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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of December 24, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

The time has come to take a deep breath, realize that we had a good year and contemplate how we can make our next year even better. Be thankful for the family and friends we have and hope that our next year will bring both health and happiness to all.

This last year, I was able to take 3 weeks consecutively, plus several weekends, towing our Airstream trailer. This next year, I have already calendared 6 weeks, plus several weekends, out of the office. Never before have I allowed myself to do this. As my wife says, it's about time.

In working with a new client last week, we looked at her time in order to structure her week most effectively and with the least amount of stress. Take this relatively slow period in order to plan your forthcoming weeks and months. You have more control than you think.

The Wisconsin Law Journal picked up one of my LawBiz® Coaches Corner columns on "Take the frustration out of administrative tasks". Read it here.

2013 Holiday Card!

Happy Holidays!

Ed signature

"Can't We All Just Get Along?"

Rodney King asked years ago, "Can't we all just get along?" That question is particularly relevant to the legal profession - not because lawyers are supposed to resolve disputes, but because they far too often cause or worsen them.

In recent years many state and local bar associations have adopted voluntary standards that attempt to discourage "unprofessional conduct" and encourage "civility" for lawyers. The commentary on ABA Rule of Professional Conduct states that "[t]he lawyer's duty to act with reasonable diligence does not require the use of offensive tactics or preclude the treating of all persons involved in the legal process with courtesy and respect." The Canadian Bar Association's Code of Professional Conduct (Rule IX, chapter 16) says: "The lawyer should at all times be courteous, civil ... A consistent pattern of rude, provocative or disruptive conduct by the lawyer, even though not punished as contempt, might well merit disciplinary action."

Why is this issue even a matter of discussion or a problem in our profession? Why do some of us feel the need to 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 civil - just "getting along" - is the most practical choice. Our current situation in Washington, DC is ample evidence that unreasoning aggressiveness in pursuing a fixed agenda, regardless of the human or financial consequences, is inevitably disastrous. As my mother used to say, "You get more with honey than with vinegar."

Civility has other ramifications. Responding to a disciplinary complaint, whether made by a client or opposing counsel, is not a cost that a law firm or lawyer can pass on. Dealing with the motions and sanctions involved in a disciplinary complaint directly and negatively affects the lawyer's bottom line. Consider, too, what happens in a law firm with civility issues. Piled on top of the anxiety of client demands and economic pressures, lawyers can be so focused on the task at hand and getting results that they leave little room for camaraderie and support, creating anger and hostility An angry law firm is one doomed to failure.

In the practice of law, we should never forget that we are dealing with human lives. Our goals should be to bring a sense of order to troubled situations, not to create new ones. The law cannot be a profession unless we, ourselves, maintain professionalism.

Special One-Time Coaching Session

With Ed Poll, Principal, LawBiz Management

Ed Poll's Coaching Program

Holiday Special



For the lawyer in your life, start the year right.

To Order:

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Special one-time coaching session with Ed (normally available only as part of the full six-month package) and a copy of Life After Law.
Note: This is a one-time offer with limited availability. First come, first serve.

About Ed:

- Lifetime Achievement Award, State Bar of California (LPMT)
- Fellow, College of Law Practice Management
- Board Certified Coach to the Legal Profession, SAC
- Member of the Million Dollar Consulting® Hall of Fame
- Learn more About Ed, his Coaching Program and his Books & CDs


"Can't We All Just Get Along?"

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Video: The Times, They are a Changin', Part 3


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The Times, They are a Changin', Part 3 

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"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 understood 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

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