Rank #1: The Home Office: Setting it Up, Making it Work, and Managing Work/Life Demands
Proia spent her first eight years out of law school working as in-house intellectual property counsel at high-tech companies. When her daughter was born, she left the office ready to be a full-time mom. Missing her career, while enjoying every moment with her newborn, she set out to launch a part-time practice in 2009 from home. Now, she is working from home full time helping high-tech companies understand their intellectual property assets through IP management programs and eating dinner with her family almost every night.
Legal Toolkit host Heidi Alexander chats with Proia on how to set up a home office, tips on how to be productive, and how to take full advantage of the benefits of working from home.
Sep 05 2013
Rank #2: Flirting with Revenue: How to Make Money as a Lawyer
Making money is a pretty important part of practicing law and, as good as you may be at it, you can always do better at raking in the dough. In this episode of the Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to marketing ninja Dorie Clark about what lawyers can do to bring in more revenue in a chaotic marketplace. They discuss things like building a brand in a saturated field, using the gig economy to your advantage, and marketing yourself through podcasting or online courses. As a bonus, tune into Jared’s Tom Petty playlist on Spotify:
Dorie Clark is an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the author of “Entrepreneurial You,” “Reinventing You,” and “Stand Out.”
Dec 15 2017
Rank #3: How Lawyers Can Increase Their Productivity and Be More Organized
It is widely understood that attorneys must be well-organized. However, many struggle to achieve a level of daily discipline that would help them achieve maximum success. How can lawyers become more productive and organized as they pursue the practice of law?
In this episode of The Legal Tool Kit, host Heidi Alexander talks with Lawyerist founder and editor in chief Sam Glover about how lawyers can increase their organization and productivity. Sam explains concepts of organization and productivity, like planning ahead, meeting your deadlines, keeping appointments, and why they are essential to the successful practice of law. He then explains his approach to organization, a mindset he calls “productive laziness”, which is to take inventory of everything on your plate and take care of the most pressing issues first. Stephen encourages lawyers to use a work plan, which is figuring out what you have to do and when you have to do it, and to cultivate a daily practice of writing down your daily tasks. He analyzes David Allen’s 5 step Getting Things Done method (capture, clarify, organize, reflect, and engage) and provides suggestions on how beginners can simplify the steps. Stephen closes the interview with some of his favorite software to help you stay organized maximize your workflow.
Sam Glover is a lawyer and the founder and editor in chief of Lawyerist.com, an online law practice magazine and home to the largest community of solo and small-firm lawyers on the web. On Lawyerist, Sam writes and podcasts about legal technology, law practice management, access to justice, and more.
May 24 2016
Rank #4: Content Marketing for Lawyers
Aug 29 2012
Rank #5: Taking Ownership of Your Legal Career
Many lawyers believe simply doing good work gives them complete job security, but in the end, much of your career may be in the hands of others. Kimberly Rice joins Jared Correia to share tactics lawyers can use to take command of their professional lives. Kimberly explains the basics of business for lawyers and gives concrete steps for developing a business owner mentality. Later, Kim reveals her “secret sauce” for marketing that helps lawyers create a prosperous personal brand in the business world.
Kimberly Rice is the president and chief strategist at KLA Marketing Associates.
Aug 07 2019
Rank #6: How to be a Better Law Firm Associate
As an associate at a law firm, it can be a challenge balancing marketing yourself while also giving your best to the firm. In this Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to Jay Harrington about how young associates can take ownership of their careers and build their brand while also being accountable to a firm. They discuss overcoming marketing challenges, in-person versus web marketing, and finding your identity both in and out of the office.
Jay Harrington runs Harrington, a brand strategy and content marketing agency that helps lawyers and law firms across the country increase market awareness and improve business development efforts.
Jul 11 2018
Rank #7: The Lean Startup: Eliminating Wasteful Practices in Your Law Firm?
In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Nicole Bradick, former litigator and chief strategy officer at Curo Legal, about what it means to have a lean business, how to apply lean concepts to law firms, and where new lawyers and established law firms can start. Bradick begins by clearly explaining the lean concept; the company builds a minimum viable product, measures how it helps clients, learns and adapts to feedback, and repeats the process. Lawyers can use lean concepts, she says, by making fewer initial assumptions about client needs and adapting to what works. She discusses how law firms should maintain low overheads to adjust for shifts in the market while adopting efficient practices to increase productivity. Cloud-based technologies like practice management systems, contact relationship management systems, email platforms, research tools, and document management systems can be beneficial in streamlining practices, but Bradick urges lawyers to properly learn to use the technologies or risk creating more problems. Obviously, starting a lean law firm is easier said than done, but it will likely be successful in this changing legal market.
