JordanFurlong + solo   124

Access to Justice and Productivity Gains for All Lawyers – Oklahoma Bar Association
Improving productivity is a challenge, but hopefully the above examples can be instructive and the Law Practice Magazine issue I’ve cited contains many more ideas. Whether planning to make the delivery of limited scope representation as efficient as possible or being better prepared to deal with a large corporate client’s legal bill review auditors, productivity improvements are good for both lawyer and client.
productivity  solo 
14 days ago by JordanFurlong
Lawclerk’s New Move: Enable ‘Small Law’ With Network of Freelance Associates | Legaltech News
The new service essentially allows Lawclerk users to save freelance attorneys to a team that can be categorized by practice area or project. Whereas before Lawclerk users had to post projects to the service’s marketplace in order to find freelance attorneys, Teams allows them to directly access the profile, including the peer reviews, of such attorneys without first assigning work.

While Teams officially launched today, it had a limited soft launch in October, though users were only able to create one team instead of an unlimited amount that could make up a network of outside legal help.
With the introduction of the full Teams functionality, Lawclerk hopes to foster trusted, mutually beneficial relationships between small law firms and freelance attorneys.

Kristin Tyler, co-founder of Lawclerk and partner at Garman Turner Gordon, noted that since “freelancers can be on multiple teams for multiple attorneys, we do have a number of freelancers that say this is their full-time gig now.”

Likewise, Tyler added that, for small and solo firms, the ability to periodically hire trusted freelance attorneys when demand for work is high can be a more cost-effective option than bringing on full-time associates. “With small law moreso than with larger firms, it’s an ebb and flow of work. … If you’re in [a slow time] and if you still have associates to pay, it’s a stress on a small firm.”

And if a firm ever realizes it needs full-time attorneys to join its staff, it can directly hire the freelancers it works with through Lawclerk. Tyler noted that this has happened twice before. “Both times it was a solo attorney, and they used [Teams] to figure out if they were ready to hire an associate,” she said, adding that “as of now, we don’t have anything in our terms of service to prohibit that.”
project  temp  networks  solo 
february 2019 by JordanFurlong
No Country For Old Lawyers: Rural U.S. Faces A Legal Desert - Law360
When attorney Phil Garland first hung his shingle in Garner, Iowa, there were five lawyers in town. Over 40 years later, that number hasn’t changed. What has changed, though, is those lawyers’ ages.

“We’ve got three guys in their 60s,” says Garland, who is 73.

Garland is the only one who has hired a younger associate to take over when he retires. That means in a few years, the town and its 3,000 residents could be down to just one attorney to handle everything from real estate transactions and probate work to juvenile issues and criminal cases.

And Garner isn’t the only small town facing that problem. Adams County, Iowa, for instance, boasts only one attorney for its 3,686 residents, while Ringgold County, with 5,034 residents, is home to three, according to the Iowa Bar Association.

The problem isn’t unique to Iowa either. Although about 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas, only 2 percent of lawyers practice there, according to research by Lisa Pruitt, the Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law at University of California, Davis School of Law.

“Basically, the rural profession is in most places aging really quickly, and young lawyers are, by and large, not interested in going to replace them,” Pruitt says.

Faced with that trend, bar associations, law schools and others have begun experimenting with programs aimed at luring young attorneys to the heartland and making it more financially feasible for them, including through loan forgiveness, to set up shop in communities where residents’ options for filing a lawsuit or even drawing up a will might otherwise be painfully slim.

If they don’t succeed, some anticipate a not-too-distant future in which many people living in rural communities, especially those with limited resources, will have no access to legal help at all.

“Maybe I’ve just been denied my veterans benefits or some other type of public benefit, or maybe somebody has a child with disabilities, you know, how are they going to get the advocacy they need?” Pruitt asks.
access  rural  solo  courts  odr 
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Top 10 Takeaways from NY Legal Tech's 'Scaling Small Law' Meetup - Attorney at Work
Last week’s NY Legal Tech Meetup, “Scaling Small Law: The Force Multipliers of Tech, Process and Innovation,” was a look into ways small firms are winning clients and cases previously out of reach — thanks to technology, smart processes and a willingness to innovate. I enjoyed being part of an awesome panel put together by host Christian Lang, founder of the NY Legal Tech Meetup. My fellow panelists were Phil Rosenthal of Fastcase; Clio’s Joshua Lenon; Kelly Street of AttorneySync; and Matt Blaine of Davison, Eastman, Muñoz, Lederman & Paone.

NY Legal Tech Meetup’s purpose is to build a community around the legal tech ecosystem in New York. This event, held at NYU Law School, was unique because it was the first time the group turned its attention to small law. Here are 10 takeaways.
january 2019 by JordanFurlong
Global In-House Leaders Turn to Smaller Firms for Lower Cost, Better Service, Survey Finds | Corporate Counsel
In-house teams at large global companies are three times more dissatisfied with larger law firms than small but innovative ones, according to a new survey from the Lawyer Research Service and business matching service Globality.

A new survey, “Global Trends in Hiring Outside Counsel,” of more than 300 general counsel and senior in-house lawyers at international businesses generating more than $1 billion in annual revenue, found respondents were dissatisfied with larger law firms 19 percent of the time. For smaller firms, the dissatisfaction rate was only 6 percent.

