Why Client Service Matters When it Comes to Malpractice Claims
Four out of five lawyers can expect to face at least one malpractice claim in the course of their careers. And, contrary to popular perception, the biggest claims risk is not a failure to know or apply substantive law.
At firms of all sizes (right from sole practitioners through small, medium and large firms) and in almost all areas of practice, lawyer/client communication and relationship issues are the biggest cause of claims – accounting for roughly one-third of malpractice claims.
In my talk I will give you a better understanding of where your biggest risks of a malpractice claim come from, and more importantly, simple and practical strategies that you can easily implement to help reduce your exposure to a malpractice claim.
Moving Towards 100% Web
Integrating consumer driven social media, intranets, extranets and client portals into a 100% web approach driving organizational & behavioral change. Focus on how applying account management, alternative fee agreements, knowledge & legal project management into this model is streamlined and a malleable bi-product of the 100% web approach, and is led by consumer behavioral trends. Wrap up with how client service & integration becomes the ultimate focal point within this strategy.
Where Canasta and Counsel Collide: Can Elder Law Attorneys Bridge the Communication Gap with Technology?
In a world abuzz with tweets and check-ins, are elderly clients becoming lost in the noise? Proponents of legal technology and social media herald its growing use in law practice as a means of helping clients and counsel communicate more effectively. At least ostensibly, attorneys embracing the “Law 2.0″ ethos regard technology’s improved interactivity as valuable. With clients becoming increasingly web-savvy, many clients “like” this new approach to client engagement – but not all do.
My 98-year-old grandfather doesn’t have a Twitter account. He’s no worse for it – instead, he rather hone his legendary Canasta skills over confining his connection to others with 140 or fewer characters.
Like others in his retirement community, he routinely seeks legal services and advice. After meeting with a number of lawyers recently, he shared his true feelings about lawyers – things I cannot publicly repeat in good conscience. To him, yours is a profession where client questions are bothersome, where task completion trumps connection, and where client usability is of little, if any, concern. Many others share his opinion.
Despite enormous potential to deliver meaningful value to older clients, the legal technology community remains astonishingly unconcerned with the elderly. With the Baby Boomers primed to retire en masse and breadth of legal services they will require, it’s time to do better. We must first determine where communication gaps occur with elderly clients and how technology can help bridge the gap between attorney and elderly client. Let’s start now.
Goodbye To All That – Ending Cheap Talk in Legal Bargaining
Serving clients generally boils down to assisting them with various forms of bargaining. This includes tacit bargaining, such as when someone claims or does something in an effort to cause someone else to eventually respond in a desired way. It also includes litigation, which in virtually all cases can be understood as simply a form of tacit bargaining.
Several Nobel Prizes have recently been awarded for discoveries relating to what works and doesn’t work in various bargaining contexts. These studies suggest that much of what lawyers do and charge clients for consists of “cheap talk” (with the word “cheap” referring to its lack of value and credibility, rather than to the costs that it inflicts upon clients and society).
This work has led to the development of several legal-tech systems that allow conflicts and negotiations to be resolved at little or no cost and with startling efficiency. This session provides an overview of the work being done in this field and the opportunities and challenges that it presents for clients, for lawyers at all levels of the profession, and for the legal system as a whole.
Game, Set & Match: Serving Clients Better in the 21st Century
Tennis lessons for lawyers. Tennis techniques and technological advancements have dramatically changed tennis over the last decade, but the game itself remains the same. The legal field is no different. Like tennis, success comes with practical experience. First, master the basics. Then, use new technologies to better serve your clients and gain a competitive edge in the 21st century and beyond.
Identifying and then nourishing your passion will make you a more content person, drive confidence and help you serve your clients better. Find your passions and then encourage others around you to follow theirs. Passion also leads to innovation which is the cornerstone of technology. Technology, in turn, when properly implemented and when enthusiastically embraced will help free your schedule to give you time to follow your passion.
