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In North America, roughly two-thirds of the lawyers in private practice work as solos or in firms of two to ten lawyers. They are the unsung heroes of our profession, doing the day-to-day legal work required by millions of individuals and small businesses.
Although solos and small firm lawyers are frequently out of sight and out of mind in the mainstream media, not so here at Law Practice or in the ABA LPM Section. Solos and small firm lawyers seem to recognize the value we deliver. So in this special small firm-focused issue, we are pleased to help them with a valuable set of articles on practical tools for more successful and profitable practices. A note to lawyers in midsize and large firms, though—don’t put this issue aside. You will find that most of the advice is relevant to you, too, because it focuses on what individual lawyers can do to better serve their clients and run their practices.
We open with the important topic of client service. Catherine Sanders Reach points out that all of our clients are online and using technology–and they expect their lawyers to be technology literate, too. She provides some practical advice on various technology tools that can be used to improve client service. Also, for small firms attracting and keeping quality staff can be a struggle. Pascale Daigneault describes some out-of-the box ideas for cultivating a positive work environment and a happier, more productive staff.
DIY marketing is the rule at solo and small firms where there is no marketing department or big marketing budget. Solo Michele Allinotte outlines how you can use traditional marketing along with some of the new social media tools to keep clients coming through the door. For even more help on the business development front, Steven Shaer’s article will help you excel at the three most dreaded networking moments: greeting strangers, introducing yourself and making small talk.
Managing a trust account is likely near the top of many lawyers’ most disliked but necessary tasks lists. And this shows as trust account issues are among the most frequent trouble spots when it comes to transgressions of the rules. So don’t miss Sheila Blackford’s excellent refresher on how to properly manage your trust account.
See you at ABA TECHSHOW! This issue includes a preview of the great programs that will be presented at the 25th ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago April 11-13. I’m particularly excited about keynoter Lawrence Lessig. Read the Q&A with Paul Unger inside for more details, and join us in Chicago!
Dan Pinnington, Editor-in-Chief