Podcast category: Best Legal Practices

Un-Billable Hour

The Seven Parts of Your Law Firm Business

As a youngster, when someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, how did you respond? Did you tell them that you wanted to be the CFO of a mediocre law firm that does just enough to get by? With so many resources out there, it’s difficult to grasp why so many law firm owners are settling for only doing as much as is necessary to pay the bills. Lawyers should be using their businesses to help as many people as possible, including themselves.

In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, Christopher Anderson interviews small law firm business expert RJon Robins about how to balance seven parts of a law firm business to make it work for you, and not the other way around. While many firms seem to be focused on doing just well enough to get by, RJon Robins is urging legal professionals to take a different approach. He believes that you should set up your law firm as a means to make you happy, and that doing so will create revenue as a byproduct. Christopher and RJon take an in-depth look at the seven parts of every law firm and the ways in which they should be synthesized in order to reach professional and personal goals. These parts consist of marketing, sales, production, people, the physical plant, financial controls, and you, the firm’s owner. Ultimately, RJon says, your business should be a manifestation of who you are. In closing, RJon tells listeners where they can find complimentary resources to help them implement these changes.

RJon Robins is the founder of How to Manage a Small Law Firm whose tagline is “Happy lawyers make more money. And broke lawyers don’t do anyone any good… least of all their clients, their families, or themselves.”  He acts as an outside CEO for thousands of small and solo firms across the country, assisting them through all stages of growth and walking clients through his approach to the seven parts of their law firm business.

Legal Toolkit

Should Lawyers Charge for Initial Consultations?

Do you charge for initial consultation in your practice? If not, you might be missing out on higher quality meetings and additional revenue. Despite this claim, most lawyers are worried that changing their fee structure will chase potential clients away from the front door. How can we, as lawyers, offer discernible value and make people actually want to pay for an initial consultation?

In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Jared Correia discusses charging for initial consultations with Sarah Poriss, a foreclosure defense lawyer in Connecticut. Sarah explains why she charges initial consultation fees, how to offer the right legal service value in these appointments, and ways lawyers can determine their rates. Let’s face it, she says, are you looking for the type of client who pays or one who doesn’t?

Topics include:

  • How fees improve the meeting quality: on-time, attentive, and serious clients
  • The risks of charging initial consultation
  • Gaining an edge on your competition
  • Setting the right expectations for legal services and retainers
  • Preparing for a fee discussion
  • Onboarding, client intake, and follow-up
  • Confidently setting a rate and making changes as needed

Sarah Poriss is a Connecticut lawyer with a practice focused on consumer finance. Her practice is the largest woman-owned foreclosure defense firm in Connecticut. Sarah was a Hartford Bar Association’s 2011 Pro Bono Award recipient. She was an original member of Connecticut’s Bench Bar Foreclosure Committee and Bench Bar Small Claims Committee. She is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and is a regular speaker for local organizations and institutions including UConn Law School.

Special thanks to our sponsor Amicus Attorney.

Ringler Radio

Trial Preparation, Jury Consulting and Strategies to Win your Case

 

Using the right strategies during trial preparation can help win a case in court. In this podcast, Ringler Radio host Larry Cohen and co-host, Duke Wolpert join Ross Suter, Esq., Litigation Consultant at Magna Legal Services, as they take a look at what works best to increase the odds for success.

Visit Ringler Associates to contact a consultant in your area about structured settlements.

New Solo

How Ernie the Attorney Started His Solo Practice

Among solo practitioners, Ernest “Ernie the Attorney” Svenson is well-known for consulting on technology and, specifically, going paperless. But what many lawyers don’t know is how Ernie transitioned from a commercial litigator in a big New Orleans law firm to a tech savvy solo. In this episode of New Solo, learn all about how Ernie’s experience practicing in a big firm and Hurricane Katrina led him to go solo. He talks with Adriana Linares about using technology and automation to lower his overhead for an increased chance of success and, quite frankly, happiness. Adriana and Ernie then discuss the more difficult aspects of transitioning to a solo practice including loneliness, retaining clients, and wanting a paralegal. No longer a practicing attorney, Ernie talks about why he decided to become a technology consultant for other solo and small firm lawyers. If you’re planning to go out on your own, tune in for some tips that might make the difference.

Ernest Svenson, also known as “Ernie the Attorney,” practiced commercial litigation for 26 years in a big firm in New Orleans. After starting his own solo practice, he switched to consulting other lawyers on computers, going paperless, and automating tasks.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Solo Practice University.

Un-Billable Hour

Reputation Marketing: Manage Your Firm’s Online Reviews

As marketers of solo and small law firms, most listeners are aware of the importance of online reviews in today’s marketplace. Almost every potential client will research a lawyer or law firm’s reputation before even picking up the phone. Whether on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or other review sites, every business should know what is being said about them online. Furthermore, we can increase positive feedback and promote it through social media, our websites, and across other platforms. So where should we start?

In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, Christopher Anderson interviews Michael Veinbergs, CEO of Mach4Marketing, about law firm reputation management and marketing, the importance of your website, rankings, and reviews, and specific things lawyers and firm employees can do today to get started.

