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To Co-Counsel or Not to Co-Counsel ... What's the Question?

Deciding whether to engage co-counsel really is not a question in some cases.

For example, if you are admitted to practice in one state and you need to file in another, there's no question. You have to associate with local counsel.

But if you have the option to bring in an attorney on a case in your own jurisdiction, then that is a question. Here are some answers:

How to Start a Part-Time Law Practice as a New Lawyer

Sur, yu can start a law prac part-tim.

If you understood that last sentence, then you know what I'm saying: "Sure, you can start a law practice part-time."

But it is going to be missing a few things -- like hours during the day -- so you'll have to fill-in some blanks to make sense of it. Here are a few pieces of advice:

Measuring Lawyer Performance: What's the New Normal?

If you scratch your head when you hear about the "new normal," I get you.

What happened to the "old normal"? Who said there is a "new normal"? And when it comes to law practice, is anything normal?

If only it were so simple. But with all the changes in the law business, there actually are new ways to measure lawyer performance. They made the new normal, and we just have to get used to it.

New Group Helps Women Lawyers Open Law Firms

Women have closed the gender gap in law schools, and they are gaining in the attorney ranks. But they are far from parity in law firm ownership. Nicole Galli, who left BigLaw to found her own law firm, wants to see that change. Leading a new group called Women Owned Law, she said it will take some effort.

"I think that there is a real difference between being a woman lawyer and a woman entrepreneur," she told Big Law Business. "There are differences between practicing law and having your own practice ... and there are huge differences between running a law firm and running another business."

How Would Law Firms Be Affected by Trump's Tax Plan?

President Trump's proposed tax plan -- touted as 'the biggest individual and business tax cut in American history' -- would be a big break for lawyers, too.

Compared to setbacks for the president's travel bans and orders against sanctuary cities, the proposed plan is already a public relations success. Individuals would get to double standard deductions and avoid certain taxes, while corporations and partnerships would pay only 15 percent.

Of course, that depends on whether the plan gets through Congress. Observers don't think so, but there are a lot of lawyers in Congress ...

Virtual Law Firms Are Seeking BigLaw Partners

Virtual law practice is nothing new to solo practitioners; they have been doing it successfully for decades.

With varied success, virtual practitioners cracked the ranks of mid-sized firms less than a decade ago. But now that some wrinkles have been ironed out, virtual law firms are luring BigLaw attorneys with the carrot of working from home.

According to American Lawyer, virtual firms like Culhane Meadows and FisherBroyles -- with 180 partners -- are breaking the mold of traditional law firms. And now they want the heavy hitters.

"Here, I can really work on matters pretty much at any level I choose to without it becoming cost prohibitive," said Jamal Edwards, who used to work at the 300-lawyer firm of Honigman Miller in Detroit.

Is It Time to Grow Your Marijuana Practice?

Is it too cheesy to say that the pot practice is growing like a weed?

Hey, it is what it is. Marijuana actually does grow like a weed and some lawyers are riding high on its popularity.

According to a CBS poll, support for legalized marijuana is growing. More than 60 percent of Americans think it should be legal for recreational use and 88 percent favor it for medical use.

While representing marijuana "drug dealers" may have been a stigma a decade ago, more civil attorneys have emerged from the shadows and are competing for marijuana business clients. Legal developments have helped.

Strategic Lawyering and the Benefits of Long-Term Planning

Charles H. Houston, a lesser-known luminary in the civil rights movement, may have been the best legal strategist in American history.

Long before the U.S. Supreme Court completed its 180-degree turn-around on equal rights, Houston was planning the demise of Jim Crow. Thurgood Marshall won Brown v. Board of Education, but he credited Houston for winning cases decades earlier that led to the end of segregation.

"We wouldn't have been anyplace if Charlie hadn't laid the groundwork for it," Marshall said.

Houston remains a monument to the value of long-term planning in the law, although some say the strategic lawyer is a dying breed. Here are some ideas about the benefits of strategic lawyering today:

Forget unlimited vacation days, free car services, firm-sponsored memberships at the local Equinox. If you want your associates to stay around longer, you'll want to give them a raise.

That's the lesson from BigLaw, at least. Many of the nation's top law firms bumped first-year associate salaries up $20K last year, from $160K to $180K. That's kept young lawyers from leaving firms for comfier, but not as lucrative, in-house gigs, according to Law360. But there is a downside to that retention. The extra cash has to come from somewhere, and here it's coming out of partners' pockets.

Choosing Your Market, Not the Low-Hanging Fruit on Your Client List

If you're like me, you go to the produce section with a list.

That's because usually my wife tells me what I want: avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, apples, and bananas. It's all good because at least I know I'm getting the right stuff.

But once in a while, I wander through the produce section with that rare air of knowing I can buy anything I want. Today I'm getting peanuts -- in the shell, roasted and salted!

So that's what marketing for your law firm will be like in the future. You will get to choose your practice area, and not just take the low-hanging fruit on your client list.