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A Four-Letter Word Worth Saying Often

Especially in chaotic times.

Managing a law office is a challenge in the best of times. When times are tough – whether because of economic uncertainty, personal issues, or a pandemic – the pressure mounts.

In rough patches, it is essential to practice risk management. Often the best risk management advice comes down to a single, four-letter word: don’t.

Some clients and case matters aren’t right for your practice. Some actions a client (or someone else) might want you to take in a case are unwise, unethical or even illegal. Some words are better left unspoken, some deeds left undone.

The key point: “Don’t do it!”

Running a law office can be a roller-coaster. While some of the ups and downs are outside your control, others can be managed, contained and prepared for. Join us on September 28 at 12 noon CT for the free, one-hour CLE webinar “Managing a Law Office in Uncertain Times: Practical Tips for Building a Solid Foundation for Your Law Practice.” See how a one-page business plan may be all you need. Learn safe and effective “scripts” for initial consultations. Receive a crash course in Law Office Budgeting 101 and Best Practices for client screening. Discover the “Dirty Dozen” list of clients to avoid. The webinar is presented by Gary Poole, a 40-year practitioner and mentor for new lawyers, and Hannah Chapman, a business and financial consultant for small businesses. Attend “Managing a Law Office in Uncertain Times” for a master class on how to maintain law office excellence through good times and bad. Register here.

Ethics Reminder: ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4, Misconduct

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to: (a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another; (b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects; (c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; (d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice; (e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law; (f) knowingly assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law; or (g) engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law. This paragraph does not limit the ability of a lawyer to accept, decline or withdraw from a representation in accordance with Rule 1.16. This paragraph does not preclude legitimate advice or advocacy consistent with these Rules.

Some Other Important Don’ts

  • Don’t be a jerk or bully.
  • Don’t do something that doesn’t feel right inside.
  • Don’t click on suspicious email messages and links.
  • Don’t talk about legal matters outside the office.
  • Don’t compromise client data.
  • Don’t practice in a silo.
  • Don’t neglect wellness and self-care.
  • Don’t go without professional liability coverage.
  • Don’t take a case out of desperation.
  • Don’t procrastinate – delegate or ask for help.

The Bottom Line: Saying yes may be gratifying, but sometimes saying no is more important.

Do you practice in Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana or Michigan? Is your professional liability coverage managed through Alta Pro? If so, you’re automatically a member of the Alta Pro Risk Purchasing Group (RPG), which offers a wealth of benefits for your practice: free, cutting-edge CLE webinars featuring top experts tackling timely topics; the Pro Practice Playbook; the Pro Practice Blog; Reminger’s ProLink risk management assistance; Reminger’s Claim Repair Hotline; discounts on CLIO practice management software; tax savings on health insurance; and access to the Risk Pro, who can help keep your firm safe and successful. Register here and start enjoying your Alta Pro RPG benefits.

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