“We get better client service from smaller firms,” said Ben Woolf, GC EMEA at Tate & Lyle, a U.K.-based multinational agribusiness, in a press release announcing the survey results. “We have 4,000 employees and £4 [billion] in turnover. When we instruct larger firms we are probably one of their smaller customers and just another customer in the long list they already have.”

According to the survey, companies that prefer using smaller firms primarily do so because they believe they’re more innovative. And two-thirds of companies use smaller firms because they receive better customer service. Price tags are also a factor—more than half of respondents cited “high costs” as their top gripe with big law firms.

“If you go to a smaller firm, even with a fairly small legal spend, we can be an important customer to them,” Woolf said in the press release. “You do get a bit of specialist treatment as a result of that and perhaps they concentrate on you a bit harder than a bigger firm would do.”
clients  solo 
january 2018 by JordanFurlong
Representing Rural Clients from a Big City Office - Attorney at Work - Attorney at Work
Urban Lawyers, Rural Clients: Tapping into a Growth Opportunity
Programs encouraging relocation can only do so much. But urban lawyers can do much more, and without even leaving their city offices. By relying on simple technology — such as videoconferencing, secure document sharing, and even text messaging — to reach and represent clients, urban lawyers can offer much-needed help in hard-to-reach locales while tapping into a growth opportunity for their businesses.

But it’s not enough to say that “technology can solve it.” Like any business, a virtual law practice needs to understand its target consumer; otherwise, marketing efforts can fall flat and money spent on tech tools can go to waste. Small-town residents may not behave like big-city ones. So here are some things urban attorneys should think about before seeking out rural clients.

1. Make sure you know what kind of “small town” you’re looking at. Robert Wuthnow, a renowned sociologist at Princeton, talks about two kinds of “small towns” in his 2013 book “Small-Town America.” The first is a relatively low-population community with all the romantic qualities we imagine small towns having, but in reality, it’s a municipal subdivision of a large metro area. These types of towns can access the amenities of nearby large cities, and so may not experience the types of access to justice issues described above. The second type of small town, in contrast, is more autonomous, and much less connected to a large municipality. It’s in these towns that access to justice may be a dire problem. So before launching a billboard ad campaign in a nearby “small town,” do some homework on what kind of town it is. Research it online, but also take a drive there to determine how removed and independent it seems. What other lawyers are around?
solo  access  rural 
september 2017 by JordanFurlong
“The Franchise” – Slaw
First off, here on the home front Axess Law offices (you will remember them as “The Walmart Lawyers”) have been sprouting like weeds across Ontario. Axess has a highly structured operating process and a limited scope / fixed-fee pricing model that has been seemingly purpose-built to scale well in the way most traditional law firms just can’t. According to their website they are currently at 10 locations with two more confirmed sites on the way. I had the opportunity to see the firm’s two founders speak at a CLE conference in the intervening period since writing my earlier column, and I was struck by a couple of things from that session:
access  franchise  solo 
february 2016 by JordanFurlong
Is Avvo’s New ‘Marketing Fee’ Really A ‘Referral Fee’ in Sheep’s Clothing? | Solo Practice University®
See how they shifted the burden of compliance not to fee split with a non-lawyer to the lawyer because now you are proactively paying a non-lawyer a fee and you are giving them access to your IOLTA?   So, are they or are they not holding themselves out as lawyers for purposes of this program?  Because if they are not, then the lawyer has agreed to fee split with a non-lawyer and this same lawyer has granted a non-lawyer the right to hold IOLTA monies until the payment has been earned and then given them access to their own IOLTA.  Or, because it’s a fixed fee, is it considered earned from the get go? If so, then why is it going to the IOLTA and not the operating account? And one last thought – If this is a ‘marketing fee’, you are now paying out a tax deductible firm operating expense from your IOLTA!  It’s a hot, hot, mess.
solo  ethics  access  innovation  competition 
january 2016 by JordanFurlong
Avvo Begins Offering Fixed-Fee Legal Services in Certain Locations - Robert Ambrogi's LawSites
The service, Avvo Legal Services, offers a variety of limited-scope legal services at a fixed fee. The services range from review of legal documents such as business contracts and non-disclosure agreements to more involved matters such as uncontested divorces and citizenship applications.

Last year, Avvo launched Avvo Advisor, a service that provides on-demand legal advice by phone for a fixed fee of $39 for 15 minutes.

Avvo is currently offering the new Avvo Legal Services in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix, according to an FAQ on Avvo’s website. According to an email I received from Avvo inviting me to enroll, the service will launch in my state of Massachusetts in mid-February. The Avvo website says that the service will be expanding to new areas quickly.

Avvo sets the services to be provided and the prices. Attorneys who sign up for the service can choose which services they want to offer. When a client buys the service, Avvo sends the client’s information to the attorney. The attorney then contacts the client directly and completes the service.

Clients will be within the attorney’s geographic area and are able to choose the attorney they want to work with. They pay the full price for the service up front.

After the service is completed, Avvo sends the attorney the full legal fee. (Fees are paid once a month.) As a separate transaction, the attorney pays Avvo a per-service marketing fee. This is done as a separate transaction to avoid fee-splitting.

The email provided these examples of services and fees:

Document review services: $199 client payment, $50 marketing fee.
Start a single-member LLC: $595 client payment, $125 marketing fee.
Uncontested divorce: $995 client payment, $200 marketing fee.
Green card application: $2,995 client payment, $400 marketing fee.
The terms of the service require attorneys to contact a new client within one business day for a 30-minute introductory call. If the attorney determines the client is not the right fit, the attorney can decline the representation.

