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Lawyerist Lab Unleashes the Power of AI with Lasso the Lab Coach

Lawyerist Lab was recently upgraded with the addition of a Tology-powered chatbot: Lasso the Lab Coach. It’s vital to keep up with the times, and that means embracing the power of AI and leveraging it for clients. “Lawyers don’t have time to become experts in AI. Our job is to experiment with tools so that we can teach our community,” said Stephanie Everett, Lawyerist CEO and Lab Coach.

Convenient Business Coaching Powered by AI

Lawyerist Lab is a business coaching program designed for small law firm owners looking to grow and scale. It features a team of expert business and legal technology coaches and numerous courses built with small firms in mind.

Lasso blends seamlessly into Lawyerist Lab, acting as a virtual coach for members of the community (also known as Labsters). Built directly into the Lab coaching portal, Lasso pulls from Lawyerist’s extensive content library to simplify and expand the learning experience. And with unlimited availability, it can address critical issues at any hour of the day.

Of course, Lasso wasn’t built to replace Lab coaches. The AI tool will supplement small law firm owner’s learning and improve the quality of coaching sessions. Stephanie envisions Lasso helping coaches and Labsters to “get to a more thoughtful discussion.” In the past, answers that were available, but not readily found, in Lab materials, took valuable time away during coaching sessions. With Lasso’s ability to quickly find and summarize information, coaches can focus on the unique issues each Labster faces.

A Glance at Lasso’s Capabilities

Lasso provides a convenient interface for Labsters to ask any question that comes to mind. In just a few moments, the chatbot provides a thoughtful answer, which spares no detail. Discussions are stored in Lasso’s window for future access, and they can easily be copied into a user’s personal notes. If the results of a query are insufficient, Lasso offers a follow-up button to continue any conversation. This allows Lasso to build on a previous answer without repeating information.

Shows a screenshot of Lasso the Lab Coach in action returning a list of suggested software products from a Labster's question about trust accounting help.

The Dos and Don’ts of Lasso the Lab Coach

AI can be a little scary. It seems like each new breakthrough comes with another discussion about data privacy and security. As a result, many people have reservations about using AI technology, especially with sensitive data. To better understand how Lasso should be used, here are some dos and don’ts for the tool.

  • Do: craft business strategies that align with company values. Lasso was created to work alongside Lawyerist Lab, which means helping law firms develop and grow according to their visions.
  • Don’t: share client data or request legal guidance. Lawyerist saves prompts to improve Lasso, so don’t share private data! Coaches will monitor questions to stay in the loop on common interests or concerns for Labsters.
  • Do: find software tools for success. Lasso has access to hundreds of resources and articles covering the latest and greatest in legal technology. Labsters can use Lasso to find multiple options for their technical challenges.
  • Don’t: use Lasso for IT support. While Lasso is an amazing piece of technology, it can’t save Labsters from their other software challenges. Lasso’s sole focus is helping law firms build solid foundations for business operations.

Leveling Up Law Firms with Lawyerist Lab

Lasso is just one small part of Lawyerist Lab. Access to coaches, materials, and the Lab community are invaluable resources for any small law firm. No matter what stage your small law firm is in, Lawyerist Lab can help it succeed. Apply to Lab today to start your journey to a healthier small law firm.

 

Call for Nominations: 2024 Best Law Firm Websites

Nominations are now open for the 2024 Lawyerist Best Law Firm Website Contest!

This annual contest showcases small and solo law firms that demonstrate excellence in legal website design. Past winners have gone above and beyond with their websites, creating an exceptional user experience and attracting new clients. They also serve as a valuable platform to educate and inspire, communicate with current clients, and grow their brand.

So, how does it work?

We encourage our community to nominate eye-catching, innovative legal websites that stand out amongst the crowd. Multiple submissions from the same person are welcome. We just ask that you nominate your website only once. Nominations will close on Friday, February 9, 2024.

Websites are assessed based on four main categories:

  • Functionality – Easy navigation, search feature, mobile-friendly.
  • Accessibility – Alt text, headers, keyboard interaction, media alternatives.
  • Marketing – Aesthetics, content marketing, images/video.
  • Technical – SEO, page load time, scroll time.

Judges will use these categories as they fill out the grading rubric. Websites with the highest average score win.

Contest Rules

Read these rules before submitting your nominations:

  1. The website must reflect a small or solo law firm (firms of 15 lawyers or fewer).
  2. Past Lawyerist Best Law Firm Website winners are ineligible to win.
  3. Websites that don’t align with the above grading categories will be omitted.
  4. If you submit your website multiple times, we have the right to omit your submission.
  5. If the website has a low GTmetrix score, it will automatically be omitted from the competition.

Are you looking to spruce up your website?

Are you looking to spruce up your website? Take a look at the 2023 Best Law Firm Website winners to find inspiration. Or, check out our Guide to Law Firm Website Design to learn how to enhance your website and drive traffic to your page.

 

Ask The Right Questions to Get Better Client Feedback  

Has the feedback you’ve received from your client surveys been lackluster? We aren’t talking about unhappy clients or low scores. We’re talking about feedback that is beneficial to help your small law firm grow, evolve, and better serve your clients. 

According to Ashley Steckler, Lawyerist Product Director, if you’re finding yourself in this position, you may not be asking the right questions. She outlines five tips to adjust and improve your feedback surveys and enhance client feedback.

Ask Yourself What You Want to Learn and How to Approach It

The first step in designing a feedback survey is establishing what you want to learn from your clients. Ashley suggests being very clear about what’s the most important information you need and what sort of data you want as a result. “Start by asking yourself: what do I really want to learn and what’s the simplest way that I can ask?” she said. 

Mirror your regular communication method when sending your survey. If you regularly use a client portal that facilitates texting between client and attorney, stick with that. But, if you’ve never sent a text to your client, don’t send them a survey via text. Whichever communication method you opt for, make accessing your survey an easy, one-click step. 

Keep it Short, But Don’t Keep it Too Simple 

According to Ashley, questions like “tell us how we did” and “how was your experience” are counterproductive to useful answers. These open-ended, general questions are often unclear and make it unlikely you’ll receive the responses you want.

Start with easy questions, like “Rate your experience with our firm on a scale of one to five,” or “How likely are you to refer us to someone?” Don’t ask questions you already know the answer to, like contact or demographic information. This will help avoid survey fatigue before getting to more important questions. 

Clients shouldn’t spend more than three to five minutes completing a survey. Remember, they are doing you a favor by taking the time to offer feedback. Think about how much time you want them to invest. “Anything that extends beyond five minutes is too much—too thoughtful, too time-consuming, too many examples, too much writing,” she said.

Set your expectations upfront in summary language and establish that you’re looking for top-of-mind responses, not paragraph-long responses. “Train of thought answers are the most authentic. We don’t want people to try to wordsmith what they want to most perfectly let us know,” said Ashley. So, you might ask: “Briefly, what comes to mind when you think about your experience with our firm?” You’ll likely get what’s top of mind.

Stay Away from Internal Jargon

Part of being a client-centered firm means making sure clients have a solid understanding of what they can expect. You want to do the same when soliciting feedback. Use plain and simple language that your clients are familiar with and avoid using internal jargon. “You want to use the language clients have already come to expect in your communication,” said Ashley. 

For example, clients may not know what an estate plan is, but they probably know the purpose of a will. Don’t confuse clients with industry lingo and keep your questions simple and easily digestible.

Scale Your Survey from One to Five (Not Beyond)

Use a scale of one to five to capture data. “People don’t know what seven and eight mean,” Ashley said. “But they can think: one, horrible, five, fantastic.” The first question can set the tone for further questions and allow you to capture the client’s thoughts and expectations.

