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Expand Your Immigration Practice, Learn Deportation Defense

One man's crisis is another man's opportunity.

It's a harsh saying, but better than "one man's trash is another man's treasure" when it comes to immigration practice. At a time when America no longer raises a lamp to the wretched refuse, immigration lawyers have a greater opportunity to change lives.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association has launched an initiative to combat the Trump administration's policies against immigrants. It is an opportunity for attorneys to engage and learn deportation defense.

How to Determine Your Value, and Price Accordingly

It takes a conscience -- not a calculator -- to figure out the right hourly fee to charge clients.

Years ago, I learned this lesson in a divorce case. I charged the going hourly rate for my services, although the opportunity was there to work on a contingent fee. I could have made millions, but my conscience wouldn't let me.

Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.5, which prohibits contingent fees in divorces, also had something to do with it. Perhaps that is the best place to start when calculating the right attorney fee.

Immigrants Facing Deportation Offered Free Legal Help in San Francisco

Miguel, being held in a detention center because of a criminal conviction, was stumbling through a deportation hearing.

He didn't speak English well, he didn't have a lawyer, and the prosecutor wanted him deported immediately. The judge was threatening, too, because Miguel had not completed some paperwork.

"What can I do?" said Miguel, a legal resident who lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for almost a decade. "I don't know how to read. I don't know how to write. I couldn't fill it out."

The case is typical and repeated virtually every day throughout the United States, where nearly 40 percent of the immigrants facing deportation do not have legal assistance because they cannot afford it. They basically have no access to justice, except in a few cities that have set up special programs for them.

Is Your Personality to Blame for Lost Business?

What do you get when you cross a lawyer and a pig? Nothing, because there are some things a pig won't do.

If you didn't laugh at that one, maybe it's because you heard it before. But maybe it's because you can't take a joke. Seriously, one of the keys to being likeable is not to take yourself too seriously.

Whether you like it or not, your personality has a lot to do with business success. Here are some ways your lawyer personality may be to blame for lost business.

Selling Without Really Selling: Easy Sales Tips for Lawyers

A new client arrived at my office on a motorcycle and parked next to mine.

We talked about our rides, then went inside to talk business. In that first meeting, I told him he would need to deposit a $25,000 retainer. He gave me $50,000.

There was no sales pitch -- obviously no haggling. We were more like friends, and he wanted me to do a good job.

If you don't really like to sell, then try just being friendly. Here are some more tips:

How Safe Are FDA-Approved Drugs? New Study Confirms: Not Very Safe

Many drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration are not as safe you might think.

According to researchers, about one third of the drugs that are FDA-approved have safety issues later on. That results in recalls, warnings added to boxes, and notices about health risks.

For consumers, it means checking twice before you swallow once. For lawyers, it means mass torts, products liability and failure-to-warn.

Virtual Law Firms Are Seeking BigLaw Partners

Virtual law practice is nothing new to solo practitioners; they have been doing it successfully for decades.

With varied success, virtual practitioners cracked the ranks of mid-sized firms less than a decade ago. But now that some wrinkles have been ironed out, virtual law firms are luring BigLaw attorneys with the carrot of working from home.

According to American Lawyer, virtual firms like Culhane Meadows and FisherBroyles -- with 180 partners -- are breaking the mold of traditional law firms. And now they want the heavy hitters.

"Here, I can really work on matters pretty much at any level I choose to without it becoming cost prohibitive," said Jamal Edwards, who used to work at the 300-lawyer firm of Honigman Miller in Detroit.

More Lawyers Use Social Media, but Don't Know How It Helps

Almost all lawyers use social media but few know how it helps their practice, according to a new survey.

Attorney at Work, reporting results of its third annual social media marketing survey, said that 96 percent of the respondents regularly use social media. But barely seven percent believe social media is directly responsible for bringing in new clients.

And while more lawyers are using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, they don't really know whether social media marketing is more reality or hype.

The disconnect seems to be that most attorneys don't know how to use social media to get new business. Here are some ideas:

Is Your Firm Giving Millennials the Customer Service They Expect?

Have you ever seen grown-ups talking baby-talk to little children?

It's understandable why they do it, but it can get a little weird at times. People assume babies understand the gibberish, but actually it makes no more sense to the babies than to the adults.

That's kind of the problem with businesses trying to woo Millennials, as they vie to tap the buying power of a generation that now outnumbers Baby Boomers. They represent the biggest market in America, and law firms have noticed.

But it takes more than a Facebook page to communicate effectively with Millennials. Here's a primer on customer service for millennials:

Customer Service Tips for Your Law Practice

Sometimes lawyers forget that we are in the customer service business.

That's right, we are are in the same industry as the waiter, maitre d', and valet. Smiles for miles. The customer is always right. Tips are appreciated.

I'll never forget the client who gave me that first tip -- a $50 bill. Then there was the collectible artwork; the expensive watch; the silver bars -- all tips from appreciative clients.

We're not talking about making a living off of tips, here. We're talking about making a living off of good customer service. Here are some tips: