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The Practice Management Resource Center (PMRC) has a lending library of print and digital books on a variety of topics to help attorneys with all phases of their practice. Print books, for which there is a fee, are shipped upon request and must be returned by mail in two weeks. Members can also download free e-books and audiobooks from an extensive online library which are automatically removed from the client's device when the lending period expires. The categories of books available include: Client development Finances Staffing Marketing Work/life balance Opening or closing a practice Practice tips Careers The following ...
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The practice of law consists of two parts. One part is your brilliant closing argument that won the case for your client, a well-researched brief, a tightly worded contract, or a clever cross-examination. The other part is the business of managing employees, maintaining technology, accurate accounting, and marketing. For many of us, the business side is the least enjoyable and most difficult side of our practice. Fortunately, the State Bar of Michigan can help. The Practice Management Resource Center (PMRC) , a service offered by the State Bar of Michigan, has the following practice management resources: A toll-free helpline for answers to ...
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The SBM Lawyer Referral Service reports that they receive 20–25 calls per week asking for limited scope assistance. As word of the practice spreads, there will be more clients looking for limited scope representation (LSR) and creating more opportunities for you to expand your business. How do you approach the practice of LSR in a way that satisfies both your needs and the clients’? At your first meeting with the prospective client, you need to determine whether they will be able to handle parts of the case alone. Can this person prepare documents, meet deadlines, or represent themselves in court with some help by you? If so, they could be a good ...
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Last week we introduced limited scope representation , a method of legal representation in which an attorney and client agree to limit the scope of the attorney’s involvement in a civil lawsuit, leaving responsibility for other aspects of the case to clients in order to save money and give them more control. In 2016, the State Bar of Michigan president appointed an Unbundling Work Group that drafted limited scope court and ethics rules that were adopted by the Bar’s Representative Assembly, and then by the Michigan Supreme Court. The rules became effective in January 2018 and provide for: Ghostwriting without entering an appearance or disclosing ...
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Limited scope representation , also known as unbundled legal services and discrete task representation , is a method of legal representation in which attorney and client agree to limit the attorney’s involvement in a civil lawsuit, leaving responsibility for other parts of the case to the client in order to save money and give them more control. Michigan began exploring limited scope representation (LSR) in 2010 with creation of the Self-Help Task Force. The launch of Michigan Legal Help online and in-person self-help centers in 2012 providing furthered the push for meaningful LSR in the state. When the State Bar of Michigan 21st Century Practice ...
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On June 3, 2019, Casemaker, a free member service offered by the State Bar of Michigan, launched Casemaker4 , a redesign of its web-based legal research platform. The new version, according to the company, keeps features users liked while improving search speed and design responsiveness. When you log in through the SBM Member Area, you will at first be linked to the old Casemaker system; however, you can try out the new system by clicking on Casemaker4 found on the right of the Casemaker home page. The new home page is designed to be easily used for searching or browsing. If you choose to browse, start with a jurisdiction, for example, Michigan; ...
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Casemaker, a free member service provided by the State Bar of Michigan, is a web-based program for legal research. Its library contains codes, rules, and case law that you can browse and search. Michigan lawyers can search all 50 states and the federal districts. The Casemaker library is extensive. The Michigan Library contains Michigan’s administrative code, attorney general opinions, case law, constitution, federal court rules, session laws, state court rules, statutes, workers compensation decisions, and Michigan Register. The Federal Materials Library offers extensive coverage including bankruptcy opinions circuit opinions, code of federal ...
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Recently, I received an email from an attorney who received a bad review on a national directory. The attorney was understandably upset and wanted to immediately respond. I advised a cooling-off period, reminding him that consumer research shows that a negative review improves the credibility of positive comments. How to Respond to a Bad Review Do Nothing: It's hard to swallow, but sometimes that’s the best action. If the reviewer is upset, your response may spark a dialogue that can spiral out of control. Flag it for Review: Most review sites have a process to flag an inappropriate review. The SBM Member Directory has a review and endorsement ...
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During the month of May, the SBM Member Directory had 598,880 page views. Of the 61,052 visitors to the site, 45,326, or 67%, were new visitors. The remaining 33% were returning visitors. Why does the online directory get so much traffic and how does this affect you? The member directory helps the public easily find the information they need when looking for an attorney and, because listings are provided by the State Bar of Michigan, they trust the results. That trust is supported by these policies: The object is to protect the public while improving access to legal services. There are no paid lawyer ads in the search results. Profiles ...
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“The problem with marketing the practice of law is that the service we provide isn’t tangible,” Linda Lawyer said to her brother, Lance, as they enjoyed a cup of coffee in their firm’s break room. “It’s not a car you can drive or a book you can read. It’s a will or a trust that goes in a drawer and isn’t used until the future.” “What are we marketing?” asked Lance. “Our professional image,” said Linda. “It’s expressed by our logo, business cards, stationary, website, blog, and newsletter. Now we need a brochure.” Why should you have a brochure? Potential clients may be very wary about hiring a firm they’ve found online or through an advertisement. ...
