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.
I don’t know about you but one of the biggest killers of my productivity is constant disruptions. We can blame it on our poor time management skills or our addictive behavior when it comes to obsessively checking emails or the delusion we are gifted multi-taskers. But at the end of the day, productivity suffers and this means your profits suffer.
Amazon transformed the retail industry by networking small businesses together. It eventually replaced the individuality of each small business with it’s own ‘brand’, Amazon. Eventually, small businesses were able to reduce their overhead further by cutting out their physical real estate, cutting employees and simply marketing and selling their goods through Amazon. This on-demand online company is a ‘networked platform’ and meets the customer where they are. Imagine a network for lawyers that has nothing to do with a commercially branded company, but through bar associations, or through certain law schools or an AmLaw 100 firm. Imagine a network for solos in a given state or region. Imagine a network driven by the lawyers. This is an eye-opening guest lecture which will help you to envision practicing the way you want to practice. Listen and learn.
Now I know there is a huge debate about whether attorneys should engage in the “practice of law” or the “business of law”. However, I think this debate misses the mark. The salient question is – how can we continue to serve our clients’ legal needs while keeping up with their expectations for business? In other words, how can we practice law and maintain the business persona that our customers expect?
Creating an email signature will automatically put whatever you want at the bottom of every email. You can create different signatures for different emails. For instance you may have a signature for emails that are internal to your organization and another signature for emails that go outside your organization. You could have another signature for emails sent to your family and perhaps another that you use for your volunteer work. There are two ways to create an email signature. Learn how.
We’ve all been there. We thought we had a great relationship with a client and the next thing we know we’re getting a letter from another attorney asking for our client’s file. You’re surprised, hurt, don’t understand what happened. You may even try to call the client but by this time the client isn’t necessarily forthcoming. So, you get upset for a while, or you celebrate because the client was a pain in the butt. But what you don’t really do is assess. You move on.
Therein lies the problem. You decide it was out of your hands. Wrong. You need to understand why the client fired you.
Here’s the problem. We’ve fallen into too much casual contact with clients and this contact is ’round the clock for both the client and the lawyer’s convenience. Cringe-worthy mistakes are inevitable. How do you avoid it? I have one simple suggestion.
In my previous column, I discussed how cyber liability is a serious risk management issue for lawyers, given our Rule 1.6 duty to maintain the confidentiality of client information. Given the high profile cyber attacks against Target, Sony Pictures Entertainment, the United States Government, and the Ashley Madison website; many law firms may believe they are not big enough to be a target, or they don’t have data that cyber criminals would find attractive. These law firms would be wrong on both counts.
There is no exception in the confidentiality rule that says an attorney needn’t worry about maintaining client confidences if an electronic document is in use. That means metadata. If you don’t know what it is, or you know what it is and having been paying attention to the documents you send, you better read this post.