Podcast category: Best Legal Practices

On the Road

2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Providing Legal Aid and Pro Bono Services

“Our country is a democracy because of the rule of law. When we don’t have justice for everybody, we don’t have justice for anyone.” – Bruce Blackwell

At the 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention, Kimberly Sanchez, Ericka Garcia, and Bruce Blackwell discuss legal aid and pro bono representation to help elderly, poor, veteran, disabled, and other legally vulnerable people throughout Florida. Ericka and Bruce work for The Florida Bar Foundation, a leader and funder for legal aid services around the state of Florida. They talk about the growing need for lawyers to offer pro bono services and why they should. Lawyers at the end of their lives don’t remember the big corporate cases, Bruce explains, they remember helping those in need keep a house.

Kimberly is the executive director of legal aid in central Florida. She talks about how her organization receives aid from The Florida Bar Foundation and provides need-based assistance in civil matters like housing, evictions, foreclosures, bankruptcies, and injunctions for domestic violence, among others. With only 45 lawyers on staff, Kimberly’s program relies heavily on Florida lawyers offering pro bono services to fill the gap. Stay tuned to hear how and why you may want to contribute your services.

Bruce Blackwell is CEO of The Florida Bar Foundation, a statewide charitable organization whose mission is to provide greater access to justice. Previously, he was a trial lawyer for 40 years. Bruce is a 5th generation Floridian from North Central Florida.

Ericka Garcia is director of pro bono partnerships at The Florida Bar Foundation where she creates partnerships and collaborations. She started doing pro bono at age 15 as a voluntary day legal aid in Miami. Previously, she was the developmental disabilities attorney for the legal aid society in Orlando, Florida, representing foster children with disabilities.

Kimberly Sanchez is the executive director of Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida (CLSMF). Kimberly is the former advocacy and deputy director of CLSMF, managing litigation and working to create organization-wide litigation goals and vision.

The Florida Bar Podcast

A Peek Inside The Florida Bar’s Practice Resource Institute

At the 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention, Renee Thompson interviews Jonathon Israel, Rod Bruce, Eddie Lebranda, and Christine Bilbrey from The Florida Bar’s Practice Resource Institute (PRI). The PRI is a free online resource for Bar members providing assistance in firm management, trust accounting, job acquisition and hiring, technology, and the details needed to start or close a law practice. In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, director Jonathon Israel walks us through useful tools and resources the PRI offers, including technology CLEs and administrative forms. Practice management advisors Christine Bilbrey and Rod Bruce discuss how easily Florida lawyers can get assistance and answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Eddie Lebranda, an advisor for the career center, tells us about new opportunities the PRI offers including resume formatting, online career fairs, and more! Tune in to hear about how the PRI can help you.

Jonathon Israel is the director of the Practice Resource Institute, the practice management assistance service for The Florida Bar’s membership.

Rod Bruce is a practice management advisor for The Florida Bar PRI. He has a background of almost 20 years as a legal administrator and a paralegal.

Eddie Lebranda supports the career center. He consults and advises employers on how to best promote open positions and assists with job seekers navigating the PRI’s website.

Christine Bilbrey is a practice management advisor for The Florida Bar PRI. Previously she was a law firm administrator in Pensacola, Florida.

On the Road

2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention: Past, Present, and Future Bar Presidents

Legal Talk Network host Adriana Linares interviews Ben Hill, Florida Bar president from 1991-1992, Ramón (Ray) Abadin, president from 2015-2016, and incoming Bar president Bill Schifino at the 2016 Annual Florida Bar Convention. Adriana begins the podcast by having each president ask questions of the others. They discuss why it’s important to listen to their executive director, the growth and changes of the legal profession, and how to deal with the increase in online legal service providers in Florida. Although Ben, Ray, and Bill all differ in the way they approach leadership, they agree that they are all extremely committed to serving the bar members, their clients, and the public as a whole. The presidents urge young lawyers wishing to progress within the bar to get involved early and start in local positions and committees. Stay tuned to the end for the one thing each president would like to say to all bar members.

Ben Hill is a founding partner and chairman of the Tampa law firm Hill Ward Henderson. As a member of the litigation group, his practice is primarily focused in the areas of complex litigation including professional liability, products liability, and general commercial matters. Ben was president of The Florida Bar from 1991-1992, is a former president of the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar, and is currently board certified as a civil trial lawyer.

Ramón A. Abadin is a partner in the Miami office of Sedgwick LLP, where he focuses on complex commercial, insurance, and corporate litigation. He served as president of The Florida Bar Association for the 2015-2016 term and is also past president of the Cuban American Bar Association.

Bill Schifino is managing partner of the Burr & Forman LLP’s Tampa office and a board-certified specialist in the area of business litigation. His practice includes securities litigation and arbitration, professional malpractice litigation, employment litigation, and intellectual property litigation. In 2015, Bill was elected president of The Florida Bar and serves as president of the Bar starting in 2016.

