Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

June 2010 Archives

Victory for Attorneys in the Financial Reform Bill

On June 29, the ABA announced that its efforts to spare those in the practice of law from what it says would be unnecessary federal regulation were successful. After much work, the new Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 will have language supported by the ABA which includes an "exclusion for the practice of law."

The bill, which has just emerged from the Conference Committee, provides that the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "may not exercise any supervisory or enforcement authority with respect to an activity engaged in by an attorney as part of the practice of law under the laws of a State in which the attorney is licensed to practice law."

U.S News Best Firm Rankings: How Will They Decide?

As if the U.S. News & World Report rankings of the nation's top law schools did not draw enough ire and fire from alumni and the legal community as a whole, attorneys can now look forward to the U.S. News-Best Lawyers Best Law Firms Rankings. The first salvo of Best Firm Rankings is due to be fired this coming September.

For those interested in just how U.S. News plans to rank law firms, the paper has released some information regarding the methodology it will use in ranking firms. First, who will be asked to rank the firms? According to U.S. News, surveys were sent to 52,480 clients of law firms; to 43,900 practicing lawyers in the United States including every American lawyer listed in Best Lawyers; to 2,314 law firm marketing officers; to 2,322 law firm recruiting officers; to 8,597 law firms without marketing or recruiting contacts; to 2,322 associates at law firms and 1,775 law firm summer associates. The client and lawyer surveys collected mostly "reputational ratings" on such areas as expertise, cost-effectiveness and responsiveness.

Local Lawyers Make Good: 2010 Pro Bono Publico Awards

During the annual meeting of The American Bar Association in San Francisco on August 9, the ABA will announce the recipients of this year's 2010 Pro Bono Publico Awards. Each year, the ABA recognizes the outstanding contributions made by some of its members to volunteer legal services. Pro bono work is one of the duties and privileges of the practice of law.

The 2010 awards will be given to three individuals and two law firms by ABA resident Carolyn B. Lamm. Speaking about the recipients of this year's awards, President Lamm said, "The pro bono work that these individuals and firms contribute to their communities without charge demonstrates how the legal profession delivers on the promise of equal justice for all."

11th Circuit to Hear Florida Legal Web Marketing Case

It is beginning to seem to the casual observer that the Florida Bar is being a bit slow in adapting to the ways by which attorneys in their state are using the web to market themselves. The Bar's rules of ethics are making it difficult for attorneys in that state to use a website tag line and, in a separate issue, possibly even blogs, to market their legal skills to the wide audience to be found online.

The first issue comes from an on-going case about to be heard before the 11th Circuit. According to a report by News4, in that case, the firm of Harrell and Harrell is suing the Florida Bar Association for the right to continue to use the website tag line "Don't settle for less than you deserve." The firm also uses the line in their TV ads.

Real Handbags, Fake Attorney: Gucci's Lawyer Problems

This fashionable story of legal misbehavior has more layers than an Ashley Olsen outfit. The first begins with a lawyer not being a real lawyer, or so opposing counsel would like to claim. Jonathan Moss was employed by the fashion house Gucci as an attorney. Somehow, during a trademark infringement dispute with the company Guess it came to light that Moss, hired and promoted as such by Gucci, was not actually an active member of the California Bar. Another layer; Guess is now trying to exempt all of Moss's communications about the case from attorney-client privilege protections on the grounds he wasn't actually an attorney.

June 15 Webinar: Market Your Firm Online

Learning some new and effective ideas for online legal marketing can be as easy as logging on. On June 15, a free webcast will be presented by Florida attorney Howard Weitzner, from the Miami firm of Greenberg & Stone, and FindLaw Senior Account Manager Stefani Link, who will speak about law firm marketing and how attorneys can use the power of the Internet to connect with new clients.

Kessler Shines Light, Humor, on 'Dangerous Law Practice'

When we think about legal technology tools, we often think about tools to help us solve complicated problems, such as needing to tame the terra-bytes of data associated with a law practice. Judd Kessler, Esq., founder of Abacus Data Systems, Inc. and creator of AbacusLaw software knows a thing or two about that.

However, in his book, Dangerous Law Practice: Myths, Lies and Stupidity, Kessler uses humor and insight to show us how technology can help combat not only new and complex problems, but also the many myths and pieces of bad advice plaguing those just starting out or trying to grow a legal practice.