Podcast category: Best Legal Practices

The Digital Edge

The ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services

The legal service industry has been changing rapidly, causing many lawyers to worry about the future of their practice. Many potential clients are now looking online for solutions to legal problems. Despite this, there is still a large percentage of the population without access to the legal services they need. In order to deal with this emerging legal marketplace shift, American Bar Association President William Hubbard formed the ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services. But what does the commission do and how is it benefitting lawyers and the general public alike?

In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview Judy Perry Martinez, chair of the ABA Presidential Commission on the Future of Legal Services. Martinez discusses specific actions the commission is taking to find solutions, including grassroots meetings across the country, a national summit, public hearings, and lawyer education. She explains how discussions with lawyers, judges, technology innovators, law students, academics, and law librarians bring awareness to issues in the changing legal landscape and encourages solution ideas. These changes present challenges and opportunities for lawyers today, but those who do not jump on board will likely be left behind.

Judy Perry Martinez is currently is spending a year in residence at Harvard where she is an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow. Previously, she has served as vice president and chief compliance officer of Northrop Grumman Corporation, a major aerospace and defense company. Prior to going in-house, she was a commercial litigator for 21 years at the New Orleans law firm of Simon, Peragine, Smith & Redfearn. Judy served as the ABA lead representative to the U.N. and has held many leadership positions in the ABA over the last 30 years, including service on the ABA Board of Governors and its executive committee, chair of the Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary and the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence, and chair of the ABA Young Lawyers Division.

Legal Toolkit

The Lean Startup: Eliminating Wasteful Practices in Your Law Firm?

The idea of a lean business was recently made popular by Eric Ries’s book, “The Lean Startup.” The lean concept involves eliminating waste and resources that don’t create value for the end client. This practice has become predominant in the tech world, in which companies create a minimum viable product, test it early and often, and adapt to client feedback. But how can we adapt lean concepts to law firms and the legal industry that is service-based? Where should a new law firm start?

In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Nicole Bradick, former litigator and chief strategy officer at Curo Legal, about what it means to have a lean business, how to apply lean concepts to law firms, and where new lawyers and established law firms can start. Bradick begins by clearly explaining the lean concept; the company builds a minimum viable product, measures how it helps clients, learns and adapts to feedback, and repeats the process. Lawyers can use lean concepts, she says, by making fewer initial assumptions about client needs and adapting to what works. She discusses how law firms should maintain low overheads to adjust for shifts in the market while adopting efficient practices to increase productivity. Cloud-based technologies like practice management systems, contact relationship management systems, email platforms, research tools, and document management systems can be beneficial in streamlining practices, but Bradick urges lawyers to properly learn to use the technologies or risk creating more problems. Obviously, starting a lean law firm is easier said than done, but it will likely be successful in this changing legal market.

Nicole Bradick is the chief strategy officer at Curo Legal, a company that provides practice management advice and consulting to law firms. Nicole previously founded and operated Custom Counsel, a legal services outsourcing company, until it was acquired by Curo Legal. Nicole has been named to the ABA Journal Legal Rebels List and to the Fastcase list of 50 global legal innovators.

Disclaimer: Please note that Heidi Alexander and Nicole Bradick refer to Eric Ries as David Ries.

Special Reports

ABA President-Elect Paulette Brown at the 2015 ABA National Summit

Paulette Brown will take the reigns as president of the American Bar Association on August 6th, 2015. Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti sits down with her at the ABA National Summit on Innovation in Legal Services to discuss the innovative solutions presented at the conference and Brown’s plans for her year as ABA president. Tune in to hear about access to justice programs already in practice, Brown’s plans for diversity and inclusion, and increased benefits to ABA members.

Special Reports

ABA National Summit: ‘Innovation Beyond the Legal Sphere’

Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti interviews Judit Rius Sanjuan, Ron Dolin, Denis Weil, and Professor Manny Medrano, panelists on ‘Innovation Beyond the Legal Sphere’ at the 2015 ABA National Summit on Innovation in Legal Services. The thought leaders outside the legal profession discuss solutions to the problem of access to legal services. Whether with increased incentivization or a change in legal education, the panelists discuss getting lawyers to engage in a multidisciplinary arena and open their minds to technological innovation.

Judit Rius is the U.S. Manager and a legal policy advisor of the Access Campaign team within Doctors Without Borders.

Ron Dolin is a legal technologist and research fellow at Stanford Law’s Center on
the Legal Profession. He also teaches at Notre Dame Law School.

Denis Weil is an Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University where he does research on community-based innovation. Most recently, he was corporate vice-president of design and innovation for McDonald’s Corporation.

Professor Manny Medrano is a broadcast journalist, adjunct law professor, trial lawyer, and founding partner of a white collar criminal boutique law firm in Pasadena, California.

Special Reports

ABA National Summit: A Legal Mentor with Judge Charles Harrington and Mark Britton

Former Legal Talk Network host and Fellow at CodeX Monica Bay interviews Judge Charles Harrington and Avvo CEO Mark Britton at the 2015 ABA National Summit on Innovation in Legal Services. As Britton’s uncle and mentor, Judge Harrington talks about giving advice to a younger lawyer and maintaining balance in his own life. Britton discusses the immense help he had from his support systems and how discussing his decisions led to career and life success. They both advise young lawyers to prepare, consider their options, and work hard. There is no simple formula for success.

