Monthly Archives: June 2012

Should you move to the country?

An article in the June 22 Wall Street Journal highlighted the “opportunity-meets-preparedness” situation where unemployed urban lawyers are finding that there are many small towns without enough lawyers.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Amid all the blustering about having “too many lawyers” there are actually communities that want more.

It is similar to the medical services imbalance, where there are too many general practitioners in some urban areas but small towns often have few or none.  Life in a smaller town can be fantastic for those who enjoy less traffic and pollution and more familiar faces when they shop, drive and go out to eat.  For those who crave the faster pace and pulse of a larger area, however, the lower cost of living typically is not enough to offset the lack of entertainment options.  Unlike the medical profession, there are few student loan relief programs that encourage lawyers to live in less-populated areas beyond those that generally apply to public and nonprofit legal services work.

But who says you have to be just one or the other, urban or rural?  There is a big, important difference between the medical and legal professions:  other than a few meetings and court appearances, lawyers do not have to examine their clients or see them physically to deliver high-quality services.  Rather than pack up and move right away, try temporary or part-time  operations to get a feel for the legal services that your targeted smaller communities are looking for.

Do you plan to offer simple estate planning services on a limited scope basis or help people with orders in uncontested family law matters?  Use some of the suggestions* in Start and Grow Your Limited Scope Practice:  How to Make Money Serving the “Do It Yourself” Client to generate interest and a list of prospective clients in the area.  Then, much like the original Methodist preachers of the 1800s and many rural judges today, circuit ride to stop in each community often enough to address that targeted need, get some face time with clients and prospective clients, hold a mass execution (of documents, not people) session, or just do a community service information session.   After that, you can keep the client reasonably informed via mail, fax, email, phone, video chat or other appropriate means.

If the business picks up, consider renting space for a more permanent presence and increasing your trips to that “branch office” as the work requires.  If it doesn’t, you have not wasted money that you need to allocate to marketing and other locations.

* Because some of those suggestions are not found anywhere else, they are not posted here.  Get your copy of the eBook today and gain that advantage over others who have not yet done so.  See ordering info at the right for PDF versions and links to Amazon for the Kindle version.

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Kindle edition tops on Amazon!

Screenshot of Amazon Best Seller Rankings

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50+ apply for $10,000/year associate position!

The headline in the ABA Journal caught a lot of attention: “More Than 50 Would-Be Associates Have Now Applied for $10,000-a-Year Boston Law Firm Job.”  It seems enough people want to get their foot in the door and learn (or re-enter) law practice that the below-minimum-wage salary is not an obstacle.  (Ever thought about how much money that firm will make off of its starving associates?)

Why not be your own boss and make even more money?  The thought of striking out on your own frightens many.  But “Start and Grow Your Limited Scope Practice” will show you that the venture is not so frightening.  You can even get going right in your own home or favorite coffee shop.  It is a rare opportunity that is “low risk; high reward.”

The book covers all the basics and will certainly trigger your own innovative ideas to launch, promote and expand yourpractice.  Grow at your own pace, but at least it will be your practice that grows.  You can do it!

If you have already gotten started, send me an email to tell me about your practice.  I am collecting success stories now to write about in an upcoming post.  There is nothing like a little free publicity, right?

 

P.S.  And speaking of publicity, many thanks to Neil Squillante and his crew for including the book in their invaluable SmallLaw 2012 Summer Reading list available through the Technolawyer SmallLaw newsletter and Technolawyer blog!  If you have read my book, you already know how much I like the Technolawyer.  Check it out and subscribe.  You will be glad you did.

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Could you use Twuffer?

So you bought the book, downloaded it directly to your ebook reader, and launched your limited scope representation (unbundled) practice.  Promotion is a challenge for any law firm, but it is crucial for LSR practices because (a) many prospective clients do not know the option even exists and (b) you have a new service that needs to get attention.

If you created a Twitter account, you have likely already concluded “this takes too much time and effort!”  While celebreties and media pros make tweeting part of their everyday work and lives (and or pay someone on their staff to make sure that their followers are consistently fed), that is probably not in your immediate business plan.  So how can you effectively use Twitter without feeling you are wasting valuable (and billable) time?

Enter the Twitter buffer: Twuffer!  With a tool like Twuffer, you can load up dozens of tweets and set up a schedule for them to go out.  You get to focus your social media promotional time into a concentrated couple of hours each month, then turn your attention to other things that every small and solo practioner must attend to.

Here are a few tips:

1.  Set up your Twitter account(s) first.  You will need to have that in place before Twuffer can work for you.

2.  Use a spreadsheet or something similar to organize your tweets.  It helps to have a long series of tweets displayed visually so you can see the pattern and make sure you get the sequence you intend.

3.  Track the tweets you have posted as well as those you have loaded up for future posts, then update the spreadsheet to keep it current.  It is amazing how easily we forget which tweets we did and did not post last week or month!

4.  Consider a theme.  One month you may want to promote one type of service, for example; the next month, you can tweet about other things such as updates in the law.

5.  Watch the “fail” tab.  If a tweet does not successfully post, Twuffer records the event in its “fail tab” along with the reason.  The best reason for a “fail?”  It was an unintended double-tweet repeat.  Twuffer catches those in case you did not intend to come across as some tweeting robot on autopilot. 

With a Twitter buffer like Twuffer, you can appear to be “in” with social media without sacrificing important productivity hours during the week.  (And your followers will be amazed at your apparent lack of sleep!)

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