The skillset a solo practitioner needed before the pandemic may be different than what’s needed afterward.
Previously, it helped to be great with people and have high emotional IQ. Now it helps to be great on Zoom and have a cool background filter.
Not long ago, you were thinking about looking into cloud computing. Now you’re upgrading your cloud game.
And while previously you didn’t accept credit cards or PayPal, now you do.
The rules of practice – especially for solos – have been disrupted. That’s why this article in the ABA Journal is so timely. It contains 50 common-sense, doable tips for solo practice success. Following is a sampling.
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Following is from the ABA Journal article: “50 Tips to Get Your Startup Off the Ground:”
- Steer clear of tech fads. “I ask myself, ‘Do we really need it, and will it make us happier at work?’ If not, I decline. I also think of revenue over cost: Will this $1,000 investment pay for itself quickly? If so, let’s do it. If not, don’t fall in the trap just because every colleague of yours is doing it.” (Inti Martínez-Alemán)
- Go paperless. “Every physical document you receive should be immediately scanned and stored safely on a secure cloud site where it can be easily accessed. While a regular complete backup of your computer is still important, the standard today is having the information where it can always be used and updated no matter what.” (Jim Calloway)
- Take credit cards. “You don’t want to have accounts receivable. That means you’re waiting on that money to come in. Some people don’t like credit cards because it costs 2%-3% off the top. In the vast majority of our engagements, we require payment upfront to begin work or a retainer. It’s easy to get people to give us their number right off the bat, or they use our secure online portal. I use Authorize.net.” (Josh Gerben)
- Save money on legal research. “Lexis and Westlaw—both of which require a minimum yearlong commitment—are no longer the only game in town for legal research. Both Casetext and Fastcase offer month-to-month subscriptions. Additionally, Fastcase access is a member benefit for many bar associations across the country, while Casetext is a member benefit for a few. Lawyers can get discounted access to Casetext through a few local bar associations. Talking about free, you may find that Google Scholar is sufficient for your research needs.” (Lisa Solomon, Lisa Solomon, Esq. Research & Writing)
- Know the trust accounting rules. “If you have never had to handle the money before, take the time to read your bar rules on trust accounting. If the bar offers a class, take it.” (Megan Zavieh)
- Find tech tools that work for you. “You’re not going to know what that tech is until you start using it. For instance, many of my colleagues use branded practice management SaaS [software as a service]. I tried them all but realized many of them didn’t work for how my brain worked, so I built a custom one using Airtable and Zapier integrations. The tech I think is nonnegotiable, though, especially as a solo, is a scheduling tool like Calendly, an online payment system like LawPay, a virtual meeting tool like Zoom, and an e-signature tool like HelloSign or PandaDoc. Those tools are all time-savers because they allow you to work quickly and efficiently.” (Stanley Tate)
Source: ABA Journal
Jay Reeves is author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World. He practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now he writes and speaks at CLEs, keynotes and in-firm presentations on lawyer professionalism and well-being. He runs Your Law Life LLC, which offers confidential, one-on-one consultations to sharpen your firm’s mission and design an excellent Law Life. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441.