LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Keeping a Calendar

Judges demand respect. Part of that is a demand that attorneys show up when they are supposed to, ready to proceed. Missed deadlines and missed appointments can result in adverse rulings against a client, sanctions against the attorney, and possible disciplinary proceedings. It is incumbent on every...

Engagement Letters

When an attorney agrees to represent a client, it is in everyone’s best interests to get the fee agreement in writing. The agreement should cover the precise matter for which the attorney or firm is being retained, the fees to be charged, expenses, payment due dates, and termination of employment...

Checklist for Setting up a Law Office

I. Obtaining Clients a. Determine what kind of clients to represent i. Small businesses ii. Family law iii. Personal injury iv. Collection work v. Insurance defense b. Solicit clients i. Advertising ii. Announcement letters iii. Word of mouth c. Potential client Interview...

The New Client?

The call elicits instant chest swelling. It's a prospective client who has been treated very badly by one of my professional rivals at another firm. "I should have gone with my instincts and picked you in the first place," the caller intones. What a great opportunity! Snatching a lucrative...

Working Successfully with a Legal Assistant

Good two-way communication is essential to a successful relationship —This principle is so basic it seems almost trivial to mention it, but it’s worth reinforcing. Communication is not a top down process. It involves mutual respect and clear expectations. You must be willing to listen and...

Managing Litigation Documents with Concordance

Putting Concordance into the Proper Perspective Although it was initially introduced more than 20 years ago and has acquired a loyal user base, Concordance is still sometimes erroneously compared with traditional database management software. However, the simple fact is that Concordance cannot be...

Collecting Client Accounts

Getting slow-paying clients to cough up what they owe is frustrating and a big drain on cash flow, but there are ways to nudge a client into paying. Reminder Invoice One of the least confrontational things you can do is to send a "friendly" reminder invoice that you haven't yet...

Put Time on Your Side

Get ready to juggle six or seven assignments while appearing responsive to clients, senior attorneys, and partners. It comes with the profession! A law firm’s inventory is time—as evidenced by activities that can be billed to clients. Developing good time-management skills as a Summer Associate...

How a Law Firm Makes Money

An associate in a law firm can increase his or her value by understanding how a law firm makes money. Most law firms earn fees in one of four ways: (1) contingency fees; (2) hourly fees; (3) flat fees; and (4) retainers. Contingency Fees The most controversial method of earning money is the contingency...

Understanding Interest on Lawyer's Trust Accounts

Commingling The Rules and Canons of Ethics mandate that law firms and attorneys not commingle attorney funds with client funds. Attorneys are required to place client funds into a separate account. Any interest earned on these accounts is then used to fund services for low income clients. The accounts...

How Social Should You Be?

During your time as a summer associate, how can you be sociable, but also appropriate? Although you likely have many opportunities to socialize with professionals at the firm, are there gray areas you’ve been wondering about? For example: Should you be careful about initiating extended social...

Failure to Monitor Dockets or Receive Court Emails Can Prove Costly

Two recent judicial decisions illustrate how today’s technology is creating new expectations of attorneys. The first opinion addressed an attorney’s failure to timely file a Notice of Appeal of a court’s order. Six weeks after the deadline for filing had passed, the attorney discovered...

Relations with Support Staff… Partners’ Secretaries Outrank First-Year Associates: Deal with It!

What a heady time for the First-year Associate. You have endured three years of law professors, other law students, and law school in general. You have survived the bar examination. And now you are a newly minted attorney with a generous salary, doing important work with highly successful attorneys in...

New Client Development: It’s All About Who You Know

When you first start at a new firm, all you want to think about is learning the job and getting the work done. But, sooner or later, you know that you will be expected to start bringing in new clients. You were never taught this skill in law school, except maybe that it is unethical to directly seek...

Developing a Relationship with Your Mentor

What’s the secret to success for the new lawyer? Many publications and web sites tell you to locate a mentor, but your mentoring experience will only be successful if you give serious consideration to your role as the mentee and your relationship with your mentor. In the film version of John...

What, Me, Stressed? Eight Ideas for Managing Stress

You are probably under a great deal of stress as a young attorney trying to deal with difficult clients and office problems, still trying to figure out how to balance your career and personal life, and making sure that you’re living up to the legal community expectations. Some people thrive on...

Top 10 Rules of Client Service

Matthew Homann has posted his latest "Ten Rules" listing on his blog, "the [non]billable hour," this one addressing the top rules of client service. In a nutshell, the post emphasizes the importance of going the extra mile. Clients can get competent service from a multitude of lawyers...

Engagement Letters and Fee Agreements in Illinois Following Dowling v. Chicago Options Assocs., Inc.

A 2007 Illinois Supreme Court decision, Dowling v. Chicago Options Assoc., Inc. , 875 N.E.2d 1012 (Ill. 2007), noted that any written fee arrangement or retainer agreement, regardless of the type of retainer contemplated, should clearly define the kind of retainer being paid. It also recognized the viability...

Understanding the Importance of Marketing and Client Development

As lawyers in your early years of practice, you have, undoubtedly, already learned about the importance of marketing your and your firm’s practice and developing your and your firm’s base of clients. However, as young attorneys, you probably tend to leave “those issues” to the...

Is the Big Firm Salary Model Broken?

Word that some big law firms may do away with lockstep pay increases and reduce their associates' base salaries beyond the cuts already instituted comes as little surprise to legal trend watchers. The Above the Law blog published a report late last month that Dorsey & Whitney is considering a...

Preview of "Growing Your Law Practice in Tough Times"

Growing Your Law Practice in Tough Times is Insightful, focused and addresses the challenges facing law firms in the current economic climate. This book is a must for law firms of all sizes. As firms struggle to stay alive, you might ask who has time to sit down and analyze a firm's goals and develop...

Prototype for Law Firm Innovation

Back in 2000, when Axiom Law Founder Mark Harris decided that big law's hourly billings were excessive, he may have been the only lawyer who cared. The party for big law had been going on for some time now, each year bringing higher fees that clients could apparently pay, because they did. Medium...

Announcing LexisNexis® Firm Manager, an Innovative New Online Legal Practice Management Application for Solos and Small Firms

LexisNexis today announced the public beta release of LexisNexis ® Firm Manager TM , an innovative new online legal practice management application for solo practitioners and small law practices. Developed in collaboration with more than 150 attorneys, the Firm Manager application is designed to...

Lexis® Hub for New Attorneys Podcast: Dolores Dorsainvil on Law Practice Management

On this edition, Dolores Dorsainvil, Senior Staff Attorney of the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel, discusses the importance of law practice management, effective client screening, retainer agreements and how to handle attorney trust accounts. She also explains what attorneys should do if disputes arise with...