Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Recently in Law Firm Business Category

It seems to be a near constant lament of new lawyers and those that hire them, that law schools don't teach lawyers any business skills or how to actually practice. But have you ever considered going back to school to learn to be better at business?

Sure, legal business may be a bit different. But many of the skills you'll learn are highly transferable. And thanks to the world we live in, you can do that without actually having to go anywhere or pay anything. Simply put, if you feel like you're not making enough money at your practice, you might want to consider taking a few online business courses to give your business a boost.

Most Small Firm Challenges Don't Involve the Law

In the course of a year, small firm lawyers are working for free after mid-July.

That's because they spend about 40 percent of their time doing non-billable work. It is one of the tough realities of small-firm practice.

According to a new report, the biggest challenges have nothing to do with the law. It's just business.

When to Sue Co-Counsel: Only If It Hurts

Good lawyers know to tell clients not to sue if it's not worth it -- financially.

Especially those clients who say it's about principal; they better have more dollars than sense.

So the same should apply when an attorney considers suing co-counsel. Don't do it unless you got really hurt -- financially.

22 Million Reasons Not to Give Clients Financial Advice

Every lawyer knows that the vast majority of cases settle, and often on the courthouse steps.

So it was no big surprise that Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft settled a malpractice case against the firm on the eve of trial. However, the $22 million price tag was a bit of surprise.

How does a reputable law firm get stung with a big malpractice award? Let's just say there are 22 million reasons lawyers shouldn't give financial advice to clients.

How to Prepare Clients for Sticker Shock

"How much is your retainer?" the client asked.

"That will be $25,000," the lawyer responded.

"Let's make it $50,000," the client told the shocked attorney.

True story, but it doesn't usually happen like that. Most of the time, you have to prepare the client for sticker shock.

Does Your Law Firm Need an 'Infant on Board' Program?

A "Baby on Board" sign outside a law firm does not mean rookie lawyers are inside.

That would be the "Children at Play" sign. Just kidding, new lawyers don't have time to play anyway.

Seriously, there are attorneys who have lowered the age for take-your-kid-to-work day. They call it the "Infant-at-Work" program.

The End of PACER Fees?

A new bill proposes to eliminate PACER fees, making electronic documents downloaded from federal courts free.

The Electronic Court Records Reform Act would prohibit courts from charging for downloads, which currently cost as much as 10 cents a page. The measure is before the House Judiciary Committee.

If approved, it would change a significant part of the system since it was launched in 1988. For some, it has been a long time coming.

Judge Doubles Down on Contempt for Half-Asked Production

Tim Eyman apparently didn't hear the judge the first time.

Judge James Dixon ordered him to produce financial records in a lawsuit that accuses Eyman of using campaign donations for personal use. The judge also fined him $500 a day for any delay in producing the documents.

When Eyman turned over five files to the attorney general's office, however, the judge said it wasn't enough. Now it's $1,000 a day.

The American Bar Association Working Group to Advance Well-Being in the Legal Profession has created a pledge for law firms to commit to in order to help ensure lawyers can take care of their mental well-being and are not pressured into making unhealthy decisions.

The pledge was created in response to survey results from last year that showed that mental health and substance abuse problems are more prevalent than previously believed. Over 20 percent of lawyers responding to the survey reported problematic alcohol use, and nearly 30 percent suffered depression. Given these results, if firms aren't careful, they could be bringing up those averages of 1 in 3 lawyers being depressed, and 1 in 5 having a drinking problem. That's where the ABA's Pledge comes in.

Two Keys to Best Practices for Client Intake

Client intake is like air intake for your car.

If your car doesn't have air coming into the engine, you are not going anywhere. The air intake brings a fresh, life-giving resource that you need to go.

That's how it works in law practice, too. Here are two keys to make sure you've got good client intake.