Make 2023 the Year of Managed Expectations

Want a New Year’s Resolution that’s free, painless and guaranteed to improve your Law Life? Resolve to make 2023 the Year of Managed Expectations.  To succeed, you don’t have to join a gym, swear off Ghirardelli Premium Chocolate Squares, or cancel Netflix. You will have to change your thinking – and perhaps a behavior or two. But if you stick with it, great riches will come your way. Read More +

Own Your Mistakes But Don’t Fall on Your Sword

If you practice law long enough, you are bound to make a mistake while representing a client. Some mistakes are harmless and immaterial. Other mistakes may be fatal to your client’s case. In between those two extremes are mistakes that cause your client to suffer some negative consequences or create the possibility of negative consequences in the future. What is required of you when you make a mistake depends on the nature and severity of the error. Failure to make appropriate and timely disclosure of errors can result in adverse disciplinary, malpractice and coverage consequences.   Read More +

Our Legal Deserts

Where are You Now? Odds are that you are sitting in the Triangle, the Triad, Charlotte or perhaps in Fayetteville, Asheville or Wilmington. There are fewer lawyers per capita in North Carolina than in other large states, especially in rural communities. The American Bar Association survey published in 2022 sta… Read More +

Preparing for an Economic Downturn Part 2: Protecting Cash Flow and Client Base

I grew up with my German grandma living with my family. She was like a third parent to my brother and me. She wasn’t an educated person; her formal schooling ended in 8th grade and she immigrated to the US in the early 1920’s after she turned 18. She was smart and wise and had lived through the best and worst the 20th century had to offer.   Read More +

Preparing for an Economic Downturn

Small confession: there was a time, about 20 years ago, I was on a night flight back from Houston. I had spent all week at a stressful NITA advocacy program. I was exhausted and couldn't wait to get home to my own bed. And for some reason, out of nowhere on this very routine flight, I developed an immediate and intense fear of flying that lasted for two or three years. For years after that night, every time I flew anywhere, I was freaked out and terrified about crashing. Not a super fun travel experience for Mrs. Mazzone.   Read More +

Military Divorce and Survivor Benefits

A recent Ohio case teaches two lessons for the former spouse in a military divorce case: a) do not ever rely on government life insurance in a settlement, and b) be sure you have made a timely election of the survivor annuity, in case your EX dies first.  Here the parties were divorced in 2005, and the decree required the ex-wife to be designated as beneficiary for the Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) and the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) of the husband, a military retiree.  Read More +

The Tortoise, the Hare and the Harried 1L

Funny how a children’s fairy tale can point the way to a vibrant and satisfying Law Life. Aesop’s classic The Tortoise and the Hare does just that. We all know the story – at least the Bugs Bunny version. And yet, in the whirl and blur of our modern world, it is easy to forget its valuable lessons. Pace yourself. Slow and steady wins the race. Snooze, you lose.   Read More +

Common Litigation Errors: Missed Deadlines

Missed deadlines remain the number one source of claims at Lawyers Mutual. Although it appears missed deadlines would be an easy error to avoid, we see it all too frequently. Missed deadlines can include missed statutes of limitations, missed deadlines to obtain alias and pluries summons, missed discovery deadlines, and missed appellate deadlines. Having a good docketing and calendaring system, as well as a routine surrounding deadlines, can help avoid this all-too-common mistake.    Read More +

The Lawyer Who Stopped Chasing Squirrels

Over the years, I have represented lots of lawyers who had unsatisfying Law Lives because they were chasing after the wrong things.  This was not my judgment, mind you. This was by their own admission, though it often took them a while to realize it. For years – sometimes decades – they had been too busy waking up each morning, putting on their lawyer hat, and doing what they did the day before to indulge in career introspection. Besides, it seemed to be working. Their practices were thriving, their appointment calendars full, their in-box overflowing.   Read More +

Top 6 iOS 16 Features for Lawyers

If you are one of the many, many lawyers who has an iPhone tucked away in a pocket or bag, you have probably noticed by now that Apple released a new operating system for the iPhone, iOS 16. The updates with the new number (as opposed to the decimal additions like 16.0.1.1) are the big ones. The ones where Apple packs in a lot of new features and injects your aging phone with a shot of new life.   Read More +

In Praise of Bricks and Old Mortar

I love old buildings – the grander, statelier and more steeped in history the better. It’s one reason I was attracted to the law in the first place. This attraction dates back to my childhood in Kingstree, South Carolina. Three blocks west of the house I grew up in was the magnificent Williamsburg County courthouse. Its multilevel front steps opened onto a wide portico with towering columns and a massive door like the door to a castle.   Read More +

Using Technology to Address Access to Courts and Justice 

Courtroom5 is an online litigation support tool for pro se civil litigants designed to make true access to the courts and justice available to all. We are guided by a simple creed: the courts belong to the people and together we can take them back. We are an award-winning tech startup. Most recently, co-founder Debra Slone and I were both honored as Fastcase 50 honorees. Courtroom5 was designated one of seven legal tech startups to watch by Law360. We know from firsthand experience that affording a lawyer is difficult and navigating the legal system without one is even more so.    Read More +

National Center for State Courts State-of-the-State Jury Improvement Efforts: Judge and Lawyer Survey

In 2007, the NCSC Center for Jury Studies published findings from the State-of-the-States Jury Improvement Efforts, which provided the first comprehensive, national snapshot of jury system operations and trial practices. Much has changed since the release of this report including the widespread use of technology in all aspects of courtroom management and continuous efforts to improve juror comprehension, performance, and satisfaction with jury service.   Read More +

The Best Money You Will Spend on Your Firm’s Tech This Year

There’s a certain kind of advice you get once in a while that is a little infuriating. I’ve certainly gotten it a bunch, I bet you have, too. It never fails to irritate me. And here I am now about to do the same thing to you. It happened to me most recently with a lawyer friend who is really into photography. He takes amazing pictures and has one of those fancy cameras with the big lenses that you carry around separately in its own backpack. He brings back incredible photos from national parks and foreign destinations.   Read More +

Financial Tips for Preparing for Retirement

Pay down debt. As you approach retirement, you don’t want debt to stand in the way of your future. The snowball method of debt reduction allows you to see wins along your journey which keeps you inspired to move forward. Identify your smallest debt and pay it off as quickly as possible. Then take the monthly payment that had been allocated towards the debt and add it to the minimum payment you have been making on your next smallest debt.   Read More +