There is no cost for attorneys to participate except for the per-case marketing fee.
solo  access  franchise  pricing  innovation 
january 2016 by JordanFurlong
This first Legal Futures Special Report, in association with Thomson Reuters, examines the changing face of City law firms. It demonstrates how far City law firms have moved in a relatively short period of time, mainly (but not exclusively) in response to the recession and the demands of their clients.
solo  innovation  firms 
november 2014 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES Exclusive: Holt to join LegalZoom
QualitySolicitors founder Craig Holt is joining online legal business LegalZoom – which claims to be the best known legal brand in America – to spearhead its UK expansion, Legal Futures has learned.
innovation  solo 
november 2014 by JordanFurlong
Law Deans on Legal Education: Not Enough Lawyers least not in small towns, and rural communities.  Legal services are hard to find in rural populations in the United States. Furthermore, many lawyers in those towns will be retiring within the next decade. There are opportunities for recent law graduates to work with those senior lawyers, who will be mentors. The younger lawyers will, in many cases, have the opportunity to take over existing practices with established clients. Lawyers in small towns are important for the economic development and health of the community. They are often civic leaders and municipal judges.
rural  solo  admission  schools 
october 2014 by JordanFurlong
Modern Metrics for the Entrepreneurial Lawyer | Clio
If you’re a solo or small firm lawyer (and there’s a 70% chance you are), let’s face it—you’re not only a lawyer, you’re also an entrepreneur; responsible for the day-to-day management, marketing, and financial health of a business. You’ve assumed the ‘greater than normal’ financial risk of simply going to law school (to the tune, on average, of a $125,000 debt load) and graduating into a market where your employment is anything but guaranteed.
metrics  solo 
october 2014 by JordanFurlong
Do Discounts Lead to More Past-Due Accounts? — Lawyerist
An analysis of the survey data found a correlation between law firms that discount and an increased number of past due client accounts.

If that’s true, it supports something I have long believed about offering discounts: don’t. My theory is that clients who ask for a discount have a tendency to devalue your services. If I am right, it seems reasonable to expect those clients to place a lower importance on paying you when the bill comes due.
pricing  bill  management  clients  solo 
october 2014 by JordanFurlong
Game Change: The ABA and Self-Help Legal Shops Seek Common Ground | Law Technology News
"We need to recognize that we are businesspeople. With that self-awareness, we can start educating lawyers earlier and more often regarding business best practices, giving them a better shot at thriving in the legal professions," said Britton.
competition  solo  robolawyer  innovation 
october 2014 by JordanFurlong
The Brief Eddie Ross – CEO of QualitySolicitors – discusses the organisation, its evolution and what it stands for today. %%sep%% The Brief
Something which definitely has changed over the last few years is the benefits that we offer our firms. It quickly became clear that simply passing volumes of leads through to firms via high profile TV campaigns is simply not enough. We now offer a framework from which they can not only convert the leads we provide but also make their businesses more effective overall and fit for the future and the challenges it may present.
Our firms can tap into expert compliance support, dedicated training on handling new business, local marketing support and cutting edge technology which we law firms of their size could not achieve on their own. New websites, innovative legal products and procurement savings are also just some of the ways we help.
franchise  solo 
september 2014 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES SRA mulls scrapping COLP/COFA regime
But speaking at a Westminster Legal Policy Forum event in London, SRA chief executive Paul Philip said the SRA was going to focus ensure that the burden of regulation does not “unduly fetter” small firms’ ability to compete and thrive.
regulation  solo 
september 2014 by JordanFurlong
Start a NonProfit Law Firm - My Shingle
Curious about how this business model might work in practice? Look no further than Open Legal Services (OLS), an innovative Utah-based non-profit law firm started by relatively new lawyers and recently profiled in The Atlantic. OLS charges sliding scale legal fees ranging from $50 to $135/hour. And while the rates are low, as a non-profit, OLS pays less in tax, can plus its lawyers are eligible for loan forgiveness after ten years – but as a private, non-government funded entity, OLS also avoids various bureaucratic reporting and record-keeping requirements. 
nonprofitlaw  solo 
august 2014 by JordanFurlong
The Future of Small Law Firms
