Showing posts from August, 2020

Lincoln Lawyering

Abraham Lincoln had a successful career as a small firm lawyer for 25 years before becoming America’s 16th president in 1861. In notes for a lecture to lawyers, Lincoln attributed his achievements to diligence, honesty, and time management. Learn more by reading Lincoln's Lecture on Successful Lawyering  and articles  about  Lincoln’s Lessons for Lawyers   and his trial tactics . Also see books about Being Like Abe ,  Lawyering Like Lincoln ,  Lincoln’s Counsel for Litigators , Lincoln's Melancholy , and  The Organized Lawyer . Get entertained by watching Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer  on Netflix.

Tracking Time

Managing, recording and tracking time are essential habits for successful lawyering.  Poor time-keeping can result in unhappy clients and lost revenue.  Use automated systems, set alarms, review daily, and record time as you work. Read articles about time sheets ,  time tracking tips and how to use  time technology . 

Delivering Documents

Consider cost, timeliness, and reliability when selecting the best service for delivering your legal documents. Remember to check court rules and determine preferences of recipients. Read articles about  document preparation  and  management . Learn about electronic delivery alternatives  to email attachments and physical delivery  options like  courier ,  electronic , and  US mail mail .  Be careful to  avoid delays caused by seasonal slowdowns and work stoppages. Alternatives Client Portal - quick and secure, but inconvenient Courier - best for same-day service, but expensive FedEx - best for next-day service, less expensive than courier  Fax - quick and secure, but requires hardware Link Sharing - convenient, quick, and secure UPS - competitive pricing for 2-day and 3-day service US Postal Service - best value US mail

Improving Video Calls

Below are tips for using video conferencing apps and links to articles and books for more help. Video calling has become popular for a variety of uses including one-on-one calls, meetings, and presentations. A number of free and inexpensive services are available for making video calls, including Adobe Connect, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom.  Improve your appearance and professionalism by mastering the conferencing apps used by organizations and clients. Tips Use a Virtual Background Make Yourself More Attractive Be Prepared to Mute a Participant's Mic  Use Gallery View to See all Participants Use Screen Sharing to Show Slides Turn Off Mic Before Meeting Record Meetings for Replay Articles Managing Videoconferencing Videoconferencing Tips Zoom Tips and Tricks Guide to Video Calling Services Books Google Meets Made Easy Harnessing the Benefits of Video Conferencing Using Zoom Microsoft Teams for Dummies

Virtual Depositions

During virtual depositions , witnesses, lawyers, and court reporters participate online from different locations. To improve video and sound quality, consider purchasing a webcam or headset.  To prepare in advance, test your equipment and Internet connection. To avoid distractions, turn off noise makers and post a do not disturb sign on your door. During the deposition, speak up if your connection freezes and do not speak over others. Remember to mute your microphone during breaks.  For more tips, read articles about building a case virtually , discovery tips , discoverability of virtual meetings ,  mastering virtual depositions , software for e-discovery , and trends in e-discovery . Also see John McIntyre's article about Virtual Discovery .

Hosting Client Events

Hosting events can help you attract prospects, build trust, and enhance your reputation. Events can be social or educational. Popular events include client lunches, seminars, and webinars. Use a checklist  for planning an event or webinar . Create an Event Page  for publicity. Use Eventbrite  to accept RSVP’s and distribute admission tickets.  Learn more by reading articles about creating podcasts , event planning , fun ideas ,  giving speeches ,  hosting events ,  organizing seminars , strategies , software for events , and  Zooming webinars .  For in-depth guidance, read books  about planning conferences ,  events , and meetings .  Visit websites of other organizations to view  examples of sign-up forms ,  examples of upcoming events . 

Writing Tools

Word processing can help lawyers create, edit, and share documents.  Word processing software facilitates document drafting with tools for footnoting, formatting, numbering, and sharing documents. Read Nicole Black's  Introduction to Word Processing  to learn about software options like Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Read WSJ’s article about Best Apps for Assisted Writing . Become more proficient by reading guides to  Microsoft Word  and Google Docs . Also see our post about Improving Your Writing and ABA books about  Microsoft Word and  Microsoft Office .

Making Offices Safer

You can make your office a safer workplace by upgrading HVAC systems to improve air quality, moving work stations father apart to facilitate social distancing, and installing touchless technology to enhance hygiene. Learn how to make offices safer by reading articles about  office design  and healthy workspaces ,  watching  WSJ's video  on office trends, and visiting C&W's website  on design insights. Improve your office efficiency reading CAP's book  about organizing law offices.

Improving Client Intake

You can  keep clients happy and increase profitability by improving client intake. Following are intake tips and resources for implementing them.  Tips Alternatives - offer in-person and Zoom alternatives for initial consultation.  Delegate - assign responsibility for processing inquiries to a lawyer or staffer. Forms - use a short intake questionnaire that is quick and easy to complete. Procedure  - adopt  procedures for welcoming clients,  evaluating ability to pay, and checking for conflicts.   Software - use contact management apps to improve efficiency and facilitate marketing.   Articles Automating Intake Creating Welcome Kits Establishing Procedures Handling Inquiries Making Clients Feel Special Improving the Intake Process Intake Tips Onboarding Clients Scheduling Appointments Training Staff Books Capturing Clients Guide to Law Firm Intake Intake Procedures Risk Management for Law Firms Writing Client Letters Forms ABA Georgia Bar Michigan  Bar My Shingle South Carolina Themis

Working Better From Home

The Coronavirus presents special challenges to solos and small law firms who are working from home.  Adopt healthy workstyles and  ergonomics . Stay ahead of the curve by reading   articles,   books  and  guides   to surviving and thriving when working remotely. Consider   staying remote after the Coronavirus situation.  And prepare for reopening your office by checking bar association resources and reading articles with reopening tips .

Using Virtual Receptionists

Receptionists can greet clients, receive packages and answer incoming calls and emails. Some firms have switched to online assistants as backup or to provide 24/7 coverage. Virtual receptionists cost about $100 to $300/month. You can choose from providers with live persons or use an automated attendant. Virtual receptionists can improve client intake and integrate with practice management systems. Read articles about in-person , virtual assistants , and  virtual receptionists . Also see  comparisons , guides ,  reviews , and  sample scripts  to add a virtual receptionist at your firm.     virtual receptionists

Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants are live people that work remotely to help with administrative tasks, marketing, researching, and writing. They can be hired part-time or full-time depending on your needs. Learn more by reading articles about benefits ,  choosing , ethics ,  using , recruiting , and supervising virtual assistants.  Also see a related post about using automated digital assistants  for calendaring, communicating, dictating, and note-taking .   

Using Smart Devices

Smart speakers with video displays can improve your productivity . Popular devices include Amazon's Echo Show, Google's Nest Hub, and Lenovo's Smart Display. Apple fans can use their iPads or iPhones. Use them with digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google's Assistant for calendars, calls, clocks, email, reminders, and retrieving information. Learn more by reading articles about  digital assistants , home devices ,  smart displays ,  productivity tips , and  product reviews .