Tag Archive | "law office management"

Are Clients Satisfied with Your Legal Services? Are You Sure?

By Cynthia Sharp, The Sharper Lawyer

When is the last time you asked a client if he or she was happy with your relationship? Hopefully, you have kept your finger on that pulse throughout the course of representation. Upon completion of a legal matter, you have a chance to gather information through use of a survey. Your firm’s “file closing process should include sending a survey to each client. There are a number of online survey tools that can be used; however, any practitioner can begin surveying clients today by using the template provided below.

While implementing the process takes a little extra work and you may even want to remain in blissful ignorance, your firm (and ultimately clients) stand to benefit because you have the opportunity to:

  • Improve Service – Soliciting client feedback keeps you apprised of issues that can be addressed by you to improve the client’s experience.
  • Address Concern or Complaint – The adage “If you like our services – tell others and if you don’t like it – tell us” applies particularly to law firms.  If a client indicates dissatisfaction, pick up the phone IMMEDIATELY and address the problem.
  • Compliment Staff Members – When a client praises one of your staff, pass on the compliment – publicly.
  • Remind Clients Why They Like You – As the client answers the questions, they will (hopefully) convey positive feelings — which will be reinforced during the process.
  • Ask for Referrals – Clients who like you are thrilled to pass your name onto their friends, colleagues and family members.  At the very least, the client may provide additional names for your database list.

Feel free to use the following template for your client satisfaction survey:

CLIENT SATISFACTION SURVEY
Establishing and maintaining strong relationships with our clients is one of our paramount concerns. We rely on feedback from our clients to identify where we are strong and where we need improvement.  We would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to answer these few questions.

  • What was your first impression of the firm? Did you find the reception area and office atmosphere pleasant?
  • Were you greeted warmly by the receptionist whenever you called or visited the firm?
  • Was the attorney or staff member on time for your appointments?
  • Did you feel comfortable during your first in-person meeting?
  • Were you kept up to date on the status of your case?
  • Did your attorney answer your questions to your satisfaction?
  • Were your telephone calls returned promptly?
  • What do you believe is our firm’s biggest strength?
  • What do you believe is the area we need the most improvement on?
  • Were you ever surprised by the amount of an invoice received from our firm?
  • What are the 2 ways we could better serve you?
  • Would you recommend your friends, relatives or colleagues to hire us?
  • Are they any other comments, suggestions, complaints, or concerns you would like to voice?
  • Would you like to discuss any further issues with your attorney?  Were there unanswered questions or aspects of the matter that you don’t understand?

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If you found this information to be useful in your practice, you won’t want to miss the upcoming CLE seminars presented by Cynthia Sharp on Friday, March 10th !

Cynthia will be presenting Strategies for Taking Charge of Your Law Practice & The Lawyer’s Guide to Ethical Business Development at the ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis.

 

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Avoid the Problem of Unintended Representation

By Cynthia Sharp, The Sharper Lawyer

Attorney client relationships are still by and large developed in the traditional manner – in person and in an attorney’s office. However, prospective client relationships and the accompanying obligations set forth in Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 1.18 also may now arise via e-mail, websites and other electronic means. An attorney’s duty to a prospective client includes maintaining confidentiality, avoiding conflicts and pursuing the case.

In recognition of the potential that an attorney/client relationship may be formed without an in person meeting, the ABA House of Delegates amended Model Rule of Professional Conduct (MRPC) 1.18 (a) in August of 2012 to provide:   “A person who consults with a lawyer about the possibility of forming a client-lawyer relationship with respect to a matter is a prospective client.”

Comment 2 outlines the factors to consider in determining whether a communication (electronic, oral, written, in person or otherwise) constitutes a consultation and gives rise to ethical duties:

  • Whether the lawyer encouraged or solicited inquiries about a proposed representation (as opposed to just posting general information on the website);
  • Whether the person encountered any warnings or cautionary statements that were intended to limit, condition, waive or disclaim the lawyer’s obligations;
  • Whether those warnings or cautionary statements were clear and reasonably understandable
  • Whether the lawyer acted or communicated in a manner that was contrary to the warnings or cautionary statements

Attorney websites inviting inquiries from potential clients need to have a disclaimer posted adjacent to the inquiry form; otherwise, the problem of unintended representation may arise. As a matter of curiosity, I randomly reviewed websites of 5 Indiana law firms and found 4 of them to be deficient in this regard. (Don’t despair – it seems that the majority of smaller firms nationwide haven’t yet posted protective language.) Take a look at your inquiry form and if it does not have a disclaimer, feel free to use the following language:

Sample Disclaimer for Inquiry Forms on Websites:

“The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.”

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If you found this information to be useful in your practice, you won’t want to miss the upcoming CLE seminars presented by Cynthia Sharp on Friday, March 10th !

Cynthia will be presenting Strategies for Taking Charge of Your Law Practice & The Lawyer’s Guide to Ethical Business Development at the ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis.