From a process and business perspective, though, small law firms must change or likely go extinct. If you want a glimpse of how the future for small law firms will be different, just look at what early technology adopters are up to today. It turns out it’s quite easy to predict the future of small law firms, because the profession as a whole has been slow to adopt technology. Change is afoot in dynamic but gradual ways, for the benefit of most, though certainly not all. This change has four aspects:
futures  solo 
august 2014 by JordanFurlong
The Expertise Effect: How Getting Narrow Can Grow Your Practice - Attorney at Work - Attorney at Work
Visualize a continuum. On one end is the general practitioner — the “Jack of All Trades” — and on the other is the specialist — the “Master Craftsman.” The Jack of All Trades is busy, bouncing from project to project, learning a little about a lot. Clients think of the Jack of All Trades when price is a primary consideration. The Master Craftsman is also busy, but focused. He knows a lot about a little and is able to charge a price premium.
generalpractice  solo  bizdev 
july 2014 by JordanFurlong
Self-Help Law: Competitors or Frenemies | Law Technology News
The impact of commodity, online legal service providers will vary widely with the small law firm practice. Law practice is evolving for everyone and this impact is just part of that ongoing growth. Online legal services offer some remarkable opportunities for reaching those who are currently not using lawyers. The commoditization can bring a sense of certainty to everyday lives that is missing otherwise.  Small law firms can continue to practice as they have, meeting their clients needs. Automation and commoditization are unlikely to be the cause of the demise of the small law firm.
it  robolawyer  competition  solo 
june 2014 by JordanFurlong
Why Do ‘Low Bono’ for Others When You Can Start Your Own Non-Profit Law Firm? « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law Schools, Law Suits, Judges and Courts + Career Resources
With unemployment rates still high for new law school grads, incubator programs sponsored by law schools and bar associations are gaining traction. Not to be confused with the profit-generating incubators common in the business and start-up world, the law school incubator concept, conceived by Fred Rooney at CUNY Law School, subsidizes new law school grads to start their own practices to  provide “low bono” legal services.
incubator  solo 
may 2014 by JordanFurlong
Is the Future of Solo Medicine the Future of Law? - My Shingle
In reading this article about physicians feeling pressure to join hospital or health network systems, I wondered whether this might be the future for the practice of law as well. The article describes the experience of Dean Pollack, an OBGYN, in practice for thirty years, who is committed to maintain an independent practice – notwithstanding that he competes with well-funded corporate networks, which have the money to advertise on billboards and the leverage to keep him relegated to less prominent listings in physician referral directories.
may 2014 by JordanFurlong
Can small firms compete with BigLaw for a fraction of the cost? Yes, if you save on tech, solos say
By utilizing many of the same techniques the Athletics did, lawyers from small firms and even solo practices can get similar results as their big-budget rivals at a fraction of the cost. During a session at ABA Techshow on Thursday, solo practitioner litigators Marc Matheny of Indianapolis and Mark Unger of San Antonio and Austin, Texas, stepped up to the plate to deliver tips and statistical analysis supporting the idea that utilizing affordable technology could allow financially strapped practices to compete against large firms.
it  competition  solo 
march 2014 by JordanFurlong
The Secret of Self-Employment | LinkedIn
Each of my kids has asked a penetrating question about education at some point. In eighth grade my middle son asked "If you want a kid to enjoy learning, why would you take the kid and split up his day into seven parts, yanking him out of one subject and into another all day long with no logical connection between any two subjects?"
schools  solo 
march 2014 by JordanFurlong
Is A Virginia Small Firm’s $8.33/Month Self-Defense Retainer Plan A Hit Or Miss? « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law Schools, Law Suits, Judges and Courts + Career Resources
Consider the price structure. Cuccinelli’s firm charges $147/year ($12.25/month) for a concealed handgun permit (CHP) plan. With 282,591 CHP holders in Virginia as of 2012, even if Cuccinelli bags a scant one percent, that’s 2,800 times $147/year or a total of $411,600 in annual revenue. And that’s just CHP holders; Cuccinelli’s firm represents other permit holders for slightly less (since ordinary gun permit holders can’t carry their weapons as freely, there’s less of a chance that they’ll get into the kind of trouble that would warrant the firm’s services).

