Books

Book review: ‘How to Capture and Keep Clients’

Stacked3This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Book review: ‘How to Capture and Keep Clients’."  My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

*****

Book review: ‘How to Capture and Keep Clients’  

After three long years of law school, you’ve finally graduated and are, at long last, handed a piece of paper that indicates that you’ve obtained your Juris Doctor. It’s official! You’re now a lawyer and can head out into the world and make a living practicing law. Or can you?

Unfortunately the truth of the matter is you can’t practice law without clients. That’s where legal marketing comes in. Marketing your law firm has always been necessary, but these days, with the rise of online marketing, understanding how to use the Internet to gain exposure for your law firm is more important than ever. This is especially so since web-based marketing is often more economical, effective, and less time consuming than traditional marketing such as costly yellow page ads, print advertising and in-person networking.

But with so many options and so little time, what’s a busy lawyer to do? The short answer: Educate yourself. The good news is that the recently published Second Edition of “How to Capture and Keep Clients: Marketing Strategies for Lawyers,” (ABA 2015) written by attorney Jennifer J. Rose, is exactly what the doctor ordered.*

The book starts off with this timeless piece of advice in the introduction: “What’s hot today may be tomorrow’s toast. Some constants remain just as true and reliable about capturing and keeping clients for today’s lawyers as they did for their grandfathers. Be the best lawyer you can. Understand your client. Meet your clients’ needs. The same building blocks remain: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation, and groups. A decade or two from now, LinkedIn and Twitter may be entirely different beasts, but the core principles will remain unchanged.”

This incredibly useful book includes chapters on all aspects of legal marketing written by 27+ lawyers and legal marketing experts. Whether you’re a new lawyer seeking to obtain your first client or a seasoned attorney interested in learning about new ways to reach potential clients, this book is for you.

It begins with a section on asking for business and covers the basics concepts of marketing. It includes tips to help you land your first client and rainmaking is discussed in depth over the next few sections of the book. Topics covered include: 1) strategies you can implement to make the most of your current and past client relationships, 2) rainmaking with your law firm’s particular geographic region and areas of practices in mind, 3) how to use traditional marketing means, such as business cards, and more recent trends, such as social media, effectively, and 4) ways to fit marketing into your practice, even if it’s just small steps taken each day.

There is also a chapter devoted entirely to the many important ethical considerations that lawyers must keep in mind when marketing their practice. This chapter addresses the top 10 ethical mistakes lawyers make when engaging in rainmaking activities.

The last two chapters stray off the beaten path a bit, but nevertheless focus on important topics. Chapter 7 covers tax-related issues that many law firms encounter. It provides a quick and dirty overview of many important tax considerations, with tips on how to ensure that you avoid any missteps.

Finally, the last chapter addresses the always-important issue of mental health. Lawyers have incredibly high rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide, so taking steps to reduce these risks is always a good idea. In this chapter, one way of doing that, mindfulness, is covered, including ways to incorporate it into your day-to-day life and practice.

This book is ideal for all lawyers seeking to add tools to their marketing arsenal. Since law schools fail to teach lawyers about the ins and outs of marketing their practices, this knowledge needs to be obtained elsewhere. This book is a great place to start.

*(Disclaimer: I wrote one of the newly added chapters on Twitter for lawyers and was provided with a complimentary review copy of this book).

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase, intuitive web-based law practice management software for the modern law firm. She is also the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at niki@mycase.com.


Book Review: The Education of a Lawyer

Stacked3This week's Daily Record column is entitled "Book Review: The Education of a Lawyer."  My past Daily Record articles can be accessed here.

*****

Book Review: The Education of a Lawyer 

Gary Muldoon is an attorney I’ve known and respected ever since I first moved to Rochester in 1995 when I was a young, recent law school graduate. I was introduced to him shortly after arriving in Rochester and a few months later I was hired by the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office. During my tenure there, I constantly referred to the wealth of knowledge in his book, “Handling a Criminal Case in New York.”


