Why the “License Rental” Business Model is Problematic

Solo lawyers continue to occasionally call in wanting to discuss a business opportunity that has come to be known as the “license rental” model. In short, these lawyers are being offered an opportunity to affiliate with an out-of-state firm or occasionally a non-lawyer owed company and it’s often presented as an attractive way to develop a stable flow of recurring business. The out-of-state firm or non-lawyer owned company is wanting to direct cases to the lawyers they are contacting as a way to offer legal services in the jurisdictions in which these lawyers practice. The actual work may occur under an of counsel or contract attorney relationship and participating lawyers will receive some portion of the fee coupled with an understanding that the required amount of work will be minimal. Targeted practice areas include but are not limited to debt settlement, mortgage foreclosures, estate planning, traffic violations, and criminal expungements.

Those who take the time to call me are usually wanting to make sure that, if they sign on to something like this, their malpractice coverage will be in play should a misstep ever occur. Before I answer that question, however, I always start by asking if they have given any thought to whether signing on is ethically permissible because many times the opportunity under consideration often won’t ethically pass muster for a number of reasons. Read on….

Attract Media Interest with Year-End Predictions

As the fourth quarter draws to a close, many industry, local business and legal publications will compile a year in review to summarize the significant deals, litigation, legislation and court decisions of 2019.

Reporters and editors will likely invite attorneys and business leaders to peer into their crystal balls and imagine the trends and issues of 2020. How will regulation, the election, the economy and other factors affect activity in specific sectors? Which factors will have the greatest impact and reverberate in the local, regional, national or global markets? Reporters want to know what is going to happen, so that they may share this insight with their readers — and scoop the competition.

Step forward to position yourself as a thought leader and participate in this discussion.

When Rationalizations and Creative Lawyering Are Not the Answer

In my role as a risk manager, I’ve heard all kinds of crazy comments from lawyers over the years. For example, during a CLE event with ethics counsel sitting next to me on a speaker’s panel, two lawyer attendees tried to convince others in attendance that the panel’s position on conflict of interest resolution was clearly wrong. In short, they boldly declared there is no such thing as a nonconsentable conflict. All it takes is some creative lawyering and problem solved. The panel and I were almost speechless. We were looking at each other and asking ourselves how in the world could the same lawyer ever represent adverse parties in a litigated matter, just for starters. My response to the panel was “wow, just wow.” I was also thinking to myself “I sure hope we don’t insure these guys.” Read on.

Part 5: You Don’t Get What You Don’t Ask For

Julie and I were working together to develop a comprehensive accounts receivable aging process for her firm and when we finally got to the end of the project and were ready to pull the trigger, she started to hesitate. We were on a video meeting so I could see her sit back in her chair and rest her hand over her chin. I could tell her wheels were spinning. “I can’t believe I have to do this, why won’t my clients just take me seriously and pay on time”? “Julie”, I paused. “People will take paying your invoices seriously when you take getting your invoices paid seriously”. The hard truth is, your clients need to see that you expect them to follow through with compensating you for the valuable services you have taken the time to carry out for them.

The Fallacy of Trying to Find a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock of late, I suspect you are well aware of the rise of the attorney wellness movement within our profession. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not here to challenge the importance and value of all that’s going on. While I will admit I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this mindfulness thing, and when it comes to yoga, well let’s just say I’m more comfortable in the weight room, I do deeply believe our profession is in a crisis, in part, for want of attorney wellness.

For years so many, myself included, have talked about the importance of trying to find a healthy balance between one’s work life and one’s personal life as part of the answer to this crisis. Those who tried and succeeded did so believing that, once there, all would be good with the world. I’m not buying it anymore, and with this post, I am publicly stating I will never encourage anyone to try to find a healthy work-life balance again!

Part 4: Parkinson’s Law and Practicing Law

Time and money are so interchangeable these days. We started exchanging time for money at our first few jobs where we clocked in to start getting paid and when we clocked out, the money stopped. Now that you own a law practice you have access to this new way to view time as it relates to money because you now have residual power. Residual money is not money you clock in and out for, it’s the money you receive because you have created a service supported by systems and aided by people (that are not you) that removes your money’s dependency on your hours. But the quest to discovering your residual money formula is more complex than just clocking in and out. Learn more.

Why Buy A Lawyers Professional Liability Policy?

Lawyers and those in their employ can and will make a mistake from time to time. It happens. Should a significant misstep ever occur on one of your matters, what might the fallout be? Think about this as a member of our learned and honorable profession. Clearly the client will be harmed in some fashion. Now, put yourself in your client’s shoes and ask who should be held responsible, particularly if a financial loss is part of the equation? You know darn well what the answer is. After all, if a lawyer representing you on a personal injury matter blew a statute that resulted in a lost opportunity for any kind of recovery, you would expect to be made whole and you know it. This is why I don’t get the excuses. Purchasing malpractice insurance isn’t about protecting lawyers. It’s about protecting clients should something go wrong, which makes it, at least in my mind, the right thing to do.

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