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If You Failed to Document It, It Never Happened.

  Please, can we just acknowledge that lawyers as a group are terrible when it comes to properly and thoroughly documenting their files? Of course, not you, but all the other lawyers out there sure are. You wouldn’t believe how bad it can get. I say this because with almost every claim we handle we...read more

How Long Do We Need to Keep Our Closed Files?

As a risk manager, this question is the one question I’m asked more than any other and I get it. Although my wife is a physician, she had to deal with the same issue. We were paying to store her closed files for years after she left private practice and we both breathed a sigh of relief when that...read more

Learn How To Be A Lawyer Under Fire

If you commit to a 40-hour work week in the beginning of your solo practice career, unless you have hip pocket business, you will see most of your weeks will be marketing and legal education and very little billing. In time the ratio will change from 80/20 to 20/80 only because you must always have...read more

One Reason Why You Never Want to Get Lazy With Your Time Keeping

This post is directed toward those of you who fail to accurately record your time on a consistent basis throughout the day, day after day. I know it can be a hassle but there are really good reasons why this should be a priority. Now I could start lecturing and talk about the studies that confirm...read more

The Ashley Madison Hack and its Lesson for Attorneys

I am going to assume that you, dear reader, had no personal information leaked as a result of the Ashley Madison hack. In addition, let’s set the curiosity response aside because, of course, who didn’t wonder that if they could look at the list would they recognize anyone? With worry and curiosity...read more

December 2015 ALPS 411 Blog Digest

Are You Happy? By Mark Bassingthwaighte, Esq. I am so curious about how others might respond to title of this post. I suspect more than a few would simply dismiss the topic viewing it as irrelevant. In fact, there was a time in my own life where I would have felt the same; but times have changed....read more

Does Your Business Need a BYOD Policy? Yes!

Businesses of today are finding it necessary to implement well-thought out BYOD policies. In this age of mobile devices and nearly instantaneous information gratification and communications, the notion of work productivity has greatly expanded. Unless you choose to shut down your personal mobile...read more

With Staff, Trust But Verify because it’s Not Your Money!

I continue to be surprised at the number of times during a firm visit, be it with a solo attorney or in a small firm setting, I learn that complete oversight of client property has been turned over to an employee. More often than not, this individual has been employed at the firm for years and is...read more

Don’t Get Caught by a Legacy System Oversight

My first computer came with a built-in 5 ¼ inch floppy drive and the new 3 ½ inch disk drive that was just out. Suffice it to say I was more than a little excited! This was a DOS based system and I thought it rocked. Of course I did what we all did with our computers back then. I backed up personal...read more

Why You Should Never Say Never to Malpractice Insurance -The True Cost of “Going Bare”

I will admit I honestly don’t understand why a lawyer would ever decide to not buy a malpractice policy; but many lawyers do just that and the reasons I hear are many. Some try to justify their decision by declaring that malpractice premiums are beyond affordable. They’ll tell me “just look at what...read more

There is No Such Thing as a "Simple" Personal Injury Matter!

I’m always cautioning attorneys about the hazards of dabbling, reminding them that there really is no such thing as a “simple” will or contract. This advice is never shared with the intention of suggesting that they should avoid taking on a new matter that leads them into unfamiliar legal territory....read more

ALPS 2015 Top Mobile Apps for Lawyers

It’s been a while since I’ve surveyed the landscape of mobile apps for lawyers, but here we go again. Some apps from my previous post are included, but they have undoubtedly been updated for both functionality and security on the go. This is not an exhaustive list nor am I ranking them. These are...read more

Who’s Steering the Ship? Managing the Business Side of Your Firm

I have always felt that my law school education missed one key component because a comprehensive course on how to manage the business side of a law practice was never offered. Trust me, I had my fair share of missteps early on in my career and a course like that would have helped. Yes, I do know...read more

ALPS 411 Blog Digest - February 2015 Edition

Why the Use of an Engagement Letter Should Never be Optional By Mark Bassingthwaighte Engagement letters seem to be one of those documents that most attorneys intellectually appreciate the value of but often underutilize. This letter simply isn’t in consistent use day to day and the excuses run the...read more

Why the Use of an Engagement Letter Should Never be Optional

Engagement letters seem to be one of those documents that most attorneys intellectually appreciate the value of but often underutilize. This letter simply isn’t in consistent use day to day and the excuses run the gamut. I often hear “Repeat clients would be offended,” “They take more time than...read more

Don’t Kiss Off the Importance of Closure Letters

I continue to find that the use of a letter of closure varies greatly firm to firm as well as between attorneys within the same firm. The excuses that I often hear include “we do a lot of flat fee in and out kinds of things here and the effort simply isn’t worth it,” “I’m not about to say good-bye...read more

6 Steps to Propel You Forward in 2015

“Learn from the past, prepare for the future, live in the present.” ~ Thomas S. Monson Unless you are prescient, not every single thing you did when you opened your solo/small firm practice was 100% spot on. You may have had great mentors and more experienced attorneys guiding you to flatten out...read more

I Believe First Impressions Matter. Do You?

Like you, I’ve been a consumer for years and the older I get the more I’ve come to recognize the impact of first impressions. They really do matter. I can only speak for me, but these days if I am forced to interact with a pushy sales person when first entering a store, I often leave and rarely...read more

What Do Non Verbal Messages and Competency Have To Do With Each Other? Plenty.

During my travels over the years, I have been surprised at the number of times I have observed or become aware of a problematic interaction with a client and the attorney or staff person involved was completely oblivious. Let me share a few stories. During a meeting with an attorney that lasted...read more

How to not be yet another Victim of Ransomware

A few weeks back, attorneys from two different firms spoke with me about being hit with a particularly nasty ransomware attack. In each case the firm's files were encrypted by CryptoLocker and thus unavailable. Both firms experienced about four days of down time, meaning they had no access to their...read more