What’s more, because the VSDL retainer plan is intended to ensure that firm’s availability for self-defense or other types of claims, it’s considered a true retainer. As such, Virginia Legal Ethics Opinion 1807 not only permits but requires lawyers to deposit “true retainers” into their operating account (where it can be spent immediately), rather than hold it in their trust account. Consequently, the firm’s retainer plans provide an immediate cash flow benefit.
retainer  solo 
march 2014 by JordanFurlong
Do Small Firms Have a Diversity Problem?
A few weeks ago, I asked a local solosmall email list whether small firms have a diversity problem. My question was prompted by a job posting from a small firm made up exclusively of young, white men (except for the secretary, who was a young, white woman).1 On reflection, I could not think of many small firms with any better diversity (including my own, which, at its most-diverse, was three white men and a remote assistant who was a white woman — oh, and a couple of Irish foreign exchange students from a local law school, both men).
diversity  solo 
february 2014 by JordanFurlong
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law set to unveil solo practice incubator - Cleveland Business News - Northeast Ohio and Cleveland - Crain's Cleveland Business
oon, through the glass walls now up in the library of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, law students will be able to watch law graduates practice from offices housed at their alma mater.

The law school's solo practice incubator, which will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 4, aims to move in its first group of solo practitioners by March 1.

The first phase of the $1.5 million project, which is intended to support young attorneys who want to go it alone, has 10 offices. Attorneys will pay below-market rates of $200 a month to lease them, said Craig M. Boise, the law school's dean.
incubator  schools  solo  innovation  admission 
february 2014 by JordanFurlong
What do you get when you mix a lawyer with an incubator?Voices | Voices
The West Loop incubator aims to solve two problems. By supplying young attorneys with mentorship, space and training opportunities, the CBF hopes to develop a new outlet for the many recent law school graduates who are struggling to find work in traditional arenas. At the same time, they’re encouraging members to invent new models to address working and middle-class clients who don’t qualify for legal aid — the threshold hovers around twice the federal poverty line — but can’t afford representation that often bleeds over into the five figures.
incubator  solo  innovation 
january 2014 by JordanFurlong
Training New Lawyers to Start Affordable Law Firms - Businessweek
“What surprised me the most was how quickly I was able to be successful—not that I’m rolling in money or anything like that,” Endzel says. Her family law practice has paid the bills since October. She’s got 10 paying clients and a half-dozen pro bono cases she’s still working on, from six months she spent at Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.
startups  innovation  incubator  solo 
january 2014 by JordanFurlong
Solo Is A State of Mind - My Shingle
Though it may surprise you, I’m not a fan of lawyers describing themselves as solos. Despite eleven years of promoting the virtues of hanging a shingle  and big law’s tarnished image, the legal profession — from law schools to judges  — still reveres big firm lawyers and their shiny credentials. Even the so-called  Newlaw  darlings like Axiom  sell big law pedigree. Never gonna change.
december 2013 by JordanFurlong
Teaching clients to make referrals is key to building business, solos say
“It doesn’t matter if you’re nice or not. Competence is No. 1,” says Rickert, who’s based in Los Angeles. “I’d want them to say, ‘She’s very good with you and has a good bedside manner.’ But the best referral would be: ‘She kicked butt. She might be a little expensive, but she’s worth it.’ ”
bizdev  solo 
december 2013 by JordanFurlong
10 Tips for Outsourcing Legal Work At Your Small Firm - UpCounsel Blog
With increased costs and increased competition among law firms, large and small, outsourcing legal work has become commonplace in the U.S. By sending “grunt work” including document review, form preparation, and legal research to contract lawyers rather than in-house associates, law firms of all sizes can save a great deal of money and expand their practices in ways that may have been impossible before. However, lawyers who are considering outsourcing legal work, which is also known as legal process outsourcing, or LPO, need to take special care in doing so, both to ensure the best work for their clients and to stay on the legal and ethical side of the fence. These ten tips should help you in deciding whether outsourcing is right for your firm and to figure out how to do it the right way.
outsourcing  solo 
december 2013 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES Small and mid-sized firms eye external investment in bid to take on ABS competition » LEGAL FUTURES
Though the vast majority of firms surveyed – whose turnover ranged from £5m to £35m – reported that they had not noticed any detrimental impact from ABSs in the past year, 36% expected to lose business to ABSs over the next 12 months.
clementi  solo 
november 2013 by JordanFurlong
Another Reason for Lawyers To Create Checklists: Potential Revenue Stream - My Shingle
Think about it. In many ways, mastering black-letter, substantive law is the easiest part of legal practice.  You scan a few treatises and law review articles to get the lay of the land, read the key cases and consult the blogs for recent developments.  Of course, there’s more to it than that; it can take time to master the subtleties and really understand the concepts, but my point is that substantive law is accessible.
checklists  solo 
november 2013 by JordanFurlong
Legal incubator seeks to match young lawyers with clients - Finance News - Crain's Chicago Business
A privately supported legal-industry incubator designed to link underemployed young lawyers with "modest means" clients who don't qualify for free legal services was unveiled today in the West Loop.
solo  startups  innovation 
november 2013 by JordanFurlong
The Pop-Up Law Firm - My Shingle
For example, maybe a group of solos want to set up a monthly legal clinic for start-ups but can’t figure out where to host it? Or maybe you want to host a group of solos for a hands-on learning session. Or perhaps you’d like to sponsor some kind of festival or get together for existing clients. Or even experiment with an after hours law firm, open only at night or on the weekends.
october 2013 by JordanFurlong
More than 1,000 small legal practices go under | News | Law Society Gazette
More than 1,000 small legal practices have ceased trading since this time last year, with that figure set to rise further, according to research published today.  
solo  recession 
october 2013 by JordanFurlong
Limited Licensing of Legal Technicians: A Good Idea? : eLawyering Blog
I agree with many of the recommendations of the report which urges law schools to experiment with different modes of legal education, recommends relaxing ABA accreditation rules which impede innovation, and modifies the traditional law curriculum to focus less on the teaching of doctrinal law and more on skills the prepare law students to actually practice law. Many of the recommendations,if adopted, would radically change the structure, focus, and culture of many law schools.
competition  paraprofessionals  innovation  solo 
september 2013 by JordanFurlong
The Demise of BigLaw: Does Startup Culture Provide a Solution? | MyCase Blog
There’s been a lot of discussion about BigLaw in the wake of announcements regarding recent mergers and the outright dissolution of a few firms. I would suggest that the answer lies in changing the ways in which lawyers perceive their primary job function–and that of law firms–and that startup culture can provide incredible guidance in this regard.
firms  solo 
july 2013 by JordanFurlong
Why This Successful Website Is Going Brick and Mortar |
"We've created a community space to build trust with lawyers so [they] aren't seen as sharks anymore," he says. "I think lawyers should be seen as counselors... and there's no need for lawyers to be seen as kind of this separate breed of people. Our biggest strength is to be able to be available to people in their times of need. We want to put a human face to our otherwise online law firm."

Even so, going brick and mortar isn't cheap, especially when you're talking about premier Silicon Valley real estate. Can LegalForce stores get enough foot traffic to pay the rent?

Maybe not in the short term, says Dr. Roland Vogl, executive director of CodeX, short for the Center for Legal Informatics at Stanford, who met Abhyanker when he pitched his idea for LegalForce at a Stanford startup summit last year.

