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SmallLaw: Being Jay Shepherd: Advice to a Would-Be Consultant

By Mazyar Hedayat | Thursday, January 5, 2012

Originally published on September 6, 2011 in our free SmallLaw newsletter. Instead of reading SmallLaw here after the fact, sign up now to receive future issues in realtime.

I have a confession to make. Since covering the 2011 ABA TechShow for TechnoFeature, I've been wrestling with a vexing question …

Who the hell is Jay Shepherd and how will he earn a living?

Let me explain. On the eve of TechShow, a veritable Who's Who of legal pundits took the stage at Ignite Law 2011: Tom Mighell, Dennis Kennedy, Kevin O'Keefe, Carolyn Elefant, Marc Lauritsen, Jim Calloway, and of course Jay Shepherd. Wait a minute! Jay who?

Well whoever he was, he considered it appropriate to announce during his six minutes on stage that he would close his employment law practice to start Prefix, a consulting firm to help law firms abandon the billable hour.

My first thought was: Who cares? My next were: Too much imbibing at the cash bar? An attempt at free advertising? A cry for help? Still, I let go of the issue and chalked it up to a lawyer's ego (plenty of that to go around). So imagine my surprise when none other than the ABA Journal covered Jay's announcement.

Whoa. This guy's career move was national news? The whole episode got me wondering — why would anyone abandon a successful law practice to become a consultant? Not that it's unheard of. After all, a few years ago I did just that, only to be drawn back to the law once and for all.

While this SmallLaw column might arrive too late for Jay, let me explain to those of you still managing small law firms what will likely happen to Jay since I have traveled this path.

Commanding Attention Versus Begging for It …

Not long after I slipped the surly bonds of law practice in 2006 to live the jet-setting life of a legal practice consultant, I found out that lawyers don't think they need advice, and certainly won't pay for it.

Even free advice was of no interest to most lawyers. After all, if they had to change anything to make the advice work then it really wasn't "free" was it? Change is hard, new hardware and software costs money, and clients hire people, not technology. To the vast majority of lawyers, one good afternoon on the links and a vintage IBM PC (circa 1999) was more important than all the consulting in the world.

Of course, sometimes I would get a prospect to agree to a meeting. Inevitably however, I found myself talking to someone from IT with no grasp of the legal process, or explaining things to a partner who had already decided to cut out the middle man and have his teenage kids throw together a Facebook page. Ultimately, the process was more like selling encyclopedias than delivering professional services. And at no time did I feel as if I were selling "knowledge," a recurring theme in Jay Shepherd's promotional materials. On the contrary, I frequently had to beg for attention instead of command it, as I had when I was a lawyer.

Even if Jay manages to avoid such obstacles and get hired, how will his new business compare to his old business? We lawyers adhere to a simple principal — clients pay to cure pain, ward off fear, or have us deal with unpleasantness. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the law is utterly opaque, attorneys and courts have little patience for lay people, and the legislature and courts throttle competition from out-of-jurisdiction lawyers while keeping the barriers to entry high for recent law school graduates. All in all, you might say that clients have to hire us to get anything done.

By comparison, being a consultant is like playing Vegas. The field is clogged because any mope can call himself a consultant. Even when consultants get hired payment is still at the customer's mercy. Worst of all, consultants must span the credibility gap with prospects by selling themselves around the clock. That doesn't leave much time in which to sell knowledge — or help lawyers sell knowledge instead of hours.

Room for One More?

So, is there room for one more practice consultant in an unregulated field crowded with tireless self-promoters? After my experience a few years ago, I recommend that Jay keep one toe in the legal practice tide pool for now. And for all we know, that might be his game plan. When Jay also used his Above the Law column to announce his plans, one commenter sarcastically quipped that: "he said he was closing his law business, not necessarily quitting law practice. I expect that he will work out of his (mom's?) basement … as a solo practitioner doing legal work for several of his existing clients, but without having to carry the risks and costs of employees."

But practice consultants who try to wear both hats are often lousy lawyers. What's more, skills become dull surprisingly quickly, learning new tricks is never easy, and having the confidence of courts, colleagues, and clients is as important as making a good argument. Being a lawyer is as much about relationships as anything else, and those relationships rely on seeing and being seen by the right people every day.

What's a would-be consultant to do when he's too busy selling himself to be at the closing table, in the office, or in court? Does Jay understand what he's getting himself into?

Here's a lawyer about my age and experience level, with an established practice in a major metropolitan area, strong academic and peer credentials, several blogs and a popular column who experienced his share of wins and notoriety, and who by all accounts could have continued to practice.

Why the sudden zeal to fix our industry's broken billing model? Is it because he's a fellow at the Verasage Institute, an organization so inscrutable its name isn't even a real word? Or is it because the Institute taught him to "bury the billable hour and timesheets" as it boasts on its web site? Or is it because, as Jay writes in his biography on the Verasage web site, he is on a "mission to save the world from lawyers, and to save lawyers (and other professionals) from themselves"?

Or Has Jay Simply Painted Himself Into a Corner?

I guess what I'm saying is that Jay Shepherd might want to take a lesson from my experience, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. He might also want to refrain from predicting the future at national events just in case things don't work out. And in the unlikely event that he's forced to take up law practice again, he might want to keep certain skills honed so he doesn't have to re-learn how to maintain credibility with his peers, acquire clients, try cases, hire good employees, and most importantly, fire bad ones.

I mean, look at me. As critical as I am of our profession and its broken systems, I still practice law and keep track of hours, expenses, and other business minutiae. Why? Because to paraphrase Churchill (and channel Tocqueville), the legal business is terrible … but consulting is far worse.

Written by Will County bankruptcy lawyer Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Consultants/Services/Training | SmallLaw | Technology Industry/Legal Profession

SmallLaw: Why the iPad 2 Is a Game Changer for Lawyers

By Mazyar Hedayat | Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Originally published on June 21, 2011 in our free SmallLaw newsletter. Instead of reading SmallLaw here after the fact, sign up now to receive future issues in realtime.

