Podcast category: Best Legal Practices

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.

Un-Billable Hour

Internet Marketing and Branding for Your Small Law Firm

Solo and small law firm owners spend plenty of time and money marketing their services each year, whether online, through networking, or offline advertising. But many lawyers are not seeing the return on investment that they would like. So with over 600 thousand solo and small firms in the U.S. today, what does it take to stand out among the crowd?

In this episode of The Un-Billable Hour, Christopher Anderson interviews Mark Cerniglia from Spotlight Branding, an internet marketing and branding firm for lawyers, about the practical steps attorneys can take to manage their brands and market online successfully.

Topics include:

  • Building your law firm’s notoriety
  • Transcending lawyers’ reputation as intimidating
  • Information and resources to create credibility and trust
  • How to create the right video content
  • Using social media for branding
  • Newsletter marketing and top-of-mind
  • Blogs to answer potential client questions
  • Providing value versus giving away your knowledge
  • Maximizing referral sources
  • What a marketing funnel looks like
  • Necessary components of a website
  • Internet marketing no nos

Marc Cerniglia is the co-founder of Spotlight Branding, an internet marketing and branding firm for lawyers. Marc is passionate about helping lawyers realize the full scope of what the internet can do for their practice and how branding and content are often overlooked. He lives in the downtown Miami area, serving clients locally and across the country.

Special Reports

Clio Cloud 2015: Washington State’s Limited License Legal Technicians

In 2012, the Washington Supreme Court adopted the Limited License Legal Technician (LLLT) Rule, making it the first state to authorize non-attorneys who meet certain educational requirements to advise clients on specific areas of law. This concept of non-lawyer consultation is a new way to address the gap in access to legal services, but many lawyers are wary of the change. So what was the response in Washington?

Lawyer 2 Lawyer host Bob Ambrogi interviews Patrick Palace, immediate past-president of the Washington State Bar Association, about how the LLLT licensing and certification works, why they are able to provide cheaper services than lawyers, and collaboration opportunities that have emerged.

Patrick Palace is a plaintiff’s trial lawyer with an emphasis on workers’ compensation, personal injury, civil rights and social security matters. Patrick served as the president of the Washington State Bar Association from 2013 to 2014 and has received both national and regional accolades for his work.

Special Reports

Clio Cloud 2015: The Globalized Market of Legal Services

As globalization changes the legal marketplace, solo and small firm lawyers are scrambling to keep up. Why are so many attorneys resistant to embrace new technology? Should technological competence be the responsibility of law schools, the American Bar Association, or individual lawyers?

In this Special Report, Legal Talk Network host Adriana Linares and John Stewart, lawyer and legal techspert, interview Michele DiStefano and Michael Mills, presenters at the 2015 Clio Cloud conference. Michele, a law professor and founder of LawWithoutWalls, talks about globalization, the changing nature of legal services, and the responsibility law schools have to teach technological competence. Michael, a lawyer and founder of Neota Logic, Inc., discusses collaboration and interstate business models, eradicating the term “non-lawyer”, and how state bars and the ABA can encourage progressive change.

Michele DeStefano is a professor of law at the University of Miami and the founder and director of LawWithoutWalls, a part-virtual collaboratory of about 750 change agents including entrepreneurs, lawyers, academics, business professionals, and venture capitalists. In 2015 to 2016, she will be a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and visiting faculty lead of Harvard’s Center on the Legal Profession.

Michael Mills is the co-founder and chief strategy officer of Neota Logic Inc., developers of a no-code software platform with which lawyers and other professionals build expert systems to automate guidance, documents, and processes. Before Neota Logic, Michael was a biglaw lawyer and a law firm IT and manager.

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