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Posts published in “Starting a Practice”

How to Avoid Client Confusion Regarding Fees and Charges

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Begin by discussing fees and costs openly and candidly with potential clients. Make sure they understand the difference between attorney’s fees and disbursement costs. Also, be sure to give your clients a fee agreement written in easy to understand language.

Then, when it comes time to draft bills, be sure to follow these tips and check out “How to Draft Bills Clients Rush to Pay” (a resource located in the Lending Library), so that your clients want to pay you!

Contact pmap@scbar.org for additional assistance.

How to Take Advantage of Member Benefits, Discounts, Webinars & Demos

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Did you know most companies who have law practice management or technology products or services offer them to South Carolina Bar members at a discount through South Carolina Bar member benefits? Many also offer free webinars and demonstrations on a monthly basis where they share about a specific topic affecting law firms or product/service updates.

Here are a few quick tips on how to take advantage of these opportunities:

Visit the PMAP webinars page for the latest information in monthly webinars and demonstrations. SC Bar members are allowed to choose one webinar/demo to attend or all of them. The choice is yours! CLE credit is not available.

Check out the wide variety of member benefits available to SC Bar members. Benefits include insurance and finance, discounts on office products and services, discounts on software productstravelretail and entertainment, and wellness. For more information about these member benefits, contact Charmy Medlin at (803)799-6653.

BONUS TIP: Visit the Lawsites blog for the latest updates in law practice management software and technology vendors.

Do you have practice management or technology questions? Contact pmap@scbar.org for assistance.

Don’t Blink: It’s Time to Prepare!

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If a natural disaster, freak accident, or unexpected illness were to happen, would you and your office be prepared?

Hurricanes, Floods, Tornadoes, Natural Disasters,  Freak Accidents, Unexpected Situations - OH MY!

June 1 marks the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. However, now, is the perfect time to start thinking about other unexpected situations as well. What can you and your firm do to be prepared? Here are 12 important tips to help you:

  1. Determine your risk. Secure an insurance check up.
  2. Develop an evacuation plan.
  3. Put together a disaster supply kit.
  4. Develop an emergency contact list of your office staff and of individuals/businesses/entities, etc. that you or your staff contact on a regular basis. Store in a safe location both onsite and offsite.
  5. Strengthen your office. Make sure your office is in good repair of any physical issues or damages (examples: check trees, windows, doors, roofs, flooring, ceilings, etc. for any physical damages). Move filing systems to a higher location in the event of flooding. Create several backup systems in the event of physical or electronic file damage and do test restores to make sure they fully work. Always have a secured offsite backup in a safe location. Also, develop an inventory of all office contents.
  6. Complete your disaster plan, go over with all employees in your firm (so they know what to do in the event of a disaster), and store a copy in a safe location onsite and offsite.
  7. Review resources like Ready.govthe National Weather Servicethe National Hurricane Center and South Carolina Emergency Management Division.
  8. Download your copy of the South Carolina Hurricane Guide or pick up a copy at any S.C. Welcome Center, Walgreens or coastal DMV offices.
  9. Check out the Practice Management Assistance Program’s Disaster and Emergency Preparedness web page
  10. Check out the Practice Management Assistance Program's Lawyers in Transition in a Variety of Situations for resources on how to prepare for freak accidents, unexpected illnesses, or death of a lawyer).
  11. Request a copy of PREPARE, a free booklet, from the South Carolina Bar's Practice Management Assistance program.
  12. Remind your colleagues to do the same. It's great to be a good neighbor and lawyer who cares!

Remember, it only takes one event or unexpected situation to change your life and community forever.

Don't Blink: be prepared! Contact pmap@scbar.org if we can help.

9 PMAP Website Resources to Help You Manage your Law Firm

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In recognition of National Small Business Week, check out a few of our favorite practice management and technology website resources to help you manage your small firm (or large firm):

  1. Start a Practice - Are you planning to start a practice? Navigate these resources to find tools to help you develop a business plan, create a budget, decide on an entity and firm name, find the right location, get the proper licenses/insurance, market, prepare for emergencies, choose technology, plus much more!
  2. Close a Practice - You're thinking about winding down your practice...but you have no clue where to begin. Check out the PMA's guide to close your office plus how to transition out of practice based on a variety of situations. We even have resources for succession planning!
  3. Firm or Law Partner Changes - Things happen: Lawyers decide to leave in order to form new partnerships, go solo, or dissolve practices. Our lawyers in transition section will help you navigate through a variety of situations. If you cannot locate a particular situation, contact pmap@scbar.org for assistance.
  4. Build Your Practice - Whether you want to explore client development or learn how to build your business, our business development resources provide a variety of tips from a variety of marketing resources.
  5. Prepare for the Worst - With Atlantic Hurricane Season kicking off officially June 1st and manmade or natural disasters happening every day, it is important for law firms to create a disaster and emergency preparedness plan. Check out our Prepare page for tips and also request a free copy of our disaster handbook, if you do not one.
  6. Time and Business Management - How should you manage your time and stay organized in your business? Check out a few great tips here. (P.S. Don't forget to check out our SC Small Firm blog for more organization/time management tips and the PMAP Forms Bank for correspondence, checklists, plus more.)
  7. Technology Tips - Whether you are interested in learning more about technology or looking for a specific tech topic (software, security, consultants, etc.), our tech tips section will help you navigate through some of the most important decisions in managing your practice.
  8. Legal Research (for South Carolina Bar members) - Looking to conduct research for a particular case or cases? Check out the South Carolina Bar's free legal research member benefit Fastcase by logging into the Bar's website. Our FAQ's page will help show you how.
  9. Resources- Can't find a specific resource you're looking for? Don't forget the South Carolina Bar has over 160 resources available to active Bar members in good standing via the Lending Library. Also, check out the PMAP Videos Bank and the FAQ Bank for helpful tips and information.

Contact the Practice Management Assistance Program for further assistance in managing your law practice.