Archive for the ‘Resources for the Inspired Solo’ Category

Interested in Amicus Attorney? Now’s the Time To Buy

First time buyers of Amicus Attorney will receive 15% off their purchase (up to 10 licenses) of any Amicus product, including the front and back office product Amicus Small Firm, now through June 29th. For more information, see the order form here.

It’s interesting – the more I work on these articles and e-books about practice management for solos, the more my own practice is becoming hectic and diverse, and the more I’m seriously considering trying this CMS thing again. (I tried Time Matters originally, but it was way too much program for my needs.)  I’ve uploaded the Amicus demo, and am giving it a trial run. Either way, I’ll post a review here on Inspired Solo.

If you would like to write a product review of any CMS program you use, or are familiar with, or any other product you think solos would be interested in learning more about, please let me know either in contents or via email (sheryl at schelinlaw dot com), and I’ll hook you up as a guest reviewer!

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Habla Espanol? You Should

ed. note – OK, I know I saw this topic somewhere in the blawgosphere lately, but I’ll be darned if I can find it now. If you were the smart person who blogged about lawyers learning Spanish, please let me know so I can credit you properly! Found it! Evan Schaeffer wrote about it right here

If you don’t speak Spanish, consider learning it. Not only is it valuable intrinsically (learning a new language keeps the brain cells humming at optimal frequency, plus – learning anything new is good, people!) it may someday soon save your practice. According to some sources, almost 13% of the US population speaks Spanish as their first language, and that number is only getting bigger. What are the odds that, one of these days, your clients will include immigrants who don’t speak English – or don’t speak it well enough to assist in their case?

Consider pro bono programs, if you don’t think you’ll have a communication problem with your paying clients. If you participate in such programs at all (and more and more bars are strongly encouraging their members to do just that), you will undoubtedly run up against a language barrier one of these days.

Still not convinced? Then how about those of you (like me) in states that require attorneys to assist in indigent defense? Think you might get called down to the local detention center one of these days to meet your new client who speaks Spanish – and only a little English, not enough to tell you his or her version of the facts?

If I haven’t convinced you yet, then think of it as a marketing tactic. The percentage of Spanish-speaking immigrants in this country is growing – there’s no doubt about that. That’s a huge market that’s being underserved by the legal profession. What would be the ramifications to your practice as an Inspired Solo to be able to say, proudly “Se Habla Espanol” in your radio ads and on your website? Or even have a Spanish version of your website’s materials?

Well, I convinced myself, so I signed up to get the materials from the Missouri Bar’s upcoming teleseminar, Spanish for the Legal Professional. Tip of the hat to Evan Schaeffer for the referral and suggestion!

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Inspired Solo Bookstore Grand Opening!

I’ve started something new here at Inspired Solo – well, technically, not here but related to this site, anyway! The Inspired Solo Bookstore is now open for business. There’s more about this move (which isn’t a move, per se, but an addition to the Inspired Solo family) here in this post at the Bookstore, and I’ll post more about that decision in the days ahead.

Other things you can expect at the Bookstore:

  • Reviews of the books highlighted in the sidebar
  • Reviews of upcoming books about or relevant to the solo practice of law or entrepreneurship in general
  • Interviews with authors who write about subjects we cover here at Inspired Solo
  • My own writing – including e-books and PDF articles about going solo, evaluating whether it’s for you, planning the bootstrapped firm, and much more

I hope you enjoy this double offering of Inspired goodness. As always, if you have suggestions, complaints, or love to share, fire away in the comments below, or reach me at s dot schelin at gmail dot com! Thanks for reading.

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MySpace: A Marketing Tool Whose Time Has Come? Or a Lame Idea?

I’ve got to vote the former – definitely an interesting tool whose time has come! You might feel the same way after reading Brenda Sapino Jeffreys’ article for Law.com Legal Technology, “MySpace Helps Attorneys Find Clients.”  The article features Texas entertainment lawyer Leslie Warren Cross, who found his MySpace profile page not just a unique branding opportunity but a great way to stay in touch with his nomadic music clients.

As Susan Cartier Liebel suggests (whose post here first alerted me to the story – thanks SCL!), the efficacy of a MySpace project as part of your larger marketing program might well depend on a couple of things:

  • The kinds of clients you’re going after. If they don’t know what MySpace is, you’re probably wasting time.

  • The kind of practice you have. Certain practice areas – Susan suggests bankruptcy, divorce, estate planning, and criminal – might be better suited than others.

I’m a new convert to MySpace – haven’t even set up my profile yet! – but I am definitely intrigued by the possibilities. In my bankruptcy practice, I can see a further niche developing in the future as the “bankruptcy lawyer for Generation Y.” Perhaps even a subniche for advocacy and pro bono work in our schools, helping to teach young people (middle and high school age) about personal finance and credit. In that kind of work, I can see a MySpace profile playing a huge, beneficial part.

What do you think? Is your practice ready for MySpace?

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NY Lawyer: Going Solo A Mistake? Or Is Something Else Going On Here?

Is being a solo worth it? This article at NY Lawyer.com seems to suggest, “No.” And before I get mad, I think, I’d better laugh.

It was actually a good choice – the laughter – because the article really doesn’t achieve its purpose, assuming its purpose was to convince readers that those who leave BigLaw to go solo made mistakes. Here’s a sample quote:

Perry isn’t the only new solo to try her hand at steering her own ship only to find that she missed the crew. The tension between the desire to be the captain and the need for help has led other recent solos to rejoin established firms. Former Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins partner Reed Kathrein said recruiting into his startup was difficult, leading him to hop on board with a Seattle-based firm. Cotchett, Pitre, Simon & McCarthy veteran Bruce Simon said he spared himself at least six months of slow growing by joining a boutique with headquarters in Los Angeles. “Part of being an entrepreneur is constantly challenging your business plan,” Simon said. “If it’s not working, then you need to change. You need to be flexible.”

