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 #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 #3: 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 #4: Episode 111 Give a Presentation
This week Scott and Oscar discuss how giving presentations can be an important part of your practice. Not only do they show that you are engaged in topics that effect your clients and show your authority but are also a good way to network meet other attorneys. Although you may not be able to picture yourself speaking in front of others and may be absolutely terrified by the prospect, it is like any other skill. At first you may be nervous and unsure of yourself but like anything else the more experience you get the more comfortable you will be. And the more comfortable you are the more confidence you will have. And always remember that when you give a presentation that the goal is to inform and enlighten, not to sell.
May 02 2017
Rank #5: EPISODE #2: Be the CEO of Your Practice
EPISODE #2 – Be the CEO of Your Practice: This episode discusses how the first step in rebooting your law practice is taking stock in your current practice and realizing that you must take charge of every facet of your business.
Topics discussed this week include;
- The importance of making sound business decisions- Examining your competitors to take stock of the marketplace - How to analyze your practice areas and make sure that your social media presence is geared to those practice areas. - The importance and need for a business plan- How implementing a business plan properly can be the key to running a successful practice.
Apr 12 2015
Rank #6: Episode 102 Balancing Practicing Law and Running a Law Practice
In response to a listener’s question about how to balance your time between legal work and administrative tasks, the host discuss how they strive to find time to do all that is necessary to practice law and run a law practice – two very different things. While discussing the various methods that they use, Scott and Oscar focus on three important points: · Organization and Planning are Key · Put a System in Place That You Will Actually Use · Don’t Procrastinate and Get Things Done This may mean on occasion extending your day (or night) well past your normal working routine, but there is no simple answer here. If you only focus on doing the legal work or get so caught up in office tasks that you stop being a good lawyer attending to clients, then you will not achieve success in your practice.
Feb 28 2017
Rank #7: Episode 110 Always be Looking for Opportunities
Not only do you have an obligation as an attorney to keep track of the changes in your area of law but you should determine if any changes can be a business opportunity for your practice. Scott discusses new changes in New York criminal law one that he believes may be an excellent opportunity to expand his practice and one that may have a detrimental effect. If you see an opportunity, you should have the mindset to create a niche practice from this new opportunity. And don't just wait for the clients to find you. Create new webpages, write about the topic and let you networking partners know you are handling cases in this new area.
Apr 25 2017
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 #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 #10: Episode #21 - How to Work With Web Vendors
Prior podcasts have discussed the importance of your online presence. Well, your website is the axis around which all of your online presence revolves. Finding the right web site developer is critical to the success of your website. Join us as we discusses what to look for in a website developer, what pitfalls to avoid and what should the contract between you and the developer involve. We discuss why you may not want to choose a company that “specializes” in law firm website development. You must look to find the right fit, as you will need to have a website person who is responsive and willing to let you manage the content and look of the site. We also touch on topics such as SEO, Google analytics, and other areas that you will need to familiarize yourself with as you enter the digital marketplace
Aug 04 2015
Rank #11: 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 #12: Episode 31 Making Your Practice “Lean” with Lean Law Evangelist Ken Grady - Part 1
This week Reboot Your Law Practice hosts Ken Grady – “The Lean Law Evangelist” in the first of two part episode discussing how you make your practice “lean” so that it can withstand economic downturns and be less of a monetary roller coaster. Ken is in charge of the Lean Law Practice at Seyfarth Shaw which helps the national, multi-faceted practice assist its clients in making their businesses leaner. Ken’s prior experience helped form his Lean Law Practice in that after being a partner in a BigLaw firm, he moved in-house to be corporate counsel for various Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 corporations. It was at these corporate positions that Ken first began to encounter “Lean Thinking” in the business world. He then joined Seyfarth Shaw where he serves as the consultant to their Lean Law Practice. “Lean Thinking” is a business process improvement brought over to the states by Toyota in the 1980s that focuses on efficiency; cost control; and quality improvement. About 10 years ago, Seyfarth Shaw developed it for the practice of law. These methodologies when applied to legal services helps the firm better serve its clients and helps the firm develop best practices for things like conflict analysis; document production; and time management. The focus is on an approach to make some things about your practice standard and organized so that you spend more time doing those things that are directly applicable to clients and which make money. The idea is to eliminate as many wasteful activities as possible to streamline the work you perform. While some software that is available in the market place can help you to do that, Ken advises that much of this can be done without buying expensive software. Ken reminds us that lawyers are not quick to change. The systems we use now are basically the same systems we used in the 1900s when most of law was practiced by solo practitioners or two lawyer firms. Relying on those antiquated systems now – without focusing on efficiency and time management will make it much harder to compete in the current marketplace. Next week Ken will finish his discussion with Oscar and Scott by talking about some specific things small firms and solo practitioners can do to get “Lean.”