"My sense is... he is not too concerned with making the stores themselves profitable in the near future. It sounds to me like his desire is to make the point that you can take the fancy mahogany furniture and marble clad law firm environment away and have something that's more accessible to everyone... and take away the price tag from accessing competent legal counsel, which is what we currently have in the country," says Vogl, who is now a strategic advisor to LegalForce.

The Future of Law Firms?

In the long term it might be a different story. Vogl says he can see LegalForce doing what Quality Solicitors
innovation  access  franchise  solo 
june 2013 by JordanFurlong
Nicheties: How to Select Your Practice Areas | Mass LOMAP
There’s certainly still a lot of apparent appeal to the general practice of law. I mean, if Abraham Lincoln did it, it can’t be half-bad, right? Well, you comb your hair, don’t you? Examine a picture of Abraham Lincoln sometime: You think he was real diligent about combing his hair? Not so much, much of the time. So, as much as it pains me to say this: times change, and people start combing their hair; and, part of that time change has produced an ill effect upon the general practice of law. Unless you’re a rural practitioner, or the ultra-local neighborhood/town square attorney, the model just isn’t tenable any longer. (And, I’d argue that, given the reach of internet marketing and the complexity of modern practice areas (among other reasons), it doesn’t even work in those scenarios any longer.) But, even if the hypothesis is that the general practice does not work any longer, it’s only just that until it’s proven; and so, this is my attempt to prove it. (Thank God . . . otherwise, this would have been my shortest blog post ever, sort of.) So, we’ll examine herein why selecting practice niches is preferable to attempting to be a general practitioner.
solo  niche 
june 2013 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES LawStore targets businesses with mix of legal and non-legal services » LEGAL FUTURES
LawStore – the consumer-facing brand developed by regional law firm and alternative business structure MTA Solicitors – will next week launch into the business market, while further high street shops are also planned, Legal Futures can reveal.
access  clementi  solo 
may 2013 by JordanFurlong
This Tech Startup Helps You Manage Death of a Loved One - Digits - WSJ
uckily, technology, and a startup named Everplans, is here to help. Co-founded by Abby Schneiderman, the site walks its users through all the complicated steps of planning everything.

Everplans is a free service, and doesn’t handle all the legal components. Rather, it prepares users to deal with those otherwise taxing processes that — for all intents and purposes — should be handled with care and not under duress.

We caught up with Schneiderman to find out more. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview:

WSJ: What is the background of you and your co-founder?

Abby Schneiderman: My co-founder Adam Seifer and I met in 2010 while we were both working as advisers to a startup in New York City. We knew almost right after meeting each other that one day we wanted to build something together.

Adam was one of the pioneers of (true social networking in its infancy), recognized by many as the first major online social networking service. Adam also co-founded Fotolog, now one of the o
innovation  solo 
april 2013 by JordanFurlong
Legal Zoom, Rocket Lawyer – We Fear What We Don’t Understand and To Our Detriment | Solo Practice University®
Since Legal Zoom has a 60% aided brand awareness (put their name in a lineup and 60% of consumers have heard of them versus the biggest law firms with only 2 – 5% brand awareness) we’ll use Legal Zoom as our lead. Those lawyers who claim they aren’t frightened about branded networks such as Legal Zoom are generally flip about it and say that Legal Zoom’s clients would never be clients who would want their services.  And a smaller minority say they love charging these DIY clients to undo the damage they inflicted upon themselves because they didn’t want to pay for a ‘real’ lawyer.  Well, those are very foolish answers and each one shows a certain amount of false bravado and a willful lack of education about branded networks.  Most importantly, failure to understand branded networks and how they could potentially benefit a solo/small firm, can actually be detrimental to your practice going forward.  Or to quote Stephanie Kimbro in our recent conversation on the topic, ‘bad for business.’
solo  competition  commoditization  franchise 
april 2013 by JordanFurlong
Is It Time For A National Retail Law Firm? – Slaw
I came into the legal profession in the early 1990’s, just as the age of the “national” law firms was dawning. The big downtown Vancouver firms of my formative years – all independents – were soon swept up in a maelstrom of merger mania with their equivalents in Toronto and Montreal. When the dust settled a few years later, we had the basic framework of the large law firm landscape that has prevailed in this country for the better part of the past two decades. In the ensuing years the nationals built out their networks with offices in Calgary, Ottawa and satellite offices internationally, but the basic model has continued largely unchanged until the very recent arrival of the “globals” (Norton Rose, Dentons, & others soon to follow).
solo  franchise  access 
april 2013 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES LawNet raises the bar with new client service standard » LEGAL FUTURES
Law firm network LawNet has launched a ‘Mark of Excellence’ in client service that’s designed to give member firms a competitive edge.