In fact, over the years, I’ve learned a lot from his books and writings (and Gary has even occasionally provided me with great tips about interesting cases for this column), so I was honored when he reached out to me earlier this year to ask me to review a draft of a manuscript that would soon be published by the American Bar Association.

That book was recently published and I’m fortunate enough to have received a review copy. So, I figured the least I could do would be to review it!

His newly published book, “The Education of a Lawyer,” is targeted toward law students and young lawyers and provides a wealth of information about becoming the lawyer you want to be. It’s a timeless book that covers all aspects of a legal career, starting with advice for aspiring and current law students and ending with advice about lawyering and life.

In the first chapter, he offers his thoughts and perspective on the law school process, including this sage piece of advice: “Resist the temptation to use legal expressions in your everyday speech. Come October, don’t say, “Prima facie, it would appear that the Yankees will win the Series.” (This sentence improves only marginally when “Red Sox” is substituted.)

He ends this chapter with a list of recommended reading that would benefit and be of interest to both aspiring and current lawyers. You should definitely check it out.

Next, he addresses the job search, covering the many options available to recent graduates, ranging from seeking employment with a firm to starting your own practice. Importantly, he stresses how important it is to take action when seeking employment: “When a job opportunity comes up and it’s something you want, don’t lollygag.”

Then, he moves on to what lawyers do next: practice law. He covers the nuts and bolts of being a good lawyer, no matter where you work or what your areas of practice. For example, he stresses the importance of being on time, having a positive attitude, wisely choosing CLEs, and emphasizes the always-important skill of drafting CYA letters.

He also discusses the benefits and drawbacks of the different types of lawyering, from BigLaw to Small Law to working for the government.

Of course he includes chapters on trial and written advocacy, with all sorts of useful tips for lawyers seeking to improve their oral and writing skills. He explains the importance of never being satisfied and always working to be the best lawyer that you can be.

Finally, he discusses the importance of relationships, both personal and professional. He covers work/life balance, sustaining healthy client relationships, maintaining civility with colleagues, and the importance of getting on the good side of court clerks and courtroom deputies.

In short, Gary covers an incredible amount of information that is of vital importance to young lawyers embarking on a career in the legal profession. That being said, my one criticism is the same as my earlier comment about the book: It’s timeless.

In other words, it’s chock full of useful information—nearly all of which would have been just as applicable 15 years ago as it is today. This is because Gary gives barely a passing nod to the effects of technology on the practice of law.

Certainly technology has not fundamentally changed lawyering, but it has changed the business of lawyering. For that reason, an essential building block to a successful legal career in the 21st century requires at least a basic understanding of how technology fits into — and is changing — the ways that lawyers are practicing law and competing in the legal marketplace.

Granted, my perspective on this is unique, but even so, I do think it’s the one topic that deserved a chapter of its own and its addition would have added to the value of the book.

Of course, even without a chapter on technology, it’s a great, informative book that would make a wonderful gift for the aspiring lawyer or recent law graduate in your life. And, it’s not just for young lawyers — even you seasoned lawyers out there can benefit from it. So pick up a copy today and learn a thing or two!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase, intuitive web-based law practice management software for the modern law firm. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at niki@mycase.com.


Win a copy of "Solo by Choice" or "Social Media for Lawyers"

Social media book cover
Each month at the MyCase blog, we hold a giveaway. Last month two Geminus Genius iPad cases were up for grabs. This month, don’t forget to enter to win one of two books:

If you’d like a chance to win, head on over to the MyCase blog and sign up!

And, while you’re at it, check out my past posts there about law practice management and legal technology issues, including mobile computing and cloud computing for lawyers.

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More reviews of my book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers"

T Cloud bookwo more reviews of my newest book, Cloud Computing for Lawyers (ABA 2012), were recently published.

