Podcast category: Best Legal Practices

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.

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.

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