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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of December 11, 2012

LawBiz(r) newsletter

It's hard to believe that we're in another holiday season. This last weekend, we took our Airstream trailer with 17 other 'Streamers to watch the Channel Islands Harbor (CA) boat parade. The lighting on the boats was spectacular.

This coming weekend, we'll have family in our home to watch the Venice Canals version of a boat parade; this is like the Doo-Dah parade, or a take-off of a real boat parade. Many of our neighbors dress up their small boats and paddle through the canals. It's a hoot and a major attraction ... And, of course, it's an excuse to get our family together and distribute gifts to the kids for the holiday. Best wishes to you and your families for the holiday season.

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Understand the Lifecycle of Law Firm Technology

The Lifecycle of a Law Firm
Solo and small law firms typically follow a lifecycle not unlike that of technology companies. There are law firm startups, as new lawyers hang out their shingles in practice. There is internal growth as law firms become successful. And there are law firm mergers and acquisitions, driven by a desire to seek skill synergies and enhanced economies of scale. There are law firm buyouts, as lawyers reach retirement age or simply decide to head for greener pastures, and sell their practices to another qualified attorney or firm.

Addressing Law Firm Technology
Through this life cycle, law firm technology must also evolve. Whether used for document processing, case or litigation management or record storage, computer technology has become integral to how law firms operate. The technology concerns at each stage of the life cycle continuum are different, and addressing them is essential for the financial and client service strengths of the firm as an effective, continuing business organization.

Law Firm Startup Technology
In a law firm startup, one risk is that lawyers will be beguiled by more technology than they can afford. Particularly for startup solo practices, substantial spending on new computer hardware and software may simply not be possible during the five years it takes most new practices to become profitable. Refurbished computers, open source software, a free email management program, and online research at a law school library are among the most practical options, until the - whether cash, lease or loan - becomes available to make a technology purchase.

Law Firm Buyout Technology
In a buyout situation, the age of firm technology is crucial. If the firm resisted buying or updating technology because of the high up-front expense, the outdated hardware and software diminishes the value of their firm in negotiations because a potential purchaser will need substantial IT investments. But if technology has been kept current, it should be communicated up front, so the value of hardware and databases can be reflected in the purchase price.

Law Firm Merger Technology
When law firms of any size merge, assessing the current state of technology used by the lawyers or firms, including the age of the hardware and software and their replacement cycle, should be - but rarely is - central to the merger due diligence. The default platform should be the one used by whichever of the parties to the combination has up-to-date databases, hardware and document processing and practice management software tools. But there must be adequate planning for proper integration and coordination of software to manage finances, client contacts and case files. As in startups and buyouts, there is no one right way to approach these technology issues. The wrong way is to ignore them and suffer the negative consequences.

Financial Management of the Firm
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Keeping the financial side of your practice running smoothly requires a thorough knowledge of how generating the business, doing the business and collecting your fee intersect. Ed offers you insight on engagement agreements, pricing methods, and collection strategies to improve your firm's bottom line, as well as Disaster Preparedness to make sure your firm will be ready when the unexpected happens. Learn more.

In this issue:

Understand the Lifecycle of Law Firm Technology

Financial Management of the Firm...$40 OFF - Special price!

Video: Network Technology Guidelines

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What Clients Are Saying:

"Ed helped me assess my situation and cut to the core issues that needed to be dealt with to improve it. Ed's no- nonsense approach to setting and achieving goals helped me get on track. I can recommend Ed to anyone who's ready to come to grips and take charge of their practice or career."

Horan, Lloyd Law Offices

"I wanted assistance from someone outside the firm: an expert who knew and under- stood the practice of law, business development and marketing, and law firm dynamics, ethics and politics. I needed someone who knew the practice of law to give me good and solid advice on how to raise my professional profile in the legal community and within the firm and to address challenges associated with working in a law firm environment. 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. Since I began working with Ed, my family has noticed the positive effect on my confidence level, goals, and direction. My wife has been supportive of Ed since Day One."

Los Angeles, CA

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2011 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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