Lawyers and Law Firms

Clients are the core focus of a successful business and the client defines value. As a lawyer, you must take up a keen interest in client requirements and expectations. The lawyer also has the obligation to educate and shape client expectations. A lawyer’s legal contribution forms part of his value proposition. Beyond guiding legal processes, a lawyer’s value is enhanced by the overall advice and guidance he provides to the management team.

However, value is not always associated with huge spending or savings on cost. More spending maybe necessary to guarantee the long-term value. In every new job, one of the very first success tips is understanding the power dynamics within the structure of the organization. Part of your job is to find out who does what or answers to who and general organization culture in relation to your position. You have to identify the main challenges and hurdles you will most likely encounter and proceed to come up with fool-proof strategies to overcome them.

The first step to this is by observation. Take a keen look at how other departments operate and behave towards your department. The second step is to speak to employees at different levels and departments in the organization. Clients may also provide a different perspective on the firm. This has to be done in a record 100 days that act as a litmus test indicator of how successful one’s tenure is likely to be. As a lawyer, its important to understand the kind of industry you operate in. A lawyer role in a communications industry is different from a similar role in a state department or constitutional office. Understanding where one fits ensures less friction with others, guarantees smooth operation and the lawyer earns the respect of peers and juniors.

The value of a lawyer may vary depending on the sheer size of the firm he operates in. The level of career progression and experience is another important value proposition. Entry level and graduate lawyer’s in most cases take years of practice to become indispensable members of their legal departments. Career progression comes with a guarantee of respect, tenure and independence.

At this level seniors’ are tasked with making decisions of urgent importance and are able to prove their value as assets o the firm. Small-size and medium firms offer a very different kind of experience to big multinational firms. In larger firms, lawyers become specialists dealing in different sectors of operation. One’s masterly of their sector increases their value to the firm.

Smaller firms on the other hand turn lawyers into generalists creating competition in most cases while offering all rounded experience. Again the lawyer who shows expertise in the aggregate of the general duties gains more organizational value. The level of supervision and client contact is another determinant. Junior staff in a small firm my have all the field contact with client and therefore a greater chance to influence or solve their issues. In larger firms similar staff could be confined to office desks while their senior’s engage all the clients. In conclusion, a smart lawyer shouldn’t have to explain their intrinsic value to a firm.

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How Law Firms can Implement a CRM System with Ease

Information management is an essential aspect in any office, most law firms deal with an influx of information, and it makes it tricky to manage all the contacts and information at once without getting buried in unnecessary battle. When a firm is still small, it can manage their information and files with ease but as the company grows large it can be a daunting task.

Members in one organization cannot even get time to gather information from other members and may not be aware of previously established relationships since each attorney works on different cases at a time. It presents a challenge for the firms to collective use the intelligence and maintain the existing customer relationship while paving way for newer relationships. However, the use of contact/client relationship management system or CRM, which allows the firm to manage all the contacts or clients a central location with numerous levels of security, installed. The current programming allows the synchrony of email programs such as outlook among others; with this, you can manage individual and company emails with ease.

It is imperative that firms institutionalize the information that is on the employee’s heads to ease delivery of high quality service. In the recent past without the CRM, it can be difficult to manage information, if a law firm wants to mail an announcement or newsletter to a certain group of people it can be a daunting task because collecting names, checking for duplicate content and accuracy can consume a lot of time, which can be easily done by computers. With the CRM all, the contacts are in the database and the only work is to create a category for the information that requires tracking. Most CRM systems allow law firms to manage an event or track the success of the activity mainly in terms of following up contacts who might be future clients. It is however important for law firms seeking a new CRM system to look for a product that will allow them to associate the results of an activity with that of the cost per person for the same.

