Free resources to help you manage your law practice
It’s common knowledge that law schools rarely do a very good job of preparing lawyers to run their law practices. Instead, many law schools have curriculums designed to groom their students to become associates in law firms. For that reason, many law school graduates emerge from the hallowed walls of law school with very little business or technological know-how.
As a result, solo and small-firm lawyers are typically left to their own devices when it comes to managing their law practice and choosing the right technologies for their law firms. The good news is that there are lots of great — and free — resources available to get you up to speed and help you make the right choices for your law firm’s needs.
The American Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Resource Center is a great place to start. It offers a wealth of information on the nuts and bolts of setting up your own law practice, including links to webinars, articles and conferences devoted to all aspects of practice management, marketing and technology. It also includes a very useful interactive guide that helps you locate the resources for solo and small-firm lawyers available to you by your state bar association.
Another way to gain information to help you make the best decisions about running your law practice is to attend free webinars that are regularly broadcast online and cover topics such as moving to a paperless office, social media for law firms, website tips for law firms, free online research resources for law firms and more.
One of the best ways to locate these webinars is to follow the blogs of the different legal software companies that offer law practice management tools, since they often host webinars. Companies that host free practice management webinars include MyCase (the company for which I work), Avvo, Clio and Rocket Matter. I think you’ll find that these webinars tend offer lots of useful, actionable information with minimal promotional material.
Podcasts are another great way to learn about the ins and outs of running your law practice. Legal Talk Network offers a number of free monthly podcasts from noted experts in the field on an assortment of topics related to running your law firm. The Lawyerist blog also recently launched a free podcast series covering lots of useful information about practice management issues.
Finally, there are a number of great legal blogs that will help you make decisions about the business side of your law practice. For law practice management topics, consider the Mass. LOMAP blog, My Shingle, Solo Practice U, LawBiz Blog, Oregon Law Practice Management Blog, Solo in Colo and Thoughtful Legal Management.
For marketing and business development, read Divorce Discourse, Cordell Parvin’s Blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs, Strategist and The Enchanting Lawyer. For legal technology topics, follow Law Technology Today, Family Law Lawyer Tech and Practice, Future Lawyer, iPhone JD, The Droid Lawyer, Lawsites and The Cyber Advocate.
In addition, some blogs cover not just one, but all of these topics, including Above the Law, Lawyerist, Attorney at Work, the MyCase blog and Sui Generis (disclosure: I have written or currently write for all five of these blogs).
So what are you waiting for? Take steps to remedy that law school knowledge gap. Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on free resources to help run your law practice, start taking advantage of them!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.