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Workplace Tips for Setting Up Small Law Firms

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 17, 2017 5:57 AM

Tips are like opinions: everybody has one.

That's not a great spin of the original phrase, but at least it's printable. What we're really talking about here is spinning some new ideas on setting up a small law firm. Because, seriously, aren't we a little tired of the same old song?

Here are some twists on the typical tips:

1. Location, Smokation

If you want to be a litigator, set up your practice near a courthouse. That's a no-brainer. But how 'bout ...

The employment law firm that opened its doors next door to the Employment Development Department? Or opening a tech practice inside a Twitter space? Children's lawyers next to LegoLand? Cannabis attorneys ...

Anyway, you get the point. Have fun with it. Here are some of the coolest office set-ups anywhere.

2. Inside, Outside

In one basketball strategy, the offense feeds the ball into the big man down low to shoot, or if a second defender approaches, to pass the ball to a man on the outside for an open shot.

Guess what? Even BigLaw is making adjustments to pressures inside the marketplace by going outside the big cities and downsizing. Small firms can do that, too, and more efficiently. Just like in basketball, the little guys can change directions a lot faster than the big guys.

It's about mobility, and in tech town today, mobile solutions are king. Use your imagination, like this guy.

3. Hello? Hello?

Answer the friggin' phone.

Like a any business, lawyers lose customers when they don't have good phone manners. This includes: 1) Answering the phone; 2) Having a live person answer, if possible; 3) Not placing callers on hold: 4) If call-holding is necessary, at least having good hold music; 5) Checking messages after hours.

By the way, answering machines and even answering services are not that expensive.

4. Compliance, Yes

There are too many workplace regulations to list here so go here. But how about linking them to your firm's website or through an app for your workers?

You still have to do the poster thing, however. The EEOC says electronic posting is supplemental; physical posting is mandatory.

5. Outsourcing, Maybe

Contract workers, payroll companies and other support services have long been part of American business. Lawyers use them, too, whether for court appearances, court reporting, messenger services, or discovery projects.

More lawyers are outsourcing digital tasks as well. In setting up a small practice, you may be able to delegate some tasks to Alexa -- Echo's version of Siri -- like calendaring appointments and sending reminders.

Digital offices assistants can't quite draft pleadings yet, but pretty soon everybody will have one.

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