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Susan Cartier Liebel, Esq.
Teaching Lawyers How to Create and Grow Their Solo Legal Practice
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Maybe we can give each new client an ipad?? :-)Actually, the real way to get a positive relationship is to become more holistic in your legal services, more preventive in the services you offer than reactive to an existing problem. Then you become partners in preventing issues, a partner in a positive relationship while the individual grows their business, navigates life's inevitable issues, a true counselor and advisor before-the-fact. Then the image evolves. How's that?? :-)
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Jay, Apple products make people feel trendy, chic, with it...it's a feel good product as well as satisfies the need for technology to improve their lives. Lawyers are problem solvers. Problems are not sexy, don't improve the quality of your life or make you feel good and make you want to show off to your friends. Except for bragging rights in saying you know a great lawyer personally when asked, no one wants to have an ongoing business relationship with one ....at least not one which includes a retainer and where money has to change hands. I think it is something we have to just get used to.
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Jay, I'm actually conflicted on this issue. Regardless whether your particular lawyer is business savvy or not, isn't if really the responsibility of the lawyer to advise the legal ramifications of the different opportunities available to the client and the decisions the client wants to make, the legal pros and cons being laid out so the client can make the final choice? In the course of doing so, however, comes the benefit of the lawyer's experience in similar situations and this can naturally influence the final decision the client makes. I wouldn't want my lawyer to advise me on accounting matters even if the lawyer has accounting experience. I'm not sure I would want my lawyer to advise me beyond his role because then s/he is in fact getting involved in the decisions/directions of the business as an advisor, a role s/he was not hired for directly. Then the relationship can become contentious if the lawyer has different ideas than the client. Ultimately, we have to advocate for the client's decision and they can't make a truly informed decision without the benefit of objective legal counsel covering all the bases which includes negatives. I have one recent story. My parents were purchasing a home. It was a mess from the seller's side but they really wanted the property. Their lawyer kept telling them to walk away, it was a mess, it couldn't be fixed. They wanted the home. My parents' patience and determination to make it work paid off unbelievably for them. However, now they had a lawyer who didn't believe in what they were doing and he was doing it kicking and screaming. Had the lawyer just laid everything out for them objectively and went with their decision to stick with it in a supportive way, the relationship would have been much better. Again, clients have to make their choices. They can't make their choices intelligently without a good lawyer laying out all the pros and cons. Once the client has then made their decision, the lawyer should help them to do what they want to do..without negativity.
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For the record, I have it on good authority (OK, the horse's mouth) that judges in Connecticut have been seriously looking into video-conferencing for precisely this purpose.
Sorry for all the typos and bad grammar...it's a Friday afternoon...:-)
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Among all the things that troubles me about this...my question is: Will we know when someone we follow is posting a sponsored tweet? Is it any different then one someone tweets with an affiliate URL and you don't know (which I think is wrong.) And if someone posts a sponsored tweet and I'm aware of it, I know I will likely unfollow or ignore because that's not why I'm on twitter. However, if there is are unemployed people out there (lawyer or not) who can find a way to monetize their hard work on social media which allowed them to create a name for themselves (even if it is not to our taste) can we really fault them for looking into it?
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Susan Cartier Liebel, Esq. is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
I actually know someone in Vegas who bought a 'murder house' with knowledge. The price reflected the incident and didn't mind. I think it's very personal. I wouldn't do it either. I'm sure some states require it. Just don't know of any. Sorry.
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Matt, I happen to agree with the above commenter, Jay. When we realize what we have to market of real value is the 'knowledge' and not the forms, the relationship of advisor and not templates, the ideas, not necessarily the execution of those ideas, that's when we will be able to truly compete with the web and these highly disclaimed, 'we're not giving legal advice' sites. I can give someone a fully equipped car, but if they don't know how to drive, can't maneuver around obstacles, they are going to crash and most certainly not get to their destination with any confidence.
