Between 2008 and 2012, the median debt burden for newly minted JDs increased by 54 percent, from $83,000 to $128,000. (That compares with a 22 percent increase in medical student debt.) It is the responsibility of every aspiring law student to understand the implications of taking on such a financial commitment. For law grads who have already accumulated the debt, there may be options for you to better manage repayment. Thanks to our friends at DRB, today’s infographic takes a look at law student debt, including the possible benefits of refinance or consolidation.
Earlier this year, Georgetown University Law Center and Peer Monitor announced their “2014 Report on the State of the Legal Market,” which conveyed the situation of many law firms in simple economic terms: supply outweighs demand. Just as with widgets and the price of eggs, high supply and low demand means that the cost of legal services—what your clients are willing to pay—is driven down.
How can a small law firm stay profitable as the cost of doing business rises, but the price that you can charge goes down?
Karl Florida, leader of the small law firm business at Thomson Reuters, explains how technology can significantly help in his recent article, How Technology Drives Profitability for Small Law Firms. As he walks through three specific choices that he recommends, it’s easy to see how the shrinking time to serve more clients, the pressure to grow profits, and the troubles around billing all can be alleviated.
The video and article underscore an important trend in legal technology: reaching far beyond legal research and into the everyday management of a matter, both cloud-hosted and locally installed software provide opportunities to streamline legal tasks. And most importantly, legal technologies incorporate the language, norms and even some specific regulations peculiar to legal practice.
We’ve said it in the past, but we’ll say it again because it still rings true. Men and women working in the law are very, very busy. Billable hours come first, and everything else comes much further down in the constantly growing list that we call life. A window with a view of the outside world is a luxury, because stepping foot outside the office to do your errands is but a dream. It’s sad, but these folks can’t even find the time to go shopping anymore.
Just imagine what you would be able to accomplish if you were able to get a personal shopper to carry out life’s little pleasures for you. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can. Enter Shop It to Me, a free fashion website with a mission to be the best online personal shopping assistant in the world. You know what you love, and Shop It to Me finds it for you in your size — on sale.
What could be better? A $250 shopping spree sounds fun. Keep reading to find out how you can win one…
Whether you’re fresh off the bar exam or hitting your stride after hanging a shingle a few years ago, one thing’s for certain: independent attorneys who start a solo or small-law practice live with a certain amount of stress.
Non-attorneys would think the stress comes from preparing for a big trial, deposing a hostile witness, or crafting the perfect contract for a picky client.
But that’s nothing compared to the constant, nagging, real-life kind, the kind you get from the day-to-day grind of being a law-abiding attorney.
Specifically, stress from:
- Not answering client calls because you don’t have time right now to research their case and give them updates.
- Failing to back up your hard drive that has everything (literally everything) on it, just after you see the “blue screen of death.”
- Uncertainty over whether or not your new client is really, for sure, unconnected to any of your other clients.
- The potential that your court date was moved and you forgot to record it.
- Lagging on invoicing clients because you’re not 100% sure you’ve logged their billables properly.
Finally: An Easy Way to Take Charge of Your Law Practice
These and other reasons explain why LexisNexis Firm Manager practice management software is a much-needed antidote to your constant lawyerly pressures.
Web-based, secure, and rebuilt from the ground up especially for—and with input from—independent attorneys, it sweats the small stuff so you don’t have to, with time- and sanity-saving features that give you:
- Your law practice, online
- Better calendar control
- Enhanced time & expense capture
- Secure document sharing
- Better-captured billables
- Easier invoicing
- Free setup and 24/7 support
Try it Free for 30 Days and Get a Free “Survival Guide”
Above the Law readers can sign up for a free 30-day trial and get a free “Survival Guide for the Independent Attorney,” featuring tips and insights from solo and small-firm attorneys who’ve built thriving practices.
So, unless you enjoy long sleepless nights and spending more time at the office than you need to, sign up now for a free 30-day trial!
That’s right, your next conversation with a “Westlaw rep”—now a Thomson Reuters consultant—might not even discuss Westlaw. In today’s market, legal research is important but perhaps not top of mind. So, why is a conversation necessary at all?
Because technologies serve a higher purpose: to increase law firm profitability. To turn “Pain to Gain“ as it is said in a must-read article. And companies that were once focused on legal research information—West Publishing, for example—have morphed into companies that focus on practice technology built for the legal industry, and incorporating legal expertise into the very functions of each software product. Like Thomson Reuters, the company that now offers a full portfolio of legal-specific technologies.
The most successful small firms now bring more or better-quality business in the doors, and serve those clients faster. The result is more cash flow for the firm. Other contributing factors?
- Tighter time tracking & billing
- Less time dedicated to non-billable work
- Access to “know-how” materials that let firms keep more work in-house when the matter or practice area is slightly outside of the norm
And of course, if clients are served in less time, they are more likely to be satisfied and able to pay.
