From the COLAP Cafe:
The Bar Examiner Features Lawyer Well-Being Report and Initiatives
— Read on abacolap.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/the-bar-examiner-features-lawyer-well-being-report-and-initiatives/
Choose from any of these programs:
- 7 Steps to Building Better Client Relationships – $25
- Best Practices for Client Intake, Engagement, and Workflow – $25
- Best Practices for Docketing, Conflicts, Disengagement, and File Retention – $25
- eCourt Malpractice Traps 2017 – $25
- Ethical Dilemmas: Unclaimed Client Funds – $15
- Ethical Guidelines for Client Files – $25
- Ethical Trust Accounting – $25
- Fee Agreements – Ethical Dos and Don’ts – $20
- Limiting Exposure to Conflicts – $25
- Oregon eService – $25
How to apply the discount
Browse the CLEs and add 2 or more to your cart. When you’re done making CLE selections, choose the shopping cart icon at the top right of your screen and select Checkout. In the discount code field, enter SUMMER and select Apply to receive 20% off your order.
Your on demand CLE purchase includes
- MP4 download (combined audio and video file)
- M4a download (audio only)
- Written program materials, including presentation slides and resources
- Answers to polling questions asked during the live CLE
- MCLE Form 6 for self-reporting of MCLE credits
Instant digital delivery with options to save to the cloud or your mobile device
Links to digital files are delivered instantly at checkout with your purchase confirmation email. Download, stream, save to your Dropbox account, or send files to your mobile device or desktop computer.
Secure payment processing
All transactions are handled by Selz and protected with industry standard security, including encryption and SSL secure. The Selz platform is also PCI compliant. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover accepted.
Whilst strolling through the Internet one day, I came across this post by Peggy Gruenke at Attorney at Work. Twenty simple ideas that are timeless and critically important if you want your law firm to succeed. Here are a few of my financial-themed favorites with thoughts of my own.
Peggy’s five financial tips – greatly condensed
- Write a business plan
- Create a budget
- Know your overhead costs
- State your fee with authority
- Bill early, often, and strategically
Money and goals
As the business owner, your goal is to see the big picture. Who are you? Why are you unique? Who are you best equipped to serve? This is the purpose of a business plan, according to Peggy Gruenke.
My input? Don’t be intimated! Your business plan does not have to be a magnum opus. You can get it done in a few pages. Creating a business plan will give you:
- Clarity about what you want to do
- Control over your own fate
- A strategy for staying organized and on track
- A way to measure and monitor your progress
- A path to help you move forward
Want help? See my business plan checklist – originally designed for law students, but easily conformed to active law practices.
Budgeting and costs
Budgeting can be as simple as a basic spreadsheet. Track what comes in and what goes out. Don’t bother with incorporating prior years (unless you have a driving reason to do so). Just start now. Toward year-end use your 2018 data to create projections for 2019.
As Peggy says, “You should know (by heart) how much money you need to make to keep the doors open.”
To get started, revisit this article by yours truly, Dee Crocker and Sheila Blackford. As motivation, consider this excerpt:
Every law office should have a budget. Without one, it’s easy to overspend and hard to plan for future purchases. Knowing your overhead costs will help you decide how much revenue you need to make and how much you need to charge to bring in that amount. Failure to budget can cause financial problems. Lawyers with financial problems may take on new clients who have money in hand, leaving the work for existing clients unfinished. This can lead to disciplinary complaints from clients whose work is not completed.
I guarantee that your monthly “budget to actual” report, which compares actual spending against budget projections, will become your new best friend.
Stating your fee with authority
When a prospective client tells you that Lawyer Smith is willing to do the same work for $2,000 less, tell the person kindly that he can then retain Lawyer Smith. When you reduce your fee, you will have lost the trust of your prospective client. Odds are, in time, that client will leave Lawyer Smith and retain you to handle the mess that Lawyer Smith made.
Set a fee and stick to it! I know this can be hard, especially if you’re new to solo practice. Know in advance what you propose to charge, don’t make it up on the fly. Be matter-of-fact, business-like, and deliver the number without hesitation. You’re always free to make adjustments with the next case, but don’t waiver with the client sitting in front of you. For help in getting started, see this post.
Bill early and often
When you are ready to bill, issue invoices as soon after the event as possible: “As each day passes after an event, the perception of your value is diminished. If you send out the bill even two weeks afterward, the client won’t perceive the value to be as high.” (Peggy’s words of wisdom.)
There is no reason you can’t deliver your final bill with transactional documents. Take advantage of the arc of client gratitude while it is still in your favor!
Looking for more billing tips? Check out this resource.
All Rights Reserved 2018 Beverly Michaelis
Did you know that Microsoft Word has built-in collaboration tools?
Follow these steps:
- Save your document to OneDrive.
- Open your document in Word.
- Select Share on the ribbon (top right).
- Choose a contact to collaborate with by entering a name, email address, or searching your address book.
- Can edit permissions will be selected automatically in the drop-down. If desired, change to Can view instead.
- Add a message (optional).
- Click Share.
The “share” navigation pane in Word will display who owns the document, who can edit the document, and who can view the document.
On the receiving end, the person invited to edit your document will receive an email with the subject line, “I shared [name of document] with you in OneDrive.” (A piece of advice: we live in an age of malware, so let your collaborator know the document is coming.)
Co-editing in Word
After you share your document, you can collaborate on that file at the same time with others. Microsoft recommends working together in Word Online to see real-time changes. Colored flags will show you exactly where in the document each person is working.
Chat in Word
When editing together online, select Chat to open a chat window. Type your message and press Enter to send.
Chat history is not saved when you close a document. If the chat conversations are important, use copy and paste to preserve them: click in the Chat box, hit <Ctrl A> to select all, followed by <Ctrl C> to copy. Open a new Word Document, paste the chat history using <Ctrl V>, save, and close.
Using Chat vs. Comments
Microsoft suggests using Chat when you want to communicate with others immediately, for example, to ask a quick question or divide sections among the co-editors.
Use Comments (on the Review tab on the ribbon) when you want to attach a comment to a specific selection within the document, such as when you need to ask if a word or phrase should be changed. Comments are saved with the document and can be replied to, marked as done or deleted.
All Rights Reserved 2018 Beverly Michaelis
If you use assistive technology, such as a screen reader for the visually impaired, and you are shopping for anti-virus software, here are some resources you might consider:
- Question: Which Antivirus Program Works Best With My Screen Reader? Answer: You Might Be Asking the Wrong Question
- American Foundation for the Blind
- 6 best screen reading software for the blind or visually impaired
A blog follower also suggested Comparitech. If you know someone who can benefit from these resources, please pass them on.