Professional Practice Updates

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Professional Practice issues written by leading professionals.
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Best Practices for Attorneys re the Court Reporter at Hearings

In many county courthouses throughout California, Friday is law and motion day. Every hour a new calendar is called by the judge with approximately 10 matters. Attorneys will hire a court reporter to report their hearing if...more

Western District of Michigan FBA Annual Meeting a Success

Approximately 100 members of the Western District of Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association met for the chapter's Annual Meeting at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel's Imperial Ballroom on September 22, 2016. The meeting...more

Your Friday Recap - This Week's Popular Reads on JD Supra

It's what facial recognition technology, blockchain, social media, cybersecurity, Zika, and OSHA have in common, don't you know....more

How 401(k) Plan Sponsors Can Improve Their Plan At Little Cost

There are many ways that a retirement plan sponsor can improve their 401(k) plan, but they usually balk when it comes to the time and the money needed to rectify it. With so many issues regarding their business especially the...more

This Week in FCPA-Epiode 23, the Wells Fargo edition

In this week's episode, Jay Rosen and I discuss the following: Show notes for this week’s edition: 1. Tom's week long series on Well’s Fargo scandal. 2. Christina Muehl’s two part series on Corruption, Crime and...more

5 Ways for Lawyers to Make the Most of Trade Conferences

Obvious? Not at all, if measured by the number of professional who follow these steps at conferences and other networking opportunities.more

Redacting Confidential Portions – After the Fact

A recent blog highlighted the benefit of designating confidential portions to be redacted while at the deposition. Portions designated as such are redacted at no cost. So, depending on the size of the case and the extent of the confidential information, this can result in a significant cost savings to your client! There are times when portions are not designated as confidential at the deposition, however, and need to be designated as such after the fact.more

Law Firm Talent Retention: Culture Matters

Millennials, Gen-Xers, Baby Boomers, Silent Generation, etc. Much has been written and I dare say speculated about why things are not working well between the generations. This includes such generic statements such as, “Millennials are unhappy and leaving firms” or “Why senior associate/Gen-Xers are not happy?”more

Will computers replace lawyers? – College of Law Practice Management Futures Conference 2016

At its annual Futures Conference, the College of Law Practice Management brings together a uniquely multi-disciplinary group of legal industry participants and observers—partners, technologists, marketers, and managers from law firms of all sizes; bar association leaders; corporate legal operations executives; alternative legal services providers; software creators; law professors; and consultants and critics. No surprise, then, that the Conference is always a ferment of ideas, perspectives, and action.more

The Future of Client Service

I was recently challenged to explore what client service will look like in 2026. The good news is the conversation has already started, but the bad news is law firms have a long way to go. It is great that the idea of “client service” is authentically being explored within law firms, but what many lawyers think of as client service is really just table stakes. What is lost is that client service creates greater client loyalty and greater client loyalty yields more work, higher realization and stronger promoters. But firms only earn that loyalty when they demonstrate a deep understanding of their clients’ needs and expectations.more

Reflections from a former Deputy General Counsel - How the Legal Landscape is Changing & the Real Secret to Job Security

I have seen the nature of legal services transform over the 20+ years of my career as an attorney. The evolution of the global business environment has driven some of it, but lawyers were slow adapters and we now find ourselves trying to keep pace with all the change. New lawyers flow into the market at a rate far exceeding the level of demand. Clients (particularly in-house legal departments) are continuously being challenged to do more with less. Efforts to find new and better ways to serve clients have resulted in the growth of alternative methods of providing legal services. The only consistency at this point is the rate of change and even that will probably speed up in the future. For a lawyer (and, I propose, anyone in a client service field – i.e., ALL OF US), that is either incredibly scary or amazingly exciting. Originally published on Nexsen Pruet attorney Lee Reeves' LinkedIn page on September 2, 2016.more

Lawyers for People versus Lawyers for Business

The work of lawyers is increasingly the work of businesses rather than people. This conclusion flows from recently released Economic Census data, which is the U.S. Government's "official five-year measure of American business and the economy."more

Change: Lessons for law firm leaders from the legendary Jack Welch

In order to meet or exceed anticipated profits per partner in a rapidly changing legal industry, many firms still have a way to go to upgrade or simply modernize their systems and processes. So today’s post is about change.  Not only accepting it and embracing it, but also (perhaps) considering change as a strategic advantage.more

Napoleonic E-Discovery: Legal Project Management is the Key to Efficient, Cost-Effective Operations

In the Information Age, Napoleon’s maxim doesn’t seem all that ground breaking, and yet, in many industries, managers still approach whatever challenges lie ahead by simply throwing resources and personnel at the problem. In the end, they may accomplish the task, but the time spent and the costs may be greater than necessary. And in a competitive marketplace, that can be the difference between gaining new business or losing clients to more efficient and cost-effective teams.more

Where is the “Accenture” in Law?