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2009 on I'm in the Spotlight at the [non]billable hour
I can't say I won't be seeing more of you because as we all know, I will. But quite frankly you were the reason I first started reading Legal Blog Watch. And I'm sure countless others share that sentiment. Bruce will find his own voice..but yours will be missed here.
Toggle Commented Sep 19, 2009 on My Last Day at Legal Blog Watch at Legal Blog Watch
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Stephanie, I wasn't referring to your particular questions, actually. But you do say you are always listening for the mention of 'client service' in these conversations, especially from the Gen Ys. But if they are not being asked the question about their attitude or commitment to client service, you're not going to hear a discussion or a perspective. And then to compound this by asking the question, 'then why did they go into a service profession'? seems like a throw-away question or a conclusion. Service to a client does not mean servitude to an employer. But that being said, I've come to realize I don't have a dog in this fight. I am not an employer, have never been an employer nor will ever be an employer. I do not hire and fire. I do not invest time and money into another only to have them not live up to my exacting standards or leave because I couldn't live up to theirs. I have worked for myself for the past 18 years and have had long stretches of self-employment before that. I've been working since I was thirteen not because I had to but because I wanted to. I could never work for someone else long-term but I've always known that. Employment for me was just a means to get to where I wanted to be - self-employment. I pretty much only work with those who feel the same way but either made poor 'employment' decisions along the way or had their 'self-employment' epiphany on someone else's dime. Other than a philosophical question about a generation, it's not part of my daily professional experience. The Gen Y's I converse with are an exciting group because they will effectuate change. There is not one basement-dweller amongst them. Maybe I'm spoiled but I hang with a pretty exciting professional crowd that crosses all generational lines. Client service is a given for them, not a debate. :-)
Stephanie, you write, "As I said above, one thing that troubles me deeply in this ongoing discussion about the generations is the important matter of client service." That's because, in my opinion, the wrong question is being asked. And quite possibly the question is being asked in the wrong forums. If you ask generation-by-generation 'when you are building your law practice, what are your goals for your client' - the answer would be client-centric. When you ask generation-by-generation 'when you are building your law practice, what are your professional and personal goals, that's an ego-centric question. Seems to me everyone is asking the ego-centric question and applying the answer to the 'un-asked' client-centric question. An answer for one doesn't translate to the other. Nor are the goals mutually exclusive. Why can't both goals be satisfied 100%?
OMG. That is brilliant!! It's reminds me of one day hanging out with the marshals (I was a divorce lawyer in a previous life) and the phone rang. The woman was asking for David's Bridal. The marshal said, 'No honey, it's not David's Bridal, but hold on to this number. There's a 50% chance you are going to need it."
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Matt, this powerful imagery and sends a clear message. Nice work!
I've been a huge advocate of registering your name in all social media, reserving it for the day you are ready to use it with a proper social media plan. It is the new real estate and it's free to do so. Yet, it's very costly to try and reclaim if you don't or live with the consequences of undoing damage someone may do to your reputation once they have your name. Why is such a simple concept so hard to grasp...and act upon?
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While agreeing with all of the above...why should it be any different then real life? We all just have to find our place in it. Let's not make it a "Now that the (fill in the blank)s have moved in the property values have gone down" discussion.
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Your last paragraph says it all. I've lived being the newbie who looked under rocks more experienced lawyers wouldn't bother looking under and watched other newbies do the same thing with great results. It's their secret weapon. They are so anxious to do it right, they practice law fresh and without a jaundiced eye. And he has his own firm, too! :-)
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Congratulations to you, Chuck! What a great day. Can't wait for all the details in your inimitable style!
Toggle Commented Jun 9, 2009 on Mary Gets Married at Chuck Newton
OK. So it's not a comeback. But I am interested to read what you've learned as you continue to reflect and build your practice within your law firm.
