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YOUR CAREER

Just promoted to office manager? Follow these 9 critical rules to avoid problems managing former friends and colleagues

Getting promoted to office manager can be a mixed blessing. As a former staffer, the new manager comes into the job knowing the good performers, the bad performers, the shortcuts, the troublemakers—and a few secrets. But the former peers also know their new boss, including strengths, weaknesses, and what buttons to push. Along with that, they are wondering how their relationship with their former peer will change. And someone who vied for the promotion could be poised to sabotage the new manager. Things are different now. To be successful in the job, the staffer-turned-manager has to carve out an entirely new position in the office. 1. Get a proper introduction The first hurdle is to get into the position with the acceptance of the other staff, and to achieve that,… . . . read more

12 marketing secrets of superstar lawyers

By Trey Ryder #1: They make marketing their highest priority. Superstar lawyers know marketing is the key to success. They hire capable attorneys to do legal work for them so they can focus their attention on maintaining relationships and attracting the clients they want. #2: They know that nothing is more important than their credibility. Superstar lawyers avoid selling-based marketing, which casts them in the role of a salesperson, because it undermines their credibility and causes people to question whether they can be trusted. They use education-based marketing instead, which attracts clients to them because of their knowledge, skill, judgment and experience. #3: They seize the number one position in their niche. The Law of Leadership states it is better to be first than it is to be better. Everyone knows Charles… . . . read more

TRAINING

Prove tech competency at your law firm

By Doug Striker Clients are increasingly asking law firms to prove tech competency before signing contracts for work. Why? Because they know that good tech skills translate into more efficient production, which translates into more bang for their buck. Simply put: Clients don’t want to pay high hourly rates if the people producing the work don’t know how to, say, format a Word document. That is a very fair expectation. But how do you prove tech competency at your law firm? So much of law work today is in the production process: producing products around legal arguments  —briefs, trial documents, contracts, etc. Therefore, if you can prove that your team efficiently uses the document production tools at their disposal, then you can prove that your billable hours are jam-packed with value. One… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

Corporate law departments strengthen ties with outside law firms

A new report on corporate law departments shows increasing investments in technology solutions, an expected increase in legal spend, and strengthening partnerships between corporate law departments and their external law firms. Thomson Reuters released 2022 State of Corporate Law Departments Report on March 22. The pandemic impacted all aspects of business including corporate law departments globally, which have been on the frontlines of protecting businesses during this unprecedented time. This year’s report provides key insights to aid corporate law departments and the law firms supporting them with world-class business intelligence, including benchmarks on legal spend, how to optimize for the future, and innovative ways law departments can stay a step ahead. “The impact of the pandemic and uncertainty propelled corporate legal departments to drive efficiency as a necessity,” said Sunil… . . . read more

RECRUITING

Hot lateral hiring market of 2021 notches record increase from 2020

Following a 30% decline in 2020 due in large part to hiring pauses in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, lateral hiring rebounded at an unprecedented rate in 2021, according to analyses of NALP’s Survey on 2021 Lateral Hiring. Overall, lateral hiring was up by 111% compared to 2020, the largest year-over-year increase since NALP (National Association for Law Placement) began tracking these data 23 years ago. While increases were noted across all categories of lawyers, the lateral associate market was particularly hot, increasing by nearly 149% in 2021. As a whole, lateral hiring was up across all firm sizes, regions, and cities included in the survey, although a few markets experienced declines in partner lateral hiring. NALP’s 2021 analyses cover aggregate hiring information on nearly 7,700 lateral lawyers… . . . read more

INCREASING PROFITS

Enforce those billing and collection guidelines

Getting paid or not getting paid to a great extent depends on the firm’s billing and collection guidelines—and whether they are enforced. Without guidelines, the firm is asking for money loss. Billing is haphazard, collection work isn’t done regularly, personal clients aren’t always satisfied with their bills, and corporate clients may hold up payment or contest the bill. Guidelines will vary from firm to firm. They have to reflect the firm’s culture along with its clients and the type of work it does. But in general, best practice calls for traditional procedures. Here are the basics. First and last month up front Start with a retainer. With almost all clients, the firm takes an understood risk when it accepts work. The client may be a slow payer or a part… . . . read more

WORKING WITH LAWYERS

4 components of effective succession planning

By Brenda Barnes Woody Allen’s famous quip, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying,” perfectly expresses the kind of wishful thinking that often gets in the way of preparing for the future. A huge wave of baby boomers has been pushing through the workforce and is now at retirement age or within sight of retirement. According to the recent U.S. census, over 65% will work past the age of retirement. Many companies put off succession planning until their owners are nearly into their 60s. In some cases, this is already too late—planning for a smooth transition of both the leadership and ownership of a business ought to begin 10 years or more before the retirement of an owner in order… . . . read more

WORKING WITH LAWYERS

Survey: Law students need more skills to be ready for practice

A recent survey by Bloomberg Law offers insights on law students’ preparedness for practice. Bloomberg asked over 1,000 practicing attorneys, law school students, faculty, and librarians about the skills needed for practice and how well law schools prepared individuals to enter the legal profession. Responses indicate that new attorneys would benefit from having more skills like client communications and interactions, professional writing, business development, leadership and management, and judgment and decision-making skills. Although respondents disagreed on where skills such as management and soft skills should be learned, the overwhelming majority of survey respondents felt that research skills and writing skills should be taught before new lawyers enter the job market. Check out the Bloomberg Law survey page for an interactive chart on this point. When asked what they considered to be… . . . read more

WORKING WITH ATTORNEYS

Fair compensation for lawyers in a competitive environment

By Brenda Barnes How to slice up the compensation pie has long been a problem for many law firms. The first question you may ask yourself is whether you have a well-developed compensation plan for your firm. After the announcement by Big Law that entry-level associates would start at over $200,000 per year, competition for talent has become even more fierce. So, what do small to mid-size firms do about recruitment and compensation? How do they compete? The beginning of the year is a time for reflection on collections, associate compensation, and bonus pool allocations. It is also a good time to remind yourself of some basic considerations about compensation: Attorneys work for many complex reasons. Compensation is an important factor, but not the only consideration. The relative importance of… . . . read more

TELEWORK

What law firms have learned about working remotely

When the pandemic first hit, the professional world shifted to remote working in an instant, but many people viewed the transition as temporary. Two years later, it’s clear that working from home is here to stay. The more time we’ve spent working remotely, the more we’ve learned—and like everything else in life, our process continues to evolve. According to Cosmolex, a company which provides cloud-based management software to law practices, this is what we learned over the last year: Communication is key Working remotely means fewer opportunities for casual checking in with team members—which puts more pressure on maintaining clear communication. Every law office will have its own preferences, but it’s a good idea to have some kind of platform for quick, casual messaging. Establishing office-wide use of a designated… . . . read more


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