Law Practice Management and Technology Section
News from the Section
Next Up: LinkedIn
It’s all about communication. As members, after you joined the LPMT section, you discovered the avenues we use to communicate with you such as the eNews, email and of course, The Bottom Line (which is morphing into an all-new ePublication, itself). You also gained the means to contact us directly - or through our State Bar representative - with any questions or comments.
Conversely, our job as the Executive Committee is to constantly develop and refine new methods to effectively communicate with you. I was fortunate to be appointed to the Social Media Task Force last term and further to that end, many of you saw us add two additional methods of communication: Facebook and Twitter (@CalBarLPMT).
However, amongst the Task Force, there was always a feeling that we should be providing a social media trifecta, and one of the elements was missing: LinkedIn. No longer. Recently, we received approval to begin implementing LinkedIn, and as usual, LPMT will be one of the first sections in line to receive an account. We expect to be up and running sometime in March.
Why are we excited about this impending addition to our social media toolbox? Each study we’ve examined shows that, of the people who make up our membership, more of you rely on LinkedIn for business communications. Both Facebook and Twitter provide great services, but LinkedIn enables us to deliver information in a completely unique format. Plus, unlike our subscription publications, social media enables us to widen our audience because it’s open to section members and non-members alike. Obviously, this is very attractive to us because, like you, we constantly endeavor to grow and expand both our membership and our offerings.
As you can imagine, social media presents many unique challenges to attorneys and the many professionals who support us in our day-to-day operations. As Committee Chair, I can tell you that in my opinion, the biggest benefit we derive from social media is speed. Conversely, I can also tell you that in my opinion, the biggest detriment to social media is...speed.
Of course, since our section is built around providing you with practical and technological methods to better manage, develop and promote your law practice, time will always be of the essence. However, we must also take great care never to sacrifice accuracy in the pursuit of that goal. Furthermore, as attorneys, we have to be doubly aware of the effect of the content of our posts including those of our representatives who aren’t attorneys.
For example, in this very publication, you’ll read about new developments to Formal Opinion Interim No. 10-0001 on social networking. The Opinion attempts to guide attorneys regarding when a benign statement published via social media morphs into a "communication" that might trigger the Rules of Professional Responsibility for "advertising and/or solicitation." The Opinion has officially been adopted as 2012-186 and all attorneys should acquaint themselves with it.
In my December 2012 column in The Bottom Line, I hinted at holiday presents to come. Well, the wrapping is coming off and soon, all that’ll be left is to open them. I sincerely hope that you’ve already sampled our social media menu. If not, perhaps with the addition of LinkedIn, now is the time!
Did You Know . . . Tech Tips?
(a) Beware of false claims--viruses in your address book:
Chair Perry Segal offers guidance on avoiding false claims of how to fix viruses in your address book.
CLAIM: Placing a fake email address at the ‘top’ of your address book prevents your computer from spreading viruses/worms.
QUESTION: I have a virus/worm that is sending SPAM to everyone in my "Contacts" list. What can I do to stop it?
BOGUS ANSWER: "...add an entry to your address book that says 11AAA !AAA for the name...no phone...email address email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>. This will become the first record in your contacts and when the ‘worm’ tries to access and send mail to your contacts it will hit this bogus email address first and won’t be able to continue."
This claim is FALSE!
EXPLANATION: Think about this in practical terms. Have you sent a message to your entire address book? Has the send ever failed because an email address was incorrect or out of date? In fact, if/when an email address fails, all that occurs is, you receive a message back from the SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) gateway or SPAM filter stating that the delivery has failed (the rejection message usually contains the error code and reason for the failure, buried in the gobbledygook). But, one thing that doesn't happen is that the send fails. The reason is, at that point, your software doesn't have any way to determine that there's anything wrong with the address. It has to pass it off to the SMTP gateway or SPAM filter to be 'compared' with the RECEIVING post office's list of known/acceptable addresses in order to make delivery. As such, the claim is false.
For more information: http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/quickfix.asp
(b) Mobile Apps Make Life Easier: Downloading apps that make life easier and incorporate local information is like training a puppy. It results in less hassle and more fun! The major difference between a smartphone and your computer is that it’s tough to see the whole Internet on that little screen. Apps are simply ways of displaying something you usually do on your computer’s web browser, but in a simpler and more elegant way that makes sense on a little screen. Each app is represented by a small square icon that you touch once to launch its features and functions, whether it be GPS navigation, local business listings, your to-do list, or your favorite game. Try these apps to get started:
- UrbanSpoon and Yelp have apps for iPhones, Droids and Windows phones that are great for finding a local restaurant in a hurry, based on your location.
- MapMyRide and MapMyRun offer apps for fitness enthusiasts looking for a new route in their neighborhood.
- Most smartphones have a built-in app for local weather, but you may find it worth experimenting with the Weather Channel’s app as well as other competitors.
