At the American Bar Association’s annual GPSolo National Solo and Small Firm Conference in October, practice management experts Peggy Gruenke and Alan Klevan presented “60 Practice Empowerment Tips in 60 Minutes” — focused on the nuts-and-bolts of running a successful law practice. We asked the pair to zero in on their favorite practice-boosting pointers — you could call this condensed version “20 Tips in 20 Minutes.” … READ THE REST
Play to Win
Lawyers often need to use persuasive skills in their work — convincing a judge or jury with an argument, persuading another party in a contract negotiation, convincing a client to pursue a realistic path. Yet when it comes to marketing, many resort to indistinguishable promises or generalizations. They say they are “accessible,” “responsive,” “experienced” or, my personal favorite, “provide quality services in a cost-effective manner.”
You can do many things to make your marketing messages more believable, whether in your bio, a proposal or a pitch for business. Here are four ideas to consider. READ THE REST
Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but we live in a time of great uncertainty. Across the board, industries are being turned upside down, and it’s happening to law as well. Technology is altering the landscape, and our environment is changing at an unprecedented rate.
If you are not aware of how your own environment has changed within the past several years, then your ability to succeed in the future is at risk. Here are five ways to right the course. … READ THE REST
In some high-volume practices, a typical engagement can be very small. Some solo lawyers make a practice out of hundreds of single-hour consultations. For lawyers in these consultation-heavy practices, it should be routine to have clients sign a simple engagement agreement that clearly lays out the limited nature of the representation.
In practices where larger engagements are the norm, though, lawyers may not even think to have retainer agreements in very small matters. Not having one could be a costly mistake, regardless of practice size. … READ THE REST
One of the biggest challenges a solo practitioner has is managing the anxiety of not having a guaranteed steady income or client work. I’ve had open client files all year, but there are definitely lulls in work — when I’m waiting to get feedback on the latest draft of a client’s contract, or for the USPTO to review a client’s trademark application. Those days, I literally have zero client work to do. That’s when the fearful thoughts start rolling through my brain … READ THE REST
I hired Pat over 30 years ago, and she has worked either with me or in association with me ever since. She never was a great legal secretary, but she’s reasonably bright, loyal and, for the most part, hardworking. However, as can happen to the rest of us, over time her skills have fallen further and further behind what is needed in the firm. In that time, my role has certainly changed, and she has been shifted several times into positions more suited to what she could do.
Each move has meant lower status and expectations, and she knows that what she does has decreased in importance and meaning, too. All of which has translated to less interest on her part, and lower morale and performance. … READ THE REST