Rank #1: Episode 96 - 7 Essential Actions for Solo and Small Firm Attorneys
Steven Funari from Law Office Suites wrote a recent article that discussed 7 important things that solo practitioners should do. Steven recognizes how overwhelming it can be to be a small or solo attorney and gives this tips to help attorneys with time management, become lean, grow professionally and personally and just be able to deal with the every day stress of running your own practice. We chime in with our opinions about each of the activities. You can check out Steven’s website at http://lawfirmsuites.com/
Jan 17 2017
Rank #2: Episode 107 Hiring An Office Manager – Case Study: Michelle and Anthony DiPaolo
This week, we continued our interview with Michelle and Anthony DiPaolo, discussing their decision to hire an office manager. We’ve often talked on the podcast about how to determine when the right time is to take on that first employee. The DiPaolos explain how their practice was ready for the hire and how bringing on an office manager has helped them grow their practice. They offer great insight for listeners on what benefits they derive from having someone else deal with much of the administrative strain on the practice, including billing, client relations and scheduling. We conclude the talk with a discussion of how they have now brought on a second person – a young lawyer to help with the work overflow. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Anthony and Michelle for allowing us and our listeners to peek into their practice and for the many relatable and practical pieces of advice they offered.
Apr 03 2017
Rank #3: EPISODE #1: Reboot Your Law Practice
EPISODE #1 - Intro to the series: In this episode, Oscar and Scott talk about their backgrounds, their law practices and what led them to develop this podcast. Both hosts discuss how their prior practices began floundering after long periods of success and how they had to retool and reboot their own businesses. Topics discussed this week include: - The current state of the legal marketplace - What solo and small firm lawyers need to start thinking about to succeed under current conditions.
Apr 12 2015
Rank #4: Episode #22 - The Need to be Organized
The hosts discuss how small and solo firms need to focus on being organized in order to be successful. As lawyers, we all take deadlines very seriously – appearance dates, statutes of limitation, etc. So we should treat the business goals and “to do “ list” items we set for ourselves as importantly as we treat important dates in our legal matters. Scott and Oscar talk about what works for them and which strategies they employed that helped them get organized and stay focused on business development. It can be hard for those of us who are not keen on technology to learn new methods of law firm management, but the podcast discusses why it’s essential and offers tips on getting itdone.
Aug 11 2015
Rank #5: Episode 105 Giving a Client Bad News
Wouldn’t it be great if we won every motion, every trial, and every case? Or if we went through our entire legal career without ever making a mistake? Sure, but that’s just not realistic. If you make an error on a case or if you just did not get the outcome your client expected how do you deal with it? The podcast hosts not only discuss your need to be honest and direct with your client to meet your ethical obligations, but they also talk about how coming clean with your client will relieve your stress about the case. Having a good history of communication with the client; keeping them informed about the case; and managing their expectations from the outset and along the way will make it easier to handle these crises when they arise. Deliver the news in person or over the phone as soon as you can and plan on what you are going to say – write it out if necessary, that often makes it easier. The main point is that quick and direct communication of what happened is critical.
Mar 21 2017
Rank #6: Episode 125 Pros and Cons of Free Consultations
This episode discusses whether listeners should offer a free consultation to prospective clients or charge for them. Host Oscar Michelen recently started charging for initial consultations while Host Scott Limmer offers free consultations. The hosts engage in a spirited back and forth discussion as to why they chose each particular method and why works for them. Listeners can gain insight from the talk as to which method would work best for their practice.
Aug 23 2017
Rank #7: Episode 81 Some First Steps When Launching a New Solo or Small Firm Practice
We hear from lots of lawyers and law students asking us about what are the first things you have to do to start a practice. Many think its picking out office space, designing business cards, and choosing letterhead. While those steps need to be taken eventually, Scott and Oscar say that Step One is to have a vision plan about what kind of law you want to practice, where is the work going to come from? Remember that you will likely not have a lot of income in the first three to six months, so what is your budget for that time period and how are you going to cover it? Step Two is to educate yourself about the area of law you want to practice and the marketplace for it. Meet other lawyers who do that kind of work; ask if you can shadow them; join Bar association sub-committees on the topic to make connections and just try and grasp what you can about that particular subject area. Step Three is to make sure you are committed to being organized and ready to handle the work that comes in. The hardest part of a solo or small practice is finding the right balance of spending time getting the work and spending time doing the work. In the beginning especially, the hours and demands are harsh and the money might be lean. You have to make sure you are in a position to get through that initial phase and do great legal work for the clients as well.