Back to the impact on your own tech talk. In her free article From Pain to Gain, Linda Kaufman of Thomson Reuters examines what a conversation with a Thomson Reuters consultant should be like today: how interactions have changed and why. And most importantly, she examines how you can turn a simple conversation into profitable strategic time.
Linda Kaufman is a vice president at Thomson Reuters, leading the sales teams that serve small law firms and law libraries. Thomson Reuters’ small law firm business offers such legal solutions as the Firm Central cloud-based practice management platform, WestlawNext small law firm research plans, and FindLaw’s lawyer marketing solutions.
From Pain to Gain is the latest in the Independent Thinking series, offering practice management and business development insights for small law firms.
Signing bonuses for 1-4 year transactional associates are back in in a big way in Texas. Our friends at Kinney Recruiting are exclusively representing two firms in Houston offering signing bonuses, and they go up to $100K for a JD/MBA fourth year with real quality M&A experience, top 20 law school credentials, good references, etc. If you have been curious about getting into the energy industry, there has never been a better time. As noted, M&A is the focus but junior candidates in other practice areas might be a fit. Folks with an accounting/business undergraduate degree or MBA have a leg up. Contact the Kinney folks at email@example.com or 713-658-1888 (x701) to find out more. Kinney expects that other firms (at least those who can) will eventually follow suit on the signing bonuses and an overall salary hike may not be far behind.
While Kinney Recruiting is our Asia sponsor and is known by ATL readers to be extremely active there, their home base is in Texas. They have placed many of the very partners who are looking to hire new associates, have scores of relationships with top partners in the Lone Star State, and would be your best bet for a possible move there.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Featuring Key Contributions and Candid Real-World Illustrations From:
Patricia Gillette, Partner, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Deborah Epstein Henry, Esq., Founder & President, Flex-Time Lawyers LLC
Leslie Turner, Senior VP, General Counsel & Secretary, The Hershey Company
Andra Shapiro, Executive VP, Business Affairs & General Counsel, Nickelodeon
Pamela Craven, Chief Administrative Officer, Avaya
Jacki Zehner, CEO, Women Moving Millions
Shauna Mei, CEO & Founder, AHAlife
Cathy Fleming, Managing Partner (NYC), Hodgson Russ LLP
Susan Brewer, Managing Partner/CEO, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC
Kathi Lutton, Partner, Fish & Richardson
Barry Levin, Partner, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
James Hutchinson, Chief Administrative Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
Lorraine Mullings Campos, Partner, Reed Smith LLP
Karen Kahn, Managing Partner, Threshold Advisors LLC
Roberta Liebenberg, Partner, Fine Kaplan & Black; ABA Gender Equity Task Force
Robert Weiner, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP
Marianne Trost, The Women Lawyers Coach LLC
Sarah Flannery, Partner, Thompson Hine LLP
Laurel Krueger, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Sterling Jewelers Inc
Sloane Perras, Chief Legal Officer, The Krystal Company
Ann-Marie McGaughey, Partner, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP
Practical Law provides legal know-how that gives lawyers a better starting point. Our team of attorney editors creates and maintains thousands of up-to-date, practical resources that go beyond primary law and traditional legal research to give lawyers the resources needed to practice more efficiently, improve client service and add more value. To learn more, take a free trial.
Presented by Practical Law
Since 2010, Practical Law has published an annual study of market trends in public M&A transactions. This year’s edition of the study analyzes trends in deal-protection measures in negotiated public merger agreements. These provisions aim at balancing a buyer’s desire for deal certainty with a target board’s need to satisfy its fiduciary duties by remaining open to accepting superior offers. The study reviews 137 public merger agreements entered into in 2013 with an equity value of $100 million or more at signing, and covers dozens of issues, including no-shops and go-shops, fiduciary outs and matching rights, termination provisions and force-the-vote covenants, and break-up fees.
Because this area has already received significant treatment in other market surveys, Practical Law’s study adds to the existing literature by:
- Analyzing how various deal-protection measures interact with each other within the merger agreement, rather than confining the analysis to each measure in isolation from the rest of the negotiated provisions in each deal.
- Examining how certain extra-contractual deal characteristics affect deal-protection measures, such as by describing how buyer type, deal size and form of consideration bear on various rights and obligations.
- Creating a unique deal-protection scoring system that measures the impact of the full set of deal protections in each surveyed agreement.
For access to the full study, see: Deal Protections and Remedies: A Comparative Analysis of 2013 Public Merger Agreements.
In conjunction with the publication of the study, Practical Law provides a free 75-minute on-demand webinar in which Daniel Rubin, a senior editor at Practical Law and the primary author of the study, reviews the study’s major findings. Our presenter also introduces the study’s deal-protection scoring system, explaining its methodology, uses and key conclusions. To register for the on-demand webinar, click here.
To access additional content, sign up for a free, no-obligation trial to Practical Law.