The Legal Chamber Newsletter • June 2011
Podcasts That Will Keep Your Brain a Kickin’
Doing the same thing day after day can become routine even if you’re lucky enough to sport a diverse caseload. I may be reaching a bit here, but I’m guessing you consider yourself well informed on most topics. One way to cement that bizarre knowledge in your noggin or actually beat your kids at Trivial Pursuit is by exposing yourself to new material.
Enter your Blackberry, iPod, iPad or whatever tablet you’ve chosen, or just about any digital device (even you Kindle) because they all support podcasts. Don’t roll your eyes back just yet; this list is the cream of the crop: interesting, engaging, and not too funny. You’ve got to keep it clean in the office after all:
- StuffYouShouldKnow—The podcast that got me interested in it all, brilliance! Hosts Chuck and Josh explain all different topics in a simple yet interesting manner.
- Word of the Day—A fun extra short podcast that will expand your vocabulary. Try to incorporate the word at least once during you day - maybe in court?
- This Week in Tech—I’ll never be left behind. Neither should you. Plus, they’re pretty short and interesting if you like gadgets and new technology.
- BBC World Global News—Love the accent and hearing great stories. Need I say more?
- Onion Radio News—After the meal that is BBC news, Onion Radio News is your cup of hot chocolate.
- IndieFeed- A great little podcast that gives you “the best indie music from around the globe.” It’s easy to stay up to date on new music, and you can always fast forward.
- Slate’s Hang-Up and Listen—Funny brainy talk about sports.
- SModcast’s SNL—It’s the show of our generation, maybe. Entertaining nonetheless, SNL is a classic and will surprise you (most) every time.
5 Ways Around Traditional Business Cards
With so many kinfolk in the market, it can be tough to stand out. Plus, who uses business cards these days? Do you carry a cigarette case and travel with hatboxes? I didn’t think so.
Below are 5 ways you can distribute your professional information without looking so “old hat”:
Bump is a cool little app that allows you to ‘bump’ someone your contact information wirelessly from phone to phone. Links with social networks, contacts, photos, and more.
QR Codes are another digital age way to share your contact information. You can place these modern barcodes just about anywhere. There are free Android and iPhone apps to read them, and relay the information you’ve provided. Stickybits is a great source.
Social Media Sites are everywhere and they’re another great free platform for you to offer your services. It’s likely you have multiple profiles (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc.) so why not use Robo.to which unites all of your online profiles.
Small Novelty Items are always a fun idea to get personalized. They’re especially effective when you add a little humor. I’m not telling you to put your Divorce practice on free condoms. Try Child Custody on small plastic cars. Hmm... that still sounds creepy, but you get the gist. Think about who your clients are and how you can draw them in.
Lawyer Tip #17: Respect Your Limitations
If there is one thing that we’d recommend to stress-saturated attorneys, it’s this: Don’t take on more clients than you can effectively handle.
Many lawyers make the mistake of continually accepting clients, only to realize (when it is far too late) that they’ve spread their skills and time too thin. When this happens, it’s really time to panic. You end up working a hundred hours a week, kept awake by desperation and caffeine, and doing substandard work just to wrap up each case.
If you make a habit of doing this, you’re not only wait-listing yourself for some serious anxiety-induced health problems—you’re compromising your reputation.
We understand how tough it is to anticipate each case’s potential complications, but you must assume that every case will have its hiccups, and that it will take time to iron them all out. In order to effectively handle each case with precision and care, you’ll need to adjust your case load and compensate for any potentially time-consuming issues.
In summary: know your limits and don't exceed them. You’ll save yourself from stress, and save your practice from bad performance.
Streamlining Your Client Screening Process
Do you accept more than 50% of people who ask for your help? Or do you turn away more than 50%?
It may be more important than you think to know where you stand. If your practice requires a high volume of client leads before accepting a case, you may be doing an excellent job of client screening—but you may also be sacrificing business for selectivity.
On the other hand, a low volume of client leads before acceptance may indicate you aren’t screening clients well enough.
As you are probably well aware, screening clients with an intake process (either by phone, in person or written questionnaire) can be very time consuming. And if you are a solo practitioner who needs a high volume of client leads in order to be profitable, it can be suicide to try and go it alone.
Instead, hire a trained paralegal to do the screening for you, and you can save yourself countless hours.
Yes, staffing a paralegal will increase overhead in the short term, but in the long term you’ll be investing your time in higher-quality cases (while making more money) instead of weeding through a field of dead ends.