The Legal Chamber Newsletter • July 2011

When You’re Ready to Expand

There are lots of different reasons for expanding your legal practice. One obvious rationale to open another location or bring on more associates is money. “It takes money to make money” as the old saying goes, so here are a few things you’ll need to think about when raising funds to expand:

  • Work the Numbers—If it doesn’t makes fiscal sense, then it’s hard to look attractive to potential investors.
  • Strategize—Come up with multiple plans and think of potential pitfalls.
  • Research—Studying your market and business model will help increase your chances of success.
  • Investors—If you’re thinking of bringing in investors, you need to plan like a shrewd businessperson. Review your revenue potential, partnerships, branding, and other major successes to get a better picture of what you look like to potential investors.

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5 Mind Blowing Gadgets You'll Flip For

Who works harder than you? So why not indulge every once in a while and get something you want?

Here’s a list of 5 gadgets that will brighten your day and may even help you work more efficiently:

The HTC Flyer is a new iPad alternative that runs the popular and (some say superior) Android platform. It’s the most versatile 7” tablet on the market. HTC’s Scribble Technology allows you to draw, paint, write, sign documents, and even retouch pictures. It can be a highlighter for the reader (and by the way - all your highlights will be collated when you're done). The HTC Flyer can even add voiceover to a storybook you're drawing up at home.

You don’t have to be a high tech expert to figure out how to plug your cables into a KVM solution. KVM switches are plugs with wireless remotes that allow you to control 2 or more computers with one mouse and keyboard. You can also setup your desktop with multiple screens, or just one screen, as easy as plugging your screen and computer into the labeled dock.

Music can put your clients at ease as well as signal happy hour in the office. So grab a pair of these M-Audio AV-40 speakers for your office. They’re like no other set of speakers for the price.

Don’t want to think about what’s going to play next on those speakers? Check out Sirius XM Radio's Sportster 5. You can play it in the office, plug it in on your way home, and keep listening around the house. A subscription to Sirius also allows you to catch your favorite games and listen from their websites.

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Legal Tip #18: Rein in Your Title

We're all familiar with "Partner" and "Of Counsel".  These terms express your affiliation with some larger legal organization and add gravitas in the eyes of some clients. 

But what about titles for solo practitioners?  How can you effectively convey your legal expertise in your title? 

Technically, you can use "JD" at the end of your name to show your juris doctorate training, but this is not widely used.  

More popular is the use of the suffix “esquire”. But this carries risks, so you may wish to reconsider whether it’s relevant to your client demographic. 

"Esquire" has different connotations depending on where you live and practice, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with your market and choose your title accordingly.  Ask other lawyers in the area why they chose their particular title, or ask your clients what they’re most comfortable with seeing.

Getting someone to share their opinion is rarely a difficult matter—just remember to ask!

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How Are You Getting Paid?

You probably love helping folks sort out whatever legal problems they have. But your practice is still a business and you need to make money. One drawback these days is that everyone wants a piece of your action. What types of payments you take can seriously bite into your profits.

Cash is king, so always push for this first when possible. Personal checks sound good, but can be a risk, and should only be taken when you are confident the money is there.

More practices are accepting credit cards, but these carry added costs.  The biggest being the transaction cost, which general runs 1% to 5% every time a card is swiped. There are also potential cancellation fees that average a few hundred dollars, not to mention the equipment charges.

Flexibility in payment is important, but remember that you shouldn’t sacrifice too much profit. It’s a fine line you have to walk, but weighing your options and coming up with a bottom line is helpful. The numbers never lie.

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