Topics Include:

  • Working with your online reputation before marketing
  • Bad reviews and client snap judgements
  • Reputation management versus marketing
  • Reviews as a search engine ranking factor
  • Syndicating good feedback across social media
  • Responding to positive and negative reviews
  • Marketing on all channels including Avvo, MerchantCircle, Yelp
  • Winning at customer service: give them something to rave about

Michael Veinbergs is CEO of Mach4Marketing. Together with 35 managers and 300 full time staff he serves the needs of small- to mid-size law firms who are looking to use the internet to attract more of their ideal clients. Michael has created several systems and softwares for reputation marketing.

New Solo

Sharing Office Space, Equipment, and Employees

In this episode of New Solo, host Adriana Linares stops by the shared offices of Barbara Leach and Conti Moore. Together they discuss the cost savings, benefits, and logistics of splitting office resources. Through mutual trust, compromise, and similar views on work-life balance, these lawyers are achieving the strengths of partnership without losing the privilege of being the boss. Tune in to hear how they did it and why you should consider this practice model.

Barbara Leach is a solo practitioner in central Florida who, after launching her career with a large national law firm, sought a closer connection to her community and greater interaction with clients. She took the leap to establish her own firm in 2011. Since then, the firm has continuously grown, and Barbara finds herself right where she hoped to be: face-to-face with her clients and practicing in bankruptcy, family law, foreclosure, and litigation.

Conti Moore is the founder of small firm Conti Moore, PLLC where she practices in family law, criminal defense, personal injury, and business law. She has been recognized by the National Bar Association and Impact as one of the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 and was presented with their Excellence in Service Award for her unyielding commitment to community service. Conti has bar admission in Florida, Nevada, and the U.S. District Court of Nevada.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Solo Practice University.

Legal Toolkit

Legal Project Management for an Efficient and Sustainable Law Firm

In order to succeed in the current economy and to ensure sustainability, law firms must constantly review and refine the way they conduct business. Although lawyers have likely heard of agile, lean, six sigma, and other technology-driven management systems, Legal Project Management (LPM) has been tailored to the practice of law specifically. So how do law firms use LPM practices to scope, plan, and manage legal work efficiently, with a cost-effective structure for clients?

In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Edge International GC and LPM advisor Pam Woldow about the five steps of the project management system, how it has specifically helped law firms she works with, and how to implement LPM in your large law firm or small practice. Pam goes over the essentials; in order to be truly efficient, lawyers must communicate properly with clients, create an intricate plan, monitor work, and review. She discusses the ways technology can assist these processes and how these concepts can be scaled to a solo or small firm practice. Tune in to hear specific details about where lawyers can start implementing this today.

Pam Woldow is a partner and general counsel for the global legal consulting firm Edge International. Previously, she held similar positions at Altman Weil, served as deputy general counsel of Pennsylvania and chief counsel of the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, and directed litigation management for a public financial services company. Pam also advises law firms and corporate legal departments in Legal Project Management and is the co-author of “Legal Project Management in One Hour for Lawyers.”

Special thanks to our sponsor Amicus Attorney.

Paralegal Voice

Windows 10 Update: Benefits, Compatibility Issues, and Default Settings

The new Windows 10 has received a lot of attention, partly due to the lack of popularity of Windows 8, but legal professionals are notoriously conservative with adopting new technology. Since paralegals will likely be the first law firm employees to use the new operating system, they need to know whether to upgrade and when. Behind the buzz, what are the cold hard facts about Windows 10?

In this episode of the Paralegal Voice, Vicki Voisin interviews lawyer and former paralegal Beverly Michaelis about her transition from paralegal to lawyer, the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) issue, and what you need to know before updating to Windows 10.

Topics include:

  • The benefits of being a paralegal before going to law school
  • LLLTs and other solutions for the access to justice issue
  • Windows 8’s confusing interface
  • Reserving your copy of Windows 10 for free
  • New features and functions of the operating system
  • Privacy and data mining
  • Software compatibility
  • Biometric security, a clutter folder, OneDrive sync, and video features
  • How long to wait before downloading and why

Beverly Michaelis is a practice management advisor for the Oregon State Bar Professional Liability Fund. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, and American Bar Association with over thirty years of experience in the legal field as a lawyer and a paralegal. Beverly provides confidential practice management assistance to Oregon attorneys to reduce their risk of malpractice claims.

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

New Solo

T.V. Advertising: What to Expect

Although television commercials seem too expensive for a solo practice’s marketing budget, they are not! In fact, advertising on T.V. can be a great alternative or addition to an online marketing campaign, as long as it’s done correctly. So what should solos expect with these ads and how can we optimize the return on investment?

In this episode of New Solo, Adriana Linares and Jason Marsh interview Conti Moore, a small firm lawyer with a successful television commercial, about the process and price of creating her ad, airing it, and tracking its success.

Included in this episode:

  • TV network “spots” and your target audience
  • Measuring success and tweaking television shows
  • Slow start and a long term commitment
  • Production company costs and benefits
  • Creating fresh content and cycling locations
  • Customizing your airtime package
  • Choosing a niche area of law for the highest ROI
  • Conti’s words of advice from the experience

 


Conti Moore practices primarily family law and criminal defense at Conti Moore Law, PLLC, in Orlando, Florida. She has been recognized by the National Bar Association and Impact as one of the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40. Additionally, the National Bar Association and Impact presented Ms. Moore with the coveted Excellence in Service Award in recognition of her unyielding commitment to community service.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Solo Practice University.

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