Another day, another article about lawyers using the iPad, right? Wrong! And yes, I'm back baby! I'm the founding columnist of SmallLaw (originally called Crazy Mazy). My "reunion" column is not so much about how lawyers use or should use the iPad, as it is about my experience using it as a suburban middle-aged founding partner of a small law firm. Something tells me most SmallLaw subscribers fit this same profile.

First, by way of full disclosure I own more than one iPad, Mac, and iPhone. Don't let that fool you though. Read my previous SmallLaw columns and you'll find that I'm no technology pushover. I'm not some Apple fanboy with a photo of Steve Jobs over my fireplace and a collection of black mock turtleneck shirts. I'm a managing partner just like you — a ping away from the disaster du jour at my law firm. I'm not looking for another way to surf the Web, exchange messages, connect with clients, or watch videos.

Did I need to buy an iPad 2? Should you consider buying one? As it happens, my answer to both questions is yes because this device is a game changer. It's to this decade what WordPerfect was to the 1980s when many of you started law practice (or started thinking about becoming a lawyer).

The New Normal

Let's begin with the obvious — the iPad2 is the bomb when it comes to content. Text, audio, video, whatever — it all looks better on the iPad 2. And thanks to its incredibly slim, light form factor I can experience my favorites in ways I previously couldn't.

Once I got used to the way in which the iPad 2 connected my content, I started to expect the same fluidity from all my information sources. But nothing came close to the effortless way in which I could find all three media — audio, text, and video — in one place on my iPad. In short, I felt entitled to a better information experience across the board.

But something was still missing. Don't get me wrong. The Safari Web browser is impressive. Clio's optimized Web site looks gorgeous for example. But as good as Safari is, dedicated native apps are even better.

Just then, as if on cue, one publication after another started to retrofit or radically alter its format for the iPad 2 in the form of native apps (though I'm still waiting on TechnoLawyer — ahem). At first it was form over substance, but soon the publications learned to make the most of the iPad format. The iPad 2 literally created the new normal, which I prefer to the old normal.

Apps such as The Daily, FlipBoard, Newsy, Qwiki, The Economist, and TrialPad take full advantage of the iPad 2. By serving up content in native apps, they kick the iPad 2 into overdrive.

So how does the iPad 2 compare to print, eReaders, TV, the iPhone, or my iMac? Let's just say that none compare. I refuse to read books and magazines in print. No more squinting my way through a post on my iPhone or hunching in front of my iMac to browse the Web. Sure, an eReader like the Kindle or Nook is great for books. But that's like filling up on breadsticks before going out for dinner. The iPad 2 simply has so much more to offer that mere eReaders simply don't rate.

The Hardware Is Slick, but the Software Is Genius

Granted, the content-management and display superiority of the iPad 2 has caused a seismic shift in the way I consume information. But has the iPad 2 "changed everything" as Steve Jobs likes to say? Has it made a difference in how I deal with information? Or is it just an overgrown iPhone?

After all, the just-released Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 has a crisper displays and smaller dimensions than the iPad 2, while the Kindle and Nook are even smaller and lighter. In fact on nearly all counts you'll find tablets that are competitive with Apple's — hardware-wise.

So what makes the iPad 2 a big deal? In a word: Apple's iOS. Of course it's hard to give credit to an operating system when the hardware on which it resides is so damned cool, but iOS is what makes all the difference when it comes to what you can do with your iPad 2. It makes the hardware melt away much like you don't notice the piece of paper you're reading, just the printed words on it. The only difference is that with a few simple gestures I can annotate, highlight, save, share, or jump between sources without leaving the page (or the couch).

What About Law Practice?

The iPad 2 is not yet ubiquitous. But with more than 25 million units sold already, it's off to a much faster start than the PC. Judging by the number of apps that transform our iPads into trial assistants, telephones, secure workspaces, deposition readers, eDiscovery tools and more, law practice has already changed. Thanks to the plethora of remote control apps such as iTeleport, you can even control your PC from your iPad if a substitute app doesn't yet exist.

Expect this trend to intensify. Thus, my advice is to get your hands on an iPad 2 to see if it doesn't enhance your own reading, browsing, surfing, viewing, and listening experience. You may want to pick up Tom Mighell's new ABA book as well, iPad in One Hour for Lawyers. As I said at the outset of this SmallLaw column, my bet is that you will find the iPad 2 transformative. If I'm wrong, feel free to complain to this fine publication.

Written by Will County bankruptcy lawyer Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Laptops/Smartphones/Tablets | SmallLaw

SmallLaw: The Brewing Revolution in Legal Research

By Mazyar Hedayat | Monday, May 3, 2010

Originally published on March 01, 2010 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

At ABA TechShow, which kicks off later this month, you can learn about blogging, eDiscovery, social media, and other hot topics. But over the past few months, the usually unsexy topic of legal research has emerged as the hottest topic of the year. Recent developments may impact every small firm in the country. Here's why.

Beginning in late 2009, a decades-old question re-emerged for the first time in years: What technology will power the future of legal research? Thanks to several new competitors, legal research looks like a crowded field rather than a duopoly — a good thing, right? After all, competition encourages companies to retain existing customers and win new ones by being faster to market, ensuring a low cost-structure, and introducing a better product — and maybe even by doing all of the above.

Over the years I have sampled and — for at least some time — actively used each of the principal services. For me, the results have been underwhelming. I am among those who yearn for a future with better legal research technology.

The Defending Champs and Their Challengers

Westlaw and Lexis — the leaders in legal research — need no introduction. They built their reputations lawyer by lawyer, reporter by reporter … before being acquired and then acquired again. Today Lexis and Westlaw are often mirror images of one another in many respects. Despite their rivalry for the hearts and minds of the profession, the two companies keep one another under constant surveillance and compete for the same AmLaw 100 accounts more or less … plus whatever smaller players their sales armies can catch.

