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January 2005
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March 2005

February 2005

Solo Solemn

A lot has happened these last two weeks, both good and bad.   My father-in-law passed away last Thursday.  He went so much quicker then we expected.  Cancer is a bad bad disease.  We got home home from the care facility 4 hours before he took his last breath.  He smiled and looked at peace in his own space.  But cancer ravaged his body quickly and completely.  It is good that he did not live any longer to suffer any longer.  He died in his own home, surrounded by family with his wife and one of his 7 daughters holding his hands.  I am reminded that you only live once and am assured that I have made the right move to strike out on my own path.

My office is up and running, with more benchmarks achieved each day (so many little tasks).  We have administrative/technology projects every day.  Stupid stuff like when SBC Yahoo decided without notice to block all use of smtp servers that were outside its network (they called it span control but didn't ell the customers what they were doing.  We were stumped for three days).  After the pains of customer service phone support, we finally obtained the ability to send mail again today. 

We have our Amicus Attorney running and are hoping to link it up with QuickBooks this weekend.  Our Quickbook checks arrived today and we printed our first check.  Good things since the bills were starting to collect dust.  Our first payroll was last Thursday.  Now we are focused on billing.  We hired an amicus/quickbooks consultant so we are hoping to complete our first billing next week. Business has been better than projected our first 3 weeks.  We should cover all overhead expenses and start paying back advanced funds (about $40k in personal loans) within 30 days.   

The MFP should have the 'send mail' i.e scanning software loaded by Monday.  We are drowning in paper in our paperless office!

Cell phone service is spotty through our 18 inch brick walls.  We are looking into cell phone boosters next week.

Client's are coming in at a fast pace.  I have posted for virtual law clerks and the resumes are coming in quickly.  I'll be hiring attorney sub-contractors soon.

Our airspace secure wireless/VPN solution also should be installed by Monday. I love my new office and the campus that surrounds me.  Next week, I start jogging to and from work.  My shower at the office is operational today!

Last Day of Pay

I have been looking to get off the pay-roll at my old firm but have been delayed waiting for my insurance to kick-in.  Once I can bill through my new law firm, and my old firm isn't paying salary or benefits, I will feel much more 'free' and at ease. Coverage was confirmed today.  My out state practice and trademark work caused several insurance firms to withdraw, leaving me with one option.

Office Space: Everything was delayed pending ripping out cement for the shower in the new space.  No finish work or carpet could be placed until the mess of cement work was complete.  The bid for the shower took 2 weeks longer than promised which meant nothing much was happening to finish the space. Finish construction is now in high gear.  All in all, the project has moved much faster than I expected.  Regardless, it took a lot of prodding and telephone calls to get this project moving towards completion. Today I found out they forgot to order the carpet.  I chose a different carpet design which they believe is in stock and thus ready for installation in two days. I should know more tomorrow.

Standard Property Insurance: Easy pickings.  I worked with a local guy who made it happen fast.  Annual cost is something like $250k for $50K property damage/theft plus $250k in premises coverage.

Computers: Wireless and paperless. Document management software. Case management software. Adobe mark-up tools. I ordered through HP, CDW and my local network company.  I had to change laptop selection today in order to avoid back order delay to March.  DSL package activated yesterday.  DSL, MFP and network installation starts in 4 days. Pretty smooth so far considering. I recommend working with a network vendor on design, product purchase and installation.  I'll post my design and software choices soon.

Client Paperwork: I started obtaining the file release, new retainers and other client paperwork this week. I still have a lot to do, but the forms, logos and detail work is done. My old firm and I are in the final strategies of agreeing to formulas for shared compensation on contingency cases.  We have already divided hourly cases(which will be rolled into alternative billing retainers with my new firm).

Marketing:  Logos, web site, business cards and stationary complete. I am however waiting to confirm fax number in fact works at MFP level before final approval with printer on business cards, stationary, etc.  Beware! My fax number changed twice during this process.  Don't even think of printing materials until you KNOW the phone and fax numbers work. Our big marketing letter will go out next week after we are operational so we can handle the calls which will inevitably come. Don't market before everything is confirmed, operational and you have a block of time to leverage the mailing and incoming calls.

Phones: We have gone with a pure cell phone solution.  $130/month for two phones, unlimited calling, voice mail and other cool cell phone features. This solution, while more risky, saves us monthly land-line payments,long distance charges,pricy phone systems, etc. I figure we are saving a couple grand/year here.  We purchased the latest cell phone technology with wireless headsets (bluetooth enabled), unlimited voice mail, multiple voice mailboxes, voice activation, conference calling, speaker phone, etc.  This stuff is mid-level with today's phones.  Each phone unit cost about $200. We will train clients to call me for me issues and Jenny for Jenny issues. Clients love it when I answer my own cell pone,including weekends and evenings.

Office Furniture: More expensive than I had planned.  We decided that the cheap stuff was still very expensive and so we purchased good stuff instead (I am enjoying my new kneeling chair right now). Payment plans with 12 months no interest are readily available.  I am waiting to get the 'feel' of my space before I decide on furniture. I am using a laptop computer cart for now.