Law Firm Rainmaking for Small Law Firms - Strategist
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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.

At a small firm, maintaining and expanding your client base is absolutely necessary for growing your business. Maybe you don't have a large marketing budget for a fancy website, or maybe you're in small-town setting. Regardless of what situation you're in, you have the most valuable marketing tool of all -- you.

By getting more involved in your community, you can expand your network of contacts -- and potential clients. While all these options are free, they do take time and a little bit of effort. But, if you get involved in your community with honesty and sincerity, your integrity will be paid off in the form of new, lasting client relationships.

Here's how you can get involved in your community to build your client base.

Even though you shunned BigLaw and work in a smaller firm setting, doesn't mean that you have to give up on working for big name corporate clients. You can still work on challenging cases, and get experience with large companies in small firm.

Here are three reasons small firms are attractive legal options for large corporate clients.

Trying a New Business Model? Ask for an Advisory Opinion

Thanks to television advertising, many of us have fond memories of our hometown personal injury attorneys’ commercials. In South Louisiana, where I grew up, there were two attorneys whose slogans dominated the air waves: Morris Bart (“I’m Morris Bart, and I’m on your side”) and E. Eric Guirard (“Get the E guarantee!”).

Bart is still going strong. Guirard was disbarred in 2009.

There are plenty of sketchy things that warrant disbarment — charging excessive fees, witness-tampering, etc — but Guirard’s sins were comparably tame. He was disbarred because his business model violated the rules of professional responsibility.

Small Firms Can Learn from DLA Piper 'Churn That Bill, Baby' Mess

Perhaps you've heard about DLA Piper's "churn that bill, baby" debacle.

Last week, the New York Times' Dealbook reported that internal correspondence from DLA Piper -- disclosed in a fee dispute between the firm and Adam H. Victor -- included casual quips about the firm's overbilling practices. DLA Piper attorneys joked in the emails, "I hear we are already 200k over our estimate -- that's Team DLA Piper!" and noted that the firm had "random people working full time on random research projects in standard 'churn that bill, baby!' mode."

Tired of the Rat Race? Tips to Sell Your Practice

After years of the small law life, you decide that you would rather fill your days with bocce ball than 12(b)(6). Don't just turn off the lights and take down your shingle; consider whether you could actually make a tidy little profit by selling your practice.

It's like Rod Blagojevich with Obama's vacated Senate seat, but without the indictment-worthy conflicts: You've got this thing (your practice) and it's ... golden. Don't just give it up for nothing. In most states, you can sell your practice to another qualified attorney.

But before you rush into anything, the American Bar Association has a few tips for selling your practice.

Want to Make Your Firm More Productive? Add Nap Time

Why do we leave nap time behind as we grow up?

In preschool, conventional wisdom says that kids need a nap because they become whiny and cranky without one. Does anyone believe that adults are different? Take a look around your office at 1 or 2 or 3 p.m. Hang out by the coffee machine for 5 minutes to watch your fellow office zombies attempt to caffeinate their way through the afternoon. Then try telling yourself that adults who wake up early and stay up late don’t need a nap.

Or — since we all know that you want to justify napping in the office — we could just turn to the science for support.