So is there really a difference? I have found a few. Westlaw has a slightly more graphic-intensive and less confusing interface than its rival. Moreover, its natural-language search capabilities are more robust than those of Lexis, especially given its recent launch of WestlawNext. Meanwhile, its databases are nestled within one another so effectively that researchers can get to searching rather than running the gauntlet of choices that Lexis users must navigate. Unfortunately, when it comes to billing Westlaw shows less flexibility than it used to, and less than Lexis. I attribute this change to the influence of Thomson and Reuters.

Lexis has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to information — traceable to its roots as an information vendor, not just a legal information company. It also possesses a dynamic internal structure that frequently causes it to operate less like a unit and more like a federation of independent businesses. The results can be downright exciting, and Lexis has aggressively acquired a number of cutting-edge companies in the legal field over the past decade. Too bad the company took its eyes off the legal research prize. It seems like LexisNexis can't decide what it wants to be when it grows up: application vendor, news source, social network, etc.

Loislaw was one of the first serious challengers to the domination of legal research by Westlaw and Lexis, but never grew beyond its original sandbox in terms of interface or databases. The key feature Loislaw sought to exploit was its ability to access public records for free and add value by linking the pieces into a network. It also offers a citation service. But it seemed to me like Loislaw never finished integrating the pieces with one another. Nonetheless, the alternative research market is Loislaw's to lose, which it may to Fastcase.

Fastcase seems like the real legal research alternative for my money. To begin with, the service really does deliver information fast, using an easy to grasp, easy to use interface, ties results to the right sources, is available online or on your iPhone, and does it all for free. At first the strategy was to have bar associations pay for the service and pass it on as a member benefit, which worked out fine. So how surprised were they when free became the new way to market? The rest is history. I credit Fastcase with preventing "free research" from being synonymous with "lousy research."

I have the least direct experience with Bloomberg Law for the obvious reason that this service is new and not trying to upend the overall market or serve all lawyers. Quite the contrary, Bloomberg aims to simplify the life of large firm lawyers, securities lawyers, and corporate law departments. The strategy at Bloomberg is simple: limited databases, limited services, high priced premium access for a well-defined market. Bloomberg may take business away from Westlaw and Lexis, and represents a breath of fresh air in this rarefied atmosphere, but you can't use it to shore up your average child support motion.

In November 2009, Google announced that it would offer state and federal court opinions through Google Scholar, including Supreme Court opinions back to 1791. Since then it has become apparent that Google Scholar updates its databases in real-time (a Google hallmark), and continually adds services to enhance its growing case law and statutory law stash. However, the real strength of Westlaw and Lexis stem not just from the number of information sources they boast, but from editorial oversight and connections among those databases to bring forth added value. At the moment, Google Scholar offers no such added value, and there is no indication that it will. Maybe it really just does just want to add another dimension to the searches conducted by ordinary people.

And the Winner Is …

This fight is just getting started. The winner could become your next legal research provider. One way or another we all have a horse in this race, and we should all let the big providers know where we stand. I think I just did. How about you?

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Legal Research | SmallLaw

SmallLaw: ABA TECHSHOW 2010: The Year of Living Practically

By Mazyar Hedayat | Monday, April 12, 2010

Originally published on April 4, 2010 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

This year's ABA TECHSHOW focused on practicality (and I'm not just saying that because it's on the Web site). In that spirit, let me begin by giving readers what they want most, followed by a little perspective on how we got here. To begin with then, below you'll find my picks for the year's 12 Best of TECHSHOW. Also, don't miss my TECHSHOW interviews.

Best Of TECHSHOW (In No Particular Order)

Clio: For SaaS practice management Clio still rules. Rocket Matter has much catching up to do.

Contracts Express: Formerly known as Deal Builder. Contract drafting in the cloud. Subscription pricing.

Worldox: For document and information management Worldox is the worst. But the best. Go figure.

SpeakWrite: Love this idea — dictate into any phone and get the document in 3 hours by email.

Certex: Professional checks prepared in the cloud. Old idea. New twist. Way to innovate on a budget.

SurePayroll: Payroll sucks, but preparing it at your leisure sucks slightly less. That's a win-win, baby.

Walz Group: Certified mail is a necessary evil. Walz figured out how to save money and time. Sweet.

Proximiti: Proximiti Communications makes automated billing software that works. Plus VoIP phones that save money and integrate with your billing.

FastCase: I've said it before and I'll say it again — for free and mobile research FastCase is it (for now).

WestlawNext: What? I can change my mind. WestlawNext really is better — so much that I use it myself.

Lexis for Microsoft Office: Recognizes and updates case citations as you put cases in your brief. Awesome.

DirectLaw: Like the Highlander, there can only be one. DirectLaw is still the one to beat for a virtual practice. An oldie but a goodie.

How We Got Here

We all know that ABA TECHSHOW 2010 caps a decade marked by relentless churn. We also know that despite such turbulence (or maybe because of it) the biggest law firms got bigger while others blinked out of existence.

As a result, there are fewer large firms than there were a decade ago and the firms still in business employ fewer lawyers than their predecessors. The upshot is that more lawyers are on their own.

Hypothetically then, if a piece of legal technology or office appliance can't save me time or make me money, why buy it? The concept seems simple enough, but it turns out that until recently the ABA TECHSHOW floated above these economic facts of life.

In fact, it was just a few years ago that the show's organizers deviated from their traditional focus on big firms, big vendors and big price tags — right about the time in 2004 that I asked a group of assembled ABA TECHSHOW board members why they favored big firms so heavily "Tech Show favors large vendors?" they answered. "Ridiculous." Or was it?


Despite those ardent denials, the following year's show was markedly different. Ask any of the attendees, vendors, or speakers who were there: clearly the balance had shifted away from biglaw vendors in favor of more agile developers and competitive pricing. I am happy to stay that 2005 became the tipping point.

Every TECHSHOW since has continued the trend toward technology startups, smaller vendors, and lower cost alternatives to big ticket staples — even going so far as featuring SaaS vendors on an equal footing with the vendors of desktop-based solutions.