- The Google+ Local app will show you search results similar to what you are used to seeing on the map listings part of Google Search on your computer
- The GasBuddy app will help you figure out which of your local gas stations has the best price.
A little secret many smartphone users don’t know is that you can make any of your favorite websites look like an app on your phone. If you are frustrated by using your phone’s browser and typing in the web URL, tell your phone’s web browser to "Add to Home Screen." The resulting button will look like an app, but the button will take you to your favorite website instead of launching an app.
[Source: Watsonville Patch (http://watsonville.patch.com)]
Did You Know
(a) Civility and Respect: Executive Committee member, Mari Frank, offers several approaches which helps her remain calm when dealing with difficult people and situations --
New Year’s Intentions -- Treating Each Other with Civility and Respect
"Can’t we all just get along?"
For those of us who litigate, mediate and arbitrate or preside over court cases, our profession puts us in the midst of conflict on a daily basis. We deal with angry clients, aggressive attorneys, overworked court staff, and others who have caught the anger bug-hostility is contagious if we don’t inoculate ourselves.
Opposing counsel may appear to take on his/her clients’ antagonism and dump it on you or your client. Lawyering is not for the fainthearted. For us to survive or at the least prevent ulcers or heart attacks and relieve great stress, we need to take effective precautions and stay conscious about how we are feeling, reacting and communicating. Lawyer civility towards each other has been addressed in court rules and discussed at length on many of my list serve groups. The January 2013 issue of the American Bar Association Journal addressed attorney civility on its magazine cover. There is a picture of two male attorneys standing face to face in an adversarial stance with their neckties tied to each other the cover title is "Keeping it Civil." The article is called, "You're Out of Order!: Dealing with the Costs of Incivility in the Legal Profession," and addresses the escalating concerns with lawyer discourtesy. Astoundingly, several state Supreme Courts have had to issue opinions that are strictly based on lawyer rudeness.
Lawyers are not the only ones who are disrespectful. All of us have had difficult clients who are extremely offensive. People in disputes are frustrated, resentful and antagonistic-that’s to be expected. So given that upfront, what are some tips for the New Year so we can avoid absorbing the animosity? As a mediator, I often work with the antipathy of all parties toward each other. Here are some of the approaches that help me to stay calm in the eye of the storm:
- Before phoning or meeting with a prickly person, focus on calming and positively infusing your body.
- Visualize yourself and that person smiling and acting cordial
- Close your eyes, take slow deep breaths into your solar plexus
- Prepare an agenda for the discussion which does not attack the other party or his/her client. Focus on the issues, not the arguments.
- No matter what is said to you or how you are attacked, don’t respond in like kind. You may wish to say, "Let’s be positive and mutually respectful." Don’t get mad, but at the same time, don’t ignore rude behavior. Respond, don’t react.
- Ask open-ended questions to find out the other party’s concerns and reasons for such concerns.
- Give the other party the chance to talk first so you will understand. LISTEN, LISTEN, and LISTEN without interruption. Even if what is said is offensive, annoying, nasty, or a lie.
- Take notes of what is said- don’t be thinking of your response
- Repeat back what you heard in a NON-AGGRESSIVE neutral manner "Let me see if I heard this correctly- you said (try to reframe so that his/her hostile words are replaced with more neutral statements)."
- Ask if you understood correctly- If you haven’t he/she will clarify. If so, now you can ask more questions.
- Because you have shown you are listening without engaging in the rudeness, and you have heard what was said, this will usually calm the other party down. Your composed approach will be contagious too.
- Talk more quietly and slower - and ask to have your say. Remind the other party that you courteously listened and you politely request that he/she do the same.
- Set your boundaries in the most courteous and respectful manner.
- Keep repeating the process above until you have each expressed the issues of concern.
- Agree with the aggressor whenever you can- whenever it is genuine-i.e. "You are right- this has been a big loss for your client. Although we see the cause differently, let’s see what we can do to work together to resolve this."
- Recognize and remember that the difficult person as a human being who has fears, needs, and problems just as you do. If possible move beyond the professional issues to find out a little about his/her family/hobbies, etc. without invading privacy.
- Stay conscious of how you are feeling - if you start to react with anger you will feel it first in your body- stop yourself and breathe slowly into your solar plexus, pausing before you respond.
It only takes one conscious person in a conflicting situation to de-escalate the conflict. That person is you. We can’t control anyone else but ourselves, and that is tough enough! So in this New Year, let’s intend to focus on our own approach and our own responses to be respectful, civil and kind to one another. Together we can "keep it civil" and create a more enjoyable new year for us all.
