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Tips for Your Law Firm Succession Planning

It's just wrong to let someone else make your estate plan without you, so why would you let anybody plan law firm succession without you?

Seriously, getting old is hard enough without people waiting around for you to get out or die. They don't call lawyers sharks for nothing.

Make your own plan to get out of practice because if you don't, somebody else might do it for you. Or, if you are part of the group circling aging colleagues, show them that famous professional courtesy.

Are Your Paralegals Getting You Into Hot Water?

Nobody likes it when somebody hovers over their work -- especially when that somebody is an attorney.

But lawyers are directly responsible for the work of their employees, and it presents a serious challenge. You have to depend on them, but you can't expect them to do everything. 

So if your paralegals are getting you into hot water, maybe it's because you are pushing them into deep water. Maybe you need to supervise just enough to not agonize.

Is Your Law Firm Culture Stifling Innovation?

James Goodwin, an attorney/author/columnist, is sort of a counter-culture guy.

He says that law firms should not use "firm culture" to stifle innovation. In a column on "The Culture Card," Goodwin says culture can be good or bad.

"In museums and art galleries, culture means intelligence, refinement, and beauty," he says. "In a lab, culture means a plate of mold."

It is absolutely bound to happen during the holidays, a staff member, or even an associate, will just not show up. If there's critical work to be done, or a Christmas Eve court date, there's almost no time to be mad, you just have to keep calm and litigate on.

Fortunately, in nearly every city across the country there are companies that can provide last minute appearance attorneys, and that old list-serv you're still on might actually be able to get you someone last minute in a pinch too. It's expensive to get someone last minute, but, in this market especially, there's always young, hungry attorneys looking for work. But when it's not critical work that you're going to be forced to overpay a third party to get done, or suffer through yourself, can you really be that mad at your staff for peace-ing out on an actual holiday they plan on celebrating?

Longshot Exit Strategy: Seek a BigLaw Buyout

The start-up strategy, often, is to build until you're bought.

It has made millionaires and billionaires out of tech company founders. Small firm lawyers, not so much.

That's because BigLaw typically doesn't buy budding practices, especially not solo attorneys' offices. But in an age of innovation, asks one popular practitioner, why not dream a little?

3 Tips to Stay Focused When Working From Home

Turn off the television. Disconnect the phone. Unplug the refrigerator.

Well, you could lock the refrigerator but it probably doesn't have one. The point is, you have to get rid of the distractions when you are working from home.

It's not rocket science -- especially if you are a non-technical lawyer. But for some reason, we like really simple solutions to stay focused at the home office.

The holidays are a fun time of the year around the office. People are often in good spirits and are looking forward to a little break, and maybe even that end of year bonus and merit raise (if they're so lucky).

If you have a secretary, paralegal, and/or an admin, that work for you, getting them small gifts can often be an easy way to boost morale and buy their undying loyalty. To help you figure out how to buy your employees' love, below you'll find a few tips on what to give. And to no one's surprise, it doesn't include any of that novelty legal professional garbage that we all dread getting.

Law Firm Secretary Awarded $277K for Overtime

It's not a good look when a firm practices employment law, but doesn't pay overtime.

For one Los Angeles law firm, it looked even worse when a court ordered the firm to pay almost $277,000 in attorney's fees to their former secretary.

Noemi Bernal was awarded $91,000, plus $30,000 in interest, against J.J. Little & Associates on her wage claims. With the additional attorney's fees award, it was more than adding insult to injury.

Essential Project Management Skills for Small Firms

In professional football, 53 players can make the team.

Because only 11 can play on the field at a time, they typically divide up into offense, defense, and special teams. Each of these teams has a specific purpose under the guidance of an assistant coach.

Project managers are like assistant coaches. Their job is to make sure everybody executes projects effectively and inefficiently.

How to Deal With Crazy Law Partners

When explosive attorney Marc Kasowitz sent profanity-laden messages to a public relations professional, the law firm had to duck and cover. Ronald Rossi, a partner at the law firm handling President Trump's personal matters, explained the meltdown to reporters this way: "As crazy as this might seem, it's been very much business as usual."

"Crazy" too often is a given at busy law firms. But how should you deal with partners who are emotionally out of control?