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Rodney S. Dowell, Esq., Director Jared D. Correia, Esq., LPA Law Office Management Assistance Program 31 Milk Street, Suite 815 Boston, MA 02109

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Presentation on theme: "Rodney S. Dowell, Esq., Director Jared D. Correia, Esq., LPA Law Office Management Assistance Program 31 Milk Street, Suite 815 Boston, MA 02109"— Presentation transcript:

1 Rodney S. Dowell, Esq., Director Jared D. Correia, Esq., LPA Law Office Management Assistance Program 31 Milk Street, Suite 815 Boston, MA Toll Free Telephone Facsimile Going Small or Solo − Now What?

2 JOINING A FIRM V. HANGING A SHINGLE  Know thyself  Self-starter  Willing to Market Yourself  Sales person  Secretary  Mail clerk  Technology  Accountant/bookkeeper  Reconcile personal accounts?  Practice of Law:  Book learning v. practice (is an art not a science)  market reality – what happens if no jobs  Find a mentor and learn to do it all

3 STEP 1: How to start.  Passion and Reality (51,000 active lawyers)  Business Plan and budget (cash flow is king) How long till you earn money (i.e. can you put food on the table now)  Marketing Plan  Technology Plan  Management of the solo and small firm practice  Ultimate Question - Return on investment

4 Referral Based Marketing (50% - 100% cases)  Fee sharing w/attorneys (not non-attorneys)  If share fees – put it writing and pay fee Client sign-off  Keys to getting more referrals  Respond to client  Keep referring attorney informed  Thank you note, gifts, and personal delivery of fee  Referrals beget referrals  Specialty/expertise

5 Office space and space sharing;  Home office – Not for every practice or every individual  Pros: Low cost Short commute  Cons: Clients are at house Not networking Hard to separate personal and business

6 Office space and space sharing;  Office sharing – benefits and ethics concerns:  Pros: Lowers cost On rent Shared cost of equipment Shared cost of internet access and research Built in referral sources and mentors  Cons: Usually have little control of space Personality conflicts CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY IS ALWAYS AT RISK MUST USE CAUTION Partnership by estoppel/malpractice claims due to other attorneys errors – it happens

7 What hardware do you need?  HARDWARE  Computer (pc v. Mac)  2 monitors  Home office: MFM laser– fax, scan, copy, print  Shared office: own fax, or efax, be careful at copier, desktop scanner  hard-drive back up /encrypted  Flash drive with encryption

8 What software do you need?  SOFTWARE  Windows/Linux/Mac OS  INTEGRATED CLIENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE: Can I say “JUST DO IT” – T&B, docket/calendar  Office Suites: Windows Office WordPerfect X4 OpenOffice(free)  PDF – Adobe/Nuance, or free and low cost alternatives (CutePDF, PDFforge)  Accounting software: TABS111, PCLaw, Quicken, QuickBooks, Microsoft Accounting Express  Time and Billing: Excel?, QB, Accounting Express, RTGBills, Billing Software for Attorneys (BSA), Tussman, Chaos Legal Billing, TurboLaw

9 Data Security Requirements  Federal  2003 Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act  Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act of 1999  State  MGL 93H, Security Breaches (May 1, 2009)  Keys  Hardware and software encryption

10 What can you use to encrypt?  PGP Corp (Pretty Good Privacy):  McAfee Data Protection:  TrueCrypt, Free Open-Source Disk Encryption Software: – no formal support (are you a tech geek?)www.truecrypt.org  Windows OS – Built in – kind of  Encrypted hard-drive or USB thumb drive

11 Backups and disaster planning  NO EXCUSES  DAILY – tapes, flash drive, cd/dvd (something)  Weekly – rotate 2/3 hard-drives – take off-site  Weekly – on-line backup (Carbonite, Mozy, Connected Backup for PC) Encrypted on your computer, you retain encryption key  Keep files off the floor – water damage/fire/smoke  List of critical contacts of site  Insurance

12 . Most Useful Mass. Web-Sites  Massachusetts Court Rules and Dockets  Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court Docket Supreme Judicial Court and Appeals Court Docket  Massachusetts Court Rules Massachusetts Court Rules  Massachusetts Trial Court dockets Massachusetts Trial Court dockets  Massachusetts District Court Forms Massachusetts District Court Forms  Massachusetts Agencies  Department of Industrial Accidents (Workers Compensation) Department of Industrial Accidents (Workers Compensation)  Secretary of State Secretary of State Corporate Division Registry of Deeds

13 13 Your law practice advisor. CONTACT INFORMATION Rodney S. Dowell, Director Jared D. Correia, Esq., LPA 31 Milk Street, Suite 815 Boston, MA (local line) (toll free) Follow LOMAP AT:


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