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August 24, 2022

Perspectives: A New Year: Navigating the New Normal

Stephen Embry
This year in particular it will be essential to focus on the issues and problems associated with the new normal.

This year in particular it will be essential to focus on the issues and problems associated with the new normal.

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Greetings. I am looking forward to serving you as chair of the Law Practice Division for the 2022–2023 bar year. It is truly an honor and a privilege, and I hope to get to know many of you better.

For those of you who don’t know me, I practiced law for more than 30 years with a large law firm in Louisville, primarily doing mass tort defense work. I left the firm in 2017 to focus on my blog and solo practice. I loved working at a big firm but am glad to now be doing my own thing. I have two children and two grandsons (with another on the way). And yes, I dote on them something awful.

We have an exciting year planned as (hopefully) the pandemic subsides, and we can get together in person again. Like many of you, I am optimistic and excited that finally we can have our meetings in person again. This year, our Fall Meeting will be at the wonderful, historic and iconic Palace Hotel in downtown San Francisco. Union Square, cable cars and Chinatown are just blocks away. Our Fall Meeting will take place from October 19–22. We are in the process of finalizing our schedule and events.

Our Spring Meeting in 2023 will be in Providence, Rhode Island, from May 16–19. Providence is a historic, quintessential New England city and home to Brown University. It promises to be a dynamic and interesting locale.

In addition, our TECHSHOW board is hard at work planning another dynamite show. Stay tuned for more details. Finally, the 2023 Midyear Meeting will be in New Orleans from February 1–6.

Furthermore, all our delivery boards are hard at work planning more awesome content. We can be proud of our Division and the content it consistently provides.

This issue of Law Practice is devoted to what some may con- sider a mundane topic—finance. Perhaps it’s understandable: Law school really doesn’t prepare you to run a business. But let’s face it, practicing lawyers are business owners. They work for or own businesses. And as businesspeople, they need to have a working knowledge of financial issues. Reading a balance sheet, understanding income statements and interpreting cash flow statements are all crucial to running a business. I’m always amazed how little many lawyers grasp these financial statements and finances.

Law firm finance is a critical issue for us as a Division. Fortunately, we offer a vast amount of finance-related content.

Our Mission and Values Statement recognizes explicitly the need to focus on programming “that help[s] lawyers develop new client business, and ethically operate their practices and law firms as both a business and profession, with a focus on practice management, including those skills which are not related to substantive law, but rather the core practice management skills of management, marketing, finance, and technology.”

This year in particular it will be essential to focus on the issues and problems associated with the new normal. All facets of the practice and business of law, including law firm finances, will be impacted. For example, how should lawyers and law firms deal with remote work and the possible need for less or different office space? How will issues like these affect law firm financial planning? How can we work together to navigate the new world in which we now find ourselves? To this end, our Finance, Lawyer Leadership and Futures Committees, along with others, will all be focusing on these and similar questions.

I don’t pretend to know all the answers or even all the questions. But I do know that collectively, as a Division, we may come close. Our content and our collegiality have always been our strength. So, now more than ever, we need to work collectively and strive to help one another.

It looks to be an exciting year. I look forward to working with you.

Stephen Embry

Chair, Law Practice Division

Stephen Embry is a frequent speaker, blogger and writer. He publishes TechLaw Crossroads, a blog devoted to the examination of the tension between technology, the law and the practice of law. He is chair of the ABA’s Law Practice Division. Embry also serves as chair of the Kentucky Bar Association’s Law Practice Task Force and is Webinar chair and Steering Committee member of the Defense Research Institute’s Law Practice Management section. He is a litigator and advisor primarily in the mass tort and privacy and data breach arenas. [email protected]

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