The best risk management advice I will ever have to offer is simply this. Don’t ever forget to take care of yourself. I know it sounds simple; but for so many, it isn’t easy. I really do believe that taking this advice to heart can not only make a world of difference in every lawyer’s personal and profession life, it can also be an effective risk management tool.
Lawyers occasionally reach out to me wanting clarification on what needs to be covered in a letter notifying active clients, whose matters the lawyer will be unable to complete in time, that their lawyer is closing his or her practice. Find out what you need to do.
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….
Fear steps in and your future seizes. The only way to be more than you are now is to hire; but, how can you make that happen? Your mind says, “What if I can’t meet payroll? What if I fail?” If you’ve experienced these fears, you are not alone.
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.
A reason our dreams don’t become reality is that they are not specific enough. We must set specific and measurable goals and objectives. They must be written down. We must define success by documenting how much by when. Here’s a road map to your destination.
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.
With the release of Formal Ethics Opinion 482 in September of 2018, the ABA finally made it quite clear. Lawyers do indeed have an ethical duty to develop a disaster recovery plan. Do you have yours?
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.
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!