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LawBiz® TIPS – Week of September 17, 2013

LawBiz(r) newsletter

Look for our new coaching program. Many of you have talked to me about selling your practice in order to monetize your goodwill and turn your energies to other interests. While you may not be ready yet, Life After Law has struck a cord with many. Thus we've been encouraged to begin a limited coaching group specifically for those who want to retire or otherwise close their law practice sometime within the next one to three years. Learn more.

I will be in Chicago on Thursday, October 3rd, and in Manhattan on Monday, October 7th. If you would like to have breakfast with me, let me know.

Call me if you're interested in an outstanding law practice in Bishop, CA. It's for sale. This is the best law practice in the entire county and the price is right!
Ed signature

Outsourcing Is Definitely In - As Part of the Model Rules

There is no question that using specialized service providers to meet client needs at reduced cost is the wave of the future for major law firms. The latest examples range from legal process outsourcers (LPO) that handle the details of a merger transaction under general supervision of law firm partners, or software companies that analyze millions of document pages electronically for lawyers' final review as part of litigation due diligence. The goal in either case is to reduce rates and excess staffing, for clients' benefit.

Perhaps the clearest sign that outsourcing has become an accepted part of the legal services model is that the American Bar Association House of Delegates last year quietly approved several changes in comments to the ABA Model rules to "clarify" the ethical obligations of lawyers when outsourcing legal services. These common sense clarifications are notable:

  • A comment to Rule 1.1 on competency says that a lawyer should ordinarily obtain informed consent from the client before retaining outside services, and should "reasonably" believe the outside services will contribute to the competent and ethical representation of the client.

  • A new comment to Rule on 5.3 says a lawyer may hire non-lawyers outside his or her firm but must ensure that the engagement is compatible with legal ethics obligations.

  • A new comment to Rule 5.5 clarifies that lawyers cannot engage in outsourcing when doing so would facilitate the unauthorized practice of law.

The message is clear - in an outsourcing relationship the client must know of and approve the contract arrangement, and the contracting lawyer retains final responsibility for the client relationship. The lawyer who engages the outsourced service becomes responsible, in a malpractice sense, for any errors committed even in a seemingly simple case. But that is when lawyers themselves do the outsourcing. What about when the impetus comes from the client?

The question increasingly will become more important. When I interviewed Ron Baker, founder of the Verisage Institute consulting firm which helps lawyers use value-based pricing and economic analysis, he said: "Price is a marketing function not a cost issue. Law firms need to focus on what's important to the client and how they value it; yet most firms don't know how to assess that. Cost is a fact; pricing is a policy. Value sets price and price sets cost. We must comprehend that each client is different and each assessment of value is different." When clients increasingly seek cost-effective non-lawyer services, they do the valuation - and they take control of the legal service process. Applying this to outsourcing will have a major impact.

Exit Strategy AND Life After Law

Sell Your Business and Plan Your Future

Exit Strategy and Life After Law

1 book and 3 DVDs package

until Oct 1
(reg. $296)

To Order:

or order online at

Exit Strategy: Selling & Other Strategies to Leave the Practice of Law reveals insider information that is sure to go a long way to help achieve optimal results while transitioning out of the practice of law. (audio excerpt available!) And, Life After Law: What Will You Do with the Next 6,000 Days? provides career advice on what is necessary and advisable to personally and professionally transition out of the practice. - Learn more.

"Whether you have spent decades in the legal profession, or entered it as a second or even third career, transitioning out of a law practice takes a good deal of thought and action. This book gives lawyers a road map to take the next steps, with stops along the way that we can consider as well. Life After Law fills a gap in career advice literature by telling lawyers what is necessary and advisable to personally and professionally transition out of the practice. It is essential information for all generations of lawyers."

In this issue:

Outsourcing Is Definitely In - As Part of the Model Rules

Exit Strategy AND Life After Law - 33% OFF!

Video: Successful Law Firms Are All Alike, Part 2

Featured Video:
(click image below to view)

Ed Poll on YouTube video

New Life After Law Coaching Program
YouTube Life After Law
FaceBook Twitter

What Clients Are Saying:

"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."

Torrance, CA

"When I had my own private practice as a solo practitioner, I wanted to run my office as efficiently and profitably as possible. I researched business coaches and discovered that most had "passive" models as their basis for coaching, i.e. they would promise all the things they would do for my practice without my having to invest time and energy into the process. I'm so glad I chose Ed Poll instead, for he had an "active" model, i.e. how much I got out of the coaching was directly dependent upon what I put into it. Over a period of six months, Ed conferenced with me and gave me weekly assignments for structuring my practice as well as giving me tips on how to work with clients from the initial interview through to the end of the case. After working with Ed, I didn't have a single outstanding account receivable over $500. The time I spent working with Ed was invaluable and I would recommend him to any attorneys interested in improving the quality and profitability of their practices."

Los Angeles, CA

Ed Poll, LawBiz® Management   |   |   |
©2013 LawBiz® Management. All rights reserved.

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