Mari Frank, Esq. has been an attorney/mediator in private practice in Laguna Niguel for 27 years. She teaches negotiation and mediation at UCI and as a MCLE Trainer. She is an Executive Committee Member of the LPMT Section of the State Bar of California. She is a mediator for the Civil Mediation Panel of the Orange County Superior Court and she hosts the radio show, Prescriptions for Healing Conflict which airs on KUCI 88.9 FM in Irvine every Monday morning at 8:30 AM. www.conflicthealing.com.
(b) Automated Traffic Enforcement Systems (i.e., red light cameras): Senate Bill No. 1303 was approved by Governor Brown on September 28, 2012, and was effective January 1, 2013. The Bill changes the laws governing automated traffic enforcement systems to ensure that red light camera programs maximize traffic safety and are implemented in a lawful and transparent manner. The new law also eliminates a person’s right to challenge the computer-generated information, video or image as an out-of-court statement under the hearsay rule. The bill specifies that "The printed representation of computer-generated information, video, or photographic images stored by an automated traffic enforcement system does not constitute an out-of-court hearsay statement by a declarant under Division 10 (commencing with Section 1200) of the Evidence Code." (Section 21455.5(e) of the Vehicle Code). Be cautious as you enter traffic intersections with automated traffic enforcement systems!
Twitter posting: #California's #SB1303 Shines a Red Light on Challenging #Traffic #Camera #Evidence as #Hearsay | http://bit.ly/ZyggtF
(c) Accessing California Legislative Information: The California Legislature has announced a new web site for accessing California legislative information: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/. This is a vast improvement over the old site (which is archaic by comparison): http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.
(d) New Laws for California Employers: Set forth below is a sampling of the new laws which went into effect on January 1, 2013, which all employers should be familiar with. For a more detailed discussion of the laws, read the article by Marla Merhab-Robinson which will appear in the February issue of eTBL, and you can receive one hour of MCLE self-study credit.
- Breastfeeding at the Workplace Protected from Discrimination. AB 2386 (Stats 2012 ch. 701) expands the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s ("FEHA") definition of sex set forth in California Government Code §12926(q) for purposes of discrimination protections to include "breastfeeding" and "medical conditions related to breastfeeding."
- Mental Retardation Re-Named. "Mental Retardation" is now called "Intellectual Disability." The Legislature proclaimed that the phrases "mental retardation" and "mentally retarded" as used in the law are "outdated, offensive, and misleading terms." (AB 2370, SB 1381 multiple statutes in ten codes)
- Inspection of Personnel Records. AB 2674 expands existing law allowing employee inspection of personnel records to include new copying requirements, updated timelines for employer compliance, and revised penalty provisions. (Amends Labor Code §§1198.5 and 226)
- Written Commission Agreements: Temporary Payment Exemption. Enacted in 2011, but effective January 1, 2013, AB 1396 requires that all in-state and out-of-state employers paying commissions to employees working in California provide them with written "contracts" setting forth both the formula for calculating commissions as well as the method of payment employers must also retain signed receipts of such agreements from employees. (Amended Section 2751 of the Labor Code and repealed Section 2752 of the Labor Code)
AB 2675 (2012) exempts from this requirement temporary, variable incentive payments that increase, but do not decrease, payment under the written contract.
(e) Other New Laws:
Unlocking smart phones without permission illegal, as of January 26th, 2013
- Electronic Wireless Communications Device and Driving. Existing law prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication, except as specified. The new law removes that prohibition if the person is using an electronic wireless communications device that is specifically designed and confirmed to allow voice-operated and hands-free operation to dictate, send, or listen to a text-based communication, and it is used in that manner while driving. (Assembly Bill No. 1536 amended Vehicle Code section 231S23.5.)
- Depositions. Effective January 1, 2013, the deposition of any person will be limited to seven hours of total testimony, bringing California in line with federal procedures. This expressly does not apply to any case brought by an employee or applicant for employment against an employer for acts or omissions arising out of or relating to the employment relationship. Other exceptions to this requirement are for expert witnesses, persons most knowledgeable, complex cases, and as otherwise provided by court order or the parties’ stipulation. The court will be required to allow additional time if necessary to fairly examine the deponent or if the deponent, another person, or any other circumstance impedes or delays the examination.
Adds Section 2025.290 to the Code of Civil Procedure.