The Mark is set out in a client service charter and will provide a nationally-recognisable and robust measure of quality to clients. Practice performance will be measured through a suite of tools especially designed for LawNet firms, including compulsory online satisfaction surveys, training and mystery shopping. Compliance with the mark will be audited as part of the LawNet ISO 9001 standard.
solo  franchise  marketing  innovation 
march 2013 by JordanFurlong
Law School Launches Program to House New Solo Lawyers - News - ABA Journal
The law school provides office space, technology and access to legal research tools in its for-fee law firm, "The Law Offices of Chicago-Kent," periodic workshops on business management and practice-related topics, and, perhaps most importantly, a network of committed faculty advisers and mentors to offer guidance and, hopefully, client referrals. In exchange, the participants, all 2011 and 2012 Chicago-Kent graduates, are expected to contribute ten hours each week assisting on cases in the clinic.
schools  innovation  solo 
october 2012 by JordanFurlong
Co Op Confirms Fixed Fee Family Law Launch With 22 Lawyer Team - Legalweek mobile
The move will see the Co-op's legal arm, Co-operative Legal Services (CLS), offer legal advice on matters such as divorce, child protection, mediation and financial issues over the telephone - with face-to-face meetings also an option.
A team of 22 solicitors, headed up by former TV Edwards partners Jenny Beck and Christina Blacklaws, will work from a base in London Paddington. CLS has plans to expand to an additional five regional locations across England and Wales, covering hubs in the northeast, northwest, southwest, southeast and the Midlands.
The exact location of these bases are still to be decided, with the exception of a planned Manchester hub.
CLS has set out five service guarantees as part of its Family Law Customer Charter, including fixed fees, jargon-free communications and the promise to conduct all work with sensitivity.
Co-operative Group deputy group chief executive Martyn Wates said: "We intend to bring a refreshingly different approach to family law. At a time of major changes in legal aid, we believe it's vital to make it as easy as possible for people to gain access to justice. We are doing this by providing an innovative approach that will appeal to those who are currently reluctant to access family law services."
He added: "It is our vision to develop a family law service which will provide a reassuring and trusted option for consumers. These are challenging times for both consumer and the legal profession but we intend our new range of services to be easily accessible and affordable."
competition  solo  access  clementi 
september 2012 by JordanFurlong
- My Shingle
Neota Logic is Neat – But Why Not Make It Accessible to Solos?
solo  robolawyer 
july 2012 by JordanFurlong
LegalZoom: The "Good Enough" Legal Solution : eLawyering Blog
LegalZoom will, inevitably, put many solos and small law firms out of business as it grows and expands its suite of services. For a related analysis on my theory about the venture capital industry and disruption in the legal industry see video at: Legal Startups - An Overview at PointOneLaw ].
competition  commoditization  it  solo 
may 2012 by JordanFurlong
QualitySolicitors – The Movie | LEGAL FUTURES
No doubt the QS knockers will come out to play today (just how does someone walking through a city centre pass by a family moving into their new house, fellow pedants?), but to me the really interesting aspect of the advert is the effort to link legal services with the emotion of life moments. Several people on Twitter mentioned how it even brought tears to their eyes. “What is wrong with me? I used to have a heart of stone and now I’ve just sobbed at the QualitySolicitors advert,” said one.
competition  franchise  marketing  solo 
april 2012 by JordanFurlong
QualitySolicitors set to kick off £15m ad campaign ahead of May TV blitz | LEGAL FUTURES
QualitySolicitors (QS) will this month launch the largest advertising campaign in the history of the legal profession ahead of a blitz that will see 8,000 adverts hit TV screens throughout May.
franchise  solo 
march 2012 by JordanFurlong
Occupy Law School at Solo Practice University - Forbes
if you want to know where the law is going in the 21st century, Canadian lawyer Jordan Furlong’s Law21 is also a must read. The most intelligent and forward-thinking legal blogging being done in the English language today. Just wait a couple of years. The Harvard Law Review vs. Law 21 – not even a contest.
jf  solo 
november 2011 by JordanFurlong
Co-op to move into family law after hiring high-profile solicitors | LEGAL FUTURES
o-operative Legal Services (CLS) has issued a major signal of intent by recruiting two leading solicitors to launch a family law service next year.

Jenny Beck, managing partner of London legal aid firm TV Edwards and co-chair of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and fellow TV Edwards partner Christina Blacklaws, who chairs the Law Society’s legal affairs and policy board, have been recruited along with solicitor Chris May, the firm’s former head of business development and strategy.
clementi  solo 
november 2011 by JordanFurlong
Exclusive: DLA Piper invests in prospective ABS targeted at legal advice for businesses | LEGAL FUTURES
Sir Nigel Knowles, DLA’s co-chief executive, has been appointed non-executive chairman of LawVest, a holding company that is developing a new “market-disrupting brand, pricing and service delivery model” for business clients. DLA has a minority stake.