Oct 13 2015
Rank #13: 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 #14: Episode #20 - Client Perspective with Guest Matthew Chan
The hosts discuss developing good client relationships with Matthew Chan. Matt is a client of Oscar’s and he has had the opportunity to see litigation and lawyering from a variety of positions – as a pro se plaintiff and defendant, to a business owner who has had to hire lawyers for litigation and even from the perspective of a litigant before the Georgia Supreme Court, the State’s highest court. Seeing law at all these levels has provided Matt with insight into what clients and litigants like and don’t like about lawyers and lawyering. Matt describes that ultimately what clients want is someone who is a real problem solver and that can explain the issues and the possibilities. The vast majority of clients want something done sooner rather than later and want to feel that their lawyer is on the same page and not looking to just pad the bill. Some Don’ts for Lawyers from Matt’s perspective as a client: • Don’t bill lots of hours for research – clients hired you because you know the law, billing for research should be reserved for specific issues that may come up, but clients don’t want to pay for your continuing education • Don’t nickel and dime clients – Do you really need to bill for every email or five minute phone call? • Consider giving a free consultation because many clients won’t go to a lawyer if they are charging a significant consultation fee. Things Matt looks for in an attorney when he is shopping for legal services: • Relevant experience – while many newer businesses or younger clients may need to go to a young lawyer based on price, clients want to go to the most-experienced lawyer they can afford. Experience gives clients confidence and reassurance• More and more he looks to a lawyer’s online presence and “tech savviness” as that gives him confidence that the lawyer is up to current standards• Lawyers with people skills – clients who need lawyers are in serious stress and a lawyer’s bedside manner and how they relate and respond to you is critical in the relationship. • Good communication and regular feedback is key as well. Ask a client how he prefers to communicate and how often are they expecting to hear from your lawyer.The hosts talk with Matt about the need for lawyers to be flexible to a client’s needs and expectations as well and discuss that early on in their relationship. Discuss these issues and goals with clients so everyone can be on the same page. The podcast provides objectives and goals for any solo or small firm that can help them develop better client relationships so that they can grow their practice from a client-centric perspective.
Jul 28 2015
Rank #15: 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 #16: Episode 34 Transitioning to a New Practice Area – Oscar Michelen’s experience
In this episode the podcast hosts talk about developing and transitioning into a new practice area. Scott has Oscar take listeners through how he made a transition into a new practice area when his main practice field –criminal defense - began to decrease. Oscar explains why the need arose and how he adapted and developed as he transitioned. The podcast hosts apply lessons learned from this experience into tools listeners can use and apply to their own practices.
Nov 03 2015
Rank #17: 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 #18: Episode 55- Better Watch Saul! What we can learn about law practice watching AMC’s hit show “Better Call Saul”
Since the early days of TV, there have been many lawyer-themed shows. From “Perry Mason” to “L.A. Law” to “Boston Legal” to today’s “Grinder.” But rarely has a show focused on a character like Saul Goodman in AMC’s “Better Call Saul” a spinoff of “Breaking Bad.” In it, Bob Odenkirk plays a small time criminal defense solo practitioner who goes into and then out of Big Law while trying to get his own practice going. In this podcast, Scott and Oscar talk about many of the issues the show raises about lawyering itself. The various episodes highlight the good and bad differences between solo/small firm life and Big Law; legal marketing; realistic ethical dilemmas; and hustling for clients. In the podcast, the hosts encourage listeners to watch the show and to take away from it some very important messages to building a law practice. None as important as being authentic to who you are and to providing value to your clients
Apr 05 2016
Rank #19: 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 #20: Episode 109 Addition by Subtraction
This week Oscar and Scott discuss how some clients may be more trouble than they are worth Even though the money a client is paying you might be attractive at first, the amount of work, stress and frustration the case and client may bring may not be worth taking the case If you get caught up in a situation like this, you can’t complain about it being the fault of the client. It is the lawyers decision to take on the client and you must hold yourself responsible for the quality of the clients that are hiring you It reverts back to what we have always discussed. You are not just practicing law. You are running a legal business and must treat it as such.
Apr 18 2017