Jun 03 2015
Rank #8: What You Need to Know When Starting A Law Firm
Many lawyers today are thinking about going solo or starting their own firms. But running a law firm is like running a business, which involves much more than providing legal services. You have to think about billing and business management, when to accept and reject clients, and maintaining a calm composure under a stressful situation. What goes into planning to start your own practice, what essential items should you purchase first, and should you even go out on your own right now?
In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Ben Carter, a Louisville attorney who started a solo practice after spending years at the Kentucky Legal Aid Society, about his experience and advice for others. He recommends newly solo lawyers keep overheads low, run the firm like a startup business, and spend some time in a bigger law firm first (if possible) to acquire the substantive and marketplace experience needed. Ben then discusses what lawyers would need to purchase first: a high end paper scanner, a computer, and malpractice insurance. The interview is packed with useful advice like how much money you might need to save before starting your firm and why choosing the right niche can make up for many other missteps. Tune in to hear this any many more technology, process, and life tips from a successful solo lawyer.
After spending many years defending homeowners from foreclosure for the Kentucky Legal Aid Society, Louisville attorney Ben Carter decided to start a solo practice. In addition to running a solo practice, Ben co-hosts the podcast “Let’s Start a Firm,” in which they tackle topics like why an attorney might want to start their own firm, loan forgiveness, office space, office supplies, banking, trust accounting, entity selection, insurance, technology, legal research and writing, and more.
Mar 24 2016
Rank #9: 5-Star Lawyer: How to get Good Reviews from your Clients
Most lawyers have a love-hate relationship with online reviews. How can they get more good reviews than bad? In this episode of Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to Sarah Smerage about how lawyers can better collect and promote customer reviews. They discuss how lawyers must go beyond just providing excellent legal services and focus on providing an excellent customer service experience. They also talk about how to best handle negative reviews and what a company like ARAG can do to help lawyers in the review collection process.
Sarah Smerage is a senior marketing consultant at ARAG, a leading provider of legal insurance around the globe.
Feb 05 2019
Rank #10: Building Confidence for a Better Practice
Lawyers, especially those newer to the industry, can often suffer from “imposter syndrome” or feeling like their experience doesn’t qualify them to serve their clients. In this Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to Jeremy W. Richter about how lawyers can build confidence both in their practice and business skills. Jeremy, author of Building a Better Law Practice, shares his best tips for staying organized with personalized systems and maintaining consistent communication with clients.
Jeremy Richter is an associate with Webster Henry in Birmingham, Alabama.
Sep 04 2018
Rank #11: The Power of Paralegals and Legal Assistants
Are you slipping on keeping up with your clients and meeting important deadlines? For many lawyers, they use paralegals and legal assistants to help them practice law with superior organization and efficiency. In this Legal Toolkit, Jared Correia hosts Keith Shannon in a discussion about the importance of paralegals and legal assistants in the legal profession. They define both roles and the types of work they can and cannot do according to ABA guidelines for paralegal services. They also talk about the types of law office technology and training that lawyers should invest in for their paralegals to help maximize skills in needed tech and e-Discovery. Finishing up, they address how to hire qualified paralegals and avoid paralegal burnout.
Keith Shannon is an instructor in the paralegal technology training program at Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina.
Jun 19 2019
Rank #12: Improve Your Law Firm with Small Client Intake Changes
There’s more to practicing law than practicing law. Proper client relationships and interactions can be the difference between a good law firm and an exceptional one. In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to Michael Chasin, CEO of Lexicata, about effectively managing your practice’s client intake process. They lay out a couple common mistakes that legal professionals often make and also explain why improving your intake process is important to the success of your firm.
Michael Chasin is CEO of Lexicata, a CRM and client intake software designed to help law firms and lawyers increase client satisfaction.
Mar 15 2017
Rank #13: Competitive Branding and Website Development for Lawyers
Jeff Lantz is the founder and CEO of Esquire Interactive. His company is an attorney-run marketing firm that specializes in website development, Internet marketing, and branding for law firms and attorneys. Lantz was a practicing attorney for more than 12 years before he delved into Internet marketing. He has authored two books: The Essential Attorney Handbook for Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, and Website Development Management, referred to as “The bible for building law firm websites,” by host Alexander, and Internet Branding for Lawyers: Building the Client-Centered Website published by the ABA Law Practice Management Section.
Tune in to hear from the author of Internet Branding for Lawyers on the basics of branding, website development, and marketing for attorneys.
May 10 2013
Rank #14: Success in Your Remote Workplace
Whether it is from a coffee shop, home office, or library, more people than ever are working remotely. This includes employees at a law firm or business, but many of the principles could be applied to a solo lawyer working at home. The benefits of working from a remote office include shorter commutes, potentially flexible work hours, saving money on office space, and having the best employees for the job regardless of locale. Drawbacks include production-based judgement on employees, isolation issues, and a reduced opportunity for learning directly from coworkers. Despite these drawbacks, many companies are now allowing their employees to work remotely. If this is your company and you are already working from home, or thinking about starting to do so, what are the main considerations and best practices to put into place?
