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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Marketing’

Back to Basics: Competence in Communications

Communication-based claims and complaints against lawyers remain remarkably common despite the increased ease with which we can communicate with clients through use of technology in addition to more traditional modes of communication.

Strong and effective communications between lawyers and their clients are an essential component of the lawyer-client relationship. Some of the issues that might be flagged as problematic in a communications based claim include:

  • Failing to obtain and follow a client’s instructions;
  • Failing to keep a client informed of progress, or lack of progress in complying with instructions;
  • Failing to advise a client of all settlement offers;
  • Confusion as
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Opposite of ‘Inclusive’ Is ‘Incomplete’

Lawyers work in one of the least diverse professions in any country, Dr. Arin Reeves told the Monday morning plenary session at the 2013 CBA Legal Conference in Saskatoon. It was something the women and minorities in the largely white, male audience had probably already guessed.

And they no doubt nodded vigorously, or even silently applauded, when she said that “diversity” is not merely a matter of including a few people who don’t look like you on a team – it’s a matter of including them because you value their input, because you know they’ll bring something important to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

An Annual Legal Health Check-Up From LAWPRO

Clients don’t always appreciate how lawyers can help on other legal issues they may encounter as they go through life.

Just as booking an appointment with a doctor or financial advisor offers an opportunity to identify issues and gauge your health (physical and financial), checking in with their lawyer can ensure your client’s legal health is also in good shape.

To help lawyers remind their clients to check up their “legal health”, LAWPRO has created the Annual Legal Health Check-up (in Word format and PDF format). It is a non-exhaustive list of common legal issues that arise in a . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing

Congratulations, You May Have Already Won…

So a lawyer gets an email / letter saying:

Congratulations, based on our extensive research and review you have been named as a top ranked / elite / awesome lawyer in your practice area and will appear in our print / online publication. You can obtain / enhance your listing by completing form X / sending a profile and the (non-trivial) sum of $X.

The questions are:

  • Do these publications do any more than feed our egos?
  • Do buyers of legal services actually look at these print or online publications to find a lawyer?
  • If so, do they trust the
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing

How to Annoy (Or Lose) a Client in 7 Easy Steps

Should you find yourself with a surplus of clients, the following tips may be of some assistance.

  1. Speak only in legalese. Make a point of using Latin terms and providing complex answers to simple questions from clients. Above all, avoid plain language and clarity in your communications.
  2. Keep your clients in the dark. Don’t send regular updates or otherwise inform them of what you are doing on their behalf.
  3. Never focus your attention on what your clients are saying to you. Take calls, read emails on your Blackberry and check your watch during face-to-face client meetings.
  4. Raise your rates without
. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

The Future of the Legal Profession: Shaken? Stirred?

A vodka martini is the libation of choice for the James Bond of film – famously shaken, not stirred. The actor may change but Bond’s drink remains the same: the viewer understands that he likes its taste, he likes its style, its strength; that he has a comfort level with it that will not change.

When it comes to many lawyers’ seeming lack of engagement with the issues facing the future of the legal profession, it has been suggested that, like the Bond of film (though, it must be said, not the literary character) lawyers with a certain amount of . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Agents of Change

Your tools are a law degree, and a country bound by the rule of law.

Your obstacles are law school debt; an ever-growing access to justice crisis; an economic downturn that has raised the volume on client demands for more services at a lower cost; and a regulatory system made increasingly complex by the globalization of business and trade.

Your mission – should you choose to accept it, Agent LLB – is to find a way of doing business that uses the tools at hand to overcome the obstacles and create a successful legal practice.

This message will not self-destruct, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Get Me Some Help Here, Stat!

In a busy hospital emergency room, a triage nurse can literally mean the difference between life and death, as he or she makes the call on who needs to be seen right away, and who can wait for help.

Within the Legal Futures Initiative’s consultation, some tell us that the legal system similarly needs a good triage system “to move parties to the resources they need and to facilitate more efficient use of resources.”

Most lawyers, and law firms, likely have their own forms of triage – a system by which the firm decides who gets what file, who contributes . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management

Swallowing the Double-Edged Sword

Access to justice, according to some definitions, includes a public that has some legal literacy – people who are aware of their rights and obligations under the law.

Technology helps promote a form of legal literacy, but some lawyers say it’s a double-edged sword – clients are more willing than ever to participate in the process, says one contributor to the CBA Legal Futures consultation, but they “lack the practical understanding of the limitations of the judicial system to fully appreciate risk.”

Just as some medical patients will research online and then ask their family physician to confirm Dr. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

People You Meet on Planes

While travelling home from Seattle last week after the AALL conference, which Connie, Kim and I blogged about here and here and here and here, I had an interesting seat mate. More than one interesting person actually. My philosophy is that if you are stuck on a plane and there is someone conversationally inclined, it is a good idea to put down your novel and learn. Every conversation is an opportunity to learn something, whether it is with a student travelling for the first time, someone on the way to visit a grandchild, or someone travelling on a business . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD, Practice of Law: Marketing

Great Communicators

Lawyers tend to think of themselves as strong communicators, but they don’t always get their message across to clients.

It doesn’t help that clients aren’t always clear about what they want from lawyers.

This was evident at the mid-winter meeting of the CBA Council, when the Legal Futures Initiative took advantage of the gathering of lawyers from across the country, representing most sizes and types of practice, to find out what lawyers think clients want.

Presented with results from the Initiative’s own survey of client expectations, some lawyers present were a bit taken aback by the idea that clients wanted . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology, Technology: Internet, Technology: Office Technology

Pre-Emptive Lawyering: What’s the Incentive?

Many lawyers entered the profession because of a desire to do good, to help people, to support the rule of law. That’s their motivation.

Once in the workplace, though, their primary incentive is the need to make a living. That space between motive and incentive can create some cognitive dissonance for those lawyers who can’t take on the cases they’d like to tackle, particularly if it’s a question of the would-be client’s inability to pay; or the fear that the return would not justify the investment of the lawyer’s time.

Richard Susskind, in a paper prepared for the CBA’s Legal . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management