News

2016 Practice 360º Rewind

By Fleur Harris, Jeffery Leon, Thai Phi Le, and Tim Wells

May 13, 2016

The D.C. Bar held its second Practice 360º | A Day for Lawyers & Law Firms on May 6, presenting over a dozen engaging seminars on topics to help attorneys run a successful practice, from good billing habits and successful tax strategies to digital marketing and social media to cybersecurity and data protection.

The event also included several networking opportunities and an exhibit hall featuring companies that offer services that would be useful to Bar members in their practice. Here are some of the highlights from this year's Practice 360º.

Run Your Business Like a Pro 

Billy Martin, keynote speaker, at Practice 360Keynote speaker William "Billy" Martin of Miles & Stockbridge, P.C. speaks about his experiences and challenges of operating a small firm with high-profile clients. Among his key takeaways:

  • It's okay to outsource part of your team. If you need more help on specific projects, contract people to do some of the work.  
  • Embrace technology, but remember it is your responsibility to secure your data.
  • Everything is in real time, so be prepared to deal with social media.
  • Do pro bono work.

 


Think Security - Always

Allison LeFrak of the Federal Trade Commission leads Practice 360ο'sfirst-ever CLE course "Data Security for Small Firms and Solo Practitioners," advising attendees to keep information security in mind in building their firms from the ground up. What are her data security recommendations? 

  • Require secure passwords and authentication. Complex passwords may be hard to remember, but they're critical to data security.
  • Know who has access to the most important information on your network. Monitor it frequently.
  • Keep your systems and software updated and patched.
  • Protect your physical documents, media, and devices. 

Allison Lefrak on data security at Practice 360

Get the Tech Tools 

Representatives from MyCase, an all-in-one legal practice management software, answer questions about their product at the exhibit hall. Other vendors included LawPay, a legal credit card processing provider; USI Affinity, the Bar's exclusive Lawyers' Professional Liability insurance broker; Clio, a cloud-based practice management software; and Fastcase, a comprehensive legal research tool available for free for active and judicial members of the Bar. 

Check out who else was there.

MyCase Reps at Practice 360 Vendor Hall

 

Litigate With Ease

D.C. Superior Court Judge Herbert Dixon Jr. leads the session "iPads for Lawyers: Technology in the Courtroom," sharing useful apps, sites, and other tools that could help make a litigator's life easier in the courtroom. A few of his favorite apps include:

  • TrialPad. Created for iPads, it organizes, annotates, and presents documents and images that can be used as evidence during trial. 
  • AirPlay. The app casts your device's display to a larger screen, which can be useful as a back-up. An iPad storing your documents beats a suitcase full of papers!
  • Office Lens. Scanner Pro. Documents 5. Fastcase. Transcript Pad. GoodReader. iAnnotate. Pages. LexisAdvance. WestlawNext.

Judge Dixon Teaching iPad for Attorneys at Practice 360

 

Put Premium on Customer Service

Jack Newton, CEO and founder of Clio, talks about how attorneys can use cloud computing to provide an "effortless experience" to clients. Companies like Apple, Uber, and Amazon, for example, are creating easy experiences for their customers on the medium of their choice. Newton reminds attendees that great customer service  is at the core of a successful business. "Your law firm is a service company that happens to deliver legal advice," he says.

Jack Newton on Effortless Experience

Boost Your Research Skills

Ed Walters of Fastcase speaking at Practice 360Ed Walters, CEO of Fastcase, provides an overview of the service, which is free to active and judicial D.C. Bar members. Fastcase puts much of the information provided by more expensive legal research providers at your fingertips. For those new to the service, Fastcase offers free Webinars three times a month that give Bar members the opportunity to live-chat with a Fastcase lawyer and rapidly enhance their research skills.

 

 

 


Prepare for the Unexpected

What happens if your computer dies, or if you or your partner pass away? In "Chaos Cures: Planning Around Death of Lawyers (or Their Computers) in a Small Firm," Daniel Schumack of Schumack Ryals PLLC covers these scenarios, especially in a paperless world. He also notes that if there's no continuity plan after an attorney dies, the Bar will step in and impose a receivership. Schumack lays out a few helpful strategies in cases of unexpected chaos:

  • If your firm has partners, create a written agreement between all partners laying out the steps to proceed and who takes on specific responsibilities when one dies. 
  • If your firm does not have a partner structure, make sure to create a will and appoint a power of attorney. 
  • Periodically update a physical list of virtual accounts and passwords. Give them to a trusted partner or escrow agent. 

Chaos Cures presentation at Practice 360


Get Out and Network

Practice 360º concludes with a reception, allowing attendees to discuss the tips they just learned, share their own experiences in running a business, and network with other legal professionals while unwinding from a full day of programs.

 

Practice 360 Reception


Throughout the week, we'll be continuing our coverage of Practice 360º. Check back in for great practice management tips and lessons from the full-day event. 

Get key billing tips from expert Claude Ducloux to help you attract and keep clients. 

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