Maybe it was something in the water back then because 2005 was also the year when the technology industry recovered from the dot-com debacle with thousands of twenty-somethings around the country producing Web-based applications to handle everything from photographs (Flickr) to instant messaging (Dodge Ball).

This wave of Web 2.0 innovation was inspired by necessity. Lawyers, no less than any other group, were in need of a technological shot in the arm to deal with the pressures of a dwindling client pool, downward pressure on income, and soon the added pressure of rapidly declining asset values. Practical technology could mean the difference between remaining the profession and packing it in. At that point the stage was set for a revolution in getting smaller, simpler, cheaper, and, oh yes — faster.

Coming Full Circle

Given the trend that started 5 years ago, we can clearly see why TECHSHOW 2010 was so full of practical developments. Instead of trying to sell solutions for problems nobody had, this year's crop of vendors appears to have been busy in 2009 applying technology to virtually every workaday task in the average law firm — from depositions to drafting, research to practice management, even virtualizing practice itself. So it makes perfect sense that this year's TECHSHOW was not about who made the biggest and best, but rather who can provide the most affordable and efficient with a small footprint that doesn't require a Ph.D. to install.

I've never been more satisfied, and I'm sure that I wasn't the only one. TECHSHOW this year wasn't just about the latest crop of sexy gizmos. It offered a solid helping of legal technology comfort food and office must-haves that would be a relief to veterans and a revelation to young lawyers. And after all, what could be more practical than that?

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: SmallLaw | Technology Industry/Legal Profession

SmallLaw: 2010 Legal Profession Predictions

By Mazyar Hedayat | Monday, January 11, 2010


Originally published on January 4, 2010 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

Ah, the holidays. The togetherness of Thanksgiving, the childlike glee of Christmas morning, the excitement of New Year's Eve, the self-loathing that washes over you the next morning. Luckily, New Year's Eve is not only a time for reflection and renewal, but a great excuse to drown your regrets in a sea of moderately-priced champagne. Wait a second. Reverse that. Let's take a moment to peer into the future of small law firms in 2010.

1. Social Media Gets Real

Social media has been through the ringer — starting out as the darling of overpaid consultants in January, exposed as hot air by June, and falling short of overheated industry expectations by December. Does this mean social media has had its day among lawyers and will fade back into the shadows from whence it came?

Not exactly. As with all technology trends this decade, social media was shunned, then hyped, and then discarded by lawyers, which means that we can now look at it realistically. Of course you're entitled to have doubts, but when giants like LexisNexis get on board the social media train, as they have with Martindale-Hubbell Connected, you know something serious is happening.

My advice: if this year's novelties are next year's indispensable tools then you'd best learn to be social or suffer the consequences.

2. Legal Media Goes Real Time

Its official — books, newspapers, and magazines are on life support. Once upon a time, the paperless office existed only in large firms that hired large vendors.

Today, small firms and solos can do the same, but why now? Two reasons. First, the price of digital information has fallen mighty close to zero so it is hard to ignore. Second, lawyers want to win every argument. That means having up-to-the second information. Print can't do the job.

Of course you will still read books, magazines, and newspapers next year — unless you've switched to one of the e-readers propagating all over the place — but serious work must be done in real time and that calls for digital content. One more thing — before you know it, failure to use tools such as Twitter feeds and mobile platforms will be tantamount to professional negligence (don't say it can't happen).

3. Real Time Gets Social

You've probably heard of Google Wave, the real time collaboration experiment by Google combining instant messaging, email, online document creation, video conferencing, audio conferencing, file-sharing, and wikis.

With all these features and a pedigree like Google's behind it, you'd think that Wave couldn't miss. But it did. And the reason turned out to be plain old information overload. Most people who tried Wave needed a nap and a cold compress afterwards, leaving the rest of us yelling into a void.

Which reminds us that it takes two to collaborate. In 2010, we will see a variety of more limited, and more successful, experiments with real time collaboration. After all, instant sharing may prove the only way to cope with a world of instant information, and instant collaboration brings that information to life in a way that you just can't accomplish on your own.

4. Content Is No Longer King

Traditionally, law firms were lifelines for their clients, who would surely drown in the complexity of the legal system or be ambushed by obscure legal information without the advice of counsel.

Today, prospective clients are more capable than ever of identifying and resolving their own disputes without the intercession of a lawyer. As legal services continue to unravel, the content sold by lawyers — forms, advice, research, even representation itself — can all be found a la carte, and for less.

Compare us to the publishing industry, which has undergone a similar upheaval. Once the market was robust enough to support a multitude of niche publications. Today, the major publications are barely surviving, and everyone else has gone home.

But what will happen to the brilliant insights, riveting reporting, and killer advice offered by those niche players? Doesn't their unique content make them immune to market forces? For that matter, doesn't our content make us immune?

Since it turns out that nobody has a monopoly on good information, good advice, or good judgment, the answer is "no it doesn't." Law firms can fail too.

5. Outsourcing Gives Way to Insourcing

In a world where the Internet has flattened space and shortened our time to think about nearly everything, location has become nearly irrelevant. Research done in Texas or Hyderabad can be combined with drafts produced in Tennessee or Hong Kong to be presented by an attorney in New York.

Outsourcing is nothing new. However, as costs fall and people overcome their skepticism, this kind of scenario will become increasingly common in 2010. In addition, as communication and collaboration costs fall to zero clients will demand to benefit from the savings (translation: downward pressure on rates).

Every lawyer has heard about "outsourcing" to foreign destinations, but this year more of us will discover that work can be "insourced" to states with higher attorney unemployment. Does it sound like I'm celebrating the misfortune of others? Maybe a little, but at least this way we can keep the jobs from going overseas. Besides, I heard the lawyers in India are asking for competitive wages now. Where do they think they are? America?

6. Everyone Gets Online

While I was going to confine myself to five predictions in this piece, I couldn't help adding a bonus prediction. After 10 years of beating the drum for legal participation on the Internet, I can safely say that those of my colleagues who were ever going to get online will have done so by 2010. If the train hasn't left the station yet for the remaining holdouts, the horn is now blowing and the conductor is closing the doors. All aboard!

