Podcast category: Best Legal Practices

Legal Toolkit

What You Need to Know When Starting A Law Firm

Many lawyers today are thinking about going solo or starting their own firms. But running a law firm is like running a business, which involves much more than providing legal services. You have to think about billing and business management, when to accept and reject clients, and maintaining a calm composure under a stressful situation. What goes into planning to start your own practice, what essential items should you purchase first, and should you even go out on your own right now?

In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Ben Carter, a Louisville attorney who started a solo practice after spending years at the Kentucky Legal Aid Society, about his experience and advice for others. He recommends newly solo lawyers keep overheads low, run the firm like a startup business, and spend some time in a bigger law firm first (if possible) to acquire the substantive and marketplace experience needed. Ben then discusses what lawyers would need to purchase first: a high end paper scanner, a computer, and malpractice insurance. The interview is packed with useful advice like how much money you might need to save before starting your firm and why choosing the right niche can make up for many other missteps. Tune in to hear this any many more technology, process, and life tips from a successful solo lawyer.

After spending many years defending homeowners from foreclosure for the Kentucky Legal Aid Society, Louisville attorney Ben Carter decided to start a solo practice. In addition to running a solo practice, Ben co-hosts the podcast “Let’s Start a Firm,” in which they tackle topics like why an attorney might want to start their own firm, loan forgiveness, office space, office supplies, banking, trust accounting, entity selection, insurance, technology, legal research and writing, and more.

Special thanks to our sponsors Amicus Attorney and Scorpion.

Special Reports

ABA TECHSHOW 2016: Bringing Affordable Legal Services to the Masses

Helping to ensure that all citizens have a voice within the judicial system is a passion that inspires many to become lawyers. However, statistically, access to justice still remains an issue that the profession struggles. In this Special Report host Ray Abadin sits down with CEO and Founder of Avvo Inc. Mark Britton to discuss his ABA TECHSHOW 2016 presentation entitled,”Atticus Finch, and Access: Bringing Quality and Affordable Legal Services to the Masses.” The conversation opens with Mark explaining how there are consumers who need to understand their legal situation, lawyers who need to  turn those consumers into clients, and a void of communication between the two. He then goes on to share a bit of Avvo’s history and the experiences that led him to start the company. The discussion wraps with Mark shedding some insight into the benefits of greater interactivity and community between, and for, both consumers and lawyers.

Mark Britton is the founder and CEO of Avvo, Inc. Prior to founding Avvo, Mark was the executive vice president of Worldwide Corporate Affairs of InterActiveCorp Travel (IACT) and Expedia, Inc. He received his law degree from George Washington University and holds a degree in finance from Gonzaga University. Mark serves on Gonzaga’s Board of Regents.

Special Reports

ABA TECHSHOW 2016: Collaboration Tools That Save You Time

Let’s face it. Email is inefficient when collaborating with multiple people on documents or projects. There are now independent collaboration tools that streamline processes and reduce the time you spend searching for information. Jonathan Tobin discusses these new tools with Jared Correia during ABA TECHSHOW 2016. One of the hosts of the presentation, “Realtime Collaboration Isn’t Just for Conference Rooms Anymore,” Tobin talks about how lawyers who work together in systems like Google Docs rather than sending emails back and forth can really save time.

Jonathan Tobin graduated from UCLA School of Law. He studied intellectual property, business and international law and served as one of the two editors-in-chief of the UCLA Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs. Jonathan received his J.D. from the University of California School of Law.

Paralegal Voice

What Paralegals Need to Know About Going Paperless

Going paperless seems to be one of the top new trends among law firms due to cheaper and better hardware and software, refined processes, and effective consulting. And it is especially important for paralegals to know the do’s and don’ts of implementing a paperless office as they may be the ones in charge. So why are so many firms going paperless and how is it done effectively?

In this episode of The Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin interviews practice management advisor and former paralegal JoAnn Hathaway about why law firms should go paperless, the risks and perils of improper execution, and the important role paralegals play in this process.

