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Let Out a Battle Cry: How to Motivate Your Law Firm Team

Before a game, basketball players huddle up, touch fists, and let out a battle cry.

Football, baseball, volleyball, soccer, and virtually all team players do the same. It is a ritual, perhaps born in a time when tribes assembled before going out to hunt or battle.

So what's that got to do with managing a law firm? Well, maybe it's time to huddle up and motivate your team. It has to start on the inside because it's a war out there.

Want to be a lawyer and work from home? We don't blame you. The commute is shorter, the dress code is looser, and your family (or at least your pets) are right by. Luckily for you, working as a lawyer from a home office is fairly common, and becoming commoner. Even the biggest firms are letting attorneys work from home some of the time these days.

So, if you want to locate your law practice down the hall from your living room, you can. Here are some tips to help you out, taken from the FindLaw archives.

In the spring, a young man's fancy might turn to thoughts of love, if you believe Tennyson, but for the rest of us, well, we'll content ourselves with a little extra sunshine and a healthy bout of cleaning. For lawyers and legal professionals, the season, which officially started last Monday, is a good time to take stock of your practice, straighten things up, and maybe finish up some housekeeping items you've put off over the past months.

So, to help you out, here is some of our best spring cleaning advice, from the FindLaw archives. For the thoughts of love, though, you're on your own.

Gender Bias in Silicon Valley and Beyond

Two years ago this month, one of the nation's biggest venture capital firms prevailed in the most-watched gender discrimination case in the history of the Silicon Valley.

Ellen Pao, a former partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, accused her former employer of discriminating against her because of her sex. The firm, which has funded Google, Amazon, and hundreds of tech companies, won the lawsuit and then quietly moved on.

As for gender discrimination in the Silicon Valley, however, not so much. According to reports, women are still fighting an uphill battle for equality in the high tech hub of the world.

Working from home isn't just for tech workers and Instagram celebrities anymore. About one quarter of the workforce telecommutes frequently, a number that's more than doubled over the past decade.

Now, that number is starting to include more and more BigLaw associates. Morgan Lewis, Philadelphia's largest law firm with 2000 attorneys across almost 30 offices, announced last week that it will let its associates work from home starting this May.

5 Lessons From Failed Law Firms

They say if we don't learn from the mistakes of the past, we are doomed to repeat them.

So let's look at some of the biggest law firm fails to see what we can learn. Why did they fail? The simple answer would be: they weren't making enough money. But that's like saying the car stopped because it ran out of gas. Let's get into the specifics of why these firms failed, and what we can learn.

Consider the Disabled in Your Practice Plans

When the Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzano went blind, her admirer Pellegrino Turri invented a typing machine so that she could write letters. And thus began a story of innovation and romance that has left its mark for more than 200 years.

Lawyers can take a page from this history. The typewriter was born of a blind woman's necessity, but it became a tool for writers of every kind. By looking for ways to serve the disabled, attorneys may discover new ways to serve all their clients. It is not about disability; it is about accessibility.

Tax Tips for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers

They say there are two things that are certain in life: death and taxes.

Between the two, most will say that taxes are preferable. Except perhaps those people who get audited. They might choose death.

In any case, whether you have filed your tax returns this year or not, there is always next year to consider. Here are some tax tips for solo and small firm lawyers to file away:

Prospective Clients Hang up When on Hold, Study Finds

'Thanks for calling. Please hold.'

Click.

That's what happens when you put a prospective client on hold for too long, according to a study by an audio-branding company. And lawyers are some of the worst call-holding offenders.

PH Media Group, which called 2,695 businesses across the country for the study, reports that law firms put their callers on hold for an average of 36.07 seconds--longer than the national average.

Whether you're a Boomer or a Gen Xer, a Millennial or a Korean War vet, if you're running a legal practice today, you're probably working with people from across three or four generations. That's because there are currently four distinct generations in the American workplace, with the youngest generation, Millennials born between the early 1980s and 2000s, now making up the largest chunk of the workforce.

Each generation brings with it unique characteristics and perspectives that can add value to your practice -- or catch you completely off guard. Thankfully, Sally Kane, an attorney and writer, recently surveyed how to manage, and hopefully to benefit from, these multigenerational differences in The Balance. Here's some of the best tips, broken down by generation.