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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.

If you're a busy lawyer, particularly if you're a busy solo practitioner, stepping away from work can seem virtually impossible. There is simply too much to do and too few people to do it. So you keep working, day in and day out, for years.

Stop. Take a break. Take a vacation. You don't only deserve to escape and relax for a bit, you need to, for the health of your practice.

How to Leave Your Law Firm Amicably

Leaving your law firm amicably is sort of like an amicable divorce. Sure, it happens. Not always, but sometimes.

The key to a good split is having the same goals -- to avoid unpleasantness and maintain profitability. Here are some tips on how to part ways without rancor.

Growth Strategy Tips for Solo Practitioners

Unlike weeds that seem to grow in any condition, solo law practices need a little more care.

After all, lawyers are not a naturally occurring part of the eco system. Sunshine, water, and a little soil probably have nothing to do with their success. 

In urban life, it takes at least a plan, implementation, and perhaps a little luck to grow a solo practice. Here are some tips for your growth strategy:

3 Reasons You Shouldn't Cap Hourly Fees

Capping your hourly fees is like going on a Jenny Craig diet.

For most people, any diet is hard to do. But Jenny also costs money. The best-case scenario is that you will get skinny.

Same thing with capping fees. It's a difficult discipline. It will definitely cost you money. And if you don't make enough money to put bread on the table, well, you get the point.

Sure, capping fees is great for clients; they like their lawyers lean. And it may pay off in the long-run if it keeps clients coming back. But maybe you actually want to make more money for desserts at the end of the day. Here's some food for thought:

Things aren't what they used to be. Today's lawyers face a constantly shifting legal landscape. Technology has made it possible to run a paperless law firm, to outsource tasks across the globe, or to find yourself swamped in endless eDiscovery. The internet has made it easier for people to find (and review) lawyers online, but it has also empowered clients to demand more for less. Meanwhile, growing corporate legal departments are handling more tasks in house, while smaller clients are increasingly seeking out DIY solutions.

Is your practice ready for this "new normal"? Take one quick quiz to find out.

What's your 'Net Promoter Score?' You don't know? Well, you should. A Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a measure of client loyalty, the odds that a client will come back or recommend you to others.

For an industry that relies so heavily on referrals, knowing your NPS is essential. And it's pretty easy to figure out, too.