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2009 on Don't Call it a Comeback at The Dreams of a Solo
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Dan, if you were just starting out, not established with your current reputation, choosing to go solo, needing a low/no cost entry to getting your name out there (beyond client referrals) in addition to telling all your family/friends/acquaintances, meeting other attorneys and potential referrers of clients BEYOND going to your local bar associations, what would you be doing today? Please don't say 'working my butt off for my current clients'..that's a given. Wouldn't you be exploring ways above and beyond? In addition, social media is more about networking with other attorneys, in my opinion. It is from this networking online that more offline relationships are established. It is not necessarily a direct A to B line to the client but attorneys connecting with other attorneys, an awareness. Because you are not on Twitter you don't see the frequent referrals which go on 'looking for' attorney in such and such place. And the business that results. I don't think anyone on Twitter says, 'doesn't this person work? At least not that I've heard.
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Carolyn, As you know I'm a fan of Twitter as another tool in one's marketing arsenal. Never go into any social media platform without a plan. But statistics, statistics. Torture statistics long enough and they will tell you anything you want hear. ;-) Twitter can be easily fed to your 'other social networking' platform such as those dominated by 18-24 year olds. Twitter feeds can be fed to numerous places which cuts down on time you need to spend tending to all social media sites. It's marketing 24/7 for you...especially when done correctly. And, yes, 10% of users are responsible for the majority of conversation. As you correctly note, does that negate the value to those who are listening? I think not. These same people will say they heard you or saw you in one of these fora but never made a peep. They just contacted you directly. More than likely through your blog contact form. So, there is no metric to measure. Because there is no direct line from A to B does this make it worthless? I don't think so. Ironically, in a recent (unscientific poll) of lawyers more than 53% had a twitter account compared to only 24% who had a blog (it was where they heard about the seminar.) And this was a group who was listening to someone discussing the power of blogging. I remember the dreaded numbers which came out talking about the millions of abandoned blogs therefore blogging must not be good for marketing. It dragged down the statistics when discussed in its totality...not the benefit to lawyers. Ask lawyers who blog effectively if blogging is a bad marketing tool simply because there are abandoned blogs out there. Same is true for the statistics regarding Twitter. As someone said, let lawyers abandon Twitter. It makes it a much more valuable tool for those who utilize it properly.
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Kimberly, thank you for being in my class and for commenting and congratulations on going out on your own! It's exciting, scary times but you will do well if you make up your mind to do well. I hope my class played some small part in giving you the confidence you will need to succeed. Keep me posted!
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They haven't clicked yet (based upon the ones you note) because they are seeking out quantity and not identifying the 'lawyers' want and need and what is going to make the lawyers stay and become valuable contributors within the site. Clearly Solo Practice University http://solopracticeuniversity.com is different because we provide education and networking in very easy to use cutting edge technology which has created an intimacy and comfort for solos that has the community 'humming' 24/7. The 'if you build it, they will come' mentality of these other sites misses the core 'pain points' of those who they are targeting.
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We are talking actively on the topic at Solo Practice University. Obviously, I'm going to agree with Mark Bennett and Ken Lammers. Nothing is easy nor takes the place of competence. But to start with the premise one is incompetent when they come out of law school is simply positioning without foundation just to make an argument. Anything in life takes hard work, hooking up with the right people to give guidance and a commitment to doing it right while understanding your professional obligations to your clients. This "newborn, smelling of talcum powder visual of the fresh out of the womb law student self-serving and doesn't do new lawyers any justice. Give these new attorneys some credit. They don't want to fail their clients or themselves and do have some brains to seek out assistance to get in the game in a meaningful and ethical way.
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Thanks, Bob for the mention. Solo Practice University has been long in the making, well before it became 'chic.' It has been a driving passion of mine since I went to law school back when dinosaurs roamed the earth (only kidding) and solos were considered 'lesser than' because they didn't favor the Big Law track. Technology (and the amazing skills of Dave Carson) has allowed me to realize a dream. With the incredible support of the faculty (I've been told larger than some law schools) I think SPU will definitely be a place many will want to learn what they didn't learn in law school...how to become an ethical, responsible and profitable solo practitioner.
Toggle Commented Mar 3, 2009 on Solo Is the New SoHo at Legal Blog Watch
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