Division 1 of the Washington Court of Appeals recently issued a significant decision applying a new standard for former client conflicts in the disqualification context. In Plein v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company, the plaintiff homeowners filed an insurance “bad faith” claim against their property insurance carrier, defendant USAA, over coverage for a fire and subsequent…
Attorney Eleanor Doermann explains how she used her business experience as a physical therapist to become a private-practice lawyer helping LGBTQ seniors.
I am always on the lookout for new ideas, tools, or products that are helpful to lawyers. If you have 2 minutes to spare, watch the video at the end of this post compiled by Streaming.Lawyer blogger Mitch Jackson. It highlights how Mitch uses the following every day in his law practice:
bombbomb – an online service that records, sends, and tracks simple email videos to stand out in your client’s crowded inbox.
Zoom video conferencing – Modern video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars. (I use Zoom for online CLEs and recommend it highly.)
eCamm – live video streaming for Mac platforms. Compatible with Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, and Twitch.
AgoraPulse – social media management. Should you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube? Yes, but who has the time. This product allows you to schedule content, get reports, and engage followers with one simple tool.
GoogleKeep – Keep is simple way to capture notes, lists, and reminders on the go. Record voice memos and Keep will automatically transcribe them! Check off completed tasks; add a collaborator to notes and lists; add photos and drawings, or draw on photos; search notes by automagically created topics; group notes together with #labels; color notes; access your notes on any device; syncs automatically to your phone, tablet, watch, and laptop via the Google Keep website, or Chrome app.
Use “Ok Google” voice commands to “take a note” or “add to to-do list.”
Canva – use Canva’s drag-and-drop feature and layouts to design, share, and print business cards, logos, presentations and more. Accounts are free.
Calendly – online scheduling is the most efficient way to set depositions, mediations, and meetings. Free and integrates with Google, Outlook, Office 365 or iCloud calendar so you’re never double booked.
Smartline – a second phone number app from GoDaddy. Unlimited texts and minutes for $9.99 per month (free 30-day trial available). Install the app on your current smartphone. Save your private number for friends and family and use Smartline for business calls.
Nimble – relationship-building software. Log on to your Nimble dashboard to manage client relationships and contacts.
Here’s Mitch’s video:
Microsoft Word’s Page Numbering can be challenging to insert correctly. This quick guide offers easy steps to get your pages numbered.
Let’s face it, no organization is immune from having to make the tough decision to terminate an employee. Of course no one likes to do it, but that still leaves the real question of how and when you should do it? This is especially true for lawyers beginning a new practice or expanding their existing practice…
Assuming the employee has not committed an act that warrants immediate termination, consider these suggestions from the post referenced above:
- Document, Document, Document: Scrupulously document disciplinary issues (if it’s not documented, it’s as if it didn’t happen).
- Start with Warnings: When addressing performance issues, consider using a progressive disciplinary approach: For example, an escalating series of verbal, written, and other more serious notifications to the employee so they can attempt to improve their performance. However, this would not apply to serious performance breaches, nor for new employees who clearly don’t have the skills for the job.
- Be Consistent: Take the same disciplinary approach for all employees—being mindful of each individual’s unique background and characteristics such as race; color; religion; pregnancy; gender identity; sexual orientation; national origin; age, 40 or older; disability, visible or invisible; or genetic information.
- Document Some More: Always document the termination with a concise termination memo. If you do not provide the reason(s) for termination, the employee might assume the actual reason for their discharge was due to whatever protected category applies to them, such as race, gender, or age.
- Don’t Waver: In the termination meeting, be professional but firm in your decision. The termination memo should do much of the talking for you.
- Stick to the Script: Do NOT say anything different to the employee than what’s included in the termination memo—this is not the time to be overly reassuring and retreat from the true reasons for discharging the employee.
- Go in as a Team: Try to have a manager who knows the employee present for the termination. A team approach—two management representatives, or a management representative and a human resources representative, or a management representative and a career counselor, etc.—is preferable because one person can take notes and there will be more than one witness to confirm what is said.
The Professional Liability Fund offers a Checklist for Departing Staff and sample office manuals, which may be helpful. From the home page, select Practice Management > Forms and peruse the “Staff” and “Office Manuals” categories.
All Rights Reserved 2019 Beverly Michaelis