Topics include:

  • JoAnn’s journey from paralegal to practice management advisor
  • Can a law firm or business actually go completely paperless?
  • Gaining the competitive edge with efficiency and organization
  • What hardware, software, and processes you need
  • Mobile lawyering and cloud computing options
  • Implementation risks and the ten perils of bad policy
  • Assigning specific tasks to law firm staff members
  • Why and how to get everyone on board
  • The importance of having a paralegal intricately involved
  • Synchronization and compatibility of hardware and software

JoAnn L. Hathaway works for the State Bar of Michigan as a practice management advisor. She previously worked as a litigation paralegal, a legal liability claims director and risk manager, and a legal administrator. JoAnn is an Adobe Acrobat Certified Expert, and holds software certifications in LexisNexis Time Matters and Billing Matters software.  She is active in the ABA Law Practice Management Division, serving on the Publications Board and the State and Local Bar Outreach Committee. JoAnn is a frequent speaker on law firm technology, insurance, and risk and practice management topics.

Special thanks to our sponsors, Boston UniversityNALA, and ServeNow.

Special Reports

ABA Midyear Meeting 2016: The Spirit of Excellence Awards

In this Special Report, Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti sits down with The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession Chair Will Gunn to discuss the Spirit of Excellence Awards and the 2016 recipients. The conversation opens with a brief history of The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and an exploration of its goal to eliminate bias and increase opportunities for all members of the profession. Will then gives some insight into the nomination process for the award and the criteria used to determine the finalists. He also takes a moment to introduce us to the four recipients: William Mitchell College of Law Professor of Law Sarah Deer, Illinois Department of Labor Director of Labor Hugo Chaviano, Temple University Beasley School of Law Dean and Professor of Law Joanne A. Epps, and The Marquez Law Group principal Victor M. Marquez. Laurence and Will then wrap up the conversation with a focus on the career-long struggles and achievements that made these candidates the 2016 Spirit of Excellence Award winners.

Will Gunn is the chair for The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. He is a consultant and practices law in Washington, D.C. Will is also a retired Air Force Judge Advocate General and formerly served as the general council for the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.

Special Reports

ABA Midyear Meeting 2016: Bar Associations Collaborate to Increase Diversity

In this Special Report, Legal Talk Network producer Laurence Colletti sits down with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association President Jin Hwang, partner at Cooper & Dunham Robert Maldonado, and commercial litigator for Goldman Antonetti & Cordova Carlos Rodriguez-Vidal to discuss improving diversity in the administration of justice and the judicial system. Outside of the ABA there are national bars of color, such as NAPABA and the National Native American Bar Association, that work to promote diversity in all segments of the legal profession. Carlos Rodriguez-Vidal kicks off this episode by explaining why it is so important that bars of color work together to bring about positive change and why this endeavor is not driven by individual self-interest. The conversation shifts to a discussion of the importance of mentoring young lawyers and why all of the guests feel like they have broader responsibilities as lawyers of color who have found success in their careers. Finally, the conversation wraps up with a discussion about steps that all lawyers can take to get involved and how increasing diversity throughout the judicial system benefits society at large.

Carlos Rodriguez-Vidal is a commercial litigator in San Juan Puerto Rico for the law firm Goldman Antonetti & Cordova. He graduated with a bachelor of arts in philosophy and Spanish from Haverford College and received his J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Jin Hwang is the president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She graduated with a bachelor of arts in French Studies and psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and received her J.D. from American University Washington College of Law.

Robert Maldonado is a partner at Cooper & Dunham. He received his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.

ABA Journal: Asked and Answered

How can you attract positive media attention for yourself or your clients?

You may have noticed that some lawyers are often quoted in the press. They might have a practice that naturally garners attention, or perhaps they are great at explaining complex issues succinctly and have a good camera presence. Or it could just be that they’re known for returning phone calls and emails in a timely manner.

Reaching out to the media can be helpful–or harmful–to your clients. What are the best ways to approach reporters when you’re looking for a media spotlight? How can you provide reporters with useful information, in a way that also promotes you and your clients in a positive light?

