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Keeping Up with the Law

Learning is a lifelong process.

Executive Summary

Changes to state and federal laws happen all the time. Stay up on the law to stay out of trouble and provide superior client service. This requires an investment in education and tools. The internet offers a nearly-limitless law library at your fingertips 24/7.

Learning Never Stops

Lawyers get sued for malpractice because they were unaware of a new statute, regulation, legal remedy or court decision. Sometimes it is the most experienced and successful lawyer that poses the greatest risk. They’re too busy working to read the advance sheets. Or they’ve grown lax and think they know it all.

Alta Pro Practice Pointers

  1. Education begins at the top. Set a good example for your firm by being curious about emerging trends in the law. Stay current on new developments. Become a thought leader in your area of expertise.
  2. Comply with CLE regulations. Designate a person in the office to ensure that all attorneys have taken the required hours and filed the necessary bar reports. It’s embarrassing – and potentially disastrous – to have your license suspended for noncompliance. Take even more hours than you need. Make your education top-notch, not the bare minimum. Link to our CLE offerings?
  3. Educate each other. Communicate freely. Don’t become a firm of silo lawyers. Hold staff meetings to discuss recent changes that impact your practice. Ask each lawyer to bring one interesting bit of news to each meeting.
  4. Educate clients. Your role as advisor requires you to teach your clients about how the law affects their life and business. E-newsletters, bulletins and blogposts are not just great marketing tools – they’re ways to fulfill your ethical obligation to your clients. And by taking a deep dive into a specific topic, you can become an expert yourself.
  5. Read whole cases—not just the summaries. Don’t be a skimmer. If a court opinion, regulation or statute is relevant to your practice, read the whole thing. A nugget buried in a footnote might be the key to cracking a pending case. Use a tool like Evernote or a simple database to collect and organize research documents. Task individuals in the firm with reviewing an important article or analyzing a line of precedent and reporting back to everyone.
  6. Learn your clients’ business and anticipate their future needs. Get to know their world. Join their professional organizations. Seek opportunities to give presentations on timely topics. Educate them on what to expect down the road. All of this will protect their interests and add value to your relationship.

The Bottom Line: Keep learning to stay on top of your game.

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