 

Posted in Highlighted Seminars0 Comments

MBA Concepts for Lawyers, Sept. 29

Your practice must keep pace with the increasingly sophisticated demands of your clients! Do you have 1) the advanced training, 2) sophisticated tools and 3) “in the trenches” experience to understand and analyze financial transactions and deals that are at the heart of most legal matters? MBA Concepts for Lawyers is an answer to the busy lawyer’s prayer!
Your clients are increasingly involved in sophisticated aspects of capital markets, with implications for their lives today, through retirement, and even for their estates. Your role as counselor demands a thorough understanding of these markets in order to compete effectively in a modern legal practice and to provide the sound advice that clients expect and deserve.
Corporate clients increasingly face vigorous scrutiny from shareholders, the press, and ever more aggressive regulators. Your understanding of how business works – and how corporate stability and management effectiveness are measured and reported – are vital to providing effective representation.
MBA Concepts for Lawyers provides a one-day crash course in understanding the legal impact of business operations on your individual and corporate clients, providing important insights into their health, value and future stability. The principles are constant and apply to family businesses as well as huge multi-nationals.
Professor Adams provides practical techniques for reading a balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows – helping you to spot vital financial and legal issues. He discusses the risk and return model, explains how stocks and bonds are priced, and advises you on the effective and ethical use of financial leverage. He also explores the accompanying legal doctrines in the areas of mergers and acquisitions and securities. This internationally acclaimed program will refine and expand your knowledge of financial matters giving you, your firm and your clients a real competitive edge.
Topics for Discussion
* Key Business Concepts
* Introduction to Accounting
* Advanced Accounting Concepts
* Financial Statement Analysis
* Manipulating the Books
* Accounting Concepts Applied to Legal Drafting
* Introduction to Corporate Finance
* Advanced Topics in Corporate Finance
* Cash Flow Analysis
* Understanding Stocks and Bonds
* Mergers & Acquisitions
* Derivatives
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FACULTY:

Professor Edward S. Adams

University of Minnesota School of Law, Minneapolis, MN
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Featuring Professor Ed Adams

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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4th Annual Reality CLE, May 5-6

A Unique Retreat for Attorneys That Drive in the Small Practice Lane as Well as Those New to the Practice of Law!

OVERVIEW:
We are excited to announce that the Reality CLE program is back for 2016 with fresh new content! Join your fellow small firm colleagues on May 5-6, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Airport for two energized days packed with valuable information you can put immediately to use in your practice.

Affordable!
To help you manage your budget, ICLEF has again arranged a special low tuition rate for everyone, which includes lunch on the first day, refreshment break service throughout, printed and electronic materials for all sessions, 14 hours of CLE credit (including 2.25 hours towards ethics) and FREE parking.

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TOPICS:
Banking and Form of Practice
* Business Structure and Type of Entity
* How to Share Space
* Types of Bank Accounts Needed
* Credit Card Processing
* Real Estate Issues for Law Firms
* Protecting Your Assets
* Other Resource Suggestions

* Opening & Running an Office on a Shoestring Budget – Successfully!

Advertising Your Practice
* Branding & Ethics
* Staying Connected with Clients & Referral Sources

* Social Media Presence – What Is Effective & Ethical?

Systems Part I – The Production Schedule and Processes
* Sample Office Manual
* Sample Engagement Letters
* How to Organize Work Flow & Your Day
* How to End a Working Relationship

* How to Effectively Use Assistants and Paralegals

How To Effectively Use Technology In Your Practice

Systems Part II – Recording Time & Collecting Fees
* Systems for Time and Billing
* Cash Flow and Payments from Clients
* Advanced Fees
* Communications with Client

* Billing online

Creating a Positive Client Experience – Communications and Beyond

Why is Professional Liability Insurance Worth It?

Golden Nuggets: Practice Ideas & Pointers of the last 12 Months.  A Reality CLE Tradition Not to be Missed!

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BREAKOUT SESSIONS
Sessions I & II  (Select Two)
A. Family Law
B. Criminal Law

C. 10 Must-Have Employee Policies for the Small and Emerging Law Practice

Sessions III & IV  (Select Two)
E. Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning
F. Contracts Drafting, Structure and Analysis
G. The Business of Mediating
H. Creating the Client Experience
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FACULTY:
Planning Team
Elizabeth A. Justice – Chair
Attorney at Law, Crawfordsville, IN
Rebecca W. Geyer
Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, PC, Carmel, IN
F. Anthony Paganelli
Paganelli Law Group, Indianapolis, IN
Frederick W. Schultz
Greene & Schultz Trial Lawyers, Bloomington, IN

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Rob Albright
Professional Sales and Business Trainer, Antmed, Inc., Indianapolis, IN
James J. Bell
Paganelli Law Group, Indianapolis, IN
Ryan H. Cassman
Coots, Henke & Wheeler, P.C., Carmel, IN
Jessie A. Cook
Law Office of Jessie A. Cook, Terre Haute, IN
Susan M. Hargrove
Horizon Bank, Carmel, IN
Jennifer J. Hawkins
Hawkins Law PC, Sullivan, IN
Hannah Kaufman Joseph
Katz & Korin, PC, Indianapolis, IN
Meghann E. LaBadie
Law Office of Meghann LaBadie, LLC, Highland, IN
Richard A. Mann
Richard A. Mann, P.C., Indianapolis, IN
Jennifer A. Ritman
Ritman & Associates, Inc., Noblesville, IN
Kimberly S. Robinson
Law Office of Kimberly S. Robinson, Indianapolis, IN
David L. Swider
Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, Indianapolis, IN
Reid F. Trautz
Firm Resolutions, Annandale, VA
Michael J. Trescone
Trescone Law Office, Bloomington, IN
Patrick H. Wanzer, CPA
Wanzer Financial, Indianapolis, IN
Paul J. Unger
Affinity Consulting Group, LLC, Columbus, OH

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We express our sincerest thanks to the Indiana Bar Foundation & Wanzer Financial for their support of the Reality CLE program!

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Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Phone: 317-637-9102
Fax: 317-633-8780
E-mail: iclef@iclef.org