One More Thing

SmallLaw's first year was a blast. I want to thank each and every reader for inviting me to rant on their computer screens once a month, I would also like to pay my respects to the editors at TechnoLawyer who put up with so much from me in 2009. I can't promise that 2010 will be any easier, but I will try to only make it slightly harder. Happy New Year everyone.

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Law Office Management | SmallLaw

SmallLaw: 12 Monkeys or What I Learned on My Journey to the Future of Legal Technology

By Mazyar Hedayat | Thursday, December 24, 2009

SmallLaw 12-24-09-450

Originally published on November 23, 2009 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

I recently caught a rerun of Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys, a brilliant film that asks whether people would heed a warning from the future about the future. Apparently the answer is no. In the film, psychiatrists diagnose a messenger from the future as a sociopath and lock him away. There's a message in this movie for small law firms.

If someone told you that everything you took for granted would soon change or be swept away altogether, would you believe them? I didn't think so. Besides, we small firm lawyers are too busy running our offices, connecting with clients, staying current, doing research, keeping pace with technology, and trying in vain to have a personal life to look ahead more than a few years.

When your day revolves around deadlines, to-do items, calendar events, and meetings, you have no choice but to focus on the present at the expense of the future. And if it ain't broke, why fix it anyway? Whether it's a dated piece of hardware, a 10 year-old chair, Windows 95, or a Compaq gathering dust in the corner, the devil we know is better than the devil we don't.

2001: A Web Odyssey

Even those of us wedded to our traditions would probably jump at the chance to make our professional life easier, right? At least that's what I thought when I created a Web site to gather the body of legal information and programs slowly building on the Internet in the late 90's.

In 2001 I introduced eLawCentral at the ABA Tech Show as the first interactive Web portal for lawyers. Back then most people used Yahoo if they were online at all. eLawCentral was built on the theory that as knowledge-workers, lawyers would want to save time and money by using and sharing resources online. Despite some initial curiosity however, interest dropped off fast.

It seemed as if the vast majority of lawyers simply could not figure out how the Web could help them, much less why they should spend time on the site. We limped along for another year but after the dot-com bust in 2001 I closed shop, returned to lawyering full-time, and channeled my enthusiasm back into law practice … for a while.

2004: Kicking It Old School

Despite my efforts to remain focused, by 2004 I was on the lookout for Web innovations again. This time I found blogging. The first blogs I developed were for the bar association committees that I chaired. That year I also began giving seminars about the future of law practice, contributing to discussion groups, and doing whatever I could to share my vision.

What was that vision? Home pages for every lawyer and judge, downloadable decisions with embedded hyperlinks, oral arguments as podcasts, RSS feeds for every courtroom, etc. I saw it all as if those innovations already existed — because most of them did. It's just that nobody wanted to use the tools.

Local attorneys who read my blogs were tepid about the suggestions at first, and then declared angrily that they had gotten by fine without the Internet, and eventually stopped reading my posts altogether. But the more they ignored my warnings the more emphatic and provocative my writing became. Ultimately, it was no use. Lawyers circa 2004 had not acclimated to the Internet and nothing could change that but time.

As for the judges, they were not as polite. The bench was openly hostile to the Internet and considered it a source of misinformation, depravity, or worse. Maybe they resented having to learn how to use a computer, preferring to thumb through books in a library, or did not care whether they had all pertinent information before reaching a decision. Maybe they were simply creatures of habit.

Whatever the reason, I got the message loud and clear at the annual bench-bar conference in 2004. As I stood before the gathered judges and bar leaders I reeled off the reasons why they should incorporate the Web into their research, embed hyperlinks in their opinions, create homepages with RSS feeds, publish their decisions online, and all the rest of it. I was shouted down before I got to the end of my speech, but it was probably for the best. The court was no more prepared to accept the future than my peers.

2005: Pinging Me Softly

By 2005 the legal Web was showing signs of developing real traction. For several years, lawyer-bloggers like Dennis Kennedy and Bob Ambrogi, as well as lawyer-entrepreneurs like Tim Stanley and Richard Granat, had demonstrated that technology could liberate consumers of legal services (including lawyers and judges).

By then the Web had become integral to my practice. In the decade since law school it had enabled me to leverage information, compete with better-funded rivals, establish a virtual office, secure bigger clients, and work with people from around the country. The forces in motion by then would inevitably change the profession whether that change was welcomed or not.

Most of the innovations brought about by the Web involved sharing information. Large firms eclipsed small firms in the adoption of these technologies, perhaps at the behest of their clients. Only now, five years later, have small firms begun to catch up.

Back to the (Future) Drawing Board

So what about the future? Frankly I'm not sure. I don't live there anymore. I decided that being timely was better than being ahead of my time — or at least less bruising to my ego. But I'm hopeful.

Although the profession took its sweet time incorporating the Internet, it seems to be making up for lost time. Scarcely a day goes by that I don't find another innovation designed for lawyers: Basecamp, Bill4Time, Clio, DocStoc, JDSupra, LegalMatch, etc. The Web has become a commodity like electricity and running water.

The biggest surge of creativity in this space may lie ahead of us. Maybe the End of Lawyers isn't around the corner after all. But given my experiences, I refuse to make any predictions. Instead, I'll get back to you in a few years.

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Law Firm Marketing/Publications/Web Sites | Law Office Management | SmallLaw

SmallLaw: Hello, I'm a Mac. And I'm a Lawyer. Three Lessons From Apple for Law Firms.

By Mazyar Hedayat | Monday, November 16, 2009

SmallLaw 11-09-09-450

Originally published on November 9, 2009 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

The June 22, 2009 issue of BlawgWorld featured an article by Jay Shepherd entitled What if the Apple Store Billed by the Hour?