Identify this scale for the client. For example, if you’re asking them to rate if their expectations were met during their consultation, identify the scale as: yes, mostly, somewhat, not really, or no. Simple and easy-to-answer questions like these will help you get a sense of how your current processes are working and where improvements should be made.

Always Keep Your Client In Mind

At its root, the purpose of client feedback helps you better serve your clients. Center your feedback requests around how their response will benefit their experience. 

“The request for feedback shouldn’t be framed as a favor to you,” said Ashley. “It should show what is the value and why it’s helpful to others from the perspective of service. Even if you’re asking for client feedback in the way of a Google review.”

Don’t pigeonhole your clients into answering every single thing by making every question mandatory. Allow them to answer the questions they want to answer. 

Ensure your request is inclusive and allow for other ways for clients to respond. “Maybe they don’t like filling out forms, but they would be happy to answer questions on a call or do an easy-entry video,” said Ashley. Options always offer more incentives.  

For a more in-depth look at perfecting your client feedback experience, listen to Episode 424 of The Lawyerist Podcast. For even more help, look for Ashley’s workshops and coaching schedule in Lawyerist Lab

 

How to Use Tech to Improve Communication for Your Law Firm

Communicating well with clients and other counsel rarely wins awards (although we think it should). Doing it poorly, however, can alienate clients and even threaten a lawyer’s livelihood. It’s not necessary to become a master of all forms of communication in an office. But it is imperative to have at least an intermediate understanding of current communication tools.

Communication Tools for Lawyers

Law firms have a lot of choices when it comes to communication methods. They can pick up the phone and call another party, email them, text, or even send correspondence through the mail. They can also text message someone, schedule a video conference, or instant message internally using Slack or MS Teams. Hell, many lawyers still use fax machines. 

Each of the mechanisms above has its purpose. A phone call is in real-time and has a personal touch, while an encrypted email is secure and traceable. A text message is easy for clients to respond to, while mail is usually considered safer for the delivery of sensitive information. 

Every firm will likely need to use most—if not all–of these communication methods in their offices. Determining which to use depends on a number of factors, including security, ease of use, and necessary functionality. Although correspondence typically seems reactive, it is best to establish rules and processes for each form of communication.

What Form of Communication to Use

Security Assessment

A law firm’s first consideration when it comes to technology should usually be security. Although most professional rules of conduct only require a “reasonable” standard for security, the practical effects of that are constantly developing. It’s better to be over-secure than under-secure and to reassess periodically.

There are two main aspects to a law firm’s security assessment of its communication tools. First, determine if the information is confidential or otherwise protected. Then determine if the communication method is encrypted or secure. If the firm wants to protect the information, the method of communication and the ultimate repository of that information must be secure, or—in the case of digital information—encrypted.

Functionality

Although it feels like it’s the most important aspect, law firms should consider the function and usability of the communication second. If a firm is trying to get discovery photos off of their client’s phone, insecure text messaging is never an option. But, a firm shouldn’t make things difficult for other parties without good reason. Requiring a potential new client to send an intake form via fax would be ridiculous.

With a little forethought, firms can maintain the security of their communications and get all the functionality needed out of their preferred method. Sometimes it takes a little bit of discipline on the part of the firm and some education on the part of the clients or other third parties.

Building Communication Processes

A law firm’s communication methods should be documented like any other process in the office. There should be a written protocol for why internal communication will be sent via email rather than Slack or MS Teams. Document sharing with third parties should be done using a tried and tested method. And everyone in the office should know what can be shared via text message and what is off-limits.

More about Communication 

Communication methods and styles are only one aspect of a law firm’s systems and processes. Healthy firms will build this into their overall best practices. To learn more about this—and other—systems, visit our Healthy Systems page.

 

Best Law Firm Websites of 2023

The Best Law Firm Websites Contest of 2023 saw entrants from all over the world and practice areas. This year, sites spanned Data Protection, Mergers & Acquisitions, Family Law, and Personal Injury, and more. This cohort spoke Latvian, Korean, Japanese, English, Spanish, German, and Nepalese. We saw flat fees, subscription models, hourly billing, and contingency services. Although the sites we reviewed were varied, they were all on the higher end of the law firm website spectrum. 

We thank each and every one of the entrants. Clearly, countless hours were put into the design, branding, user experience, and client care.

Below are the top ten websites of 2023. Obviously, our choices are subjective. However, we try to introduce as much objectivity into the process as possible. First, we run each site through a performance and accessibility grader that rates each site from A to F. Then, we rate the highest-performing sites based on Branding, Marketing, Accessibility, and Technical SEO. This year, we invited judges from the Lawyerist and Affinity Consulting teams and averaged these opinions to come up with the results below.

Best Law Firm Website Winners 2023

Aeon Law

Designer: Firesign Marketing

Aeon Law sets itself apart with its vibrance and its overall branding. It has a clear client picture and is specifically speaking to that user.

Belzer Law Firm

Designer: Anchovies.agency

Belzer Law also has its client profile built into its design. The site has the feel of a business card with all the functionality one would expect from a website. It loads extremely fast and gets to the point with a call to action on the top of every page.

Biller & Kimble

Designer: Postali

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Biller & Kimble knows what it’s doing—driving potential clients to the firm. It has multiple methods of contacting the firm, and its SEO strategy is specific and robust.

Cameron & Kane

Designer: PaperStreet Web Design

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Cameron & Kane gets a lot done with its images. Users know the place, the practice areas, and who they are dealing with without reading a word. The site is very navigable and has a clear call to action to contact them using your preferred method.

Cybernetic Law

Designer: G Digital

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Cybernetic Law definitely has its ideal client in mind with the design. They’ve even designed their site in three separate languages. This isn’t just some Google Translate site, though. Each version lives on the main domain page. Moreover, the design elements like font family are at the forefront rather than an afterthought.

Holmes Family Law

Designer: Spotlight Branding

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Holmes Family Law provides a streamlined client experience. They start by letting users know that they are in the right place and then make it very easy to get more information by downloading a guide, joining the mailing list, or calling the firm directly.

Nursing Home Justice

Designer: Postali

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Nursing Home Justice stands out for its design and its display of educational information. It gets to the point quickly and highlights (literally) where it wants its users to look. Potential new clients can call immediately or use their Qualification Tool which educates users about their cases before contacting the office.

Outlier Patent Attorneys

Designer: Dave Smyth Studio

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Outlier Patent Attorneys set themselves apart by doing just that. They quickly show why their firm provides more value than others using metrics and data. They also speak directly to their ideal client and make it easy to contact them or schedule an appointment online.

Sul Lee Law Firm

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Sul Lee Law Firm knows exactly what they want potential clients to do when they visit the website—book a consultation. This CTA is front and center on the home page and lives on every other page on the site. Users know what Sul Lee Law Firm does, who they are, and how to contact them almost immediately. What’s more, they do this in both English and Korean, which makes them more accessible to their ideal clients.

Von Rock Law

Designer: DStripe.com

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Von Rock Law puts their values and the client experience first. With a “Start Here” and “Community Matters” section, clients know that Von Rock cares and wants to help them. It’s easy to book a consultation online. And, importantly, the Accessibility widget lets users adjust the contrast, line height, saturation, and even font family of the site.

Learn More about Law Firm Websites

If you want to learn more about what makes a law firm website great, check out our Law Firm Website Design Guide. You’ll learn why user experience is important and how a website fits into a law firm’s overall marketing strategy.

