Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

February 2011 Archives

Want to avoid being found in contempt? Don't advise your clients to reclaim their property after it has been foreclosed on.

But that's just what Michael T. Pines of Ventura County did, and then some. Pines has now been ordered to pay $2,000 in fines and over $34,000 in legal fees. He was fortunate enough to avoid incarceration. The matter began after an investment company bought the home at auction and had to fight Pines clients who retook possession of the foreclosed home in Simi Valley.

Will Render Litigators Obsolete?

Q: What is a JabberJury?

A: The future jury of America.

Well, maybe. JabberJury is a website that invites users to post their disputes online. Both parties upload videos explaining their side of the dispute, and then the site opens the floor up to an online jury that then comments, and eventually votes for a winner. Users also earn "Jabbies"--credits that can be redeemed for prizes, swag, or donated to charities, which means they show up willingly and ready to work. It's the ultimate jury of one's peers.

Watch Out for Attorney Burnout Says New York Bar Assn.

Technology has improved the ability of lawyers to provide quality legal advice to their clients. However, its impact on the actual lives of lawyers may not be so positive.

The New York State Bar Association has released a report on the future of the legal profession. The report details the impact of an increasingly globalized legal field. With the outsourcing of legal work to other countries and competition from non-legal service providers, law firms are in a bind. Clients can go anywhere these days, which has pushed lawyers to implement a "better-faster-cheaper" work model, according to the report.

Are Lawyers Reading Law Firm Client Alerts?

No one likes to wake up to a full inbox.

Scratch that.

No one likes to wake up to a full inbox of useless information hiding their important e-mails. It wastes time and there's always the risk of deleting something essential.

Think about this the next time you send a client alert.

Judge Tells Jury to Deliberate at 3 am to Save Her Vacation

He who shall mess with the judge's vacation time shall find himself in contempt.

Well, not really. But it may seem like it.

Last year, Clark County District Court Judge Valorie Vega set aside four weeks on her calendar for a murder trial. When the trial took nearly two weeks longer, she held its participants hostage. Trial proceedings continued until 3 a.m., when the jury began deliberations, reports the ABA Journal.

New Law Practice Management Tools Debut at LegalTech

Are you looking for new technology that will help you with your practice? There are two new law practice management tools that help attorneys manage documents for e-discovery.

While there are many attorneys attempting to do e-discovery on their own, sometimes it does help to work with companies that specialize in document management. The first is DiscoverReady and the second is M-Files. Attorneys who recently attended the 2011 LegalTech Conference got first-hand views of both services.

Top Tips to Running a Successful Law Practice

What can we learn from John Cioffi, co-author of "6 Habits of Highly Successful Managers," as it applies to running a successful law practice? Cioffi put together the Six Habits of Highly Successful Managers which is designed to compel you to do the Right Things (good leadership) as well as to do Things Right (good management).

Habit 1 - Set goals all the time

Law firms could certainly benefit from goal setting. If your firm is just drifting along, why not set aside some time to plan for the future. Give your firm a target to aim for.

Bellagio Heist: Vegas Judge's Son Arrested with Bellagio Chips

You might think that because you know the law and teach it to your children that they will stay on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. The recent case involving the Bellagio heist and the son of Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge George Assad illustrates the point.

According to police, Anthony Carleo first bragged about how easy it would be to rob the Bellagio casino and steal high value Bellagio chips. Then Carleo went through with the armed robbery and surprisingly got away. But the son of George Assad did not have the good sense to lay low after the Bellagio heist. Instead, he continued gambling at the Bellagio and made feeble attempts to fence the stolen Bellagio chips, the Denver Post reports.

FirmSite, Cloud Computing Can Help Your Law Business

So what's big this year at LegalTech 2011? Cloud and mobile. FindLaw president Karl Florida was in the thick of the legal technology event talking about FirmSite Premium and cloud computing.

"We're seeing a lot of interest in cloud computing, we're seeing mobile become part of the legal technology landscape for real, and we're seeing a lot of interest in social media. So law firms are wrestling with how social media affects their practice and also their marketing," Florida said. Videos of his insights are available on YouTube.

New Louisiana Lawyer Ad Restrictions Unconstitutional

Lawyers get to advertise too.

So said the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, after striking down a ban in Louisiana for results-oriented lawyer advertising. The rule was part of the Louisiana State Bar's rules of professional conduct. The bar rules expressly prohibited testimonials and information about positive results, even if completely factual. For attorneys who believe in the right to advertise their services, the ruling was considered at least a partial victory, the Associated Press reports.

The court also ruled against the Louisiana State Bar's complete ban on portraying the justice system with settings like a judge or jury in attorney advertising. The court uphold rules that prohibit attorneys in Louisiana from using nicknames, trade names, mottos and slogans "that imply an ability to obtain results."