Best Practice Tips

There are many things to consider when hiring or changing managed services providers for your firm. It’s essential to ensure that a potential provider is on the same page as you and can manage your firm’s expectations. The ISBA’s “Essential Questions for Your Managed Services Provider” document serves as a cheat sheet with the top 10 questions to ask before hiring a provider, so you’ll know what you’re getting into and what to truly expect. The resource is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized by…
Succession planning is a necessary consideration for attorneys, regardless of whether they’re actively planning to close or merge a firm. It’s important for lawyers to designate a representative who can take limited fiduciary action if the designating attorney loses the capacity to run his or her firm, abandons the practice, or dies. The ISBA’s “Succession Planning Checklist” provides guidance when considering the various scenarios that may necessitate an attorney handing over the reins. The checklist is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized by the life…
There are many reasons why firms close, some planned and some unplanned. Regardless of the reason, the ethical duties of the attorneys in these situations are similar—to protect the clients’ interests. While there are no specific rules covering what lawyers need to do when closing a practice, there are basic ethical obligations. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission’s “Basic Steps to Ethically Closing a Law Practice,” which can be found on Practice HQ, provides forms and suggested procedures to assist attorneys in closing a firm while meeting their ethical obligations. The document is one of many member…
Every firm needs a technology budget to function effectively. But when you’re budgeting for equipment that is critical to the day-to-day operation of your firm, it’s important to consider where you need to spend a little bit more money and where you can cut back. The ISBA’s “Building a Technology Budget” document provides best practice tips on technology purchases, from how much you should spend on computers to whether you should use open source software or purchase it. The document is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology…
Most law firms could do more to protect their data. Whether the firm lacks the awareness of security policies or merely does not have enough security restrictions, the firm is unknowingly putting business information at risk. The ISBA’s whitepaper on common security blind spots outlines three easy ways to beef up security, which include implementing restrictions on downloading programs, instituting a firm-wide solution for external document sharing, and creating options for encrypted emails. The whitepaper is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized by the life…
A tornado is one of the most violent and destructive types of storms, often developing with little to no advance warning. Parts of Illinois are particularly susceptible to tornadoes, so it’s important for law firms to be prepared for such an occurrence. The ISBA’s tornado preparedness checklist helps attorneys communicate effectively to ensure their employees are safe and that their businesses can recover after the storm has passed. Checklist tips include: Have a plan to provide emergency notification to all employees, clients, visitors, and customers in the event of a tornado. Conduct drills on a regular basis. Put a crisis…
Starting a new law firm can be an incredibly exciting endeavor, but it can also be daunting to navigate the process and face the unknown. After all, attorneys must consider everything from software to practice management to client services. The ISBA’s Starting a Law Firm Checklist provides a breakdown of the basic framework and issues to consider when opening a firm, including the following: Corporate filing status Source of funds for the operation Associate/staff compensation Practice management software The checklist is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology…
Law firms often make easy targets for ransomware attacks. The primary reason is that firms are late to the security game. Criminals target firms with ransomware because they have low security, very sensitive data, and will pay to keep it. The ISBA’s Six-Step Ransomware Defense Plan for Law Firms provides an outline for how to avoid a disruptive and money-losing ransomware attack. The whitepaper is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized by the life cycle of a law practice, Practice HQ can help you start…
The owners of law firms may consider merger options as part of their succession planning. While periodically reviewing merger options can be an effective part of long-range strategic plans, it’s important that firms do not rely on mergers as a life raft. Instead, mergers should incorporate a well-thought business strategy and create greater client value. The ISBA’s Merging Law Firms Checklist helps attorneys plan for a successful merger, and includes formation, compensation, accounting, and billing considerations. The checklist is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized…
Many attorneys spend their time and resources focusing on getting more leads but fail to realize that what they do with those leads is just as important as generating them. The ISBA’s whitepaper on managing leads and converting prospects into paying clients highlights four major components of improving conversion rates, which include training for your front office and intake staff; specific tactics and strategies to maximize conversion at each stage; intake customer relationship management software; and the tracking and measuring of key metrics. The whitepaper is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite…
An American Bar Association study reported that 17 percent of all malpractice claims are the result of a poor attorney-client relationship, and nearly 75 percent of all grievances filed against lawyers are the result of poor communication. The ISBA’s whitepaper on improving client communications provides practical guidance for attorneys to form better business relationships with their clients. Topics include potential causes for a breakdown in communication, internal communication issues, and steps to improve interactions with clients. The whitepaper is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized…
For many law firms, referrals are an integral part of obtaining new clients. But it takes time to build a referral base, which must be cultivated through meaningful relationships with reliable sources. The ISBA’s whitepaper on increasing a firm’s referrals provides five fundamental keys to accomplishing that goal. They include tips such as not trying to be a generalist, actively building relationships with five to 10 new referral sources each year, keeping in touch on a regular basis, rewarding people for referring clients, and not relying on just other attorneys for referrals. The whitepaper is one of many member resources…
Closing a law firm can be a daunting task. There are many considerations attorneys must take into account, and the process itself takes time due to obligations to protect client information as well as the interest of the clients. The ISBA’s Closing a Law Firm Consideration Checklist provides a breakdown of the basic framework and issues to consider when closing a firm, including the following: Client lists Firm’s files and records retention information Insurance policies Designating another attorney to close the practice in the event of death or incapacitation. The checklist is one of many member resources available at Practice
In the digital age, technology is the cornerstone of any law firm. With a myriad of options on the table, it’s important to ensure that you don’t forget anything when opening a new practice. The ISBA’s New Firm Technology Checklist provides a comprehensive list of everything you’ll need to budget for, including hardware, software, security, and other technological services. The checklist is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information. Organized by the life cycle of a law practice, Practice HQ can help you start a firm, build,…
With nearly 75 percent of consumers searching for an attorney online, it is important to make your website the hub of a successful legal marketing strategy. What makes the difference between a great website and an ineffective one? It starts with planning. The ISBA’s whitepaper on using a website as the heart of an online marketing strategy covers important topics such as search engine optimization, creating and promoting exciting content, creating an appealing website design, and more. The whitepaper is one of many member resources available at Practice HQ, the ISBA’s one-stop microsite for practice management and technology information.…