The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to Success

Essential Tips to Power Your Practice

Archive for July, 2009

Free MP3 of LAWPRO’s Special Webinar: Fraud-How You Can Avoid Being Its Next Victim

July 17, 2009 By: Dan Category: Announcements, Ethics & Professionalism

On May 26 LAWPRO put on a special webinar aimed at helping lawyers to avoid being the victims of fraud. It was hosted and broadcast by the Ontario Bar Association.

You can now listen to a free MP3 of this program, and follow along with the program PowerPoint.

While frauds targeting lawyers have not been widely reported in the US, they are clearly happening and US lawyers need to be on the lookout. Fraud is a real and growing problem for Ontario law firms and lawyers. Prior to the May 24 holiday weekend, we saw an apparent organized fraud that targeted 19 different lawyers for a total amount of $5.4 million. We continue to get almost daily calls from lawyers that are finding themselves in the middle of handling a matter that is clearly, or appears to be, a fraud. And all too frequently we see situations where fraudsters successfully “trick” lawyers and law firm staff, in practices large and small, into helping make a fraud happen. These claims have been costly for LAWPRO.

How can you protect yourself and your firm from being a victim? This webinar will help you become familiar with the common fraud schemes and scenarios, recognize the “red flags” of a fraudulent deal, and show you the steps you can take to lessen the likelihood you will be a victim of fraud.

I moderated the program, and two of my fellow LAWPRO employees were the speakers: Rosanne Manson, Claims Counsel, and Lisa Weinstein, Director, National Underwriting Policy, TitlePLUS.

The topics covered in the webinar include the following:

  • Why fraud is a concern
  • Current fraud trends and claims numbers
  • The common fraud schemes and scenarios
  • The types of bad cheque fraud
    • Commercial loan matters
    • Collection matters
  • The different types of real estate fraud
    • Identity theft
    • Power of attorney fraud
    • Value fraud
    • The role of title insurance
  • Red flags for a problem client or transaction
  • How to protect yourself and your clients
  • Internal fraud: when trusted staff go bad
  • What to do if you think you are about to be victimized

Listen to the MP3 of the program and follow along with the program PowerPoint.

Please also download and share with your staff LAWPRO’s new Fraud Fact Sheet for a more complete list of the specific red flags to look out for on the various types of fraudulent matters.

There are even more resources on fraud prevention on practicePRO’s fraud page (

Cross-posted on SLAW

How to Succeed in the Practice of Law When You Are “Suddenly Solo”

July 15, 2009 By: Dan Category: Announcements

The latest issue of Law Practice Today (, the ABA Law Practice Management’s webzine was published today. This blockbuster issue has all sorts of great articles for the “suddenly solo” lawyer. This is new lawyer starting out as a solo because they didn’t get a job at a firm, or someone leaving a firm to continue a practice on their own. Many of the top names in law practice management have contributed articles to this issue: Dennis Kennedy, Jim Calloway, Andy Atkins and Mark Robertson.

Read the Law Practice Today “Suddenly solo” issue here.

Law Practice Today is the ABA LPM Section’s online publication. Anyone can subscribe to it (i.e. you don’t have to be an ABA member to get it). Subscribe to LPT here.
Each issue has at least a dozen articles and it goes to almost 30,000 people monthly. Hundreds of articles from past issues are available in the online archives.

Cross-posted on SLAW (

Eight Time-Saving, Productivity-Enhancing Management Tips for Busy Bar Leaders

July 13, 2009 By: Reid Category: Firm Management & Operations

I recently had the opportunity to address the incoming national and chapter leadership of the American Immigration Lawyers Association at the annual meeting in Las Vegas. It was a great event, and I want to salute the hard work of these lawyers who, in addition to having busy law practices,  help our profession through their volunteer work in this bar association.  The purpose of my presentation was to give this very busy lawyers time-saving, productivity-enhancing tips to help them handle their dual workload. The session received a very positive response, so I thought I’d post several of theme here for other busy volunteer bar leaders:

Trackle Your Life
Trackle is a new event-tracking site that alerts you via e-mail of the activities and events that are important in your life. You can set up hundreds of alerts: crime in your neighborhood, your name on the Internet, change in airfares, change in neighborhood home values, news about your clients or competitors, new book releases, and much more. Google Alerts are also great, but Trackle does more to help you track both your personal and professional lives.

Personal Portable Scanners
Portable scanners have come a long way since the Visioneer Strobe and HP Capshare hit the market almost a decade ago. Today’s portable scanners are smarter, cheaper, and easier to use. This class of scanner weighs under a pound, and can read business cards, understands what to do with credit card receipts, and helps organize those random documents that otherwise clutter your desk or get lost somewhere in your office. Models from NeatReceipts, IRIScan, and ScanSnap start around $150.

Be Sure You Take a Vacation
Psychologists agree vacations are a way to take a break from a busy, stressful schedule. Be sure to take annual holidays, plan ahead, and do not schedule a court appearance for days immediately following your return. Leave someone competent in charge of your files. Don’t over-plan your vacation. Scheduling too many things can be counterproductive to a relaxing vacation.  Avoid rushing to do anything, and leave time to be spontaneous.  And just make time to do nothing.  If you feel you must bring along work, laptop or cell phone, limit the amount of time you spend using them.  Otherwise, you are cheating yourself and your family or friends out of a meaningful, refreshing experience.

The Two-Minute Rule of Time Management
If you pick up a file, document, letter, or phone message, and can get it done in two minutes or less, do it immediately!  If it will take longer than two minutes, quickly assign it a high, medium, or low priority, then add it to your “to do” list.  Now get it off your desk and out of your mind until it comes up on your “to do” list again. Try this for several days, and see if it helps you get your work done!

Desktop Check Deposits
Never make another trip to the bank to deposit client checks! Some banks are offering a new check scanning service for small businesses to deposit checks directly from your desktop–no trips to the bank needed. Think of the time you’ll save each week!

Use Dual Monitors
With all we do today using the computers, it is more important than ever to have the screen space to do it: Rather than view documents and websites with one screen, add a second monitor to your desktop to be able to see more of your work in progress at one time. Most newer computers already support dual monitors; if not a new video card in the computer is just a few dollars more. (This tip received the biggest response at my live presentation.)

Keep Your Calendar Open
Keep your MS Outlook calendar open while using other parts of this valuable tool. At the bottom of the main screen right click the calendar icon and select “Open in New Window”. (Another good reason to have dual monitors!)

Travel Intelligence for Busy Lawyers
My favorite sites for making travel easier, more fun and productive are the following. Best hotels for wifi connections: HotelChatter; best city information and hotel reviews: TripAdvisor; best restaurant recommendations: Chowhound; cheapest brand-name car rentals (and one of the funniest names: RentalCarMomma; best seats on an airplane: SeatGuru; lowest fare finder: Kayak.