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Do lawyers solve problems or just draft documents?

Business lawyers often define themselves in terms of documents. An intellectual property lawyer will say he drafts patent applications. A contracts lawyer will say she drafts agreements. An estate planner will say he draft wills & trusts. That’s what LegalZoom does. If you define yourself in terms of drafting documents, you are destined to lose the battle to online automation. So, why do we as lawyers define ourselves in terms of documents? We were trained to do that historically. It was easier for lawyers to Continue reading →

Answering the Call: The End of Lawyers?

In the Conclusion of his book The End of Lawyers?, Richard Susskind asks: “Will the changes I identify bring about the end of lawyers?  Or will a new and reinvigorated legal profession emerge?” [emphasis added] Susskind makes a very compelling case for why the legal profession is changing, but does not answer his own question.  If the legal profession is changing, then what specifically is it changing into?  What will the profession look like in 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years?  What specific steps Continue reading →

Working out of your pocket!

Okay, I admit it. I fell in love with another PDA/cell phone. My last love was a Motorola MPx200, which I bought from AT&T wireless back in 2005. It had everything I wanted: email, calendar and contacts that sync with outlook, voice recorder, MP3 player, high quality display screen, and a small clam shell design. The only problem was that the cell phone range was limited and calls were often dropped or could not connect, or there was no signal. Not being able to use Continue reading →

Guest Blog: Cost Effective Ways to Resolve Legal Matters

Although I have been noticeably absent from the blogging world this year, I did manage to write an article as a guest blogger for the LemonJustice Blog. When disputes are not cost effective for lawyers to handle, there often DIY alternatives. For years, clients have heard me refer to this as waging the “fax/email campaign.” If you want to know more, read my post on Cost Effective Ways to Resolve Legal Matters.

Using Technology to Boost a Law Practice

Attorney Sergei Lemberg, who specializes in consumer lemon law and writes the LemonJustice Blog, is sitting in the guest blogger’s chair today. Thanks Sergei! After I graduated from law school, I went the typical route and spent five years working for a series of major law firms. Eventually, though, I reallzed that I wanted to run my own shop, be my own boss, and handle my own cases. After deciding that lemon law would be my niche, I went about the process of building my Continue reading →

Leveraging Your Time – Part 2

In a recent blog, I posed the question: How can lawyers leverage their time? I suggested that there were four things lawyers can leverage: (1) other people’s time, (2) knowledge, (3) technology, and (4) packaged services. After thinking about it further, I would expand that list to include office space, equipment, and facilities. The truth is that you can probably leverage any asset or resource that is used in the legal profession. The challenge is to learn how to leverage those assets, and then to Continue reading →

The case for collaboration among lawyers

Historically, firms grew by continually increasing their billing rates, but that strategy is no longer working. As billing rates of big firm lawyers top $1000/hour, clients (e.g., Cisco and other companies) are pushing back. The impending recession will make it even harder for law firms to raise rates. The alternative to raising rates is to cut costs by leveraging techology and existing resources. The dramatic growth and consolidation of big law firms over the past 20 years will also drive firms to implement new technologies Continue reading →

Business Development: Turning Art into Science

Jim Hassett was kind enough to send me a preview copy of his brand new LegalBizDev Success Kit, a business development training package, complete with audio CDs, a step-by-step guide, a reference book, practice materials, and even a “quick start” card. Even if Jim wasn’t a client (full-disclosure!), I would say the Success Kit is the single most comprehensive and practical tool for lawyers who want to generate new business. I wish I had a copy of the Success Kit when I started my own Continue reading →