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Your SBM Member Directory information should be part of an annual review process. Let’s look at each section. First, log in to edit your profile . Your Enhanced Profile Review your basic profile information and then add new information to help gain more contacts. Use your biography to tell prospective clients the basics, such as your education and experience. Feel free to add your hobbies and interests—clients like to feel that human connection. Include a recent photo. Add any additional photos to the gallery and select the best one to be your main profile picture. Add your title—are you an owner, shareholder, or partner within your organization? ...
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When it was first said, “A picture is worth a thousand words” in 1927, marketers have known that a picture can often help convey the meaning of a complex idea more effectively than a wordy description. For example, an infographic such as a chart or diagram can be used to represent information or data. While the words on your website are important, so are images. Used effectively, images help drive more visitors to your website, promote social sharing, and increase the number of visitors who complete a contact form. Photographs, infographics, cartoons, GIFs, videos, and screenshots can all be used as visuals. Research shows that websites with images get more ...
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When I was in law school, many of our professors told us that “All law is policy.” They were right. Our laws, guided by government policy, set the standards, procedures, and principles that must be followed. The language in these laws can be complicated and dense. Lawyers and judges understand and even enjoy the language of the law. We don’t find it difficult or complex. However, clients and consumers who are seeking information might become lost in a legalese maze. How can we help them? How can we write content that is both true to the laws on which it is based and understandable to readers who don’t have legal training? Helpful Topics are ...
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The gig economy—a free-market system in which organizations contract with independent workers for temporary and often short-term positions—is transforming the larger economy. Companies cut costs by hiring staff to execute a specific project. This approach is not new. In the past, the practice was called secondments. A law firm would send an attorney to assist another firm for a predetermined period and cost; the attorney would work at the second firm under their direction. Thanks to the internet, cloud-based software, video conferencing and other technology, freelance lawyers can work where and when they choose. As technology continues to improve, ...
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The first ever world report on disability, produced jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank, suggests that more than a billion people today experience some form of disability; that’s 15% of the world population, 22% of the United States population, and 14.4% of the Michigan population. In 1980 the WHO defined disability as “an attribute of a person.” It was a personal problem. Recently they redefined it to mean “a mismatch between the needs of an individual and a product, service, or social structure offered.” The current definition reflects that there is a barrier at the point of interaction between a person and their environment ...
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I changed dentists recently. Not noteworthy, except that after my first visit, I received a card in my mailbox. It was a thank you for using our service and some information about their practice. That same week, I contacted a pest control service. Again, not very noteworthy, except for the letter I received after the service thanking me for the business included a magnetized business card for the refrigerator. Both of those establishments, like law firms, are service oriented. A Bit of History In the early 1980s, service marketing emerged as a separate category of marketing. This change was in response to the shift in employment from product ...
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Legal marketing is complicated. You are subject to ethical rules and you are selling a service that is only used occasionally. That means you must create a memorable identity that holds up over time. A logo or symbol representing your firm can help. A great logo helps identify your firm to the world. New clients will be drawn to it, making it a valuable marketing tool for your firm. A law firm generally uses its founding partners as the name of the firm regardless of the addition of partners over time. To turn that name into a logo, ask yourself: What does your law firm stand for? What separates your law firm from others? Does your name say ...
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"Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants." —Jonathan Perelman, head of Digital Ventures at ICM Partners You've decided to write a blog in your practice area, family law. You've had a lot of questions about adoption lately so you will write about the current trends in adoption. Your first step before you write should be to plan ahead about how, where, and when to announce the publication of your blog to get it in front of your target readers. Learning the best distribution techniques is essential to make sure the time and thought you spent creating the blog is not wasted. It does little good to write a series of well-written ...
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Hyperlinks, or links, are the mainstay of the internet. A link in your blog indicates you’ve researched your content and offer additional information to readers. Types of links Internal : A link between two pages on your website. Your website depends on those links for effective navigation. External link:  A link from your site to another site. Without external links, there’s no World Wide Web. External links can direct readers to information that supplements your content. Incoming links: A link from another site to your site. Also called a back link , the quantity and quality of sources of backlinks to your site are among the factors ...
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Pro bono publico (English: For the public good; usually shortened to pro bono) is a Latin phrase for professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment. It is service that uses specific skills of professionals to provide services to those who are unable to afford them. Many of you first learned the importance of providing pro bono services in law school. Once in private practice, you continued the practice offering no or low-fee service to non-profits or low-income consumers and donating to civil legal aid organizations. Your efforts benefited your professional development, the public, and the profession. Offering Pro Bono Benefits ...
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