Shepherd notes that the personal attention he received on his visit to the Apple Store may not have maximized revenue per employee or customer (traditional retail measurements), but it made an indelible and lasting impression on him. He also laments that law firms do not use this far-sighted business model — presumably because they are preoccupied with making a gain on every activity with every Client, regardless of the long-term effects of doing so.

Are lawyers really so profit-driven, short-sighted, and incapable of delivering customer service? Below I've compared three hallmarks of the Apple experience with that of law firms. It isn't pretty, but there's hope.

1. Customer Service As a Sales Tool

Contrast the typical experience of being in an Apple Store with the process of finding, vetting, hiring, and working with a lawyer.

To begin with, Apple stores are laid out in a clean, well-lit, orderly fashion. The goods are displayed on inviting tables with clear indications of what costs what. No hidden fees. And you can try anything you like without being mobbed by store employees.

If you need help, Apple salespeople are available and clearly identifiable by their brightly colored t-shirts and badges. These salespeople work on a modified salary basis instead of commission so their body language is entirely different than that of a typical salesperson hell-bent on hitting their numbers at your expense. Compensation depends not just on sales but customer retention and satisfaction, so Apple salespeople can spend time talking about what you want to know instead of hyping the peripheral du jour. In fact most of the time Apple salespeople appear to be answering questions instead of pushing product.

By contrast, finding a lawyer, much less working with one, can prove stressful. Few people know that County Bar associations maintain lawyer referral services, so most just ask around, call out of the Yellow Pages, or search the Internet. Yet despite attempts by Web sites such as Avvo to bring some transparency to this process, prospective clients are still at a disadvantage in attempting to determine whether a lawyer will be a good fit. Some people who find a lawyer they can afford, at least initially, eventually find the relationship characterized by frustration, disappointment, and lack of communication.

Does this scenario play out at your firm? Before answering, ask yourself:
  1. Does every prospect call receive the same level of attention?

  2. Do we call prospects and clients back within 24 hours? 48 hours?

  3. Do my clients see me as a problem solver or as a salesperson?

  4. Do clients recommend my services to their friends and family?

  5. Would I sacrifice or partially refund fees to maintain goodwill?

  6. Do I educate clients about their case? Do I answer all questions?
2. It Just Works

The charms of the Apple Store aside, what lingers is the way you feel about the product you buy. Apple's customer satisfaction numbers are legendary. Do people pay a premium for Apple-branded computers and mobile phones because they offer the most features or best bang for the buck?

No. But Apple customers like me remain loyal and even a bit zealous. Why? Because we feel like we receive value for our money, and because Apple's products do what you need them to do when you need them to do it. Sounds like a small claim but it's not. Anyone who has lived through a Windows-induced crash will tell you that.

To me, the secret of Apple's success is not technical excellence but rather reliability and ease of use. That kind of reputation attracts attention, which begets creative users, which begets applications for the Apple platform, leading to other users, and so on.

For example, after my first experience with the Mac in college, I scarcely touched one again for nearly 20 years until my wife said she was sick of her Dell laptop and I suggested that she take a look at a MacBook. She bought her MacBook in January 2007. Today everyone in my household uses a Mac of some sort and of course iPods and iPhone. Ditto for my parents, siblings, in-laws, etc. And so on.

Are we all Mac snobs? Do we have lots of disposable cash? Hardly. It's just that we need our computers and phones to perform reliably, integrate with one another, and feel comfortable. Good looks were a plus.

Does your firm enjoy such loyalty? Ask yourself:
  1. Does my practice inspire followers or detractors among clients?

  2. Do clients boast about working with me or complain about me?

  3. Do clients complain about how much they paid to work with me?

  4. Do clients brag about how much they got out of the relationship?

  5. Do I have to emphasize pricing or value to get a prospect's business?
Use Plain English and Manage Expectations

Apple did not invent personal computing. Instead, it took an activity engaged in by hobbyists and made it accessible to non-techies on a wide scale. While a freshman at the University of Chicago I got the opportunity to critique instructions for a technical product based on readability. That was my first direct experience with the value of making the complex simple. I still try to do that today, explaining what I am about do for clients as often as possible (unless I see their eyes glaze over).

People don't need to know how laws or sausages are made, but it's good to deliver that information in a manageable form like plain English. Apple learned this lesson from its very inception, but lawyers around the country still struggle with it.

I have come to see this ability as the central job of a lawyer — you cannot always control the outcome of a case, but you can explain what is about to happen and prepare your client for the possible outcomes. Or be prepared to fall on your sword. If Steve Jobs reads this column, I'm sure he would agree.

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Law Office Management | SmallLaw

SmallLaw: Small Firm Exceptionalism Amid the Economic Apocalypse

By Mazyar Hedayat | Monday, October 19, 2009


Originally published on October 12, 2009 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

My editor at TechnoLawyer suggested I write a SmallLaw column with a positive "Yes We Can" theme. Let's see:

With the economy in the toilet and legal jobs nonexistent, is it any wonder that a growing number of unemployed lawyers have lost hope? More than ever, the promise of a fulfilling legal career seems remote.

Even talented lawyers find themselves scouring help wanted ads, trolling bar association meetings, or feigning interest in one another's lives on Facebook just to make contacts.

But thanks to the rising number of not-for-profit companies now there is hope. Thoughtful lawyers are taking advantage of prolonged periods of unemployment to reassess their goals and consider work that offers not just sustenance but inspiration. These giving individuals are willing to volunteer their time or take low-paying positions for the good of the community.

There's just one problem — large firm partners pushed out of their firms with a golden parachute are lobbying for prime non-profit jobs and getting them as a stepping stone to their next position or a show of social conscience. As a result, associates and solos are out of luck, just like before the recession.

Okay, That Didn't Turn Out as Inspirational as I Had Hoped

Let's try a different approach:

Many recent graduates, unemployed associates, and displaced mid-level lawyers, are concerned about what they read in the press. But there's no need to worry. The legal job market is simply experiencing a long-overdue correction. Once the excesses of the last decade work themselves out, legal hiring practices will return to normal and America's law firms will be healthier than ever.

