As attorneys graduate and head into the legal marketplace, or leave a law firm to start a solo practice, it can be hard to know where to find resources with tips on starting your new career. What are the most important things that a newly solo practitioner should know? What are some best practices for lawyers just starting out in the field?
In this episode of The New Solo, host Adriana Linares talks with the ABA TECHSHOW 2017 Planning Board and Law Practice Division member Dan Lear from Avvo to provide need to know advice for newly solo attorneys. This year’s TECHSHOW board consists of Barbara Leach Law PL. Managing Attorney Barbara Leach, O’Melveny & Myers Senior Manager of Technology and Development Ivan Hemmans, and Downey Law Group LLC. Founder Michael Downey. Michael emphasizes that small firms and solo attorneys should focus heavily on their cash flow. Dan states that legal professionals can view their businesses through three different mediums, the balance sheet, income statements, or cash flow. The amount of money coming in each month (and how you pay your expenses) is very relevant to the survival of a new business. Barbara encourages solo lawyers to establish their brand immediately and really determine what type of lawyer they’d like to be and what type of clients they’d like to attract. Michael accentuates the amount of credibility strong branding provides to a new attorney and gives insights into the steps he took to create his own brand. Ivan discusses the necessity of thoroughly learning Microsoft Word and the benefits of document organization. The group then closes the interview with an analysis of basic tech competencies, like email management, that all attorneys should master.
Ivan Hemmans is the Manager of Technology Development and Communications at O’Melveny & Myers LLP where he uses his extensive experience with information technology to help people find ways to solve everyday problems with the many available tools at their disposal. Ivan often speaks about legal technology at law firms and conferences. He writes a blog and occasionally for legal technology publications like Peer to Peer Magazine.
Barbara Leach is the managing attorney of Barbara Leach Law, PL. She is a member of the American Bar Association, The Florida Bar Association, the Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Barbara received her BA from the Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College and obtained her juris doctorate from the Florida State University College of Law.
Michael Downey is a legal ethics lawyer and a founding member of the Downey Law Group LLC. He has tried civil and lawyer discipline cases and argued appeals before the Missouri Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, and Illinois ARDC Review Board. Michael received his B.A. from Georgetown University and his juris doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.
Dan Lear is a technology lawyer and the Avvo Director of Industry Relations. He is the co-founder of the Seattle Legal Technology and Innovation MeetUp and founder of the Right Brain Law blog. Dan received his BA in international studies from Brigham Young University and his juris doctorate and MBA from Seattle University.