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Succession Planning and Heading to Retirement for Solo Lawyers

Did you ever have that moment when a teacher or a speaker pointed in your direction, and you turned around only to see no one behind you?

That's what it's like when you are a solo practitioner at the end of your career and you don't have a succession plan. It looks like there's no one to take over and it's all on you.

Of course, solo practitioners are the champions of doing things their way. Here a few more ways for solos to head towards retirement without dropping off the deep end of a career.

Shocking! Judges Can't Electrocute People for Not Answering Questions

'Shocking' barely describes the treatment of Terry Lee Morris.

When he refused to answer questions at his criminal trial, Judge George Gallagher ordered deputies to jolt the man with 50,000 volts of electricity. They administered the punishment through a shock belt, which is supposed to be used for security purposes.

Morris was convicted of soliciting sex from a minor and sentenced to 60 years in prison, but a federal appeals court reversed and remanded for a new trial. In a classic understatement, the appeals panel said it had "grave doubts" about whether the man was treated fairly.

It's hard to deny that President Trump is having a big impact on the government. However, an unforeseen one is the jamming up of the court system due to the executive branch's failure to follow the rules for changing the rules.

The Administrative Procedure Act, passed in the 1940s, requires that federal agencies provide opportunity for public comment and a notice period, as well as reasonable justifications, prior to making changes to, adding or deleting regulations. Recently, the APA has been used to successfully challenge deregulation in immigration, housing and environmental changes sought by the executive branch.

Judge Won't Dismiss Case Against County Law Director

Anderson County, Tennessee, is comprised mostly of four small cities and a dozen coal-mining communities. One, Heiskell, is little more than a post office.

But the county government boasts that it has evolved into "a world-leading technological powerhouse." That's the mayor talking, of course.

The thing is, as sometimes happens in small towns, politicians can overstate the case. That's what happened in a legal battle between two county directors, and it's not over.

Tips for Lawyers: How to Eliminate Office Distractions

Did you ever notice how a teenagers can focus on video games so intently, an earthquake couldn't shake their attention?

Or how about those basketball players who make free throws while 20,000 fans scream and wag those monster fingers at them? It's called focus, and you need some of that in your law practice.

So let's talk about eliminating distractions at work. We're going to take a couple of pages from the video game and basketball playbooks.

Jurors Will Be Anonymous in El Chapo Trial

Who could blame a juror for wanting out of the El Chapo trial?

After all, according to reports, the Mexican drug lord has hired hitmen to kill potential witnesses and informants in the past. But not jurors, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman has promised in a motion before his upcoming federal trial. That would be uncivilized.

In any case, the judge will have a handful trying to put together a jury -- and then protecting them.

How to Ask for Part-Time Work at Your Law Firm

It's not too late, but you probably should have asked about part-time work at your law firm a while ago.

That's because most firms today have part-time policies, and it's one of those things you can know even before you start a job. So if you are just starting to think about it, relax because there are plenty of law firms that even encourage part-timers.

But when it comes down to it, asking for part-time is about asking at the right time. Timing, of course, is everything.

In this day and age, it is virtually inexcusable to not have a coffeemaker in your office, even if you have a virtual office. And due to the wide variety of ways to brew coffee, what kind of coffeemaker you choose, and how you serve your coffee, might say more than you anticipate about your law practice.

In the grand scheme of things, law firms really shouldn't try to cut costs when it comes to coffee. Especially if you have staff or associates, providing high quality coffee is one of the perks where you get the most bang for your buck. Also, though you might not think that a client would care if your coffee is good or bad, great coffee can definitely help present an image of being a premier law firm. Below, you can read about what your coffeemaker signals to the world about your law practice.

How to Build Trust With Other Attorneys

The whole point of the attorney-client privilege is that clients should be able to trust lawyers with their secrets.

So why should it be hard for attorneys to trust other lawyers? Yet sometimes it seems impossible to have a trusting relationship, whether it is an opposing counsel, a partner, or an associate. 

But this article is about how to build trust with your legal colleagues. Of course, there are good reasons to distrust attorneys -- most people do anyway.

Work-Life Balance Tips for Solo Lawyers With Kids

Stacy Ehrisman-Mickle is the poster child for a lawyer hanging in the work-life balance.

Actually, her child is the poster child because Ehrisman-Mickle had the kid strapped to her chest when she showed up in court. The judge chastised her, but it was his own fault because he denied her request for a continuance after she gave birth just four weeks earlier.

That story is history now, but the problem persists today: how do busy lawyers find work-life balance? It's especially challenging for solo practitioners who sometimes can't find anyone to back them up.