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Bottom Line: How to Make Better Choices About Legal Technology

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First question:  Do you have a law firm budget?   If you answered ‘yes’ — then, good for you!  You’re one of the few, the proud.     Second question:  When did you last review your law firm budget?   Okay: now, I can’t be sure of what your response is, but I’m pretty sure I don’t like it.     The next (first?) time you review your budget, take a close look at the line items for technology.  Chances are you’re paying too much.  If you’ve still got lots of hardware, you’re paying for it,  and its maintenance .  If you’re not utilizing cloud-based technology, can you flatten your costs?  Do you use everything you have, or is there software that’s on your books that’s not on your mind?  Where do you need legitimate upgrades, and when are you buying new shiny  objects, just  to have them?     Technology overhead can make or break a law firm.  Too many unnecessary costs, and you begin to teeter over.  Too  little  overhead, however, and you’re likely inefficient.  Finding the right mix of te

The Others: Networking for Referrals from Non-Lawyers

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Last time, in this space, we addressed the fact that attorneys can exercise ‘the nuclear option’ on any case referral, at any time: they can keep it for themselves.  That’s why it’s so valuable to also network for referrals from non-attorney professionals, who  have to  find a lawyer to deliver referrals to.     But, if you’re comfortable networking with other attorneys, but not non-attorneys, these strategies should help:     -Just as you should find lawyers with complementary practices areas to refer cases to, and to be referred cases from, you should find non-lawyer professionals with complementary business models to refer business to and to get business from.  So, if you focus on motor vehicle accidents, it helps to know someone who runs a body shop.     -Endeavor to make presentations in your local community that will draw potential clients and potential referral sources.  If you have not yet developed your reputation in the local community, consider partnering with a local stakeh

The Nuclear Option: Why It’s Dangerous to Rely Exclusively on Other Lawyers for Referrals

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Lawyers tend to congregate together.  This is as much a fact of lawyer life, as it is a fact of professional life.  Once you’re embedded in a career, you start to develop friends who do the same work that you do, and you generally prefer quality hang with colleagues, since you speak the same language — Latin, in the case of the attorney.  In many ways, this is a completely defensible approach — unless it consumes the work life of a professional, at which point: let me introduce you to the lawyer who only networks with other lawyers !     There are ways to talk yourself into this arrangement, for sure:      - Our practice areas are complementary.     - I need this for my professional development.     - For the love of God, he knows what  sua sponte  means!?!?       And, that’s all fine .  . to a point.  But, when you start to rely on other lawyers exclusively (or close to exclusively) for referrals, then you’re playing  the most dangerous game .   You see, lawyers can execute what I cal