SITES FOR SORE EYES
Practice Management Advisors Online

By Jim Calloway and Courtney Kennaday

This month we have a smorgasbord of excellent practice management advice online. What better place to look for great practice management tips than from those who work on practice management full time? Your columnists are practice management advisors (PMAs)—individuals employed by state and national bar associations, Canadian Law Societies, and some other organizations. PMAs provide all kinds of advice to their bar members on a full-time basis. So this month we are going to take a whirlwind tour of some of the free content placed online by the PMAs in their blogs.

First, we will note that the Practice Management Advisors of North America collectively provide a “PMA Tip of the Week.” This tip is provided to the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division’s SoloSez group each week and distributed by the PMAs to the particular lawyer groups that they serve. You can subscribe to the PMA Tip of the Week at http://pmatips.com/ wordpress. This simple site also contains the archive of recent past tips, but we suggest that you subscribe with your newsreader so that you can get a new tip every week automatically.

Reid F. Trautz is the PMA for the Association of Immigration Lawyers of America. On his cleverly titled blog, “Reid My Blog” ( http://reidtrautz.typepad.com/reidmyblog), most of his recent posts have been about ABA TECHSHOW, which is not surprising because he was on the planning board for the show this year and is vice chair of the planning board for next year’s show.

Dan Pinnington is director of practicePRO, the division of the Canadian professional liability carrier LAWPRO that helps lawyers avoid malpractice risks with sound practice management advice. Dan shares some of this sound advice on his “Avoid a Claim” blog ( http://avoidaclaim.com).

After Reid and Dan published their book, The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success (ABA Law Practice Management Section, 2009), they decided they needed an additional blog, “Lawyer’s Success Tips” ( http://lawyersuccesstips.com). Check out the April 1, 2010, post where Reid covered the Apps presented in his “60 iPhone Apps in 60 Minutes” presentation from ABA TECHSHOW.

Nerino Petro Jr. is the PMA for the Wisconsin Bar Association and one of the PMA’s most prolific and knowledgeable bloggers. His “Compujurist” blog ( http://compujurist.com) focuses on the topics of “practice management, legal technology and items of interest for the modern lawyer,” and he covers them like a blanket. His is also one of the PMA blogs you can subscribe to via e-mail or RSS.

The Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program has a great blog, “Your Law Practice Advisor” ( http://masslomap.blogspot.com). The two PMA bloggers who write there are Rodney Dowell and Jared Correia, and you can also follow them on Twitter, where they are frequent contributors. Jared is a huge music lover, and he has the distinction of being the only PMA who regularly includes “liner notes” with links to music on his blog posts. Jared’s posts can make a reader actually laugh out loud (aka LOL), and that’s quite an accomplishment when one is working with management and technology tips. You can also catch Rodney’s famous podcasts over at “The Un-Billable Hour” on Legal Talk Network ( http://legaltalknetwork.com).

Laura Calloway, PMA for the Alabama State Bar, says she is pretty good at getting the last word in an argument, so she named her practice management blog “The Last Word” ( http://asblastword.wordpress.com). She covers a wide range of topics there.

Located at ABA central in Chicago, über-advisor Catherine Sanders Reach keeps the Legal Technology Resource Center (LTRC) website ( www.abanet.org/tech/ltrc ) hopping. It’s one of the first places we turn for the latest news in law office technology, and we often refer lawyers to its world-famous technology comparison charts. In fact, one of the great things that the LTRC does is provide a hotline for ABA members to call in for free technology advice. The LTRC blog, “ABA Site-tation” ( http://new.abanet.org/sitetation), is one of our favs.

Erik Mazzone is the PMA for the North Carolina Bar Association. His blog is named “Law Practice Matters” ( www.lawpracticematters.com ). He covers technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the law with his signature snappy writing style that makes his posts fun to read.

The Olympics may have departed Vancouver, British Columbia, but David J. Bilinsky is still blogging there at “Thoughtful Legal Management” ( http://thoughtfullaw.com ). David is a practice management consultantadvisor for the Law Society of British Columbia. David also has a musical nature and starts all of his posts with fitting song lyrics—very cool.

Pennsylvania’s Ellen Freedman blogs under the simple, descriptive title “Law Practice Management” ( www.pa-lawpracticemanagement.com ); she got up earlier than the rest of us and beat us to it. Ellen is a Certified Legal Manager, and her background in law office management for nearly 20 years (she also started young) carries through in her detailed articles and posts.

In Oregon, Beverly Michaelis blogs about a variety of law practice management tips and shares articles and presentations at “Oregon Law Practice Management” ( http://oregonlawpracticemanagement.wordpress.com). Oregon PMA Sheila M. Blackford blogs at “Just Oregon Lawyers” ( http://justoregonlawyers.wordpress.com), but you do not have to be an Oregon lawyer to read her great tips.

We wouldn’t want to omit our own online content. Jim blogs at “Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips” ( http://jimcalloway.typepad.com). Jim also does a podcast, “The Digital Edge: Lawyers and Technology,” with co-podcaster Sharon Nelson. The podcast is published monthly on the ABA Law Practice Management Section’s webzine Law Practice Today ( www.abanet.org/lpm/lpt). You can find the podcast archives on iTunes ( http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-digital-edge-lawyers- technology/id260139003). Jim also maintains the Oklahoma Bar Association’s “Starting a Law Practice Web Directory” ( www.okbar.org/members/map/practice.htm) with links to many downloadable articles and other PMA’s websites.

Courtney is a relatively new blogger. Her “SC Small Firm” blog ( www.scsmallfirm.com) focuses primarily on tips and news of interest to small firm lawyers in South Carolina and elsewhere. She also tweets breaking news and tips at SCBar_PMAP. Because Courtney is particularly fond of technology for law offices, there is an abundance of technology tips and advice.

If all this discussion about bar association PMA programs has made you curious about the concept, you can find more information, including a list of all of the PMA programs and a guide to setting up a program in your jurisdiction, at www.abanet.org/practicemanagementadvisors.

For dessert, we can offer you the PMA Pipe ( http://bit.ly/bgIBy7), a delicious sampling of all the PMAs’ latest blog posts delivered via RSS. To subscribe, just go to the website and add it to your favorite feed reader. We’re encouraging bar associations—particularly small bars that cannot afford full-time web publishing staff—to incorporate the feed into their web pages.
  • Jim Calloway is director of the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Management Assistance Program; he may be reached at jimc@okbar.org. Courtney Kennaday is director of the Practice Management Assistance Program of the South Carolina Bar; she may be reached at pmap@scbar.org.
Copyright 2010

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