Building the Service-Centered Firm
Solo Solemn

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.

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