 

Lawyerist Releases The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited

The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited is now on sale in paperback and e-book. Written by Lawyerist CEO Stephanie Everett and co-founder Aaron Street, this second edition of the 2019 bestseller, The Small Firm Roadmap, explores new and updated concepts crucial to modern small law firms in a post-COVID-19 pandemic world and beyond.

A Necessary Revisit 

Readers of Roadmap will remember the authors predicting a surge in remote work and the need for digital fluency. While they couldn’t foresee the changes COVID-19 would thrust on the world and the legal industry, they saw the rising trend clearly. In Revisited, Everett and Street double down and offer more applied insight into why there is no room for Luddite lawyers in a modern legal industry. Now, more than ever, proficiency in legal tech systems and digital communication are imperative to running a people-centered small law firm.  

Guiding Healthier Firms

Using Lawyerist’s Healthy Firm framework, Revisited tackles six essential areas of business: strategy, team, clients, systems, profits, and owners. According to Everett and Street, while the concept of a “healthy business” was prevalent throughout Roadmap, the language had yet to be developed. 

In Revisited, readers will follow the Healthy Firm framework through each chapter. Everett and Street offer expert insights and practical and actionable advice during each stage. Readers will find easy-to-implement tips and strategies to envision and build the healthy and people-centric firm they dream about.

 “We’re really focused on how to build a healthier small firm that’s not only bigger, or more profitable, or automated,” said Stephanie. “But a place that’s supportive of balance and growth for our clients and our employees and the owners.”

Rethinking Partnership

One new concept explored by Everett and Street is the idea of owners versus partners. In Revisited, the pair argue it is time to change the language around what it means to be an owner and what it means to be a partner. “We’re advocating that the word partner is a disservice to clear thinking about how a law firm should best be structured and managed,” said Aaron. “Too often, partnership is thought of as a career path where senior employees, senior lawyers, and a firm get to become partner as a seniority promotion.”

“Too often, partnership is thought of as a career path…”

aaron street

While this idea may be controversial to some, Everett and Street believe there is a firm distinction between the two. “Just because someone has made partner does not make them a great entrepreneur who has clear thinking about taking risks in anticipation of future return,” said Stephanie. Owners, on the other hand, play an entrepreneurial and strategic role and are investing in the future of the business. 

The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited is for sale in paperback and e-book at Amazon.com and wherever you buy books. The audiobook is coming soon.

Learn more about The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited on our book page and subscribe to The Lawyerist Podcast to listen as we explore its concepts and topics throughout the coming weeks.

 

Lawyerist Announces Pre-order for The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited

The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited, the next edition of the popular how-to manual for solo and small-firm law firms is available for pre-order on January 30th.

First published in 2019, The Small Firm Roadmap sold over 10,000 copies and spawned a culture of client-centric small law firms focused on breaking the traditional firm model.

Far More Than a Business Book

In Revisited, authors Stephanie Everett and Aaron Street update several concepts, including the Lawyerist concept of healthy firms.

As frequent Lawyerist podcast guest and therapist, Dr. Sherry Walling, says, “Far more than a business book, The Small Firm Roadmap is a sanity manual. Many, many entrepreneurial attorneys live with burnout, anxiety, addiction, and broken relationships. But that doesn’t have to be the case.”

By centering wellbeing, Revisited walks through each part of a firm as it relates to the whole person—client, team member, or owner.

Dispelling the Partner Myth

Additionally, Everett and Street introduce a more controversial topic: owners vs. partners.

In Revisited, the authors dispel the idea that a partnership track should be synonymous with a lawyer’s professional development and status.

“This new edition explores what it means to be a law firm owner (partner) vs. a manager.”

stephanie everett

“Most workers in the U.S. don’t expect to be ‘elevated’ to an ownership status as recognition for 10 years of hard work. And yet, that is exactly what we do in the legal industry,” write Everett and Street.

Instead, the authors urge firms to label owners and managers separately to align with the goals and compensation the titles imply.

“Law firms have confused these roles and concepts for too long. This new edition explores what it means to be a law firm owner (partner) vs. a manager. We tackle what type of decisions each group should own to ensure the firm is run effectively and builds value,” said Everett.

The Mission Remains the Same

Beyond these and other changes to the new edition, The Small Firm Roadmap’s mission is steady: teaching solo and small-firm lawyers how to build a people-centered business that is effectively managed and ultimately more valuable.

The Small Firm Revisited hits stores on February 20th. Pre-order January 30th.

 

Call for Nominations: 2023 Best Law Firm Websites

The time to submit your nominations for the 2023 Lawyerist Best Law Firm Website competition is upon us!

For the past eight years, this annual competition showcases small and solo law firms that demonstrate excellence in legal website design. Past winners are above and beyond in their website design and user experience. They not only use their website as a tool to attract potential new clients. They use it as a platform to educate and inspire, communicate with current clients, and grow their brand.  

So, how does it work?

We encourage our community to nominate eye-catching, innovative legal websites that stand out amongst the crowd. Multiple submissions from the same person are welcome. We just ask that you nominate your website only once. Nominations will close on Wednesday, February 8, 2023. 

We assess websites based on four main categories:

  • Functionality – Easy navigation, search feature, mobile-friendly.
  • Accessibility – Alt text, headers, keyboard interaction, media alternatives.
  • Marketing – Aesthetics, content marketing, images/video.
  • Technical – SEO, page load time, scroll time.

The judges will use these categories as they fill out the grading rubric. Websites with the highest average score win. Winners will be announced on March 3, 2023.

Contest Rules

Read these rules before submitting your nominations:

  1. The website must reflect a small or solo law firm.
  2. Past Lawyerist Best Law Firm Website winners are ineligible to win.
  3. Websites that don’t align with the above grading categories will be omitted.
  4. If you submit your website multiple times, we have the right to pull your submission.
  5. If the website has a low GTmetrix score, it will automatically be omitted from the competition.

Are you looking to spruce up your website?

Take a look at the 2022 Best Law Firm Website winners to find inspiration. Or, check out our Guide to Law Firm Website Design to learn how to enhance your website and drive traffic to your page.

 

On The Lawyerist Podcast: Top Episodes of 2022

Well, that’s a wrap on 2022 of the Lawyerist Podcast and it was another bang-up year! We celebrated 400 episodes and welcomed over 60 guests who shared their expertise in a diverse range of professional (and sometimes surprising) areas. 

Most importantly, The Lawyerist Podcast spent another year helping small law firm owners find a path to a healthier business life. We’ve compiled a list of 2022’s most popular episodes. Whether you’re a first-time listener or a long-time fan, you’ll want to check these out.

Episode #383: Designing the Life You Want Instead of a Job You Have, with Stanley Tate

How do you want your life to look? When student loan lawyer Stanley Tate went into practice, he gave himself permission to be himself. Learn how the game changed when he designed his life to allow him to be the best version of himself and built his business to suit that life.

A line that made us think: “I’m just gonna be the familial colloquial version of me, and that’s gonna work for some people, and it’s not gonna work for some people. And I’m okay with that. That just gave me peace showing up every day. Because I get to show up as me, and that’s ok.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 383

Designing the Life You Want Instead of a Job You Have

Listen to Episode

Episode #396: How My Life (and Law Practice) Changed When I Became a Sober Lawyer, with Sarah Soucie Eyberg

Lawyerist Lab member and social security disability attorney Sarah Soucie Eyberg needed a change. She found herself over-imbibing at alcohol-laden professional events and using alcohol to cope with life’s stressors. She details her journey to sobriety while being a practicing lawyer and a working mother. Hear how her trajectory changed when she leaned on family, exercise, and mental health resources for lawyers.

