Daily Dispatch


Clio’s First Trends Report Paints Alarming Picture of Solo and Small Law Practice

By | Dec.07.16 | 0 Comments


Law practice management software provider Clio released its first annual Legal Trends Report on October 17. The survey is a compilation of data aggregated from 40,000 Clio subscribers in the continental U.S. The data, representing usage events in Clio, is anonymized; the analogy the report draws is that of a turnstile at a sporting event, turning over numbers, without collecting identifying data.

The report reads like Freddy Krueger slashing through the (hopes and) dreams of solo lawyers.

It is almost entirely concerned with law firm billing; and, the majority of data relied upon is presumably the time and billing information garnered from users. The report itself is split into two parts: “The Billable Hour Index” (compiling data from 2010 through the first nine months of 2016) and “Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Lawyer’s Funnel” (compiling data from 2015). That’s a peppy title, is it not! Perhaps “Satan’s Playground: Law Practice in America” was already the title of a popular children’s book?

My goal today is not to recap the entire survey, but rather to cherry-pick interesting aspects of it, as well as to consider further effects not expressly addressed within the survey.Read The Rest

Feeling Disconnected

Loneliness: Taking Care to Stay Connected

By | Dec.06.16 | 0 Comments


Mountain climbers are fastidious about the lines they trust their lives to, and scuba divers are constantly checking the tanks and regulators on which they depend. In the hectic world of practicing law — when one interruption is so often itself interrupted by yet another call — are you taking the time to take care of your connections to others?

Have you recently spoken with your bridesmaid or best man? How about those cousins you played with when you were little? Any calls to them recently? Your law school roommate or moot court partner?Read The Rest

Get to the Point!

Attorneys, Don’t Bury the Lede

By | Dec.05.16 | 0 Comments

Get to the Point

Attorneys frequently ignore this basic journalism rule: Start with your strongest point. Your lead or “lede” should entice the reader to continue reading. The phrase “bury the lede” appears to be the only use of this alternate spelling.

Perhaps your jurisdiction has rules or customs that require you to present information in briefs in a certain way or in a certain order. That might include sections for identification of parties, statement of facts, or itemization of damages. Within those confines for legal briefs, as well as in articles and letters, you can write better when you don’t bury the lede.Read The Rest

The Friday 5: Gift Guide for Lawyers

Five Holiday Gifts That Celebrate 2016

By | Dec.02.16 | 1 Comment

Gifts for Lawyers

As we usher in the holiday season there is no doubt that 2016 has been an audacious year, from hurricanes to the Rio Olympics to the presidential election. So, as you shop for your favorite lawyer this holiday season, consider these five ideas from my annual “Holiday Gift Guide for Lawyers” that celebrate the events of 2016.Read The Rest

Content Under Pressure

Visual Storytelling: Don’t Leave Your Content on the Cutting-Room Floor

By | Dec.01.16 | 0 Comments

Kostal column images

Most lawyers deal with the printed word all day long. They’ve been trained to take in and share knowledge as text. As a writer, it’s a stretch for me to even conceive of presenting information in a simple Excel chart. My bible starts, “In the beginning, God made Microsoft Word, and He saw that it was good (except for auto-formatting, which still needed work).”

So it’s natural that some of us would overlook visuals in our marketing content and social media, whether it’s a photo, illustration, infographic or chart. But if you resolve to make just one change in your approach to content, let it be to tap the power of visuals.Read The Rest

Law Practice Management

Five Ways to Improve Your Law Firm’s Culture

By | Nov.30.16 | 0 Comments


Whether you practice solo with a small staff, at a midsize law firm or in BigLaw, you can always find ways to improve your firm’s culture.

It’s true that law firms have a unique culture, regardless of size. One reason is that the billable hour limits and even stifles collaboration. (Collaboration? It’s not something lawyers are taught to think about.) But the hierarchies and structures built into the law firm model can be managed in a way that creates a positive work environment and organizational culture. The benefits are both financial and psychological: lower turnover rates, increased productivity, an easier time recruiting new team members, increased morale and motivation, greater involvement, lower absenteeism and even lower insurance rates.

How can you ensure that your law firm (or legal department) builds or maintains a great culture? Here are five steps and resources.Read The Rest