Honorable Charles V. Harrington is a judge for the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County, Arizona. He attended Gonzaga University School of Law where he received his J.D. (magna cum laude).

Prior to founding Avvo in 2006, Mark Britton was the Executive Vice President of
Worldwide Corporate Affairs of InterActiveCorp Travel (IACT) and Expedia, Inc. He
was also Expedia’s first general counsel. Mark received his law degree from George Washington University.

The Digital Edge

Website Wizardry: The Right SEO for Your Law Firm

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become an incredibly popular term in marketing, but many lawyers (and most business owners) are still confused about what SEO is and how to hire the right SEO consultant. Furthermore, having an online presence is not all about SEO. Online marketing can be frustrating and confusing, but it is essential for almost all law firms today. So where should lawyers start?

In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview attorney and marketing consultant Jennifer Ellis about what SEO is, why it is so complicated and expensive, and steps lawyers and law firms can take to start marketing online. Fundamentally, she explains, SEO means optimizing your law firm’s website so that people searching for your services in your area will find you on the results page. For example, if you own a family law firm in Phoenix, you want people who are searching in Google or Bing for “How do I find a divorce lawyer in Phoenix?” to find your law firm in the results. Due to complicated Google, Bing, and Yahoo algorithms and factors like mobile-friendliness, valuable content, and anti-spam rules, Ellis estimates that high-quality SEO should cost from $3,000 to $10,000 a month. If you are a solo or small firm with a limited marketing budget, she gives several other online marketing suggestions including running Pay Per Click campaigns or boosting social media posts. Ellis has suggestions for any lawyer or law firm on any budget and she strongly advises lawyers to spend some time on their online presence.

Jennifer Ellis is an ethics and legal malpractice attorney with the personal injury firm of Lowenthal & Abrams, P.C. where she also manages the firm’s online presence. In addition, Ellis is a marketing consultant, assisting law firms with their websites, social media, and other aspects of their online presence.

Special thanks to our sponsor, ServeNow.

In-House Legal

Vertical Promotion is Not Always the Route to General Counsel

Louise Parent served as general counsel and executive vice president of American Express from 1993 until 2013 and has since been Of Counsel at the firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. For eight years at AMEX, Parent worked to prevent and remove global anti-competitive barriers caused by Visa and Mastercard rules. But before that, she had a strategic path to general counsel, one that did not always involve vertical promotion or even a strictly legal direction.

In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Louise Parent about her ambitious path to general counsel of AMEX, how she successfully dealt with AMEX’s battle with Visa and Mastercard in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, and how the role of general counsel has changed since 1993. She discusses how she started in state legislative affairs but migrated to typical corporate practice by taking on more complicated tasks as available. Parent then decided to become general counsel of a subsidiary, at best a lateral move. In that position, however, she learned to show value to the sales process as a lawyer, she learned how to work with an executive team, and was confronted with a wide variety of legal issues. After discussing the litigation with Visa and Mastercard, Parent then reveals how technology and regulation has changed the role of a general counsel. It is now imperative to become involved in the business as a whole, be familiar with the global legal climate, and understand the expectations of regulators.

Louise Parent is Of Counsel at the firm of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She joined American Express in 1977 and was General Counsel and Executive Vice President from 1993 to 2013. Louise is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bank AG, and the director of Zoetis Inc., a multi-billion dollar animal health company. Louise has bought, sold, litigated, and counseled at the highest levels and has an interesting perspective from both sides of the big law divide.

ABA Journal: Asked and Answered

So you want to practice overseas?

Have you ever daydreamed about having a career abroad? Before saying “bon voyage,” you should know what’s involved. In this month’s Asked and Answered podcast, moderator Stephanie Francis Ward will find out tips and advice on developing a practice beyond U.S. borders.

The Florida Bar Podcast

The Florida Courts E-Filing Portal

In 2013, the Florida Court Clerks and Comptrollers (FCCC) launched a statewide e-filing portal for civil, criminal, and Florida Supreme Court cases. As usually happens with technological changes, many legal professionals were caught off guard. Navigating drop-down menus and searching for the right documents can be very confusing. So what are some things Florida lawyers can do to make using the portal easier?

In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, Adriana Linares interviews Carolyn Weber, program manager for the design and implementation of the portal, and Tom Hall, lawyer and consultant to the FCCC. Together, they discuss the major issues lawyers have with the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal and tips on document requirements. Weber mentions the main subjects called in to support staff and suggests that lawyers watch the various YouTube videos that explain each page of the portal. Hall explains that attorneys, in fact, should give their documents generic names (most attorneys prefer to be specific). Listen to the end to learn about removing metadata properly or potentially revealing attorney-client privilege information.

Carolyn Weber has designed, developed, and implemented automated document production programs, electronic case filing, and case management systems for the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida and the Orange County Clerk of Courts. In 2013, she joined the FCCC in November 2012 as Program Manager to help in the design and implementation of the Florida Courts E-Filing Portal.

Tom Hall is an appellate attorney with The Mills Firm in Tallahassee, Florida. He is also President of TLH Consulting Group and he currently serves as a consultant to the FCCC providing non-legal advice to the Portal Authority Board. Hall serves as vice chair of the Technology Committee of The Florida Bar’s Vision 2016 Commission.

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