Oct 04 2016
Rank #8: Episode 66: Don’t Just Practice Law – Get Paid For It!
It’s the hardest thing about the practice of law as a solo or in a small firm – getting properly compensated for your time. But it’s also the secret to having a quality practice that you don’t resent. In this episode, Oscar and Scott discuss some of the reasons why clients balk at paying and what lawyers can do to make sure that the bills you send out come back with checks. While it once again boils down to maintaining the two core principles at the heart of what we always talk about – authenticity and value – the hosts offer some concrete tips and suggestions to keep your balance sheet on the upside. • Set expectations early - about fees, billing and communication • Have a properly drafted, clear retainer agreement • Communicate regularly about fees and about the matter they’ve entrusted to you • Provide detailed and easy-to-read bills • Don’t allow yourself to fall too far behind
Jun 21 2016
Rank #9: Episode 71 How to Develop your Legal Website
The most important piece of advise that Oscar and Scott can give to an attorney or firm creating their legal website is to be intimately involved in the process. You can not just pay “a website guy” and let them create what they think your website should look like. No one but you knows what is valuable to your potential clients, the answers they are looking for, the tone that needs to be taken. Scott detailed the process of creating the website for his Student Defense practice area. He discussed his role as the project manager and the work that went into finding the developer, writer, SEO guy, etc. The hosts discuss the importance of spending the time vetting your website vendors to construct a solid trustworthy team that will help you create and maintain your website.
Jul 26 2016
Rank #10: EPISODE 135 - Revamp Your Website This Year
As we delve into the New Year, there are things we should be taking off our Practice Management “To Do” lists in 2018. Scott discusses how this year he is completely revamping and re-tooling his website. A high quality, effective website is a main tool in any solo or small firm’s arsenal. Too often, once we put one up, we don’t look at it again for a decade or more. The hosts discuss why it needs to be refreshed every few years to accommodate changes in technology and changes in the way you practice: How does your website look on the new iPhone? How long does it take to go through the main points you want clients to look at? What areas of practice do you want to feature? Old websites look stale and uninviting. Make sure this year you get yours up to date and coordinated to your practice.
Jan 16 2018
Rank #11: EPISODE 134 – Make 2018 the Year You Commit to a Networking Group
Scott and Oscar have talked about the value of networking in many past episodes. This week they discuss why committing to networking should be on your 2018 New Year’s Resolution list. Whether it’s joining a BNI Networking Group in your area or signing up to become more involved in your local Chamber of Commerce, getting actively involved in some form of steady and consistent networking is essential to practice growth. The hosts also provide tips as to how to get the most out of the networking that you do.
Jan 02 2018
Rank #12: Episode 49 We talk to Tom Bolt Chair of the Law Practice Division of the ABA
This week Oscar and Scott speak to Tom Bolt, the Chair of the Law Practice Division of the American Bar Association. Tom discusses the the mission of his committee and how they can be helpful to attorneys in the four core areas of marketing, management, technology and finance. We touch upon the “uberization" of law and how to have a client centered practice.
We also discuss the issues surrounding the recently passed resolution 105 by the ABA which is meant to guide states in their regulation of nontraditional legal services.
Feb 23 2016
Rank #13: Episode #19 -Tips on Getting and Maintaining Clients by Thinking About Their Perspective
The hosts discuss a recent Above The Law article about getting clients. The author of the article discusses how she thought about the steps she took when she selected a professional to hire. She applied what she did in those situations and what was important to her in developing her practice. The first step most folks do in selecting a professional is seek suggestions from their referral network. They then will check the person’s credentials, give them a call and examine their responsiveness. These are steps that your clients will be taking when selecting a lawyer so you need to examine how you would be judge by this criteria. The authors also discuss keeping your name and services on top of your client’s mind by using newsletters, blogs, and emails. It’s not easy - it takes planning, patience, attention to detail and consistency but keeping contact with your clients and keeping a strong online presence is a necessary step in rebooting your law practice.