A line that made us think: “…this idea of wellbeing, which we know is not simply the absence of illness, right? Some people think, well, I’m not sick. That doesn’t mean that you’re well.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 396

How My Life (and Law Practice) Changed When I Became a Sober Lawyer

Listen to Episode

Episode #400: Get Beyond the Billable Hour, with Ron Baker

Is it time to retire the billable hour? According to Ron Baker, founder of the VerSage Institute, bifurcating a life into billable and non-billable leads to one thing: guilt. He explains how to shift your thinking away from billable and non-billable and outlines different approaches when considering a client-first, value-focused pricing model.

A line that made us think: “I truly do believe that the only place time spent should matter is in prison.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 400

Get Beyond the Billable Hour

Listen to Episode

Episode #373: Overcoming the Likeability Trap, with Alicia Menendez

How do women break down society’s barriers that tell them what they should and shouldn’t do and who they should and shouldn’t be? Alicia Menendez, MSNBC anchor and author of The Likeability Trap, wanted to learn more about what likeability means for women and how it dictates their perception in the professional world. Women proudly take up space, throwing over the value of likeability, and learning to be authentically themselves.

A line that made us think: “We expect men to assert themselves. We don’t expect that of women. And so women, when women do that, it very often offends people’s expectations of what they believe they want from women.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 373

Overcoming the Likeability Trap

Listen to Episode

Episode #406 Harnessing Anxiety for Good, with Dr. Wendy Suzuki

Every person deals with anxiety on some level. What if you could take your anxiety and use it for your benefit? Dr. Wendy Suzuki, the author of Good Anxiety, discusses the root causes of anxiety, negativity bias, joy conditioning, and how to channel anxiety into actionable steps to fuel productivity.

A line that made us think: “Let me ask everybody out there once the last time you consciously sat back and remembered a joyful memory. Like, one of the best, one of your top three in your life. That’s joy conditioning. That’s something that everybody can do to kind of counter all that fear conditioning that has happened all the time.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 406

Harnessing Anxiety for Good

Listen to Episode

Episode #405 The Diverse Ways People Think, with Temple Grandin

Have you considered how members of your team think differently? This doesn’t mean where they stand on the issues of the day. Instead, it means how they literally think, process information, and problem-solve. Dr. Temple Gradin, academic, animal behaviorist, and Autism rights proponent, talks about different types of thinkers, their strengths, and why it’s important to have different thinkers on your team.

A line that made us think: “You need to have both because the visual thinkers tend to ramble and the mathematical thinkers put in way too much detail. You see, you need to have all three kinds of thinkers.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 405

The Diverse Ways People Think

Listen to Episode

Episode #384 Delivering Bad News to Clients, with Marjorie Aaron

Delivering bad news to clients is, unfortunately, inevitable. But there is a way to do it better. Marjorie Aaron, Director of the Center for Practice at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, details how lawyers can communicate more effectively to deliver bad news to clients better. You may find yourself surprised by her suggestions.

A line that made us think: “If you get off on the wrong foot, if you say something that’s a little off to the client right in the beginning, does that mean that there can’t be a recovery? No, but it’s a lot better if you start off well.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 384

Delivering Bad News to Clients

Listen to Episode

Episode #401 How to Value Your Law Firm, with Tom Lenfestey

Every firm owner should focus on building something that has value and having an exit strategy means what you’ve built will continue. Tom Lenfestey, owner of The Law Practice Exchange, details four different approaches to defining the value of your firm.

A line that made us think: “I really think it’s going to help with mental health as well. Just not feeling so locked in. I don’t have any options. This is where I’m stuck. If you build it the right way, you should have options.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 401

How to Value Your Law Firm

Listen to Episode

Episode #378 Pulling the Trigger on Hiring, with Allison Harrison

Before joining Lawyerist Lab, Allison Harrison didn’t have a clear direction. Almost immediately after working with Lab coaches, she found her focus. And she learned when it’s the right time to hire and how to hire the right person for the job, or let a wrong hire go quickly.                                                                   

A line that made us think: “If you wait and hire when you can’t see straight, you don’t have the time to train anyone. And then you’re not gonna be happy with who you’ve hired or their performance because you didn’t give a fair chance.”

Go Deeper: Podcast Episode 378

Pulling the Trigger on Hiring

Listen to Episode

Whew! That’s it. And they are all not-to-be-missed conversations. Visit our podcast page and subscribe to The Lawyerist Podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, to stay up to date.

 

Lawyerist’s Merger Announcement with Affinity Consulting Means Two Brands, One Team, Healthier Firms

Lawyerist is adding more expertise, resources, and expanded ways to help firms through its recent merger with Affinity Consulting Group. 

On January 1, 2023, Lawyerist Media, LLC, the go-to resource for small law firms building healthier businesses, merged with Affinity Consulting Group, LLC, the leading consulting firm helping legal organizations find better ways to work.

Affinity Offers Hands-on Implementation Services

While the two teams are similar, Affinity Consulting offers more design and implementation services. Similar to Lawyerist, Affinity Consulting works with legal teams on strategic plans, firm retreats, training, and business coaching. While Lawyerist has traditionally offered a “done with you” implementation plan, Affinity Consulting provides customized “done for you” solutions. 

The Affinity team is the go-to team for designing, building, and implementing new technology and system solutions for legal teams. The Affinity team helps firms through the entire configuration and rollout process for all the tools firms need, including:

  • Practice management
  • Billing and accounting    
  • Salesforce consulting
  • Document automation
  • Document management

“Affinity Consulting is the only choice for teams looking to outsource the building and implementation of tech solutions for their firm. They bring a new level of services to our community that we haven’t previously been able to offer,” explains Lawyerist CEO Stephanie Everett. “We are so excited to share their expertise with our community.” 

Lawyerist Grows Stronger

While the merger means some internal changes, it will not change how the legal community interacts with the Lawyerist brand. Lawyers can still:

“It might not look like much has changed for many of the lawyers in our community, but they will all benefit from the additional expertise and resources the Affinity team brings to the table,” said Lawyerist CEO Stephanie Everett. “Affinity’s resources will allow us to build more tools and services to help small firms build future-focused firms.” 

Lawyerist + Affinity Build for the Future

Leadership for the enhanced team is excited to explore new ways to expand services and value to the legal community. “This is a deal where 1+1 = 19 in that our teams really are better and stronger together,” said Affinity Group’s co-founder and Managing Partner, Debbie Foster. “This merger will benefit the entire legal community as our teams come together to build new products and tools that legal organizations of all sizes need most right now.”  

“This merger will benefit the entire legal community as our teams come together to build new products and tools that legal organizations of all sizes need most right now.” 

debbie foster

The beginning of 2023 includes The Small Firm Roadmap Revisited, the second edition of Lawyerist’s best-selling book. And, a new podcast, Powerful Leaders No Apologies, a show focused on women in legal owning their power and changing the world. 

Lawyers interested in learning how the team can help their firms can connect at Affinity Consulting Group or Lawyerist.

 

Incrementalism Helps Lawyers Tackle Big Ideas

Incrementalism—dividing large goals into bite-sized chunks—is the key to finishing a project on time and remaining sane. This is why Lawyerist Lab members work in 3-week sprints. Working in sprints, lawyers meet with their community and a coach to tackle one specific goal, like automating their client intake.

With this type of snappy incrementalism, attorneys use this time to get projects done. This includes projects that lingered on to-do lists because the goal felt too daunting or unimportant in the moment. 

For example, say a lawyer wants to revamp their client onboarding process. Instead of tackling that giant, complicated beast, they start by spending one hour a week, for three weeks, analyzing and rewriting their engagement letters. Then, they would move to the next part of their onboarding plan in the same time-limited format.

