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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of Februay 17, 2015

LawBiz(r) newsletter

The best negotiators understand the "bottom line" of the adversary and seek options that will address that without weakening their own client's position. That was one of the skills of a member of our profession, Abraham Lincoln, who's birthday we celebrate. Just yesterday, I saw a display of that skill from an assistant store manager of Lowe's who could side step a "fixed idea" and create options for a customer that smoothed over a challenging and stress filled situation. Successful lawyers assert this skill frequently.

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Preparing for a Confidentiality Disaster

Disaster preparedness is disaster preparedness is disaster preparedness. In other words, no matter who you are or what type of business you own, preparing for a disaster involves essentially the same issues . . .

. . . with one exception, that is. In terms of law firms, the thing that is different—the thing that makes disaster preparedness rise to a whole new level—is client confidentiality.

An example of a disaster that can compromise client confidentiality is financial collapse. There is a firm of which I'm aware that economically just closed its doors, and the landlord couldn't get paid. So, the landlord got a writ and got permission to clean out the entire suite of offices. In doing so, he took all the paperwork and threw it in a dumpster. There were tax returns and client files—and all were now open to public scrutiny.

Was that a disaster? Sure it was, for the law firm. Was that a disaster for the individual clients? Maybe, maybe not. I am not familiar enough with the case to know. But what I do know is that now the idea of confidentiality has been thrown out the window because the lawyers had to get jobs, had to relocate, had to make sure that their flow of revenue was still on the table so that they could feed their families—they seemingly didn't care about the rule of confidentiality.

Apart from the issue of confidentiality, though, the concerns in a disaster are the same for every organization: they've got to provide for their leadership, and they've got to provide for their care of their individual staff members and professional people. In addition, they've got to consider the well-being—the well-being above and beyond confidentiality of their clients—which are akin to the core customers of other businesses.


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Preparing for a Confidentiality Disaster

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"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."

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 management 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."

Los Angeles, CA


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