2010 Lawyers' Must-Have iPhone Applications
The Apple iPhone is everywhere, including the pockets of an escalating number of lawyers who utilize the hardware's mind-boggling number of applications for business. Much of a lawyer's work must be done in the office, but these iPhone applications make it much easier to be away without missing a thing. Solos and big laws alike utilize these cool apps - so what are you waiting for?
Black's Law Dictionary, 8th Edition ($49.99) — West definitely has the corner on the market when it comes to publishing and may have just done the same in the electronic world with this app. Easy searches, audible pronunciations of words, and references like page numbers that directly correlate to the print version make this my favorite research application.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ($2.99) — If you're worth your salt as a lawyer, or passed the state bar exam, you probably know most of this stuff. It's an unbeatable price (cheaper than the book version) and could prove useful even if it's just used settling a bet.
Constitution ($.99) — Another no-brainer for most lawyers, but fun to have just the same if you're really looking to bolster your iPhone law library.
AppBoxPro ($.99) — My favorite all in one app for conversions, tip calculating, banking, social media, RSS readers like Google Reader and iGoogle, shopping, calendar, games, language translations, and so many more things. You can probably get rid of 10 or so separate applications after getting this for a buck.
Quickoffice Connect Mobile Suite ($14.99) — Being a lawyer means toting a ton of paperwork right? Nope. Quickoffice enables you to view all kinds of files like Microsoft Word and Excel files in addition to PDF files. The coolest part is that it works with your Google Documents folder to save space on your iPhone and keep things running ship-shape.
Dragon Dictation ($1.99 + $.99 email add-on) — So they tell us we can't drive and text now, too? Dragon Dictation is an amazing little application that flawlessly transcribes whatever you're saying into text. When you're done speaking you can send it through a text message, note, email (is an extra add-on that's $.99), and the program even converts cues like "comma" into the real thing. Thank the punctuating gods - an app that finally saves us from carpal tunnel syndrome!
Time 2.0 Mobile Web Client (Monthly Charge) — Billable hours are a hassle to keep track of but this little application enables you to do it on the fly even if, dare I say, you're double billing. It was designed with lawyers in mind and great for those who've gone solo.
Easy Tricks to Improve Your Advertisements
Advertising can make or break businesses. For those of us who don't have a celebrity spokesperson or something we can peddle on an infomercial, the publicity outlets seem innumerable and daunting. The last two newsletters have discussed some agonizingly substandard websites and ad campaigns. While it's entertaining to poke fun at others, it's also important to make sure you don't fall trap to the ordinary blunders of playing the marketer of your practice. Keep these 5 simple rules in mind when constructing your next ad:
Type Face: When making an advertisement you should keep in mind that the largest text will likely be read first despite where you place it on the page. Bold and large text should be reserved for the most important parts of your ad and used sparingly.
Audience and Location: Remember who you're targeting and where your ad will be showing up. Using material that will speak to your target audience will help them identify with you and they will feel more comfortable about taking the next big leap: actual contact.
Visually Attractive: A messy advertisement reflects poorly on your practice. Use an image or movie as the anchor from which you build the remaining portions. Clutter and superfluous information will only dilute the potency of your advertisement, so keep the layout balanced and simple.
What You Can Offer: The first example that pops into my head are paper towel and toilet paper commercials. They tout everything from softness to durability and even demonstrate how many marbles can be held on a single damp sheet. Your challenge is coming up with a unique way to showcase your specific talents: the approach to your practice, how easy you can make the process for clients, and so on. Avoid using personal articles like "I" and "me" for credibility and so you don't sound like that you are bragging, even if you are.
Call to Action: Any advertisement is incomplete without some further instruction, even if it's only "call today." If someone has taken the time to read your advertisement, then it's likely they're interested. So tell them what to do next, like call, come into the office, or visit your website for more information. Potential clients want to know their lawyer is reputable, but mainly desire a resolution to their case or legal issue.
LegalMatch Tip 3: Be Upfront About Your Services
Like it or not, if you have a solo or small practice, it is up to you to sell your own services. And if you haven't already, you need to start thinking about how you want clients to perceive you — and how you are going to get them in the door.
One easy trick is to let each potential client know exactly what will happen when they come into your office. Since it is up to the client to choose their attorney, it is up to you to describe the benefits they will receive as a result of coming in to see you. And as we all know — once you get a client in the door, the chances of them becoming your client increase dramatically.
For example, when a client asks about their initial consultation, you might spin the following: "During our 30 minute free, no obligation initial consultation, we will go over your options and rights and I can answer any questions you may have, get you pointed in the right direction, and quote you a fair price for my services."
With all of your assets on the table, you can leave it up to the client to decide whether or not they want to come in.
4 Great Reasons to Start Your Own Law Practice in 2010
It seems to be widely understood that law school is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of workload. Regardless if you're working in a big law firm or serving as corporate counsel, everyone has at least once thought about hanging out a shingle. The confines of your current employment situation may bring a dependable paycheck, but often comes with a crippling amount of work and personal sacrifice. Furthermore, the legal field is so oversaturated with good help that many bar certified lawyers can't find work or get stuck in the realms of document review. The fact is 2010 may be the ideal year for starting your own law practice, here are 4 reasons why:
My respect for the legal profession will keep me from quoting the actual unemployment rate among lawyers. However, a broad range of unemployed lawyers, varying from former partners to top tier fledglings with rescinded offers yields an ideal situation for hiring associates. A broad range of experience, salary levels, and specialization is ideal for building general and focused practices alike.
We all know that small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and vital to grinding through the current recession. The number of governmental initiatives and tax credits that encourage starting your business make it a better time than ever before.
Personal knowledge is indispensable in filling under-served markets in your community. One perfect example is a client of ours; call him Ted, who saw a deficiency of lawyers specializing in child custody in his area. After successfully litigating a few cases, the word got out and his client flow has steadily escalated. Don't move off to some one-horse-town in search of such a situation. Research the legal issues in your area and those surrounding to see if consumers' needs are being met adequately.
Many lawyers don't start their own practice because they're unsure about generating a steady client flow for their practice. While the obvious answer may be LegalMatch, there are also a number of other outlets for advertising and finding clients. The internet is the likeliest means of advertising, but don't underestimate a print ad like in your local bar's restroom, at a bus stop, or in the newspaper. Print advertisements are a great way to reach local audiences who will be more likely to come in for a consultation.