A major challenge that most law firms face when installing CRM systems is that the lawyers are not comfortable sharing the info. However, when there is confidentiality and privacy the system works perfectly. The encoding of information in various security levels allows to deal with personal concerns easily, the contact might be listed as public, but the contact information is not present on the public domain unless accessed via numerous security levels. Centralizing the information through the database provides continuity in service delivery even when the lawyer retires or when the attorney is on vacation. CRM system is a powerful tool that can be used to manage contacts and relationships as well, the contacts that are integrated unto the systems add meaningful feature to the company. Contact management can be integrated with billing software, accounting, human resource, and document management systems. Moreover, CRM provides an avenue for understanding what is being done by the subsidiaries and the parent company.

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5 Questions with a Small Law Attorney

Introduction

Choosing an attorney for your small-scale business is an important decision you will ever make throughout your life as an entrepreneur. Small law attorneys are in most cases hired to solve deals gone wrong or to fix a problem quickly. Because hiring an attorney is not just a summer fling but an important decision making, it is important to choose your attorney wisely. Here are some important questions you should consider asking a small law attorney before committing to one.

1.Ask them whether they have worked with any other businesses in your industry

If the answer is yes, ask them to provide you with a list of clients they have represented. On the other hand, if the answer is no meaning that they have not worked with any other business in your industry, consider finding another attorney. This is because you can only get the best value from an attorney if they are familiar with the nuances of the industry you are in.

2. Ask your potential attorney about their client communication policy

This is very important. Don’t hire an attorney before inquiring about their client communication policy or you will have a poor attorney-client relationship. Some attorneys prefer to communicate to their clients only when they want to make an important update. Others communicate with clients regularly. Some attorneys communicate with clients using emails while others opt for phone calls. Some attorneys may pay for those calls others may not. That said, it is important to ensure that you are okay with your attorney’s style of communication.

3. Ask about their fee structure

This is one question you shouldn’t forget to ask your potential small law attorney. You don’t want a situation whereby you are asked to pay a huge legal bill after the problem is fixed. Find out whether your potential attorney uses a flat fee, hourly billing or any other method. This will enable you make informed decisions. In a situation where a lot of work needs to be done, ask for a flat fee. Discussing the fee structure before the attorney begins their work will help avoid issues at the end.

4. Ask them about the possible outcomes not forgetting the alternatives of your matter

Note that there is no any given attorney who can guarantee the outcome of a matter in a court of law. However, they should be in a position to have a plan B in case plan A fails. At this point, you should sit down with your attorney and clarify any fees you may incur supposing the attorney has to work an extra mile on your file. So doing will enable you prepare financially for plan B in case plan A fails. If you are on a tight budget do not hesitate discussing the issue with your attorney, click here for a list of our recommended sources.

5. Ask your attorney whether there will be any limitation on the scope of representation

Source : ocalainjuryfirm.com

This aims at eliminating attorney hopping so that you can work with only one attorney throughout the growth of your business. So doing helps create an excellent attorney-client relationship and your attorney can decide circumstances that can lead to the limitation of their representation.

Conclusion

It is a wise idea to have a lengthy conversation with your potential personal injury attorney. You will be able to establish a good attorney-client relationship with him/her. You will also find out whether they are concerned with the well-being of your business.

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Looking at the future of law

No profession can remain static. Things change over the years. All professions have changed over decades and centuries as technological advancement s and innovations change their way of doing things. The main objectives of improving the implementation careers is to make services much more efficient, faster, better and less expensive. Be it the media, the medical fraternity, teaching and even the legal fraternity cannot be left out as the future beckons and with it comes changes and adaption to new challenges and demands.

ILTACON, International Legal Technology Association Conference, is a seminar which scrutinizes the professionals in the technology who work within law firms and the legal departments and seeks to share and empower on what works and what the future holds for the profession.

ILTACON on the future of law focused on how there can be a streamlining of legal services to offer adequate service delivery and improve the legal system while at it. There were promising ideas on how there can be a tweaking and a re-think towards the future of law. Some of those ideas include lawyers actively engaging with technology and the people behind technology so that services are effective and faster. On the other hand, technologists should understand the role of lawyers better to streamline services. Another suggestion is shifting of risk from the corporate clients onto the law firms, this will enable law firms secure their top line revenue.