Short, Sweet, Effective, and Efficient

Since October, lawyers in Lawyerist’s Lab coaching program have been working in sprints. Facilitated by a coach, the community has met for one hour a week for three weeks. They’ve tackled automating their client intake, updating their operations manual, and creating a hiring process. 

During their weekly one-hour virtual meeting, the groups brainstorm, edit, and build. Then, they spend the time between meetings fleshing out their projects.

The format has been wildly successful. “I thought this was a near-perfect format,” said Lawyerist Lab member Matthew Swanlund. “Short, sweet, effective, and efficient. No wasted time and everyone was focused on results.”

Working in sprints also makes measuring progress easier. For example, Lawyerist Lab Ryan Riesterer worked on automating his client intake this past quarter. 

Instead of a long project where time measurements get muddied as the project goes on, he could nail down his exact time saved. “I estimate saving myself one to two hours per prospective client,” said Riesterer.

Finding Time to Work on the Business

Working in sprints also allows lawyers to work on their business in between doing actual client work. Finding time to squeeze this type of work in can be stressful. Portioning the work into a short period with small steps creates a much-needed space to get things done. 

Labster Allison Harrison worked on creating a delegation plan this quarter. For her, the most valuable part of working in sprints was “making delegation the top of my radar for three weeks.”

Ready to get the tools to work on your business? The Lawyerist Lab coaches are ready to meet you. 

 

Seasoned Coach Karen Graves Joins Lawyerist Lab

Lawyerist recently welcomed Karen Graves, business coach, to the team. Karen brings over 15 years of business coaching experience. She’ll work primarily with Lawyerist Lab members in “Phase 2” of their business, helping them scale and grow from the foundations they’ve built. Her passion lies in getting businesses past hurdles while setting their infrastructure, then expanding into growth.

“Karen’s seen it all and worked with businesses at every stage of the growth cycle,” said CEO Stephanie Everett. “We are so fortunate to welcome her to the team. She is also a sales powerhouse. If you’re a lawyer intimidated by sales, you’ve found your sales Yoda!”

Karen began her career in pharmaceuticals as a sales rep and hospital sales rep. From there, she transitioned to a sales trainer role, then to sales training manager. After 10 years at Pfizer and facing an impending merger and acquisition, Karen decided it was time for something new.

Her Background Helped Small Businesses Master Sales

So, Karen dove head-first into the world of business coaching. Coincidentally, she was getting her coaching certification at the same time as her departure from Pfizer. “I started asking, ‘what do people really need help with that I have the skill set for?’” said Karen. She soon came back to sales. “Small business owners don’t know how to sell. I wanted to help coach them,” she said.

“If you’re a lawyer intimidated by sales, you’ve found your sales Yoda!”

stephanie everett

Karen soon realized that small business owners needed more than just sales help. They needed to know how to market, identify clients, and understand their budget. “I started learning the whole spectrum,” she said. “I began teaching entrepreneurs how to write business plans and helping get their businesses up and running.”

Karen Helps Businesses Stabilize, Scale, and Grow 

Like many small business owners, Karen’s expertise grew as her understanding of small business pain points expanded. She saw communication as a common breakdown area and started looking at ways to improve customer service and management. She fine-tuned and focused on key levers that help businesses stabilize, scale, and grow.

Karen joined the Lawyerist team in October after resonating with our emphasis on building not only healthy business but healthy people. “I was looking for a team environment and an organization that values the people that they’re serving and that really focuses on what’s important. Those are key pieces of what it takes to run a successful and healthy business,” she said.

She is looking forward to connecting with small law firm owners in Lawyerist Lab because connecting with people is what she does best. She is excited to watch them apply what they’ve learned and watch them grow and thrive. 

Welcome to the team, Karen! 

Want to work with Karen and start your journey to a healthier law firm? Apply to Lawyerist Lab.

 

Lawyerist Announces Field Guide to Legal Technology

Lawyerist’s Field Guide for Buying Products & Services helps lawyers and their staff find their way through the legal tech software landscape. Choosing technology is never easy. Determining how that technology fits into the larger picture is even harder. Tougher still is getting buy-in from the rest of the team. This legal tech buyer’s Field Guide arms law offices with the information necessary to make thoughtful and informed decisions.

Field Guide for Buying Products & Services

The Field Guide helps lawyers determine how to make their purchasing decision. Importantly, it arms users with the information necessary to garner buy-in from the rest of their team. 

“This guide is intended to assist teams in making their big legal technology software decisions,” said Ashley Steckler, Lawyerist’s Product Director. She continues, “We’ve created a tool that organizes relevant legal technology in a way that lawyers will understand. Instead of limiting their search to single areas of legal tech software, law offices can search more broadly and determine how particular technology fits into their overall legal tech stack.”

The Field Guide breaks legal technology software and services into three broad categories: Firm Growth, Service Delivery, and Firm Management. From there, Users can learn about specific types of software like Law Practice Management systems, and discover how they fit into the firm’s overall structure.

The Field Guide joins Lawyerist’s other tools to help law firms demystify legal technology. These include Website Product Reviews, where the Lawyerist legal tech advisor organizes, rates, and reviews software and services on the marketplace. Here, lawyers can easily compare products and learn more about specific pieces of technology. In some cases, they can use the decision wizards to hone in on exactly what they need based on their specific circumstances.

Additionally, the Complete Guide to Legal Tech teaches lawyers and their teams how technology fits into their overall business. The Legal Tech Guide doesn’t specifically look at how something should be done. Instead, it teaches law offices what should be done and why.

How to Get It

The Field Guide for Buying Products & Services is free to download by all Lawyerist subscribers. Lawyerist subscribers can download the Field Guide immediately and get access to other valuable resources from Lawyerist.

 

Lawyerist Welcomes Legal Coach Amy Grubb

Lawyerist is pleased to announce the addition of Amy Grubb, Lab coach, to the team. She is a Clio-certified attorney with extensive law firm business coaching experience and Lawyerist’s first international team member. Amy will work with members of the Lawyerist Lab coaching community to build healthier solo and small law firms. 

Amy Brings Empathy to the Lawyerist Lab Community

“Team Lawyerist hit it out of the park with the addition of Amy,” said Lawyerist CEO Stephanie Everett. “As an attorney and entrepreneur, Amy knows what our community members are going through. She approaches calls with a special level of empathy. We’re excited to see how she helps community members break through and find success.”  

Amy knows firsthand what it’s like to be burned out by Big Law. She knew it was time for a change after spending Christmas working while her family celebrated together. So, after years spent working as an immigration lawyer at a large Canadian firm, she walked away.

Unsure of her next steps, Amy took time to reevaluate her career path before starting her own successful solo practice. Working as a freelance attorney for other attorneys gave her a peek behind the curtains into small law firms.

Changing Lanes Led to Coaching

What she found behind the curtain wasn’t pretty. The attorneys she worked with were often overwhelmed, overworked, and unhappy. They didn’t know where to turn to build healthier and more successful law practices. She knew she could help solo and small firm owners build systems, hire help, and find happiness in their firms. Amy changed lanes again and started her own law firm coaching business.

Now, Amy joins Lawyerist as a business coach for the Lab coaching program. She’ll continue to share her expertise with small law firm owners, guiding them as they build and run the healthy law firms of their dreams.

“Team Lawyerist hit it out of the park with the addition of Amy.”

Stephanie everett

Although new to the team, Amy is no stranger to Lawyerist values and resources. “Prior to starting my law firm, I listened to and read everything that Lawyerist put out. Lawyerist’s message about running a healthy law firm really resonated with me,” she said. “Through their resources, I was able to build a successful solo practice. To now coach other lawyers through Lawyerist on how to build a healthy law firm is an absolute dream come true.”  