The first was by Rachel Wilcox at the Mass. LOMAP law practice management blog. Here are a few choice excerpts:

(Nicole is) very entertaining in the introduction, so I was optimistic. And, rightly so. Nicole does pretty excellent work rounding out her first two, or two-and-a-half, chapters (what some would find quite basic information) with specific industry examples and pointed applications, so although we might be reading what we already know, in a general sense, she includes a bit of extended information, which is consistently worthwhile material...I was particularly impressed by her third chapter, on risks and benefits...Stephanie Kimbro’s chapter on ethics ...seems to be exhaustive of the ethical implications for attorneys relying on the cloud...Nicole (then) gives a comprehensive rundown of various service providers, by category, in her final chapter...The book was a quick, but truly informative, read. Can't go wrong.

The second was written by my good friend Carolyn Elefant at her wonderful My Shingle blog. Here are some excerpts from her review:

Cloud Computing for Lawyers, by Nicole Black (my co-author for Social Media for Lawyers) is an extraordinary book...(It) is a critical read for all lawyers, because all lawyers deal with the cloud one way or another – and if they don’t, their clients do. Lawyers will be faced with a host of different products and need to know how to choose those that are reliable versus those that may compromise client data. With this book, lawyers are well armed for a bright future where the sun shines because of the cloud.

Thanks so much to both of Carolyn and Rachel for taking the time to write such thorough and thoughtful reviews of my book!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and the Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, a powerful and intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com. 

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LawyersUSA Reviews my Book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers"

Cloud bookIn March, LawyersUSA reviewed my latest ABA book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers." This book provides lawyers with an overview of the issues they need to understand when using cloud computing in their law practices.

Here are a few choice excerpts from the review:

This book surveys all the major considerations--risks, benefits, ethical pitfalls and practical advantages--of practicing law in the cloud, especially for solo and small firm lawyers who don't have access to an in-house IT department...

Especially useful are checklists and detailed questions to ask when shopping for cloud proivders--questions that incorporate many of the practical, ethical, privacy, and security issues the book raises.

Black also offers a full chapter summarizing and comparing some of the better-known cloud computing apps for law practice management, virtual office practice, data storage, email encryption, and digital dictation...

If this sounds like a book that you might find useful, you can purchase it here.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and the Vice President of Business Development and Community Relations at MyCase, a powerful and intuitive cloud-based law practice management platform. She is also a GigaOM Pro Analyst and is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com. 

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Reviews of my New Book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers"

Cloud book"The Lawyer's PC," a bi-weekly Thomson West newsletter recently published a review of my newest ABA book, "Cloud Computing for Lawyers." The article was titled "Cloud Computing for Lawyers: Details and Insights Into 'the Future' of Law Firm Tech." 

It was written by Dan Harmon. Here are a few choice excerpts:

Cloud computing, Nicole Black asserts up front, “is the future.” Black, a lawyer as well as a noted author, blogger and legal technologist, explains why, in terms the lay reader (“not the IT professional”) can understand. In the process, she offers in-depth discussions from every angle of particular concern to lawyers and support staff...

Wide-ranging appendices trace the history of legal technology, explain cloud computing terminology, and provide sample terms of service, a sample privacy policy and a sample service-level agreement.

The book contains a chapter on “Ethical Implications of Cloud Computing in Law Practice” guest-authored by Stephanie Kimbro, a legal technologist who operates a Web-based law practice. Throughout the volume, Black augments her own material with input by practicing lawyers from many backgrounds.

Noting that large firms have IT staff dedicated to addressing cloud computing and all other technology issues, Black directs much of her discussion to solo and small firms. Overall, though, the book contains information and insights that will be useful to legal professionals in firms of all sizes...

The book is well organized, well written and easy to follow. It's an excellent read for legal professionals who want to educate themselves about working in the cloud. It should interest, too, those in law firms that are well-established in the virtual realm. And at the other end of the spectrum, it should prove enlightening for those who are uninterested in cloud computing (but who are unwittingly engaged in it).
Larry Port, Founder of Rocket Matter, also wrote a review of my book here. Here are a few excerpts:

I’ve just started reviewing Niki’s book and what I’ve seen so far is very readable and highly informative.  If you’ve been sitting back, watching this whole legal cloud computing thing develop before you take the plunge, this is a great book to get up to speed right away.  It’s not a technical volume, but rather explains how the cloud benefits a law practice, explains the techie mumbo-jumbo from a high level, and then delves into the pragmatic aspects for law firms.