ILTACON has the agenda of increasing revenue for law firms while decreasing operational costs. When technology plays a part in legal firms operations, there will be lesser and cheaper timekeepers who still uphold quality. The time savings which have been accrued will be used to resell other corporate clients. If the future of law is to be much more convincing in service delivery, then change needs to start from the foundation, technology is just going to be laid out later after the fundamental changes and, primarily, acceptance of those changes is effected. Incentives have to be laid out for there to be a gradual shift in practicing law in the days to come.

There are questions which ILTACON purposed to answer at the just concluded conference three weeks ago. All these questions are pegged on how the practice will be carried out in the future. Some of those key questions are, what does the legal profession need to do better than it is doing now? Secondly, what can be done now but less intensively? How can systems and delivery of services be re-thought? And finally, can preventive law be practiced? All these questions served to create a conversation on how the future of law will be shaped.

ILTACON has made steps in looking at the integration of technology into the practice of law. By gathering great legal and technological minds to pursue a future for how things work for the good of the legal profession in the future. One of the other objectives is to ensure that the legal profession is prestigious to boost attraction and retention in the profession.

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IT Strategic for Law Firms?

To answer that question, an understanding of the two key phrases -‘IT” and ‘strategic’ – is essential. Most of us have a fairly good idea of what both mean, but precision and incisive understanding are the hallmarks of a good law practitioner and so to establish the parameters of this discussion, let us take a look at their formal definitions.

According to Webopedia (www.webopedia.com), “IT (information technology) is the broad subject concerned with all aspects of managing and processing information, especially within a large organization or company.”
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘strategic’ as ‘relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them.

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In a nutshell, is the way a law firm collates, stores and uses data conducive to its increased growth and attainment of its long-term objectives?

From a purely selfish, self-preservation perspective (no lawyer jokes, please), the answer is a resounding ‘yes’; it is absolutely imperative that every legal practice have a robust, comprehensive IT solution – it enables information to be presented in a manner that greatly enhances overall comprehension of a legal matter and thus reduces the possibility of being accused of that dreaded charge – malpractice.

0_0_440_1_70_-News-computer_health400A good IT system ensures that all relevant information about a case, including that of the individuals and/or firms involved, cited and relevant precedent cases, and facts about a matter can be presented in a manner that highlights their relevance and reason for relevance. This is achieved by extracting data from various sources and placing it in a way that allows the legal professional to make deductions, and formulate and anticipate questions quickly and with minimal effort.

In today’s world, almost every potential customer/client for every type of goods or services does his research online before choosing where o spend his hard-earned money. That one sentence should be enough to prompt any firm to establish an online presence, and a strong one at that. Lawyers even offer instant online advice for free to build goodwill and solid reputations in both the legal and local community. In short, an outward-looking IT strategy is crucial to expanding a legal business.

A new field is opening up in law-related IT – jury selection choices. The analyses of publicly-available information about prospective jurors is the best tool a lawyer may possess, an extension of the self-reported information that has sometimes found to be wanting or outright inaccurate.

A comprehensive IT plan does not only cover the input and maintenance of information – the unauthorized access of legal information held by a firm may not only severely hamper and damage its chances of success in the courtroom, but also leave it exposed to lawsuits. Virtually every firm uses computers that are connected to the web, and employs them for the receipt and transmission of sensitive data. To have an overall IT strategy of any value, firms must understand the risks to their reputations and wallets should data fall into the wrong hands and employ a reliable data protection plan. This is one area where the costs should not be considered an expense but an investment.06.coding

In summary, IT is not only strategic, it paves the inevitable path to the future, and law firms that disregard or underestimate its importance and utility do so at their own peril.

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