Legal Industry Startups: An Overview
A quick survey of new legal industry start-ups (non-law firms) and the promise of new value propositions that result in improved patterns of client service.
The venture capital industry is targeting the legal industry as ripe for disruption. The VC’s think they know it all and really understand the future of legal services.
Lets see where they are investing and hear my opinion about whether the horses they are backing will win or die. What can we learn from these new ventures?
Is real innovation happening or are we seeing old wine in new bottles?
Being a Web 2.0 Lawyer in the “Thank You Economy”
From a marketing and branding standpoint, it’s very important for lawyers and law firms to embrace the “Thank You Economy” (credit Gary Vaynerchuk).
I will demonstrate how that can be done quite economically by leveraging relevant social media and through establishing interesting messaging, all in a very professional and ethical, yet enticing, manner.
We will see how the Web 2.0 lawyer might effectively spread his or her expertise to serve business objectives.
Ignite This! Five Ethics Rules That Should Be Incinerated
Technology moved into the 21st Century in the 1990s. We’re still waiting for ethics rules to catch up.
Which state has a rule that advocates using the Yellow Pages?
Where can a publisher call you the “best” lawyer, but your client can’t?
Where is it unethical to have a virtual office?
Will Hornsby picks the top five rules that prevent you from serving the 21st Century client and wonders out loud what we can do about it.
Flash Mob Law
Flash mobs are large public performances that are unexpected and often involve unusual behavior, like dancing in the streets and people dressed in unusual attire. Flash mob law is a hybrid of criminal, intellectual property, tort, property, 1st Amendment, and contract law that helps flash mob organizers stay out of trouble before, during, and after each event.
Lawyers who practice flash mob law serve clients who organize flash mobs for guerrilla marketing stunts and just for fun. Flash mobs are high risk events that can strike the public relations jackpot or result in the arrest of participants and threats to the the participants’ and the unsuspecting audience’s safety.
Flash mob organizers need lawyers who speak their language and understand the applicable laws so that they can advise the organizers of their risks and teach them how to talk with law enforcement and the public. With information about upcoming and past flash mobs plastered all over Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and the news, there’s nowhere for organizers to hide if their stunt is illegal or if an unfortunate incident happens during an event. They need legal guidance from the initial planning stages until the final blog and video from the event are posted.
The Future of the Legal Profession and How to Assure Your Success In The “New Normal”
“The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers!” Shakespeare’s often quoted barb, according to some, may be coming true. As the legal profession reached a “new normal?” Certainly large law firms are changing. Will the sole and small firm practitioner survive the current and future turmoil? Let’s talk about some of the changes that are taking place and look at three strategies that the small firm can use to survive, and even thrive, in the new world.
In today’s discussion, I want to address three areas:
Down with the Law Firm Template!
Law firms have been using a specific Law Firm Template (brick and mortar office offering full service representation at an hourly rate) to create law practices for centuries. Over and over again, when lawyers create a new firm (solo or multi-lawyer) they always start with the Law Firm Template. Then they try to innovate from within that template by offering flat fees or going virtual. But that is not enough.
I say down with the Law Firm Template! In this presentation, I will show lawyers how they can create innovative, client-focused law practices completely outside the Law Firm Template, by starting with a blank page.
Hey Lawyers, This is What I Want!
I’m in a unique position. I’m a consumer of legal services as well as a provider of tools and education that makes law firms more efficient. I’m one of few people on this planet who have received a legal invoice from code they wrote, a dubious distinction at best.
As a business owner, I know what I want when it comes to legal services. And I know what’s out there, and what I should expect from my professionals. So if you want to hear how to survive and thrive in the 21st century and how to service the next generation of clients, you should vote for me.
Warning: I will be making fun of actual invoices I have received.