Stephanie Kimbro, another founding member of the Legal Cloud Computing Association and North Carolina lawyer, contributed a thorough chapter, “Ethical Implications of Cloud Computing in Law Practice” which lays out the issues of Model Rules and procedural rules as well.  This chapter is worth the purchase price of the book in and of itself.

Thanks so much Dan and Larry for these wonderful reviews!

If you're a legal professional and would like to learn more about cloud computing, you can buy my book here.

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com.

 

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Cloud Computing, Social Media and Lawyers, Oh My!

In recent weeks, the legal blogosphere has been abuzz over the value of social media for lawyers. My good friends Kevin O'Keefe of Lexblog (a company that provides legal blogging platforms and social media consulting to attorneys) and New York criminal defense attorney Scott Greenfield have been at the core of the discussion, with Kevin arguing that social media provides value for attorneys and Scott contending that it's just child's play.

I also chimed in with my 2 cents over at the Small Firm Innovation blog with my assertion that social media can provide value for some lawyers, but not all, and that ultimately the value derived depends on the goals sought to be achieved.

Well, Scott and Kevin duked it out again in this very lively, interesting, and thoughtful discussion brought to you by Bloomberg Law and moderated quite adeptly by Ed Adams. It's definitely worth a view.

And, in the title I promised you cloud computing for lawyers and of course I'm not going to let you down. My newest book, cleverly titled "Cloud Computing for Lawyers," was just released, and in the next video, you'll find me chatting about it at LegalTech New York, where I spoke last week, with Ben Vickers from Thomson Reuters Westlaw.

Be warned--judging from my very stern face with nary a smile in sight, this is a very serious discussion. Someone remind me to flash the camera a smile next time!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and GigaOM Pro Analyst. She is the author of the ABA book Cloud Computing for Lawyers, co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, and co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com. 

 

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Richard Susskind's Foreward to My Book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers"

Cloud bookI was deeply honored when Richard Susskind, a leading legal futurist and technology author and someone whom I greatly admire and respect, agreed to write the foreward to my new book, "Cloud Computing for Lawyers." The foreward, in its entirety, follows. 

You can learn more about this book and purchase it here. And, if you're interested in buying this book in ebook format, as many have told me they are, rest assured it will be available for purchase in that format in just a few months.

*****

HOW SHOULD LAWYERS RESPOND to the emergence of new technologies? This is a question that will regularly challenge the next generation of leaders in law firms. New systems, applications, and techniques will arrive in the market with disconcerting frequency and somehow they need to be identified, evaluated, and then exploited or rejected.

Law firms do not find it easy to monitor and assess the latest technologies. Their leaders are rarely interested in IT and tend to see it as a costly operational black box best passed along to someone with a screwdriver or to a partner who is a computer hobbyist with formidable credentials, perhaps in the self-assembly of mini-computers. Meanwhile, many legal technologists in firms insist on speaking about technology to their bosses in impenetrable technical jargon rather than English.

Linguistically, technically, and culturally, there is a gulf in most law firms between managing partners and IT directors (or, if you will, chief technology—or even information—officers). And so, when a new technology surfaces, there rarely is a well-established process by which its relevance and impact can be assessed. Senior lawyers are rarely plugged into the world of technology innovation, while technologists may not recognize the way in which an innovation might be harnessed by legal practitioners.The result is that law firms are often late in noticing and adopting beneficial technologies, decisions about what systems to use are determined by what other firms are doing, leaders feel out of touch, and technologists have disproportionate power in selecting systems.