(f) New eFiling Requirements for Orange County Courts (AB 2073). Effective January 1, 2013, pursuant to amendments to Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and Orange County, California Superior Court Rule 352, all documents filed in limited, unlimited, and complex civil actions must be filed electronically unless the Court rules otherwise. After January 1, 2013, any document that is electronically filed with the court after the close of business shall be deemed to have been filed on the next court day. "Close of business" means the time at which the court no longer accepts filings at the court’s filing counter (e.g., 4:00 P.M.). Although not ready for immediate implementation, the court is working towards extending the electronic ‘filing window’ to midnight, at which point all documents filed before midnight on a court day will deemed to have been filed on that court day, and documents electronically filed on or after midnight will be deemed filed on the next court day. For additional information:
(1) The Resource Link: http://www.occourts.org/online-services/efiling/
(2) The Press Release: http://www.occourts.org/general- public/notices/civil/CivilEFile092512.pdf
(g) Changes to Business Entity Filings. As of January 1, 2013, the California Secretary of State implemented several changes to the legal requirements that pertain to business entity documents filed with the office. The changes include updates to the entities and registered agent address requirements, as well as copy requests. For more information on the new requirements, view the California Secretary of State memorandum online at http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/be/forms/sb1532-notice-of-change.pdf
[Source: News Alert, January-March 2013, Parasec Global Document Filing & Retrieval]
(h) Secretary of State’s Office-Legislative Summary. The Secretary of State’s Office has prepared summaries of bills enacted into law that may directly affect filings made and business conducted with their office. Review the Statutes of 2012 - Legislative Summary at http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/legislation/2012.htm .
(i) Mobile App Privacy Guidelines. On January 10, 2013, California Attorney General (AG) Kamala Harris released "Privacy on The Go: Recommendations for the Mobile Ecosystem," a 22-page report that contains privacy guidelines for all stakeholders in the mobile ecosystem. Prepared by the AG’s Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit, the guidelines do not supplant or supplement existing California privacy laws, such as the California Online Privacy Protection Act, but are meant to encourage all players in the mobile industry to consider privacy implications at the outset of the design process.
The guidelines contain specific recommendations for app developers, app platform providers, mobile ad networks, operating system developers and mobile carriers. The majority of the guidelines, however, is applicable to app developers, and includes the following recommendations:
- Use a checklist to consider the types of data your app could access or collect and use it to make decisions on your privacy practices
- Be transparent by making your privacy practices available to users before the app is downloaded and inform users what data is collected
- Use enhanced measures to draw users’ attention to data practices that may be unexpected or that involve sensitive information
- Avoid or minimize the collection of personally identifiable data for uses not related to your app’s basic functionality, and limit the retention of such data to the period necessary to support the intended function or to meet legal requirements.
- Be aware of additional obligations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act if your app is directed to children under the age of 13 or if you know that you are collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 and
According to AG Harris, these guidelines are intended to "encourage the alignment of architectural and functional decisions" with widely accepted Fair Information Practice Principles that form the basis for many privacy codes and laws in different parts of the world, including federal and California law. A copy of Privacy on the Go can be found at http://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/pdfs/privacy/privacy_on_the_go.pdf.
(j) Ethics Byte - Building safeguards into fee agreements. Diane Karpman’s article, Building Safeguards into Fee Agreements, appears in the January 2013 issue of the CalBar Journal. Ms. Karpman discusses various clauses a lawyer may have in his/her fee agreements, which ones should be avoided, and how some may be interpreted. She discusses giving your fee agreements a "tuneup" at the beginning of each year. Read her article at http://www.calbarjournal.com/January2013/EthicsByte.aspx
(k) Formal Opinion No. 2012-186 (Social Media). The State Bar of California Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) issued Formal Opinion No. 2012-186 on December 21, 2012. This was Formal Opinion Interim #10-0001 (Social Networks) when it was out for public comment in June/July 2012. The Opinion tackles the issue: Under what circumstances would an attorney’s postings on social media websites be subject to professional responsibility rules and standards governing attorney advertising? The Opinion interpreted the following authorities: Rule 1-400 of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California Business and Professions Code section 6106, 6151, and 6152 and Business and Professions Code sections 6157 through 6159.2. Read the complete Opinion at http://ethics.calbar.ca.gov/Portals/9/documents/Opinions/CAL%202012-186%20%2812-21-12%29.pdf
(l) Judicial Council Forms and Rules of Court. A new year brings changes in many of the Judicial Council Forms and California Rules of Court. A Publisher's List of the new and revised Judicial Council Forms are available on the California Courts website, www.courts.ca.gov. Also included on this website are the new and amended Rules of Court which were adopted on December 13, 2011, and October 26, 2012, effective January 1, 2013, and July 1, 2013. Take a moment to review the changes in your particular practice area and let your staff know of new or revised forms or procedures.
Watch for the 2012 Legislative Summary which is posted to this website in early February 2013. The summary will highlight the bills enacted by the Legislature and Governor which affect the courts or are of general interest to the legal community.
(m) Postal Rates Increase. The U. S. Postal Service increased its rates to help cover the costs of delivering the mail. As of January 27, 2013, the U.S. Postal Service increased the cost to mail a letter (1 oz.) to 46 cents (1-cent increase). Forever Stamps, the ones that remain good despite future postage rate increases, increased to 46 cents. The USPS also introduced a new First-Class Mail Global Forever Stamp. The stamp allows people to mail letters anywhere in the world for $1.10. The USPS also just announced that they will cease delivering first-class mail on Saturdays, effective August 2013.
