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Posts published in “Trust Accounting”

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.

SCAM ALERT: Stay vigilant about email and firm security

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One new twist on the scam pattern:

Residential closing firms have been recently victimized by a hacker getting into email communications with lenders, particularly out-of-state lenders, and changing wire transfer instructions from the firm account to a similarly named account at an out-of-state bank.

Lawyers in all practice areas are encouraged to inform their staff of potential scams and the dangers of opening suspicious email attachments, and to be wary of any changes in instruction from anyone outside your firm!

If you have questions, please contact the Bar's Practice Management Assistance Program at pmap@scbar.org.

Questions about how to ethically handle your trust account in South Carolina?

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For a quick answer, check out the handy Guide to Trust Accounting and Financial Recordkeeping in South Carolina. It has recently been updated, and you can read or download a copy here.

Don’t forget, you can also ask the Bar! Contact Jill Rothstein, Risk Management Director jrothstein@scbar.org or Nichole Davis, Risk Management Counsel ndavis@scbar.org.

The Practice Management Assistance Program (PMAP) is a free resource for Bar members. Go to our online content www.scbar.org/pmap or contact us at pmap@scbar.org.

Watch Out! Scammers Targeting Lawyers Through Phishing, Fraud & Other Scams

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It seems no matter where legal professionals turn these days, there always is a scam to be on the lookout for!

Below are two scams that have been reported to the Bar.  If you have any questions about these scams, please contact pmap@scbar.org.

Alert: Phishing emails targeting lawyers

SC Bar members are cautioned to be aware of emails indicating that a complaint has been made against the lawyer or firm or that they contain a special message from the Bar president. Such emails are not coming from the Bar and are an attempt to phish members. Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that may contain links to phony websites or may request that you share personal or financial information by using a variety of techniques. Look for clues, including a suspicious “from” email address. The email may include directions to click on a link, which purports to be a copy of the complaint or of the “special message.” Do not click this link, as it could be an attempt to put ransomware on the affected computer. Bar members are reminded that any official grievance would come via U.S. mail from the Supreme Court and that any important Bar announcement would appear in E-Blast or would be sent by an individual Bar staff member.

Learn more here


Check frauds and scams continue to target lawyer trust accounts

Remember the old saying, "If it seems too good to be true...." The Bar continues to receive reports of sophisticated check scams targeting lawyers. Scammers use real companies and real names to convince their victims. Some scams are particularly convincing, with phone calls from "clients" and even some reports of in-person visits from scammers. Even banks are sometimes fooled by the high level of check forgery and may misinform the lawyer of a check's authenticity. Sometimes the checks are authentic but stolen. Stay vigilant. If a large amount of money is involved with a client you do not know, wait before disbursing funds. There have been instances where the fraud is discovered by the bank up to a week later. Report all frauds to your malpractice carrier, local law enforcement and the Secret Service field office in your state.

How to Stay Safe Online During the Holiday Season

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The holiday shopping season is here, and many busy lawyers and IT-centric folk will do the majority of their shopping online. Here are some important online shopping tips from Stay Safe Online to keep in mind throughout the month. Additionally, be sure to be vigilant with email threats as this is the perfect time of year where hackers attempt every online scam possible. Review these tips to help you recognize holiday phishing scams and malware campaigns from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, and be sure to follow these tips should you believe you are a victim to these crimes. Safe online shopping to all from your Bar's Practice Management Assistance Program. Email pmap@scbar.org for assistance.

 

Other Resources

Watch Out for these 3 Online Shopping Scams by Techlicious

Scams and Safety on the Internet by the FBI

10 Tips to Prevent Phishing Attacks by Panda Security

11 Tips on Identifying Spam, Phishing, and Spoofing Emails by Online Convert