“Recruiting is difficult”? “Challenging your business plan”? “Be flexible”? Is that really what’s going on here? Or is it something unfortunately far more common and insidious?

Here’s what I think: Being a solo – being an entrepreneur of any flavor – is hard work. If you go in to it thinking anything different, then you’re deluding yourself. If you aren’t ready for that difficulty – to make those hard choices, to juggle the varying demands – then the solution isn’t to go running back to Big Law. It’s to get ready!

Have we become a profession of doing the easy thing, of avoiding something just because it’s hard? Of giving up simply because it’s not all sunshine and daisies?

I don’t think so. What’s going on here? A little fear of success, perhaps some fear of hard work, but more likely, a lack of preparation coupled with an inflexible mindset (one reason I have to laugh at the “flexible” quote above). It’s easy to get caught up in the giddiness of planning for your new business and gloss over the gritty details. That’s a mistake. But if you do gloss over something critical (and I confess, it’s happened to me), the proper response is “fix it.”  Not “leave it.”

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Must-See Vids: Daniel Blumenstein on “Going Solo”

Hat-tip to Chuck Newton who brings us this excerpt from an interview with TrueNYC.com and Daniel Blumenstein, a lawyer/entrepreneur (or “lawyerpreneur” as Nader Anise might say) who offers “Going Solo,” a seminar aimed at giving new solos or wanna-bes the skillset to run their businesses efficiently – “like big law firms,” as Daniel says.

I agree that the more professional our image as a solo, the greater our chances of success. What I don’t want to see lost in all this, though, is the fact that being a solo gives you certain key advantages in the practice of law. Shorter lead times, ability to be an agile early adopter in new technologies and practices, full empowerment to make the client happy without seeking approval from higher-ups – the list goes on.

Sure, be professional. But don’t overlook the unique beauty of being a solo – make those traits your selling points.

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Dave Dee’s Secret, part 2

Dave Dee’s latest post, “Unleashing the Moneymaking Vibration Within,” is a real head-scratcher for me. Dave apparently feels pretty dismissive of people who want to better themselves (except, I’d guess, those who do so via his marketing methods…?) as evidenced by this quote:

I just completed a bonus CD for a new product I’ll be offering and
on it, I revealed the ultimate secret to success in all areas of life.

That’s a big statement, I know but it’s the truth.

In a nutshell, it comes down to creating a magnetic energy vibration that attracts success.

Hold your horses, before you think I’ve become a new age nut job, hear me out.

Run-on sentences notwithstanding, this is pretty strange behavior for a marketing “guru.” Self-help is a huge business; over $581 million in titles in 1998, accounting for over 10% of all titles sold. So one would imagine the potential customer base there to be pretty large. Bold stuff, then, to go charging about calling such a large group of potential clients “nut jobs.” But – I digress. Moving on, Dave next neatly summarizes his “ultimate secret” – his “truth”:

The more positively charged energy you can create in your body, the
more confidence you will have, the more confidence you have, the more
powerful you will become, the more powerful you become, the more you
will accomplish.

That’s …. it?

OK, who wants to go tell Dave that this, in fact, is exactly what The Secret is all about (albeit with better grammar)? You know, the same Secret that he derided a few posts back?

I would have, but apparently his comments section is permanently closed.

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TechnoChic: 10 Must-See Sites for the Inspired Solo

One thing is crystal clear to me now, in retrospect to my pre-launch planning period: I might have been able to go solo without the Internet (and frankly even that’s an open question), but it would have been a much harder battle to fight. Instead, it’s an embarrassment of freebie riches thanks to sites such as the ones profiled by Rick Georges of Sololawyer in this Law.com article:

Picking the best of anything is difficult. However, I decided to take a stab this month at the Web sites I use most frequently during a typical day of practicing law. I’m not including the obvious ones: legal research and general search sites. I’m aiming to point to sites that create a new source of information on the Web, and that leverage the interactive Web 2.0 space.

Read the entire article and bookmark those sites! I’d add the following:

  • MyFax.com – I found the prices to be highly competitive and the services just as rich as other internet-based fax services. But whatever company you choose, there’s just no reason to go the old-school route any more (unless you like refeeding paper endlessly and making those calls for servicing…)
  • Stikkit – this is an amazing tool that does its own thinking. Part to-do listmaker, part project planner, part smart calendar – this is one app that really has to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
  • Findlaw.com – Yes, I know Rick deliberately left off the mainstream primary resource sites, but it’s one of the oldest and most centralized collections for free legal collections on the web, organized by states, by type of law, by courts – very helpful.
  • TinyURL – helps turn those ghastly long URLs in email and web-based documents into short ones, avoiding the dreaded URL-hard-return.
  • Finally – last but by no means least – Solosez. The largest email listserv for solo lawyers in the world. I am not overstating the case when I say that Solosez is critical to my confidence level in practicing law. Let me explain: one of the biggest (and most reasonable) fears a new solo will ever face is the fear of being alone. Especially when you’ve worked in a bustling law office, and are used to being able to saunter over to another lawyer’s office to chat about a recent problem, or get a senior partner’s advice on a tricky client, you’ll be rightly concerned about being “me myself and I”-solated in your early days. Solosez is the answer. It puts over 2,000 other solos (and others with an interest in going solo) as close as your email inbox. It’s a lot of mail – be warned – but you can manage it by going to Gmail, signing up for a free account, then dedicating that address solely to Solosez mail. Read the subjects that interest you. Select unread, mark read, and archive the rest with abandon – then you’ve got a searchable archives at your fingertips.

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