For more news from the USPS, visit them online at: https://www.usps.com.
(n) Court Holidays for 2013. The California courts will be closed in observance of the following holidays:
News Year’s Day
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
Monday, January 21, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
César Chávez Day
Monday, April 1, 2013
Monday, May 27, 2013
Thursday, July 4, 2013
Monday, September 2, 2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Day after Thanksgiving
Friday, November 29, 2013
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
For more court-related information, go to www.courts.ca.gov.
New Benefits for Members
The Executive Committee is pleased to offer its newest benefit, for all LPMT Section members - TERIS.
TERIS works with leading law firms and corporate legal departments to provide sophisticated, consultation-based solutions and state-of-the-art technologies for ediscovery, as well as highly experienced project management. It is a full-service information governance and litigation support services provider founded in 1996, serving clients both within the U.S. and internationally through multiple offices.
As nearly 95% of all the records created worldwide are digital, corporations and law firms are being forced to invest more heavily in data governance know-how in order to safely navigate State and Federal regulation and high stakes litigation.
This is where TERIS comes in. TERIS is at the forefront of enterprise-level information management and ediscovery. They work directly with corporate legal teams across a variety of industries to deliver repeatable, defensible, and scalable ediscovery services.
TERIS is now offering to all LPMT members a 10% discount on all ESI/ediscovery services which exceed $1,000. Log on to their website www.teris.com and contact them via email or telephone, including our discount code: LPMTERIS.
Check out the other new benefits introduced late last year:
(a) Clio -- Practice Management Simplified
As a State Bar of California LPMT Section member you are eligible to receive a discount on your Clio subscription. Clio is a 100% web-based legal practice management system that is optimized to meet the needs of sole practitioners and small firms. Web-based, secure and easy-to-use, Clio overcomes many of the technical hurdles offered by conventional practice management solutions. Clio allows lawyers to simplify their workflow, thus freeing up valuable time to build their practice. Your important client data is securely accessible anywhere --from your PC, your Mac, and even your iPhone.
Clio is regularly $49/month for attorneys and $25/month for non-attorney support staff. Members of the State Bar of California Law Practice Management & Technology Section will receive a 10% lifetime discount
on their Clio subscription, bringing the monthly cost to $44.10 for attorneys and $22.50 for non-attorney support staff. Sign up today by going to the LPMT Section landing page! http://www.goclio.com/landing/calpmt/index.html
The discount/promotional code is embedded in the sign-up, just click the "Try it out for FREE" button. If you are already a Clio subscriber, the discount will also apply to your subscription (use the promotional code, calpmt).
Learn more about the Clio practice management system at www.goclio.com
Time59 is web-based time and billing software designed for solo lawyers. Use Time59 to record billable time and expenses, create invoices, and keep track of payments.
Bill for multiple timekeepers in your office. Supports hourly billing and flat fee pricing. Time59 also includes trust accounting and LEDES invoicing functionality.
Time59 is priced at $99.95 per year for unlimited use. The special discount for members of Calbar’s Law Practice Management and Technology Section includes four (4) free months added to your first-year’s subscription, so you receive sixteen (16) months for $99.95, the price of a year’s subscription. In addition, your monthly cost will never increase over the life of your subscription. This discount applies to both new and existing users.
Time59 is the easy and inexpensive way to bring the benefits of cloud computing to your practice. Visit the website at www.time59.com for complete information. Use "LPMT" as your discount code.
) has been an LPMT member benefit for some time now. Learn more about using Lexology and personalizing it to meet your needs in an upcoming eNewsletter.
LPMT's signature publication, The Bottom Line, launches its flagship all-digital eTBL version with the February 2013 issue.
Neil Quateman discusses how we have arrived at the new version of the eTBL and why it was necessary
The Modern Method of Delivery for Section Journals
As most of the members of the State Bar are (probably painfully) aware, a substantial amount of electronic material has been removed from the Bar's Web site. This happened because the Bar has made a commitment to making its site ADA compliant. The old material was not compliant, and the time and expense to make it so was out of reach. And, piling on to this problem was the challenge of producing new electronic journals that are compliant without incurring the cumbersome and expensive effort to remediate PDF versions.
So, at the end of 2011 Pam Wilson, Director of Sections, asked the Law Practice Management and Technology Section to help find a solution. Now, a little over a year later with the help of various executive committee members, and Michael Mullen from the Section Education and Meeting Services, our section is excited to be introducing the ADA compliant electronic distribution of our journal, The Bottom Line.
The February 2013 issue of The Bottom Line (referred to temporarily within our committee as eTBL) is the maiden voyage of the new format. It is made up of templates prepared by Duuplex, a graphic design company engaged by the Bar. The Bar's intention is to make these templates available to other sections wishing to publish electronically, and to store them on the Bar's Web site. The journal will be available in the Members Only section.
