever. And so the Information Age is giving birth to a new legal creature: the privacy law specialist.

You have an opening at your firm. You've listed the position, received dozens of applications, and focused in on a few qualified candidates.

Now, should you track them down on social media?

A prosecutor's use of 'racially coded references' means that a South Carolina man's death sentence must be reversed, the Fourth Circuit ruled yesterday. Johnny Bennett, who is African American, had been convicted of murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery and sentenced to death by an all-white jury.

But Bennett's sentencing was so full of winking racism that it made a fair proceeding impossible, the Fourth ruled.

Thanksgiving is on the horizon, which means that the holiday party season is just a step behind it. Once you hear Nat King Cole singing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire -- so Friday, basically -- get ready to be inundated with winter party plans.

Of course, the holiday party isn't just a chance to down some eggnog and sample gingerbread cookies. It's a prime networking opportunity. Here are some tips to help you network right this holiday season.

If your firm's revenue growth has been stagnant or even declined, you're not alone. Law firms experienced a sizable drop in revenue per partner last year, according to National Law Journal's annual 'Survey of Law Firm Economics.'

On average, revenue per partner dropped 4.7 percent in 2015, the biggest decline ever identified by the survey. What could be behind the dip?

It's the middle of the week. The sky is grey, the weather is chilly, and the night is coming sooner and sooner. And you've still got those briefs to write, papers to file, and hours to bill.

Before you put your head down and slog through it, might we suggest a quick break? Take a few moments to check out these TED talks for a little bit of invigoration, inspiration, and entertainment. They could be just what you need to get through the week.

Twitter users tend to run in groups. There's political Twitter, black Twitter, legal Twitter, and even #appellatetwitter. And over the past few days, the legal twittersphere has had its feathers ruffled a little bit.

As you would expect, the controversy is over an (allegedly stolen) joke involving a parrot.

The big winner this election cycle wasn't just Donald Trump. It was recreational, legalized marijuana. (Okay, sort of legalized. The federal government, of course, continues to classify marijuana as an illegal drug. More on that in a minute.) Voters in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and possibly Maine all voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. That means that now one out of every five Americans lives in a state where recreational weed is legal or is about to become legal.

So, what's that mean to you as a lawyer?

Blockchain technology is set to transform industries and institutions throughout the world. What started as an idea synonymous with Bitcoin, the virtual currency, is now making its way into everything from contract drafting, to election monitoring, to land registry systems.

So what is this revolutionary technology and what do lawyers need to know about it? Thankfully, there's now an answer, in the form of a Blockchain guide for people just like you.

Whether it's making sure we get through all our necessary tasks, prioritize important projects, or simply stop wasting time on Facebook, pretty much every legal professional could improve their time management skills. And you can.

If you want to improve your time management skills, approach it like you would go about getting into better shape. (No, we don't mean signing up for a gym membership you never use.) Make a few small changes and start building "healthy habits" in order to improve your overall effectiveness and productivity. Here are five places to start.

Legal ethics aren't something you should pick up through trial and error. Instead, attorneys should make compliance with their ethical and professional responsibilities a central part of their business -- as important as getting clients and billing hours. Thankfully, in many cases, complying with your ethical responsibilities isn't too trying. You simply have to know when to spot potential issues and how to react to them.

To help you out, here are some of our best attorney ethics tips, from the FindLaw archives.