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2. Managing Your Firm

The days when lawyers joined a firm and stayed until retirement are long past. Now lawyers come and go. Some departures are by design. Others are unexpected. Some are amicable. Others stem from bitter firm breakups. Regardless of the circumstances, avoid ethical and malpractice woes by (a) having an exit procedure, (b) making the transition as painless as possible for everyone, and (c) putting clients’ interests first.
Practicing law is an art. Running a law firm is a business. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, when properly combined they add up to a stellar practice. Business basics come first. This means laying a groundwork of best practices so that your lawyer artistry can flourish.
Attracting top talent to your firm is only half the battle – and often the easier half. The tougher part is turning that raw potential into skilled and loyal revenue producers.
It takes teamwork to run a law office. This starts with your support staff. They’re the ground troops who deal with clients daily and do the little things that keep the firm going. They’re also your last line of defense against malpractice. Develop a stellar staff through: (a) good training, (b) good support, and (c) good management.
Lawyers are independent by nature and training. They thrive on the freedom of private practice. But managing them can be a challenge. Lawyers in firm leadership positions have an ethical duty to supervise their associates. If misconduct occurs, they can face bar discipline. If a mistake is made, the entire firm – not just the errant lawyer – may be on the hook for malpractice. The solution: implement systems to ensure top-quality client representation – then follow the procedures rigorously.
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8.1 Technology and Security

Technology has changed every aspect of practicing law, from landing clients to branding firms. Today, lawyers can work anywhere and at any time. This freedom comes with significant risks. Hackers, thieves and predators abound. Data can be lost or compromised in nanoseconds. Smart firms are vigilant about securing their systems, safeguarding financial accounts and protecting client information.

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7.2 The Dangers of Dabbling

All lawyers have their comfort zones. Dabbling in an unfamiliar area increases the odds of a mistake, which can lead to a malpractice claim or bar grievance. The ethics rules permit you to take on a novel matter as long as you take appropriate steps to become competent.

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7.1 Keeping Up with the Law

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.

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6.4 Case Management Technology

Practice management software and systems are essential to a modern law practice. But with these tools come new risks. Keys to ensuring great representation and avoiding malpractice include (a) staying competent on technology, (b) keeping systems up to date, and (c) training everyone to use them properly.

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