A pet theory of mine is that one of the causes of the lack of genuine innovation in traditional law (clearly not the only cause nor necessarily the largest which has to be the absence of real change in buyer behavior) is a result of the shortage of product management skills in firms.more

Fight, Flee, or Freeze: What’s Your Leadership Response Style?

Fear of the unknown, conflict, failure and change are all commonly experienced as the emotion of anxiety. In a professional setting, these emotions may translate into avoidance behaviors or defense mechanisms that may cloud your ability to be an effective decision-maker and leader.more

Has your law firm considered a cost effective way of meeting the new Connecticut CLE requirements?

As you know, effective January 1, 2017, every active Connecticut licensed attorney will be required to complete at least 12 credit hours of continuing legal education each year. Of the 12 hours, at least two of the hours must be devoted to the topic of "ethics/professionalism." The new mandatory CLE provisions are set forth in Connecticut Practice Book Sec. 2-27A ("Minimum Continuing Legal Education").more

Four Common Themes from Client Development Coaching Sessions

In my work over the past year with individual associates and partners on client business development, I have noticed several common themes that are worth sharing: - 1. In law practice client development, many lawyers are asking for a business development “template” to simply read and follow. To that, I repeat our mantra: “One size fits one.”more

Legal Business Development: A Roadmap for Growing the Top Line

As we’ve all heard before, law firms can improve the bottom line in two ways; 1) by cutting costs, and 2) by increasing the top line. For those firms who weren’t serious about cost-cutting, before then, 2008 likely changed their focus. Expense management continues today, but cost cutting is only half of the equation. Growing top line revenue to help their respective organization improve profitability and spur sustainable growth is the focus of many firm’s today. Top-line revenue growth boils down to some combination of the following...more

Concerns For Who You Pick As Your 401(k)’s TPA

I was very lucky that when I started as an ERISA attorney in 1998, I worked as a staff attorney for a third party administrator (TPA). It gave me insight and experience that I could never have gotten as an attorney working for a law firm. Over the first 9 years as an attorney, I was able to see the good, the bad, and the ugly of the retirement business, so that knowledge can be used to help my plan sponsor and retirement plan provider clients. I always compared myself to my late uncle who worked for a meat provision company who we trusted for advice in which hotdogs to eat, so I can tell you which TPA a plan sponsor should use. In my six years working for my own firm, I have also added some more TPA tales. This article is about some of the many things I saw with advice on what plan sponsors should be avoiding in using a TPA.more

Is Your Client Prepared?

Depositions are commonplace for litigation attorneys; however, we may sometimes forget that they are not routine for our clients. Many times our clients have never given a deposition. Even if a client has been deposed once or twice before, it can still be a daunting process. Making sure a client is prepared is important to ensure the best result. Here are a few things to consider when preparing clients for depositions.more

A Response to: 'Forcing Lawyers to Perform Pro Bono Services'

In his article in Verdict (July 18, 2016), Prof. Ronald Rotunda, responding to comments on pro bono delivered by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor at a national conference of the American Law Institute, rightly states that all lawyers should do pro bono, and cites Model Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 in support. Originally published in Verdict - August 26, 2016.more

P3 part one: The Plan

I started the inaugural entry in this blog with the statement I’m not a lawyer, I’m a race car driver.  Just after posting that entry, I had a race weekend.  That backdrop helps illustrate the Plan-Perform-Perfect theme I introduced to you. We call this trilogy P3.more

Teach Your Associates How to Facilitate Meetings

One of the most important and sometimes overlooked skills associates need to perfect is the ability to lead/facilitate a variety of group meetings and discussions. Presentations to practice and industry group colleagues, pitches to prospects and business meetings with clients are just a few of the more common situations that demand effective leadership/facilitation skills. Leading group discussions is an excellent way for associates to build confidence and leadership skills they will use throughout their careers.more

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