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According to recent reports, 2018 was a great year for law firms. Net income, profits per partner, rate growth, demand, and productivity all increased.

The actual percentages of each metric above may not have reached record highs, but as the ABA Journal notes, this may be the best year for many firms in a decade. In one survey, it was reported that 61 percent of firms saw an increase in demand, year over year, and over 70 percent had increased profits per partner.

In the litigation over President Trump's alleged violations of the emoluments clause of the United States Constitution, a recently filed Amici Curiae brief by two scholars of law and linguistics goes into painstaking detail over what the word means.

The brief utilizes a scientific method of studying the meaning of language known as corpus linguistics. Basically, this method takes the actual usage of a word, in context, to understand what the word means. And in the case against Trump arising out of the emoluments clause, one of the president's primary arguments hinges upon the very meaning of the word.

In the world of online fundraising, otherwise basically known as crowdfunding, the opportunities are seemingly endless. In fact, lawyers and clients have successful crowdfunded litigation.

However, due to the relative newness of the crowdfunding sensation, those in the legal profession embracing it, have sort of been operating in murky ethical waters ... that is, until now. A recent ethics opinion issued by the District of Columbia's legal ethics committee explains that lawyers can in fact represent clients who pay via crowdfunding, but, as the ABA Journal reported, there are a few important caveats.

There's an old saying amongst reasonably prudent attorneys with a staff (and no rhythm): Dance like no one is watching, supervise nonlawyers like they're all actively trying to get you disbarred.

It's an unfortunate truth for many lawyers out there that their staff are not licensed lawyers and are not ultimately liable to the client or court (or your malpractice carrier) for their mistakes, negligence, or telling you that the hearing was at the wrong courthouse. Sure, you can have your staff member fill out a declaration for the court basically falling on their own hourly sword, but in the end, you have to explain that you failed because your staff failed and it's your fault.

One metro-Detroit lawyer is learning a hard lesson on how not to make clients angry: Don't use the word "free" unless you really mean it.

The lawyer is facing quite a bit of controversy and a state bar grievance over the fact that his clients were upset when their "no-fee" agreements for "free" debt defense legal services resulted in them not getting any of their own settlements because fees were deducted from their settlements. And though the retainer agreement is alleged to have spelled out this possibility clearly, as the Detroit Free Press showed, much of the attorney's advertising did not.

With the price of Bitcoin going absolutely bonkers, law firms, like many other businesses, are wondering whether they should accept, or even invest in, new, and even old, cryptocurrencies.

However, few cryptocurrencies will ever make it off the ground, and there are quite a few different ones out there. Choosing to accept one as payment for services has been okayed by at least one state bar, whose guidance seems to be good for just about every jurisdiction. However, you may want to think twice about whether or not you want to be the one to convert a digital currency to dollars or if you should leave the crypto-to-dollar conversion to the client that wants to use it.

Will New Tax Laws Help or Hurt Your Small Law Firm?

If a dog takes a smaller bite out of your leg, is that a benefit?

Didn't think so. Likewise, if the new tax laws take a smaller bite out of your business, it's still gonna hurt.

It is especially true for solo practitioners and small law firms. That's because a few new laws were made just for you -- woof, woof.

Tax Bites: Is the Season of Giving Over?

Taxpayers are rushing to claim deductions before the new tax bill goes into effect, and few know what their final bill will be.

According to reports, the tax legislation will be approved before Christmas and bring an end to certain deductions in the New Year. It will cap the amount of state, local, and property taxes individuals can deduct from their federal tax bills at $10,000.

But the new law may also cut into charitable deductions at this time of the year, according to one law professor. That's right, people are getting Scrooged.

Anything goes when it comes to collecting fees because collecting fees isn't easy, right? Well ... while collecting fees isn't easy, you surely know that anything does not go. In fact, often there are rather strict rules.

Complicating matters even further is the hesitancy among attorneys to discuss fee and billing issues not just with other attorneys, but even with clients. There's a fear that raising billing issues or problems with collecting fees will reflect poorly on the attorney or their firm, or may upset a client.

To help, here are five tips on client billing:

There are only a few things worse than sitting down to type out a motion, letter, or any other piece of writing and being struck with a case of writer's block. However, for attorneys, the writer's block problem is amplified because of the ethical issues surrounding billing. Can you bill the client for banging your fists against the keyboard while staring blankly at an empty word document?

Like bathroom breaks, or other short breaks, whether continuing to bill your client while working through your writer's block will depend on what you're doing to do so, and what's on your mind while doing it. While each state has its own set of legal ethics, generally, whether or not you can bill will depend on where your head is at.