We’re starting a new series of malpractice questions and answers presented by our faculty member, Allison Woods, who teaches ethics at Solo Practice University. It’s a quick, easy reminder to avoid making some serious mistakes. Look for them once a month. And hope you get an ‘A’. Can you answer our first question successfully?
Law schools keep churning out graduates in ever-increasing numbers into a market that has been shrinking, due, in part to the economic downturn. The legal profession has been hit hard. In recent years, many prestigious law firms, with staffs running into the many hundreds, have pared their ranks, not only of staff but, as well associates, even partners. And there have been quite-a-few firm mergers, and other firms have simply closed-up shop.
In many instances, newly-minted associates are often doing the work of paralegals, and the paralegals, in turn are increasingly handling duties generally assigned to secretaries or administrative assistants. The downturn has especially hit hard attorneys who hung out their shingles. What do we need to know in order to move forward?
A disaster preparedness plan is an essential element of law practice management. After experiencing Hurricane Irene in 2011, Susan Cartier Liebel wrote about having a communication plan for emergencies. Here are a few more items to consider including in your plan.
Say yes to opportunities that come your way, whether or not they meet your vision. They may be necessary steps that you need to explore. Get out there, find your balance and do things that are on and off your path toward future opportunities. Once you get clarity about what you don’t want to do, greater clarity about what you do want to do crystalizes. Oh, there’s so much more, though.
Interested in teaching? There is nothing you can do to help the young lawyers coming up behind you that will help them more than teaching them what you know. Scroll to the bottom of the post by Suzanne Meehle to learn how you might very well be able to teach young lawyers what you know.
I don’t know about you, but recently checking and responding to my email, text messages, and social media messages as a solo started to drive me a little batty. The constant demand from these requests to “read me,” “respond to me” or “look at me” along with the day-to-day tasks of actual legal work left me feeling overwhelmed and anxious. So when it came to my inbox, I started to behave like someone watching a scary movie. I covered my eyes so I wouldn’t see the scary parts.
Lawyers as a group are terrible when it comes to properly and thoroughly documenting their files! Of course, not you, but all the other lawyers out there sure are. You wouldn’t believe how bad it can get. I say this because with almost every claim handled we’re having to deal with the lack of documentation of something. This can be a serious problem because now we’re often forced to live with the reality that a word-against-word dispute between a lawyer and his or her client is in play and that rarely ends well for the lawyer. Here’s just one story that highlights the problem.
Raised with the cultural ideal of the solitary hero it can be very easy for solo practitioners to overlook one of the most significant health problems for which they are at risk, as documented by extensive studies and research.
Can you guess what it is? Isolation.