General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionMagazine
Volume 17, Number 4
General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionMagazine
Volume 17, Number 4
General Practice, Solo and Small Firm MDP UPDATEABA Webcast on Multidisciplinary Practice Now Online. Multidisciplinary practices, or fee-sharing partnerships between lawyers and non-lawyer professionals, represent one of the most profound and controversial issues facing the legal profession today.A webcast of a lively "Town Hall" discussion of MDP held during the recent American Bar Association Midyear Meeting in Dallas can now be viewed on the Internet at www.abanet.org/mdp. The three-hour program is indexed so that viewers can readily access those portions of the program of interest to them.ABA Commission Renews Proposal. The ABA Commission on Multidisciplinary Practice has again recommended that the association amend its Model Rules of Professional Conduct to allow lawyers to share fees and join with nonlawyer professionals in practices offering both legal and nonlegal services. The recommendation and an explanatory report are posted at http://www.abanet.org/cpr/multicom.html. The recommendation will be voted upon during the ABA Annual Meeting in July in New York City.The draft proposal says regulatory authorities should enforce all rules of professional conduct, but also adopt additional procedures as needed to implement the principles identified in the recommendation. It leaves to state discretion what those procedures should be. The new recommendation takes a more general approach to amending ethics rules to permit MDPs than did a proposal that was presented to the 1999 ABA Annual Meeting last August in Atlanta. The ABA House of Delegates declined then to support any rules change that would allow MDPs. DON'T MISS SOLO DAYHow do you establish effective and simple systems for getting paid for the services you provide? How do you maintain good client relations while avoiding collection problems? Find out at Solo & Small Firm Day 2000, sponsored by the Solo & Small Firm Practitioners Division of the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division.The program, "99 Tips on How to Get Paid for the Work You Do," will be held on Thursday, July 6, 2000, at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, 42 West 44th Street. This program is free to ABA Annual Meeting attendees! If you are not registered for the ABA Annual Meeting, the cost is $75 for lawyers, $50 for legal assistants, and $25 for law students.
- Welcome and Opening Remarks.
- Client Selection to Enhance Fee Collection: How to Weed Out Deadbeats Before They Become Clients. This presentation addresses techniques the lawyer can use in the first telephone call and the first meeting to screen out potential clients who are looking for something for nothing. Many of these people will reveal themselves if given an opportunity. By asking a few questions and paying attention to the answers, the lawyer can weed out the wrong clients before they become clients.
- Talking Money: The Art of Getting Paid. Why don't clients pay their legal bills? A simple question, perhaps, but one without a simple answer. Getting clients to pay your bills starts long before the day you send out your bill. Learn how to apply proven communication techniques to reduce, if not eliminate, your accounts receivable.
- Don't Go There: Ethical Tips. This session will discuss ethics for the solo and small firm practitioner. You will learn the ethical traps of practicing law including financial musts, how to ethically protect your fee, when to run and hide, the art of communication and ethical requirements in your personal life.
- Luncheon & Awards Ceremony (ticketed, $35 per person). Finding the time to network with your peers is often difficult. Solo & Small Firm Day 2000 provides an excellent opportunity to meet and share ideas with colleagues in an open and relaxed atmosphere. Awards such as the prestigious Donald C. Rikli Solo Lifetime Achievement Award, Solo Practitioner of the Year Award, GP Link Bar Leader Award and GP Link Project Award will be announced at this luncheon.
- Fee Facts and Figures-A Survey of Lawyer Fees Across the U.S.. Fees and billing rates require a careful balancing act between internal economics and external marketplace factors. Economic considerations in setting hourly rates can be reduced to a fundamental formula. Marketplace considerations influencing rates include lawyer experience, firm size, community size, region, and specialty. Alternative pricing presents opportunities to break out of the hourly rate syndrome. Fixed or flat fees, a common pricing alternative, can be set either prospectively based on matter budgets, retrospectively based on experience in comparable matters, or both. Methodologies for accomplishing all of this will be discussed during this session.
- It's Not How Much You Bill, It's How Much You Collect: You Cannot Afford to Be Inefficient. It is unrealistic to think that client selection, client service, communications, billing, and collections exist in a vacuum. Each one of these issues is connected to all the others. However, there are some methods and procedures that firms of all sizes need to establish to make certain they collect the fees they bill. You will be given practical examples of how to use these procedures in solo and small firms. There will be a short demonstration on how to use technology to make certain you stay on top of your account receivables before it becomes uncollectable. In addition there will be a sample collection policy and sample letters that you can use.
- 99 Practical Tips on Getting Paid. Panel of speakers from various minority bars.
- Closing Remarks.
- Thursday, July 6: Section Reception and Dinner, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Tavern on the Green. Ticketed: $100 adults; $50 for children 12 or under. Join the Section for a reception and dinner at one of New York's most famous restaurants in the heart of Central Park. Tavern on the Green is located at Central Park West at 67th. Transportation will not be provided.
- Friday, July 7: Joint Reception with the Family Law Section, New York Waterway Harbor Cruise, 7:00-10:00 p.m. Ticketed: $65 adults; $30 for children 12 and under. Enjoy a different way of seeing New York during this evening cruise. This casual affair will highlight the main attractions of New York City while you enjoy a Ballpark Buffet dinner and relaxed networking with friends from the Family Law Section and General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division. Bring your family and friends-children are encouraged to come along! Transportation provided.
- Saturday, July 8: Incoming Chair's Dinner, 8:00-10:30 p.m., Brasserie Bit. Ticketed: $85 adults; $40 for children 12 or under. Meet and greet the new chair of the General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division for the 2000-2001 bar year. Enjoy Brasserie Bit, a charming French bistro with a casual atmosphere in the heart of Times Square. Brasserie Bit is located at 258 West 44th Street. Transportation will not be provided.
Going to Trial: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trial Practice and Procedure, Second Edition, edited by Daniel I. Small, is an authoritative, real-world guide to mastering every step of the trial process, from the initial client interview to the closing argument, including:
- The best methods for opening a file and organizing a case.
- The many legal theories of recovery and other issues that can arise in the course of litigation.
- Why skillful motion practice can win or lose a case before trial.
- Designing voir dire questions to get the jurors you want and maintain rapport with that jury.
- The four goals of every phase of the trial-from opening statement to final argument.
- The three C's of a good witness notebook: confidence, control, credibility.
- How an effective rebuttal begins with good planning of the case.