Thinking Like a Lawyer - Above the Law

Summertime In Law Firms

Discussing the whole summer experience of Biglaw life. From summer associate etiquette to proper lunching locations, to living as a full-time associate in a world of summers, we discuss how to tackle the summer and reminisce about our own summer adventures.

ABA Law Student Podcast

Substance Abuse and Mental Illness in the Legal Profession

Between 21% and 36% of practicing attorneys exhibit drinking behaviors that could be considered hazardous, harmful, or possibly alcohol dependent. 28% of licensed and employed attorneys are struggling with either mild, moderate, or severe depression, and 19% are battling with clinically significant levels of anxiety. How prevalent are mental health and substance misuse issues in the profession and what can young lawyers do to help reduce these numbers?

In this episode of the ABA Law Student Podcast, host Fabiani Duarte speaks with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Legal Professionals Program Director Patrick Krill about the prevalence of substance misuse and other mental health concerns within the occupation. Patrick explains his motivation for encouraging the creation of this study, mainly a lack of relevant drug use and mental health data, and explores possible reasons as to why so little research of this kind has been done on attorneys. He also explains the tools he used, like the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (Dass 21), to measure alcohol consumption and mental health concerns among the pool of 15,000 attorneys surveyed. The conversation then shifts to an analysis of the survey results which show that young attorneys within their first 10 years of practice have the highest rates of mental health issues and problematic drinking. Patrick expounds upon these statistics by revealing that 90% of the individuals surveyed identified alcohol as their drug of choice. He wraps up the interview with some suggestions on how drinking culture can be decoupled from the legal profession and provides tips for law students on identifying if they struggle with mental illness and substance misuse and resources for those seeking help.

Patrick Krill is director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Legal Professionals Program and a licensed attorney, board certified alcohol and drug counselor and graduate-level instructor in addiction counseling. He conceptualized, developed, and co-facilitated a nationwide joint research project between the American Bar Association Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation to survey the current rates of substance use, depression, and anxiety among attorneys throughout the country. Patrick also serves on the Advisory Board of the Dave Nee Foundation, is a member of the Nomination Review Committee for the PRISM Awards, and works closely with the Entertainment Industries Council. He earned his BA in political science and government from American University, his J.D. from Loyola Law School, and his LL.M. in international law from the American University Washington College of Law. Patrick also received his Master’s Degree in addiction counseling from the Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies.

Kennedy-Mighell Report

Improve Your “Email Hygiene”

Attorneys handle and process huge quantities of data each year. As data becomes more digital it will become even more important for legal professionals to have good, regimented email tidiness, or what we’re calling “email hygiene.” What are some data management best practices and how can lawyers maintain good inbox cleanliness?

In this episode of The Kennedy-Mighell Report, hosts Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell provide guidance principles to help lawyers improve their email hygiene. Tom challenges lawyers to identify how they perceive their emails, either as simple communications or possible business records, and encourages them to adopt an email retention policy. He emphasizes that keeping emails forever can be a liability, specifically if you are sued, and talks about the risks, costs, and productivity problems that can develop as a result of excess clutter. Tom and Dennis also analyze two types of email management styles; filing and piling, and explore practical ways to more efficiently search and manage their data for each style. They both end the first segment with application suggestions to help attorneys manage the clutter and helpful habits to keep the disorder at bay.

In the second half of the podcast, Dennis and Tom talk about what you can do to get rid of your old cords, adapters, and other miscellaneous computer parts. Tom admits that he has major cord clutter in his garage and that he replaces these types of items immediately if he can’t find them. Dennis shares his system of storage and identification for assorted computer parts and encourages others to donate old tech gear to charity. As always, stay tuned for Parting Shots, that one tip, website, or observation you can use the second the podcast ends.

Special thanks to our sponsor, ServeNow.

Lunch Hour Legal Marketing

The Expertise Effect: How Getting Narrow Can Grow Your Practice

Almost every lawyer wants to command higher rates, attract more clients, and increase his or her profile in the marketplace. However, many are unable to achieve these objectives because they are stuck pursuing ineffective strategies – or no strategy at all. In this presentation, Jay Harrington will provide some tips on how to develop more business by establishing a niche legal practice.

“Getting narrow” is more important than ever as, in all aspects of today’s economy, consumers are trending toward specialization. Consumers of legal services are no different. They are no longer looking for lawyers with broad skill sets and general knowledge, but rather are seeking out specialists with very particular knowledge in narrow industries and practice area sub-specialties.

Jay will discuss niching strategy and issues such as:

  • Why it’s important to carve out a niche
  • Why lawyers with niche practices develop more business more easily, and command higher rates
  • How to pick a profitable and sustainable area of specialty

Jay will also discuss how to market your niche practice through various thought leadership and content marketing initiatives.