Neil Quateman, eTBL
The February issue of eTBL (formerly The Bottom Line) will include the following articles, one of which is MCLE eligible (one hour of self-study credit):
- MCLE Self-Study Credit: New California Employment Laws Effective on Passing in 2012 or January 1, 2013, for All California Employers
By Marla Merhab-Robinson
- The True Cost of Hiring - and Terminating - a Lawyer
By Ed Poll
- Preventing Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation in California Law Offices
By Michael C. Robinson
- Law Firm Morale - Much More than Smiley Faces
By Andrew Elowitt
- Coach’s Corner - Associates Should Take Charge of their Business Education
By Ed Poll
Neil Pederson was the guest editor for the February issue and coordinated its production. The February issue will be delivered in the new version as an eTBL. The eTBL will meet all of the compliance requirements imposed by the Americans with Disabilities Act and be fully accessible.
The theme for the April issue of eTBL will be "The Future of Legal Technology." The issue will contain articles discussing Access, Analytics, Legal Tech Innovation, Legal Tech Startups, and more pertaining to the technology California lawyers will be seeing in the future. Ron Dolin is the guest editor for the April issue and is coordinating its production.
Articles for publication in The Bottom Line are welcome from LPMT Section members and others. Please obtain the Guidelines for submitting articles from Section Coordinator Kristina Robledo (Kristina.Robledo@calbar.ca.gov), and submit your articles for review by the editorial committee.
Archived Article from The Bottom Line
"Want to Be More Effective? Learn to Listen" was published in the June 2010 issue of The Bottom Line (Volume 31, No. 3). The article written by Kristi Royse, CEO of KLR Consulting, discussed ways to improve your listening skills and by doing so would positively impact your business in a variety of ways. She also offered several suggestions designed to build listening awareness. This article continues to be timely as listening effectively and without interrupting were among the approaches that Mari Frank discusses in her article to help her stay calm when dealing with difficult people. (see Item 3(a) above) Ms. Royse, says, "Remember, with two ears and one mouth we have twice the chance to listen before we speak."
Executive Committee News
(a) Follow CEB on Twitter!
Michael Fenger, the Liaison from CEB to the LPMT Executive Committee wants everyone to follow CEB on Twitter. Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), a joint entity of the State Bar and the University of California, is now posting daily on Twitter case squibs with links to all California, Ninth Circuit, and U.S. Supreme Court slip opinions. See https://twitter.com/#!/CEB_CA
(b) Facebook and Twitter.
Keep following the Law Practice Management and Technology Section on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/calbarlpmt and Facebook at www.facebook.com/calbarLPMT.
Please "like" us and "follow" us for access to up-to-date news and information from your Executive Committee members at LPMT.
(c) Volunteers are Needed for the LPMT Executive Committee:
The search continues for volunteers to serve on the LPMT Executive Committee for 2013-2014. If you want to work with an extremely dedicated group of legal professionals from a variety of backgrounds who want to provide current information to their colleagues for managing and growing their practices, submit your application. Learn from fellow Executive Committee members and provide your expertise to the committee. Visit www.calbar.org/appointments to learn more or contact any member of the Executive Committee. The deadline to submit your application has been extended to May 1, 2013, so there’s still plenty of time to submit an application.
(d) Task Force on Admissions Regulation Reform:
Special Advisor, Ed Poll, has been attending the meetings of the Task Force on Admissions Regulations Reform on behalf of the LPMT Section Executive Committee. A draft report is expected shortly from the Task Force discussing whether the State Bar should develop a regulatory requirement for a pre-admission practical skills training program, and if so, propose such a program to the Supreme Court. The January 15 meeting is to be rescheduled. As set forth on the State Bar’s website, the next scheduled meeting of the Task Force is on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in San Francisco.
(e) Public Comment:
The State Bar is still seeking public comment on the items set forth below. Do review the items and provide your input by the due date. The LPMT Executive Committee has a subcommittee which monitors the items that are sent out for public comment. The subcommittee will review the items and determine if a response on behalf of the LPMT Section is warranted. If you feel the Section should weigh in on any proposed changes, do contact the LPMT Executive Committee (LPMT@calbar.ca.gov).
(f) Executive Committee Members:
Derick Roselli presented an eDiscovery program, eDiscovery and the Integral Role of the Records & Information Manager, to the January 17 gathering of OCARMA (Orange County Chapter of the Association of Records Managers and Administrators International (ARMA International)). Over 55 people attended to hear Mr. Roselli provide an overview of the eDiscovery Lifecycle, and to discuss how electronically stored information (ESI) is defined the role of the Records & Information Manager and proactive information governance and he also provided checklists to prepare for eDiscovery. The presentation was well-received by the participants.