14+ Ways to Set Your Practice on Fire With the New Kindle
The new Amazon Kindle has many fun apps that make it fabulous for personal use, but there are many business uses that will make you more productive, make your clients happier, and make you a better lawyer. Most of these are free apps, but the few that have a fee are well worth it. I will share with you at least 14 innovative ways to use the Kindle Fire to improve your practice, which will also increase your productivity and give you more billable hours.
I will also give you some hints on how to find even more ways to make that Kindle Fire work for you. Stop being bogged down by paper, trying to find your calendar and searching everywhere for that handwritten note with critical phone number. Turn your Kindle Fire into your life assistant. Every day I am learning more, so I may have a few more to add before we meet up.
Picturing Better Choices – Counseling Clients through Collaborative Visualization
Building on a popular IgniteLaw 2010 talk and a recent article (Dancing in the Cloud) I will describe how lawyers can use “choiceboxing” to help clients make decisions. By participating in a shared graphical representation of options, considerations, and viewpoints, clients can be clearer about authentic preferences, and more directly engage in trade-off balancing. Decisions can be more transparent and rationales more easily reconstructed.
On Becoming Your Client’s General Contractor
Disaggregation and non-hourly pricing are phenomena that are here to stay. What type of lawyers will clients need in an era where somebody else can do at least part of what you do better, cheaper and faster than you do?
The role of many lawyers will be evolving in a spectacularly fast manner. Some react with denial. Others see the change as an opportunity to enhance their service and improve client satisfaction.
My comments will focus on the traits clients will look for in their 21st century lawyers and what lawyers will need to do serve the 21st Century client.
Why Do We Keep Buying New Technology?
Twenty-seven years of experience in the trenches with law practices worldwide has shown me that most firms buy/use tech for all the wrong reasons.
The only reasons that matter are “The Five B’s” and all related to providing the best client service and that means also for a law practice to best take care of itself so it can best serve it’s clients: Best Practices, Battling Malpractice, Being Ethical, Better Profitabilityand having the Best life possible.
Focus on these reasons when thinking about ANY new tech and you can’t help but better serve every one of your clients and God forbid, maybe even make law practice fun again.
Form Ever Follows Function: Lessons in Client Service from the “Chicago School” of Architecture
In his 1896 article “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered,” Louis Sullivan, father of the skyscraper, famously postulated that “form ever follows function” — one of the foundational tenets of modernity, from industrial design to business management.
Sullivan developed the shape of the tall steel skyscraper in late 19th Century Chicago at the very moment when technology, taste and economic forces converged violently and made it necessary to drop the established styles of the past. If the shape of the building wasn’t going to be chosen out of the old pattern book, something had to determine form, and according to Sullivan it was going to be the purpose of the building. It was “form follows function”, as opposed to “form follows precedent.”
This presentation will explore how the Chicago School’s best practices in client service and technological innovation can inform and inspire law firms as they reimagine and reengineer their client service practices.
Back to the Future
Due to communication innovations of the 21st century (e.g., Internet, social networking, video chat, etc.), lawyers are being forced back to a time of community interaction and leadership. But the communities have changed. Many are now online in-part or whole.
How does a lawyer identify online communities that are most important to his or her practice? What are the best ways to engage those communities?
Making Alternative Fee Agreements Work for Both Clients and Firms
Yes … I know. We’re all supposed to be embracing Alternative Fee Agreements (or AFA’s).
It’s fine to talk about the benefits of leaving the hourly billing world behind, but what has been largely missing from the AFA conversation though is the ‘How To’ aspect. This presentation will take a hard, practical look at how to design and implement AFAs that meet clients’ needs, while also ensuring that a firm maintains a healthy bottom-line.
This deep-in-the-AFA-trenches perspective will illuminate the path towards true AFA enlightenment.
Who Is Your Firm’s Director of First Impressions?
Well, it goes without saying that without clients, you’d have no business. But, what else may have gone “unsaid” in your firm that relates to client service? How are your clients treated from the moment they walk in the door… or when the phone is answered?
