Hanging a Shingle: How to Start a Successful Law Practice Seminar Materials

Publication Date: January 2015
Available Formats: Print or searchable PDF via download, USB Flash Drive, or CD-ROM
Pages: 90

Information

Topics Covered:

  • Opening A Law Practice: Initial Business Considerations
  • Setting Up Your Office
  • Law Office Management
  • Becoming An Employer
  • How Do I Get Clients? Practical Tips for Marketing Your Law Practice
  • Ethically Handling the Money: A Trust Accounting Primer
  • Fee Agreements: Fees V. Retainers

This comprehensive, stand-alone publication is direct from a January 2015 seminar.

Are you thinking of starting your own law practice? Have you recently opened your own office and would appreciate some tips to point you in the right direction?  This publication includes practical advice from practicing attorneys that have started their own successful law firms.

Virginia CLE® has worked closely with solo and small firm practitioners to develop topics that are imperative to the success of your business. From handling trust accounts and client files, to hiring support staff and purchasing equipment, this publication is a must-read for any small-firm practitioner. Each author has gone through the process of opening and managing his or her own law practice, and is here to help you successfully do the same.


Multiple Attorneys? Order by phone (800-979-8253) and receive a 10% discount on orders $400-$800 or a 20% discount on orders over $800. Any publication included in the order applies toward the discount.
Government Attorney? Receive a 30% discount on publications, and a 50% discount on most seminars.
New Virginia Lawyer? (less than three years) Receive a 25% discount on publications and most seminars.


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

OPENING A LAW PRACTICE: INITIAL BUSINESS CONSIDERATIONS

David D. Hudgins

I. Initial Considerations

II. Evaluating the Cost of Starting Up

III. Finding a Source of Funding

IV. Obtain a Business License

V. Obtain Insurance

VI. Establishing a Relationship with a Bank

VII. Setting Up a Billing and Accounting System

VIII. Miscellaneous Considerations

IX. Hiring Attorneys and Staff

X. Websites and Other Forms of Advertising

XI. Technology Considerations

XII. Other Vendors

XIII. Selection of an Appropriate Business Entity

XIV. Naming Your Practice

XV. Professional Announcements

XVI. Online Resources

SETTING UP YOUR OFFICE
Christopher G. Hill

LAW OFFICE MANAGEMENT CLE
Zachary A. Kitts

I. File Management and Record Keeping
    A. Have a Plan - And Make a List
    B. Check It Twice - And Then Check It Again
    C. Bright Line Rules for Recordkeeping and Retention
    D. Maintenance of Lawyer Records and Files

II. Conflict Checks
    A. Conflict Waivers

III. Timekeeping and Billing
    A. The Use of Software Generally
    B. Know Your Costs
    C. Accounting Systems

IV. Deadline Management

OPENING YOUR OWN LAW PRACTICE AND BECOMING
AN EMPLOYER

Susanne Harris Carnell

1. Independent Contractor v. Employer

2. Interviews, References & Background Reports

3. Avoid Discrimination; Treat Similar Employees Similarly

4. Offer Letter vs. Contract

5. Confirm Work Eligibility

6. Paying Your Employees

7. Offering Leave

8. Pay and Report Taxes Appropriately

9. Obtain Workers Compensation Insurance

10. Put Up Your Posters; Adopt Your Policies

HOW DO I GET CLIENTS? PRACTICAL TIPS FOR MARKETING YOUR
LAW PRACTICE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Zachary A. Kitts

I. Introduction

II. The “Correct” Way to Market
    A. Marketing Efforts
    B. Define Your Strategy
    C. Make Sure You Pick Marketing Methods You Will Enjoy

III. Modern Technology, Modern Marketing Methods
    A. Web Page
    B. Blogs

HANDLING THE MONEY: A TRUST ACCOUNTING PRIMER
Leslie A.T. Haley

I. Introduction

II. Rules

III. “Trust” and “Escrow” Accounts
    A. Maintenance of Interest-Bearing Trust Accounts Generally
    B. IOLTA
    C. The Financial Institution
    D. The Properly Identified Account
    E. “Insufficient Funds” Reporting Requirement

IV. Interest on Escrow Funds
    A. Background
    B. The Lawyer’s Options
    C. Rules Governing IOLTA Accounts
    D. Client Consent
    E. Other Interest-Bearing Trust Accounts
    F. Commingling
    G. Withdrawal from Trust Account Funds
    H. Notification of Client of Receipt of Monies
    I. Accounting to Client
    J. Prompt Payment or Delivery of Client’s Funds
    K. Maintenance of Complete Records
    L. Disbursement on Uncollected Funds

V. Record Keeping and Accounting Requirements of Rule 1.15
    A. Minimum Requirements for Trust Account
    B. Receipts and Disbursements Journals
    C. Trust Account Reports

VI. Some General Rules

VII. Credit Card Payments

VIII. Retention of Records and Disposition of Closed Files

IX. Retention of Unclaimed Client Funds and Property

X. Lawyer’s Duty to Supervise Staff Handling Trust Funds

XI. Lawyer’s Duty to Plan for Death/Disability

FEE AGREEMENTS: FEES V. RETAINERS
Leslie A.T. Haley

I. Types of Fees
    A. Retainers
    B. Advanced Legal Fees
    C. Non-Refundable Legal Fees
    D. Fixed Fee
    E. Contingency Fees

II. Fees in General
    A. Fee Agreements are a Unique Form of Contract .
    B. The Attorneys Fees Must Be Reasonable
    C. The Attorney is Entitled to be Paid for His/Her Services
    to the Client

III. Fee Sharing

IV. Other Fee Issues
    A. Interest of Finance Charges on Unpaid Client Accounts
    B. Collateral to Secure Payment of Legal Fees and Other Unique
    Fee Agreements
    C. Medial Liens: Attorney Breaching Contract to Pay Medical Bills
    Out of Settlement Proceeds
    D. Unusual Employment Arrangements
    E. Fee-splitting
    F. Mandatory Arbitration
    G. Blended Fee Agreements
    H. Attorney’s Action to Collect Unpaid Legal Fees .
    I. Conversion Clauses

V. Written Fee Agreements

Authors

David D. Hudgins

Christopher G. Hill

Zachary A. Kitts

Susanne Harris Carnell

Leslie A.T. Haley

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CD-ROM - $90
USB Flash Drive - $90
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Both Print and USB Flash Drive - $125
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