Welcome to the team, Amy! 

Want to work with Amy and start your journey to a healthier law firm? Apply to Lawyerist Lab.

 

Everett Hosts Interactive Strategic Planning Session at Alaska Bar Conference

Lawyerist Lab Coach and CEO Stephanie Everett ventured out of the lower 48 last week and headed to Anchorage, Alaska. Once there, she presented at the 2022 Alaska Bar Association Annual Convention. The conference took place on October 26–October 28, 2022, at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center. Stephanie facilitated two interactive sessions during the event. 

Building a Healthy Practice

First, Stephanie led a discussion on Building a Healthy Practice: Considerations and Tools Lawyers Need to Build a Client-Centered, Future-Focused Firm. In this session, she explored how lawyers can compete in today’s market. 

Clients expect a frictionless experience. And yet, the way most law firms have operated in recent memory didn’t prioritize their client’s needs. Stephanie asked the audience to recall times when they received excellent service. They then discussed how lawyers could borrow from those experiences to create memorable moments for their clients. 

For example, one of Stephanie’s clients decorated their family law firm lobby to look, feel, and smell like a spa. This lawyer wanted to ease the burden her clients felt going through a divorce by offering her law office as a place of refuge and relaxation. This was one of many specific examples Stephanie shared about how lawyers are changing the way they approach their business to build a future-focused firm. 

Defining Vision, Values, and Your Next Priorities to Ensure Success

Next, Stephanie facilitated a Strategic Planning Workshop: Defining Vision, Values, and Next Priorities as the Foundation for Success. In this session, Stephanie walked participants through a shortened strategic planning process. A solid law firm strategy should be the driver of many of the smaller decisions firm leaders make. 

In this interactive workshop, participants completed a vision exercise where they answered a series of questions to better define the business they are building. One participant shared how excited he was thinking of the ways he could improve his business. Another participant was excited to realize that her firm could “grow” in other ways besides adding people to the payroll.

Next, Stephanie explained the importance of core values and how to use them in everyday firm life. With that backdrop, the group worked through an exercise to help them discover their firm’s core values. Stephanie took a few participants through shortened coaching sessions on narrowing and defining their values in front of the group. This allowed everyone to see how they started with one idea but eventually ended up with a more nuanced and compatible word that captured the spirit of their culture. 

Finally, the group ended by focusing on strategic priorities to make their firm a reality. Stephanie gave the group time to process and prioritize the ideas they learned throughout the conference. In the end, the participants left with more than just ideas—they had started the first three essential steps needed for their firm’s strategic plan. 

Stephanie shared, “One of my favorite parts of the job is seeing people’s eyes light up when they make the connections about the ideas I’m sharing and how it works in everyday firm life. I had a line of people connecting with me during and after the workshops excited to see the possibilities and know what they wanted to do next. These are wins in my book!”

Bonus: Moose Sightings! 

Stephanie always loves connecting with new lawyers, but this trip for the Alaska Bar Association came with a bonus—Alaska! Stephanie brought her 11-year-old daughter along for the trip (yes, she was excited to miss 3 days of school). Abigail attended the conference as Stephanie’s official photographer and got to see her mom in action. After the conference, they enjoyed a little mother-daughter time exploring some of the amazing sights the area offers. Stephanie’s daughter was delighted to see fresh snow (she is from Georgia, after all), a moose, and the northern lights!

If you are interested in having Stephanie or another member of Team Lawyerist speak at your next event, connect with us to learn more.

 

Digital Notebooks That Will Make You Burn Your Legal Pad

For years, Lawyerist has espoused the benefits of a paperless office. Typically, law firms going paperless focus on client and staff files. Sifting through physical files and needing space dedicated to storage are things of the past. Yet, paperless means going beyond digital case files and handbooks and considering other reasons we reach for pen and paper. It’s time to toss the legal pad and upgrade to a digital notebook. 

We’ve outlined three of team Lawyerist’s favorite digital notebook options below.

Benefits of Digital Notebooks for Law Firms Going Paperless

There are many digital notepads currently on the market to tackle various needs. Compact and easily transportable, note-taking tablets can easily slip into a briefcase or purse for an on-the-go solution. 

With an in-depth file structure, digital notebooks make the organization of information easy. Many have easy document sharing. And, with almost unlimited storage, there’s no need for stacks of notepads lying around.

Remarkable 2

Remarkable 2 is a digital writing tablet boasting “real-feel” paper-like writing and reading capabilities. Designed to lessen distractions, Remarkable 2 is strictly a note-taking and e-reading device. Remarkable offers one screen size (10.3 inches) and weighs less than one pound.

Remarkable 2 offers the writing features tablet users should expect to find. Including multiple writing tool options (pencil, pen, marker, etc.), copy and paste, page insertion and deletion, and in-depth file organization. It also offers easy email and screen sharing, a wide variety of document templates, and two-week battery life.

“I love its simplicity,” said Kyle Harrington, Content and Marketing Manager and article author. “I’m easily distracted, and its straightforward capabilities mean I can’t click into other apps and lose track of time. I don’t suddenly find that I’ve been scrolling Wikipedia for an hour. It also writes like a dream, and I love the built-in pen eraser.”

Notable features include:

  • Left-hand configuration mode
  • Handwriting conversion feature supporting 33 languages
  • Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive integration
  • Built-in eraser on the Marker Plus
  • Quick sheets for easy individual document creation
  • Drag and drop file transfer

Remarkable 2 may work best for law firms going paperless who need to screen-share and email notes. 

Remarkable 2 pricing starts at $299 (tablet only).

Supernote X

Supernote is a digital writing tablet and a Lawyerist team favorite. Marketed “For those who write,” Supernote is designed as a distraction-free note-taking solution. Supernote comes in two screen sizes, 7.8 inch (A6) and 10.3 inch (A5). The tablet can be purchased alone or as a set, which includes a stylus pen and protective folio.

Supernote offers robust features for both note-taking and e-reading. Supernote users can expect to find the standard note-taking tablet features. These include pen stroke thickness and grayscale adjustment, erase and undo, and copy and paste. Users can also easily move, insert, and delete pages, organize into files, and pin important items.

“I specifically wanted to remove all paper on my desk,” said Ashley Steckler, Product Director. “And, I wanted to increase my note-taking efficiency without superfluous capabilities or potential distractions. Supernote solves this for me, without subscription costs. I’ve also found other pens integrate seamlessly, so it’s easy to shop around based on features or price point.”

Notable features include:

  • Keyword and star mark global search
  • Organize note pages with title list/table of contents
  • Mark up PDF and export with annotations
  • Kindle integration
  • QR code sharing
  • Handwriting recognition and conversion
  • Sync with Google or Outlook calendar
  • Sync files with Dropbox or Supernote Cloud
  • Companion app for iOS and Android

Supernote may work best for law firms going paperless who don’t want to pay a subscription for cloud storage and data-syncing.   

Supernote pricing starts at $299 (tablet only).

Apple iPad

The Apple iPad is a powerful tablet that provides almost endless possibilities far beyond note-taking. The iPad is offered in four versions, all featuring different tech and size specifications and starting at various price points. For users who need or want to do more than just take notes, the iPad may be the best choice.

For note-taking, specifically, the Apple pencil stylus is compatible with all iPads currently on the market. For users who would prefer to type, Apple currently offers three keyboard options, although non-Apple bluetooth keyboards may work. 

The iPad’s built-in Notes app may suffice for users needing only a simple note-taking platform. The Notes app seamlessly integrates with Apple Calendar and Reminders and works with Siri. It also allows easy note-sharing and document scanning. 