However, the precise details of what LawVest plans to bring to market remain under wraps. It will become an ABS.
clementi  competition  solo 
october 2011 by JordanFurlong
Is this the deal to silence QS’s critics? | LEGAL FUTURES
The money will surely allow QS to leap several steps in its development and get to the end point far quicker than its already rapid rate of growth would have achieved. It’s not so much getting the firms on board – especially with the added credibility this news will give QS – as building the infrastructure to support them. The goal of dominating the high street market, gaining a 30-40% share and having firms demonstrably different from non-QS competitors just became that much more realistic.
clementi  solo  franchise  brand 
october 2011 by JordanFurlong
Law Firm Profits From Custom App, Eyes New Business
For LaVan & Neidenberg, that has taken the form of working with IBM partner GBS (Group Business Software) to develop the law firm's EZ Claim application, which integrates and customizes Lotus Notes and Domino collaboration software, IBM Symphony desktop productivity suite, and IBM Sametime instant messaging. The system analyzes and files claims 66 percent faster than the firm's previous methods, according to IBM, which calls this type of configuration "social software." LaVan's firm chose the IBM suite over Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, he said.
it  robolawyer  solo 
october 2011 by JordanFurlong
First law firm franchise opens for business | LEGAL FUTURES
Ray Gordon, the chairman of face2face solicitors, said he plans to build a national brand with 600 franchises across England and Wales, replicating quality and client care standards. With three or four more likely to open before Christmas, he added that he would be happy to have 50-100 franchises in place by mid-2013.
innovation  solo  competition 
september 2011 by JordanFurlong
Jim Calloway's Law Practice Tips Blog: Venture Capitalists Take Aim at Lawyers
Much higher volume work is the bread and butter of solo and small firm practice. If these services are pulled away from the law firm, and delivered by non-lawyer entities, it will completely destabilize the economic model upon which solos and small law firm practice is built. I think that the economics of small firm practice is beginning to change in a fundamental ways. $150-$250 an hour billing rates are not a guaranteed “right”. They are, or were, a response to market dynamics. The market for legal services is changing.
solo  innovation  robolawyer  commoditization 
august 2011 by JordanFurlong
Even a Solo Can Have a Clever Mobile App · Robert Ambrogi's LawSites
A growing number of larger law firms are releasing their own mobile apps. But what about solo and smaller firm lawyers? Last week, Aaron Kelly, a solo who practices Internet law in Scottsdale, Ariz., released an app for Apple and Android devices. It incorporates a couple clever ideas that could provide inspiration for other small-firm lawyers thinking of developing apps of their own.
solo  it  innovation 
july 2011 by JordanFurlong
Getting Real
Schools should expand clinical programs, but not because such student credentials matter to large firm recruiters. They don't. At the same time, those who don't get big law jobs really need practical lawyering skills. Do it for those would-be lawyers--the vast majority of today's 50,000 annual graduates.
schools  solo 
july 2011 by JordanFurlong
LEGAL FUTURES » All roads lead to ABS – including legal aid
“Often I hear concerns expressed that having fewer individual practices will lead to a reduction in people’s access to justice,” he said. “But here I think access is at risk of being confused with physical proximity. People have grown used to a far wider range of telephone and Internet-based services – and demand more rapid and convenient access to services, but not necessarily an office on the street corner.”

(It is worth noting that the Legal Services Board shares this view that access to justice is not about the quantity of law firms on a high street, but rather the quality of access provided.)

This is the future. It is often pointed out that ABSs are, of course, just
solo  Clementi  access 
june 2011 by JordanFurlong
Law grads going solo and loving it - Business - Personal finance - Careers -
Many law graduates are being told that in today’s tight job market, beggars can’t be choosers. But when Damon Chetson graduated with $90,000 debt and no job prospects, he decided he wasn’t going to beg for anything.
june 2011 by JordanFurlong
When it Comes to Marketing, Small is Powerful « Small Firm Innovation
There was a time, not that long ago, when small firms and sole practitioners had almost no chance against big firms when it came to marketing. Thanks to their deep pockets and established brands, large law firms dominated in areas like advertising, event sponsorship, and the sort of name recognition that drew reporters to interview their lawyers like moths to a flame. “Small-firm” was considered, in marketing terms, to be small-time.
jf  solo  marketing 
june 2011 by JordanFurlong
Boomer Law! - Nolo's Legal Marketing Blawg
With the arrival of 2011, the oldest of the post-World War II Baby Boom generation will turn 65. In fact, every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 more will cross that threshold, notes the Philadelphia Bulletin. By 2030, a full 18 percent of the nation's population will be 65 or older, up a full five percent from current numbers.
solo  demographics  marketing  facebook 
march 2011 by JordanFurlong
The growth potential of small-town law
But it’s an open question whether big firms will continue to hire and expand as they have in the past. The gradual but inexorable transition to value billing is going to force firms to reconsider the traditional role of associate leverage in partner profitability. Large firms simply might require fewer lawyers in their formative years, and those lawyers have to go somewhere to pay the bills.
solo  jf 
november 2010 by JordanFurlong
Some Law Firms Have Begun Offering Small Businesses Flat Monthly Fees -
Many small companies say the discounts are a big help at a time when budgets are tighter than ever. Ray Case, a plumbing contractor in Ann Arbor, Mich., says flat fees from attorney Ken Gross proved precious as he journeyed through bankruptcy court, folding one company and forming another. He paid $10,000 total for at least 100 hours of work, and estimates he saved at least $15,000 over typical hourly rates.
solo  pricing 
november 2010 by JordanFurlong
Fewer high street firms? So what? «
There is an assumption that the network of high street law firms is a good thing, mainly in facilitating access to justice (which is one of the core principles underpinning the new regulatory regime overseen by the Legal Services Board). This is rarely questioned. But significantly it is an assumption the LSB does not buy into. Board chairman David Edmonds has told me that if there were fewer law firms on the high street – or even just one – but a better service to the public was on offer, then there should be no problem. Access to justice is not measured simply by quantity.
access  Clementi  solo 
august 2010 by JordanFurlong
SoloCorps Takes the Heartland: Video-Capturing the Solo Experience
Well, it started out as a kind of modern-day road trip — two good friends who met online, driving across the heartland from Duluth, Minnesota to Omaha, Nebraska, Foursquaring our location and tweeting up with online colleagues along the way. But as Lisa Solomon and I got to talking about the trip, we realized that it offered an even more exciting opportunity than a chance to spend time with rarely-seen friends: a chance to permanently capture solo and small firm lawyers of every variety sharing their stories and experiences on video.
july 2010 by JordanFurlong
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