Thursday, June 23, 2011

starting your own law practice 2

Perhaps one of the most difficult challenges in starting your own practice: the buck stops with you.  There is no room to point fingers when a case goes awry, or a when telephone call is not returned promptly.  Not unless, of course, you enjoy pointing a finger at yourself.  So what is the solution?  Organization.  Starting out on your own, you will need to spend substantial time coming up with an organizational scheme to keep you on task and up to date on your cases.  More importantly, you must follow through with the organizational scheme you put in place without fail.  As a solo, I try to keep my organizational scheme as simple as possible.  When I am retained by a new client, I create a new file and calendar important deadlines and court dates the day the client retains me. I then schedule time to review the case and create a case strategy within a week of the initial client meeting.  This process ensures that new cases, particularly ones without imminent deadlines, don't fall off my radar.  Again, I find the key element in my system is sticking to it without fail.  In addition, I find it helpful to print-out a list of current clients from my client management software on a weekly basis, going down the list and mentally reviewing each case and making sure I am moving everything along at a reasonable pace.

Why are these organizational steps so important?  Apart from the obvious... zealously and effectively representing clients, having an organization system in place is critical because as a solo practitioner you must wear many hats: business owner, office manager, accountant, business promoter, et cetera.  Without a solid organization structure in place to manage your cases, you may find yourself spending too much time wearing every hat except for the one you need to focus on to succeed: lawyer.

Friday, May 20, 2011

starting your own law practice

I promised the start of a series of blogs on opening your own law practice several weeks ago, but my blog has remained quiet.  It has been a busy time, getting everything up and running.  Therefore, my first word of advice is: figure out how long you think it will take to accomplish each step in opening your own practice, and then double, or possibly even triple it.

More to follow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Firm, New Day

I have started my own law firm!  It has been an interesting and busy period of transition, as I have had to take all the steps necessary to open a law practice.  There are more steps involved than you might imagine. However, broken up into small steps, it is a very manageable undertaking for any attorney out there considering making the leap.  And with the goal of aiding other attorneys looking to hang a shingle, I plan to detail all the steps I have had to take to open a practice in a series of blogs I will start posting on a weekly basis.  Look for my first posting on this topic sometime next week.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Technology Corner 1

From time to time I may post blogs about my experiences with new technology.  I will call them "technology corner."  I hope you find them useful.

While technology zips along at a break-neck pace, seemingly too quickly to keep a handle on, there are many relatively new and easy to use technologies that anyone can employ in the legal and business context to increase transaction efficiency.  In this article, I will focus on the newest app addition to my iphone, ScannerPro.  This application allows me to employ the camera built into my smartphone to take a picture of a document and then quickly and easily turn that picture into a high-quality PDF document. Creating multiple page documents is just as easy as creating a single page document.  After taking a picture of the first page, I can either select “done” or “next page.”  After I have taken pictures of each page I want to include in the PDF document, I simply click “done.”  The app then allows me to view each page as a picture, adjust the margins of each page individually, and then have all the pages converted into a single PDF document.  At this point, I can name and save my newly created PDF to my smartphone, email the document as an attachment, or upload it to the web.
            Now, if I am at the courthouse and need to make a copy of a court document for one of my files, I don’t need to find a printer, I don’t have to track down the access key for the courthouse printer, and I don’t have to fuss with paying the clerk’s office for a three or four page copy job.    I also don’t have to waste time removing staples from multipage documents in court records in order to feed those pages into a printer, afterwards wasting even more time carefully replacing all of the staples I have just removed.  All I have to do is take a picture of the document with my iphone, convert it into a PDF, save it to my phone, email it, or upload it to the web.  If I need to meet a client away from the office and that client has a few documents for me to review, I don’t need to take those documents with me to the office, copy them, and then return them to the client.  I can snap a quick picture of each page and deal with it later.  I have not had time to think through all of the contexts in which this simple smartphone app will save me precious time and countless headaches, but for $6.99, it’s a no-brainer.  Note: This app seems to work particularly well on the iphone because of its touch screen.  I am not sure how it would work editing the margins of the image without a touch screen, though I cannot see why it would not work as well on any other brand of smartphone with a touch screen.  Personally, though, I prefer Apple and recommend the iphone.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More Helpful Links

Need some basic information about the bankruptcy process? 

Go to

This website provides some excellent background and rudimentary knowledge courtesy of the United States Federal Courts.  You can learn about the bankruptcy process, the different bankruptcy chapters, and other useful information.

Need some help with a consumer protection issue?

Go to

This will take you to the issues page of the National Consumer Law Center's website.  You can find useful information and resources for bankruptcy, debt collection, foreclosure, credit cards, and other consumer law issues.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

About helpful links

My inaugural blog is a blog about my blog itself.  It’s a metablog!  I have created a tab on the left side of my blog page of helpful links.  All of the links will take you to websites containing useful and (I think) reliable information of a legal bent.  I have used them as a starting point for legal research or as a fast way to gather useful information.  After having reveled in the fingernails-on-a-chalkboard joy of wasting many long hours weeding through the unhelpful, unreliable, and obnoxious websites that are merely advertisements masquerading as legal information, I offer these helpful links to you.  I will comment on posted links as they are added to my helpful links tab, and plan to expand into both reviewing linked websites and providing a how-to for effectively using these sites to find relevant legal information.