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July 2009
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September 2009

August 2009

Why Lawyers Won't Take Risks With Thier Clients

Not every case is ripe for an alternative billing arrangement.  Litigation is more challenging to bill on a non-hourly basis than most other matters.  Defense litigation is perhaps the most challenging of all.  On the plaintiff’s side, we often work on an alternative billing arrangement, sometimes a monthly flat fee and sometimes a blend of reduced hourly rate plus contingency fee.  On virtually everything else, we bid projects on a flat fee defined deliverable basis.  There are lots of advantages to flat fees including the fact that costs certainty allows many more clients to say “yes” to a project which they might otherwise punt or handle on their own on an hourly fee proposal.

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Are Two Really Better Than One? How could I have waited this long…

I never understood the concept of polygamy.  I love my wife dearly.  She challenges me every day to be a better person.  But could I really handle two wives? 

Let’s face it.  Sometimes one really is enough.  I don’t want helpings of dessert.   I love dogs but wouldn’t want more than one.  Two heads might draw way too much attention.

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The Time is Right for a Referral

We are constantly talking about ways to generate quality business.  I stress the word quality because it means a couple of things to our firm.  First, it means clients that appreciate our operation, such as our flat fee alternative billing model and use of a transparent extranet system.  Second, quality refers to clients that appreciate our niche focus on particular areas of law, such as internet law and complex litigation.  Finally, quality means the type of client that will want to come back and use our services when, and if, it requires legal help again.

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Do You Represent?

I just finished up my first board meeting for my alma mater law school, Michigan State University College of Law.  As a relatively recent graduate, it was fantastic sitting in a room full of practitioners ranging in number of years of practice from freshly admitted to the bar all the way up to those entering their fortieth year of practice.  I silently concluded that there was no better way to exhibit passion and admiration for your school than to give of your time, and in most cases with these individuals, financial support as well.  Ultimately, it led me to question whether or not I properly represent the school and law college that has given so much to me.

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Why Do You Practice Law?

At some point in our careers, lawyers end up in a rut.  If you ask them why they practice law, they would be hard-pressed to come up with a compelling answer. 

Some lawyers practice merely to make a living, to bring home a paycheck.  Other lawyers feel the law is a calling and focus on professional responsibilities of our chosen endeavor. 

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Willing to Risk It All Every Day

Some might call it character flaw.  Others see it as a quality which makes me uniquely me.

I’ve lived life rich.  I’ve lived life poor.  I am here to tell you.  Life is about the same at both ends of the spectrum.  There is good and bad in everything.  The best things in life are found in nature and they are free.

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Battling The Internet’s Distractions

Law firms take different approaches to Internet access by their lawyers and staff.  Some law firms block certain sites.  Many law firms track Internet activity by their staff.  All law firms battle the distractions that come with the World Wide Web.  

To me, the best way to ensure continued productivity is to keep everyone motivated.  The Internet provides a convenient and appropriate respite from the sometimes taxing work that law firms do.  So instead of trying to monitor or limit employees' activities, law firms should simply spend more time managing projects, tasks and motivation.

Getting Back To the Basics

Every once in a while, it is good to think about the basics.  What are the processes and technologies which bring focus, productivity and quality to your service offerings? 

At our firm, we have lots of technology applications and lots of processes which go with those technologies.  Information overload and the distractions which technology bring are always there waiting to affect the firm’s overall performance.

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