Mr. Roselli is an Enterprise Account Executive and Electronic Discovery consultant at Hewlett-Packard Company, and is serving as the Vice Chair of the Social Media subcommittee of the LPMT Executive Committee. Mr. Roselli and members of the subcommittee are responsible for the postings to Face Book and tweets on Twitter to members of the LPMT Section.
Members: Let us know what YOU are doing so we can include your activities and accomplishments in our next eNewsletter. Let us hear from you (LPMT@calbar.ca.gov).
Educational Opportunities - Summary of CEB Programs
In December 2012, Executive Committee member, Donna Seyle, attended the CEB presentations, Launching a Successful Law Practice, with speaker Carolyn Elefant, and Managing a Virtual Law Office, with speaker Stephanie Kimbro. Donna has prepared a summary of the two programs, and Part 1 is set forth below. Watch for Part 2 in the March issue of the eNewsletter.
CEB Live Presentations: Staying Current for Solos
Long before it was trendy to address law practice management issues for solo lawyers before BigLaw was forced to reduce hiring, layoff associates and reduce salaries before legal technology had created a whole new level of competition for legal services, there was Continuing Education of the Bar - California, better known as CEB.
Continuing Education of the Bar - California (CEB) is a program of the University of California that is cosponsored by the State Bar of California. It was founded in 1947 with the mandate to cultivate the professional development of California lawyers. As an entrepreneurial non-profit, CEB’s mission is to provide practical to lawyers in the trenches. It has traditionally served new lawyers and solo practitioners as their partner in practice.
With more and more lawyers hanging out their own shingle, CEB is in the perfect position to meet their needs. It demonstrated its ability to do so by inviting two nationally-recognized, skillful thought leaders in the areas of solo practice and legal technology, Carolyn Elefant and Stephanie Kimbro, to present live on going solo, and going virtual. Fortunately, the presentations were recorded live and will be offered soon through CEB’s on-demand webinar portal.
Part 1: Going Solo
Carolyn, herself a Washington, D.C. solo and author of the influential blog, myShingle.com, says solos are made, not born. It is not necessary to possess a special, innate talent. But, unlike associates in large or even mid-sized firms, you do need to develop a set of skills necessary to ensure your practice will succeed.
Before you do that, however, you must get your hands around the big picture: where are you going with this? Are you just looking to gain some experience, waiting until that BigLaw job you always wanted becomes a reality? Or are you in this for the long haul? This is a primary decision that will affect every decision you make as you start your practice.
Moreover, being solo is an old profession in an evolving world. Change is everywhere: the tools, the workplace, the clients, the trends. There are new opportunities to generate income through the use of technology, and new career options in legal services. You must be nimble and you must be social, in person and online.
Consider the new normal: flexible workforce, outsourcing/virtual assistance, strategic alliances. Make yourself memorable by establishing your niche, being specialized and unique, offering targeted methods of services delivery to a definitive marketplace, with laser-beam focus on the one thing you do really well. And allow technology to take over fundamental tasks, so you can spend your time being a lawyer.
First things first
Evaluate your technology resources, and refurbish or repurpose what you already have. You can always upgrade to a new level when income starts flowing. Focus on the necessities you don’t have: an IOLTA account, legal malpractice insurance, the ability to accept credit card payments are a few.
- solo v. partner - consider the pros and cons
- home v. brick & mortar office - what is your preference, and can you afford it?
- part time v. full time - as a solo, you get to choose
- business plan v. no plan - a law practice is a business and needs to act like one
- financial considerations - don’t borrow money instead, go lean
- solo out of school v. solo after work - the choices you make will be different
- free v. fee technology - be sure they support mission-critical functions, provide sufficient security protocols, offer client convenience and appear professional
- Planning tools: FreelanceSwitch.com and myShingle.com
- Legal research: Google scholar and fastcase.com (mobile app also)
- Timekeeping: togl.com
- Invoicing: simpleinvoices.com
- Credit card payments: merchant services for lawyers that is tied to a trust account, if you're taking advance fees on a credit card if fee is earned: PayPal and square.net
- Online appointments: appointy.com and whenisgood.com
- Document storage: dropbox.com (there are many others, but only paid version provide necessary security protocols)
- Knowledge management and research organization : evernote
- Forms: wufoo.com
- Website development: wix.com
- Blogs: Blogger.com and Tumblr.com
- Faxing: gotfreefax.com
- Free email: no free email is secure can use the paid version of Google
- Voicemail - Google voice
- Conferencing : freeconferencecall.com
- Webinars - anymeeting.com
- Event registration: eventbrite.com
Using Social Media
Get online, period: develop a website, blog or curate content, sign up on lawyer networks, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (only if you can separate out your personal life). Your web presence is essential, and people now think you are fly-by-night if you're not online. Potential referral sources will look here.
Most importantly, consult your state rules regarding the use of social media and disclaimers related to any posting or interaction online.
