Law Firm Rainmaking for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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Certain practice areas are like a leather jacket: They never go out of style. Personal injury, estate planning, and criminal defense will always be there. But is there something more you could be doing?

As it turns out, there is. Changing technology, government policies, and legal environments mean that there are more opportunities than ever to expand your practice into new areas. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

The online legal researcher. The one whose non-lawyer friends know better. The one who wants updates daily. The one who wants to double-check your work. There are a lot of kinds of irritating clients out there, and while any one of these people might be tolerable, there may come a point where you just can't stand it anymore. You're going to have to quit representation.

How to do it? Well, there's the ethical way, which is heavily circumscribed. Then there's the tactful way, for which there are no state rules.

So what's the best way to go about firing a client?

There's really nothing worse than a client who has a strictly casual relationship with the truth. (Well, maybe that and a client who can't pay you.) When clients lie, it makes life difficult for everyone and makes you look like a schmuck; attorney-client privilege sort of precludes exclaiming, "But he swore up and down he didn't have any other assets!" But even if no one else finds out about the lie, it harms your ability to represent your client. One lie begets another; how do you know that everything isn't a lie? Finding out requires time, which means money.

In order to fend off the possible sanctions, the bruised ego, or something as prosaic as opportunity cost, how can you make sure that your client is telling the truth? (Note that this advice isn't for clients who plan to lie to a tribunal, but rather clients who aren't being forthright with you.) Here are five signs to look out for:

Time to select the jury. A hundred people from around town file into the courtroom, upset that they have to be there at all, even more upset that they had to wait so long, and all of them claiming to have a prepaid vacation.

And just your luck: There's a lawyer in the pool. Do you really want a lawyer on your jury? Here are some pros and cons to consider:

The rise of house-sharing via services like Airbnb raises an interesting question: Could this open the door for ADA lawsuits?

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides for a private right of action by disabled people against establishments that aren't ADA complaint. It's hard to dispute that the Act has been great for ensuring equal access to public facilities for everyone, regardless of ability or disability.

But with the rise of the "sharing economy" and cities regulating Airbnb rentals as though they were hotels, could house-sharing become the next battleground for ADA violations? (Answer: probably.)

Making a Good Impression With Clients: 3 Simple Tips

They say that image is everything, but it isn't: Substance is. Unfortunately, clients can't just look at you and know the quality of your legal work. They tend to judge you on the image you project. With that in mind, here are a few tips to make sure you're making a good impression:

1. Dress Appropriately.

You and your client will feel more comfortable if you look the part. If you're not sure what's appropriate, look at what other lawyers are wearing in your area and choose clothes that are just a little higher quality and a little more conservative. If you want specific advice, you can't do better than John T. Malloy's classic books on how to dress for success. They are a bit dated, but they are based on research on how to make a favorable impression rather than a fashion statement, and that makes them unique.

3 Ways to Find an Expert Witness

Litigators are nothing without a good expert in their pocket.

You can hang all the billboards you want, make indescribably amazing Super Bowl commercials or really bad ads, and line up dozens of clients in neck braces in your lobby, but without an expert to testify that her neck really is hurting from whiplash, your case is probably hopeless.

It's not just personal injury attorneys that need experts either. Criminal law, patent and IP disputes, and pretty much all litigation can come down to a battle of the experts.

It's December. Eleven months ago, you made some promises to yourself known as New Year's resolutions, and if you're like most people, you probably didn't make it past July. So how can you break that trend? Easy, just make resolutions you can actually stick to.

As an attorney at a small firm, or owner of your own small firm, you're in the distinct position of being a lawyer -- and business owner; your resolutions should reflect that. Here are our top five resolutions for small firm owners -- and we promise, you can definitely stick with them for all of 2014.

Personal Injury Videos: Should You Use Them?

Have you ever thought about using the services of a video production company -- not to make a cheesy lawyer TV ad -- but to create personal injury videos for use in legal proceedings?

The videos, which are typically used in litigation, mediation, and arbitration, give a bird's eye view of how an injury affects a plaintiff (or in a wrongful death suit, the victim's loved ones) or how an accident occurred.

Here's an overview of common types of videos used in personal injury cases and a few of their caveats.

The ABA Journal recently reported that a new online lawyer referral service "recently received $690,000 in angel investor funding." But that's not what grabbed our attention ... it was the company's name, Lawdingo.

Lawdingo? What's a Lawdingo? It sounds like a character out of a Dr. Seuss book, but we assure you, it's not.