Ed Poll
"Through Ed's invaluable coaching and no-nonsense approach, he enabled me not only to stay employed at the firm, but to make partner and have a future with the firm." JM, Los Angeles, CA
"It is a joy and pleasure working with Ed and I look forward to each coaching session. My only regret is that I did not start sooner!" JRL, Atlanta, GA
"Ed knew the right questions to make me answer. Ed has taught me virtually everything I know about formation, planning, and now management of a successful law firm." RJM, Los Angeles, CA
"I felt 'stuck' but I didn't know how to market myself to clients or to other firms. Ed provided a solid grounding for me to evaluate my current situation and platform from which I could start growing my own practice." CH, San Francisco, CA
"Ed's command of the podium and his connection and interaction with the audience were outstanding. His skills enabled us to successfully implement a new culture into the organization without damaging our relationships with outside counsel." LS, Torrance, CA
"I would highly recommend the services of Ed Poll to anyone in need of assistance with understanding their business, improving its operations of valuing it for sale of transition to some other operational format." DMG, Austin, TX

Can You Have a Two-Sided Practice?

LawBiz® TIPS – Week of January 29, 2013

www.lawbiz.com

LawBiz(r) newsletter

I watch in amazement as the story of Lance Armstrong and the sport of cycling in the 1990s continues to unfold. It's like a bad mystery novel, but it certainly has its twists and turns.

First, all the denials; then the Oprah Winfrey show. Yes, I did watch both episodes. And then last night, I watched the "other side" on 60 Minutes; the head of USADA (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) asserts Armstrong is still lying and needs to be under oath to answer many more questions. Thus far, Armstrong has danced around the criminal fraud provisions, staying out of harm's way, though admittedly he has now opened himself up to civil fraud charges. Is Armstrong merely a jerk or an athlete who had so much for so long, irrespective of how he got there, that he still thinks he's invincible? Is he getting good advice or bad advice? I'm eager to see the next chapter. Actually, I would hope this saga would just go away.

I'll be in Tucson, AZ the week of February 4th. If you're there and want to visit, contact me.

Ed signature
lawbiz.com

Can You Have a Two-Sided Practice?

Can lawyers effectively and ethically represent opposite types of clients - for example, insurance carriers and insurance coverage plaintiffs? The ABA's Rule of Professional Conduct 1.7 provides a sensible answer. It is obvious, according to the Rule, that a lawyer cannot represent two parties who are directly adverse in the same matter, or two parties whose concerns will materially limit the lawyer's responsibilities to another client. Yet the Rule also says that a lawyer may represent clients whose interests are opposite if the lawyer "will be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each affected client."

Given that this stipulation opens the door to representing opposite types of clients, the consideration for the lawyer becomes a practical one. In our analogy above, would an insurance carrier get upset if they knew that their coverage defense lawyer was also representing plaintiffs in coverage matters against other carriers? If so, the plaintiff business may not be worth it. However, a plaintiff lawyer might well find substantial advantages in undertaking defense work. It would even out cash flow and keep the lawyer from being dependent on one type of client.

There is also the consideration of whether certain types of work in opposition will create financial problems for the firm. Plaintiff cases are often taken on a contingency basis, for example, while defense work is typically done at an hourly rate. Corporate defense lawyers who bill on contingency arrangements must receive support from their firms in terms of compensation and staff services while the contingency matter is open and expenses are incurred to sustain the lawsuit. Then, if the firm is successful and the contingency money flows in, conflicts can arise over the share received by other lawyers in the firm who incurred the support costs.

Such issues show that any decision to take on clients from opposing perspectives should be well thought out. Firms that consider all business to be good business, without regard to thinking through the consequences, might find that taking fees from opposing sides creates more problems than it's worth. A better alternative would be to diversify the firm's practice to encompass several different but still related areas of practice emphasis. A personal injury lawyer, whether serving plaintiffs or insurers, might consider diversifying into such areas as construction law or representing architects or realtors in professional services disputes. The techniques of discovery and trial advocacy would be the same, the firm's business base would be diversified, and conflicts of interest would not be a problem. The issue is not just more business - it's getting the right business as a better foundation for firm profitability.

Growing Your Practice
30% OFF - Special Price!

Growing Your Practice

Special Price:

$89

until Feb 1


(reg. $129)



Four book package!

It's never been more challenging to succeed at The Business of Law®.

Get the information you need to not only survive but to grow your law practice. Discover the secrets that can help you be more efficient, more effective, and more profitable. Find out how you can and must adapt to meet clients' need and expectation in these rapidly changing times. Learn more.

To Order: 1-800-837-5880 or order online at lawbizstore.com.

In this issue:

Can You Have a Two-Sided Practice?

Growing Your Practice... 30% OFF - Special price!

Video: Client Expectations

Featured Video:
Ed Poll on YouTube video

YouTube LawBiz Forum
FaceBook Twitter

What Clients Are Saying:


"Ed educated me on how to implement a plan for the management of my law offices, which I have set up in Santa Monica. With his help, I was able to conceive and put into effect a business plan which promises not only to simplify my business, but to make it more profitable as well. He readily pinpointed my needs and offered sage advice on what I could do to rectify the problems that I have been facing. For this, I am forever grateful and will highly recommend him to anyone who asks."

MG
Santa Monica, CA

"I decided to "go solo" and start my own practice after being a senior associate at a large national law firm. I started in temporary office space with a secretary and one associate attorney. I retained Ed Poll to provide comprehensive consulting and guidance in establishing my permanent office. He knew from day one how to re-shape my thinking from being a day-to-day lawyer into being in charge of a business. Ed knew the right questions to make me answer. Ed has taught me virtually everything I know about formation, planning, and now manage- ment of a successful law firm. I would enthusiastically recommend Ed Poll for retention as a consultant in connection with any aspect of law practice management."

RJM
Los Angeles, CA

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management
lawbiz.com   |   lawbizblog.com   |   lawbizforum.com   |   lawbizstore.com
(800) 837-5880 order phone  |  (310) 827-5415 office phone
©2013 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.


The LawBiz® Practice Management Institute

LawBiz Tips Newsletter

Testimonials

The LawBiz Store Special