Remember it is a client’s market. Their expectations include the ability to access legal services affordably, and with certainty. The hourly billing model does not accommodate those expectations, and interferes with communication.
Use project-based flat fee models, value pricing, subscription-based fee schedules, any results-focused strategy that fits your practice area. Consider offering unbundled services. Creating these fee schedules requires some detective work on prevailing rates. Use AttorneyFee.com or RateDriver.com to determine what others are charging.
When presenting fees to your client, don't negotiate. Rather, accommodate their needs by reducing the scope of services. Provide an option menu: a range of prices and/or services, offering low to high end services, increasing the scope and delivery of services that consider not just what will be included, but also how, and how fast, services will be delivered.
Be sure to do due diligence on the client, and don't start work until check clears. Invoice timely, and make online payments accessible.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this program, establishing a virtual law practice, to be discussed in the March issue of eNews.
9. LPMT Webinars
Future Webinars:The LPMT Executive Committee is developing a series of webinars to be presented in 2013 which will focus on programs to assist you in running your office. Watch for upcoming announcements as the webinars are scheduled.
The first webinar has been scheduled:
Discover a Fortune Hidden in a Computer: A Practical Guide to E-Discovery
This program offers 1 hour credit of participatory MCLE credit .You must register in advance in order to participate.
- Be on the cutting edge. Get practical, useful insider information on topics that are essential for every litigator to master:
- E-Discovery: Duties under the Federal and Local Rules
- Noted Guidelines/Model Orders
- Northern District E-Discovery Guidelines
- Federal Circuit Model Order
- Litigation hold letters
- Assisting clients with implementing a litigation hold
- Collection of electronic discovery
- Different tools for processing e-Discovery (Concordance, Relativity, etc.)
- tiff vs. native files
- Sanctions for spoliation of electronic discovery
- International issues in e-Discovery
With speakers and Perry L. Segal and Scott Hansen, Moderator
Members, join us in planning future webinars.
The Education Committee wants to hear from you -- what topics or subject matters do you want to have covered in future webinars? Would you be willing to assist with a webinar or present one? Please provide your thoughts and suggestions to the Executive Committee (LPMT@calbar.ca.gov
Webinars previously presented by the LPMT Section continue to be available on the State Bar’s Website in the Online CLE section. It now includes articles from Section publications for self-study MCLE credit. There are several articles from The Bottom Line which have been placed in the Online CLE catalog. The following webinars may be of interest to you:
(a) E-Discovery Evolution: Crawl, Walk then Run Your Case
Speakers: Perry L. Segal and Derick Roselli
(1 hour MCLE $35)
Online Program / Podcast
(b) The Cloud: Secure? Yes. Ethical? No So FAST!
Speakers: Perry L. Segal and Donna Seyle
(1.25 hours CLE 1 hour-ethics $43.75)
Online Program / Podcast
(c) Social Media: Balancing Benefits and Ethical Burdens
Speaker: Mari Frank (1 hour CLE-ethics $35)
Online Program / Podcast
(d) Hazardous Transmissions: The Ethics when Technologies "Byte"
Speaker: Michelle Greer Galloway (1 hour CLE-ethics $35)
Online Program / Podcast
(e) Accounts Receivables Management
Speaker: Robert A. Weinberg (1 hour CLE $35.00)
Online Program / Podcast
(f) Alternative Fee Arrangements and Cost Control Initiatives for Litigations -- Beyond the Billable Hour
Speaker: Patrick Premo (1.0 hour CLE $35)
Online Program / Podcast
(g) A Best Practices Review and Update for E-Discovery in California.
Speaker: William Hoffman (1.0 hour CLE $35.00)
Online Program / Podcast
(h) Workplace Privacy & Communication Policies in the Social Media Era
Speaker: Robert Brownstone (1.5 hours CLE $52.50)
Online Program / Podcast
(i) Amendments to the California Discovery Act for Electronically Stored Information (ESI) enacted by AB 5 that went into effect on June 29, 2009
Speakers: Robert Brownstone, Will Hoffman, and retired Commissioner Richard Best. (1.5 hours CLE $52.50)
Online Program / Podcast
Future State Bar Annual Meetings
The following dates and locations have been scheduled for future annual meetings:
2013 October 10-13, San Jose
2014 September 11-14, San Diego
2015 October 8-11, Monterey
The California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law Office
The California Guide to Opening and Managing a Law Office is available for purchase online. As a sole practitioner or the head of a small firm, you must act as so much more than just CEO; you must also wear the hats of Chief Financial Officer, Human Resources Director, Chief Technology Officer, and more. This is the guide, created by experts, to help you with all the roles you must undertake and tasks you must accomplish to make your practice flourish. See the Sections Bookstore for more details.
Law Practice Management and Technology Section
The State Bar of California
180 Howard Street
San Francisco, CA 94105