In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Tim Baran, a remote employee at a cloud-based legal software company, about the benefits and drawbacks of working remotely, the hardware and software needed, and how to overcome the core issues that many remote lawyers encounter. Baran discusses how the benefit of bringing the work to the employee often outweighs the inability for those workers to interact with and potentially mentor other employees. By spending more time with friends and family, getting involved in industry associations, and going out for lunch, he explains, remote employees can avoid emotional isolation. This advice applies equally to solo lawyers who often do not have a lot of personal contact. Alexander and Baran then go over the practicalities of working remote. While you only need a computer and a phone as hardware, there are many useful apps for practice management, organization, communication, reading and writing, social media, and even encryption (see episode notes for a list of products mentioned).
Obviously, it is important for a remote employee to stay connected with their office and other employees. Baran recommends regular video meetings, daily standups, visits to the home office, communication even with non-urgent matters, and even a fun video activity that includes the whole company. The more communication the employees are able to have, he explains, the more opportunities for feedback, connection, and therefore productivity. At the end of the podcast, Baran gives some succinct but very thorough general productivity advice to all employees, whether remote or not. His systems include: touch everything once, keep a checklist, set a pomodoro timer, develop consistent habits with a calendar, plan the night before, and Alexander adds that the Getting Things Done (GTD) process by David Allen has worked for many lawyers.
Tim Baran is the Community Manager for Rocket Matter, a cloud-based legal software company that makes a law practice management tool. Previously, Baran ran his own CLE company, and has worked in library services at a law firm, a law school, and for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
Nov 18 2014
Rank #15: Raise Your Productivity: Picking the Right Tools for Your Small Law Firm
What does upping productivity actually look like for your law firm? Many lawyers find themselves at a loss when considering first steps, but Jared Correia welcomes Jane Oxley, president of Smokeball, to demystify the process. They discuss best practices for assessing your firm’s particular needs and offer tips for how to go about choosing a vendor for practice management software. They also talk about specific solutions to lawyers’ common pain points, including automatic time tracking, email management, and legal document automation.
Jane Oxley is president of Smokeball.
Sep 10 2019
Rank #16: What Does the 21st Century Legal Career Look Like?
In this episode of The Legal Toolkit, Heidi Alexander interviews Alison Monahan and Lee Burgess, founders of the online resource Trebuchet Legal, about the steps to creating an alternative legal career path and what students should be doing in law school to prepare for the future. Monahan and Burgess each discuss their beginnings in big law firms and why they decided to seek out paths of advising other lawyers. To take a different path, they explain, lawyers must be interested and willing to take risks, learn new skills, and take the plunge.
Mar 09 2015
Rank #17: The Legal Trade Show Survival Guide
Jul 31 2012
Rank #18: The Future of Transactional Law Practice
It can be daunting for a law practice to adopt new technologies: there is inevitably a learning curve, and change can introduce new risks for making mistakes. However, every day the old ways of doing things become more and more out of date and inefficient, and clients won’t stand for it. Wasim Quadir, co-founder of DraftLens, a contract drafting platform, joins Legal Toolkit host, Jared Correia, to discuss how he left the practice of law to fix not only the inefficiencies in contract drafting, but to reduce risk for clients by helping firms create better products. They also discuss the impediments to tech adoption in the legal industry, the tools lawyers should be looking at, and how lawyers shouldn’t see new tech as a threat.
Wasim Quadir is the founder of DraftLens.
May 29 2019
Rank #19: Online Communities for Lawyers and Why They’re Great
Why are lawyers now opting for online communities instead of traditional networking avenues, namely bar associations? In this Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia explores the answer to this question along with guest Keith Lee. They discuss the benefits of Slack and what bar associations can do to become more relevant to younger lawyers looking for a supportive community of lawyers.
Keith Lee writes for Above The Law while he practices law at Hamer Law Group, LLC in Birmingham, Alabama.
Jun 20 2018
Rank #20: Millennial Lawyers: What they Want, What they Need
What is unique about the values of the millennial generation of lawyers, and how can they best be integrated into law firms? In this episode of Legal Toolkit, host Jared Correia talks to author and lawyer Susan Smith Blakely about her latest book, “What Millennial Lawyers Want: A Bridge From Past to Future Law Practice.” Susan explains her discovery that millennial values are not dissimilar to those of The Greatest Generation", and how this reflection of past values holds positive potential for the legal industry. They discuss the career expectations of millennial lawyers and outline the ways law firms and millennials can bridge the generational gap and work together effectively.
Susan Smith Blakely is a lawyer and author devoted to issues challenging young lawyers today.
Apr 01 2019