Jul 21 2015
Rank #14: EPISODE #3 - The Need to be Authentic
Oscar and Scott discuss how Authenticity is the first core element needed to help reboot your business. Using personal experiences, the two hosts discuss how their passion for particular fields of law helped to revive their practices.
Topics on this weeks show include:
- The need to look inward to assess what it is about the practice of law that initially interested you- How your “authentic self” needs to be projected in client meetings and interactions and your social media. - How being authentic in your practice also leads to being content in your practice.
Apr 12 2015
Rank #15: Episode 87 – The Future of Law Practice – What We Learned at Above The Law’s Academy for Private Practice
Scott and Oscar were asked to present about podcasting at this year’s Above the Law’s Academy For Private Practice. The hosts talk about their presentation and also discuss their takeaway from the conference. ATL presented many highly-informed and qualified speakers who talked about the place for lawyers in the gig economy; what legal tech works best for small and solo practitioners; and the rapidly changing face of legal practice in the new millennium. All lawyers need to assess their practices and see how it has been and can be affected in the new legal landscape. The host talk about specific things they learned and appreciated from the conference and how listeners can apply some if these tools to their business.
Nov 15 2016
Rank #16: Episode 104 – Dealing with Difficult Clients
Every lawyer and firm has come across a difficult client. But in a small firm or solo practice, lawyers don’t have the luxury of blowing off and ignoring difficult clients. You need to have a conversation with the client about the parameters of the relationship. It helps to give the client something to do- tasks - to help the case along – have them track down relevant facts or create timelines. Keep the client informed about the timing of the case and the court docket. Reach out to them when there are gaps in progress to let them know that there is nothing to be done right now. Managing client expectations and keeping the lines of communication open are the best ways to keep a difficult client happy. The hosts discuss a variety of ways to help deal with these clients so that you can keep them in your practice.
Mar 14 2017
Rank #17: Episode 101 Your Credibility is Everything
In today’s world, with all its access to instant information, you must be careful how you tout yourself online. Scott and Oscar discuss a variety of real life cases where lawyers got into serious trouble for overstating their experience or outright lying about their credentials online. If you have no heavy experience to boast of, then build up your accessibility, talk about your commitment to clients, back it up by offering effective and immediate communication. Say something that differentiates yourself and that is valid. Whatever promises or boasts you make online you need to be able to back them up or they can come back and bite you.
Feb 21 2017
Rank #18: Episode 92- Be Careful When Selecting Client Management Software
Lawyers likely get inundated with ads for client management or practice management software that make numerous promises that will revolutionize your practice. Look past the promises and investigate the validity of the claims made. You need to find the proper program that is streamlined to your needs. Some programs specialize in email drip campaigns; some help you with intake forms; others help you set up an intake system right from your website. It’s not one size fits all and you can spend a lot of money on programs and systems that will give you things you don’t need and won’t fulfill the needs for your practice. The host discuss experiences with these systems and some of the issues they have come across.
Dec 20 2016
Rank #19: Episode 45 Take Control of Your Marketing
A Facebook legal marketing ad sparks a conversation about why you cannot abdicate the responsibility for your law firm marketing. Many legal marketers will try to tell you that some lawyers are simply just not meant to be entrepreneurs and therefore they must rely on professional marketers to build their practices. The podcast hosts discuss that it can sound very enticing to not have to worry about this aspect of your business and let someone else worry about driving business to your practice. But it can be dangerous placing all of the marketing decisions and content in a third party’s hands. Scott and Oscar go through examples of disasters that can happen when you relinquish that control. They finish the podcast by discussing suggesting listeners take a look at some authentic and genuine legal websites and compare them to those that have canned content and are merely the by-products of some third party’s vision of that lawyer’s website. Nothing replaces authenticity and value as the foundations of a marketing strategy and don’t let anyone talk you into any form of marketing that does not express your personal vision and touch.
Jan 26 2016
Rank #20: Episode 138 Be Client-Centric in All You Do
It’s important to have a sterling reputation in the legal community to develop your practice, and that will come if you consistently do good work. But it’s more important to be more concerned about your reputation and “brand” in the client community. Does your website and other marketing material speak to your target clients? Have you planned on how you will reach the type of clients you want? You need to step back and think about who you want as clients and how you will reach them. Then make a plan to put yourself in front of those clients and make sure you are geared towards connecting with them in your marketing and networking.
Mar 28 2018