Quick Tip: How to Dispose of an Old Computer

Good advice from Techlicious on how to safely dispose of your old computer.  Steps include:

  1. overwriting
  2. encrypting
  3. deauthorizing
  4. deleting browsing history
  5. uninstalling programs
  6. consulting with your employer regarding data policies
  7. wiping your hard drive
  8. physically destroying your hard drive

With links to software that will do the job for free (or cheaply).  

Whether you’re a Windows or Mac user, operating system settings are clear and easy to follow. 

Read the full post here.  Also included are suggestions on backing up before destruction and resources on recycling or trading in your computer. 

Setting Your Hourly Rate

Value billing.  The words alone sounded so good in 2000-whatever or 1990-something. But transitioning from concept to reality?  It was never easy and still isn’t.

Keeping it 100

Here’s the reality: everyone who uses flat fees or AFA/hybrid fee arrangements referenced or started with an hourly rate.  That’s the math, folks.  Unless you’re a 100% contingent fee lawyer who never intends to change practice areas, you need to have a sense of how to price your services on an hourly basis.  Here’s how to go about it.

The Anecdotal Approach to Pricing

We could also call this: “If Susan down the street charges $200 per hour, so should I.”

If you’re basing your hourly rate on what one, two, or a handful of other lawyers are charging, your sample group is too small.  Period.

I’m not saying don’t gather anecdotal data.  It can be informative.  Most of us can learn a lot from talking to colleagues or mentors about pricing and billing practices, especially if we’re new to an area.  But anecdotal data needs to be balanced with something more.

Use the Data the Bar Gave You

Every five years the Oregon State Bar conducts an economic survey.  If the bar adheres to its quinquennial pattern, the next survey will occur in 2017.  For now, use the 2012 survey. The important data on billing practices begins on page 29, “Hourly Billing Rate by Total Years Admitted to Practice,” reported by years of practice and geographic region. To use this data effectively, find where you fit based on years admitted to practice and area(s) of law, then scroll over to your region of the state.

Billable Rates by Years of Experience: Lawyers Admitted 0-3 Years

  • In 2012, the lowest hourly rate billed by this group was $113 in the lower valley versus a high of $246 per hour in Portland.
  • Statewide, lawyers admitted 0-3 years billed an average of $156 per hour.
  • While there are a few geographic blips here and there, the data bears out what common sense would predict: the longer you practice, the higher your billable rate.

Next, jump ahead to page 31, “Hourly Billing Rate by Area of Practice.”  Find your area(s) of law, then locate the rates for your region of the state.

Billable Rates by Areas of Law

  • The average hourly billing rates ranged from a low of $190 per hour for civil litigation-insurance defense to a high of $291 for civil litigation-defendant (not including insurance defense).
  • Other statewide average rates were:  Bankruptcy $269, Criminal $214, Family Law $214, Real Estate/Land Use/Environmental $283, Tax/Estate Planning $239.

Keep on Keeping On With the Law of Averages

Once you know the average hourly rate based on years of admission and area(s) of law, tally the rates and take the average again.  Once you know this number, feel free to reflect back on the anecdotal data you gathered.  If your anecdotal data differs wildly from what the survey says, go with the survey.  Use this hourly rate when calculating flat fee and hybrid fee arrangements.

Cultivate Confidence

Some lawyers low ball their rate because they don’t feel they can charge “what the survey says.”  Newer lawyers often fall into this category.  But perspective is everything: if you did the same work as an associate for a firm, rest assured they would bill clients in the average to high ranges documented by the bar.  Why, intrinsically, should your rate as a solo be any lower?

Nonetheless, part of the process of setting your rate is finding a comfort zone for what you charge.  If you can’t quite stomach the average and need to take it down a tick or two, I respect that decision [even though I may try to talk you out of it].

Either way, you must be able to face potential clients and communicate your rate in a matter-of-fact, businesslike, manner – with confidence and without hesitation.

[All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis]

 

 

 

How to QUICKLY find the Customer Service number you need

Worth a reblog as companies do seem to go out of the way to hide customer service numbers:

Is it my imagination or do companies work hard to make their customer service number just a teeny bit hard to find? I remember over the years searching through instruction manuals, and dragging out a magnifying glass to examine the small print. These days it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself clicking through pages of […]

https://sharechair.wordpress.com/2016/07/31/how-to-quickly-find-the-customer-service-number-you-need/

Represent Only Clients You Like

Registration is now open for “Client and Case Screening,” a live online CLE event scheduled for August 31, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Learn how to screen clients and cases effectively and efficiently by:

  • Honing your client assessment skills
  • Using a 7 step client screening checklist
  • Integrating screening into client intake
  • Probing clients with 5 must-ask questions
  • Learning how to make adjustments when you take a case beyond your areas of expertise
  • Debunking the top 10 excuses for taking a bad case
  • Building discipline into the case selection process
  • Declining the poorly matched client
  • Preparing effective nonengagement and disengagement letters
  • Embracing the lawyer’s Bill of Rights

1.0 Practical Skills MCLE credits Oregon.

 

Eventbrite - Client and Case Screening for Lawyers

All the Tech Tips You’ll Ever Need

Well… that may be a bit of a stretch, but this is still a goodie.

If you enjoy the ABA TECHSHOW format of 60 TechTips in 60 Minutes, you will certainly appreciate the lead-off presentation from this year’s inaugural Oregon State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference.

Featuring Paul Unger and Barron Henley, “60 Legal Tech Tips, Gadgets, Apps and Websites” was a technology whirlwind.  I can honestly say I’ve saved the best post for last.  [If you missed out on prior posts, just time travel back to July 13 to see the beginning and work your way forward.]

Here are a few of the jewels Paul and Barron shared:

For the complete compilation, see this post on Storify.

All Rights Reserved 2016 Beverly Michaelis

Postscript

Also see the related story featuring Barron’s tips on “Superior Methods for Drafting Complex Legal Documents.”