In this month’s Asked and Answered, the ABA Journal’s Stephanie Francis Ward discusses how lawyers can best approach the media when they’d like some press. This month’s guest  is Vivia Chen, a senior columnist with the American Lawyer.

Vivia Chen is the creator and chief blogger of the Careerist, an American Lawyer column that focuses on women and diversity in the profession. A former corporate lawyer who is now a senior columnist, Chen’s writing has been honored by the American Bar Association and Business Insider.

In-House Legal

Insights from 3M GC Ivan Fong about Embracing Opportunities

Ivan Fong, senior vice president for legal affairs and general counsel of 3M Company, started in an unusual place for an attorney: as a chemical engineer with undergraduate and graduate degrees from MIT. He attended Stanford Law School and subsequently built a distinguished career from a big law partnership to senior in-house positions in some of America’s finest legal departments. These positions were all punctuated by stints of public service at the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. So what advice does he have to offer lawyers looking to build a successful in-house career?

In this episode of In-House Legal, Randy Milch interviews Fong about the course of his legal career, how his time in public service set him up to go in-house at General Electric, and how he charted his course internally at such a big company.

Topics include:

  • Fong’s decision to switch from engineering to legal
  • Clerkships for Judge Abner J. Mikva and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
  • Why he started in big law after law school
  • Choosing the right company over a specific subject matter
  • Appellate work, ecommerce, and patent litigation
  • Fong’s position as Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice
  • Legal doctrines concerning unlawful conduct and the internet
  • Moving in-house at GE and then becoming GC at Cardinal Health
  • Doing pro bono work as a general counsel

Ivan Fong is senior vice president of legal affairs and general counsel of the 3M Company. In that role, he oversees all legal, compliance, legal policy, and government affairs matters for the company. He was recently named one of America’s 50 Outstanding General Counsel by the National Law Journal. Prior to joining 3M in October 2012, Ivan served for over three years as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The Digital Edge

The Future of the Professions: An Interview with Richard and Daniel Susskind

“The question is not can a machine exhibit empathy or judgement but instead for what problems are empathy, judgement, or creativity the solution?” -Richard Susskind

After years of writing and thinking about the future of the legal profession, Richard Susskind began to run into legal professionals whose careers are being affected by technology. In addition to lawyers, those in the medical, architecture, financial, and other fields have begun to notice a shift in the provision of professional services. Richard got together with his son, Daniel Susskind, at the time working in justice policy, education policy, and health policy for the British Prime Minister, to examine how technology is increasingly playing a fundamental role in how all service-based professions work. They recently published a book on the subject called “The Future of the Professions.”

In this episode of The Digital Edge, Sharon Nelson and Jim Calloway interview Richard and Daniel Susskind about their new book and key topics within that might interest lawyers who wish to prepare for the future. They discuss a “grand bargain” concept of exclusivity, the capability of machines to replace cognitive, physical/manual, and emotional skills currently provided by human professionals, and the right questions to ask about the future of legal services. Are there any tasks that computers won’t be able to do?

Topics include:

  • Society’s expectation for affordable, accessible, and reliable professional services
  • Computers and artificial intelligence as a threat to the legal profession
  • Professionals to be redeployed into new roles
  • Embedded knowledge
  • Free sharing of information through online avenues
  • Incremental changes versus complete changes
  • Commercial and social circumstances of the current systems

Professor Richard Susskind is an author, speaker, and independent advisor to international professional firms and national governments. He is president for the Society for Computers and Law, IT advisor to the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, and chair of the Oxford Internet Institute Advisory Board. His books include the best sellers, “The End of Lawyers?” and “Tomorrow’s Lawyers.”

Daniel Susskind is a lecturer in economics at Balliol College, University of Oxford, where he researches and teaches, and from where he has two degrees in economics. He was also a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University. Previously, he worked for the British government as a policy adviser in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and as a senior policy adviser at the Cabinet Office.

Special thanks to our sponsors, ServeNow and CloudMask.

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