Two Great ISBA Member Benefits Sponsored by
ISBA Mutual Lawyers Malpractice Insurance
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A Value of $1,344, Included with Membership
Free CLE
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Complimentary Loss Prevention Download from ISBA Mutual

Posted on May 5, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Please enjoy this gift from our malpractice insurance partner, ISBA Mutual!

Almost 30 years ago, ISBA Mutual was created with a simple mission: to be a benefit to the members of the ISBA. We will be celebrating this longstanding relationship throughout ISBA Member Appreciation Month.

To help you put your best face forward, ISBA Mutual is sponsoring the Free Business Portraits Giveaway.

Also in celebration of ISBA Member Appreciation Month, ISBA Mutual is sharing some valuable resources that are normally available exclusively to ISBA Mutual insured firms, starting with a complimentary download of our e-book The Fundamentals of Loss Prevention for Lawyers!

Legal malpractice claims affect lawyers in every area of law. Even practices that were once thought to be immune from malpractice claims such as criminal and defense work are seeing a rise in claims. Furthermore, the chance of being sued does not diminish with experience. On the contrary, statistics indicate that the greatest percentage of legal malpractice claims are made against lawyers who have been practicing ten years or more.

Member Appreciation Month Tip: Institute Redundant Backup. Repeat.

Posted on May 5, 2017 by Sara Anderson

We're finishing up our week of 'decluttering our office + mind' by dealing with digital data backup.

"You'll be sorry you didn't!" - Mom

Last month my basement flooded and the water destroyed everything in its path.

I had meant to check on the sump pump earlier in the day. But the phone rang, laundry needed to be done...life happened. What would've taken me all of 60 seconds to check on ended up costing me a back-breaking 3 days of work ripping out (heavy wet) carpet and dealing with the messy, stinky aftermath of a flooded basement.

Which brings me to backing up computer data.

Back up your data. We all know we should do it. It doesn't take much in the way of time or resources. So why do so many of us drag our feet getting it done - when the consequences for not doing so are disastrous?

No more. Today, we're going to take a look at a few simple solutions for backing up our electronic data, and pledge to 'Get-R-Done.' That way, we don't have to spend any unnecessary time or energy worrying about losing those files, pictures, and contacts we just can't do without.

The power of three. Backing up can be as simple as copying a file from one spot to another (e.g., from your desktop to a removable USB drive). It can also include uploading your files to the cloud, or installing a file-synchronization service.

Win a Free 1-On-1 Consultation with a Practice Management/Tech Expert

Posted on May 4, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Want some alone time with an expert to get their advice on what you could be doing to improve the management of your practice, in the areas you most need help?

We've partnered with Jeff Krause and Jennifer Ramovs at Affinity Consulting Group to give 29 lucky winners* a 20 minute customized consultation to take place on Monday, May 22, either in person at our Chicago office or by phone - winners' choice.

To enter, complete the online form by Thursday, May 11 at 4:30PM.

Only 1 entry per member will be accepted.


New! We'll also be taping a practice management/technology podcast on May 22 to share with all members. You'll hear Jenn and Jeff recap some of the most commonly asked questions and get their advice in each area. Stay tuned for a release date...

 

*Winners will be selected based on need and demographic - to represent a variety of locations and practice settings - and will be notified by email. Those selected will need to complete and submit a questionnaire in advance of the consultation about their practice area(s), number of attorneys and staff, existing technology and processes, problems they hope to solve, etc. Questionnaire answers will be used to help customize the consultation to each winner's particular needs.

Quick Takes for Your Practice: Utilization Review

Posted on May 4, 2017 by Sara Anderson

John J. Castaneda, owner of Castaneda Law Office, discusses how utilization review pertains to medical care or work-related injuries.

Membership Appreciation Month Tip: Tackle Your Inbox Like Butkus

Posted on May 4, 2017 by Sara Anderson

We've dealt with decluttering our desks (Monday) and our minds (Tuesday and Wednesday). Today we're turning our attention to downsizing digital clutter, starting with the inbox.

