Tag Archive: Personal

Panic attack

The economic crises has finally hit home. People I know are talking about October and November as being months when the world stopped!  … and they couldn’t get off.  No one seems to know what is going to happen next.

I met yesterday with managing partners of several major law firms in my Managing Partners Roundtable.


View page

The Power of Nice

Linda Kaplan was another leader who appeared at the National Speakers Association. She is a legendary marketing guru and founder of The Kaplan Thaler Group, a billion dollar advertising agency. Her book, The Power of Nice, is a best seller.

Unlike Leo Durocher’s famous statement that "nice guys finish last," she believes that "nice girls finish first." After all, she asserts, people like to buy from people they like … And we generally don’t like people who are not nice to us.  Kaplan says it’s easier to be mean and gruff. It takes a special effort to be nice. Paraphrasing a saying my mother used so often, "You get more with honey than with vinegar."

This seems so obvious to me, but obviously is something that our profession finds so difficult to understand. Many Bars have adopted "Lawyer Civility Codes."  Why should this even be needed? Quoting an infamous source, "Why can’t we all just get along?" Why is it that we need be rude and obnoxious to our adversaries? Do we truly believe that such conduct will win us points or cause our client’s position to be moved forward? On the contrary, such behavior often merely entrenches the opposition further. Being nice, courteous and kind requires neither that we be a doormat nor that we cave in to our adversary’s position … we can stand forthright to advocate our client’s interest and position, yet still be civil and nice.

Again paraphrasing, "Try it, you might like it."  Certainly, there will be reduced stress all around.

P.S.  This works with colleagues and staff as well.

View page

AVVO runs into roadblock

Larry Bodine reports from the Illinois State Journal-Register:

"Who’s licensed to practice law in Illinois? None of your business.

That’s what the state Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has told a Seattle company that wants to post the names of lawyers on the Internet and assign grades based on performance, awards, experience and disciplinary records.

Avvo (listen to our podcast interview with Mark Britton, CEO and Founder of Avvo, Inc.) has posted information online about lawyers in more than a dozen states. The company, which started its Web site a year ago, says it has received lists of lawyers from 30 states. Illinois, however, has balked.

View page

Lawyers core competency – Must we specialize or be incompetent?

In a recent Los Angeles Times article, the headline read “Double-O: Better for Obama than Oprah.” The writers of the article cite a study by a Fordham University political science professor. He concluded that her popularity went from 74% before the endorsement to 56% and is currently at 46%. He suggests that Oprah’s endorsement for Obama was far more costly to her than might have been imagined. (more…)

View page

Cash flow of lawyers is impacted by insurance proposal

Mike McKee, a reporter for the San Francisco Recorder once again underscores the hostility that California lawyers have against the current malpractice insurance disclosure proposal.

Still, the question I asked earlier in this series has yet to be answered by the Board of Governors! Why is it that shareholders of law professional corporations do not have to disclose that they do not have malpractice insurance? Or, at least meaningful malpractice insurance?  All they need to do is sign a piece of paper saying that they will be responsible for the first $50,000 of a malpractice judgment. There is no financial statement required, no verification of financial ability and no insurance policy required under the current rules; nor is there any such requirement under the new proposed rule!

And why is this fair in the minds of the Governors supporting this proposal?

View page

Is the billable hour a trap? A contrarian perspective.

In Law Firm Fees & Compensation: A LawBiz® Special Report, I discuss several formats for billing legal services. Jeff Bleich, President of the State Bar of California, discusses one of these formats, the billable hour in his April column of the California Bar Journal.  He raises the specter of the “billable hour trap.” He maintains that the profession must change its fee structure and move away from the current policy of billing by time. He reflects the thinking of many lawyers who are feeling the pressure of working long hours.

Because of his comments, I began to think about this subject in a way different than I have ever done in the past. I want to share some of my revelations as, perhaps, a catalyst for your further consideration on what clearly is a very important issue.

View page

Solo lawyers and malpractice insurance debate

Sole and small firm practitioners have more at stake than insurance in the current debate at the California Board of Governors over mandatory disclosure of malpractice insurance coverage, much more! Their very existence is threatened. Perhaps that is an overstatement. What is clear, though, is that the economic well-being of this group, and the very survival of many individuals in this group, is being threatened.  (more…)

View page