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Ed Poll
  Week of March 23, 2010

Rethinking the Process of
Lawyer Education (Part 1)

In late January my company, LawBiz, was privileged to co-host an online seminar with West Legal Edcenter, focusing on the theme of whether recent law school graduates are prepared for real life. Longtime readers of LawBiz® Tips know that my answer to this question is a resounding "no," that law schools do virtually nothing to prepare their graduates for dealing with "The Business of Law®" that ultimately determines the success of their practices. Three recent law school graduates spoke during the webinar, and their comments about their lack of real world preparation could only be described as poignant.
This is particularly significant as big law firms continue to cut back on their law school hiring, leaving many graduates (who typically have six-figure debt from their legal education) to think that their only option is to go into practice for themselves. Yet without basic knowledge about the operation of the firm as a business (budget, collections, profit, loss), their chances of success are dim. There is also the issue of technical competence at the law: in highly personal, difficult issues like bankruptcy or divorce or tax problems, what kind of representation will their clients receive from young lawyers who are getting their on-the-job training this way?
Such concerns illustrate anew that the entire concept of continuing legal education has to change. In many states, the practical skills concerning "The Business of Law®" that lawyers most need to run a practice either are not covered or actively eliminated as legitimate MCLE credits. They also happen to be skills that few, if any, law school faculty offer either. Many lawyers, and not just young ones, feel they have neither an efficient nor an effective way to learn how to build a better practice that better serves clients. But whatever makes a better lawyer benefits both the firm and its clients, whether it falls under a traditional CLE banner or not.
Already there are specialized certifications that state bar associations increasingly offer in certain practice specialties. Specialists and their clients do benefit in some way from the more intensive training, but this really is just an extension of the typical CLE requirements. What if bar associations took the principle farther, by offering to lawyers specialist certifications in such skills as trust fund accounting or client satisfaction surveys? How is this different from the specialized training that many lawyers have received by earning their CPA designation, or an MBA? The questions are important, and they need to be answered creatively if CLE training is to meet the real needs of lawyers in today's marketplace. My next LawBiz Tip will suggest two approaches that support the need for practical education of newly graduated lawyers.

Ed Poll

Following the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and facing a sea change in clients' demands and expectations, law firms must respond and adapt quickly and effectively. Law firms must choose the kind of law practice they will be; the marketing and business development tactics they will use; the overhead that is critical to their functioning; how to price, bill and collect for services; and how to manage the cash flow cycle.
Success lies in identifying and capturing the right kinds of clients, providing the services those clients need in ways that add value, and ensuring prompt payment and the ability to grow profits. This book, based on the experiences of Ed and his clients over 20 years of coaching and consulting, provides the keys to successfully thriving in the new era.
Available for Pre-Sale
Ships in March 2010
Pre-Sale Price: $99
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LawBiz Forum
Ed Poll
Ed Poll

Personal Commentary
I am very excited! I just received my new book, Growing Your Law Practice in Tough Times! And I am very proud of this work. Our pre-release pricing discount will remain in effect until the end of this month. Please do take advantage of it, and send me your thoughts and comments. I'm eager to learn more about the challenges you face in your day-to-day practice and begin a series of teleseminars to directly address your specific issues. Thanks for reading our weekly tips. I look forward to hearing from you.
Check out this week for a new Photo Caption Contest featuring Bandit! The contest comes in time for Legal Assistant's Day, which is this Friday. The winner of the contest will receive a FREE copy of my brand new book: Growing Your Law Practice in Tough Times. So get creative—we're looking forward to your captions!
Ed Poll
Best wishes,
Ed Poll
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Ed Poll
Ed Poll

What Readers Are Saying...
"No matter how you slice it, there is no substitute for wisdom and experience. Ed Poll has demonstrated both in this eyeopening book about the essential elements of running a profitable law practice. He provides practical wisdom along with simple ways to adopt and incorporate best practices for each. After explaining the pros and cons of every decision, he makes recommendations and provides useful guides disguised as key principles. Buy the book so you too can access Ed's wisdom and experience. It's worth much more than the investment."


Ed Poll
Ed Poll

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