Achieving Inbox Zero (or Close to It)

Go take a look at the number of emails currently in your inbox. (We'll wait.) Is it zero? If so, congrats, you've already reached the mythical Inbox Zero. Go celebrate. For the rest of us (festivus!), is it 50? 500? 5,000? Does your number stress you out? What would be your ideal number?

Knowing your comfort level will help you manage your inbox. For many of us, Inbox Zero is not realistic, but Inbox 100 just might be. Here's how we can get there...

Delete, Repeat. This one is simple, and you're probably already doing it to some degree. But if your inbox number is upwards of 3 figures, you're a prime candidate for a batch delete. To batch delete, sort your inbox by sender. Twenty emails sitting around from J.Crew? Delete them as a batch by clicking on the sender then delete. Repeat for all unwanted emails/senders.

Another helpful tip is to sort your inbox by subject. If you've got a long thread of emails using the same subject line, and the last one contains all of the earlier replies, consider just holding on to that last one and getting rid of the rest. (Tip courtesy of our Membership Coordinator Ann Boucher!)

Accusing Judges: Balancing Lawyer Ethics and Free Speech

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Mark S. Mathewson

All attorneys have opinions about judges. Those opinions are sometimes negative and are often shared around the office, or when talking shop with a colleague.

But lawyers should beware of voicing those opinions in a more public forum. Rule 8.2 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits attorneys from knowingly making false statements concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge.

So when do opinions become lies? The First Amendment protects people who are stating opinions. It doesn't protect defamatory speech. And the issue gets even more complicated when that speech is part of a document filed with the court.

Some years back, the seventh circuit considered the nexus between the First Amendment and ethical rules in In re Palmisano70 F.3d 483 (7th Cir. 1995). There, the court reviewed a rule to show cause why an attorney who had been disbarred in Illinois should not be disbarred by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois as well.

IllinoisLawyerFinder: Final Day to Ensure Accuracy of Account Information

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Before 4:30PM on Thursday, May 4, please take a moment to do the following:

1.  Visit isba.org and ensure the information in your ISBA account is accurate.

  • To do so, simply login to isba.org by clicking on "ISBA Member Login" in the upper-right-hand corner of your screen (if you're already logged in, click on "My Account" in the same location).
  • Please pay particular attention to the information under the "Your Addresses" and "About You" sections because this information will become publicly available.

2. While on your ISBA account page, choose your "Online Public Directory Settings."

Best Practice Tips: Increasing Law Firm Revenues Through Additional Marketing Investment

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the sole owner of a two-attorney firm in Atlanta. I have been in practice for 13 years. I have one associate who has been with me for one year, one full-time paralegal, and two part-time assistants. I have a general practice. Revenues have stagnated and I need to identify strategies for getting to the next level. My practice is struggling. I have been thinking about narrowing my practice and focusing on five or six practice areas. I am ready to invest in marketing. I would appreciate your thoughts.

A. This is the age of specialization – less often results in more. Many attorneys in small general practice firms are afraid to specialize and focus on three areas of practice or fewer. The concern is that by specializing, there simply will not be enough business of keep the attorneys busy generating sufficient revenues.

I have worked with several firms that have shifted their practices from general practices to practices limited to estate planning and elder law and they have performed far better as specialized practices than they did as general practices. I suggest that you consider focusing your practice on on no more than two or three key practice areas in which you can differentiate yourself.

Here are a few thoughts:

CLE: Innovations in Mental Health Law

Posted on May 3, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Learn how outpatient mental health commitment orders are being developed and implemented in Cook County and around Illinois with this informative half-day seminar in Chicago or via live webcast on May 17, 2017. Discover how to get a person the mental health treatment they need in the community, while gaining the perspective of both the mental health provider and the patient regarding outpatient mental health commitments.

The program is presented by the ISBA Mental Health Law Section and qualifies for 3.0 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

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