Beyond Practice Pointers
by Andrew Elowitt
(County Bar Update, December 2004, Vol. 24, No. 11)

 

Beyond Practice Pointers

 

By Andrew Elowitt, Law Practice Management Section Executive Committee. Elowitt is an organizational consultant and executive/professional coach with New Actions C+C, and has more than 20 years experience as a California lawyer. He can be reached at elowitt@newactions.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

 

This monthly column represents only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to information on effectively managing law firms. Several magazines and Web sites offer extensive information and resources on all aspects of law practice management and technology. Here are a few of the best:

 

The Bottom Line is the bimonthly publication of the State Bar of California's Law Practice Management and Technology Section. Each issue offers a rich mix of tips on law office administration, financial management, legal ethics, time management, marketing, technology, and office systems and procedures. It is oriented toward the practical aspects of starting, growing, and prospering in a law practice. Membership in the LPMT Section makes this an attractive bargain: Section members receive a free subscription to The Bottom Line as well as access to a valuable members-only archive of past issues. On top of that, free MCLE is offered in every issue. Further information can be found at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/lpmt

 

Law Practice is published eight times per year by the American Bar Association's Law Practice Management Section. It offers readers experienced insights and fresh advice on marketing, management, technology, and finance. The magazine's Web site at http://www.lawpractice.org/magazine offers the complete text of the current issue of the magazine as well as members-only access to past issues. Each issue of Law Practice features a set of articles built around a particular theme or special focus. For example, an issue focusing on Web marketing might include articles on Web marketing trends, pointers for keeping content fresh, and examples from law firms successfully using the Web. Members of the ABA Law Practice Management Section receive the magazine for free. All others may subscribe directly through the Web site.

 

American Lawyer Media publishes three magazines that focus on law practice management and technology. Law Technology News concentrates solely on the use of technology in law offices of all sizes, from solo practitioners to large firms that employ an IT director. It is oriented to readers with a wide range of technical sophistication. Recognizing that lawyers can be mystified and put off by the tech jargon that many consultants and vendors speak, it translates jargon into plain, usable English. Issues typically include a mix of in-depth articles as well as looks at new products, systems, services, and technologies for running law firms. Free information can be found on the magazine's Web site at http://www.lawtechnews.com.

 

Small Firm Business is a new quarterly from American Lawyer Media. Each issue provides small firms with news, information, practical tips, case studies, and advice from industry experts and practitioners. It takes a practical, hands-on approach to helping legal professionals manage the business side of small firms. Articles cover topics as diverse as real estate, facilities management, technology, marketing, finance, accounting, billing, risk management, client development, human resources, compensation, and disaster preparation. This magazine is just completing its first year of publication; thus, its Web site at http://www.smallfirmbusiness.com provides only a limited amount of information.

 

Articles and columns in Law Firm Inc. cover much the same territory as Small Firm Business but with a distinct emphasis on the needs of larger (more than 50 lawyer) law firms. Though articles on technology are present, the emphasis is clearly on helping managing partners and directors with issues such as marketing, finance, human resources, staffing, outsourcing, compliance, networking, and outsourcing. This bimonthly magazine pays particular attention to trends and developments in the legal profession as well as new legislation regulating the practice of law. A wealth of information, resources, and archived articles can be found at http://www.lawfirminc.com.

 

Though not oriented solely toward law firms, Professional Marketing contains a considerable amount of information and advice on marketing legal services. This magazine, published by the PM Forum (North America), a regionally based members' association dedicated to raising the standards of marketing in professional service firms, is geared to the marketing professional or marketing director of a law firm or other professional service firm. The Forum's Web site at http://www.pmforumna.org/ has useful links to current articles and other resources.

# # #