For example, since late 1990s, salaries at AmLaw 100 firms have spiraled out of control. During the same period, corporate America has grappled with two recessions, a fiscal crisis, relentless outsourcing, and the crushing effect of globalization on its bottom line.

Because large firms depend on its clients' ability to pay without regard to the outcome of the case, the value rendered by the firm, or the logic of paying $1,000 per hour, these excesses didn't register until all the money was gone, leaving companies to explain to shareholders why they allowed lawyers to charge $700 dinners against bottomless expense accounts. But as companies return to profitability, global law firms will return to business as usual. Experts agree it could happen in as little as three more years.

No, That's Still Not the Right Tone

Maybe it's not what I'm saying but the way I'm saying it.

There's no magic formula for practicing law, and no magic at all in being a small firm attorney. It has always been about hard work and sacrifice. But today we have a chance to eat the lunch of our large firm counterparts. Why? Because people need lawyers more than ever. It's just that they have less ability to pay.

We small firm managing partners must meet our target market half-way. Squeeze out all the productivity and efficiency, and when possible reduce fees — if only temporarily — to acknowledge the reality of our times. This strategy requires keeping costs low, reevaluating spending and hiring choices, outsourcing as many nonessential functions as possible (without sacrificing quality), and most of all ridding ourselves of distractions so we can focus on practicing law.

Start with these three steps:

1. Jettison Excess Overhead

When in doubt, rent. Rent equipment, rent space, outsource tasks, employ independent contractors, whatever. And the shorter the term of that relationship, the better. Unless you host clients on a regular basis, why buy the image? If anyone asks, tell them that you'll pass the savings onto them.

2. Manage Your Practice on the Web

Put your practice on the Web using a secure SaaS provider such as Clio and get back to business. After that, think about using online marketing tools, many of which cost nothing but your time.

3. Buy What you Need

You will be assaulted by smooth talking sales types who push you to buy more than you need. Your defense? Don't shop alone. Run decisions by someone who won't be dazzled. Whether it's litigation software or an Internet connection, get consensus up-front. For example, I decide what we need at the office, but my wife tells me what we can afford. That's a working relationship.

United We Stand, but Is Division Our Destiny?

With the economy in free-fall, now is not the time to be divisive. Solos and small firms should cooperate to ensure mutual benefit. If my SmallLaw columns sometimes appear critical of my fellow small firm attorneys it's not from a lack of respect. Quite the opposite. I'm just as hard on myself because I know we can all do better.

And more than that — I know the legal market belongs to small firms and sole practitioners. If only we could see that. We don't need phony volunteerism, bar association politics, or more overgrown law firms. We simply need to communicate and share our best practices with one another. But I fear that may never happen. And I think that's a shame.

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Law Office Management | SmallLaw

SmallLaw: Review: Best Case Bankruptcy V. 18

By Mazyar Hedayat | Monday, September 28, 2009

SmallLaw 09-21-09 450

Originally published on September 21, 2009 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

In 1993 Best Case Bankruptcy represented the vanguard of practice automation. Best Case promised users would make fewer mistakes, save time, and prepare complex bankruptcy documents without having to become "specialists." Then Best Case upped the ante and introduced a knockout punch — as courts across the nation began mandating electronic practice in about 2003, the company rolled out its "one-touch electronic filing" feature. For a time Best Case had the e-filing field to itself. Good times.

Meeting (But Not Exceeding) Market Expectations

To give credit where credit is due, Best Case Bankruptcy enabled a generation of software-savvy lawyers and their staffs to serve more clients than ever, and to do so without breaking the bank. That made Best Case a pioneer and the sales leader. With a huge installed-base, the company enjoyed Microsoft-like market dominance among bankruptcy practitioners even as competitors mimicked everything from its menus, prompts, calculators, and user-interface to its once-exclusive e-filing features.

But that was then. Over the past 5-6 years, the competition has become more adept at keeping up with the leader, many even exceeding the Best Case Bankruptcy feature set. Several offer bankruptcy preparation products that have fewer features, but at a lower price, hoping users upgrade to a more robust version of that product later.

Interestingly, Best Case does not appear to see other products as a threat. Take for example the fact that Best Case charges more than others for licenses and annual "support" (according to my unscientific survey). Best Case maintains that its product is more feature-laden (including I suppose features that not every user needs). And there's no disputing that it remains the market leader.

However, thanks to the Great Recession, small firms considering bankruptcy preparation software may wonder why they should pay more than they would for a competitive product to do virtually the same thing. At the end of the day, we're all working with the same bankruptcy courts right? So what makes Best Case Solutions the "best"?

With these questions in mind I took a close look at Best Case Bankruptcy V. 18.

New and Improved? Yes and No

By way of full disclosure, I've been using a bankruptcy automation solution other than Best Case Bankruptcy for about five years. But after many, many solicitations in the mail, by phone, by email, and at various seminars and events, I decided to try the market leader.

I used Best Case Bankruptcy to prepare and "file" a demo case. The product worked well, but as a practitioner who has enjoyed the benefits of automation since 2003, I was not all that impressed either. It's not that Best Case doesn't live up to its claims. It boasts a fairly intuitive menu-driven interface, an online intake interview that prospects fill out before they even step into your office, and the crucial ability to import and cross-check user-inputs against third-party information such as credit reports and credit counseling certification, among others.

So if you'd never used a piece of bankruptcy automation software I believe you would jump at the chance to fork over the roughly $1,050 for the Chapter 7 & 13 package, and an additional $700 or so in annual support fees. No doubt the product would pay for itself within a few uses. (The Chapter 7 package costs $850, and the Chapters 7, 11, and 13 package costs $1,250.)

But I wasn't a newbie and what I saw and experienced did not represent a quantum leap. Instead I saw a Buick being spruced up for the new buying season with whitewalls and a pair of tasty tail-fins. So while Best Case improved on its last version by enhancing compatibility with the latest browsers (IE 8), word-processing software (WordPerfect X4), and Federal Case-Management and Electronic Case Filing (CM/ECF) systems, as well as by updating the ability of the software to handle some of the more exotic forms such as the Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization or Disclosure Statement in a "Small Business" case, the backbone of the software remains largely untouched. Even the interface says "1998."

