Daily Dispatch

Writing Right

What Broadway’s Hamilton Teaches about Legal Interpretation

By | Oct.11.16 | 0 Comments

Get to the Point

Comma placement matters. Broadway musical Hamilton’s Angelica Schuyler sings in “Take a Break”:

In a letter I received from you two weeks ago
I noticed a comma in the middle of a phrase
It changed the meaning. Did you intend this?
One stroke and you’ve consumed my waking days

Hamilton wrote “My dearest, Angelica.” He calls Angelica his “dearest,” a noun expressing extreme affection. If Hamilton had omitted the comma, “dearest” would be an adjective. The phrase in a letter to his sister-in-law would be more formal, like the “Dear Sir” opening of a business letter.Read The Rest


Pull It Together: Defining Projects and Next Action Items

By | Oct.10.16 | 0 Comments

Get It Done by Daniel Gold

You spend the whole day in court, or in meetings and conferences with clients. And what do you have to show for it? A legal pad filled with scribbles, a few random thoughts on sticky notes — and more scribbles on the back of an envelope because you couldn’t find a notepad in your bag? You may have even more notes on your computer, but are they associated in any way with the legal pad, sticky note or envelope? If you are smirking, you know you are as guilty as me.

Fortunately, organizing projects and tasks doesn’t have to be as hard as you think.Read The Rest

The Friday Five

Productivity-Boosting Tech Tips for Your Law Practice

By | Oct.07.16 | 0 Comments

Tech Tips Friday Five

Where Does Your Time Go? Lawyers’ utilization rates and productivity measures have been hot topics since Clio announced it will release its first “Legal Trends Report” later this month. Among the most stunning revelations will be the finding that, on average, a mere 22 percent of solo attorneys’ time is billable each day. (That’s two hours!) And that number only begins to improve slightly as the firm size increases to five to seven lawyers.*

In anticipation of the report’s release, we asked four practice management experts for their best tech tips to boost productivity and ensure more of your time is profitable. Here’s good advice from Natalie Kelly, Courtney Kennaday, Erik Mazzone and Nora Regis — state and local bar advisors who assist solo and small firm lawyers every day.Read The Rest

Play to Win

How Effective Communicators Help Clients Understand

By | Oct.06.16 | 0 Comments

Play to Win

I read an article recently called “Marketing Yourself as an Expert: What Clients Look For.” According to the research presented, there are five key factors that clients associate with “visible experts”:

  • They come highly recommended by friends and colleagues (this was mentioned by 57 percent of the respondents)
  • They’re effective communicators with the ability to make complicated subjects easily understandable (38 percent)
  • They’re problem solvers with a proven track record of success that’s highly visible (36 percent)
  • They inspire confidence when they speak (31 percent)
  • They’re published in prestigious publications (27 percent)

The factor that interests me the most is the second — the ability to make complicated subjects easily understandable.Read The Rest

On Balance

Ethics Case for Attorney Retreats

By | Oct.05.16 | 0 Comments

On Balance

Our own Merrilyn Aston Tarlton recently wrote here about five ways solos can find time for law firm retreats. And on that score, recently I became involved in a lengthy conversation with a large group of solos at TBD Law about both work and personal retreats (including the heavenly-sounding “annual personal retreat” designed around your personal definition of downtime, whether long solo mountain hikes or weekends at an ashram).

While there are many reasons why retreats are important, I want to make the case for why solo and small firm lawyers should seriously consider the idea for ethics reasons.Read The Rest

Timing Your Retirement

Should Your Career Expire When Your Lease Does?

By | Oct.04.16 | 0 Comments


Clients often ask me, “Roy, what’s the biggest mistake solo practitioners and small firm owners make when considering their retirement/succession strategies?” My answer? Attorneys permit their office situation, specifically a lease obligation, to muck things up.

When family and friends ask why you have chosen this very moment to retire, do you really want your answer to be, “Well, my lease was up”? I sure hope my answer is a more thoughtful oneRead The Rest