More importantly, let’s get to the bottom-line — how can you improve your firm’s “wow” factor? You know – the one that keeps referrals coming to your firm long after a file is closed.
This six minute session is designed to help your firm think above & beyond the traditional values of client service…beyond the Director of First Impressions. What ideas will you choose to create your own “wow” factor for serving clients better in the year 2012 & beyond?
One Word That Will Reinvent How You Serve Clients
“Lawyer” is one of just two nouns in the English language that take on a negative meaning when turned into an adjective — “lawyerly.” (The other is “fish.” As in “fishy.”) In the history of the world, no one has ever used “lawyerly” as a compliment. Because lawyers get a bum rap: Client complaints. Billing disputes. Lawyer jokes.
But one word can change all of that. One word can revolutionize the way you practice law. Make your life easier. And make your clients happier. Want to know what that one word is? And how to use it in your practice? Vote for this proposal and find out March 28.
Don’t Just Communicate …
I will be talking about how to get away from traditional lines of communication and give clients the attention that they deserve through technology. Clients are used to communicating via text messaging, email, and Facebook, which essentially leads to instant gratification. Whether we like or not, they have grown to expect this level of attention in all areas of life, including representation by a lawyer. The problem is these methods are not the most efficient for lawyers and certainly are not secure enough to handle such confidential information.
Still, the biggest complaint across every state bar in the country is lack of attorney client communication. That is precisely why this matters so much. Gone are the days of lengthy phone calls and sending letters to clients. There are so many technologies available that allow you to give your clients a supreme level of attention and collaboration that not only make your clients feel amazing, but also make you more efficient. Engaging your clients through client portals and using social network style communication tools to give your client complete case interaction is realistic now and can be accomplished easily, cost effectively, and securely.
I intend to present solely as a lawyer who has spent years serving some of the toughest clients to keep happy, criminal defendants. As the owner of small firm and the founder of MyCase, which has its core in the idea of interacting and collaborating with your clients directly from your LPM software, I believe I have a great perspective on how to enhance communication with clients.
Keeping Support Personal in a Mobile World
While support obviously and primarily needs to about addressing a fix to a real or perceived problem, the 21stcentury customer expects to be contacted immediately, by a human and in a human way. We all recognize the phone menus, and computerized voices by now, and know they are merely precursors to a few department transfers and more time on the phone than you wanted. Staying away from that “hold and you’ll be transferred to the right department” paradigm for your user’s sake is a big task for a small business, and a very important one.
There are a lot of ways to rise to the challenge, mostly by using other 21st century tools – like social media. Support can be offered via phone but also via email, and tweet, and to further address those 21st century demands, a support community with other users can be created to offer advice, updates, and useful strategies and to provide a forum to share successes as well…
Serving Client Communities Online
It used to be that the thickest sections of the yellow pages were for lawyers and glass repair shops. It wasn’t just that the law and glass were breaking all the time, but often they were breaking at the same time. They still are. Crisis is often an entry point for new clients. But it’s safe to say that new clients aren’t using the yellow book if they’re interested in speed. They’re using the net. To that end, in this talk we’ll address something called online earned advertising. It’s not the kind of advertising you buy. It the kind you earn and share online in service of your clients. Once earned, it’s something you help others to share online. Serving individual clients often means serving online communities. Clients are discussing your firm, sharing notes, reading your blogs, or looking up your briefs online. The power of the online referral taps into something the net does best: group forming around what people know best. In this talk we’ll look at tools and methods for serving 21st century client communities online.
We’re excited to announce this year’s LexThink.1 speaker slate. As in years past, we asked the public to vote on the submitted proposals, and over two thousand votes were cast.
Here are the speakers for LexThink.1 (number of votes received in parentheses):
Thanks to everyone who proposed a talk this year!
We’ll be posting the agenda soon. If you’re interested in attending LexThink.1, you can get your free tickets here. See you on March 28th!