My Best Advice

If your practice is national (or at least covers multiple states) and consists of both consumer (Chapters 7 and 13) and business bankruptcy (Chapter 11), Best Case Bankruptcy is the way to go. But other small law firms should look for slimmer, less pricey solutions.

Oh, and one last thing — would someone please develop a Clio-like Web-based bankruptcy solution priced on a monthly subscription basis. The day I find that solution my checkbook will open up faster than you can say best case scenario.

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: SmallLaw | Transactional Practice Areas

SmallLaw: Solo Practice Still Stinks (Perils Revisited)

By Mazyar Hedayat | Monday, September 21, 2009


Originally published on September 14, 2009 in our free SmallLaw newsletter.

Some of you might remember The Perils of Solo Practice, my SmallLaw column about the departure of my long-time Associate Attorney and the harsh realities of practicing alone for the first time in 10 years. The piece chronicled the disappointment and frustration I felt running through over a dozen subpar employees over the next 18 months while fending off stomach-churning instability and fighting to regain focus.

At the end of the piece I concluded that despite the problems inherent in growth and even working with a partner, remaining solo was a losing proposition. Being solo runs headlong into human limitations like sleep (not enough), work (too much), and money (not nearly enough). Not exactly a controversial conclusion. Except that it was, judging by reactions in TechnoLawyer's Fat Friday newsletter, on the ABA's Solo Sez bulletin board, posts on Twitter and around the blawgosphere, and personal messages emailed directly to me.

The Controversy

Many comments took issue with the observation that, as a solo, I felt overworked, underpaid, and continuously exhausted — something I wagered that other solos were going through as well. A number of messages theorized that I was projecting, because I was lazy and unprepared myself. Others insisted the piece was a spoof. But the majority of comments had little to do with the article. Instead they described fulfilling solo practices and comfortable lifestyles. Apparently being solo was the most preferable way to practice, if only I understood.

A House Divided

At first I was surprised by these reactions. But after looking more carefully I realized that the responses pretty much broke down along generational lines among Baby Boomers, Gen-X, and Gen-Y much the same way that the profession has resolved itself over the last decade into distinct camps. The overall picture looks like this:

Age Group: Boomers
% of Lawyers: Highest
Key Technology: Email, BlackBerry
Key Online App: AOL
Status: Highest
Collaboration: Lowest

Age Group: Gen-X
% of Lawyers: Middle
Key Technology: Web 2.0 (SaaS)
Key Online App: Blogs
Status: Middle
Collaboration: Middle

Age Group: Gen-Y
% of Lawyers: Lowest
Key Technology: Social Networks
Key Online App: Facebook
Status: Lowest
Collaboration: Highest

Gen-X lawyers, by and large, agreed with my conclusions. Some offered to help. Some were gratified to know they were not alone. Ultimately their comments reflected the same frustration that I felt.

Gen-Y lawyers had no opinion, or at least they didn't share any. Of course many law school graduates didn't pass the bar until last month and older members of the group were probably too busy looking in vain for work.

Boomers however, led the charge against the article. One well-known blogger called it "completely useless." High praise indeed.

Statistically, most sole practitioners are Boomers and most Boomers are sole practitioners. So why did my piece strike such a nerve? Boomer sole practitioners should agree with me. Could it be that despite riding the profession's economic peak in the 80's and 90's, dominating the bench, ruling the lives of law students and associates, deciding what is legal and ethical, and setting the cultural agenda for decades, Boomers are insecure and defensive? That would explain a lot …

What It Might Mean

Look at it this way, a 50-ish sole practitioner or small firm attorney has made their mark, bought their home, taken their vacations, raised their kids, and established stable relationships with clients. They've outlasted the skeptics, learned the tricks of the trade, and have become comfortable with themselves. In short, Boomers are at the peak of their careers and may even have crossed the threshold into retirement. Who could complain about being his or her own boss under those circumstances? And who in that group would have the least bit of empathy for someone still trying to get the balance right?

By contrast however, if you entered the profession in the 90's or later you've never known true income security, have no idea what the future holds, haven't had time to think of retirement, and may have been wiped out financially twice by now — the first time in stocks and the second time in real estate. Not only that, but a student-loan nut the size of a mortgage shadows your every move. For members of Gen-X it's fair to say the profession hasn't been what it was cracked up to be.

Finally, I'm not sure it even makes sense to talk about Gen-Y sole practitioners because for the most part they've simply left the profession or hung out a shingle under protest. They are terrified of going solo, but with jobs scarce and the Internet commoditizing law practice, what choice do they have? The End of Lawyers indeed — thank you very much Richard Susskind.

I'm Sorry … So Sorry

Granted, when I'm under pressure this column can sound a little strident. Since I was feeling pressed earlier this year when I wrote my controversial piece, it was bound to come off as aggressive. And I'm not afraid to say I'm sorry to everyone who thought it was an insult to their cushy way of life.

I apologize for publicly revealing the truth. But it was the truth after all. It wasn't an exaggeration and the points made in the piece remain valid. Want proof? Today I again employ an Associate Attorney, a Paralegal, and an Office Manager. My Associate is great at keeping the small stuff from overwhelming me, my Paralegal works wonders with billing, and my Office Manager keeps the whole setup humming so I can write these little vignettes. In short, everybody's happy. Who says that practicing solo is the way to go? Not me.

Written by Mazyar M. Hedayat of M. Hedayat & Associates, P.C.

How to Receive SmallLaw
Small firm, big dreams. Published first via email newsletter and later here on our blog, SmallLaw provides you with a mix of practical advice that you can use today, and insight about what it will take for small law firms like yours to thrive in the future. The SmallLaw newsletter is free so don't miss the next issue. Please subscribe now.

Topics: Law Office Management | SmallLaw
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