The Florida Bar Podcast

Starting a Nonprofit Law Firm

During the Great Recession many law schools saw their admissions decline sharply and many lawyers found themselves without employment. In some areas of the country these effects are still felt and present challenges for young attorneys looking to provide services for indigent or lower income clients. What options are there for under or unemployed lawyers who wish to help this demographic?

In this episode of The Florida Bar Podcast, host Adriana Linares speaks with Open Legal Services co-founders Shantelle Argyle and Daniel Spencer about starting their nonprofit law firm. Dan starts the interview by mentioning that Shantelle came up with the idea, and that similar concepts had been attempted in the past, but an exclusively client funded firm had never been done before. They both recall that the catalyst for the idea was their unhappiness at their jobs at the time and that they were not practicing law. Shantelle describes their realization that the middle class was not able to access needed legal services and that there was a large untapped client market. She then goes into detail about how they established the nonprofit, their marketing approach, how they set their fees, and how they created the scale with which they determine which clients to accept. Dan also explains that although the company has never been profit driven it is critical for any new firm to meticulously monitor their cash flow. They both end the interview with a discussion of the technology they use to help manage the firm, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness available for attorneys working in the nonprofit sector, and the grand opening of their third office location.

Shantelle Argyle is the co-founder and executive director of Open Legal Services. She received her bachelor of science from Utah Valley University and her juris doctorate from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Daniel Spencer is the co-founder and supervising attorney of Open Legal Services. He received his juris doctorate from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney School of Law.

New Solo

Top Tips for Attorneys from the 2017 ABA TECHSHOW Board

As attorneys graduate and head into the legal marketplace, or leave a law firm to start a solo practice, it can be hard to know where to find resources with tips on starting your new career. What are the most important things that a newly solo practitioner should know? What are some best practices for lawyers just starting out in the field?

In this episode of The New Solo, host Adriana Linares talks with the ABA TECHSHOW 2017 Planning Board and Law Practice Division member Dan Lear from Avvo to provide need to know advice for newly solo attorneys. This year’s TECHSHOW board consists of Barbara Leach Law PL. Managing Attorney Barbara Leach, O’Melveny & Myers Senior Manager of Technology and Development Ivan Hemmans, and Downey Law Group LLC. Founder Michael Downey. Michael emphasizes that small firms and solo attorneys should focus heavily on their cash flow. Dan states that legal professionals can view their businesses through three different mediums, the balance sheet, income statements, or cash flow. The amount of money coming in each month (and how you pay your expenses) is very relevant to the survival of a new business. Barbara encourages solo lawyers to establish their brand immediately and really determine what type of lawyer they’d like to be and what type of clients they’d like to attract. Michael accentuates the amount of credibility strong branding provides to a new attorney and gives insights into the steps he took to create his own brand. Ivan discusses the necessity of thoroughly learning Microsoft Word and the benefits of document organization. The group then closes the interview with an analysis of basic tech competencies, like email management, that all attorneys should master.

Ivan Hemmans is the Manager of Technology Development and Communications at O’Melveny & Myers LLP where he uses his extensive experience with information technology to help people find ways to solve everyday problems with the many available tools at their disposal. Ivan often speaks about legal technology at law firms and conferences. He writes a blog and occasionally for legal technology publications like Peer to Peer Magazine.

Barbara Leach is the managing attorney of Barbara Leach Law, PL. She is a member of the American Bar Association, The Florida Bar Association, the Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Barbara received her BA from the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College and obtained her juris doctorate from the Florida State University College of Law.

Michael Downey is a legal ethics lawyer and a founding member of the Downey Law Group LLC. He has tried civil and lawyer discipline cases and argued appeals before the Missouri Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and Illinois ARDC Review Board. Michael received his B.A. from Georgetown University and his juris doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

Dan Lear is a technology lawyer and the Avvo Director of Industry Relations. He is the co-founder of the Seattle Legal Technology and Innovation MeetUp and founder of the Right Brain Law blog. Dan received his BA in international studies from Brigham Young University and his juris doctorate and MBA from Seattle University.

ABA Journal: Asked and Answered

How well do people actually know their Miranda rights?

“You have the right to remain silent.” Because of TV shows and movies, most people probably know at least this part of the Miranda warning. But do people actually understand all of their Miranda rights? Fifty years after the landmark decision in Miranda v. Arizona, we speak to Russell Covey of Georgia State University State’s College of Law to find out what people know and don’t know about their rights.

Russell Covey, a professor at Georgia State University’s College of Law, teaches criminal law and procedure. One of his articles, “Miranda and the Media:  Tracing the Cultural Evolution of a Constitutional Revolution,” was published in the 2007 Chapman Law Review.

Special thanks to our sponsors Amicus Attorney.

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