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We're in the middle of a crowdfunding golden age. Individuals have raised thousands of dollars to make potato salad ($55,000), create inflatable Lionel Richie sculptures ($12,500), and conduct a squirrel census ($9,000). When it comes to fundraising, it seems like people are just giving money away.

Should lawyers and litigants looking to finance a suit hop on the crowdfunding train? What about working with litigation investment companies? The answer, of course, is maybe. While crowdfunding has been used successfully, litigation investment poses significant ethical risks for lawyers.

You're more of a Perry Mason style lawyer than a Johnnie Cochrane, more Clarence Thomas than Antonin Scalia. You save the speechifying for the court room, leave the impassioned arguments in your briefs.

But, when it comes to dealing with reporters, you might be doing yourself and your clients a disservice by staying mum -- or worse, by speaking poorly. Don't miss an opportunity to represent your clients (and yourself) in the court of public opinion as well as you do in a court of law. Here are three mistakes attorneys often make when dealing with reporters and how you can avoid them:

Money isn't the only reason attorneys show up for work, but it's at least one of the main motivators. You may have joined the legal profession out of a sense of justice, but few lawyers' Atticus Finch dreams alone can pull them through another day of motion practice. That's the job of cash.

Compensation matters. But how you compensate your firm, or how your firm compensates you, can vary greatly from practice to practice. A good firm compensation scheme keeps lawyers satisfied and supports firm objectives. A messy compensation scheme causes division which can threaten the productivity of the firm. So, how do you get the first while avoiding the later?

Like it or not, the law is a customer service profession. Getting clients and keeping clients depends on your ability to please clients. As the old cliche goes, the best way to do that is to remember that "the customer is always right." Right?

No way, at least not when it comes to issues involving the law. Where the attorney-client relationship is concerned, the client is not always right. Here's why.

Many lawyers dream of landing a corporate client with deep pockets or a millionaire businesswoman with a litigious ex -- anyone willing to pay an exorbitant hourly rate and to pay it often. But while the wealthiest few have no problem finding representation, there are millions of potential clients who need lawyers but cannot afford them. These aren't just indigent clients either.

Adopting a sliding, income-based billing rate can help you reach clients who would otherwise go unrepresented, without giving away your services for free. Could it work for your firm?

You've hung your shingle, now how much do you charge? For many lawyers, figuring out the best billing rate can actually be quite daunting. Do you simply adopt the market rate, charging basically the same as other lawyers in your area? Do you offer a slight discount to make yourself competitive, or do you base your rates on what you think your clientele is willing or able to pay? Or do you just pull a number out of a hat?

However you're setting your billing rates, you could probably be doing it better. Using this simple calculation can help you set an hourly rate that works best for you.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf is giving up on blogging -- again. Judge Kopf's "Hercules and the Umpire" blog had gained notoriety over the years for what some see as a breach of judicial decorum -- telling Congress to go to hell, for example, or commenting on female lawyers' bodies. Many, however, became fans of Judge Kopf, praising his candor and accessible writing style.

This is at least the second time Judge Kopf has "hung up his keyboard" and it might not be the last. What can lawyers learn from this federal judge's love/hate relationship with the blogosphere?

We've said it before and we'll say it again: lawyers are writers. Whether it's a motion to suppress, an email to a client or draft legislation, the legal craft is often a written craft. Sure, your Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment might not be a literary masterpiece, but it's at least a testament of your skill with the written word.

So why not put that skill to better use? Non-legal writing, whether it's the general public, other practitioners or potential clients, can help lawyers build a name, establish themselves as experts, and increase their credibility. Heck, you might actually enjoy it.

We're barely halfway through 2015 and it already looks like this will be the year of the law firm merger. Firms are merging at a record rate, with 48 mergers thus far, according to the consultancy group Altman Weil. That's the highest rate since the company began recording mergers.

That number is expected to grow even more in the second half of the year, when long-term deal making comes to fruition. Much of the growth is driven by larger firms gobbling up smaller competitors. But of course, not everyone is happy going from boutique to behemoth.

Clients often want to be heard: by their lawyers, by the courts, by the public. Some take to the media to get their side of a story aired. Letting clients speak directly with the media, however, can have severe risks, especially when a client is unpredictable, unprepared, or unsympathetic.

Perhaps you've heard the story about the recent shooting death of Kate Steinle. Ms. Steinle was allegedly shot at random by Francisco Sanchez, though that "allegedly" is getting much weaker after Sanchez gave a jailhouse interview confessing to the crime and asking to be put to death. Those statements aren't going to make his lawyer's job any easier, highlighting the risks involved with client-media contact.