It is into this disturbing void that Nicole Black is launching her much-needed book on cloud computing for lawyers. There can be no doubt that cloud computing is of immense significance for our economic and social lives. And yet, until now, it has been hard for lawyers to understand what it is all about, where it is going, what the risks and benefits might be, and how it could affect the practice of law. Technologists have been enthusing about the cloud for some time now, but this energy has rarely been channeled into focused business thinking in legal circles. Law firm leaders will have heard of the cloud, but may well have rejected it as the latest round of techno-speak.

What is needed is some way of accelerating lawyers’ understanding of a major new development. In relation to cloud computing, this book provides the way. Written by an individual who understands the law and technology, it is a punchy primer for lawyers who want to grasp the potential of cloud computing and do so quickly. The book clarifies the obscure, dispels misconceptions, and helps us see what life might be like when our information and software is not in held our laps but stored, out there, in a constellation of machines owned and run by others. The benefits of this set-up for lawyers and clients are compellingly explained, but so too are the risks.

Written in unpretentious and often light-hearted prose, and peppered with memorable anecdotes, Nicole Black succeeds in demystifying cloud computing. Vitally, in providing a source that is accessible to law firm leaders and their technologists, the book should help bridge that disturbing gulf between them.I wish the work every success.

Professor Richard Susskind

OBE London, England

October 2011

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Pre-Order My Latest Book "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" [UPDATED]

Photo (18)

UPDATE: You can read the Introduction here.

*****

My latest book, "Cloud Computing for Lawyers" is now available at the ABA's online store. You can pre-order it here.

I can't tell you how excited I am about this book! It includes a ton of useful information from leaders in the legal technology field, including:

Here's a brief description from the ABA site:

As more businesses move their IT systems into the cloud, lawyers need to ask if cloud computing is right for their firm. Cloud Computing for Lawyers features a discussion of cloud computing fundamentals, an overview of legal cloud computing products, and step-by-step instructions for implementing cloud computing in your practice--including practical tips for securing your data. This book will help you:

  • Understand the current state of cloud computing technology
  • Weigh the risks and benefits of cloud computing
  • Evaluate legal cloud computing applications like law practice management, billing, time tracking, e-mail, and e-discovery software
  • Consider the ethical considerations of storing client data in the cloud
  • Maintain security and privacy for your online data

It will start shipping at the end of this month.

I'll be speaking on at panel at LegalTech New York on January 30th and will have copies with me, so you'll be able to take a look if you happen to attend LegalTech this year.

There will also be a "Meet the Author" session at ABA TechShow on March 30th at 1:45 and copies of the book will be available for purchase at TechShow.

I'm thrilled that this book is now available and am so thankful to all of my friends and colleagues, both online and off, for their support as I wrote this book. Couldn't have done it without you!

Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and GigaOM Pro Analyst. She co-authors the ABA book Social Media for Lawyers: the Next Frontier, co-authors Criminal Law in New York, a West-Thomson treatise, and is currently writing a book about cloud computing for lawyers that will be published by the ABA in late 2011. She is the founder of lawtechTalk.com and speaks regularly at conferences regarding the intersection of law and technology. She publishes four legal blogs and can be reached at nblack@nicoleblackesq.com. 

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New Edition of "Solo by Choice" by Carolyn Elefant

Carolyn book
My co-author and good friend, Carolyn Elefant, recently updated and revamped her well known primer for solo attorneys, "Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You've Always Wanted to Be."

My copy arrived in the mail just a week ago and I haven't yet had a chance to read it in full (although I plan to do so over the holidays), but the original was a wonderful resource for attorneys and from what I've seen of it thus far, this latest version manages to improve on an already great book. In addition to updated material, it includes a separate, smaller book, The Companion Guide, which boasts profiles of a number of solo lawyers and their advice regarding starting and running a solo practice.

Although I haven't yet had a chance to read the latest edition in full and pen a review, a number of others have already done so, should you be interested in what they have to say:

If these reviews are any indication, the latest edition of Solo by Choice is a must-have for any lawyer thinking of hanging up a shingle. So, if you're thinking of starting your own practice, this book is, by all accounts, a wonderful, useful resource. You can buy it here.

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