There are also countless note-taking apps to be found in the Apple app store. 

“The iPad can double as a second screen for my Mac and integrates into my current tech environment more seamlessly.”

Zack Glaser, Legal Tech Advisor

The Apple iPad may work best for law firms going paperless who want additional integration potential and more features than a note-taking tool. 

The iPad’s notable features are too many to name and differ between models.

Compare iPad model features and pricing at apple.com/ipad.

Next step: Ditch the legal pad.

 

Client Portals Create a Path to Efficiency

Lately, it seems like every legal tech product on the market is releasing or promoting a client portal. Some focus on document sharing, others on simplifying billing and ePayments. Still others focus on client communication and information sharing. So, what is a client portal? And, more importantly, why would an attorney want one?

Types of Client Portals

There really isn’t a singular way to define a client portal. Every attorney has different needs when communicating with clients. Most client portals, however, are built to suit the needs of the provider, not the client. 

Timekeeping and billing software will typically focus on expediting client payment rather than sharing discovery documents. But, law practice management software usually attempts to facilitate information and document sharing between the attorney and client.

Document Sharing

The simplest form of client portal is secure document sharing. However, there are many levels of workability and vastly differing needs among offices. Some attorneys simply need a secure folder where they can share documents with a relatively savvy client. Others require a method of requesting and tracking documents from the client.

Generally, attorneys can think about the document-sharing process in two steps. The first step is document sending. Lawyers need to send documents to the client, the court, and even opposing counsel. The second step is document acquisition. Lawyers need to receive documents from clients, and other parties, in an organized and secure fashion. 

Although there will be rare outliers, most attorneys will need both of these. Complexity desires will vary, but this can be as simple as sharing a DropBox folder with your client. More robust platforms, though, could offer features like secure fetch, or document request workflows.

Information Sharing

Most attorneys need to share information with their clients, beyond document sharing. This could mean gathering information at intake or allowing clients to see their case status at any time. Information sharing can also mean a secure, online communication channel between attorney and client. This is likely what most attorneys think of when they hear “client portal.”

Information sharing can get complex and will often seem daunting. Lawyers often have to train clients to communicate in an unfamiliar way. But this is where they stand to make the most gains. Lack of communication is one of the top client complaints about lawyers.  And law offices usually spend an inordinate amount of time fielding routine questions and client requests. An information-sharing portal could alleviate some of this.

Payment Portals

One of the most effective portals for attorneys is the payment portal. They allow clients to retrieve invoices, save credit card information, and even refill retainers electronically. While the ePayment fees will cost attorneys a little money, clients will be very familiar with online payment processes.

Client Portals in the Future

For many attorneys, comprehensive client portals (i.e. a combination of the three above) will become a virtual office-style platform to serve clients. Instead of meeting in a physical space, clients will first go to this virtual office for assistance.

Built-in video conferencing could make the attorney-client experience much more controlled and even more comfortable for the client. Attorneys could share a meeting recording with the client for their reference, potentially cutting down on future calls or miscommunication.

These virtual offices could even provide self-service options to clients needing simple services. For example, does an attorney have a landlord client who uses the same lease for every transaction? The landlord can create that lease in a managed platform. This would guarantee it was up-to-date each time the client used it. 

Client Portals for Client Communication

There are infinite manifestations of the client portal in the future. All of them, by their very nature, will simply be ways to communicate better with clients. After all, that’s the goal. So when looking for a client portal, don’t find the flashiest thing available. Rather, start from the communication needs of the client. An attorney who satisfies those will have found the right client portal. Want to know more about client communication? Head to our Healthy Clients section. There, you’ll find resources on how to attract your ideal client and how to run a client-centered law firm.

 

Suffolk Law School Teams Up with Lawyerist Lab for Case Study Program

Lawyerist Partners with Suffolk Law School’s A2P Program

Lawyers participating in Lawyerist Lab are teaming up with third-year law students at Suffolk Law School for a first-of-its-kind case study program. These law students will partner with a law firm owner and member of Lab and examine their business model and operations. This will provide first-hand insight to students about how they might structure their own law firm post graduation.  

A2P Teaches Law Students Practical Skills for Building a Law Firm

The law students are all participants in Suffolk Law School’s Accelerator Practice, which is the capstone clinical component of the multi-year Accelerator to Practice Program (A2P). A2P is a comprehensive three-year course of study with practical training designed to prepare graduates for 21st-century small and solo practice. Professor James Matthews leads the program. “We want to equip our law students with the knowledge and practice skills they need to immediately contribute to or eventually create their own small firm,” said Matthews.

A2P provides students with training on practical lawyering skills, like counseling clients, negotiating, and arguing cases in court. But it goes beyond that by also teaching students how to build a viable law practice. Skills taught include building a marketing strategy and learning how to leverage technology to provide cost-effective legal services. Students in their third-year work in a Clinic where they represent actual clients in fee-shifting cases and participate in a related year-long seminar. 

Students to Study Lawyerist Lab Members’ Businesses 

Part of the upper-level curriculum is the Business of Practice. Taught by Andrew Garcia, students learn how to successfully run a law business in the future. Garcia also teaches in the year-long clinic seminar, which is designed to build on the topics introduced in his Business course. This year, A2P students will partner with Lawyerist Lab firm owners.

“It was an easy ‘yes’ for us and the attorneys in our Lab program,” said Stephanie Everett, CEO of Lawyerist. “The lawyers we work with jumped at the opportunity to connect with the students and help them explore how to create a healthier business.”  

Students will examine their partner law firm using The Small Firm Roadmap as a textbook and guide. They’ll then determine how well their partner firm is executing on topics covered in the book.

Topics include: 

  • Creating a client-centric firm
  • Working remotely
  • Using technology
  • Building a strategic marketing plan
  • Making data-driven decisions with KPIs

The students’ final project will include a written case study on their partner firm. 

“We’re excited about this opportunity with Lawyerist and to see what the students learn when they take an academic view of a functioning business,” said Garcia. “My hope is that this is a meaningful experience for everyone involved.” 

Prospective law students who are interested in exploring how law school can prepare them for solo and small firm practice should explore Suffolk Law School’s Accelerator-to-Practice Program.   Law firm owners who would like help and support building a healthier law firm should explore the coaching programs offered through Lawyerist Lab.

 

Lawyerist Hosts LabCon 2022

LabCon 2022: The Community is What Makes It

In early August, 60 solo and small-firm lawyers and law firm staff gathered to work on their firms at Lawyerist’s annual LabCon unconference in Atlanta, Georgia.

What’s an Unconference?

An unconference works differently than other legal conferences. This isn’t panel discussion and sponsor booths. Instead, LabCon functions as work sessions for lawyers in Lab, Lawyerist’s paid coaching program. It is a mix of conference, summit, retreat, design-thinking workshop, and hackathon.

Over 2.5 days, participants break out into small, coach-led sessions to work on each part of their business. They also use the time to implement the big ideas they get from these sessions.

Conference attendee Matthew Swanlund found LabCon valuable. “I was at times overwhelmed with the knowledge of what I have been missing, but then inspired to learn literally everything I need to know to make my business incredible,” said Matthew. “The guidance and feedback from the other Labsters was invaluable in that regard. “

How LabCon Works

During the conference, breakout sessions were sometimes created on the fly depending on participants’ needs. Sessions included topics like:

More topics covered all parts of a healthy business, including strategy, marketing, client service, finances, teams, and owners

Sessions were separated into stages based on each participant’s current experience and knowledge. For example, finance breakouts included Getting Started with KPIs for finance beginners and Subscription Services for the more advanced owner.

In between sessions, Lawyerist Lab coaches were available to help one-on-one as needed.

Additionally, while legal tech sponsors attended LabCon, those sponsors interacted as participants. There weren’t sponsor booths or overt sales pitches. Each sponsor led a session, made themselves available for one-on-one or group consultations, and often learned from the sessions themselves.

It’s Not All Work (Though Ideas Happen Everywhere)

LabCon also included a healthy amount of fun and giddy laughter. There was a fun contest (always a surprise), an impromptu mini-dance party, yoga, and several opportunities for long walks on the conference center’s trails. Participants also used mealtimes and after-work hours to dig into “hallway ideas”—the type of conversations people have after being inspired by a session. 

There were also opportunities to think outside the box using art and role-playing techniques.

The Community is What Makes It

The lawyers and law firm staff who attended were generous, open-minded, and collaborative. This combination made the energy in the room noticeably bright and compelling. 

“It was such an incredible experience.”

As attendee Jasmine Jowers Prout said, “It was such an incredible experience that I know for a fact moved, helped, and encouraged people because it did all of that to me. Not only did I find solutions or paths forward for my issues, I was able to share my experiences to help others do the same, and that was so rewarding!” LabCon is part of Lawyerist Lab, a coaching program designed to help every aspect of a business run smoothly. Interested in joining us for the next LabCon? Set up a time to chat with Lab Coach Sara about LabCon and our Lab Community.

 

The Lawyerist Podcast Reaches 400 Episodes

Lawyerist Celebrates 400 Podcast Episodes

It’s been almost eight years since the Lawyerist Podcast burst onto the legal podcast scene. The brainchild of Lawyerist founder Sam Glover and co-founder Aaron Street, the Lawyerist Podcast recently celebrated its 400th episode.

The idea was born in a South Minneapolis coffee shop as Serial, NPR’s mega-hit crime podcast, swept the nation. It seemed obvious to both Sam and Aaron this was an opportunity they didn’t want to miss.

“It was a vehicle for my curiosity—about lawyers’ practices, about legal innovation, and about business thinkers,” said Sam. Although he stepped away from Lawyerist in 2020 to pursue other ventures, Sam’s original vision remains intact. “I think it has kept that sense of curiosity and realness and I think that’s why listeners trust The Lawyerist Podcast,” he said.

The Lawyerist Podcast Difference

In the years since, The Lawyerist Podcast has become a leader in legal talk broadcasts. With listeners hailing from over 100 countries, it tops best podcast lists and averages over 40,000 monthly downloads. And, it’s played host to legal minds, business gurus, tech whizzes, and more.

We tackle what it’s like to own a law firm, run a business, be a healthy owner, and a great manager.

Unlike other legal-centered podcasts, the Lawyerist Podcast primarily focuses on how to run a law firm as a successful and healthy business. According to podcast co-host and Lawyerist CEO Stephanie Everett, this is by design.

“Our show is about running your law firm as a business. We really are trying to build a show that applies to all solo and small firm owners. We tackle what it’s like to own a law firm, run a business, be a healthy owner, and a great manager,” she said. “We look for guests who can speak to that and sometimes bring in people from other industries.”

Above all, she further explained, the Lawyerist Podcast is about educating listeners with new concepts. Ultimately, its goal is to help small law firm owners think in new ways and discover how to apply what they learn to their firms.

Continuing the Legacy of the Lawyerist Podcast

Lawyerist always aims to be at the forefront of industry developments to help shepherd small firm lawyers and their businesses to success. “We will continue to want to be on the leading edge of what’s happening. We want our audience to know they can rely on us to understand what changes are happening and their impact,” noted Stephanie.

Topics range from emotional intelligence to real-world business implementation ideas and the nitty-gritty of cutting-edge legal tech. Here are some to note and listen to now:

The Lawyerist team is proud to continue the legacy of the Lawyerist Podcast. And they hope to help guide, educate, and inspire listeners for years to come. Zack Glaser, podcast co-host and Lawyerist Legal Tech Advisor, summed up the sentiment perfectly. “I just really consider myself extremely lucky to get to be a caretaker of this program,” he said. “I look forward to another 400 people—another 400 voices—helping to move our audience forward and be better lawyers and better business owners.”

The Lawyerist Podcast is part of the Legal Talk Network. Listen to new episodes of the Lawyerist Podcast every Thursday at Lawyerist or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app.

 

Lawyerist Media Launches Redesigned Website to Better Help Small Firm Lawyers

Lawyerist Launches Redesigned Website

There’s a new look for Lawyerist. On July 6th, Lawyerist Media launched a completely redesigned version of its popular website, lawyerist.com. In addition to its new look, lawyerist.com offers expanded resources to shepherd lawyers along their healthy firm journey. It also includes new comprehensive guides that pinpoint significant areas of business development, regardless of where firms are on the journey.  

Lawyerist has guided hundreds of small law firms toward a healthier business through free content, resources, and in-depth products and services reviews. With its newly designed and relaunched website, Lawyerist Media continues to position lawyerist.com as the to-go resource for solo and small firm lawyers.  

Doubling Down on Building Healthy Law Firms

The idea of helping law firms build a healthy business is more than just a slogan at Lawyerist. Stephanie Everett, CEO, explains:

“We’re tired of seeing law firm owners suffer because of the broken, traditional law firm model. Our team is on a mission to help lawyers build something different—a business that is client-centered, designed around healthy teams using efficient systems, and is ultimately more profitable. We know lawyers can have what they set out to create—a firm that allows them to spend time with their families, impact their communities, and build for their future.”

The new “Healthy Law Firm” hub lays a clear path for lawyers working toward healthier law firms.

Walk through each step of Lawyerist’s healthy business model, including:


Teaching Law Firm Owners How to Build and Grow Their Business

For years, lawyers have visited Lawyerist Media’s site to learn practical advice to build and grow their business. Lawyerist’s new Complete Guide series will make it even easier for lawyers to find the information they need to begin their healthy firm journey. 

Each guide provides an overview of essential business concepts and easy-to-understand guidance to apply to their business. Everett explains, “We know law school doesn’t teach lawyers how to run a business. These guides will help lawyers understand key business concepts and how they apply to their business.” 

Nine new guides have launched, with plans for more to follow in the future.

Initially, lawyers can access Lawyerist’s Complete Guides to:


The new Complete Guide Series is under Resources at Lawyerist.com. In addition, lawyers can access long-favored tools, including The Small Firm Roadmap book, the Lawyerist Podcast, and the Small Firm ScorecardTM

Lawyers can also turn to Lawyerist Media to find the latest industry, community, and company news in the relaunched News Articles section. And, those who miss the Lawyerist blog will be happy to see it make its comeback.

Lawyerist Media Connects Law Firm Owners With Tools Needed to Run Their Business 

Lawyers ready to build and grow a business know they can’t do it alone. Business owners rely on the right tools and services to help them effectively run their firms. Unfortunately, researching and choosing the right solutions can feel like a second job. So, Lawyerist does the work for you.

Lawyerist Media will continue to ease that burden and make the process easier for law firm owners with an updated Product Reviews section. In this area, firm owners can learn what to look for when choosing products, discover the features that could help them most, and select the best tools for how the lawyer wants to work. 

Software and service providers are now broken down into three easy-to-understand categories:


The Product and Services Reviews section of the website then takes a deeper look at each of the top providers, with detailed service descriptions, editorial reviews, and demo videos. lawyeristbackup.kinsta.cloud is the perfect place for lawyers to start when they are ready to purchase new software and engage a new service provider for their firm.